A Valentine’s Tribute to My Husband Robert Turner by Patricia Chavira

robert-turner

My husband Robert Turner and I recently did a radio interview together on High Roller Radio to discuss my latest article on Phyllis Caro. Robert was asked about how hard relationships were for poker players, and his answer was essentially saying I don’t listen to his advice.

His answer inspired this article. Thanks, Robert.

I admit I may not always take his advice, but even he would readily admit we have very different playing styles. He certainly has earned the nickname “the Chipburner” as I have watched him at the tables the five years we have been together.

He didn’t become a world-class player by being timid. He takes calculated risks, but it is still nerve-racking to watch him play.

Being the wife of a professional poker player is not always easy. Because Robert is one of the one of the hardest-working people you will ever meet in the casino or any industry for that matter, I have spent many holidays at the casino with my husband—New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, my birthday.

But relationships require compromise, so I have established some boundaries—like no phone after 9 p.m. or before 7 a.m. (Sorry anyone who is trying to reach him between those hours!). And one day a week is designated as “Patty Day.” The funny thing is I often chose to spend it at the casino anyways playing a tournament while Robert rails me.

With the World Series of Poker (WSOP) only three months away, I prepare for long days railing my husband. He likes to be able look up and see me and talk to me between hands, so I stay close leaving only to charge my phone.

Robert has changed my life. I learned how to play Omaha from the creator of the game. I learned about the history of poker that I could never have read in books. He told me stories about players you will never see on tv. He knows everyone and everything about poker. He lives for the game.

When we were dating, he had some big ideas about writing books and asked me if I could write. I said, “I can string two sentences together.”

Well, we started a blog together, and then he started writing for Gaming Today. Every week we bounce ideas off each other about poker, writing and life. Robert is an inspiration to me every day.

Patricia Chavira is a freelance writer specializing in poker. She writes the “Poker Scene” column for Gaming Today. Follow her on Twitter @pinkchippoker.

 

Brian Nadell: A Poker Player’s Poker Player by Patricia Chavira

brian-nadell

Los Angeles-based poker pro Brian Nadell had a great week at the Los Angeles Poker Classic (LAPC). On Monday, January 16, he cashed in Event #4: $350 Pot-Limit Omaha 8 or Better.

Three days later on Thursday, January 19, he made the final table of Event #8: $350 Omaha 8/Stud 8 or Better.

This is no surprise. Nadell has been playing cards since he was a kid, but in his early 20s he would play in a poker game once a week where you could bet up to $3. He says he played every week and never lost.

The first time he stepped into a casino was in August 1987. He was reeling from the loss of his father when a friend asked him to come to the Bicycle Club in Bell Gardens, California.

On that first visit, he played $15/$30 Stud Hi-Low and won $3,300. Gaming Today columnist Robert Turner was responsible for bringing this game to the Bike. Nadell and Turner have been friends ever since.

The First Legends of Poker

 

legends-of-poker-logo

Eight years later, Turner created the first Legends of Poker for the Bike in 1995 and made Nadell a Legend of Poker host for the Omaha tournament.

Turner said, “We had an elite group of poker players who were very popular. Nadell was a great host and ambassador for the game of poker because he was such a well-liked individual and a great promoter of the game of Omaha.”

In 1996, Nadell moved back to Las Vegas and played high-limit poker at the Mirage. In Vegas, he found success playing in the WSOP. 1999 was a particularly memorable year.

Nadell at the WSOP

brian-nadell-at-wsop

He placed 13th in the $1,500 Seven-Card Razz, 2nd in the $2,500 Seven Card Stud Hi-Low 8 or Better and 15th in the $1,500 Razz.

He made a dramatic comeback in the Stud event. He was down to one black chip, but went on to capture second place for $85,000. This would become a familiar narrative for Nadell and the WSOP.

Nadell says he has made 11 final tables, and at one time, held the record for making the most final tables at the WSOP without winning a bracelet.

He has made millions playing poker, but he isn’t an ordinary poker player. He ran for U.S. Senate in 2010. He brings passion to everything he does. He is one to watch this year at the World Series of Poker this summer.

