Category: Gambling Tokkens

‘Optimal Strategy For Pai Gow Poker’ by Stanford Wong – Book Review

‘Be the King of Small Stakes Tournaments’ is a how-to guide for novice and beginning poker players. Inside the pages author Mike Exinger explains the most basic ideas behind small stakes tournament play and leads the reader to new concepts in poker fundamentals.

High Points

Written for the beginning poker tournament player

Specifically geared towards small stakes tournaments

Enjoyably written by a one-time teacher and author

Poker advice is to the point – just a 64 page book

Low Points

Not much poker introduction for new players

Just 64 pages

Jumps right into tournament play after long introduction

Description

Be the King of Small Stakes Poker by Mike Exinger is a new, 2011 book

64 pages – available as an ebook only

Guide Review – ‘Be the King of Small Stakes Tournaments’ – Book Review

Be the King of Small Stakes Tournaments by Mike Exinger is a valuable guide for beginning, small stakes poker players. The book is short, just 64 pages, and begins with a somewhat rambling (although enjoyable) introduction to what the book is about and why the author wrote it. Unfortunately this takes 12 pages, which leaves just 52 to instruct the readers about poker.

After the introduction the book jumps right into several pages about single table tournaments. The advice is sound and logical, excellent for new players. I would have expected the list of starting hands for Texas Hold’em tournaments to be presented with an explanation of the reasons for this at the beginning, not on page 28, but once Exinger does let the reader see his list of hands the advice flows in a more straightforward manner.

Exinger does explain a “basic” strategy for playing and his definition of aggressive and passive players (loose/tight) as a matrix to be charted. Should a reader address their own style to the xy graph they can see how the author feels they will do in actual play – and what would be an optimal strategy for tournaments against different players

Chapter Eight, Stages of Tournaments, may be the most valuable for new players, as they may not realize that each tournament has its own particular makeup and each stage of a tournament also has its own feel. The requirements of the players during those stages is addressed and new players again may find that they have underestimated or misinterpreted some aspects.

His advice to go slow and play conservatively and tight at the beginning of a tournament is pretty standard advice and works well for some players. However, it may be more fitting for larger buy-in tournaments and be geared only towards no-limit play.

The beginning stages of tournaments always provide plenty of opportunities to limp into pots with small pairs and suited connectors in anticipation of catching hands that will trap several players. You either hit, or toss your hand.

Because the blinds are small and calling represents only a fraction of your starting bankroll these opportunities should not be missed. Waiting until later stages where a call represents a significant portion of your stack is a mistake.

Why this Book is Valuable

This book is especially valuable to players who have not devised a true strategy for playing in small stakes tournaments. It’s not designed as a guide for learning how to play poker, but as a start for tournament play.

Players who want to have some success in either online or live tournaments will benefit from Exinger’s advice and should be able to follow his concepts. They should also be able to apply his teachings to several forms of tournaments from single-table sit-and-goes to many player, multi-table tournaments.

The author’s advice for certain tournaments like those with rebuy’s is short, but readers can find information about them in other places.

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Categories: Gambling Tokkens

Indian Gaming

Indian Gaming is the national magazine of the American Indian Gaming Industry. Published monthly, this glossy, 8×11 magazine focuses on all aspects of Native American gaming from decision making and the politics of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Native American Gaming Association (NIGA) to casino and gaming products and individual Tribal casinos.

High Points

Large Editorial Advisory Board Presents Wide Coverage of Topics

Well Edited articles

Consistently excellent layout and design

Photos presented with most articles

Low Points

Political and conference coverage can be overwhelming

Few articles on innovation and new ideas

Little coverage of things like Player’s Clubs or Comps

Description

Indian Gaming is in its 23rd year of publication.

Approximately 80 pages per month with many photos

Published by Arrow Point Media, Inc.

