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TIP OF THE WEEK– Roulette — What You Need To Know

Roulette is considered the oldest game in the casino. It is a simple game, easy to learn and play, and very exciting, with a wide variety of bets on each and every spin of the wheel. However, before you play this fun game, there are some things you should know. Click here to read the entire tip!


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Phil Hellmuth, Robert Williamson III & Denny Crum to Host Annual Celebrity Derby Party May 1

Southern Gaming’s Derby Poker Celebrity Bourbon Bash, sponsored by Jim Beam and, is returning to the Derby week festivities for a fifth consecutive year. The annual Oaks Eve party and poker tournament is hosted by Hall of Fame coach Denny Crum and Poker professionals Phil Hellmuth, Jr. and Robert Williamson III and benefits Blessings in a Backpack and Thoroughbred Charities of America.

Formally known as the Derby Poker Championship, the event has become a must-attend Derby party that caters to an array of celebrities, athletes, jockeys, poker professionals and race fans looking to kick-off the Derby weekend in-style. Last year, the event raised just over $20,000 for Blessings and the Louisville chapter of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and organizers are setting their goals event higher this year.


Poker Strategy: Mathematics in PLO & Phil’s Flaw

I played PLO very badly, in the sense that I wasn’t seeing one basic mathematical principle of the game. I can’t believe that I missed it all those years, but no one was coaching me on how to play the game.

After playing PLO for more than seven years, I finally learned something while watching “Houston Sammy” play one day.

Sammy is considered the best PLO player in the world, and one day in a big game in Tunica, Mississippi, I watched him get involved in a big pot.


Poker: Playing A-x Suited on the Flop

WITH PRE-FLOP SITUATIONS, if no one else has raised the pot before the flop and you have A-x suited, then you should make it two bets to go. In general, if you’ve done that but missed the flop, you should bet out once anyway, thus representing that you’ve hit it.




HOW TO PLAY AND WIN at Today’s Table Games

If you’ve been around the casino scene for a couple of decades, chances are you remember table game pits being dominated by four games.

Blackjack was the most popular of course, followed by craps, then roulette, and for the high rollers there was baccarat.

Well…things have changed and today there is a lot more to choose from.


Million Dollar Poker Tournament Series at Beau Rivage

(Biloxi, Miss.) – Do you have what it takes to play poker with the best? Beau Rivage Resort & Casino has announced the schedule for their Million Dollar Heater poker tournament series taking place January 4 – 23, 2013.

It is one of the biggest tournaments in the region and top pros from around the world are expected to attend.



Casino Knowledge: Q&A with John G.

Q: My friend says that when you’re dealt a winning hand or have four parts of a royal flush in video poker, you should pull out your player rewards card before you draw. She says it’ll help your comps. Is that true?


Texas Hold ’em: Never Give Up


While I was playing in Bellagio’s Five-Star World Poker Classic $1,000 buy-in, pot-limit Hold’em tournament in December 2002, the following series of hands unfolded.

Two off the button, with the blinds at $100-$200, I opened the pot for $600 of my remaining $900 with K-9. Max Stearn, holding 10-10, just called in the small blind, because he was afraid to re-raise and possibly run into a big hand in the big blind. I don’t blame Max for just calling at this point in the hand; after all, it looked like he was going to get my last $300 in any case.


Poker: Hellmuth vs. Chan

In 1989, the amazing Johnny Chan and I played heads-up for the World Series of Poker’s world championships and its first prize of $755,000. At the time, I was a young, up-and-coming professional poker player, pursuing my dream of winning the WSOP. I beat Johnny to become the youngest World Champion at the tender age of 24. Johnny was also playing for history, because he had a chance to win the WSOP three years in a row. What a feat that would have been! My hat’s off to Johnny for winning it two years in a row and finishing second the third time around. In fact, Johnny’s back-to-back first and second in 1987, 1988 and 1989, respectively, is one of the greatest feats in poker history.


