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Navarro says there are important verbal tells, too

Re-published courtesy of our content partner Ante Up Magazine.

Joe Navarro

You’re an expert in non-verbal behavior, but surely during your studies you’ve heard plenty of comments. With the WSOP approving table talk this year, what are some verbal cues (e.g. cracked voice, incessant chatter) you’ve discovered and what do you think they mean? — Matt Cooper, via email

That is a great question and one I hear more and more. Over the years, I’ve found people who lack confidence, people who are weak or marginal, tend to have a few vocal tells worthy of mentioning. When we are stressed, we tend to make more speech errors and our vocal chords get strained so the pitch of our voice goes up.
Ask another player a question and the cough or the need to clear their throat before answering may tell you they’re suddenly weak. Or they answer and the voice cracks or goes up an octave.

If you hear these things, chances are something is bothering the player; the question is what is it? Is it stress because they’re marginal or weak, or are they hiding their strength? That’s where betting patterns come in to help you sort that out.

What is the most common tell you see at the poker tables? — Lisa Patterson, via email.

Three tells are most prominent in poker, though more than 200 have been identified and studied. The most common one is lip compression, which just about everyone does when something is bothering them.
The next one is neck touching when something you see or hear is an issue.

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WSOP 2012 Schedule Now Out

The World Series of Poker staff has release the 2012 Schedule for your viewing pleasure.

This year's series spans May 27 through July 16, with the now standard three month break for the final 9 players of the WSOP Main Event.   This year's November 9 will be the October 9, played in two installments, on October 28 and October 30.  The planning committee wanted have the Main Event conclusion prior to the U.S. General Election, which is the first Tuesday in November.

There are 61 bracelet events this year, up from 58 in last year's series. There are also a few new interesting events, namely:

  • $3,000 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em/Pot-Limit Omaha (Event #3, Tuesday, May 29 )
  • $5,000 Mix-Max No-Limit Hold’em (Event #6, Thursday, May 31) - 9-handed Day 1, 6-Handed Day 2, and Heads Up when the field reduces to 32 players
  • $2,500 Four-Handed No-Limit Hold’em (Event #28, Thursday, June 14)
  • $1,500 Ante Only No-Limit Hold’em (Event #49, Wednesday, June 27)
  • $1,000,000 buy-in, Big One For ONE DROP (Event #55, Sunday, July 1, ESPN)

There will also be some WSOP Exhibition Events (non-bracelet) which you can read all about in the WSOP release.

Pius Heinz Wins 2011 WSOP Main Event Championship

Pius Heinz is the 2011 WSOP Main Event Champion

World Series of Poker Official Report

Pius Heinz is the 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion.

The 22-year-old professional poker player from Cologne stunned the poker world by becoming the first player in history from Germany to win poker’s most prestigious title. Heinz pulled off a masterful performance during the two-day final table session, which began on Sunday afternoon inside the Penn and Teller Theatre at the Rio in Las Vegas and ended late Tuesday night on a confetti-splattered stage accustomed to acts of magic.

With his stunning comeback victory, Heinz collected a whopping $8,715,638 in prize money – the third- highest payout for any poker champion in history. He was also presented with the game’s most coveted prize, the WSOP gold and diamond bracelet – which symbolizes poker’s supreme achievement.

The odds were stacked against Heinz from the start. First, he had to overcome the third-largest live tournament field in history, battling 6,865 players from 85 different nations who flooded into the Rio last summer in what was the first hurdle for all aspiring champions. Then, Heinz had to outlast an increasingly tougher field over the initial eight days of play, en route to inclusion in poker’s famed “November Nine” – which refers to the final nine players who ultimately make it to poker’s biggest game. Next came a nearly four-month wait during the interim between July and November, after which Heinz returned to Las Vegas hoping to write the latest chapter of poker history.

Indeed, Heinz’s biggest test was still to come. He arrived at the finale against eight formidable opponents with one of the lowest chip stacks -- ranking seventh in chips out of nine players.

