How to End a VLT or Slot Machine Addiction

“Like a vampire seducing its prey, the VLTs were, at first blush, sexy and alluring. They were shiny, flashy, fast, and exhilarating and unfortunately for me, it was love at first sight-not the romantic, beautiful, and healthy love you’d witness in The Notebook, but the obsessive, destructive kind that you’d see in Fatal Attraction.” Gisele Jubinville

Do you or someone you love relate to this quote? The gaming machine addiction, or in other words, an addiction to VLTs or slot machines, is unlike any other gambling addiction. There are very few treatment programs that recognize this. As Gisele Jubinville outlines in her book Dismissed: How one woman’s intuition ended her addiction and exposed a government cover-up, one of the most important elements missing from treatment programs is a basic understanding of how gaming machines work. Losing control of time and money, continuous and excessive play, the inability to make controlled, informed and rational choices, and losing touch with reality are all COMMON and NORMAL experiences for regular VLT and slot machine players.

Let’s look at this statement and how it affects your addiction. One of the most common reactions after a gaming machine binge is self-loathing. Normal healthy internal dialogue switches from compassion and understanding to anger, impatience and judgment. You think, “Why am I so weak?” “What just happened to me?” “I’m such a pathetic mess. How am I ever going to get my money back?” “If someone finds out, they’ll hate me for sure.” “Why do I keep losing my money on these machines? I have no will power. What a failure I am.” These thoughts roll around in your mind, dampening your mood and infesting your self-esteem. Pretty soon, you start to believe them. You believe your addiction is your fault. You determine that you are the only one to blame for your actions and therefore you deserve the internal abuse you put yourself through.

But what if this isn’t the case? What if you are not the only one to blame? What if there are factors that contribute to your addiction that you weren’t even aware of. Did you know that millions of dollars a year are spent by manufacturers of VLTs and slot machines to increase time of play? Psychologists, behavioural scientists, doctors and researchers are hired to sharpen the program inside the machine to undermine the regular player’s ability to play responsibly. If you can’t stop playing the machines, perhaps it’s time you understand that the very ones who designed the programs you are playing actually wanted it that way. They want you to insert your money into their machines and they have done everything they can to achieve this goal. Everything about the machine has been consciously designed to hook you in and keep you there. It is a manipulation that most players are not even aware of.

Most new players are attracted by the potential of winning a jackpot. It’s why new players find VLTs and slot machines entertaining at first. But, over time entertainment turns to entrapment. Regularly playing the machines affects your thinking. Your controlled, rational mind is replaced with an irrational thinking that fools itself into believing you will actually make money on the machines. This is what the program inside the machine wants you think. It has created a scheduled system of reinforcement to condition you to expect, hope for and want the elusive winning jackpot. And it has you thinking it is just around the corner, just another $20 oughta do it. When you play regularly, your normal thinking is replaced with this insane rationalization and you end up chained to the machines.

So yes, take ownership of your addiction. You cannot heal until you do. But consider also that perhaps you are more a victim than you are an addict. When you let this sink in, your internal dialogue will begin to change. Instead of beating yourself up for losing control again, you’ll think, “I am doing exactly what the machines are programming me to do. When I sit in front of a VLT or slot machine, my mind is being affected. The program inside the machine is created with the purpose of keeping me at the machine for as long as possible. Losing control of my time and money is a NORMAL reaction for regular players of these machines.”

As your internal dialogue changes, so too will your actions. The urge to play the machines will start to disappear the more you understand how the machines work. Instead of unsuccessfully trying to force yourself to stay away from the machines, you will naturally want to stay away. Knowledge is freedom. It is a natural and harmonious path to recovery and I encourage you to start researching. It could potentially save your life.

How to Play Craps – A Psychological Viewpoint

Whether you know how to play craps or don’t know how to play craps, the same emotions are going to envelop you when you do play or learn to play. When you watch all the players around the craps table, and they are screaming and yelling, you probably want to be part of it. Why? Are they having fun and you are not? Are you missing all the potential money you could be winning by not being there? The craps table is like an evil cash magnet drawing you toward it and beckoning you to come join the happy crowd and win money. If you are new to the game or don’t understand what is going on, then the closer you get the more emotions come to the surface. How to play craps – you want to know but are too scared to try.

Really, do you need the knowledge to play? First of all if you approach the table with your money and no knowledge of the game, you might as well send the money to me instead of blindly giving it to the casino. With no knowledge on how to play craps, you are going to be taken away by the excitement, the quick pace, the distractions and the chips you had in front of you are now gone. The two main emotions will set in, fear and greed. It will make you do irrational things that you will regret later when you walk away from the table asking yourself – what just happened to me? I know what happened to you, but you don’t. That is why you need to get all the knowledge you can about the game, the table layout, the different bets and the payoff you get from them. “How to play craps” becomes a very important phrase.

How do emotions play a role? Ok, you might know something about the game and have some sort of strategy or method of how to play craps. Does that make it any easier? No, it doesn’t. The emotions now are going to get even stronger. There is fear of losing too much and greed not letting you stop when you need to. These emotions will play with you and will destroy your concentration and then all your method of play goes out the window, and the casino has the last laugh. Another emotion sets in – anger. Who are you angry at all of a sudden? Yourself for not concentrating while you are playing, the casino for taking your money, yourself again for drinking alcohol while playing which is a number one “do not ever do” rule. Since craps is a fast paced game, all of this happened in just a few minutes. How to play craps and win doesn’t look as easy as you may think. Not only are you fighting the odds of the casino, but most of all you are fighting your emotional self.

