Poker Mobile 2016 – Smartphone Poker has Truly Arrived

If you had to think of a good reason to play poker though a mobile phone seven or eight years ago, there was only one reason: convenience. Other than the fact that these small phones allowed you to play poker virtually anywhere, there wasn’t a lot else to tout about the mobile game. The graphics were bad, the gameplay was buggy and game selection was very limited. But this has all vastly changed with poker mobile 2016 because the experience is so much better. This is especially the case with smartphone poker developments, which we’ll discuss below.

Very Similar to PC-based Play

Up until recently, mobile poker was looked at as a fun novelty. It was fun to carry around your cell phone and play for a few minutes when you got bored. But let’s face it: guys like Patrik Antonius and Phil Ivey weren’t exactly using mobile phones to play any serious sessions.

Things have changed in a big-time way, though, because wireless poker is much more similar to Mac and PC-based play. For starters, the cash-game stakes have increased quite a bit. Mobile players are no longer relegated to just playing $0.02/$0.04 No-Limit Texas Hold’em from their smartphone. Now they can enjoy a lot more mid-stakes games and different variations. Speaking of the latter, some of the biggest mobile poker rooms offer just about every variation available, including Badugi, HORSE, 2-7 Triple Draw and Razz. So there’ll be no shortage of options when you play wireless poker these days.

More Features and Better Gameplay

Continuing with the theme of how mobile poker has become more akin to the PC product, you can also enjoy far more in-play features and superior gameplay. Beginning with the latter, the graphics and gameplay are stellar through an Android smartphone. Sure, this has a lot to do with the advancements of Android products over the years. But one can’t deny how smooth and crystal-clear the modern Android poker rooms are.

As for the features, players have more options at their disposal than ever before. Some of these include lobby filters, hand histories, player statistics and mutli-tabling. It’s almost strange being able to multi-table on a smartphone these days because it doesn’t seem that long ago when playing multiple tables in mobile poker was impossible.

Many Different Sites to choose from

One more sign of mobile poker’s emergence is how players have far more options to choose from when looking for a poker site. Most rooms at least allow you to directly visit their site with a smartphone or tablet and play. Others actually have their own apps that you can download and start playing. In either case, it’s great to see how the number of mobile-compatible poker sites has increased by a lot.

So if you’re hoping to play some poker through your Android smartphone and possibly win some money, you’ll definitely enjoy the experience far more these days.


What to look for in Online Poker Reviews 2014

Online poker has been around for a relatively long time. Beginning in 1998, the internet poker industry has gone through some major changes over the years. This being said, there are aspects that were important to finding good poker sites back then that have certainly changed these days. So when you’re looking at online poker reviews 2014, there are a few concepts that you want to really pay attention to in this new age of poker. Let’s look at some of these factors and cover why it’s so critical that you focus on each of them nowadays.


Yes, an online poker room’s reputation has always been important when reading site reviews. But this aspect has been given supreme importance in the wake of various scandals that have left the industry with a black eye. Black Friday (April 15th, 2011) really did a number on the poker industry, when the US Department of Justice cracked down on several of the biggest sites. A couple of these rooms survived the turmoil while the CEREUS network was wiped out, taking an estimated $20 million in player deposits with them.

Another scandal happened in 2012, when the Everleaf Gaming network exited the US market. They claim that the Department of Justice sent them a cease and desist letter, which they complied with to avoid being a post-Black Friday victim. The only problem is that they didn’t pay most of their former American customers back, as well as some European customers too. Taking both of these incidents into account, you definitely want to look for longstanding poker rooms with a solid reputation when checking out reviews.

Mobile Offerings

Many online poker players these days have a smartphone or tablet. If you’re one of these players, then you’ll want to read up on what poker sites offer from a mobile standpoint. More specifically, you need to make sure that the phone or tablet you have is covered in the room’s mobile offerings.

But don’t just stop at making sure that your mobile device will work with a certain online poker room. It’s also important that you get a fair amount of in-play features such as multi-tabling, player statistics, changeable avatars, a variety of table backgrounds and more. Some sites aren’t totally up to date on their mobile product – especially in the multi-tabling department – so you want to be careful with which site you choose.

Catering to Recreational Players

One big change that’s come about in online poker over the past few years is the slow move to a recreational-friendly environment. The thought here is that poker has become too complex for many new players, and pros are mercilessly feeding on amateurs like never before. So the solution for some poker rooms is to inhibit table selection and third-party data mining software – two huge advantages that sharks use to target fish.

If you are a new player, it’s always nice to find out what sites are friendly towards recreational players. On the other hand, serious grinders who are searching for new rooms need to find out which amateur-loving sites they needs to avoid.

PokerStars Daily Tournaments Up the Ante

I like to stay on top of the tournament s available for me to cash in on and so hearing the PokerStars is going to have daily tournaments was right up my alley. I like that PokerStars always tries to stay one step ahead of the competition in its offerings and this new series of tournaments, dubbed the Hot Turbos, is right on the money.

The poker tournaments will have various buy-ins and prizes that vary as well, with some as large as $30,000. As if that weren’t incentive enough, the pools will be doubled on Sundays. I really like that I can play short, quick games with buy-ins as low as $0.55 or bigger games that have cost $109 to join.

The Turbo

Players who are unfamiliar with Turbo events will find that they move at a much faster speed and that the blind levels increase much more quickly. Rounds last about five minutes, compared to ten or fifteen minutes for a normal game.  The break time for these tournaments is usually thirty minutes compared to the sixty minute breaks in standard poker tournaments.


The Hot Turbos will be played seven days a week with levels of play varying from less than a buck to join to the $109 max buy-in. If you are interested in playing in these super-hot tournaments, you need to go to the PokerStars site and search for Hot Turbos to register for the next one coming up. If you use the satellites that are available for the games, you may be able to get your seat for less money.

The schedule for the turbo tournaments stays the same during duration of the event and is listed on their website. You can find the buy-in, time and the payout listed for your convenience. Players can play for a pool of $30,000 with a mere $75 buy –in or $2,500 for a $0.55 buy-in. There’s a game for everyone in the Hot Turbo tournaments.

Mac players will enjoy this news as the site is one of the Mac friendly poker sites. There are other bonuses and incentives available for players.  There are many different games to choose from and multiple payment options for withdrawing money. Check out the find out how the games and payouts work before committing to play. Once you have the details, sign up to play in the Hot Turbos tournaments and get in on the action.

Trailer for New Greek Movie “Poker Face”

When it comes to the world of poker cinema, there’s “Rounders,” which has some great poker quotes by the way, and then there’s not really much else to discuss. But perhaps the Greek film industry could help fill the gaping void between Rounders and other poker movies with a new project called “Poker Face.” Saving you the headache of any cheesy Lady Gaga jokes, we’ll get right to what Poker Face is about.

From the looks of the preview, the protagonist is a young female player who’s looking to take down a fictional European poker champion named “Waterproof.” Along the way, Waterproof unsuccessfully tries to put the moves on our lady hero, they end up exchanging some run-of-the-mill poker advice, and the two eventually play heads-up for €600k. Poker Face may not immortalize the game like Rounders did, but it certainly looks worth viewing.

Working Hard and Bringing Hustle Cards Back to Life!

I wanted to post a quick update to let anybody out there who sees this website that I have been breathing new life into it lately. Hustle Cards sat around with only minor changes for several years now, but it is time to get more content rolling out and a new design. This will all be coming in due time.

Most recently, I’ve been working on restructuring the content and updating the broken links within the content. I also noticed that the titles of the pages were all lacking, so I updated them as well. If you want to find any page on the site, I’ve also added a new and improved site map with links to all of the top level pages on the site.

