Monday, February 19, 2007

An Interesting Type Of "Tournament"

On Saturday, I went to Southern California to my brother's surprise 45th birthday party and his wife set up the party as a "Casino" theme. She hired a company to run casino games and they had craps, blackjack, and, of course, a Texas Hold'em table. Everyone was given 500 chips to start and the one person with the most chips from all the games combined at the end of the night won a $50 restaurant gift card.

Well I, of course, spent most of my time at the ring poker table. I was playing my usual normal mixed game (occasional bluffs) and my chip count was on a roller-coaster. I was hitting hands and getting called by "free-chip" donkeys, but my bluffs were getting called, too. There were a few drunk & careless players, a few brand-new-to-holdem, clueless players, and a few serious, but very poor players. I wasn't used to this mix and there were only one or 2 semi-decent players there that I knew I could beat with my regular game. So I was down to about 425 chips and I took a break.

After mingling at the party, taking a few pictures, and resisting the urge to play craps for 45 minutes, I went back to the poker table for the last half hour. My strategy was to tighten up with no more bluffs and be way over-aggressive with my monsters. There were a few big stacks and a few short stacks. I won a hand from a chaser who folded the river and got my chips up to over 600. After a few folds, the head casino company guy came out to the poker room/garage and said "5 more minutes!" Oh no! I was way off the chip lead!

Oh well, last hand. I had fun so I was deciding if I should push pre-flop or on the flop with anything. It was 5/10 NL and I was the SB. I get AhQh. Cool! Everyone limps, including me. Flop comes As,2d,Qc. BINGO! I'm UTG. I ask the dealer "You think this is the last hand of the night?" He says "Yeah, probably." I say "OK, then I guess I'll go all-in" in an "Oh-well" tone of voice. There's 1 other all-in and 4 other players match my stack. Qs hits the turn and the 4 bigger stacks all check down through the river, which was a blank. The other all-in had Ac4c and the rest had rags. My full house won the pot on the last hand AND I won the $50 with about 3500 chips since all the other drunks lost everything to the house at craps & blackjack.

My proud assessment: Sure, it was a lucky hand. But my baiting act UTG with the nuts got those people to push and won me the $50.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Current Odd State of Online Poker

I find online poker in an "odd state" right now. There are many US players who can't get their money either in or out of sites due to the unstable e-wallet market. I'm guessing the poker sites are loving this. Trapped on-site money means more rake. Fewer deposits mean less e-wallet headaches for them. Notice the lack of reload bonuses around? However, the conditions for the consumers are horrible right now. I'm hearing stories of high fees and long processing times with the current e-wallets.

I happen to be in a good position. I have semi-healthy bankrolls on 3 sites that I enjoy playing and have no need to deposit or withdraw. I'm just building until a solid method of payment comes along. If I do need to move funds in the near future, I think I'll try a mail-check withdrawal and a Visa gift card deposit. I've heard "All-Access" brand cards work at most sites and "Green-Dot" and "Vanilla" brands aren't as widely accepted. I've also heard the fees can be around only $6 for a $100 card, though I hope I don't have to go that route.

I read someone say that this current state of things is making them play a more solid game of poker since they can't deposit as easily if they bust. I guess there's always a silver lining. Let's hope for more silver to come.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

A Report On The State Of The Gutshot Club

If you've heard about the case in the UK regarding whether or not poker is a game of skill, then you know the accused is the Chairman of the Gutshot Club. It just so happens that one of my fellow members of the Cardschat Poker Forum also plays at the Gutshot Club. He has posted an interesting first-hand account of the current state of things during his latest trip there.

BTW, the obviously uninformed jury ruled that poker was a game of chance and a stiff fine will be levied against the accused. The ruling is currently being appealed in UK court.