04/20/97 EDITORIAL SPRING 1997
Show me the moneeey!
By Michael Dalton
I ‘ve been keeping accurate records of my blackjack play for 10 years now. I’ve also kept track of my poker play for about 5 years as well. I’m significantly ahead in blackjack and I am confident of my expected win in this game. Poker, on the other hand, is another story! I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no poker expert, let alone a great player. To this day, I know I can hold my own in average poker games but overall I have a lot of catching up to do — mainly because of bad judgment and playing in poor games.
I started to play poker about 5 years ago after studying all of the good books and being personally instructed by my good friend and poker expert Yancy Howard. You will remember Yancy Howard as the author of the Blackjack Vs Poker series in past issues of Blackjack Review.
Theoretically, the casino games of blackjack and poker can both be taken advantage of by skilled players. However, I have found very few similarities between the two games. Blackjack is a very mathematical game. There are precise strategies that you must learn and use to beat the dealer. Yes, you occasionally have to “mix-it-up”, as they say in poker, but for the most part to make money in blackjack, you simply have to get the money on the table when you have the edge.
There are many poker game variations. I can confidently say that I am not as good a player at low-ball as I am at hold-em. Put me in a short handed hold-em game, however, and I can kiss my money good-bye as well.
Learning how to play poker well has been one of the hardest experiences of my life. Beating blackjack was easy compared to the skills required to beat other solid poker players. The most important lesson I have learned in the last five years playing poker is the art of humility — that is, a good player needs to know his limitations.
Whenever I enter a poker game, I now say to myself that I may not be the best player in this game. Hell, I may be the worst player in the game. The trick to winning at poker is finding games where you have the upper hand and getting out of games when you find you are fish bait.
I’ll be in Las Vegas next month. I am already anticipating playing blackjack in my favorite casinos and giving them a run for the money. However, I am going to use caution if I play poker — especially the 10-15-20 variety games — because those are the games the locals survive on. And those are the games I’ve consistently gotten beat at in the past.