Archive for the ‘Casino’ Category

Cris Statz talks about poker tells in new book

Friday, February 7th, 2014

pokertellsThe very prospect of reading a poker book can be daunting for those who don’t have a lot of time and the idea of paying for an expensive title sometimes acts as a deterrent. This is what makes Cris Statz’s proposition a bit difficult to take in, but there are plenty of reasons for purchasing his latest book. It can be found at and those who are even remotely familiar with the author will find the subject interesting and the investment worth making.

Just as the name suggests, Cris is trying to help players identify genuine poker tells and use them to their advantage. This is something that poker players would’ve killed for a few decades ago, when the proverbial poker face was held in high regard and everyone was interested in identifying tells. Nowadays when the action has shifted to the online environment, these elements are far less important and that’s why fewer players are willing to undertake comprehensive research on this topic.

Regarding the websites that provide free content, players have mixed feelings because not all of the information is reliable or written by professionals. On the bright side, those who pay for Cris Statz’s latest book can rest assured that the information available in “The Only 25 Poker Tells You Need to Know – Poker Strategy Pros: Spot and Exploit Poker Tells” can be put to good use right away. It is equally helpful for amateurs and experienced players, as it uses a reader-friendly, easy to comprehend language.

Those who play over the Internet will have fewer benefits resulting from reading the book, but it can still be a pleasant reading. Some can find it to be a nice diversion from the action-packed tables and the perfect remedy for those pesky downswings that kill the mood for poker. Given the fact that the book talks about no more than 25 poker tells, it is only fair to say that it is fairly thick and there is plenty of information inside its covers worth exploring.

A career in poker is one that demands constant research and those who are unwilling to commit themselves to this kind of endeavor probably made the wrong choice. Reading poker books is just one of the things that can be done to hone your skills and become more competitive at the tables, with Cris Statz’s recent release being a great addition to any library.

Is it worth going all the way with a bluff?

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

goingforgoldBluffing is by definition a risky endeavor, because you put everything on one action and you have only one way of emerging victorious. In order to win the hand, you will need your opponent to lay down his cards, intimidated by the prospect of running into a monster hand. To achieve this, you need to project a certain image and to resort to convincing betting patterns and any flaw in this strategy can backfire and cause you significant losses.

The decision to bluff can’t be made randomly, before the cards are dealt unless you are extremely confident in your ability to play from late position and your table image. What usually happens is that players make a conscious decision of bluffing on the flop after calling or betting pre-flop, based on the texture of the board. Depending on circumstances, it is possible to get away with your deceit on the flop, or you might need to fire one or two more bullets on the turn and river.

There are cases when you have to go all the way with the bluff and this implies increasingly high wagers on the final two streets. Knowing these, it is of extreme importance to make sure that your bets and raises won’t get the opponent pot committed. The reason for why you want to avoid this scenario is that when the opponent no longer has the option to fold because certain losses exceed potential ones, he will have no choice but to call with an average hand.

The trick is to induce the idea that you are trying to get him pot committed and bet in such a way that the opponent will reach a terrifying conclusion. When you bet increasingly high amounts, anyone who is decently experience that this game, will be able to forecast the result. One thing that poker players fear is to keep calling an aggressive opponent, knowing that on the river they might have no choice but to shove in the remaining chips.

As for the bluffer, he tries to project this image while doing everything in his power not to push things that far. It is a slippery slope and that’s why poker pros advise against excessive bluffing, both online and at live tables. The problem with bluffs is that you can get away with it many times and be caught red-handed just once to offset all your gains.

Contrary to popular belief, bluffing is not about taking chances, but rather about assuming calculated risks and always factoring in the worst-case scenario. The inability to back off from a hand after investing a significant amount is a serious problem, so if you don’t have outstanding self-control it is better to refrain from bluffing altogether. Stick to semi-bluffs, which are those hands that despite not having any showdown value could improve to strong ones if the right cards hit the board.

