interviews continue, with some great insight from
a long-time writer and player, Lou Krieger. You
might have read some of his works, (Poker for
Dummies, Hold'em Excellence), or caught some of
his excellent CardPlayer articles on poker. He's
a true industry icon, and also host of Royal
PokerLizard: How did you get started playing
Lou: I began playing poker when I was a kid,
seven or eight years old. My dad had a home game
around the kitchen table one night a week, and
I badgered my mom to let me stay up and watch.
I was enthralled by the game, the lingo, and felt
like an adult. I was always good at games, so
I learned poker at an early age.
PokerLizard:What made you decide to write your
first poker book, Hold’em Excellence –
From Beginner to Winner? Were you afraid of giving
away the secrets that were making you money at
Lou: I began writing the book in 1995, after
I had been a Card
Player Columnist for three years. It seemed
like a good way to solidify my ideas and organize
my thoughts about poker. I was not at all afraid
of giving away my ideas, because I felt that I’d
be able to stay one or two jumps ahead of the
readers under any circumstances, and I realized
that not everyone reads books or studies the game
seriously. I guess my hope was for people to buy
my books in large quantities and never read them.
PokerLizard: Did you ever consider yourself a
pro player, or always a writer who does very well
in the casino games?
Lou: I never earned more than half of my income
from playing poker. Now with the poker boom on,
that percentage has shrunk quite a lot. I’m
playing only a bit less poker, but my book sales
have really taken off, and the money I win at
the tables is about the same as always —
approximately one big bet per hour.
PokerLizard: Being a well-known poker writer,
I’m sure you were approached by several
cardrooms for your endorsement, what were the
deciding factors in your choice of Royal Vegas?
Lou: I turned down other positions with other
leading Internet cardrooms. Royal
Vegas structured my role so that it is predicated
on what would be a half-time job, and not full-time
employment. That allows plenty of time for me
to write and to play poker. I was also very impressed
with Royal Vegas Poker’s top management
and their commitment to poker and to building
a leading site.
PokerLizard: What is your role with Royal Vegas?
Lou: I’m a host with Royal
Vegas Poker. At least that’s my job
title. But it’s more than that. They use
my image to brand the site, and they market around
my image. I also play in a weekly “experts”
tournament, where players can knock me out (or
any of our other experts, such as Max Shapiro,
Bob Ciaffone, Rose Richie, Barbara Enright, Mike
Cappelletti, and Matt Lessinger) and win bounty
money, books, and T-shirts. I provide a lot of
the “poker players” input to the design
and upgrading of the site, the game offerings,
and that sort of thing, and Royal Vegas Poker
also uses some of my writings to promote the site.
PokerLizard: What is the College Poker Championship?
What is its structure?
Lou: The CPC is exactly what it sounds like.
There is never a fee to enroll or play and students
are eligible to win money to fund their education
as well as earn money for traditional charities
of their choice or campus based not-for-profit
organizations. The tournament runs for just over
six months, with 25 qualifying rounds played every
Sunday at 4 PM EST through Sunday, February 13,
The top 10 percent of players qualify for the
Satellite Event, which will be played Sunday,
February 20, 2005 at 4 PM EST. That event offers
$5,000 in scholarship awards and the top 20 percent
the Satellite Event players secure a place in
the Online Final.
The Online Final is set for Sunday, February
27, 2005 at 4 PM EST. Players who place 10th to
80th will share in $5,500 of scholarship awards,
while players who place 1st to 9th each win:
A seat at The 2nd Annual College Poker Championship
Land Based Grand Final.
An all expense paid trip for two to Cancun, where
The 2nd Annual College Poker Championship Land
Based Grand Final will be held.
V.I.P tickets to an exotic spring break party
hosted by collegepokerchampionship.com.
The Land Based Grand Final will be held Saturday,
March 19, 2005 at 4 PM EST, in Cancun. It will
determine $84,500 in scholarship awards, with
the winner taking home $40,000. As an added feature
in the Land Based Grand Final, charitable donations
amounting to $10,000 will be made to any charity
or organization designated by the winners.
Additional information can be found at www.collegepokerchampionship.com.
PokerLizard: If I were brand new to poker and
wanted to buy just one of your books, which one
would you recommend?
