Poker industry source for unique editorials and articles - Page 10

Poker requires a good night sleep

Vince Lombardi, the indefatiguable and legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers, was known for his quotes. One of the most memorable is "Fatigue makes cowards of us all." Lombardi was a strict disciplinarian who had tight curfews on his players and who insisted on bedchecks to make sure his players got sufficient sleep before a game. He once fined Jerry Kramer and one of his wide receiver pals $500 after they missed a bedcheck. When they missed a second one, he upped the fine to $1,000. He also warned them that if they missed a third bedcheck, he would not only fine them $5,000 but promised to go with them to see what they were doing that was so interesting.

Finding a perfect poker game

A member writes, 'Geno, you have played in many different casinos around the world. Of all the poker games you have played in, what is your favorite and why? I have been playing in a poker room in Calilfornia and can't seem to win. My frustration is getting the best of me and I would like to change my luck. Sincerely, Dennis W., Petaluma, CA.' Thanks for your letter, Dennis. By the way, I used to live in Novato, CA. which is near Petaluma and have actually played in some card rooms in that area like the Roaring 20s in Santa Rosa and some of the othe rooms on the West Coast.

Benny Binion's tips on how to improve your poker game

When Benny Binion, the late owner and founder of Binion's Horseshoe in downtown Las Vegas, was in a talkative mood it was hard to shut him up. Not that anyone would have wanted to do that. Binion was one of the most charming people I have ever meant. He had a good sense of humor, he was blunt-spoken and he knew the gambling business better than anyone I ever met. We were seated in one of his coffee shops on a Saturday afternoon and I asked him to tell me how to be a better poker player. Benny set down his cup of coffee and said, 'As far as I can determine, you're doing pretty well."

Players usually ignore them but dealers are doing an amazing job

I love sitting down at a new poker table and finding out the background of the dealer. Most poker players ignore the dealer except to flip him a tip when they've won a pot. Not yours truly. When I sit down at a poker table, my first comment generally comes out like this: 'This is the poker table my mother warned me against, but I'm here anyhow -- caught up in a den of iniquity.' That usually causes someone at the table to smile. Then I turn to the dealer. 'Where are you from,' I ask, 'and how long have you been dealing.' The dealer responds gracefully and I follow up with, 'What caused you to become a dealer?'

Reaching the final table in a poker tournament

Until a player makes the final table in a poker tournament, it can be one of the most frustrating and unproductive experience in a person's life. I know because it has happened to me. Over the past four decades of poker play, I have played in more poker tournaments than I care to count. While I have won my share of tournaments, it took a long, long time before I could make that magical circle known as the final table. When I played on-line poker, I would sometimes be facing 2,000 or more opponents. And while some of them had no idea what they were doing and would go all-in on the worst of hands, some were tricky and would do the same thing on pocket aces or kings.

Experience helps you play a better game and win more often

When I first began playing poker more than 40 years ago in California and Nevada, the game was different. It was not nearly as sophisticated as it has grown over the past years, thanks to the Internet and all the strategy books that have been published. Players aren't nearly as sophisticated as they are today. Software had not been invented to improve your chances of winning. In short, the game was much more simple and easier to beat. Poker players were drinkers, and I am not talking mineral water.Alcohol was the liquid that fueled the game. It was nothing for a poker game to last two, three or even four games without a break. Players would fall asleep at a table in the middle of a hand. It was crazy. It was poker.


Which US President was the best poker player?

When friends learn I actually interviewed four Presidents of the United states and one prime Presidential candidate, they are fascinated. They ask me questions about Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Dwight Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter and Barry Goldwater. One of the questions most frquently asked is, 'Which of them do you think would be the best poker player'? That is a very good question and one I am not sure I can answer. Let's start with the basics. Ronald Reagan was one of the most genuine people I have ever met. He was still governor of California when I met him at a private Christian school in Phoenix.

