With the popularity of poker still growing, I know many people have organized a group of friends for a regular poker game at home. Your game might be weekly, monthly, or less frequent; but I’m sure you run into the same problem myself and my friends have run into. You find that certain variations become the “favorite” of your group of friends. That’s great, but then eventually the complaints start coming that there isn’t enough variety in the games that the dealer calls when he is dealing a hand. Well, at our game last night my friends and I decided to try a few new variations of the games we usually play. Some were successes, and some were just so-so.
The new variation we played the most was a variation of no-peek baseball. We decided to add a little twist with the seven card. If a seven came up the person with that card had the option to change one of the wild cards that were currently in play. You will need to set a cost to do it though, we chose two times the cost of the wild cards. If a player chooses to change the wild card they pay the fee to the pot, and then they declare the wildcard they are changing and then flip over the top card from a separate deck of cards. This cancelled any wild cards players had of the previous card and now this new card replaced that wild card. The interesting thing is, someone that had all their cards played but had not folded could have their hand become much better or much worse even as the game progressed even if they had no cards remaining to flip. This version kept people in the game longer, sometimes calling bets even though they had second best hand with no cards remaining to flip. As I mentioned this game was played the most by our friends, and everyone enjoyed the game.
Our group has never been big fans of five card draw. Last night though we played “spit”. I’m sure many of you have been playing this all along but for those that haven’t it’s a decent variation of the bland five card draw game. Each player receives four cards in their hand and there is one community card. This card serves as a wild card for everyone, and any matching cards in your hand are also wild. As with five card draw you bet, get one chance to draw, bet again and compare hands for a winner. We felt this was a game we won’t play a lot, but it will be played more often than five card draw as the community wild card made it a little more interesting.
The game we play the most, and probably overplay is follow the queen. We do usually have a few options to spice it up such as high and low chicago, but still it was becoming the game dealers called about 70% of the time. We tried two different versions to change things up in our last poker night. The first was “killer kings”. In that version if a king was dealt face up in cancelled all the wild cards and made kings the only wild card. Then, if a queen was dealt face up at some point after that the game went back to traditional follow the queen. Of course if another king was dealt face up again, once again the king became the only wild card game. This added some intrigue to the game with a chance of wild cards changing significantly. Our group enjoyed this game, it wasn’t called a lot, but we all agreed it would be dealt more often at future poker nights. The other variation of follow the queen we played is sometimes referred to as “two-thirds” or “two out of three”. To win a hand you must have at least two of the following three: best poker hand, high chicago (high spade in the hole) or low chicago (low spade in the hole). If nobody had two of these three, then the hand was redealt. Here was the kicker though, if you folded you were out of the hand for the redeal. We found this game typically had a winner once you were down to three players, and the pot did grow to decent sizes in some of the games depending on how many people folded and how quickly. This was one we agreed was a good game, but only when everyone had a decent amount of chips, if one player was low on chips we agreed not to call this game.
The final variation of poker we played was a variation on Omaha Hi. Instead of each player getting four cards they each got five and discarded one immediately. To play this game you must have at least five players, because the discarded cards are what are shuffled and used as the communal cards (flop, river, and turn), so odds favor most players knowing what one of the communal cards will be. The rest of the game is played exactly like standard Omaha Hi. You can also play this as Omaha Hi-Low if you wish.
I hope that you will find a few of these poker variations interesting enough to give a try at your next poker night with your friends.
On Tuesday, August 7, Sedgewick County voters chose to not allow a casino to be built in this county in Kansas. Since this was a two part vote on casinos and slot machines in Sedgwick County, the second part of the voting disallowed slot machines in the Wichita Greyhound Park.
Since both parts of the casino issue were voted down by the residents in this county in Kansas, the Wichita Greyhound Park will be closing its doors in 90 days due to lack of interest from the citizens of the area. The Wichita Greyhound Park will be the fourth business to close its doors in the area.
The Wichita Wranglers have also pulled out of the Wichita area. The Wichita area also has felt the loss of their Soccer team as well. Yet the county voters want to build a new arena in downtown Wichita rather than update the Kansas Coliseum which can provide the same aspects a new arena can.
While the vote on Tuesday created another loss and downfall for new jobs in the area, the Sumner County residents, located just south of Sedgwick county, are still in the running for a destination casino in the area. The casino could come to life in the southwest area off of the turnpike, also known as I-35.
After Sedgwick county had voted down the casino in their area, Sumner county did have two more groups bid for a casino in that county bring the total of casino bids to six for the area. It was almost two years ago when Sumner County residents voted for a destination casino. But, due to the residents and county commissioners feeling it was unfair for a casino to be added to another county, they decided to put it to a vote.