Pretty soon I hope to have a new design to display all of the amazing content that we have here in a more organized and professional manner. That’s it for now; thanks for visiting and see you at the tables!

-Daniel Moravec

P.S. The 2012 World Series of Poker just began and is underway! I’ll be playing in the cash games and tournaments on a regular basis. Wish me luck!

Visit Las Vegas and Save Some Money, Tourist Guide

The Money You Bet in Vegas, Stays in Vegas

Whether you’ve been dating for a year or just think spending some money is the best way to get down her pants, Vegas is a great place to show your love while still having fun. Sexy men and women provide eye-candy for all. Most ask “How can I afford a trip like that? I am only in college and I can barely afford to eat.” Well, suck it up, live on bread and water for a month, and follow my easy tips to an affordable luxury vacation.


Depending on what floats your boat, you may want to enter a Texas hold-um tournament, cruise the blackjack tables, or spend time at the slots. Regardless of your choice, one rule applies to them all: only spend what you are willing to loose. But Beth, you cry, I already knew that. Well, here is something that perhaps you don’t know. Before you leave, decide what games you want to play. Generally you can find coupons that will give you such benefits like spend $20 and get $40 worth of slot play, or double cash back at black jack. Also, if you have a certain hotel you like to play at, it may be to your advantage to join their player’s club, which has rewards and double cash back, and other money saving things like that.

In Vegas, you get free drinks while you gamble. Granted, they are not the tastiest concoctions, but, nonetheless, they are free. To maximize your money and drinking time at the tables, don’t play every hand. Sit out and watch for a bit, and only play occasionally. If you go with a friend, don’t play while your friend plays, and let your friend watch you while you play. Make the casino give you something for nothing! Now, remember, as you drink, you will play worse, hence my first rule, only bet what you are willing to lose, but the odds are against you anyway so live it up while you can!

Las Vegas Shows

My favorite part of Vegas! I love going from casino to casino and checking out what they have. Don’t worry, you don’t have to break the bank to watch these, just follow these tips:

  1. Almost every casino has at lease one free show. Circus Circus has a free acrobat show and other famous ones include: Fountain show, pirate show, and the volcano show. Other casinos have hidden shows so check them out before you leave for Nevada.
  2. If you don’t have a specific show to see, check online for two-for-one coupons. These will save you a lot of money. I saved over $200 on my last trip. Simply split the cost of one with your friend/lover and have fun. Almost all the shows in Vegas are good; so don’t worry if you haven’t heard of it before.
  3. If you have a specific show you want to see, find out what hotel it is at. Then, call the hotel and see if they have a guest discount. You may find it to your advantage to stay at that hotel. Also, search online for coupons. You never know what you will find.


Number one rule of buffets is this: All buffets in Vegas cost about $7. The difference is the food quality. If you are staying in old Vegas, do not eat at your hotel’s restaurants. Go to the Palms or the MGM Grand and eat a nice meal for the same price. Otherwise, look online for coupons. Planet Hollywood and Hard Rock Café have $5 off ones and there are many more. I found lots of coupons for 10-20% off various establishments. Coupons really can save you a lot of money if you take the time to look for them.

Hotels and Airfare

These may seem expensive, but in actuality, they are not. Look online for special offers and both of these can become very cheap. Don’t book these too early though, especially the hotel room, so they have more time to issue offers if business is slow. Most hotels offer a different rate for weekdays than weekends, so think about taking your vacation during the week. And remember, Vegas is one of the cheapest places in the world to fly to, so don’t get stressed out!

The keys to a cheap and fun vacation are planning, timing, and taking it slow, just like with any satisfying endeavor.

Short 10 Question Poker Quiz

Short 10 Question Poker Quiz

Think you know everything about poker and poker players?

These are not questions about the best way to play a hand. Rather, these questions are about the culture of poker and the people of poker.

Give it a shot. Answers below.