Patricia Chavira is a freelance writer specializing in poker. She writes the “Poker Scene” column for Gaming Today. Follow her on Twitter @pinkchippoker.

 

California State Poker Championship Going Strong at Commerce Casino

CSPC

The California State Poker Championship is currently running at Commerce Casino in Los Angeles, California. The series kicked off on Friday, April 29 with a $175 buy-in No Limit Hold’em Double Stack tournament featuring a $50,000 guarantee.

Matt Savage

Tournament Director Matt Savage always runs tournaments that feature a mix of games that appeal both to the professional and recreational player. Savage says, “The Commerce California State Poker Championship is an annual series with 20 events and guarantees in excess of $1,000,000 with great structures you’ve come to expect at the Commerce.”

Savage continues, “The Cal State series is a great way for you not only to build your summer bankroll but to play many of the games you don’t see in other venues.”

The California State Poker Championship is also a great lead up to the World Series of Poker. It’s always interesting to follow the winners of the California Championship and see how they do at the World Series of Poker at the Rio in Las Vegas this summer.

Paul Vinci

One such player to look out for is Paul Vinci, a familiar face on the Los Angeles poker scene. He won Event #8: $350 Pot Limit Omaha 8 or Better on May 3rd.  In 2014 he came in 5th in the same event.

Vinci is off to a great start in 2016. Back in January, he cashed in back-to-back tournaments at the prestigious Los Angeles Poker Classic (LAPC) at Commerce Casino. On January 20, he placed 7th in the $350 Stud 8 or Better, then came in 12th in the $350 Omaha 8 or Better/Stud8 or Better on January 21st.

His biggest score to date came in Event #19: $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha at the 2005 WSOP where Vinci’s second place win was good for $70,680. Barry Greenstein won his second gold bracelet in that event.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Vinci started dealer school across the street from the Bicycle Club in 1993. He burst on the poker scene in 1995 with his first cash in the LAPC IV when he placed 6th in a $330 Lowball tournament.

That year he continued to cash in tournaments in a variety of poker variants from Seven-Card Stud to Omaha Hi/Lo leaving dealing behind forever. The fact that he is still winning and cashing in tournaments twenty years later is a testament to his skill. He is definitely one to watch.

Patricia Chavira is a freelance writer and social media consultant specializing in poker. She writes a column called the “Poker Scene” for Gaming Today. Follow her on Twitter @pinkchippoker.

Play with the Creator of Omaha Poker at Club One

Cg7U6sQUUAATQ45

Being married to a professional poker player has its perks. Most of our vacation destinations and entertainment decisions involve poker. Our summer vacation is spent making multiple trips to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker and throughout the year, when my husband asks where I want to go for a weekend getaway, as long as there are great poker games and a spa nearby, I am happy.

So when my husband told me he was invited as a special guest to a casino in Fresno, California, that I had never played in, I was eager to pack our bags.

On Saturday, May 7, Club One, the largest cardroom in California’s Central Valley will be hosting its 2nd Annual Central Valley Omaha Championships at 12:15 p.m. The $150 buy-in tournament features a $20,000 guaranteed prize pool.

Su Kim, Club One Casino’s casino manager stated, “Club One has a long-standing commitment to the Omaha community and wanted to provide Omaha players with a major event to test their skills against their peers.  We’re offering the largest committed prize pool in California, a custom winner’s bracelet and onsite broadcast of our featured and final table.”

I can’t wait to play especially now that I have been playing the weekly Big O Omaha tournament on Saturdays at Hollywood Park Casino trying to hone my tournament skills.

I remember playing my first hand of Omaha poker at Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, California, years before I had ever heard of Robert Turner. It was the most frightening poker experience of my life.

Not only did I have to figure out how to handle four cards, I had trouble reading the board and determining what my hand was. Instead of embarrassing myself by showing a hand I wasn’t sure even qualified as a low, I would just fold.

Marrying the Godfather of Omaha

image

I left that session vowing never to play Omaha again. Then I met and later married Robert Turner, the godfather of Omaha. I was taught how to play Omaha by the best poker player I had ever met–according to Robert.

