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Blackjack Insider Newsletter, Sept. 2004, #56


By Bill Burton

Bill Burton is an advantage blackjack player and skilled poker player. He is the author of the book, "Get the Edge at Texas Low Limit Hold’em," (available in the BJI online store) and the guide at


Everyone knows the casinos make their money because they have a house edge on most games. The games where the player can attain an edge with skill are Blackjack with card counting, certain video poker games and live poker. Until recently, Blackjack and Video Poker have been the games of choice for the majority of advantage payer. Now more players are discovering that Poker can be very lucrative and the best thing about it is that there is no need to play a cat and mouse game with the casinos.

Poker has been experiencing an explosion in popularity over the last year or so. The televised coverage of the World Poker Tour on the Travel channel and ESPN’s broadcast of the World Series of Poker has sparked the interest of the "kitchen table" poker players as well as some people who have never played poker before. When Chris Moneymaker won the 2003 World Series of Poker after gaining entry by winning a $40 satellite online poker tournament, it fueled the Poker frenzy to a new height. The new interest in Poker has reached heights exceeding those in Blackjack after Thorp released his book Beat the Dealer in the 60’s that proved that Blackjack was a beatable game.

Thousands of players are flocking to the cardrooms in the casinos and millions more are logging on to play at the online poker tables. The most popular game is Texas Hold’em. Like Blackjack, the mechanics of Texas Hold’em are easy to learn. However, acquiring the skills to be a winning player takes study, practice and a strong desire to succeed. The majority of new players have no clue as to how to play the game properly. Since you are playing against other players and not the house, there is a big advantage for the player who makes the effort to study the game and develop the necessary skills to be a winner.

Since this is my first column for the Blackjack Insider Newsletter, let me introduce myself. I am Bill Burton author of Get the Edge at Low Limit Texas Hold’em. I am not a professional poker player. I am the Casino Gambling Guide for ( and have been writing a weekly column about the casinos and the games on that website since 1998.

I made my first trip to the casino twenty five years ago. Since that time I had learned how to play every game in the casino except casino poker. In 1999 I started receiving some questions about casino poker from readers of my column. I grew up playing Kitchen Table Poker and was successful playing in the Friday night games with the guys in college but I had never ventured into the casino poker room. I felt it was time to learn a little more about casino Poker.

I firmly believe that a player of average intelligence can learn to be successful playing in the casinos if they take the time to educate themselves about the casinos and the games. In my articles, I advocate that players take the time to learn all about the game they wish to play before venturing into the casino and risking any money at the tables.

Since I had never played poker in the casino I thought this would be a good opportunity to practice what I preach. I decided to document the process that I used to learn how to play in a series of articles on my website and share the knowledge, along with my successes and mistakes, with my readers. I planned to show that by using a disciplined approach I could be successful at casino poker. Those articles formed the basis of my book.

I live on the East Coast and the popular poker game at that time was seven card stud. In January 2000 I headed out to the Gamblers Book Shop (GBC) in Las Vegas to pick up some books about the game. I talked with Howard and Peter (managers at GBC) and was surprised when they suggested I learn a new game called Texas Hold’em that was becoming popular. Looking back now this turned out to be quite a prophetic prediction. There were only a few books about Texas Hold’em at that time and I picked them up to begin my education.

When I started my project, I wanted to experience playing poker in the casino cardroom. My goal was to learn enough so I could play competitively. What I found however, was a game that would allow me to make money. It didn’t take long to compile a winning record playing Texas Hold'em in the casino. I also stated playing and winning in the Hold’em tournaments as well. Two years ago I found an even more lucrative opportunity when I started playing poker online. Instead of traveling up to an hour to the cardroom a couple times I week, I can now log on and play a couple times a day if I so desire.

In future articles, I will be focusing on winning strategies for Texas Hold'em, tournaments, along with other useful information that relates to poker in general. I will be discussing some of the topics that I hope will help make you a winner at the poker tables in the cardroom and online. If you have any topics or questions you would like me to address you can drop an email to:

I have heard some player's say "I'd rather be Lucky than good."

This is nonsense! I'd rather be knowledgeable than merely lucky. When I started writing my weekly gaming column I adopted a motto that appears at the end of all my articles:

Until next time, remember:

"Luck comes and goes...Knowledge Stays Forever!"

Editor's note...

    In the coming months, Bill will cover a range of poker topics, including playing poker online, and tournament poker. Until then, you may want to look into the following reputable online poker casinos (regular and tournament). The first one has a free $10 sign-up bonus with an additional 40% first-time sign-up bonus up to $100! Wager requirements: one raked hand per bonus dollar rewarded before cashing out.





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