I Play Texas Holdem Poker

11-27-2012

Limit Texas Holdem Poker and poker in general.

Poker continues to change. Since my last update, we had “Black Friday” which denied access to all the major Internet poker rooms to most US players. This action was primarily due to some serious cheating and money laundering by a few bad people. There are a limited number of small rooms available and I continue to play online but for very low stakes. I improve my Pot-Limit-Omaha game on Juicy Stakes Poker, I play the smallest game available where the blinds are $.02 and .04 with a $.80 minimum buy in and $4 maximum.

Economy went south, as I am certain you are aware and the poker market contracted. A number of poker rooms in Vegas have closed and it is expected that more will close but that was inevitable, there were too many rooms for the market.

Southern Indiana Poker suffered greatly but seems to be rebounding.

Limit Holdem has pretty much followed Seven Card Stud into obscurity. It is still played but only small limits and the games are subject to breaking.

Pot-Limit-Omaha is on the rise and it is reasonable to expect it to increase in popularity, because it is exciting to play and perceived as a Gambler's game but it has a small problem, bad players go bust relatively quickly and without bad players, the game struggles to survive. In explanation, because each player has four hole cards, the best possible hand, aka “The Nuts”changes drastically on each street. In Texas Holdem, if you flop the Nut straight, it is correct to bet as much as you can because you are a clear favorite but in PLO, you can flop “The Nuts” and be an underdog. Flopping the bare nut straight in PLO leaves you subject to being “Free Rolled” which is a situation where you can only win half the pot and subject to being outdrawn. An example is; if you and I both flop and ace high straight but you have a flush draw, I am in trouble. I am paying full price to maybe win half the pot and you are guaranteed half the pot and have the chance to win the entire pot.

10-26-2010

I am still playing poker, not as much at casinos but I stil play almost everyday online or live. I used to laugh when the TV said "Texas Holdem, it takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to master!" but the TV guys are right. Just about the time you think you have poker all figured out, you learn something that makes you rethink everything you knew. Texas Holdem Poker

I never liked to play cards because playing cards bored me to death. There is a local game that seems to be played only around Southern Indiana called Euchre, it is a fast paced game and probably the only card game I liked until Texas Holdem Poker. I did not know the game of Texas Hold’em existed until 2001 when I saw it in television. I was immediately fascinated and watched it every time I could.

Naturally, watching led to playing for free on the Internet and a venture into Caesar’s Indiana’s card room. I have read every book I can find and I own and study a number of them.

I play live two night’s a week when my schedule allows and I play on the Internet everyday.

PokerStars is the home to the best poker players online and it is an excellent place to improve your game.At this time it is not open to USA players. They have many free tournaments and their game selection is the best. Here is a US friendly poker site.

Juicy Stakes Poker I have played at a lot of different casinos because I like to travel around and see how the game is played in different locations.

I have played at:

The Excalibur in Las Vegas 2-6 spread limit holdem

The Gold Strike in Tunica MS 3-6 Texas holdem

The Horseshoe in Tunica MS 4-8 holdem

Hollywood Casino in Tunica MS 3-6 Holdem

Casino Aztar in Evansville, IN and Ameristar Casino ST Charles, MO
3-6 holdem & 10-20 Omaha Hi/Low in Evansville & 5-10 & 3-6 at ST Charles

Harrah's St Charles MO
No Limit Texas Holdem Poker

Seminole Hard Rock Casino Tampa FL
$2 is the maximum poker bet at a land based Florida Casino

Derby Lane dog track Tampa Florida
$2 Texas Holdem Poker

The Ocean Jewell casino boat St Pete Florida
I played baby No Limit ($1-2 blinds $100 maximum buy in.) Since i originally wrote this page, I have played at a number of other cardrooms. One of the things I really enjoy about poker is traveling to different locations around the country ad playing in different games and different casinos.

I have made a few trips to Las Vegas and while Las Vegas is great, the limit Holdem Action and Omaha Hi/Low action is better here in the Midwest, in my opinion.

I normally play at Horseshoe Casino Southern Indiana (near Louisville, KY but across the river just outside New Albany, IN) and the Grand Victoria in Rising Sun, IN

My next poker trip will probably be to The Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, IN. It is about five hours away and I hear really good things about their poker room. I also want to go play at Canterbury Park. It is near the Mall of the Americas so it has potential to be a perfect poker trip. Drop the Mrs. and one or two of her buddies off at the Mall and go play poker or vice versa, whichever one makes her happy.

TIP:If you are married or otherwise attached, take one or two of your significant other's buddies along. They will have a great time and you can play a lot more poker.

A Short Review of the Poker Room at Belterra Casino.

