Review: The No B.S. Guide to Winning Online No-Limit Texas Hold’em

A couple of weeks ago I read a book that has greatly improved my online poker game, and I want to recommend it. I downloaded the Kindle version of  The No B.S. Guide to Winning Online No Limit Texas Hold’em, but it’s available in print format too. Compared to most books about poker, it’s not cheap – almost $30 for print edition or $25 for Kindle edition – but if you play real-money poker online, you’ll make that amount back quickly as you apply what you learn.

Among the things author Chris Wilcox talks about:

  • Why “play money” sites are not a good way to learn to play proper poker
  • Why Sit’n’Go one-table tournaments are a good and inexpensive way to learn to play poker, as opposed to cash ring games which is where most players start
  • Hands that Internet players will commonly play that usually would be folded in real poker rooms
  • Online poker tells
  • Sizing your bets properly when you want someone to call, and when you want them to fold
  • The importance of having a good kicker to support your top pair
  • How your strategy should change in Sit’n’Go tournaments in early stage, middle stage, on the bubble, and once you’re in the money and trying to win it all
  • How to play when you’re at the end of the tournament and you’re heads-up with one other player
  • The importance of taking notes on your competition
  • The importance of watching the other people at the table play hands out when you have folded – this is how you develop an intuition about putting people on particular hands
  • How to play particular starting hands:  Pocket rockets, other pocket pairs, suited connectors, Big Slick, rag aces
  • Best times to attempt a bluff
  • Pot odds
  • Cash ring game strategy and how it differs from tournaments

Prior to reading this book, I’d made it into the money in Sit’n’Go tournaments, but I’d never come in first in one, because I didn’t understand how to play heads up.  This book corrected my mistakes there – it made me realize that you simply can’t wait for good cards to start betting and raising.  Within a week of reading this book I won three single-table tournaments.

It’s also improved my play in other stages of tournaments – I think I would have finished in the money in the 180-player tournament I played Thursday night without this book, but I probably would have finished somewhere between 10th and 18th and had $8 to show for my $4.40 buy-in.  Thanks to strategies in this book, I got to 5th and left the table with $46.80 – quite a difference in the cash payout.

This book has already paid for itself and has made me a much more confident player.  If you play real-money poker online, this is a good investment.

Here’s the link to buy it on Amazon: The No B.S. Guide to Winning Online No Limit Texas Hold’em

Fri update: Facebook pics, Lennon glass, Broad Avenue art walk, football

Looks like a short post today… I posted 4 times between 10 and midnight last night, so that took care of most of the news.

Republic Nightclub is offering professionally-shot Facebook profile pics this Saturday night. As you can tell from the profile pic on my blog (which is also my pic on Facebook, Twitter, and BrightKite), having a good profile pic is of paramount importance. If you can’t get your Facebook pic to look quite right, this is a chance to get professional help.

Next Wednesday night is John Lennon glass night at the Flying Saucer. This one appears to be a take-off on the 1973 photo of John wearing a sleeveless “New York City” shirt. They go on sale at 7 PM, and they usually run out by 7:30, so if you want one, you better show up on time. Not a bad idea to tell your waitress/bartender you want one about 10 minutes in advance. Note that they’ve fixed their clocks, so Saucer 7:00 actually occurs at 7:00 now, not 6:52. If you’re a UFO member you should have received an “Important Beer Goddess Video” in your e-mail. You can see what the glass looks like and there’s a quiz at the end good for a $5 gift certificate, redeemable this weekend.

The Broad Avenue art walk is tonight from 6 to 9. It’s sort of their version of the South Main Trolley Art Tour, minus the trolley, and is a good time. Broad is just north of Sam Cooper Blvd. Turn east onto Broad from Hollywood and you’ll see the art galleries about 2 blocks down the street.

Let’s see how football is looking tomorrow… Memphis at UCF at 2:30. Go Tigers! #21 Ole Miss (what a fall from the Top 5 last week, huh?) at Vandy. Go Vandy! Texas A&M vs. Arkansas at a neutral location at 6:30. Go Hogs! Auburn at Tennessee at 6:45. Go Tigers! Dammit I kinda don’t like it that the Tennessee and Arkansas games are on at the same time, because the Saucer will probably put the Tennessee game on most of the TVs.

A few more hours and it’s the weekend… no idea what I’ll get into tonight… suggestions or ideas, let me know.

New site launches; also, TV show this Sunday

The CCC finally launched their new and improved site this evening.  It’s much more interactive than the old one, and information is much easier to find.  There are pics, videos, blogs and tweets in addition to stuff that was there before like event listings and news.  Check it out here.

