Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Adelaide Casinos and Other Poker Playing Options

Fortunately for us, we’re not in America and online poker in Australia is legal everywhere. That said, there’s always something appealing about the riffle of real chips and the social interaction you get at a live poker table.

Let’s face it, it can get a little lonely on the keyboard, so meeting some face-to-face poker players is nice. You can a little interaction and banter with your game and watch your opponent’s faces for tells. Something you don’t get to do often online unless you play with a webcam.

If you’re in Adelaide and you want to set down that mouse and take to the real, rather than virtual, felt then what are your best bets? There are some great spots to play poker, and we’ve looked at some of the best below.

SKYCITY Adelaide – Adelaide’s largest casino

The obvious port of call is SKYCITY Adelaide in the historic Railway Station building. South Australia’s premier casino destination is the city’s tenth largest employer and the main venue for live poker in a professional setting you’ll find in Adelaide.

In SKYCITY Adelaide you’ll find the appropriately-named Poker Zone. Located on the casino’s first floor next to the Grandstand Bar, this poker venue offers both cash games and tournaments all week. Their flagship tournament series, the Adelaide Casino Poker Championship, is a highlight of the casino’s tournament offering and features a $2,400 buy-in Main Event.

Other tournaments on offer range from $20 rebuys to a $125 deepstack freezeout and the monthly “Big $2,500 Tuesday”, guaranteeing a first place prize of $2,500 for a $125 buy-in. The tournament calendar keeps things varied, so phone ahead to find out what events are coming up when you plan to head down.

Cash game players will find Hold ’em, Omaha, and Crazy Pineapple on offer. Typically these are $2/$2 blind games with a minimum buy-in of $40 and a cap of $200. You’ll also find a refreshing “Express Table” option with a 20-second shot clock on all decisions – no more twenty-somethings taking six minutes to check back the river! These tables are $2/$3 or $5/$5 for Hold ’em, or $1/$2 for Omaha games. High rollers can find bigger games on occasion, with $4/$8 up to $5/$10 No Limit and $10/$20 Limit running on an irregular basis. Occasionally, $10/$20 No Limit games will run.

Note that the Poker Zone is closed on Sunday and Monday (so you can get your Sunday tournament fix online without missing any live action) and open from 18:00 – 03:30 on weekdays, 18:00 – 05:30 on Friday and Saturday.

Other Adelaide poker games

Fancy something a bit more cheap and cheerful, perhaps away from the bustle of a big casino?

Rivered Poker Thursdays at the Verve Bar & Kitchen, run by the Rivered Poker League, take place at 17:30 each week with a $25 buy-in. Alternatively, 888 Poker Thursdays for $20 at Watermark Glenelg kick off at 19:30, while on Wednesdays the Seaford Hotel runs a $10 game, as does the Emu Hotel.

It’s well worth looking for local poker groups on Facebook – you’ll find many smaller tournaments such as the above running throughout the week.

If your penchant is cash games rather than tournaments then you may not be out of luck, as many cash games tend to spring up around the tournaments above as the early bust-outs get together for more poker fun.

Start your own home game!

Your last recourse is obviously to take matters into your own hands – why not add to the poker games going on around Adelaide?

All you need is a deck of cards, a set of chips, and a table – it doesn’t even need to be a specialised table, though if you want to add to the atmosphere and professionalism of the game it wouldn’t hurt to lay down some green felt, or even buy a poker table if you can.

A few home game tips – if you’re hosting a tournament, make sure to use a sensible blind structure; that is to say, one that doesn’t accelerate too quickly but also won’t take all night to reach the ante stages. It’s helpful to look at the WSOP or similar tournament structures and take inspiration from there.

Also, remember when it comes to chips that less is more – there’s no sense having chips worth $1 and $2, so try to go up in increments of four or five: $1, $5, $25 chips should cover any low stakes game. The less is more mantra also applies to the quantity of chips. It might look cool to have hundreds of chips in each stack but it fast becomes a nightmare to count and stack pots.

Any deck of cards will serve, though ones with large indexes (big numbers) will help. Make sure everyone is familiar with dealing, and remember to have the player to the dealer’s left cut the deck before each round – it’s traditional and safe.

After that you of course need people – again, Facebook is a great resource for finding likeminded players if you don’t have a group of friends interested in playing.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Top 5 Australian Pro Poker Players

Some of the world’s top poker pros call Australia home, and the title of the best is always up for grabs. To help interested players like you, we went through all of the contenders to put together the definitive listing of the top five poker players from Australia. The players that appear on this list are either currently living in Australia or grew up there and moved away later. They are also all current players, so there’s no reason to go and dust off those history books!

We’re sure there will be some people that disagree, but this list is for the Aussie player. We tracked down tournament stats, player reports, and took a good hard look at player potential to make a list that will stand the test of time. Some of these players really obviously fit into this list, but there may be a name or two that you’re not familiar with. Ready to see for yourself? Read on to see who the best poker players in Australia are!

