Archive for January, 2009

Upbeat message for all

I received this message the other day and managed to track down the writer who has given me permission to reproduce it in full in my blog. You can ignore the Afrikaans words and it will not make any difference to the sense of the writing. (Boet and Bru equates to Brother; Howzit is a greeting – How’s it? and there are about 14 rands [R14.00] to the pound).

Ampers


This is why 2009 is going to be KWAAI

Howzit

Eish my Boet – the New Year has barely begun and already the prophets of doom are spreading the negativity lekker dik, like Bovril on a braaibrood. They klap us with deeply disturbing issues like the global economic meltdown, soaring unemployment, vehicle repossessions, declining property values, stock market collapses, recession, depression, deflation & stagnation et al. It’s enough to make you naar my bru!

Yet in spite of all this, I find myself feeling positive, upbeat and even (cautiously) optimistic right now. In May 2008 I was gatvol and ready to leave SA. Yet today, January 2009, I am feeling much more at peace and actually looking forward to the year ahead. This is despite having had my office broken into last November and being relieved of my laptop, briefcase, cell phones & digital camera!

Hau” you exclaim, “how is this possible? Has the motivational speaker finally lost his last few remaining marbles?”

Maybe – maybe not. Let me explain. I’m not blind my boet. I know that in many ways, things are pretty desperate right now for a whole lot of people. F’rinstance you don’t want to be an American Auto Worker right now, or a Brit in Financial Services, or an Aussie Test Cricket Supporter. Talk about zero options and no light out there Boet. It must be terrifying to be retrenched, unemployed and anxious with no income and virtually no prospects for any improvement. And the reality is that some “things” may still get worse my Bru. This cyclical correction has been a long time coming and it won’t just fix itself overnight.

But as you know, my nature has always been to consciously focus on the positive “things”, to actively seek out the good stuff going down and then focus my attention on that. And then to go out there and make good things happen, for myself and others. So when my “stuff” was stolen, I immediately chose not to play the victim. Instead I looked at the bigger picture, let go what was gone, felt immense gratitude for that which had not been taken from me and moved on with my life.

If you open your eyes (and mind) and really look, there is actually a lot to be positive about. In fact, quite a few things are looking much better than they were just a few months ago, when the situation really stank. For example:

  1. I filled my car last night, cost me R 330. A few months ago it cost over R 500.

  2. Festive Season road deaths are down a massive 40%. That’s right, forty percent. Unflippingbelievable! And finally, finally they are fixing the Koeberg interchange, Cape Town’s most congested piece of tarmac.

  3. We holidayed in Durban over December. Besides awesome Ushakaland, Glamorous Gateway, Wacky Wavehouse and Radical RJ’s Ribs, the beaches were full of smartly outfitted garbage collectors, friendly tourist guides, hyperactive life guards and sweaty pink pommie tourists. The whole jol ran like clockwork. I was beindruk ek se! Go Durbs!

  4. We klapped the Aussies in the Cricket Test Series! In Aussie nogal. Nobody froze or choked. I’m stoked. And Graham Smith went from zero to Hero.

  5. Bafana Bafana actually scored a couple of goals in some of their last few matches. Go ouens!

  6. COPE gives me HOPE. Too much power is dangerous and our fledgling democracy can only benefit from more opposition for better balance.

  7. Cape Town Mayor Helen Zille was voted the world’s best, and she is one smart, honest, Teflon Tannie. (Nothing sticks to her.) And what an example she is to all politicians.

  8. We have a new minister of health, who seems sort of switched on. And Trevor is still pulling the purse strings (Thank goodness!)

  9. Right now, our SA banks are said to be “safer” than the Swiss, German, British and American banks. And this is partly because of the National credit Act, which gave us so many headaches last year.

  10. We have had some good rainfall and THEY SAY that this should lead to lower FOOD PRICES? (Front page of the Sunday Crimes a few weeks ago) I’ll believe it when I see it, but at least some of the headlines are becoming more positive!

