• Our dining poker table,The Nighthawk is featured on HGTV with Carter Oosterhouse.

Need some ideas of how to transform boring into inspired? Recently HGTV used one of BBO Poker Table's "The Nighthawk" dining poker table as the centerpiece of a poker space in their new signature show "HGTV'd".

For those that don't follow HGTV, the premise is that an expert designer, in this case Carter Oosterhouse, comes in and turns your less than glamorous house/space into something extraordinary. Usually there is some screaming and crying involved towards the end of the episode, and a general fuzzy feeling of jealousy by the viewers watching someone get a free renovation.

BBO wants to thank HGTV for allowing us to be involved. Here are some production pics of the room during the shoot. 

Nighthawk Poker Table on HGTV'd

Our Nighthawk, all dolled up.

Interior Design with Dining Poker Table

The round shaped chairs are a nice touch....

Poker Table Game Room

Even HGTV watches HGTV when filming an episode for HGTV....

Game Room Design with Nighthawk Poker Table, HGTV


The Minor League of Poker, College

9/19/2011 1:25:21 PM

By: Ben Harley

With the pervading mind and skill symphony called poker occurring across the world, it’s no surprise that college students are diving into the game as well. Considering plethora of broke college students with way too much time on their hands, poker has literally become an underground major on college campuses. This is one class where they’ll really feel the sting if they don’t study hard, they’ll need this skills for the big leagues!

As if on an eerily secluded island, isolated college communities clump people together. Games spring up on dorm bed boards, the floor, or even an empty lecture hall! As long as the police are busy searching for marijuana, then the young players are safe. All it takes is one person and poker games spontaneously spread faster than whooping cough in college dorms. Secondly, with the amount of free time that full-time students have, you can guarantee that the weekend is poker time, second only to the parties that might be encircling the players. While intoxicated players might be at a disadvantage, none can claim sobriety in this environment. Lastly, we all know students are going broke paying for tuition, food, and housing. Many offset some of those costs with their underground major. And even if they don’t win enough to cover the astronomical cost of college tuition, they’ll at least have their share of cash to put in for the frat’s keg party.

However, it’s not all fun and games when the shit, or money, hits the fan. For these naïve, young players, reality can hit them hardest as they become addicted to poker. Just like gambling or alcoholic addiction, poker no longer becomes a means to an end, it becomes the end-all. These young students are most susceptible to the pitfall of losses. Instead of knowing when to quit, they might lose their money, friends’ money, and their parents’ money. To make matters worse, when these impulsive kids want to keep playing, they’ll use a credit card to buy-in, despite already having thousands in debt. Poker can easily make or break a college kid; some will fall to addiction and debt while others’ are lucky enough to end up making it a career.

For these headlong kids, poker games are still as undeveloped and juvenile as their players’ weekend shenanigans. However, as they compete in tournaments and develop strategies, many are taking their skills into the real world to earn a living and becoming truly gentlemanly poker players. Some, such as Will Haydon have even dropped out of college in pursuit of a professional poker career. Too bad most won’t wind up walking away with over six hundred thousand from the WSOP!

Share your college poker stories with us here!

Image Credit:



Poker Scene After the UIGEA

8/24/2011 1:19:27 PM

By: Ben Harley

This is part one of two of our look at the effect of the UIGEA online poker ban on the current poker environment in the US. We will analyize how the UIGEA affected the 2011 WSOP in part 2 of what we call, "The New US Poker Landscape".

Photo Source: itechwiz.com

Although many are familiar with the Full Tilt, PokerStars, and Absolute Poker online shutdowns earlier this year, not many have been able to view its effect on the online gambling community. Some who relied on the online poker-playing to provide for their families while not constantly being away from them on tournament circuits have been hit the hardest. For the majority of online US players who do not need to worry about relocating their families, such as Jon Aguiar, online pro since 2004, they plan to attend more live tournaments or even move overseas to pursue their livelihood.

Image Source: Vin Narayanan

Of course the UIGEA doesn’t make online poker in the US automatically illegal, it simply makes some of the banking mechanisms behind it illegal. So online poker in the US still exists, but a majority of players are in agreement that the remaining sites would not be able to provide a comparable income they could live off of. This is especially difficult for players who used their winnings as their family’s only income source. Jamin Stokes is one such family player, using his online winning to provide a upper middle class life for his wife and three children in Michigan. Stokes is not just some online player either, he finished third in a $10,000 buy-in heads-up tournament earning $214,289, yet his standard of living is impossible to maintain with live games alone. Stokes reflects that “games at charity poker rooms, they’re not really big enough (stakes). And, I can only play 25 hands an hour, where I can play 500 hands an hour online.” Let alone the fact that he can play when it is most convenient for him and his family while still being around them. Toronto and Australia are at the top of his list for a big move that would strain his entire family.

