In the January 12, 2004, issue of Poker Player, I commented on a recent column by Oklahoma Johnny Hale in which he had expressed his opinion that "senior poker players are really not playing . . . to win money. They are playing for the fun and/or sociability of the game." I had disagreed with that statement. And OK Johnny replied in his column. But something he said made me think: Why do we really play poker?
In a nation at war with terrorism, intelligence is vital and valued. Today, the U.S. devotes enormous resources of personnel, technology and billions of dollars to collecting information about governments and activities everywhere in the world.
An early pioneer of American intelligence, Herbert O. Yardley was the man who organized the countrys first government agency to break foreign codes and diplomatic messages.
As we continue our quest to be the best we can be on the green felt, today let's discuss what is one of the most egregious errors that players make. The frequency in which I see this mistake being made may well be part of the "New Player Syndrome" that is certainly on the increase based upon the enormous influx of less experienced players entering the scene recently. However, I see experienced players making this mistake with surprising regularity. Yep, the title says it all.....cold calling raises.....and worse yet, with hands that barely deserve to call one bet never mind two or more.
Successful actors, writers and others in the entertainment industry share some advantages with professional gamblers when they play poker. With success often comes self-confidence, or at least the ability to project an image of being a winner, in control. Celebrities are often rich. They can think of poker chips as poker chips, and not as the cost of their dinners. The knack for thinking of $100 chips as merely "units" or "blacks" is essential for taking the emotion out of poker. Famous people can also rattle others by their mere presence.
We hear this old cliche way too often: "You have to take it one step at a time." We've heard it so often we often dismiss its meaning and message. One step at a time has been my reality lately, not simply a cliche. You see, I was recently in a serious car accident which forced me to take on a new pace in life - slow, with each single step carefully measured. With injuries to my back and neck, my stiff walking strides probably resembled that of Frankenstein. It is frustrating to have to concentrate on taking each simple step up a flight of stairs or across the living room floor.
Imagine this scenario in a realworld cardroom: You make a river bet, get called, and turn over your hand. Your opponent mucks his cards without showing, but curiosity gets the best of you, so you reach into the muck and peek at his discards. How many times do you think you could do this before they threw your sorry, angle-shooting ass out of the casino? Yet online you can do it all day, every day, and if you're not aware of it you should be. Every online poker site has a handy little feature called instant hand histories.
As we continue our attempt to ferret out possible nuances of our game which can be improved upon, today let's delve into when it might be appropriate to entice several overcalls instead of raising with our very best hands. An overcall is when a player calls after a player in front of him has already called the initial bettor.
Experienced players realize that to overcall requires a better hand than just calling. Obviously, the difference is that you now need to beat more than one hand. The bettor could be bluffing but the caller in front of you sure isn't.
Two nights before Matthew Gilsdorf found out he was headed to Las Vegas, local Van Rowin Manlambus from Temecula, CA took his chances in the $10,000 No Limit Hold 'Em "Last Chance" Tournament. Played on the last Thursday night of every month at 6:30pm, players in first through 30th place receive cash winnings, but Van Rowin said he definitely would not have traded places with any of those other players since he came away with $5,405.00 in prize money and posed excitedly for his tournament winner's photo.
In just the last year, no-limit Texas hold'em has emerged with a vengeance, establishing itself as the game of choice for a whole eager horde of new poker players. From home games to cardrooms and casinos and all across the internet, people who have never played poker before are losing their poker cherry, so to speak, to the Cadillac of poker. Television is to blame, of course.
Continuing to hunt out weaknesses that occur with surprising frequency in many a player's game, let's examine what is almost an obsession with some players- always defending their blinds. Some players feel that they will be regarded as wimps if they allow themselves to be pushed off their blinds. Many of them also feel that they are part way in anyway and know that any two cards can win in Hold'em. Therefore, their caveat seems to be "What the hay--always defend!" What utter nonsense this approach is to handling your blinds.