Is Statistical Tournament Poker Gambling?

I’m a poker player, not a professional by any means, but not bad player either. This last month a new poker parlor opened in Portland, Oregon that got my interest. I had seen lots of tournament poker in bars around Portland but they didn’t appeal to me for a few reasons…

1. They were in a bar, which meant a smoke filled environment and I am not fond of cigarette smoke.

2. The nights of play varied, often it was like every Tuesday night but not every night, if I wanted to vary my nights of play I had to go to different locations.

3. There was no guarantee that I could play, if I made the trip to the bar and the seats at the tables were already assigned I was SOL, I made the trip for no reason, or I had to wait 2 hours for the next game to begin, which might already be all assigned.

4. There was an expectation to use the establishment, and I agree with this, if they host a poker game they should expect the participants to buy food, drink, and whatever else. But extra bar food is not always in my budget.

5. Because the game was free it was usually crowded and the seats taken up by regulars who usually did not use the establishment, they even had the audacity to bring food or drink from another location into the establishment where the game was being played.

So, needless to say I did not play in the bar tourneys much. In steps this new poker room, National Poker Challenge, opening a new location here in Portland in the Cedar Hills area. I had to check it out and I was pleasantly surprised. They had addressed all of the issues I had with bar tournaments.

1. The room was non-smoking, a smoking area had been set up outside for the players that had to have their addiction to get their fix.

2. There are games every day, several times a day. They open at 3:00pm and close around 10:00pm with their first game at 3:15pm and their last game currently around 8:30pm.

3. They have online sign-up available or you can call the room for a seat, if the game is full they can tell you the likelihood of you getting a seat as an alternate and if they don’t have enough players for a game they will call you and tell you so. They exercise an in-your-seat policy, at the time the game is supposed to start if you are not in-your-seat or at least called and told them that you are on your way, your seat is given to an alternate.

4. and 5. Because the location is devoted to the game and not a bar or restaurant itself there is no expectation to purchase anything from the establishment because poker is its business.

Their business model is similar to the bar tournaments in that you are not playing for cash but are playing for points and statistical analysis of your play. Rather then charging the bar owners for running the tournaments they charge the players directly and statistically track the players play. The players are charged a monthly subscription that pays for the facilities, the dealers, and the statistic tracking. They do offer invitational tournaments for the top players that have cash and prizes. There is no charge for the invitational tournament. So is this gambling?

According to the Oregon Department of Justice it is, because the players are paying a fee to play and there are prizes at the end. But what makes this different from other events? Is it the poker chips? Are poker players being discriminated against because they use a piece of clay to track their points during a game? Think about it, you can have a chess tournament with an entry fee, there are prizes at the end for the best players, but does the Department of Justice call that gambling?

You can have a marathon where the runners pay an entry fee and there are prizes at the end, and most of the runners don’t even have a chance of finishing first, but is this called gambling? But because poker players play a game that uses chips it is called gambling when the games they are paying for don’t even have prizes. So, again, is it gambling? In my humble opinion, No it is not gambling. You are playing a game of skill and having your skill tracked. My hope is that the Oregon DoJ is not successful in its discrimination of this location and drops their investigation.

I invite you to join us in the poker room and try your skill at the table, see how they track your statistics and see how it may improve your play. After all, their tag line is “Do you know who the best poker player is? We do!”

Learn Casino Craps – What Are the Pieces of a Craps Table?

If you’ve ever walked through a casino, you’ve probably seen a craps table, but have you ever wondered what a craps table actually is?  What does it comprise, what are its components?

The biggest and most obvious part of the table is the bed.  Casino craps tables are generally available in 8-foot, 10-foot, or 12-foot lengths.  Along the top edge of the bed is a continuous Padded Rail on which the players can lean.  Standing at a craps table for long periods of time can become tiresome for the player, so the padded rail allows the players to rest or change body positions to ease the stress.  After all, the casino doesn’t want players to walk away simply because their feet and knees hurt.  Obviously, the casino wants players at the table as long as possible.

Adjacent to the padded rail is the wooden Chip Rack, which is usually two-racks deep with dividers about every 12-to-16 inches.  The dividers separate the chip rack into individual sections for the players.

