Okie, ante up
that oil well!

Apr 11, 2006 3:00 AM

Carol, I told the folks last week that we were coming back to the Heartland of Poker here in Oklahoma to host my poker tournament, and that our friends, the Cherokee Nations Enterprises, were just going to call it The Oklahoma Johnny Hale Open Poker Tournament.

Of course, that has a nice ring to it. And I certainly enjoy the mild celebrity status that comes with the tourney.

Most of the folks will remember a genuine celebrity, our most famous Oklahoman, Will Rogers, who was famous for never meeting a man he didn’t like.

Well, there is an equally friendly breed of poker player — painfully abundant in Oklahoma — who never met two cards they didn’t like. In fact, they like them so much that they invariably invest a serious bet on them.

Carol, I think this might be a good time to give you and our daughter, Oklahoma Sarah, a couple of lessons about how to play poker with these overly friendly Okies.

Honey, you will have to watch out because they all play as if they were double-parked. But, being from Las Vegas, you know the value of using parking valet.

You don’t have to rush. Patience is key in poker because you have to wait for the right situation, in the right position, against the right players, and so forth.

Some people like to think they must wait for the right cards, and getting them always helps. But the situation can often trump the starting hands. Just be patient and plow ahead when you’ve picked your spot to act.

In the meantime, good luck to all at our Open tournaments (results coming next week). First the ladies take center stage for the Ladies Night Open, which is followed by the Seniors World Championship of Poker at The Cherokee Casino & Resort.

Finally, I’ll host the grand finale, the OK-J Open No Limit Poker Tournament, along with the finals of the Oklahoma Johnny Hale Poker Championship. One of the prizes is a $25,000 seat in the World Poker Tour Championship, which kicks off next week at Bellagio.

In last week’s column I was telling the folks about some wild poker games here in Oklahoma. Let me take a minute to tell you just one more quick story about a really wild poker game.

A lot of the time at our home poker games we would play no limit, but sometimes it would be one and two limit hold’em.

In this case the "one" would be one oil well, and the "two" would be two wells.

But the grand daddy of all wild games is what I call Buy’em No Limit Open Seven Card Hi/Lo Split — with the joker in the sky.

Here’s how it is played. First we put the joker on the light shade, and every player has it as part of his hand.

Then we ante $25 or more each.

Then two cards are dealt to each of the players.

Then, in rotation each of the poker players has the option to throw away a card he did not like if he paid an extra ante and that amount would go into the center of the pot and the poker player would receive another card.

If the player did not like the new card, he could throw it away and pay double the ante and receive another card, and continue to buy em’ until he found two cards he liked enough to begin the hand.

Now, with the joker in the sky and two cards that the players liked, the game was set to begin with Hi/Lo Split Seven Card Stud No Limit Open.

You did not have to play open, but some players elected to do so. (Playing open means that you did not have to go all-in, and if you ran out of chips you could write a marker for that hand.)

Obviously, each player’s markers was good.

And, at the end of the day, a few oil wells changed hands.