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Poker and Las Vegas Go Together

Author: Neha Agrawal

Nothing quite evokes the image of Las Vegas as much as poker. The city is virtually the home of the game and the location of the World Series of Poker, which is worth tens of millions of dollars.

The best poker players from around the world all come to Las Vegas, not just to participate in the World Series but to play in the nightly cash games played for very high stakes inside the casinos.

The legend of Las Vegas is that the players who participate in the cash games, who don’t always get as much publicity as the poker tournament players, are actually more talented and more successful. Success in the tournaments, with their huge fields-particularly in the World Series main event-is considered to be as much a matter of luck as it is of skill. Usually, the final table at those events will include several players who have never had major success before and are often never heard from again. They just managed to ride some lucky cards to great success for a few days.

In the cash games, the players are putting up their own money for each bet and not just one entrance fee for the whole poker tournament. The best players tend to prevail. The players most noted for their tournament success rarely succeed in the big-money cash games. Many of them wisely avoid them and just concentrate on tournaments, in which there are many more rules, such as the blinds getting raised continuously. This puts more pressure on lesser players and lesser stacks, something that doesn’t happen when players are using their own money.

In cash games, it’s common for players to also make large side bets and even to bet on things that don’t have much to do with the poker hand. Some of these side bets can be worth more money than the actual hands. None of this happens in a poker tournament.

In cash games, players also can make up the rules as they go. If someone has gone all in, it’s not unusual for the players to agree to “run it” more than once. This tends to lessen the odds of a player with the better hand getting outdrawn, since it might happen once, but not more than once. Players with the lesser hand like it, too, since it gives them an extra try to get the card they need.

When playing for your own money in poker rather than for an entrance fee as in a tournament, you have to be careful. Make sure you’re not in over your head, either financially or in the competition you’re facing. The best players aren’t worried about the money they might lose in a game and unless you are in the same position, you shouldn’t be playing against those kind of players.