Lynn "Queen of Hearts" ParisLynn “Queen of Hearts” Paris

Poker fans that enjoy watching professional poker players battle it out live on the felt fell in love with a series called Poker After Dark that ran on NBC from 2007 until Black Friday, 2011. Some of the biggest names in poker played in the high-stakes cash games yet it felt like they were in your living room. Late at night you can still catch reruns and some of the most memorable highlights can be found on YouTube.

Well folks, get ready to fall in love again. Poker After Dark is back, produced by Poker Central and streamed to you exclusively on PokerGO. In fact, its first new episode debuted Monday night August 14th at 8 p.m. with following episodes to air at the same time Tuesday and Wednesday nights throughout the year.

To give you a taste of the caliber of the poker players participating, Monday night’s game featured Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari and Tom Dwan (one of the most popular high-stakes player from the original series) along with Jean-Robert Bellande, Lauren Roberts and Bill Klein. All six players began with a minimum of $100,000, with the blinds at $200/$400 and more than $2 million on the table.

The series has begun with No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em, but the producers are planning to include some of the mixed games like pot limit Omaha that are gaining in popularity in high-stakes action.

What made Poker After Dark such a fan favorite was the intimacy of the setting, and the producers of the revival have kept it that way. Although the expert commentary of Ali Nejad and Nick Schulman will be provided, the real fan appeal is that feeling of being a voyeur with the ability to listen to the banter/trash talk of the players. So, unlike the commentary-heavy coverage of the recent 2017 WSOP, Poker After Dark relies on the up close and personal style of the original series, bluffs, bad beats, controversies and all.

Of course, if you did what we did, you may no longer have a subscription to PokerGO. We paid for two months in order to watch all of the World Series. However, we had some complaints (let’s just say we weren’t always satisfied with the coverage) so we didn’t renew. With the advent of the new Poker After Dark, however, this may be the perfect time to re-think our decision. For $99 a year, it seems like there’s some great poker ahead of us.

Send me your thoughts and comments

Tadas PeckaitisTadas “My Poker Coaching” Peckaitis

While more and more players are turning to live games, I decided to revisit a crucial topic for live play – poker tells.

Tells can be a powerful source of information if used correctly and help take your game one step further. However, poker players often miss the opportunity to build their stack by not noticing some obvious signs. I will just touch the surface and highlight the most common and trusted signs in live poker games.

Watch for poker tellsTiming

Timing is very player dependent, but when you spot some tendencies, you are likely to have a dead-on tell. People cannot change their habits very quickly, and you can use that to your advantage.

If you see someone taking a lot of time with weak hands and then checking, while checking much faster when trapping with a strong holding, it is not likely to change anytime soon. So, if you notice players taking different amounts of time to make decisions with strong and weak hands, it will be one of the most reliable tells you can use.

As a rule of thumb, when people think for an extended period and then check, they (usually) have a pretty weak or medium strength holding and almost never a nut type hand.

When someone bets big almost at once, it means they have made up their mind about betting before even seeing the following cards, and it (usually) indicates strength.

Bet sizing

Similar to the timing tell, sizing is also player dependent and is essential to use against weaker players. Regulars can easily manipulate bet sizing and will tend to remain fairly balanced unless they’re trying to trap you, but either way, you should not go out of line versus professional or more experienced players.

However, when you are up against recreational players, you can get pick up on a few signs. First, they are very unlikely to bluff with small sizing so if you face lower than ½-pot size bet, most of the time, it is going to be for value.

Second,  when you face a huge bet on a dry board, the vast majority of the time it indicates strength. However, this is not the case on connected boards so you should not make your decision based on bet sizing in that situation.

Talking

I can assure you that very few players talk while they are running a big bluff. Most likely, you will see them trying not to show any signs of weakness and staying quiet. They don’t want to risk talking and giving up the strength of their hand with a shaky voice, so many prefer not to say anything.

Therefore, when someone starts talking while in the hand, they are much more likely to be confident with their holding, and it is (usually) an indication of strength.

All things considered

Obviously, you should be aware that poker tells can give you a lot of information about recreational players, but not so much about regulars. Moreover, some of them can be faked, so you want to treat tells  as extra information without making your decision based entirely on a perceived tell.

There are many other signs you can notice and take into consideration both live and online. Therefore, I encourage you to learn more about poker tells and make more informed decisions with that extra information.

