A short history of poker

Poker is played in casinos, kitchen, tents, parks, trains and just about anywhere else that humans can be found. Yet for such a widespread game it’s something of a surprise that we know so little about the origins of poker. Thinking of poker one is inclined to think of American cowboys sitting round drinking whiskey and betting on hands in smoky, dust-covered saloons. That may not be too far from the truth but it’s certainly on a small part of the story.

Poker was for a long time thought to be derived from the Persian game As-Nas, though this belief has in the last twenty or thirty years come into dispute amongst game historians. We know of an Irish game called ‘Poca’, from the Irish word for ‘pocket’, we also know of a German game called ‘Pochen’ (which roughly translated means ‘to bluff’) and of a French game called ‘poque’. All these games most certainly sound quite similar to the name poker but as yet we have not got the proof one way or another as to know if they are indeed related. What is widely believed to be truth however is the fact that the game of poker is related to the games of primer and brelan, from Italy and France respectively, both from about the mid 1400s.

Regardless of what it proved, it is widely believed that both French language and culture have had an undeniable impact on the game. The word ante, the term for the bet placed before the cards are dealt, is itself a French word, and the game mostly likely originated in the Mississippi Delta, a region with strong French influence and a place with French as a lingua franca when the game was first developed in the 1700s. This makes it marginally more likely that the game has French ancestry, though this is still a hotly disputed topics amongst experts.

What is known is that by the 1800s poker had spread up and down the Mississippi River. When one considers how well known it is today and in so many parts of the world and online, it is strange to realise that this spread happened very recently. Although, from another point of view one might consider it interesting that it took nearly a century to spread along the Mississippi and only another two centuries to spread round the entire world.

In 1970 the first ever World Series of Poker was held. This event sparked in increase in the interest of poker and it started spreading through casinos in the United States. However, it wasn’t until 2000 and the advent of online casinos that poker started seeping into mainstream culture where it has found itself what seems to be a permanent home.

Improving your betting talent — a few things to keep in mind

1. Have (and maintain) a realistic budget. One of the biggest mistakes so many people make is placing a small bet here and popping down a casual bet over there and before they know it they’re suddenly very thankful for the abolishment of debtors’ prisons and the poorhouse. Betting like that can be dangerous. If you want to make money with sports betting, you’ll need to be consequent in your actions. Create a budget and stick to it. If you lose it all on the first game, maybe consider another hobby.
2. Closely monitor your success rate. If you lost all your bets on any given Sunday or during the first round of a tournament, try not to get upset but rather analyse your mistakes. Why did yours teams lose? What led you to believe they would win? Were you placing a sentimental bet? Did you have a few too many drinks before you placed your bet? Was weather a factor that had an outcome on the game? It’s extremely crucial to understand what you’re doing wrong and what you’re doing right so you can repeat your successes and avoid repeating your failures.
3. Understand the gambling industry. There’s more to betting than sports. Like everything else it’s an industry with its own subtleties and whoever understands them best will be able to make the most money from gambling. Yes, you have to understand the sport intimately, but you also need to understand what’s going on at the casinos and the bookies.. Knowing about how bookies and how casinos make their money can be the difference between an amateur and a professional..
4. Don’t bet without a reason. If someone asks you why you chose to bet on a certain team, you need to be able to give them an answer without coming up with on on the spot. Think about why you are betting and why you are betting on that specific team. Be sure to justify your bets with data.
5. Keep betting on whatever it is that you know. Maybe your new American mate absolutely adores baseball or you became totally enamoured of wrestling on your trip through Mongolia, but if you don’t know the sport in and out then don’t bet on it! It’s best to stick to what you know because you’ll be able to appreciate subtle nuisances to the sport that you may not understand if you’re watching ice hockey. You need to know what you’re betting on because you start putting money on a team.
6. Never place your bet when you’re drunk. Sure we all like having a couple of drinks before the game, but make sure you’re in the right headspace when you’re putting your money where your mouth is. And always remember to place your bets before you tie one on.

