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(506) 223-1327         Published Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2007, in Vol. 7, No. 241               E-mail us
Jo Stuart
Real Estate
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Banco Nacional freezes Internet accounts over thefts
By José Pablo Ramírez Vindas
and the A.M. Costa Rica staff

More than a year after Internet fraud captured headlines elsewhere and more than six months after an expat here lost $215,000 to electronic thieves, Banco Nacional is reacting.

The action comes just a day after the nation's chief prosecutor said that banks should cancel most Internet-accessible bank accounts.

The bank's public statement was different than what actually is taking place.

Banco Nacional said that it only would permit Internet transfers with a daily limit of 500,000 colons (some $1,000) unless a customer requests more. In addition, the bank said it would require customers to change the Internet password every 30 days instead of every six months.

In fact, Banco Nacional applied limits to electronic accounts Monday that prohibit transfers to anyone who is not already on the customer's favorites list. In order to be placed on the favorites list, the customer must make a transfer to that account. So the procedure effectively freezes electronic commerce.

In addition, Banco Nacional is reported by other customers to be requiring extensive paperwork to open new accounts. The additional paperwork includes either a statement from an employer showing a steady income or an accountant's certification of the individuals net worth. This is to prevent crooks from opening an account for the sole purpose of receiving an illicit transfer.

The chief prosecutor, Francisco Dall'Anese, also said that Internet bandits had stolen at least $8 million and has shipped the money via the Internet to Ethiopia or Romania. He is in charge of prosecuting such crimes.

In August investigators detained some 16 persons and said they were a gang that used the Internet to steal bank passwords and then steal from the accounts of victims. The arrests were related to 13 cases of Internet fraud, although officials admitted at the time that they have more than 150 active investigations on the same topic.

Spokespersons for Banco de Costa Rica could not be reached Tuesday, and the bank's Web site shows no changes in policy. Like most banks, Banco de Costa Rica warns that if customers use the incorrect password three times, they will not be able to continue their transaction.

However, one public employee reported that he could not make a transfer to another bank from his Banco de Costa Rica account Monday. The procedure was denied.

An account at Banco de Costa Rica is from where thieves took as much as $215,000 from an expat businesswoman. That case was reported here in July.

Both public banks have been criticized because of their slow reaction to the crimes, because they 
Banco Nacional warning
Banco Nacional warning says to keep computers protected against viruses and change passwords.

have only a few persons doing investigations and because they do not have a more secure connection. They also tend to blame the victim without investigating.

One A.M. Costa Rica reader who lost $22,000 from a Banco Nacional account the same morning that the money was deposited said he suspected an inside job. An arrest was made in that case because a person who had funds transferred to his account showed up at a bank branch to claim the money. No public mention was made by investigators about that arrest.

A.M. Costa Rica has suggested in news stories that "phishing" might be used as a cover for inside bank thefts. Phishing is the technique of acquiring someone's bank information, including password, by electronic means, including fake Web pages. News stories have noted that some of the illegal transfers involve sums far in excess of the daily limits maintained by the bank.

That means thieves are able to circumvent the bank's security and override the computers.

Most banks and Dall'Anese warned of using Internet cafes to sign on to electronic bank accounts. Software and hardware exist that can record the keystrokes for later use by a criminal. Wireless transactions also can be tapped.

Fernando Víquez, director of marketing at Scotiabank, said his institution uses the very highest level of security. In addition, the bank has software to study each transaction as it is made and to flag those that do not fit the pattern of the customers, he said.

The public banks do not appear to use cookies to identify the computers that are accessing the accounts. Cookies are bits of software that a computer can implant in another computer to recognize the machine in the future.

This is not new technology.

In addition, the public banks do not appear to use security questions that are displayed randomly, such as "What is the first name of your maternal grandfather?"

Many U.S. banks use these questions as a basic second line of security because chances are a hacker will not have stolen the correct answer to the displayed question even if he has the account number and password.

The action by Banco Nacional was met with some sarcasm by business people. One man said the response was typical of the government institutions: too little, too late and panic.

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Texas man seeks to build
refuge for scarlet macaws

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A Dallas, Texas, man who is mad about macaws has succeeded in creating his own foundation for the protection of the birds in Costa Rica.