  11. Like it or not, 2010 is coming. And my feeling is we will pull it off, in typical SA style. There will probably be some hiccups and maybe even some big stuffups but overall it is going to be a moerse jol. Buy your tickets soon; they apparently start at only R 120 a pop. (But that probably buys you a seat in the car park for the game between Outer Mongolia and Biafra)

  12. Barack Obama – what more can I say. A bruin ou who can GO!

Yes Mark,” I hear you saying, “this may all be true, BUT what about the terrifying realities of Crime, Corruption, Falling standards of Education, Global Warming, The Financial Crunch, Zimbabwe, Gaza and Minibus Taxis?”

My suggestion is this boet:

GET OFF YOUR BUT’S. (But this and but that.) Move on. Let it go. Get a life. Or make a big sign and go picket against whatever is freaking you out. Just don’t waste your precious energy agonising over stuff you can do nothing about. And if you can do something, then do it. Get involved. Play the game. Stop sniping from the sidelines. It serves no purpose, other than to increase your blood pressure, stress levels and the sales of alcohol and antidepressants. Read my lips as I say it again my boet: GET OFF YOUR BUT’S. Erase the word BUT from your daily dialogue and watch how your outlook on life will change. Dramatically.

Then, if you are feeling adventurous, the next step is to consider occupying your troubled mind with something alternative, creative and uplifting, such as:

  1. Reading the book “A New Earth” by Eckart Tolle. Or if you prefer you could do like I did, buy the 8 CD set and listen to the book whilst driving your car. The traffic becomes so much more bearable my bru. Even the Taxi’s seem less evil. That Eckart oke is one smart dude. Just ask Oprah.

  2. If you have not yet read “The best of 2008 newsletter” then click this link to read a wonderfully written summary of the positive aspects of last year from a SA perspective. It is extremely well written and very uplifting.

  3. Help someone less fortunate than you. Give away a little money, or some of your time, or even some of the old useless stuff cluttering your home and life right now. Get verlig my bru – it feels kwaai!

  4. Adopt a stray pet. It will love you unconditionally, something we should all learn to do.

  5. Read the book “Fifty facts that should change the World.” by Jessica Williams. But be warned – it’s quite mind blowing. Truth can be stranger than fiction.

  6. If you are white, consider visiting a non white township and go see for yourself how the majority of our country lives. It is truly an awesome, eye opening and uplifting experience. Check out the Sangomas, Shebeens and Street Life. Seriously now. Most of our township residents visit the white areas regularly. So why should we not reciprocate and visit them – at least once? Who knows, you may even find my laptop there.

  7. Go to Google images, type in “Solar System” and check out the actual size of our sun and other planets relative to the earth. It really puts things into perspective. Or even easier, just click this link.

  8. Also at Google images, type in Hubble Telescope and look at some pictures of the 100 billion or so other galaxies out there, beyond our Milky Way / solar system. Try to see your / the world’s problems in the bigger context of the huge universe. Or click this link for an amazing slideshow of the Hubble pictures.

  9. Find someone to hug. Your partner, kids, family, friends, colleagues, neighbours, dogs, cats or rats. Hug them often my bru, tightly and appreciatively. It is the greatest gift that you can ever give and receive.

  10. Start each day by thinking about or writing down all the things that you are grateful for. Then try to accept life’s curved balls without judgement. Gratitude and acceptance are hugely powerful transformational tools.

  11. Get out of your rut. Adopt a practise to help you find more peace of mind. Actively investigate ways to connect to the still space within you. Find ways to change your inner world, and you will notice how the outer world immediately changes for the better.

  12. If none of this helps, please contact me, or visit my website. My presentations and workshops are guaranteed (yes boet – the money back type) to shift negative mindsets and help you to achieve sustainable change. They really do make a difference – in fact I was honoured to receive the following email from a new client just last week:

    “Dear Mark – just a short note to thank you for the excellent and dynamic “Art of Selling” presentation delivered at our National Sales and Marketing Conference on Saturday. You made a powerful and empowering impact on everyone there, myself included! At our dinner event that night, you were very much the topic of key conversation in the most positive and constructive way. We look forward to having you with us on board at future events.”

    Kind regards,

    Maria (CEO)

Anyhow, I hope to hear from you soon. In conclusion, I will leave you with a few beautiful lines written by Alberto Villoldo PH.D, from his book “The Four Insights:”

“To be a sage means that when you look around you, you see only beauty. You will come to understand how everything you experience is a projection of your inner landscape or dream. This means that nothing ever happens to you, since you’re the creator of each event and incident in your life. So you never need to fix anything in the outer world – if you want to transform some circumstance that appears to be outside of yourself, you just need to own it and change it within!”

