What to Expect at a New Poker Room

What to Expect at a New Poker Room

Visiting a newly opened poker room can be a lot of fun, but it is a different experience from playing in an established room. Many time, players will imagine what they will find and end up being completely wrong in their expectations. Here are just a few things that you can expect to find:

Bad Players

Calling them “bad” players may be a little harsh, but new poker rooms tend to attract inexperienced players. Expect to go up against novices who play hands that they should fold while making recklessly large bets. This can be a blessing or a curse depending on the kind of player that you are. If you’re looking for a challenge against experienced players, being in a room full of novices is annoying, but it can also be a good thing if you’re looking for some easy victories. Keep in mind that you cannot expect this to last forever. In time, the truly bad players will either improve or move on to other rooms.

A Bigger Variance

A new poker room will likely be full of novice players who make large bets and play high-stakes games. This kind of playing could be used to your advantage if you are an experienced player. In this type of atmosphere, you’ll see much bigger swings than usual when you play. This means that you will want to be in more pots than you would if you were playing against more experienced players. Bring a larger bankroll than usual, and be prepared to play more aggressively. As a more experienced player, you have higher chances of winning against the novice players making the big bets.

A Different Projected Image

Those who play in your usual rooms most likely know about your playing style and will strategize accordingly. This will not be the case when you’re in a new room. Other players may be able to read you, but it will all be based on superficial observations; they won’t know how you usually play. This means that you will have to be conscious of the image that you present in this new room. You could use the other players’ unfamiliarity with you to your advantage, or you could start to establish a reputation if you plan to keep coming back to this new room.

Regardless of how you play, try to be as kind and helpful as possible. You may be an aggressive player who cleans up at a table, but you also have to remember that this is just a game. Be nice, and treat the other players with respect if you want the same respect in return.

The Outlook of Online Poker

The Outlook of Online Poker

Poker legend Ed Miller recently penned an opinion piece for Cardplayer detailing what he thinks the outlook for online poker in general. In particular, he discussed how online poker in the U.S. will be over the coming decade. This may come as a shock for players who love the game, but the future of poker is looking quite bleak. In his piece, Miller offers some optimism and little realism as to where the future of poker will be headed:

The future of online poker in the United States is “hot but not white-hot”

While the self-deprecating Miller claims that he has frequently been wrong about the direction of online poker, in most aspects, the main points of his past predictions have played out more or less as he called it. Miller is one of the few figures who has maintained a high level of fame in the poker world who was around well before the major online poker boom that began in 2003. Since the beginning he has predicted almost perfectly how the boom would progress into a bust and what would likely emerge from the rubble.

Unfortunately, those who have come to love the online game are at what is likely to prove to be a trough in the fortunes of internet poker. The question now is what will arise from the ashes. Miller thinks that, for the United States in particular, there is cause for cautious optimism. One of the reasons is the large number of populous states, like Pennsylvania and Michigan, that are seemingly on the cusp of erecting a legalized online poker regulatory framework. Another factor is that many of the companies that will come to dominate the U.S. poker scene in a regulated and legal environment are likely to have learned from the serious missteps of the poker boom, making an organic bust out for the entire industry much less likely this time around.

Miller advises strongly to encourage recreational-style play

The best and most important takeaway from Miller’s piece is his solid advice to future poker operators. Miller advices to discourage game specialization, multi-tabling, heads-up displays and other means by which professional players can maximally and viciously exploit the recreational players.

Miller correctly points out that the optimal strategies between even variants of a game like Hold’em vary so dramatically between limit and no-limit varieties that it makes it very difficult for a single player to become an expert at both. This is even truer if players are encouraged or forced to play five or 10 different poker variants at a sitting. This would lower the expert players’ edge and make the experience far more enjoyable for the recreational or net-losing players.

Finding an Online Finance Course

Finding An Online Finance Course

The new innovation with education is all about courses that can be taken online. Various universities have released classes that can be followed without need of actually being a student. Numerous other companies like Udemy or Coursera are making it more accessible to both share and receive knowledge on almost any topic that someone may be interested in. However, the courses available are so numerous that it may be hard to actually pick the right ones. Too many choices sometimes aren’t a good thing, especially when choosing amongst things of varying quality. Here are some tips to consider when choosing an online course.

Pay Attention to Details
Look at the type of courses available and intently read through the information. There may be courses that promise a lot of new knowledge at a cheap price, but end up taking up too much time. Will these new skills actually be used in whatever is going to be pursued? Is it too good to be true? Is the course actually worth the time? Luckily, pre-selection is sometimes the right thing to do especially when Ivy League colleges have platforms that are offering free courses.

Watch for Schemes
Some free online courses may bring promise of a certificate at the end but how? Some courses say that you can be apart of 481 lectures for $15 while a real degree at a university costs about $30,000. How accurate can these lectures be? Are they going against any copyright laws? For everything you do, you should be watching for services that seem too good to be true.

