Ask Jim

Hello, my name is Jim, and in this column we will be discussing the many different aspects of Holdem and Omaha Poker. Also, I will be addressing topics such as “House Rules”, “Poker Pace”, and general poker etiquette, among others.  I will try to answer all serious questions, and maybe a few humorous ones as well. There will be little room for bad beat stories, as in the last 30 years I have heard (or experienced) just about all of them. Rants and raves may be accepted. From time to time I will be interviewing Poker Industry people regarding topics that we have, or will be reviewing. It is my hope that you find this column interesting and informative, so if you wish, you may contact me.

We will be posting every Monday, rain or shine. And don’t forget, you can never win if you don’t quit while you’re ahead….     jim


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What question would you like to ask Jim?


Camilo wants to know how old you need to be to play?

Hey Jim, I would like to know, what’s the age to join your casino to play blackjack. I’m 18years old. Most casino would only accept 21 and over. I would love to join your casino. Thank you

Hola Camilo, in California the legal age to gamble is 18. However most card rooms and casinos in the state serve alcohol which raises the age to be present to 21. Some cities such as Santa Cruz decide to err on the on the side of caution, and even though we do not allow any alcohol on the premises, (much less sell or distribute it) they still require our customers to be 21. Go figure. Anyway, short of gathering all the 18 year old’s in town to unite in protest, I’m afraid we won’t be meeting anytime soon. Oh, and please be advised that even though we do not necessarily agree with the policy, we enforce it religiously. Thanks for the interest,    jim


Ethan asks; I was wondering what days the card room hosts Texas Hold em’ no limit cash games and at what stakes they are.

Hello Ethan, thanks for the inquiry. We are currently offering two different spread limit Texas Holdem cash games. The first is a $3 to $100 spread limit game, the maximum bet being $100. The minimum buy-in for that game is $40, and the maximum is $300. The blinds are $2 and $3. The second, is a little larger game, with a spread limit of $5 to $200. The maximum bet being $200. The minimum buy-in is $100, and the maximum is $500. The blinds are $3 and $5.  Hope this clarifies things for you, and hope to see you soon!      jim


Online player Tim looking to try the real thing!!!

Hello Jim,

I am a long time online player. ( yes I am one of those) I play for cryptocurrency. I generally only play tournaments. I have wanted to come try my luck and skill in a live tournament for sometime. One of my issues is I am disabled. It is hard ( painful) for me to sit for long periods of time. This is a curse for someone who loves poker.  Oddly , the harder the chair the better. I want to come and just view a tournament. Get a feel for the place before I play a tournament. Is spectating allowed?  And if so for how long? I am curious how many people tend to show up. What are your most busiest days and what are your least?

Thank You!

Hello Tim, thanks for the question, it’s a good one, as we already have a few handicapped players that stop by to play a little Poker or Blackjack. Spectators are certainly allowed, but we do ask that those observing stand back at least 2 to 3 feet from the table to leave a small buffer zone between the players and observers. It’s an imaginary line called the Rail. This does make it a little more difficult to see, if you must be sitting, however, we do provide tall chairs for that purpose. (Most players don’t like someone standing right over their shoulder and possibily seeing their cards, therfor getting a read on how they play.) There is no specific time limit for observing, as long as you are quiet and unobstruvive, courtesy to the players seated is expected. If you have any questions about a specific hand just ask one of the Floormen. When you have decided to test the waters, if the chair offered is not to your suitability

, you may substitute one of your choosing, as long as it does not encroach on the space of another player. (There is just enough room to fit nine players at the table, so the replacement chair should be no wider than the one offered.) Our busiest tournament is definately Saturday, it is quite often sold out. Tim, we always look forward to having first time players join us, and I promise we won’t hold your internet experience against you!! Thanks again for your question, I hope that this info has been helpful,  jim


Are basic strategy cards allowed to be used in casino

Ryan asked this week. ” I will be playing Texas hold em and blackjack at your casino soon and I just would like to know if the basic strategy cards for both games are allowed to be used during games?”