Look after yourself. Till next time – totsiens!

Stay close to the centre of the cyclone. It’s always calm in there.

Cheers

Mark
Email: mark@markberger.co.za
Landline: (021) 554 0787
Cell: 083 259 5250
Website: www.markberger.co.za
Blog: www.markbergerspeaks.wordpress.com

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The Financial Crises 2

Here is another video with the American Libertarian Congressman, Ron Paul, explaining what has gone wrong in the past and why what is being done in the present won’t work, and what steps we have to make in the future if we want the economy to recover. However the press, although comfortable with his assessment, seem unhappy with his suggestions for the future. Such as pulling out of Iraq and saving some money that way.

Ampers.

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The financial crises

The following video explains in simple terms exactly why the present problem is nothing like anything we had before. It shows, with stark simplicity, exactly why this is.

Ampers

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Amazon – always impressive

I ordered a DVD last Saturday afternoon (around three o’clock to me more precise). The next day, around 2:00pm I received an email from Amazon that the item was now being despatched. I didn’t give it any more consideration as it was a Sunday and I thought this was an “internal” despatch and it would eventually go on the Monday or Tuesday.

It was on a Monday morning and the Postman came to call, and with him, he brought my DVD. So when Amazon says the parcel was despatched, on a Sunday afternoon, they really meant it was being handed over to the Royal Mail. On a Sunday!

Well done Amazon.

Ampers

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You can’t call Gordon Brown names – official!

There are new laws added to the already huge list from the European Union and some of them are very alarming. I have added my comments in blue to some of them.

This EU Council decision of 20th January [PDF] on the establishment of a pan-EU ‘criminal’ database includes the following ‘offences’:

  • Offences related to waste

  • Unintentional environmental offences

  • Insult of the State, Nation or State symbols so does this mean we cannot call the European Union names any more?

  • Insult or resistance to a representative of public authority so does this mean we can’t call Gordon Brown an inefficient twat who has destroyed Britain?

  • Public order offences, breach of the public peace

  • Revealing a secret or breaching an obligation of secrecy so does this mean that a whistle-blower can be arrested, as, perhaps, a member of Her Majesty’s opposition when holding the government to be honorable.

  • Unintentional damage or destruction of property

  • Offences against migration law—an “Open category” (offences undefined thus all encompassing)

  • Offences against military obligations—an “Open category” (offences undefined thus all encompassing)

  • Unauthorised entry or residence

  • Other offences—an “Open category” (offences undefined thus all encompassing)

  • Other unintentional offences

  • Prohibition from frequenting some places

  • Prohibition from entry to a mass event so does this mean that we cannot desmonstrate in the ancient British way in the streets any more?

  • Placement under electronic surveillance (“fixed or mobile”—e.g., home, car, mobile phone etc)

  • Withdrawal of a hunting / fishing license

  • Prohibition to play certain games/sports apart from Russian Roulette, I haven’t quite worked out what they are getting at here!

  • Prohibition from national territory

  • Personal obligation—an “Open category” (offences undefined thus all encompassing)

  • “Fine”—all fines, inc. minor non-criminal offences so does this mean people who get parking tickets are now categorised as criminals?

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No more heroes

I cam across this on Old Holborn’s Blog and was immediately struck on its truth. He found it somewhere else and, like me, found it so important that he is passing it on. If you watch the video of M People‘s “Search for the Hero” you will learn just where you can find this hero.

Meanwhile, M People‘s message is contained in more depth below.

Ampers.

No more heroes

Humans are remarkable things. Born without fur, teeth, claws or stings, with no toxins in their bodies, not too strong, not too fast, we are nothing but walking easy meat for any predator on the planet. Pit yourself unarmed against a lion or a panther if you don’t believe me. Take on a bear or a wolf. You have no chance.

