Lone Star Card House Poker Room Review

It has been a while since I played Poker outside of a few home games. I was driving home from work a few weeks ago and heard an interview on the Radio with a local poker club that was about to open in Clear Lake. I looked into it a little but had not made up my mind if I wanted to drive that far to check it out. I was talking about it at a home game and one of the players said there was one opening in Conroe. He gave me the website and FB page and I started looking into that one. I mentioned it to a few of my friends and 2 of them went with me to check it out last weekend. The website says they Charge a Membership fee ($10 per day) and an hourly seat rental charge ($9 an Hour) but since they just opened they are doing a $25 daily membership fee and no seat rental fee. I also got a free day for bringing 2 new players. I ended up playing the $100 tourney (10 Players) and some $1/2 NL cash game (7 Players). I also played last night the Tourney drew 20 players. Based on my 2 sessions below is my review and ratings on the room thus far….

Rating scale green_lrg-10white_lrg-07white_lrg-07white_lrg-07white_lrg-07 to green_lrg-10green_lrg-10green_lrg-10green_lrg-10green_lrg-10

Number Of Tables and amenities: green_lrg-10green_lrg-10green_lrg-10green_lrg-10white_lrg-07
There are 5 tables and room to expand to 10 from the looks of the space. Chairs are comfy and chips and tables are nice, clean and new (as to be expected from a new room) Tournament chips are very nice clay chips. Only has 1 unisex bathroom that may be an issue when they get bigger. They do serve free chips, soft drinks coffee and water but no food or alcohol.

Game Spreads And Limits: green_lrg-10green_lrg-10green_lrg-10green_lrg-10white_lrg-07
They have no-limit holdem at $1-$2 Buy ins $50 – $300. You can straddle under the gun for $4 and double and triple straddle. Games currently run Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Tournaments: green_lrg-10green_lrg-10green_lrg-10white_lrg-07white_lrg-07
I think the buy in amounts are good for the area and the start times are good as well. The payout is top heavy and with no rake the pot is very large.LSCH Blinds

Thursday 8pm $50

Saturday 4pm $50

Saturday 7pm $100

 

I am kind of a tournament structure nit (not as much as Chainsaw) but I do think structure is important. That being said this structure is terrible. You start with 15k in chips if you get the 5k bonus chip. But the blinds start at 100/200 and the 1st level is 20 minutes . This is where it gets strange (see chart above) the next level is 200/400 and 19 minutes then 400/800 and 18 minutes. They then color up the 100’s. Then they go to 500/1000 and 17min then do another color up of the 500’s. Then the next level is 1k/2k 16 min, ect. I prefer a consistent 20 or 15 minute levels and smaller jumps. I would suggest adding at least a 300/600 level.

 

How Good Are The Players: green_lrg-10green_lrg-10green_lrg-10green_lrg-10white_lrg-07
Players seemed to range from beginner to average. Sure, there are some good players, but for the most part, this is a very weak room with a lot of callers to see the flop and some who will hang on with Ace high.

Dealers: green_lrg-10green_lrg-10green_lrg-10white_lrg-07white_lrg-07
Out of my 2 visits I had 3 different dealers and I rated them as a whole. Some issues I had can be fixed with training but there were many basic errors. This is a problem I see with a non tipping set up, there is no motivation to deal a lot of hands and get better to increase tips.

Management: green_lrg-10green_lrg-10green_lrg-10white_lrg-07white_lrg-07
The game runners and management seemed nice and would listen to player recommendations. They also seemed like they were trustworthy and were trying to follow all the rules as grey as they may be but that is a discussion for another time.

Overall Rating: green_lrg-10green_lrg-10green_lrg-10white_lrg-07white_lrg-07
Overall this is a new room and it will take some time to build a player base. I think they have the foundation they just need to work on a few items and this could be the best room in Houston. I hope so as they are 30 minutes from me and I hope this Poker Club model takes off in Texas.

http://lonestarcardhouse.net/

https://www.facebook.com/lonestarcardhouse/

https://www.yelp.com/biz/lone-star-card-house-conroe

The False Analogy: Car vs. Health

A few weeks ago I had this same discussion with my wife so I felt I had to repost this when I heard it on the radio today….

