Bookmark Website  | Free Registration  | The Team
The Lounge  | Champions  | The Wire |  Schedule |  Audio  |  Arcade  |  The Top Ten  |  Historical  |  Email  |  Video

Poker Fever


Big blind with my jack-three off suit, I found myself able to see a free flop as the action was checked back to me. Typically, jack-three off suit is a hand I, or any other poker player with the slightest knowledge of the game would not even look twice at, but when the flop of communal cards comes out jack-eight-three, it is a very pleasant surprise. I checked the action, meaning that I did not bet, trying to slow play my two-pair. The action was checked around and the turn revealed yet another three, giving me a full house (three of a kind and two of a kind). I checked again, acting like I had nothing. This time Joel, a very skilled poker player in my opinion, bet.

Normally I would take a second to think of what he could have, and figure out my odds of winning, but this time I didn't have to. Only pocket jacks, meaning that my opponent has two jacks in his hand, could beat me, and I was confident that he did not have that since he did not raise the pot pre-flop.

I could only hope that he had a high pair or a high flush draw (a flush is five cards of the same suit) so that I would be paid off. I re-raised quickly and without hesitation. Joel took a second, looked at me, and asked "How much do you have left?" meaning that he was contemplating putting me all-in.

Inside, I was overjoyed at the possibility of doubling my money off of this hand. I counted out my chips in what I thought was a completely normal, calm fashion. It came out to be around twelve dollars which Joel had covered easily. In my mind I thought "Here it comes, time to get paid." But I was shocked to hear Joel say "Not this time, I put you on jack-three." I watched in horror as he folded his hand. Never before had I been so distraught over a hand, and the strange thing was that I had won that hand. I had to know how Joel had played his losing hand so well, and how he had read me like that.

I knew then that if I did not improve my game, I would always be an intermediate poker player, and I would miss out on a large sum of money over many hands that would be doomed to go like that one.

Poker fever caught my group of friends back home on Long Island in April of 2004. We began playing cash games for $10.00 and for the most part it has remained that way except for the occasional $20.00 game. I wasn't very good at all to start, but as time went on, I learned what hands to play, and when to fold them. I managed to get by like that for quite a while, and even became very good at playing my own hands, allowing me to do well against less experienced players. It was the games full of hands like the one against Joel that made me realize that being descent at playing my own hand just isn't good enough in many games.

After that game I went to Joel and asked him how he knew that I had a good hand. He told me that it was a combination of things. He said that he could tell that I was trying to be calm and especially passive during the hand, and that my hands were shaking slightly. He said that I counted out my chips slowly and quietly trying not to make any noise. He said that all of this is contrary to how I play when I am either bluffing, or am not sure that my hand is best. He said that when I, and most people for that matter, are bluffing, they count out their chips in a loud and aggressive manner, sub-consciously trying to intimidate their opponent.He later told me that there are different stages of poker knowledge.

1: Knowing your hand and how to play it.

2: Reading what other people have.

3: Reading what other people think that you have.

4: Reading what other people think that you think that they have.

I decided to try to improve on the first three of those steps, and believed that doing so would drastically improve my game as a whole.

One of the first and most important things that I learned had to do with when and how I bet. I learned that it is important to change the pace of my bets so that they are not predictable, and to raise the pot before the flop with lesser hands on occasion. The goal is to bluff when you have everyone believing that you don't bluff, and to have a hand when people think that you are bluffing. I also learned not to bet my cards value. This means not betting $1.00 for a low pair, $2.00 for a high pair, and so on, consistently. Doing this allows your opponents to have a fairly accurate guess as to what cards you are holding. For example, this could leave you at a huge disadvantage if you consistently bet the same amount with two face cards. If the flop comes out all low cards, a smart opponent might have called your raise with low cards knowing that if there were no face cards on the flop, he would have a huge advantage.

Reading what other people have depends on many different things. The first thing that I realized that I should do in any game is try to determine what type of players my opponents are. I learned how important it is to see who is loose with their money, who is tight with their money, who bluffs a lot, and who rarely bluffs. When it comes to reading their bets, I basically need to look for all of the things that I try to conceal for myself, such as betting patterns, and opponents only raising to their cards value. I also learned to look for tells, such as the ones that Joel saw on me. These include changes in pace or mood, facial expressions, shaking hands, looking at their chips right after the flop. A tell could be any unconscious action that gives away the strength of your hand.

Reading what other people think that you have depends largely on how you play your hand. I learned that you can purposely bet a certain way in order to make your opponents think you have something different. You can also give off false tells and signals. A simple but effective example of deceptive betting is the check raise. If you check on your strong hand, your opponents will think that you do not have anything strong. You hope that they will bet into you with a weaker hand or a bluff so that you can re-raise them. Ideally they will already be pot-committed, meaning that they have invested too many chips into the pot to fold. They will be forced to call your re-raise with their weak hand, paying you off. (For more information on any of these strategies, or for other similar tips visit pokertips.org, or read Poker For Dummies by Richard D. Harroch, and Lou Krieger.)

