Before you head for the nearest empty chair at an open poker table, hold on. There is one very important factor that you must check and verify before you start playing. What? Check the betting limit of that particular table.Why? This is what determines the professional skills of the poker players you will face and will also help you calculate approximately how much cash you need for this particular round of betting.For the Casual Poker Fan:You should try and begin by selecting a table with a low limit. Here, you will enjoy the relatively casual ambience and friendly opponents, who will not have a lot of experience playing and thus you stand a fair chance of winning. The slight problem with such games is that such kinds of tables are difficult to locate. In addition, those playing at such tables tend to play in a very conservative manner and this slows down the flow of the game. If you are still interested in looking for such tables you will be able to find them at the downtown casinos and gambling halls or at poker rooms not located on the Las Vegas strip itself such as the Palace Station. Wish to Play Texas Holdem Instead?Here too, select the lower limit games such as the 4/8 version. In this game, you will be allowed to increase only by four dollars and hence the name. Then, when you come to the last two betting rounds, you will have to double it to eight dollars. Likewise, you can also find the following limits: two and then four, three and then six, four and then eight, eight and then sixteen, fifteen and then thirty, thirty and then sixty and the last one which is pretty different to find (and which unless you are prepared to dish out large sums, you should avoid.) forty and then eight during the last two rounds of betting. How Many Chips Should You Purchase In Such Games?What you can do is multiply the end limit by about twenty and then make sure you have that amount. For example, if you wanted to join a table where the limit is two and then four. Multiply four into twenty and you get eighty. So, this is the sum of chips you must bring in to the game by buying them from the cash counters in the casino.Another option is playing Texas holdem with no limits whatsoever, but beware. Such games pull pros and then you will find yourself at a big disadvantage. For the Experienced Poker Player:Most pros prefer playing Texas holdem than other poker games. And such professionals opt for games with no limit or that have a high limit of at least fifteen dollars. Beware, these tables (You can find them in the top casinos such as the Bellagio and others on the strip.) are places where you can lose hundreds of dollars in minutes so unless you are aware of this or unless you want to swim with the sharks because you consider yourself a shark too, stay away.Conclusion:Note that sometimes the tables might be occupied and it might take you a while to get a seat. Remember that this is not an online casino where tables are always open. Have patience and wait and do not leave and just join a higher or lower limit table than the one you have decided on. Remember that the outcome of your casino experience depends on this decision.
Salt and Pepper: A PerspectiveHave you ever thought about salt and pepper? Theres more to it than just the shaker on the table. Pepper is the singular reason we are Americans instead of Europeans. Even today, pepper is the most widely traded spice in the world and served as the incentive for Christopher Columbus and others to search for a direct oceanic route to India. Hippocrates prescribed it as a digestive aid, and the active ingredient in pepper, piperine, is what makes it hot and is still used today as a heart and kidney stimulant. Historically, salt and pepper have been used as currency, medicinally and as seasoning. Plato wrote, Pepper is small in quantity and great in value. Ancient Egypt, the Greeks and the Romans all competed for supplies, which were shipped via small boats in the Mediterranean or overland by camel along the Silk Road. Both routes were treacherous, with the danger of sinking on the voyage contrasted against the cost of buying off Arab middlemen.Interestingly, all varieties of pepper come from the fruit of a perennial climbing shrub, and are grown by a handful of countries within 15 degrees of the equator. Differences in appearance and flavor are the result of picking the berries at different stages. Below is a list of characteristics, point of origin and best uses.1.Green peppercorns Picked before maturity and more expensive due to smaller yields and extra processing. Aromatic, but not pungent. Used in French, Creole, and Thai food.2.Pink or Rose peppercorns Not from the pepper vine, but rather from a small tree related to the rose bush. Grown on the French Island of Reunion. Rare and expensive, rose pepper has a milder, sweeter flavors and is used in nouveau cuisine or in pepper mixtures. 