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Barbara Connors

Connors’ Corner: Dumping Ground

Of all the many ways that poker players have devised to bamboozle each other, chip dumping is one of the most unsophisticated. Practiced almost exclusively in the world of tournament poker, chip dumping usually works something like this: Two or more players enter the same tournament with a private agreement between them that one player will purposefully and deliberately lose all his chips to the other at some point during the tourney. The designated chip dumpee is effectively getting a free and illegal re-buy in the middle of the tourney. The ill-gotten chips give this player a distinct and very unfair advantage over the honest players in the competition, which is why anybody who is caught chip dumping can receive a severe penalty.

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Connors’ Corner: Dealing With the Endgame

For anyone who plays tournament poker on a regular basis, making deals is a fact of life. While a few tournament players eschew them, most players who make the final table will find themselves at least discussing the possibility of negotiating a deal.

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Inside Outs

Of all the many calculations, estimations, and other mental gymnastics we must perform at the poker table, counting outs would seem to be the simplest. You figure out how many cards can help your hand and then contrast that with how many cards are left on the deck. For example: You call in late position with A-8 of diamonds and five of you see the flop come down K-9-2 with two diamonds. Now you have an excellent draw with nine outs (the nine remaining diamonds) to the absolute nuts, as long as the board does not pair on the turn or river.

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Make Shove, Not War

Few things in poker are more exciting andintoxicating than a raising war. If you’reone of the combatants, at what point—if ever—do youfinally slow down and consider that your opponent mighthave you beaten? If you’re caught in the middle of thewar, is it best to let your hand go or stay in for what’ssure to be a bumpy ride and a huge pot?

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Nowadays it’s almost de rigueur to multi-table online, with some players taking on as many as 20 tables at once. But is multi-tabling all that it’s cracked up to be? Is it a surefire path to poker riches, or are we toggling ourselves and our bankrolls into poker oblivion?

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Top Gun

The shootout tournament is a mongrel, poker’s crossbreed between a multi-table tourney and a single-table sit ‘n’ go. Technically it’s a multi-table event, but for all practical purposes a shootout plays like a bunch of single table satellites.

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Level Best

There’s a hierarchy of thought in poker... ascending Levels of thinking about the game. Not surprisingly, typical suckers are only able to think on the first level. An intelligent game of poker doesn’t even begin to exist until you reach Level 2, but truly skilled players should be able to think at least up through Level 4.

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Flipping Out

In Texas hold’em, if one player begins the hand with a wired pair and his lone opponent holds two overcards both larger than that pair, this is said to be a coin flip. Before the flop each player has about a 50/50 shot at winning the hand. Something like 9-9 versus A-K would be a very common coin flip scenario. But if the pocket pair is deuces then any two unpaired cards—provided that one of the two cards is not a deuce—in the opponent’s hand would produce the same result.

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Peep Show

Contrary to what many people believe, the “show one, show all” rule is not really about the cards per se. It does not mean that if, for whatever reason, you expose one of your hole cards that you will then be obligated to show both of them.

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School's Out

“Don’t tap on the aquarium” is a well-known catchphrase among poker players, originally credited to poker pro Phil Gordon. The basic gist of this saying should be obvious: Don’t scare away the fish. It’s never a good idea to berate, insult, or in any way embarrass bad players at the poker table—even when one of those bad players has just put a horrific beat on you. Perhaps especially then. Sure, it’s bad manners but much more important than that, it’s bad business.

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