by Ashley Adams
Poker is one of very few competitive endeavors that rewards losing. We may not think about it much, but losing correctly can benefit the poker player more than winning. Let me explain.
I won $300 when my AcQc made a flush against my opponent’s Jc7c. It’s not that I played the hand especially well; a complete donkey would almost surely have ended up winning the same amount from an expert. Nevertheless, I won $300—and was very pleased.
A few hours later, at a different table, I lost a hand and about $65 in the process. But in spite of the loss, I was much prouder of my performance than I was of my $300 win.
I was dealt QQ in the four seat. The player to my immediate right was a very tight and timid player. He was in very few hands, only played premium cards, and generally played them aggressively. Though he had accumulated a stack of $450 or so at this $1/2 no limit hold’em table, he exhibited a lot of timidity, I thought, when on an earlier hand he had folded bottom set, fearing a higher set. As it turned out, his opponent had top two pair. Similarly, he boasted of laying down his top pair top kicker when a wild player bet out on the river. His opponent showed his bluff.
by Ashley Adams
I traveled to Las Vegas for a week of poker fun during this year’s World Series of Poker. It’s a great time to be there—with tens of thousands of extra poker players in town. I got to meet up with many of them at the Rio, where I enjoyed some very remunerative cash game sessions. Though I stayed in the shallow waters of $1/2 and $2/5, I eagerly watched others in huge cash games, while bracelet tournaments were going on all around me. It is a poker player’s dream.
The WSOP cut the number of stud events this year—and generally raised the buy-ins for the few stud events that remained. So I had a good excuse not to enter any of the WSOP tournaments this year. Instead, I decided to try my hand at a nearby local’s casino that had caught my eye, making Club Fortune, in Henderson, Nevada my home base.
by Ashley Adams
I’m a winning poker player. You want to know why? It’s because I am obsessed with where I sit.
I mean this seriously. More than any poker players I know or have ever known, I focus on where I am sitting when I play. If you want to win – you should be concerned about this too. Let me explain why.
Many serious poker players think that the key to their profitability is their skill at poker. They are only partially correct. They work on that, to the best of their ability. They read books and articles, they watch training videos, and they may even have a regular discussion group to help hone those poker skills. Then they go out to a poker game and they practice what they have learned. Try though they might, they often don’t succeed. It may well be because they don’t know where to sit.
by Ashley Adams
It’s WSOP season and I’m excited about being able to save enough in booking and taking my trip for a buy-in to a bracelet event. Here’s how you can do it for yourself. Airfare: Consolidators are the way to go. These are the sites like Travelocity, Orbitz, Expedia, and Fly. Hotwire and Priceline are excellent as well if you don’t care about what airline you travel, or exactly what time you leave. Booking on Wednesday or Thursday, when fares typically go down, may also save you some money. Finally, it’s worth subscribing to Travelzoo or some of the other travel discount e-newsletters that alert you to new low prices when they are first announced by airlines. On Sunday I checked flights from Boston to Las Vegas and the lowest I could find were $450 from Boston. On Wednesday afternoon I got an alert from Travelzoo about $260 fares.
by Ashley Adams
You’re in Las Vegas at the World Series of Poker. Maybe you’re there for a bracelet event, maybe for a few of them, and maybe just for the other incredible poker action at the Rio. Maybe every minute of your time is accounted for – with barely enough time in between playing and sleeping to grab a quick meal and take a few bathroom breaks. Maybe. But let me suggest that you mix up your game a bit.
For me, no trip to Las Vegas during the World Series of Poker (or any other time) is complete without indulging in at least a few experiences away from where the major action is. Here are some suggestions for what else you might do if you want to leave the Rio, if only briefly, and venture forth into the great wide world that is Las Vegas.
Take a break from the poker action for one night and enjoy a beer and a burger at the Dispensary Lounge (2451 East Tropicana). If it’s Friday or Saturday, from 10:30 PM until 2:00 AM, you can also enjoy some great jazz. Sure, it’s a retro place, complete with a waterwheel and a totally 70s feel to it. But with no cover, no minimum, and the best burgers in Las Vegas, what’s not to like?
by Ashley Adams
The first part of this two-part article [read it now] was a report on the Hollywood Casino in Toledo, Ohio, a poker room I enjoyed. I stopped there on a trip through Ohio with my daughter, Hannah, to visit my brother, Lee, in Minnesota. I stopped at another Ohio poker room, the Horseshoe in Cleveland, on my way back to Boston.
This is a beautiful downtown casino. It is in the former Higbee’s department store. Parking is free in a multi-storied parking garage across the street. Higbee’s was a Cleveland landmark and was the famous location of the movie A Christmas Story. I enjoyed walking around in and seeing the old architecture that I had seen first in the movie.
The casino is three stories high, with the 30-table poker room aptly on the top. I was impressed with how many different games were going. When we arrived on a Wednesday evening there were roughly twelve $1/2 no limit hold’em games, three $2/5 games, a $5/10 game, a few $3 - $6 limit hold’em game, a $1/2 pot limit Omaha game, and a $2/5 pot limit Omaha game.
by Ashley Adams
Ohio is the newest state to add legal poker to their entertainment menu. I visited back in January to try out the poker action at two of the three legal rooms in the state – the Horseshoe in Cleveland and Hollywood in Toledo. Here’s my take on each room.