And yet humans are successful. We don’t have fur to keep us warm so we steal other animals’ fur, either whole or knitted. We have no teeth or claws but we can work stone and wood and metal into something similar and we can throw those things, or fire them from bows and guns. Now we can hit targets on another continent. We are not fast or strong but we can build machines that are, and ride in them or control them remotely. A human alone would find it difficult to catch a rabbit but a human with a gun (or previously, a bow, sling or atlatl) could bring down a cow. Working together we can bring down a mastodon or catch a whale.

We can fly faster than any bird. We can talk to someone on the other side of the world in real time. We have holiday snaps of Mars and pictures of most of the planets and moons in our solar system. We can save millions with a vaccine or kill millions with one bomb. We can turn desert into garden and salt water into fresh. We build and obliterate cities on a whim. Not bad for a bald ape.

We do this because we have powerful brains. And yet, we somehow resent our success.

Gods arise because humans can’t quite accept that they can do things for themselves. Humans did not rise from the apes of Africa on their own. A god did it. Humans did not win any war. God decided the winner. Choose your god, from the pantheon available, and hand over credit for your achievements. Your body, with its fantastic immune system and capacity for repair, did not save you from disease. God did it. It was a miracle.

This is not about religion. I don’t care whether there’s a God because if there is, he has demonstrated quite effectively that he doesn’t care about me. I have no bone to pick with the religious. It’s an example. Nothing more.

What it demonstrates is the human inability to believe our luck. Biologically, we are the least equipped species to survive on this planet. We have no fur to keep us warm. In a fight, we have piddling little teeth, no claws, no armoured skin, nothing. And yet we rule this planet. Tigers and wolves get out of our way. They know what we’re like. We are the bespectacled playground weed who finds the big kids running away and can’t quite grasp why.

So we pass the buck. We can’t have done this. Someone else must have. Someone watches over us (I’m not getting into an argument over that, so forget it). We continue this with our superheroes. Batman, Superman, Spiderman, the Hulk, and lately V for vendetta and the Watchmen. We don’t have to do anything. The Heroes will save us. So now we don’t do anything. We wait for the Hero.

The Righteous have never attempted to ban superhero films because they play right into the hands of the Righteous. They leave us with the impression we don’t have to do anything. Batman will sort it out. We don’t have to battle the creeping oppression of government. V will deal with that. The Righteous delight in this. It makes us complacent and pliable. We wait for our Hero to sort things out.

We wait, and we wait, but the Hero does not come. The Hero is not real and never was. Whenever there has been change in the world, it was brought about by people. Gandhi, Luther, Washington, Pankhurst, name your heroes and realise they were no such thing. They were human. No climbing walls, no flying, no shark-repellent Bat-spray, no trains filled with explosives and no spangly costumes. Human. Just like you and me. Nothing unusual or supernatural about them at all. No super powers, no super weapon… just words.

Still we wait. When the Righteous shut down dissent with their cries of ‘racist!’ we let them. The Hero will come. When they add more cameras to the stacks, we let them. The Hero will come. When they ban and control the things we enjoy, we let them. The Hero will come. We have backed down to the Righteous on every point, every argument, every ban and every new insane law and they have responded by becoming bolder and more arrogant. And still we wait for someone else to deal with them. There is no someone else. The Righteous know this. The only ones they have to fear are us and we are under their control. Because we allow it. We allow it because we think someone else will save us, but nobody will. Slowly, people are realising this.

The Righteous are frightened now. Their panic is evident. In their pretence that all homeschooled children might be abused, in their attempts to send those same children home to nag their smoking parents and thereby invite a whack, in all their rapid and hysterical pronouncements, their fear is evident. They fear loss of control, and in their fear they try to impose more, but with no logic or reason. They are running now and they are vulnerable. The cries of ‘racist-Nazi-bigot’ no longer work. Instead, they are using implications of paedophilia and child abuse, but their accusations are becoming shrill and less credible. The Righteous are ready to fall. They can recover. If we let them.

For years they have cowed us with words. When they stated that anyone opposed to immigration was racist, who stood up and said ‘That’s silly’? When they brought in the smoking ban, we talked but how many of us flouted that ban? When they fined people for overfilled bins, we complained but how many of us turned up at the council offices to demand explanation? When they turned our children into litter-spies and smoking-spies and odd-behaviour-spies, we were appalled but how many of us responded with more than mumbled complaints?