Overcome the casinos!! How do you overcome all these obstacles? In order to get the emotional part under control, you need to learn the game and get a handle of how you are going to play and know it inside and out. You need to have confidence in your play and not lose your concentration while at the table. I have been playing for over 30 years, and it is still rough sometimes to get all this together. The casino will always try to distract you and make it difficult to employ your method of play. A good system on how to play craps and lots of practice helps. As with anything, hard work pays off.

Gaming – The Good and Bad

It has always been a debate whether playing games are good for you. Since the conception of consoles, parents have been worrying about the negative effect playing computer games have on their children. How to win the argument with your parents, at least getting them to allow you to have your fun with games is easier than you think. There are many research done by the psychologist to find out the impact of playing games in people, particularly those still in school. Let us face it, once we start working, gaming time will be severely limited.

There are many genres of games, and unfortunately these arguments are not valid for some games that promote violence and aggressive behaviour like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty. Studies have shown that violent games do increase the tendency of aggressive behaviour in children and adult, and so those who like playing these games should limit playing time. For the average person who likes to play games, there are three good arguments.

Otherwise, there are positive studies done to show that gaming does indeed help people think. Role playing games forces people to plan and think about strategies while trying to complete quests. Without proper planning: levelling up skills, upgrading weapons, and setting battle formations, it is almost impossible to win in certain quests and levels. Those who played Shadow of Colossus would remember the infuriating game, and the feeling of triumph every time a monster goes down.

The games have become more intelligent as time goes by, artificial intelligence (AI) had improved so much that zombies now can run and plan a mass attack. In Resident Evil 5, the zombies are faster and now can wield weapons, instead of mindlessly shuffle towards you, showing their bloodied teeth. I still remember the terror I felt when the Executioner Manjini jumped towards me with the big axe, nails and hooks protruding on his back. Not only you have to plan the moves of your character, you have to anticipate that the enemy will be doing, which is becoming harder each year.

This is true for me, at least. Gamers who play mind stimulating games: RPGs, puzzle, fitness and a lot more tend to have good reflex. It is not easy to stare at the screen looking for hidden treasures, looking at the map for potential enemies bursting through some angle, stocking up quickly before a boss fight and not develop a level of dexterity in your mind. Working people can testify to some extend, multitasking is easier for a person who plays games. I still play Dr Kawashima’s Brain and Body Exercises on my Xbox Kinect to help keep the brain in sync with the rest of me.

We love to play, gaming is fun and technology has enabled us to play with people around the world without leaving our room. The benefits of gaming are unfortunately not linked to the long hours that we put it. Keeping the gaming time to a reasonable level ensures that we have a real life outside of virtual reality, which is important to function as a member of a community.

Free Online Poker Guide to 3 Key Short Stack Satellite Play Winning Methods

In this free online poker article I want to give you a share a game example which I came across on a Bubbling satellite table. I played a couple of these last week, and I have encountered it a couple times before too.

The game was an $11 double shootout satellite for a $215 tournament. Top 2 makes the ticket and I was in 3rd. There were 2 bigger stacks and one shorter stack, and I was the shorter stack.

I had about 1500; my 2 adversaries had about 7000. Blinds were 75-150, so not much room to play for me. But my opponents were both playing super tight. This is one of the tells you have to immediately pick up on when you get close to the tickets.

This means that they are players who are most likely barely have $200 as a current bankroll, and do not want to mess anything up (since its so much for them). That’s of course what you have to take advantage of.

Getting back to the situation, my 2 opponents were super tight. They could’ve easily taken me out, but instead I stole my way up to about 3000 in about 10 minutes.

At this point when you get re-raised, be sure to fold, and let them have it. With the way the are playing, there will be many more opportunities.

The kept on avoiding me until they both caught a big hand (AA vs KQ where AA flopped a set and KQ the straight.) So they went on and knocked each other out. And I made the ticket.

Now I want to try to give you some 3 tips on how to maximize your chances when you’re attacking shorts or are a short.

1 – Always try to be aggressive. The bigger your stack, the better. Always raise the shorties Big Blind. Since they are short they can’t afford to play.

So they have the chance push or fold. They will most often fold though, since you are so aggressive and are hoping you will go battle with the bigger stacks.

2 – DO NOT battle with the bigger stacks, unless you have premium hands!

You want the money from the shorter stacks, not the bigger who can either knock you out or cripple you!

Even if you have KK and there’s an ace on the flop, FOLD! You want to kill shorties, it doesn’t matter if you ship some chips to a larger stack.

3 – When you raise the shorties, and you get reraised (all-in), don’t hesitate to call!

These shorties often fill up with frustration and will often push with any ace or medium king.

Don’t be afraid to call with 10-8, where you are often only 60-40 behind. When the short stack has less then 30% of your stack, I would call with just about anything (given the blinds represent a reasonable portion of your stack)

I hope that this article makes it a little clearer to you that being aggressive is the best way in cashing in satellites on both the cash sites as well as free online poker. Remember the minute you start tightening up and let the shorter stacks roam freely, you’re bringing problems that could be easily avoided!

The Housewife’s Favourite Game

Playing blackjack online is becoming the favourite pastime of housewives everywhere. Why is blackjack becoming so extremely popular? Well, gambling online allows housewives to play their favourite game right from the comfort of their own homes without the need to travel or endure the chaotic scene that brick and mortar casinos possess. Plus, there is no need to get all dressed up to engage in online gambling and there are no worries that a man might hassle you when all you want to do is enjoy the game. If you are more interested in gambling than you are in the dating scene, then gambling online might be just the kind of pastime for you. It’s also fantastic fun!