1. The banker in the book, The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King

A. Howard Lederer
B. Barry Greenstein
C. Andy Beal
D. Andy Bloch

2. His neighbors in Longworth, Texas walked across the street so as not to be seen with a professional gambler

A. Amarillo Slim Preston
B. Doyle Brunson
C. Jack Straus
D. Sailor Roberts

3. The subject of the movie, “High Roller,” and the book, “One of a Kind.”

A. Phil Hellmuth
B. Stu Ungar
C. Phil Ivey
D. Chris “Jesus” Ferguson

4. The “Devilfish”

A. Carlos Mortensen
B. Dewey Tomko
C. Layne Flack
D. David Ulliott

5. The “Unabomber”

A. The boyfriend of Jennifer Tilly
B. The husband of Jen Harman
C. The chauffer of Kathy Liebert
D. The wife of T. J. Cloutier

6. His wife is a psychiatrist

A. Ted Forrest
B. Daniel Negreanu
C. Josh Arieh
D. Phil Hellmuth

7. Mom and Dad have Ph.D’s and so does this pro

A. Howard Lederer
B. Cindy Violette
C. Chris Moneymaker
D. Chris “Jesus” Ferguson

8. The first wife of Tom Cruise is a serious player

A. Nicole Kidman
B. Katie Holmes
C. Shannon Elizabeth
D. Mimi Rogers

9. Finished second to Joe Hachem at main event of the 2005 World Series of Poker

A. Mike Matusow
B. Greg Raymer
C. Steve Dannenmann
D. David Grey

10. The poker-playing son of Barry Greenstein

A. Huck Seed
B. John Murphy
C. Robert Varkonyi
D. Joe Sebok

And the answers:

1. Andy Beal is the banker in the Michael Craig book, “The Professor (Howard Lederer), the Banker, and the Suicide King (the king of hearts). This is the story of the richest poker game of all time where a team of pros took of billionaire Beal. There is some dispute about just how much money actually changed hands, but at $100,000 and $200,000 a pop, there was once $20 million dollars on the table at the Bellagio.

2. Doyle Brunson tells the story of his neighbors crossing the street so as not to be seen with – gasp – a professional gambler. In Super Systems 2, not only will you learn a great deal about how to play poker, but you’ll also learn a great deal about Brunson’s fascinating life. He has a master’s degree in education, trained to be a school principal, worked as a salesman for a time, but was making more at poker than at sales, so . . .

3. Tony Vidmer is the director of the movie, “High Roller,” originally titled, “Stuey.” You can catch this on DVD. The story of Stu Ungar is also told in a terrific book by Nolan Dalla and Peter Alson, “One of a Kind. The Rise and Fall of Stuey Ungar, the Greatest Poker Player of All Time.” This book covers Stuey’s rise and fall, to his end in a porn hotel north of the Strip, where he died, broke and alone. Friends took up a collection to pay for his funeral.

4. Englishman David Ulliott is the “Devilfish.” He wears a ring that spells out “Devilfish” (big ring). The devilfish is a Chinese culinary delicacy that could kill you if not properly prepared. Beware the “Devilfish.”

5. “Unabomber” Phil Laak hides behind a sweatshirt with the hood pulled up. He is also the squeeze of Jennifer Tilly, the Academy Award-nominated actress. Has teamed up with actor James Woods in a series of team challenges. Has come out on top twice.

6. Phil Hellmuth’s wife is a psychiatrist. Some say she needs to do a little more work on him. She has to be proud of his nine World Series of Poker bracelets. She apparently handles Phil, her own profession, and two boys well. They make their home in Palo Alto, California.

7. Chris “Jesus” Ferguson is the son of two academics. Chris got his Ph. D. in computer science from UCLA. He and his Dad publish scholarly papers on game theory. Chris says he would like to be a professor in a university someday. When not playing poker, he is into swing dancing.