I can’t claim any moral superiority. Like you, I railed and shouted and did nothing. When the PC lunatics decreed the word ‘black’ was offensive even when applied to a blackboard or a telephone or a cat, I was incensed but did nothing about it. It was a small thing, easily bypassed. They were all such small things, weren’t they? Christmas turning into ‘winterval’, nativity plays cancelled, parents not allowed to photograph their own children at school, trainspotters arrested as terrorists, all tiny details that could be easily forgotten. Little things, minor irritants, another camera here or there, new rabid pseudoplods and Litter Hitlers walking the streets, new powers to enter homes, and through it all the mantra ‘nothing to hide, nothing to fear’ calmed our fury.

I stand outside the pub to smoke now, even though everyone, even the staff, are often out there with me. I have not defied the ludicrous Righteous rules. Like you, I have waited for someone else to show the way. Someone with strength. A Hero.

There is no hero. There is no someone else. We stand alone.

There was a bit of a fuss lately over the radical atheist posting of adverts on buses. ‘There is probably no God, so just enjoy your life’, or something like that. Whether there is a God or not is immaterial to this argument. There is a more appropriate slogan for our times.

There are definitely no heroes, so if you want something done, do it yourself.

Demand explanation and don’t accept platitudes. Keep asking the same question until they have to admit they have no answer. Ignore deflection and strawman arguments, favourites of the Righteous, and keep asking the same question over and over and over and as loudly and publically as possible. We don’t need violence to bring them down. They have controlled us with words. We can fight back with the same weapon. They will try to stop us speaking – they already have – because they fear that weapon more than any other. Riots they have prepared for. Persistent argument is what they fear most, because that will reveal them for what they are.

Should we? Can we? Are we the leaders we’ve been waiting for? Have we been, all along, the ones who can do something? Should we prepare an underground army, a secret cabal of anti-Righteous warriors?

No, because organised rebellion has already been modelled in their predictions and ways of dealing with that have been arranged. We don’t need weapons. They can fight weapons. They cannot fight words once their manipulative ways are exposed. They can fight an organised response, they can fight a one-man response, but a mass of individual responses cannot be fought. There is no leader to target. There are no platoons to take out. Each stands as individual but there are millions of those individuals and silencing one makes no difference to the rest.

I’m not a member of the Libertarian party but I took part in sending a copy of ‘1984’ to all the MPs last November. The response, what response there was, was aimed at the Libertarian party. The organisation, not the individuals. These people can cope with fighting organisations. They can’t conceive that individuals can be mobilised with a common aim.

That is what I suggest. They cut us down with small things, here and there. We can fight back the same way. Small rebellions, here and there. Think up something you can do to make life difficult for a Righteous, and do it. Nothing violent or illegal, there’s no need. Small irritations are all you need to do. Deflect, distort and disparage their arguments, the same thing they’ve done to us for years. Drop hints and start rumours. Keep them busy with minutiae.

Don’t concern yourself with the egotistical notion that they must know who hit them, because it’s more effective if they don’t. It does not matter that they know who has taken revenge, only that it is done, and if you remain unidentified then you can strike again. Never crow about what you do, never admit to having done anything at all. They can fight rioters. They can fight organisations. They cannot fight shadows. Look at their responses to anonymous posters on their own sites. It terrifies them, even though they always respond as ‘anonymous’ when pitching their responses to others. Stay below the radar, as they have done, and poke them once in a while. If enough are doing this it becomes unbearable.

Don’t look for leaders and don’t wait for heroes. You are both.

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Texas Hold’em Poker

I am passionate about playing Texas Hold’em Poker. There are many reasons why I enjoy playing poker. I enjoy working out strategies on the fly and I especially enjoy pitting my wits against my fellow man.

Luck certainly plays a part in poker, but only within the hand you are playing at any given time. By employing good strategies, keeping to them, and working on a long term solution, the unluckiest of people who are skilled in the knowledge of the game will always win against the luckiest people who are not so skilled. So, yes, luck is important, but only in the short term, i.e. the present hand or the present game.

