All-In Poker Volume I

Welcome to the debut column of All In, All the Time.  This column is set to run every Saturday, and hopefully prepares you for your upcoming poker games throughout the weekend.  I’m going to discuss different strategies, different games, and different players.   Heck, I might even run some biographies of players we all know and love.

What I won’t be doing is getting too knee deep into numbers and percentages.  If you want to learn that deep, a weekly column on a sports site simply isn’t enough for you.  What I will do though is give you references and reading suggestions that will greatly enhance your game play.

So why are they running a weekly poker article on a website called Informative Sports? {Ed Note: These are reprinted from our former website, Informative Sports. I’ve done some minor edits, but its poker, still 52 cards and a brain. I’ll also add some comments}  I have to tell you, if you attended the staff meetings for this site, you’d know that not everybody is in agreement with the decision.  There are some that believe that the game is a sport, some that believe it is close enough to a sport to warrant consideration, and still others that believe that it is no more a sport than playing Monopoly© at home with the children.  No matter where you fit in those categories, you are still welcome here and your feedback is strongly sought after.

With that in mind, where do we go from here?  My goal with this column will be to start out simple, and grow with you as we delve deeper and deeper into the intricacies of the game.  The initial columns will lay the foundation for future discussions of a much more complicated nature.  Additionally, I plan to bring in guest columnists from time to time to lay out ideas and concepts that I know they excel at.  I assure you that these guests will not be speaking about something they read, or an idea they heard might work.   I will ask them to discuss things I know they do well, and how to apply it to your game.Gloating poker player

For example, I am a strong believer in a concept I call “Small Hand/Small Pot” that I think is one of the most important mindsets a cash game poker player can have.  The problem is I do not explain it nearly as well as a friend of mine can.  So when I get to that concept in my writing, I hope that my friend will step in and write an article explaining it in detail. 

Another direction I will be taking this column is book reviews.  Most every successful poker player today has a home library of poker books that have helped him get where he is in the game.  Personally, I have over 25 poker books on subjects ranging from player biographies to specifically playing $1/$2 Omaha Hi/Lo at an online poker site.  At the same time, there are literally thousands of poker books on the market that are virtually worthless.  I hope to guide you towards the ones that will give you the most bang for your buck.

Lastly, I hope to entertain.  Poker writing can get rather dry when discussing the mathematical difference between calling with A-K suited and A-K unsuited.  It is important to know the difference, and the discussion could easily fill a 1,000 word article.  You wouldn’t read it all the way through though, so I don’t believe I will be taking things in that direction.

So if you are loving this game of poker, and you want to read more about it, here is a great place to start.  If you are not a poker fan, but just want to be entertained each week, I think I will still have something for you.  No matter what, your feedback is needed to keep the articles fresh and interesting. This weekly article is for you and your game. 

With that, I’ll end with a brief bio of me, and why I think I am qualified to write about poker from a home game, low dollar game perspective. 

Poker 1I have been playing poker for around 30 years.  Most of that play has been in home games for various dollar amounts from nickel-dime-quarter to $1/$2 blinds.  I’ve risked significantly more, and won a great deal of the time.  During the early days, Texas and Omaha Hold Em were certainly part of the play, but not the main focus.  In fact, there was no main focus.  Dealer’s Choice was the normal path we’d follow, and I learned to play anything from Iron Cross to Follow the Queen to Baseball. 

My serious interest in Hold Em games began with the 1998 release of the movie, Rounders.  The first time I saw that movie I knew I wanted to play Texas Hold Em more often.

Then I, along with most of the poker playing world, truly got hooked on Hold Em games with the Chris Moneymaker World Series of Poker Main Event win in 2003.  I was already playing Party Poker online, and in tournaments at different local houses and venues at the time, so I watched the ESPN broadcast of the event.  After the Moneymaker win, the world went crazy for poker, and I jumped in the pool with the rest of the crowd.

The difference, I believe, is that I didn’t just start playing the game.  I started studying the game.  After Rounders I played the game, but didn’t win very often.  Oh sure, I’d get lucky sometimes and suck out some money from the tournament, but I really wasn’t close to a threat to the real players.  After seeing Moneymaker’s win though, it hit home just how much money could be won at this game.  Heck, if the pros could earn a living, a small home game player like me could certainly supplement his income and pay off some bills.

So I started studying Doyle Brunson’s Super System and Harrington on Hold Em.  I bought computer programs that helped me improve my play.  I even started sitting down and discussing the game with other players I saw were winning more than me.  In other words, I became a student of the game.

Since then I have won numerous tournaments, and I have added thousands of dollars into my bank account.  Even more importantly, I have met dozens of new friends that I share a common bond with.  Poker has become a part of my life, and I hope to share that with you through my writing. 


– You are sitting at the small blind (50/100) early in the tournament,
all chips basically even

– no familiar playersPoker Chips

– 2 players limp in ahead of you

– you have a 8-9 suited, and decide to just call the big blind also

– Big blind minraises to double the blind

– All call for a total of 800 in the pot

– Jack – 10 off suit on the flop, and as the first to act, you just
check, as does the big blind.

– 3rd player bets out 400, and 4th player raises to 1000.  There’s now
2200 in the pot.

What do you do?  Answer and analysis next week, along with a new
situation to ponder.

Submitted 5/27/2009 Follow Jim on Twitter @Jimiscalling

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