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Me and Poker
In the late 1990s, when I last retired, my big obsession was playing the stock market. Then along came that looong Bear and it wasn't fun anymore. Recently, I've become somewhat obsessed by another type of gambling, Hold'Em Poker. In 2003, the Hold'Em games started showing up on the Travel Channel and ESPN. The real draw to them was that we, the TV audience, got to see all the players' cards! We got to see how they played, tried to out-guess them, and many of us decided that the game looked easy enough that we could play just about as well as those guys on TV winning the Millions of $$$. Then, along came Chris Moneymaker, a rank amateur, and won the 2003 World Series of Poker!! -- One of our own in the winner's circle! If there was ever any doubt about the possibilities of amateurs winning, that put it right out the window! Now, the amateurs are happily playing, both in live casinos and online, and, in many cases, the pros and semi-pros are happily gathering up our dollars. And if you don't think this topic is popular, check out the hit counter at the top of the page -- it was zero on when I initially created it on February 29, 2004. Happy Leap Day!
One of my lasting obsessions has always been gambling, especially live poker. I've played all kinds of poker games in home gatherings and have played alot of 7-Card Stud in casinos. In both situations, I lost more than I won. Years ago, I bought a book on 7-Card Stud, which did me a little good, but not much. I've played alot of Pai-Gow poker, as evidenced by my many Travel Log Chapters on the topic, but it's one of those against-the-dealer games, so isn't really poker. Then, in 2003, I decided to get serious, especially about Hold'Em Poker, bought some books, read them, studied them, and started playing Hold'Em. Initially, I went to a casino in Biloxi and donated $100 to their game (Travel Log Chapter 52). Later, I stopped in a casino in Louisiana and got into a tournament (Chapter 53). After returning home, I decided to try out the online Hold'Em. I went to a site that I'd heard on the Travel Channel, started to play, and with a month or so, learned a secret about how to win at online Hold'Em. It's a technique that only works online, that several other people have apparently discovered, but that will definitely give you an edge at winning. But more on that later ... first, let me introduce the intent of this page. If you really want to jump right to that part about the secret, CLICK HERE. I follow that below with links to all the Poker books that I've read, in case you want to go buy yourself a copy. Below that are my ramblings on poker topics, including retired guys playing poker, Hold'Em in general, Hold'Em online, and finally the discussion on my OnLine Hold'Em secret. AND - 2006 ADD-ON - Scroll way down to read my suggestions on which online site(s) to join.
The Complete Book of Hold 'Em Poker by Gary Carson PAPERBACK BOOK
Whether you're a novice player or a seasoned veteran, The Complete Book of Hold 'Em Poker can help improve your game. Valuable advice covers what to expect on a first visit to a card game; how to select the right table; how to adjust to changes in table conditions; and how to evaluate a pre-flop hand - the four most asked topics about Hold 'Em Poker in Internet poker chat rooms. Every aspect of Hold 'Em is covered here, from the basics to the more esoteric issues such as: Betting Theory; The Odds; Table Image; Spread Limit Games; Kill Games; Tournaments; and Playing for a Living. Gary Carson has been writing about poker and thoroughbred handicapping since 1984. He has contributed numerous articles to Card Player magazine, American Turf Monthly, and Racing Star Weekly. He lives in Austin, Texas. REVIEW IN NEWSLETTER #2003.7.
Reduced prices available at Amazon.
Seven-Card Stud for Advanced Players by David Sklansky, Mason Malmuth, Ray Zee PAPERBACK BOOK
In 1989, the first edition of this text appeared. Many ideas, which were only known to a small, select group of players, were now made available to anyone who was striving to become an expert, and a major gap in the poker literature was closed. It is now a new century, and the authors have again moved the state of the art forward by adding over 100 pages of new material, including an extensive section on "loose games." Anyone who studies this text, is well disciplined, and gets the proper experience should become a significant winner. David Sklansky is generally considered the number one authority on gambling in the world today. Besides his ten books on the subject, David also has produced two videos and numerous writings for various gaming publications. His occasional poker seminars always receive an enthusiastic reception, including those given at the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City and the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. REVIEW IN NEWSLETTER #2003.8.
Reduced prices available at Amazon.
