Wednesday, July 29, 2009

August 21st Marks Next Online Poker Showdown

The Poker Players Alliance, or PPA for short, has certainly been in the thick of things recently. Not only have they been responsible for presenting the President with a petition regarding online poker, but they have also been responsible for raising a lot of awareness regarding the game of poker through their National Poker Week. Now, it looks as though they are set for yet another showdown against the US government over the issue of the legality of online poker within the United States of America.

August 21st is scheduled to be the day in court and PPA lawyers will be representing the case of Account Services, a payment processor that had around $14 million in funds seized by the government under the auspices of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. PPA lawyers will be challenging this particular perception and the battleground for this legal battle will be the Southern District Court of California.

While details are sketchy at best at the moment, it appears to be a strong possibility that the Poker Players Alliance will adopt a strategy of attempting to prove that online poker is predominantly a game of skill rather than a game of luck. If they are able to do this to the satisfaction of the court, it is quite possible that it could set the groundwork for a national poker definition that legally ends up exempting it from the UIGEA.

The focal point for their argument will be a study that was done last year regarding hands that had been played at Poker Stars. The study took a close look at 103 million hands at the cash game tables and came to the conclusion that 3 out of 4 hands never ended up going to the last betting street. Furthermore, the hands that did go to that last street ended up largely not going to the player with the best hand because of betting and bluffing.

This is important because it shows that less than 15% of the time does the best five-card poker hand actually win the pot. In other words, luck determines less than 15% of the hands while skill determines the other 85%+.

Monday, July 27, 2009

PPA and Howard Stern now Allies

One of the most interesting online advocacy groups in recent history and one of the most controversial talk show hosts in all of history are now allies in the fight to make sure that law-abiding American citizens are allowed the full right to play poker that should come with the freedom of choice enshrined in the American constitution.

Alfonse D’Amato, the current chairman of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA for short), surprised many with a Monday morning visit to Howard Stern’s radio show on Sirius Satellite Radio. At the same time, Howard Stern announced his intention to join PPA and support the right of the people of the United States to play online poker where and when they chose to. He is now a member of the PPA and is involved in their political struggle.

One particularly interesting aspect of this was the timing of the overall announcement. Howard Stern’s decision to join the PPA came about at the same time that the PPA’s National Poker Week is going on. This particular week of awareness, set to go on until July 25th, is a week that has been gaining a lot of attention for poker and the Stern-D’Amato alliance is just one more feather in their cap when it comes to these issues.

At the center of their National Poker Week is what is best referred to as The Petition. There are many petitions out there, but the PPA petition has really become known as The Petition to those that follow the online poker industry. With 355,000 signatures on it already, the petition is going strong in an attempt to help the members of Congress see the light on this issue. With the main online poker sites having thrown their full weight behind helping people get a chance to sign this petition, there are many in the industry that have a sincere belief that this particular petition might actually be one that makes a difference.

Only time will tell though, with members of the online poker media eagerly awaiting the next development in order to see exactly what happens.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Apple iPhone Applications Get Upgraded

Apple has always been at the forefront of the mobile industry. In fact, part of the reason that they were able to basically resurrect from the dead earlier was because of the fact that the Apple iPhone and other mobile applications allowed them to steal a march on their competitors within the electronics industry. A large part of the march will be turned over to the iPhone 3G S, the newest product to be released in that line.

A lot of people are very excited about the Apple iPhone 3G S for the simple reason that it is coming to market with the force of a number of different applications behind it. In fact, as far as the world of poker is concerned, any player will be able to get some of the best poker applications around through this particular iPhone product.

A good example is a piece of software known as the Poker Tournament Manager. This is basically a piece of software that you can use to track your home games and keep statistics of all kinds. No longer do you have to walk around with a pen and paper. Instead, you can just use your iPhone as the headquarters for your home poker game with nobody being the wiser.

Another good example of a poker utility program would have to be Hold ‘Em Odds Quizzer. This game does exactly what the name implies. Because of that, it will allow you to brush up on your knowledge of Hold ‘Em while at the same time really enjoying everything that the game has to offer.

