Broadly, Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is an effective method of promoting your business online to a targeted audience. But more specifically, the great benefit of PPC is that it allows you to advertise in a market where people are already searching for what you are offering, and you only pay when visitors actually click on your URL. Although the setup of a PPC campaign may seem simple, there are key elements that can greatly influence the success of your campaign. Here are some often overlooked components of an effective PPC campaign.

Determine the Right Keywords – As with search engine optimization, keyword research and development is the cornerstone of PPC implementation. With increasing keyword bidding prices and a saturated marketplace, it’s important that advertisers diversify their keyword investments to include both broad and long-tail phrases while placing a heavy emphasis on keywords that are projected to convert into sales, qualified leads, or whatever your goals may be. You are paying for every click, so be sure to only attract visitors who will actually buy and utilize your service.

While broad keyword are still very necessary for getting your company in front of the majority of potential customers, incorporating a deeper, more specific group of keywords which are much more targeted will balance your traffic and provide a greater return on your ad spend. Consulting with a qualified PPC or SEO specialist will help identify productive keywords by using a mix free and paid keyword inventory and bid trend tools. Keyword research services should also include an analysis of your competitors’ keywords to create a comprehensive and effective keyword strategy.

Set a Budget – With better rankings typically equating to a positive ROI, it’s easy to go over your limit when bidding on keywords. To avoid losing money on your PPC campaign, it is crucial that you analyze your conversion rate to accurately determine your cost per click (CPC) budget. For example, if you invest $200 per month towards your PPC campaign, and your average profit per sale is $25, you will need eight sales per month just to break even.

If your sales conversion rate is 2%, you will need at least 400 visitors per month to meet your sales minimum. This illustrates that with a $200 PPC budget, you should not go over a $0.50 cost per click limit when bidding on keywords. While PPC experts offer various reasons for starting out small vs. going all out, one argument does make sense. That is, starting smaller and learning what does and does not work for your business allows you to modify your PPC campaign with money left to continue.

Don’t Forget the Landing Page – With so much attention dedicated to just attracting potential customers, it’s also important that the destination page is not overlooked. Your visitors have already expressed their intent with the focused keyword search, so send them to optimized pages that will help close the deal by more effectively connecting with them (i.e. not just the homepage). Incorporating the best practices for layout and content (unique and relevant) on each page will not only support both sales conversion rates and your search engine optimization efforts.

The landing page you direct your PPC traffic to can make or break your campaign, so spend the time to test campaigns with slightly different destinations. This will show you which landing page versions produce better results. Move forward with whichever works best.

PPC online advertising can be a very effective means for driving traffic to your websites. With proper implementation, it can also reduce the overall cost of gathering leads—focused keywords attract a more targeted traffic and warmer leads.

For more information, contact Social Media Marketing For Real Estate

Two British digital TV platforms announced on Monday they planned to launch real-time interactive TV betting services using software developed by U.S. firm Interactive Systems Worldwide Inc. (ISWI).

Telewest Plc, Britain’s second-largest cable group, and ITV Digital, the digital terrestrial TV service owned by Granada and Carlton, both heralded the beginning of a new age for sofa-bound gamblers.

Telewest will start a pilot service over the next few months with ISWI license-holder Global Interactive Gambling (GIG), a joint venture between a U.S. firm and a company backed by Germany’s Kirch Media. A full launch is due to follow next year.

ITV Digital expected to start rolling out its service with GIG to users of its TV Internet service in early 2002.

Interactive Systems Worldwide has developed the real-time Judi Slot SportXction software that will power it, and the U.S. software firm will take 25 percent of the gross profits for the use of its technology, as well as a share of the wagers.

Shares in ISWI had gained 18 cents, or more than four percent to $4.55 in midday New York trade. The stock has quadrupled in value since May this year.


SportXction allows bets to be continually placed at key points in television programming — in particular in sporting events where, for example a player is about to take a penalty shot in soccer or serve in tennis.

A spokesman for BSkyB Plc, which takes bets through its Sky Digital satellite service for wagers made before the start of a particular event, noted that “real-time” betting would depend on the speed of the modem connection.

