Poker Chips – Online versus Live

Harry Truman's poker chips
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During the last three years, I have played hundreds of online games of poker and less than seven (7) face to face casino games. I am not counting the thousands of home games I have played with parents, friends and relatives since I was old enough to play. Besides, almost all of the home games were played using cash; pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, etc.

The easiest mode of  betting, calling and raising is online play. Just click those buttons, move those sliders, type in those bet amounts and hit enter. Now, if you don’t pay attention, it is also to easy to call when you meant to fold, fold when you meant to raise, and raise when you meant to check. So maybe online has its own share of problems?

In my limited exposure in live play I have found that using real chips is pretty tricky. First there is the problem of learning how to handle the chips. Forget about shuffling them like the professionals do. Just handling the darn things without tipping over your stack. I have even seen people at the tables knock over other peoples stack of chips. Now, that is a sight.

Next you have to learn the value of chips based on color at some casino tables when playing in tourneys. So depending on your buy-in, you could have up to four different color of chips in front of you of varying value. Picking up and placing the wrong chip out there can be as dangerous as clicking the wrong button.

My very first tourney play was at an event called The Foxwoods Poker Classic at the Foxwoods Casino in Ledyard, Connecticut.  We were given $1,500 in chips using three denominations to start at the early stages of the “Act I” tourney. I fumbled with my chips, threw in large raises instead of calling by picking the wrong color chips. It was quite a learning experience, that first time using chips instead of a mouse. Despite all my mistakes, I got lucky in that event and won a seat to the next level, called “Act II”. I did not fair as well in Act II as luck was not with me. I had no idea what I was doing at that time, especially at live play.

It has taken me a few games to get better at handling my chips. I still have a ways to go. I am not going to try to shuffle chips as I don’t want to hurt my fellow players or the dealer.

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Reflections of a busy day

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Yesterday was a busy day for me. I had gotten up early to write my blog post entitled “Discipline at the tables – Part 2”.  While typing it, I played some of the “Double or Nothing” games that I have come to enjoy.  I was contemplating a full day ahead. There are household chores such as unpacking boxes and totes from our move last September from Massachusetts to New Hampshire. I was dropping off my wife, Diane, at our daughter-in-law, so they could go to a movie, while I went to the Seabrook Poker Room for some more live face to fact playing experience. And to wrap up the day, was the “Tweeter Poker Tour” TPT:Tilt Event # 7. In between that, I also decided to remove some of the ice in our driveway that had built up while we were in Florida two weeks ago.

I was well rested when I typed the blog. I was doing fine with the household chores. The ice chipping and ice removing was a little taxing. But I was exciting about the upcoming live game and tourney at 9 pm.

While I was at the Poker Room, I took notes on the first 30 hands that I was involved in. I was directly to the left of the dealer and he did not say anything about it and I had not thought to ask. The dealers change every 20 minutes and when the third dealer arrived he stated that note taking is not allowed – house rules. Oh well.

I was trying to play tighter than my previous visit, getting involved in premium hands only, such as AA, KK, AK, etc. I had starting with $40 in chips and worked my way down to $6, so I bought another $20 of chips.

On the very next hand I got an As Jc unsuited, but I was in position, so I called the blind. The Flop came A K Q of clubs giving me top pair and the nut flush draw as well as a chance for a royal flush draw.  The betting was heaving and I was all in with my remaining $26 in chips. The turn card was a 6 of hearts and the river card was the 10 of clubs. I had made my Royal Flush and won the pot, which gave me back $63, putting me ahead for the evening.

I ended up playing one more hand and leaving with $61, or ahead $1. This was an improvement over the last time as I had left with a loss of $4.

Diane came back from the movies and we drove back from the Poker Room to our home. I would be able to make it in time for the #TPT event.

I thought I played tightly during the event. I did not read blogs or play side games as I wanted my full concentration on the tourney at hand. I ended up busting out in 17th place, far worse than the previous week. While watching the final table, I played an online small stakes cash game of No Limit. I played until I had lost my $5 buy-in and went to bed while there were still five players left at the TPT.

Revelation: From the time I had hit the Casino on, I was actually a bit tired and did not realize how that had affected my decisions. It was not until this morning that I had realized that I was playing tired, which for me is a recipe for disaster or at least poor play. I recalled some of the hands that I played at the Poker Room, the tourney, and the cash games and knew that I had made bad decisions. I was playing my “C” game.

Chalk up yesterday as a lesson learned.


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Discipline at the poker table

Harry Truman's poker chips
Image via Wikipedia

My previous post about my limt play at the Seabrook Poker Room got me to thinking about this topic. While thinking about it, I decided to play some simple tourneys that a twitter poker buddy. Deanna “Panndyra” Goodson, told me about. It is a single table tourney called “Double or Nothing”.  The entry amount can be from $1 plus a fee and up. As the name impiles, you can double your money or lose it. The simplicity of the game is that it is a ten person table with increasing blinds and antes. And the best part is that 5 out of the ten players will be winners and the other five will be losers.

Here is where the discipline comes in.  If you play tight and careful, you should be able to double your money. If you are not patient or careful you will lose your money.

In order to win, you need to keep your ego in check. The first three games I tried, I did not keep my ego in check and I lost. The next two games, I played only the best cards AA, KK, AK and pushed them. If they pushed me back, I would fold. If I got a good flop and had the best possible hand I would push back and go all in. I won games three and four and I am currently in game six at this time. Of course, if I win the sixth, then I would be even. (Update: It is awful hard to be disciplined. I am going to have to work on this part of my game. During game six I caught a so so hand and then I called a small raise and had to fold after the flop. Prior to calling, I was in fourth place and after folding I was in sixth place. Not being patient – costly).

Whew. As it turned out, I was in sixth place and in the big blind with very few chips left. The small blind called, but then we both checked after the flop, after the turn, and after the river. I ended up winning that pot. The next hand dealt, three of the other players went all in (at least one of them should not have, they were not being patient either and so that allowed me to win game six).

In the “Double or Nothing” tourney, fifth place pays just as much as first place, so you should not let your ego cause you to try to be king of the hill, less you fall down the crevice.

And now that I am even, I am going to play at least seven more of these tourneys to see if I can double up ten times in a row. As it stands now, I have won three and lost three. I will report back to you on how I do in the next seven games.

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