Caro's Book of Poker Tells by Mike Caro PAPERBACK BOOK
This revolutionary book, written by the world's foremost authority on poker strategy, psychology and statistics, shows you how to use the art and science of tells. Know what your opponents hold by studying their gestures, words and body language. All of this can only help you WIN ALL THEIR MONEY!
Mike Caro is a recognized expert on gambling and on poker, in particular. He has authored 10 books on these topics and his book of Tells is recommended in several other poker books (e.g., the Hold 'Em book listed above). A reader's review on Amazon states "A must read for any serious poker player, this small book is absolutely the best collection of common poker tells. Highly recommended!"
Here are most of the Poker books I've read thus far. Click any book cover for details and ordering information.
Below the books is a short discussion of webpages offering Hold'Em tips.
Ramblings on Retired Guys Playing Poker
I've always envied guys who retired, moved to Las Vegas, Reno, Biloxi, or wherever, and planned to spend their days (and nights) playing poker -- especially if they were able to fairly consistently win. Now, I couldn't do that for several reasons. First was that my wife, Joyce, probably wouldn't have willingly gone along with it -- I might've worked it out, but the hassle probably wouldn't have been worth the result -- especially if the result was that I lost! Another reason was that I wanted to spend much of my time travelling in the RV, so it made more sense to settle in a place that Joyce liked, just in case she ever decided to stay home while I went RVing -- as has been the case several times. Finally, I really like the winter weather in Florida and probably wouldn't want to spend the majority of my retirement years anywhere else (in the USA). I've checked out Arizona, Texas, California, and spots in between, and have decided that I'd rather be a Floridian, even if we can't get the voting machines right.
The way things have gone thus far is that I've found it possible to hit a casino at least 3-4 times a year, which is probably enough with the rate at which I generally lose my money. I've left a winner a few times, but not as often as I liked. If I was playing every day, especially live poker, I'd probably have been in the poor house a long time ago. It probably would've hit me worse than the Bear market ... haha. But recently, I've found a way that we can all play poker in retirement, without moving to where the casinos are! It's online! Sometime ago, when I first heard about online gambling, I was really skeptical -- having been a computer software programmer, I know that the developer of a program on poker or whatever, can cause it to work however he/she wants it to. It would be too easy to control who the winners and losers were. Since then, I've changed my tune -- check out online poker ramblings below. At least for now, I are one of those lucky retired guys who can play poker whenever they desire. I'm checking out the various sites and will have words to say about which I like and don't like in the near future -- read on.
Ramblings on Hold'Em Poker in General
I'm a novice! I only started playing a in late 2003, after enjoying many hours of live poker on the Travel Channel. I've read a few books on the game and I'm learning a little more every day. But, take heart! People have learned the game, then come up and won tournaments only months afterwards! It can be done and it's not pure chance with low probability like the lottery. All it takes is a small amount of money that you can afford to lose, a little studying to learn the nuances of the game, a little luck, and much, much patience. About 99% of the game of Hold'Em is patience -- waiting for the right hand. Then, of course, you must know when the right hand comes and how to handle it. That's where the skill comes in. Mix that in with being able to read the tells of others, not letting out any yourself, knowing the odds on various hands, being able to think with all the constant background noise in the casino, avoiding the smoke being blown at you by 70% of the players, being smart enough to not to have too many free drinks, etc., etc. ... now it's not quite so simple.
There are several things that make Hold'Em much more attractive than many other poker games. First thing, of course, is that we've all seen it played for many, many hours on TV. Second is that, with a little experience, you can pretty much tell what the best hand is that your opponents can possibly have -- then, it's just a matter of deciding if you think they have it. If you're sharp, you can tell by how/when they bet, which of those hands is most likely. The greatest attraction, as far as I'm concerned, is that every once in awhile you can determine that you have the nuts, which is the best hand possible with the cards showing on the table! Then, if you can get others to bet against you, you can really make some dough! Another attraction is that many of us believe that we may someday, if we get good enough, be able to play in the World Poker Tour or World Series of Poker championship games -- and maybe even win a little -- or alot!
