By Shari Geller
The television show Breaking Bad and its story of a milquetoast high school teacher’s transformation into a cold-blooded killer has become a cultural touchstone for a good segment of America. As the show wraps up its five-season run, many are looking at the main character’s arc in all its Shakespearean glory and ignominy. As with any great tragedy, there are lessons to be learned from the main character’s rise and fall, including some that can help you - not to build a meth empire, but to become a more successful poker player.
by David “The Maven” Chicotsky
When we’re playing tournaments, we’re forced to make plays that conflict with our interest of not busting out of the tournament. The age old discussion of whether to play to survive or play to win leaves many players with questions as to the best way to proceed towards the final table. The truth is, both are wrong. If you’re playing to survive, the more aggressive players—as well as the blinds and antes will slowly erode your stack. If you’re playing to win, you’re very likely making too many negative expected value plays—costing you overall tournament equity.
A real world comparison to a typical poker player’s dilemma as to playing to survive or playing to win can be seen in the stock market. If an investor puts all of their money in low-yielding bonds and money-market accounts, they won’t be able to keep up with the cost of inflation. If an investor puts all their money in highrisk funds, they’re likely to suffer a catastrophic loss of their funds over time.
Even playing a “balanced game” can create issues, as it can be viewed as far from unpredictable. Even when playing a balanced game, we’re forced to find times to make plays and times to make tough folds. One of the keys to successfully navigating the tournament poker waters is not allowing your opponents to pick up on your playing style (and preferences).
by Joseph Smith Sr.
Amir Lehavot has the distinction of being the oldest player at this year’s WSOP Main Event final table at the “old age” of 38 years. Lehavot was born near Tel Aviv, Israel, but now calls Weston, Florida home and he has dual citizenship with Israel and the U.S. He added to his WSOP history book entries when he became the first Israeli to make a WSOP Main Event final table.
After receiving his B.S in electrical engineering from the University of Texas, Lehavot worked within his discipline in San Francisco until he began playing poker in 2004. He quickly discovered his natural ability to successfully play the game. He then became the manager of the online poker training site, pokerwit.com. His first major cash came at the 2009 WSOP Main Event when he finished 226th to collect $32,226.
Lehavot achieved every poker player’s dream when he entered the 2009 WSOP Pot Limit Hold’Em world championship event and won a WSOP bracelet. He also collected $573,456 after outlasting a blue ribbon field of poker pros. His journey to that win took him past the likes of Nenad Medic, Mike “The Mouth” Matusow, and Robert Mizrachi.
by Ashley Adams
In the first part of this article we explained how “betting on the come” was a useful tool in making profitable the tougher no limit games that we are facing today. Let’s look at the sample hand we started to examine.
You raised to $12 with Ac Jc and the flop was Kc 9c 2d. You got two callers, and then came out betting $25 on the flop. Your sole loose opponent called you on the button. Maybe he had a 9 or a weak King and figured you were just making a continuation bet with nothing—and that he was probably ahead. Or maybe he had a flush draw (but a lower one than yours) and figured he’d see if he could connect on the turn.
by Ashley Adams
Simple no limit strategy calls for betting aggressively when you’re ahead, folding when behind if the eventual pot size doesn’t warrant a draw, and drawing when you figure you’ll win enough money when you hit to justify the odds against making the winning hand. A disciplined player, playing against poor and mediocre players, can make a small amount of money with this strategy. However, it has become increasingly difficult to find games with a sufficient number of poor players to make a simple basic strategy profitable. The average player in the public poker room has become significantly better over the 12 years or so that low limit no limit has been regularly spread.
So what’s the solid player to do if he wants to continue to profit in the waters of low limit no limit hold’em?
Grand Sierra is hosting the exciting Fall WIN than ANYONE in history!” Pot of Gold Poker Tournament with a guaranteed $400,000. The opening event kicks off at noon on October 3 and consists of five no-limit hold’em flights (1A-1E) with a $100,000 guarantee. The buy-in for each flight is $220, players receive 15,000 in starting chips, and the top 10 percent in each flight get into the money with the top 6 percent advancing to the finals at 3 pm on October 6. Players may re-enter through the first 4 levels on flights A-D and players may re-enter through level 8 for flight E. Players may forfeit their stack at the end of level 4 on flights A-D and level 8 on flight E and re-enter with a new stack. Players that bag chips multiple days will only play their largest stack and will be paid $750 for all other forfeited stacks.
