BY RUSS SCOTT
JANUARY 1, 2008
PLAYER ASKS: SHOULD HOME GAME BE TOURNEY-STYLE?
No matter how many thousands of players visit poker rooms across the nation, it’s a safe bet 10 times that number can be found at any given time playing in home games. That number is about to grow.
(SET ITAL) * Hey LuckyDog: My friends and I would like to start up a friendly Texas hold-em game. Should we use a tournament format like what’s on TV where players are eliminated, or should we play a regular game like we grew up with? — Pete S., Illinois Quad-Cities. (END ITAL)
Great way to start the new year, Pete!
I think most home games still are straight cash/chip action with set betting limits. It’s hard to top this format for fun, as long as the stakes are comfortable for everyone. Just be aware that with low stakes, it’s tough to bluff out opponents and lots of players often stay to the end of each hand.
Thanks to TV, the no-limit tournament format is gaining popularity at home games. You get the thrill of big-bet action and bluffs actually work. This format also pre-sets everyone’s investment (buy-in). Remember, though, tournament format has more to keep track of such as increasing blinds and all-in betting.
Also, with your small group (eight or fewer players), what happens when players bust out quickly? Do they go home? Watch TV? If you had more players, you could fire up a cash side game to keep eliminated players in action while the tourney concludes.
The fixed-limit hold’em game probably will work best for your group, at least to start. Three important tips: Use chips instead of cash, don’t take a “house cut”, and always set a quitting time so players who are losing know how long they have to get even.
(SET ITAL) * Why is it that in heads-up play using two blinds, the small blind is on the button and acts first before the flop, then acts last the rest of the hand? It seems to me the big blind should get the button and act last all the way. — Jack from Moline, Ill.
The heads-up rule for posting blinds took me a while to get used to, Jack.
It’s designed to better distribute positional advantage in heads-up play. Theoretically, the small blind would be at a big disadvantage if the big blind, who is more heavily invested in the hand pre-flop, also got to act last on every betting round.
I’m OK with the rule, but I’m not sure it accomplishes what it’s supposed to — especially in no-limit games where the big bet often trumps positional advantage anyway.
CANDIDATES STIFF LUCKYDOG
On Nov. 25, I e-mailed the presidential candidates asking if they would support a repeal of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act and the establishment of regulated online poker in the U.S. The response was underwhelming.
The campaign for Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut quickly promised a “specific response”, but none came. I also heard from Mike Gravel’s campaign (twice) but both messages just asked for a contribution to the former Alaska Democratic senator.
So, with caucuses and primaries at hand in Iowa, Wyoming, New Hampshire and Michigan, I checked the Internet to find out which candidates might support online poker, if elected. The list isn’t very long.
Based on what I found, the only acknowledged champion of online poker is Ron Paul, a former Republican U.S. representative from Texas. Among GOP front-runners, only former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson is seen as a possible supporter.
Democrats on the “maybe” list are Barack Obama of Illinois, Bill Richardson of New Mexico, Joe Biden of Delaware, and Dennis Kucinich of Ohio.
Sure, the nation faces bigger issues than online poker. But if you found two candidates you liked on the major issues and one of them also believed in your freedom to play poker online, would that influence your vote?
AND DON’T FORGET…
Ken Light is blogging his experience as the first amateur to appear against elite pros on NBC’s Poker After Dark immediately after each episode airs this week, concluding Saturday (Jan. 5).
Follow the match through his eyes every night at www.luckydogpoker.com. (The finish is amazing!)
E-mail your poker questions and comments to email@example.com for use in future columns. To find out more about Russ Scott and read previous LuckyDog Poker columns, visit www.creators.com or www.luckydogpoker.com.
COPYRIGHT 2008 RUSS SCOTT
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