After going through the process of registering the Funda Lapa, named for the Spanish name for the bird, the Texan, Christopher Dawkins, is looking for partners and at least 20 hectares of land on which to raise the brightly coloured scarlet macaw for release into the wild.

The decline of the bird's population has been more dramatic in Costa Rica than in any other country in Central and South America.

Historically, the scarlet macaw lived in over 80 percent of the country, but for decades its numbers have been dwindling due to the destruction of its habitat, the spraying of pesticides and the poaching of young ones to sell as pets, and currently they are found in only 20 percent of the land.

Dawkins, a 55-year-old who studied veterinary medicine in Mexico and has been in love with the scarlet macaw ever since, moved to Costa Rica several years ago and decided to do his bit to protect the animal.

“The biggest threat to scarlet macaws in Costa Rica is the loss of habitat,” Dawkins said. “I want to plant the trees that they need, such as almond trees and fruit-bearing trees, in an area in the southern zone away from human presence.

“If the birds live too close to humans, the young ones will end up in someone's hands, being sold for $200 before you know it.”

Although the scarlet macaw is a protected species, meaning that it cannot be taken from the wild, Dawkins recounts that he has seen the birds being sold for as little as $75 in the Osa Peninsula, one of the two places in Costa Rica where the birds are still commonly found.

Macaws are popular caged pets as they are affectionate, sometimes use human speech and are attractively coloured with blue, yellow, red and gold feathers.

'Poachers do things like cut down trees to get to nests containing young birds, often killing the parents and other birds who are living in the same tree,” Dawkins added.

Dawkins says that he wants to keep the animals as wild as possible, with huge cages full of trees serving to keep the macaws inside the reserve, making sure that the babies survive until an age that it is appropriate to release them.

Community involvement will also be important, ensuring that those living near the macaws are interested in reforestation and preserving the habitat.

“This should be attractive to homeowners,” Dawkins pointed out. “It means that the area around your house will be protected from big real estate developments, maintaining a quiet environment.”

Unexperienced in the field, Dawkins has encountered problems with advancing the project, finding it difficult to entice other foundations or government workers to give him information about how to proceed.

Other charities already exist in Costa Rica to protect the scarlet macaws, notably Amigos de Las Aves, also set up by Americans.  For more information about Funda Lapa, contact

Search for internal happiness
is theme of winning dance

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The search for happiness within ourselves rather than in superficial external objects was the theme of the winning dance at the 24th Festival de Coreografos this weekend.  A bull-headed dancer took the centre of attention of Antonio Corrales' piece “Solo sueña un minotauro,” presented in front of an international board of judges Sunday.

The judges said that the composition stood out from the other
nine contemporary dance acts for its "good choreographic approach, good line, good idea, excellent lighting design, continuity with symbols and finally poetry.”

Corrales was both the choreographer and the dancer of the piece, which is the first entry he has made into the competition as a choreographer.

Four other acts were also chosen to participate in the opening night of next year's festival: “Imágenes imaginadas para imaginar, serie I,” by Rogelio López, “Mil kilómetros” by Nandayure Harley, “MIA ZOI,” by Iréni Stamou and “4 a.m.” by  Silvia Ortiz and David Hernández.
bullheaded man
Antonio Corrales

Judges made their decisions based on dramatic values, correographic concept, professionalism, the technical ability of the dancers, lighting, scenery and musical composition, said the Ministerio de Cultura, Juventud y Deportes.

Unified review being sought
for bills relating to security

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Partido Acción Ciudadana has proposed that the Asamblea Legislativa create a special commission on citizen security.

A release from the political party said that there are at least 25 proposals that relate to citizen security being considered by various committees of lawmakers.

Elizabeth Fonseca, a lawmaker affiliated with Acción Ciudadana, has introduced a measure that would create such a commission, said the party release.

Right now there is no centralized commission where security proposals can be studied. The measures in the legislative hopper include regulations of private guard companies, weapons laws, protection of victims and changes in the penalties for certain crimes.

The proposal also would disband a special narcotics commission and incorporate its functions into the new entity.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2007, Vol. 7, No. 241

exterior view of Aduana
Ministerio de Cultura, Jueventud y Deportes archival photos
Exterior view includes house long since gone
interior view of Aduana
Interior shows goods fresh off the Limón train
Refurbished Antigua Aduana ready for a Christmas festival
By Helen Thompson
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A building that has been part of San Jose's historic architecture for over a century will reopen its doors this month  for a Christmas festival and a sneak preview of the restoration work that has kept it closed to the public for the last two years.

