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Monday, October 31, 2005

The History of Poker

Poker is a card game, the most popular of a class of games called vying games, in which players with fully or partially concealed cards make wagers into a central pot, which is awarded to the remaining player or players with the best combination of cards. Poker can also refer to video poker which is a single-player game seen in casinos much like a slot machine.

In order to play, one must learn the basic rules and procedures of the game, the values of the various combinations of cards (see hand), and the rules about betting limits. Some knowledge of the equipment used to play is useful. There are also many variants of poker, loosely categorized as draw poker, stud poker, community card poker (a.k.a. "widow game"), and miscellaneous poker games. The most commonly played games of the first three categories are five-card draw, seven-card stud, and Texas hold 'em. Respectively; each being a common starting point for learning games of the type. Dealer's choice is a way to play poker where the dealer chooses what type of poker to play.

The history of poker is a matter of some debate. The name of the game likely descended from the French poque, which descended from the German pochen ('to knock'), but it is not clear whether the origins of poker itself lie with the games bearing those names. It closely resembles the Persian game of as nas, and may have been taught to French settlers in New Orleans by Persian sailors. It is commonly regarded as sharing ancestry with the Renaissance game of primero and the French brelan. The English game brag clearly descended from brelan and incorporated bluffing (though the concept was known in other games by that time). It is quite possible that all of these earlier games influenced the development of poker as it exists now.

English actor Joseph Crowell reported that the game was played in New Orleans in 1829, with a deck of 20 cards, four players betting on which player's hand was the most valuable. Jonathan H. Green's book, An Exposure of the Arts and Miseries of Gambling (G. B. Zieber, Philadelphia, 1843), described the spread of the game from there to the rest of the country by Mississippi riverboats, on which gambling was a common pastime.

Soon after this spread, the full 52-card English deck was used, and the flush was introduced. During the American Civil War, many additions were made, including draw poker, stud poker (the five-card variant), and the straight. Further American developments followed, such as the wild card (around 1875), lowball and split-pot poker (around 1900), and community card poker games (around 1925). Spread of the game to other countries, particularly in Asia, is often attributed to the U.S. military. The game and jargon of poker have become important parts of American culture and English culture. Such phrases as ace in the hole, beats me, blue chip, call the bluff, cash in, pass the buck, poker face, stack up, up the ante, when the chips are down, wild card, and others are used in everyday conversation even by those unaware of their origins at the poker table.

Modern tournament play became popular in American casinos after the World Series of Poker began in 1970. It was also during that decade that the first serious strategy books appeared, notably The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky (ISBN 1880685000), Super System by Doyle Brunson (ISBN 0931444014), and The Book of Tells by Mike Caro (ISBN 0897461002).

Poker's popularity has experienced an unprecedented spike in recent years, largely due to the introduction of online poker and the invention of the hole-card camera which finally turned the game into a spectator sport. Viewers can now follow the action and drama of the game, and broadcasts of poker tournaments such as the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour have brought in huge audiences for cable and satellite TV distributors.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Legend of Halloween

The Origin of Halloween
"Samhain" or "All Allows Day"

The origin of Halloween goes back very far- all the way back to the ancient Celts. The Celts lived in the British Isles during ancient times. The last day of the year on the old pagan calendar, October 31st, served the triple purpose of bidding goodbye to summer, welcoming winter, and remembering the dead. This day was called "Samhain". On the evening of October 31st and the day of November 1st, the Celtic priests, known as Druids, honored Samhain- the god of death. On October 31st, Druids also predicted the future.

According to Celtic legend, Samhain controlled the spirits of the dead and could allow them to rest peace fully, or make them go wild on this night. The Celtic believed that on the night of October 31st ghosts come out of their tombs. The spirit of the dead returned! Druids made big fires to frighten away the spirits of evil and death. The Celtic people dressed in scary costumes to frighten the evil spirits. They dressed as witches, ghosts and skeletons. They also played games to bring good luck in the new year.