Cara Thurston, a housewife fond of online gaming entertainment, explains why she loves online gambling : “When I gamble online I have the freedom to do what I want to do and I don’t have other players judging me because I am a woman. When I play online blackjack, my identity remains anonymous for the most part and I can just enjoy the game.”

Gambling online provides housewives like Cara the opportunity to spend their leisure time the way they want to–relaxing and enjoying a challenging game of blackjack or any of the other games offered at online casinos.

When gambling online you will find that you can either play the game of your choice for free or you can play for real money and prizes. Of course, where you choose to gamble online will determine whether or not cash and prizes are offered. There are many websites offering free gambling but if you want to get in on real money action you will need to visit one or more online casinos to begin playing for real money.

Typically, when gambling online for real money, you will find that you will be required to become a registered member at the online casino of your choosing. However, what is particularly nice about becoming a member at an online casino is that you will be offered signup bonuses for becoming a member. Signup bonuses are a percentage of the initial deposit you place in an account when you first signup at an online casino to begin gambling for money. Such a bonus can be used to place wagers on blackjack, poker, roulette and more.

Many online casinos offer you, as a new member, the opportunity to play several blackjack variants. Blackjack variants include Vegas Strip Blackjack, Atlantic City Blackjack, Multi-Hand Atlantic City Blackjack, European Blackjack, Spanish Blackjack, Triple 7’s Blackjack, Bonus Blackjack, as well as others. Yet, blackjack is not the only game available and you will find fun at the slots, the roulette wheel and all the poker tables you can dream of when you gamble online.

You may be required to download special software to your computer so that you can get in on the gaming action. Typically the software applications that allow individuals to play games are easy to install and are free to you when you create an account. This software gives you the sense that you are really at the casino–that is, without all the hubbub and noise around you that you will typically find in a brick and mortar casino. If you are a housewife and you choose to gamble online you don’t have to worry about the typical problems associated with travel and travel costs. You can enjoy a simulated casino setting in a safe environment.

Are there any risks associated with gambling online? In fact, there are risks associated with any kind of gambling, whether it is online or off. The biggest risk that you face while gambling is losing a lot of money. Gambling is just that–a risk, it is important when you are gambling that you take care not to become over eager–don’t be willing to place just one more bet to get the big bucks. Anyone gambling should set a budget and stick to it. Once the money is gone it is gone and placing one more bet is only going to get you even deeper in the hole than the hand before. When you are gambling you can truly benefit when you know the right time to fold.

Gambling can become an addiction. Some people enjoy the high of winning and their mood will mirror that high, just as their mood will mirror the low they feel when they lose. In essence, when gambling becomes an obsession for you or when you begin to really rely on winning to feel good, a significant problem has begun and you will need to seek help for your gambling problem before it gets out of control. There is counselling available for anyone that has gambling problems and if you suspect that your gambling is an addiction, you should refrain from playing the game and seek out assistance for your problem immediately, before it becomes an all consuming and destructive issue. Make gambling fun and you will really enjoy the experience.

Alienware vs Rockdirect vs Dell : Finding the Best Gaming Laptop

So you want to buy a gaming laptop.

But not just any old gaming laptop, you want to buy the best

gaming machine on the planet, the best gaming machine money can

buy — the fastest, the most powerful, the ultimate kick-ass,

take no prisoners, meanest motherboard of all gaming laptops.

Well, there’s some good news for you, things have really changed

in the laptop world. No doubt you are probably aware there have been

some major developments in laptop construction and technology

in the last year or so. Technology that puts the gaming laptop

on par or near par with its main rival, the desktop PC.

Recent changes in technology have really brought gaming laptops

into the spotlight with a whole list of new Technologies:

PCI Express, Sonoma Chipset, SLI, Hyper-Threading, Dual Graphics,

Better RAM, and now Dual Core gaming laptops. Gaming notebooks are

just now entering the specs and performance arena which was exclusively

reserved for the bulky yet much more powerful desktop PC.

Just in case you have had your head buried in term papers and study

sheets lately — hey, it happens! Here’s a brief rundown of these

new technologies that will give you the fastest gaming laptop:

Graphics Cards: these are the real heart of any gaming machine. They

are getting faster and more powerful. We also see the use of dual

graphics cards and better transfer of data with new pipelines

and buses.

PCI Express: is a new standard for expansion cards that comes in

different versions. Presently, we have the x16 and x1 lanes, they

offer increased bandwidth. For example, x1 lane offers 500MB/sec

instead of just 133MB/sec for PCI.

NVIDIA SLI: SLI stands for Scalable Link Interface, technology

that lets you use a couple of GeForce 6800 graphics cards together

with PCI Express X16. Basically, SLI will speed up graphics on a single

monitor by deploying two graphics cards. It also lets you combine

4 GPUs in one system for the fastest graphics yet.

An alternative system would be ATI’s CrossFire which

is a SLI-like configuration using ‘Master’ and ‘Slave’

cards to combine two Radeon GPUs for improved and faster

graphics.

Hyper-Threading: Gives processors better performance

especially when combined with dual-core processors,

capable of handling four software threads which will put

a smile on any gamer’s face.

Better RAM: DDR3 SDRAM (Double Data Rate Three Synchronous

Dynamic Random Access Memory) this new DDR memory standard

will use 40% less power and run at speeds up to 800 MHz.

Don’t confuse this with GDDR3 (in Graphics Cards) which is

a totally different technology.