Going all the way with the bluff is rarely a good idea, because if you get that far there is a good reason to assume that something went wrong on the way. On the other hand, players should take responsibilities for their aggressive actions and once they decide to bluff, backup their actions with enough chips. Nothing is more pathetic than being called with a mediocre hand, just because you didn’t find the courage to raise an amount large enough to intimidate your opponent.

Learn the ins and outs of big stack strategy

Sunday, January 5th, 2014

goingforgoldWhen you don’t know what needs to be done, there is a good chance to fail, but at the poker table the most dangerous thing is not ignorance but the illusion of knowledge. When poker players make their first steps in this competitive line of work, they are focusing mostly on not losing the hard earned cash, rather than boosting their bankroll virtually overnight. This is why many start with a minimal investment and stick to short stack strategy for as long as they can to avoid sizable losses.

In some cases, players don’t shift to a different style of game for the simple reason that they are mildly successful at playing this simplistic style of poker. There are plenty of examples out there of players who made a decent living by playing at small and medium stakes without using anything more but short stack strategy. Those who have higher expectations than that, will be naturally inclined to explore new frontiers and the obvious transition is to play deep stack.

The term can be a bit deceiving, because those who spend a lot of time competing in major tournaments, know that there is a distinction between regular and deep stack events. When it comes to cash games, things are much simpler, as players begin with 100 big blinds and try to make the most of the starting stack. There are a couple of advantages that big stack strategy has over its counterpart, but they need to be explored with moderation otherwise they can easily backfire.

If a short stacker will have serious issues in successful bluffing, those who have more money in front of them are more likely to succeed at such an attempt. Opponents will think twice before calling an amount that would leave them cripple or even lead to the complete demise of their stack. On one hand, you get to win pots without reaching the showdown and even steal some with mediocre cards.

The downside is that you need to make a coherent plan and tone down your aggressiveness when you have a monster hand and hope to accumulate as many chips as possible. You need to diversify your game, because you can’t simply wait for premium hands to be dealt to you and then go all in, as it is very unlikely for someone to call you with a weak hand. It is also worth contemplating a transition from tight to loose aggressive poker, to put full force of the big stack behind your actions.

The risks of overestimating poker tells

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

The risks of overestimating poker tellsThere are plenty of skills at work when you sit down at the poker table and each player is responsible for making the most of his innate or earned abilities. Among the numerous things that poker players need to master is the ability to read opponents or at least put them on a correct range of cards. This kind of knowledge will help them decide whether it is worth firing another bullet on a dangerous street, call for one more hand or simply muck their cards.

Having said this, many players try to find shortcuts such as poker tells and by simply picking up on the vibes, extract the most value from each pot. At live poker tables, one will definitely encounter many players who claim that they have the uncanny ability of identifying and properly interpreting poker tells. Some of them are right but the vast majority are simply overestimating their abilities as well as the impact of poker tells, while being oblivious of the numerous dangers.

To start with, you can never know for sure whether anxiety or nervousness, regarded as the leading cause of most poker tells, are produced by fear or excitement. Sometimes poker players get edgy and give away tells because they fear being called by an opponent with a better hand. On the other hand, there are cases when their cards are the absolute nuts and their only concern is to be paid by anyone because in this event, they are guaranteed to win a significant pot.

Another reason for why poker players should think twice before overestimating the importance of reads is that savvy opponents know how to create decoys. To be more specific, when an experienced poker player realizes that his opponents are relying almost exclusively on picking up poker tells, they tend to create bogus ones. They induce a certain idea and then play on their strengths, while opponents are blindly rushing in with faulty bets that are the result of wrong assumptions.

Perhaps the biggest risk of relying too much on poker tells is that you could end up justifying your mistakes by saying that you had a good read on your opponent. There are many poker players who make the wrong decision and lose a lot of money, but instead of trying to find the cause for this costly mistake, they try to find explanations to justify their error. Poker tells are at the end of the list and the worst part is that if you don’t try to identify your errors and fix them, you are bound to commit them all over again.