But the entire industry is counting on TV gambling to help claw back some of the billions of pounds spent on subsidizing and selling digital TV to British consumers, which has put the country at the forefront of the technology.

“Many broadcasters now realize that their future success will be based upon incremental revenues generated from new, compelling and distinctive services,” GIG Chief Executive Cees Zwaard said in a statement.

Both Telewest and ITV Digital hope to capture a slice of the interactive digital TV betting market, which ABN AMRO expects will be worth $2.1 billion by 2004.

GIG is a joint venture created last year by Delaware-based Multisports Games Development and Prisma iVentures, a company backed by Kirch Media — which announced plans last week to merge with German TV broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 and is a division of German media giant Kirch Group.




CEOs of fallen takeover targets rarely survive the aftermath, let alone rise to take charge of the predator’s helm – making Rob Hines a real exception to the rule.

Hines, 48, has been keeping an extremely low profile since taking over from Richard Barnes as managing director of Queensland casino operator Jupiters Ltd last month.

But that’s set to change today when he fronts analysts and the financial press to unveil what is expected to be a record June-year profit of about $73 million and articulate the Hines vision for Jupiters’ future.

Jupiters, run by Barnes for 13 years, inherited Hines in January last year through its $143 million takeover of AWA.

Hines still lives in Sydney with his wife of 25 years Tessa, who runs a physiotherapy practice, and plans to continue commuting to the Gold Coast for the time being until the couple sort out their affairs and can move up permanently.

A keen sailor, Hines has a 34-foot Northshore moored at the Middle Harbour Yacht Club in Sydney, and joined thousands of other Sydney fun runners yesterday to take part in the annual City to Surf race.

Back in January 1998, Hines was head-hunted by AWA’s former chairman Trevor Kennedy from Keycorp to replace CEO John Rouse, but had just 18 months to stamp his imprimatur on the company before the Jupiters Part A lobbed.

Kennedy, who sought Hines out on the Online Casino Malaysia recommendation of former Optus chief Geoff Cousins, said he proved an “outstanding success” in that short time.

“He’s a very capable manager, very cool under pressure, focused, a good strategic thinker and very good with people too. So I can’t speak too highly of him,” he told The Courier-Mail.

“I was always confident he’d do well because of his capability and track record.”

Jupiters – which operates three hotel casinos in Townsville, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, Centrebet and a statewide Keno franchise – was attracted to AWA by its profitable core wagering and gaming business and IT network services operation.

Hines, who received $300,000 from Jupiters in return for his one million AWA options, was the only director retained after the takeover dust settled.

Jupiters chairman Lawrie Willett said the company’s ability to appoint Barnes’ successor from within was a hallmark of good corporate governance.

“And we were happy to find we had more than just one executive who could have succeeded him,” he said.

Willett also welcomed timely decisions by institutions like ING Australia and Perpetual Trustees to lift their stakes in the company which he said had been the first casino operator to “break out of the box” and diversify.

“I’ve always felt we weren’t fully appreciated by the the marketplace and like to think we are new starting to be better understood,” he said.

Significantly, the stock has been trading near record highs, fuelled partly by takeover speculation, and closed on Friday down 4c at $4.32.

One of Hines’ first moves since taking charge has been to dispense with a security door leading into the reception area of the company’s ninth floor Gold Coast headquarters.

This signals a more relaxed open-door policy than that presented by Barnes, who was so uncomfortable with the media that press conferences were a rarity.

Hines originally trained in the UK as an engineer and computer hardware technician, later moving into software and then marketing.

He built his first television at 15, his first computer at 19 and still likes to fiddle around with electronics.


Hines started in IT in the UK in 1969 with Burroughs Corp, moved to the US, and then to New Zealand after Burroughs and Sperry Corp merged in 1986 to form Unisys.

In 1991, he moved to Australia and subsequently joined the fledgling pay TV group Optus Vision in 1994.

But with no immediate opportunity for career development Hines started casting his eye around for other opportunities, in the end settling on Keycorp.

Again it was ambition and the lure of corporate power which three months later prompted Hines to jump the Keycorp ship and join AWA where the role of CEO beckoned.

Jupiters put paid to that plan, but Hines would probably be the first to agree the takeover of AWA proved serendipitous.