He had one simple rule, and I hope he doesn’t mind me sharing it with the world; he simply said, “Omaha is a game of the nuts.”

Every time I sit down at the table, Robert’s advice is always in my mind.

Visit http://www.clubonecasino.com for more details.

Patricia Chavira is a freelance writer and social media consultant specializing in poker. She writes a column called the “Poker Scene” for Gaming Today. Follow her on Twitter @pinkchippoker.

Winning at Low-Limit Omaha

Peyton Omaha

I have been trying to get the world to play Omaha poker for the past 40 years. I have been playing the game for so long around the country and all over the world, and I have made a few observations I would like to share with new and beginning players of $4/$8 and $6/$12 Omaha Hi/Lo games.

I have spent the past year consulting with Hollywood Park Casino in Los Angeles to establish a $4/$8 Omaha Hi-Lo game and a $6/$12 Big O game. It has been successful so far, and the future looks even brighter especially now that the St. Louis Rams announced they are moving back to Los Angeles to the Hollywood Park property.

Can you imagine 20,000 fans tailgating a few yards from these Omaha poker games? When legendary golfer Lee Trevino became eligible for golf’s Senior Tour, he said something to the effect that, “They just gave me the keys to the golden city!” He also said I have been waiting over 30 years for this chance. I feel the same way.

Omaha Tips

Omaha Tips

Now let’s talk about a few strategy tips that might help you. First, I believe it’s time for hold’em players to add Omaha to their arsenal. For you hold’em players who look at Omaha as a foreign language, it’s just hold’em played with four cards in your hand. Simply pick two of your four cards to make your best hand, just like in hold’em. In Big O, the only difference is you are dealt five cards, but you still must play only two of your five cards.

What really seems to confuse hold’em players is the concept of Omaha being “a game of the nuts,” meaning you don’t call on the river with the second or third best hand. The nuts is the nuts, and there is no guesswork. In hold’em you are never sure if your hand is strong enough; in Omaha you know exactly where you are. If you don’t have the nuts, fold.

A challenge for players transitioning from hold’em to Omaha is learning how to deal with the added element of the low in a split game. In order for the game not to have so many split pots, the qualification for the low hand is five cards eight or lower. What that means is three cards eight or lower must be on the board, otherwise there is no low, and the high-side winner gets all of the pot.

Another challenging aspect when first learning Omaha Hi/Lo is the situation that often arises called “counterfeiting your low.” It’s confusing even for the best players, and it is even harder to write about. Say you are trying to make the lowest possible hand using your two best low cards, an ace and a deuce. If the board reads 3, 4, 5, you have a five card-straight or a “wheel,” the best possible low.

On the other hand, say you have the same ace deuce in your hand, and the board reads 5, 6, 8 and a deuce comes on the river, your deuce got counterfeited, and now you have a bad low.

Because of all of these possibilities, Omaha gives bad players many opportunities to chase and make mistakes, and Big O gives them even more. As a winning player, it is your job to capitalize on other players’ weaknesses and tendencies. You can tell who’s chasing the low, who is on a draw, who is gambling and who doesn’t know what they’re doing. There are so many calling stations in Omaha, it’s almost like playing poker with your opponents’ hands face up.

There are two more tips I want to share for low-limit Omaha games. One is never raise pre flop unless you have a premium hand like double ace, two, three, and you’re in position. Instead, save these chips to see the turn, then step up your game aggression. By raising preflop, you think you are pot building, but Omaha is entirely different from hold’em. Save your chips for monster hands that you’re a lock to win either part or all of the pot.

My last tip is that although Omaha is called a game of the nuts, you can still bluff. If you can read tells, especially on people’s faces, you will see they give away so much information. You can bet and steal pots when you can tell players missed their lows or draws. They are trying to surrender, and all you have to do is bet and take it when their cards failed to materialize.

Super Bowl 50 & Omaha

Peyton Omaha Suit

With the Super Bowl 50 being played this weekend, it got me to thinking why does Peyton Manning yell Omaha at the line of scrimmage? He is trying to tell poker players, especially hold’em players, to learn a new game.