A long, brick building with high arched ceilings, la Antigua Aduana, started life as a customs house in 1891, and retains the dusty atmosphere of a bustling 19th century business.

Windows high up on either side let light into the space that will be used for the festival “Diciembre Nuestro,” when the building will be full of clowns, jugglers, theatrical workshops, gift stalls, bouncy castles and, for those wanting to mix education with fun, information about heritage.

The Aduana, located in Barrio la California, was declared a historic structure in 1980, at about the same time that it stopped being used for its professional purpose.

This entitled the structure to protection as a part of national heritage, and in 2005 the Ministerio de Cultura, Juventud y Deportes.  began a 400-million-colon ($8 million) project to convert it into a space for festivals, art and theater.
The project, named “Proyecto centro para los artes y la tecnologia,” involves converting the main long section of the building into a space for festivals and community activities, a smaller inside section into a theatrical area, creating an outside plaza for people to relax and to hold events such as book fairs, and a fourth area for "ciber-arte."

Architect Miguel Herera and his team finished reinforcing the building's structure Monday, having started the work back in June, cutting it close for the festival which will start Friday and continue until Dec. 16.

However, the project is far from completed, as the team intends to brighten the building up with stained glass windows and other design details that will be put in place over the next couple of years.

The festival will begin with Marimba bands at 10 a.m. on Friday, and musical events will take place each day at 4 p.m. including Jazz café regulars Malpais Dec. 15.

Games and workshops will go on throughout the day, and different theater groups will appear at 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday and Dec. 14 and 16.

Other events will include a Christmas concert Tuesday at 8 p.m and circuses on Monday and Dec. 13 at 5 p.m.

CBS television weatherman will visit Jacó to meet residents and film region
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Popular weatherman Joey Stevens will make an appearance in Jacó on Friday to greet with businessmen and fans alike.

Stevens is known for his Caribbean weather forecasts that air on CBS television and are aired in both the United States and Latin America.

He will bring his filming crew with him when he arrives in the beach town on Thursday to be shown around the region,
giving business owners an opportunity to get some international coverage.

Jacó residents are invited to meet the television personality at Bohio Beachfront Bar on Friday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., or at Hotel Poseidon Sky Lounge from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Members of the Chamber of Commerce are hoping that the event will help to advertise local events such as the first surf contest of the season, which takes place this weekend, as well as promoting local businesses.

Naranjo coffee cooperative going into the tourism business with a tour
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A coffee cooperative in Naranjo is setting up a tour as a way to attract visitors to the area and to the products.

The organization, Cooperativa de Productores de Café y Servicios Múltiples de Naranjo R.L., got a visit and an endorsement Tuesday from President Óscar Arias Sánchez, who noted that the plan is in harmony with nature.

The organization produces five brands of coffee, El Roble, Rosa, Cafe Bandola, Corteza and Sun Blessed Mountain Coffee. The bulk of the harvest is exported. There are 2,400 producers in the cooperative.
The coffee tour will be at the sprawling Hacienda Cooperativa Espíritu Santo. The project has been four years in planning.

Although some tours include a coffee plantation on the agenda, there has not been one tour dedicated to coffee, although there are others dedicated to other crops like pineapples.

The Canton of Naranjo is north of Atenas and between the cantons of Grecia and San Ramon.

The cooperative might be better known by its production of a form of compost made from coffee waste.

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Finally work
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A bridge is being constructed over the  Río Cucubres in Desamparados more than three years since the small span was taken out by a flood. The route is a principal one and provides an alternate route to Aserrí and Acosta with estimated daily traffic of 8,000 vehicles. The job costs 65 million colons or a bit more than $130,000. The job was delayed earily this year by the arrival of the rainy season.
Rio Cucubres bridge
Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes photo

U.S. Senate ratifies free trade agreement with Perú, 77-18
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Senate has followed the lead of the House of Representatives and approved a free trade agreement with Perú, giving President George Bush his first legislative victory on trade since Democrats took control of Congress in January.

The Senate voted 77-18 to approve the U.S.-Perú Trade Promotion Agreement and sent it to Bush for his signature.

