February 6th marked the return of a popular series of tournaments held on Full Tilt Poker called the Full Tilt Online Poker Series VII (FTOPS). The event attracted online poker players, both amateurs and pros, from all around the world. The original FTOPS had seven preliminary events and a main event championship. FTOPS VII featured 20 tournaments ranging from no-limit and pot-limit hold'em, HORSE, pot-limit Omaha, no-limit hold'em with rebuys, Omaha/8, HA (pot-limit, half hold'em half Omaha), stud, razz, and a no-limit knockout event.
Anyone who has ever seen George Carlin's standup comedy act is probably familiar with his bit about every driver's reaction to other drivers around him. If the car ahead of him is driving too slow for his liking, Mr. Carlin opines that the first driver will say, "Look at this jerk!" Then a moment later, when another driver goes speeding past him he'll say, "Wow, look at that maniac!"
My job with Poker Player Newspaper requires traveling to hundreds of poker rooms across 15 states and Canada. Recently I drove to Oklahoma, traveling southbound on U.S. 55, a nostalgic route that runs parallel to old Route 66.
At the onset of the trip, I was surprised to discover that Oklahoma was not as far from the upper Midwest as I first thought. Tulsa, OK is 691 miles from Chicago, which is comparable to the distance between Detroit, MI and Minneapolis, MN-a 10-hour drive for either trip.
Gardena, California was once billed as the poker capital of the world. It was a fitting title, because within the boundaries of this otherwise quiet Los Angeles suburb existed the largest and most prosperous poker clubs anywhere. I remember them all. There was the Eldorado Club, which replaced the Embassy Club on land where Larry Flynt's Hustler Casino is today. And there were the Normandie Club, Gardena Club, Rainbow Club, Horseshoe Club, and Monterey Club.
The poker world was abuzz recently when the chip leader at a World Series of Poker Circuit event in Atlantic City was disqualified for unruly behavior. Down to the final five players at a relatively noteworthy tournament, it is simply unheard of to have a tournament director make such a bold and decisive move at a critical juncture that late in the contest. Poker chat forums instantly debated the topic of the ousted player, with most of the comments supporting the tournament staff for the move.
Recently I was honored to be part of two hugely important, star-studded events in the Los Angeles area. The first was the charity event The Fallen Heroes Memorial Event Number Two hosted by the Bicycle Casino. It honored and raised money for fallen police officers and firefighters. It was a great night surrounded by men and women who do so much to make our streets safer. I felt privileged to participate in an event that gave me an opportunity to give something back to benefit our civil servants.
Usually, it pays to be a bully at the poker table. Especially in the big-bet games, where you can use the sheer size of your bets and your stack to steamroll over opponents, regardless of what cards you actually hold. When it's works, it's a beautiful feeling, a powerful rush.
The shootings and rescue of a couple on a sailboat that drug runners had been trying to seize when their motor launch failed had unnerved us. I had taken out one of the bad guys with an automatic rifle when he ignored my command and pointed an Uzi toward me. I was nearly shot when the other desperado suddenly brandished a weapon, but my gal Kim, a sure shot with a pistol, got him first.
"Mike, take the con to Harbor Island. We need a drink." Hobby set out limes, salt, and a bottle of Imperial Anejo tequila. Before he could get glasses I took a slug from the bottle. "Ahh..." I uttered.
In 1990, I wrote a book about people (including myself) who were raised in what I called "crisis oriented families." These are families that substitute negative crises for positive excitement. They see the half empty glass, because they don't have permission to see it as half full. That's why so many of these families produce high achievers outside the home who continue to go from one failed marriage to another.
There are many varieties of poker at your disposal, not just hold'em. It can prove profitable for you to become knowledgeable about some of them.
In 7-card stud you are dealt three cards, two down and one up. If playing $2-$4, you'll have an opportunity to bet or raise in quantities of $2 up until the fifth card and by $4 thereafter. Typically, you'll ante a quarter. Then the person with the lowest card brings it in by making a forced initial wager, usually a dollar.