Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Inside Scoop About Poker Players in Vegas & the SF Bay Area from @BTarver

An email that is worth a post

I got this email from Bob Tarver, who looks like he should have his own poker blog! He provides some great observations from his experiences playing poker in Las Vegas and the Bay Area. If you live or plan to play in either area, you should read this post.
Thanks for your great insights! -Mitchell


I was reading your article with great interest. I had to chuckle a little bit
as you relate low limit poker in the Bay area (1-2 , 2-4 and 3-6) as "no-foldem holdem" because I have always called those foldem holdem. It didn't matter whether it was at Bay 101, Lucky Chances or Garden city, although Lucky Chances has more 3-6 holdem games than 2-4. There were so many people who thought they could watch TV and play like Gus Hanson....everyone knows that's just not possible.

Western Span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay ...Image via Wikipedia

When you hit the 6-12, 8-16 (some places have either a kill or 1/2 kill), 9-18 (Lucky Chances) level, one will find the level of players increases. I've seen more "grinders" play at those level than the lower levels, even though there are more "fish/donkeys" at the 2-4 and 3-6 level and one can really feed on them IF they have the patience. It's also a good training level to learn how to manage a bankroll and read people.

Of course what's really interesting is at the lower tournament level buy-ins (20, 40, 50 and sometime at the 100 dollar buy-ins) in the Bay Area (especially if they are re-buys) that there are many players who will "kamakaze" and play any 2 cards and rebuy at a moments notice before the first break. After that, these players will tighten considerably.

You also have to remember the difference between "ring games" in Vegas vs bay area
you'll see more grinders "off strip" (Sams Town, Orleans, Red Rock, and Green Valley Ranch) as opposed to the tourists that play at the strip casinos...although a lot of local grinders play the SnG's at the Mirage and tournaments at Caesars... although I know when necessary local grinders will play lower level 4-8 on the strip to pick up the tourists dollars.

By the time you reach the 3-100 (spread at garden city) 5-200 (spread at Bay 101) and 10-400 (spread at Bay 101) 20-40, 40-80, 80-160 limit level, one will find that "program bets" will be used to test the new players to see if they are willing to play anything "besides the

Doyle Brunson in 2006 World Series of Poker - ...Image via Wikipedia


Doyle Brunson was once quoted as saying, "You have to have a total disregard for money if you want to play this game."

Of course this is easier said than done. He also said, "sometimes you have to go out on a limb....because that's where the fruit is."

I agree with your last paragraph about being emotionally detached and understanding "risk tolerance" and playing at a level you are most comfortable (used to call that a "gulp limit"...meaning what makes you go "gulp" or makes you uneasy).

Lately I've been having good results online....hopefully I'm working on building my bankroll and getting even better results. I'll have to see about getting your new book that's online.

Anyway, always enjoy reading your blog and posts on twitter.....keep up the good work.

Bob Tarver
@BTarver on twitter

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