Matt Berkey talks about how poker TV shows should change

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

goingforgoldPoker TV shows are returning, but as far as some poker professionals are concerned, their impact on the gaming community is dwindling. While the phenomenon was responsible for the increasing popularity of poker a couple of years ago, they are far less successful these days. Matt Berkey has an explanation for why this happens and apparently the reason for why viewers are less interested in these TV shows is that they are focused mostly on the game instead of the characters.

Matt frequently posts on his blog and the most recent article is a mix of praise towards Poker Night in America and criticism towards the industry as a whole. The aforementioned TV show apparently makes great efforts to bring characters back into the spotlight and help players relate to the ones they watch on TV. A couple of years ago, there were fewer poker professionals out there, which made it easier for fans and followers to keep up with their activities and support them.

Nowadays, when TV shows are about high-stakes games, viewers are more concerned about the hands played at the table, which has a two-pronged effect. On one hand, the situation has clear advantages as players learn a great deal about how the beautiful game is supposed to be played at nosebleed limits. On the other, they couldn’t care less about who wins and who loses major pots, so at the end of the day this turns into regular entertainment.

On the long run, if poker TV shows are completely stripped of passion, there is a good chance for their success to diminish. Matt Berkey is optimistic and said that the point of no return hasn’t been crossed, and he has a lot of confidence that Poker Night in America is heading into the right direction. In fact, he attempted to participate in one of the episodes and after being politely refused several times due to lack of available seats, he was finally admitted.

Change frequently starts from within and with the poker professional being totally committed to this cause, players have a good reason to be optimistic. The producers seem to be sharing his vision and the couple of episodes released recently are all shifting from the game towards players. If they succeed, in getting viewers fully immersed into the action, it is very likely for Poker Night in America to enjoy similar success as high-stakes poker did a decade ago.

First smoke-free casino worldwide announced by MGM

Friday, November 15th, 2013

mgmOver the last couple of years, land-based casinos have been widely regarded by smokers as an oasis of serenity, because these were the only places where they were allowed to smoke. Everything could change, because if MGM wins the right to build a brand-new venue in Prince George’s County, Maryland, this will be the first smoke-free casino in the world.

The reason for why the giant casino operator is willing to make this transition is not that they suddenly realized the negative effects of smoking. It’s just that the state of Maryland doesn’t allow smoking indoors with no exceptions and as a result, MGM has no choice but to comply. Given the fact that such a massive investment will trigger equally impressive returns, the sacrifice is definitely worth making.

Everybody rejoices at the perspective of MGM opening a smoke-free venue in Maryland, although for very different reasons. The casino operator is counting on huge profits and entering the state would represent a significant milestone for them. On the other hand, we have the players who are looking for top-tier entertainment and the aforementioned casino operator has a reputation that precedes it. Last but definitely not least, the state itself will benefit from this project, which will bring millions of dollars to state coffers in the next couple of years.

There is always one potential loser and in this case it goes by the name of Penn National Gaming and Greenwood Racing, which is the main competitor for MGM. Obviously, the winner will have to comply with the same rules, so as far as the antismoking groups are concerned, they will end up on the winning side regardless. They regard the project as a massive victory in their seemingly never-ending war against smoking and are confident that once a precedent is set, others will follow suit.

For the time being, nothing is 100% certain, but if this project is given green light, MGM plans on investing an amount that will exceed $800 million. It goes without saying that this kind of money is the guarantee that the new casino will meet and exceed expectations, setting a new standard in terms of revenue. The casino operator doesn’t seem too concerned about the prospect of banning smoking inside the new venue and is more than willing to comply with these rules that they denounced in the past.