A little bonus information about… last night at the Best of Memphis party, I ran into “That Other Downtown Guy,” Lee Warren, and he told me that there will be a Downtown TV show on Channel 5 Sunday at 12:30 PM.  Apparently I’m in it too, in a segment on Paula & Raiford’s Disco.  Oh goody… I always look so good on CCC-sponsored TV shows, and yes, I’m saying that with complete sarcasm.  I’ll never forget when they interviewed me at an Mpact Memphis party after I’d had TWELVE margaritas.  Wow that was a long time ago… early 2005 I think.  Time for me to make a fool of myself on TV again.

All right… I have more to write about but I’m getting tired.  I need to review a book on wrestling.  I need to review a book on poker.  Who knows what else I’ll find to write about.  But I’ll write about it tomorrow.  Time for bed!

Robert Graham trunk show at Lansky at the Peabody Saturday

Lansky, the men’s clothing store in the Peabody, is having a trunk show to debut the new Fall line of Robert Graham sport shirts this Saturday, October 3, from 11 AM to 3 PM.  Their Robert Graham sales rep will be on hand to answer questions.  There’s complimentary parking in the Peabody Place garage, and they’re offering a free gift with purchase.

If you’re not familiar with Robert Graham shirts, you can see what they look like here.  They are beautiful and well-made shirts that make you look like a rock star.  They are absolutely the best line of sport shirts I’ve ever seen.

In addition to the Fall line, they’ll be showing shirts from their Holiday and Spring lines, and you’ll be able to pre-order them.

Funny thing – I already had planned to go to the trunk show, and I had it starred in Gmail as one of the items I wanted to mention in my “Friday update” morning or lunchtime post.  Well, while I was playing the poker tournament tonight, I got an e-mail from Lansky.  You remember how I said I got another piece of good news, besides my cash prize from the tournament?  “We want to reward you with a Robert Graham sportshirt for winning Best Local Blogger,” they wrote.  “We know how you love them.”  WOOOHOOO!  That and the PBR hoodie within two weeks of each other… I’m gettin’ a wardrobe makeover here!  Some days it’s good to be a blogger.

I’m not done yet… fourth post of the evening still to come…

The proposed single-beer sale ban in Downtown Memphis

I’ve been so busy blogging the Best of Memphis stuff the past day that I’ve ignored a top Downtown news story – there’s a proposed ban on the sale of single-serve beers Downtown.  The affected area would be from Mill to Vance, so it would include Uptown and the core but not South Main.  Beale Street would be excluded, as would sales for on-site consumption.

The reason for the proposed ordinance has to do with the behavior of aggressive panhandlers Downtown.  They’ve been known to panhandle until they get enough to afford a tall-boy can or quart bottle of beer, then they go to Jack’s and buy one.  Then they hang out in public areas, especially Court Square, consuming their purchases, where they proceed to loudly argue with other panhandlers, intimidate passersby, use profanity, urinate in public, etc.  Cutting off the beer sales will cut off the fuel to their bad behavior, and will give them less reason to want to hang out Downtown all day.

I see both sides of this.  On the one hand, the aggressive panhandlers are a big problem, and cutting off their beer is a big step toward cleaning up Downtown.  I have no doubt it will help a lot.  We’ve already had a major win this past month with the police camera that has been installed in Court Square, complete with blue lights.  I didn’t get to go to the CCC’s Safety Task Force meeting yesterday, but I’ve been told that it was said that the camera is a huge success – the panhandlers and vagrants who hang out at Court Square have either left the park or have been on their best behavior.  The colonel who commands the Downtown precinct said he’s been thrilled lately to pass by and see citizens enjoying the park eating lunch outside, free from harassment.  That camera makes Court Square undesirable for the bums, and the ban of single beer sales will make it even less so.

On the other hand, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in Jack’s at 8 or 9 in the morning buying my wake-up Mountain Dew, when someone who had just gotten off third shift stopped in for a single beer on his way home.  I hate it that the workin’ man will no longer be able to get his go-home beer after a long day.  It’s easy for us to sit on our rooftops drinking our martinis and cosmos and whatever, and forget that the workin’ man is part of Downtown too.  It’s like punishing everyone for the bad actions of a few.  It’s easy for us to sit in the Saucer and watch TV and look at the girls and run up $25 bar tabs and overlook the fact that, that 24 oz. can of beer is to the workin’ man what our time at the Saucer is to us (or Bardog, Silly Goose or insert your favorite bar’s name here).

I don’t know… I won’t be sorry if the ordinance passes, because we’re so close to cleaning up the problems Downtown with aggressive panhandling, and this is a major step.  I can’t say I’m a hundred percent in favor of it though.