After the Roman invasion in 43 AD, Samhain also became a harvest festival. Rome had a festival honoring the goddess Pomona who ruled fruits and garden. The Romans pictured her as a beautiful maiden, her arms filled with fruit, and a crown of apples on her head. Nuts, fruits and apples were part of the Samhain ceremonies. Apples were considered to be sacred and lucky. The colors of Halloween are orange and black. They represent the harvest (orange) and death (black).

Also after the Roman invasion, Christian rites substituted pagan rites. For the Christians, the first day of November was the day of All Saints. It was called All Allows Day (the day of All Saints). The evening of October 31st was All Allows Eve. This was shortened to Halloween. The druid religion went on for a long time in Ireland and Scotland. Halloween continued to be important in both places.

In the XIX (19th) century, Irish immigrants brought their Halloween costumes to the United States. Now Halloween is one of the biggest festivities in the USA. The date of Halloween, October 31st, is on every calendar.

"The Most incredible Ford Escort in the World"

The light blue 1975 Ford Escort was bought by a Houston lawyer and car collector for US$690,000 (£340,000).

John Paul is the only pope to have owned a vehicle during his papacy, said auction house Kruse International.

The pontiff clocked 96,560km (60,000 miles) on trips to the mountains for hiking and meditating before asking Kruse to sell it for charity in 1996.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Best Poker Book

Harrington on Hold'em Expert Strategy for No Limit Tournaments: Endgame, II

Not for beginners. Very interesting

Before purchasing these books I was read Vol. I why's of expert play are not only explained in great detail but they are explained well enough to make the book a good read. Very few people will ever have the opportunity to play big-time, no-limit Hold'em, but reading this book will give aficionados an inside look at what is really going on with the Biggest Player’s at the center table.

These second books by Dan Harrington are absolutely the best you can buy for playing No Limit Hold'Em Poker. Read them Vol. I & II and keep reading them until you thoroughly understand every concept and know how to apply them to the relevant situations. Vol. II is an incredible source and work book for various levels of play. Covers virtually all of the important information in great detail

Dan Harrington provides solid theory backed by numerous examples

Friday, October 28, 2005

Is Google trying to be everywhere on the Internet?

Rumors surface on the big G and their plans to take on ebay with their own site for buyers and sellers.
the question is... what does it mean?

ChannelAdvisor CEO Scot Wingo notes that some folks in Europe caught a screen shot of Google Base, which looks to be a potential rival to eBay, before Google apparently took it down. It actually sounds like more than that from the description on the page: "Google Base is Google's database into which you can add all sort of content. We'll host your content and make it searchable online for free." It provides examples, from "listing of your used car for sale" to "database of protein structures."

Of course, the latter one wouldn't exactly be a top seller on eBay, but the Webforce blog shows a screenshot of a pretty detailed form for listing real estate. The New Google Blog, with no attribution, suggests Google Base might be introduced today at Google's invite-only Zeitgeist conference.

Actually, it sounds like it might be as much a rival to Craigslist as eBay. Either way, though--assuming it's real--it will require many more pieces to be in place, such as payment and reputation systems. Wouldn't put it past Google to give it all a shot, but it could be a good long while before Google Base makes headway against the finely tuned franchises of eBay and Craigslist.

UPDATE: Scot has some more clues and interesting thoughts on what Google Base could mean for eBayers. (As do we in our story.) Although Google Base no doubt will give eBay plenty to chew on, I still think Google has something a little different in mind. Besides the name, which doesn't even suggest an overt focus on commerce, the breadth of categories that Google lists suggests it may be focused on the broader market for local ads--not just classifieds but Yellow Pages and radio ads, which often are from local services. Increasingly, eBay is targeting those as well, with its acquisitions of and and its own classified-ad forays. So if Google is successful here--and that's a very big if (Mike Arrington at TechCrunch, for one, doesn't think much of the idea)--newspapers and radio stations may have even more to worry about than eBay.

If you really want to dig in to the coverage, Search Engine Lowdown has an extensive list.

Friday, October 21, 2005

PartyGaming sees Q3 revenues rise by 32%

PartyGaming chief executive Richard Segal suggested the positive reaction of the stock market to the company’s third quarter results vindicated the company’s overall strategy for long-term growth.

“People are seeing the results of us starting to implement our strategy in earnest. The stock market is pleased that it is being reflected in our figures. We have upped the ante and it has been recognised.”