Arizona Wildcats vs Stanford Cardinal

This has the makings of a high-scoring affair as the Arizona Wildcats (3-1) play the Stanford Cardinal (3-1). A player to watch in this matchup is the Pac-12’s top rusher, Nick Wilson (570 yards, 5 TDs). It will begin Saturday, Oct 3 at 10:30 p.m. ET and can be seen on PACN.

Stanford beat Oregon State 42-24 last week. Austin Hooper had a good game in the win, totaling two receptions for 50 yards and one TD. Michael Rector finished with 58 receiving yards and a TD on two receptions. Arizona didn’t have the same success as Stanford, losing big to UCLA 56-30. Nate Phillips had a solid outing for the Wildcats, totaling two receptions for 37 yards and one TD. Jared Baker added 58 rushing yards and a TD on 10 attempts.

The odds are even for this game and the Over/Under (O/U) is presently unavailable.

Heading into Week 5 of the college football season, the Cardinal are 3-1 for both Straight Up (SU) and Against The Spread (ATS). A major reason for success this season is the Stanford passing game, where they average 14.7 yards per pass. Transitioning to the Stanford defense, there are a few things to keep in mind when it is on the field. The Stanford defense will be looking to dominate the passing game when it matches up against the Wildcats, who only average 10.9 yards per attempt. Stanford can top most teams in terms of time of possession. The Cardinal have an average time of possession of 34:26 per game for ninth-highest in the nation.

On the other side, the Wildcats have 3-1 SU and 2-2 ATS records this season. Yellow flags are typically a rare sight when the Wildcats are playing. They average the 25th-fewest penalties in the nation with five per game.

Predictions: SU Winner – Arizona, ATS Winner – Arizona

Arizona is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games.

Arizona is 14-5 SU in its last 19 games.

The total has gone OVER in 5 of Arizona’s last 5 games.

Arizona is 5-2 SU in its last 7 games on the road.

The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Arizona’s last 7 games on the road.

The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Arizona’s last 9 games when playing Stanford.

Arizona is 1-5 SU in its last 6 games when playing Stanford.

Arizona is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 games when playing Stanford.

Arizona is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Stanford.

The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Arizona’s last 6 games when playing on the road against Stanford.

Each team is 3-0 SU when carrying a lead into the fourth quarter.

Based on overall FBS ratings, Stanford holds the upper hand in the passing game. Its passing attack (ranked 61st in the country) will face the 96th-ranked pass defense of Arizona, while its 51st-ranked pass defense will look to limit the 71st-ranked passing game of the Wildcats.

The Stanford rushing attack is ranked 62nd nationally, while the Arizona run defense is only ranked 66th. The Wildcats running game is ranked fifth, compared to the 41st-ranked rush defense of the Cardinal.

2015 NFC East Odds and Predictions

The Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles are co-favorites to win the NFC East in 2015. The division has been one of the most competitive in the NFL in recent seasons as each of the four teams has won the division in each of the past four years. The Cowboys and Eagles are listed at odds of 6-5 with the New York Giants the third choice in the NFL betting at odds of 4-1 while the Washington Redskins are longshots with odds of 23-1. Let’s look at the 2015 NFC East odds and NFC East predictions.

2015 NFC East Odds

Dallas Cowboys 6-5

Philadelphia Eagles 6-5

New York Giants 4-1

Washington Redskins 23-1

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys won 12 games a year ago thanks to a balanced offense led by quarterback Tony Romo and running back DeMarco Murray. The offense likely won’t be as good this season as Murray is now in Philadelphia. The Cowboys are hoping that someone steps up to take the running back job whether it is Joseph Randall or Darren McFadden. Romo and wide receiver Dez Bryant may have to do more in 2015 if this offense is to thrive. The defense for Dallas was solid a year ago but there are concerns in the secondary and in this division any weakness in the secondary will be exploited.