Dual Core: just as the name says, you put two CPUs into

a laptop for more power and faster computing. Rockdirect’s

Xtreme 64 was one of the world’s first dual core notebooks to

hit the market.

Also be on the lookout for Intel’s Dual Core Notebook

Chip dubbed Yonah, it will be somewhat different in that

this notebook chip will not only have two cores but these

cores will share a 2MB cache which will greatly boost performance.

In most cases, keeping ahead of all these developments and

improvements can be a pleasurable chore for most gamers but

it can sure eat into your gaming time. And as the notebook

technology evolves, the gaming laptop will get even more smaller

and more powerful, offering a real alternative to the gaming

desktop PC even for the most die-hard Power Junkies.

Serious gamers will also know laptop or notebook gaming technology

is constantly evolving and mutating. Therefore, most gamers will

only purchase a fully upgradeable open architecture notebook, they

look for a laptop design which can be easily upgraded with the newest

and latest technology, if at all possible.

Despite this option, as laptop gaming technology steadily improves,

gamers are still left with the choice of which gaming system to buy.

Just in case you have be hibernating for last five years — hey, it

happens. Here’s a quick rundown of the different systems on the market

…Voodoo, Alienware, Mayhem, Vigor, Sager, ASUS, Rockdirect,

M-Tech, Dell…

Despite the fancy lapels, serious gamers know that most laptops are

made by the same two or three companies in Taiwan! The same components

and mainframes are assembled under different brand names and marketed

to the public.

Not to get too cynical, but sometimes it’s the laptop with

the better paint job or the better advertising that will

win your purchasing dollar. Not that savvy gamers are easily

fooled, perish the thought, but packaging may rule the day,

performance may be the same or negligible in gaming

machines with basically all the same components and specs.

Regardless of this sober reality, gamers are still left with the

choice of which gaming manufacturer has tweaked these components

into the best gaming laptop on the market. There are numerous gaming

specialists that make high quality machines well worth your

consideration but because of limited space here we will only examine

three major gaming manufacturers, sometimes for entirely different reasons.

These three are Alienware, Rockdirect and Dell. All produce serious

contenders for the ultimate gaming laptop. Here’s a brief rundown on

all three makers and their gaming laptops which may be of some help

to anyone looking to purchase a high-end gaming monster.

Alienware Laptops

First, we will start with the most distinctive looking gaming

laptops on the market. Those coming from Alienware, a company

founded by two avid gamers, Nelson Gonzalez and Alex Aguila, in

1996. It has become one of the leading producers of revolutionary

gaming PCs and Notebooks. It has also won raves and rewards from such

top industry publications as CNET, PC Gamer, Computer Games and

many more.

Their flagship model is the Area-51m 7700. This scary monster

can be outfitted with an Intel Pentium 4 Processor with

Hyper-Threading Technology – (2.8GHz – 3.8GHz, 800MHz FSB,

1MB Cache, Socket 775) Intel 915P + ICH6 chipset with NVIDIA

GeForce GO 6800 ULTRA with 256MB DDR3. It has a 17 inch WideUXGA

1920×1200 LCD Display and 4 dedicated SO-DIMM slots for

Dual-Channel DDR2 Memory. Warranties can be purchased for up

to 4 years.

The Alienware Area-51m 7700’s base price starts at around

$2000 but if you want to max out this system, be prepared

to double that amount. High price for high performance.

Runs quiet and cool. This one is dressed to kill.

Rockdirect Laptops

Next, we go across the pond, for a company that produces some

high priced yet powerful gaming machines. Rockdirect gaming notebooks

are another group of machines that many gamers should consider.

Rockdirect, formerly known as Rock, is a British company that’s

on the cutting edge of notebook technology. They have had a long

history of making high quality laptops for business and gaming.

Rockdirect laptops are expensive, there’s no way to get around

that fact.

Rockdirect’s Xtreme 64 is one of the world’s first dual core

notebooks using AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ processors and twin

100GB 7,200RPM hard drives. With NVIDIAGeForce Go 7800 GTX

graphics and a 17 inch WSXGA+ (1680×1050) display with X-Glass

for better viewing. Around 2,300 pounds or $4,000 USD.

Three Year Collect and Return Warranty.

Dell Laptops

Hey dude, this can’t be a DEll?

Dell with the introduction of its XPS second generation gaming

laptops has to be considered by the serious gamer. Don’t laugh!

With the introduction of the XPS Gen2 laptops, Dell entered the

gaming market for real. A lot of people stood up and took notice.

Even more people stood up when Dell introduced the XPS Renegade 600

desktop gaming system with 4 NVIDIA 7800GTX GPUs at the

CES this year. Now that’s putting SLI to some good use!

Dell’s top Notebook Model is the XPS M170 powered by

Intel Pentium M Processor 780 (2.26 GHz/2MB Cache/533MHz FSB)

and 2GB1 Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz 2 Dimm Memory on

a 100GB 7200rpm Hard Drive. It uses 256MB NVIDIA GeForce

Go 7800 GTX and has a 17 inch UltraSharp Wide Screen UXGA

Display. Priced at around $3,896 with a two year warranty

and longer warranties may be purchased.

Show me the Facts!

Anyone can pick a top gaming notebook and say its the fastest

in the world. However, you have to prove it or back it up.

That’s where benchmark testing enters the picture, these are

standard tests that rate the performance level of your

gaming laptop. Hey, tests are good for something!

One good site that has performed a whole slue of tests on

the gaming laptops mentioned above is http://www.hexus.net.

You can see the different Benchmark tests here:

http://www.hexus.net/content/item.php?item=4188

Testing for memory bandwidth and latency, picfast,

cryptography, raytracing, realistic render, encoding and

so on. The dual core Rock XTreme 64 showed impressive

numbers, even beating out an Athlon 4000+ Desktop in

many areas.

WildCard Entry: M-TECH!

There’s another laptop maker many novice gamers don’t consider

when buying their ultimate gaming machine. It may not be as

well known as the ones above but the real wildcard entry is

M-TECH. This is basically the American equivalent of Rockdirect,

although the companies are in no way connected. They just have a

similar philosophy of working with and using cutting-edge technology

and firms to produce some superior gaming machines.

M-TECH, a Michigan company, started in 1995 and has close

strategic partnerships with Tech firms in Silicon Valley. It

is favorably reviewed by many industry magazines such as

Laptops, Mobile Computing, CNET, PC TODAY and others.

M-TECH produces some powerful low priced (relatively speaking)

gaming laptops such as the D900K and the D900T:

You can configure your D900T with two 100GB (7200RPM) SATA HDD

Hard Drives with Pentium 4 3.8GHz 2MB L2Cache with a RAID setup.

With Nvidia GeForce Go 7800 GTX w/256MB DDR3 and a 17 inch TFT WSXGA+

Glassview LCD display for around $3500 USD. One year warranty,

longer warranties may be purchased.

When buying your laptop, keep in mind, just because a gaming

laptop has a lot of style doesn’t mean it has sacrificed performance.

It is not a matter of style over substance, it just means

you have to pay highly for all that style/advertising/packaging.

If you can afford it, go for a higher priced gaming laptop.

People buy Ferraries don’t they? There’s no accounting for how

people spend their money, if you want one of these dual core

laptops from Rockdirect and you can take a little bit of heat

and noise with your games, go for a Rockdirect Xtreme 64 or

the older Xtreme Ti.

If you want a dressed to kill Alienware laptop, go for the

Area-51m 7700. If you’re on a budget, look closely at the Dell

XPS M170 or the other XPS systems and watch for special Dell

coupons and discounts. Dell is known for giving some great

discounts so keep your eyes peeled. And if you really want to

go against the mainstream, why not check out M-TECH. Especially

the M-TECH D900K or the D900T, ultimate performance at a good price.

No matter which gaming system you go with, try to pick one

that has a fully upgradeable open architecture structure so

you can easily upgrade when the time comes. Keep in mind,

laptop technology is changing so fast by the time your

dream machine is configured, it is probably already out of date.

Sobering thought but more true than any of us would like to

believe.

Finding the fastest gaming laptop may be an on-going process

of outfitting your dream machine with the latest technologies

and hardware as they come on stream. Hey, nobody said life would

be simple.

Just wondering how you can fit Quad SLI with 4 GPUs

into a laptop. Hey, it can happen and probably will!

Texas Holdem Tournament Strategy – Winning vs. Aggressive Players

The Texas Hold’em poker phenomenon has taken the country by storm. There are reportedly over 100 million active poker players worldwide. Poker’s popularity is largely the byproduct of technology and several recent trends: 1) online gaming, where players engage and socialize in real-time over the Internet, and 2) the broad publicity created by high profile TV shows like the World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour.

With all the poker-mania, there’s an amazing shortage of quality information to help people learn how to play properly and become great players quickly. This is the first in a series of Texas Holdem strategy articles aimed at helping players learn how to win at Texas Hold’em poker. Tournament play is a popular, fun sport. These articles will help players understand how to approach tournaments, which differ greatly from regular “ring game” play.

This installment deals with the most-asked question: “How do I deal effectively with aggressive players?” Many players struggle against “maniacs”, the aggressive, wild players who play most every hand, somehow seem to pull cards out of thin air, and often manage to dominate the table.

Here’s what actually happened in a recent poker tournament. I entered a tournament at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida, about 20 minutes from my home in South Florida. This weekly $300 entry-fee tournament fills the poker room with 220 players every Monday night.

The blinds start at 50/100 and go up every 15 minutes. I spent the first 30 minutes just hanging out and occasionally limping in to see a flop. The reason for “treading water” was to study my opponents and their playing patterns very closely. There were a number of solid poker players, but right away I spotted the aggressive ones.

I was sitting in the middle, directly across from the dealer. There were two “wild men” to my right. These two participated in most every hand, and agonized with themselves whenever they had to throw a hand away. This was hilarious to me, and it was also very telling. I knew these dudes were doomed from the onset, yet they were extremely dangerous if they caught something with one of their trash hands. These types are great targets, but only when you know how to play them correctly. If you do, you’ll end up with most or all of their chips in your stack. The key is to get to their chips before someone else does.

There were some squeaky-tight and solid players, as usual. Finally, there were two other players to my left who knew one another very well and spoke what sounded like Russian. These two played very aggressively. They rarely called or checked. They would bet or raise the pot significantly, so if they played a hand, you knew they were going to bet it big and you’d better be prepared to push a bunch of your chips into the middle. As a result, the table became tight overall, except for these four players who controlled the early action and dictated the table tempo for the first hour or so. They gambled with wanton abandon, trading chips with each other as the rest of us just observed and wished for a real hand to materialize.