Along the outer perimeter is a little shelf called a Drink Rail.  As the name implies, this is where players place their drinks.  Drink glasses and bottles are not allowed on the Padded Rail because of the risk of spillage onto the layout.  Not only do spills make a big mess on the layout (which the casino has to pay to get cleaned), spills delay the game which digs into the casino’s profits.  Cigarette ashtrays are also placed on the Drink Rail.

Inside the bed is the Table Layout with all the numbers and boxes onto which the players’ chips are placed.  The felt can be any color depending on the casino’s specifications.  Common colors are green, blue, and sometimes red.  Special designs and patterns can be incorporated into the layout to match the casino’s theme.  The area on the outer edge of the layout is called the Apron.

Rubber material lines the inside wall of the bed and is called Rail Rubber.  Below the rail rubber on each inside end of the table is a 6-to-8-inch wide piece of Pyramid Rubber.  This is the part of the table with all the little pyramids or spikes that are specially designed to randomly deflect the dice.  Casinos have a rule that a player must “hit the back wall” when tossing the dice.  This rule ensures the dice hit the pyramid rubber, thereby, preventing anyone from controlling the outcome of a dice roll.  Regardless of what you hear, read, or see at a live craps table, no one (NO ONE!) can consistently control the outcome of a craps roll when the dice hit the pyramid rubber.  They just can’t.  (Please read my other articles about the silly notion of “dice control” or “dice setting.”)

On the inner side of the bed across from the dealers and boxman is a mirror about 8 inches wide that runs the length of the table.  The mirror allows the dealers and boxman to see the palm side of the player’s tossing hand.  The boxman can easily see if a player is cheating by “palming” the dice, trying to introduce a crooked pair into the game.

Cut into the table layout in front of the boxman is a Money Slot for the Money Drop Box.  The money slot is about 3/8-inch wide and about 3 inches long, which is just the right size for pushing bills down into the drop box.  The boxman uses a Paddle to push the money through the slot into the money box that’s attached to the underside of the bed.  (That’s where the term “boxman” came from.)

The stickman controls a small bowl that rests on the tabletop against the wall directly in front of the stickman.  This Dice Bowl (or Dice Boat) simply holds the extra dice that are not in play.  When a new game starts, the stickman dumps the unused dice onto the table and uses his stick (or whip) to push them all (usually 6 or 8) to the next shooter.  The shooter then selects two that she thinks are lucky, and then the stickman pulls the remaining dice back and puts them in bowl.  The bowl is usually made of clear acrylic or wood.

Also considered part of a craps table are the Puck and Buttons.  The ON/OFF puck (white for the ON side, black for the OFF side) is used simply to indicate whether a new game is in progress.  If a new game is about to start, the puck is turned to the OFF side.  If a game is in progress, the puck is turned on its ON side and placed in the appropriate number box on the layout to indicate the “point” for the current game.  Small buttons about the size of a quarter are used to indicate whether a player’s bets are off or on, or whether a certain type of bet is a “buy” or “lay.”  Each button has one word engraved in it, either OFF, ON, BUY, or LAY.  Buttons help the dealer, boxman, and the eye-in-the-sky keep track of players’ bets.

Now you know all the components of a craps table!  The more you know, the more confident you’ll be when you walk up to a table.  The more confident you are, the less likely the dealers will steer you down the wrong path by enticing you to make bets with high house advantages.

Craps, a Table Game That’s So Mis-Understood Is Easy to Learn and Play – Here’s How

Many players avoid the casino game of craps at first because the large oval shaped table with numerous betting options seems a bit intimidating to table game players. Craps is actually easy to learn and fun to play, and here’s how:

Start at a five dollar minimum table. You’ll usually find them during non-peak hours. I recommend a buy-in at least 20X the table minimum. A button on the table will read ON or OFF. When it is in the OFF position, place your money on the table and ask the dealer for $5 chips. You will see seasoned players making various wagers. The most popular is the PASS LINE bet. Place a chip(s) in that area in front of you. When you hear the dealer shout “COMMIN’ OUT” that’s when the excitement starts and the designated SHOOTER will toss two dice. Here are the wagering choices:

Pass Line

If the shooter rolls a 7 or 11 on the first roll, you win even money. If a 2, 3, or 12 appear, you lose. Any other number, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 becomes your POINT. A dealer will mark the point number with the ON button indicating game in progress. In order for you to win, the shooter must roll the point number before he or she rolls a 7. If a 7 appears before the point, the house wins. No other numbers matter on this wager, no matter how long it takes. The game will end only if a point or 7 is rolled.

