Monthly Archives: June 2008

Best WSOP Moments So Far

Everyone seems to be talking about the 2008 World Series of Poker right now (probably because it’s going on) so I figure that I’ll chime in on the world’s greatest poker event as well.  And what I’d like to shed some light on is some of the best moments that have happened so far in the WSOP.

One of my favorites was the first sign that interest in the WSOP isn’t even close to dying off yet as the second event attracted a record number of players (for event #2) in the 3,929 that entered it.  There were so many people in the event that one day took 18 hours just to be completed.  On top of the numbers thing, it was also nice to see underdog Grant Hinkle win a bracelet in just his first WSOP cash ever.  He was able to overcome a final table that included Chris Ferguson and Theo Tran to do it.

Another great moment in my opinion was when Matt Keikoan was able to capture the win in Event #7.  Keikoan has been a long-time pro who had to struggle to make it to where he is today.  Often taking small casino jobs in addition to his poker playing, Keikoan had a tough time making ends meet sometimes but he was able to half a million dollars in Event #7 and shouldn’t have to struggle too much now.

Another pretty cool story was when Anthony Rivera out-maneuvered a lot of established tournament players en route to picking up the bracelet in Event #8.  With people like Jeff Madsen, Sam Farha, and prodigy Tom Dwan sitting at the final table with him, Rivera was able to play through his lack of tournament experience and come up with the big victory.  And just like Hinkle, this was only Rivera’s first WSOP cash as well.

There’s sure to be many more great moments in the 2008 WSOP and I can’t wait to catch them.

 

Becoming a Better Poker Player

There’s so much advice out there about how to become a better poker player that it’s overwhelming.  You could spend a lifetime sifting through all of it before ever touching a card if you chose to.  That’s why I think that it’s best to simplify things when possible. 

Me personally, I try to only focus on a few aspects of poker to make myself a better player.  The first one I try to do is to pick the games where I think the most fish will be playing in.  I mean so many people think they’re way better than they are and think they are too good to play at certain limits or with some players.  Most of the money I’ve won is because the players I’ve been playing with weren’t that great.

Another thing I strive to achieve is to keep my ego in check while playing.  If someone gives me a bad beat I know that if they continue to play like that they’re going to lose money in the long run anyways.  It’s not worth sitting there and whining about it through the chat box like you’re going to get the hand back by crying excessively. 

I definitely always try to get better at reading my opponents.  It just makes the game so much easier when you can create a profile of an opponent and then use that to your advantage later on when you’re going later into a hand with that player.

The last thing that I constantly try to keep in mind is my odds and probabilities.  Knowing my opponents and keeping a level head will definitely help but I know it’s impossible to be a long-term winner if I don’t know the percentages of how often I will win with pocket kings or my chances of making a flush with two suited cards in my hand.

The better and better I get at these three skills, the closer I am to becoming a way better player.

Possible Goodbye to Dealers, Chips, and Cards

There are quite a few people out there who fear that one day, they and their job will be replaced by self-sufficient machines that can do the same work even better and at just a fraction of the cost (long-term). And even though this may put people out of work and be bad for the economy, companies are willing to do this kind of stuff to make a profit. You might even see this trend more often in the poker world.

That’s because there’s a new card table called the [[X10_(industry_standard)|X10]] Ten Player Automated Table that has claims of being able to run a poker game all by itself. This table, which seems like something out of a bad science fiction movie, acts as a dealer and chip counter all-in-one. As implied by the name, up to ten players can be seated at the X10.

It also provides a 12.1″ Touch Screen to each player and this is where their hole cards are dealt to them. The way they see the cards is by touching the screen thereby peeling back the cards so only the player can see them. In the middle of the table is the 27” LCD screen where the community cards are dealt and the chips are kept track of.

Besides being able to deal and count chips the X10 also is advertised as being mistake-free, deals 50 hands per hour, and it doesn’t bitch when you don’t tip it after winning a hand (although they could add this feature at some point down the line). In addition to poker, the machine also deals [[Blackjack|blackjack]] out to players too.

Right now though, this machine just isn’t in the price range of the average consumer as it carries a price tag of $29,950. Basically, at this point, it’s really something for casinos and bigger card rooms to take a look at. But you never now as, someday in the future, these machines could drop considerably in price as the manufacturers find better ways to build it. It’s happens all the time with less pricey electronics like PlayStations 3’s, [[IPod|iPod’s]], etc.

If it ever drops in my price range I wanna get it! But honestly, that could be decades down the road.

Bluffing on the River

When it comes to betting on the river, this might be the most intense part of poker there is.  After all, two or more players have put a significant amount of money into the pot (assuming limping hasn’t been taking place the whole time) and none of them want to fold or lose to another player this far in.

But as conventional Hold’em wisdom goes, you don’t want to blow any more chips than you have to even if that means folding on the river.  Holding third best pairs or having your draw hopes dashed are usually signs that it’s time to get out of a hand on the river. 

However, the possibility of getting a player to fold on the river still exists if done right.  Now it’s tough to do because a lot of players don’t want to throw away anything if they think that they even have a shot with what they’re holding.  That’s why you’ll need some help from the board to pull this off.

Here’s an example of a river bluff that I recently pulled off.  I was in a $3/$6 game and was holding Js-9s.  Three other players limped into the flop and it came up 5s-3h-8s.  Hoping for the flush I bet out and one of the players raised.  The other two players folded and I called. 

The turn came up 2d and I checked as did my opponent.  The river came up 8h and so, wanting to represent trips, I bet out since my opponent had checked on the turn showing that they probably didn’t have a made hand yet.  With the board as weak as it was and me betting out after the 8 was shown, my opponent decided to fold rather than call.  Thus, my river bet had stolen a pot that I had no business getting. 

 

PPA – Fighting for Poker Player's Rights

A few posts ago I wrote about the extremely strict poker laws that exists in the state of Washington and how it can be considered a felony just for playing cash games online.  I also mentioned how the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) has been fiercely arguing against these ridiculous laws. 

Well lately, I’ve actually been seeing some commercials turn up online for the PPA and how more people can get involved in the effort to keep poker going.  You can find several of these commercials on YouTube.com that feature several different poker stars and personalities telling how players can help the effort to keep poker going.

People like Phil Gordon, Mike Sexton, Annie Duke, Andy Bloch, and Jennifer Harman appear in these short spots to push across that players really need to get involved to prevent certain politicians from making poker illegal.

As Mike Sexton said, “I believe that a big part of the problem is that most politicians don’t really understand the game of poker.”  And this might really be the whole problem as many people on Capitol Hill aren’t comprehending that poker more than just gambling – it’s got a lot of skill.

Poker is definitely different from other forms of gambling in that one can actually come out with a positive bankroll in the long-term whereas games like Black Jack and Craps are ruled by house advantages.  Still, as Phil Gordon stated, “They’re intent on making poker illegal, especially online.”

Now I don’t truly think that they’ll ever truly succeed in making online poker illegal in all states but you never know.  After all, they’ve done it in Washington so what’s stopping other states from making the same type of decision.