The rules are simple. You are dealt two cards each which you don’t show. You bet on these for one round. Three cards are dealt and shown on the table. If they help with your two hidden cards, you join in with the round of betting, and then another card is turned up, more betting then the fifth card is turned up and then even more betting. The best hand of five cards that can be made out of the seven cards wins. You can fold your hand (quit the hand) at any time during any stage of the betting.

The hands are easy to remember. High card, a pair, two pairs, three of a kind, a mixed straight, a flush of any denomination, a full house (three of a kind and a pair) four of a kind, a straight flush (all one suit and running numbers) and finally a Royal Flush which is a straight flush of Ten, Jack, Queen, King and Ace – the highest hand in the game.

On reading the above two paragraphs, many non-poker players will thing that this is simple. But whoa! There are many ways you can play each hand, you can almost never be certain that someone has got a better hand. There are hundreds of books, magazines and lessons on the subject, TV channels devoted to poker, and even a few DVDs.

The complexity occurs when actually playing. If we scored a hand, for example, an identical hand would have a different value to play, depending on two criteria.

  1. Depending on how many people are left on the table. An A-4 would be discarded if there were ten players on the table but would be extremely valuable if there were only two players left – known in the game as “Heads Up”.

  2. Am A-10 would be a discardable hand if you were the first to bet, i.e. nearest to the dealer going clockwise. However, if you are last to bet in the round and nobody has upped the stakes, it would possibly be worth a large bet as many of the players on the table would more than likely fold.

So you can see how much there is to learn from the very simple rules listed above. Any person could play a game of poker after only five minutes learning the rules. However, it may take playing a thousand hands before a new player becomes comfortable with all the nuances of the game.

The successful poker player has courage, he knows that luck can rain down on him for maybe months. So he never plays unless he can back up his play with a bank roll at least 200 times the amount he plays in a single hand. Many prefer ten times as much money.

The successful player has a good memory. He watches each player in turn as they play their hands and, at the end, if a player puts a huge bet into the pot, he can play back, in his mind, every nuance of each player as they made each bet.

The successful player has the determination to know he is going to win. The winner is often someone who has watched the hand unfold and has committed himself totally to winning that hand. There are thirteen cards in a suit; I can be determined that a certain card can fall about three or four times out of thirteen – so I am not quite there yet. An average should be once out of thirteen. Let me put it in the words of “Johann Wolfgang von Goethe” who once said:

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issue from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can begin it, boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

There are dozens of poker tables on offer over the Internet. They each offer the opportunity of playing for “play money” or real cash. One thing to bear in mind is that, with play money, if you start winning on the low tables and gravitate up to the bigger play money amount tables and start winning on those, when you move over to real cash you will start losing almost every hand. This is because, with play money there are dozens and dozens of cowboys playing, and they are foolish with their money – after all it is free! People playing for real money tend to “put their money where their mouth is” and play a lot more conservatively. They think through each hand (round of betting) and think through the game most carefully. It is a completely different game, believe me.

There are dozens and dozens of websites where you can play Texas Hold’em Poker and, in fact, many other forms of poker. I will mention just a few here. A good one to start with is Ladbrokes Poker This is the one I started with. The one I play the most is Pokerstars but only because their software runs in Linux (under W.I.N.E), luckily it is a good company so I am reasonably happy. Then there is PKR. This is a great website as you have full life avatars and can give yourself the features you want. My one looks like a tough mercenary soldier of around forty – and tends to intimidate the “little darlings” I play against!

The most difficult and the one that seems to have the better quality players is Full-Tilt Poker. At present I am holding my own on ten table (90 players) tournaments with a stake of $2,000 to join the game. My present stake is around $50,000.

There are two different ways of playing Texas Hold’em Poker. One is to play tournaments – where you put up a certain amount, all you can lose, and get an amount of “tournament chips”. For example, you pay $100 to enter the tournament, and are given 1,500 chips to pay the tournament. If you get knocked out and lose all 1,500 chips, all you have lost is the $100. The other form of playing is cash games. This is where you put up your bankroll to play against others and if you lose, you lose real (or play) money chips in your bankroll. Most players are better at one of these two types of games but my advice is to play and become proficient at both.

For the record, I only play with “play money” – I am more interested in husbanding my resources in these troubled times than any “get rich” schemes.

Ampers

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