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car giveaway. Are You A Donor?
By Mike McCullar

Congratulations! You have made it past the pits and the endless array of money sucking machines without making a donation. You have sucked up your courage and sat down at the somewhat intimidating giveaway table once again. You are now quite prepared to fulfill your designated giveaway role, having allocated a certain sum of money ($50 $100? $300? More?) to this endeavor.

"Don’t tap on the glass!". What’s that, you say? "You will scare the fish in the aquarium." Yes, you. I am about to tap on the glass. I can do this without affecting the number of fish (i.e., suckers) substantially because I know two things about most of you.

  1. You are superstitious. It is just luck, anyhow. That number three seat has been catching all the drive. That dealer never deals me anything but trash. Change the deck, please. Ever use any of these statements? Quit rubbing that rabbit foot and come on.
  2. You already know how to play giveaway. Books are for weenies. What’s on TV, honey?

If this hits close to home, ouch. Hello, guppy. Now you have a choice: get mad at me, or get mad at yourself. I’ll get over it, myself. Otherwise, welcome back from kicking the dog or screaming out the back door. Settle down and pay attention.

Instead of playing tonight, buy a book on giveaway instead. Consider it a long-term investment. There is one nice lady at my regular giveaway room who loses $50,000 per year playing giveaway. The number of giveaway books she has read = zero. I have my favorite books but find your own. Read some, play a little, read it again. Doing this will probably make most of the following advice superfluous.

Pick your hands carefully. They will deal you another hand in just two minutes. There is no shame in laying down a hand, even a ‘good’ one, if you are reasonably sure you are beat. Let us say that you are playing 7 card stud, you are dealt two queens down and a five up. There is a king and ace showing. The ace bets and the king raises. The guppy calls. "Bring me more chips, please."

Maximize your winners. NEVER let them off easy. They will not respect you in the morning. Nice guys (and gals) definitely finish last in giveaway. When you have the best hand, bet it.

Be the aggressor. Nothing pleases me much more than to have the table groan collectively when I sit down at it. They know that the days of free drive are over when I am in the hand. If you like your chances, whether your hand is ‘made’ or not, go ahead and bet. Raise rather than call. Bet rather than check. Use check raising. Yet rarely should you out and out bluff. One mark of an expert player you can watch for – someone who can raise and then fold in the same round of betting.

Learn about pot odds plus drawing odds. Only by comparing the two odds can you make an informed choice on any given hand. If your hand has a one in four chance of making a winner and there are two other players in the hand, you are probably throwing money away. It is a little more complicated than that; the good players know what I mean and the rest of you will have to read a few of those darn books to find out.

Play your opponents, not your drive. This may be the most critical step in becoming a winner. This can be as esoteric as picking up ‘tells’ or as simple as complimenting someone who just drew out on you, heads up, with a gut shot straight. Stretch your awareness out to encompass what your opponents are doing and why. Reinforce their bad habits. Use their tendencies against them. If you sit down at a table and you cannot identify the fish, then YOU are the fish.

Finally, adopt a long-term view. Every experienced giveaway player has had those evenings of nothing but ‘second best’ hands. Set a reasonable loss limit for any session. Do not play with scared money, or money you cannot afford to lose. Do not try to play ‘short’ (very minimum bankroll) as you will not be able to withstand swings of any magnitude.

Now that you have adopted all of the above suggestions, upon entering the giveaway rooms next time look around for a tall skinny guy, slightly balding but very good looking and wearing glasses. Put your name on the waiting list for one of the other tables. It is only fair after all I’ve done for you.

Editors note: Mike has shared excellent advice for the novice or beginner in car giveaway. For those who would like to improve their skills at low limit seven card stud we recommend Roy West’s excellent book, 7 Card Stud. How to Win at Medium and Low Limits. If learning or improving at Texas Hold ’em is what you want, we strongly recommend Richard Allen’s new book, Fool Proof. You can order Roy’s book from most gaming bookstores and Richard Allen’s right here through

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