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New Interest Created in Live Poker

16 July 2003

Thanks to a series on Texas Hold'em Championship poker tournaments that recently aired on cable television's The Travel Channel, there seems to be a renewed interest among the public at large in live poker.

Just the other evening when I was playing Let It Ride at Harrah's East Chicago, I was chatting with the players on either side of me at the table. Both of them had been watching the televised tournaments and expressed an interest in the game, but neither had taken the plunge.

Live poker options are limited in the Chicago area. The only casino in Illinois that has a dedicated live poker room is the Hollywood Casino in Aurora. In Northwest Indiana you'll find one at Harrah's East Chicago and also at The Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City.

They present a difficult scenario for a beginner to become acquainted with the games because available seats are frequently at a premium, the tables are often filled with skilled, experienced players, and the stakes can be high.

Almost every Las Vegas casino has a live poker room. Some of the locals-oriented properties have low-stakes games and a much friendlier environment for novices to cut their teeth in actual play, but even so, as one of my Let It Ride tablemates warned me: "There are poker sharps in Vegas who'll skin you alive."

Live poker is quite different from traditional casino table games, where you are playing against the house. In live poker you are playing against the people at your table. The house merely provides a dealer and takes a percentage (rake) from each pot.

In addition to being a game of skill, live poker can also be a game of cunning, deception, and psychological warfare. There's more to getting the best hand. Pots are often won with poor hands. Games are won and lost with the manipulative wagering guile that experienced players utilize.

Live poker isn't rocket science, mind you. Anyone who has engaged in home poker games with family and friends is already fairly well equipped to tackle the casino version. But there is still a lot to be learned. The only way to learn, if you are interested, is to sit down and play the game.

Playing cards with strangers can be an especially intimidating experience for beginners. It's not like blackjack where players form a common bond to beat the dealer. In live poker players beat one another.

The most popular casino poker games are 7 Card Stud, Texas Hold'em, 7 Stud Hi/Lo-8 or Better, and Omaha Hi/Lo-8 or Better. Of these games, the easiest to learn and the easiest to play is Texas Hold'em.

In Texas Hold'em, the basic format is for each player to be dealt two cards face down. After a round of betting, the dealer flips over three community cards. After another round of betting a fourth community card is revealed. After another betting round, a fifth and final community card is dealt. Players make the best 5-card poker hand from their own two cards and the five community cards.

Texas Hold'em is the easiest game to play and learn. Strategy is involved but it is minimal compared with the other games.

In Texas Hold'em there is a great deal of information a bettor can derive from the community cards. For example, any pair on the table means that some player is likely to be holding three-of-a-kind. Suited cards means someone is likely holding a flush. You also have to be on the lookout for possible straights. It is such information that players must use to make decisions on whether to fold or stay in the game.

New Interest Created in Live Poker is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.
John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp