Team poker debuts at the Hard Rock

Nov 18, 2008 5:05 PM

The Inside Straight by Joe Awada |

Last week, I had the chance to attend a star-studded debut of Dream Team Poker at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

The new poker concept included a tournament comprised of teams from local businesses, as well as a celebration party at the Hard Rock’s premiere nightclub, Body English.

It was a fun event and I think the new team poker concept that was introduced has some merit, especially for players who like the socialization aspect of poker.

The tournament featured 25 teams, each consisting of three team members. Most of the teams consisted of one pro player and two amateurs.

Under the concept, teams are allowed to take time-outs, the members can talk to each other and offer advice or strategy.

Obviously, collusion between team members isn’t allowed, but if you have a team member who is low on chips at your table, you can adjust your play to increase their chip count – it’s all part of the game.

The way the tournament was set up, you play as part of a team and as an individual, but in order for your team to win the tournament, you need two or more members to make the final table.

What I really thought was interesting about the concept was the timeout idea. Especially since every one of the teams had one professional player on its roster.

 With a pro paired with two amateurs or newcomers, the time-outs come in handy when the player needs a little guidance.

For instance, I was paired with two players who worked for a gentleman’s nightclub in town. They knew how to play, but I wouldn’t call them experts in the game.

In one timeout, I was asked for advice from a player who was low on chips and was dealt pocket 7s. Before the flop, a player with a lot of chips bet and my guy called.

The flop came 7 with two diamonds. Not knowing how to handle the set of 7s, my teammate asked me for advice, and I told him to check. He did and the aggressor bet again and we called.

Nothing of substance came on the turn and river, so we checked again and the aggressive player bet all-in and we called.

Well, he had nothing but ace-jack suited, so we took down a nice pot.

Another teammate of mine was dealt ace-queen and his opponent, who was low on chips, made a sizable bet. I told him since he would probably call anyway, why not push all-in and put the pressure on. He did and his opponent folded.

Overall, I thought the team poker concept was fun and could find its way into organized poker at some level. For now, it was something that the Hard Rock, as well as a few well-placed professional poker players, has endorsed and hopefully we’ll be seeing more of it around town.