It became apparent that our maniacs were playing mostly garbage hands, and using assertive chatter in an attempt to intimidate everyone. They were enjoying pushing everyone around with their aggressive betting and raising style. Humorously, they got into a number of showdowns, causing all of their trash hands to become openly exposed; e.g., 69 off-suit, Q3 suited, etc. I definitely had these guys pegged now – if only I could get a strong hand…

Later, one of my Russian “friends” came in over the top of a bet I’d placed with a huge raise, then smiled at me as he leaned his head back as if to say “Go ahead. I dare you”. My middle pair just wasn’t strong enough to engage with him, but I remembered this little “lesson” and my mistake. He’d used this tactic many times against the others and I should’ve expected it. I also realized that we had not seen any of his supposed “big hands”, as he always mucked them. Whenever you see an aggressive player dominating, and then mucking all those supposed “great hands”, you know you’ve spotted a target.

We played on, with the two maniacs to my right getting busted out by the Russian contingent. It’s been an hour and fifteen minutes – and I still haven’t seen even one decent hand yet! This is, unfortunately, typical poker.

After about an hour-and 45 minutes, I finally pick up a pair of wired 9’s (99). Now I was hoping the flop would yield a set (trips). Sure enough, it came: 9, K, 5. I was elated and jumping up and down (inside). I was finally in a position to make my move, and hoped it would be against one of my aggressive Russian friends with their big stacks.

To prepare my trap, I delayed and muddled around for about ten seconds, and then casually “checked” verbally and using my hand in a chopping motion, with a slightly disgusted look. Next, the younger Russian moves in with a big bet of 3,000 chips. I was sure I had him now. As expected, everyone else quickly folded and got out of his way – except me. This fellow had pushed everyone around and I was finally properly armed and ready to do battle on my own terms. Note that this had been my “battle plan” all along. I was deliberately targeting these aggressive characters, knowing that when the time was right, their ill-gotten stacks would become mine!

The action came back around to me, so now it was just the two of us heads-up. The two Russians said something to each other that the rest of us couldn’t decipher. I delayed and bobbed my head around as if to be struggling with my decision. Then, I motioned with both hands and uttered “I’m all-in”. I knew this series of actions would likely trigger an aggressive reaction, since my “check-raise” made it appear as if I was trying to steal this pot! A check-raise almost always triggers a full-tilt response from an aggressive player.

He immediately called me – he was so aggressive (and pot-committed) that it was like a fish taking the bait and running for deep waters – hook line and sinker! I threw my pair of 9’s over, revealing the trip 9’s. There was a low murmur around the table from the other players. My young Russian friend reluctantly flipped his five/trash hand over – he had a pair of fives (with a King over-card showing on the board!). He was definitely angling to drive me out of this pot with his ascertive play – one too many times…

You see, no one actually gets that many great hands in poker – nobody. If someone plays 30% to 40% or more of the time, they’re just “gambling” and bluffing. This guy thinks he has a “good” hand, because he actually had a real pair – something he doesn’t often have when pushing everyone around with mostly aggressive betting as his only real weapon.

The turn came and it wasn’t a five – then someone pipes up and says “he’s drawing dead”. Believe me, you never want to hear that when you’re in a showdown! I looked over as he said something in Russian to his buddy – another violation of tournament rules, as everyone is compelled to speak English at the tournament table. It wouldn’t matter, as he stood up, grabbed his jacket and left after receiving some consolation from his friend.

His older friend glared over at me and uttered something derogatory in Russian. I had no clue what he said, but I knew from his tone that I didn’t like it. I also knew I’d gotten under his skin by taking down his buddy and raking in all of his chips. I responded with “what’s that, I don’t understand what you’re saying since you’re not speaking English?” loudly so everyone at the table could hear me.

He mumbled something about his friend…I smiled and said politely with a smile “I deliberately laid that trap for your friend and he fell right into it!”, pushing the knife in deeper, knowing he’d be gunning for me anyway – might as well make sure my next trap was fully set. This also signaled to everyone else at the table that whenever I checked or limped, it could be extremely dangerous if assumed to be a sign of weakness – something I’d leverage later as the blinds and antes rose and the proper time to bluff and steal blinds actually arrived.

After a slight pause, my Russian friend noticed that everyone was now looking at him. He looked down at his chips and said “nice play” with a reluctantly polite tone.

Boy, I was elated! My battle plan was definitely becoming field-proven here – and my next target was clearly sighted. It had taken careful observation, planning and a lot of patience to wait for the right hand, and then play it correctly to take this highly-skilled, aggressive player out and rake in all of his chips.

About ten minutes later, it was tournament break time, after two hours of play. I counted my chips, which totaled 14,900 (we started with 5,000 each), then grabbed a quick bite to eat, reflecting on what had just taken place.

Within ten minutes of returning from break, I finally picked up a serious starting hand: Cowboys (KK). I knew it was time for my new Russian friend and me to tango, so I fired out a bet of 3 times the big blind: 3,000 chips, bait that I was sure he couldn’t turn down. Sure enough, he bit – big time. His all-in raise came almost instantaneously, before I could even get my bet onto the table. He was totally ready to engage, and had been laying in wait for me – just like I had planned. I had set him up by taking out his friend and then challenging his poker ego in front of everyone. He just had to retaliate against me – it was a totally predictable “full-tilt” response from this kind of player.

This is what the game of poker is really all about – having a well-defined strategy, the patience to wait for the right hand, and then executing properly. It’s what makes poker a game of strategy instead of a game of chance (for some of us).

He raised by going all-in with around 8,000 chips to my roughly 14,000. I quickly called his all-in bet. Everyone else quickly folded and got out of our way.

