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Andrei in the office


Andrei's Universe

One man's journey from infinity to nothingness

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Andrei in the office

Bitten by the bug

I have been bitten by the poker bug.

In my 'graduate' school days... (This translates to the second time I was in college when I was hanging out at CMU far too much) I played Bridge and a little bit of penny Poker. I didn't like it much because some of the guys competing were very much of the attitude of "win at all costs" and weren't exactly fun to be around when they lost... or won for that matter.

A couple of weeks ago, after church (of all places) we played some poker. I didn't do too great... I didn't do horribly. But it was fun. Then I watched an episode of Celebrity Poker...

Well, from there it was more TV and then buying a really cheap set of those crappy Bicycle branded plastic poker chips. The box was damaged and missing half the chips. We found it at a Savon drug store. The manager gave it to us for .99 (marked down from $3.99) We bought a deck of cards...

I'm happy that jnanacandra humoured me in my interest to play poker. She liked 7 card stud, I was liking a 5 card draw variation that involved drawing up to 5, betting, then drawing again up to 3. I found a nifty neato game for the Mac called iPoker. This actually began to hook Heather.

Now, I'm sensitive to addictive personality traits. I can get very hooked. So, when it comes to gambling, I am more than willing to play and practice, and indulge.. But always with a Cancer-like eye on the money. I am frugal to a fault.

From iPoker came buying my first set of real chips. The local game-store was going out of business. (Actually, it sucks...Gamekeeper a national chain of board, casino, and rpgs is being closed by Hasbro) So I bought 2 boxes of really nice clay chips for about $20. Heather and I bought another deck or two and started playing with the nice chips. This was the beginning of the flood gates opening.

More TV, another book (this one by Phil Helmuth), and now Heather and I are playing tournament-style, no-limit, Texas hold'em once or twice a week.

An announce on one of the shows talks about online gaming. And like every other moron watching Poker TV shows, I see Chris Moneymaker take $2.5(M) in the 2003 WSOP after spending $40 online to climb from tournament to tournament. So, now I hunt up online poker.

Again... the cash flow has been very frugal. I finally opt to put a small amount of money into the online poker thing. I play a tournament and there are 137 players. I end up 83. I'm told that's fairly good. Haven't really won any money playing poker.

Tonight, I sat at a $0.50/$1.00 table. Antes (or blinds as they are called in Hold'em) are those table prices. I entered with $20. I actually hit one or two good pots. I was at $25. This was nice. I went down to $22. I told myself if I dropped below $20 I was out. I hit a beautiful King high-straight and the other person was playing to the low straight. I grabbed a $9.00 pot and looked at $31 in my pocket. Let me restate I do not have a gambling problem. I had no problem with that win and promptly left the table to talk about my play.

I've been playing a lot on the free tables. It's interesting, free is different from pay which is different from tournament. I want to keep practicing. Now when I come home, Heather asks if I want to play poker. And we sit for an hour or two watching her beat the hell out of me..

Well, to be honest. After turning 875 in chips each into a 1620-230 lead over the first three sessions we played. Over the last 3 sessions she's only been able to chip away at me slowly. You also have to remember that Heather is a Mensan, chess player that at an exhibition actually got an international chess champion to pause to think at her table unlike everyone else that he simply pointed quick moves to make.

She is a demon at the game "Set". So the fact that she is my learning partner is alot of fun. I love her dearly :)

This is my current addiction. You may now scoff and warn.

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Not all of us were unpleasant losers (or winners), I should think.

No, not all. One primarily...

Nah, wasn't you. You were the one who actually got me interested in Bridge. And boycotting diners against cribbage. Someone else made cards unfun for me. But that was long ago.

what impresses me is that Celebrity Poker is what got you hooked. Really, most of that was pretty hideous poker playing. If you haven't yet, you should check out World Poker Tour and Late Night Poker.

I'll tell you that online play is totally different from casino. I mean really, you can't stare down your opponent across the computer screen. But at least you live in close proximity to real casinos that have poker. You'll need to be ready to part with a lot more than $20 when you go in there, though.

I've been getting tired of TV poker quickly. Primarily because they only show the hands that rarely come up. Someone pulling the killer bluff or an AK QQ showdown. Celebrity was interesting at first due to the personalities. After that WPT was interesting.

As for how much money to spend... I have to admit, I don't know the first thing about how one plays for money outside the on-line forum. I really like tournament buy-in. You put in $X and everyone gets some number of chips and you play until all chips are gone, then the money goes to the winner.

I'd like to start a low cost game at home but don't know (for starters the local laws) and then on top of that, how one organizes that. Buying chips, etc... I'm also curious about how things work at casinos before even thinking of tackling that.

Re: To be honest...

