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playing poker and teaching science: April 2008

playing poker and teaching science

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Location: Indiana, United States

I'm a middle school science teacher, wrestling coach, poker player, scuba diver, aikido black belt, amateur writer, and student of life. In the past I have tried to give back a little by volunteering at a children's home in Belmopan, Belize, Central America. I also love Frosted Flakes. I have taken a year sabbatical from my teaching position in order to sail the Caribbean. Does that sound crazy to you?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Spring Break with the donkeys

When I ask my buddies what they're doing for spring break, the most common answer is, “Terry, I haven’t had a spring break for 25 years!”

Spring break: One of the few perks for professional educators.

As is the norm after school let out last Friday, I threw my bags in the car, dropped my dog at my son’s apartment, and headed for sunny Daytona Beach Shores for my yearly sojourn to points south to work on my tan and tune my live poker game.

I’ve referred to the Daytona card room as “the land of no pair and no draw” in years past, but things have changed. No longer is the big bet on the Florida mainland a wimpy $2. In addition to the small hold em games, the Daytona Poker Room now has a $1/$2 no-limit game with a $100 maximum/minimum buy-in and a $2/$5 no-limit game ALSO with a $100 maximum/minimum.


Apparently, this game has taken the place of the "Daytona hold em" game and is the choice game of the true gamblers. All-in is the standard bet at the $2/$5 game.

They were also spreading a juicy Omaha game so for the first time I was able to play Omaha 8b live. I had a thoroughly enjoyable time. Not only did I get some live experience at the game I expect to play during the WSOP, but I also had the same type of success I have experienced on line.

Most of the time however I sat in the $1/$2 no-limit game and found that the play hadn’t changed much in the last year. $1/$2 limit players have made the transition to the no-limit game, but without making an adjustment of their starting hands OR their starting position.

Now, I am definitely not a professional and I never give advice on how to play a hand, but I do know two things: good hands in good position = good, bad hands out of position = bad.

I saw a lot of the latter.

I also took the advice of an older gentleman sitting behind a large stack of red chips, who flashed his pocket Kings to me as he folded and said, “You have to pick your spots.” 79 off suit took down the hand. He had called a pre-flop raise with 79 and a post-flop bet with a gutshot draw.

As a result of taking this advice, I made my best haul in six spring breaks poker playing in Daytona. I averaged about 10 big bets per hour of play through five consecutive days playing good hands in good position and picking a few very good spots.

One such spot came when I checked the nuts and the played to my left pushed all-in, and was called by the player on his left …

Saddle up.