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Dutch News

by Peter Dalhuijsen |  Published: May 01, 2007

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Holland Casino finally succumbs to requests for low-limit poker
At the beginning of February, to everybody's surprise, some good news came from Holland Casino. Officials issued a statement in which they announced that every one of their casinos would start offering low-limit poker, as a valid alternative for the underground games, which, up to that point, were the only available choice for players with limited bankrolls.

Holland Casino used a considerable amount of its advertising budget to put this statement in various magazines and newspapers, to make sure that everybody got the message.

It emphasized that Holland Casino is the only one that can legally offer games of chance, and that poker definitely belongs to that category. To keep players out of illegal games, every casino offers €10 buy-in sit-and-gos, €2-€4 limit hold'em, and €2-€2 no-limit hold'em cash games. But the advertising wording left something to be desired. The statement read that for as little as €10, people can participate in an entire poker tournament. Of course, the first couple of days, players were disappointed to discover that this meant only a single-table tournament. But they of course were already inside the casino; mission accomplished.

As for the low-limit cash games, they stated that cash games would be offered with a minimum wager of only €2. Guys, this isn't roulette. Why make it seem like you can play for as little as €2, while refusing to mention the €100 buy-in?

And to top it off, it said that Holland Casino offers the game of poker in many different forms, like Texas hold'em and Caribbean stud; that was about the time I fell out of my chair and stopped reading. That single phrase is probably the biggest insult to the game of poker that I have ever seen.

So, what am I supposed to get from this, that they want to lure people inside under false pretences? Clearly, this was more of an advertisement than a press release. I stopped trying to figure it out soon after tearing up the magazine that contained the ad. It's just so frustrating to see that the people who are behind all of this still don't get it.

But the good part is that they are listening to the players' voices. Good news travels fast, so right off the bat, the low-limit tables were extremely popular, as expected. So, let's all hope that they're here to stay, and that the basements will stay empty for now.

Holland Casino Venlo starts off with successful tournament festival
Yet another casino recently opened its doors in the Netherlands, a couple of miles outside the friendly city of Venlo. After Groningen, Enschede, Nijmegen, and Valkenburg, Holland Casino Venlo is the fifth of the Holland Casinos that is strategically placed near the German border - as if we wouldn't notice a certain pattern emerging here.

To celebrate the opening of the first real poker room in a Dutch casino, it hosted some excellent tournaments from Feb. 22 to Feb. 25. To lure the Dutch players all the way to the south, the tournaments were held without entry fees. And on top of that, especially for our German friends, there was an all-you-can-eat buffet during the main event. Finally, to remove all doubt that people might have had of whether or not they should be driving down there, the award for best overall player consisted of a €5,000 seat in the main event of this year's Master Classics of Poker.

So, as expected, the events sold out, creating nice prize pools for the players, who had to endure their highway motels for five days straight to be able to compete in the four events.

The €1,000 buy-in main event saw some of Holland's finest compete for the trophy, the €5,000 Master Classics seat, and the €33,000 first prize, but against all odds, I held the chip lead throughout the final stages of the tournament, leading the field going to the final table, which was held on day two.

I succeeded in taking it all the way down to the heads-up stage, where I would face the always dangerous Jos Ariaans, whom I had successfully doubled up about five times in the tournament already.

As is so often the case, the deciding hand came down to a coin flip. When we were about even in chips, I reraised Jos all in with A-Q, and after he gave it some thought, he decided to call with pocket sevens. We both were pretty confident about the outcome, since we both had already hit one-outers along the way, and when the flop came down J-10-9, I considered myself a heavy favorite. Of course, that was as close as I would get to victory, as the turn and river didn't bring the much needed help.

It was the first time I had to deal with the losing end of a €20,000 coin flip, which was pretty hard to take. But once the sting had subsided, I discovered that it's actually something to brag about. So, for the next couple of months, expect me to do so - with pride. spade

Peter Dalhuijsen is a professional poker player who writes for PokerCollege.nl.