Another thing – even if we ban single-serve beer sales, we still have that blasted liquor stores on Madison near Main (CeCe’s) that caters to bums with sales of 50 ml bottles of cheap liquor, as well as bum wines like Wild Irish Rose.  Until something is done about that store, there will still be problems with public drinking in the Downtown core.

Anyway, that’s my take on it.  I doubt it’s exactly what the other people leading the fight against aggressive panhandling hoped I’d say, but the day I stop shooting straight is the day I give up this blog.

A good night so far…

I thought about going to the poker tournament at Calhoun’s tonight, but when I saw rain moving this way on the radar, I decided against it.  “I’ll stay home and play on PokerStars instead,” I thought.  “Maybe I’ll win more than the $15 gift certificate I could possibly win at Calhoun’s.”

Turned out to be a good call.  I paid $4.40 to buy into a 180-person tournament about 6:30 PM.  Three hours later I found myself at the final table, and although I was nearly busted by that point, I managed to fight my way back to finish in 5th place.  That netted me a payoff of $46.80.

Too late to buy into another tournament, so I’m going to get some blog posts done.  I got another piece of good news tonight too.  More to come…

Pics: Memphis Flyer Best of Memphis 2009 party

Yesterday I mentioned that I’d have to miss the Rendezvous alley party with the Dempseys and Soul Shockers, but I had a good reason… well, now I can reveal that reason.  I was invited to the Memphis Flyer’s 2009 Best of Memphis party at Minglewood Hall.  When the Best Of issue came out yesterday, I learned that I had won first place in the Best Local Blogger category.

A huge thank you to everyone who voted for me, and to those who check this blog regularly and find it useful.  I truly enjoy writing for all of you.  I wouldn’t win if I didn’t have such interesting subject matter – a great Downtown neighborhood and great friends.

Between my win for the blog, Michele from Calhoun’s second place in the Best Server category, and Mikey’s status as a former Flyer employee, we were able to get quite a few of the gang in.  Here are a few pics.


Chuck, Robin, and Otto.  Happy birthday Robin!


Harmony and me


Mikey, Harmony, Dave, and Ryan, with a cameo appearance by Otto


Jean from Bardog Tavern took third place for Best Server.  Bardog also took first place for Best New Bar.  Hey, you know what I don’t see on that dress?  Straps.  TUBE TOP DRESS!  “Looks best in a tube top” could be the best category the Flyer left out.


Michele from Calhoun’s, second place Best Server.


David from Bardog, looking snazzy in a suit.


Shane uses interpretive dance to explain the meaning of the Best Of party.

The venue was fantastic.  It was my first time in Minglewood Hall, and the bands sounded great no matter where I stood in their large room.  A first-class facility all the way.  Congratulations for their first-place in Best Place to See Live Music, and for all they’ve accomplished in their first year.

Then there was the FOOD!  Chicken and pineapple skewers from Huey’s, BBQ from Corky’s, sushi from Bluefin, fried green tomatoes from the Cupboard, some really delicious dry-rub hot wings from Central BBQ, some coconut shrimp that were really good but I can’t remember where they came from, and many more food vendors who catered the party.

Oh – speaking of which – I’m sure everyone’s wondering, “Free food… did the Nuh-Uh Girl show up?”  No, due to poor wristband management on our part.  The Flyer really cracked down on freeloaders this year… you had to be an invited guest to get in.  I had an extra wristband, but thought that birthday girl Robin needed it.  Once at the party, I found out she already had one.  There was another extra wristband as well.  So the Nuh-Uh Girl could have got in and enjoyed free food.  But she didn’t.  Too bad.  She actually kinda did deserve to be there – as much as she tweets and talks about Memphis restaurants and charity events, she really is sort of a stimulus to the economy.

About 9:30, the beer ran out, and not surprisingly, the party wound down about 9:31.  Otto was our designated driver.  “Want me to drive you home?” he said.

“Yeah, but not the home where I sleep and pay rent.  The home where I drink beer.”  So Otto dropped me off at the Saucer, where I hung out for about an hour more.  A tip of the hat to night shift bartenders Brionne, Graycen, and Whitney – out of everyone working the bar last night, they stood out for providing particularly excellent service.

When I get time, I’m going to post about the winners in some of the Best Of categories and compare to my votes.  There were some categories where the voters nailed it, and others where I thought “WTF” when I read the winners – not so much because of who was there, but who wasn’t.  That will be an extremely long post, so it will probably be Saturday or Sunday before I have time to type it.

All right.  Back to work.  Not sure what my after-work plans will be.