8 Things To Do In Amsterdam

Are you planning to spend a weekend in Amsterdam? Here are a few things you can do to make your stay even more memorable.

1. Delve into Amsterdam's glorious past

Delve into the city's golden past by paying a visit to its celebrated museums. The Amsterdams Historisch Museum and the Museum Amstelkring are particularly popular with travelers. They showcase objects as old as 700 years.

2. Get lost in the maze of canals

165 canals run through the city of Amsterdam. The most beautiful among them is Prinsengracht. You can find shops, galleries and authentic cafés on either side of these canals. There is little traffic around the canal areas making them ideal places for taking a pleasant stroll.

3. Visit the parks

The Vondelpark, which is named after the celebrated poet Joost van den Vondel is the largest green space in Amsterdam. It is a great place to visit during the summertime. The park is a hub of cultural activities. There is a cinema at the Nederlands Filmmuseum and a Picasso sculpture. The Vondelpark Openluchttheater becomes the venue of dance, music and kids' activities from June to September.

4. Get on your bike

Amsterdam is the most bicycle friendly city in the world. In fact, cycling is the Dutch means of getting around the city. So hire a bicycle and get around the city like a free spirited citizen of the world. In Amsterdam you can hire a bicycle from plenty of places. You can also book guided bicycle tours.

5. Try the local cuisine

Get a taste of the authentic Dutch cuisine. If you visit the city between May and July you should try eating a raw herring. It is a kind of fish very popular in Holland.

6. Marvel at the Golden Age art

Go and see the works of the celebrated painters Rembrandt and Vermeer at the Rijksmuseum. Perhaps the most famous museum in the city, the Rijksmuseum has the country's largest collection of art and artefacts from the 15th century until 1900, including 40 painting by Rembrandts and four by Vermeers. You can find an amazing collection of 20th-century artists at the Stedelijk Museum.

7. Indulge in a bit of skating

If you visit Amsterdam during winter, you can indulge in a bit of ice-skating. During winter months, the frozen canals become the perfect playground for locals interested in ice-skating. In the summer, you can find locals and tourists skating through the park.

8. Visit the flea markets

Amsterdam is home to people from all over the world. You can get a feel of this multi-ethnicity by visiting the flea markets. The most famous is the Albert Cuypmarkt from where you can buy everything from smoked eel to Surinamese sherbets.

How to Play Texas Holdem

Texas Holdem is currently "the" game to play in the poker world. The rules are fairly simple and so with relatively little information even the newest of players can win a pot or two.

The game works as follows:

Each player is deal 2 cards face down. Then there's a round of betting where you can either fold (cast out) your cards believing that they are not good enough to win, calling which means placing the appropriate minimum bet into the pot, or raising if you think your hand has a good chance of winning. Once everyone at the table has bet the dealer will place 3 cards face up in the middle of the table. These cards are called "the flop" and are the first of 5 community cards that all players will be able to use in combination with their original cards to make the best possible hand.

Once the flop is shown, there is another round of betting where some players will fold because the flop has meant their hand is not as strong as they thought it was, and others will raise as they'll now have a better hand than they were originally dealt with. Again, there's always the possibility to "check" which at this stage means you do not need to place any more money into the pot, but as with the first round of betting, this is only possible if no-one else at the table has during this round of betting. If someone has raised, then you will need to either fold your hand or "call" which means matching the amount of money placed by the person who raised – or you could raise again if you're confident that your hand is best.

When betting is completed, then the 4th card, known as "the turn" is placed face up on the table, followed by another round of betting as in the one following the flop. Finally the 5th card, "the river" is deal face up by the dealer followed by a final round of betting. Once the bets are complete, whoever is still left in the game turns over their cards and the winning hand gets all the money in the pot.

Winning hands:

One of the most important things to learn in how to play Texas Holdem is which hand out racks another from a 3 high to a royal flush, so in order from least to best the hands are:

Single Card High – you have no pair, no nothing, but you have the highest card of the players left in the game. It's not unheard of to win with a King or Ace high.

One Pair – a pair of anything, but highest pair wins the hand – your pair of 8s wins over my pair of 4s.

Two Pair – 2 pairs, that could have paired up your clearance (hole) cards with 2 of the community cards, or if you already have a pair, you could make 2 pair if a pair is deal in the community cards.

Three of a Kind – also known as a set or trips, you could have 1 or 2 of them in your hand and the others are in the community cards – remember that if you only have 1, it's possible someone else also has one in which case the other card in your hand (the kicker) will have to be higher than the ones in order for you to win.