 

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT
RUSH:  Ten days ago on a spectacular edition of Open Line Friday, I said to each of you — in response to a question I got and continue to get from many people, “What can we do, Rush? What can we do?” — be the one in your family who is the go-to person when somebody needs a political answer.  If somebody needs a political answer, you be the go-to guy — and let me tell you how you become the go-to guy: The Heritage Foundation, me, and Mark Levin’s books.  Television is not going to help you be a go-to guy.  It’s too sound bite-oriented. It’s too brief. It’s not nuanced and detailed enough.  I got an e-mail, as I mentioned to you, over the weekend.

“Good morning, sir.  We were having a discussion last night about Obamacare with a few dinner guests.  We are your age.  One of our guests, who is 24, insisted that since the government requires citizens to have car insurance before allowing them to register a car, then we should have no problem with the government requiring citizens to have health insurance.  What would be your reply?” I wrote her back:  “It is state governments which require everyone with a driver’s license to have auto insurance.  If you own a car but do not drive — in other words, you have a driver — you must be insured.  If you don’t own a car and you don’t have a driver’s license, you do not have to have auto insurance.

“And even if you break auto insurance laws, you do not go to jail for it.  But in both the House and Senate bills, if you do not buy health insurance, you can be imprisoned for five years.  Automobile insurance is purchased not to protect you, the buyer.  Auto insurance is to provide for your victim should you ever cause an accident.  Health insurance is the opposite.  It is to protect the buyer from catastrophic loss brought on by illness or accident.  Health insurance is, thus, in no way analogous to auto insurance because health insurance is purchased to insure the buyer against his own catastrophic loss brought on by major illness or accident.  You do not buy health insurance to provide for others.  You buy it for yourself.

“Can you actually insure your health?  Does health insurance insure your health?  It cannot possibly do so.  Health insurance cannot possibly insure your health.  In fact, health care insurance (formerly called” medical insurance”) is merely an instrument of neutralizing risk.  Financial risk, that is; not health risks.  You cannot insure your health.  It was brought about by a need to insure a family’s assets against a dread disease requiring care so expensive it could wipe that family out financially.  As a strictly financial planning endeavor the issue never seemed to be discussed in terms of being a right or in terms of compassion, but medical insurance, as a component of financial planning, has morphed into health care as a right for everyone in the new political parlance.  But it’s not about health.  Health insurance is not about health.  You can’t insure your health.

“Most important of all,” I wrote back, “it’s unconstitutional for the federal government to mandate that a citizen buy anything, much less put them in jail for failing to do so.  What the hell is your 24-year-old guest thinking?  Nowhere in the Constitution is the federal government permitted to mandate that citizens buy X.  The Constitution limits government!  Its whole purpose is to define what government cannot do to citizens.  Read the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments: The Constitution specifically limits government power and always sides with the freedom and liberty of the people.  Your 24-year-old guest has been ill educated, defrauded by his schools, otherwise he wouldn’t hold the view that government has the power to require all of this.

“Had he been properly educated he would understand the concepts of federalism and states’ rights and thus would never take the position that he took at your dinner party.  He would be robustly and adamantly opposed to all of this. The Founders feared just this type of power being amassed in Washington, and wrote the Constitution to prevent it and to protect us from fellow idiot citizens electing morons like Barack Obama.  When the Constitution is violated (as it is with federal mandates on health care), someone must challenge it in court, eventually getting the case to the Supreme Court.  If this does not happen, or if the people do not openly revolt over this, then the Constitution is weakened, its original purpose diluted and destroyed. Individual freedom and liberty is lost.

“Other than that, everything’s hunky-dory.”

