The state of New Jersey, being one of the original colonies which formed the United States, has seen its share of history, and a large part of its history recently has been focused on Absecon Island, which is the site of the resort town of Atlantic City, one of the best-known cities in the United States. Merely the mention of Atlantic City, about 125 miles south of New York City and 60 miles southeast of Philadelphia, brings forth different images for different people.
Why is poker so entertaining to us? Part of its appeal is that you are rarely in the same situation twice. Variability. Imagine the number of combinations there are in a shuffled deck of 52 cards [It's approximately 8×10^67 -Ed.]. Combine that with the number of players with varying play styles you're likely to see, and you've got quite a decision space in which to act. Just when you think you've seen it all, another deal of the cards makes you shake your head. The foundation of our pastime lies in the concept of a fair shuffle.
The $2,500 + $80 buy-in No Limit Hold'em event scheduled at the Mirage Poker Showdown tournament began promptly at noon with 159 players taking seats. The group played all afternoon and at the 9:00 pm dinner break 16 hopefuls remained. Two players were quickly eliminated after returning from the dinner hour dropping the number of survivors to 14. The top eighteen finishers get paid so everyone left will go away with some of the prize pool.
I'm the Stud expert. I started with $50 at Party Poker. Knowing the potential risks of losing my entire bankroll, I played carefully. I followed my own best advice, willingly sacrificing some pieces of optimal play in the interests of reducing risks. I learned to win steadily if not by as much as I could if I were willing to accept more volatile play.
BREAKFAST: Two eggs (over medium), bacon, sausage, hash browns (extra crispy), a stack of pancakes (with maple syrup) two pieces of buttered sourdough toast and a large glass of bubbly cola to wash it all down.
LUNCH: A cheeseburger (animal style) which includes double spread (Thousand Island), double grilled onions, double cheese, pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, an order of French Fries, ketchup and a side of spread for dipping, all this was once again washed down with a bubbly cola.
Over the next few issues, I shall be bringing you tales from what is fast becoming one of the most popular events in the poker calendar. With 50K in chips, a slow clock and just nine hours a day play - the $25K buy-in WPT Championship at the Bellagio is poker heaven as far as tournaments go. And as with all major events nowadays, we saw many new faces and online qualifiers.
My first table would provide two such players. It was also soon clear that these two (in seat one and two) would be the action players. But even I was surprised at the plays that they came up with.
Plenty of final table action today, Tuesday May 17, 2005. The biggest would be the $50,000 buy-in, winner take all at the Plaza Hotel and Casino in downtown Las Vegas. Eleven players put up fifty big ones to sit down in the biggest buy-in poker tournament to date. All of the final table action was filmed by the Southern California Poker Tour for later broadcast on national television. Check your local TV schedules for broadcast in your area. The first entrant to pay the $50K and sit in seat #1 was local stockbroker, Bob Bright.
Poker, you're my new best friend. And I'm not just saying that, I mean it. You've given me so much lately, not the least of which includes a new digital camera, a couple hundred dollars to bet on the Kentucky Derby (no, I didn't have Giacomo), and a CD burner for my computer.
I want to thank you poker, but I think we also need to have a little talk here too. You've been so good to me that it hurts just a little bit to tell you that you've got a bad side along with all the things that make you great. But bear with me poker, I think we can work through these things together.
Ed Miller, who wrote Small Stakes Hold 'em: Winning Big With Expert Play, has come up with another gem titled Getting Started in Hold 'em (206 pages, paperbound,
Two Plus Two Publishing, $17.95). This new work consists of five major sections that are well-illustrated with sample hands to emphasize key points. Primarily a midand- low-limit player, the very talented Miller here gears his effort to the limit and no-limit players while adding a fi ne section on tournament play.
Despite the fact that most of my poker research deals with analysis of hands and statistics, the skills I find most fascinating and profitable are those involving tells and psychology. In this column, I'm going to revisit a lecture I did a few years ago defining one of the most important tells in poker.