He's got poker skills

Hidden Poker Skills

Poker players typically spend their “training time” learning specific poker skills related to playing hands. Skills such as reading boards, calculating equity and pot odds, and understanding ranges, are all core to becoming a better player. However, players (particularly recreational players) are less likely to attend to  other aspects of the game that are equally critical to success. In order to develop a rounded game, you also need to develop these four hidden poker skills.

Hidden Poker Skill I: Honest Self-Assessment of Your Physical State

Heather and I generally play poker on weekends. Given that we largely play tournaments, we often have just a single window of time to play.  Sometimes when pulling out of the driveway, one of us will say “God, I’m tired.” The other will offer an insincere, perfunctory “We don’t have to go if you’re exhausted.” However, we know full well that the response will be “Shut up and drive.”

We’ve never tracked whether these low energy days correlate with poor performance. We probably should, but likely won’t for now, because our weekly poker tournament time is sacrosanct. However, if you have the ability to play frequently, and certainly if you play at higher stakes, you should make sure you are rested, alert, and at full capacity before deciding to play. Peak performance is unlikely when you’re tired or sluggish.

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Throwdown Thursday: Diet or Die. Surviving the Sugar Detox

As we prepare for our poker pilgrimage, Paul and I know we need to shed some pounds.  Being in shape will be critical to fully enjoying our poker travel lifestyle. We’ve spent a lot of time in the past year talking about losing weight, but pretty much no time actually losing it. Enter the sugar detox diet.

We were both in great shape about four years ago. However, fitness rapidly wanes when your primary forms of entertainment consist of poker playing, TV watching, and wine drinking. After the fish tank epiphany on our summer cruise, we decided it was time to get serious about shaping back up. Last month I happened to come across an article about a sugar detox, which led me to Mark Hyman’s, book The Blood Sugar Solution. Which led us straight into hell.

Paul: Maybe gorging ourselves on my birthday weekend with every bagel, piece of cake, croissant, bottle of wine, etc. that we could get our hands on was not the kind of prep we should have been doing. Following that with a week of no carbs, no sugars, (even fruit is out), no wine, and no caffeine is no picnic.  With only water, tea, meats, vegetables, nuts and a waning will to live to subsist on – our house wasn’t pretty.

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Introducing Our New Feature: Average Cash Poker Tables

Poker Pilgrims is proud to introduce a new feature: Average Cash Poker Tables. We’ve been working over the past several months to collect data on the average number of poker tables by day across New England. Our first page with those results is now live. New England Cash Poker average number of tables can be accessed via the drop-down menus at the top of the homepage (under Poker Room Information).

cash poker tables

This page will be updated approximately every three months. Over time we will add average cash numbers for other regions with high concentrations of poker rooms. These will include regions such as South Florida, Las Vegas, Southern California, and the mid-Atlantic seaboard.

Poker Pilgrims is proud to introduce a new feature: Average Cash Poker TablesClick To Tweet

Sites such as Poker Atlas and Bravo Poker Live offer users the ability to see current numbers of cash players at a venue at any given time. However, we have not found a resource that allows you to plan your next poker visit in advance. Currently, if I would like to learn how many $1-$2 no-limit tables Maryland Live! gets on a Thursday evening, there is nowhere to go to find that information. Poker Pilgrims hopes to fill that gap. Whether you are figuring out where to play poker next weekend, or where to plan your next poker vacation, our average cash table map will hopefully be of help.

Our Plan

Ultimately, our vision is to track the number of average cash poker tables across the country in all areas with high concentrations of poker rooms.  In areas where a poker player has options, this information, along with room reviews, can help you make a discerning choice. Be patient with us as we work to populate these tables. In the meantime, feel free to visit our New England page. You are also welcome to read our analysis of where to play poker in New England or our thoughts on the impact of Encore Boston Harbor on the New England poker scene.

 

Like this post? Want to learn more about our plans for our poker pilgrimage? Head on over to the sidebar and subscribe. We’ll let you know whenever a new Poker Pilgrims blog post goes live!

 

You Can’t Escape the Poker Rake

Every player knows that the key to profiting at poker is playing well.  If you don’t play well, you’re toast long-term. Unfortunately, playing well is not enough. Equally important is understanding how other factors impact your potential profitability. As we have discussed before, there are many ancillary costs of playing poker, and it is important that you make a plan to combat them.  Most importantly, however, card rooms don’t survive on good cheer. They take a piece of the action out of every hand. Understanding how your card room takes their piece of the action, the poker rake, is critical in determining how your potential wins, or losses, will be impacted.

Cash Games and Poker Rake

Poker Rake

Let’s imagine for a moment that a 10-handed table has started with each player buying in for $200. Our imaginary casino’s poker rake is $1 for every $10 in the pot, up to $5 total (fairly typical). If the median pot is $30, the average hand loses $3 in every pot. Although there is some variation, on average, there are about 30 hands dealt an hour. We’ll also assume that nobody busted and re-bought or left and was replaced by a new player. The overall rake paid is $90 (30*$3) in that hour; thus, the “average” player will lose $9 in poker rake (or 4.5% of his/her stack) per hour.

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Cruising sunset

Throwdown Thursday: Trivial Thoughts on Cruising

Heather’s mother recently treated us, along with Heather’s kids and brother, to a mid-summer cruising vacation. Originally, the main event was to be a two day stay in Havana, but a Presidential edict quashed that plan. Thus, our family Cuba excursion morphed into a day in Key West, a day at sea, and a day in Nassau, Bahamas.  This was Paul’s second cruising vacation, while Heather is a relative long-term cruise veteran with a whopping four cruises under her life jacket.

We are now back from our cruise and have some thoughts:

Heather:  Oh, thankfully that is over. I’m ready for a full human being detox. Jeezus, but those cruise lines can pack them in.

Paul:  Eh, we were waited on hand-and-foot and never had to wash a dish for 5 days. I’ll take a few crowded elevators and faux Las Vegas shows in order not to touch a sponge for a week.

Heather:  I think I’d rather wash dishes. But then, you tolerate people better than I do.

I also walked off that ship feeling like a goose that had been prepared for the slaughter. I think I gained five pounds in five days.

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