You can improve your Omaha game and make extra money using these tips. If you are new to Omaha, all you have to do is get in a game. Nothing replaces experience and practice. See you at the tables.

Robert Turner is a legendary poker player and casino/billiard marketing expert. Robert is most well-known for creating the game of Omaha poker and introducing it to Nevada in 1982 and to California in 1986. He created Legends of Poker for the Bicycle Casino in 1995. He also helped create Live at the Bike, the first live gaming site broadcast on the Internet in 2002.

He has spent over 30 years in casino marketing and player development. He has served as an executive host at the Bicycle Casino and MGM. He is currently working as a casino consultant.

Robert can be reached at robertturnerpoker@gmail.com for consulting, marketing and coaching. Find Robert on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thechipburner and on Twitter @thechipburner. Subscribe to Robert’s blog “Beyond the Numbers” to receive notifications of new posts by email.

Winning at Low-Limit Omaha

Peyton Omaha

I have been trying to get the world to play Omaha poker for the past 40 years. I have been playing the game for so long around the country and all over the world, and I have made a few observations I would like to share with new and beginning players of $4/$8 and $6/$12 Omaha Hi/Lo games.

I have spent the past year consulting with Hollywood Park Casino in Los Angeles to establish a $4/$8 Omaha Hi-Lo game and a $6/$12 Big O game. It has been successful so far, and the future looks even brighter especially now that the St. Louis Rams announced they are moving back to Los Angeles to the Hollywood Park property.

Can you imagine 20,000 fans tailgating a few yards from these Omaha poker games? When legendary golfer Lee Trevino became eligible for golf’s Senior Tour, he said something to the effect that, “They just gave me the keys to the golden city!” He also said I have been waiting over 30 years for this chance. I feel the same way.

Omaha: Game of the Future

Now let’s talk about a few strategy tips that might help you. First, I believe it’s time for hold’em players to add Omaha to their arsenal. For you hold’em players who look at Omaha as a foreign language, it’s just hold’em played with four cards in your hand. Simply pick two of your four cards to make your best hand, just like in hold’em. In Big O, the only difference is you are dealt five cards, but you still must play only two of your five cards.

What really seems to confuse hold’em players is the concept of Omaha being “a game of the nuts,” meaning you don’t call on the river with the second or third best hand. The nuts is the nuts, and there is no guesswork. In hold’em you are never sure if your hand is strong enough; in Omaha you know exactly where you are. If you don’t have the nuts, fold.

A challenge for players transitioning from hold’em to Omaha is learning how to deal with the added element of the low in a split game. In order for the game not to have so many split pots, the qualification for the low hand is five cards lower than an eight. What that means is three cards below eight must be on the board, otherwise there is no low, and the high-side winner gets all of the pot.

Another challenging aspect when first learning Omaha Hi/Lo is the situation that often arises called “counterfeiting your low.” It’s confusing even for the best players, and it is even harder to write about. Say you are trying to make the lowest possible hand using your two best low cards, an ace and a deuce. If the board reads 3, 4, 5, you have a five card-straight or a “wheel,” the best possible low.

On the other hand, say you have the same ace deuce in your hand, and the board reads 5, 6, 8 and a deuce comes on the river, your deuce got counterfeited, and now you have a bad low.

Because of all of these possibilities, Omaha gives bad players many opportunities to chase and make mistakes, and Big O gives them even more. As a winning player, it is your job to capitalize on other players’ weaknesses and tendencies. You can tell who’s chasing the low, who is on a draw, who is gambling and who doesn’t know what they’re doing. There are so many calling stations in Omaha, it’s almost like playing poker with your opponents’ hands face up.

There are two more tips I want to share for low-limit Omaha games. One is never raise pre flop unless you have a premium hand like double ace, two, three, and you’re in position. Instead, save these chips to see the turn, then step up your game aggression. By raising preflop, you think you are pot building, but Omaha is entirely different from hold’em. Save your chips for monster hands that you’re a lock to win either part or all of the pot.

