The big news in Florida recently has been the announcement of a partnership affiliation between the World Poker Tour (WPT) and Jacksonville Greyhound Racing & Poker (Orange Park Kennel Club, St. Johns Greyhound Park, and the soon-to-be completed Jacksonville Poker Room).
Season X of the WPT will feature two main events and a regional event at the Jacksonville locations. With poker presently growing by leaps and bounds in the Sunshine State, it’s not surprising that two such eminent organizations would join forces. The WPT has been a major player in the growth of large-scale tournaments and one of the leaders in incorporating televised poker into mainstream programming.
A tell is any mannerism, gesture or expression that gives information about your hand. The idea is that you want to avoid giving any tells, and concomitantly, you want to observe your opponents and identify any tells they may inadvertently offer.
Sometimes we give tells that detract from our potential to win at the poker table, and we need to avoid it. Admission: Many years ago when smoking was allowed in the Las Vegas casinos and before I had given up smoking, I enjoyed smoking a cigar while playing poker. One day my wife called me away from the table and said, “George, did you know you have a big tell?” Then she explained that when I caught a big hand, the tip of my cigar would light up brightly as I took a deep breath! She was right. As you seek opponents’ tells, make sure you don’t have any yourself. In that regard, Mike Caro’s Book of Poker Tells (there’s also a DVD) could be invaluable.
By the end of the first quarter of 2011 play, we have some interesting results from the high-stakes cash game on Full Tilt Poker. The Great Dane, Gus Hansen had an auspicious start to the year having netted more than $4.5 million. Hansen bounced back vigorously after a tumultuous 2010. At his lowest point last summer he was stuck over $2 million, but he stopped the bleeding and clawed together a string of winning sessions to finish the year with only a $250,000 deficit. If you go back to August 2010, Hansen has won almost $6.9 million.
I have two poker buddies who play at Foxwoods. This past Friday they went down without me. They came back with a story of a hand where they faced off against each other. In the telling of the tale there is some good poker instruction.
Jim is primarily a no-limit player. He’s surely a looser player than me—and though I don’t like to admit it, a better one too.
Andrei is a limit hold’em player. His style is the typical tight and aggressive style that beats the low limit game—not fancy but fairly effective. I’ve seen him play in Las Vegas and Foxwoods. I’d say he is much better than average, if not yet able to make a living at the relatively heavily raked $4-$8 game where he usually finds himself.
A few years ago my late friend Ken introduced me to his home game. The monthly game included a no-limit hold’em tournament along with cash games. This past month was my last time in the game (mainly because of the distance from my home).
Four of us were competing for three World Series of Poker seats. They weren’t $10,000 main event seats; rather, we’re low rollers who compete for $1,000 donkament seats. The tournament structure was super-fast. Any time a player was eliminated, or after each orbit the blinds increased. We also started with T5,000 in chips, so the blinds quickly became large.
The Supreme Court of Sweden has just ruled that poker is either a game of skill or a game of luck, depending upon the rules.
At first, this sounds almost like a joke. But, in fact, the Court got it almost completely correct.
The poker game under consideration was Texas hold’em. Certainly, experienced players know this is a game of skill.
But courts have been reluctant to rule that any poker game is more skill than chance. Maybe it’s because they fear such a ruling will open the door to widespread cardrooms. Maybe they harbor deep anti-gambling feelings. Or, maybe, they are simply ignorant.
One of the primary concerns on and after Black Friday (April 15, 2011) was the ability or lack thereof to withdraw funds from the online poker websites that were forced to abruptly leave the United States and abandon American players. Whether players had hundreds of thousands of dollars or a few hundred in their respective accounts, that money mattered to them, and it was their rightfully earned income. But how were they to cash out when bank accounts and websites were seized by the Department of Justice?
The online websites—PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, UB/Absolute—had no quick or easy answers, but PokerStars and Full Tilt seemed to step immediately to the plate and work out an agreement with the Department of Justice to facilitate players’ payments. The agreement specifically pertained to the use of .com websites by the companies and noted that the agreement would not prohibit the companies from issuing refunds to players.
“Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not watching you.”
Black Friday changed the way a lot of us play poker.
I enjoy and give full credit to online poker: it is an excellent training-ground—the place to learn the game and begin to understand betting patterns, where you can use tools like PokerEdge, Sharkscope, and Hold’em Manager, not to mention a handy little sheet of paper with hand rankings and percentages you can post next to your monitor.
But from the start of my poker career I have maintained that the authentic poker player is the live cash game player.