Deuces not so wild

Casino-Poker-GamesAfter outlasting all 38 other players in a local Texas Hold’em tournament, my friend Mike and I were pitted heads-up, mano a mano. Because we’ve been friends and poker fanatics for a long time, Mike and I know each other’s playing style backward and forward. In our one-on-one battle, we’d basically been stealing each other’s blinds for about 15 minutes or so when the unthinkable happened: a bad beat from the very depths of hell.

Our stacks were about even at the time, and I was dealt pocket twos; Mike held A-4, off suit. Naturally, Mike raised pre-flop, and I called. The flop came: 2S-2C-AD. “Thank you, God!” I thought to myself. The tournament, it appeared, was as good as mine. Sneakily, I checked. Mike, assuming he had the best hand with his aces-over-deuces two pair, went all-in. I looked him straight in the eye and said, “Mike, you’re an idiot.” Then I showed him my quad twos. He slumped down in his seat in a daze.

I asked him, half jokingly, “We don’t really need to see the rest of the cards, do we?” (Okay, I admit it. I was feeling invincible and just couldn’t help rubbing it in his face.) Mike quickly chimed back, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” Laughing, I said, “Okay, Mike. If you beat my four deuces, I’ll pay you the equivalent of everyone’s buy-in for the tournament.” He knew I was mocking him, but he nonetheless agreed.

Now, it should be noted that an individual buy-in for the tournament was $25. Multiply that by the 40 players entered, and my thoughtless bravado amounted to me possibly having to cough up a cool $1,000. When the turn produced the ace of hearts, Mike immediately perked up in his seat. I was barely paying attention, but when I finally realized that the card was an ace, I started mumbling, “No way. No way. There’s no f-ing way.”

Way. The river: Ace of clubs! I couldn’t even breathe. Mike started running around the house, screaming like a maniac. It took him nearly 10 minutes to finally calm down. I was cursing up a storm, naturally. Mike came back to the table, looked me in the eye, and declared, “Danny, you’re an idiot. Now where’s my thousand bucks?”

Well, it took me three weeks to pay off the debt. I basically forked over my next three paychecks. To this day, Mike continually reminds me of that bad beat. Every time he taunts me, I tell him that he’s the luckiest person alive, and that he must have sold his soul to the devil to get both the turn and the river to beat me.

As for me, I’ll never look at four deuces quite the same way again. Since this happened I do not play poker much as I developed a chronic back pain. I had tried different types of medication and nothing worked until I tried turmeric curcumin. This is a natural supplement for pain relief sold on amazon and it works pretty well. So well that I may so visit a casino again and try my luck at Texas Holdem.

Attracting Females to a New Game Development Program

new gameI moved to Wisconsin three years ago to start a game and interactive media design program. The last year and a half have been extremely busy, as I have written grants, designed curricula and spread the word through various media and the PlayExpo ( The Growth Agenda Proposal, which includes the program, has been approved by the regents of the State of Wisconsin and is now waiting for approval from the governor and the legislature.

I believe that the success of the proposal is related to the fact that it explicitly discusses the need for increasing the number of females and minority populations in the pool of students that we wish to attract and educate. Our success in doing so is demonstrated by the kinds of projects that students choose to take on and produce.

The Keep Johnny out of Juvie Jail game, for example, that was developed last semester by the advanced class, was led by a woman. This summer our team of 3 females and one male, funded by an Undergraduate Research grant, produced a game to introduce Wisconsin High School students to local frogs (“I am Lonely” – the Solitary Frog’s Lament (

As female students see other females creating good work (and hopefully winning prizes for it in competitive events like the PlayExpo), I have high hopes that we will see more and stronger female enrollments and that this in turn will strengthen our GAIM (Games And Interactive Media) program.

This semester I have eight females enrolled in my Game Development: Theory and Practice course. In the eight years that I have been teaching this course, I have never had more than three. Even fewer of these were women who enjoyed playing games. Some of them had enrolled because their boyfriends were in the class or because it was the only one they could fit into their schedule. This semester the roster is completely different. So what has changed?