Group revenues in the third quarter to 30 September were up 32% over the same period last year to US$220m from US$166m.

During the period, poker revenues (including skins) were up 38% over the nine months. Although poker revenues over the previous quarter were up only 4%, the company said it added 209,000 new real-money players over the three-month period.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

World Series of Poker decided in record 14th hour

LAS VEGAS -- Australian Joseph Hachem prevailed in his first World Series of Poker Saturday, winning $7.5 million and snatching the game's greatest crown in the longest final table in the tournament's history.

Only six hands into the two-man showdown at the end, Hachem eliminated Steven Dannenmann of Severn, Md., when he flopped a seven-high straight.

When it was clear Hachem had won, his fans in the room erupted into "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!" Hachem immediately embraced Dannenmann, wrapped himself in an Australian flag and shouted: "Thank you, America."

Hachem's victory was astonishing because he had been nursing a short stack of chips for 11½ hours through the night, waiting for the right moment and avoiding confrontations that could cost him a chance at the 36th annual no-limit Texas Hold 'em main event title.

"I never gave up," he said.

The 39-year-old gambler from Melbourne moved with his family from his native Lebanon in 1972 and gave up a 13-year chiropractic career three years ago to play poker for a living.

Nearly 14 hours into the final round of seemingly interminable poker, Hachem pounced, bringing the tournament to a decisive end about an hour after sunrise.

The final play unfolded slowly as Dannenmann raised before the flop -- three community cards -- was turned over. Hachem called and the dealer revealed a six-five-four flop. Hachem checked, Dannenmann bet another $700,000 and then Hachem raised to $1.7 million.

The turn, or fourth card, was an ace and Hachem threw another $2 million into the pot. Dannenmann raised to $5 million and Hachem went "all-in" with more than $30 million, moving into a high-stakes gear that can either save or break a gambler.

Dannenmann called instantly and then Hachem produced a seven and three, giving him a seven-high straight. Dannenmann showed an ace-three, and needed a seven on the river -- the last card -- to match Hachem's straight. It didn't happen.

Dannenmann said his top priority was to have a good time. He even carried around a small sheet of paper with a list of things he should remember. Two of them were "have fun" and "nothing to lose."

Toward the end of the round, Dannenmann, a 38-year-old accountant and mortgage banker from Severn, Md., said he just wanted to finish the match.

"I got tired," he said. "I was bored of it. I was trying to make moves."

With the bundles of cash, Hachem also won the coveted white gold and diamond bracelet. It's the last time the event will be held at Binion's Gambling Hall & Hotel, where cowboy Benny Binion started the World Series in 1970.

Like Chris Moneymaker in 2003 and Greg Raymer last year, Hachem won in his initial World Series, likely changing his life forever.

"A million dollars changes my life, let alone $7.5 million," he said. "It changes everything. I can look after my family, my mum, my kids."

The final group of nine emerged from a field of 5,619 gamblers. They had survived eight days of mind-numbing poker, overcoming unlucky cards and Darth Vaderesque stares at the Rio hotel-casino and Binion's.

When the first cards were dealt Friday, each player was capable of winning if he was willing to make some of the toughest calls of his life.

After Tex Barch was eliminated in a monster three-way pot, Hachem and Dannenmann found themselves heads up. Hachem was in command of $39.9 million and Dannenmann had $16.3 million.

Soon the two would make gambling history when they ended play at 6:44 a.m. -- 13 hours and 56 minutes after the final round began. The table was 18 minutes longer than the previous mark, established in 1983.

To get to that point, the pair had to outlast seven other men -- none of whom wanted to go quietly.

Everyone who began the day at the table was guaranteed at least $1 million.

Mike "The Mouth" Matusow, a well-known professional player who came in sixth in 2001 and 87th last year, had been considered a favorite but was the first to go. He had no regrets.

"I played the six best days of poker in my life," Matusow said. "I'm going to bed happy."

Penn law student Brad Kondracki finished eighth and Daniel Bergsdorf, a Swedish truck driver, was seventh. Scott Lazar was sixth, Irishman Andrew Black took fifth and Aaron Kanter wrapped up fourth, followed by Barch.

