Archive for Thursday, September 7, 2006

Students of Texas Hold ‘em poker can learn in city course

Wanted: Aspiring card sharks

September 7, 2006

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It's poker, minus the smoke-filled rooms and wads of cash.

Yeah, you actually can play it that way.

Lawrence's Parks and Recreation Department is set to prove it next week. The city department on Tuesday will begin offering its first class on how to play Texas Hold 'em poker, the game that has invaded the television airwaves and made ordinary Joes into millionaires through events like the World Series of Poker.

"I don't think we would have done something like this 15 years ago, but I try to go with the trends and go with what's hot," said Jo Ellis, the city's recreation program supervisor. "And poker is hot right now."

For $45 - which parks and recreation leaders said is a bargain compared with learning the game the hard way at a casino - people will receive five two-hour classes. Local poker player Jeff Croft - who also is an employee of The World Company, which owns the Journal-World - will serve as the instructor.

Ellis said poker is becoming a more mainstream activity and doesn't always involve gambling. She said many card parties among friends now focus on poker instead of games like pitch or bridge.

Curtis Kitchen, left, and Rich Vogel, both of Lawrence, play a hand of Texas Hold 'em poker during a points poker tournament Tuesday night at The Yacht Club, 530 Wis. The Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department will offer its first class on how to play Texas Hold 'em next week.

Curtis Kitchen, left, and Rich Vogel, both of Lawrence, play a hand of Texas Hold 'em poker during a points poker tournament Tuesday night at The Yacht Club, 530 Wis. The Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department will offer its first class on how to play Texas Hold 'em next week.

And it is a game that almost begs for instruction, Ellis said. In addition to learning the basics of which hand beats another, there is jargon galore that surrounds the game.

For example, what is a novice to think when he hears a player say he "has the nuts"? No, it actually isn't vulgar. And what the heck does a "river" have to do with a card game, and just what is a "Big Slick," anyway?

The class, which runs on Tuesday nights, is meant to teach participants those basics, in addition to providing tips about how to read another player's body language, and as Kenny Rogers would say, how to "know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em."

"I think it would probably be good to learn (the rules) in a class," said Frank Terreros, a Lawrence resident who was playing this week in a free poker tournament at the Yacht Club, 520 Wis. "Most people probably would feel uncomfortable coming right in and playing."

Some community members, though, are hoping the class doesn't teach bad lessons. James Bailey, minister of Lawrence's Southside Church of Christ, 1105 W. 25th St., said he doesn't want the city to plant the seed that leads to a gambling habit.

"They maybe could be teaching something a little more instructive," Bailey said. "It starts off as a fun little game, but I have actually known people in the past who have lost everything they own. It is a snake that can be very, very difficult to kill."

Ellis, though, said she didn't think the city was promoting gambling. She said the class would not involve any games that involved betting anything of monetary value. The department also is limiting registration in the class to people who are 21 years or older.

"We just want to teach people the skills," Ellis said. "What you do with them after the class is over is up to you."

Ellis said that offering poker classes had become a bit of a trend in the parks and recreation industry. She said the parks and recreation department in Shawnee was offering similar classes, as well as several departments in Missouri.

"I think people are going to learn quite a bit if they take the class," Ellis said.








Sounding like a professional

Here's some of the jargon you might encounter at a poker table. Bad Beat: A good hand that would have been expected to win the pot but was beaten by a lucky draw. Big Slick: A term describing an Ace-King combination. Boat: Slang for a Full House, which is a combination of three of a kind and a pair. Coffeehousing: When players chat about a hand they are involved in, with the intent of manipulating other players. Gut Shot: To draw to an inside straight. Nuts: The best possible hand that can't be beaten at a particular point of the game. River: The final card dealt as part of a Texas Hold 'em hand.

6News reporter Laura McHugh contributed to this report.

Comments

Shardwurm 8 years, 8 months ago

"I don't think we would have done something like this 15 years ago, but I try to go with the trends and go with what's hot," said Jo Ellis, the city's recreation program supervisor. "And poker is hot right now."

So is drug trafficking but you don't have classes on that.

What about classes on the most effective way to get drunk?

Rationalanimal 8 years, 8 months ago

I think this says a lot about what's going on down at Parks and Rec during the day.

mom_of_three 8 years, 8 months ago

Or you can learn hands-on at different poker websites for free. Most sites have No-limit, pot limit and holdem' games and tournaments you can register for and play for free. The sites have tutorials, hints and help areas. Or just watch the professional poker tournaments on TV. I don't know why you want to pay to learn, unless you are a real people person.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 8 years, 8 months ago

Your city in motion, as the sign on the empty buses say. A really fine way for our tax money to work for you. Learn to go to the boats and lose your rent money, food money, clothing for your poor kids money. What a pile of crap! Who's brilliant idea is this? Do we not have enough diversions for our bored selves? This is, hands down, one of the worst, most immoral and decadent ideas I have ever heard, especially sanctioned by a city government that has a dubious track record in many areas. Somebody's head should roll for this stupid and crass offering, but knowing the cluelessness of some in the city government, none will. Good God, what are we coming to????????

Wilbur_Nether 8 years, 8 months ago

frwent, have you ever seen a city program for which you ~didn't~ want to see somebody's head roll?

mom_of_three 8 years, 8 months ago

You know, frwent, you can play poker without spending money. There are free tournaments around the city and the state, and you can play for free on-line. There's nothing wrong with learning how to play Texas hold'em. It's a fun game. I play FOR FREE on my computer. If people want to pay to learn how to play and socialize with others while learning, then that's great. But that doesn't mean they are going to gamble all of their money away. I don't see anything immoral about it.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 8 years, 8 months ago

You are right mom. You can. But a lot don't. I have no qualms about anyone wanting to play any game. If they want to gamble, fine. But I don't want their families in a bread line or living in poverty because of their "habit" and you have to admit it is a big problem. I do not think the city should be pushing this. Wilbur, well, I like the opportunity to rile up people like you. Get a life.

dizzy_from_your_spin 8 years, 8 months ago

Texas Hold'em is soooo 2004, 2005 at the latest.

bmwjhawk 8 years, 8 months ago

Wow. Are people really complaining about this? Isn't Hold'em considered recreation?

Wilbur_Nether 8 years, 8 months ago

frwent, you misread my post. You didn't rile me up, I was just curious if you thought there was a single city program of any value to you. So I asked. The question was sincere. I confesss that I'm jumping to some conclusions about you, given that you responded with "Get a life." (Which was both original and witty--congratulations on putting me in my place with panache!)

Jumping to conlusions makes me wonder, though...who are other "people like me," and what traits do we share that we are so like each other? Let's see if I can make some guesses, and you tell me if I'm close to what you mean. Now, let's see, people like me, I know that we all have circulatory systems. Yeah, and, um, I have fingernails. I'll bet other people like me ~also~ have fingernails. Oh, I know--I have two hands! Other people like me also likely have two hands!! AND PRESCRIPTION LENSES!!!

So, how close did I get, frwent? My guess is that you like riling up people with two hands, circulatory systems, fingernails, and poor eyesight.

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