September 27, 2004 |
When Marla Schram Schwartz sat down at a Southern California poker club two decades ago, men rose from the table and swore never to play with a woman. Not today. With Texas Hold 'Em transfixing millions of cable TV viewers, poker is red hot. And women like Schwartz have now turned the tables as the hottest draws in poker entertainment. "We're ready now," declared Schwartz, 48, of Thousand Oaks, Calif., raising her arms in mock victory as she and hundreds of women filed into the Ladies Poker Party tournament tent recently at the Bicycle Casino, in Bell Gardens, Calif.
December 1, 2003 |
The moment relished by fans of poker on television was at hand. Two days earlier, the no-limit, hold-'em tournament at the Sands Hotel and Casino had started out with 197 entrants, each of whom paid the $10,000 buy-in, thereby creating a prize pool of $1,970,000. Among them had been some casual players, one true celebrity (Ben Affleck), and many of the pros who have gained a small measure of fame this year with the rise of poker on cable TV. Now only two remained. One was Johnny Myung, a 29-year-old accountant from Rockville, Md., a tournament neophyte but a fixture at the big-stakes tables in the Atlantic City casinos.
September 24, 2005 |
For Evelyn Ng, a professional poker player from Toronto, the game has everything to do with mental agility and very little else. "Luck is not in my vocabulary," said Ng, 30, as she sat behind a table at the Borgata Poker Open here this week. "My strategy is really to just try to stay focused and wait for the others to make mistakes. " Wearing white-rimmed sunglasses, Ng and her every move were being filmed for the World Poker Tour, a television show on the Travel Channel that features high-stakes poker tournaments around the nation.
June 4, 2010
CHAMPIONSHIP PRO Mark Seif has a reputation as a loose-aggressive player. Wild. A maniac sometimes. That image is so important that he's willing to risk chips to establish it, as in this hand from the World Poker Tour's $15,000-buy-in Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic at Las Vegas' Bellagio in 2009. With blinds at $50-$100, action folded to the button, who raised to $350. In the small blind, Seif drew the 10-8 of diamonds. "The reason I called was I felt like I had a lack of clarity in my table image," said Seif, winner of two World Series of Poker bracelets.
July 16, 2010
SOMETIMES YOU have all the elements you need to pull off a bluff, but then your opponent spoils it by making a call. It's not a total loss, however, if you can turn a misread into some information that's useful later on, as top young pro Eric Baldwin found in this hand from the World Poker Tour's $15,000-buy-in Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic at Las Vegas' Bellagio in 2009. With blinds at $100-$200 plus a $25-chip ante, Baldwin raised to $575 from middle position with 6-4 offsuit.
May 27, 2011
ONE OF THE first things you need to determine is the range of hands your opponent might be playing. One of the next things you need to figure out is what your best value play is. "Is the value in check-calling, or is the value in betting your hand?" explained top young pro Mike Sowers. The answer to that question frequently changes when more cards hit the board, as Sowers showed in this hand from the World Poker Tour's $15,000-buy-in Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic at Bellagio in 2009.
December 24, 2010
PERHAPS THE most important part of bluffing is having your play tell a believable story, and a big factor in convincing an opponent to lay down his hand is betting like you mean it. Today's hand from the World Series of Poker $10,000-buy-in main event involving colorful pro Gavin Smith provides an extreme example of what not to do. With blinds at $50-$100, respected pro Ivan Demidov open-raised to $250 from under the gun. The player on the button...
October 22, 2010
MANY PROS express frustration that their raises don't always get a lot of respect, because amateurs want to beat them in a pot or go home with a story if they lose to the name player. To counter that, a lot of pros will take some shots with surprising hands that can both take down a big pot and send a message to the table, as top pro Michael Mizrachi did in this hand from the 2010 World Series of Poker $10,000-buy-in main event. With blinds at $100-$200, the player in Seat 5 limped.
March 4, 2011
SOMETIMES YOU will bet a hand with all kinds of outs and, unfortunately, sometimes you will hit one of them. It takes a great read and a lot of discipline to be able to lay down a good hand on the river when you are getting great odds, and even the best players in the world succumb to making the crying call. Poker Hall of Famer Mike Sexton found himself in just such a situation at the 2010 World Series of Poker $10,000-buy-in main event, hitting a card on the end that was just good enough to get him beat.
June 17, 2011
THE MOST critical math in poker is pot odds, which calculate the cost of the call you're facing versus the amount in the pot, then compare that to your chances of hitting your card. Some players use pot odds as their last word. Others, such as championship pro Josh Arieh, balance them with their read on an opponent and their situation in a tournament. "I'm not a math person," said Arieh, winner of two World Series of Poker bracelets. "Some math guys might fold certain situations, but in tournaments, if it's close, I'd rather take the risk.