3.White peppercorns Fully ripened with the outer skin boiled off. Hotter flavor, but fewer aromas. White pepper is the most popular spice in Northern Europe and is used in sauces, soups, potatoes and beverages.4.Red peppercorns Picked at full maturity and dried whole. Extremely rare and expensive. There are two varieties, Muntok, from Indonesia and the superior pepper, Sarawak, from Malaysia.5.Black peppercorns The most popular variety in the US, they are picked while still ripening, then dried and fermented naturally in the sun. There are several types:a.Malabar From SW India. Slightly green in color, robust flavor.b.Tellicherry Also from SW India. Large, dark chocolate to black peppercorns with pungent, complex aromas. These are considered the best.c.Sarawak From Malaysia. Least pungent, mild, fruity flavor.d.Lampong From Sumatra. Earthy, smoky aromas, hotter flavor.e.Talamanca Del Caribe From Ecuador, certified organic, the worlds finest pepper, according to some. Robust flavors, hotter than average.In no way does salt pale to pepper in comparison. Salt is not considered a spice, but a naturally-occurring mineral. Over time, it has been used as a preservative as well as medicinally. There are as many types and originations of salt as pepper, but modern salt is filled with additives to keep it from clumping up. Iodine is the main additive and tends to have a bitter flavor. Some of the varieties available include:1.Sonoma Pacific Sea Salt Kosher, coarse sea salt originating from California. Soft flavor.2.Sterling Atlantic Sea Salt Off-white color from Brazil.3.Sel Gris de Guerande Unrefined, organic and sun dried. Originating in Northern France, it is very soft, flavorful, but not good in a grinder.4.Fleur de Sel de Guerande The finest available. Moist, slightly gray and used as a finishing salt served in a small dish on the table.5.Alaea Hawaiian Red Sea Salt Hailing from Hawaii, it is harvested from salt beds lined with Alaea red clay that lends color and unique flavor. Use on meats and fresh vegetables.6.Salish Pacific Alder Smoked Sea Salt A natural, coarse-grained salt that is slow smoked over red alder to give it an earthy flavor. Good for salads, meats and salmon.Have you heard the phrase, Worth your weight in salt? Salt has been referred to and regarded for centuries as priceless. Pepper was worth more by weight than gold in the Middle Ages. Consider Sodom and Gomorrah. God turned the sinners into a veritable gold mine. So, the next time you are adjusting the flavor of your meal, consider the origin of the spice. Enjoy the flavors available and seek out some new varieties. Another modern miracle of agriculture and transportation that we often take for granted.Mary Margaret Ambler is the Publisher and Editor of Black and Whites Magazine, a trade publication for wait staff, www.blackandwhitesmag.com.
One of the most interesting stories in the world is the history of that amazing drink that we call now coffee. OK, coffee is varied and interesting, involving chance occurrences, political intrigue, and the pursuit of wealth and power.According to one legend (no idea is the legend is real or not), the great effect of coffee beans was noticed by a smart sheep herder from Caffa, in Ethiopia named Kaldi as he was watching his sheep. He noticed that his sheep became happy and very active after eating the red fruits of this unusual plant, the fruits look like red "cherries" . Kaldi, the shepherd soon realized that it was the bright red cherries on the plant that were causing the funny euphoria and after trying the cherries himself, he learned about the great effect .So what Kabi this next? You bet, Kabi as a good network marketing guy, Kaldi dutifully reported his findings to the his community and after a few tries the monks decided to drink water with berries so they could be awake for longer hours of praying. So you can say that the first use of coffee was mainly religious. Pretty funny isnt'? But obviously keeping the secret was pretty difficult and the word spread, the rumor about coffee reached the Arabian Peninsula, and you pet, coffee was born.I know, believing in this legend is pretty nice, but some top historians believe something different, they think that the first beans of coffee where brought to Ethiopia (where the legend started) by ships from Yemen, where it existed since the 6th century. Then coffee became world famous once it arrived to key places in that time, Cairo and Mecca. I love the legends about the origin of things, and in this case, I love the legend of the origin of Mocha mainly because I'm a coffee lover, but the best one so far is the origin of how the name of mocha or coffee was created. The story goes that Arabian was sent to the desert with his followers to die of starvation (not very nice). Well, the Arabian was so desperate that he had his friends boil and eat the fruit from an unknown plant. (yes, you guess it already, didn't you? Coffee) Not only this fruit save the exiles, but their survival was taken as a religious sign by the residents of close by town, Mocha. The plant and its beverage were named Mocha to honor this event. So every time you order a Mocha , think of this. Nice story isn't?The ironic thing of the history of coffee is that the plant grew naturally in Ethiopia, but once transplanted in Arabia the Arabic business men took control and make a good profit from the coffee idea, but it took a long time for a country to adapt it as a proper drink. And that was until the Turks started drinking coffee in their everyday life, often adding spices such as clove, cinnamon, cardamom and anise to the brew. That's why we have Turkish coffee !
