Poker Player Fans

Poker, specifically No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em, is a craze that is currently sweeping the nation.  With the constant television coverage of the World Series of Poker and its rise in popularity, everyone and their mother has suddenly become a poker player.  Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu and Doyle Brunson are becoming household names.  Poker rooms continue to pop up in casinos, dog tracks and jai alai frontons around Florida and local poker games are becoming easier and easier to find.

But hosting a poker night is not as easy as it sounds.  Establishing a well thought out poker night, requires dedication, commitment, the proper equipment, a good core of friends and a variety of other intangibles.  Any one can have people over to play some cards, but in order to set up a steady batch of players, it is crucial to do it right if you want it to become a regular gig.

Accordingly, here’s a beginner’s guide to setting up a happy and healthy poker night.  Oh, and may you always be dealt aces.

A big thanks to everyone who participated in the “Inbound Link Contest”.  We have a winner!  A big congratulations go out to Marija.  Thank you for all your hard work on this.  While we had a lot of people participate, Marija was able to win with only 4 links!  So it wouldn’t have taken a lot to win this contest!  We’ll be having another contest soon so stay tuned.

The whole purpose of this contest was to get our bloggers networking with other webmasters and to start to build up their inbound links which will help their traffic.  Even a few links can help you with the search engines as they will see you as more of an authority on your topic the more inbound links you have.

We’ve added some additional functionality to our ” Headline Widget” so that our bloggers can now promote their blog posts through the widget.  Simply go the “Headline Widget” page, type in your username in the appropriate blank, and copy the HTML to any webpages (i.e. your MySpace profile page or your personal blog) where you want your blog posts to appear.

The “Headline Widget” can be customized to display in any color and it comes in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Important: The widget is geared towards displaying headlines and blog posts for a particular sport or team, so if you want the widget to display all of your blog posts no matter what the subject of the blog post is, be sure to choose “All Sports Headlines” for the first customization option.

This widget is a great way to promote your blog.  Get as many people as you can to put the widget on their webpages.  For example, tell your friends with MySpace and blogs to paste your widget into their pages.  Or contact other sports bloggers and see if they would put the widget on their blog page.  The widget is simply HTMl code, so any page where you’re allowed to post HTML is a good place to post the widget.  We’ve had local television stations use this widget on their website to get up-to-date information about the local professional sports teams so there’s no telling who might find your blog posts interesting and be willing to post your widget on their website.

You may have noticed the small icons at the bottom of your blog posts linking to MySpace, Facebook, Digg, Stumble Upon and other social media websites.  These icons allow you to quickly link your blog post to these sites.  You should be using these links a lot.  Submitting to social media sites is free and easy and can really increase the traffic to your blog.  Consistently using them is the easiest way to build a following and increase your traffic.
Using the Facebook and MySpace links:

Assuming you have an account on MySpace or Facebook (it’s free to join so if you don’t sign up now) click on the icon below your blog post for the site you want to submit to.  It will take you to a submission page where you simply put in a brief description about your blog post.  Then, a link to your blog post will appear on your Facebook or MySpace profile. It’s that easy.  If you have a large following on either of these sites it’s an easy way to get people to your sports blog.  So make sure you submit links to your best sports blog posts.
Digg, StumbleUpon, BallHype:

These social media sites are a little different than MySpace and Facebook.  You create an account on these sites (it’s free to join), you submit interesting content (i.e. your sports blog posts) and you vote on content submitted by other people.  As you click around the sites looking at interesting content you’ll also be trying to build a friends list, which is important because people will find your submissions based in part by how many friends you have.  This is a simplistic overview of the sites, but it should be enough to get your started.  There is quite a bit of complexity to each of these sites and they all work a little bit differently.  The only real way to learn them is to use them so sign up with them today and start using them.

The Daytona Beach Kennel Club and Poker Room recently built a brand new structure just down the road from the old one.  Gone is the old school track and seedy poker room.  The new and improved complex now sits at the intersection of I-95 and I-4 and features more tables, a cleaner card room, a much nicer dog track, more simulcast screens and a considerably nicer bar and dining area.

On a recent trip to Daytona, I had some time to kill so I figured I’d pay the new poker room a visit, check out the surroundings and hopefully take down a big pot or two in the process.  I’ve been having significantly better results at cash games than tournaments lately, so I opted for the $1-$2 no limit table.  Besides, the only sit-n-go they offered at the time was a $120 buy-in, six person tournament with prize money for first place only.  Not exactly the odds I was looking for.

I sat down at Table 3 where eight other players had already gathered with the largest stack to my immediate right.  After watching a couple of hands, no player seemed über-aggressive, although it was still way too early to get a definitive read on anybody.

About six hands in, I became the small blind.  Five players ahead of me called.  Since the person to my left hadn’t made a move since I took my seat, I guessed he likely wouldn’t raise from the big blind.  For an extra dollar, I saw the flop with a J-5 off suit, a hand I obviously wouldn’t play otherwise.