Ryan, thanks for the question, it’s a good one. Basic Strategy cards are usually allowed, but they aren’t all the same, so I would suggest that you check with the Shift Manager when you arrive to ensure their validity and acceptance. And, on a closely related subject, electronic apps and devices that perform percentage calculations are not permitted while playing. Thanks again,   jim

How does this casino poker thing work?

My second inquiry was from H., regarding basic play. To get into a cash game, you may purchase chips at the cashiers cage, or at the table once you’ve been seated. You are not required to stay at the table  for any given length of time, you may get up and cash out your chips whenever you want, even if you win a big pot on your very first hand! In a tournament everyone buys in for the same amount of cash and receives the same amount of chips to start. This is a last man standing situation. You may be moved to a different table during the tournament as players bust out and the players and tables are consolidated. If you make it to the final table your chances are good to win some money, if not the whole thing!

Is there any new special tournaments coming up?

Hello again, my first question to be addressed this week is from JPW, who asked about any special upcoming tournaments.  And yes, you heard it here first, we will be holding our grand annual Memorial Day Tournament on Monday the 26th. It usually starts around noon, and for the particulars, I suggest you keep an eye on our website, and/or Facebook. This one usually sells out, so don’t tarry JP, tickets will be on sale at least a week before the holiday.

Gus Hansen couldn’t find his 100k that he had hidden

S. & S. wrote in and asked about the $100,000 that Gus Hansen reportedly hid and then couldn’t find. There was also the report about $300,000 left in a brown paper bag in the back of a taxi in Vegas last year. These occurrences are (and probably will continue to be, to the delight of the finders) happening for two main reasons. First, the older more experienced players. To them, handling 100 large is like handling a couple of grand to you and me. For most of them, that’s one buy in. They are just used to handling and having that much cash with them, so sticking a little here or there for them, is the same as one of us tucking a hundred dollar bill into a pocket, and forgetting about it until we come across it again. Some of these folks play for very long hours, usually haven’t eaten that well during a session, and are tired and forgetful by the time they cash out, and are handed all the money. Secondly, there are a lot of new and young players winning a lot of cash quickly out there. They are not used to having that much money with them all at once. Being young and a little immature they haven’t yet instilled routines  and daily procedures designed to protect their stash. Long hours of play also add to the forgetfulness, and of course, if you were a little high when you hid that dough…

How can someone keep getting monster hands?

A.G asked: ” Who is the nice old lady who plays mostly tourneys? I mean, i want no names, i just mean, is it really possible that she wakes up with AA every time someone has AK, I have seen it repeatedly…  Good luck, good charms? Or something more sinister?  I saw here waking up with AA three times in a row in the  final table”..

Well A.G. you are absolutely right, there is something happening here, I have seen it myself. There seems to be some people who on any given night, are dealt great hands (and get great flops) throughout the night. (Not like a “rush” winning 4 or 5 hands in a row) And they seem to have that happen to them on more than one playing session. No, nothing sinister here, I guess that we could put it into a sub-category of LUCK. In the poker world this phenomena, if you will, is often referred to, as “holding a lot of cards.” i.e. “Joe breezed through the tournament, he sure held a lot of cards today.” Meaning he was dealt a lot of strong starting hands. I have learned to try to avoid encounters with these blessed people, even nice old ladies, as it invariably costs me money if I fail to do so.

Is there a standard pre-flop raise?

The next question came in an e-mail from S.S., who asked if there was a standard raise before the flop. I personally take into account who else has called, how many callers, my relationship to the dealer button, and the strength of my hand to determine the raise amount, as every hand is different. If the Poker World were to acknowledge a “standard” raise before the flop, it would probably be 3 big blinds.

What’s the worst upcard card a dealer can show in Blackjack?

This question came from J.B. who asked what the worst card (best for the player) a dealer could have showing at the Blackjack table. That would be a six. You will have the best chance of winning if you let your hand ride, and let the dealer bust out.