The top job at Jupiters, which boasts a market capitalisation of some $815 million, has truly catapulted Hines into Australia’s corporate big league. Watch this space.


  1. Thomas Baker knows a good bet when he sees one. When his company’s stockplunged like almost every other after the September 11 terrorist attacks, the chief executive of International Game Technology (NYSE:IGT-news) cracked open his corporate piggy bank and repurchased $100 million of the Reno [Nev.] company’s shares. The stock has since climbed by 60%. “We had the cash,” Baker says with characteristic understatement. “It looked like a very good deal.”


Baker is bullish on IGT, No. 46 on this year’s BusinessWeek 50 list of top-performing companies, but should you be? In an industry known more for all-you-can-eat buffets than consistent earnings growth, IGT has been among the best performing gambling stocks. The company is the world’s leading maker of slot machines, with a 60% market share. Sales and earnings have more than doubled over the past six years, and its stock has climbed nearly five-fold during that period. The good news is that analysts are expecting more of the same.


Wall Street forecasts that IGT’s earnings per share will climb about 14% this year, to $3.30, according to a survey of 15 brokerage firms by earnings estimate compiler For the fiscal year that ended last September, IGT earned $213 million, on sales of $1.3 billion. “Better to put your money in IGT stock than in one of their slot machines,” jokes Bruce S. Sherman, chairman of Private Capital Management, a money-management firm in Naples, Fla., that’s IGT’s largest shareholder. Sherman says his company recently has been adding to its 6.5 million-share IGT position.


CASHING IN. Still, the events of September 11 and the natural cycle of the business may make this a transitional year for IGT. In the wake of the terrorist attacks, gamblers are driving to local casinos more often than hopping on planes. That trend has hurt casinos in Las Vegas, which as a result have cut back on capital spending.


And last year, IGT got a big boost from the legalization of slot machines on Indian reservations in California. But in its most recent quarter, the company sold only 250 new machines to that market, down from 3,500 in the same period last year. That decline put IGT’s domestic shipments at 12,600 machines, from 15,000 in the first quarter of last year.


Some investors are taking their chips off the table. Like IGT itself, Ariel Capital Management, the well-known Chicago-based money-management outfit, was a big buyer of IGT shares after September 11. Lately, the firm has been a seller. Ariel now has 970,000 shares, down from 3 million in October.


INNOVATIONS. “We love the stock, but it’s not one of those hidden gems anymore,” says John Miller, an analyst at Online Casino Singapore. “On a valuation basis, it’s a little rich.” At a recent price of $60 per share, IGT sells for about 18 times this year’s estimated earnings.


Still, IGT has a lot going for it. No. 1 is technology. IGT has always been a leader in product development. In the 1980s, the company was among the first to put microprocessors in slot machines in place of the mechanical wheels. In 1986, it connected a number of machines in “Megabuck” networks that promised higher payouts to gamblers. IGT typically leases these machines to casinos and takes a cut of gambling revenues in return. Revenues from such arrangements now make up nearly two-thirds of IGT’s cash flow.


More recently, it launched coinless machines that use paper tickets to tally winnings. That saves the casino time and money. “A large jackpot can take 30 minutes to verify,” notes IGT’s Baker. “It’s a hassle winning $200 worth of nickels.” Overall, Baker figures that his company spends more on researching and developing new slot machines — some $60 million last year — than the rest of the industry combined.


QUICKER TURNAROUND. The new technologies and new game ideas — a game featuring TV personality Regis Philbin is a popular one lately — helps drive the market for replacement machines. IGT has dropped the average amount of time a casino keeps a slot machine from seven years to just over four, notes Todd Greisbach, an analyst at Liberty Wanger Asset, a longtime IGT investor. That means more sales of new machines, at roughly $11,000 each.


Then there are the new jurisdictions, a big source of IGT’s sales over the last two decades. Even though the U.S. macroeconomic outlook is improving, state budgets will likely keep being squeezed because of a variety of factors. Tough economic times often prompt states to seek new sources of revenue, such as casinos. The 1970s brought Atlantic City, and the early 1990s saw riverboat gambling spread in the Midwest. Casino gambling is now being considered in eight states, most notably New York, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky.


