Wooden Poker Chip Cases – Practical Advice For the Poker Enthusiast

Home poker tournaments and Texas Hold-‘Em games have been gaining increasing popularity over the last several years. Whether a seasoned poker player or a weekend warrior, most of us end up hosting our poker tournaments in the kitchen, basement, or garage due to limited space at home. I usually end up with stacks of poker chips lying around and have to organize them every time the gang comes over to play poker. Another problem is that not all of my friends have enough poker chips, and I have to transport my chips back and forth to my friend’s houses. During my travels, my expensive chips face the risk of damage or getting lost in transport.

The solution… A custom wooden poker chip case with removable chip trays! The chip case can solve a multitude of storage, organizational and transportation problems. A quality case will allow you to sort the denominations of your chips and neatly organize them. Wooden poker cases may include chip trays that can be used to protect and store your poker chips, or can be removed to stack player’s chips at the poker table. Often times, chip trays come with the poker case as a set, but can be bought separately depending on your needs. I found that walking into a poker game with your own poker chip case establishes a great impression. Further, it lets people know that I am serious about my game.

There are a multitude of poker chip cases and trays on the market, from inexpensive plastic trays to outrageously expensive sets. If you have clay chips like me, and not those cheap knock off ones from Wal-Mart, you will want to store them in a suitable case. The last thing you want to be seen lugging around are those aluminum attaché cases. In my opinion, those are not worth the shipping cost! I have found that the wooden cases look classy in any room. Many people think the poker chest is a fine cigar case or decorative storage box. The case is perfect for organizing your chips, and also provides a place for you to keep your cards and buy-in cash. This is excellent because you don’t have to worry about cards getting bent or funds vanishing from someone’s back pocket.

When choosing a wooden case, there are a variety of styles you can pick from, and if you order a custom case made to your specifications, you can choose from a variety of hard woods. You may want to consider a custom built case to house your one of a kind, collectible chips. When spending a great deal of money on collectible chips, it seems silly to display them in a plastic case. One thing to consider when choosing a wooden chip case is to specify that the finish be ‘chip friendly.’ Polyurethane or a non-soluble varnish is an ideal choice, as it does not impart any staining on your chips. Specifically, avoid any type of Oil finish such as Tung or Danish oil, as these oils can penetrate into the clay chips over time and attract even more grime.

When researching a chip case to buy, be certain that your Casino Chips are appropriately sized for the chip case. Generally speaking, the majority of chips are of the 39mm size. Large denomination chips, as well as chips based on the Paulson Inverted Hat and Cane (IHC) fractionals mold, are of the larger 43mm size, and will most likely need custom chip trays and cases. Casino Chip thickness can also impact how difficult it is too add or remove chips from a tray. As a chip begins to show signs of wear, edges may become less crisp and the chip becomes a bit thinner. Over time, chips may begin to wiggle a bit in the case.

From my experience, a wooden poker chip case adds a touch of class to any home poker game, and shows your poker friends you have an eye for style and organization.

Have You Ever Missed Winning The Lottery By Just One Number?

Picture this – You’re sitting at your computer and checking your lotto ticket numbers on the lottery’s website. First number matches. Cool. Second number matches. You’re getting somewhere. Third number matches. Nice. Fourth number matches. Wow! Fifth number matches. Oh my gosh, this could be good. Last number misses. D’oh!

Has this scenario ever happened to you? Have you ever missed winning the lottery by just one number? It’s actually not as rare as you think. This happens to thousands of people every year.

Let me give you an example of the sheer number of people that missing winning a jackpot by just one number. In Canada, the most popular game is Lotto 649. To win the jackpot, you have to match 6-out-of-6 numbers. On any given draw, it’s normal that no-one wins the jackpot. Sometimes one person wins the jackpot, sometimes two. But do you want to know how many people get 5-out-of-6-numbers? It’s usually anywhere from 50 to 100 people. Lotto 549 is played twice a week in Canada and that means, in any given year, about 5000 to 10,000 people in the country miss winning the lottery by just one number. that’s a lot of people.

It’s not just in Canada that so many people get close to winning the jackpot without actually winning it. For example, in Florida, it’s common that about 20 people get 5-out-of-6 numbers in the Florida Lotto each draw. Florida Lotto is drawn twice a week, so we’re looking at more than 4000 Floridians getting close to winning the lottery every year. And that’s just one game in one state. Imagine what the number would be if we counted all the close-calls in all of the states.