One night, a couple of weeks after the disturbing hand against Joel, and after I became interested in all of these concepts, I found myself at a table comprised mostly of people I didn't know, in a different building. We were also playing for $20.00 up from the usual $10.00 for me. From the start, I paid close attention to the type of players that my new opponents were, and what betting habits they had. One thing that I noticed that became particularly useful to me was that two opponents to my left would frequently call intermediate bets chasing a flush or straight draw. In this particular hand I was dealt pocket seven's. The pot was raised a small amount before the flop, and I decided to just call. It was just me and the two players to my left for this hand. The flop could not have been better for me. It came out seven of clubs, jack of clubs, jack of diamonds, giving me a full house. I was also excited at the possibility of getting paid off by someone with three jacks or someone that would eventually catch a flush. I checked my hand and tried to give off the subtle signals that I was disappointed with the flop. The action was checked around and out came the turn. It was a six of hearts. I wasn't the happiest person ever seeing this card because it would not help anyone get their flush. I made an intermediate bet, the type that would be called by anyone on a flush draw and would be re-raised if someone had trip jacks. I tried to make them think that I had either a single six or a single seven in my hand.

Both of my opponents called, and out came the river. It was a two of clubs. Money! I checked trying to act intimidated at the possibility of a flush. The opponent directly to my left raised, and the next opponent re-raised. I was ecstatic. I re-raised both of them everything that I had left. The opponent to my left folded; apparently his flush was only nine high. The other opponent called, and showed me his ace high flush. I showed him my full house and his bad news. "Nice hand," he said, "nice hand." And it was.

Jeff Clowes

jeff.clowes@richmond.edu


MORE RESOURCES:

My Turn: On casino gambling, hypocrisy is rampant
Concord Monitor
Charitable gaming has also become very popular. It's a threat to regular casino gambling. The representatives who talk about addiction don't mention the smoker's addiction to smoking, alcohol consumption that can be purchased along our highways, etc.



Mayweather-Pacquiao Fight Boosts Casino Gambling Profits Above $1 Billion
CBS Local
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Huge crowds and high rollers in Las Vegas for the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight helped Nevada casinos make more than $1 billion off gamblers in May. It was the first time casinos have hit that total in more than a year. Nevada ...

and more »


WPRO

Valicenti: Casino gambling arrives in Southern Massachusetts
WPRO
The first of several planned casinos opened in Massachusetts Wednesday, owners of the Plainridge Park Casino cut the ribbon on what is expected to be the steep competition for gambling operations in Rhode Island. The casino in Plainville sits within a ...
Massachusetts opens its first casino gambling hall, in PlainvilleThe Providence Journal
Casino gambling gets start in MassachusettsSalt Lake Tribune
Gaming panel leader sees $400m windfall for Mass.Boston Globe
U.S. News & World Report -Fox News
all 275 news articles »


NJ.com

Casino gambling in northern NJ is a smart decision, New Jerseyans still prone ...
NJ.com
Casino gambling in northern New Jersey is an unqualified necessity in order to strengthen our state economy. I do not believe that Atlantic City will suffer because northern New Jersey gamblers are mainly patronizing out-of-state venues anyway and the ...
Should Atlantic City try to block casinos elsewhere in NJ?The Reporter

all 40 news articles »


NorthJersey.com

Tedesco pushes for November referendum on casino gambling
NorthJersey.com
Bergen County Executive James Tedesco said Wednesday that he remains optimistic that a referendum on casino gambling in northern New Jersey can make it onto the ballot this November. But in a speech at the Meadowlands Regional Chamber of ...

and more »


WABE 90.1 FM

Ga. Lawmaker Rolling The Dice On Casino Gambling In Georgia
WABE 90.1 FM
Stephens introduced legislation in March proposing a constitutional amendment to allow casino gambling in the state, as well as a bill that would limit the number of casinos in the state to just six in five specific geographic areas. Atlanta is the ...

and more »


nwitimes.com

Casino gambling revenue springs up 1 percent in May
nwitimes.com
Casino gambling revenue springs up 1 percent in May. Saved. Save Article; My Saved Items · Print Email. « Ameristar Casino Buy Now. » × Close Ad. Ameristar Casino. Buy Now. Ameristar Casino. Jonathan Miano, The Times. Baccarat dealer Lorie Giglio, ...

and more »


NJ Spotlight

Casino Gambling in North Jersey by Next Summer? Place Your Bets
NJ Spotlight
Prominent local legislators, business leaders, and union officials -- and a handful of Hard Rock electric guitars -- take the stage at the Meadowlands Victory Cafe to boost casino gambling in North Jersey. Representatives of Hard Rock International and ...
Meadowlands casino proposal stallsMyCentralJersey.com
Poll: Can northern New Jersey support three casinos?NJ.com
Chris Christie placing bet on new casinosAsbury Park Press
BloodHorse.com (press release) (registration) (blog) -NBC 10 Philadelphia -Cherry Hill Courier Post
all 328 news articles »


PolitickerNJ

Casino Gambling Can Benefit Newark
PolitickerNJ
ramo During the day, downtown Newark is a thriving community filled with office workers, college students and shoppers. But after 5 p.m. on most days, downtown Newark empties out on as workers rush home and shop keepers and restaurateurs roll down ...
Lawmakers pitch for a casino in Newark, push for November referendum on ...NorthJersey.com
Assembly OKs 5 bills to help save Atlantic CityAsbury Park Press
Baraka, Other Local Officials Push For Casino In NewarkCBS Local
Daily Journal
all 106 news articles »


First the Braves, then BRT and then — casino gambling?
Marietta Daily Journal
Google the article “A Gambling Giant is Going Bankrupt, Proving Once and For All That Casinos Are Not Recession-Proof.” You will discover that the largest unit of Caesar's Entertainment Corp. (casino gambling) declared bankruptcy in January of this year.

and more »

Google News


Advertisement



Section Site Map - Submit News - Feedback - Comments - Advertise with Us

Copyright 2006 Luminati Inc. All rights reserved.