I'm not going to go into any detail here on the rules of the game, since you can get those in great detail just by doing an online search. However, if you really want to learn the game, go to one of the online poker sites (some listed below in the online section), sign up (it's free!), and then look on their site for the rules. Most also have chatter on strategies, tips from winners, etc. I've spent most of my time thus far at ParadisePoker.com, but have found that it's typical of the types of features you'll find at all the poker sites -- more on that is available in the WebBook. At Paradise Poker, they allow you to play either with play money or real money. To learn, just get into a play money game and have at it. They give you $1000 play money. If/when you lose it, they give you $1000 more ... and on and on. I lost my $1000 several times, before I finally started winning a little. Last time I looked, I had somewhere over $20,000 -- about that time, I decided maybe I should try some real money. But more about that below in the online section -- scroll down to continue.
The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky PAPERBACK BOOK
The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky discusses theories and concepts applicable to nearly every variation of the game, including five-card draw (high), seven-card stud, hold 'em, lowball draw, and razz (seven-card lowball stud). This book introduces you to the Fundamental Theorem of Poker, its implications, and how it should affect your play. Other chapters discuss the value of deception, bluffing, raising, the slow-play, the value of position, psychology, heads-up play, game theory, implied odds, the free card, and semibluffing. Many of today's top poker players will tell you that this is the book that really made a difference in their play. That is, these are the ideas that separate the experts from the typical players. Those who read and study this book will literally leave behind those who don't, and most serious players wear the covers off their copies. According to the Amazon summary, this is the best book ever written on poker.
Ramblings on Online Hold'Em Poker
Just in case you skipped the Ramblings on Hold'Em Poker in General, I'll repeat that last part of what I said up there. If you really want to learn the game, go to one of the online poker sites (some are listed below with links), sign up (it's free!), and then look on their site for the rules. Most also have chatter on strategies, tips from winners, etc. I first started playing at ParadisePoker.com, but have found that it's typical of the types of features you'll find at all the poker sites -- more on that is available in the WebBook. At Paradise Poker, they allow you to play either with play money or real money. To learn, just get into a play money game and have at it. They give you $1000 play money. If/when you lose it, they give you $1000 more ... and on and on. I lost my $1000 several times, before I finally started winning a little. Last time I looked, I had somewhere over $20,000 -- about that time, I decided maybe I should try some real money.
Also, I mentioned above that playing poker in a casino involves being able to read the tells of others, not letting out any yourself, knowing the odds on various hands, being able to think with all the constant background noise in the casino, avoiding the smoke being blown at you by 70% of the players, being smart enough to not to have too many free drinks. Well, NOTICE that the majority of these are moot if you're playing online. That's one of the reasons I like the online better -- more follow.
Now, before you sign up, your first question might be how poker sites makes their money. They work just like a casino, taking a percentage rake from each money pot. Don't worry! They're making money! As far as how safe is it and how do you get paid, that's all very clear and simple on the site, so I suggest you just go take a look. Suffice to say that it looks all on the up-and-up to me and I've transferred money from my checking account to poker sites, then back from poker sites to the checking account, and it all seems to work as advertised.
How much money is involved? .. I'd guess millions and millions! The websites run 24/7 and, since they have players from all over the world, there's always someone awake and playing. From what I've noted, at any point in time, there are always 4000+ players online. I heard on the CBS News Sunday Morning show that the more popular sites have over 20,000 players on most of the time. They have standard games ranging from 5 cents to $200 limit, various types and dollar amount entry tournaments, and just about any variation of number of players, dollar amounts, etc. that you can imagine. They also have a suggestion box, so if there's something they missed, just tell them about it.
BTW, they also have bunches of other games, 5-card draw, Omaha, .... , none of which I've played.
That's enough about that, I think. Go try it! It's great!
After playing for a few weeks, I noticed something that another player was doing. I tried it myself and it really turned my luck around. I've been fairly consistently winning using my online secret since about Valentine's Day 2004, and have only seen a few others doing it. If you're interested, scroll down past the online links below and read about it.
Before I go to the secret, here are some of the sites I've heard about. Just click any of the pictures to go visit their website.
My Secret to Winning in Online Hold'Em Poker
I'll bet you thought you'd jump on down here and read the secret -- FREE --- hahaha .. not likely.