That’s why I’m writing this today – If this close-call phenomenon has ever happened to you, you should know that you are not alone. It happens to far more people than you can imagine.

Some people are more than happy to match 5-out-of-6 numbers in the lotto. After all, matching that many numbers usually results in a prize of a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. That’s money in your pocket that you didn’t have prior to the win. Other people, however, are not happy about. After all, they were just one number away from winning a life-changing amount of money, perhaps millions of dollars. What do you think? Would you be happy about being one number short of a jackpot?

Poker Strategy – Detecting and Setting Traps

One of the less understood poker strategies is that of trapping. When playing poker, how many times have you been trapped by a more experienced or tricky player? We all fall into these traps from time to time… but why? How can we detect traps and avoid them? This article delves into poker strategy keys for setting traps, and detecting them.

First, what is a trap? A trap play is where an opponent with a strong hand represents weakness, luring their opponent into overplaying their hand. For example, I hit a nut flush (Ace-high flush) on the flop. I have the best hand at the table now, unless the board pairs (such that someone could pull a boat or four of a kind – not likely).

So, instead of betting it big, I might throw out a smaller bet or even check it (slowplay). Another player holding big slick (A-K) pairs up with an Ace on the flop, thinking he’s got the best hand so far. Another player has a small pair (e.g., 4’s) and picks up a set on the flop (assuming flop was something like 4-A-J).

Now, had I bet really big or raised back too early, the player holding the Ace would realize he’s trouble and the small pair would’ve likely folded pre-flop. Since I just checked it down, no reason to be afraid of me, since I’m obviously on some kind of a draw…

The person with the three of a kind (the 4’s) tosses out a bet of 4 times the blind. The guy with Aces calls it. After delaying slightly, I go ahead and also call it (why not, I’m getting decent enough pot odds).

So, I’m trapping them both at this point, letting them bet into me and just calling their bets. The same thing happens again on the turn, except the player with Aces drops out.

Now it’s just me and the set of 4’s. They bet big again, this time the size of the pot. Again, after a slight pause, I just call them “reluctantly”. Then comes the river, and they go all-in.

I immediately call them…oops! They’re sunk! What happened here?

These players never asked themselves two simple questions:

1) Why is he calling that raised pot (on the flop and turn)?

2) What hands might he be holding? What could he be

up to by calling my bets like that? Trapping? On a draw?

It’s crucially important to THINK before you ACT by understanding what the other players are actually doing. It’s also very important not to underestimate your competition, as there are some very wily players out there…

There’s a potential flush showing on this flop, and since I’m kind of “lurking” in this hand, it’s very suspicious behavior, and unlikely I’m on a draw calling those kind of big bets.

Unless you’re playing against a beginner or a drunk, there’s no reason to believe someone will likely call a raise that’s 4 times the big blind on a draw. That’s the first mistake – assuming another player has no hand and not realizing why they’re behaving as they are.

Second, the board is showing a possible flush – and both of these players aren’t holding it! Just because I didn’t bet on the flop does not mean I don’t have it!

Had either of these players slowed down and considered my betting (calling) behavior, and asked themselves these questions, they’d probably have realized what was going on. Whether the player with the set of 4’s could fold them is another story 🙂

Aside from a trap, what else could have kept me in this hand?

Traps aren’t easy to detect. When a good player calls a big bet, there’s a better than average chance they are trapping! You’ll also often see them delay for an unusually long time, as if they’re struggling to make a decision about calling your hand, then either call you, raise or go all-in. If this is indeed a good player, you now know almost for certain you’re being trapped (call) or warned (raise/all-in). If you don’t have the top hand at this point, you’re probably beaten.

This lengthy delay can be a great “tell” for traps and detecting strong hands, and is one you should learn to recognize. The delay is an attempt to make you believe they’re “struggling” to make their decision – do the opposite of what your opponents want you to do when there’s an obvious tell like this one.

Good players don’t usually call bets – they usually raise/re-raise with strength or fold. They don’t often waste their money on draws, so if they’re lurking in there with you, it almost certain it’s not out of curiosity…

If you aren’t spending twice as much time thinking about what your opponent’s hand might be, based upon their betting (calling) pattern and position and play history, you should be.