Guide Review – ‘Indian Gaming’ Magazine Review

Indian Gaming is a slick, well-produced monthly magazine that bills itself as “The National Magazine of the American Indian Gaming Industry.” That’s a reasonable description. The magazines editorial advisory board includes members of many different Native American Tribes, associations, and gaming product companies, which provides a multitude of viewpoints and issues.

Editor Robert Burke does a fine job with each issue, providing crisp editing and engaging articles. The direction of the magazine, set by publisher Steve Burke, has been steady of the years, focusing mostly on the political horizon and event and conference coverage with a sprinkling of product reviews and management advice.

The political coverage may be overwhelming for the casual reader, but as an Associate Member of NIGA, GPIGA, and OIGA, providing national exposure of conferences, as well as topics and trends for Native American workers unable to attend events, is quite valuable. The current issue provides the 2013 calendar of events, which features 24 conferences, expos, and workshops, so there is a lot to cover.

Other valuable coverage includes the People section, which provides a look at the names and faces of change over the past few months. This issue lists Frank Fahrenkopf, President and CEO of the American Gaming Association, stepping down from is position; Mike Fisher taking the reigns as GM at Chinook Winds casino; and Galanda Broadman being named “Best Boutique” firm by Lawyers of Color; as well as several other people of interest.

As with most monthly magazines, providing new content is tough, and while the current issue has two articles on marketing (one specifically on social media), the coverage isn’t as timely as readers might prefer. I’m not sure the presentation counts as innovative or full of new ideas. In addition, there is no coverage of actual gaming departments. No overview of slots, or table games. Keno, Bingo, and poker are never mentioned. It does seem lacking in a “gaming” magazine.

Native American gaming has grown much larger and faster than most any proponents or opponents could ever have imagined over the past fifteen years. A number of new properties that have opened are on the cutting edge of style and design, and doing great business. Tribes have the ability to make “change” their key word when it comes to advances in operation of businesses, especially casino resort properties. That’s why it’s so nice to see an emphasis in the current issue of Indian Gaming on green operations.

This month, Craig Pendleton presents an article on going green in food and beverage operations. Several casino properties like the Peppermill in Reno have embraced green ideas that are good for the environment and also good for the company’s bottom line.

The subscription rate for Indian Gaming isn’t excessive, but $85 a year isn’t cheap. Of course you won’t find their range of coverage anywhere else, it’s timely, and well-written. If you need to keep up with Indian gaming, this is your source.

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Categories: Gambling Tokkens

‘Lose Your Shirt Blackjack’ by D. A. Cancilla

‘Lose Your Shirt: Blackjack’ by D. A. Cancilla is a totally unconventional look at the casino game of blackjack. The author offers a new view of the game that can only be explained as an irreverent rant or a drug-induced ramble. That’s alright. What the reader is presented with is a fun, witty overview of an old casino classic. It’s about time somebody admitted that playing (and possibly winning) blackjack isn’t rocket science or the most important topic on earth. And, it should be fun!

High Points

This is a funny book

It does have something to do with blackjack

If you don’t like it, it’s only 64 pages

Low Points

This is not a blackjack strategy book

Sober, non-experienced blackjack players won’t get the jokes

Description

The author states: If you have ever wanted to absolutely, positively guarantee that your will lose all your money, be ejected from the casino, or spend the night in jail the next time you’re in Las Vegas, this book is for you.

That pretty much sums it up. The book came out in February 2012 and the Kindle edition is just $2.99

File Size: 161 KB

Print Length: 64 pages

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Guide Review – ‘Lose Your Shirt: Blackjack’ by D. A. Cancilla – Book Review

Lose Your Shirt starts right out with, “Before you can lose money at blackjack, you have to know how to play the game.” And the author does indeed explain how to play the game, what a blackjack table looks like, and what other equipment is used. He even goes into detail about the little slot on the blackjack table where dealers put cash. The cash is dropped through a slot and into a solid metal box that is retrieved periodically by the casino during the “count”. The box holds what is know in the industry as the “drop”.

