With casino poker rooms open in Cleveland and Toledo, for the first time many avid players in Ohio have an opportunity to be a regular; some may even take the shot at going pro and making a living on the felt. So, I took the time to talk to some pros about the life and what a semipro player needs to thrive and some common themes arose.
GAME SELECTION: This is fairly obvious; you want a poker room that gives you a wide variety of buy-in levels and games and tables within each buy-in level.
You’re looking for a good mix of cash games and tournament action, which is a critical component to building a bankroll and refining your game.
RAKE, COMPS AND OVERLAYS: One traveling pro put this simply: “I would rather drive two hours to a casino that has hourly promotions and overlays in the cash games and great food comps than play closer to home and get eaten up by rake, food and incidental expenses.” Quality matters. Promotions, such as pot splashes or hourly high hands and freerolls, are benefits that make a tremendous difference at the end of the year in your ROI.
Rake is obvious and should always be a primary factor in making your decision. If your hourly rate is $20 (which is very good) in a $1-$2 no-limit hold’em game, you’re likely winning three to six hands per hour, perhaps more based on your style.
If there’s a $1 difference in rake at five hands per hour, you’re sacrificing $5 per hour or a whopping 25 percent of your hourly earnings. It’s also important to understand how the game is raked and at what intervals.
It’s common for active players to win uncontested pots preflop, how that pot is raked is a local decision and you should understand the implications to your win rate.
It’s an exciting time for poker players in Ohio. Take some time off the felt to consider what your goals are and how your choices in where you play affect that plan.
— Dan Harkenrider is Ante Up’s Ohio Ambassador. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @DivisionofPoker.