Sunday, May 22, 2011

Checking down.

There are some key differences to how you should play in a tournament setting as opposed to a ring game. As an example I'll provide the following scenario.

A relatively short-stacked player moves all-in, a second player calls and so do you. If this was a ring game, you and the remaining player in the pot with chips would do well to continue playing your respective games. However, if this was a tournament with a predetermined number of places "in the money," the incentive to knock the short-stack out of the game is higher than the possibility of increasing your stack from the other player.

If the short stack has pocket jacks and you have pocket eights and the flop is 2 3 7, you might be inclined to raise thinking your hand is solid. The raise may make the other player fold with his AQ. The turn is a three and the river is an ace. You lose and double up the short stack. Now if you could take back the raise after the flop, the AQ would have stayed in the hand and picked up the higher pair on the river. You still wouldn't win the hand, but the short-stack would be out of the tournament bringing you one step closer to placing in the money.

Of course, not everyone follows this advice, and from Mr. Short-stack's point-of-view it probably isn't fair, but it is good tournament strategy.

The exception to the rule? If you find yourself holding the nuts on the river, bet however you'd like.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Follow the King and Queen through Downtown Chicago

234245581.jpgSome of my best memories at the poker table were before my life was taken over by texas hold'em. I used to play a dealer's choice game with a group of creative friends. We came up with a gamut of unorthodox poker variants, some of which am going to highlight from time to time.

You may have heard of Follow the Queen, a wild card stud game. The idea is after a couple hole cards, each player is dealt a card up followed by a round of betting. If a queen is dealt to a player, then the following card to the next player is wild. If no queens show, then queens are wild. The game allows for four wild cards in the deck.

With only four wild cards the integrity of poker can stand in my opinion­—meaning skill is still a large part of the game. Our version used a total of eight wilds, we played follow the king and queen. Then we added another twist. If the two of clubs was dealt up to any player the deck was shuffled again and we started over with any players that had not previously folded. Occasionally we even allowed for the two of clubs' power to be used when dealt as a player's hole card at the discretion of the player who had it.

I doubt any self-respecting poker pro would give said game a chance, but it was a fun diversion from more serious games. We called it, Follow the King and Queen through downtown Chicago.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Poker Kinect

Poker play/mad scientist SeanLind is playing poker using the motion-sensing Microsoft Kinect. Impracitcal? Absolutely. Awesome? YES!

If you have the time to set it all up, you will surely impress. Instructions here.