Odds Bet

This is a wager every pass line bettor should take advantage of because it pays off in TRUE ODDS and has no house edge. If a point number is rolled, you will have the opportunity to take odds on that bet by placing an additional wager behind your pass line bet. Most casinos allow a double odds bet. For example, let’s say 4 is the point. There are three ways to win with the 4: 3 and 1, 2 and 2, or 1 and 3. However there are six ways to lose with a 7: 4 and 3, 5 and 2, 6 and 1, 3 and 4, 2 and 5, 1 and 6.Thus, 6/3 is a two to one payout. Your $10 double odds wager will earn you $20 plus your pass line bet if you win.

Don’t Pass

A very small percentage of players use this option. It works the exact opposite of the pass line. Here you are betting that the shooter will lose the roll. A wager on the don’t pass line will win if the come out shooter rolls a 2 or 3, push (no win/no loss) with a 12, lose if a 7 or 11 is rolled. Odds bets are available however your chances of winning are greater than losing, so you have to lay the odds instead of taking them. If a point is rolled such as 4, you win if a 7 is rolled first. This time 3/6 is a one to two payout so you would have to put up $20 to win $10 plus the don’t pass wager.

Be forewarned that only about 2% of players play the don’t pass, AKA wrong bettor. You will not have many friends at the table when betting wrong.

Come Bets

Come bets work the same way as a pass line bet but can only be made after a point is established. A 7 or 11 wins, a 2, 3, or 12 loses. Any other number becomes your come point and must be rolled before a 7 for you to win. You can also take true odds on your come point after the dealer moves your chip(s) to the appropriate number box. This wager is independent of the pass line wager and your come point may be other than your pass line point. Thus, if the shooter makes his or her pass line point, the game ends but your come point wagers remain active. If a 7 is rolled during the next come out roll, you lose the come bet but your odds are returned to you.

Don’t Come Bets

This play works the same way as a don’t pass wager after a point is established. You may also lay true odds. You want the 7 to be rolled before the don’t come point. Here is the one big exception on a don’t come bet: should the shooter win his or her pass line wager, and the don’t come point is made on the next come out roll, You not only lose your wager but your odds bet as well.

Place Bets

A wager on one or more point numbers (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10). The bet(s) win if the number repeats before a 7 is rolled and lose if a 7 appears first. Payoffs are: 6, 8- pays 7/6, 5, 9- pays 7/5, 4, and 10- pay 9/5.

Buy and Lay Bets

A buy bet is the same as a place bet except you pay a five percent commission to the house when you make the bet but you are paid in true odds if you win. Payoffs are: 6, 8 pays 6/5, 5, 9 pays 3/2, 4, and 10 pay 2/1. A lay bet is the exact opposite of the buy bet. You must bet more to win less because your chances of winning are greater than losing.

Good Luck!

Information About The First Poker Variants – Straight And Stud Poker

Poker is by far one of the more popular competitive card games and casino games. The set up regarding the game is fairly simple really and the game can be played by a number of players ranging from 2 to even 10 players per pack of cards. This basically means that for any single game there can be only one pack of cards that can be used.

Any wagers or bets were done traditionally in the form of cash, personal effects or even property. As the game matured, monetary representations evolved known as chips. A poker chip only has value when in play and otherwise it is just a piece of metal or plastic. When you win the game or feel that you want to leave the game then all you have to do is take your chips to the cashier and exchange them for hard cash.