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  Let me ask you a question: “Why don’t we have the government make everybody buy life insurance, folks?”  That way nobody would die, at least by the other side’s reasoning — and isn’t life more important than health?  You can’t get health without life, right?  So why don’t they require everybody to buy life insurance?  Doesn’t dying without life insurance cause more hardship than getting sick and running up a large bill?  And why would it take 2,000 pages to make us buy life insurance? (interruption) I’m not giving them any ideas, Snerdley.  They could think of more disastrous stuff than I could in a day.

END TRANSCRIPT

http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_112309/content/01125108.guest.html

Paying Attention Costs Nothing

I have been reading a lot of posts on 2+2’s forums especially the Brick and Motor (Live casino play) section. I noticed many players have questions about rulings because a player bet the wrong amount or flipped their cards up at the wrong time or some little error that cost them money and/or caused a floor person to make a ruling.

In most of my replies I just say so and so should have won/lost the pot and end with “paying attention costs nothing”. I feel that if you dont pay attention and make a mistake you should pay for it then maybe you will learn not to do it in the future because you remember you lost money last time you did that.

The most common is betting out of turn, not seeing someone bet or raised, throwing out the wrong amount or number of chips, mucking cards when you have a winner or a tie without tabling them.

As a dealer I see these errors all the time, most of the events I deal are for fun or are friendly home games, but I try to enforce the rules as if we were at a casino.

Players need to learn to pay attention at the table so it does not cost them money or arguments at the poker table.

Good Luck All In!?!

Luck BoxGood Luck All In!….I was dealing tonight at Sonny’s Game and I must have heard this 100 times (average 3 people per all in). Why do people say this?…they don’t mean it at all and actually wish the opposite. They want the person to go out, that is the whole point of a poker tournament.

I know for a fact most of those players get very angry if you don’t check it down in an all-in pot. Even if you are no where near the money. My view on that is you check it down if there is no side pot or you are on the bubble  and think the other player has the best hand and a chance to knock out the all in player. I think you can bet, if a player is all in, if there is a side pot and/or you have a hand that fairs well against the all in player but you don’t want the other player to draw out on you or of course you have the nuts.

Anyways the Tips were good tonight even though the tourney seamed to last forever as no one wanted to go out when we were down to 2 tables. I have never dealt the 500/1000 and this tourney went to the 1000/2000 level before we went to the final table of 9.

I also had a situation where 2 players knocked out one player in a split pot. Since there is a $5 bounty I thought the bounty should go to the out of position player, closest to the button, just like the odd chip in a split pot. Then I asked sonny and he said give it to the dealer I was all for that but I wanted to know the house ruling for future situations. I looked it up and this is what I found.

• Bounties are never split! If a bounty player is eliminated by two or more players who split the pot, the bounty is awarded to the winning player with the largest stack. If the stacks are equal, the winning player closest to the button receives the bounty.

I guess according to this stack size is criteria 1 then the position takes effect I guess I need to ask Sonny and the other players how they want to handle it in the future.

All in all I had a good night and was still done by 11pm to find out the Spurs had won and advanced to the 2nd round of the playoffs. Go! Spurs GO!….and……Good Luck All In!!!

Squeeze Play?

I was dealing a Tourney on Friday night. I had arrived early and as usual a few guys were playing online poker on a laptop. I was looking over the players shoulder as he played a .50/$1 cash game. The player was one of the stronger tourney players in that game and had a good poker game overall. He was on the button with 44 when he made this comment, “Has anyone heard of the squeeze play”. there was one limper in the pot and he made it $8. I was thinking that is not a squeeze play it is just a button over raise…right? I thought about it later that night and it finally came to me that what the squeeze play was.

Squeeze Play: When there is a raise (preferably from LP as it could be a position raise), and a call infront of you – you push all in (usually from the blinds). This forces the initial raiser to call knowing he may get called behind him – he’ll usually fold unless he’s big. The caller is now forced to call a large bet when all he wanted to do was call the inital raise and see a flop. It’s effective when you have a big enough stack to push out your opponents, as you still have Fold Equity.