Focus on Your Needs
Find the right course for you. There are different courses given that may provide a tangible benefit in the end, just as a recommendation or certificate. There may be courses that provide nothing. There may be courses that actually cost quite a bit of money. It is important to do a cost versus benefits analysis because engaging in a course – if looking to pick up a new skill for fun the criteria is different than if a specific job is requiring specific new skills – perhaps a certificate is better there.

The take away is when is comes to online courses or online schooling, make sure you are reading all details necessary and seeing if this is the right for you. Furthering your education is a great opportunity that allows you to add another qualification to your résumé and another skillset to your life.

How to Get the Raise You Deserve

How To Get The Raise You Deserve Sarang Ahuja

Getting a raise can easily be the highlight of your working year but asking for that raise can be difficult. Getting a raise is more than just asking for your manager, it’s putting in the work and going in with insight for what you are asking for.

Do Your Research
Long before sitting down with a superior, employees should heavily research their specific job title to see what other companies are paying for similar roles. It is important to take note of the location the jobs are, the years of experience that the employee has and a variety of other factors to see if you are being underpaid.

Come Into The Meeting Armed With Facts
Simply asking for a raise because an employee has been “working hard” isn’t usually going to cut it. Come in armed with charts and figures that will show the boss why you are such an asset to the company. Talk about the huge deal you landed or the incredible relationship that was developed and turned into a big sale for the company. The more concrete facts you have, the more likely a raise.

Be Willing To Walk Away
Unfortunately, there are companies out there that will do almost anything not to give out raises to the employees unless they absolutely have to. For this reason, it is important to have a backup plan if you have asked multiple times and been denied in the past. This way, if you are denied a raise you deserve, you can politely resign from the role and take a position at a company where you are more appreciated. In some instances, this leads to the original company offering a larger raise than you were initially seeking.

Be Open To Other Perks
While a raise in salary is ideal, there are other perks that businesses can offer that are just as valuable. For example, a business may not be in a position to offer a raise at this time but they may be able to offer other perks such as increased vacation days and the ability to work from home. This shows good faith on the companies part that they have other means of showing employee appreciation.

The Difference Between Amateur and Professional Poker Players

There’s always a big difference between professional players of a game and amateur players, and poker is no exception. While it may appear that poker is just a matter of luck, there are certain things that separate the pros from those who like to think they’re pros.

An Attention to Detail

First of all, a really good poker player has a strong attention to detail. Amateurs tend to pay attention only to themselves when they play. They worry so much about how much they should bet or how strong their hand is that they don’t pay any attention to what the other players are doing. They watch how the other players bet, how they react to what’s going on at the table, what kinds of hands win, and everything else that might help them develop a winning strategy. They’re always watching, even when they aren’t playing a hand.

A Good Poker Face

Good poker players have what is aptly named a poker face, a kind of blank expression that is impossible to read. They wear their expression at all times, never letting their emotions get the better of them. They don’t show their excitement when they have a great hand, nor do they show their frustration when they lose a big pot.

Adaptabilty

Good poker players have the ability to change up their play style to fit any given situation. Someone who plays the same way all the time is too predictable, and they end up losing big as soon as the better players at the table figure out their strategy. The pros who consistently win big tournaments take what they’ve learned from watching the other players and develop a strategy that best suits the current game being played, and they’re unpredictable enough that their “usual” betting strategy can be used as a bluff once in a while. Many amateur and professional poker players will tell you that there are technically “right” and “wrong” ways to play the game, but they never use the same playing strategy every time they sit down at a table.

Spending Time Away From The Table

Even though experience is the best teacher, good poker players know that they need to take some time away from the poker table. Marathon poker sessions are exhausting, and nobody learns well or thinks clearly when they’re too exhausted. Good players can still learn a lot when they step away from the table and study the game when they aren’t active participants in it. In other words, everyone needs a break once in a while.

Summer Borgata Poker Open

Sarang Ahuja Borgata Poker Open

Last month I played in the Summer Borgata Poker Open. As with my run at the WSOP Millionaire Maker event, I cashed again, but once again missed the big money. That said, it was certainly a learning experience, as each tournament is. I got some pretty good coverage from the Borgata’s blogger during the tournament this time around, and I’ve included a couple of links below.

http://summerpokeropen.blog.theborgata.com/2015/07/16/event-1-day-1d-poker-room-leaders-2/

http://summerpokeropen.blog.theborgata.com/2015/07/16/event-1-day-2-abuja-triples-to-save-tournament-life/

WSOP Millionaire Maker

sarang ahuja gold bracelet

The other weekend I played in the Millionaire Maker event at the World Series of Poker, in what turned out to be the 6th largest tournament field in history – I guess a lot of people find the idea of becoming a millionaire appealing. Go figure. Unlike some of the other WSOP events, like Monster Stack and The Colossus, the title of Millionaire Maker is not hyperbole. The winner, Adrian Buckley, took home $1,277,193, so the event lived up to its name.

It’s definitely worth mentioning that this was Buckley’s first in-the-money finish, and his debut on the world poker stage. Having arrived as a complete unknown, he’s certainly in the limelight now. Not only did Buckley take down some serious heavy hitters at the final table, including Erick Lindgren, Mike Sexton, Justin Pechie, and David Miscikowski, all previous gold bracelet winners, he also faced long odds several times. From the WSOP website: “Indeed, this win was unlikely as they come, especially given the pedigree of competition later in the tournament.”