Straight – 5 cards in consecutive numerical order of any suit. If there's more than one person with a straight, then the person who has the highest straight wins – but if both straights are the same, then the pot is split between the players who have the straights.

Flush – 5 cards of the same suit. Simple as that. If more than one person has a flush in any one hand however, it's the person with the highest ranking flush card that takes home the pot – my Ace high flush will win over your 9 high flush.

Full House – If you get a pair, plus a set – that's 2 of one card and 3 of another, that's a full house. It's a pretty good hand!

Four of Kind – also known as quads – unless there's a straight flush possibility, or someone else who has a higher set of 4, you are guaranteed to win with this hand.

Straight Flush – 5 consigned numbered cards of the same suit.

Royal Flush – this is also a straight flush, but it's as high as it gets (10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace qualified) – get this, and you bought to take home the money!

In simple terms Texas Holdem is a poker game where you make the best hand you can from up to 7 cards available – 2 you are dealt with, plus 5 community cards available for use by all players.

New Medicare Supplement Competition in Texas

The top dogs of Texas's Medicare Supplement market are getting a run for their money. Two competitive carriers have entered the stage, and are clawing to the top in most Texas zip codes. Cigna, insured by American Retirement Life Insurance Company, and Manhattan Life have been catching the eyes of Texas agents and consumers of late. With low premiums and speedy processing, it's no wonder that these two carriers are succeeding in drawing massive amounts of new business and notoriety so quickly.

American Retirement Life Insurance Company, a subsidiary of Cigna, began selling Medicare Supplements in Texas early February of 2013. In the past year, ARLIC has delivered highly competitive rates – improving the Texas Medicare Supplement landscape drastically. Prior to the Cigna brand, only three carriers could actually offer the lowest premiums: Omaha Insurance, Oxford Life, and Continental Life (Aetna). These carriers each have their own zip codes that they pursue competitively. Your chances of getting more than 1 or 2 "good" rates in each zip code were low a year ago. You either got Omaha, Oxford, or Continental, alongside one of the less-competitive brands. It was slim pickins.

Now that Cigna has been added to the mix, consumers are finding better rates, as well as more options for selecting a quality carrier.

Cigna also offers a quick and easy application process, as does Manhattan Life. Via an electronic application, agents are able to submit new business and save their clients money effortlessly. New business is typically issued anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks (they boast policy issues of 3-5 days). Of course, this is also dependent on the time of year the application is being submitted – Open Enrollment months are busier, inevitably.

Due to their inexpensive rates, Cigna has seen a boom in demand. They are quickly hiring more staff to keep up with the demand for their product. This growth in their company within the first year of business is extraordinary, and can only mean success. If you are a consumer, and are worried about the financial outlook of this company, this should reassure you that ARLIC's low rates and the Cigna brand are here to stay.

Located in Austin, Texas, ARLIC's rates are highly competitive for residents of Travis county and surrounding areas. There are also a few other "hot" areas, such as zip codes in and around North Texas. If you are a Medicare Supplement policyholder living in one of these areas, it may be time to call an agent and have your current policy reviewed.

ARLIC offers plans A, F, G, and N– which are also available in 18 other states. You can check availability at ARLIC's website.

A more recent addition to the Texas Medicare Supplement market is Manhattan Life. A few months ago, Manhattan Life did not sell in Texas. I was completely unaware of this company, to be frank. Then, slowly, I began to see their name pop up on my quote engine– and now when I search Texas zip codes, Manhattan Life is definitely top 5 in most areas, even top 2 in some. I suspect this will change (for the better) as they grow in the next year.

Similar to Cigna, Manhattan Life is a reputable and financially sound carrier, which is part of a larger family; Central United Life, Western United Life, and Family Life are all close relatives, and trusted brands in the industry.

Along with Texas, Manhattan Life offers Medigap plans in AZ, GA, IL, IN, MI, MS, NC, NE, PA, SC, TN, TX, and VA. The plans available for purchase include A, B, C, D, F, G, M, and N, offering more breadth than ARLIC (although not all are offered in each state).

Both Cigna and Manhattan Life are leading in many areas around Texas. While Cigna is still number one out of the two, I suspect Manhattan Life to target more specific niches if it has not already done so. I also expect both companies to evolve in the next few years– whether this means steadying their rates and focusing on specific areas or sometimes in Manhattan Life's case, pushing Cigna out of the top spot; only time will tell.

