by George “The Engineer” Epstein
Wendeen Eolis’ fascinating feature, “Who Says Poker is Skill?” (March 12 issue) drew me to her primary reference source: The Fordham Intellectual Property, Media, and Entertainment Law Journal article by Bennett M. Liebman, entitled, “Poker Flops Under New York Law” (2006, Vol. 17, Issue 1, Article 1). Liebman thoroughly researched the skill vs. chance legal issues used in defining whether poker should be considered a form of gambling—and hence illegal. Courts have ruled based on varied opinions about the relative importance of skill vs. chance (luck), or whether money is involved. Most Significant: According to Liebman, the “…courts in New York State have always stated that poker is illegal without giving the matter significant analysis or thought. For a century, the New York Courts have stated that card games, such as poker, are games of chance.” Indeed, legal citation after citation, court rulings, etc., go back and forth on the issue—but, in the final analysis, they often agree that, “Poker should not be legal because it involves chance.”
By George "The engineer" Epstein
Here’s an e-mail I received awhile back from reader L. J. in San Diego:
“I read your column in Poker Player and think you must be a really quick thinker to be able to figure odds so quickly when playing. I am a novice player and like the excitement. Would like your opinion as to whether a player can be a loser almost always—a chronically unlucky player—or is it possible to change this condition? Will appreciate your reply.” Here’s my response to her, edited for Poker Player Newspaper: Every player is unlucky sometimes, but when it’s always the case, something needs to be changed. It takes considerable patience and perseverance. And you have to be dedicated to becoming a winner. Most players are long-term losers. The difference is a matter of skill. While you cannot control luck, you can influence it to be more favorable. Here are some ways I teach my students.
By George “The Engineer” Epstein
[Read Part 1] Continuing our review of Thomas M. Green’s unique new book, Texas Hold’Em Poker Textbook...
The Flop (There are 19,600 possible flops). A “sparse” flop—three cards of different ranks, not in sequence and different suits—will occur almost 75 percent of the time.
by George 'The Engineer' Epstein
With so many poker books available (including my own two rather unique books), I hesitate to write about any. But Thomas M. Green’s Texas Hold’Em Poker Textbook is very different. So is Mr. Green. I have never met the gentlemen, except through correspondence. He is a retired math professor who knows the game of poker quite well, and uses mathematical concepts to perfection.
by George 'The Engineer' Epstein
The previous two issues (Read Part 1 and Part 2) described how the Claude Pepper Seniors Poker Group started seven years ago and grew rapidly. We play for recreation, recognizing that there are significant health benefits for seniors as well as potential profits. Today we complete the story. Starting out, we made do with whatever facilities were available. I brought the cards and chips, and the senior center purchased a large white board to facilitate lectures and discussions. As we grew, we moved into a large room where we also enjoy light refreshments, distribute poker publications, and hold door prize drawings. And local casinos were pleased to host us. After playing on makeshift tables for several years, the management at the Normandie Casino donated two regulation poker tables and heavy-duty poker chips. Our members could hardly believe their eyes!
by George Epstein
More About the Claude Pepper Seniors Poker Group... PART 2 Last issue, we discussed the start and rapid growth of the Claude Pepper Seniors Poker Group. Today, it is almost certanly the largest poker group in any senior center. Let’s review the activities of the group.
by George 'the Engineer' Epstein
People frequently ask me about the Claude Pepper Seniors Poker Group. Perhaps this will inspire other seniors groups to follow in our footsteps.
First, understand that recreational poker is great for retirees. It’s important that we seniors get out, away from the TV, and interact with other people. “Couch potatoes” rarely enjoy happy golden years. Also, playing poker exercises our brains by stimulating the growth of the synapses that connect our brain cells, thereby helping overcome memory loss and preventing dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease, often associated with the aging process. And a healthy mind leads to a healthier body.
The Seniors Poker Group and guests recently enjoyed two special poker events at the Claude Pepper Senior Citizen Center in Los Angeles as part of a current series of classes focused on “Six Ways to be Sure You are a LOSER,” taught by me. On Aug. 19, high-stakes poker pro Yosh Nakano—founder of the International Poker Players Association—recalled his experiences playing against some of the top poker players, including Doyle Brunson, the late Stu Ungar, and Johnny Chan, as well as in Larry Flynt’s very high stakes home games. On September 2, our special guest was Barbara Enright, the only woman elected to the Poker Hall of Fame and the only woman to ever reach the final table at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) main event.
The more you know about your opponents, the better your decisions and the more you win. It pays to observe how opponents play their hands as well as each player’s traits and betting patterns.
My attention was called to an interesting article in a poker magazine that sometimes offers “food for thought” tucked amid its glossy pages and colorful photos. It was about reading your opponents by recognizing their playing traits and betting patterns.
In the game of poker, deception is not cheating or immoral. In all its ramifications, deception and trickery are part of the game and worthy of our full respect. . .
To be a winner at the game of poker, you must be deceptive: Give your opponents information that will lead them to make mistakes and it will enable you to win more and bigger pots. Consider ways to be deceptive at the poker table. . .
Bluffing: Bluffing is the most apparent form of deception. Most bluffs are intended to force out an opponent. Betting or raising gives your opponent reason to muck his cards, leaving the pot for you. At least you hope your bluff—your level of deception—will be adequate for the job.