These are not the only types of applications available however, as the iPhone offers serious poker gaming as well. Zynga’s Live Poker 40k is a good example of that. It is a poker game that you can play on your new iPhone. Because of its overall excellence however, it is perhaps not at all surprising that it happens to be one of the most popular iPhone applications right now. As far as the Apple iPhone 3G S is concerned, this is a sweet time to be interested in playing poker games.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Heads Up Poker Strategy

Thousands of online poker players have started playing heads-up tournaments over the past year and there are numerous reasons as to why players have been starting to play these types of tournaments. One of the reasons why these tournaments are so popular is because you only need to beat one player in order to win the tournament. Another reason why players like these tournaments is because they are typically quick to play so you will be able to play a lot more of them then if you were playing nine player sit and go tournaments. One thing that you will need to do in order to be successful is change your strategy because your regular tournament strategy isn’t going to work when you’re playing heads-up tournaments. If you have never played heads-up tournaments in the past then make sure you read the tips below to assist your poker game.

Aggression is going to be a huge factor in how well you do in heads-up tournaments. You need to be able to apply pressure in the right situations, but you also need to know when to back off a little bit and slow down. From the very beginning of a heads-up tournament you want to let your opponent know that you won’t back down from raises or else they will end up taking advantage of you.

Position remains a key factor in heads-up play although it isn’t as big a factor when compared to playing a nine player tournament. When you get to act last you will be able to see how the other player acts before you which should give you some insight on where you stand in the hand. If they check to you then it’s also an open invitation to try and take the pot down with a bet, but don’t bet too much in case they are trapping you.

Pot control is vital when you’re playing in heads-up tournaments because you both only start with 1500 chips and the blinds don’t take that long to go up. It’s important that you keep the pots you lose to a minimum and that you get the most out of your opponent when you have a winning hand. You can also use pot control in order to keep the pots low when you’re on a draw. Often this can be achieved by throwing out a small bet on the flop and then checking the turn if you don’t hit so you can see the river for free.

Starting hand selection isn’t as important when you’re playing heads-up poker because you’re playing your opponent more then your own cards pre-flop. Any two cards can win the pot pre-flop so don’t limit yourself to only playing strong hands especially when you can limp into the pot. Almost any suited connectors are worth playing in heads-up poker and most pocket pairs.

Take notes on your opponent so that you can learn how they play and keep the notes so that if you play them again you have notes on them already. Often when you play heads-up poker tournaments you will end up playing the same group of players over time so you need to take notes and keep them to have the upper edge on your opponent.

One of the best online poker sites for playing heads-up poker tournaments is by far PokerStars as they have plenty of players actively competing in these types of events at all of the buy-ins.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Tips for Setting up a Home Poker Game

One of the best ways for poker players to gain some playing experience is by setting up a home game and playing with friends and family. It shouldn’t be hard nowadays to find a few friends who enjoy playing poker as almost everyone plays the game. If you want to set-up a successful home poker game, then make sure you read through the tips below that I’ve compiled for you. If you’re able to set-up poker games at your house with friends, then it’s highly recommended as you will be able to learn a lot about the game by playing with friends since you’ll be more prone to showing each other your hands, after the hand is over.

• You want to ensure that you let everyone know ahead of time when the poker game will take place so that you can confirm everyone can make it to the game. It really doesn’t look very good on you if only a couple of your friends show up for the game because it isn’t very fun playing with just three players.

• Make sure that you have a proper table that can accommodate all of the players you have invited to play. Also make sure that you have enough chairs for each of the players so that nobody needs to stand as that wouldn’t be very good.

• You will need to have chips, but if you don’t have chips you can also use any alternative such as coins if you want. You just need to make sure you have something that you can use for chips so that you can play once everyone arrives.

• Having drinks and snacks is always a good idea if you’re going to be hosting a home poker game with friends. Make sure that you keep the snacks to a minimum around the poker table though and ensure none of the foods can damage the cards.

• If you and your friends decide that you’re going to play for real money make sure that you all decide on a reasonable amount to play for. You don’t want to have your friends lose to much money in a single night playing poker because you’ll find the night could turn from a friendly poker game into a big argument.