The most valuable ability in poker is often the least discussed. The element of surprise is the "sine qua non" tool of a successful player. It's the ability to avoid telegraphing what you have, the talent of hiding in the bushes, the wisdom of letting others do your betting, and the finesse of setting successful traps for your opponents. In the end, he or she who surprises the most will usually leave with the most chips.
The first time I interviewed Kathy Liebert was in 1994 at the Gold Coast in Las Vegas. This unknown young woman was making a splash in her first ever poker tournaments. Being the "on the spot" reporter, I wanted to do a story on this newcomer. Back then she was so shy I practically had to pull the words out of her. Eleven years of experience has made a huge difference. This once shy introvert (at least with the press) is now an outgoing major league player on the green felt.
A poker buddy of mine recently forwarded his hand history to me from an online tournament. He was perplexed at how he went from being the chip-leader at the table to being busted out in only a few moments of time. As I inspected his results, it was apparent that he had made some rather critical errors in judgment during his play. On one hand, he called the blind from early position with suited Jack-2. He ended up doubling-up the guy sitting across the table when the Jacks hit for trips, but the opponent had a face-card kicker.
After second and third-place finishes in previous stud high-low championships, Steve Hohn finally takes the gold bracelet
Everybody tells me I look like a conservative poker player. But that's not really true. What I love about high-low games is how creative you can be. You can play a board a different way than might be expected. You can read your opponents better. I like to play games where I have more control.
-- Steve Hohn (2005 WSOP Seven-Card Stud High-Low Champion)
The Verdict is In!
Mark Seif, former attorney turned poker pro, makes his case as the shootout champion
"It's all timing anyway. That's what poker is all about." - T.J. Cloutier
Just Like Fine Wine:
T.J. Cloutier gets better with age - 65-year-old poker superstar wins gold bracelet number six
History was made tonight when poker legend T.J. Cloutier won gold bracelet number six. His victory in the $5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em championship marked his 58th major tournament win during the past 20 years. More important, the $657,100 first prize rocketed him up into second place on the all-time World Series of Poker money-winnings list. It almost didn't happen.
Well, it finally happened. My voice gave out. I'm sitting in New Orleans, waiting to play in World Series of Poker Circuit tournament at Harrah's, and I can't talk. I'm sick. Coughing. Communicating in squeaks and whispers. Poor, Mad Genius. How will he play his best game without talking opponents into calling? Results at eleven.
Anyway, I put aside by misery long enough to find this lecture from four years ago or so. You'll see phrases repeated and semistrange wording, which is the way I talk. But I think it's an important topic for this column, so I hope you like it. Here goes...
It was about two weeks ago Thursday when I played the hand that changed my perspective on Internet poker forever.
I was playing one of those crapshoot multi-table tournaments on Party Poker, and was inching towards the bubble with a pretty healthy chip stack.
Two more to bust before we were all in the money, and I look down to find bullets. Rockets. Pocket Aces. The cure for what ails you.