Saturday, January 30, 2010

Poker And Psychology

The psychology of poker basically involves creating mystery, misdirection and hesitation. Sitting around a table with your opponents can be a challenge. You have to keep your poker face, try to read everybody else’s poker face, and not give away your true intentions when you take a card, raise and call. After a few hands you start to notice the physical aspects of your poker opponents. The hesitation when it comes time to bet, an air of resignation when some player takes three cards, the confident betting of someone with an excellent poker hand, all sorts of little nuances.

In online poker, the entire game is changed because you can’t read the other players’ body language and quirks. An internet casino poker game is often reduced to the game’s bare essence, but you can still take advantage of some psychological tricks to get ahead. In the online casino, some do make their game play as consistent as possible to fool other players when there’s a big hand at stake. Others go the opposite way and try to confuse other online poker players with plenty of bluffing and strategic folding.

Players such as Doyle Brunson, Chip Reese and Barry Greenstein are considered to be among the best poker players of all time. These players have perfected their game techniques and worked out how to use poker psychology to give themselves an edge over their opponents.

Of course, none of this applies if you are simply playing against a computer program. In that case, the best you can do is to figure the odds and find a good strategy. In the case of online poker with other humans, it is still possible to use psychology. You just have to learn how to read the game. Internet casinos present a whole new series of challenges to the seasoned poker player, but over time you can learn how to adapt and win.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Venetian Deep Stack Poker Series – a Notable Poker Series Tournament Found Only in Las Vegas

As a poker player, there are certain times throughout the year that I look forward to escaping my daily routine in the Midwest for a couple weeks and heading out to sunny Las Vegas to take part in what I refer to as a poker tournament marathon.  Obviously, any time between May and July is great with the World Series of Poker going on at the Rio.  But there is another Las Vegas poker tournament series that originated in 2007 and continues to grow madly in popularity among poker players.  I am referring to the Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza, which continues its successful run in 2010, beginning January 29th and stretching almost the entire month of February, when it concludes the series with a three day main event beginning on February 23rd
My poker agenda for this trip will be a bit different than past years, because I’m traveling with a somewhat large group of friends and everyone wants to play different events in the series.  In looking at details, we found that mostly No Limit Hold Em poker tournaments are offered with buy-ins ranging from $340 to the hefty main event price tag of $2,500.  There will be one event each for poker players interested in and possessing the skills to play P.L.O., H.O.R.S.E. and Omaha Hi Lo.  Many of my travel companions plan on partaking in these tournaments, but since I stick to No Limit Hold Em, I was left to wonder what I would do on those days.   My hope was to find some alternative medium stakes buy-in tournaments nearby to fill my time.
I was recently contacted on Facebook by a website called . They claim their website is dedicated to the latest and best information for poker tournaments and poker cash games in Las Vegas.  I decided to check out what they had to offer.  I was impressed to find an easy to navigate platform with very organized details on every poker room and poker tournament in Las Vegas. Las Vegas Poker Source also offers several social media options that players can join for free to receive updates, news headlines and even poker tournament alerts.  They have a training section where poker players can contact professional poker players and a “blogroll,” which is a list of links to interesting poker blogs, such as Pokerati, Tao of Poker, David “The Maven” Chicotsky (2008 Bluff Online Player of the Year) and many more.
Due to my visit to, I was able to find some “back up” poker tournaments for the days that the Venetian Deep Stack events don’t match my personal agenda or if, heaven forbid, I bust out of an event early!  It looks like I will also be able to visit to fulfill my poker cash game needs as well, as they contain a section that will soon guide poker players to the most action filled poker rooms in Las Vegas.
For now, I anxiously await my trip in January.  I arrive a couple days before I plan to take part in any major poker tournament for the chief purpose of playing a few rounds of satellites.  Venetian offers single table satellites into all the events, every day of the week beginning at 8am and continuing through 2am.  They also have Super Satellites into the championship event on Monday February 22nd at noon, 4pm and 8pm.  
If I can recommend any Las Vegas poker tournament series to the serious poker players out there, Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza is the way to go.  If you can’t catch this one, they will run the series three more times throughout 2010, with the next one coinciding with the World Series of Poker during the summer.  Head out to Las Vegas and take your shot at prize pools totaling in the millions of dollars, play in one of the arguably nicest poker rooms in the city and compete against a quality field of leading poker professionals, local grinders and poker travelers like myself.  Best of luck on the tables!