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Set good poker traps

Poker draws people from all walks of life into its circle. But I strongly suspect a high percentage of attorneys and police officers enjoy the game. It gives them the opportunity to set traps. Lawyers win cases by outthinking their opposition. This occasionally involves setting a trap for someone involved in a lawsuit. I once covered a court case where F. Lee Bailey, the famed Boston attorney, represented a Navajo tribal officer who was accused of stealing tribal funds. When Bailey's client was found not guilty, I told him, 'Lee, I have to file a story on this in 10 minutes. Please tell me what brilliant lawyerly skills you used to get your client acquitted.'

Todd Brunson - the son of Doyle Brunson

When I was growing up in the hills of Western Pennsylvania, my siblings and I would never fail to make those Friday night horror flicks at the Sutersville Theater. 'Frankenstein,' 'The Thing,' 'King Kong,' 'Creature From Beneath The Earth,' and later 'Son of Frankenstein,' and even 'Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein.' After a while, we began wising up. We realized the a movie with the title 'Son Of -----' would not be nearly as good as the original. They were simply spin-offs from the real thing and made by film producers who wanted to capitalize on past successes.

Andrew Beal - a billionaire poker player

If you ever sit down at a poker table with Andrew Beal, watch out. That money disappearing into the night might be your own. Beal, 64, is a billionaire. A math expert and self-made man, he earned his money by investing in real estate, buying run-down houses and apartment buildings and repairing them for resale at a profit, and opening banks in Dallas and Las Vegas. As I researched his childhood, I had to smile. He would search his neighborhood in Lansing, MI. where he grew up and find old television sets that weren't working.

Reasons to love South Poker

The motel is still there. It sits near the end of the ocean on Walnut Street on the outskirts of Hollywood, FL., just a couple of miles from the Hard Rock Casino. The last time I visited the Walnut Motel and Apartments, I took an upstairs room that had no telephone. Glorious! Through my open window the tropical breezes came in off the ocean, less than 500 feet away. Pelicans and other seabirds settled in the coconut palm trees that surrounded the cottages along the street.

Gracious Loser

The longer you play poker, the more you change. I am talking about how you treat the other players. When I first became serious about poker in the early 1970s, I was full of spit and vinegar. While I could be a gracious winner, I could be hell on wheels when it came to losingIn one tournament when I was knocked out 'on the bubble,' I got up to leave and another player at the table extended his hand. I ignored him and headed for the bar. I pretended he didn't exist.


Willard - an admirable dealer

I love dining out at nice restaurants. And I am not talking entirely about the taste of the food. Naturally you want a restaurant where the food is exquisite. Where one's taste buds are caressed by the quality of what you are eating and you can feel the extra effort the chef took in preparing it. But let's say your dinner is served to you by a waiter or waitress who doesn't smile. The waiter doesn't gently set your plate down in front of you. It's more or less a slam-dunk, Michael Jordan smile.

Dealers' Favorite Games

Every poker player has his favorite game. When that game is not being spread, he must play another game that is not his first choice. One of the best poker games I ever played in was the American Legion game at Post No. 1 in Phoenix, AZ. The post is located near the intersection of Van Buren Street and 7th Avenue and I understand the game is still ongoing despite the casinos surrounding the Valley of the Sun. Carl Collins, who worked for Salt River Project, was in charge of the game.The players were all military veterans who were members of the Post. The game was Dealer's Choice.

Don't be a desperate player

Some of the most profitable situations in poker occur when your opponents include a desperate player. A person who has been losing often goes on tilt. And when a poker player goes on tilt, all that person's plans and good intentions go to hell. While some players are ecstatic when this happens, I have mixed feelings. I don't like it when I see a player go on tilt. But like the other players, I cannot resist the urge to take advantage to the situation and add to my bankroll. Here are some of the signs that a person is on tilt.

Good acting goes a long way in poker

There are very few poker players who are not actors. William Shakespeare was right when he observed that 'all the world is a stage and we are all actors on that stage.' While I may be paraphrasing Shakespeare's actual words, you get the meaning. A policeman is an ordinary human being who puts on a uniform and who acts like a policeman. The Pope is a citizen who dons the Papal robes and says and does things a Pope would do. At a poker table, appearances are often deceiving.

What's poker all about

It's sad but true that when people age, young people tend to look at them differently. They either treat an older person like he or she is invisible, or they become unduly concerned about them. Here's an example. I was waiting for a bus the other day. There was no bench at the stop, so I picked a nice spot beneath a shade tree and sat down to wait for the bus which was due in about 20 minutes. It was pleasant sitting there in the warm South Carolina sunshine. I closed my eyes and was surprised when a female voice asked, 'Are you okay?'