At least in Texas, as long as you're not taking a rake, home poker games are perfectly legit. I'd guess the same for CA, but I don't know for sure.
It's fairly easy to get people to come to a home poker game. Just ask friends or coworkers. The trick is to get one going regularly. Most of the games we've been involved in have fallen through after awhile.
Personally, I prefer home games that are dealer's choice, so you get some variety. We've been to a couple that are strictly Hold-em, and that's okay, but I sometimes get bored with folding so much.
And home games are typically pretty low stake. $20-$40, depending on how good a night you have.

Casinos are intimidating the first time you go. That's just the way it is. It's even worse for women, because most of the women that play (at least in Vegas) are fairly dumb middle-aged wives who are just waiting for their husbands to be done playing baccarat, or whatever. There are smart women players (I'd like to think I'm one of them), but there's at most one per table.
There's a couple lessons you learn quickly in the casino...don't bet out of turn, no string betting, etc. Then whenever you're at a game where people don't follow those rules, you just get annoyed.

Oh yeah, about tournaments. They're okay, but get kinda depressing, because you can have some really great hands, and still walk away with nothing. So it may be good to balance tournaments with cash games.

okay, I'll stop babbling now. I don't have time to play poker these days, so i feel compelled to talk about it a lot. ;-)

I 'so' do not mind the babble (was Re: To be honest...)

For some reason, people out here seem to get apathetic or worse (puritanical) when you mention poker... let alone, mention money. So, I'm starting slowly and lightly.

I've been going to Las Vegas and have been working on the concept of not letting myself be intimidated. I'm assuming that the bulk of the poker tables in LV are simple buy in tables. ("Give me $X in chips") Once you've bought chips you play until you are bored or out of chips.

What are the stakes that you see at these tables? I figure there are all kinds of tables, but where do they start? I'm having a tiny bit of pride of actually winning money last night. But we're talking a table that was .50/$1 and I walked in with $20. I get the impression from your first comment that I need to be prepared to drop a lot more cash if I want to play at a table in the casinos.

I can understand the wish to change up games. But until I can get into a regular game, I figure I'll keep practicing this one game.

Re: I 'so' do not mind the babble (was Re: To be honest...)

so, as you probably already know, not all the casinos in LV even have poker. Depending on where you go, the prices are different. The cheapest I've played is $2-$6 at Excalibur. What that means is the minimum bet was $2, but you could bet/raise anywhere up to $6.
I've also played $3/$6 at the Mirage, which is the more traditional strict betting framework. $3 pre-flop and flop. $6 turn and river. Both Jason and I have done okay at both places. Mirage is nicer because the poker room is non-smoking.
We thought about playing at Mandalay Bay, but their cheapest game was something like $6/$12.
We played in Atlantic City once at the Taj Mahal. They had $2/$4. We did awful.

Basically how it works is you walk into the poker room, and there's usually a desk at the front where you can get chips and you usually have to get yourself on a waiting list. They'll probably look at you funny if you ask for less than $100 in chips.
It's usually good to make your first trip in the morning because the traffic is lighter and you're less likely to end up at a table with a bunch of semi-pros.
If you start getting low in money, you can put just plain old cash on the table. The dealers are always nice enough to turn it into chips for you (in between hands, of course).

Umm...anything else you'd like to know? I think there's card rooms in LA, so you don't even need to go to LV to get your fix ;-)

(Deleted comment)
In the state of California gambling informally for small amounts of money between friends, so long as there is no "take" by a "house" is perfectly legal.

Furthermore, in the state of California, beyond Indian casino gambling (which is legal via a Federal law that provides a certain degree of soverenty to Indian tribes) and the Lotto, California permits:

* Parimutuel horse wagering -- that is, gambling on horse races, both in person and gambling at a remote site. First legalized in 1933.

* Card Clubs -- which has existed in California pretty much since the founding of the state of California.

* Charitable gaming -- specifically cities and counties are permitted on a region by region basis to permit bingo nights for things like local churches.

Poker and poker tournaments fall under the category of card gaming.

(Deleted comment)

Re: Uh, not quite...

so why do they bust anybody for the football pools?
Depends on the size of the pool and how the pool is administered. If it's just a few guys in an office pool, no problems. But as soon as you start talking serious money, or one of the guys charges some sort of administration fee--then it can run into the limits of the law.

California law is actually quite vague on what the threshhold is between private, friendly wagers and large-scale gambling operations. However, it's like pornography: the judge pretty much knows it when he sees it. And the only betting pools I've heard of which have been busted involved thousands of dollars, not your typical five bucks wins you a hundred office pools.

"A couple of weeks ago, after church (of all places) we played some poker."


Not the week we played after church. A few weeks earlier. Gods, if I wanted to be a sinner after church I'd claim it was strip poker. ;)

Everyone could wear multiple layers of socks and drive you crazy. heehee 8)~

See, now that's just mean ;)

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