About a month ago I was playing some 2/5NL at the Borgatta in Atlantic City and talking to the two poker pros who happened to be sitting immediately to my right. Both of them, like myself, are members of the wonderful poker community, and having something in common, we began to discuss poker strategy. While I ended up down a full buy in ($500), this may have been the single most valuable poker session of my career due to the information I garnered and new perspective on poker I eventually gained from our discussion.

One of them, who claimed that he rocked the $5/10 and $10/20 tables on both Poker Stars and Full Tilt Poker and was just winding down a 36 hour session by donking it up at $2/5 live (some other online pros I talk to know him and verified that this claim is true), argued that the poker training sites, such as deucescrackes or cardrunners, are actually making poker more profitable for him. This goes against all conventional wisdom, as most pros can be heard complaining about how poker is “drying up” and the edges are becoming much smaller due to the hyper aggression taught by such training sites. The more people who sign up for and learn from these sites, the fewer there are in the ocean and the more sharks there are fighting to feed off of them.

According to this poker pro, he was able to play a 24/14 preflop style profitably. A 24/14 style is generally considered to be stationy, leeky, and played only by losing players. For those who don’t use HUD displays when playing online poker, the first number refers to VPIP, or the % of time you voluntarily put money into the pot (thus limping or calling increases your VPIP, posting a blind does not as you are forced to put money in then). The second number refers to Preflop Agression (PF) or the % of time you raise it up preflop. Note that you can never have a great PF than VPIP.

I was watching ESPN’s 2008 World Series of Poker final table preview show on election night and they showed where the final table will be played. It will not be in the Rio card room, or even a different casino. Contrary to tradition, it will be held in the Rio’s Pen and Teller theatre. I wouldn’t have thought much of it until they showed the theatre itself. This theatre looks like it seats hundreds of spectators, if not more. If you’re like me at all then you like to see the player run over to his family and friends to be embraced after catching that ace on the river or seeing his kings hold up. But what now?

Are we going to see “Chino” Rheem sprint up a flight of stairs to be congratulated by his cheering section? However, all of this is irrelevant compared to the bigger picture and the question I have for any of you reading this blog. Do you like or dislike the scale on which poker is being displayed? For example: the stadium-like setting, the American Idol like preview show, and the straight to super star status the nine finalists have received, in some cases just for catching cards. Now, if I were one of the last nine I’m sure I’d revel in it. But due to the fact that I am on my comfy couch and not an uncomfortable casino chair I dare to ask the question. I’d love to hear what you have to say. So I pass the keys to you, America, or the few eyes that may be reading this. Do you love or hate what you’re seeing at this year’s Main

Poker player

Poker player

Poker is a game of chance (wait I’m not finished), yes skill is required but no matter how much skill you have you cannot just make that king magically come up on the river to make your gutshot straight draw. With that said I love taking chances, there is nothing better than sitting down at a table with eight other people wondering the whole time who will get the cards tonight.
There is no luck in poker, ill say it again, there is no LUCK in poker. Stop looking at your computer screen funny, I’m going to explain…People go on rushes, they get good cards, they play the cards they get really well, or by some chance that king of clubs does come up on the river. Then you have the bad beats such as your aces full of 9’s get crushed by quad 9’s, yes that happened to me just a few days ago), or you get outplayed or someone else catches that elusive king on the river. Either way its not luck, no my friends its not luck, the cards fall the way they are shuffled and actually the game is decided before the cards are even dealt out.Now I’m sure i’ll get some E-mails on that, but guess what…That’s exactly what I want, E-mail me, let me know what you think, I’m an open minded guy.

Now for a little about me, after all you have to know a little about the person who’s blog you’ll be reading right?
I am an avid poker player, I play two weekly live tournaments in the BTR world poker league (but more on them later)
I play online on almost constantly when I’m at home and not reading or sleeping. I love Suited cards, give me 9 queen of hearts and I’ll play it 95 percent of the time. I hate pocket aces, I’m sure a lot of you do, they get cracked

Three years ago today I was sitting in a poker room watching some football and then it started filtering in.  Kobe had 40 pts, well that’s good are they winning?  No they are down and its early third quarter and I was like wow, but realize that Kobe had scored 56 in 3 quarters against Memphis a year earlier or so.  Then it was 50 and we are still not through with the third and we all started paying attention.  Then in the fourth quarter Kobe went into a gear that has never been seen and has not since.  Forget MJ, even forget Wilt (making 4 foot finger rolls over guys you are 4 inches taller than doesn’t count) and simply sit back and wacth offensive greatness that not be surpassed for 30, 50, or even a 100 years.  MJ could never shoot this well so before this gets personal its a comparison, when you think that MJ’s highest scoring game was 69 in an overtime game and Kobe finished with 55 points in a half?!  This was after they were down big double figures before he went off.    Kobe likes to be a facilitator early in games much like Michael did later in his career so let’s just think what if for a moment.  100 would have been feasible maybe even 110 or would he have run out of juice in the second half and started missing jumpers?  Fun isn’t it?  Michael would have benefitted greatly from the restrictions on hand checking in today’s game, but can you imagine Kobe being guarded by the likes of Craig  Ehlo, Danny Ainge, Byron Scott?  Kobe would simply rise above them and shoot jumpers all day

