Posted by baccaratguru at November 20, 2014

Category: live poker

I suffered a bad beat recently that was truly surreal. I was playing in a $6/$12-limit Hold’em game at a nearby casino and happened to have a couple of loose cannons seated at my nine-player table. I really couldn’t wait for my chance to beat one of them in a big pot . . . or so I thought.

Opportunity soon knocked when one of the loose cannons, let’s call him Mr. Maniac, raised to open the betting on a new hand. I looked down to find pocket queens, so I immediately re-raised. There were a couple of callers, and then Mr. Maniac capped it at four bets pre-flop. The flop came Q-4-2 rainbow. My crazy competition, first to act, fired out. I decided to raise, which drove the other two callers out of the hand. Mr. Maniac, not surprisingly, re-raised and then I just called (hoping to entice him to fire out again to me on the turn).

The turn produced the seven of hearts, which kept the board a rainbow of unsuited cards. As anticipated, my hapless opponent fired out again. I re-raised, hoping I wouldn’t inadvertently cause him to fold. Such fear, naturally, proved unfounded as he re-raised back, making it three bets. I began to put him on a hand such as pocket rockets or possibly K-K, which were over pairs to the board and which Mr. Maniac would likely think were golden.

As I’d soon learn, however, what Mr. Maniac actually held was 4-4, which gave me the better set, queens versus fours. The board, you’ll recall, was Q-4-2-7, all unsuited. So, this poor fish I’d hooked was drawing dead to the last four in the deck with only one card to come! Even though I didn’t yet know what he held, I re-raised again on the turn, making it four bets. Normally, four bets is a cap — but not when the hand is being played heads-up. So, when Mr. Maniac, with his paltry three fours, re-raised me with a fifth bet, guess what I did? Yup, re-raised him with a sixth bet (which, incidentally, totally depleted both of our stacks).

Then an odd, cursed thing happened. As I was making my bet, the dealer momentarily lost his focus and turned over the river card before we were done betting. Perhaps he was glancing at a TV across from the poker room, or thinking about what he’d eat on his break, or who knows? Such blunders happen from time to time; dealers are human and can make mistakes. The general rule when a river card is accidentally exposed is that it’s returned to the deck, the remaining cards are shuffled, and then a new river card is dealt.

Anyway, much to my dismay, the mistakenly exposed river card was none other than the queen of diamonds, which would have given me four of a kind! I tried to forget about this tormenting near-miss as the dealer prepared to re-issue the river card. Because Mr. Maniac and I had both invested all of our chips in the $450-plus pot, we were basically all-in at this point and so we decided to show our hands. He turned over his pocket fours and, having no clue what he was facing from me, declared, “My hand is already made!” I showed him my queens and joked, “My hand was made on the river, but I guess it’s not made anymore!” Mr. Maniac’s face turned bright red when he realized how badly he’d overvalued his hand.

Finally, the dealer was ready to deliver the river card, for the second and final time. Need I say what it was? Yes, incredibly, the four of clubs, giving my opponent four of a kind . . . and me an ulcer.

Posted by baccaratguru at September 19, 2014

Category: online poker

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Currently every country in the world has its own way of dealing with online poker and online gambling. For example in China or Turkey, it is simply forbidden. At the other end of the spectrum of online gambling laws there are such countries as England which has always tolerated such activity and has one of the most favorable gambling legal system for online operators.

Then take a country like France. Irritated by the progression of online casinos in everyone’s daily life they designed a new revamped online gambling law last year. Online poker rooms are allowed to operate as long as they have obtained a proper license to do so. The leading poker room in the country of cheese is pokerstars and you can benefit from their latest promotions with the code marketing pokerstars 2014. But online casinos are not allowed as well as most sports betting.

Now take the largest market for gambling, in other words the United States. It used to be also the largest market for online poker, but thanks to the concerted action of the FBI and Department of Justice, it is now nearly impossible to play online poker in the USA. Using an incomplete  and inadequate law that restricts financial transactions by online gaming operators, they have indicted and shut down the major poker rooms. Ironically no law makes playing online poker or online blackjack illegal, it is perfectly legal to play.

And then most developed countries are also working on their own online gaming laws, and be assured that every one of them will be as different as it gets. The motivations are many fold. On one hand some savvy politicians want to regulate the games so they can tax them. On the other hand some bigots wants to forbid entire countries to have a little of fun betting on the Internet.

Most developing countries do not have or are not working on any online gambling law as they have more pressing issues to address. Nice exotic countries like Panama, Costa Rica or some Caribbean Islands welcome online gaming and some even regulate and license some of the offshore players. I think I should visit such places as soon as possible, sun, beaches and freedom to play, this is what I need.

Posted by baccaratguru at November 11, 2012

Category: online poker

It has become much harder to earn a living by playing internet poker over the last few years – FACT!

