In my opinion, after Nevada, California, and Oklahoma, Florida is now the fourth best state for low-limit poker. It has not always been so. In 1996 Florida legalized poker-sort of. They allowed games of minimal stakes, so small that the size of the entire pot could not get above $10. Players would bet 25 cents or 50 cents until the pot grew to $10; and then all betting would cease, with the dealer dealing out the remaining cards with no betting.
It was pretty silly, and the rake was an enormous percentage of the pot. Serious players stayed away.
You want to make the most of this home game. I'll start you off with a quiz to see how well prepared you are to turn this into a profitable opportunity. Answers below.
1. Your number one objective for this home game should be to:
a) get invited back
b) win money
c) make friends
d) earn the respect of the group
2. It is a dealer's choice game. When it is your turn to call a game you should,
a) call your best casino game- hold'em or stud
b) call 5-card draw hi-lo, the best dealer advantage game
c) call whatever the last guy called
I was in New Mexico, visiting the many poker rooms around the Albuquerque and Santa Fe area (something I'll report on in more detail in a future column) when I happened to check my email from a remote computer terminal. I was pleased to have an email from a reader. I receive a fair number of emails from readers and listeners (I have a poker radio show at houseofcardsradio.com).
I was playing in a somewhat wild $75 - $150 stud game at Foxwoods the other night. It's not my normal game, and I had been warned that it tends to be a bit more aggressive than the $20 - $40 game I'm usually in. The warnings were prescient. Typically, there was a lot of what I call "bouncing around" early in the hand-when players pushed very aggressively to try and get the hand heads up. With the very high ante structure, it made sense to do this-to get a piece of the substantial money already in the pot.
I'd like to use this column to urge all poker players to read more. Reading opens up your mind to the thinking of other people-broadening your mind by broadening the experiences you can understand and consider. Whether it's poker strategy, fiction, or just life experience that you're reading about, you're entering a world you would not normally enter yourself. By broadening your mind you broaden your perspective and expand how you think- which, in my view, can only help but develop your ability at the poker table.
There are chiefly four places in the United States where there is decent stud action. There is my home casino, Foxwoods, in Ledyard, Connecticut; there is Commerce Casino in Southern California; the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada; and there is Atlantic City, New Jersey. I visited the last of those recently and would like you to know what their stud picture looks like.
Today's my 50th birthday. I'm old enough for the seniors poker circuit for the first time. It's hard to believe.
I received two birthday cards (at least so far). Each has to do with poker-in a way.
The first was from my mother. It was one of those modern cards that sings a song when you open it up. On the front it said "Happy Birthday-Another Year Older." On the inside it said "And You're Hotter than Ever." The card played Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash.
Maybe I'm playing poker too much. I was sitting in synagogue today, the first day of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah-a day for serious introspection. I found myself focused on a prayer written by the famous Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan. He was addressing the Jewish view of sin and salvation-major themes on this special holiday. He wrote:
Just when you've tuned your casino game to take advantage of the tighter and more aggressive style of casino players, you find yourself in a home game. Should you apply your excellent casino strategy to the home game? Maybe not. It depends on the unique qualities of the game you're in.
I know a guy who opened a local restaurant in my section of Boston. The week he opened he took out expensive full-page ads in the major daily papers in the region. He bought television commercials on all the major stations during prime time. He even went so far as to hire a plane to trail a banner with the name of his restaurant during a New England Patriots game.