8. Mimi Rogers, a former Playboy model, is a serious poker player. She is often seen on Bravo TV’s, “Celebrity Poker Showdown,” co-hosted by pro Phil Gordon. Traveled to Ireland in 2005 to open The Gaming Club World Poker Championships. Has played Mrs. Kensington in several Austin Powers movies.

9. Steve Dannenmann came in second after an exhausting heads-up battle with winner, Joe Hachem, a former chiropractor from Australia. Joe picked up $7.5 million but Steve shed no tears as this Maryland accounted pocketed $4.25 mil. Credits a book by World Series of Poker winner, Dan Harrington, as a major factor in his success.

10. Joe Sebok was about six years old when Barry Greenstein married his Mom. Joe is close to his biological father, but proudly considers Barry as his Dad. Barry dedicated his book, “Ace on the River,” to his six kids, including Joe, of course. Also known as “Joe Poker” in his articles for Card Player Magazine. Dad’s lessons are paying off: Joe made a final table at two World Series of Poker events in 2005.

How did you do?

9-10 correct.
You’re ready for the World Series of Poker. Get $10,000 together and go for it.

7-8 correct.
How about a World Poker Tour event in the Caribbean?

5-6 correct.
Stick with $2/$4 tables

4 or less.
Stick with free online games.

Poker on a Cruise Ship

Playing Poker on a Cruise Ship

What a combination: playing poker and being on a cruise ship.

Card Player Magazine, one of the premier poker magazines out of Las Vegas, enlists Linda Johnson (“The First Lady of Poker”) as the honcho on Card Player Cruises. She has run more than 40 of them and knows her business.

More than that, she also knows Card Player Magazine, having been the owner for eight years prior to 2001. She sold out, but kept the rights to the cruises. Good idea!

This former postal worker from southern California entered the ladies event of the World Series of Poker in the early 80’s, placed fifth, quit her job, and moved to Vegas to play poker full-time.

Her poker cruises go where most cruises go: Transatlantic, the Mexican Riviera, the Caribbean, Alaska, Russia, and South America. On a recent Mexican cruise, most of the players were beginners, booking to see what the poker phenomenon was all about and to pick up some tequila, high quality silver jewelry, and perhaps a sombrero.

About 25-40% of the passengers have booked for the poker element. So, the poker player in your family can play while at sea while the Significant Other catches some rays in a lounge chair by the pool. Something for everybody as long as you are 18 years or older.

Lou Krieger, author of “Poker for Dummies,” offers onboard seminars. A beginner can take some lessons and immediately start playing in a low limit game. There are tournaments with great cash prizes. The non-smoking poker room is prepared to offer any game, at any limit, that players want.

Linda Johnson also steps ashore from time to time. She holds the annual Linda Johnson Celebrity Challenge Poker Tournament at the Casino Europa in San Jose, Costa Rica each summer. A number of poker games, including the popular No Limit Texas Hold ‘em game, is offered. Such poker stars as Daniel Negreanu (“Kid Poker”) and World Series of Poker winner Scotty Nguyen hop planes and head south to help Linda out.

You might also recognize Linda as the onstage announcer (Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten sit offstage) at televised World Series of Poker events. She is the one who says, “Shuffle Up and Deal,” and calls the action at the tables.

There is another kind of poker played on another kind of cruise event that Linda also runs. In conjunction with the World Poker Tour (WPT), an annual No Limit Texas Hold ‘em tournament has been held on chartered – just for the poker gang – Holland America ships.

In 2004, Erick Lindgren beat his best buddy, Daniel Negreanu, to snag a million dollar prize on a WPT Mexican cruise. Negreanu didn’t hold his defeat against Lindgren: soon after, Erick was Daniel’s best man at his wedding to Lori.

Back to the cruise and Erick’s victory: to celebrate, he ordered drinks for the house in The Crow’s Nest Bar on the ship, the beautiful MS Ryndam. It seemed like a good idea at the time, maybe until Erick woke up the next morning (or was it afternoon?), to discover a receipt for a $22,000 bar tab by his bed.