The president, speaking at a White House news conference ahead of the vote, said the trade deal would be good for the United States. "This agreement will level the playing field for American goods and services. It will create new opportunities for investment. It will strengthen our friendship with a fellow democracy," he said.

The pact, which the House approved last month, removes many tariffs on U.S. farm and manufactured goods and maintains Peru's duty-free access to the U.S. market. Trade between the United States and Peru totaled nearly $9 billion last year.

"More than two-thirds of farm exports to Peru, including delicious Montana beef, I might add, and wheat, would
 receive immediate duty-free access to Peru under the agreement. All remaining tariffs on Montana and other U.S. agriculture goods would be eliminated in 17 years," said Sen. Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

Prospects for congressional passage improved after the Bush administration renegotiated the deal to include stronger labor and environmental protection provisions sought by majority Democrats.

Some Democrats, including Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, remain skeptical. "It is clear to me there is no interest in enforcing these labor provisions," he said.

Dorgan blamed the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement for the loss of thousands of U.S. jobs, and said the trade deal with Peru would be no different.

But the Bush administration argues free trade helps create jobs.

Now that lawmakers have acted on the trade deal with Peru, the administration hopes Congress will approve similar accords with Colombia, Panamá and South Korea next year.

Bush says Venezuelans voted for democracy when they rejected Chavez plan
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President George Bush says the people of Venezuela cast a vote for democracy when they rejected changes in their constitution proposed by President Hugo Chávez.

Among other things, Chávez wanted to change the Venezuelan constitution to enable him to run indefinitely for re-election. More than 51 percent of those who cast ballots voted no.

Bush hailed the results at a White House news conference: "The Venezuelan people rejected one-man rule. They voted for democracy," he said.

Chávez had made the referendum personal and told the Venezuelan voters that by voting against his proposals they would be voting for George Bush and U.S. imperialism.

Bush was then asked how the United States can best counter
efforts by Chávez to gain influence throughout South and Central America.

Bush said one way is to increase U.S. trade ties with its neighbors to the south. He made specific mention of the pending U.S. free trade agreement with Colombia. He said if Congress kills the agreement, it will send the wrong signal.

"It would be an insult to a friend. It would send a contradictory message to a country led by a very strong leader, who is working hard to deal with some very difficult problems, one of which is armed gangs of people that are ruthless and brutal people who just kidnap innocent people for the sake of achieving political objectives," he said.

Congressional opponents of the deal say their objections are based on lingering concerns about the Colombian government's human rights record.

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A great meal is not all in the presentation
By The Hot Tamales
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

With a vaulted glass ceiling, palm trees lining the pathway and posh lighting, one would not expect Saga restaurant to be settled behind a dull parking lot in Escazú.

Although this restaurant may look out of place, it doesn't deviate much from the norm in Escazú, an area many would classify as suburban sprawl.

The majority of the cuisine at Saga seems to fit with the setting: classy presentation, yet lacking any profound flavors. Although the restaurant boasts itself as an “international food restaurant” on its Web site, much of the inspired cuisine is lacking the depth which would be found in authentic dishes. There is no direct theme and the menu seems somewhat scattered.

But don't let this turn you off completely. The restaurant does have some innovative dishes, and the desserts were nothing to complain about, perhaps owing to the fact that it is owned by a pastry chef.

The service at Saga was excellent. “I've never heard someone say 'mucho gusto' so much in my entire life,” said one reviewer as a waiter in a beige, button-up shirt cleared the table. The staff was attentive and polite, but not overly vigilant.

Recommended items include the Indian-spiced pork tenderloin, which was sweet, but did not taste like a typical Indian dish. The pork was cooked to perfection, and the accompanying sweet potatoes melted in the mouth. The creamy mushroom soup was also a favorite.  It contained sliced mushrooms, as

Typical place setting with a decent view

A.M. Costa Rica/The Hot Tamales 
Fondue, chips and mussles

opposed to being just a boring puree.

Perhaps the worst of the appetizers tried was the cheese fondue which consisted of congealed cheese and six stale chips. “I love cheese and hate this,” said one reviewer who previously lived in Switzerland.

The salmón al sésamo was made with pink salmon from Chile, according to the chef. The bland flavor was unsuccessfully masked by the teriyaki sauce and sesame seeds which were slightly burned. “As someone who is from Alaska and goes salmon fishing every summer,” said one reviewer, “this salmon was low quality.” Normally only red salmon and king salmon are eaten as filets, whereas pink salmon is smoked or canned. This salmon did not taste very fresh, and the texture was soft.