The schedule consists of the following variety of games and guarantees: Omaha 8 or better/$10,000 guarantee, HORSE/$10,000 guarantee, PLO 8 or better/$10,000 guarantee, no-limit hold’em 6 max/$25,000 guarantee and $100 bounties and several other no-limit events with guarantees ranging from $5,000-$15,000.
Another event consisting of six flights starts on October 10 with a $330 buy-in and a whopping $200,000 guarantee. The only difference in this event and the opening event is that players that bag chips multiple days will be paid $1,000 instead of $750 for all other forfeited stacks.
Today I’m going to share a simple trick about hands with medium prospects. It will revolutionize the way you play poker. If you use it correctly, your profits will soar. Yes, really.
In order to take advantage of my trick, you need to understand that an ace is higher than a king and that a king is higher than a queen. That’s all.
From now on, whenever you’re involved in a poker hand, you will always be translating your hand into a single card—ace, king, or queen. Just pretend that, no matter what your actual cards are, there’s a super card floating in your face. Ace, king, or queen. Visualize. Ace. King. Queen. Got it?
Okay, now I’ll explain.
by Barbara Connors
Poker has always been a contentious game. After all, it involves a group of people who gather together with the express goal of taking each other’s money. So things are bound to get a bit combative from time to time. At least in theory, this is all just part of the game, in the spirit of honorable competition among our fellow players. In theory, what brings us together at the poker table is not merely avarice but a true love of the game. But all this noble theory has a tendency to fly out the window once somebody else starts taking your money.
So it shouldn’t be surprising that poker players can occasionally feel a bit...antagonistic towards each other. In some cases, that antagonism can become seething personal hatred. The trigger for this acrimony can be any number of things—irritating table talk, a playing style that rubs you the wrong way, or in a live setting, bad personal hygiene— but more often than not it boils down to a supposedly inferior opponent who keeps getting lucky and beating you out of pots.
Director of Poker Operations Terry Chiaradio Speaks Candidly with Barbara Rogers
At first glance, Foxwoods Resort Casino resembles a gigantic mirage towering above the treetops—an intimidating sight for some! But in spite of its size, Foxwoods Casino is easy to negotiate; from the parking garage to the poker room, you will feel welcome and at home.
Terry Chiaradio, the Director of Poker Operations has been at Foxwoods since 1992, starting her career as a dealer. Now responsible for 600 employees and 94 live action tables, Terry and her team have just finished up a WSOP Series that included a main event payout of $888,568 with 591 players competing. After this very successful event, I caught up with her.
It’s easy to see why Foxwoods Resort Casino continues to enjoy national acclaim as an elite gaming destination. Right on the heels of the WSOP in Vegas at the Rio, Foxwoods stepped up to the plate and offered the WSOP Circuit Event. This instantly gave poker players the chance to set their sights on another big win.
Barbara Rogers (BR): Leaving Las Vegas for Foxwoods proved to be wildly successful putting the coveted WSOP ring an plenty of money into a field of appreciative poker player’s hands. Players from all over the country showed up at your doorstep. Just how many did participate?
Terry Chiaradio (TC): The Foxwoods Poker Room is the premier poker room in North America with continuous play and a professionally trained staff, ideal for events of the WSOP caliber.
We were thrilled with the turnout and the results this year.
For the August 2013-2014 WSOP Circuit Event we had a total of 4,341 (+3.4%) entries and a total prize pool of $2,233,173 (+2.7%).
BR: And how did this compare to last year’s WSOP?
Blair Hinkle of Kansas City, Missouri, walked away as the $1.7 million champion of the inaugural Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open, held August 8-28, 2013 at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The tournament, that featured no TV coverage and was not tied to a major poker tour, exceeded industry expectations by beating its own $10 million guarantee (the largest in the world) by nearly 20%, and creating an actual prize pool of $11.92 million from 2,384 entries.
Hinkle began the final table of the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Championship Event with the chip lead. With a World Series of Poker bracelet under his belt and seven figures in online earnings, Hinkle has shined on poker’s biggest stage before. Second in chips was Justin Bonomo, who has more than $6 million in tournament earnings to his name.