To succeed at poker, you need to survive. Today’s self-interview deals with bankroll survival, with tournament survival, and with the powerful truth that survival isn’t a factor at all when making decisions in regular non-tournament games.
I’ll explain it all. So, let’s get started.
Question 1: What does survival have to do with making poker decisions?
In everyday poker games, outside the tournament arena, you should never be thinking about survival when you make decisions. If you’re playing for uncomfortably high-stakes and worried about surviving a large pot, then you’re competing in a game too large for your bankroll. You shouldn’t be there. You see, the nature of a winning poker strategy dictates that you must invite risk, not avoid it. If your personality is such that you crave reduced risk, poker probably isn’t the right game for you.
A primary goal of poker should be to put your money at risk. You should be eager to do that, as long as that risk offers a long-term advantage. You could play more safely by declining to exploit small advantages and waiting for really big edges before risking your money. But, then you’d be surrendering the sum of the profit from all those small edges. And those small edges added together often comprise the largest portion of your profit.
So, you should want to take risks. You should be looking for opportunities to put your chips in jeopardy. I know that sounds strange, but that’s really what successful poker strategy is about – finding ways to increase risk at an advantage.
Question 2: Can you give an example of how poker players make a mistake when playing to survive?
by David “The Maven” Chicotsky
Well the World Series of Poker is upon us again - it sure seems like the year flew by. I want to lay out some tips for making your WSOP experience the best that it can be. These are all of the basic things that sound easy, but most people overlook. Besides having to play well (and everything that entails), we have to put ourselves in a position to win by doing the little things right.
Make sure to drink plenty of water. This is something I always struggled with, as I didn’t want to have to run and go to the bathroom every 30 minutes. Keep in mind the WSOP prelim events have 1 hour levels and breaks every 2 hours (the Main Event has 2 hour levels). My advice is to drink a bunch of water, and don’t worry about missing a hand here or there. I also like to drink coffee, but it’s important to recognize that coffee (and tea) are diuretics that zap your body of hydration. Therefore, we’re forced to drink even more water after drinking coffee. Between the dry Vegas weather, the lights staring you in the face at the table, and the highstress environment, you’re going to need to stay especially hydrated. One immediate side effect of dehydration is getting a headache. Also, keep in mind that the brain needs a balance of water and other elements to operate in peak form.
By Shari Geller
Today, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) introduced the “Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act of 2013” which will legalize online gambling and address the regulatory uncertainty surrounding online gambling resulting from a December 2011 Justice Department ruling.
After years of prohibiting online gambling, DOJ’s 2011 ruling made online gambling of every type, except sports betting, legal at the federal level if it is lawful at the state level. But while online is legal, it is not uniformly regulated, the operators are not licensed, and consumers lack protection from fraud and abuse. With states approaching this issue piecemeal, it can lead to conflicting or inconsistent laws from state-to-state, varying levels of consumer protection, and a perverse incentive for a race-to-the-bottom on standards to attract gaming operators and revenues.
by Barbara Rogers
Penn National Gaming Is a Major Player Jay Snowden is Senior Vice President of Regional Operations. His credentials include significant gaming industry management experience. A Harvard graduate, with a masters from Washington University, it’s clear to see why he is a part of this powerful team.
Barbara Rogers: Hi Jay, nice to have the opportunity to visit. I have been watching the progression of the first ever Hollywood Poker Open, as it nears its final destination at the M Resort in Las Vegas with great interest. One of the reasons is, I like the $500,000 guarantee, and I, too, want to play the event. And it has been interesting watching the excitement grow all across America, as Penn National Gaming has done every thing possible to bring this opportunity to the poker world. Why was the HPO created?
Jay Snowden: We look for ways to grow the Hollywood brand in all facets of our business and to showcase the many casinos in the Penn Gaming family in an effort to promote cross-market play. When it came to poker, it seemed obvious that the best way to accomplish this goal was to create a national tournament of our own where poker players – both those we know as well as those new to our casinos – could gain multiple opportunities to participate in regional and qualifying events with the action culminating with a championship in Las Vegas.