Getting on a poker rush

There are few things as exciting in poker as getting on a rush. Carl Collins, who ran the poker game at American Legion Post No. 1 in Phoenix, AZ for many years, posted a sign on the wall of our poker room about getting on a rush. I don't remember his exact words, but they had to do with enjoying it to the hilt. All poker players get on a rush from time to time. A rush happens when your cards literally run over you and you can't do anything wrong. You go into a hand with the worst possible cards like j-9 after someone with pocket aces raises the pot.


Reading the body language

What would you do if you were playing poker and a player across the table would glare at you and thunder, 'I raise,' as he slams his chips into the pot" Call him if you have reasonable hand. Or if you really have guts, raise him regardless of the strength of your hand. What would you do if a player, his hands visibly shaking, pushes a big bet into the pot? Unless you have a powerful hand, fold. He is betting from strength.

Daniel Negreanu - when your poker face doesn't work

Born in Toronto, Canada July 26, 1974, Daniel Negreanu was anything but a good student. His high school principal called him disruptive and even threatened to expel him if he didn't pay closer attention to his studies. Negreanu beat him to the punch. He dropped out of school to play poker. Daniel wasn't like other kids his age. He may not have excelled in math, science or English Literature, but he was extremely bright at learning to play cards. At 16, he could be found in pool halls and other Toronto establishments where gambling occurred.

Playing against famous poker players

What I am about to say will probably get me into trouble with the poker world, but I am going to say it anyhow: Some poker players think too much. Let me clarify that. Some players think too much when they find themselves in a tournament featuring one of the celebrities of poker -- say Phil Ivey or Daniel Negreanu, two of the world's most recognizable players. Let's say you are sitting across the table from Daniel holding a-10. The flop comes A-9-7. Negreanu comes out betting. You call. The next card is a queen. He bets again, less money this time.

Dewey Tomko - a world class poker player from Glassport

Glassport, PA. is a small manufacturing city about halfway between my hometown of Sutersville and Pittsburgh. The city is home to glassworkers and steelmill workers like my late father. Some coal miners who worked at the Warden Mine and other mines in the area also lived there. I remember Glassport from my childhood as a rather unattractive community with tall drab buildings and factories. The high school would stage Friday night dances that attracted my two younger brothers, me and the other young swain who wanted to go where the girls were different.


Legends of Dan Bilzerian

According to Webster's dictionary, a legend is someone who is larger than life. In newspaper and magazine circles, some editors have a policy: when in doubt, print the legend. Welcome to legendary Dan Bilzerian. If you haven't heard about Bilzerian, you're in for a treat. He is (according to legend) a super-star poker player worth over $100 million. He has a lavish lifestyle, owns a yacht, dates beautiful bikini girls from all over the world, owns and races fast sports cars, and even trained to be a Navy SEAL.

Vanessa, Jennifer, and Annie - Three poker champions

They are nothing alike except for one thing: all three of them are champion poker players. I am referring to Vanessa Selbst, Jennifer Harman, and Annie Duke. All three of them have been strong competitors in the World Series of Poker and other major tournaments. All of them have won gold bracelets along with millions of dollars to fill their bank accounts. Selbst is active in civil rights organizations and revealed she was gay before marrying her partner. Harman is divorced and has twin sons. Annie, who is divorced, has four children.

World's best poker players

Poker players come in every size, shape and form. Some of the best ones are high school drop-outs like Puggy Pearson, a redneck gambler from down South. Others are highly educated with university degrees and PHds. Still others come from Third World Countries like Vietnam and Cambodia where they had to fight to stay alive. I had a friend, Russell Nelson, who was a certified public accountant from Phoenix, AZ. I talked him into going to Las Vegas with me for a poker weekend. There for two days he watched me play poker.

A place to play poker

'Dear Geno,' a member writes, 'I have been reading your stories about Las Vegas, the Caribbean and poker. It sounds like you live such carefree life that I envy you. I want to learn to play poker and have printed out some of your suggestions. However, I live in a small town in New Mexico. The nearest poker room is in Albuquerque, nearly 200 miles away. Any advice?' Bill W., Hobbs, N.M. I don't know what Bill does in Hobbs, but I know the town. I lived there and worked as assistant city editor on the Hobbs Daily News-Sun.

Riding to a rodeo parade

At first it sounded like a great idea. Doyle Williams, a good friend who owned the Skyline Ranch in South Phoenix, AZ., was planning a 60-mile trail ride from his ranch to Chandler, AZ. to participate in a rodeo parade. He told me that he and his son, Eddie, a Brahma Bull rider, were leading the group and that there would be about 30 riders. 'If you want to go with us, I have a horse for you,' he said. I jumped at the idea. Doyle's plans were to leave his ranch around 7 a.m. Friday, ride until night, camp out on the trail, and then leave early the next morning so we could make the 11 a.m. rodeo parade through downtown Chandler.

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