While Sedgewick County wants to revitalize the Wichita area for further tourism in this area of the state of Kansas, they are losing out on a casino and the pro bowlers tour in the area due to the pro bowlers pulling out the last go round due to lack of other interests in the area for the players and fans.
While revitalizing Wichita, Kansas, is a great idea for tourism, the direction being taken is underutilized. Unkept ball parks, non-aid to the sites already in place is putting a damper on the sites around the county and city for tourism.
With sites like Old Cowtown Museum, Wichita Botanica Garden, Wichita Art Museum, Exploration Place, and the Mid-American All-Indian Center being centrally located within two to three miles of each other, the tourists sites do not draw large enough crowds due to under advertisement for tourists.
This does not include the plans for a river walk in the area of these tourists attractions along the river, yet the building of the casino in the Sedgwick County area near Wichita could have help in the tourist attractions and their crowd numbers.
The fears of what a casino could do to an area brought out the droves who thought that legalized gaming in the area would create more harm than good. People will gamble one way or another whether there is a casino in Wichita, Kansas, or not. The one question does remain for those in Sedgwick County, why loose money spent on casinos to another state due to the lack of understanding what really can happen with it?
Are you looking for a set of poker chips for yourself or for the serious poker player in your life as a gift? Well, you can’t go wrong with the 500 Las Vegas Edge Spot Poker Chip Sets that Nexgen produces. These chips are some of the best I have played poker with.
The first time I played with them I thought they were authentic full clay chips without a metal insert. I later found out that the 500 Las Vegas Edge Spot Poker Chip Sets does indeed have the metal insert which helps give them the official weight of the chips that are used at casinos in Las Vegas, Nevada. Speaking of Las Vegas, the 500 Las Vegas Edge Spot Poker Chip Sets all have the words “Las Vegas Nevada USA” along the outer circular diameter of every single chip. This is a nice little touch for poker players as it differentiates the 500 Las Vegas Edge Spot Poker Chip Sets from all the other sets on the market.
Another unique feature of the 500 Las Vegas Edge Spot Poker Chip Sets is that they are marketed in three different cases based on your budget. These cases range from the low end of aluminum to the high end of mahogany. Honestly, I did fall in love with the mahogany case when I saw it. It was felt lined and had two trays for the chips. One was for 300 on top and the other for 200 on the bottom along with three sets of cards on the bottom layer. There was even a brass plate you can have your name engraved on. I just couldn’t see paying over $200 for this set though. The oak one is the set I decided on.
This was a nice wooden box coated in green felt. There were five individual chip holders that held 100 chips each. These holders all fit into one single layer in the box, which I liked as well. Not as fancy as the mahogany, but more affordable at $120. NexGen also produces their 500 Las Vegas Edge Spot Poker Chip Sets in an aluminum case. This case again is a single layer and has a green velour lining. This is one of the better aluminum cases I have seen. The handle is attached securely and the locks appear to be able to take a lot of wear and tear. I choose the oak case, but I’m sure you’d love the 500 Las Vegas Edge Spot Poker Chip Sets in any of the three cases.
Of course as mentioned earlier the chips feel great, they feel just like the ones you use in Las Vegas casinos. They don’t chip or get damaged like some inferior poker chip sets. Nexgen even produces their 500 Las Vegas Edge Spot Poker Chip Sets in seven different base colors. When you order your set you can request specific colors from their selection and they will be the ones you receive. That is much different than many other poker chip makers. You just have to remember to make the request when ordering. If you don’t make a request you will receive the five most commonly ordered colors, 100 of each.
If you are a poker player that wants to be envied by your friends when you host your poker games I highly recommend purchasing the 500 Las Vegas Edge Spot Poker Chip Sets. If you have a loved one who enjoys poker these make a great gift. If you want to get a personalized set then I suggest the mahogany with the engravable plate. Just keep in mind you must have the plate engraved by someone else, Nexgen does not provide that service. I am extremely happy with my oak box though as it has been through a lot of use and is still in great condition.
A professional poker card dealer distributes the cards to the poker players and manages the poker table. Each and every casino with a poker room must have a staff of poker dealers. Dealers usually are tipped. Their tips are more substantial if they are quick and efficient at dealing hands. The dealers who are quicker are usually chosen by the casino to deal in the higher limit games.
Casinos usually require anybody wanting to be a poker dealer to take a 4-6 week training course at a dealing school if they have no prior experience. Some drawbacks of being a poker dealer include having to deal with some players that are difficult or abusive, working long hours and sitting for long periods of time.