Texas Hold ‘Em: Beginners and Top 10 Hands

To begin with, I recommend playing only the top 10 hands and folding on all others. The top 10 are in order of relative promise: A-A, K-K, Q-Q, A-K, J-J, 10-10, 9-9, 8-8, A-Q and 7-7. Experience has shown me that these are the strongest starting hands in limit Hold ’Em. The beginning strategy for survival is designed to keep you in the game while you learn the more subtle techniques that are necessary to beat tougher games, or to extract more money from weak games. And, in some games, using just this strategy will make you a winner. With this patient strategy alone, and really not much else in the way of poker instruction, I was able to crush the games in Madison. What happens is, when you consistently play only the top 10 hands, your opponents will begin to fear your bets and raises because they’ll see that you’re always playing something powerful. This fear gives you some leeway to make a few different plays later, when you’ve absorbed the intermediate and more advanced advice I’ll be giving you later. In other words, the top-10-hands strategy teaches the right fundamentals. You will need these fundamentals when you add some intermediate and advanced strategy to your arsenal, because playing super tight alone won’t get the pots in these tougher games. The good hands don’t come along often enough, and perhaps even more important, you risk becoming a bit too predictable.




It is a time of year like no other for poker players. The summer months in Las Vegas are filled with nonstop gaming, thanks to the World Series of Poker (WSOP). Players begin anticipating the release of the tournament schedule as soon as the year begins, and one look at said schedule drives them to plan for living arrangements and start bankroll analysis. And, by the end of May, there is a worldwide rush to get to Sin City and register for that first tournament.


NO LIMIT HOLD ‘EM: Hellmuth’s Strategy

I trust my instincts when I’m deciding whether or not a player is bluffing. I hone these instincts by practicing reading my opponents when I’m out of the hand being played, to try to get a better read on them when I need it later. If someone has raised in front of me and I feel that he is weak, I usually fold anyway. But at the end of the hand, I’ll watch to see if he exposes his hole cards, so I can confirm that he was weak or see that I was wrong. If I was right, then I will wait for him to do it again. Anyone who makes one weak raise can be expected to make more than one.

Phil’s Strategy: Re-raise with Nothing

I like to use an example from the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in 2001. I had been watching Daniel Negreanu very closely during the championship on day three. In this particular hand, Daniel opened the pot for $10,000. I knew he had nothing, and when it was my turn to act I made it $30,000 to go with 10♦–2♦ (bluffing). Now, John “World” Hennigan decided to move all-in for $30,100, and Daniel quickly folded his hand. I called $100 more, but I would have called another $10,000 because of the size of the pot (I had about $210,000 in front of me at the time). After all, I already had $30,000 in the pot plus John’s $30,100 and Daniel’s $10,000. Much to my embarrassment, the tournament director required us to flip our cards face up before the flop. (more…)

TEXAS HOLD ‘EM: Firing up the Game

Some years ago at the Bicycle Club casino in Los Angeles, there was a regular named Spencer Ouren. Spencer was on his way to becoming a poker legend before his untimely death in 1992. Spencer would sit down at the $80-$160-limit Hold ’em table and raise every hand in the dark to the maximum before the flop (he wouldn’t even look at his hole cards) for one round. He did this every single time he sat down in a high-limit game.


Poker: Reading Your Opponents

An important element in pro poker games is reading your opponents. Are they riding on “hot air” or the real thing? In a lot of home games, there is just so much money in the pot, relative to the size of the final bet, that it makes sense to call that bet. (What do you have to lose?) In pro poker, there is enough money involved and enough actual thought processes are being utilized, that many situations come up where you can take advantage of a good read — which might arise either from your ability to detect weakness or strength in body language or from your ability to assess the implications of betting the pattern on the hand — and make either a good call or a good fold. But it’s hard to read someone who hasn’t really been thinking about the hand and can’t possibly be nervous about losing $1.75! The skill factor in poker is much higher in the pro game. There is just too much at stake for anyone to rely solely on luck.

