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George Epstein

A Different Kind of Tell

Poker is a game of information. The more information you glean, the better decisions you'll make while playing a hand.

One viable form of information is called tells. One of my poker heroes, Mike Caro-The Mad Genius of Poker-has made tells a sort of science. In his Book of Poker Tells, Mike defines a tell as "any mannerism that helps you determine the secrets of an opponent's hand."

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The Poker Battle of the Billionaires

Each year, Forbes magazine lists the 400 richest people in the U.S. It's called the Forbes 400. It takes assets of well over $1 billion to qualify. (Yes, that's 1,000 million U.S. dollars!) The average net worth of those on the list was $3.8 billion. There are 82 American billionaires who don't quite measure up. To make the list, you have a better chance if you live in California. Eighty-eight are from the Golden State. Second is New York State, with 73 of the top 400.

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Investing in the Nut Flush

Investing in the Nut Flush

It was a lively $3-$6 hold'em game at the Normandie Casino-the oldest casino in the Los Angeles area and one of the original Gardena poker clubs, with old-world charm that's hard to describe in words. The poker gods had not yet smiled on me and I was a bit behind, but I wasn't too disturbed. After all, I know that you must be patient in the game of poker. Then a fascinating hand came up. It was the combination of circumstances that made it memorable.

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Don't Gamble. . . Play WINNING! Poker

At the California Poker Players Conference (CPPC), held on October 20 - 21 at Hollywood Park Casino, Inglewood, California, I gave a talk entitled Poker is NOT Gambling-Ask Mark Twain.

As part of my talk, I discussed two different definitions of the word "gambling." What exactly is it? Personally, I like Stan Sludikoff's definition: "Gambling is betting when the odds are against you."

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How Often Should You Stay to See the Flop?

At the California Poker Players Conference held Oct. 20-21 at Hollywood Park Casino, a young man called Tom engaged me in conversation. He was familiar with my hold'em algorithm that I had discussed during the Conference. "Based on your algorithm," he asked, "how often should a good player in an early position stay to see the flop?" He caught me unprepared. I responded: "I'd guess one out of four or five hands, depending on whether there have been or are likely to be raises, how many are staying in, and the texture of the table."

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Use the 'Esther Bluff' to Steal on the Flop

The California Poker Players Conference held Oct. 20-21 at Hollywood Park Casino, was a fantastic event. We all learned to become better players from it.

During the Panel Discussion, I was asked about the Esther Bluff. In a subsequent discussion with an attendee, I suggested it as a great tactic when trying to steal the pot on the flop. So I experimented that evening. In two attempts, I batted 100 percent.

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Trapping - In Poker and in War

The War in Iraq and the Game of Poker The world news is replete with stories about the terrible state of affairs in the Middle East, especially in Iraq, and the growing danger of terrorism around the world, largely related to the war in Iraq. Thinking about it, I found myself asking the question:

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Promise Me

Three years ago, my poker classes started at the Claude Pepper Sr. Citizen Center in Los Angeles with just six students. Now we have over 40 people enrolled. Whenever a new poker class or poker lab starts, I call for all students to take a vow. "As a requirement for being in this class," I say, "you must promise me that you will never play for the rent money."

That's always greeted with a smile from those who have taken my previous classes. I hold up my right hand and wait for all to join me:

"I will never play with the rent money."

Then they listen patiently as I explain:

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Poker IS Science! Algorithm is Proof

Recently I wrote about Mark Twain's fascinating essay in which he described how, back in 1870, a Kentucky court decided that a competition like poker really is a game of science-; not a game of chance or luck. Then it occurred to me: My hold'em algorithm is strong proof of the wisdom of that court's decision: Poker is a game of science! First, understand the meaning of "science."

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You Never Know What the Flop Will Bring

You may recall I once told you about that eminent senior citizen, Arizona Stu, who is a super poker player-as well as a winner in the game of life. It seems there is a new variety of hold'em at an Indian casino near his home in Scottsdale, Arizona. It's $5-$150 hold'em. The small blind is $3 and big blind is $5. "You can bet up to $150 at any time," he explained. That's a spread limit game. The buy-in is $350.

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