Hold Em Poker / by kevin murray

I enjoy playing poker both online and at a real-world casino and while I'm knowledgeable in virtually all poker games that are played for money I spend the vast majority of my time playing Hold Em, not so much because it's the best game, but mainly because it is the game that is most popular and readily available.  Having said this, there is room for improvement of the experience and I here submit some of my better ideas.


4 Color Deck:

The 4-color deck is my default for playing online poker because there are 4 suits in a deck of cards and each suit should have its own color for ease of reading your hand and the board.  This is not only sensible but right.  I'm just at a cost of words as to why in real-world casinos they are still using 2-color decks.  I know that there are selfish players that want to keep a 2-color deck specifically in the hopes that a player will misplay his hand by assuming he has a flush when he doesn't have one but that is at best, unsporting and a negative reason to keep the 2-color deck in play.


In order to get the 4-color deck back into consideration, one of both of these things should happen.  For final tables on televised events, why not have a card-deck manufacturer pay a small fee for sponsorship of their 4-color alternative decks.  In regards to real-world casinos, why don't they take their slowest night of the week and specifically sponsor a 4-color deck day to see if that might attract some new players into the casino.  The risk would be minimal, the cost would be minimal, and it mirrors the experience players already have online.


Tournament Blinds Increase:

Virtually all real-world tournaments have a clock in which after a certain expended period of time the blinds are increased and this continues throughout the tournament until it is concluded.  On-line tournaments are setup the same way, although there are a few exceptions on minor tournaments online in which the blinds are increased over a set period of hands which I find to be the superior method.  Here's why.


The problem with using a set period of time for the raising of blinds as opposed to a finite amount of hands is that not every player takes the same amount of time per hand.  So that if you are at a table in which the play is extra slow, the amount of hands dealt per hour will decrease, leading to an increase in the luck factor to the detriment of skill.  Low blinds in reference to your chip stack allows for more "play" in a tournament, so that the more hands that you have to play the more "play" or skill is involved. Structuring tournaments around the amount of hands dealt is a fairer structure.


I recognize that to make this change in a tournament structure would be difficult, even problematic, and is probably best suited for online tournaments as opposed to the real-world.  I would like to see this structure become the default online.


Poker Clock:

The online world uses a poker clock and rightly so.  I love the clock because it is efficient, effective, and fair.  Real-world casinos do not use a poker clock and that needs to change.  To be clear, I am not referring to calling a 'clock' on an opponent that then gives the player one minute to decide, I am talking about a tournament game clock.   The easiest implementation of the Poker Clock would be at the final table in which the seats and players are fixed.  Each player is given the same amount of time, perhaps 30 minutes, and the clock for each player can be handled by the Tournament Clock Director.  Each player

will be given an initial 10 seconds to act, before the clock is started, after that period of time your player clock will begin to countdown, should that clock ever expire, you will now be given 10 seconds to act for the duration of the tournament and failure to do so will result in an automatic fold.


The only issue that will come up, is how about when a player asks a legitimate question, such as how many chips that his opponent has; I believe the best answer to that is the Tournament Clock Director, he will decide as to whether the given question(s) is superfluous, a deliberate time-waster, or legitimate, because there isn't any doubt that some players would use this tactic to gain time so not to have to use their clock.


This poker clock is far superior to calling a "clock" on an opponent, because, in theory, there are hands in which you really do need to spend more than a minute before making your decision and if you have not previously run down your poker clock, you should be accommodated on this action because those type of tough decisions are what brings the drama of poker alive.