by David “The Maven” Chicotsky
Many poker players approach tournaments the wrong way—not realizing that they will be essentially forced to “make plays” in order to keep up with the blind increases. Even if you are very successful and get away with murder at the table, you’re still going to get naturally shallowed out by the basic structure of the tournament. Tournaments, quite simply, revolve around stealing the blinds and antes. If you’re coming from a cash game background where you can sit around all night long peddling the nuts, this hard truth can work against you.
Some of the easiest and most obvious spots to steal from are on or around the button. Make sure you’re also going out of your way to re-steal from people raising in stealing position. It’s not enough to simply call from the big blind and hope you hit your hand. We’re forced to take an active role in defending the blinds by re-raising pre-flop as well as making moves against positional raisers and bettors postflop. The key is applying controlled aggression from many different positions with many types of pre-flop hands. Getting value out of marginal cards is critical—as we are only dealt premium and semi-premium hands very rarely.
by Haley Hintze
State regulated online poker will again be on the agenda of topics as Illinois legislators return to the topic of expanded gambling within the state. Several different forms of expanded gambling have been proposed for the revenue-strapped state, including a proposed downtown-Chicago casino, the large, new Rivers Casino near O’Hare, the online sale of lottery tickets… and, of course, state-regulated internet poker. Illinois State Senate President John Cullerton has indicated only tepid support, stating that the controversial downtown-Chicago casino question must be answered before plans for Illinois online poker can move forward.
by Ashley Adams
I left off the first part of this article after finishing play at the Casino Royale poker room in the beautiful Red Lion Hotel in Sacramento. Though my friend Andrei was tired out by our cross country flight and subsequent poker jaunt, I was still energized. So before retiring I headed out on Saturday night to the two other rooms in Sacramento, The Capitol Casino, and the Limelight Bar and Cafe Card Room.
The Capitol Casino (411 N. 16th Street, Sacramento, 916-446- 0700) is the dominant card room in the area. Open 24/7, there are ten poker tables and many “California Games”. The food is outstanding. They have Asian dishes, diner fare, and elaborate desserts that literally sit on shelves surrounding many of the areas of play. It was weird looking, but so tempting that I went back the following day just to eat breakfast (and had a great omelet and perfectly prepared coffee).
The room has the biggest action in the area. I played in the $2/$5 game that rocked and rolled. (They sometimes have $5/$10 no limit I was told—but it wasn’t going on the Saturday night I was there). Seventy percent of the hands were 3-bet or 4-bet pre-flop. I don’t recall if there was a cap on the buy-in, but at my table there were three players sitting with well over $1K. While the level of play was not of the very highest level—that you’ll find at some of the very large poker rooms like Commerce, Aria, Bellagio, Borgata, or Foxwoods -- this was better than a collection of local rocks and recreational players. I didn’t sit in or observe their other games, but there were $1/$2 no limits going as well as a few $4/8, $6/12 limit and even a $4/$8 Omaha8 with a half kill. They offer a wide variety of tournaments as well.
...and flair and money with its Pittsburgh Poker Open & Spring Series.
By Barbara Rogers
And you thought Pittsburgh was famous for its twisted steel of years past. Now they are famous for having Rivers Casino in their city and a very popular poker room. Jim Tinney, poker room manager makes sure of it. Just coming off the $50,000 March Meltdown, and giving money away—that does make for popularity. Now with $175,000 guaranteed and tournaments priced to keep you playing the entire event, The Pittsburgh Poker Open/Spring Series will play from April 10th to April 21st. You can satellite into the main event or with so many NLH events, win the buy-in money yourself, for the main event. The start dates for the main No Limit Hold’em event are Friday the 18th and Saturday the 19th, 12 noon, $1,000+$100 will get you into it. One hour blinds in the main event should please you. In addition to a raft of NLH tournaments, Pot Limit Omaha, will be offered along with a Green Chip Bounty event. I love the number of No Limit Hold’em events on the schedule. Jim is a man after my own heart.
by Bob Popper
Majestic Star Hotel & Casino’s Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) event attracted a wide variety of players to the felt in Buffington Harbor during the first week of March. The tourney featured players from the United States, and a number of international contestants all battling for the top prize.
The March 1-9 MSPT tourney structure had a two flight main event system with a buy-in of $1,100. In addition, they had super satellites costing only $60 with a healthy 20% of the field advancing to a $250 satellite. The top 20% of that category would advance to the main event, which pitted a field of 301 hopefuls.
Majestic paid out 36 spots from the field of main event combatants. The final table started on Sunday, March 9 at 8 PM and lasted almost 5 hours before the last 3 players took home their share of the prize pool. Brian Zimcosky lasted long enough to capture third place and take home $28,141 followed by Leon Morford who tucked away a nice $42,401 for finishing in second place.
The tournament winner, who took home a sweet chunk of change was Kenneth Baime. He pocketed $77,681 for his first place finish.
By Jason Bullock
I wrote previously about AdvancedPokerTraining.com, but now I’d like to give you more details about their “Beat The Pro” Challenge feature— it’s really something novel that will change the way you look at poker training forever. It’s like having a top poker pro looking over your shoulder while you play, without spending hundreds of dollars an hour—it’s really that good.
Poker success means more than finding advantages. It means avoiding disadvantages. Sadly, most skillful players are in perpetual search of edges. They fail to weigh what will reward them against what will destroy them.
I teach that you should always be very vigilant about identifying disadvantages in poker. Many can seem invisible, if you don’t look hard. But once you see them, it’s usually easy to stay out of danger. So, here is a short selection of three poker disadvantages, chosen from over 100 candidates.
Disadvantage 1: Too many chips
Many players like to have the most chips at the table in no-limit poker games. Is that the right strategy? Maybe. Probably not.
by Barbara Rogers
Rockin Rivers! Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s Rivers Casino is bringing on their Spring Poker Open. All the events are affordable and there’s quite a list; $175,000 is guaranteed in pay outs. For more information view their ad on page 2 of this issue of Poker Player. [Download the PDF]
200 grand guaranteed at FireKeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek, Michigan in their Mid-States Poker Tour coming up May 9-18th. The qualifiers start as early as May 2nd. Put this in your tournament schedule book and look into their Player Of The Year Tournament Of Champions. The guaranteed prize pool for this is over $40,000. You can stay where you play at FireKeepers worldclass hotel. Say hi to Kelley Bailey, in charge of the poker room while you’re there. Kelley has made sure players have a tournament to play in 7 days of the week. 2014 Stacked Sundays is another popular venue of Kelley’s. The 2nd and 4th Sunday of every month, $220+$20 will get you 15,000 in chips and 30 minute levels. Get more info on page 11 of this issue of Poker Player. [Download the PDF]
Borgata has another of their big money events coming up. They will be bringing players into Atlantic City from April 8-26; look for $5 Million in pay-outs during the 51 events.