Lastly, IGT should benefit from its recent merger with Anchor Gaming, which in addition to cost savings should contribute significantly to earnings per share because Anchor was acquired with IGT stock trading at a higher multiple of earnings. Liberty Wanger’s Greisbach figures the acquisition could add as much as 30 cents to IGT earnings this year.


IGT may see slower sales growth in 2002 compared with last year, but longer term, the odds are still in its favor.




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The ruling INLD may have pushed the Haryana Casino (Licensing and Control) Bill, 2002, down the throat of the State Assembly at a supersonic speed, the possibility of casinos seeing the light of the day during the present tenure of the Chautala government is not very bright.


Many state officers, who obviously do not want to be identified, say the process of establishing a casino is unlikely to be accelerated by the MoU which the Haryana Industrial Development Corporation signed with a London-based company, Vistastar Leisure Private Limited, even before the Cabinet and the Legislature had approved the draft Bill, specifying the state policy on establishing casinos.


It will take years for any newcomer to meet the basic requirements laid down in the Bill before applying for a licence, which can be granted to a person who owns or runs a tourist complex without a casino (clause A of subsection 1 of section 8) or ‘‘has definite plans to set up a tourist complex and conclusively establishes that he has land, financial resources, capacity and experience to execute such plans” (clause B of subsection 1 of section 8).


The Bill defines a tourist complex as ‘‘a complex set up in the state with an amusement park, a five-star hotel and a casino, or a complex offering such facilities for recreation, sports, amusement, entertainment, health and relaxation, as may be prescribed, along with a casino’’.


Informed sources say such a tourist complex cannot be set up in a period of three years, which a licencee would have to do under subsection 8 of section 8. Of course, an extension of another two years can be given to him by the Excise and Taxation Commissioner, who has been designated as the licensing authority in the Bill.


An architect, Mr Harish Gupta, says a five-star hotel having a covered area of 1 lakh sq. ft. on all floors will take at least four years to be completed if the construction is done in two shifts of eight hours each. The Assembly elections are due in early 2005.


The statements by Congress leaders Bhajan Lal and Bhupinder Singh Hooda as well as HVP President Bansi Lal that if they came to power, the casino law would be revoked, are bound to create uncertainty in the minds of proposed investors.


A lot of procedural work remains to be done. The Bill is yet to become an Act. The rules are to be framed. The Government is yet to decide how many casinos will be opened in which area of the state. Before granting a licence, the Commissioner will have to inquire if the past criminal record or prior financial or other activities of an applicant, who has to deposit a non-refundable application fee of Rs 5 lakh, ‘‘poses a threat to the public interest of the state and to the effective regulation and control of gaming or creates a danger of illegal practices….”


The Commissioner will have to refuse the licence if it is found that the applicant is ‘‘receiving a substantial amount of finances for the proposed operation from an unsuitable source’’. A meaningful inquiry into all these aspects will take months.


Of course, Haryana has a tradition of completing all Togel formalities even before a scheme is formulated. When the HVP-BJP government was in power, the State Transport Department had accepted applications from influential persons for plying buses to Rajasthan even before the two states had reached an agreement and the scheme was notified. The final scheme stipulated that permission would be granted on a first-come, first-served basis. Naturally, those influential persons whose applications were accepted before the notification of the scheme walked away with almost all route permits.


Many view the HSIDC-Vistastar MoU with suspicion in the light of the above incident.


A licencee will have to pay an annual licence fee of at least Rs 1 crore, besides a security of another Rs 1 crore.


Sources in the trade say in addition to procedural and political reasons, the casino scheme may falter for another reason also: the parallel economy of India. They say a casino cannot be run merely on the patronage of small and casual players. It needs a strong support base of those big players who can win or lose at least Rs 1 crore in one go. Such huge amount cannot come from accounted money.


Anyone putting huge bets in unaccounted money in an Indian casino may find Income Tax sleuths breathing down his neck sooner than expected. This fear may keep big Indian players, who now patronise casinos in Nepal, away from those in Indian. In Nepal the fear of the Income Tax Department does not weigh on the minds of Indian players, some of them belonging to Haryana. The trade sources say one such big player has business interests in the fields of liquor and mining in Haryana. Another big player is stated to be from a political family of the state.


