the casino poker guide



Unusual Decks

Alison Green says of her visit to Puerto Rico in 1982: I was never present when the casino opened, but I doubt if the cards were spread before the first shuffle of the day. At one table, the first two shoes produced running counts of -20 and -25 with a deck to go. I sat out the next shoe to count aces and separate ten-valued ranks. The four decks were shuffled, three of them were dealt out, and I counted 22 queens! Meanwhile a friend was observing an excess of small cards at his table.

Don Schlesinger says: I was a bit perplexed over Alison Green's inferences about the less-than-pure motives of the casino in Puerto Rico. Should not she have been pleased to find 22 queens in the first three decks of a four-deck shoe? There might have been a few more queens in the remaining deck! Such a situation would suit me just fine. Why complain?

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The First Rule is to Play Reasonably Quickly
Even though almost all Internet cardrooms give you at least 20 seconds to act on your hand, you don't need that long for most decisions. If you consistently slow the game down, you may find that the players you most want at the table-the action gamblers-get up and leave.

The next rule is: Don't abuse the all-in function. Because players sometimes must rush away from their computers in mid-hand (a baby might start crying, someone could come to the door, a child could injure himself), most cardrooms allow players who are still connected one or two "all-ins" when they fail to act on their hand. Rather than folding the hand of someone who has chips in the pot, the system treats the player as if he is all-in. He is eligible to win only the part of the pot he has contested and a side pot develops for the remaining bets.

Occasionally, an unscrupulous player will take unfair advantage of this. For example, if someone has a weak drawing hand like an inside straight draw, he might just sit there and fail to call a bet on the turn. The system treats him as all-in. If he makes his straight, he collects the pot, but if he doesn't, he hasn't had to invest a big bet to draw to it.
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