Here is a big news flash that will catapult you immediately from an intermediate player to an expert if you are not there already. The most important skill any player can develop at the poker table is the ability to read other players’ personalities, betting patterns, and, ultimately, their cards.
It is a euphoric feeling for the beginner when she realizes that although each player is dealt two personal, private cards, it is sometimes possible to know with near certainty what someone’s two hidden cards are. It’s almost as though you can see through both the cards and into a player’s brain to gather the information you need to make a good call, a good fold, or a great bluff. To be effective in reading cards, one must watch patterns. Is he aggressive, raising at every opportunity, or is he quietly calling? Such information will reveal the cards to you just as surely as if he were playing with his hand face up. (more…)
I believe that knowledge is a valuable asset if you want to excel at most things. That includes all sports, bridge, chess, science, math and a long list of myriad topics, including gambling. The gaming industry, however, is unlike most others in that certain topics are off limits and will never see the light of day.
For example, the highest level of device technologists is called a bench tech (most manufacturers have around ten levels) and you will never ever see one on any casino floor or even on site. I spoke to a bench tech once due to unusual circumstances and he told me that they take their secrets to the grave. So, when a level one or two technician tells you which machine to play or how they work you should take it with a grain of salt. But there are many branches of gambling facts that are not just accurate but potentially profitable. The tough part is shining a light on legitimate facts so you can differentiate between the sunshine and the fairy tales. (more…)
The Lodge at Deadwood Gaming Resort
Playing A-x Suited: Bad Flop
Suppose that a jackal has raised the flop, and you have called his raise with Ad- 5d, and then the big blind calls as well. If the flop comes down Js-Qh-3d and the big blind checks and the jackal bets, fold your hand. You have missed the flop (you don’t have either a pair, a straight draw, or a flush draw); you have only two bets in the pot at this point; and you were the caller before the flop, not the raiser. There is no warrant for getting further involved in this hand. (more…)
You have 4-4 in the fourth position, and the player in the second position (two seats to the left of the big blind) makes it two bets to go. You’re playing my theory—“three-bet with small pairs”—before the flop, so you make it three bets. No one else calls, and the flop is Q-10-3. The player in the second position then bets out into you and you raise him, thus “representing” a queen (or perhaps K-K or A-A) but also gaining information.
As a game that allows players to exercise their skill along with having a strong element of chance, blackjack has more subtleties than most casino games. It also leaves plenty of room for question and comment. Let’s try to answer a few questions and relay a few comments submitted by readers.
The residual effects of watching thousands of hands has been tremendous for my game, and I’d love to share some observations with you, as I do regularly as an instructor at the WPT Boot Camp. We have taken the time to match WPT footage with specific instructional material. Classes are taught by, not only me, but our Boot Camp core instructors, Mike Sexton, Vince Van Patten, Linda Johnson, Scott Fischman and Ron Rose.
The process of watching and analyzing thousands of hands from simultaneous camera angles offers me a significant amount of data to see consistent patterns develop.