Of course the author explains it differently. As I recall, he said, “your bills and coins will be pushed through this slot and into the mouth of a hidden industrial shredder. Casinos use chips as currency. They have no use for cash.”

I’ve written about losing your shirt in a casino, so perhaps I understand the author’s intent better than others, but this is a funny book, nothing more

The author wasn’t trying to teach anyone how to win at blackjack, he simply took a topic he knows well, explained all the basics, and had fun with it. If you want to learn how to play blackjack then there might

be better sources, but if you’ve played some cards, found yourself beaten to a pulp and wondering just when that steamroller thundered over your chip stack, you’ll get this book.

I don’t suggest this book if you have no sense of humor or are likely to believe everything the author says. When he explains how a Lucky Ladies bonus bet wins with, “If your initial hand totals 20, the person next to you has an initial hand that totals 20, and youre both female, you win this bet,” it’s important that you know he is kidding.

In a nutshell, this book may tickle your gambling bug and make it laugh. Or, as Rupert Holmes said (I think) in his hit, Escape, “If you like Pina Colada’s, getting cash from the bank, if you’re not into winning, if you have half a brain,” this book may be just what you are looking for.

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Categories: Gambling Tokkens

Is there Injustice in Gambling

Indian Gaming is the national magazine of the American Indian Gaming Industry. Published monthly, this glossy, 8×11 magazine focuses on all aspects of Native American gaming from decision making and the politics of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Native American Gaming Association (NIGA) to casino and gaming products and individual Tribal casinos.

High Points

Large Editorial Advisory Board Presents Wide Coverage of Topics

Well Edited articles

Consistently excellent layout and design

Photos presented with most articles

Low Points

Political and conference coverage can be overwhelming

Few articles on innovation and new ideas

Little coverage of things like Player’s Clubs or Comps

Description

Indian Gaming is in its 23rd year of publication.

Approximately 80 pages per month with many photos

Published by Arrow Point Media, Inc.

Guide Review – ‘Indian Gaming’ Magazine Review

Indian Gaming is a slick, well-produced monthly magazine that bills itself as “The National Magazine of the American Indian Gaming Industry.” That’s a reasonable description. The magazines editorial advisory board includes members of many different Native American Tribes, associations, and gaming product companies, which provides a multitude of viewpoints and issues.

Editor Robert Burke does a fine job with each issue, providing crisp editing and engaging articles. The direction of the magazine, set by publisher Steve Burke, has been steady of the years, focusing mostly on the political horizon and event and conference coverage with a sprinkling of product reviews and management advice.

The political coverage may be overwhelming for the casual reader, but as an Associate Member of NIGA, GPIGA, and OIGA, providing national exposure of conferences, as well as topics and trends for Native American workers unable to attend events, is quite valuable. The current issue provides the 2013 calendar of events, which features 24 conferences, expos, and workshops, so there is a lot to cover.

Other valuable coverage includes the People section, which provides a look at the names and faces of change over the past few months. This issue lists Frank Fahrenkopf, President and CEO of the American Gaming Association, stepping down from is position; Mike Fisher taking the reigns as GM at Chinook Winds casino; and Galanda Broadman being named “Best Boutique” firm by Lawyers of Color; as well as several other people of interest.

As with most monthly magazines, providing new content is tough, and while the current issue has two articles on marketing (one specifically on social media), the coverage isn’t as timely as readers might prefer. I’m not sure the presentation counts as innovative or full of new ideas. In addition, there is no coverage of actual gaming departments. No overview of slots, or table games. Keno, Bingo, and poker are never mentioned. It does seem lacking in a “gaming” magazine.

Native American gaming has grown much larger and faster than most any proponents or opponents could ever have imagined over the past fifteen years. A number of new properties that have opened are on the cutting edge of style and design, and doing great business. Tribes have the ability to make “change” their key word when it comes to advances in operation of businesses, especially casino resort properties. That’s why it’s so nice to see an emphasis in the current issue of Indian Gaming on green operations.