Poker dealers may also be hired by major poker tournaments. The coordinators usually hire dealers for the duration of the tournament, which can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Dealers usually have to cover their own travel expenses. Room and board may or may not be provided for the dealers.
In order to be a dealer, you must be proficient at shuffling the deck and dealing the cards. If the game calls for it, the dealer must also turn up the community cards in the center of the table.
There is a particular method to shuffling the cards that the poker dealer must follow. This method is defined by the casino itself.A professional poker dealer will always keep both halves of the cards very low to the table. First, the dealer must spread out the cards on the table and “scramble them. This is called washing the cards. Then the dealer must collect all the cards and square them into a deck. After that, the poker dealer will follow a particular shuffling sequence such as “riffle, riffle, box, riffle”. Finally, a cut card is placed on the table and the deck is cut into the card. This “cut” card is held on the bottom of the deck throughout the entire game to keep the bottom card from being seen.
There are two different methods to dealing the poker cards. They are American style and European style. American style is when the deck is held in one hand, and the corner of the top card is pinched between the thumb and forefinger of the other hand. Then the dealer throws the card to the player. The dealer has to be careful to throw it low to the table and in the right direction so the players cannot see the card.
In European style dealing, the poker dealer touches the top of each card being delt. Then he pushes the card off of the deck and onto the table in front of him. After this, he propels the card to the player. Usually he adds some spin to the care to insure stability.
After dealing the poker cards to the players, the top card of the deck is “burned” before the community cards are laid out. Burning of a card is just discarding it. This is because it is possible that a player has seen this card. This ensures that there is no cheating. When burning the deck must be held low and the card that is to be burned must always stay level with the table. Casinos always keep an eye on the dealers, making sure that the poker dealers d not flash the card to the players, therefore exposing the card. During a poker game that includes a flop, the flop is comprised of the community cards. The community cards are always turned up simultaniously. Never are they turned up one at a time.
Dealers are in control of all the action in a game. This may include, but is not limited to, telling the players to act, verbally announcing the actions of a player to the rest of the table and correcting any and all players who act out of turn.
The dealer also manages the pot. The poker dealer must verify all bets and raises placed by the players. The dealer must also collect all folded poker hands. The poker dealer must also read the players hands during a showdown to determine the winner. In poker games where there is a “rake”, the dealer must keep track of how much is in the pot and he must also subtract the appropriate ammount for the house.
As you can see, a poker dealer does not just deal the cards. There is so much more to being a poker dealer than what it appears. With poker dealers having to do so much, they deserve all the respect they can get.
Playing poker with Barack Obama sounds like a complete joy! Imagine playing poker with someone who shows all their cards the moment after they are dealt. And, it gets better – Barack Obama can’t (or doesn’t know how to) bluff his opponents. Rake in the chips and pay off the house when playing poker with Barack Obama.
Of course, Barack Obama may actually be able to play poker. It is highly possible he just doesn’t know how to apply his poker skills to being president. More specifically, Barack Obama doesn’t know how to apply his poker skills to the situation in Libya.
Barack Obama goes on television and announces that America will no longer be participating in the daily bombings of Libya. By the next morning, it was all over the news that Gaddifi had increased his attacks on his own people. Barack Obama spread his cards face up at the table and said, “This is what I have.”
Barack Obama promises, in another television appearance, that there will not be “boots on the ground.” No matter what, no American ground troops will be in Libya. He was much more emphatic about it this time. What happened? Gaddifi went to work and the attacks on the Libyan people once again increased. If Barack Obama only knew the power of the bluff!
Why on God’s green planet would Barack Obama announce to Gaddifi (and the rest of the world) that America would no longer be participating? Does he not understand that Gaddifi knows what America’s military and it’s bombs are capable of doing? To tell Gaddifi “no more American involvement on daily basis” is inviting him to wreak more havoc on Libya. Gaddifi accepted that invitation and did just that.
Barack Obama had said repeatedly there would be no ground troops in Libya. Why? America has the best trained and equipped military in the world. American Special Forces are capable of extraordinary things when dropped into a combat area. Even if there would never be boots on the ground, you should never tell the opposing side that. It is called a bluff. Gaddifi doesn’t want American forces on the ground in Libya because he knows what they are capable of doing.
“Play the player, not the cards,” is an old rule in poker. It seems that Barack Obama can’t play either one when it comes to Libya. Gaddifi was contained and not a threat to America, yet Barack Obama had to protect the interests of China and Europe. He made his little statement by sending our bombers to play with Gaddifi for a few days – his fingers crossed that this would keep China happy and willing to loan America money.
