Archive for February 2014

Pocket Bullets Paris at the 2013 WSOPPocket Bullets Paris

Last nite I was in a friendly $20 buy-in poker tournament in which I took 2nd. After the game, one of the newbie players asked me one of the most basic questions in poker. He asked “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 second place he left.

I thought about his question and decided that although it has been a topic on many “How To Play Poker” books I would take a stab at it and post it for all our followers.

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. 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 specially 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 that is still in the hand and you know that he 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 the table still has a lot of player in it. Don’t do it!

Texas Poker Store Custom ChipsJust remember these simple do’s and don’ts and be a winner!

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Vinny the GrinderBy: The Grinder

Name one serious poker player who does not think he is one of the best. There are very few who don’t. I’d say 0.01%. It takes years, at times decades, of experience to know that a poker journey is but one massive spiral loop to the middle. Sometimes, it just helps if you’re understanding. You’re caught in an endless trial of learning, a vicious cycle of give-and-take, and the evil of rake. But the evil that men do lives on and on; I do suspect that poker is going to prevail in this battle.

full-tiltThe real battle is with and within ourselves though, don’t you think? Or else, why would more than half of the 99.99% players who think they’re poker messiahs, lose. Reason? Tilt. If you are a poker player and you breathe oxygen, you will tilt at the poker table. Your desire to brood and give away all your money could be because of the mood you’re in or the food you ate. It also could be the way your luck’s been running. “I haven’t flopped a set in the last 65 times I’ve had a pocket pair”, or “This is the eighteenth time I have four-bet all in with Aces and I’ve lost.”

Now before you read further, this ain’t a blog about how to get over it. I don’t think you can. In fact, I think you’re the only person who can get yourself to do it. I, or anybody else cannot tell you a penny’s worth of advice. I can tell you to take a 10 minute walk, or go have a chat with a friend, all I want. However, like me, you’re going to get rid of your tilt only by way of sheer discipline—a painful rigor of detachment with emotion. And it only comes with practice, patience and experience. So I wish you happy tilting, or should I say, less painful tilting. Just make sure no one catches your tilting frenzy or tantrum on camera. The internet can be as humiliating as it is rewarding. Take this guy for example. He tilted at his workplace to such an extent that he had himself fired and laughed at on youtube for the rest of his life. Here’s the video. Way back, when I played online poker, I found myself behaving like this at times, after receiving a massive bad beat. Do it all you want; just make sure you don’t get caught on camera!

Happy tilting!

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Pocket Bullets ParisPocket Bullets Paris

Anyone who follows this blog knows that we’re huge Aggie fans, especially when it’s football season.  That’s why it shouldn’t surprise you that we loved it when we discovered that an Aggie, Jonathan Gaviao, just won the World Series of Poker Circuit Harrah’s Tunica, taking home his first gold ring and $181, 757 in prize money.

The victory is just most the recent in a string of successes for the young pro. Barely two weeks ago he finished 14th in the record-breaking 1,428-entry Circuit Main Event at Choctaw Casino. He earned $24,098 for that performance

Jonathan GavioGaviao is a 23-year-old professional poker player from College Station, TX. A student at Texas A&M University, he is currently on a hiatus for missionary work. Most people probably don’t think of poker right off the bat when they think of missionary work, but for Gaviao, they seem to work hand-in-hand. In fact, Gaviao said that his faith and the perspective it shed on the situation is a reason for his success. Judging by the amount of poker chips he’s scooped, I wouldn’t argue it.

Gig 'Em “I felt really confident when we got down to four-handed and I took over the chip lead,” Gaviao said of his run. “I felt like I was playing really well. I knew that whatever happened, it happened for a reason and I was alright with that. Whether I won or lost; there’s more important things in life.”

That might not work for most poker players, but it sure seems to work for Gaviao. GIG ‘EM!

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Vinny The GrinderBy The Grinder

Poker isn’t a game for nice guys. Sure, there are nice guys in the game, but they don’t come without a shady spot or two. Then, of course, you have the real bad ones. Of course, they have good sides to them. This sounds much like a Poker Yin-Yang, doesn’t it? Given a choice though, don’t we all love the bad guys in poker, and at times want to be like them? I mean the real hardcore gangster material, who have been poster boys of this vice.

Jack Binion River RatsLook at Benny Binion, for example. He stole, murdered, moonshined, and pedalled his way to making the rich man’s dream come alive, and yet the world loves Benny. His glory days at the good old Glitter Gulch will always be full of interesting stories you could hear at the poker table. One could also relate him to the likes of Amarillo Slim, Doyle Brunson, Johnny Moss, Jack Binion, and Puggy Pearson. Most of these guys didn’t have a history of crime like Benny did. But who would want to mess with this group? Would you really want to pick a fight with a guy who has at least a hundred poker stories ending with some guy shooting another guy over a silly hand? I’m pretty sure this cigar-chewing, fire-breathing mischief of river rats would put Alex DeLarge or Norman Bates to shame if they were to be messed with. Not to mention, they were fire-breathing aggressive poker dragons at the table as it is. I call them the River Rat Pack. This group totally reminds me of the other kind of rats —The real Rat Pack: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop.

Frank Sinatra and the Rat PackThough to a lesser extent, Frank was just like Benny. A good man not to be messed with. Aside from being gifted entertainers, Frank and his boys were party freaks—showstoppers—who were the lifeline of Vegas nightlife, when Vegas mattered. This was back in the day, and I’m pretty darned sure you know who they are. If you don’t, I suggest you take time off, and read about them. See their performances and interviews on youtube. You are sure to find a documentary or two about both these clans of men. To me, they are ‘A few good men who were bad to the bone’. Benny and his River Rat Pack; and Frank and his Rat Pack. Just like two packs of playing cards run a cash table all night, these packs ran the golden days of Las Vegas.

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