It’s not enough to know they are bluffing

After being in Central Illinois for over two years, I finally hosted my first poker game last week. It was a lot of fun. I got a group of relative newcomers together and taught them how to play a Texas hold’em tournament. We had an hour long class where I went over the basics, pretty much following the plan I previously blogged about. Then I had them each chip in a couple bucks and I dealt them their first tournament (I didn’t play).

One hand came up that reminded me of something that happened when I still lived in New York. The hand was pretty straightforward. A few people played the hand, two of them played until the end. There wasn’t much betting, but I remember one player made a small but significant bet on the end. Another player called him. He turned over his two cards to show that he had a pair of sevens, one in his hand, one on the board.

Since this was more or less a practice hand, the other player turned her hand over and said, “Oh damn, I thought you were bluffing.” Her hand consisted of an eight and a three. She did not have a pair. She should not have called. Her hand was too weak to call.

However, she was partially right. Continue reading “It’s not enough to know they are bluffing”

Teaching poker to absolute beginners

I like teaching and I like poker, although I’ve rarely tried to combine the two. This week, I’m going to give it a shot. I run a meetup group here in Peoria for single people. I have wanted to host some poker games for the group for some time. I finally decided to go ahead and host one this week. It wouldn’t simply be a poker tournament, it would first be a one hour lesson in the basics of Texas Hold’em tournaments. And then we would do an actual one table tournament with me dealing.

I’ve always thought teaching poker to beginners would be a fun thing to do. My goal with the class portion is simple, demonstrate the basics of the game like how the cards are dealt, how betting works, and how the winner is determined for each hand (and for the tournament). I also want them to understand the rules of betting, and various quirks of how poker is typically dealt, so that if they ever want to play in a casino run tournament, they will be able to sit down and play without asking too many questions. If we have time we will also go over some basic strategy ideas.

Continue reading “Teaching poker to absolute beginners”