Fast change

Oct 5, 2010 7:06 AM

Carol, thanks for the birthday cake; where did you find all of those candles?

Yes folks, last week I was four times 21 less one = 83 years old (4x21-1 = 83).

I have written thousands of poker columns and played untold thousands of poker hands, and no, I do not want to get even!

Most of you folks who read my columns know that I try to write a little different than other poker columnists, and try to work a little poker into the mix every day!

I want to make this entire column about poker, so, first, the game of poker is always changing. It is never the same, so you have to grow your poker game or you will have a great deal of difficulty in winning.

I do not like change - I like the old ways, but they are gone like the Dodo bird. You have to grow your game or you will need to find money to buy chips.

The creation of so many, many poker tournaments and the Internet’s super fast play-Turbo, Speed, Rush Poker with the limit increasing at a very fast pace - and the television poker game - that for the most part are all NO LIMIT HOLD’EM POKER have not only increased the number of players, but have also decreased the skill factor a great deal.

The play of No Limit Hold’em Poker has killed one of my favorite poker games - Pot Limit Hold ‘em is and was one of the poker games that I love to play for fun and profit. Pot Limit had all the skill factors that are required to be a winning player. But No Limit requires very little skill - it requires more nerve than skill.

Now I love Doyle, a member in good standing in "The Seniors" World Championship of Poker/Poker Players Hall of Fame, and his style of play in no limit! But how can it be a skillful play to take a 10/2 twice and win the big one - not once, but twice with this hand? It is a courageous play, and that is No Limit - and I think Doyle is the best NO LIMIT HOLD’EM poker player in the world.

Now I sure hope that Doyle does not get upset with me, but I am going to tell a little story of one of the times that I was at the final table with Doyle, Stu, Johnny Moss and a few other old time poker players. It was at the WSOP at Binion’s about 25 years ago - yes, I still have a book on a lot of players.

Doyle had good chips and would fake a look at his cards, looking under his elbow and making the correct bet at the pot; then, if that was called, he would never look back at his cards. When the turn came off, he would again make the correct bet at the pot. Then, when and if his second bet got called, he would think and look and consider what to do, but most of the time, he would again make the correct bet at the pot.

I liked his play so much that I studied very carefully and I noted that when certain players entered the pot with him, he would look back and consider before he made the second bet, and if Johnny Moss bet or entered the pot in front of him, he would either lay his hand down or raise!

Now Pot Limit Hold’em is a game of skill and mathematics, because of the pot odds and implied odds. For example, say you are playing Pot Limit with two blinds -$5 and $10. If you are first to act, by the rules you may call $10 or raise to the size of the pot. So in Pot Limit you can play if you wish, and stand or raise if you wish, because before the flop, there are no pot odds - only the value of your two cards.

In No Limit, if you say make it $20, a lot of the time some of the young whippersnappers will just try their luck and courage and go all in and raise you $300 or more. How can a skillful player call this unless he has a name brand hand? So most of the time, you must throw the hand away and all you can do is wait and wait until you have a big hand before you can play - you cannot play the hand and see the flop.

In Pot Limit, the math comes in and you can call the pot-limit raise and take a look. Then you can play with skill, and be mathematically correct. You may not win the pot, but you are not playing BINGO poker.

Now what are pot odds?

Assume that the pot has $50 already in it. Assume the bet coming to you is $50, a full bet. Your options are throw away, call or raise. Now you can play if you have a drawing hand, and if you hit the draw, you are pretty sure it will win.

Say you compute that you are three to one to make the hand, but you are only getting two to one. The only way you can call is if you think that if you make the hand, more money will come into the pot - and that is implied odds.

The future amount of money that may be bet after the river card will increase the amount of money in the pot. The amount of the future bets is what causes the implied odds.

Now in Pot Limit, you have skill; in no limit, you have courage. The no limit games you see on TV are not realistic. They have enough chips to play with, and you can make bets of the correct size and play a little poker.

But in a cash game of NO LIMIT HOLD’EM POKER, there is never enough money on the table to make bets, calls and raises! So most of the time it is just bet and take it when someone raises all-in during a cash no limit game.

In Pot limit, the contest is on until the end!

OK-Johnny’s Poker Tip of the Week

The winning poker player does not necessarily always have the best hand!

They just make everyone believe they have the best hand!

The winning poker player can take his cards and beat your cards!

Or he can take your cards and beat his cards!

Winning at poker is nothing more than stored courage!

Do you remember the definition of a great football coach?

Well, here it is: He can take his players and beat your players!

Or he can take your players and beat his players!

Until next time, remember to stay lucky!