Not everyone has the good fortune of living in Las Vegas, and this leaves poker players searching for other ways to play poker legally. Of course playing online is an option, but another game is popping up all over town and it’s a live, legal way of playing Texas Hold-Em - it’s the Bar Poker League!
One of the largest bar poker leagues is the World Tavern Poker Tour. It was created in 2003 and it boasts a roster of more than 100,000 players. This tour is found in bars across the East Coast, with smaller branches in Colorado, Canada, Alaska and New Mexico. The WTPT has a quarterly schedule that follows the seasons; the summer league plays for three months (June, July and August) and then a winner is crowned at the end of the season. This winner advances to regional championships and then those champions compete in casinos ranging from Atlantic City to Las Vegas.
Another popular bar league is the Amateur Poker League and it was started in 2004. There are 68,000 players stretching across the United States that play in the APL.
These two leagues signed an agreement back in September and officially changed the name of the organization to The World Poker Tour Amateur Poker League (WPTAPL). The new league gives players an opportunity to win their way into WPT (World Poker Tour Events).
Bar Poker Leagues offer players a free game several nights per week and they are open to anyone. Usually they are a scaled down version of the actual games found in Las Vegas. The rules are not followed in the bar as they would be in the casinos and the tournament directors are a lot more lenient.
For instance, players can get away with string betting, playing out of turn, unannounced raises, and even helping others read their hands. Some players have never played poker before they walked into the bar that evening. Some bars will even play two games in one night, and the blinds increase at an alarmingly rapid pace, forcing people to make a move early or go home!
This can be frustrating to an experienced player, but as long as they remember that it’s just a game and they are playing to have fun, it adds a different element.
One of the best things about bar poker leagues is that a new player can learn the game for free and an advanced player can learn new ways to play without spending any money. If a very tight player wants to learn how to play more aggressively, this is a perfect opportunity for him to practice!
The next time you head over to your favorite bar, inquire about the poker leagues, you might just enjoy yourself!