BR: How important is it for you to introduce players to the M Resort where you are holding the HPO Championship?
by Debbie Burkhead
The 2013 Central Coast Championship at Chumash! The event is scheduled for June 8 at 9 am. The no-limit event has a $50,000 guarantee and a $10,000 main event seat is added. Sign up in the poker room now, or by phone starting May 25. The buy-in is $180 and entrants receive a $15 coupon good for live play June 10-14. Players start with 10,000 in tournaments chips - no rebuys or addons. The first level is 60 minutes and the remaining levels will be 30 minutes. See their ad in this issue of Poker Player Newspaper for more information [Download the PDF].
ATTENTION LADIES! Win a seat to the Poker Player of the Year tournament at the Golden Nugget. Be the first woman to be the Poker Player of the Year. A super satellite will be held on July 1 with an $80 buy-in. The winner/winners will receive entry in the 2013 Poker Player of the Year tournament on July 4 at noon. See the Poker Player of the Year ad in this issue of Poker Player Newspaper for other satellite locations[Download the PDF].
Looking for a Real Estate Agent in Las Vegas?! We all know about the trouble the economy is in, but that also lets us know that this is a great time to purchase real estate. So we are lucky to have Carl Johnson as our real estate sponsor for Poker Player Newspaper. Carl is not just a nice guy, but a hard worker who will do everything to meet your real estate needs. Wondering what to do with all that money you won at the WSOP? Give Carl a call today! You may be surprised at the great deals and steals available in Las Vegas. For more information on Carl Johnson, see his ad in the WSOP special edition of Poker Player Newspaper distributed in Las Vegas [Download the PDF]. Las Vegas is the Place to be for Tournament Players! If the WSOP is out of your price range, don’t fret, as there are plenty of venues to choose from during the summer in Las Vegas.
Let’s start with the Venetian Deep Stack! The event kicked off on May 23 and runs through July 21, that’s almost two months of non-stop tournament action. Buy-ins range from $250-$5,000 with a list of almost every poker game known to man. Tournament times are 11 am, 12 pm, 4 pm, and their nightly 7 pm. See the Venetian ad in the WSOP special edition of Poker Player Newspaper, only available in Las Vegas cardrooms [Download the PDF].
by David "The Maven" Chicotsky
There’s an old phrase, “Nothing good in life comes easy.” If you’ve played enough poker, you know that this relates well to what we have to deal with when we sit down to play on the felt. To succeed in the poker arena, we are essentially throwing ourselves to the wolves, and must realize that we will have to push through a pain barrier in order to get pleasure, or in our case, win money. As a general rule, most players start out tighter and work themselves into more situations where they get involved in hands. Especially in tournaments, the tight players that are simply trying to survive, ultimately have very little chance at hitting a top-3 score. With progressive payouts, it basically makes it “risky” to play too tight. We don’t often think of not making a move as “risky” - but when you put it in the context of our goal (of scoring a top spot at the final table), it is just that.
It’s safe to say that when you’re watching the WSOP Main Event final table, that as a whole, not a single player played snug and was able to make it there without making a host of moves. This is nothing new: it’s been this way since the days of Stu Ungar - the more aggressive (and loose) players tend to have a better shot at the top spots. The same thing goes for cash games as well. Doyle Brunson wasn’t known for simply out-smarting his opponents; he also bullied them out of pots left, right and center.
by Donna Blevins
Florida is more than great weather, white sandy beaches and mega resorts. Florida is now a destination for poker as well as your family vacation. Think of how much better your poker will be, knowing your family is with you and having incredible adventures while you’re at the table. They’ll be happy to hear about you playing poker, because they got to do something that was fun for them. To paraphrase Zig Ziglar: “You can get anything you want in life if you help others get what they want.”
That’s actually how I got into the game. When my husband, Gregory, taught me to play poker in 1996, it was with the ulterior motive that if I learned to play and liked it, maybe he could play more poker, too. Sure he was helping me get what I wanted, but in the end, he got what he wanted: more opportunities to play.