In the summer of 2010, I presented a paper at the Women in Games conference in Dundee, Scotland. During my presentation I pointed out that when I started teaching basic programming in my classes, females frequently dropped out. I made the point that female students seemed to opt out of technologically challenging classes and that this was a major problem in terms of increasing the diversity of my classes. The reaction from some members of the audience was quite aggressive. They thought I was ignoring societal pressures on females in this situation and actively discouraging them. Luckily T.L. Taylor stood up and calmed the waters. She suggested that I try modifying my teaching strategy so that I continued to teach difficult content, but deliver it in a way that was less likely to scare off female students.

So I did. When I start my interactive media design classes now, I state that the class will be difficult, but that if they are willing to do the work, I will provide all the help that they need to succeed. I encourage students to work together so that they can help each other when they get stuck and I set up online storage so that they can easily share files and get help directly over the Internet before an assignment is due. Perhaps the most important thing I did in my Flash classes is to create handouts where I walk students step by step through the complexities of object oriented programming and Actionscript 2.0. It is very time consuming to prepare these, but it pays off in student understanding.

The male students utilize these structures just as much as the females do. In response to these changes, student retention has shifted dramatically. My hands-on design classes are now almost 50/50 male/female and female students are staying with the program. Some of my best advanced students are now female.

The mentoring that has to be done to sustain this is very different across genders. The males tend to be much more sure of themselves (even if they don’t have a strong skill set) and willing to take risks: like accepting a project for a client who wants much more than they can deliver. They often just jump in and are willing to learn what is necessary to achieve the desired outcome. Sometimes they fail, and learn through this process as well. Many female students, conversely, constantly denigrate their own abilities and question whether or not they can accomplish what they would like to do. It is difficult to convince them to join group projects or take on difficult tasks because they are certain in advance that they will fail, and they fear failure.

In all my classes I talk about the importance of play in teaching players how to be aggressive and confident in their abilities. Play teaches us that we can get better at anything if we are willing to put the time and effort into practicing it over and over again. Play also trains us for failure. We lose at play much more often than we win. This teaches us how to lose gracefully, marshal our forces, and try again. Another way I work on building confidence in design classes is by holding group critiques for almost every assignment. Learning to critique others and accept negative critiques of our own work is part and parcel of understanding and accepting failure. It is also learning how to use failure as a way of improving and moving forward.

We also show and play games in these classes and critique them with as much seriousness as film, literature and painting are critiqued in other classes. Very often the women in the class have never played games that are very well known and very culturally significant. By taking games and other interactive media seriously in introductory classes, we are more likely to interest and retain women in the advanced ones. This semester four of the women in the Game Development class have taken the hands-on design courses. I don’t think this is a coincidence.

Poker fashion

The footballer has his shorts and cleats, the ballerina her tutu, but what about the poker player?

For many years, dress codes were very strict in this closed environment. Today, you cannot miss the excitement that surrounds the game of poker. The enthusiasm of the younger generation, the arrival of women in this environment and the new media of poker have helped change the style of dress of these enthusiasts of cards, bluffing and strategy.

Regarding look, nothing is left to chance. Here is a small description of fashion trends in the world of poker.
The appearance of a player is used to transmit a message to opponents. Dress codes will bring determination and above all the assurance of the player. If there is a random part in the game, it has no place in the fashion choices. Superstition is also often important.

Every detail is important and symbolic. Players demonstrate many fantasies, their cloth will thus be both a good luck charm, but also the way to display the look of a winner.

However, if you walk the halls of tournaments, the conclusion is final. The tendency is to want to wear jeans, a t-shirt and a hoodie. How to explain this epidemic of sportswear around the poker tables? The search for comfort of course! Spend endless hours to handle cards and chips in an optimum concentration justifies the quest for comfort clothing. A revolution codes that also adapts to modernism and changing attitudes.

