Monday, June 13, 2016

The usual dealer's choice getting a little dull?

Our weekly game has been running for about 15 years. We started with nickels, dimes and quarters in a dealers choice that was usually hold'em or stud. A lot has changed over the years. Some has been natural, like replacing change with chips. Like increasing chip values to 50 cents and a dollar. Like adding to our game repertoire. Like having the dealer ante 5 chips to eliminate the "somebodies always light" annoyance.

But some of the changes were by design and came after some group discussion. One crafted change was to introduce the mixed game deal. This is patterned after the old HORSE tournaments, where each time the game changed, it was dealt all the way around the table. In the mixed game approach you can get a little game rhythm going, a little more strategic in your thinking because you stay with a game variation a little while. We still play dealer's choice but alternate the format weekly, which keeps the regular get together fresher.

Another calculated change was to move from a flat bet structure to a spread limit. Now a player can bet or raise anywhere from 1-5 chips at anytime. It's hard to defend your hand, or build a pot strategically when all you can do is bet or raise a chip.

I out lined some of the game venues that I've found in neighborhood games at Poker Night Tonight

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Tonight, I'm a sub

It's a regular weekly game that has been running for years. Occasionally, they'll have a couple of regulars out for one reason or the other, and I'll get a call for the eighth seat.

I like the group, but the game, not so much. It's a flat chip structure. Each chip is a dollar. Buy-in is $30. You can bet or raise one chip. You don't so much play or protect a hand, as build the pot. All pots are split pots. Any Lo plays, A,2,3,4,6 is the nuts. At showdown you declare Hi or Lo or both ways.

Like any long standing group, there is little tolerance for suggestions, or change. So why do I go? It's a game! I do like, and get along well with, the players. Some have been friends for years. So, it's essentially social poker.

I try to win, but, the game is like a practise session where I can work on basics. Be observant, practise people and hand reading, work on my self control. I'm happy to be a sub. I'd probably be happy to b a regular.

It's poker, and it's in the neighborhood, what's not to like?

Monday, May 30, 2016

Comic strip artistry

One of the things I'm drawn to is comic strips. Not so much comic books. Even as a kid, I couldn't pas up a newspaper without finding and devouring the comics section. I liked some more than others but would read every strip or panel in print. Of course my tastes and interest evolved. I found my self drawn to the strips that told stories, but were bigger than life at least in an artistic way.

What got me thinking was I did a HubPage article, Favorite Comic Strips, giving some of my favorites. I was surfing in HubPages and came across, From Peanuts to Zippy: My Ten Favorite Newspaper Cartoon Strips by Mike Lickteig and read his quite different list. His list ran a little more to more recent popular strips. We shared some favorites like Calvin and Hobbs, and The Far Side (ones I'll probably add to my article.) I realized that my list wasn't really personal favorites list, but more a nostalgic reach back.

Of course, lists like these are not definitive, they're just conversation starters. What's your favorite comic strip?

Sunday, May 29, 2016

New poker group

I started a new Yahoo group, Poker Night, Tonight. Why? Frustration with the Internet.

If you want to follow the poker pros, hold'em, online poker, tournaments, casino poker, the Internet has you covered. But try to follow neighborhood poker on the Internet and where do you go?

Looking for new game variations? Be prepared to dig. Play in games with 20-30 dollar buy-ins? Where can you talk about it, with other players who relate and care?

There's got to be as many home poker players as casino players. I'd like to find some of you with Poker Night Tonight. Check it out and join.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Poker Variation, Roll Your Own

3 Card Stud
This is a neat little 3 card stud game. So many of the Dealer's Choice variations seem to have big community card boards which result in lots of big hands. It's nice to play a game where there is no chance of a full house!

I first encountered it as a sub in an established low limit game. It seemed too tight, in that small pot venue, but I've grown to appreciate its subtleties of play. I've since introduced it in other neighborhood game venues with higher limits and it's been well received.

The Play
It's essentially 3 card stud, where you roll your own up cards. It's generally played as a Hi Lo split pot game, but could be High only, or Lo only (a really twisted Raz game.) With only 3 cards, the nut Lo is A,2, 4. This HubPage describes the deal and play with pictures. Read it and come back.

Since your hand is never more than 3 cards, two of them exposed, you are playing pretty naked. The lay of the up cards is pretty situational, so watch out for bluff situations or opportunities. Some times a good board read can lead to a "no contest" win. For example, everybody looks Lo and you can represent High.

Some, very few, hands can look High and Lo at the same time, which is strong to the table, and gives you an extra hidden option to buy a new down card. For example Down, 3,4 can look like a great Lo (A, 3,4) and a weak straight (3,4,5.) If you have a brick down, like a Jack, you can hold the Jack and bluff, buy a new down card, and improve or bluff.

As in any poker game, letting the table draw free, invites a suck out!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Neighborhood poker keeps me going.

There's a casino in the neighborhood, and I occasionally play there. But that's not what I mean by neighborhood poker. I'm talking about home games. The players are typically friends or neighbors, or at least an acquaintance.

Everybody is trying to outplay each other, but there is no rake, no commission, no House to pay off. At most everybody chips in for food or snacks, and pitches in to put away chairs and clean up.

Casinos offer all the Hold'em you can stand. At a home game, there's always a game change a deal or two away. No two home games are alike. There's lots of different buy-ins, stakes, limit spreads, game arrays, and variations to play.

Neighborhood poker keeps me interested and gives me something to talk about here. Let me know what you think?