My last tip is that although Omaha is called a game of the nuts, you can still bluff. If you can read tells, especially on people’s faces, you will see they give away so much information. You can bet and steal pots when you can tell players missed their lows or draws. They are trying to surrender, and all you have to do is bet and take it when their cards failed to materialize.

Super Bowl 50 and Omaha

Peyton Omaha Suit

With the Super Bowl 50 being played this weekend, it got me to thinking why does Peyton Manning yell Omaha at the line of scrimmage? He is trying to tell poker players, especially hold’em players, to learn a new game.

You can improve your Omaha game and make extra money using these tips. If you are new to Omaha, all you have to do is get in a game. Nothing replaces experience and practice. See you at the tables.

Robert Turner is a legendary poker player and casino/billiard marketing expert. Robert is most well-known for creating the game of Omaha poker and introducing it to Nevada in 1982 and to California in 1986. He created Legends of Poker for the Bicycle Casino in 1995. He also helped create Live at the Bike, the first live gaming site broadcast on the Internet in 2002.

He has spent over 30 years in casino marketing and player development. He has served as an executive host at the Bicycle Casino and MGM. He is currently working as a casino consultant.

Robert can be reached at robertturnerpoker@gmail.com for consulting, marketing and coaching. Find Robert on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thechipburner and on Twitter @thechipburner. Subscribe to Robert’s blog “Beyond the Numbers” to receive notifications of new posts by email.

Before the Poker Boom: Poker in the 90s

Trump

In the 80s poker had become primarily a west coast phenomenon, but thanks to poker pioneers like Steve Wynn, Jack Binion, Lyle Berman, George Hardie and even Donald Trump, poker would expand across the United States in the 90s.

I became casino marketing director of the Bicycle Casino in 1991. Knowing I was from Alabama, the Bicycle Casino’s founder George Hardie sent me to Tunica, Mississippi, to scout the area for a large poker casino he had planned to develop there.

As I looked out at the cotton fields and the raging Mississippi river, I remember looking forward to running a poker room in the south; it would be going back home for me. I had hosted many games in that area for years and finally would have a chance to offer the players a legal and safe environment to play where they would not have to worry about law enforcement or hijackers.

Hardie had options on land around Robinson and the Tunica area, which would later be sold to Lyle Berman. Berman is one of the best Omaha players in the world. He would visit the Bicycle Casino to play in the Diamond Jim Brady tournaments and became good friends with Hardie. Hardie had an ambition to build the largest poker room in the world in Mississippi and purchased a piece of property called Buck Lake around Tunica.

Hardie had lobbied to have the nearest casino to Memphis, Tennessee. He would later sell that property to Berman, who built the Grand Casino in Tunica in 1996, which helped establish poker in Mississippi. Jack Binion also purchased land to build the Horseshoe casino, which opened the previous year. Poker had finally arrived in the south.

Ken Lambert Jr., Regional Director of Operations for the Heartland Poker Tour, recalls opening day of Jack Binion’s Horseshoe Casino in Tunica where he was director of poker operations, “We finally opened in February of 1995 to long lines of excited players. The lines extended hundreds of feet. It was a cold day, but to warm as many of the guests as he could, Jack emptied out his gift shop and began handing out any type of cold apparel that was on hand.”

Lambert continues, “I had 10 poker tables opened and ready to go as players rushed to the room to be the first to play a hand in Tunica at Jack Binion’s Horseshoe. Not long after opening, the poker room expanded to 12 tables and the rest was history. We had the biggest players in the world come play. The new dealers were dealing games they had only heard about, $4,000/$8,000 limit Hold’em and the Pot-Limit Omaha had a $75,000 max bet.”

When poker exploded in the 1980s and 1990s, I felt like Forrest Gump. I was lucky enough to see landmark events in poker history firsthand and even established a record myself. I became the first player to have four consecutive cashes in the WSOP Main Event in 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1994. My highest finish was 6th in 1994. Ronnie Bardah set a new record in 2014 with five consecutive cashes in the Main Event.

On the east coast, poker was also having its own boom. In Nolan Dalla’s article “The Early Years of the Atlantic City Poker Scene,” Dalla says, “The epicenter of the East Coast poker universe instantly became the Trump Taj Mahal, which opened the sparkling 50-table room in the Summer of 1993.”