The risotto de mariscos had a decent medley of seafood but was slightly overcooked and soft. The puntas de lomito al Jack Daniels had little flavor and was accompanied by onion rings which gave the plate a bar-food feel. The crispy calamari did not live up to the name as it was enveloped in a stale, heavy batter. The carpaccio parmesano's slices of fresh seabass were delicious with its citrus flavor but was topped excessively with parmesan cheese.

The desserts, especially the pasión de pecanas are all recommended. In fact, if all a diner got was that and the mushroom soup he or she would probably leave quite satisfied.

Among best: pasión de pecanas and sorbet

Christmas Entertainment ...

Time to get into the Christmas Spirit

The run-up to Christmas is a time of panicking about
where you're going to find fresh cranberries, deliberating
about whether you can really buy socks for your aunt
for the fourth year running, and struggling through
Multiplaza in Escazú like a packhorse, dodging the toy
train and cursing the dancing Christmas tree.

Amid all the hassle it can be difficult to get yourself into
the Christmas spirit until you finally sit down on
Christmas Eve, down a swift sherry and breathe a sigh
of relief that the only obstacle you have left is the cooking.

Opportunities do, however, abound in San José for a
bit of old-fashioned festivity during Advent, from
getting hooked on an epic cinematic adventure to joining
in some Christmas carol singing with tinsel in your hair.

 Nutcrack scene

The Nutcracker at the Teatro National Dec. 7

Click here for more ideas on Christmas
entertainment - read the full article

Art Galleries ....

Mistaken identity? No such thing, says new exhibition

Costa Rica is a land of volatile volcanoes, orchids, coffee fincas, Catholicism and Ticos.

Or you could say it's a country of wide seashores, football stadiums, fast food restaurants and beach towns overtaken by Gringos.

Some are clichéd
symbols of a tourist nation, while others are part of the country's changing culture, but all are involved in Museo de Arte Costarricense's new exhibition that challenges viewers to reconsider their own perceptions of the nation.

It is not new to propose that identity is an insecure,
many-faceted thing that shifts with each person's viewpoint, but the concept is explored very effectively by the interactive "Las posibilidades de la mirada" (the possibilities of the glance).

A fat, Hawaiian shirt-clad, red-faced Gringo, lifting his hand to guard his eyes from the tropical sunlight, greets the museum's visitors at the entrance.

He stands next to a placard that describes the exhibition as a consideration of cultural identity and national territory, encouraging people to think about the way ideas of Costa Rica are formed and to see that interpretations of identity are endless and open.

Read more - click here

Oriental engravings brighten up Semana
in Calderón Guardia

Japanese art Oriental engravings that have travelled half way across the world from Japan have ended their journey in Museo Calderón Guardia,
where an exhibition of 75 works was inaugurated Thursday.

Subjects from autumn trees to high-rise apartments chart the growing influence of the West and development on post-war Japan.

Read more - click here

Banco Central exhibit brings out the animal
in art

free standing art 200
 The Museos del Banco
 Central de Costa Rica is
 running "La    
 en el Arte Costarricense"
 in its temporary 
 exhibition space below
 the Plaza de la Cultura.
 The collection presents
 the varying uses and
depictions of animals by Costa Rican artists throughout history.

The exhibition signage placed at the entrance said that the presented works depict animals from two perspectives.

Read more - click here

Dramatic Arts ...

Contemporary dance festival here will promote experimentation

Dancer in choreography show Ballet-dancers may despise it, disco-lovers may be baffled by it, but contemporary dance has been a firm part of the theatrical agenda in San
José for almost 25 
years, and the finalists for this year's weekend dedicated the the art have now been announced.

Ten Costa Rican acts have been chosen by a national board of judges for the XXIV Festival de Coreografos “Graciela Morena,” to take place in the Teatro Nacional Thursday through Sunday.

Read more - click here

Symphonic Conductor is a big supporter of music education

A mugging at gunpoint could have robbed Costa Rica's Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional of its new conductor just as he was beginning the job, but the conductor, Chosei Komatsu,
did not turn his back on San José, and now the next generation of musicians is feeling the benefit.