Leaving to the Philippine Islands and playing poker

While I have traveled extensively throughout the Caribbean, Mexico and Hawaii, I have never been to the Philippine Islands. The closest I ever came to deciding to go there occurred during a week-long stay in Honolulu. I met a dancer with Tahiti Productions, a traveling revue o Royal Polynesian performers who put on a nightly show at the Ala Moana Hotel. Her name was Tiara. She was an exquisite dancer who was born into a royal Polynesian family. Learning I was a writer, she met with me after the show and took me on a tour of the clubs in downtown Honolulu and along Waikikibeach that I will long remember. I spent the night with Tiara, who was born in Davaocity.

Doyle Brunson came up with a unique concept of playing poker

It was Doyle Brunson, the legendary poker player, who came up with the concept of changing gears. Doyle, a native of Texas who went by the nickname of Texas Dolly, taught himself to play poker. There were very few books published on the game when he began his poker playing activities in the border towns of West Texas and Eastern New Mexico when he started playing. You won or lost according to your own ability. Brunson was a student of human nature. He learned to read people and played them rather than the cards. After a while, he developed an uncanny ability to figure out if a player had a solid hand or was playing on the come.

Poker players will try to intimidate you at the poker table

After my recent trip to Las Vegas, I became very aware of the truth of W.C. Fields statement that all poker tables are made up of thieves, varlets, scoundrels and an occasional gentleman. Fields knew his words were correct. After all, he was a poker player, a womanizer and an imbiber of John Barleycorn who was one of those thieves, varlets and scoundrels. As for whether he was a gentleman, I will leave that to the world to judge. Poker players, especially the older ones, don't seem to have a conscience when it comes to ethics at a poker table. They use the most outlandish schemes to take the other players' money that it would be laughable if it wasn't so serious.

Do not act out on your impulses and do not abuse dealers

Abusing dealers used to be an accepted practice in poker rooms. Not any more. I have been witness to several instances of serious dealer abuse and have heard about other instances. One of the most serious cases involved Puggy Pearson. Now I liked Puggy. He was an admitted redneck from the deep South who spoke his mind and who acted out his impulses. He drove around in a pokermobile with signs, drawings and symbols on it. He even composed a song about being a redneck gambler. Puggy was famous for the big cigars he smoked. One night he was playing in a big game at a downtown casino when he ran into a series of bad beats that cost him a of cash.<>

Intriguing poker strategies of playing the button

One of the most intriguing strategies in winning poker is how to play the button. In most poker games, there are blinds that must be posted to start the betting. In Texas Hold'em, for example, there are two blinds that move around the table. The player on the button is the last to act. Stud games whether high or high-low require players to post an ante. Again, there will be a 'button' player who is the last to act and herein comes the advantage. Since the player on the button is the last to act, he already knows who has the power. If all of the players check to him, he can bet any reasonable hand or even a pure bluff with a great chance of success.

Being a gracious loser is as important as being a gracious winner

Poker has come a long way since the Internet explosion and television came into the picture. When I first started playing poker in the California card rooms, it was nothing to have a game that lasted for two or three days. The players would generally be fueled by alcohol and would doze at the table. Tempers were short, especially if a player was a serious loser, and
arguments and even fistfights were prevalent. While I never witnessed any shootings, I heard about them. I have seen players dive across tables at other players and have witnessed card room managers and security forces escorting players to the parking lot with orders for the player not to return.

Let your poker instincts rule

Poker is a fascinating game that often raises more questions than answers. The other evening I was playing a limit Texas Hold'em game at Talking Stick Casino near Scottsdale, AZ. There were the usual number of raisers and calling stations in the competition. I looked at my hand and found pocket queens. When the betting came to me, I raised the pot. Three players called my raise. The flop came eight-eight-seven which I thought was a good flop for me. I came out betting and two of the players called me. On fourth street, the dealer dealt a two fo diamonds. Again, I came out betting. This time, one of the players -- a conservative man in his 60s -- immediately raised me. WHOA! This was serious.