I've been doing mucho research to make sure the secret works, I've kept a record of hours played and results, in much detail, to determine if it works better or worse at different times of the day or night, with different types of players, at tables with different stakes, etc. I've given the secret to several players to try it out and let me know the results. I'm assuming it doesn't just work for me, since I'm historically a lousy poker player, so wanted a little more data on its success or failure.
I started in March 2004 and tested it and other theories for about 5 months. I've seldom lost while using the secret diligently, although I've often strayed from the plan in order to just have some fun. I'm still on the winning side of the game, as described in my Ebook/WebBook. I've played over 100,000 hands of almost every variation of online Texas Hold'Em and continue to average about 15,000 games per month. As long as I continue to enjoy it and continue to win, I guess I'll just keep on playing.
And what about those I gave the secret to? Well, it sounds like the majority are doing okay. Some attribute their winning to their skill rather than to the secret, but most continue to play using the secret. Some have lost, but it appears they like to play higher stakes games than I customarily do, and they may be a little too impatient or aggressive to stick to my system. Whatever ... isn't it worth trying out for a measly $15?
Party Poker seems to be very closely associated with the Travel Channel's World Poker Tour (WPT). Empire is much like PartyPoker, except they have many more FreeRolls (FREE tournaments)
Other Websites Offering Aid
While putting together the latest version of my Ebook/WebBook, I decided to go wander the web to see what others are offering relative to Online Hold'Em Poker. My findings? Very little. Feel free to click and decide for yourself.
http://www.texas-holdem-secrets.com/coursespecial.htm : A website by Rory Monahan, who claims to have spent 13 years on research. That right there makes me doubtful -- I don't think online Hold'Em has been around for more than a couple of years. As expected, his information deals mostly with live casino Hold'Em. It does include a book for $47 that includes "Three major advantages that online poker offers over regular poker... and how YOU can capitalize on them!" I'd be curious to see what his three major advantages are, but not $47 curious. I'd guess they're similar to the three major points included in my system. http://www.phil-hellmuth.com/online_poker_tips.shtml : If you've watched any online poker, you've heard of Phil, the Poker Brat. I'd seen him on TV advertising his system, so was curious. Upon checking his website, I'd say that his system is similar to the others I've found, in that it deals almost exclusively with live casino Hold'Em. He does include a section on online Hold'Em, which is basically some tips on picking websites, with a bias toward PartyPoker.com. Seems like all the WSOP and WPT people are stuck on PartyPoker -- I'm not. In one of my book's chapters, I tell you why. http://www.texasholdemonlinepoker.net/ : One of many, many websites that appear to have been produced by the folks at PartyPoker.com. In fact, if you do a Yahoo! Search on "online hold'em poker", you get around 4,000 hits, of which about 80% appear to be produced by PartyPoker.com. Some are cleverly disguised, but after clicking a few options, you're eventually led back to "join partypoker.com now!"
Those magics words! Texas Hold'Em! The whole country's going Hold'Em crazy! You've seen it on the Travel Channel and ESPN. I wouldn't be surprised if someone decides to set up a Poker Channel to show games 24 hours a day. The casinos that formerly had 3 or 4 Hold'Em tables now have 10 or 15 and they're always full! So why haven't you played yet? Or are you playing, but not winning? I have the answer! My Ebook/WebBook Secrets for Winning Online Hold'Em Poker.
Your first question might be What's an Ebook/WebBook? Not surprising, since I just invented the WebBook. An Ebook is an electronic book that you buy as a PDF or some similar type of file and read electronically, on your computer (unless you decide to print them). A WebBook is a series of webpages that are only accessible if you have the key and can only be read online (unless you decide to print them). What I'm going to describe below is sold to you as an Ebook, which then contains the key to accessing the WebBook. The WebBook is a dynamic, living document that continues to grow as time goes on and I add new tips and ideas to it. 2006 UPDATE: It's now 20 chapters and not expected to grow any further.
Your second question might be Why only talk about Online Poker? Answer is because everybody and his sister has a book or video or class to teach you the nuances of Texas Hold'Em. BUT, none really have much to say about Online Texas Hold'Em. That's because most are drawing on their experience of the last 10-50 years and online poker has only really become popular since 2003. My book deals exclusively with things I've picked up while playing over 100,000 games of Online Texas Hold'Em.