While a lot of players, myself included, can only imagine how Adrian Buckley must have felt right after he won, he did clue everyone in with some comments. “This is one-hundred percent surreal,” he was, unsurprisingly, quoted as saying. “This has been a crazy few days. It was the run of the century.” Just 15 years into this century, I suppose it might have been.

I wound up coming in 435th out of the 7,275 entrants, and cashing for $4,517. While I’m a little disappointed that it wasn’t me giving the quote about how surreal it was to win the bracelet, it is definitely bitter sweet. Reflecting back, I am proud of my play and my ability to navigate through and ultimately finish in the top 6%. It may not have been the run of the century, but I guess it wasn’t too shabby either.

AI Poker

sarang ahuja Robot-poker

An Artificial Intelligence program, known as Claudico, faced off against actual poker players this month in a game of Heads-Up No-Limit Texas Hold ‘em. Held at the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, the event spanned two weeks and included 80,000 hands of poker.

While the human players did win more chips than the AI, it was still not enough to pass the threshold needed to be considered scientifically valid. Previously, computers have been successful at beating humans in games such as chess and Jeopardy, and this event suggests that soon poker will be the next.

Tuomas Sandholm, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University, is one who believes that poker-playing Artificial Intelligence will soon be better competitors than humans. Sandholm, who led the team that created Claudico, stated after the event that “I am guessing [a poker-playing AI] will be stronger than the best humans in the world in one to five years.”

What separates poker from the other games, in which computers have already proven successful, is that a major strategy surrounding poker is the act of bluffing. Bluffing is an extremely dynamic aspect of poker where players choose to raise their bet without having the best hand, in order to fool an opponent into folding. The ability to bluff successfully results from the players having incomplete information about the other players at the table.

Sandholm and his colleagues did not pre-program Claudico’s poker strategy, instead, they wrote algorithms that automatically compute a strategy by trying to find the Nash equilibrium. Players are said to be in Nash equilibrium if they are making the best decision possible, taking into account the decisions of the other players. Claudico still has room to improve, but this event indicates that Artificial Intelligence is making great strides in its ability to solve problems despite having access to incomplete information.

Although Artificial Intelligence programs are fortunate to not have to disguise their emotions when making a “bluff” as a human poker player must, it is still impressive to see how far this technology has developed. And who knows, maybe someday Claudico will be subject to displaying emotions as well.

Read more here.

2015 World Series of Poker Dates Announced

sarang ahuja wsopThe dates for the 2015 World Series of Poker, which will take place at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, have been announced. It will begin on May 27th, with the final table set for July 14th, after which the competitors will have been whittled down to the top 9 players who will compete for the title the following November. As poker seems to gain more and more popularity every year, and plenty of financial incentive with millions in prizes up for grabs, the WSOP plans to host the largest tournament field in their history this year.

This will be the 46th World Series of Poker. In that time the tournament and poker playing in the US in general has expanded exponentially. There is an interesting statistic listed on the Word Series of Poker website: when the tournament began in 1970, there were fewer than 50 poker tables in the entire city of Las Vegas, and only 70 in the entire state of Nevada. Hilariously, the final round of that first tournament was held in a room about the size of a hotel room with about thirty fellow poker players watching. What a far cry from the huge poker rooms in casinos and national television coverage that is the norm today.

One other thing that has expanded since the early days of the tournament: the size of the pot. The WSOP website doesn’t say what the prize for the first year was, but the second year included 7 players posting $5,000 in a winner-take-all event. That means the total prize was $35,000. This coming year, the WSOP is again guaranteeing a $10,000,000 prize for the winner of the main event.

The Horseshoe in Baltimore

Sarang Ahuja HorseshoeThe Baltimore Orioles gave people a lot to root for this year in Charm City. Actually, if you walked down Eutaw Street during any of the home playoff games, you know that Mobtown was a more apt nickname for the city at the time. And with tight standings in the AFC North, the Ravens are giving people in the city a lot to root for, too. But Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium are no longer the only big venues on the south side of Baltimore that offer entertainment and excitement near the Inner Harbor.

The Horseshoe Casino, which opened in the area this past August, provides an excellent alternative or complement to everything you were already able to do in the Inner Harbor area. If you’re not in the mood, can’t get tickets, or find yourself in the wrong season for a baseball or football game, you can head over to this giant hub full of things to entertain you, including an excellent variety of restaurants, live performances, and nightlife. It also features a brand new 25 table poker room, so as far as poker players are concerned, the Horseshoe is bound to be more of a primary destination than a fallback plan. The poker room is definitely the part of this new casino that I am most excited about.

Less than a year after opening its doors, the Horseshoe in Baltimore will find itself in the poker spotlight when the World Series of Poker hosts a tournament here this winter from February 26th to March 9th. This is a pretty exciting development for poker players in Baltimore, considering that it has only been about two years since table games in the area were approved for operation in casinos. I definitely plan to participate in the upcoming World Series of Poker event.

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