However, for many live and online poker games are basically two different sports, each attracting different crowds. For those who exclusively play one, moving into the other would be difficult. An upspring in the number of home games has occurred in the wake of the shutdowns, however, players have speculated that the “fish” are gone as a result and it is no longer profitable. Many are searching for jobs, but when your employment history for the past few years is “professional poker player,” a job is hard to come by. At a time when the unemployment rate is an abysmal 9.2%, tens of thousands of unemployed were added as a result of this recent government action.

Share your UIGEA story by leaving a comment.

By: Ben Harley

How often do you start a game prepared, eager, and focused on winning? Now think about how that concentration fades away with each successive hand, both in real games and online. Here are a few ways to maximize on your ability to play well throughout the game, regardless of the distractions, disappointments, and chaos encircling you and your poker hand both physically and mentally.

When it comes to online games, many players try to multitasking with various tabs pulled up.
While multiple games are common and necessary, adding unnecessary Internet searches into the mix
can only make the game more fatiguing. At most, play some music so you don’t get bored, but don’t
overdo it just because it’s online, keep your eye on the prize! Being at home you have a unique
opportunity to keep yourself calm during the game, leading to improved focus. The simplest method is
to close your eyes for a 10 second count and breathe deeply, planning your move right before your turn.
For a deeper focus, go straight into a meditative, cross-legged position while touching your pointer
fingers to your thumbs chanting “Om.” It’s not like any players will know what you’re doing!

For live games, you’re much more limited by the people around you and their pace. However,
that doesn’t mean their eagerness should affect you. Stay focused on your own hand and strategy first
and foremost, even if there’s an unusually hot girl sitting across from you. While it may elicit a few odd
reactions, closing your eyes and counting till 5 or 10 before your turn can work here too. During other
players’ turns, take the anxiety away by rolling your wrists and ankles since you’ve been sitting
constantly. Pressure points can also be a quick relaxation tool. Give a gentle press to the narrow area
above the nose-ridge, the beginning of your wrists, or each temple on the side of your head. Just don’t
overdo it with a Vulcan nerve pinch!

Finally, when it comes to both live and online games, you have to keep your body in tune with
your mind for maximum focus efficiency. This isn’t just accomplished by regular exercise, which has
been scientifically shown to increase brain blood flow and ability, but also by watching what you put
into the tank. Excessive beer or food can take your concentration off of the game. Similarly, being too
hungry or thirsty will do the same. Thus you must find your Middle Way to reach a “Poker Nirvana.”

By Ben Harley

(Don't let the ice cold stare fool you, it may just be the Glee soundtrack pumping in the background)

Many players listen to music while playing poker, getting them in the mood or just staving off looming boredom. Of those players who do, listening to music while playing poker online is much more popular than having an ipod in your ear at a live table. As one player says, at a live table you want to be able to hear the fish “spewing info.” But for those who do listen to music while playing live, it’s suggested to listen what you already enjoy, unless you’re constantly blasting hardcore deathmetal. From soft jazz to classic rock, music is used by professionals to relax, calm, and focus their nerves while in the game. That’s not going to happen with deathmetal or any music in which people scream.

Your music needs to compliment your style for maximum effectiveness. Calm, tight players should let some gentle jazz or soul keep their pace down to not be pushed by the other sharks. Relaxed, cautious players should let the mellow sounds of alternative rock bring them to conscious focus. Moderately aggressive players should listen to some alternative music to pump them up a little bit. For solidly aggressive players, hip-hop has some upbeat tunes that’ll keep you going toe-to-toe with the other players. Crazily dangerous nutbar players should listen to rock to put themselves in that own little crazy land of theirs.

The point is, when you’re not in a good mood, don’t play. If you’re mad at the boss, sad from a recent loss, or just generally pissed then you should stay away from the cards. Loud or distracting music can be as detrimental as your own state of mind, and keep you from focusing. The mood is key, but its completely dependent on the mood you set and what mood is best for your play style. Ultimately, it boils down to you as a player and your ability to control the environment you play in.