There's a huge difference between deep-stack no-limit hold'em and restricted buy-in no-limit games. Many players, especially those who favor deep-stack online games, dislike individuals who buy-in for the minimum, win one big hand, and then move on to the next table. Last weekend I watched a similar scenario in a live game. I was sitting in a $500 minimum buy-in game. The blinds were $5 and $10 and I was under-the-gun with some trash hand. Everyone folded to Sean in middle position. He bought in initially for $7,500 and now had just under $10,000 in his stack.
One of my favorite sayings is that we act based on our perception of reality, not on reality itself. Take this hand played by David. He was in Seat No. 7 of a nine-handed, $1-$2 blinds, no-limit game. He had $200 in his stack, about the table average. Pre-flop, David raised to $12 and was called only by John in Seat No. 5 (he thought). John had limped prior to calling. What David hadn't noticed is that Linda in Seat No. 1 had, from the big blind, called David's raise.
My good friend Justine asked me to watch her during a recent session. She was playing in a $2-$5 blinds no-limit hold'em game. As is typical with these games, the stack sizes were all over the map. Justine sat with the maximum buy-in of $500 but the other stacks ranged between $100 and $1500.
It was with fear and trepidation that I sat down to watch my good friend Brian play a session of $1-$2 blinds no-limit hold'em. Brian bought in for the maximum amount of $200 and was seated in a ten-handed game that had gone on for some time. I recognized a couple of the players: Mick, who is usually a maniac, had over $1000 in front of him, and Mrs. Goldman had about $500. Based on that information alone, it figured to be a good game.
I was watching a $25-$50 blinds no-limit hold'em game recently. Six of the players were relatively deepstacked, with at least $10,000 on the table. The other three players were playing short; each had about $850 in their stacks. An interesting hand developed showing the dynamics between big and small stacks. Dean, with a big stack, raised to $150 from early position. Brad re-raised all-in to $850 from middle position. Anna, in late position raised another $1,000 and Dean called. Both Dean and Anna had about $20,000 left in their stacks.
Last issue's column examined many of the negatives that gamblers face when complying with U.S. laws on taxes. In Part 2 we'll look at some deductions available for gamblers, as well as the problem area of state taxes.
The Tax Code forces the amateur gambler to record some potentially ridiculous amounts as "income." For example, a gambler might have $300,000 of winning sessions and $275,000 of losing sessions. His Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) would be artificially raised by $275,000. There's actually a benefit to this.
Every so often I get an email stating, "Taxes are voluntary, right? So I don't have to pay taxes on gambling if I don't want to" Of course, you don't have to do anything. If you don't pay your taxes and the IRS or your state tax agency catches you, you'll likely end up paying the taxes, plus interest and penalties. And you could find yourself in prison.
Aaron was sitting at the breakfast table, enjoying his hotcakes, when his wife Anne asked him how the poker game went at the casino yesterday.
"It went very well, honey. There's one hand in particular that I thoroughly enjoyed playing. I was up against Mick-you remember, the maniac I told you about?"
"Oh, sure, dear."
In big-bet poker, a key decision is when to set and execute a trap against your opponent. This past weekend I was almost trapped in a hand; but my opponent waited too long to execute her trap and found herself trapped instead.
Linda was under-the-gun with [9c]-[7c] in a $2-$5 blinds no-limit game. The game has been relatively tight, with most flops being seen two- to four-handed. Linda limped. The button (me) raised to $25 and both blinds folded. Should Linda have called the $20 raise?
In my last article I wrote about Rob, and how he should have gone home when he got tired. Sometimes we all have sessions where nothing goes right. Recently I had one of those days (and nights).