Life Lessons From Poker

Life Lessons From Poker

Since I received positive feedback on Life Lessons From Blackjack last week, I thought I’d share some lessons I learned from poker as well.


Again, feel free to skip the background story if you just want to read the lessons part. I only include this for the curious.

I first learned to play poker when I was 18, just playing nickel-dime-quarter games with friends from school. I was a fairly weak player back then, mostly using a loose-aggressive style and bluffing way too much. But I enjoyed the game and would usually play at least once a week. Of course, this was only in home games where I mostly played those deviant forms of poker not found in casinos. My favorite game was called 3-5-7. I only played for fun at this time and for many years thereafter, I never took the game seriously.

When I was 21 and living in L.A., some friends and I made a few trips to Commerce Casino. I played mostly 7-stud at the time and a little bit of hold’em. I didn’t keep records back then, but overall I probably broke even. I played at Commerce perhaps 5 times total. It was an hour’s drive from my home, so it wasn’t convenient enough to bother with, since I was only playing for fun anyway.

From the age of 24 to 33, I hardly played poker at all, maybe once a year on average. It just wasn’t a big part of my life.

In January 2004, my family and I moved to Vegas. The availability of poker games in Vegas (and the recent surge in popularity) means that you can always find a game. The Las Vegas Strip is only a 20-minute drive from my home, and Downtown Vegas is 15 minutes away. Plus the closest casino to my house (Santa Fe Station) recently added a poker room, so now a game is only 10 minutes away.

When I first moved here, I thought it would be fun to play poker more often, since I always enjoyed a good game. I had no intention of making it into a career, but nor did I have any interest in losing money at it. I figured that if I could learn how to count cards at blackjack, surely I could become decent enough at poker to consistently beat the low-limit games. That way I could have fun and win a little money at the same time.

Turns out I was right.

Based on recommendations from others, I picked up a few books on the subject. My favorite was Winning Low-Limit Hold’em by Lee Jones. I followed Jones’ recommendations fairly closely, and they worked well.

I only play the cheapest limits, like $1-3 and $2-6 spread games or the $2-4 structured games. I play in smoke-free poker rooms, which fortunately are becoming more common. Personally I like the campy/friendly (and smoke-free) atmosphere of the Excalibur poker room, so that’s where I usually play. It’s a very winnable, low-pressure game if you’re halfway decent, especially on a Friday or Saturday night when the place is filled with tourists who are mostly there for fun and free drinks. I know most of the dealers there by name, and all are very friendly.

I’m not out to make a career out of this, and I certainly don’t consider myself a shark. I just love the fun and the challenge of the game. I’ve always enjoyed competition.

On average I play a couple times a month, usually on weekends. I record every session I play in a spreadsheet, so I can see how I did — I want to know if I’m winning or losing. Last year I came out positive, with a per session win rate of about 70% and a positive hourly rate of $2.27 (net of tips). Obviously I’m not going to get rich playing such low limits, but to me this is only an entertaining hobby, not a serious entrepreneurial venture. I only play in person, not online, because I like chatting with other players and meeting interesting people from around the world.

Poker is by far a much tougher game to master than blackjack because your decisions depend on the actions of other players, not merely on pre-determined rules of play and probabilities. Playing poker also takes a lot more patience than blackjack in my opinion. Between poker and blackjack, I enjoy poker a lot more because of the human factor.

Poker Observations

Whereas in blackjack most of my observations came from watching other players play their hands, in poker I’ve learned the most by observing myself, partly due to the nature of the game (I can’t see every decision other people make as I can in blackjack).

Here are some observations I’ve make from playing poker over the years:

1. You can learn a lot about other people by studying yourself.

Simply by observing myself and watching my own tells, like seeing my hands shake when I looked down and saw pocket aces on the button, I learned to look for those same tells in other players. In low-limit games, virtually anytime you see a player’s hands shaking as they try to place their bet, it means they have a monster hand. I’ve thrown away many solid hands after reading this tell, and so far every single time it was the right decision. By observing my own behavior, I could watch for it in other people.