Your own hand strength is quickly and easily determined. Spend more time on your opponents, learning to read their normal betting patterns and skill level, then when they do something that doesn’t match their normal pattern, slow down and ask yourself why.

I hope this helps you become a better trapper (and avoid falling in yourself 🙂

Rick

Sharpen Your Poker Game With Brainwave Entrainment Music

Years ago, I played in a Friday night all girls poker game. Naturally, the radio played non-stop Top 40 tunes. And, all of my opponents talked in their obvious ‘a guy is around’ girl talk. It was absolutely the most fun I have ever had playing poker. Except for one problem, I never won. I guess that is why they kept inviting me back. I really was trying to win. Really. But, what guy can think about poker while surrounded by all of those distractions?

Whether we are at home or in the casino, the poker scene is usually the same. One distraction after another. In fact, most of our lives are spent in a state of distraction. I am distracted right now. Let’s see: I am writing this article, worrying about my email backlog, thinking about bills to pay and errands to run, there is some loud noise outside, and I am munching on a snack while the coffee is brewing. My mind is literally awhirl with all sorts of unrelated thoughts competing for center stage.

In this age of multitasking, one might think that they are being more productive when they tackle several tasks at once. But more than likely, they are not. Even today, the human brain is still only capable of thinking about one thing at a time. Should I repeat? Your mind can focus on only one thing at a time. If your thinking is scattered, then you are ultimately less productive.

When we are in our usual wide awake, active mental state, known as Beta, we are typically in a state of continuous distraction. This is also, usually, the state of mind we are in when we play poker. See the problem?

The cocktail waitress, the TV, the dog, the loudmouth – they really are not conducive to achieving peak mental poker performance. After all, poker is a mental sport. So, how can we possibly maintain the level of focus required for peak mental performance with all of those distractions bombarding us?

If you were tied for first place in the last leg of a marathon, none of those kinds of distractive thoughts would be allowed to enter your mind. If they did, you would not be tied for first for long. Why then, do we allow distractions to enter our minds at the poker table? Perhaps, there is a real simple answer – we do not know how to block them out. There are many methods for blocking distraction in order to achieve focused concentration. This article is about one called brainwave entrainment music.

Ideally, If we could induce the right amount or mix of Alpha (intuitive), or Theta (relaxed) brainwaves while we play poker, then we could block the distractions. Because, these are the brainwave states of higher concentration. We all know the importance of playing while relaxed, playing intuitively, and maintaining focus. Don’t we wish we could summon and maintain this state of mind every time we play poker?

Some music, especially that with lyrics, can be terribly distracting. While, some music can actually induce concentration. The right music can do wonders for your poker game. If you are unfamiliar with the role that music can play in concentration, then hang on. This could be as big an eye opener for you as it was for me.

Everyone is unique, so I am not going to attempt to lay down a preferred, standard music list. And, even though this is a discussion about what works for me, we all appreciate that everyones’ brains are each wired differently. So, what works for me may not work for you, and vice versa. But, this information will give you something new to think about.

The most successful forms of music for me are a few Classical, and a few New Age selections. They remarkably improve my concentration while playing poker. I have loaded the respective CD’s unto my MP3, and play them continuously during a game, online or offline. Several of the New Age selections are designed by their composers to induce certain mental states, such as increased creativity, or relaxation, or focused concentration. The process of inducing these mental states is known as brainwave entrainment.

The best brainwave entrainment effect is obtained by listening with a headset. Distractions will tend to fade away, ushering in a much desired state of focused concentration. Load your MP3 and you can use this type of music while playing live or on-line. For an effective mental prep, I will even listen while driving to a game. Then, when I arrive at the game, my poker mind is ready for ignition.

Awhile back, I played a lot of limit hold’em in a casino. My standards for play and bankroll management were rigid. This required a great deal of concentration, especially with some sessions lasting ten hours and longer. Distractions simply could not be permitted, but it was near impossible to maintain the level of focus that was needed.

Then, I discovered brainwave entrainment music. My MP3 was loaded and played my favorite selections continuously, hour after hour. I quickly learned to carry lots of extra batteries in my pocket. In the months to follow, the dealers came to know me well. They began to call me the player who never lost.

The effect of brainwave entrainment music on my concentration is simply amazing. There is no other technique that I can employ, while actually playing, that helps as well to achieve and maintain my ‘A’ game. I am certain that you will have the same experience.