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Make judges play poker for money, then see if it's luck

Re-published courtesy of our content partner Ante Up Magazine.

To poker players, predominate is a word probably not often used in their vocabulary; however, to good players “predominate” is the way they approach the game every time they play.

The famous line from Rounders echoes in the minds of these players: “If you can’t spot the sucker in the first half hour at the table, then you ARE the sucker.”

The goal of every decent player is to be able to sit at a table and assess the players, then use skill to prevail. To these players luck exists, but does not control the game at the end of the day.

If a poll was taken of every player at a table one night testing the veracity of these statements, particularly related to games of deepstack hold’em, overwhelmingly the sentiment would affirm their truth and affirm their operation as unwritten rules of the game.
So why is it courts of law across the country have such a difficulty understanding poker at its core is a game whose outcome is primarily driven by the skill of the players?

Two recent cases highlight the basic flaws in justice when poker is put on trial as to whether it is a legal game of skill or an illegal game of chance. The cases are Com. v. Dent, 992 A. 2d 190 (Pa.Super. 2010) from Pennsylvania and Three Kings Holdings, L.L.C. v. Six, 2011 WL 2279039 (Kan.App.) from Kansas.

In putting variations of Texas Hold’em on trial, these courts applied what is known as the “predominance” test to determine whether the games were legal games of skill such as bowling and golf or illegal games of chance such as slot machines and craps. The predominance test, true to the definition, is based on what dominates in determining the outcome of the game, a player’s skill or blind chance within the game.

The judges found that in bowling or golf “though chance inevitably intervenes, it’s not inherent in the game and does not overcome skill, and the player maintains the opportunity to defeat chance with superior skill.” In contrast in poker, “a skilled player may give himself a statistical advantage but is always subject to defeat at the turn of a card, an instrumentality beyond his control.” The courts found this to be “a critical difference.”

Despite the testimony from experts in statistics, psychology and poker who testified to the contrary, the judges chose to look solely at the uncertainty of the turn of a card as the dominant factor in the game, which swings the balance to make poker an illegal game predominated by chance. The result of these cases led to the barroom game in Kansas and the home games in Pennsylvania being shut down and deemed illegal.

Player frustrations with these rulings and the fallacy of the courts logic aside, keep in mind a trusted lawyer’s maxim that “you can’t beat the guy in the robe in his court room.” However, you can look for these guys at the poker tables, with their lack of understanding of the game; they will be the ones with “sucker” written across their forehead enjoy teaching them a lesson in “predominance.”

— Marc W. Dunbar represents several gaming clients before the Florida Legislature and teaches gambling and parimutuel law at the Florida State’s College of Law. Follow him on Twitter (@FLGamingWatch) or his website (

Chicago Joe: "Horeshoe Hammond Started It All"

Chicago JoeRe-published courtesy of our content partner Ante Up Magazine.

For our poker players, 08/08/08 is the most important date in Chicago’s gambling history. Why? That’s when the Horseshoe Casino opened. Just over the Illinois border next to Chicago in Hammond, Ind., the Horseshoe Casino created a world-class poker room that rivals the top rooms in the country. When opened, the Horseshoe’s 34-table poker room had twice as many tables than all of Illinois combined. For the staff, the Horseshoe assembled an extraordinary group of professionals from all parts of the country.

The Horseshoe’s $1,500 Summer Poker Tournament Series will be Aug 27.This tournament has a guaranteed $250,000 prize pool.For cash players, a Win a Seat high-card promotion will start a week before the tournament. At 6 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 3 p.m., 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. one table will be picked. Eligible players at the table will be dealt one card with the high card winning a seat to the $1,500 event.

Starting at $100,000, the Horseshoe’s bad beat is the largest in the Midwest, with quad 10s as the qualifier. Twice a month the bad beat is increased $20,000 and the qualifying hand decreasing. On July 15 the bad beat reached $160,000 and quad sevens. Last year the bad beat reached $320K when the bad beat was hit. For more details see the poker room staff or call 219-473-6065.

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