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Online Poker News Archives - November 10, 2004

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Copyright 2004 Time Out Group
Time Out

November 10, 2004



    Maybe it was 'Late Night Poker', maybe it was the advent of internet gambling but whatever the reason, poker is growing in popularity in Britain.And while online poker can be fun, there's no substitute for playing and bluffing face-to-face.Here's what it takes to get an authentic poker game together in your own back room.

    1You need keen players (four-nine), and as few easily bored hangerson as possible.

    Watching people playing cards is dull.

    Knowing how to play is handy (look online or in specialist bookshop High Stakes)and have an experienced player to rule on disputes.

    2Decide what stakes to play for: 'pretend money' makes it too easy for players to call every bet and the skill lies in making and assessing bets. Play for enough so that you care, but not enough to hurt. You can play no-limit, allowingplayers to bet as many chips as they want, or with a limit making it harder towin with a bluff.

    3Decent chips help you feel like a pro and save you the trouble of acquiring bags of change. Quality weighted plastic chips are available from www. poker -chips. net. Triedand-tested domestic substitutes include pasta shapes and Monopoly money. Assign a cashier, in charge of exchanging money for chips.

    4Tatty cards cause trouble and are horrible to play with, so buy a couple of newdecks.

    Bicycle Rider Back cards, as used in many casinos, are good value. If you get serious try everlasting waterproof KEM plastic cards (GBP 20 a deck).

    5The most popular poker variant is Texas Hold'em, which encourages people to play rather than fold early.

    Players make their hands from concealed and exposed cards, so there's something to watch. By comparison, five-card draw is harder and less interesting to follow.

    Five-card and seven-card stud, and Omaha, also play well.

    6Many beginners like 'dealer's choice', in which players take turns to nominate a game as the deal passes around. If that's too random, stick with games for a round or two, then switch.

    7In a 'cash' game, players swap money for chips, buy more when they like, then exchange their chips for cash at the end of the night. Simple. On the downside, any player with a big stack can play very few hands, slowing the action down. Ifyou find this a problem, play tournaments instead.

    Whereas cash games tend to wind down, tournaments build up momentum through the evening except for eliminated players, for whom every extra hand is torture.

    Tournaments work best when you play one game.

    8And yes, this is all legal. If your game is in a private residence, and it 's not a commercial enterprise (such as a for-profit tournament), then you're free to play. So what are you waiting for?

    Gambling gear High Stakes, 21 Great Ormond St, WC1 (020 7430 1021).

    Hamleys, 188 Regent St, W1 (020 7479 8016).

    Harrods, 87-135 Brompton Rd, SW1 (020 7730 1234).

    Playin' Games,33 Museum St, WC1 (020 7323 3080).

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