I flipped my pocket kings over, then looked him straight in the eye and just smiled. Then someone says “Yeah! Now we’ve got some action!” He sighed and flipped over QQ – he actually had a real hand for a change. That’s one of the problems with these kinds of “semi-solid, aggressive” players, like my Russian friend here, and other poker greats like Gus Hansen. You never really know exactly what to expect from them. Of course, my opponent could’ve held pocket rockets (AA), but I’ll play those KK cowboys strong each and every time I get them, since there’s only one hand that can beat them heads-up. I also knew this aggressive player on tilt was likely to be overplaying his hand, improving my odds significantly.

The flop, turn and river came and went without another Queen and it was done – my cowboys stood up and I had all of both Russian’s stacks, which included most of the other two poor maniac’s chips (who lost to the Russians earlier). This instantly made me by far the chip leader at our table with well over 22,000 chips!

I went from having an average chip stack to being the table chip leader, against tough, aggressive opponents, within less than half an hour by:

a) Playing solid, reasonable tournament poker,

b) Not taking big, undue risks with weak or “drawing” hands,

c) Studying my aggressive prey and where the chips were sitting,

d) Formulating and refining a battle plan while observing the game progress,

e) Remaining patient while waiting for the right hand to make my move, and

f) Executing this plan with precision against a predetermined opponent, and on terms of my choosing – not the opponent’s.

There was no luck involved at all – except that my opponent didn’t hold AA or pull some lucky cards with a trash hand – which was simply playing the odds in my favor.

I started out with a high-level strategy to target aggressive chip leaders, and go after them with strong hands from the right position. I planned this before I ever arrived at the casino that day, or knew who these players would be. Then, I refined my plan once I knew for certain whom the evening’s targets would be and how I’d provoke them. It certainly helped that I caught two decent hands during those first hours of play.

Unfortunately, I later lost to a legitimate full house, but made it into the top 40 – it happens…

The key to playing against aggressive and maniac players is having a viable Texas Holdem strategy you can profit from when you get some good hands. If you have a good plan, you can convert it into a formidable stockpile of chips – a stack that you’ll definitely need as the blinds and antes increase and the tournament field narrows in the latter stages.

This is how I approach Texas Holdem strategy for tournaments now – at least when the tables are full with 8 or more players, some of them aggressive and maniacs. So, the next time you encounter wild and aggressive players at your poker table, get ready to have some fun! It’s like Tae Kwon Do – using the opponent’s own energy and momentum against them.

In the next installment, we’ll detail this Texas Holdem strategy more formally, along with exploring some other tournament tips for playing better Texas Holdem poker.

Until then – good luck!

Rick

PSP 3000 PlayStation Portable – A Handheld Entertainment and Gaming Gold Mine

The PSP 3000 for Gamers on the Go

I am a gamer. If I’m not a gamer, I’m THE gamer! However, like most people today, I’m a gamer on the go! Which means as much as I want to just sit at home and play my video games, there are times when I have to leave the flashing lights and the big sounds behind to do things like, I dunno – work!

If I didn’t have to, and I could sit in my surround sound chair all day, I would, trust me! So I decided to check out the latest portable gaming device from Sony and what I found knocked my socks off!

PSP 3000 Initial Impressions

Being a Sony follower, I’ve always been partial to the Sony PlayStation, the controllers were smaller, it came (to me) in a prettier package-so it wasn’t a hard jump when I decided to pick up the new PSP 3000. The package was clean and looked like it had everything I had already come to know and love inside it!

When my purchase arrived, I found I had come to the right place! Not only did it have the sleek black look of my PS3, but it also had all the features I loved!

A Brighter Screen on the PSP 3000

A quick charge and my PSP 3000 PlayStation Portable was ready to be putty in my hands! The small device is compact and rechargeable so I never have to worry about trying to steal the batteries out of the extra TV remote.

For starters, the PSP 3000 has a large full color display (4.3 inches to be exact) capable of displaying nearly 17,000 colors!! (My Crayola box only ever had 24, psht!) Watch full length high definition movies from the comfort of your pocket!

The brightly lit anti-reflective screen makes it ideal in well lit areas and works better outdoors offering better visibility and increased contrast! That long flight won’t seem so long now with my games, movies and music right under my fingertips.

Talk to Me! The PSP 3000 has a built in Microphone

Interact with games like never before with the PSP 3000s built in microphone! With the mic, you’re able to chat with other gamers in teamwork and in head to head competitions. The possibilities are endless! Whether I want to send a greeting or talk strategy over the opposing team, my PlayStation Portable has made it simple!

Use Your PSP 3000 to Access Files Online

The built in Wi-Fi on the PSP 3000 lets you access the internet from any internet hotspot, so now I am able to stay connected where ever I go! With 64MB of memory built right in, I’m able to download music, movies, videos (and so on) to my heart’s content.

For storage expansion, the PSP 3000 has a Memory Stick Duo slot that I can extra memory to as I need it.

The rechargeable battery is a standard 1200 mAh and with a full charge will last close to 5 hours whether you’re playing games, playing MP3s or watching movies. The battery is a definite improvement over the older PSP models.

You Can Do Lots with the PSP 3000 But Get it for the Games

As with everything Sony puts out, the PSP 3000 simply does everything I need! If I want to take a break from gaming for a bit (hey, it happens) I can check out a movie or listen to some tunes.

