In the first part of this series, we told you how the course came to be and how it evolved; and why the classroom environment is ideal for teaching the game of poker.
About the course. In all, the course consisted of seven sessions, each 1 and a half hours long. The first hour was spent on lecture and class discussion. The last part of each session was devoted to actually dealing and playing hands of hold'em. That gave the students hands-on experience and an opportunity to ask questions in real time. We played only with chips. No money was involved.
Yeah I know you're an old hand. You read these columns more for amusement than instruction. Hell, let's face it. With all of your experience and common sense at the table you could write the column. I know. I know.
Even so, every now and then, it helps even the most seasoned veteran player to return to the basics - if only to remind himself of the rudiments of good play. It is possible, after all, that even the best of us, in our desire to be tricky and unpredictable, stray too far from the core elements of winning play. So with an eye toward fundamentals, let me return to the basics.
I've often wondered from where the name of Texas Hold 'Em came. How often have you played the odds and waited for decent cards to play and been beaten by a player who was playing garbage? It's not unusual for a pocket pair of Aces to get beaten with two small pairs. The frequency of this made me want to re-name the game to "Texas Flop 'Em." A lot of players in both low limit and high limit will play "no fold 'em hold 'em" just to see the flop. I know that when the antes and blinds are so large in tournaments, this attitude prevails.
On a busy Friday afternoon in mid-winter in my local poker room, I folded my hand in a ten-handed $4-8 Hold'Em game. Just on my left, LindaMae raised and everyone except the Big Blind folded. The Flop came [Ah]-[6s]-[7d]. The Big Blind bet $4 and LindaMae mucked her pocket Kings. "Damn Ace-magnets!" she swore quietly. While I waited for the next deal, I wondered whether Kings really do attract Aces the way funerals draw politicians. Given that she held pocket Kings, the probability that one or more Aces would flop is (1-C(4,0)*C(46,3)/ C(50,3)), or .2255.
You came into the home stretch of a major tournament with five times as many chips as the average amount. You had your eye on the top prize, but things went awry along the way. You flopped the nut flush, only to lose 1/5 of your stack when a guy's flopped set turned into a full house on the river. Soon after that, you lost more chips when you put some lady all-in preflop with your pocket Aces, only to see her Jack-10 turn into a straight. Now just about average in chip stack, you are still focused on winning the whole event.
In the last issue of Poker Player, I deviated from the usual content of this column, which is Limit Hold'em aimed at improving the play of beginner and intermediate players, to discuss No-Limit. With the unprecedented soaring popularity of poker and specifically internet poker and more specifically tournament poker, we're going to take some time off from Limit Hold'em and talk about No-Limit Sit & Goes. For the uninitiated, Sit & Goes are one table tournaments that commence as soon as there are enough players seated.
That's what a young kid told me the other day, as he racked up a 4/8 Hold'em table. He couldn't miss a hand, and had killed 5 pots in a row just before I left the table. Two days later, he was hanging around the poker room trying to borrow the buy-in to a $35 tournament! I said no.
He said he was a good investment because I saw him win $600 that day. Since he brought it up, I asked him what happened to the money. He related that he was in a game with some crazy players that played everything and he couldn't protect his good hands. He felt he was the victim of some bad luck.
If you think the women of Crazy Girls at the Riviera are nothing more than gorgeous and sexy, think again. Crazy Girls dance captain Rayma Alfred starred in "Las Vegas Medical" on the Discovery health channel recently and ironically, she took her LPN licensing test this month.
Seven Card Stud-Yes, the game is still played-by a lot of old timers-but the kids now days want to play the No Limit Hold'em as seen so much on television. I think that seven card stud poker is the truest test of poker and requires the most skill to play of any of the disciplines of poker. There are 52 cards in the deck and to be an expert seven card stud poker player you must consider each of the cards in each of the seven card stud hands that you play. If you can be a winner when playing seven card stud---you can sleep and play No Limit Hold'em poker.
I discovered an old column in which Mike Caro interviews himself, as The Mad Genius. Those of you who are wondering about the nationally advertised book, Caro's Professional Hold 'em Play-by-Play and why it hasn't appeared in bookstores should find the following reprint of the interview self-explanatory. It should also and make my frustration clearer, demonstrating the difficulty of my job as director of operations at MCU.