Let’s take a quick glimpse at the high-stakes poker world, an enterprise that yields several of my friends over a million dollars a year! At this level, too, luck is a factor on any given day, week or month, but what’s different is that if you play better poker than your opponents do, pretty consistently, you’ll find that over almost any two-month period, your winnings have exceeded your losses. Furthermore, if you play better poker than your opponents over a six-month period, your results will have moved very solidly in the winning direction. Making a few well-timed bluffs each day will add up to a lot of money each year.

In fact, if an inexperienced poker player were to sit down for a few hours with a group of world-class poker players, he would have virtually no chance to win over even an eight-hour period. This very fact is why five or six top pros might be willing to sit down in the same game with this fellow and each other: The money that even one amateur is likely to contribute makes it worth their while to do battle with so many respected opponents.

Imagine yourself facing down Larry Flynt in the $2,000-$4,000 Seven-Card Stud game at Hustler Club Casino. You’re sitting there trying to figure out if he has a strong hand or is full of hot air (bluffing). If you decide right, you will win $25,000, but if you’re wrong, it will cost you $25,000. What do you do? You make a good read — of the situation, of the odds, of your opponent — and make an educated guess rather than a plain old boldfaced guess! The chief difference between your home poker game and the games of the big players is the preponderance of luck in the one and the preponderance of skill in the other. In a game (the Flynt game) where winning just one $4,000 bet a night would mean an income of $16,000 per week (this game runs four days a week), one carefully earned bet can make a great deal of a difference.

That’s the way things look into the high-stakes “side game” world at large, but there is even more evidence that skill is present and important in high-stakes poker tournaments today. (When I say “side game” world, I mean the non-tournament poker world.) Why do the same people, by and large, keep winning poker tournaments year after year? They win because they apply finely honed strategies and tactics, calculate and recalculate the odds, read their opponents well, avoid becoming predictable, and know how and when to make a good bluff.

Some of the most famous poker players in the world today have made their names in poker tournaments. I am proud to say that I was the all-time leading money winner in WSOP history in 2001, having won more than $2,800,000. (Unfortunately for me, Johnny Chan and T.J. Cloutier both passed me the year after that.) Only a handful of people have won more than $2 million in their WSOP “careers.” Although the same people don’t win all the poker tournaments, by the time the year’s end rolls around, the same people always seem to end up having won several tournaments, year in and year out. This is one of the appealing aspects of poker tournaments: The record is out there for everyone to see; some players are consistently successful, and others are not. (The side games, though very lucrative, keep no records.)

If serious poker were a game where luck predominated, this would not and could not happen. Everyone involved would win about the same number of tournaments as everyone else (as tends to happen in slots tournaments or craps tournaments), and no one would make (or lose) any serious money. But that’s not what years and years of proven, recorded results show.

One last note: Beware of playing in the small-stakes poker games in Las Vegas or other casinos. No matter how good you are, it is very hard to beat the “rake” (the money that is taken out of every pot each hand). It’s best to avoid the $2-$4 limit games and below, and watch the rake — if it seems like it’s too much, then play with shorter money in a higher limit game that is beatable.

The skill factor in poker is much higher in the pro game. There is just too much at stake for anyone to rely solely on luck.

For more free poker tips, visit


Phil Hellmuth Jr. is an 11-time World Series of Poker Champion, leading all poker players in the world. His latest book, “Deal Me In,” is on the fast track for being another best-seller. His books, clothing line, blog, tips and more can be found at This column is an excerpt from “Play Poker Like the Pros.”
Phil Hellmuth, Jr.

Poker Players Alliance: Get in the Game!

The Poker Players Alliance is a large and growing organization built for and by the poker playing community. With more than 1 million members nationwide and growing, the PPA mission is to favorably impact poker legislation in America. While most poker players easily recognize the PPA as a national group with the goal of “legalizing online poker,” only a small percentage know that the PPA is working in your state right now. The PPA is in fact a huge group with a daunting task, and you would be surprised to find out just how the small full-time staff gets anything done. Volunteers like me, that’s how.

