By: Ashley Adams
I meet a lot of people away from the poker table who are not serious poker players. They often want to be – but just aren’t. They are often familiar with the game, want to get better, but have never seriously considered the skills involved. The conversation often gets around to my decades of poker playing experience and what two or three things I think make someone a good poker player.
It’s an interesting question for the serious player (which I surmise you are if you’re reading this article on poker). What are the most important skills we good players develop – that the losing player doesn’t have?
I always mention a few obvious things – understanding the value of the cards I’m playing relative to what my opponents have; appreciating the importance of position; a willingness to be aggressive and accept risk, and maybe a few other items.
“I waited all night, but I got even with that idiot!” Tony announced at about 5 a.m., as he was leaving the poker room.
“What are you talking about?” I asked, as we strode side by side toward the parking lot. It had been a great night for me, so I was in a tolerant mood, willing to play along with Tony’s peculiar and perpetual need to always share his poker exploits as if nobody else mattered.
“So, I start at noon,” Tony began. “and everything’s going fine. After about an hour, this guy I’ve never played with sits down and bluffs me three hands in a row! He shows the hands. And he’s gloating. I can hardly stand it.”
He paused and walked in silence for about 20 seconds, then continued.
by Ashley Adams
I go to Las Vegas at least once a year – and have learned how to minimize my overhead while out there. Less money for expenses translates into more money for tournaments.. Here’s how I save.
Let’s look at the four major cost components of a typical poker vacation:
3. Ground Transportation (taxi, buses, rental cars)
Airfare – Save $150
I live in Boston, Massachusetts. My travel costs may be different from those of you who live elsewhere. Even so, I think the process of saving money is the same, regardless of your place of departure.
Many of my friends have frequent flyer cards and use one airline exclusively. I don’t do that. I use a consolidator, an internet service that scans all airlines for the lowest fare. Recently, I noticed a disparity of $150 between the most expensive seat and the cheapest seat on a round trip flight from Boston to Las Vegas. The best site for this, in my opinion, is Fly.com. It looks at all of the consolidators and finds the cheapest seat. It also shows you the cheapest days to fly, allowing you to further cut your costs by leaving a day or two earlier or later to qualify for the lowest fare.
2. Hotel – Save between $420 and $1,940
First of all, you should decide what kind of a place you want. Maybe you want to stay only in a first class place – five stars all the way. Fine. I just checked the rates through the site of a well-regarded 5 star hotel on the strip in Las Vegas. Their least expensive room was $2,050 for five nights including a Saturday night. I then went to my favorite internet site, Trivago.com – and booked the exact same room for $1,630 – for a savings of $420. But maybe you’re a little more flexible than I was – and are willing to stay in another 5-star hotel – just not that particular one. Using Trivago again, I found another popular, well known place, in roughly the same strip location, for only $750 for five nights including Saturday night – for a savings of $1,250. Same quality, roughly the same location – and over $1,000 less!
Of course if you’re willing to go down slightly in quality you can save even more. I found a well-known three-star hotel, near the northern end of the Strip for just $210 for those same five nights – for a savings of $1,840. Believe it or not, if you want, you can do even better than that in Las Vegas. I typically stay in a clean two-star place for $110 for those five nights – for a savings of $1,940. If you are a serious poker player like I am, you’re spending nearly all your waking hours in a poker room anyway. You’re just using your room for sleep. Who really cares how fancy the pillows and drapes are? So why pay top price?
3. Ground Transportation: Save $225
Many people take cabs wherever they go in Las Vegas. That can get expensive. With a $3.30 initial charge, $2.60 a mile plus $.60 a minute “Waiting time” plus $3 or so to use your credit card – a typical ride from casino to casino or casino to restaurant typically runs no less than $20 a pop including tip. Do that three or four times a day, five days in a row and you’ve out at least $300 to get around in Las Vegas.
Instead, consider renting a car. If you go through Hotwire.com, my favorite site for rental cards, you won’t know what rental car company you have, but I really don’t care about anything but the rate. Recently, I paid just $75 a week (including all taxes and fees) for an economy car –$225 less than using cabs.
4. Meals: Save $300 -- maybe
You can get a room with a kitchenette and cook many of your own meals – saving the cost of going out to eat. Groceries are a lot cheaper than restaurant meals to be sure. I used to do that. I saved a few hundred dollars. But I found that it often wasn’t worth it, since I so enjoy the experience of eating out while in Las Vegas.
