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George Epstein

Take Advantage of the Maniac

By George “The Engineer” Epstein  

There will often be a “maniac” at your table.  He loves to bet and raise – and reraise!  He does it almost every hand.  How can you best play against the maniac;  and. better yet, can you take advantage of his playing style?

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Dealt a strong hand? RSPF is Best; Consider Your Betting Position

by George “The Engineer” Epstein
 
Playing hold’em, when dealt a strong hand, it is wise to Reduce the Size of the Playing Field (RSPF) before the flop.  Cutting the field down to two or three opponents is more likely to help you win the pot. 
 
In a previous column, I disagreed with another poker strategist’s preflop strategy for playing hands such as pocket Aces, Kings or Queens.  He stated:
 
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Dealt a Strong Hand, When is it Best to RSPF?

by George “The Engineer” Epstein

 

Some years ago, I read a rather controversial column in a major poker magazine; it related to holding a strong hand preflop and then trimming down the number of opponents staying in the hand. The goal was to Reduce the Size of the Playing Field” (“RSPF”) in order to increase the probability of winning. 

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Darrel Responds to Dan

by George “The Engineer” Epstein

I received a number of comments regarding my column about Dan Sverdlin of Redondo Beach, California, who was playing no-limit hold’em at the Bicycle Casino when he encountered a situation that could happen to anyone at the poker table.  

Dan was sure he had the best hand and was betting for value when his last remaining opponent turned up his holecards, exposing them, just before the final round of betting on the river, showing a pair of sixes.  Dan then proceeded to make his bet.  The opponent hesitated for a long time, and then called.  Dan took the pot with the best hand; but then was berated by another player who observed the hand and thought that Dan should not have made the bet.  He accused Dan of breaching poker etiquette by betting when he knew that he held the best hand.

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What Would YOU Tell Dan?

By George “The Engineer” Epstein

 

Dan Sverdlin of Redondo Beach, Calif. was one of the poker enthusiasts who responded to my query regarding the incident when a player misstated (probably on purpose) his hand during the showdown, leading another player to muck what likely was the best hand.  

 

Dan now asks my opinion on a somewhat similar incident.

 

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The Nine Top Odds

By: George “The Engineer” Epstein

 

Poker celebrity Phil Hellmuth has his “Ten Top Starting Hands” for limit hold’em. So, today, here are my “Nine Top Odds” that are most important when playing hold’em, no matter the limits.

 

(1) At a full table (nine players), if you do not have an Ace in the hole, the odds are about 4-to-1 that an opponent does. At least one of your eight opponents will hold an Ace 80% of the time. Be prepared to fold if an Ace falls on the flop – unless you connect with a set or trips, two-pair, or draws to a big flush or open-ended straight.

 

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Download and Read the Poker Player Digital Edition for June 2nd, 2014 (Vol. 17 Number 25)

June 2nd, 2014 Issue of Poker Player NewspaperDownload the June 2nd Digital edition PDF of Poker Player Newspaper.

Feature Story 
Poker Player Takes a Step Forward by Wendeen H. Eolis

Featured Strategy:
Mike Caro - Today's Word is BURDENS by Mike Caro

Tournament Results:
Bryan Campanello Wins $175K at Harrah’s New Orleans Main Event

Eric Blair wins Lodge Casino WSOP-C Main Event

Kyle Bowker wins Harrah’s Philadelphia Main Event

AND MUCH MORE, Download the new Issue PDF now!

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How do You Rule? - Readers Respond, Part 3

by George "The Engineer" Epstein

Our two previous columns [Editor's Note: Read Part 1 and Part 2] presented responses from a wide range of readers to our earlier column, “How Do You Rule?” It was about a hand where a player misstated his hand on the showdown, prompting his opponent to muck his cards. To whom should the pot be awarded?

Based on readers’ responses, in this case, both the Tournament Directors Association (TDA) rules and Robert’s Rules of Poker lack in specificity and are subject to interpretation by individuals, as well as possible personal biases.

Quoting Robert’s Rules as they apply to this situation: “A player must show all cards in the hand face-up on the table to win any part of the pot. Cards speak; players are responsible for holding onto their cards until the winner is declared... Deliberately miscalling a hand with the intent of causing another player to discard a winning hand is unethical and may result in forfeiture of the pot. If you miscall your hand and cause another player to foul his or her hand, your hand is dead. If both hands remain intact, the best hand wins. If a miscalled hand occurs in a multi-handed pot, the miscalled hand is dead, and the best remaining hand wins the pot. For your own protection, always hold your hand until you see your opponent’s cards.”

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Playing Pocket Eights

by George “The Engineer” Epstein

Recently, poker writer, Roy Cooke described a hand he played in a $40-$80 limit hold’em game. Frankly, I question his decision and rationale for playing that hand, and wonder how others would play it.

He was on the button with 8-8, seated to the left of a highly aggressive opponent. A loose-passive player, two off the button, had limped in. Mr. Aggressive raised. Now it was Cooke’s turn to act, and he re-raised to force out the blinds and create a three-handed pot, where his pocket eights had a better chance of holding up without improving. Both blinds folded, and both Mr. Loose-Passive and Mr. Aggression called. Now it was a three-way pot.

Did Cooke Play it Correctly? With two opponents, the odds are that one or both have at least one hole card higher than an eight, and will pair up on the flop. According to Tom Green’s Texas Hold’em Poker Textbook, when two opponents see the flop, and one has an ace in the hole, he will catch another ace on the flop almost 25 percent of the time.

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How Do You Rule? - Readers Respond, Part 2

by George “The Engineer” Epstein

In Part One, we described a number of the responses to my column entitled, “How Do You Rule?” that appeared in the Feb. 10 issue of PPN. Today we will continue to present more responses, including one from the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) vice president, and two from Australia. After studying the responses, I have drawn conclusions that I will share with you in Part Three.

Reminder: We described a hand where James bet on the river; then, after Bill called, James shouted, “Full-House.” Bill promptly mucked his hand. But, when James showed his hand, all he had was A-K high. An argument erupted. Bill claimed he had the better hand. James insisted that, having gone into the discards, Bill’s hand was dead. The floorman settled the controversy by retrieving what presumably was Bill’s hand from the edge of the muck and declaring Bill the winner with a better hand. More Response Highlights

• Rich Muny, vice president of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), likes Robert’s Rules of Poker, which he interprets: “The mucked hand should always be retrieved from the muck where clearly identifiable if the muck was caused by misinformation – intentional or unintentional. If unintentional, the best hand wins. If the miscall is found to be intentional angle shooting, the player who miscalled forfeits the pot.”

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