Also this play is not dependent on your cards it can be ATC if you know your opponents are weak and/or you have a tight image. I know the player had read Harrington on Holdem(HOH Vol 1), as I had, but if you are going to read a poker strategy book you have to follow what it says.

I know for a fact this player is going to the WSOP this year, as he has in the past, and I want him to do well. I was going to correct his mistake in the “play” on that had but I kept my mouth shut. Should I educate him on the proper use or definition of the play or should I I shut up and deal?

The Beast

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Shuffle Up and Deal

This is a Problem Solution Paper I wrote back in College in 2004. Feel free to comment on it below, Thanks.

23 November 2004

Shuffle up and deal

Three knocks on a door, a look through a peephole and permission is granted to the secret back room. It is not a drug deal or a house of burlesque; it is a poker room in Texas. Poker is an American game that has been played since the frontier days of the Wild West but today, under most circumstances, it is illegal in Texas. Poker rooms are all over Texas, but one can not find one in the yellow pages. These underground poker rooms are usually at someone’s house or a social club and are run like a small business. Like any other business they are supplying a service for a cost in order to make a profit. These poker businesses are suppliers of a service that is in high demand at the moment. Due to the media blitz of poker on television, a viewer can usually find a game televised any time of day. If ESPN does not have the World Series of Poker on, then the Travel Channel will have the World Poker Tour on, or Bravo will be airing the Celebrity Poker Showdown. Also a movie called Rounders came out, which is a movie mainly about a poker player and his love of the game.

This constant barrage of poker with its large cash prizes causes people to want to play. But where do they play? While playing poker is popular right now, the only places to join an organized game are the illegal card rooms. These card rooms are illegal because the house, the people running the game, takes a percentage of the money in play. This money is called a cut, or the rake. This cut, or rake, causes the house to make money on every hand without the house risking anything. The higher the limits and more money in play means more money to the house. Since the demand is high and the suppliers are underground, the house can take as much of a rake that they want and no one is there to monitor them. People are going to have to play there because it is the only game in town. Since gambling is illegal, the highest risk is getting raided, but the penalty is a monetary fine, which can be remitted without trouble. According to District Attorney Sowder, “Organizers of public card tournaments potentially face charges of gambling promotion, keeping a gambling place and possession of gambling paraphernalia. All are Class A misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine, an amount that can easily be made in one night by the poker room owner.”(Grinois) Participants could be charged with Class C gambling, which carries a maximum fine of $500.

This low risk, high tax-free return is the main reason for these poker rooms. The income received is substantial and tax-free, so it is money the state will never see. Also the bigger poker rooms will lend out money, like a bank with a much higher interest rate, and the state will never earn tax money from that either. “The law states poker games are considered gambling unless the chances of winning are the same for all participants as in a drawing, the games are held in a private place, or the house takes no cut of the winnings.”(Wallisch) Since poker is a game of luck and skill, players are always trying to improve their game, and the only way to do that is by playing.

“Serious poker players like to distinguish the game they play from the average weekly home game. Although these things tend to be relative (a10-20 Hold’em game might not seem so serious to someone used to playing 150-300), some particular features common to home games tend to make the game less serious. Most irksome to the serious player is probably a proliferation of zany, poorly thought-out games, often involving wild cards, and sometimes having little in common with other poker games. While some serious players like the challenge of having to develop a strategy on-line for a game that was just invented, many feel it just increases the luck factor. Less serious games also tend to involve very low stakes, because they are played for fun and not out of either a deep interest in poker or in making money at it.”(Kimberg)

Poker is a card game that has to be played for money or prizes; otherwise, the game is not played realistically and is no fun.