This month, Craig Pendleton presents an article on going green in food and beverage operations. Several casino properties like the Peppermill in Reno have embraced green ideas that are good for the environment and also good for the company’s bottom line.

The subscription rate for Indian Gaming isn’t excessive, but $85 a year isn’t cheap. Of course you won’t find their range of coverage anywhere else, it’s timely, and well-written. If you need to keep up with Indian gaming, this is your source.

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Categories: Gambling Tokkens

How to Clear Online Casino Bonuses

One of the best things about joining an online casino is that they offer substantial bonuses. At most sites, new players receive a welcome bonus that matches part of their initial chip purchase. The site may offer $200 in bonus chips if you buy $200 in chips, but there are very specific requirements for keeping any of that money! It is extremely important that you understand the rules and regulations for clearing the bonus before you start playing because most sites restrict which games you can play to meet the bonus requirements. Even a single bet on a non-bonus game can result in the loss of your entire bonus!

Of course you’ll want to have some serious belief that the site you join is legitimate, licensed, and has a record of fair and honest dealings with online players. There are several ways to check a site, from simply doing an online search for the name and seeing if any negative results come up, to checking their licensing. Online gaming is legal in many areas, but for the most security you might wan to start by playing only on sites licensed in the UK,Isle of Mann, and Alderney. Many well-known companies like IGT are adding new software for mobile and online gaming, so soon there will be more sites players feel safe playing at.

There are few guarantees with online gaming, and at the very least you should check the site, click on their licensing information, and go to the licensing board’s website and see that they are indeed listed as a licensed company.

Bonus Clearing

There are many types of bonuses offered by online sites, so do some research first and find the one that looks the safest and the easiest to clear. You’ll have to dig around the site a bit to find the terms and conditions and all the bonus rules first, before you deposit. Make sure you understand exactly what the rules are. It’s important that the rules are plain enough for you to understand. If they aren’t, you’ll have trouble qualifying, and probably have trouble cashing out. Don’t be afraid to copy and print the rules so you can follow them correctly.

Time Frame

Make sure you can meet their time frame. The site may specify that you have only x-number of hours or days to meet the bonus requirements. Don’t be afraid to email support to check on any aspect of a bonus. This gets you clarification, and lets you see how responsive they are. If you send an email with a question and don’t get a quick answer now, how much support do you think you’ll get if you have a dispute later?

Redeeming a Coupon

Make sure you actually redeem any coupon or bonus offered, or have your bonus chips released for play. Some sites will accept your payment and allow you to play, but that play will not count towards any bonus requirements – only your activity after the coupon has been redeemed will count towards clearing the bonus. If the site also has general rules and policies, read those first!

Rollover or Qualifying Bets

When reading the rules for clearing any bonus, make sure you understand the betting requirements. These are sometimes called rollovers, signified by an “X” (10x,20x, etc.). This means to clear a bonus (clear it for payout) it has to be played a certain number of times. If the rollover is 10x, you have to bet the total amount ten times. If you get a bonus of $100, you’ll have to make a total of $1000 in bets (10 x $100).

In fact, you may be required to bet your purchase plus your bonus chips 10x, meaning that if you purchase $100 in chips, and get $100 in bonus chips, you’ll have to make $2000 in bets (10 x $200). And, just so you really understand, the bonus requirement is likely to be more like 50x, so even a $100 purchase could mean you have to make 50 x $200 in wagers. That leads to a total of $10,000 in wagers before you can withdraw any money from the casino! If you make two-hundred $10 wagers per hour, it will take five hours to meet the requirements. You can’t cash out a penny until those requirements are met.

