A Beginner’s Guide to the WSOP

June 7th, 2010  |  Published in Inrodution

In only a month, the world’s largest live poker tournament will begin again for the 41st time. Of course we’re talking about the World Series of Poker. The widespread (and growing) popularity of the game of poker is due in large part to the televising of this tournament over the last several years. From the series opener on May 28 through the final table of the Main Event in November, poker pros will be the biggest celebrities in Las Vegas, and thousands of poker fanatics will flock to the city in hopes not only of cheering their favorite players on but also in some cases of beating them to claim life-changing cash prizes. Find out what all the hype’s about with our beginner’s guide to the WSOP.

History

The very first World Series of Poker, hosted in 1970 at Binion’s Horseshoe, was little more than a friendly one-table competition between the United States’ greatest poker pros. The men that played at that first table – Johnny Moss, Amarillo Slim, Doyle Brunson – have long since become legends (though Brunson continues to compete).

The WSOP grew steadily over the next four decades but started to stagnate in the 90s when Binion’s financial troubles prevented the company from properly advertising the tournament. When an online qualifier – Chris Moneymaker – won the main event in 2003 it revolutionized the tournament by attracting a massive new amateur audience. The rapidly expanding field of players necessitated a move from the tournament’s original home at the Horseshoe to its current off-Strip location at the RIO casino.

Format

The tournament slowly grew from an exclusive invitational to a buy-in format. The tournament was first televised in 1973, and the international exposure helped the once-small affair to attract some of the world’s best players. The series has expanded over time to include dozens of different events, but the feature event is still a $10,000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em tournament. The Main Event transpires over several days of competition, and then when the field is finally narrowed down to the last nine players the game is stalled until November when the deciding hands are televised from a special table.

How to Play

Players may either qualify for WSOP events online via special satellite tournaments, or they may buy-in directly either via the WSOP’s official site or on-site at the actual WSOP tournament. Word to the wise though – the Main Event sold out early last year, leaving hundreds of latecomers disappointed.

Common WSOP Diversions

Not only is the WSOP the largest and most profitable poker tournament in the world, it’s also the most colorful. It’s not uncommon for some of the more eccentric players to make wild side bets (called prop bets) on everything from their own likelihood of winning to an opponent’s ability to do a standing back flip. One pro even played a vegetarian foe $10,000 to eat a hamburger.

Whether you’re watching at home, live, or from your own event seat don’t be surprised if you hear some trash talk. WSOP feuds are so common they’re pretty much expected, though floormen do their best to keep table talk PG for the cameras. These last few years the event has also attracted some showboating, like Phil Hellmuth’s memorable entrance to the 2009 Main Event when he dressed as Caesar and was carried in by a bevy of toga-clad servants.

Real celebrities are also a common feature at the WSOP, and some – like actress-turned-poker-pro Jennifer Tilly – have even taken titles.

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The Poker Professional in the Online Gaming World

June 4th, 2010  |  Published in Casino Tips

When many poker amateurs think of poker professionals they picture outlandish men sitting around the poker table, hashing out bets and raking in big. Most people do not think of a professional sitting at a computer, gambling online, but the online casino world can be a great place for poker professionals, or for amateurs looking to become a poker professional.

Why Poker Professional Love Online Casinos

From a professional standpoint, an online casino is like a library where you can research your craft 24 hours a day. All the professional poker player has to do is log on and he can play his game of choice against any number of opponents from all over the world. This gives the player tons of practice time and different settings to play in.

Online casinos also offer poker tournaments, and as these online casinos become more popular, the tournaments do as well. Some tournaments are now hosted online, or are a joint collaborating between a famous brick and mortar casino and the online website. This gives poker professionals another outlet for gaining popularity.

Why the Amateur Should Love Online Casinos

Amateurs need practice to, and there is no better place to get it then in an online casino. A nervous amateur has the chance to play without fear of being seen, or giving away too many tells. Amateur’s can also play several different games. After all, Texas Hold ‘Em isn’t for everyone. There may be a smaller niche game of poker where the amateur can really learn to shine. By trying out the dozens of games offering in an online casino, any amateur can find their niche. As an added bonus, the option of free play or extra incentives can go along way for an amateur who may not have the bankroll of a professional poker player. This means more playing time, more chances to practice, and more options to win in an online casino.

How to Get Started at an Online Casino

Whether you are a professional, an amateur, or a beginner there is an online casino for you. Online casinos vary greatly in game play, bonuses, and rules. Research a handful of online casinos before you choose one to play in. Once you sign up, be sure to take advantage of any new players bonuses or incentives offered by the casino, and check to see if the website offers free poker game tutorials or free game play. These are invaluable tools for any poker player and you should take full advantage of them.

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How to Learn Poker Inside a Casino

May 19th, 2010  |  Published in Casino Tips

Many people looking to learn the skills of poker, look towards resources outside the casino. They read books written by professional poker players, check out blogs written on their favorite poker game, or watch the many televised poker tournaments and poker shows. While these are great resources for improving your poker game, there is a lot you can learn inside the casino itself. The key to great poker playing is to learn everything you can from any resource you can get, so take advantage of what the casino has to teach you.

