Sunday, November 05, 2006

Texas is Hold 'Em-free

I'm in Dallas for a week for a conference, and arrived late Saturday in order to be sure I was in time for a Sunday afternoon session. Having all of Saturday night and Sunday morning, I figured I'd have time to find some local card rooms and play a few hours of poker.

Yeah, well, not really. I knew coming down that poker games with a rake are illegal, and that there's no casinos in Texas. There's ads... for Shreveport, Lousiana and Duncan, Oklahoma. With no rental car, those 2-3 hour drives aren't gonna happen.

Several local web forums (link, link) indicate that there's a thriving underground poker scene, but particularly after a SWAT team raid this summer, you won't find out the card room locations online, and you'll basically have to be screened to get in. It also sounds like higher stakes than I want to play, too.

In fact, the only place I found that spreads any game with a reasonable limit is (NSFW) The Lodge strip club, which hosts a free tournament on Sunday afternoons. Not gonna work. So, it's online from the hotel room.

Wil Wheaton posed a question on the CardSquad blog. "With Party Poker pulling out of the US market, Full Tilt and Poker Stars have exploded, and I've heard from lots of people that the games are incredibly easy to beat now, even on PokerStars, which has a reputation for tougher competition and stronger players." He's got few replies, but I can say that from my experience, it's true. I played at PokerStars 12 days in late August and early September, and ended up -$16.70. I've played at PokerStars 11 times in October/November, and am +$65.68.

On the advice of Tres, I started playing at FullTilt tonight. I don't like it as much as PokerStars; their tournaments aren't as frequent, and FullTilt's screens aren't as re-sizeable, making it challenging to multi-table on a small laptop monitor. Still, I'm ahead there so far.

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