Professional Players

The Disappearing Act of Phil Ivey

5This magic trick is a popular one.

Especially since Philip Dennis Ivey Jr is commonly referred to as the best poker player in the world. Acknowledged amongst his peers, fellow professional players, and many others, he is the Tiger Woods of poker.

Phil Ivey used to be very present in the Poker Pro scene whether it be features on the Poker After Dark series, the World Series of Poker, Full Tilt Poker, and much more. Nowadays, Phil isn’t around much. Why is this? Rumors say it’s due to legal reasons.

Due to edge sorting, Ivey has been stuck in the legal system against many casinos, fighting for his money.

“As I said in court, it’s not in my nature to cheat — and I would never do anything to risk my reputation,” Ivey stated when questioned about the cheating allegations.

Crockfords Casino in the UK ended up winning the case versus Phil Ivey and forced him to return his earnings of several millions. Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa also won the case versus Ivey and forced him to return $10.1 million.

Ivey’s lawyer stated that Ivey will be appealing the decisions soon.

Due to legal stress, Ivey has been missing in action in the poker scene. The question remains: will Ivey ever return to the pro circuit?

Experience, Improvement

Bad Beats

4Bad beat: a situation in which a player with the better hand bets and another player with the clearly weaker hands makes a bad call, lucks out with the community cards, and wins the hand.

How players handle bad beats will determine the type of player they are. If one reacts negatively to bad beats and starts raging or tilting, they are more prone to make poor decisions later on in the game and end up losing money they shouldn’t have. If one reacts positively, then he will have increased chances of maintaining a peak performance during the game. Poker is a game that requires immense concentration and focus.

What do you do when you get a bad beat?

The only viable option is that you accept that it happens to everyone. Not only you. It happens to professional players too. It can be hard to deal with a bad beat if you take it personally. Bad beats happen due to the variance in Poker. Everyone will have good runs and bad runs. Poker is not a 100% skill based game.  If a player is feeling lucky, then they will make a bad call and luck out.

Experience, Improvement

Tanking the Heat

3Anyone who has played Poker knows the feeling when someone makes a bet that outsizes your entire stack of chips, forcing you to go all-in if you want to proceed in the round. It’s an easy situation if you actually have a bad hand. All you have to do is lay down your hand and move onto the next hand. It’s also an easy situation if you have the best possible hand. You call the player’s bet and rack in some easy money.

But what do you do if you have a good but not great hand?

You’ll probably “tank” for a while, taking a period of time to critically analyze the situation and determine the correct decision.

This is normal. There will be huge heaps of pressure on you. You will double your stack and possibly more, or lose it all. These are the moments that define a player. These are the moments you analyze your opponent’s “actions” up until this moment and their overall demeanor. These are the moments you try to narrow your opponents hand down and try to figure out what two cards they have. You try to determine who has the better hand between you two or if they are bluffing.

It is at the end of this long silence you will come out a smarter player with another learned experience under his/her belt. A smarter player with double his/her stack or one forced to make the walk of shame, leaving the table with no chips left to play.

Regardless the results, these are the situations poker players yearn to be in as they have the potential for huge winnings.

Experience, Improvement, Round Actions

Why Play Poker?

2Now that we are a little familiar as to what Poker is, why should we play it?

The least important common reason in playing Poker is for the money. Contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of players do not play to make money. It takes constant focus in order to make money from poker. Most people simply aren’t interested in that as it takes too much concentration. While winning money is never a bad thing, it isn’t their primary focus.

The average poker player plays casually. They play Poker as they would any other hobby. We use it to bond with friends, family, and even strangers. It is a past time that they can play in the background while catching up with friends, bantering and having a good time.

In a more serious setting, it is also a game in which we use to test our wits versus others. The act of betting, raising, and bluffing to force an opponent to fold away their hand is so satisfying. There  is a sense of excitement when pitting oneself with another person and seeing who will blink first. After all, who doesn’t like a challenge from time to time?


Experience, Improvement, Round Actions

What is Poker: Texas Hold’ em?

hiPoker: Texas Hold’em is a card game found in all casinos that mixes luck and skill. In it, players attempt to create the best 5 card hand with their 2 given cards and the 5 community cards. Texas Hold’ em, one of the many variations of Poker, uses a common hand strength hierarchy that many other card games follow.

Like other card games, there is luck involved in taking home victories in Poker. However, what draws it apart from other card games is that it’s a skill reliant game. It pits you against other players, which automatically cuts out the house advantage that is found in nearly every game at casinos. It is the only game that a player, if he has the ability to outmaneuver his opponents, can truly profit from.

Continue reading “What is Poker: Texas Hold’ em?”