How does this apply to life itself? If you know how you behave when experiencing certain emotional states, you can watch for that behavior in others to gain information (hich can be extremely helpful in certain situations).

For example, if I’m watching someone give a speech, I can observe how I behave when I’m really bored or really interested. Then when I’m the one giving the speech, I can watch for those reactions in the audience. If I see people leaning forward, smiling, and nodding, I know I have a captive audience because that’s what I do when I’m captivated.

If you’re a salesperson, how do you behave when you watch someone else give a good/bad presentation? If you’re a manager, how do you behave when someone tries to delegate something to you and you don’t intend to do it? If you’re married, how do you behave when you aren’t really listening to your spouse?

Observe how your own behaviors reflect various internal states, and then watch for those behaviors in others to gain information. You may be surprised to find that emotional states produce a physiological response that is extremely similar from person to person.

2. You can learn a lot about yourself by studying other people.

This is the reverse of #1. By observing how others behave in poker, and then seeing what kind of hand they have, I can connect their behaviors to information. Then when I see these physiological tells again, I can more easily put that player on a hand.

Many poker players do this. No big whoop.

But how many poker players take what they learn about other players and then apply it to themselves? This means watching for the tells you pick up from other players in yourself, especially when you’re heads-up against the player you saw express those tells. So if you see someone looking away from the table when they have a monster hand, make sure you don’t look away when you’ve got a monster.

You can also take this concept a step further and use it even more proactively. If you see other people behave a certain way when they have a great hand, you may find it beneficial to exert that same behavior on purpose when you’re heads-up against that player and want to bluff him/her out. It’s a sneaky way of using that person’s own physiological response to feed them false information. Just make sure you aren’t too obvious about it, or the other player will catch you. I find it works best as a subconscious signal that alters their intuitive feeling about the hand.

So what’s the life lesson here? The lesson is that this kind of manipulation also works outside the game of poker. By learning someone’s tells, you can consciously exhibit a certain behavior to activate the response you want. Certainly this sounds manipulative, and it is. But by being aware of this tactic, you can reduce your susceptibility to it.

TV commercials use this kind of manipulation all the time. They know all the tells for various emotional states, and they use them to attempt to manipulate your emotional response. This is one reason so many commercials appear logically stupid, but they can still be effective if they include the proper signals that bypass your mind and drive their message into your subconscious.

Think of those drug commercials where they read the side effects (which often sound worse than the symptoms the drug is supposed to treat), but the visual imagery suggests the exact opposite. The characters exhibit the tells of the emotional states the advertiser wants you to associate to their product or service. But those signals often have nothing to do with the product itself. In other words, you aren’t being shown the real emotional states the product will induce in you, but far more pleasurable states that probably won’t occur by using the product at all.

How many beer commercials show drunk people behaving stupidly?

3. Both intellect and intuition can provide input for making correct decisions.

In poker sometimes logic is correct, and other times intuition is correct. Sometimes they agree; sometimes they don’t.

In life, however, you generally have more options than check, bet, call, raise, or fold. Life is more open-ended, and when logic and intuition disagree, sometimes it’s best not to choose sides but to listen to both and seek out a third alternative.

When my logic and intuition seem to disagree, I try to step back and see the situation from other perspectives. In the past I’d usually favor my logic, only to find that my intuition was right. Then I’d slide too far the other way, and pay the price of ignoring my intellect. Now I know that both inputs provide information, but they do so by acting upon imperfect data.

In poker you’re limited in how much data you can gather. But life offers other extra opportunities for peaking at the cards. You can ask for expert advice while you play. You can take in new information to augment the data your logic and intuition are processing. You can wait for clarity before acting. You can even dive in with your best decision, see what the next card looks like, and adjust course afterwards.