Your third question might be How much is this going to cost me? Now, most advertisers don't tell you the price until they've described the whole deal in detail. That's usually because that's when they break it to you that we're talking in the $300 range. Not so here! I formerly charged $15 for the Ebook/WebBook, which is currently 20 chapters of tips, tricks, and pitfalls telling you how to get started, where I like to play and why, specifics of various game options, and most importantly, my ONLINE HOLD'EM POKER WINNING SECRET!
If you're sold and don't want to read further, CLICK HERE TO GO GET YOUR COPY AND START READING! BUT WAIT! Don't expect a book on how to play Hold'Em -- there are many books/tapes/CDs you can buy to do that. Some are listed below. My book only deals with techniques you can only use online -- secrets to winning online, not how to play the game. That being said, CLICK HERE TO GO GET YOUR COPY AND START READING!
So now it's time for you to get started!
Secrets for Winning Online Hold'Em Poker.
In this Ebook/WebBook, I tell you how to get started, my winning secret, and other helpful tips I've picked up!
It’s now February 2006 and I’ve been playing online Hold’Em Poker fairly continuously for just over two years. As you read through my book, you’ll note that several times I appear to have “the answer” for consistently winning. As you read further, however, you’ll find another point in the book where I again have “the answer” – but it’s a different answer. If you consider that I’ve probably played an average of 3 hours every night (sometimes 6 hours and sometimes 1) over the last 800 days and I’ve calculated that I average 100 hands per hour, I’d guess that I’ve played somewhere in the neighborhood of 240,000 hands! That’s a bunch! You’d think I’d have learned something, eh?
Well, I think I’ve really figured out “the answer” – there is no answer! My experience is that certain tricks/approaches/systems seem to work very well for a time, then will suddenly result in a long period of losses. I haven’t really found any approach that consistently wins for a long period of time – like weeks. My approach now is to just play while I enjoy it, drop out for a while if I get on a losing streak, and try to quit while I’m ahead as often as possible.
Bottom Line: I’m not sure if I have any great ideas in here or not, so I’m going to treat it like shareware. For those not familiar with the term, a shareware program is a computer program that you get free, then pay for it you decide to keep it and use it. So, if you feel you’ve gotten some value from my ideas and you’re winning money as a result, go back to my Book-Sale Page and send me $15. If not … fine … maybe you’ll simply enjoy the read – and it’s got some nice graphical illustrations of real poker games!
I've never been to Golden Palace , so can't comment one way or the other on it.
NOTE: My book is now ShareWare!
That means you get it free,
then pay me $15 later
if you decide it's worth that much to you.
To skip all the reading below and
just get the book,
My Suggestions on Which Poker Site(s) to Join
So, which one do you join? Well, Paradise offers some cheaper games that can be more fun with little pressure. Their bonus requirements are easier than most. FullTilt has the backing of a number of pros, many of which play in games online almost daily. They have the best signin bonus and they have the best graphics and hand histories I've seen yet. HOWEVER, why not just join both? Put whatever amount you have available into FullTilt and get their famous 100% signup bonus. Then, after a few days, move that money out and signup at Paradise with the same dollars. That assumes you don't blow it all at FullTilt. Read my book, take it easy, earn your bonuses, and you'll make some money. To read more about FullTilt, CLICK HERE. To read more about PartyPoker, CLICK HERE. To read about UltimateBet Poker, CLICK HERE.
Below are just a few of the pros that play at FullTiltPoker - Phil Ivey, Erik Seidel, Howard Lederer, Erick Lindgren, John Juanda, Chris Ferguson, Clonie Gowen, and Phil Gordon. Join these and other pros, playing poker online at their website: FullTiltPoker.com
In case you haven't heard, USA residents are no longer allowed to play online poker since some idiot DA in NY decided it was illegal. Therefore, I'm no longer able to play or to maintain the poker information on this website. You're welcome to read it for a laugh ... Hoffman.
2011 - There's a new game in town!
"Everything I've Learned about ClubWPT"
I've not yet used BetBind , but it sounds useful.