Only one more detail is necessary to complete the required look. No one is armed for the battle of the blinds without his dark glasses and headphones. The glasses are an essential weapon at the table for both maintaining the mystery and concealing one’s emotions.

Now an essential accessory, we look more and more to personalize and customize it, like wearing glasses bearing the image of SpongeBob SquarePants.

The desire to stand out is overwhelming. Increasingly, we see that some players personalize their style. The neutral look becomes more extroverted, some players do not hesitate to play on the paths of all the fluff and frivolity. You will come across so few players looking like a dandy or wearing a his three-piece suit and a borsalino hat and smoking a cigar. Others display a more offbeat and whimsical style straight out as a manga in the image of Elky’s bleached hair.

Casual, elegant, provocative, whimsical, the poker player imposes his codes and style at the table. Superstition is essential in the accessories, the bluff addicts represent today more and more than the fashion addicts!

Grow Your Bankroll

poker bankrollIf you’re a poker player and looking to supplement your bankroll, poker affiliate programs are a great way to do it. Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Paul and I am a poker affiliate. I started out like pretty much everyone else involved in online poker, as a player. I would play online poker for countless hours. There were times when I would win, and then times when I would lose. Overall I was a break even player, maybe even a bit of a losing player.

Shortly after getting into playing online poker however, I discovered poker affiliate programs. This was the point in my life when I transitioned from the playing side of poker to the business side. Since then, it has been the most rewarding choice I have ever made.

Let me back up for a second and explain what a poker affiliate program is. Every online poker site has a marketing arm called an affiliate program. A poker affiliate program allows anyone in the world to earn a commission by simply sending them new players. For example, when I began promoting online poker through affiliate programs, I referred all of my friends to the various online sites I liked to play at.

A typical poker affiliate program will pay you a flat fee; usually between $75 – $150 for every player you refer. Or they will pay you a share of the rake that each player you refer contributes. Typically this percentage is between 20% – 35%.

If you want to see how many poker affiliates make money and send players, simply go to google and search for any common poker term. Click on any of the results and view the portal. Any time you see one of those pretty banners or text links that hyperlink to an online poker site, these are affiliate links. If you clicked on one of these and signed up as a real money player on the poker site, the owner of that portal you clicked from would earn a commission for referring you.

Many poker players get intimidated by affiliate programs. They feel as if they are not web designers or search engine optimizers, they will not be successful. This is far from the truth, as a poker player you can make good money and supplement your income without even owning a website. Most poker affiliate programs offer what is called a bonus code. You can simply tell your poker playing friends to use this bonus code when signing up at the site you are promoting, and when they do you will earn a commission.

Here is an example of how a poker player can earn a commission without owning a website:

Paul: Hey Andy you play online poker right?

Friend: Yea, I play at PokerStars

Paul: I signed up at Carbon Poker and have been crushing the 1-2NL games there

Friend: Really?

Paul: yea dude, you should try it out. The players are really weak and you can rail all the pro’s to since they all play there. Let me know if you sign up and what you think.

Friend: Alright cool, I’ll give it a try

Paul: Actually I have a special bonus code where you’ll get a 100% bonus on your first deposit. When you download and signup it will ask you for a bonus code, just enter “zcode” and you’ll get the bonus.

Once your friend signs up and uses your bonus code, you earn a fat commission. Yes, it’s really that simple. Most affiliate programs will pay right into your players account as well.

Although I promote online poker both offline and through multiple websites, I am proof that you can make a great full time income promoting poker affiliate programs. It is also a great way to become an entrepreneur yourself and make great money promoting a hobby you already love. If you would like to learn more about poker affiliate programs feel free to email me directly of leave of comment here.

The probe bet

probe betThe probe bet in poker, also called feeler bet, is a bet to get information about the strength of your opponents’ hands.