4. Don’t be a fish.

“Fish” are bad poker players who are essentially there to give away their money. They don’t bother to develop much skill at the game, so they just play badly. And the longer they play, the more they lose.

Isn’t life the same? If you play badly long enough, eventually you lose. Abuse your health, your relationships, or your finances, and you can kiss them goodbye.

Good players learn the rules of the game and build their skills. They eliminate negative habits that would otherwise bring them down.

5. You can make no mistakes and still lose.

In poker you can expect to take bad beats again and again. Eventually you’ll take one in a heartbreaking situation when someone draws highly improbable runner-runner cards to beat your made hand.

Life is the same. You can play perfectly and still lose.

There’s no security in the cards. The only true security lies in knowing you did your best. Focus on making correct decisions, and let the cards fall as they may.

6. No single hand will kick you out of the game for life.

When you take a bad beat, just take a deep breath and brush it off. It’s in the past, and there’s nothing you can do about it now.

Stay focused on the present. There’s another hand to be played.

7. Do not play J8s UTG no matter how seductive it looks and how certain you are of achieving a multiway pot.

The life lesson here is left as an exercise for the reader. 🙂

If you’re a poker player yourself, I invite you to share your own life lessons from the game by posting a comment.

No Limit Holdem in Vegas Part II

NL Holdem in Vegas Part II

Poker article continued from NL Holdem in Vegas Page I. This page is part II

…”Who’s comming back to the strip with me?” Who would have thought it would be so damn difficult to find a no-limit game at six in the morning? I personally had this magical conception of Vegas, in terms of poker especially, that I could get a game anywhere anytime. This was not true. I walked all over the damn place looking for a game, any game I’ll even take a limit game. I first started at the Bellagio, come on best known for poker there must be some high rollers left over from the long night. I was amazed to see an empty poker pit and a pit boss telling me, “yeah, the game should start back up around nine or ten”. Nine or ten! It was six in the morning at the time and I’m working on my second wind here I need a game.

So I left the Bellagio and headed elsewhere. I found myself at the MGM. This casino, I am almost sure, the 2nd largest in the world! Foxwoods, New England is the largest and I believe Fallsview, Niagra Falls is the third. So here I am at the 2nd largest casino in the world and do you think there is a game? Obviously not, I enter – again – an empty poker pit and a confused look on the pit boss’s face. So without giving up hope I headed to where I “heard” there would be a good no-limit game at all times – the Rio. Why you ask I didn’t head there right away, well it is actually decently far, if your walking, from everything else. However, on my way to the Rio I had to go through Caesar’s palace, which is a gorgeous casino with a beautiful mall yet no poker game. Anyways I head through Caesar’s and was off on my way to Rio.

Now the way to walk to Rio is actually quite unpleasant. It is along a highway or freeway or some kind of crap like that and the sidewalk is dangerously located an inch from where crazy drivers are speeding by you on hazardous turns and bends. Furthermore, you must talk a pedestrian boardwalk which is distasteful to the scenery in Vegas but mere aesthetics is the least of your worries. As I walked on the boardwalk I noticed several spray painted signs. Upon closer examination, from my limited knowledge of L.A. street gangs, I noticed it was a specific type of L.A. gang one in which I would definitely want to avoid. I will keep the name confidential to keep myself and my loved ones out of possible danger but lets just say it was not the nicest feeling to know that I was walking in gang territory.

What a feeling of relief when I approached the Rio, my shirt was off and around my head due to the blistering heat. I place my shirt back on and head inside. I walk confidently to the poker pit. Don’t worry Johnny everything will be good, there has to be a game come on it’s the Rio, I walk into the poker pit and nothing. Crud, I just hiked up Mount Everest and found a McDonalds at the top – no surprises. Instead of conversing with the pit boss I just decided to cut my losses spark up a cigarette and head back to civilization.