Eating ice cream in the same hotel outside which he was mugged in 2004, the sweet-toothed conductor recounts how the media assumed that he would flee the country immediately.

Read all of our interview with Chosei Komatsu here
Festivals ...

Quepos to get it's own international music festival

costa bazooka 175
The usually sedate sportfishing town of Quepos is awaiting a greater inundation of visitors than usual this high season, as a gang of rock bands will descend on it for aclaim will put Quepos on the international music festival map.
Experienced American promoters and their rock star friends have taken a gamble on the festival, even though they said they were warned that it was doomed to failure by prominent Costa Rican promoter Marvin Cordoba.

Read more here

First International Blues Festival

Texas blues bands are heading down to Santa Ana for an afternoon of live music. BBQ's and cold beers will accompany artists including Smokin Joe Kubek & Bnois King and Robbie Clarke & the Live Wire Blues Band.

Two stages at Motorpsychos Bar and Grill will host a total of seven bands during the afternoon of Feb. 9. Tickets cost $25 and can be found by contacting

Identidad Art Festival

Fifty artists will have the enviable job of displaying their work on a warm beach in Guanacaste this February, as part of the Identidad Art Festival.

Hosted by Playa Conchal Reserve, the festival aims to revive the cultural values of the area, promoting local art as a tourist attraction.

Painters, sculptors and musicians are all welcome to participate and show of Costa Rican talent to the high season tourists during Feb. 2-4.

Organisers Jaguart are on the lookout for artists to participate in the show. Interested parties should visit the site

How much should your buy-in be? Again, it depends
Whether it’s a Friday night game with your buddies, a weekend trip to Vegas to play in a casino, or a daily cardroom game where you’re trying to make a living, the amount of your buy-in can have a significant long-term impact on your results. 
When playing in a no-limit cash game, the appropriate buy-in amount will actually differ from person to person.  You need to consider several factors.
Are you an experienced player or a beginner?  

Be honest with yourself.  This can be difficult, especially if you let your ego get in the way.  Unless you have at least 1,000 hours of play under your belt in any particular game, lean toward buying in for the minimum amount.  In a typical $5-$10 blind no-limit game, the minimum buy-in would be $200.  That’s just where a beginner should start. 
How do you handle pressure? 

This is an extremely important factor that is too often ignored.  Always remember that the more chips you start with, the more likely that you’ll end up facing large bets on the river. 

So, if money is a concern, or if you don’t trust yourself to make the right decisions under pressure, buy-in for the minimum.  Alternatively, if you thrive under pressure and like to push around your opponents, go with the maximum buy-in.  If there’s no maximum, buy-in for an amount so that no one at the table has more chips than you.
How tough is the table in comparison to your skill level? 

Okay, you’re a solid, winning player.  But if you find yourself at a particularly tough table, protect yourself by buying in for less than you normally would.  The more chips that are in play, the greater the advantage is to the most skilled players at the table.
How big is your bankroll? 

It can be a scary proposition when you’re trying to build a bankroll in no-limit hold’em.  It’s imperative that you limit your maximum loss on any given hand to achieve that goal. 

Let me illustrate that point with a very unlikely scenario.

Suppose I’m dealt a pair of deuces and you’re sitting on pocket aces.  You have $100,000 to your name, and I decide to put you all-in on this one hand.  It appears to be an excellent bet for you as you’ll double your money four out of five times as A-A beats 2-2 approximately 80 percent of the time.
But there’s a problem.  If you take this bet every time that it’s offered, you’re destined to go broke.  When your aces get cracked – and trust me, eventually they will – you’ll be left with nothing. 

Sure, calling the bet is a fast way to double up, but you’d get there with much less risk by making ten smaller bets of $10,000 each.  You’d only risk 10 percent of your bankroll on each wager as a 4-to-1 favorite.  Over the long haul, that’s the way to safely build a bankroll.
Who has the big stack at the table? 

Your buy-in should take into consideration the amount of money in front of every player at the table.  So, if two highly-skilled players at the table have $2,000 each and four novice players each have between $200 and $500, how much should you buy-in for? 

If you’re a solid player, buy in for $500.  Make sure you have the weak players covered while limiting your risk against the real threats at the table.

Visit for information about Daniel Negreanu’s new book, "Hold’em Wisdom for All Players."
© 2007 Card Shark Media.  All rights reserved.

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