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Lynn "Queen of Hearts" Paris

Lynn “Queen of Hearts” Paris

It seems almost impossible to believe that it was a year ago when we had to write about the postponement or cancellation of the majority of World Series of Poker circuit events around the world due to the Coronavirus. At the end of March, we still weren’t sure whether or not the flagship event, the summer’s 51st annual WSOP tournament would be held. Ultimately, of course, the world-famous tournament was played completely online, satisfying some, but disappointing the vast majority of poker fans.

So fast forward through a dismal year unlike any other, including an embarrassing hybrid WSOP “World Championship” event held online in December and here we are at the end of March again, wondering if there will be a LIVE 2021 WSOP. The powers that be at the World Series know that the biggest event in the poker world HAS to be live so they are spending most of their time figuring it all out.

Vaccines will definitely be the key to all major live events, and the tremendous success of the vaccine rollout is extremely encouraging. Still, it’s likely that the tables will continue with the Plexiglas and only allow 8 players per table. And, it’s very possible that everyone, including players, staff, dealers etc. will need to wear masks the entire time.

It seems likely that the WSOP might require a valid COVID-19 vaccination upon registering for events, although that may preclude many foreign players. How the vaccination question will be dealt with is yet to be determined, but at this point we can be relatively certain that there will be a live, but definitely not back to normal, 2021 WSOP.

Lumen Poker TableLet’s all hope for the best, in the mean time dust off your poker table or order a new one from the Texas Poker Store and have fun while we all wait for further news.

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Pocket Bullets Paris

During a recent poker game, I took a pretty large pot with a 7 of hearts and 2 of clubs. A novice player, who was watching the action, asked me a frequently asked question in poker. He wanted to know  “when is it a good time to bluff?” I gave him a couple of tips and after thanking me and patting me on the back for taking that hefty pot with just a 7 and 2 off suit, he left. 

I thought about his question and decided that although bluffing has been a topic in many “How To Play Poker” books and I had written about it and talked about it many times, I would revisit the topic once again. 

Best times to bluff:

  1. Bluff if you only have one other player still at the table.
  2. Hit it hard if the board cards or  the cards you have showing allow you to represent a winning hand.
  3. When your image at the table is that you are a very strong player.
  4. If you are in late position and no one has represented any kind of strong hand.
  5. If you can read your opponents and you really believe that they will fold to your bet or raise.

But you have to tread carefully through the bluffing canyons or you could slip and fall pretty heavily. You really need to try to read your opponents and especially pick up on how they played any of their winning hands.
There are very definite times when you should not bluff:

Worst times to bluff:

  1. If you know of any player still in the hand who will always call even when he has nothing. When you meet a player like this it’s best to let him or her shoot themselves in the foot!
  2. If one of the players has raked in a huge pile of poker chips and he can easily cover your bet or raise without much damage to him. Stay away; play it safe!
  3. If there are still  a lot of players at the table. Don’t do it!

Texas Poker Store Custom ChipsJust remember these simple do’s and don’ts and be a winner! And while you are wondering about bluffing, remember that we co-wrote the song “I May Be Bluffin’ “. Here it is for your enjoyment:

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Pocket Bullets ParisJim “Pocket Bullets” Paris
We are constantly being asked about playing position in Texas Hold Em . We know that question has been asked and answered a gazillion times but it still confuses a lot of players. Here is a brief description on the positions in Hold Em. Naturally the number of players tends to change the importance of positions, but generally speaking, when a table is full with nine or ten players as in our illustration below, the positions are usually titled Early Positions or EP,  Middle Positions or MP and Late Positions or LP. And as their name implies, EPs act first, then MPs and last players to act are LPs.

Early position players:

  • The small blind is usually considered the worst position after the flop. This player is always the first player to the dealer’s left.
  • The big blind is to the left of the small blind and his position is usually considered just as bad.
  • Under the gun is the player who acts first pre-flop. He sits to the left of the big blind and many consider this to be the worst position pre-flop because he must bet or fold first without having any advantage of knowing what everyone else might do.

Middle position players:

  • These players have a very slight advantage but they are basically in about the same position as EP players. They  just get to see a little more action before them and can act accordingly.

Late position players:

  • Hijack  is to the right of the cut off player and has the ability to steal the blinds but needs to be careful because he still has 2 more players to act after him.
  • Cutoff is a solid position and has the advantage of “cutting off” the dealers chance of stealing the blinds; that is if they haven’t already been hijacked.
  • Dealer or Button is the absolute best position because this guy has the advantage of acting last on the flop, the turn and the river.

Texas Hold 'Em Poker Positions

These are your basic positions but how you play them really varies according to your style of playing and, of course, the style of every other player at your poker table.  How to play your position, based on the layout of the playing field is entirely up to you. So the question is; do you really know your position?

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Lynn "Queen of Hearts" Paris

We brought the heads-up Poker grudge match between Doug Polk and Daniel Negreanu to your attention in our early November blog. It’s still going on!

It was clear that online poker was not DNegs’ strong suit, since his amazing accomplishments include six time WSOP bracelet winner, two-time WPT champion and years of cash game success. He was also not known for his heads-up play, although he says he’s been practicing.

Polk, on the other hand, has been the dominant force in high stakes heads-up play, earning props as an online legend, while also earning over $9 million in live poker tournaments. He retired from an active career in 2018 but he couldn’t resist challenging Negreanu to play at least 12,500 hands of $200/$400 HU Texas Hold’em (with the losing player having the option to extend the match to 25,000)

Doug Polk vs Daniel Negreanu

Both players have shown incredible fortitude, with Polk close to ending the match several times, but Kid Poker continued to fight back. Polk, as the favorite, definitely had the edge in the poker world, with numerous side bets on him, making his win financially imperative. But don’t count Negreanu out, who admits that he would love to win, if only for bragging rights.

The end of this match is fast approaching. Yesterday, the players reached 23,306 hands with Polk up, overall $945,804. The remainder of the match (plus all prior hands) can be caught live streaming on Doug’s YouTube channel and Upswing Poker’s Twitch channel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLygXH3vIAU

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