The trade sources say traditional casinos now have a competitor in ‘‘on-line casinos’’. Though Indian currency is not accepted by the on-line casinos, the sources say in metropolitan cities an arrangement has been worked out by hawala racketeers. Once an Indian on-line player makes a deposit with an on-line casino through hawala operators, a code is given to him. The code works as cash card.


The ruling party defends the decision to open casinos on the argument that the additional resources so generated would help fuel social development, an argument which totally contradicts Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of the need of purity of aims as well as means.


The Opposition apprehends that the casino culture would weaken the moral fabric of the state, already under severe strain from UP and Delhi-based criminal gangs fast taking roots in Haryana. The Haryana Congress President, Mr Bhajan Lal, says the epic battle of the Mahabharata, fought on the lands of Haryana, had its genesis in gambling. The people of the state, he says, would not accept public gambling.


The Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Prof Sampat Singh, while participating in the debate on the no-confidence motion against the government in the last Assembly session, accused the Opposition of opposing the casino Bill on the grounds of morality and not on a clause-to-clause basis. He also said the Bill was not legalising gambling but was only concerned with ‘‘gaming’’. However, Prof Sampat Singh had no answer to Mr Bhajan Lal’s query that if the Chautala Government, which was in the habit of naming everything after the former Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Devi Lal, was absolutely sure that the casino scheme was morally correct, would it name the casinos after the late leader.


The Parliamentary Affairs Minister also did not elaborate how the Opposition could discuss the Bill on an clause-to-clause basis when the Deputy Speaker, who was in the chair when it was moved, went ahead with the Bill at a speed at which he could not hear the pleas of Opposition MLAs.


Prof Sampat Singh will also do a favour to all if he explains if the Bill was concerned only with ‘‘gaming’’ and not ‘‘gambling’’ or why the Government felt the necessity of amending the Public Gambling Act to allow ‘‘authorised gambling’’ in the state.




There are a lot of different SEO techniques floating around today. Some require more of a time commitment while others require a bit of a financial investment. What they all have in common is the need for top notch keyword research. If you skip this one vital element of search engine optimization, you will never get the search engine attention you deserve and you will struggle to bring members of your targeted market to your site.


It doesn’t matter whether you operate a website or a blog or if you are selling products online or just create information sites to collect Adsense earnings. If you need to bring traffic to your site and want to be listed highly on search engine results pages, you have to learn how to perform efficient keyword research. This is the starting point no matter which SEO techniques you employ.


Here are some basic keyword research tools that should apply no matter what SEO techniques you choose to work with:


Your keywords must be tightly related to the subject of your website. You have to connect your keywords to the search terms members of your target audience are using to search for information online.


The keywords with the most Playable Ads searches each month are of course the most attractive, but they also come with the most competition from established websites and blogs. You may do better to dominate less competitive keywords that are still related to your website than to compete with the others.


On-site SEO is just as important as off-site SEO. Off-site efforts drive visitors to your site but it is the on-site SEO that talks to the search engines so they know what you have to offer.


Get creative with keyword research. Work with keywords that are highly focused to different areas of your subject matter. The more specific you get the more you can attract members of your targeted market.


SEO Plugins: Your Silent Partner for On-Site Optimization


You can’t operate a successful website or blog today without proper search engine optimization, or SEO. Many are focusing heavily on off-site SEO so they can boost the rank of their site and draw in targeted traffic simultaneously. This is effective, but you cannot skimp on the on-site SEO or your site will be unprepared for the traffic when it comes. That is where SEO plugins become effective.


You can think of SEO plugins as your silent partners when it comes to on-site SEO. These plugins patrol your website and make sure all of your headlines are properly optimized while overseeing the creation of well optimized page titles. This is done so your website speaks to the search engines more efficiently without affecting the readability and entertainment level of the site for human visitors.


The most popular SEO plugins are designed to work with WordPress. There are different plugins available and some will be more helpful than others. it is important to consider the exact features of the plugins you consider using. You can see what the plugin is designed to do for your site then make sure any WordPress theme you may have already purchased doesn’t include those features already.