Full Tilt Poker announces return to New Jersey

Monday, October 28th, 2013

goingforIt is remarkable how many fans Full Tilt Poker still has in the United States after all these years and despite the horrendous events of Black Friday. After the Department of Justice seized the assets of poker players that used this network to compete over the Internet, the money remained blocked in their accounts. It took several years before the government finally started a massive reimbursement operation that is scheduled to complete at the end of 2013.

This is not the only good news regarding Full Tilt Poker, because the same group that owns Pokerstars has acquired the company. Players from New Jersey are already anxiously waiting for this company to resume service in the United States and it makes perfect sense that they will also enjoy Full Tilt Poker at the exact same date. will reveal a great deal of useful information for those who want to learn more about the short-term prognosis.

The fact that New Jersey is the first to embrace online poker once again after it has been outlawed for so many years, is not entirely surprising. It is known that the state is competing with Nevada for the chance of becoming a hub for online poker companies, knowing that other states will follow suit in a not so distant future. It is much easier to negotiate favorable terms now when poker is illegal in the United States, than several years in the future when it is very likely for many states to be already hooked.

As for the poker players, they couldn’t care less about the rationales and they don’t mind that the terms are more or less favorable, as long as they get to enjoy their favorite game. Since being acquired by PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker has made giant leaps forward while building on its previous success. There were plenty of remarkable milestones hit by this poker company in the past and this acquisition will only help them push their activity into overdrive.

They benefit from the services of sponsored poker players such as Viktor Blom or Gus Hansen but there are plenty of highrollers who are also playing on this network. There is no shortage of cash game tables either and players get to choose between different types of poker, which explains why it is never difficult to find action at Full Tilt Poker tables regardless of hour.

Drawing Dead—The Highs And Lows Of Online Poker goes live

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Drawing Dead—The Highs And Lows Of Online Poker goes liveThe producers of Drawing Dead—The Highs And Lows Of Online Poker couldn’t have possibly thought of a better name for a documentary about poker. The title sums it all and has the power of serving as a silent reminder for all those who compete at high-stakes and think that nothing can stop them. Mastering the game takes many years but even the best poker players out there can experience long downswings and for some of them the amounts lost are simply too high to recover.

Unlike other movies about poker, Drawing Dead—The Highs And Lows Of Online Poker doesn’t sugarcoat anything and presents the raw facts. Some claim that the producers were overly pessimistic about the game itself and are exaggerating the negative effects and potential risks. Obviously, there are some who find the documentary enjoyable and even resonate with some of the events and situations depicted by this short movie.

It will go live this month and those interested can watch it on DirecTV, to learn more about what is truly the impact of this industry. The documentary is structured as a braid of two stories, one talking about the successful career of Dusty Schmidt who started from scratch and made millions of dollars playing online poker. He gives a comprehensive interview explaining which are the ingredients for success, and also talking about his own struggles as he climbed out the ladder to become a professional poker player.

The other tale is a bit more depressing and it fully justifies the first two words in the Drawing Dead—The Highs And Lows Of Online Poker. Michael Korpi Jr is the main character in this true story and he talks about how he ended up broke and miserable after dedicating most of his years to poker. Without being a classical case of failure, his poker career had ups and downs but eventually all his efforts backfired and instead of having it all he ended up losing everything.

Mike Weeks is the producer and Drawing Dead—The Highs And Lows Of Online Poker is not his first poker related project. He has solid knowledge about this game and the industry, which explains why the documentary is not biased and can be just as enjoyable as it is instructive. At the end of the day, poker players should watch the film and make their own decisions but it certainly doesn’t hurt to contemplate all alternatives.

The EPT launches the ‘The Bonus Cut’

Friday, September 20th, 2013

The EPT launches the 'The Bonus Cut'There is much more than meets the eye about European poker tour and it is only natural to be so, because hundreds of hours’ worth of footage are recorded. Until recently, EPT officials tried to compile all this footage into 14 hours of material that was supposed to be broadcasted in 14 distinct TV shows. Some changes were made to the plan and although the show’s format remains virtually unchanged, the EPT will launch the ‘The Bonus Cut’.