Restrictions

Yes, Virginia, there are restrictions. A single mistake can void your bonus, so read the casino’s rules first! Restrictions are likely to be centered around the games you can play to qualify. Games you think might qualify, probably don’t. Bets on blackjack, craps, baccarat and other games may void your bonus – they likely don’t qualify to clear any bonuses. Why not? Because the house edge is small and they want you to play games with a higher casino edge like Three-card-Poker and roulette.

While brick-and-mortar casinos offer bonuses and comps based on your play, online casinos offer you the bonus up-front, but you need to be careful and follow all the rules to qualify and be able to cash-out any balance you have later.

For poker players, many online sites have free play, or offer bonuses based on first chip purchase or similar to the way a land-based casino’s player’s club works. Their bonuses are sometimes geared towards monthly play, so check carefully before you start playing.

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Categories: Gambling Tokkens

How to Clear an Online Poker Bonus

Clearing an online poker-site bonus is pretty simple, since the site software will keep track of all details, but there are certain things you should know. Online poker sites offer cash-back bonuses to join and continue playing on their websites and you’ll want to learn how to clear that bonus before starting your live play.

The initial signup bonus offered by a poker site is a great incentive to play for real money, but make sure your read the fine print to quantify each bonus and compare the top sites’ offers before making your decision on where to play. Typically you will be required to play thousands of raked hands to get your bonus, but at 60+ hands per hour it will go quickly.

Online play is legal in many countries around the world. Currently, the US does not allow online gaming, but some states have a gray area that does allow wagering, especially on poker. At this time, the listing of those specific states will not be offered here, but many states, led by Nevada and Maryland, are gearing up to allow legal, intrastate games. This means players must signup in one state and will play live games for real money with other persons in the state, online.

Obviously, once several states have viable online poker systems in place there will be even more interest in Washington D.C. to find a way to offer poker nationwide – and to tax the proceeds. Expect to hear a lot about this in 2013! Regardless of when cash games start, you can play online poker for free at many great sites!

Online Poker Bonuses

When Nevada finally gets the bugs out of their online poker regulations there will be several companies like IGT and Southpoint Poker offering games. To entice players, they will likely offer a bonus for all new players who signup to use their poker site. The hope is that the bonuses will rival those of established legal sites like William Hill and Poker Stars.

Without suggesting that you join any specific poker site, understand that the bonuses offered will vary at each site. Some offer a monthly amount, such as $50, which is automatically transferred to a player’s account as soon as they play a specific number of qualifying hands – such as 1000 hands with a rake of at least $1.

The rake is the amount taken out of each pot before it goes to the winner of each hand. In live casinos, the low-limit poker games usually take a rake of 10 percent up to $4. Online, the rake is similar, but will be collected to the penny. The best poker sites aggregate all rake collected based on each player’s own involvement. When this is the case, the amount of money you put in the pot is converted to a percentage of the rake take. Using Poker Stars as an example, say the total pot is $100, and $3 of rake is collected. A total of 16.5 points are awarded to the table. If you contributed $10 to the pot before folding, you put in 10 percent of the total, so you receive 1.65 points. The site automatically keeps track of all the points you earn.

In this Poker Stars example, a new player trying to release a bonus must earn 17 points for every dollar. Each time the player has accumulated 170 points, $10 in bonus money will be released to their cash balance. Use this example as a base to compare other poker sites and their bonuses! And, make sure you read each site’s rules and regulations so you know how long you have to clear each bonus (Poker Stars currently allows six months).

Most sites offer both live play and tournaments. To accommodate tournament players, a point scheme is also offered for tournament fees. If a tournament has a $20 buy-in and a fee of $1, the player is given credit for that $1 fee much like they are given credit for any rake paid. At William Hill, 25 WHPoints are credited to the player’s account for every $1.00 raked on cash tables or $1.00 in tournament fees paid. Then the player receives $5 of their new-player bonus for every 425 WHPoints they earn.

Other Bonuses

Signup bonuses are great, but many poker sites also offer redeposit bonuses, so if you put more money into your account you can earn some free cash to. There is usually a short window of time when you can get these, and you may not be eligible if you just withdrew cash from your account. Read the rules and prepare for the next offering.