Some WordPress theme designers are using SEO features to automatically give your websites and blogs a head start with on-site SEO. Others are just designed for aesthetics and will need SEO plugins to help with proper optimization. You can determine if you need a plugin by comparing features already offered on your site or theme with the features of popular plugins.


If you aren’t an SEO whizz and your website or blog wasn’t designed with SEO in mind, then SEO plugins can give you a head start optimizing your site for the search engines as well as human visitors.


A genuine £25,000 online trivia quiz, launched on Saturday June 8th. The quiz appeals to all 18+ Internet users worldwide and has been specifically created to offer the possibility of winning large cash prizes without gambling.


The original quiz site is the brain child of two Headteachers. It has since been carefully researched and developed under guidance from a team of experienced e-commerce and entertainment business consultants.


Business development director, Kevin Duck said,


‘The whole team have been involved on this exciting project for many months. It adds to the thrill of the many current popular TV and Internet quizzes, but also allows entry to all 18 plus Internet users and is set to become the first ‘genuine’ big money Internet quiz. We are promoting the level playing field of the quiz, in that it is a real game of skill and not another free lottery or prize draw site.’


The £25,000 jackpot winner(s) will have to beat 15 other Slot Online players, but may choose to receive cash prizes along the way, ranging from £3 to the £25,000 jackpot. In the event of two players achieving the same score in a game of five multiple choice questions, the fastest time recorded will decide a winner. The development of the site’s security system has been a major priority in promoting trust and confidence from it’s players. The site has an existing user base of well over 8000 registered quiz players.


All players must be 18 years of age or older. The standard entry fee is £5, but £10 buys 3 game vouchers, £15 buys 5 game vouchers and £25 will buy 10 game vouchers.The quiz launched on June 8th with several £25,000 winners expected at any time in the near future.


Four thousand trivia questions were compiled and scrutinised for the launch of the quiz. They range from easy through to very challenging.


Free entry weekly mini-quizzes have been running since last October, with nearly £1500 in prize money already given away.


The quiz is presented and funded by Morse and Norris Online Limited. The directors are keen to promote the quiz site as a unique and fair method to win large cash prizes based on skill and not through gambling.


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Main Review


Bottom Line

Goldrush Online Casino has a more professional appearance and feel than some other competitors out there. Their game odds are more than fair compared to others. Goldrush is definitely a step up compared to some in the online casino business. Depending on your game, I would have no problem recommending Goldrush to others. I gave Goldrush a rating of 4.5 chips. Nothing stands out as far as their game odds are concerned as either being extremely good in the players favor, or being extremely bad to the player.



Goldrush Casino and Sportsbook, based in Costa Rica offers both online casino and sportsbook services. For the purposes of this review, I have only reviewed the casino portion of their website. I was playing in fun mode, not for real money, but you are connected to the server in this mode. Goldrush has done their page with graphics trying to give you the feel of an old wild west casino. They have options to view their pages in Spanish along with English.


They have a lot of nice Togel Hongkong links to subjects such as “what’s new”, “how it works”, “customer care” etc. A lot of sites need to expand their web pages to give as much info to potential customers as they can. New users always have lots of initial questions as to the general runnings of a new online casino they want to try. I’m glad that Goldrush has done a good job in this respect. Customer service phone numbers and e-mail addresses are conveniently spotted on several of their pages.



Money Matters

Goldrush is currently offering new members $35 in bonus chip if they open a new account to play for real money. (3/26/00). They are also offering $25 in free chips if you refer a friend to their site who also opens an account with a minimum deposite of $50. Goldrush offers deposite options of Visa, Master Card, check, and money wire. Goldrush also offers what they call a Premiere Gold Club. You get a point for every $25 you wager. As you accumulate points, you can cash these out for chips, prizes, and other gifts.



The gaming software for Goldrush is from MicroGaming Systems. Download size is 2.9 Megs. It’s very well done. Between the excellent graphics and decent payouts the games provides, I got a feel that I was at a very reputable online casino. There’s a few games I wish would play faster, but I usually prefer a very quick interface.