The name is self-explanatory, as this additional material is supposed to share with interested players everything that was captured on film but fails to make TV. To catch a glimpse at the big picture, check out this short video posted on YouTube The ‘Bonus Cut’ footage will be released every Thursday, so those who want to know everything that happens behind the European Poker Tour’s curtain are expected to tune in on Thursday.

Not a great deal of information was revealed about the content of this bonus footage, but it is only fair to assume that he did include table action as well as interviews with famous poker players. Speaking of which, Daniel Negreanu, Luca Pagano, Andre Akkari and Liv Boeree feature in the promo video, which is in fact a behind the scenes footage of the opening credits. The 10th edition of the EPT promised to set several records and the opening credits provide players with the impetus to watch every episode.

The announcement was received with enthusiasm by the entire poker community and the number of views on YouTube confirm the fact that there are plenty who we watch the ‘Bonus Cut’ every week. As for the introductory video, it was fairly amusing to see how these professional poker players who are so cool that the tables, do their best to act as instructed. For people who are not professional actors, their performance was way above expectations and these lessons might prove handy even at the tables.

The popularity of European Poker Tour is on the rise and the organizers’ decision of aggressively promoting the tournament on TV pays off. As more poker players will feature in the 14 episodes of the comprehensive TV show, it is expected that the number of people who find it worth paying the buy-in will also increase. Eventually, this tournament could become the second most important event of the year after the World Series of Poker.

Are you ready to play deep stack poker?

Friday, September 6th, 2013

goingforgolDeep Stack poker is truly the final frontier when it comes to cash games, but very few people are actually prepared for this style of Texas hold ’em. Granted the rules at a deep stack table are the same as the ones used at regular games, players need to adjust their strategy to stay profitable on the long run. Playing as a deep stack is the best compromise between staying at the limits you are comfortable at and experiencing the thrills of competing as a highroller.

The biggest problem is that most online poker companies don’t have deep stack tables and players don’t get the chance to practice. Naturally, those who spend most of their time buying in at tournaments and multitable sit and goes know a bit more about how to play as a deep stack. The reason is that those who are even mildly successful will eventually amass enough chips to have a commanding lead over most of their opponents and learn how to capitalize on this advantage.

Every now and then, cash games players will double up three or four times and unless their opponents decide to quit all of a sudden, they will get to play as deep stacks. The truth is that many of those who get lucky don’t even think about the possibility of sitting out and joining a different table with 100 big blinds. This might look like a sign of cowardice but this is exactly what needs to be done if you don’t know how to play deep stack and you got lucky.

The problem with having so many chips in front of you is that you have a great deal to lose and this can have a negative effect on your game. Many players act as they were playing on scared money, even though that particular poker session was a hit. By contrast, there are many who assume that this is the beginning of a memorable story and try to extract the most by shifting into a more aggressive gear.

For both these players, the immediate consequences are usually negative because changing something that works smoothly is always a mistake. There is no point in changing your style just because your expectations changed suddenly, because it is very likely that your initial strategy was the correct one. The proof that you had to do something right is that you emerged victorious and even if there was nothing more but luck to your winning streak, this is no reason to make major modifications to your tactic.

Those who want to take advantage of this opportunity to hone their poker skills and learn how to play as a deep stack should find some simple guidelines. For starters, this new position of strength doesn’t mean that you are responsible for sending players to the rail by raising aggressively. Furthermore, chip leaders need to be aware of the fact that their stacks makes them a target and refrain from calling the all-ins of their opponents with mediocre hands.

The proper thing to do as a deep stack is to play a slightly broader range of cards and raise amounts that are higher than your average raises. The reason for doing so is that you need to showcase strength and suggest your opponents that you are not to be trifled with. By doing so, you will also get plenty of action because the other players at the table will assume that they have a chance of taking your money. Keep in mind that luck can change quickly and if you start losing, call it a day and take your profits.