About 13 hours into the round, officials dumped the first-place prize in thick stacks of hundreds on a table near the players, causing shouts of "Oh, my God!" For the first time in the tournament, the remaining gamblers saw their elusive goal -- guarded by security men with shotguns.

When Hachem finally confronted the mountain of cash, he asked: "Is this all mine?"


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Online Poker

Poker Tips

This collection of poker tips was put together by Mike Sexton (host of and commentator for the World Poker Tour), and Linda Johnson (a noted poker player and personality).
  1. Pay attention. Watch and see who's playing in an aggressive or loose way and who's playing tight. Generally, you should try to play the loose players and avoid the tight players, unless you've got a strong hand.
  2. Always be aware of everyone's chip count. Know who has more chips than you and play more carefully against them - a mistake could knock you out. It's usually better to play pots with players who have fewer chips than you do.
  3. If your cards don't match any of the community cards, throw your hand away when someone else bets.
  4. Don’t play every time you have an ace in your hand. However, you can play an ace if it's accompanied by another card of the same suit or by a ten or higher.
  5. Hands to stay with before the flop: pairs (7-7, 9-9), two face cards (K-Q, A-J), or hands that can make both a straight and a flush (8-9, 6-7 of the same suit). Be patient and fold other hands, unless you're in the blind.
  6. In no-limit Hold’em, players can bet all of their chips at any time, so bet aggressively when you have a good hand.
  7. Play fewer hands when you're one of the first players to act, because you'll be 'out of position' and vulnerable to raises from the remaining players.
  8. Do not act until it is your turn; play proceeds clockwise at the poker table.
  9. Be a “bettor,” not a “caller.” (Being aggressive is good.)
  10. If someone raises in a late position (near or on the button), re-raise them a good amount if you are on the blind. Chances are, they don't have a real big hand and they are just trying to steal your blinds. (This style of play, known as going "over the top", is probably the strongest play one can make in no-limit Hold'em.)
  11. The biggest mistake most players make is to act too quickly. When you have an important decision to make, take your time and re-think how the betting has gone and what your opponent might have. Take your time.

Online Gambling Beginner's Guide

Online Casino Beginners Guide

1. Ensure the online casino is licensed. Licensed online casinos are recognized to be legitimate and, as such, offer fair odds, honest gaming and usually great customer support facilities. Don't waste your time on unlicensed online casinos. The following are the most common online gambling jurisdictions: Antigua, Australia, Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Kanawhake (Canada), Netherlands, Antilles, Norfolk Island and the UK.

2. Check the casino's gaming software provider. Much like you wouldn't buy an expensive sports car with the 'cheap' tires, so you shouldn't gamble on online casinos that use sub-standard gambling software. Look out for online casinos that offer and promote either Microgaming, Playtech or Cryptologic gaming software. These are the 'Michelins' and 'Pirellis' of online gambling software.

3. Seek out and understand the best online casino bonuses. Unlike in land casinos where players are 'comped' after playing for some time, online casinos 'comp' all new players up front in the form of 'Welcome' bonuses. Just about all bonuses are different so you need to search for the most lucrative ones. However, it is equally important that you read and understand the rules that accompany bonuses before you accept them.

4. Always read an online casino's terms and conditions. Much like you would carefully read and understand a contract before signing it, you must read an understand an online casino's terms and conditions before opening an account with it. Only once you are comfortable, then open up an account and make your deposit.

5. Choose the best payment methods. As the popularity of online gambling has grown, so have the number of secure Internet payment options. Choose one that best suits your needs and make your deposit. Some of the most popular methods include NETeller, FirePay, Citadel, Credits Cards and many more.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

How much do you gamble a month?

More than two hundred 51.3%
More than a hundred 19.1%
Between 50 and a hundred dollars 12.2%
Between 10 and 50 dollars 10.4%
Less than ten dollars 7.0%

Total votes: 115

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Online Casino Demographics

According to recent statistics published in U.S. News and World Report, casino players have a median income of $41,000 and a median age of 47. They wager an estimated $25–$100 per casino visit. Forty-five percent of casino players are men, 55 percent are women.