Poker – It’s Not Just a Gentleman’s Game Anymore

Poker. Long thought to be a quiet gentleman’s game, it has changed significantly over the past decades. Whether it’s a formal, professional, casino game, or your home-based friends only game, poker is as much a social experience as it is a way of exchanging money amongst gamblers.

When a bunch of guys get together to play Poker, the competition extends beyond the playing table. Besides trying to beat each other out of money, the players often engage in a battle of wits, which manifests itself in a series of put-downs and one-ups-manship efforts. Guys spend as much time razzing each other as they do in trying to produce the best Poker hand. The point being, if a guy can knock you down a few pegs during the game, he feels like he’s won a little even if he doesn’t collect any pots.

In addition, if your opponent can be thrown off by a few off-handed quips, he sometimes tries to get back at you by trying to beat you with a hand that he probably shouldn’t have tried to play. It’s a great science of give and take, with which most women don’t get involved. Not that they can’t; it’s just that women tend to be more direct. Men like to use the backdoor to attack you at the poker table. They like to crawl into your brain and make you feel like you are not a real man. Guys will taunt you while you are trying to decide to whether or not to call the raise. And any guy will tell you that it’s all in fun. But it’s really a sinister thing that guys do to one another in order to gain the upper hand.

Most women tend to act more seriously at the Poker table. There are still good times being had during the game; but women normally don’t throw barbs at their opponents just for the sake of their reaction. Guys do. The better a guy knows his opponent, the more personal the jibes become. It’s wonderful fodder for an in-depth sociological study. But don’t hold your breath waiting for this study to become a reality. The results could really change the way Poker is played; and what fun would that be?

Let’s face it. Fun is what Poker is really all about. After all, it is called a Poker “game,” isn’t it?

Omaha Poker: Here’s Where You Get Four Hole Cards Instead of Two

If you’re a poker player you undoubtedly know that Texas Holdem is the number one choice for players at poker room tournaments and cash games. The game is so popular that even James Bond favored it over his preferential game of Baccarat in the 2006 remake of the 1967 movie, Casino Royal..

The lesser known game of Omaha Poker is also offered at most major poker rooms. One version is called Pot Limit Omaha There are two major differences between Pot Limit and No limit Holdem:

· Players are dealt four hole cards instead of two

· Players may only raise to the size of the pot

All the other action is the same. There are five community up cards dealt by the house dealer between betting rounds: three called the flop, one called the turn and one more called the river.

Before play, the dealer places a white disc called the button in front of the player immediately to her left. The button represents a theoretical dealer and holds an advantage for the player because he is the last to act during a hand. The button moves one player to the left after each round.

The first player to the left of the button is called the small blind. The player to the left of the small blind is the big blind. Both players must put a pre-determined amount of money in the pot before any cards are dealt. The blinds also move one position to the left after each round. Their purpose is to incite action by ensuring an ample amount of money in the pot prior to play. The amounts increase after preset timed periods. Four cards are dealt clockwise face down to each player. The first player to the left of the big blind is under the gun and starts the action with one of three options:

o Muck, (fold) all four cards to stay out of the hand

o Call, by betting the amount of the big blind

o Raise, by betting twice the amount of the big blind.

Players may think that having four hole cards to play with may be more beneficial than two as in Texas Holdem but it’s quite the contrary because you can only use two of the cards together with three community cards from the board to make your best possible This makes the game very interesting. Here are some reasons why:

· The size of the pot grows quickly because the four hole cards allow for more drawing hands. Players often see the hands to the end of the betting rounds because the two card choice is not made until the final hand is played.

· In that the drawing hands are more frequent, opponents also have hands that they are more likely to bluff with.

· Double suited hands with high cards such as a Jack, King of spades and an Ace, Queen of diamonds are favorites due to the flush possibilities.

· Unfavorable hands at pre-flop can include three of a kind and two pair because only two of the cards can be used in the final round.

Another version of Omaha Poker is called Hi-LO Omaha, which is played exactly the same as Pot Limit except the pot is divided between the winners with the highest ranking hand and the lowest ranking hand. A winning low ranking hand cannot contain any pair or a card higher than an eight. Also, a straight with ace through five can be used to win a high or low hand.

Next time you’re in the casino poker room you may want to give Omaha a try.

Good Luck!

How to Count in Blackjack – Remembering the Count

The act of card counting itself is relatively easy. Plus one, minus one, zero… child’s play right?  Wrong.

As any professional blackjack player will tell you, the difficulty isn’t counting the cards, but remembering the count.  This is what separates the hacks from the pros.

Take it from me, I always used to forget the count, especially after playing for long periods of time.  I would have it in my head, and by the time the dealer had paid out, the number was gone.  Oops…

Sort of defeats the purpose of counting cards, don’t you think?

I will now share a trick with you that will guarantee much better success than I had starting out. The following words go along with the count, memorize them and you will never lose focus again.

+1 = Tree (one trunk)

+2 = Switch (two modes, on and off)

+3 = Stool (three legs)

+4 = Car (four wheels)

+5 = Glove (five fingers)

+6 = Gun (six rounds)

+7 = Craps (roll a seven and its craps)

+8 = Pool (the black 8 ball)

+9 = Cat (cat has nine lives)

+10 = Bowling (ten pins)

+11 = Football (eleven players on the field for each team)

+12 = Eggs (dozen eggs in a carton)

+13 = Witch (Friday 13th, unlucky 13, etc)

+14 = Ring (14k gold)

+15 = Paycheck (15th and 30th of every month)

+16 = Sweet (sweet 16)

+17 = Magazine (the magazine “Seventeen”)

+18 = Voting booth (18 to vote)

Try saying a sentence to yourself after each hand (not out loud of course or you will look like a weirdo).  For instance, if you have a count of +4 you could say, “I need to get my car washed this week”.  Get what I’m saying? One sentence is all you need to make it stick.

If the count is negative, the words stay the same, just keep in mind whether you are plus or minus and you’ll be just fine.

Practice, and you will see a sharp improvement in your card counting abilities.  I highly recommend the Zen Count if you are looking to learn a new system as it has very high effectiveness.  That being said, have fun and good luck at the tables! 

The Flop, Turn and River Cards

To win the pot in Texas Hold’em, the player must have the highest five-card combination at the end to collect the pot.

At the start of every hand, each player is dealt two “hole” cards face down with the ability to use the cards in the middle known as community cards. The community cards are dealt face up enabling everyone at the table to see what their best possible five card hand is.

Three betting choices exist after the betting begins. Players can either fold, call or raise. If a player doesn’t like their hole cards, they fold. If the player decides to “call” then the size of the current bet required is matched. If the player opts to “raise”, then the size of the bet is increased.

Calling or raising is the only way to stay in the game. After everyone has the opportunity to bet or fold, the three community cards are dealt. This is called the “flop”. The first player to act may “check”, without wagering any more money and still be considered an active player in the game. The first player can also bet. Once a bet is initiated, all other players must fold, call, or raise to stay in the game, including those who have initially checked.

After betting has ceased, a fourth card, called the “turn” card is dealt and another round of betting ensues. The “river” is the final card dealt which gives players the opportunity for one last round of betting.

If there is a “showdown”, with two or more remaining players, all the hole cards are shown and the best hand wins. If a tie occurs the pot is split.