Sunday, November 23, 2008

Barack Obama and Poker

We all know that recently Obama has become the focus of the world. But do you know even this new president plays poker games, just like you and me.

Barack Obama's triumph in the 2004 U.S. Senate race earned him a memorable send-off from his friends in the Illinois legislature they emptied his wallet in a take-no-prisoners night of poker games.
"We brought him down to earth real quick," said state Sen. Terry Link, chuckling at the memory.
Obama was a regular at the low-stakes games sometimes stud poker, sometimes draw designed to break up the tedium of long legislative sessions. Poker, beer and cigars were staples; Democrats and Republicans, lawmakers and even the lobbyists who Obama sometimes rails against dealt the cards and placed their bets.
The traits Obama displayed around the poker table those many nights are ones he brings to his presidential bid and are certain to be evident and analyzed if he wins the White House.
By his poker buddies' accounts, Obama is careful and focused. He's not easily distracted and doesn't give away his intentions unless it's to his advantage. He's not prone to taking risky chances, preferring to play it safe. But he's also serious and competitive: When he plays, he plays to win.
"It's a fun way for people to relax and share stories and give each other a hard time over friendly competition," Obama said by e-mail. "In Springfield, it was a way to get to know other senators including Republicans."
Obama, then a state senator, was a founding member of the group. He became known as a cautious player with a good poker face, someone who paid more attention to the game than to the chatter and laughter that accompanied it.
Obama studied the poker odds carefully, friends say. If he had strong cards, he'd play. If he didn't, he would fold rather than bet good money on the chance the right card would show up when he needed it.
That reputation meant that he often succeeded when he decided to bluff.
"When Barack stayed in, you pretty much figured he's got a good hand," said Larry Walsh, a former senator.
More than one lawmaker teased Obama about his careful style of play.
"I always used to kid him that the only fiscally conservative bone in his body I ever saw was at the poker table with his own money," said state Sen. Bill Brady, a Republican from the central Illinois city of Bloomington. "I said if he would be half as conservative with taxpayer dollars, the state would be a lot better off."

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Friday, November 7, 2008

Choose Your Poker Games

As you know, there are many different poker variations and structures in which to play them. And in order to win in the poker games and have your fun, you need to select your own poker games online that fit your skills.
By far the most popular variation for cash games is fixed limit Texas Hold'em, closely followed by no-limit Texas Hold'em. Much less Texas Hold'em games are played in pot-limit style. Other games with decent volume in cash games are Omaha, mostly limit Omaha High-Low and pot-limit Omaha High. Next in popularity is limit Seven-Card-Stud and its High-Low version.
If you are a beginner we recommend that you start out by learning how to play fixed limit Texas Hold'em. This is an easy game in which to learn the basics and as mentioned before it is the most popular form of poker today. Almost all online poker rooms offer plenty micro-stakes limit Texas Hold'em, where you can get a lot of playing time for something like $30.
No-limit Texas Hold'em cash games are not suitable for beginners to play other than at the really low stakes. No-limit Texas Hold'em fits people with guts, aggressive style and good player reading skills. These are treats a beginner rarely displays from the start. Don't take this as advice not to play no-limit Texas Hold'em, but start out carefully and take advantage from playing in some poker tournaments as well. To succeed at higher stakes you will often need to be patient and cautions, play tricky and take calculated chances to break your opponents.
As we know that all short-handed games (6 players or less) have a higher skill factor, as more marginal hands need to be played, more tricks are used and aggression is an even more important element. As a beginner you should avoid these games. Maybe with the exception for players who just have no patience at all and who are real action junkies. Conversely, if you are a winning player who is good at reading opponents and comfortable playing aggressively you could benefit from going down from full ring games to short-handed games.
So be serious to select your own poker games online, and stick to some wise poker strategies to win your bucks~! Have fun~!

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Online Poker Explosion

The popularity of online poker has increased at an astounding speed recently. Besides the obvious - poker is an intriguing game with great recreational value - the main reasons are the flexibility, speed and global 24/7 access afforded by playing online.

Poker as a sport has received substantial media coverage since the inception of the TV show World Poker Tour in 2002 and the win of online amateur player Chris Moneymaker at the WSOP Main Event in 2003. The coverage has resulted in a self-perpetuating trend where the growing base of online players fuels interest in the WSOP and WPT, which now get prime-time TV slots on a weekly basis, inspiring even more viewers to take up online play.

The online poker business is very profitable for the established rooms, but the competition is heating up as a result. This is good for you as a player. Online poker rooms today spend more and more money on advertising as well as giving more value back to the players with higher and better re-load bonuses, promotions and other perks.