Belterra Casino in Indiana recently opened a poker room and it is very nice. Twelve tables, non-smoking and for a brand new room, surprisingly well run. They have a chip runner and a separate cage so you don’t have to wait in line behind a herd of slot players and the waitress is assigned to the poker room only so drink service is quick.

They have a special hotel room rate for poker players but due to the confusion of the new employees, I may be about to give you wrong information so take this portion with a grain of salt. Supposedly when you arrive, you go see the casino host and if they have rooms available, you can get your hotel room for $50. No minimum amount of play or other qualifiers. They also own an Inn in Vevay, IN (about 20 miles away) and you can stay there for $40.

I am really surprised at how good the dealers are considering the room has been open less than a week at the time I am writing this report. They are willing to spread any game that has enough demand to fill a table. I was there Tuesday, the first day it was open, and they spread 4-8 and 10-20 Holdem and a 3-6 Omaha, High Low Split with a full kill.

The MRS and I returned this Friday and stayed in the Hotel, it was very nice and the steaks at Jeff Ruby Steak House were even nicer. I think Belterra’s Poker Room has a lot of potential and could become a very good place to play Texas Holdem Poker.

Update 10-2-06 Belterra's poker room action has slowed due to Argosy Casino opening a poker room. Argosy is much closer to Cincinnatti OH and pulls many players that formerly played at Belterra.

Update 03-26-08 Argosy is still a better poker room than Belterra and with their new boat this fall Argosy's poker room is due to expand. I rarely play there anymore, it is a long drive and the last time I went I got screwed out of my seat in the Omaha 8 or better game so I won't make a four hour round trip and take the chance of not getting a seat

Update 10-26-2010, Hollywood Casino bought the Argosy Casino in Lawrenceburg, IN, built a brand new boat with an amazing poker room. They have 41 tables and an adjoining tournament room with thirty or fourty more tables. I have only been in the tourney room once during the recent WPT, (World Poker Tour), event and it is very nice. I still don't play there often because of the distance. If it were closer, I might be there everyday. It is an awesome room with lots of action but it is just too much travel time when you play low limits.

We will be heading out to Las Vegas in September and I plan to play in as many different cardrooms as possible and I will put a short review of each on this page.

TIP: If you are new to poker, you might not realize that many casinos will give you a discount on your hotel room if you play a minimum number of hours of poker. You must call in advance and often must book your room through the poker room.

The Gold Strike and the Horseshoe in Tunica MS offer this discount and it is a significant savings. Last time I stayed at the Gold Strike, our room cost $35 per night on the weekend (normally $90)and I only had to play five hours of poker per day to qualify for this price. You can break it up in different sessions. I usually play 3-4 hours on Friday night, get up early Saturday and finish it out before the Saturday 10 AM tournamant (Texas Holdem Poker Tourney, costs about $60 and is a blast!). I am not an avid tourney player but this Texas Holdem Poker Tournament is cheap and it is fun.

Then I go do whatever I want, return to the cardroom Saturday evening and often knockout the five hours for Saturday night in one session or I might play three hours Saturday evening and then play Sunday morning early to finish out my hours.

TIP: If you are new to poker, getting up VERY early on Saturday and Sunday is a good time to win. Many players have been up all night drinking and are not playing well at this time.

When we go to Las Vegas, we will be staying at the Luxor and the poker room rate at the Luxor is a 25% discount for 5 hours of play.

Texas Holdem Poker won't be the only thing I'll do while we are out west. We always go to Sedona, Arizona it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. The Native Americans believed it was magical and I think they might be right. Bryce Canyon in Utah is on the agenda also.

Las Vegas Texas Holdem Poker Trip Report.

We flew in to Las Vegas on September 5th 2005 and stayed four days. We stayed at the Luxor and I had to play five hours per day to qualify for the Poker Room discount on our hotel room. The Luxor poker room is nice but strictly a low limit room. If you are new to poker or a low limit player, it is fine. In retrospect, I should have stayed somewhere else where I could play higher but the MRS wanted to stay in the pyramid, so guess what.

The Luxor Poker room spreads $2-4 Texas Holdem poker and two No Limit Texas Holdem Poker games with capped buyins. The buyins are capped at $50 or $100 depending upon which game you chose. The will spread a 4-8 limit game but it doesn’t always go and the game breaks pretty often.

The Luxor’s food comps are pretty much nonexistent and I thought the food was expensive inside the Casino.

The MGM Grand’s poker room is beautiful but I didn’t play, they had $3-6 and an Interest list for $4-8.

I played at the Wynn, I love their poker room but I got really mad at the floor and I doubt if I ever play there again. I played $4-8 and $8-16.