The PPA is a true “grassroots” organization with a volunteer board, volunteer state directors, volunteer area representatives and lots of local volunteers just like you. As we draw closer every legislative year to some sort of federal regulation of online poker, the PPA knows the fight will shift to the state capitols and
town halls.

Our opponents at the federal level and the Department of Justice have done a good job polluting the debate with falsehoods, lies and misdirection. After a couple of events, we quickly determined that local representatives and patch-wearing members need a set of basic talking points beyond press releases. Below you will find my talking points developed over the last 52 weekends at regional poker events wearing a PPA patch.

What are the PPA benefits?
The PPA website at has tons of information. However, being a premium member has significantly more advantages.

Free memberships receive action alerts, Daniel Negreanu’s newsletter, tools to write your local politicians, and access to the PPA forums.

Premium Memberships receive PPA membership swag such as a chip protector, decals, hat or T-shirt, The PPA Litigation Network and Legal Support Team if you need legal advice, Ability to contribute to the Poker PAC (Political Action Committee)
Discounts on PPA Gear and accessories, $50 off on Card Player Cruises, $300 off on the WSOP Academy, Many invitations to PPA-endorsed events and benefits for charity

Isn’t the PPA just about Internet poker?
No. While the PPA formed as a result of UIGEA, its leadership quickly realized the battle for poker rights is fought everywhere, every day. From the living room to the White House, the PPA has pledged to fight for our right to play poker. The PPA in 2010 was involved directly, either in court or the legislature, in at least six states.

I don’t put money online, why should I care about UIGEA?
You should care about the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) because it was a ‘Midnight Rider’ attached to a ‘Must Pass’ bill at the last second without proper debate, discussion or thought into its affect on the banking industry. Unintended results of the regulations has hurt the horse racing, credit card and banking industries by adding more levels of bureaucracy, increased cost of business and reduced ability to freely transfer money. There are volumes of documented instances where checks, deposits and credit card transactions between legitimate and legal business activities have been blocked. The UIGEA made the banks be the police, and they cannot be sued for enforcing this law.

Once we get online poker legalized, the PPA will disappear, right?
No, the PPA will not go away as long as there are issues to be lobbied, legislated, litigated or discussed. Even when online poker is regulated, there will almost certainly counter actions from the opposition. The PPA signed up for the long haul.

The PPA does not care about state stuff, do they?
Of course the PPA cares about the states. The entire federal battle is in essence a “state’s rights” issue. Every piece of federal legislation that has gone anywhere has included an “Opt In/Opt Out” clause that will give each state the choice to participate. These will be decisive battles held in local town halls across the country — the PPA will need you, me and whoever else we can find to show up and support the cause.

My state is going to start its own poker site. Why should I care about “International Player Pools”?
When New Hampshire passed the first lottery law in America years ago, they thought they had found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. However, they quickly realized that as neighboring states started their own lotteries, the prize pool began to shrink. Eventually and slowly, the individual states banded together to form the Powerball system of combined player pools in order to offer that $300 million jackpot. The horse racing industry works much the same way. Without a very large player base to generate large prize pools, small states will have a difficult time earning enough revenue to make Internet poker profitable.

What do I get for being a state PPA member?
Well, every state director has developed their own statewide membership campaign. In Kentucky, we have sponsored a local radio show, the State Poker Championships and travel statewide to meet players on the felt. You get to bend our ear and tell us face to face what the real poker-playing population wants.

As an organization, the PPA has proven to be extremely flexible, responsible and surprisingly upfront on a number of issues. The PPA is surprisingly up to speed on more issues and politically astute than I ever imagined.

Robert Chapman is the Deputy State Director for the PPA in Kentucky, co-hosts the “Poker Night Radio Show” on WXBH-92.7 FM and writes for Poker in Kentucky at