As more and more players learn the rules, read strategy articles and books, join poker training sites etc, the game has gotten much tougher. Every the low-limit grinder has dreams of earning a living by playing internet poker in the comfort of their own home, but not many succeed.

To be successful, you must have an edge over your opponents, and that is exactly what poker tools provide – an edge.

They can be a vital part of your online success and can help you build your bankroll to unthinkable amounts. You can be certain your opponents are using the latest poker tools, so if you aren’t, then you are already at a disadvantage!

Below you can read reviews of the very best internet poker tools which will help you have success and earn those big wins you desire.

Featured Internet Poker Tool: Tournament Shark

Tournament Shark is an essential poker tool for any poker players who want to take their game seriously. If you are a regular MTT (Multi-table tournament) or STT (Single-table Tournament/SNG) player then Tournament Shark is a must-have poker tool.

It is compatible with all the major internet poker rooms, and supports 250+ rooms. Once opened, the software attaches to your table and instantly gives you statistics and information on your opponents to help you make decisions against them.

As you will know, in MTT’s you will come across lots of players being re-seated and instead of watching them play to pick up reads, you just have to look at the Tournament Shark HUD to see if they are successful players or not.

Other noteworthy poker aids are Sit and Go Shark, Calculatem Pro (discontinued), Holdem Genius Review and Tournament Shark. Pokeredge is an interesting tool that provides a so-called poker hud, that shows critical statistics of your opponents on your screen as you play.

Posted by baccaratguru at March 8, 2012

Category: live poker

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I was recently watching a WPT final table on the television and here is one interesting hand I saw.

There was lots of room for players to manoeuvre with the blind structure and no one was so short-stacked as to not have a chance. With players starting with 10K initially, there was $7,840,000 in play and the blinds were rolled back to the start of Level 22, which is where they left off the previous night – blinds 20K/40K + 4K antes. Danny Chang – Tournament Coordinator, BC Lotteries, Phil Quelch, the Tournament Director and Daryl McCullough also inserted a new Level 23 of 25K/50K + 5K antes to give some more play to the final table.

One of the greatest assets of River Rock tournament staff is their knowledge and control of these expansive events. The only legitimate concern expressed from the players was about the $4,000 in starting chips for each of the $1,000 events and some issues raised about rule adjustments, but like any player concerns, they are quickly addressed and improved for future events.

As Daryl said, “My job is to do the handshake at the end and steal the microphone sometimes and handle any problems.” Much too modest as always; more importantly, he noted, “I want to find out what the players are looking for and find out how to meet those demands.”

The first casualty occurred at Hand #13 with Michael Sun being first into the pot, risking his chips all-in with a legitimate A♥10♠. Bad timing though and he hit a brick wall with Greg’s A♣A⋄. No help from the board and the BC young gun took home $40,000. On the very next hand Lazaros pushes all-in on the button with 8♣9♣ for a semi-steal. The brick wall was still there with Greg’s A♥K⋄ – an easy call for the 32-year-old, who has been playing poker for half his life. The 5♣ 6⋄ K♥ on the flop spiked top pair. The 4♣ on the turn offered hope of a club draw, but the 10♠ on the river helped Greg accumulate even more chips.

I first met my friend in the parking lot of the Regina Inn. He had just arrived for a Casino Regina Poker Classic event. He had checked in, taken his bags up to his room, and returned for the remainder of his luggage, which consisted of a mini-trampoline. That is when I met him, just as he was pulling the mini-trampoline out of the covered bed of his pickup truck.

For my friend, exercise serves a twofold purpose. First and foremost, he keeps fit. He is a sixty-five year old retired electrician. He is married and they have two boys. In addition to trampoline, he does yoga and rides an exercise bike although, like all of us, he admits that he doesn’t exercise as much as he should.

Keeping fit became really important to him when he was injured. Working in the Alberta oil patch, he was on a ladder that collapsed. He injured a vertebra in his back and has been unable to work steadily since. More than anything, the injury has caused him a balance problem that is not compatible with the work of an electrician. Shortly after the injury he started to take poker more seriously. Although he played in his teens in home games and into his twenties in the underground club scene, it was not until the mid 1990’s that he bought Doyle Brunson’s Super System. Brunson gave him an epiphany: there is a lot to learn about poker. He started to study a lot. By his own estimate, for the last seven years poker has provided the bulk of his income.

The other thing that exercise does for him is give him time to think. Away from the distractions of TV and family, alone on his exercise bike with the whirr of the wheel to relax him my poker friend gets time to think about poker. He runs over past hands. He thinks about his usual opponents. He considers how best to win his next tournament entry. In short, he spends a lot of time studying and thinking about his beloved game.