To many, good nutrition and thanksgiving dinner seem to cancel each other out. However it should be possible and even easy to make a nutritious meal that is a pleasure to share with friends and family. Here are a few tips to help you make your holiday meals healthy ones too. Prepare a wide variety of foods. Traditional thanksgiving stories tell us of meals that contained wide varieties of dishes reflecting the backgrounds of the many people who came together for these meals and to give thanks. The nutritional benefit of eating from a wide variety of foods is you gain a wider variety of nutrients. Also, you are less likely to overload on a single type of food. If you dont have time to prepare a large number of dishes, many grocery stores sell prepared dishes that you can add to the variety of dishes youre cooking yourself. Gourmet grocery stores often prepare these dishes on site.Try some simple recipes. Instead of making the obligatory green bean casserole with mushroom soup and fried onions, how about a simple green bean dish with a dash of sea salt? Substitute yams, cooked in butter with marshmallows and brown sugar, with a more simple preparation of yams. You may be surprised at how much people enjoy the taste of the original ingredients.Be careful of portion sizes. An ideal meal is derived from all of the food groups and should include a wide variety of individual foods. Instead of loading up your plate with mashed potatoes, start with smaller portions of everything that has been prepared. If you would like a second helping, follow the same procedure. By eating from a wider variety of foods you will be providing your body with a more complex array of nutrients and youll be able to enjoy the many flavors as well.Pace yourself. Unless youre on call for surgery, you probably have a little time. Instead of jumping right into your second helping, consider a short intermission and burn some calories by helping out with the dishes. By eating more slowly, your body will give you signals when you are full. If there are leftovers you can always eat them later.Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for all of the things that we have. It is a time for us to remember and reflect on the things that are important in our lives that we so often take for granted. The sharing of a meal with friends and family is a wonderful event and is cherished by nearly all cultures. So take pleasure in the eating and the sharing of food but also consider the nourishment that food gives you and be thankful and give honor to the abundance which you have to share.
Are you as tired as I am of those little white heart-shaped candies with messages like I like You printed on them? Be a little creative this year and come up with some new Valentines Day treats to take to school and work. Here are a few ideas to get you started. Valentines Day CookiesMake a batch of Sugar cookies or pick up some refrigerated dough at the grocery store. Cut them out with a heart-shaped cookie cutter and bake. Frost with a glaze of powdered sugar, water and a little red food coloring, or make it really simple and buy a container of pre-made frosting. Use some frosting pens to write messages or draw on the cookies. Add a few sprinkles and youre set! Dont forget to invite your kids to get involved in decorating any cookies they are taking to school. They will have a great time preparing these special treats. Valentines Cup CakesPurchase a box of devils food cake mix (or your favorite flavor) and prepare according to package directions. Line muffin tins with paper liners and pour enough batter in each to fill to about 1/3 full. Top with 1 tbsp of fruit preserves (strawberry works great) then add more batter until the muffin tins are approximately filled. Bake according to cake mix directions. When they are cool, dust them with powdered sugar, or frost them and sprinkle with red-hot candy hearts. Valentines Day CakeBake any flavor cake in a heart shaped cake form. Let cook and cut in half horizontally. Mix a few drops of red food coloring into a container of whipped topping, and spread some on the bottom layer of the cake. Add the top layer and frost the entire outside of the cake. Top with fresh berries.Chocolate LollipopsGet some heart-shaped lollipop molds. Melt milk chocolate, dark chocolate or white chocolate (quality chocolate chips work great). Pour the melted chocolate in the mold and add a lollipop stick. Let cool until hardened. Wrap in cellophane and tie with a little bow. Use leftover chocolate and plastic spoons to create fancy coffee stirrers. Simply dip the plastic spoons in the melted chocolate. Let cool and repeat until you reach the desired thickness,Both of these can be decorated by drizzling different types of melted chocolate over the finished product. Have fun this year creating some wonderful Valentines Day treats. Im sure you will come up with a delicious treat that will be a big hit in the office or the classroom.