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles have a new starting quarterback in Sam Bradford who if he stays healthy could put up big numbers. Head coach Chip Kelly runs a fast-paced offense that should be even better with the addition of DeMarco Murray. The Eagles also added Ryan Mathews and they have an exciting rookie receiver in Nelson Agholor. The defense will never be great for Philly because they are on the field all the time but this year’s defense should be improved with the addition of cornerbacks Byron Maxwell and Walter Thurmond.

New York Giants

The Giants started last season awful but down the stretch they were really good thanks to the heroics of Odell Beckham Jr. If Beckham can have another great season then the Giants should score plenty of points as quarterback Eli Manning will get wide receiver Victor Cruz back to help out Beckham. The Giants added Shane Vereen to what was already a strong backfield led by Rashad Jennings. The defense for the Giants is a concern but perhaps new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo can work his magic and improve the defense enough for New York to make the playoffs. If not, this will likely be the last season for Tom Coughlin as head coach of the Giants.

Washington Redskins

The Redskins are simply a dumpster fire under owner Daniel Snyder. They have all kinds of problems from the top down with a head coach in Jay Gruden who has no clue and a quarterback in Robert Griffin III who can’t read defenses. The offense does have some good players around RGIII like Alfred Morris and DeSean Jackson but unless the Redskins go with Colt McCoy or Kirk Cousins at quarterback they are destined to fail. It doesn’t help that the defense is weak.

2015 Regular Season Win Totals

Dallas Cowboys 9.5 under -125
Philadelphia Eagles 9.5 over -115
New York Giants 8 under -135
Washington Redskins 6 over -160

2015 NFC East Predictions

1. Philadelphia Eagles
2. New York Giants
3. Dallas Cowboys
4. Washington Redskins

The Difference between a “Good” Poker Player and a Winning Poker Player


I’m pretty sure you noticed the title already and I’m also sure that you have a lot of questions about it. First question would probably be “…what’s the real difference between a “good” poker player and a winning poker player?” Well, based on my experience, a “good” poker player is someone who understands the rules and the technicalities of the game. They understand how to have fun while playing the game. Meanwhile, being a “winning player” means leaving the table with a good amount of winnings most of the time. So if you’ve experienced winning poker majority of the time, then you’re a winning poker player.

Don’t be surprised though; not all good poker players are winning poker players.

Sure, a good poker player may have the capacity to enjoy a good game of poker, but that does not mean that he or she will win the game. What if someone decides to do an underhanded poker trick and no one notices it? Sure enough, the “good” poker player loses while the trickster becomes a winning player, depending if no one has noticed the tricks he/she has been using.
So here’s a question that I’d like to ask you all: would you rather be a good poker player or a winning poker player?

0823-Poker-630x420I once asked this towards a bunch of friends while we were all playing a friendly round of low-stakes poker. Of course, majority of the players wanted to be winning poker players. Who wouldn’t, right? Grabbing your first millions while playing poker inside a casino is enough to convince anyone that winning at high-stakes poker is the best. However, there were also a good number of friends in the table who would rather choose to be good poker players. One of their reasons being that poker is a recreational game for them and is not exactly a lifestyle option that they’d want to look into.

The art of playing poker is meant to be for enjoyment. Sure, there’s a little gambling on the side, but it has evolved from being a simple card game where everyone can have fun and enjoy each other’s company to a multi-billion industry that has changed cities and countries because of the gambling industry. Take a look at Las Vegas, Nevada; what used to be a lifeless, watering hole in the middle of the desert is now the gambling and tourist capital of the United States.

Finally, someone asked if you can become a winning player even if you’re not a good player. This question should be taken seriously though. I’ve known enough people to have tried to cheat their way during a poker game and it never ends well. Being a winning poker player is different from being a greedy poker player, so if your aim is to make a lot of money by playing high-stakes poker, then you should consider it very carefully. Maybe you’ll have a bigger chance once you’ve become a good poker player first before everything else.