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Poker News | PokerWorks Op-Ed

Poker Plus - Poker at Sea – The Players

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On my recent cruise to Alaska I spent the first night in the casino playing a Hold’em tournament as I wrote about here. Now I will continue relating my experiences about the game and the players.

A big disappointment to me was the Pokermate automated table. I had never played on one before and was looking forward to trying it. It didn’t take me long to figure out I hated it.

Maybe it was the lighting, but for me it wasn’t easy to see the board or my cards. The betting also irritated me, probably because I am used to playing online and to me - that is easy. This table required too many steps to make a bet, at least one more button to push than I am used to.

Given a choice I will choose online poker any day, much simpler, easier and faster, especially when I am entered in a wine tasting marathon.

The other disappointment was the players. Out of six players, only half of us were there to have fun. And like all poker players, they were as different as a 6 of clubs is to an Ace of Hearts. One player was gone so fast I didn’t have a chance to even talk to him, but I was able to learn a few interesting things about the remaining four players.

Ms. Utah acted the total snob, no smiles, no fun - but I didn’t let that stop me. I wanted to know if they all played poker online and if they did, what poker site they played at. Ms. Snob basically ignored me, but she did answer me when I asked the burning question and told me she played at Full Tilt Poker. Her reason was that people were nicer there than on other sites. When she played on other sites they ridiculed her and made fun of how she played.

After watching her play, I believed it. I never condone making fun of bad players or the players who engage in the practice, even if some players do deserve it. I asked her what limits she played and of course she said 10/20 NLH. Don’t ask me why but I expected no less. But it wouldn’t surprise me at all to find out she really only played small buy-in tournaments, where the blinds start at 10/20. Some people just have to make it sound like they play big to match their egos.

Bud Guy was sitting across the table from me and he was having fun. I am sure the succession of beers helped his happy attitude, but he was a fun guy and enjoyable. He told me he used to play on Party Poker until they banned US players, now he plays on PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. He doesn’t play often, maybe once or twice a week and loves the No-Limit tournaments and small NL games. Bud Guy also always takes a shot at the WSOP satellites and other promotions on both sites. His best win was $1,500 he parlayed from a Freeroll on PokerStars, which he was rightly proud of. His luck or skill paid off as he came in 2nd in our tournament.

Mr. Canada was another guy who was just having fun. Where Bud Guy did play decent, Mr. Canada was a totally recreational player, using the “any two will do” Hold’em system and playing them all the way. It would have taken four sticks of dynamite to blow him off a hand. He busted me out with his 6-5 off suit and you guessed it – he won the tournament. Mr. Canada also plays online at Bwin Poker and Ladbrokes Poker where he told me he never wins. Of course he doesn’t understand why he never wins online and I don’t give free lessons, so I just responded, “Wow, really?’ like I was really surprised. But I did tell him I was jealous because I would love to be able to play at Ladbrokes Poker, which is the truth.

Lastly, after the tournament I talked to Mr. Ball Cap. He was so serious during the game you would think it was a life and death match. By placing 3rd he made a whopping $7 but I am sure he was glad to get his buy-in back. My impression of him was that he takes poker very seriously, hates to lose and thinks he plays so good he shouldn’t lose.

After picking his brain for 15 minutes, I was right. The thing that surprised me was his answer when I asked him if he played online. I assumed he did, it was obvious he knew how to play and he told me he lived over 3 hours from a live poker game. But he told me he used to play at Paradise Poker and Party Poker but he doesn’t play online anymore. My first thought was “oh no, not another guy who thinks the game is rigged,” but I was wrong. Mr. Ball Cap gave me an answer I have never heard before and doubt I will hear again…”because it is illegal.”

At this point my look of total bewilderment was showing because he proceeded to tell me about the UIGEA, although he didn’t know what it was called. Ever so nicely I told him I knew what it was, it was the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act and I had written about it many times. His reasoning was that it was illegal for US citizens to play poker online, so he quit because he didn’t want to break the law. Fortified by umbrella drinks and wine, I proceeded to explain to him that there is no internet poker police, and they wouldn’t break down his door and arrest him for playing online. As clearly as I could muster, I explained the technicalities of the UIGEA, the banking and funding poker account aspects of it. I doubt I got my point across and talked him back into the internet poker fold. Even when I asked, “Do you always do everything to the letter of the law? Do you never go 5 miles over the speed limit?’

He said, “Well no, but that’s different.”

I have no regrets that I couldn’t make Mr. Ball Cap see the light about playing poker online, I run into enough players I can’t beat, I don’t need any more.  Too bad for him though because he is missing the boat – the online poker boat. The actual names of the players were not changed to protect their privacy – I just forgot them.

*Read PokerHack's Blog*

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