TEXAS HOLD EM'
By: Kurt Johnson
Envision high-stakes poker, piles of chips on the table and city-wide
tournaments. Well, it's not high stakes, but the competition is just
as fierce! It's the new Texas Hold ‘Em poker tournaments that
are happening at over 25 locations around the Portland area.
Texas Hold ‘Em poker has taken the nation by storm. With numerous
national cable TV channels featuring high-stakes, championship-level
poker competitions and tournaments, viewers are tuning in, watching
and learning from the pros, then participating in local tournaments
Around Portland, the games are not for big money stakes. Instead, contestants
play in tournaments for prizes and compete within a point system to
determine progress and rankings. No money changes hands. But the competition
is both for real and for fun. Participants can range from first-time
beginners to very experienced players, who would usually play at a
casino, but don't want to bother with the drive. So it's an opportunity
to learn, or simply enjoy some entertaining competition.
The best part is no one's a loser. Organized and hosted by All-In-Entertainment
from Phoenix, Az., the games use regulation cards, chips and tables
to give participants a real tournament feel.
Located at local pubs and bars, on this evening, the game was at Sneaker's
Pub on Boones Ferry Road in Tualatin, next to the Pig and Pancake Restaurant.
Sneaker's is a sports bar offering a full bar, sport TV programming
and pool tables, along with a comfortable lounge and outdoor patio--and
ideal saloon environment for a Texas Hold ‘Em tournament! With
four to five tables full of poker players, the effect on business is
Program Manager and Organizer Bob McPherson explains, "It's an
overwhelming response for the bars. We'll triple a bar's business in
three weeks and the customers stay all night long.
McPherson explains how Texas Hold ‘Em came to Portland; "We started
out in Phoenix. We've gone to different states and we came to Portland. It's
a free tournament. What we do is play for nightly prizes. We keep a point system
of the top 150 players. Each night, the top ten players get points. Every six
months we take the top ten players; and the winner of that, we actually send
to a major high-stakes tournament. The next one will be at The Regatta Hotel
in Atlantic City. We'll be throughout the U.S. within a year."
In Portland for only three weeks, they already have 25 venues involved
in tournaments and they plan to continue expanding northward.
Tournament director and the evening's pit boss Brandon McPherson
explains the workings of a Texas Hold ‘Em game; "We get
30-40 players a week. It's a good mix of beginners and more experienced
It's great for the
beginners to learn and the experienced ones can come and not have to go to
a casino. Everybody gets two cards to start, then you bet. Then there's three
cards turned up called 'The Flop' with more betting. Then a fourth card is
dealt up with more betting. Then a fifth card up called "The River" is
dealt and more betting.
Then, you make your best hand and call the other player.
Best hand takes the pot." He says they will be hiring and training local
pit bosses to run the local tournaments and then move north into downtown Portland
and the Vancouver areas.
It’s the thrill and tension of high-stakes betting without the risk,
bluffing, betting and out-psyching your opponents. In local bars and clubs
all around Portland, you can find exactly that with poker for prizes and points
for the big winners. Pop into one of the 25 locations around the Portland area
and sit in on a game. Maybe you can win the next big pot! Either way, you and
the venues will be winners with the new Texas Hold ‘Em poker tournaments.
You can see more at their website: www.goallin.com .