Playing Strategy for High-Low Poker

I don't know who invented high-low poker, but I suspect it was someone who got tired of being dealt all those low cards that fail to make a hand. The first poker game I played for cash happens to be five card lowball with a joker. Before Texas Hold'em came along, that was the game serious poker players in Gardena, Lake Elsinore, CA., Las Vegas and elsewhere played. I became interested in high-low poker after moving to Las Vegas in the 1990s. The Union Plr ehaza Casino in downtown Las Vegas was just a blocvk away from Binion's Horseshoe where I had a room. The Plaza spread an Omaha High-Low game that fit my budget. I decided to learn to play it.

Leaving Jacksonville and traveling back to Arizona

Those Florida renegades have won me in. After stealing $19,000 from Best Bet Casino in Jacksonville, FL. in a poker ad beat jackpot, I thought I was King of the Hill in Jacksonville. I decided to ride Lady Luck in the poker games, hoping to double or quadruple my bankroll. Unfortunately that was not to be the case. Jacksonville has avid poker players. They come in all ages and both sexes and they are tough. Make no mistake about it. That girl with the braids who looks like she's barely out of high school will pull some moves on you like a serpent. And that hick with the front teeth missing wearing the John Deere railroader's cap is capable of making a major move when you least expect it.

Drinking Cuba Libre and Contemplating Poker Strategy

I don't know if Arizona is ready for me, but I am ready for Arizona. When I was a child growing up in Sutersville, PA., a small country town 20 miles from Pittsburgh, I began collecting copies of Arizona Highways Magazine. The magazine's pages were full of photos of the desert in bloom. Magnificent color shots by the magazine's top photographers filled the pages. To me, Arizona was a dreamland where I wanted to be. I fancied myself on a horse, panning for gold, or exploring an ancient outlaw cave. At age 19, I bade a tearful farewell to my family and headed west in a beat-up Dodge with four used tires. I made it as far as Tucson before the tires gave out, forcing me to walk the last two miles carrying my baggage.

Omaha High-Low is the Game of the Future

A member of this website writes, 'Dear Geno. I know you play Texas Hold'em as well as Omaha High-Low. I also know from reading your column that you won a major Omaha High-Low poker tournament a while back. Although I have tried to play Omaha High-Low, I am not an expert at the game. Can you please tell me the difference between the games and how your strategy changes when you play Omaha High-Low? Jeff B., Sacramento, CA.' I am more than happy to write about Omaha High-Low. The truth is, it is probably my favorite poker game to play for money. I have won more money at Omaha High-Low than any other poker game. Unlike Texas Hold'em where a player receives only two cards, you are dealt four cards in Omaha High-Low.

Ways to Improve Your Poker Game

Louis L'Amour's autobiography 'Education of a Wandering Man' is one of the best self-portraits of a historic author that I have ever read. I picked up a copy of the book in a used book store in Phoenix, AZ. some years ago and have read it, not once, but several times, gaining more enjoyment from each reading. L'Amour's incredibly successful career as a writer of novels, several of which made it to the Silver Screen, should encourage any aspirant author. Growing up during the Great Depression, he became a hobo and wandered around America in boxcars on freight trains that took him across the U.S. He earned a living by working as a lumberjack, hired hand, gold prospector and boxer. No job was too hard for Louis.

Strengthen Your Poker Game by Position Play

Some of the world's best poker players have strengthened their game by position play. One whose name comes to mind is George Hardy. For many years, Hardy was a professional poker player who made a great deal of money at poker. He joined Binion's Horseshoe as an executive and remained in the employment of Benny Binion for years. He was working for the Horseshoe when Binion died and left the casino to his family. I got to know Hardy well when I lived and worked in Las Vegas for Chuck DeRocco, publisher of a popular gambling magazine. We spent a lot of time talking about poker strategy.

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