In the traditional form of poker which is also called the Straight variant 3 cards were dealt to each player and each of the players was allowed to either bet or fold. In this game there was an ante that was agreed upon and after the first player bets each player in turn continues to bet the same amount in the previous bet or fold. When there are only two players left one of them can level or “see” the bet and there is a showing of cards. The pot goes to the higher hand and the game begins again.

This variant is no longer played quite as popularly as before owing to the more complex versions that have surfaced. This Straight version evolved into the very popular Gentleman’s game – Three Card Brag.

The next family of poker variants is called the Stud. It is the family in which poker evolved into a 5 card game. In this a predefined number of cards would be dealt face up and face down with a betting round between each play. This family of games became popular during the American revolutionary war and has been made more complex over the years. In this game earlier on all the cards were dealt at once but as the game evolved into five card hands each card is now dealt separately either face up or down as prearranged and a round of betting follows every card.

The most popular game in this family are called the seven card stud. In this play there are seven cards that will be dealt to each player. Out of the seven cards 3 will be face down and 4 will be face up. The players must use only five of the seven cards to make their winning hand. The betting structure in this game is also very different from most other variants. In the five card and Mississippi stud games where the number of rounds are fewer, the structure is a no limit play. But in the seven card stud where there are 7 rounds the first two have a lower bet limit and a higher limit in the last rounds. The variations in this family did not stop. Now there are a number of different versions with slightly differing rules.

A Checklist for Bingo Supplies-10 Things You Must Have and Why

Bingos’ growing popularity online has many fans flocking the virtual bingo halls in seek of some bingo fun. Even with this rapid growth online fact remains that bingo is the largest game in the world and the majority of bingo fans still play bingo the good old fashion way, in their church, schools clubs and even homes or just a general get together.

Here I will share with you a couple of things you will need if you decide to put on a bingo game for a large crowd or just a simple gathering.

1. Tubs of chips- You can find these in a wide assortment of colors and styles. A popular trend is to have these customized. Most tubs are reusable. It is always better to get these the ones with the gritty edge for easier handling. You can also get the popular magnetic chips for better handling.

2. Daubers- These can also be customized. Red is one of the more popular colors for daubers, however the variations in daubers have grown considerably and your choice are wide.

3. Double Roll Tickets-Most rolls contain up to two-thousand tickets per roll. Using various colors is always recommended with larger bingo gatherings.

4. Bingo Paper/Cards- The push out die paper is popular on those bingo cruises we often hear about. There is no need daubers or chips with these ones. You can simply push out the number as they are called with your finger. If you prefer the traditional bingo cards then you can have them custom ordered with customized themes or logos.

5. Cushions and Totes-Bingo suppliers who make cushions and totes have gotten more creative with the numerous patterns and styles. It is recommended that you get the ones with extra cushion padding for more bounce and softness, they also last longer. Get the ones with a Velcro pouch for a better grip on the chair. Totes with special compartments for specific bingo necessities such as your daubers and chips is always good deal. There are wide assortments of patterns and colors to choose from. Matching tote and cushions normally look better together.

6. Raffle Drums-Drums come in all shapes and sizes. The size is obviously the determining factor in getting a bingo raffle drum.

7. Ping Pong Cage-Stainless steel cages are recommended. These come with bingo balls.

8. Promotional Wheels- Most wheels are made of wood. It is highly recommended that if you decide to get a promotional wheel you get one made from plywood. Promotional wheels often become wobbly and discolored when made with regular wood. These have a very short life span. Get only the best promotional wheels. Wheels can be custom made base on promotion and target audience.

9. Electronic Equipment-These are much bigger investment. When you get electronic bingo equipment ensure that it is state of the art with a good warranty. These are more suited for bigger bingo establishments. Useful equipments include the Game pattern flashboards. They come in different sizes and show the amount to be won and last number called.

10. Bingo Starter Kits- Bingo Starter Kit is good for large and small bingo games. Most bingo kits have everything you need. These are a few things that your bingo starter kits should have, a cage set which includes the cage, bingo balls, a masterboard, bingo cards, chips, bingo paper that contains bingo sheets and bingo daubers.

These are just few of the things you will need for your bingo game. There is a wide variety of accessories available. Most bingo supplies can be customized to order specific to color, logo and themes.