Mike's Poker Blog Page

(Updated 06/14/11)

OK, this isn't really a blog page. Like, I'm not using actual blog software. I used to have a small blog on Live Journal. It's supposed to be my thoughts as I switched from Limit to No Limit. Such a long time ago. Fun to look back and read...well, fun for me. Then I was blogging over at Felt Poker. That blog was a little more than just me playing.

But since I don't update those any more, I think I'm just going to write stuff here. Newest stuff up top. It's not very professional, but it's easy for me and I don't want to bother with blogging software. And to be honest, I don't see a lot of updating in the future.



When Black Friday came along and most of the online poker sites were no longer available to US players, I did what probably a lot of recreational players did. I basically stopped playing online poker. I didn't want to try the smaller sites that were still accepting US players. I didn't want my money to be frozen or just taken, and it's usually pretty hard to get money on those sites anyway. And I didn't want to try to use a non-US facing site and risk having my money taken from me by being a US player playing online poker.

So what's a recreational poker player to do to fill the gap? I wanted to stay sharp...I was still planning on visiting card rooms when I traveled, but with no online poker it's hard to keep those poker muscles going. So what I've done is try to watch poker shows. Unfortunately, most of the poker shows bailed in the US once Black Friday came around, but there's plenty of poker videos available online. Try Party Poker television or Youtube. Party Poker Television is pretty cool because it's organized, not like Youtube where you just search and see what comes up. That usually leads to more search recommendations and you can sometimes find someone that has a lot of poker videos to watch. But sometimes it's just easier to go to a site that has them all right there.

Now I will caution you, if you don't know this already. If you're a recreational player, don't watch a poker video and then try to play like the pros do. The pros simply play at a higher level and there's things going on that you might not pick up on. Another problem is videos that don't show every hand. It might seem like someone doesn't know what they're doing in a hand or is doing something you think is crazy. But that could be because something happened earlier in the session that wasn't shown. If you had that information, a weird play might make better sense.

So why do I watch them as a recreational player if I'm not supposed to act like they do? You can still pick up some valuable lessons. You can see how others play and how they try to size up the situation. See if you can figure out why one person always tries to be in a pot with a specific opponent and why the same guy tries to stay out of the way of someone else. Or see that often if it's folded to someone in late position, they'll often raise with any two cards to try to steal the blinds. If you really want to go crazy, get a sheet of paper, cover up the shot of the hole cards, and try to put people on hands. You'll probably have to turn the sound down too. Figure out why someone is playing a particular hand and how they played it.

Watching poker videos can improve your game if you pick up tricks and know when and how to use them. Don't get tricky just because you saw it on TV. But know why it's a tricky play and know when to use it. A lot of times as a recreational player playing low stakes, you don't need to be tricky. Straight ahead poker is often enough to book winning sessions. But it's always good to see better players playing and pick up things that, slowly, you can incorporate into your game...at the right times.



First Post...No Date: I had some paragraphs on the main page, but they were terribly dated. Since I don't update very often, I'm just going to move those paragraphs over here and come up with something a little more generic and non-dated for the main page. I want to keep those paragraphs though so I can look back and laugh at myself. So here they are:

Not sure what I'm going to do with this page. But I felt I needed to start a poker page since I've been playing so much. I'd hate to start one of those blog things. I don't think it would be that exciting for you to read it. I suppose I can keep a list of poker links that I use. At least you might find that interesting and helpful, and I would have all my poker links in one spot.

Well, I wrote that first paragraph a few years ago and much has changed. And I wrote that last sentence almost 5 years ago. Can't believe how little I've paid attention to this site and how much has changed. I went on to say live poker has come to West Virginia (this was 2007) and how I might add trip reports to this site. I didn't as I hardly ever went there. And now it's 2011 and poker is right in my back yard with the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh...just a 4 minute drive from work. I haven't played there as much lately, but if I do and I do a trip report, I usually post it on the forum at Poker Strategy Geeks.

Probably the biggest news in my life, poker-wise, is me deciding to go to the World Series of Poker this year (and to be sure we're talking the same year, it's 2011 as I write this) and play in a $1k tournament. I take off the end of June and you can check out my progress on my blog or on the forum at Felt Poker. I'm not bringing my laptop with me to Vegas, but a forum member has agreed to take my text updates and update the forum. Can't wait to go!



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