POKER DOCUMENTARY TO FRAME GAME’S RECENT HISTORY

The poker world is buzzing over the release of a new documentary examining the story of poker’s “boom” during the early years of the 21st century.

ALL-IN – THE POKER MOVIE recounts poker’s journey to the game we now know it to be; from an activity cloaked in stereotype – of back rooms, cigars and crooks – to the global poker revolution, a game now played in casinos, online, in people’s homes for anything from pennies to millions of dollars.Tracking poker’s evolution through the underground clubs of New York City, through to the events of Black Friday, using the US as a model the film explains the complexities of its legal status, and how poker has become a target for politicians who are denying millions of people the right to play the game they love.Starring the likes of actor Matt Damon and poker players Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu, the film also features IFP president Anthony Holden as well as contributions from authors Peter Alson and James McManus, both of whom have been integral to the work of both the IFP and the US Poker Federation in the past year.

For those of you that haven’t seen the trailer yet here it is:

The film is set to be released across the US from Friday 23 March 2012 with more details, including how to pre-order the film, available on the ALL IN – THE POKER MOVIE website.

IFP BOOKS UNVEILS COVER FOR THE RULES OF POKER

In January of this year the International Federation of Poker announced details of a new initiative in partnership with Limehouse Books, known as IFP Books. The new venture has been set up to promote and publish books in the UK dedicated to poker.

The first title to be released will be The Rules of Poker, which will be on shelves, both real and virtual, in April, although readers will be able to pre-order a copy on Amazon in the next few weeks.The Rules of Poker is the long-awaited, unifying international rule book for tournament poker, which also features instructions on how to play Duplicate Poker, a form of the game pioneered by the IFP. Covering all poker variants, the book will be a must have for casual players and devotees of the game, and was edited by poker playing novelist and chairman if the IFPs International Rules Committee, David Flusfeder.Publication to coincide with the 2nd World Mind Sports Games, that will take place immediately after the London Olympics. Now a first glimpse of the book is being made available, with the hardback cover now finalised (right). For more details about IFP Books, read the original news story here. Check back on the IFP website for more news about IFP Books in the coming weeks.

DIFFERENT WINNERS AROUND THE WORLD IN MOST DEMOCRATIC OF GAMES

ChipsFor anyone thinking poker players adhere to a particular stereotype, a glance through recent results should demonstrate the game’s eclectic collection of recent winners.

When the curtain fell on the European Poker Tour in Madrid last weekend Patrik Jensen was behind it celebrating his first major win. Jensen fits the new mould of poker player; a superb and young online talent with a live record to match, including a runner-up finish in the Aussie Millions earlier this year.

On the other side of the Atlantic the World Series of Poker Circuit event proved a happy hunting ground for eventual winner Joe Kuether, from Wisconsin.

Kuether earned $111,104 for his efforts at the latest circuit event in Rincon, San Diego, coming on the back of a terrific March (winning two events at the Wynn in the week before the Circuit event) for the regional player, who, with the exception of a handful of WSOP scores, is usually found playing more modest buy-in events across the United States. Kuether epitomises the hard working (and successful) poker player.

Gordon Huntly

Gordon Huntly

On the other side of the Pacific, Gordon Huntly was having his picture taken as the winner of the first leg of the new Australia New Zealand Poker Tour season, with a cheque for $238,832. Huntly, an ex-pat living in Asia, is a latecomer to the game, who business acumen into profit at the poker table, with cashes dotted around Asia and Europe, and winnings of half a million in less than three years.

Back in Europe an 18-year-old woman from France dominated the French Poker Series event in Evian. Veronika Pavlikova, playing her first major event, was pushing aside everyone on her way to her first title, and €70,000.

An internet pro, a tournament grinder, a former business man and an 18-year-old French girl; proof, if it were needed, that the key to poker success is not found in a standardised entry system, but in the quality of the individual. This most democratic of games is open to all.

 

 

 

 

HIGH CARD BEATS A PAIR!

Last month we asked our Facebook Fans to answer the following question. From worst to best, what is the ranking of hands in 3-card poker?

  • 3 of a kind – straight – flush
  • Flush – straight – 3 of a kind
  • Straight – 3 of a kind – flush
  • 3 of a kind – flush – straight

The correct answer to this is “Flush – straight – 3 of a kind”, and of the 68 of you that answered, just 11 were correct, as can be seen here.

The vast majority (52 of those who responded) answered : Three of a Kind, Straight, Flush. This is hardly surprising as it follows typical hand rankings you’d find in any game of poker, such as Texas hold’em.

Three Playing Cards Blog 7mar12Alas, this is wrong, and at least one member of staff in the IFP office took some convincing, with all kinds of algebra, then simple pictures, scribbled on the back on an envelope to explain why.

The reason these rankings change is because the ranking of a hand is based on its probability.

For example, in five-card poker there are 10 possible straights, (A-5, 2-6, 2-7 etc…) with a possibility of four suits for each card making 10 x 45 – 40 = 10,200 possible straights. For a Flush there are four possible suits with five cards of that suit to be chosen from a total of 13. So, there are 4 x 1287 – 40 = 5,108 possible flushes.

It is therefore more than twice as likely that you will be dealt a straight as a flush – the straight is thus a less valuable hand when ranked.

This system gets interesting when looking at Texas Hold’em and other seven card games (two hole cards and five community cards). Here there is a 43.8% chance of getting a pair, while not hitting at all and making your hand a “high card” only is 17.4%. So strictly speaking, following the rules, high card should beat a pair.

MONEY TALKS IN CORRIDORS OF POWER

Internet Poker Blog 2mar12The news on poker’s political front dominated this week. First the State government in Iowa was looking at developing online poker for state residents, then California was headed in the same direction, with state senators drawn to the projected injection of hundreds of millions of dollars into the State economy.

It brings up the question as to what approach campaigners, and indeed operators, should take towards changing the online gaming laws, particularly in the United States, still reeling from the events of Black Friday.

The logic argument is frustrating enough. Poker is a skill game, something proven with ease at the tables and off it (as a browse through the IFP library will prove), but it has proven ineffective as a tool to convince non-believers.

But is there a more direct approach to change? Will convincing governments, on a state or national level, come down to money?

Both Iowa and California senators were motivated by increased revenue, with the prohibition of online poker costing millions in a time where revenue is plummeting.

With the major operators currently banned (from processing payments to players, not technically from offering online poker) will the argument be won in the accounts departments, rather than the corridors, of power?