No-Limit, Texas Hold 'Em
Yes, I've got to admit it, this is a tempting poker game. I haven't played it yet on-line or in an official poker room at a casino, but I sure am fixin' to soon. It has so many elements in the game that are fun, combining skill and luck.
I played a version last week at Agua Caliente Casino that they have out with the blackjack tables. It is called "World Tour Hold 'Em Poker". It has most of the challenges except bluffing and you only play against the dealer. The ante is as low as $3.00. You get the same two hole cards, as does the dealer. For him to qualify and play against you, his hole cards must add up to 13 or higher for a 5 X's the ante bet or 17 for a 10 X's the ante bet. There are also bonuses if your two hold cards are suited or a pair. Then it is just up to the shared "flop, turn and river" cards that all player and the dealer use to make up a hand of the best 5 cards. I was winning for awhile and then I quit when I was breaking even. That is the key ie. knowing when to "walk away".
I was playing with some guys who were so quick at figuring out what to do and the winning potential odds that they were telling the dealers what to do. Some people are just quicker at all this and more verbal since they don't have to bluff or play other players. I just enjoy all the new jargon and comraderie. Two red aces, the best you can get are called "American Airlines" or "Pocket Rockets". Ace - King is the "Big Slick" if it is suited. K-K are "cowboys", Q-Q are "ladies", J-J are "fishhooks", A-J is "Ajax"(the foaming cleanser), K-J is "Kojak", 8-8 are "snowmen", 7-7 are "hockey-sticks", 4-4 are "sailboats", 3-3 are "crabs, or treys", 2-2 are "ducks or deuces". They are considered a unit to be played or discarded depending on the "flop" (the first 3 community cards". Alot depends on your position in the rotation of play. There is a "button" that is passed around clockwise that denotes the "honorary dealer". The next two positions after the button are the "small blind" and the "big blind" These players have to bet or ante in a pre-set amount without knowing what is coming or what they have...thus "blind". This makes the pot worth something even if everyone folds. The best position is the last player in rotation before the button again. He has the advantage of seeing all the other player's raises and/or folds and their "tells" or clues (body language) that they might be excited or bummed about their hole cards.
Clear as mud, right? When you have the worst hand ie. 7-2, you want to put as little as possible into the pot, unless you are bluffing (acting, not lying) If you have strong hole cards you want to get your opponents to increase the pot. Bet in a way that will scare your opponents out of a hand or sucker them in. Look for patterns or quirks in their play and try to be unpredictable yourself. Brooks, my son, tells me he is good at this game and usually wins with his buddies. I can believe it.
You can play on-line for as little as one cent a bet or $1000. It certainly can become addictive. Tournament entry can be from winning on-line or at an Indian Casino to buying in for $10,000. in Vegas. What I like about all of this is how much like life it really can be, the parallels etc. To be a winner you have to be willing to go "all in". That's the "no-limit" part, even if you don't have much of a stack. It promotes risk taking and creative thinking, virtuosity and thinking out of the box. These are all skills that can make you feel like you are really living and getting alot out of life. Of course, it helps if you are playing on the "house's money". That is what I try to do. As soon as have won back what I started with, I put it in my pocket and play on my winnings. I wouldn't be doing any of this if I didn't feel like I had some "discretionary money" we call it "play money" 'cause those different colored chips are just like that, red = $5., green = $25., black = $100. I love to collect those black ones. I go over and show them to Betty, who is doing a marathon on her favorite "penny slot machine" Pompeii. She and her sister, Patti, have such fun for hours playing side-by-side on the penny slots. They have seen some big winners there too.
We are having fun in our quasi-retirement gambling away our children's inheritance ;-) Bob