Poker is a game played with two or more players and consists of betting and bluffing, or acting like you have the best hand. Poker is not just one card game, it is many card games. While no definition is going to satisfy everyone, the majority of poker games do share some common features, especially betting in rounds and the ranking of hands. Currently, the popular poker game is Texas Hold’em. Texas Hold’em is a game where each player is dealt two cards face down; only they can see them, and then everyone bets. Then three cards are dealt face up on the table; this is called the flop, these are community cards that are shared by all players. Following the flop is a round of betting. Next, another community card is dealt face up; this is called the turn, and another round of betting occurs. Finally, the last community card is dealt face up, and the hands are flipped up to see who the winner is. The strength of a player’s hand is the best hand that can be made with these seven cards. The betting can be limit; there is a fixed limit on how much you canbet or raise in any round, Pot limit; the maximum bet or raise is the size of the pot. , or no limit; there is no limit on the sizes of bets and raises. In poker, the player always has three options call, raise or fold.

There are hundreds of books published that can teach a person how to be a better player and win more often. These books also teach readers how to spot tells, “A mannerism that gives away your holdings. Smiling when you have a big, very powerful, hand is an obvious tell. More subtle tells include iris dilation, a throbbing pulse, or acting in a certain manner in a given situation.”(Caro) These small indications from the player give away the strength of a player’s hand, and improve the opponents chances of winning. These resources for improving the player added to table experience can reduce the risk to the player and make playing the game less of a gamble and more of an investment. An old Chinese proverb says, Luck favors the prepared mind. The prospect of a huge payday and the fun of the game keeps these rooms filled at all hours, day and night.

These rooms are filled because people do not think they are breaking a fair law. Since poker and gambling is legal in some places, it is thought of as a vice crime and is played by a diverse crowd who do not think they are doing anything wrong. While people may not consider playing poker a big crime, it is still illegal, and until the state changes the laws it is a crime. While horse tracks and lotteries are legal, these gambling establishments are run and monitored by the state. Even charity poker games are illegal if there are any prizes given to the winner if any entry fee is paid. There was a charity poker tournament in Lubbock, in February 2004, which was deemed illegal due to the fact that it was at a public place and cost money to enter. “Spurred by recent attempts to hold card tournaments at Lubbock businesses, Sowder held a news conference Friday to inform owners of his stance before pursuing criminal charges. ‘Some people legitimately thought they were doing the right thing and didn’t know they were violating the law, and we didn’t want to arrest those people, even though we could.’” (Kuffner) But in order to make this charity poker tournament legal, the law must be changed.

The solution to this problem is for the state of Texas to pass a bill to change the law and make poker rooms legal. This motion would have to go through state legislation and will take some time. First you would have to make an amendment to the current law. The state officials would have to be convinced that the positives out way the negatives. The increase in tourism to the state alone would generate enough money to pay for the extra law enforcement needed to monitor it. This would also increase jobs for Texans in the form of security, dealers and managers. With any legalized gaming comes a commission whose job it is to monitor the game room for fairness and tax purposes. This commission will keep the games fair by imposing rules and punishments on the card room. This legalization will also give the poker players more of a reason to go to the legal game rooms instead of the underground rooms. In the end, it will help the state out greatly. This will cause the people who are interested in learning to play or really enjoy the game to have a legal and fair place to play.

By having these fair places to play in Texas, the state can gain revenue lost to underground poker rooms and people going out of state to gamble. The closest place to play poker for Texans is Louisiana, but with legal games in Texas, there would be no reason to leave the state. These legal rooms will also attract tourist to visit Texas, not only to gamble but to also enjoy the state’s other wonderful attractions. This would also stimulate the economy through taxes that would have to be paid by the poker rooms and the winners. Taxes that are currently avoided by the underground poker rooms, which do not report their income or their player’s winnings to the state.

Gambling is illegal because it is addictive to some and it could cause people to lose a lot of money. R Texas is located in the Bible belt; religious groups are the biggest proponents to having gambling legalized. They believe that all gambling is wrong and should not be condoned. Religious groups have backed this law from the beginning because they think that people can easily become addicted and hurt themselves and others. While gambling is addictive to some not every one will fall prey too this addiction. People can be addicted to anything they find pleasure in. That is why states with legal gambling have programs set up to help people with theses addictions. If the state limited everything that has addictive properties, Texans would not be allowed to consume caffeine, drink beer, watch television or other things that a few sick people use to excess.