Send me your thoughts, comments or questions!

Lynn "Queen of Hearts" ParisLynn “Queen of Hearts” Paris

I asked my husband, Jim “Pocket Bullets” Paris, if there’s a time limit on the players’ action in his weekly poker game. He said no, unless someone is obviously wasting time on every hand, but that rarely happens.

But time has definitely been a factor on the professional circuit and stalling has become a concern recently in live tournaments, notably the World Series Of Poker. When a player takes too long to act, the game slows down, and with many of the coveted audience of millennials and GenZ’ers already thinking that poker is too slow to interest them, that’s NOT a good thing.

So, to pick up the pace to appeal to a broader  audience, similar to the concept behind the Global Poker League (and by the way, where are you Alex Dreyfus?) and partially in response to the controversial slow-betting ‘speech play” of  William Kassouf in last year’s WSOP Main Event, we saw a new clock rule at this year’s WSOP.

The two-minute rule was eliminated. (The old rule was that someone could call the clock after a “reasonable amount of time, which was actually two minutes. Then the dealer had to call for the floor manager. The floor manager slowly responded, walking over to ask the dealer if the player had a “reasonable amount of time.” If he answered yes, the floor manager gave the player another minute to make a decision on his hand!) That’s some serious time-wasting!

The new WSOP rule isn’t a great improvement. Now, players can call the clock whenever they want to. The same process occurs between the dealer and floor manager. The floor manager can then give the player anywhere between 0 and 30 seconds to make a decision.

Some of the older, iconic players love the clock. In fact, Daniel Negreanu has stated that he doesn’t like playing games without a shot clock and has reduced his No-Limit Hold’Em schedule until the WSOP institutes one. He’s not alone; a vast majority of players like the shot clock, especially those who also play online and are accustomed to a much faster pace.

The World Poker Tour, however, has heard the message loud and clear. They have announced that the WPT will be using a 30-second Action Clock during all Main Tour events, to be utilized one full table off the money bubble and remain in play until the conclusion of the tournament. Players will be limited to 30 seconds for each action, but will also receive time extension chips for use during difficult moments in the later stages of the tournament.

As Matt Savage, WPT Executive Tour Director, stated, “The World Poker Tour is proud to be the first to implement the Action Clock across its Main Events. He thinks that speeding up the game is a no-brainer.

What do you think?… Send us your thoughts, comments or questions!

Lynn "Queen of Hearts" ParisLynn “Queen of Hearts” Paris

Poker fans worldwide have had their eyes glued to the 48th Annual World Series of Poker’s Main Event, now down to the Final Three: Scott Blumstein, Dan Ott and Benjamin Pollak. Of course, the fans include me and Jim “Pocket Bullets” Paris, my darling husband and Texas Poker Store partner.Final Three: Scott Blumstein, Benjamin Pollak,  and Dan Ott

Since all of our favorite players busted way before the Final Table, we had to find someone to root for as they played their way down to three on Friday night. We joined the crowd of John Hesp fans, because how could you not love the charming 65-year-old Brit who entered the Main Event to cross off an item on his bucket list? His improbable landing in the Final Nine earned him a whole lotta love, plus a staggering $2.6 million when he hit the rail in 4th place.

But honestly, the Final Table never quite lived up to my excitement expectations due to the massive chip count amassed by Scott Blumstein. All the shorter and short stacks hung in for a long time but could never get close to Blumstein, who was able to push them around all night. Not only did he maintain his huge chip advantage throughout play, but he also had luck going for him, hitting crazy hands on the turn or the river enough times to ward off any challenges. He played his huge stack just the way he needed to.

Going into tonight’s battle he brings with him more than 226 million chips. In second place is Ott, with 88,375 million and Pollak, with 45,850 million. Ott surged to make it into the final three, continuing to chip up until the end of play. In my opinion, he was the only player who appeared to be playing for the championship rather than the pay jump. Pollak was smart, cool and steady, with a couple of his best plays being extremely well thought-out folds.The 2017 Gold Bracelet and a lot of cash

We’ll see what tonight brings, but it sure looks like it’s Blumstein’s title, unless he gets unbelievably careless and his luck turns. That’s highly unlikely, but it would make the final table much more exciting.

Send us your thoughts, comments or questions!