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2014 Feburary 24

Change Up Your Style

by David “The Maven” Chicotsky

Candy makers know that if they can get a person to like a certain type of candy as a kid, they’re much more likely to eat that brand of candy for the rest of their lives. Something similar occurs in poker - where players start out playing a certain style of poker and continue to play that style throughout their poker career. Just because something feels comfortable, doesn’t make it correct. In fact, in tournament poker, much of what initially seems correct is dead wrong.

The average poker player starts out overly tight, playing mostly semi-premium and premium hands. The sad truth is most of these players remain tight for years and years. It’s very important to be a chameleon at the table - adjusting to the table conditions (stack sizes, play of our opponents, time of the tournament, among other factors) on a constant basis. Other players start out loose (affectionately known as spewtards) and also follow along that path for far too long.

Playing poker is like driving a car; we go fast on the highway and slow in school zones. Just because we go fast on the highway, doesn’t mean we are a “fast” driver - it’s just part of the skill-set we need to efficiently get around town. Try not to mentally box yourself into a certain category of player. Let the game come to you and make the necessary adjustments along the way, since many other players won’t.

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Massachusetts Poker Future Bright

by Ashley Adams

As a Boston resident, I am regularly asked about poker in Massachusetts. Sadly, there are no casinos or other public poker rooms in this state. However, in 2011, the state passed a law that enabled full-scale casino gambling here. In 2012, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission was assembled; and in 2013, they accepted applications for casino licenses. Applicants have been investigated and their applications have been reviewed. Some have been rejected; some approved. Communities have voted, in accordance with the enabling legislation, on whether they will accept a casino. Some have rejected the projects; others have accepted them. One, Revere, will vote again on February 25th on a new proposal (the initial proposal included putting part of the casino in East Boston, who rejected the plan).

Here’s how the casino gambling picture in Massachusetts looks now, with my estimate of when poker will actually be available. There are three regions that have been given the right to have one licensed casino: Eastern, Southeastern, and Western/Central. The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe has been given first crack at a license for Southeastern MA—but they had to have both a state compact, approved by the federal government, and a “land in trust” deal – because they do not have any tribal land. As of January 17th, their requisite compact with the state has been approved. They still do not have a land in trust agreement, however. And the entire matter of preferential treatment is under challenge by a private casino developer, KG Urban. So it may be a while before this casino deal is squared away. My guess is that this will not be fully sorted out until the beginning of 2015, with no spades in the ground until the end of 2015, and with the casino opened up by the winter of 2016.

Hunch-Drunk

by Barbara Connors

“I had a feeling.” This seemingly innocuous phrase, usually spoken in defense of a loose call after the hand is over, ranks right up there with, “I had to make sure” and “I’ll just play a little while longer until I get back even again” as among the most costly utterances in poker. And yet what red-blooded poker player hasn’t been tempted to play a hunch now and then? Sticking to clinical, strategically-sound, mathematically correct play all the time may be the most surefire way to make money at this game, but we’re not robots. Playing hunches appeals to the frustrated artist in all of us. It’s flattering to believe that maybe we’re a little bit psychic and it’s just plain more fun.

But is it always a bad thing to play a hunch? Well, it depends. Anytime you feel yourself wanting to make some unorthodox play that you would never make otherwise, based purely on a gut feeling, the important question to ask yourself is—where did that gut feeling come from?

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Mohegan Sun’s Showdown Promising Half Million

By Barbara Rogers

Get ready for a Showdown at the Mohegan Sun, in Connecticut! With a half million guaranteed in payouts, the Mohegan Sun Spring Showdown arrives on March 23rd. Expect an extremely well orchestrated event, good structures, and appreciative players because this team (headed up by Josh Zuckerman, Poker Room Manager, and Rebecca Carabino, the popular Tournament Director) works well together. Rebecca was highly anticipating Josh’s arrival to Mohegan Sun Poker Room, and he did not disappoint. Rebecca told me Josh has made her life much easier and considers herself, and the players at Mohegan Sun, lucky to have him. Josh’s arrival even allowed Rebecca to take a welldeserved holiday. When she phoned me from a ski trip in Vermont, Rebecca was pretty excited about the Mohegan Sun’s Spring Showdown. She and Josh have worked hard on this venue, including securing an excellent poker room player rate in the hotel. Sunday through Thursday, an almost unheard of $59 rate prevails. Since the Mohegan Sun hotel enjoys a 97% occupancy on Friday and Saturdays, the rate is $199 a night. And this is the result of negotiations for you. When calling for reservations use the group code Poker 14. Call 860 862 8000 to reach the Mohegan Sun Casino of the Wind in Uncasville, Connecticut.

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The WSOP is Back at Lumiere Place!

by Debbie Burkhead

The WSOP is Back at Lumiere Place!  By Debbie Burkhead After a one-year interruption the WSOP Circuit event is coming back to St. Louis. This is a brand new stop on the WSOP circuit; it was originally scheduled at the Horseshoe Casino in Cleveland. The event is scheduled to kick off on March 20 and run through March 31. The 12 day event will award 12 rings and will offer numerous non-ring side events and cash games. They will also award two seats to the WSOP National Championship in Atlantic City in May.

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Mike Caro: Today’s word is... NATURE

Many poker players lose for a single, simple reason. They don’t grasp the nature of the majority of their opponents. Because of this common and fundamental misunderstanding of opponents’ natural state at the poker table, players pour profit down the poker drain trying to accomplish things that are impossible. What does that mean? Listen, and I’ll tell you.