Another proponent to keeping poker illegal are the underground card rooms. They have a good tax-free business going where they get to make the rules and do not have to report to anyone. Illegal poker rooms will not support the legalization of gambling because it will take business away from them and will cause their profits to drop dramatically. They will have competitor’s that will offer fair games at lower costs, and those competitors will provide no risk of being arrested by the police.

Being arrested by the police is a huge concern to the underground poker room even though the fine is minimal. Another solution to stopping these rooms is to strictly enforce the current laws with more raids and harsher punishments. A gambling offense is a Class A misdemeanor and punishable by up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine. A fine of $4,000 seams like a high amount but to a business in such high demand at the moment this fine is like a minor traffic violation to UPS; sure it is a hassle but it is not going to put them out of business. If the punishment was raised from a misdemeanor to a felony, then less people would want to take the risk of running an illegal card room. The cost of a felony is prison time, for all that are involved, and a fine, that can be decided by the judge or jury, depending on the size of the game room. This will also take a change in legislation and huge motion by the law enforcement to regulate these rooms. The problem with this solution is that there are so many rooms and as soon as one is removed, two more will take its place. Also some rooms will make enough money to cover an enormous fine. While fines and prison time are good deterrents, this still hurts the person who really enjoys the game and wants to have fun.

The only way to allow someone to play a fair and legal game of poker in Texas is to legalize gambling. It is ironic that a game invented in Texas, called Texas Hold’em, is illegal to play in Texas. A game perfected in the old saloons of the Wild West is now illegal to play in bars, even if it is for charity. These charity events added with the increased revenue due to jobs and tourism, our only a few reasons to legalize gambling in Texas. The benefits to the player, to the economy and to the state of Texas are enough reasons to legalize gambling in Texas. Everyone should have a chance to learn and enjoy the game of poker in the state of Texas. They shouldn’t have to know the secret knock or know a guy that can get them in. Everyone should be able to play the game of poker legally even if there is a chance of losing. Nick “The Greek” Dandalos said it best, “The next best thing to gambling and winning is gambling and losing.” (Sullivan)

Works Cited

Ben, Mutzabaugh. “In Ontario, new reasons to fall for Niagra.” USA Today 01 Oct 2004

Academic Search Premier. EBSCOhost. Sam Houston State U., Newton Grisham Lib. 26 Oct 2004

<http://unx1.shsu.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.epnet.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=cookie,ip,url,uid&db=aph&an=J0E098613319604&scope=site&gt;.

Caro, Mike. “MCU Library.” Poker Dictionary . 20 Nov. 2004

< http://www.poker1.com/mcu/pokerdictionary/mculib_dictionary_t.asp&gt;.

Grinois, Earl. Gambling in America: cost and benefits. Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press, 1951.

Kimberg., Daniel. “Dan’s Poker Dictionary.” 1995. Serious poker. 20 Nov. 2004

<http://www.seriouspoker.com/dictionary.html#rack&gt;.

Kuffner, Charles. “Poker tournaments illegal.” 8 Mar 2004. Rho Rho Chapter of TKE.

Tau Kappa Epsilon. 03 Nov 2004 <http://www.rhorho.org/index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file=viewtopic&t=266&highlight=poker&gt;.

Larson, Megan. “Gambling Pays Off.” Media Week 27 2004: 14. Academic Search

Premier. EBSCOhost. Sam Houston State U., Newton Grisham Lib. 03 Nov 2004 <http://unx1.shsu.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.epnet.com&gt;.

Sullivan, Sean. “Gambling.” Science Monthly NZ (1993): page 6.

Thompson, William. Gambling in America: an encyclopedia of history,

issues, and society. Santa Barbra: ABC-CLIO, 2001.

Wallisch, Lynn. 1992 Texas survey of adolescent gambling behavior.

Austin: Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, 1993.

Wallisch, Lynn. Gambling in Texas: 1995 surveys of adult and adolescent

brhavior: Executive summary. Austin: Texas Commission on alcohol

and drug abuse, 1996.