Players with Masks Play Live Poker

Is It Time to Play Live Poker Again?

Perhaps the decision whether to return to play live poker seems frivolous given everything else happening right now. But with most states decreasing restrictions, we are faced with myriad decisions around leisure activities. Do we go back and eat at our favorite restaurant that just re-opened? Does the advent of summer draw us back to busy oceans and lakes? Do we golf, bowl, play pick-up basketball, or walk and bike on crowded rail trails?

For some people, the answers are simple.  At one end of the spectrum are people who want everything back to normal and see minimal risk. Others will continue to avoid any environment outside their home that is not critically life-sustaining. Most people, however, fall somewhere in the middle. The question whether to play live poker, or resume any activity, is dependent on the answers to a series of questions regarding conditions and risk factors.

As we approach the end of June 2020, most poker rooms in the United States remain closed. However, there are several rooms that have opened in the last couple of weeks. The areas with the greatest activity so far are Florida, Las Vegas, New Hampshire, and scattered sites around California. If you have been missing poker, and live in an area with open rooms: should you venture out?

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Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Poker Room

Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Poker Room Review

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa is a large full-service casinos that sit on Native American land. The Hard Rock is the premiere gambling venue of Florida’s west coast. While Tampa has several other poker rooms, the Seminole Hard Rock is the only full casino serving the area. Having visited its east coast sister, Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood, last year, we were eager to see how Tampa measured up.

NOTE: This visit to the Seminole Hard Rock poker room occurred at the end of February 2020. While now open again, the room has changed in the interim, for obvious reasons. Thus, your experience may vary, as they say.

Casino Setting 

Seminole Hard Rock Tampa lies on the east side of Tampa near the interchange of Routes 4, 92, and 301.  The setting is pretty urban, not much in the way of scenic surroundings, but very convenient to the city. One location drawback for the casino is that it is nowhere near the beaches, thus limiting beach-goer spillover.

Parking is free and there are several large garages to choose from. Read More

Omaha Poker Training

A Chat About Omaha Poker Training

As we have mentioned previously, Paul and I do some writing and other work for Advanced Poker Training, an excellent poker training website created by Steve Blay. After two years of development, this spring Steve launched a new poker training site to help players learn how to play PLO well. Omaha Poker Training has some of the same great features as APT, including a choice of 9-max or 6-max PLO cash games and multi-table tournaments.

The wide range of OPT game options allows you to customize training to target your home game, local card room, or even a $10,000 championship event at the World Series of Poker. Opponents can be selected from easy, moderate, or expert play in order to model training at a level that is right for the individual’s typical circumstances. You can even set starting hand ranges that are particularly troublesome so as to focus and improve on the exact situations currently causing you difficulty at the tables.

Recently, I sat down with Steve and talked to him about his love of chess, programming, and poker. I also asked him about Omaha Poker Training (OPT) and its development.

 Interview with Steve Blay on Omaha Poker Training

Heather: When did you start playing poker and what drew you to the game?

Steve: I remember playing a lot of poker with my brother Allen in college, and never realizing how much skill there was to it.  It wasn’t until I saw a special about Phil Hellmuth on TV, and I was stunned.  You mean this is a skill game?  Here’s this somewhat nerdy looking kid, who dropped out of college and went to Las Vegas and beat all those guys from Texas with cigars in their mouths.  I want to be that guy!  I bought David Sklansky’s “The Theory of Poker” the next day.

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Oxford Downs Poker Room

Oxford Downs Poker Room Review

Oxford Downs poker room sits in a fairly remote area of central Florida, away from immediate competitors. However, on our visit to the Tampa area, we decided to venture north following dual draws of meeting up with a poker-playing friend from Gainseville and a Saturday evening Crazy Pineapple tournament. We love ourselves some Crazy Pineapple!

Casino Setting 

Oxford Downs lies in Summerfield FL, about an hour and a half north of Tampa, an hour northwest of Orlando, and an hour south of Gainesville. It is at once not near much, but a relatively easy drive from several major Florida cities. The drive up from Tampa was mostly on Route 75, followed by some very rural roads complete with cow pastures. In general, the ride was easy and pleasant.

When you initially turn into the main entrance, you will think “I must have done something wrong.” Have faith and follow the road to the end and Oxford Downs will appear. While the card room consists of a modest-sized building, it fronts an attractive horse track that hosts infrequent special events. From what we understand, horse racing allows the room to exist, but unlike Tampa venues such as Silks, the track exists to check that box rather than be a revenue/entertainment stream.

Parking is free at Oxford Downs. Note that Oxford Downs is open nearly 24 hours (10am to 4am) Friday and Saturday, with slightly restricted hours Sunday through Thursday (10am to 2am).

 

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Challenges of Remote Work

Coping with the Challenges of Remote Work

Paul and I have been working remotely for close to 15 years now. We love working from home and can’t wait until we can take our remote work on the road when we start our poker pilgrimage in just a couple of years.  A couple of years ago we wrote about all of the things that we love about working from home, as well as some of the challenges that we encounter. Now that so many of us have abruptly transitioned to working from home, we thought that it would be helpful to revisit some of the challenges of remote work and share how we cope with them.

COVID-19 has also thrown in the extra double-twist for many of us of working from home while your kids (and your significant other) are all sharing the same space 24-7. I thank goodness that Paul and I are currently residing with a 16-year-old and a 20-year-old, who are generally self-sufficient. I feel for those of you trying to work alongside 6-year-olds and 10-year-olds. You deserve a medal.

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