I first visited the Hollywood Casino in Toledo en route to visit my brother in Minnesota. The Hollywood is not in downtown but on the outskirts of this western Ohio city, on the scenic banks of the Maumee River. There’s no hotel there – forbidden until either the enabling casino legislation is rewritten or until the occupancy of Toledo’s existing hotels increases. The décor is 1930s art deco – with many larger-than-life prints of famous movie stars on the walls. If you’ve been to any of the many Hollywood casinos around the country, you’ll recognize the retro theme.
This is Toledo’s only poker room, and the only legal room within 90 miles or so – the next nearest being in Detroit, Michigan. As the only game in town, it gets a lot of action on its 20 tables and was about seventy- five percent full on a Sunday evening when I visited. There was a $3 - $6 limit hold’em game going (it closed about an hour later). The other 15 or so tables were largely $1-$2 no limit, though a couple of $2-$5 games were going as well by the time I left the room at 7:30 that night. There are tournaments here – usually two a day, with buy-ins ranging from $30 to $50. There’s a monthly $300 event. All of the tournaments are no limit hold’em except for one Pineapple tournament each Saturday.
This is a beautifully appointed room, as are all of the many Hollywood poker rooms that I’ve visited, with many large flat screen TVs all across the walls, interspersed with famous movie poker scenes. The gorgeous tables seat nine for cash games and ten in tournaments.
There’s a 10%, $6 maximum rake with an additional $1 bad beat drop at $20. You might say I was fortunate, as I never had to pay any of that. I played for about two hours and literally did not win one single hand! I won’t bore you with my tales of woe except to say that the quality of the opposition was such that I think this session would not be indicative of my overall chances in the room. Players tended to be loose, passive, and fairly timid. There were two players at my table who seemed to be fairly strong, but the rest just seemed to be passing the time as they waited for whatever luck had to offer them.
I played with a few guys who lived in the Detroit area but who drove down here regularly to escape the cigarette smoke in the Detroit casinos. Ohio’s new casino legislation requires the entire casino to be nonsmoking. According to the Michiganders at the table, it makes a world of difference – as the cigarette smoke in the non-poker areas of the Detroit rooms filters into the poker room, making it Hellish to play in for nonsmokers. The Hollywood room and the entire casino that surrounds it is completely smoke free.
21-Year-Old College Student Wins First Gold Ring and $174K
WSOP Circuit’s Last Stop on Jersey Shore has concluded. Joseph McKeehen put on the most dominant display of the 2012-2013 World Series of Poker Circuit season on Monday, winning the Main Event Championship at Caesars Atlantic City McKeehen made a shambles out of the poker proceedings, scorching the hopes of each and every would-be rival in his shining path to victory. Consider that when play reached the final table, the 21-year-old college student had nearly half of the total chips in play. The old line about everyone else “playing for second place” gets overused in poker tournament liturgy. However, if ever there was an appropriate use for the aphorism, it was most certainly the final table of the Main Event in Atlantic City.
In fact, McKeehen was never in serious danger of elimination. Like an alley cat toying with its prey, the young semi-pro poker player from North Wales, PA made it rather obvious that the mice in the dispute had no real fighting chance. The rush of cards didn’t hurt McKeehen’s prospects either.
by Ashley Adams
I’ve reported on five poker rooms I played at during a recent trip to the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. This concludes the four-part series [Read the other parts of Gulf Coast Poker Report], with a look at the Hard Rock and the Beau Rivage in Biloxi.
Hard Rock Casino, 777 Beach Blvd. 228-374-7625. The Hard Rock is the area’s room for young players; I was there at 12:30 on a Saturday night. The casino was crowded with guys and gals in their 20s – many of them drinking heavily. Some of them had found their way into the poker room – which had two $1/2 no limit hold’em games going.
The games are raked at 10% up to a maximum of $4 with a $2 drop for the bad beat and other promotions. Players earn $5 off their meal bill for every two hours of play. My visit was characterized by what I can best describe as the tale of two tables.
by Ashley Adams
I really enjoyed the Biloxi, Mississippi poker room at the Isle Casino—an Isle of Capri property. (See my first two articles in this series for other rooms in the area). The Isle is beautiful, situated right on the beach, with beautiful seaside views everywhere. I decided to stay in town rather than drive the 90 minutes back to New Orleans. Before my return, however, I had a great playing session.
The Isle spreads both $1 -$2 no limit and $4 - $8 limit hold’em. There were three games going while I was there. Players earn $2 an hour in comps, and (as in the other rooms in the area) pay a 10% rake, up to a maximum of $4, with a $2 drop for the many promotions, including bad beat and high hand jackpots. My $1 -$2 game was filled with regulars who can only be fairly described as “characters”. They often play together, know each others schticks, and were eager to share them with the only newcomer at the table: me!
There was Charlie: His stack ranged from $2,000 to $4,000 during most of the session (there was no cap to the buy in). He was generally quiet, except with his betting action, which was often extremely wild and loose. He proved the wisdom of being welcoming to all when he said that though he often dropped a ton in this game, he kept coming back because of the pleasant company. To be sure, he was no pushover. I saw him shove $3,500 in chips into an $800 pot, win when his opponent folded, and then reveal an unpaired hand of 6-4. He gave a toothless smile when he did so, saying “Sometimes I have nothing”. Describing the philosophy of the game, one player said, “Some people play got’ems, some people play get’ems. We play get’ems over here”. And so they did. Many of the players loved to stay in when they were behind just to see if they could draw a winning hand. Pots were often $1,000 or larger.