Unfortunately, my thrifty play has led to the very result that I was intending to stay away from....losing. To combat my poor play, I turned to the source of all knowledge and truth -- my phone.
Everything I do is learned from, accounted for, and tracked by my phone. Address of the nearest Baskin Robbins...check my phone. Check to see if Golden Corral is still open...check my phone. Pretend to lose weight by sporadically tracking my calorie intake...check my phone.
I scanned through a few web-sites describing strategy, rules, and illegality of playing with your buddies from work. Most helpful was this Texas Holdem site which helped me understand that I shouldn't just wait until I have pocket rockets before betting...and that 6-9 off-suit is not a good hand to play...even if you can throw them down and say "69" in all your Bill and Ted glory.
I also realized that only through practice would I get any better, so I downloaded a few poker apps which include Live Holdem Pro by Dragonplay to play against live players (I tested this on my phone...a Samsung Galaxy SIII). Most poker apps were pretty similar...but I think I preferred the Dragonplay app over the others. A short review of some of the pluses and negatives are below.
+ Table availability -- There is always a free table or tournament to join. No need to sift through hordes of servers in order find the perfect spot to lose your money. They've even included a "play now" option where they will place you at a table.
- Play now -- While this is a handy option to use, beware that the app will place you (more often than not) on the most expensive table that your bankroll can afford. As they want to make money, they'll try to go to $0 as fast as you can so that you'll "buy" some more money.
+ Sit and go tourneys -- These are great for a casual 10-15 minute game. You can pick your entry fee level, and drop into a table with 4 other players...winner take all. I play with this mode 90% of the time.
- Douche-bag betters -- As this is a free game...with (pretty much) free money, people don't value their funds. More likely than not, you'll run into 1 person per tourney who will go all-in on every bet, until they are out...or win. I want to digitally kick these people in the nuts. Unfortunately, there is no rating system for peers/players to mark them as "all-in ass-hats."
+ Gameplay -- 99% of the time, the gameplay is smooth and graphics look good. Even when I've been disconnected due to a network loss, I've been able to reconnect and get back into my game.
- Notifications -- This app sends push notifications more than any other I've ever had. "800% bonus bucks!!" "Come join your friends!!" "Chat naked with a granny in your city!!"----wait----that's a different app.
All in all, this is a solid poker app, and I feel that I've increased my level of play. At a minimum, it's helped me learn what are strong vs. weak hands based on the number of players and what cards are showing. From there I can cower like a sissy when my buddy goes all-in...and fold my cards to the middle like I usually do.
4 solid stars for Live Holdem by Dragonplay.