Many people campaign for better treatment of race horses, and still more campaigned to end slaughter. How many actually put their money up to support these horses? When a 10 year old bay gelding was found in a feedlot in the northwest he looked like he had a “story.” Indeed he did. Approaching the mandatory retirement age for Thoroughbreds he made his last known start at a small Oregon track, far from the crowds just months earlier in California. Without a stud career to look forward to like his famous brother, the gelding landed in a feedlot. Someone put the pieces together – he was Cappucino Kid, a respected race horse. A racing fan fronted the money to get him out of the feedlot, and funds were raised to send him to a retirement home in Kentucky. Home to other famous and not so famous horses, Best Friends is the only Thoroughbred retirement center to take stallions.The star of Seabiscuit is here. His break came when he broke from the gate, literally. The movie shots of “Seabiscuit” breaking from the gate was actually Popcorn Deelites. Classy old stallions Ogygian, Creator and Sunshine Forever were shipped back from Japan, insuring they will not meet the same fate of Ferdinand. Bonnie’s Poker, dam of Silver Charm, lives here. It’s slated to be the retirement home of champion Lava Man.Of course housing and caring for these horses takes money and plenty of it. There are sponsorships at various levels available and for those who feed certain feeds the seals from those feedbacks can be donated to benefit the horses. Those involved in racing often are critics.

I have been playing a weekly to semi-weekly game of Texas Hold’em with a rotating group of friends now for about five years.  I believe we started on New Year’s Day 2004 with just five of us in someone’s living room.  Only one of us (not me) had really had much experience playing hold’em at a casino while the rest of us just watched on on TV and occasionally called it out in the semi-weekly dealer’s choice game we had been playing for years before that.

So one day we decided to just play tournaments.  We each put $10 (or sometimes $20) in and played for a first or second place prize.  We did this for a few years and it was a blast.  We all started to learn each other’s tendencies.  We would make casino trips together and sit at the same table so two, three, four of us would have fun playing with the strangers who would sit down.  We would never cheat but we knew each other so well that we could anticipate each other better and it would make for a more fun game.  Throughout that time, we would have people who would only show up every now and then and give us games of 10-20 people but was the same five or six of us would always show up.  We never really did it to try to win lots of money.  We just liked getting together every week on a Friday night and having some fun.

At some point about a year and a half ago, it switched from being a tournament to just a game.  There was a maximum buy in of $25 at a time.  If you went out, you could rebuy.  The blinds were 25 cents/50 cents and it was a no limit game.  And this was also fun.  It was nice to switch and do something else.

I think it is workable as well as a potential source of new income,” said fellow State Sen. Dean Florez (D-Shafter). “How you structure it is the key.”

California — the cash-strapped state that has shown willingness historically to be a trendsetter when it comes to legislative action — is ready to hold a hearing on the merits of regulating online poker. Michigan State Sen. Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood) told the LA Times this week that the state legislature is planning on holding a hearing on the issue in February.

“About two million Californians are playing poker offshore right now,” said Patrick Dorinson, a spokesperson for Morongo, referencing the popularity of current online poker sites that serve American players.

The Morongo Band of Mission Indians & the Commerce Casino are two entities in a group of gaming-associated groups who are calling for regulation. Both the Morongo tribe & Commerce hope to operate online poker web-sites if the legislation became law.

However, not all groups support the proposal.

Lawmakers are hesitant to predict how much intrastate online poker training could bring in to the state in terms of revenue, but the LA Times said that if the state operated poker like it does its Indian-run slot machines, over $250 million could be raised per year.

“Card game betting on the Web would take business away from brick-and-mortar casinos,” said Robert Smith, the chairman of the Michigan Tribal Business Alliance.

To try and motivate our bloggers to get inbound links we’re going to have a contest to see which blogger can get the most inbound links to their blog. The contest begins now and ends July 31st, 2008. To be entered in to the contest all you have to do is go out and get as many websites to link to your blog as you can and at the end of the month send us an email listing all those links. All links must be active from August 1st through August 7th when we’ll be judging the entries – a winner will be announced on August 7th. All entry emails must be received by Midnight on July 31st, 2008.

We’re going to impose some restrictions on the types of links you can get so please see below for the full list of links that do NOT count.

To get started simply go to Google and find other websites and blog that are about the sports and teams that you write about. Email the website owner and ask them for a link by explaining that you think your blog would be a good resource for their readers. Or offer to write a guest post for them with your by-line and URL at the bottom of the article. Or offer to exchange links with them by writing a quick write up of their site and a reciprocal link back to them. Some webmasters will be happy to add you to their blog roll even if you don’t give them a link back (which is ideal) but some may want you to link back to them – you can easily do this with a quick blog entry on your blog about their website.