#1 Joe Hachem

The number one spot on this list has to, without a doubt, be awarded to Joe Hachem. His disciplined play style and unwavering poker face led him to become the first Aussie to ever win the WSOP main event (2005). One year later, he followed this up by pulling down another 2.2 million when he took the World Poker Tour title and, in process, he quieted any doubters.

With over $11 million in lifetime tournament winnings, no other player from down under can claim as much prize money. Even when compared internationally, his poker tournament winnings are the 10th highest on the planet! Impressively, he runs a mortgage company when he’s not cleaning up in Las Vegas, and he’s got a happy family with four children.

#2 Mel Judah

Mel Judah has won two separate WSOP bracelets in Seven Card Stud events (1989 in the $1,500 event AND 1997 in the $5,000). In 1997, he sat at the main event table and came in third place, winning $371,000. With over $3 million in tournament winnings spread out over the course of his long career, the Silver Fox is probably the most consistently successful long term player in Australia - and his 36 cashes at the WSOP support that. Interestingly, Judah credits some of his success to the psychological insights he gained in his previous profession as a hairdresser.

#3 Jeffrey Lisandro

Lisandro is a familiar face at the World Series of poker. He’s won over $1 million just from the five WSOP bracelets that he’s received and he’s sat at a dozen of the main event final tables. Perhaps his most notable achievement of all is the fact that he was the first person to win a bracelet in all three 7-card varieties in the same WSOP series (Stud High, Stud High-Low, and Razz). Today, after $4.4 million in career winnings, he has moved to Italy and continues to play professionally - both online and off.

#4 Tony G

Tony G was born in Lithuania and moved to Australia at the age of 11. As a child, he won the Rubik’s Cube championship in Lithuania, but he didn’t really put that big brain to use until he started playing poker at age 18. His $1.5 million in prize money can largely be credited to his loud-mouthed, trash talking play style - and with fifteen money finished in the WSOP, it must be working! Apart from his poker success, Tony G has also held a number of positions in the Lithuanian national basketball team, including manager and vice-president.

#5 Mark Vos

With over $1 million in winnings, this South African born Aussie player is one of the names that simply had to end up on this list. He started playing online in 2004 and then, just two years later, he jumped into the spotlight when he took down the WSOP $2,000 NLH event. Vos is often known as Pokerbok and, at the age of 30, he still has a lot of promise for future success. At this point, he splits his time between living in South Africa and Australia (where he has spent much of his life).

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Where to Play in Adelaide (updated 2013)

The great thing about poker is that it can be played in a variety of different settings
depending on how much money you are willing to risk and whether you prefer a casual game or a serious one.

If you're looking for a live local game in Adelaide then it’ll be worth your time to consider some of the pub poker leagues that operate in your area. For example, the Australian Poker League, the National Pub Poker League, and the 888 Poker League all host weekly poker games in South Australia. The best aspects of these games include that they have a casual atmosphere, that games are held often, and that you can often win prizes (even in the free games). Unlike trying to organise a tournament at home, you won’t have to worry about finding enough people to play – some pub poker games routinely attract 100+ players each night. You will also experience the benefits of a professionally run tournament and high quality equipment without the cost that comes with playing at a casino. When you’re ready you can also play in some of the games that require you to buy your way in so that you can play for some serious cash.

Check out the poker league websites below – they have large lists of games, so you should be able to find a nearby tournament.

Australian Poker League - http://www.playapl.com/

National Pub Poker League - http://www.nationalpubpoker.com.au/

888 Poker League - http://www.888pl.com.au/

Home Games

Running a game at home is a great option if you have a group of friends who like to play poker or who are willing to learn. You are in control - you can determine the strictness of the rules and you can also decide how much money you are going to play for. Hosting a game can be cheaper than leaving the house when costs for food, drinks, and travel are considered. However you’ll need your own equipment – and if you don't have good quality poker gear (including table, chips, and cards) then you will notice a significant difference between playing at home and playing at a pub or the casino.

The Casino

SkyCity is Adelaide's casino and is the best place to go if you are confident in your abilities. Drawbacks include a less casual atmosphere than you would find at home or at the pub, however, this is the best quality live poker experience you will find and is also the place where you can win the most money.

Online Poker

Just a few years ago you could only play poker at a casino or at home. Thanks to modern advancements you can now play poker online from wherever you are. The great thing about being able to play online is the large number of tournaments that are offered and that you won’t find a shortage of players to play against.  Most sites offer some games that you can play for free as well as multiple price levels for you to advance through as your skills develop.

You also get the benefit of being able to play multiple tables at once, which means that you won't have to keep waiting for the next hand to begin. However, when playing online you miss out on the personalised nature of live poker and the physical reactions that can help you to read your opponents.