Why they play

In order to take advantage of your opponents’ greatest weaknesses, you first need to understand why they came to play poker. No, really. Let’s examine that. Imagine that you’re a regular guy or gal with a regular everyday job. Maybe it’s standing all day long behind a used tomato booth at a secret black market for fruits and vegetables. Maybe it’s painting over minor scratches on the bottom of automobile mufflers. Just some common job. Okay. Now imagine that your job is only thrilling for the first seven hours each day and that, by the final hour, you’re bored and eager to get home. Fine. So, that’s where you are right now. Home.

Then a monumental thought bombs your brain: “Maybe I’ll drive to the casino and play poker.” Immediately, your pulse quickens. An adventure awaits.

So, now I want you to stop imagining and jump back out of the head of your pretend opponent. You’re you again, in your own head. And that’s the “you” to whom I’m posing this important question. Here it comes. Do you think, while driving to the casino, your opponent is thinking, “I hope I can just sit at the table and not have to play any hands,” or “I hope I get to play a lot of hands”?

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Jonathan Gaviao Wins Harrah’s Tunica Main Event

Jonathan Gaviao earned his first gold ring along with $181,757 in prize money in the Harrah’s Tunica Main Event Monday evening.

Gaviao, a 23-year-old College Station, TX resident, bested 577 entries to earn his spot among the season’s most recent Main Event winners and secure his seat in the National Championship.

“It’s wonderful,” he said. “It’s always nice to win a ring and make a little bit of money. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

The victory is just most the recent in a string of successes for the young pro. Barely two weeks ago he finished 14th in the record-breaking 1,428- entry Circuit Main Event at Choctaw Casino. He earned $24,098 for that performance, but came up well short of the gold hardware Circuit grinders play for.

With that deep run under his belt, Gaviao made the trip to Tunica to try his luck in another Circuit finale. Late on Day 2, it appeared the trek was paying off when he picked up pocket aces to knock out two players and take a sizable chip lead. From there, he still had a long way to go, but the stars were undoubtedly aligning.

“I felt really confident when we got down to fourhanded and I took over the chip lead,” Gaviao said of his run. “I felt like I was playing really well. I knew that whatever happened, happened for a reason and I was alright with that. Whether I won or lost; there’s more important things in life.”

Gaviao rode his confidence and laid back attitude all the way to the winner’s circle marking his second deep run in as many years at the Harrah’s Tunica Main event.

“Everyone’s got their special place and I guess Tunica is mine,” Gaviao said.

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Borgata: Aftermath of Counterfeit Chip Caper - New Twists in Suspect Christian Lusardi Story

Wendeen H. Eolis

Wendeen H. Eolis

By: Wendeen H. Eolis

The leading suspect in a scheme to rig a poker tournament, at the Borgata last month, has gotten into more hot water with the law, this week.  Christian Lusardi of Fayetteville, North Carolina was arrested January 24th in connection with the introduction of counterfeit chips in the opening event at the Borgata Winter Open. Unable to make the $300,000 cash payment for bail, Lusardi has been sitting in a jail cell since.

This week, prosecutors have upped the ante for Lusardi with new charges against him--wholly unrelated to the allegations of meddling with the publicly exhibited Borgata contest.  While Lusardi was holed up in Atlantic City, federal agents apparently acted on a search warrant. They d found  more than 37,500 illegal DVD disks in his home.  Lusardi is now charged with a DVD bootlegging operation, as part of his rap sheet. 

The picture is still not clear, however, as to whether the current status of the investigation into Lusardi’s activities will soon prompt the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) to come forward with a final resolution concerning the tainted poker tournament.

Investigation of Borgata Chip Caper is Ongoing According to DGE

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Fourth WSOP Circuit Ring For Maurice Hawkins at Palm Beach Kennel Club

Largest career score for Hawkins, $183,498

Maurice Hawkins picked up the largest score of his poker career today, winning $183,498. He also collected his fourth WSOP Circuit ring in one of the biggest events of the season. He defeated local poker dealer Juan Restrepo heads-up, overcoming a 2:1 chip lead in the process. Restrepo earned $114,224 for second place.

It was a great event for Hawkins to win too, as he triumphed in one of the largest fields of the season to take one of the biggest paydays outside of the Circuit Main Events. The $580 buyin opening event at the Palm Beach Kennel Club Circuit series boasted a $1 million guarantee that the site, once again, easily surpassed thanks to a grand total of 2,531 entries and a prize pool of $1,265,500.

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Poker News Brief: Sentence for Ting in NYC; WSOP.com Leak Reveals Possible $10 Million Main Event Guarantee

by Haley Hintze

Five-Month Sentence for Ting in NYC Poker / Sportsbetting Case

Edwin Ting, one of 34 defendants in a large sports betting and poker ring based in New York City, was sentenced to five months in prison for his role in organizing and operating high-stakes poker games for the ring’s leaders, who have been alleged to be part of the Russian mob.

WSOP.com Site Leak Reveals Possible $10 Million Main Event Guarantee

Will the 2014 World Series of Poker main event guarantee $10 million to its winner? That’s possible, following the capture of a partial schedule of events for 2014 that appeared briefly on the site before being removed by programmers, possibly in advance of a later press announcement. Sharp-eyed observers captured screengrabs of the possible goof during the few hours it was visible. The page showed only those events with buy-ins of $10,000 or higher, including the main, which will be Event #65 if the information proves correct. The possible $10 million guarantee would make the 2014 winner the second-richest ME winner in WSOP history, behind only the $12 million snared by Jamie Gold in the final pre-UIGEA year of 2006.

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