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Wanted: Dead or Live

My recent articles dealt with low limit HORSE. Today we are going to look at a concept that has less importance in hold 'em and the hold 'em hands in HORSE and is often overlooked or misunderstood by today's younger players and other new poker players, who play mostly hold 'em.

In 7-card stud, 7 stud/8, and razz, many players do not recognize the importance of the number of cards they need that are already showing on the board, or already folded by their opponents, and therefore unavailable. They want what they want and it does not matter whether those needed cards are dead or live.

Memory and concentration are key points in these games. Remembering exposed cards can totally change the play of your hand. As an extreme example, consider this: In 7-stud/8 you bring it in for the minimum with a deuce showing and a four and five in the hole with all the cards unsuited.

A player with a trey up calls, a queen calls, the next four players fold-with two showing sixes and two showing sevens, and the last player raises with an exposed ace. The other two callers and you see the raise. Fourth Street brings the trey another three, the queen another queen, the ace a trey, and you a jack. The xx/A-3 bets and you are next to act. What should you do; call, raise, or fold?

Since three of the treys you need to make a straight are gone, the possibilities of winning both ways have practically vanished. In addition, eight of the cards that give you a low hand have either been folded or are face up on the board. You are probably facing a re-raise from the player showing paired queens and the ace-trey's bet says he has four to a low. You should fold.

In the above example, if you change the facts a little, you would change your play. If you hit a trey on fourth street, the ace and trey both hit face cards, and the queen hits a five, you should raise.

We will look at more next time. In the meantime don't play dead, only live.

Colorado Casinos Prepare For Smarter Cheaters

Andy Vuong of the Denver Post reports that numerous Colorado Casinos are bringing in a large number of Las Vegas veterans to train local staffs to spot savvier cheaters and to reduce dealer errors when maximum bet limits go up from $5 to $100 on July 2.

Jimmy Payne, the former boss of the high limits pit at the Hard Rock and Bellagio casinos, and Bill Zender, who co-owned the defunct Aladdin casino, are training both casino staffs and state regulators. Both say that by extending operation to 24/7 and adding craps and roulette, casinos will need to have considerably more money on the floor. In addition, craps and roulette are two of the most complicated games for dealers to pay out. Mistakes are easy to make and can be extremely costly

Casino managers are being taught to study higher limit volatility-or how much their wins and losses will swing on any given night. Understanding the fluctuations can also help casino officials identify potential cheaters.

One of the things they do to catch cheaters is look at the wins and losses to see if they conform to the math. If they don't, it is a red flag to look more carefully at the game.

Poker games will also be scrutinized more closely.

Mike Eikenberry got his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Virginia, where he played varsity tennis and basketball. Founder of one of the leading national tennis camps, Mike is an avid amateur who has played both tournaments and live games for over 25 years. He can be reached at

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