Poker Hall of Famer Jack McClelland was hired by Donald Trump in 1996 as poker tournament director to establish a major poker tournament on the east coast. Trump created the United States Poker Championship tournament, which was a prestigious stop on the professional poker circuit for years and was televised on ESPN. McClelland says Trump was a no-nonsense, get-it-done right kind of guy. He really enjoyed working for him.

I remember going to the opening of most of these new poker rooms. Poker now had a showcase across the United States. This developed thousands of new poker players. Poker had arrived as a must-have amenity in casinos to reach out to a new demographic of gamblers.

The 90s was a great decade for me personally as I found success both in casino boardrooms and on the felt. In part 2, I will discuss the poker boom in Las Vegas. Steve Wynn, with the help of Bobby Baldwin as his president, opened Bellagio, which would be a game changer in the history of poker.

Robert Turner is a legendary poker player and billiards/casino marketing expert. Robert is most well-known for introducing the game of Omaha poker to Nevada in 1982 and to California in 1986. He created the Legends of Poker for the Bicycle Casino in 1995. He also helped create Live at the Bike, the first live gaming site broadcast on the Internet in 2002.

Robert has over 30 years’ experience in casino marketing and player development. He can be reached at robertturnerpoker@gmail.com for consulting, marketing and coaching. Follow Robert on Twitter @thechipburner.

Women in Poker: Sweeping Summer Tournaments by Patricia Chavira

Gina Hecht

Gina Hecht, Winner of WPT Legends of Poker Omaha 8 or Better

Women have been dominating some of the biggest tournaments of the summer. The winning streak started at the 2015 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas when Carol Fuchs became the only female winner of an open event this summer by winning the $1,500 Dealers Choice event on June 27. Fuchs, a screenwriter and film producer, topped a field of the best mixed game players in the world to win her first bracelet and the $127,735 first-place prize. The Dealers Choice is one of the toughest events in the entire series as it includes 18 different forms of poker.

Another notable achievement came on July 31 when Loni Hardwood won the 2015 WSOP National Championship at Harrah’s Cherokee in North Carolina. She took home the $341,599 first prize and her second gold bracelet. The final table included such notables as Daniel Negreanu, fresh off his 11th place finish in the WSOP Main Event, and Alexandru Masek, the most successful player on the WSOP Circuit with eight rings to his name. The final table was filmed by ESPN and will be broadcast on August 18.

Harwood now has over $1.6 million in live tournament earnings. She won her first gold bracelet at the 2013 WSOP in a $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event. She had a spectacular run that summer as the then 23-year-old player from Staten Island, New York, cashed six times and made three final tables, tying Cyndy Violette’s 2005 record for most final table appearances by a female in a single series. Harwood won $874,698 at the 2013 WSOP, setting the record for the most money ever earned by a woman in a single WSOP in Las Vegas.

Women have also made an impressive showing at the World Poker Tour (WPT) Legends of Poker, running through Sept. 4 at the Bicycle Hotel & Casino in Bell Gardens, California. Three women have won events so far. Gina Hecht, an actress and producer, took first place in Event No. 6: a $235 buy-in Omaha 8 or Better on Sunday, August 2. The next day, Monday, August 3, Diana Yang topped a field of 242 players to win Event No. 9: the $150 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Deepstack. Then on Tuesday, August 4, Wendy Weissman emerged victorious in Event No. 10: a $150 buy-in P.L.E.O.-Stud/Omaha 8 or Better.

While a debate rages about women in poker on social media, these female champions have proven they have what it takes to challenge the best poker players on the felt.

The Best Poker Rewards in the West

Player Rewards

Playing poker in California and Nevada differs in many ways with pluses for both poker markets.

Two major benefits of playing in Nevada is the cost of living is much cheaper and collections are half that of California.

However, California has all the action you could ever want and making money is easier in California. California seems to be the favorite among pros.

A new policy instituted in Southern California will see card rooms put reward money on player cards based on play. Look for players to receive up to $6 an hour to play.