The travel ready device is small enough to comfortably carry in my pocket (or better yet bag) yet large enough to take my media with me. What do I like the best? It’s a great machine! Everything about it is smooth and flawless. (Right down to its seamless feeling ‘joystick’)

Playing games with it feels as natural as playing with my PS3 controller! With the large built in memory of the PSP 3000 I’m able to carry music, movies, and more galore! (Really, it’s like having the world in my pocket!) The PSP has become a tech toy no gamer should be without! With all the stuff this Bad Boy does, it’s hard to say ANYONE should be without!

The Lottery Secret Formula – Does it Really Exist?

Are you in search of the lottery secret formula? Have you continued to play the lottery with little to no luck? Do you ever feel like you are just giving your money away by playing the lotto? If you said yes to these, then you have probably felt like I have. I to, was looking for the lottery secret formula. I have always dreamed on winning the big JACKPOT and quitting my job. The feeling of knowing you no longer have to worry about money. I would always tell myself why couldn’t that be me? But now I no longer dream of winning the big JACKPOT.

You might be asking yourself why do I no longer dream about winning the lotto. I mean who wouldn’t want to win the lottery? Well about 1 year ago I took a big pay cut at my job. So as bad as this was, I at least still had a job. I use to play the lotto at least 4-5 times a day. I would love the excitement of knowing that any day I could possibly win the lottery. But I was tight on money at the time, so I figured I would stop for a while.

About 3 months after that a friend of mine asked me how I was with the lotto, since he knew I loved to play. The reason he was asking me was because he told me he saw a book online that supposedly has the lottery secret formula, and would show you how to win the lottery. At first I didn’t believe it, but figured I would read what he had as entertainment. So after going online and reading a little more on this book I was intrigued. I decided I would by the book with my next paycheck. Even if it wasn’t true the book was pretty cheap so if anything I figured it would be entertainment for me. So when I started reading I was anxious to see if what this lottery secret formula was.

Like I said before I didn’t have a lot of money at the time so I was not able to play the lotto as much as I wanted but, I ended up splitting tickets with my friend. The first week after buying the lotto we each decided to put in 10 each. This way we could test out the lottery secret formula. To both of our surprise we ended up winning money that week. We won a total of 83 dollars, which mean between the two of us we had a profit of $63. This was great because it gave us more money to play the following week.

The next week we figured we would each put $20 this way we could improve our odds. After we saw the lotto drawing we could believe we won again. We didn’t win the lotto, but at least we made some money. We ended up getting $92 dollars that week. My friend and I continued playing each week, and would lose every once in a while, but at the end we were always up.

Then about 7 weeks ago when we were playing the Fantasy 5, we ended up hitting all 5 numbers. When we saw this we couldn’t believe it. The Jackpot was split by 2 winning tickets that day, which resulted in each winning ticket receiving about $106,000. My wife was so happy we won that she could not stop crying. This jackpot was more the enough to make up for my pay cut I had received.

So the reason I told you before that I no longer dream of winning the big lotto jackpot is because I expect to win it. After putting these strategies to the test I have won countless times and even managed to win the Fantasy 5. Now my next goal is to win the Florida lottery. Hopefully I will be writing a story about how I won the Florida lotto in the near future.

Leveling a Warrior is Easy! World of Warcraft

Leveling a Warrior in WOW sucks! I don’t think there is someone out there who will argue with that. This is one of the main reasons I never tried leveling a War to 80.But recently I was enthusiastic about having one. So I started a new Tauren Warrior – the reason I chose that race is because I like their bonuses – HP boost which really helps a lot latter and stun which is also really good to have in PVP and PVE(also they look really cool). There was another thing as well – I somewhere read that leveling Taurens (in their starting area) was hard and from my own experience, I did know that.

But then I realized-that was totally wrong. I leveled my little War in nearly half an hour to level 6 and after one hour, I was level 10 (in nearly 1h 30 minutes). Of course, I don’t think that is something super cool. There probably are players who have done this before if not faster but I found something new for me- and I am sure that there aren’t so many people who do this. So here’s basically what I did.

I took my first quests. If I am not in a mistake one was about killing…Plainstraiders? Not sure. Whatever so when I was starting there were other people who were level one. That’s why I thought it will be hard for me to level if we stay at the same are, but I didn’t go anywhere else, instead I stood at the that place tagging as many mobs as I could reach . Translating (LOL) :

I hit one Plainstraider, move to the next one hit it, after that another one if there was near. So with a little luck I had 3 Plainstraiders trying to kill me. Of course that isn’t scary, LOL. I had a lot of HP which was boosted by my skills (5% +) and when I thought I was going to die, I just stomped the attackers. Another good point was that while the vermin were hitting me I was getting a lot of rage, so I was killing them a lot faster than I would do it one by one.

Also I grinded all the way while going somewhere. Here’s what you do. You hit the mob, then start moving backwards to the place you want to go. That way you get extra experience and don’t waste a lot of time.

Another tip : Use two handed weapon. Why? They are slower yes, but with one hit you do a lot more damage in single strike than one hand weapons.

Another tip: Hit one mob, you will get rage, use Rend, move to the next one and repeat. – That way killing mobs will be faster because while hitting one mob yourself, Rend will do damage to another one as well.

I think this is all. Now you should consider for yourself if that method can be used for another class or even another race (because I think the two-handed weapon start, rage,and the HP bonus are major factor for doing this). In my opinion the only class except the Warrior which can achieve this is the Paladin but I haven’t tried so I am not sure about that. (The problem with other classes is that their skills require a lot of mana – a shaman can do it but his mana will be getting low so you will have to stop to regain and this will make it leveling slower, I somewhere read a guide that this method can be used by Priest for leveling, however, I never leveled a that class so I can’t be sure about that)