In the past men would stand outside a poker room at Sandhurst Hotel Casino in Las Vegas shouting loudly ‘Poker, Poker, Poker, Texas Hold’em and Seven Card Stud.’ That was in the past. They were great times. Some time back skilled poker was not as popular. These days one can’t prevent the public from entering, no matter if it is the US or Europe!.
Books written on poker strategy such as Doyle Brunson’s Super System and Phil Hellmuth’s Play p oker like the pros are selling like hot cakes since a huge number of people are going to online poker rooms like EventualBet.com (100,000 players log on in one night); since more and more casinos such as the real world casinos, new online casinos and new Indian casinos coming up in every part of the country; since WSOP (World Series of Poker) is being shown on ESPN, the WPT (World Poker Tour) being shown on the Travel channel, Fox is showing Late Night Poker, Bravo telecasts Celebrity Poker Showdown on Bravo and several such Poker programs being telecast on several other television channels, it shows that Poker is undoubtedly extremely popular.
lHow did it all change? Let us say that poker in the past was like a stockroom full of explosives. The stockroom was like a sitting duck waiting to blast. Poker was already pretty popular what with the grand prizes for the winners. The grandest bluffs, incredible blunders and fantastic calls had already been done in the event. Also, nobody was prevented from joining in a game of play poker.
We’ve had players from all over the world such as Vietnam, Russia, Taiwan, China, Spain, Puerto Rico, France, England, Germany and Morocco playing and the finalists such as Phil Ivey, John Bonetti and women like Barbara Enright. Then again there are players who’ve honed their game on the Internet and are now playing big games such as the 2004 World Champion of Poker Chris Moneymaker.
As a matter of fact we find more and more people from all walks of life, various races, nationalities and ages playing and winning the Poker Tours. Since the prizes are becoming larger more and more people are practicing play poker and becoming skilled. Who put a match to the pile of explosives? Cameras were fitted under the table to expose the players’ pocket cards to the viewers, that is how it all blew up. The public could watch the game on television.
The pioneers in bringing the pocket card cameras were Great Britain, in the program called Late Night Poker a large audience followed the program in London. Steve Lipscomb and Lyle Berman of the World Poker Tour then used the same concept in the USA in 2003, ever since that time Poker has become popular there too. Most players were either against the idea or they didn’t have an opinion when ESPN wanted to use the pocket card cameras when World Series Poker was in form.
The players’ qualms were understandable since coverage of play-by-play would reveal the players’ secrets. It could even divert the players’ attention away from the game.Then again some players didn’t want to reveal their strategies to the public. The Bikers club’s championship event in Los Angeles wasn’t doing too well in the year 2000. A mere 36 players participated by coming up with $5000 each.
It was only after ESPN televised WSOP tournament and the Travel Channel aired the WPT that the Bikers found more than 380 players to come up with $10,000 each to participate in the game. While the poker winner raked in $116,000 in 2000 the winner of 2003 raked in $570,000! Not only that, in the year 2003 famous personalities like Ben Affleck, Frank Mariani (owner of the Los Angeles Lakers), Jerry Buss and even Lou Diamond Philips participated.
There was a vast disparity in both the tournaments. A person would need to take a break during the 2003 Bikers tournament just to take a deep breath. It was a spectacular sight. Three local news networks and others such as Entertainment Tonight, Sports Illustrated and a German TV covered the event. Players, spectators and Poker bluffs were all over the place. Comparatively not many people attended the 2001 event and the press didn’t cover the event. To sum it up it means that Poker is becoming really hot.
Ever since the audiences in the US and Europe have watched the pocket card camera aired on TV, one hears people commenting that Texas Hold’em is a very simple game to play. Do they really think it is easy to play Hold’em? Perhaps. After all, one can learn Hold’em within minutes but it takes a lifetime to master. That is a fact! A major reason that Hold’em is so popular currently is because it doesn’t take more than five or ten minutes to learn. However that is largely due to the pocket card cameras.
In the beginning, when people watched Hold’em being played on TV, didn’t quite get addicted to it because they felt the game appeared too complex. Due to very little activity, following the program was too grueling. Ever since the channels started showing the pocket cards the people got interested. How could anyone say that a no-limit hold’em game of Poker is unexciting?
Take for example this hand. It will demonstrate the disparity of the way it appeared in the past and the way it appears currently. Previously when Annie Duke or Russ Hamilton had laid a wager of $100,000 while their opponents quietly folded their hands, that’s what the audience saw. A wager, quit, quit, quit and this did appear very tedious when it was televised. Currently we know the pocket cards of that Annie Duke or Russ Hamilton are holding before they lay a wager of $100,000.
Let us say, they have a King and a Queen, you can see their pocket cards as well as their expressions and at the same time you can see the opponent wondering whether to bet or not even though he or she has an Ace and a Jack. You wonder what he or she will do with the Ace and Jack, will he or she quit? These days the TV audiences also wonder together with the player. And when the player quits, the viewers say ‘Oh no! He should have played on.
Nowadays the viewer can observe the players anguish, the way the player bluffs, the way he thinks, the mistakes he makes and he can also observe some of the greatest moves with his own two eyes. By the way, it doesn’t distract the players these days. What does the book Bad beats and Lucky Draws contain? It is an exciting book written about significant hands learned from eighteen years of experience in the poker world.
Every description is about the players’ moves, their way of thinking and whether they made the correct moves. However every description is also about the fantastic places where they happened, which is mostly at prominent tournaments such as the WSOP, WPT or the European Poker Tour championship. In conclusion, every hand exposes the sentiments of the participants about what they were going through when they played and when they made mistakes, or struggled.
This site could be considered an enhanced approach screen, an instructive look into the world of Poker. In Bad Bets and Lucky Draws, these hands have been assembled in eight chapters. (A bad beat is when a person is really unlucky with his hand in Poker). Fourteen such hands that have been played at the WSOP, which is a prominent contemporary event, have been described in detail in the first chapter, which is titled World Series of Poker Hands.
Yet another chapter is dedicated to the World Poker Tour. Several strange and implausible hands ever seen or heard have been discussed in ‘Beating bad chances’. Details of hands that some other writers such as Doyle ‘Texas Dolly’ Brunson, Annie Duke, Johnny ‘The Oriental Express’ Chan, Ted Forrest, Men ‘The Master’ Nguyen and Layne Flack have offered have been listed in the chapter called ‘From the Other side of the Table’. It is mesmerizing to read about the way these people think and the fine distinction of their analysis.
Some of the hands that have been played in places like Amsterdam, Paris, Vienna, and Cardiff; Wales have been described in the chapter called European Poker Tour. Fascinating hands played by players such as Matt Damon, Edward Norton, Hustler magnate Larry Flynt, Nicole Sullivan, Paul Rudd, Jerry Buss and Frank Mariani have been detailed in the chapter called ‘Poker Hollywood Style’.
Some chapters contain great reads of which one is titled ‘Reading Other Players’ Mail’. Yet another chapter is called ‘Cheesehead Poker. A person could read a couple of hands and get a feel of what has been done if you read this book. These stories could are well told, gripping and enlightening. They make interesting reading material. The author has had great fun assembling these details and done his best to see that the reader enjoys them.
Have a great time. No matter if the reader tries to predict the players or playing some of these poker hands.
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