When I asked him for just a single tip he might offer someone just starting out he couldn’t stop at just one. First and foremost he suggested that new players should make use of all the tools available: books, video seminars, software, and internet chat rooms. His first book was Oswald Jacoby On Poker but he stays completely up to date by buying almost every new poker title that is published.

He has a library of over thirty poker books, he owns the complete line of Wilson Software poker simulations, and he continues to read several internet poker newsgroups. There is so much to learn he says, and mistakes are very expensive in live action. On top of reading and studying, my friend suggests that new players keep records. Winning players keep track, losing players find excuses not to.

Posted by baccaratguru at September 12, 2011

Category: online poker

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If the draw poker and stud cards are 5 cards variants that have won the most success in the twentieth century, the beginning of the twentieth century was marked by the success of variants with community cards, the most famous being Texas Hold ‘em.

In the 1920s, it is ‘Wild Window’ and ‘Spit in the Ocean’ which first familiarize players with the idea of community cards. Another significant development was the introduction of alternative high-low, after which the pot (a term meaning all bets placed during the hand) was split equally between the highest hand and the hand most low. Another development was lowball poker, part of draw poker in which it is the lowest combination that wins the pot.

The 1930s saw the emergence of a variant of stud poker where players were being distributed seven cards instead of the usual five. The number of betting rounds increased as well. The ability for players to get stronger hands, using five of the seven cards dealt to them, coupled with the proliferation of betting opportunities assured an immediate success to 7-card stud poker.

The 5-card stud was soon eclipsed by the arrival of this new variant, rightly regarded as much more dynamic. Soon after, the version of lowball stud 7 card, called razz, appeared. 7 card poker, whether playing high or low, has become the reference poker variant in Stud games.

The 1980s were marked by the success of Omaha, which is generally referred to Omaha. Played with a community card in Omaha would pave the way for the alternative that wins the most success today: Texas Hold’em.

We can measure the level of interest in poker by studying the books that over the years have been written. To get an idea of how it was played in the early twentieth century, consult the book of R. F. Foster, Practical Poker, published in 1905. The first references to the concept of dealer’s choice are emerging from this period, suggesting that poker players were sufficiently familiar with a number of variants to pass from one to another without difficulty.

The many editions of Hoyle’s famous book on card games, which was first published in 1742, are a valuable source of information on the evolution of poker and its variants. More recently, the literature on poker has been enriched by many theoretical works devoted to the strategic aspects of the game, a trend started by Frank R. Wallace in 1968 with his book, Advanced Concepts of Poker. This was the first in a series of books devoted to the study of betting strategies called aggressive, which by common agreement are those that perform best.

Okay, lets go over what is important about the majority of our opponents at the micro or low-stakes no limit Texas Hold’em games on the Web, and figure out the proper stake stereotype. In other words the best approach to handle these bad players that you do not have the time to profile as they change table all the time.

First, we know it’s a loose game as it is a low limit game and a lot of  the players see the flop. We also know that they will invest too much money on their losing hands. We know they are unbluffable, i.e. it is very hard to make them fold any hand. We know they will play weak hands.

We certainly know that they will play unpredictably, and because of this, they will be harder to put on a hand. We know that because there are so many players to the flop, that it is more likely that someone will flop a big hand. Whether in fun, or because they don’t know any better, we know that many of these players are willing to gamble. In a way it is good news because without online poker players willing to gamble, it would be much harder to make money playing this game on the Internet.

We know that they don’t understand your moves, your good moves are wasted on those who cannot see them. Wow, sounds like a minefield doesn’t it? It is a minefield and you already knew that. But let’s not get carried away, these games are obviously easy to beat compared to the high stakes tables.

The idea of this article wasn’t to tell you what you already knew. No. It was for the sake of making it conscious to you.  Now, when you sit and play, you can take with you the understanding of what an uphill battle you are fighting. Hopefully you will sit down with a frame of mind understanding that you cannot understand much of what is going on. But you can still beating these games by being patient and catching good situations with positive expected value.

This is a post by my friend Jim Friess who loves online poker.

I only play limit hold’em at full or nearly full tables, and only one table at a time. I don’t multi-table. About 25 months ago, I received a free $10 from one of the poker sites and started on that at .05/.10 limit. My first goal was to win 300 big bets of the level I was playing at, which is $30 (300 times .10).

I would now have $40 as a cushion to fall back on. Then my next goal was to earn 300 big bets of the next level, which was .10/.20. That meant I needed to earn an additional $60. When I earned the additional $60, I would move up to the .10/.20 level. My plan was to keep moving up in levels when I made 300 big bets of the next level, .50/1.00, etc..

If I moved up to the next level and lost the 300 big bets, then I would move back down to the lower level and start again from the lower level, and try to earn the 300 big bets again to move up. I started this plan in two poker sites, which I call the tough site and the loose site. I alternate playing at the two sites. My goal is to move as high as I can in the limits at both sites.