The feeler bet is very useful, but you have to mix it up a bit to keep people off balance. If you bet and are reraised, what do you do? They may have you on a probe bet, and are raising their own probe raise. Mix in your own probe check raise here. It can be a little more expensive, but can be fruitful too. You can catch someone on a steal. It is riskier, as they may get a free card, but you can still get off of it if you get reraised.

Your reads on your opponents are very important here. Will your opponent play any ace in any position? Will he steal on the button a lot? Will they fold to an aggressive player? You can use the probe bet a lot. But as in any move, you have to mix it up, or you are easy to read.

One problem with feeler bets is that they can suggest weakness. What this means is that the size of your bet in any given situation is critical to the success of the bet.

Bet too little and a balsy player will reraise you big whatever they hold. Bet too much and you risk putting too much in the pot without actually having a hand. And if the third player fancies his chances you may be in trouble. So you have to be careful who you bet them on.

Where you have pocket pairs and overcards it is a tough scenario but it is one in which you don’t need worry too much about someone else catching who does not have an ace. Suppose that they hold KQ, brave of them first calling a raise with this hand in a three player pot. Do not mind if they catch a card too much – the pot is still small.

These are pots that you want to win but in early levels you do not need to worry about winning the small pots. Betting is fine though but the precise size of your bet compared to your previous betting patterns is essential as to the validity of betting here. If you are against a calling station you are often best just checking here.

If you bet preflop you will often get respect from a post flop bet. If someone calls you with AJs they may fold to a big bet from you thinking you must have AQ or better. But only a solid player will do this. The problem of checking and then betting on 4th street is that this is saying loud I have second pair. Someone with Ax (x being low) will stay in a pot that they would have folded to strength. You can often bet middle position with this type of hand but equally often just check depending on your reads on the opposition and how you perceive your table image.

Probe bets are important but you have to beware of giving away more info than you are getting. Do not leave someone thinking – what if he has something and has not he priced me out of the pot.

These bets work best when they can be viewed as either a bluff or a real sign of strength as well as a feeler bet. Or if you do mock feeler bets sometimes with real hands and get to trap someone. Someone with Ax (x is low) will stay in a pot that they would have folded to strength.

Thats funny, online especially, plenty of people call down with Ax. Even if you have AK and show strength. So, sowing strength here can be as risky as checking. And more costly, again the read on your opponent is key

How safe are online casinos

Playing at casino sites online is different from participating at the brick and mortar casino’s themselves, no doubt, but one thing remains consistent for both. 

When you choose to participate in play, you are taking the risk of losing money. When playing at a live casino, it is possible to lose a large sum of cash, but when playing online you are also opening yourself up to the potential of security issues, where your information, bank and other privacy data are set and available throughout the world. 

The same concerns hold for playing casino online as hold for banking and other financial operations like shopping. Supplying information online is a risky proposition wherever you go.  It is imperative that you make sure to check out the individual privacy and security measures available on the sites you use.

Hearing the call for a need for greater security, gaming sites are now implementing the latest technology in wide security systems that the internet has to offer. These safeguards are now making it so that whatever mode of transaction you used to deposit, you must use the same way when you submit a transaction for withdrawal. Casino sites have adopted the same high-tech security measures that any financial institution would in an attempt to keep your money and transactions safe.

The best way to ensure that you are getting the safest site available is by researching the individual sites online.  There are listings available that will give you a directory of safe sites. These directories will categorize the gaming sites according to their ease of use, the options available, the value of entertainment contained, news and reviews. 

You can find the safest and easiest site available. Depending on what you are looking for and the value in the site, you will be able to search for and find it in no time. The directories also give information about customer satisfaction, winning statistics and whether the sites are regulated and audited.

Online gambling is just as dangerous as live gambling casinos in the sense that you are able to lose a significant amount of money and really get yourself into some trouble financially. If you decide to play gambling games online, make sure that you are playing on a site that is regulated and on the up and up so that your information is kept safe. 

Casino sites vary in their security implementations, their privacy and security measures, so if you are going to supply any financial information make sure that the site you choose is secure and so too will be your information.