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Poker

Tuesday, May 18, 2004 7:05:14 PM

After much searching, I've finally discovered a good use for the web -- online poker. Yes, the web is not just a place for stale news, advertisements, and Amazon.com. Poker is both fun and profitable if you play your cards right, so to speak.

Online poker is quite different than online casino games, where the odds are stacked in the house's favor. In online poker, you are playing against other people. If you are better at the game than the other players, you'll end up a winner. Although I've been playing online for a while, I played in my first live poker tournament last weekend in Atlantic City (Borgata) -- no limit Texas Hold 'em. I was unsuccessful, however the experience was great and I am ready for the next one. I busted out at approximately 27 out of 50 opponents. My losing hand was an AK offsuit which I betted strong before the flop and was re-raised all-in. The raiser was sitting on pocket queens, and I had roughly a 50/50 shot at it after we turned our cards up. Looking back, it was a hand that I would not typically go all in with unless I was on a large stack or in a better position. I was able to play for about 2 1/2 hours, with a few good hands and a few successful all-ins. Next time I'll do better. 

My problem was that I have never played in a live situation before, so I was a little nervous at the table. I've been playing online for a while, and feel relatively confident of my abilities, but playing live was new to me. I wish I had gotten there a day earlier to play some ring games and get a feel for the tables. The entry fee was $220, but there were opportunities to re-buy and add-on. I generally do not like tourneys that allow rebuys and add-ons, because it gives players incentive to play crap hands if they know they can just buy more chips if they bust out. Also, at the first break, everyone bought more chips using the add-on. This stacks the odds against anyone who doesn't add-on. The add-on was $200, and I had to go for it because everyone else at the table did the add-on -- I couldn't sit there with $1200 in chips when everyone else had $6000 or more. So in all the tourney cost me $420. I made most of it back playing ring games the next day (mostly 6/12 limit hold 'em). The prizes for 1st and 2nd were $10,000 entries into another tourney. I think 3rd and 4th paid out a few thousand dollars as well.  

If you're interested in finding out more about online poker, check out Poker Pages at http://www.pokerpages.com. I usually play at Party Poker, which has over 40,000 players (use the link to get a 20% bonus on any money you deposit). They have freeplay and play for money, but if you play in the freeplay games there is not much skill involved -- most of the people there are bad players and stay in on anything. If you want a good free game, sign up with Poker School. The people there take the game seriously and you can play for free in a situation that feels more like a real money game. Absolute Poker is good too, although a little smaller in size. The free games there are not as wild as the Party Poker free games. Also, Paradise Poker has great tournaments every night where you can win $5-10K on a $30 entry.

See you at the tables.

Category tags: Poker

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