In his wildest dreams, he never imagined that poker would become my passion, and eventually my occupation. That was back in the day when Florida poker was only in Indian Bingo Halls, and cash games were played 25-cent, 50-cent limit, with the pot frozen at ten bucks. To make the game more ridiculous, the house snatched $2.50 off the top before capping the pot. You’d find mostly 7-card stud, occasionally Texas Hold’em. Since poker is intended to be played for something of value, Florida, in its infancy, had no real poker. It was simply showdown. Forget bluffing or playing the player; it was just about the cards. Today’s poker landscape reminds me of a sprawling metropolis compared to the swampland of days gone by. Over the years, growth spurts followed landmark laws that raised the stakes and eventually uncapped poker.
Over decades, I’ve identified one of the main reasons that the majority of skillful poker players fail to win. It’s surprising, and it isn’t what you think.
It has to do with their inability to “stabilize.” And in today’s self-interview, I’ll explain what I mean.
Question 1: What does the word “stabilize” have to do with poker?
A lot. Like I said, it describes one of the primary reasons that poker players lose.
Question 2: Before we get to that, you said it was “one of the primary reasons” for failure to win. What are some of the other reasons?
Besides an inability to stabilize, which I’ll discuss shortly, presuming that you ask relevant questions, there are several reasons for failure.
Going on tilt is one. Competing against too strong a group of opponents is another. Being cheated is one, also. Not treating poker as a business, playing too large for their bankrolls, playing too creatively, entering too many pots, not choosing the right seats, and poor game selection are others.
Question 3: Wow! Interesting list. Is going on tilt really that common a reason for losing money at poker?
by Max Shapiro
The World Series of Poker has seen countless changes since its launch in 1970. The very first WSOP was not even a freeze-out event, but a contest with starting and stopping set times, and the “best player” was voted by secret ballot. Poker legend holds that all the players voted for themselves, Benny Binion then took a vote for the second-best player, and Johnny “The Grand Old Man of Poker” Moss was the winner.
Perhaps the best rule of thumb for the WSOP is that the prize pools have kept going up while the average ages of the main event winners have steadily declined. When Moss took down the first event (with only seven players) he was 63, and no one even knows how much he won (or what his final hole cards were). The second year the field slipped to six players, Moss won again at age 64 with pocket 6s and collected $30,000. In 2009 Joe Cada became the youngest champion ever at age 21, and pocketed $8,574,649.
Here is the data for the champions that followed: In 1972 the winner was Thomas “Amarillo Slim” Preston. There were eight entrants, his winning cards were K J, and he took home $80,000.
Walter “Puggy” Pearson followed in 1973. There were 13 entrants, he won with A♠ 7♠ and won $130,000.
Moss, now 67, won for the third time in 1974 holding 3♥ 3♠. The field kept inching up. There were now 16 players and he got the entire $160,000 prize pool. There were 21 players and a $210,000 pay-out when Brian “Sailor” Roberts won in 1975 holding J♠ J♥.
by Ashley Adams
The first part of this two-part article [read it now] was a report on the Hollywood Casino in Toledo, Ohio, a poker room I enjoyed. I stopped there on a trip through Ohio with my daughter, Hannah, to visit my brother, Lee, in Minnesota. I stopped at another Ohio poker room, the Horseshoe in Cleveland, on my way back to Boston.
This is a beautiful downtown casino. It is in the former Higbee’s department store. Parking is free in a multi-storied parking garage across the street. Higbee’s was a Cleveland landmark and was the famous location of the movie A Christmas Story. I enjoyed walking around in and seeing the old architecture that I had seen first in the movie.
The casino is three stories high, with the 30-table poker room aptly on the top. I was impressed with how many different games were going. When we arrived on a Wednesday evening there were roughly twelve $1/2 no limit hold’em games, three $2/5 games, a $5/10 game, a few $3 - $6 limit hold’em game, a $1/2 pot limit Omaha game, and a $2/5 pot limit Omaha game.