A few consumers have expressed concerns about purchasing a policy from a new carrier and then having the carrier pull a "bait and switch" by spiking the rates and leaving their clients stuck with large premiums. While I will not guarantee anything, I do not think that would be a smart technique for either company. Remember, even though their rates are low, they are still competitive with powerhouses who have been selling in Texas for years. It will take them 5-10 years to gain a solid reputation amidst domineering competition.

Luckily for consumers, the emergence of these new products is only pushing rates to be more competitive. If you have never considered having your policy reviewed, now is the perfect time to call an agent as carriers are fighting for your business more than ever.

Newark, New Jersey

One of the largest cities in New Jersey, Newark resides by the beautiful sceneries of the Hudson River. Pride in few architectural gems, museums and a great transportation hub, a holiday in Newark is a worthwhile trip. Take your families for a great time in the city of Newark this vacation to enjoy the vibrant downtown and to steal glorious views of the century long architectural icons.

Boasting a larger population of Brazilian and Portuguese in the city, Newark is filled with a vast gastronomy of restaurants. Mouth-watering dishes to sweet delicacies are a fantasy of the locals and first time tourists. Taste some great croissants and cakes at the Brazilian Bakery and dine at at the Don Pepe 844 for gourmet cuisine with a Spanish taste.

Newark Museum is a great place to start your holiday. Open for all ages and interesting to all ages, the museum is one of a kind in the city. An intense compound, the museums features an over 50 art galleries and science centers. The mini zoo is an exciting place for kids and animal lovers. Planetarium for space freaks with telescopes and documentaries, the sculpture garden and the Ballantynes ​​House are not to be missed. Take a break and sip a hot cup of coffee with cookies and sweets and the Museum cafe. Fascinating and interesting with rich history, take your kids and loved ones out to have a great day out at the Newark Museum with lots of surprises.

The Military Park at Downtown Newark is a spectacular sight to see. A former training ground for militia is now a park downtown attracting over hundreds of visitors all year around. Pay a visit to see the Wars of America monument which is a work of the Mount Rushmore artist. Impressive and interesting, do not miss this masterpiece while in Newark. Grab some great deals and make it here with your families and loved ones for an amazing time.

Take a walk and relax at the Branch Brook Park for a evening break after tiresome shopping and rides around the city. The park is a meadowland and woodland with over 4000 cherry trees that blossom during April. The views are stunning and the variety of cherries is none other a scenic beauty.

The city is home to the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Pride in this architectural gem, it is a French gothic style cathedral visited by locals and tourists through the year. The 14 giant bells cast from Italy and the 200 stained glass windows, makes it a spectacular sight to see. Hosting a variety of symphony orchestras and other concerts, the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart is one place you must not fail to visit in Newark. It's one of the iconic architectures in the city of Newark.

Indulge in your favorite scrumptious cuisines and enjoy an amazing orchestra play at the great Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Cherish the beautiful moments and picturesque sights for an everlasting holiday in Newark.

Texas Hold'em Poker Strategy – Game Selection

Game selection is very important when deciding how to increase your poker profits. If you are playing a tight-aggressive strategy, you want to play opponents who will give you the most money. Loose-passive players or calling stations typically call with any cards pre-flop. Calling stations typically overplay their hands and will get their money all-in with very marginal hands. If you have read the basic poker books, you will probably want to play against much weaker opponents. Your tight-aggressive strategy will serve you well in a game full of weak calling stations. As you progress through the limits, you will find other tight-aggressive opponents like yourself. It is very difficult for a tight player to beat another tight player. Most times, tight players are simply passing chips back and forth. In the long run, tight players are not winning money from other tight players. You have two choices when you encounter an extremely tight table. You can either change tables or improve your game.

When you change tables, look for opponents who will call down with weak hands. If you decide to improve you game, you will have to start playing your opponent more than your cards. Adjusting your tight style to a more aggressive strategy is very effective against other tight players. Tight players are playing their cards and do not know how to make moves. By playing aggressive against tight players, you will frustrate and befuddle them. When your tight opponents start to play back, it is time to change gears and play tight. If you happen to pick up a big hand in the next few hands, your opponent stands to lose a huge pot. Playing a loose-aggressive strategy is great for a table full of tight opponents. Understand your poker abilities and find a table that suits your playing style. Poker is a lot more than simply playing cards.