Monthly bonuses and loyalty programs are also popular at poker sites. You’ll need to read the specifics for each program, but loyalty bonuses work out to a small amount of cash for the total hours (and rake paid) a player is in action. However, while the actual cash earned may be small, players also earn an entry into freeroll tournaments. These tournaments offer cash prizes but have no buy-in or fees. You can expect these to have thousands of players, but the play will be brisk, especially if the games are no-limit, as players often go all-in repeatedly at the beginning.

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Categories: Gambling Tokkens

Holy Rollers Movie

According to Connell Creations, “This captivating documentary follows the rise of arguably the largest and most well-funded blackjack team in America-made up entirely of churchgoing Christians. While they succeed in taking millions from casinos, how will they manage to find a place for faith and God in the arena of high stakes gambling?”

Holy Rollers

Holy Rollers A movie-length documentary about a team of card-counting blackjack players is more than just some film clips about blackjack players. The large group of friends chronicled in this film congregated together with several beliefs: casinos have easy money available; Christians should be able to take that money if the methods are fair and legal; there’s nothing wrong with having graj at work!

Starting with just two friends, the Holy Roller card counters started pooling their cash and learning the subtleties of blackjack in 2006. Many members of the team came from the same church and even included a minister and a youth minister. Mike, the pastor, considered the forays into casinos “work in a way to glorify God.” An interesting concept.

High Points

Film production is high quality, well-paced and entertaining

Film clips from several years are used so entire story rings true

No over-the-top scripting or narration

Good and bad aspects of teams and card-counting are explored

Low Points

Some aspects of the team are rehashed more than once

Trip-specific and casino specific interaction and ups and downs are not covered well

Description

Holy Rollers by Connell Creations is being released in 2011. Currently there are only plans for DVD pre-orders, no theater release.

Guide Review – ‘Holy Rollers’ by Connell Creations – Movie Review

Holy Rollers, the 2011 movie documentary by Connell Creations should not be confused with the 2010 movie about youths growing up in Brooklyn, NY with he same name. This movie tells the story of a bunch of friends, many who belong to the same church, that pool their money together and exploit their blackjack prowess at casinos across the Northwest.

Well produced paced, this true-story is a very real look at how card-counters can learn to beat the game of blackjack for fun and profit. Underlying tension from some members about the church’s view of their activity give the documentary a slight edge, but most of the story and narration centers on Ben and Colin, the founders of the group, and their ability to administer a highly successful band of investors and blackjack players.

The soundtrack music (by Frank Lenz) fits the scenes and is an enjoyable addition some documentaries seem to score poorly on. It never detracts from the story itself. And, the story itself, never falls to the schmaltzy, Hollywood-hyped extent that movies like 21 try to pass off as true-to-life about casinos and Las Vegas.

Hearing co-founder Colin state that his parents first said they would rather he was “selling cocaine” than throwing his money away at blackjack certainly sets the tone for most people’s belief about the viability of playing cards for a living. The juxtaposition of later interviews with those very parents after they saw the team’s success and then invested their own money in the team’s efforts goes a long way to explain how successful the players were.

Why This Movie is So Good

This movie is a wonderful look at the ups and serious downs of any type of gambling, especially when it centers around a whole team of players and investors. Unlike the exploits of other blackjack teams where most of the players made small bets and counted cards while a handful of “Big Players” handled the real cash, this team tended towards training all players to follow the cards and make their own bets.

Eventually the co-founders learn that not all players can handle the stress (and the fun) of casinos, gambling, and handling large amounts of other people’s money. Lesson learned, the team still manages to beat a handful of casinos for more than $3 million from 2006 to 2009.

This is a fun and enlightening show designed to enlighten as well as entertain, and I find it quite easy to suggest you take a look.

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Categories: Gambling Tokkens

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