All tolled, depending on the choices you make you could save from $795 up to $2,615 for your five-day vacation, airfare included. With the money you save you could afford at least the entry into the Aria’s recently announced $565 tournament with a $1,000,000 guaranteed prize pool. Not too shabby! For my money, saving the money is worth the slightly extra effort.
For information about finding poker games while on vacation or traveling, check out my other article on PokerStrategy.com.
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Today, I’m going to save poker players worldwide from turning into pumpkins. Cinderella’s carriage could turn into a pumpkin at midnight, right?
Your poker carriage can do the same thing. Even you, yourself, do it, too — turn into a pumpkin. Maybe it doesn’t happen exactly at midnight, but it happens. So, let’s talk about how to avoid becoming a poker pumpkin and how to profit from your pumpkin opponents. Sound strange? Good. Let’s get started.
Here’s the premise, and you tell me if this seems right to you. To play poker successfully, you need a vehicle for transporting you and your advanced poker arsenal to a game. Call it a carriage. Yeah, that’s a stretch, but so what? If you don’t have all your tactics, attitudes, and ammunition (meaning bankroll) packaged sensibly, you aren’t likely to win this year.
That’s you ride, your carriage — all your skill, money, and state of mind. And you roll proudly into a game. That’s you or your carriage or both, depending on how you perceive yourself. And you’ve arrived at the poker table, ready to do battle and win.
But here are the things that will turn you and your carriage into a pumpkin.
by Diane McHaffie
You can’t win at poker for very long without an advantage. And your advantage has many ingredients.
Position, for example, plays a large part in having an advantage. If other players are acting prior to you, this allows you an opportunity to view how things are developing and determine what your strategy should be. Your hands may give the illusion of being stronger, when you have the luxury of acting last. You see, the later you act the more dominant your cards will be.
Last - In fact, if you're last to act, it isn't always necessary to have a great hand to take advantage. Say, in hold ’em, you hold two top cards of the same suit and the flop gives you an opportunity for a flush, straight or pair. Then many times it's advisable to raise, since you could easily connect on the turn or river, could win the pot right now without being called, or could intimidate opponents into checking on the next round and leaving you in control. So, being aggressive when last to act can add to your advantage.
About a month ago, I began discussing major disadvantages you’ll encounter at poker. You see, they won’t cost you as much money if you can recognize them quickly enough to diminish the damage. Today, we’re going to add four more disadvantages, but let’s call them “burdens,” because that turns out to be today’s word.
First, let’s quickly review the three disadvantages we previously talked about:
1. The disadvantage of having too many chips in a no-limit game. Contrary to the opinions of many serious poker players, it’s not always a good idea to have the most chips at the table. If you’re sure you have a major advantage against you opponents, yes, do it. Otherwise, with a smaller stack, you’ll often be able to go all-in more cheaply and make winning hands you would otherwise have folded. You’ll also have smaller fluctuations in your day-to-day results. So, look around the table. If there are threatening opponents with large amounts of chips in play, that’s a disadvantage — and you should reconsider your intention to add to your stack.
2. The disadvantage of silence. Laughter is what to look for when choosing a table. Opponents having fun are more likely to be playing for entertainment and not to maximize profit. When you’re at a quiet table, the silence suggests a disadvantage.
3. The disadvantage of a left-side attack. There’s a strong positional advantage enjoyed by players who sit to your left and usually act after you. For that reason, you want players sitting on your left who are least likely to take advantage of their superior position. Those turn out to be tight players who don’t play many hands and, therefore, do you less harm on your left. If aggressive and sophisticated players are on your left, you’re at a disadvantage. Beware! Change seats, if you can.
Okay. Now it’s time to add today’s four poker burdens.
by David “The Maven” Chicotsky
Reraising: it’s one of the least understood and most talked about poker activities. It can have a great upside if applied properly, and can create great peril if we’re simply over-inflating the pot. There are certain times in a tournament where it is advantageous, and other times when it is not. With (or against) the wrong chipstack, it can be devastating, though if we are within the proper parameters - it can work beautifully. For the purposes of today’s discussions, let’s talk about reraising from 15 to 50 big blinds.
As a tournament gets deep, one of the most apparent dilemmas that will certainly arise is (figuring out) when we should reraise all-in for our stack. Just as importantly, when should we put our opponents all-in for their stack (assuming we have the larger stack)? In general, the most basic parameters for reraising all-in for your stack (or your opponent’s stack) is betwee