reports from aWSOP Main Event from professional
gambler Andrew W Scott
is a complex and interesting game with a broad spread of
subject matter. Currently most of our material covers Texas Holdem due
to the overwhelming popularity of that variant. For specialised
information on less widely played variants, poker supplies, books and so
forth, we have provided links to various poker websites in our Links
Online Poker Rooms
Links to some online poker rooms that are both reputable and large, so
you will be able to get the game you want fairly quickly.
as a comparative gambling activity
Pokeris one of the most skillful and fascinating gambling games ever
devised and one of the few which Smartgambler recommends for the person
who wishes to be a winning gambler.
poker is generally a good game to play because there is no
house percentage, known as rake, and the standard is more likely to be
low. On the other hand, you tend to either already be friends, or become
friendly, with people you play against regularly and it may be ethically
uncomfortable to consistently take money off them. If that is a
consideration then commercial poker tournaments where the prizemoney
comes from entry fees and sponsorship are more appropriate to your
needs. For information about such events contact your national or state
poker association or nearest land based casino. In Australia social poker is legal as long as there is no
There are hundreds of different variations of poker, but the
similarities allow some people to become experts at many different
types. One of the most important things to appreciate about poker is
that it is not a game of luck, it is a game of skill that involves some
luck in the short term. Whilst individual hands and indeed tournaments
can be decided by luck, good poker players turn the percentages in their
favour and the longer the game is played the more certain it is that
money will migrate from the lesser players to the stronger.
has a very simple philosophy on poker, study, study and study the game!
Become the most knowledgeable player you possibly can and continually
try and improve. This involves knowing the table of probabilities for
the variations you play off by heart, knowing how to perform the
necessary mental arithmetic when calculations have to be made and
finally learning the strategies and psychology that elevate the truly
great players above those with mere mathematical flair.
There are thousands of books on poker and also a huge collection of
internet sites devoted to the game. You will find it relatively easy to
find study material so only your own level of motivation stands in the
way of becoming a skilled player who can win consistently at the game.
are slightly more ambivalent about casino poker in
comparison to home games for several reasons. Most obvious is the house
rake which typically will be something like 5% of each winning pot up to
a prescribed maximum. This makes it difficult to win consistently unless
you are a better player than most of the opposition. The trouble is that
often many of the players on the table at casinos are skilled regulars
and professionals just waiting for a nice plump Wood-duck to waddle up
to the table. Taking money off these hardened regulars is hard work and
there are easier gambling targets to attack. There seems to be a body of
opinion though that the standard in most casino games is generally lower
than the equivalent stakes game online, which we shall come to.
drawback with casino poker is the possibility of collusion. This is
cheating of course, but it's tricky to prove and hard for the casinos to
prevent. Since the cartels win money off other players and the casino
still gets its cut, the casinos may not be quite as motivated as usual
to stamp out this form of cheating, though they certainly claim to watch
out for it.
One simple method used by such cheats is as follows. A signal is used by
cartel members to determine who is holding the best hand. When a non
cartel player is showing strength the weaker cartel hands are
automatically folded, leaving only their best hand playing. If the non
cartel player wins, the pot it is reduced in value from what it might
have been if the cartel players had not known each others hands. Over
time this disadvantage would wipe out the non colluding players.
There are many other tricks. Suffice to say that a skilled team of
players can very easily take money off non colluding individuals. This
form of cheating at casinos is not currently regarded as a major problem
in Australia or most other well regulated environments, but it pays to
be aware of the possibility and to quit any game where you feel there is
any suspicious pattern to the play.
you are interested in online casino play, be sure to use a comparison
site. For Canadian casinos there is online casino Zed.
Hundreds of online poker rooms have sprung up on the web and
despite the potential for cheating it is definitely possible to win good
money on these sites. One piece of advice I've heard is to play the
lower stakes games as the cheats are more likely to target the richer
games. Big sites like Party Poker and Pokerstars are probably the best
places to play as they have built up a lucrative enough business to make
it worthwhile for them to try very hard to keep their games clean and
they are also unlikely to suddenly disappear with the balance of your
account! There are also so many players there at any given time you can
always find a weak table somewhere. There is a link to a listing of all
our favourite poker sites at the top of this page.
There is probably more collusion online than in all the casino and home
games put together, but a lot of online collusion is poorly planned and
executed and it's doubtful whether the colluders are actually gaining an
edge over any reasonably skilled player. The card rooms are on the
lookout for it and there are so many games available online that it's
easy to move around if you have any suspicion at all that other players
A lot has been written about the use of automated poker programs, known
as bots, for cheating purposes. Whilst there are definitely some of
these bots around, it's not clear that they are worth worrying much
about. For a start the poker rooms take anti bot measures which limit
their prevalence, and more importantly it's not yet evident that the
bots can play better than skilled players... and if you're not a skilled
player you will lose whether you are playing a bot or simply playing
against superior human opposition. Your best defence against bots is to
become a good player, which you have to do anyway to win long term at
poker. One of the first things a good player learns is that if the game
on a particular table seems too tough you should leave it and play
elsewhere. Apart from being common sense if your aim is to win money,
this reduces your exposure to cheating by any form.