Bally’s at night has the softest small buyin NL game on the planet. If you have any clue about how to play No Limit Texas Holdem Poker, you should be able to do very well.

The Bellagio has a good selection of mid to high limit games and if you are ever there you have to order a Strawberry Julius, it’s like a smoothie but man it is ever good!

I played a few hours at Cliff Castle Casino in Camp Verde AZ. They have seven tables and really nice but small poker room. Saturday at noon, they brought out a small table full of free food.

You should never be results oriented while playing poker. The gambling nature of the game makes short term results meaningless. Results make for more interesting reading and if you are going to let anyone know that you played poker, you better get used to being asked how you did. I won just over $500 over the four days playing limit and donated most of it back trying to play No Limit at Bally’s. Yes the players were terrible but I am really bad at No Limit play. I finished up the trip winning fourteen dollars playing poker.

8-19-06

I haven’t updated this page for a while so I thought I would let you know what is going on with Poker. I have been learning a new poker game. If you want to be a good poker player, you need to learn more than just Texas Holdem poker. Learning other games will improve your Holdem game and make you a better all around poker player.

I decided to learn to play Omaha. Omaha is very similar to Texas Holdem Poker but it has some significant differences. The first thing you will notice is your receive four hole cards instead of two as in Texas Holdem. You HAVE to use TWO of your hole cards and THREE of the cards on the board to make your hand. As you probably know in Texas Holdem Poker, if you have one heart in your hole cards and four hearts are on the board, you have a flush. In Omaha, you do not have a flush, you have to have two hearts in your hole cards and three on the board to have a flush.

Also Omaha is played in different formats. It is played for high hands just like Texas Holdem Poker but it is also played as split pot poker, where they is always a high hand but often times a low hand will win half the pot. Say you are playing Omaha Hi/Low, often called Omaha/8 or O/8 and you have the nut flush, if there are three unpaired cards on the board that are eight or lower, it is likely that someone has made a low hand. The very best possible low hand is 5,4,3,2,A. Take notice that I listed the best low hand with the cards in descending order. That is very important because that is how the hand is read, from the top down. If you have 8,7,6,2,A and someone else has 7,6,5,4,3, they win because their low hand is lower. A seven low is better than an eight low even though they have an Ace and a deuce.

Those are the two things about Omaha that give Texas Holdem Poker players the most trouble when learning Omaha. Using two hole cards takes some getting used too but the low hands will make you crazy. You will become very familiar with the term “ being counterfeited”. If your low cards in the hole get paired by low cards on the board, your low is “counterfeited” and you do not have a qualifying low hand. This is especially frustrating when it happens on the river. Let’s say you have A,2,A,K and the A,2 is suited in hearts and the A,K is suited in spades, this is a very good starting hand of Omaha Hi/low. The flop comes out 3,5,7 all hearts, WHOO HOO BABY! You have flopped the nuts for low and the nut flush! You are way ahead of the pack and need to manipulate the betting so you can get as many bets as possible in the pot.

Okay, now the turn card is another seven. You don’t like that card because in Omaha you have four hole cards and that means if the board pairs a full house is not only possible, it is probable and quads ( four of a kind) are much more common than when playing Texas Holdem Poker. Everything is still cool, you might only get half the pot but you may still get it all. The river is an ace and that is a terrible card for you because it counterfeits your low. You no longer hold the best possible low hand and you no longer hold the best possible high hand. The worst thing about this situation is if it only costs you one bet to see the showdown, you have to pay it because you built a big pot early when you were the favorite and the pot is now too big to fold for one bet. You might have a portion of the pot and you might not but choosing not to pay one bet to find out is a mistake. Now if the betting is fierce, you can safely fold because someone has outdrawn you for the high and the low. Not folding for multiple bets in this situation is a big mistake also.

Another thing to be concerned about in any form of Hi/Low poker is getting “Quartered”. An alternative outcome to the previous scenario is if the river card was a card higher than eight. Your low is good but if there are still a lot of players in the hand, it is almost certain that someone else also has an A,2 in their hole cards. If this is the case you and the other player will divide the low half of the pot and receive one quarter of the total pot.

Between getiing “counterfeited”,”quartered” and just plain old outdrawn, Omaha Poker is enough to make a preacher cuss. The other side of the coin is, Omaha poker is a lot more fun to play than Texas Holdem Poker.

Playing Winning Poker

The first step in learning to play Texas Holdem Poker is to read and study the right books. These are the only books about poker and gambling you will need. They are worth their weight in gold. Disclaimer: I am not compensated if you buy these books. The link is here because you need these books to win. If you are new to Texas Holdem Poker, buy "Getting Started in Holdem" by Ed Miller.

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