Lou: If you knew nothing about poker, I’d
suggest Poker For Dummies. If you wanted to learn
Texas hold’em exclusively, I would recommend
Hold’em Excellence: From Beginner to Winner,
and if you wanted to play online, I’d suggest,
Internet Poker: How to Play and Beat Online Poker
PokerLizard: How about if I was already a successful
low-limit player and wanted to move up to the
Lou: Hold’em Excellence: From Beginner
to Winner, and MORE Hold’em Excellence:
A Winner For Life. I’d also recommend any
of Bob Ciaffone’s books too.
PokerLizard: I have a folder of poker articles
that I’ve printed out over the years and
about half of them are from your Card Player Magazine
column “On Strategy”. How do you keep
coming up with fresh columns each month?
Lou: There’s no mystery to this. Writing
is a job, and at least twice a month I sit down
at my computer and start typing. Sometimes I’m
inspired, and the column seems to write itself,
but most of the time I just begin typing and somehow
the words just flow out my fingertips.
PokerLizard: Are there any plans to resurrect
your six-part “A Beginner’s Course
in Texas Hold’em” on Card Player?
Lou: Good question and I’ve no idea about
whether they have any plans to rerun that or not.
I suppose you’d be better off asking them
PokerLizard: You seem to prefer the Limit game
to No-Limit. Is this the case? And if so, what
do you attribute this preference?
Lou: I prefer limit poker for day-to-day play.
But for tournaments, I much prefer no-limit. I
also enjoy playing Omaha/8 and 7-stud/8 too, but
there’s not much of that around outside
of the Los Angeles area, and now that I live in
Palm Springs, some 110 miles away, it’s
tough to find those games.
PokerLizard: Other than your books, of course,
which books did you read that sent you on the
path to becoming a winning player?
Lou: I read Sklansky’s hold’em book
way back when it first came out. That was so long
ago that I think it sold for $2.95 or $3.95, or
some miniscule amount. I read Super System too.
PokerLizard: Do you recommend any software programs
to help new players?
Lou: Wilson Software’s Turbo series get
my endorsement. They are incredibly useful tools
for any player looking to sharpen up his or her
game, and they are incredibly good and precise
research tools to test any number of poker scenarios.
Because you can insert player profiles into your
research that play like the guys in your usual
game, you can get results that are more realistic
(because players fold and raise). This is much
different from a cold simulation, where all players
stay until hand’s end and all you are really
testing is the inherent strength or power rating
of a given hand, and not how well it plays in
situations that replicate your game and your opponents.
PokerLizard: Are you stunned by the growth in
Poker over the last few years?
Lou: Stunned, and pleasantly surprised.
PokerLizard: Do you think “TV Poker”
is creating a group of very loose aggressive players?
If so, should I start thinking about a bigger
bankroll due to larger variance swings?
Lou: I think many new players are learning the
wrong way to play poker by watching it on TV.
After all, TV shows only a selected number of
hands, usually in a short-handed, no-limit final
table situation, where the blinds are high in
relation to most players’ chip counts, and
that makes for very different play than a fixed
limit game you usually find in most casinos. The
strategies that work for one milieu are not right
for all settings, and players who don’t
know that are in for rude awakenings.
PokerLizard: You seem to play in the more “fun”
events, cruises/BARGE etc versus the bigger money
tournaments, why is that? Are you just partial
to the cash games?
Lou: I don’t like the tournament circuit
because I don’t enjoy constant travel, living
in hotels, and it’s just not the lifestyle
I want for myself. I like cash games, poker online,
and some tournaments. Tournament play as a lifestyle
has a very high variance associated with it, and
as a result, many top players seem to take turns
being broke, being staked, and staking others
when they are flush. That’s not a comfortable
way for me to live. Cash games have very little
variance compared to tournaments. In fact, since
I’ve begun keeping records, I’ve never
had a losing year, and have not had more than
three losing months in any one year. Additionally,
sticking around home and not traveling all the
time leaves me the time I need to write.
PokerLizard: What future books are you writing
and what will they cover?
Lou: A new book, entitled, “The Poker Player’s
Bible” will be on the market in November,
just in time for the Christmas season. It will
be published by Barron’s in the United States.
The “Bible” series — there’s
already a Chess Player’s Bible too, and
plans afoot for others in that series —
are all richly illustrated books designed to take
a novice from the beginning concepts of poker
to a point where they can play reasonably well.
I also plan to continue my relationship with
Vegas Poker, and would like to start another
book (I haven’t decided what it will cover)
sometime this year.
PokerLizard: Thanks for your time Lou!
this and other interviews in the Lizard Lounge.