Gaddifi must be able to poker. Well, against Obama at least. Gaddifi played the player and not the cards. He slowed his attacks on his own country, wondering what was in Obama’s hand. Once Obama put those cards on the table, Gaddifi pounced.
Should Barack Obama ever take Michelle on a vacation to a casino, by all means, sit down at a poker table with him. It should prove to be quite for profitable for his poker opponents. If there is any doubt, ask Gaddifi – he’s the one with all the chips and laughing.
You’ve been bitten by the poker bug. You’ve seen the World Series of Poker on TV. You’re just learning the game; maybe dabbled online. Now, you want to give live tournament play a try, but you’re intimidated. You may feel your skills aren’t good enough, or you might think that you have to spend a lot of money to buy into the World Series or another big tournament. You can set those fears aside. There’s a tournament for every skill level and every bank account in nearly every legal card room in the country.
To enter a tournament you’re going to have to pay an upfront fee called a buy-in. That’s a set amount of money that will go to cover the prize pool for a particular tournament, as well as to cover the casino’s cost of running the tournament.
The prize pool for a tournament is determined by the number of players who buy-in; the more players, the higher the prize pool. Generally, the top 10% of finishers in the tournament receive a cut of the pool, also known as “cashing”, or “making the cash”, with the highest amount going to the top finisher.
Usually, the top finisher can expect to take home about 20% of the pool. So, let’s say 50 players register for a tournament and each pay a $30 buy-in. For the sake of simplification, the pool would be $1500. The top five finishers in the tournament would each receive a cut of the pool, with $300 going to the first place finisher.
Where depends on how much you want to spend on a buy-in. Every poker room in the United States runs daily tournaments; some even run multiple tournaments throughout the day. The buy-in for each tournament can be different. You can find buy-ins that range from $1000 a player all the way down to $10 a player.
Sometimes re-buys and add-ons are offered. A re-buy allows you to buy your way back into a tournament if you get knocked out in the early rounds. Add-ons allow you to purchase extra chips. You should take advantage of both opportunities, especially if you’re a beginner.
You can call different poker rooms for more information, or go to their websites for listings of tournament schedules, buy-ins, options, and games offered. Some tournaments can attract hundreds of players, while others may only attract a few dozen.
Why Lower Is Better
A general rule of thumb is that tournaments with lower buy-ins attract less experienced players. For the most part, that’s true. So, if you’re just starting out, a tournament with a lower buy-in may match you against players of similar skill level, allowing you to stay in the game longer. That’s good news, because the longer you play, the more your skills will improve.
If possible, find a tournament that features “deep stacks”. In “deep stack” tournaments you start with more chips, so your chances are better of staying alive longer. Also, a lower buy-in limits your loss if you are knocked out before making the cash. Chances are you’re going to play in a number of tournaments before you cash. Consider it paying for lessons.
What Can I Expect?
You can expect to play No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em. That’s the game that’s dealt in most daily casino tournaments, these days. However, you can also find some card rooms that feature Omaha, 7 Card Stud, and mixed game tournaments, as well.
Let’s take you through the process. You arrive at the card room of your choice. Make your inquiry about tournaments at the front desk of the poker room. Once you find out when and how much, you’ll probably be directed to the cashier’s cage in the poker room, or to another cashier where you’ll pay your buy-in. You should receive a receipt, often a slip of paper or a card with a table and seat assignment on it.
Go to that table and hand your paper or card to the dealer. Take your assigned seat. You may already have chips in front of you, or the dealer may slide them to you. Count them. If the starting stack for your tournament is 3000, then you should have 3000 in chips in front of you. Just make sure that the number of chips you have is the correct starting amount for the tournament you’ve entered.
Play will take place in rounds. Each round lasts a set amount of time, usually 20 minutes or half an hour. Blinds are set for each round, and go up every time the round advances. In Texas Hold ‘Em, blinds are the initial two bets made at the start of poker hands. In later rounds antes may also come into play. Each player remaining in the game will be required to ante up a set amount before the start of a hand.
Rounds continue to be played until only one player remains. Often, the final few players left in a tournament will decide to “chop the pot”. That means they’ve decided to split the money remaining in the prize pool. However, you’re under no obligation to “chop the pot”.
Go For It!
The only way to improve your poker game is to play. Tournaments are different than cash games, so if you want to improve your tournament skills, you have to play in tournaments. Play enough and you could one day be ready for the World Series of Poker and other big tournaments. There are tournaments out there to prepare you for just that, and the process doesn’t have to be expensive or intimidating.
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