Commerce Casino, the largest card room in the world located just minutes from downtown Los Angeles, features more than 200 tables offering non-stop poker action for all skill levels.

Jeff Harris, VP Casino Manager, outlines the benefits of the new poker rewards program: “While we made changes to our Top Section comp program, we now offer our customers $2 an hour in rewards points. We also offer Double Points for 9 hours throughout the day. “

Jeff continues, “With the industry now offering programs that reward loyalty rather than open comps, we are constantly tweaking and adjusting our program to make it as attractive to the SoCal Poker player as possible.”

At the Bicycle Casino, Mo Fathipour, the Tournament Director, describes the new comp system. “In top section we are paying the first 25 scans $50 and after that $2.50 per scan.”

Hollywood Park Casino, located 10 minutes from LAX, has one of the most lucrative cashback programs paying $2 per hour in Omaha games and up to $6 an hour in select games.

Pechanga Resort & Casino, the largest casino in California located in Temecula’s wine country, has some offers worth driving out for.

Richie Lopez, Pechanga’s Poker Room Manager, explains some of the deals Pechanga offers poker players in its 43-table poker room, such as free meals after 3 hours of play on Wednesdays, pot sweeteners and freeroll tournaments.

Richie says, “Last year, we gave away more than $1.3 million in just promotional winnings including cars, trucks, Vespa scooters, cash and other value-added giveaways. Players also like us because at $4.00, we have the lowest rake in the entire region. This puts more money back in your pocket.”

Las Vegas offers a great weekend getaway for California players to take advantage of the discounted room rates for hours played and the great tourist action.

When I am looking for places to play, I look for casinos that spread Omaha. Three of my favorite poker rooms in Las Vegas offer some of the best Omaha action anywhere.

The Orleans Hotel and Casino poker room, home to some of the best Omaha games in the country, has been a favorite among locals and visitors for many years due to their outstanding Hold’em and Omaha action.

The Orleans hosts the Omaha “Play Your Way In” Tourney where the top 80 hour earners in April will qualify to play in an Omaha Hi-Lo tournament with over $20,000 being awarded.

According to Garrett Okahara, the Poker Room Manager at the Orleans Hotel and Casino, “Orleans poker players earn 750 TG points every hour. This equates to $1.25/hr. when used in all Orleans restaurants/food outlets.”

Boulder Station features one of the few limit high Omaha games around. According to Steve Deuel, Director of Poker Room Operations, this games features “pots so big that small dogs can’t jump over them.”

Boulder Station also offers $1.00 an hour in comps 24 hours a day and $500 Omaha High Hands Sunday, Monday and Thursday.

The largest poker room in Las Vegas, the Sands Poker Room at the Venetian, offers $2 per hour in comps for any game that can be used for food comps, table side massages or as entries into a poker tournament.

According to Tommy LaRosa, the Venetian’s Tournament Director, they offer some of the best discounted rates for their suites when you play 6 hours of cash game play per day or play in a $300 buy in or above tournament.

From the players’ point of view, it is getting very competitive out there, and it is up to the players to decide what comps are most valuable to them and how they contribute to their power to earn.

If you are an everyday poker player, some of these perks can be worth up to $1500 a month. As I said in Part 1, it’s all about earning.

I have traveled all over the world playing poker and there are great rewards everywhere, but what sets poker rooms apart from one another is customer service and the action in that room.

I would love to hear from you about what brings you back to a particular room. Email me at robertturnerpoker@gmail.com.   I may use your suggestions in a future article.

Robert Turner is a legendary poker player and billiards/casino marketing expert. Robert is most well known for introducing the game of Omaha poker to Nevada in 1982 and to California in 1986.

He also created Legends of Poker for the Bicycle Casino in 1995 and Live at the Bike, the first live gaming site broadcast on the Internet in 2002.

He has over 30 years experience in casino marketing and player development. Find Robert on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thechipburner and on Twitter @thechipburner. He can also be reached at robertturnerpoker@gmail.com for consulting and teaching.