Yesterday I went on a small downswing primarily caused by my flopping a set at the same time my only opponent in the big blind flopped a straight. To add insult to injury, he also got a flush on the turn. I lost a bunch of money on that hand when he check raised me on the turn. I was down about $44 dollars for the day after being up $88, a $132 downswing. Basically the flops were missing me and the few good hands I had weren’t holding up.

I had trip aces and lost to a full house. I had to get off the table I was losing at because everyone left. My luck started to turn around on a new table, although I still got a couple of bad beats including a making a straight on the river and losing to a higher straight, and flopping trip 9s and losing to a straight made on the turn. But for some reason now I was also getting good cards on the turn and river when I wasn’t before.

In one hand I made a straight on the river. In another I flopped a pair of jacks and got two pair on the turn to win. And in another hand I made another straight on the turn to win. I also got pocket AA 3 times in a short period of time and won all three hands, although one hand was a very small pot.

And in my biggest pot of the night I flopped a set of sixes to win a $71 pot. I ended up $75 after being down $44, a swing of $119, and decided to quit for the night. Sets flopped were 4 out of 17, above average. Flush draws made were 3 for 5 1/2 above average. Bluffs were 8 successful and 2 unsuccessful, one of my best records for this category.

Posted by baccaratguru at June 11, 2010

Category: Games

Tags: ,

In February, Singapore’s first land-based casino opened as part of a campaign of tourism development. But the wealthy city-state does not pretend to compete with the lavish Las Vegas or Macau. As a new comer as a gambling destination, Singapore hopes to attract a wider base of visitors but knows that the leadership of Macau in Asia is not for the taking.

Resorts World Sentosa, owned by the Malaysian gaming company Genting, will also be the first Universal Studios theme park. The second complex, Marina Bay Sands, is nearing completion and will soon open its doors. The property belongs to the company Las Vegas Sands.

Authorities hope the casinos will help Singapore achieve its goal of 17 million visitors annually, with a target of $ 21 billion revenue by 2015, boosting the service sector and reducing the role of manufacturing in the economy.

The number of visitors fell to 9.7 million in 2009, down 4.3% from 2008. But the last quarter of 2009 brought a slight improvement and it is hoped that this will be the same with 2010 figures. As the global recession ends and Asia is booming again, a bright future is expected for tourism in the Orient as the purchasing power of the middle class increases steadily.

Tourists usually come to Singapore for a stopover before going to other Asian destinations, as the island city-state is a major hub for flying routes. With casinos, the authorities hope that visitors will stay a little longer on the island.

Resorts World Sentosa is a destination for families, while Marina Bay Sands is a large complex catering to business travelers. Singapore has given the green light to casino gambling in 2005, triggering a wave of investment that has continued despite the economic downturn. The construction of these two casinos will cost over 10 billion dollars.

Unlike its larger neighbors Malaysia and Indonesia, the highly urbanized Singapore has no large natural destinations to offer and attract tourists with wildlife parks and malls. In particular its bird sanctuary is one if the largest in the world and is the habitat for hundreds of birds species. But the new casinos should add to the mix of attractions in the City.

Posted by baccaratguru at December 22, 2009

Category: online poker

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I am a stay at home dad to Anna, a gregarious 10 month old little girl that is the star of the show. I have had many jobs over the years, including short-order cook, butcher, and attorney. Raising Emma is the best job that I have ever had. My wife, Anna’s mom, is a wonderful woman, supportive, and doesn’t even get too upset when I check raise her with the nuts on our anniversary at the El Dorado poker room. And she went to San Diego State, not UCSD.

I have been playing poker since I learned how to play 5 card draw when I was 3 years old. I started playing in brick and mortar casinos in 1990, when most games in northern California were spread limit 7 card stud. I played off and on until 2004, when I began playing at Party Poker on a semi-regular basis.

I focused on limit holdem, because it seemed to be what most other people were playing. I had played a few times when I could not find a 7CS game in the casino, but I had little understanding of the game. I quickly lost my first 200 buy-in at $2-4, but I had a job and re-depositing was not a real concern. I repeated this several times before I went out and bought a book to learn how to play. I read Sklansky’s Theory of Poker, and realized just how much I had to learn. I went back to Borders bookstore and spent $200 buying most of the strategy books related to limit holdem. I read them all before venturing back to the tables.

I bought back in to Party Poker, and good things started to happen. I ran my bankroll up from 200 to over $5,000, mostly by placing 3rd at a 10+1 MTT with 2300 people and by being at the table when a bad beat jackpot was hit. I cashed out $4,000 and have been playing on the remainder since, which is a good thing since I quit working to raise my daughter – if I lose the bankroll now, my poker playing days are over for the foreseeable future.

So let’ see how it goes. What is important in online poker is patience and discipline, and I think I finally got these two right.