Friday, November 28, 2008

Twas' a year ago...

Twas' a year ago that I began my textual journey into the underbelly of the game we call poker. Thank you all for reading and joining in on the conversation. I have met a lot of funny, talented and insightful poker people along the way. You know who you are.

As part of my anniversary celebration, I have made a couple changes (improvements?) to the blog.

  • Firstly, we are now iPhone compatible. We took a stab at mobile blogging in the past and previous methods should still work, but now it is easier than ever. Just send your mobile browser to our normal address and you will be redirected to a slick HCD Mobile site. All content and comments will be intact.

  • Secondly, the HCD store is now up and running. If you like my site, please support us by buying one of our new t-shirts or sticker sets. More HCD apparel will be featured soon.

Thanks again everyone! Here's to another year!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Free Poker's Barrier to Exit

I've been on a three-day free poker tour of sorts to welcome back a few old friends to the game. As long time readers have no-doubt deduced, I'm not a huge fan of free poker for anything but a social distraction. Free poker sucks as a learning tool and, by nature, sucks in terms of profit. The obvious benefit of free is the very low barrier of entry, but what of the barrier to exit?

On Saturday I drove an hour out of my way to revisit a free poker game that I frequented before I dived into the world of FullTilt. My last appearance was two years ago and the clientèle remained relatively unchanged, even though both the poker league and the hosting bar had changed hands. This particular league is laid back in its rules to allow patrons to choose their own seats. I sat with my wife and friend along side seven other players. We shuffled up and dealt.

Ten hands in, my buddy's poorly played pocket queens were busted and he hit the bar. A table consolidation later, my lady joined him. I was sitting there playing cards while the two people I wanted to spend time with were watching football. In this case, we were still waiting on the fourth member of our party so I rode out the storm. He eventually showed five table consolidations later to watch the end game. I won, since you asked, a fifteen dollar bar tab for first I said before, sucks for profit.

I made the most it, but the following night I wasn't about to take the same "honor" of placing solo. We played elsewhere and my company busted out early again. I was chip leader and wanting to leave. Here is the barrier I spoke of, what is my exit strategy?

The tournament started with six tables and two hours in...there were six tables. I personally took out 4 players and witnessed a few others hit the road, but between alternates and massive chip ups for ordering food and drink, the game duration was approaching the infinite. What is the most polite way to leave a free poker game? I can think of three options:

  1. Go all-in blind every hand. This strategy could still take a while factoring in fold rates and my uncanny ability to be unfortunately lucky. Besides, this tactic hurts the illusion of real poker and can cause ill will towards me from whomever I suck out on.

  2. Take part in a high betting hand or two and fold just before the showdown. The problem here is that I'm unfairly helping certain players be contributing to a hand I have no desire to win. Not collusion, but still could be seen as foul play.

  3. Leave your chips on the table and walk out. This is the least often used method as I have observed. We seem to have a psychological block on giving away opportunity, even if that opportunity comes in the form of valueless chips. Depending on the league, the chips of a deserter will either be taken out of play or blinded out.

How to lose chips is a first world problem on planet poker, no doubt, but if you have ever frequented a bar poker league you have probably been faced with this situation. What option do you take?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

We're Syndicated!

The Superhero Poker Showdown, originally published here at has been republished to!

Syndication? Sure! Do I also own Well, yeah. Could you say this is cross promoting to the point of shamless pluggery? Perhaps...


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Caribbean Stud Poker

Caribbean Stud Poker is a variation of five card stud which is played against the house instead of other players at the table. Casino games such as this don't require any bluffing as there is no one to bluff. So if you are bad at bluffing, I suppose you aren't losing much.

I don't have much experience with Caribbean Stud, so I looked it up. After all, I'm not the only internet poker guide on the block.
To play, every player places his ante on the layout where indicated; all ante wagers must be placed prior to the dealer announcing "No more bets". Each player and the dealer will then receive five cards, face down. The dealer will turn over one of his cards, then push the cards toward the players, after which the players may look at their cards. They may only look at their own cards, and may not discuss what they have with any other player at the table.

Players have the option to play or fold; if they choose to play, they place their bets (twice the amount of their respective ante) in the bet box. If they choose to fold, they forfeit their ante. After all the players have made their decisions, the dealer reveals his hole cards. The dealer only plays with an ace/king or higher; he then compares his cards to the players' cards (individually, right to left), and the players' hands that beat the dealer's qualifing hand wins.

Source: You guessed it, Wikipedia.