The brick-and-mortar poker world has also benefited greatly from the explosion in interest in the poker games, with poker rooms again flourishing in casinos. Today many new players start out playing online and then move on to play at home games and casinos around the world.

What makes poker particularly fascinating for a larger crowd is that in the short term, any decent player can compete and even win against the world's best players. Luck and hidden information play a large enough role in poker to make this possible. In many other skill games, the most highly skilled player almost always wins, even in the short term.

By the same token, poker is deceptive, as many less-skilled players are not sufficiently aware of their long-term outlook to win, let alone break even. As most people know, poker is a game of skill and the best players will win money over time. Luckily, by following some simple poker rules you will be able to minimize your losses very quickly.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Strategy Books for Poker Players

For poker players of online poker games, no matter beginners or pros, there are many good books on the market for them to learn poker skills and strategies. Here are some of the most useful books and hope you could learn some nice tips or strategies for your poker games online from these books.

This is a good poker book package for the beginners:

Play Poker like the Pros (Phil Hellmuth)
- Basic, easy-to-use poker strategies for all major games.

Super System 2 (Doyle Brunson et al)
- Accurate, concise strategies for all major poker games.

Internet Texas Holdem (Matthew Hilger)
- Well-structured, detailed strategy for Limit Hold'em.

Championship No-Limit & Pot-Limit Holdem (T.J Cloutier & McEvoy)
- Quality, easy-to-read tournament advice.

Championship Tournament Practice Hands (T.J Cloutier & McEvoy)
- Tournament practice hands for both No-Limit and Limit Texas Hold'em.

This is a good poker book package for the advanced players:

Holdem Poker for Advanced Players (David Sklansky)
- Classic book with technical analysis on Limit Texas Hold'em.

Pot-Limit and No-Limit Poker (Ciaffone & Reuben)
- Good general book on No-Limit and Pot-Limit for most games.

Middle limit Holdem Poker (Ciaffone & Brier)
- In-depth Limit Hold'em analysis via hundreds of hand examples.

How good is your Pot-Limit Holdem? (Steward Reuben)
- Very instructive quizzes and hand analysis on Pot- and No-Limit Hold'em.

How to win at Omaha High-Low Poker (Mike Cappelletti)
- Well structured and thorough advice on limit Omaha High-Low

How good is your Pot-Limit Omaha? (Steward Reuben)
- Edifying quizzes and hand analysis on high-stakes Omaha High.

Seven Card Stud for Advanced Players (Sklansky, Malmuth & Zee)
- Well-structured technical analysis on Limit Seven-Card Stud.

The Theory of Poker (David Sklansky)
- Classic book with in-depth concepts on all types of cash-game poker.

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Online Poker Tells that You Need to Know

Playing poker games online, such as Texas Holdem, you need to know some basic but rather useful poker tells to increase your chances of winning the game. Here are several of them. Seriously pay your attention to them and keep them in your mind next time you are engaged in the game, you will find them really paying off.
1 Fast Check
This is a very common online poker tell. When a player instantly checks, he has probably clicked the "auto-check" tool featured in all online poker rooms. This means that before you have even bet or checked, he was planning on checking. Most of the time, you'll be able to steal the pot with a reasonable bet. However, some players might try to use this tell against you so you should be careful with it.
2 Wait and Bet
When a player waits and bets in poker games online, he usually has a legit hand and is probably thinking of how much to bet which almost always results in the timer running slightly slower than normal. You'll notice this if you pay close attention to the time a player takes to bet. If they wait a long time and check instead of bet, they are usually trying to make you think they have a hand. If that's the case, you can probably take the pot right there.
3 Betting Patterns
Betting patterns are extremely valuable in any variation of poker games. You always want to figure out how each player bets when he has a hand. Most players will give away their cards simply by betting different amounts. For example, if a player raises $50 pre-flop and then only bets small on the flop, he's almost always weak. Notice how hard players raise their aces as opposed to their jacks.
4 Fast Bet
When someone quickly bets, they're almost always trying to scare you. When I want someone to fold, I bet really fast. It shows them strength and is a very intimidating tactic to employ.
5 Telling You Their Hand
Players telling you their hand is a funny type of tell. I've figured out this tell from most of my friends telling me they were lying in the first place. It's also common sense. According to one of my Hold'em rules, when a player tells you his hand without you asking, he's almost always giving away false information. Think about it. Why would he tell you his hand if you didn't ask him? The reason he tells you is to get inside your head and make you think you folded the winner.

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