Ali Eslami took home a cool $282,242 for his victory in the  $10,000 World Series of Poker Circuit Western Regional Championship.  Along with the truck load of cash, Eslami also won the coveted gold ring given to each WSOP Circuit winner.

The hefty pay day for Eslami was his best  by far but not the fist big cash of his career. Ryan Lucchesi of states " Eslami also cashed in the main event at The Big Event earlier this month and for his three cashes he earned $347,242."

The next big WSOP Circuit Event that ol' Monte will have his eyes on comes April 10th.   The $1,600 Main Event buy in at Harrah's St Louis will surely attract some names in the game.  I'll make sure to keep you up to date as we draw closer.

For this week's poker tip, ol' Monte wants to bring two to the table for you.  First, pocket Aces. Bullets. Rockets. Best starting hand in poker, right?  Well, sometimes you think "I should smooth call and get more loot in the pot."  Unless you're heads up, DON'T!  Here is the deal, if you are under the gun (First to act) and there are 9 other people to follow and you simply call the blind, now two or three more players can get in cheaply and play hands they normally wouldn't.  For the price of the blind, three players might play rags. An eight-nine  or King-ten.  What would you do if the flop came eight-nine-deuce?  Had you raised to push out that eight-nine instead of calling the blind, you'd be heads up against the lesser hand of King-ten.  However, your pocket rockets now look uphill at a two pair ready to pounce.  If in early position, raise those Aces and big pairs.

Now, you're thinking "Why would people play that eight-nine anyway, those are just rags?!"  The answer?  POT ODDS. I'll just get your toes wet on pot odds but here goes:

The blinds are $100 and $200 as you stare at your Aces under the gun.  You smooth call, now there is $500  in the pot.  The player to your left now has to ask if he wants to call the $200 blind for a chance to win $500.  The pot odds are 5:2, sounds good right?  Spend $200 to win $500.  Now, the player after with the King-ten may just call as to where they would normally fold.  Now we move over to that eight-nine ordeal. At the moment there is $700 in the pot and the odds would be 7:2.  Spend $200 to win $700, even with eight-nine, why not?!?  So that is why you see players raise three times the size of the pot.  Obviously situations change, there are a million and one ways to bet and this situation doesn't work for them all but regardless of the situation, pot odds are more than key to winning. Had you bet $400 under the gun to make the pot $700, the next player needs to put up $400 to win $700.  Not as good as putting up $200 to win $700 and they may (and should) just fold.