Goldrush offers 20 games in all. 10 of these are slot machines. If there’s any knock at all about Goldrush, I’d prefer more Video Poker variations as opposed to slot machines. But they do offer 3 Video Poker games with good payouts, so this isn’t that big of an issue. Other games include Blackjack, Roulette, Craps, Baccarat, Caribbean Stud Poker (called Cyberstud poker here), Keno, and a game called Scratch Card. I’ll go into more detail on each game below.




When you play in a regular game, you should be getting to know the habits, moves and plays of your competitors. Your game may have a Mick the Maniac, Russ the Rock, etc. When you’re out of a hand (which, if you play like me, is a lot of the time), you should be watching your opponents. You may pick up a tell, or you may learn how or why they make their bets and raises.

In the game that I frequent, we have a cast of characters. One of my favorites is Olma, a Russian immigrant. Now I’ve been playing with Olma for a couple of years, and I understand how she plays. When she’s in a hand – look out! She either has the nuts, or a good draw to the nuts, or draws to the nuts. When she bets she has the nuts; when she raises, she has the nuts with re-draws! Olma always buys in for the minimum (her husband doesn’t like her losing a lot). I’ve never seen her raise on the come.

A few weeks ago we were playing in the $6/$12 Omaha game (with a full kill to $12/$24). It was a kill pot, and I picked up K854. I was in late position with Olma on my right. Olma was the fourth caller, and I folded, of course. (If you’re thinking that I should have called, this is a trash hand. Yes, you have two cards to a wheel, but unless the flop is A23, you won’t like the hand much.) Seven players saw the flop: Q78. The exercise is to determine what Olma holds, given only my hand, the betting, and the Board cards. My guesses, and her actual hand, will appear at the end of this article.

On the flop, the blind checked, the next player bet, the following Togel player raised, and Olma, along with five others called (the blind folded). The turn card was the 6.

The raiser bet, the next player raised, it went fold, Olma called, call, call, and call (by the original better). The river was the intriguing 9.

The first player bet, call (with a disgusted attitude, mumbling, “What can I do?”), Olma raised, fold, call; raise by the first player, call, Olma capped it (in Southern California, a bet and 3 raises is the norm), and everyone called. So what did you think Olma held, and why, on every street?

Pre-flop, when Olma enters a hand, I know she holds A2, or A34, or a low suited Ace (up to A5) with some other back-up. In a kill pot, I expect her to hold either an A2 or A34.

Now on the flop (Q78) she cold calls two bets. Either she has the Ax (with x=3), a set of Queens (unlikely, given the raise – the raiser probably has that hand), or possibly A2T9. I’m not sure if Olma would play that hand in a kill pot.

The turn card was the 6. Again, Olma cold calls two bets. Given that this will be a split pot, Olma has the nuts (for either low or high) with a draw to the nuts the other way. I put her on A2. Another possibility was A245 (she’d have the nut low and the idiot end of the straight), but given that I held a 45 I thought that was unlikely.

The river was the 9 (making the Board Q78/6/9). Olma raised, was re-raised, and Olma capped the betting. When Olma re-raised I put her on A2; but when she was re-raised and she capped the betting it became clear, to me, that she had the straight flush and the nut low; indeed, Olma held A2JT, and got ¾ of a monster pot (the “What can I do” player also held an A2, along with a T9; the player who bet the river had the A3 and was annoyed, to put it mildly).

Now you may be thinking that the game you frequent is much tougher than my game; that none of the players have any habits or betting patterns; that it is impossible to figure out what they hold. My reply is to quote Rex Stout: Pfui!

It will take practice, but in Omaha reading your opponents is a much easier task than in hold’em. The regular denizens of your game do have habits. Start by following just one player in the session. Watch what he bets with, what he raises with, what he calls with. If necessary (to remember what’s happened), make surreptitious notes. When you get home, study the notes and look for the patterns that will be there. You’ll find that most of the players you play with have patterns. Even maniacs can have patterns: one I play with raises with garbage (about 90% of the time) and calls with his good hands.

You may not be lucky enough to have an Olma in your game, but I’m sure you have her relatives. So begin to look for the patterns in the play of your opponents, and you may be pleasantly surprised in what you find.