Pot-Limit Omaha: Poker’s Next Big Thing

PLO

I’ve been teaching my wife Patty how to play Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO) this week, and it got me to thinking about the differences between PLO and Omaha High-Low, which I taught her how to play two years ago.

PLO is an entirely different game than Omaha High-Low because you have to manage the betting so as to draw as cheaply as possible or attack the pots aggressively as most European players do. The British have a perfect name for the game–pop it up or fold Omaha.

When you switch to Omaha from Hold’em, you’ll notice it has so much more gamble while at same time it’s a game of the nuts with back door outs which creates a lot of action. Like any poker game, the best players will win the most money.

You must have more discipline in Omaha poker. Just because you have four private cards doesn’t mean you should play more hands.

Starting hand selection is a key feature of any poker game. My friend Greg Gensicki, a specialist in mixed games, puts it this way: “To the unsuspecting, it would seem every hand is playable. ‘How can I miss when I am getting four, count ’em, four cards?!’  Years spent playing seven card stud instilled in me the importance of appropriate starting hand selection.  The same holds true for Omaha.”

Greg continues, “Well coordinated hands (e.g. KQJT, T987) fare much better than uncoordinated ones (e.g. KQT6, T945). Coordinated suited and double suited hands can provide redraws for the win when your less discerning opponent has the same hand. They can be the difference between having a lowly open-ended straight draw or a powerhouse having 20+ outs.”

Secondly, you want to get in the pot as cheaply as possible to see the flop. I like to say No-Limit Hold’em is played before the flop and PLO is played on the flop. Just like any poker game, you can expand your hands selection playing short-handed versus a full game.

Lastly, the real finesse of Omaha begins after the flop. Since it’s usually a multi-way pot, not only are you analyzing multiple hands and players, but you must decide how fast and furious you want to proceed. You must continuously evaluate what to do since so many changes occur in Omaha on every street.

As my friend Greg says, “Whereas Texas Hold’em is often a game of pairs and position, Pot- Limit Omaha is apt to be about straights, flushes and full houses due to each player holding four starting cards. Experienced Hold’em players new to the game quickly learn, to their chagrin, top pair top kicker doesn’t have the same value.”

In the book “Mastering Hold’em & Omaha Poker” by Mike Cappelletti, Mike Caro writes, “It would not be surprising if Omaha surpassed hold’em in popularity sometime within the next 40 years.”

I agree. I predict this is the year that Omaha will explode in popularity, especially at the World Series of Poker this summer, where I believe the cash games will double in number. It took a while, but Omaha is growing on the West Coast faster than any other poker game.

Omaha has really grown in the Southern California. The most popular game played is a mix format of eight hands of Omaha High-Low and eight hands of High only. High only is a much easier transition from Hold’em than Omaha High-Low; it’s Hold’em on steroids.

In Los Angeles, PLO has quadrupled in the past year with more young players stepping up from No Limit Hold’em. It seems they are tired of coin-flip poker and want a better game to protect their money. Mastering Omaha will open lots of opportunities for your poker earning power.

As Mike Cappelletti writes in his book, “For many players, it is much easier to win at Omaha than hold’em simply because few players play Omaha correctly. Even most decent-to-good Omaha players cost themselves money by playing incorrectly both before and after the flop.”

Every game has its learning curve. I recommend you read all you can on the subject then choose games with players entering many pots and raising a lot of hands. To get better, you have to practice.

Over the past three years I had the opportunity to teach my wife not only about Omaha but about poker and the poker life. She made me look at poker through new eyes and fall in love with the game all over again.

I want to dedicate this article to my wife who has helped me take a long look at my poker career and help me put into words the experiences of playing for over 50 years.

Robert Turner is a legendary poker player and billiards/casino marketing expert. Robert is most well known for introducing the game of Omaha poker to Nevada in 1982 and to California in 1986. He created Legends of Poker for the Bicycle Casino in 1995 and Live at the Bike, the first live gaming site broadcast on the Internet in 2002.

He has over 30 years experience in casino marketing and player development. Find Robert on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thechipburner and on Twitter @thechipburner. He can also be reached at robertturnerpoker@gmail.com for consulting and teaching.