Poker Classes Hosted by the Casino

Several large casinos hosts classes on various games played at the casino. These classes are almost always free to join. The class is often taught by a dealer, a professional poker player, or a member of the casino staff. Many people shy away from these classes simply because they think the casino will only teach them in a way that causes them to loose. On the outside that makes sense, after all, why would a casino want to create people to take all of their money? However, casinos thrive much better on repeat business then they do on sore losers who never return. These classes have valuable information. Best of all, most of the classes offer promotional items, such as free play.

Learn from the Dealer

Many dealers are happy to share their knowledge of the game, especially during slow times. Dealers can be very insightful. After all, they had to know a great deal about the game to get the job in the first place and they spend the majority of their time watching it be played. The next time you are at the casino, look for a dealer with a small table. Chances are he or she will be happy to answer your questions. Some casinos even have poker tables specifically meant for beginners. Dealers at these tables help to teach the game while it is being played live.

Learn From the Other Players

Most people, especially new poker players, shy away from other players. In reality, there is a lot you can learn from your opponents. Most poker players love to talk, so why not ask someone you respected at the table a question or two after the game? Chances are they will be more then happy to give you some advice.

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Three Ways to Play Better Poker

May 13th, 2010  |  Published in Gambling Games

We all want to be better poker players. After all, the better you play, the more you win, and the more you enjoy the game. Poker players often look at poker rules or specific game strategies to help increase their playing abilities, but there are other ways you can improve your game. The best way to be a great player is to have a well-rounded poker education. Take a look at all of the aspects of the game, not just the rule book, and you will see an improvement in your poker game.

Plan Your Strategy Before You Get to the Table

You should spend some time at home planning your poker strategy. Knowing how you are going to play before you get to the table will help you avoid costly errors during the first few hands of the game. If you already have a poker strategy in place, look for ways to fine tune it. If you are entering in to a poker tournament you will need a specific strategy for that game. If you are just starting out in the world of poker, take some time to educate yourself on poker strategies in general. However you do it, have a plan of action before you saddle up to the table and you will have a much higher chance of winning.

Learn to Adjust

In order to play the best game of poker, you need to be flexible. Your strategies wont always work on every opponent and every table. The quicker you can adjust to a new poker environment, the more you will save yourself in betting and playing errors. For example, if you run across a high roller or wild better, then you may need to adjust your betting strategy to keep them from out pricing you on every hand. Poker is a constantly evolving game, and you have to keep on your toes.

Plan Out Your Bankroll

Almost every player walks in to a game of poker with a set amount they can spend on betting. You should take the time before the game to budget out your bank roll. Knowing how much you can bet will keep you from blowing your whole bankroll in the first few hands. It will also help keep you in the game longer, giving you more chances to win, and a higher bankroll to play with.

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WSOP Gold Bracelet Sells for $4,006 on eBay

February 4th, 2010  |  Published in Casino News

A World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet recently sold on eBay to the tune of $4,006. The bracelet was sold by a pawnshop in Plano, Texas and formerly belonged to the famous poker player T.J. Cloutier.

About World Series of Poker

Held annually in Las Vegas, the World Series of Poker is a huge poker tournament bringing in some of the best poker players around the world. The WSOP had humble beginnings. The first game, held in 1970 at the Horseshoe Casino, only had six poker players and one host. The modern World Series of Poker tournament includes fifty-five events over several days and includes hundreds of players. The most popular event at the WSOP is the No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em game.

About the Coveted Gold Bracelet

The gold bracelet given to winners of the World Series of Poker tournament may be the most coveted prize in poker. In fact, it is such a popular prize that when Harris Casino launched their World of Series Poker iPhone gaming application, the bracelet was made into a virtual prize for the top players. Fifty-three winners receive the bracelet, made by Corum. The bracelet is gold and features fifty-three diamonds across the band. There is also a special bracelet for the Ladies World Champion that includes black diamonds, rubies, and blue sapphires.

About T.J. Cloutier

T.J. Cloutier is a world famous poker player based out of Richardson, Texas. Born in 1939, he played college football for the University of California before joining the Army. After leaving the Army, Cloutier played football again- this time in Toronto, Canada. While in Canada he received an injury that cut his football career short, so he moved to Texas where he started playing poker.

In his professional poker career, T.J. Cloutier has won a total of six World Series of Poker gold bracelets. In addition to the WSOP, Cloutier has played in the World Poker Tour, Legends of Poker, the Ultimate Poker Challenge, the National Heads-Up Poker Championship, the Poker Superstars Invitational Tournament, and Poker Royale.

He has also written four books on poker, been made in to a character for a poker based video game, and was inducted in to the Poker Hall of Fame in 2006.

No one is quite sure why T.J. Cloutier originally sold the WSOP gold bracelet to the pawnshop, but the new owner is happy with the purchase.

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