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Poker for Dummies - Harroch R.

Harroch R. Poker for Dummies - Wiley publishing , 2003. - 314 p.
Download (direct link): pokerfordumm2003.pdf
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The generally accepted wisdom among the punters was that Ungar — who began the day with a chip lead of almost $400,000 over Ron Stanley, his nearest competitor — would sit quietly and let others eliminate themselves before moving into the fray with guns blazing. But Ungar’s reputation was not built on passivity; it centered on two critical skills: Unrelenting aggression in suitable situations, and an uncanny ability to read his opponents and know with near certainty what cards they were playing. When Ungar was on top of his game, it almost seemed like his opponents were playing their cards face up — while his were disguised and unfathomable.
Ungar attacked early and often. His opponents frequently folded. Tournament poker differs from normal games in one very significant way: You’re not wagering money in a tournament so much as you are betting a portion of yourt total equity in the game. For Ungar, with his huge chip lead, a bet of $20,000 represented only 2 percent of the $1 million or so in chips that was stacked on the table in front of him. For the short-stacked Peter Bao, $20,000 represented ten times that amount.
No one wanted to be the first player eliminated. The sixth place finisher would receive $127,200 — not a bad payday, but substantially less than fifth place, which would be awarded $162,120. Fourth place would earn $212,000, while third place was worth $371,000. Second place paid $583,000, while the winner was slated to walk away with a cool $1 million. At each fork in the road, staying alive was a far better alternative than elimination, and survival meant avoiding a confrontation with Ungar, the chip leader.
At one point Ungar raised seven hands in a row. No one called. Was he bluffing? Of course he was — some of the time. Everyone knew that. But no one knew when. Every contestant hoped one of his opponents would be eliminated first. It didn’t matter which one. Every time someone was knocked out, the surviving players climbed another rung on the pay ladder. Ungar knew that.
Ungar’s mastery of the table seemed palpable. He was a shark among a school of fish, and he sensed blood in the water. Bao, short on chips the entire day, was the first to fall — eliminated by Judah. By 1:30 p.m. Ungar had more chips than his remaining four opponents combined.
Ungar’s biggest competitor was fellow Las Vegas pro Ron Stanley, sitting in second place. But five minutes later an incredible event took place. Stanley raised Strzemp, putting him all-in. Stanley had a pair of kings; Strzemp a pair of 10s. The flop helped no one, and Stanley was a huge favorite to win that pot. But the turn brought forth a miracle card, one of the two remaining 10s in the deck, giving Strzemp trip 10s. The river card was a blank, and Stanley stared at the table in shock. When Judah announced that he discarded a 10, Stanley knew he suffered what poker players call a bad beat. Only one card remaining in the deck could have won the hand for Strzemp and he caught it. After the flop, with two cards to come, Strzemp’s chances of catching the lone remaining 10 were less than 5 percent. He faced elimination as a 22-to-l long shot and survived!
Part III: Computers, Casinos, and Cardrooms
By 2:00 p.m. Ungar held 60 percent of all the chips in play, and his aggression showed no signs of relenting. None of his opponents appeared willing to settle for a fifth place finish, since fourth place paid $50,000 more. Fifteen minutes later the stalemate was broken when Judah’s humble pair of 2s proved strong enough to eliminate Bob Walker, who flopped four to a straight and four to a flush. But neither hand materialized, and the war of attrition claimed another victim.
Shaken from the bad beat that Strzemp administered — as well as an earlier incident when Ungar bluffed him out of a $200,000 pot and then flipped his cards face up on the table as if to show the world just what he was capable of doing — Stanley was eliminated when he ran into Strzemp’s full house. Three contestants now remained at the final table, but only for a moment. Dangerously low on chips, Judah was eliminated when he lost a pot to Ungar.
After a short break it was Ungar against Strzemp — heads-up (just two players). During the break, Jack Binion, accompanied by eight very large security guards, carried a box filled with $1 million in hundred-dollar bills to the table, to await the outcome of the final confrontation. Ten minutes later Strzemp made a big bet. Ungar deliberated for what seemed like an excessively long time. He riffled chips through his fingers. He glanced furtively at Strzemp, peering over the tops of his bright blue sunglasses, trying to read him, trying to catch any sort of sign — or tell, as poker players call it — that would provide the clue he was looking for. Suddenly he snapped erect and pushed his chips toward the center of the pot, putting Strzemp all-in. Since there could be no more betting, both players turned their hands face up. Strzemp held A-8;
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