Thursday, May 12, 2011


If you regularly play multitable tournaments, both live and online, you will often find yourself in a position where the size of your chip stack becomes very awkward to play with. Once you are down to between 15 and 25 big blinds, you have too large of a stack to simply move all-in with but it is too small to raise and then have to fold.

Once you are down to this number of big blinds, one option available to you, though not one I could recommend, would be to blind yourself down whilst waiting for a premium hand. This is extremely risky as you may not get dealt a good hand before your chips run out or your chips stack may become so small that even when you do find aces in the hole, you get three or four callers to your shove.

 Whilst a 15-25 big blind stack is not the nicest stack to play, it does open the door to a powerful move known simply as the re-steal. Basically, all you need to do is wait for someone to raise, preferably first-in in late position so there is a higher chance the raise is a steal attempt and then re-raise all-in.

 The move is high risk and works best against loose poker players with deep stacks as this player type is more likely to be stealing very lightly, which should leave you to pick up the blinds, antes and the chips used in the initial steal attempt. If your re-steal is successful you will usually add at least an extra five or six big blinds to your stack, a very helpful amount indeed.

 So which hands should you be re-stealing with? Many players see an ace in their hand and in an instant poker chips are flying into the middle of the table, however this probably is not the best idea unless it is a premium ace or one that is suited. This is because a lot of the time you re-steal with an ace, you will find that you are dominated by a better one. Suited connectors are brilliant for re-stealing, in fact nine-eight suite fairs much better against ace-king offsuit than ace-three does, despite the latter being a stronger hand. Pairs are also good for this as you are almost always going to be getting your money in at least a slight favourite over your opponent's range.


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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

10 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Playing


1. Early Position Raise : One of the biggest mistakes I see players make is not respecting someone who raises in early position. Remember he has another 8 people after him at the table who he has to fade, so chances are that he is holding a big hand.

2. When you have the nutz and someone betting into you : I was watching a friend of mine play a tournament online and although he made several mistakes that I corrected him on, the biggest mistake he made was pushing someone out of the pot by re-raising him on the turn when he should have slow-played the hand. Let me give you the scenario. My friend Mike was dealt 10-hearts and K-hearts. Someone raises preflop and there are 4 callers including Mike. On the flop came K-diamonds, 10-diamonds, K-spades. Yes, he flopped the dead nutz. The first player checks, the second player who was the original preflop raiser bets $100. Next player re-raises $100, the third and fourth players fold, lastly its up to Mike. He just called the bet which was the proper play. Next card on the turn was 3-spades, no help to anyone. Original player in first position bets $200, second player calls, and what does Mike do, raises the pot $600 and the other 2 players drop out. You need to ask yourself "What am I trying to accomplish with this bet." What was Mike trying to do, make everyone fold. Number one he has the dead nutz, he already has position so it is imperative to give the other players an opportunity to catch their card. The proper play was to continue letting the player bet into you, then take him off on the river. He might have had 2 diamonds and hit his 3rd diamond on the river and you could have taken all his chips. You want those players to get so committed to the pot that they simply cant lay down their 2 pair or their flush or their set. Remember in no limit poker you can always raise the pot or even go all in on the river so its really quite simple. If your playing NL Holdem and someone is betting into you when you have the dead nutz and are in position, let him continue betting into you and do the raise on the river as to maximize any chance you have at getting most or all of his chips.

3. Protect Your Hand: Don’t give players an opportunity to draw out on you, make them pay for it. If your holding top pair and there is flush or straight potential, don’t let them get any free cards to draw out on you with. Bet the pot or double the pot as to thin the heard.

4. Thin The Heard: If your holding an average hand, say pocket 10s and there have been no preflop bets yet,, go ahead and make a bet, I prefer to triple the pot. You certainly don’t want the guy next to you who has King Deuce to hit his King on the flop and beat you. Your bet should thin the heard down and will lesson your chances of getting out drawn.

5. Chip Lead: Listen people, if you have the chip lead tighten up a little. There is no sense in getting involved in too many pots. I see it all too often, someone has the chip lead and calls a raise with crap. Then he catches one of his cards and gets committed to the pot and ends up losing 20% of his chip stack to the pocket rockets. You want to hold on to the chip lead, try to play good cards and let the other players on short stack weed themselves out and you will find yourself at the final table. I’m not saying only play the dead nutz. If your in position it’s ok to see a cheap flop, but if you don’t hit, let it go. Just don’t lose a bunch of chips on a hand you shouldn’t have even played in the first place.

6. Common Sense: Common sense supersedes all the advice given to me over the years. Use your head for crying out loud. My friend Mike was on the big blind and there were no raises preflop, so he got to see the flop for free. There were 7 people in the hand and the flop comes A-hearts, K-diamonds, -10-diamonds, now Mike was holding crap, 6-7 off suit. Well nobody bets and it comes around to Mike and he triples the pot. It goes around the table and one guy calls, another raises, then another goes all in. Of course Mike folds but common sense tells me with a flop like that everyone got a piece of it, whether its a gut shot straight or 4 to a flush or just top or second pair. My experience has been that usually players discard their low cards and stay in with their big cards or pocket pairs. When a big flop like that comes up common sense tells me when there are 7 other people in the pot that a few if not all of them caught some part of that flop. What a horrible time to try to buy one. Chalk another mullet move up to MIKEY lol.

7. Play like a champion: Try to imagine yourself at the WSOP final table playing for 1.5 million. Then ask yourself how would Doyle Brunson play the hand. Take your time and you will probably make the right call. Remember skill will only get you so far, you also have to be lucky and not get too many bad beats to snap a big tournament off so don’t get discouraged if you made the right play and lost the hand. If you played the hand like Doyle would have played the hand and you get a bad beat, well that’s just part of poker so you might as well get used to it now.

8. SURVIVAL . Your goal of course is to snap the tournament off, but your first priority should be to get into the money. Just use your head and play smart.

9. Study Your Opponents: Study your opponents and make note of their tendencies. For example, if you have a player that calls just about anything, obviously it would not be wise to try to steal a pot against him as he will probably call you with his low pair. Conversely, if you have a player like that and you have a strong hand, bet more than you normally would as you will probably get a call out of him unlike if your playing against a good player that would probably fold his average hand.

10 . Realize The Amount Of Players Left In The Tournament And Where They Stand In The Money: If your in a tournament that pays the top 9 places and you have 11 people left in the tournament, this may be a good time to steal a couple of pots if your in position. They are trying to get into the money and wont risk their chips unless they have a premium hand. On the other hand, once everyone is in the money, if your going to play a hand make sure it is one where you are willing to risk a large part of your chip stack on. My experience is when it gets down to the money players, you see many people on the short stack going all in so although it may be tempting to play that 9-10 suited, it may not be a hand you want to risk a large amount of chips on.

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How to Play 7 Card Stud Poker



Many people sit around and play stud poker in their homes and in casinos. However, if you are mainly an at home player you may not be playing by the rules that you will see at an online poker room or in a casino. This could be very bad, if you start playing and make a big mistake that can hurt your pocketbook. The best way to ensure you are ready to play is by learning the rules of stud poker. All casinos offline and online use the same basic rules of play. This article will give you the basics for playing 7-card stud poker, even though there are other varieties such as 5-card stud poker.

The way in which the game of 7 card Stud Poker is played is that each player begins by putting the ante in the center of the table. This is normally a predetermined amount of money set by the casino or online poker room.

Once everyone has anted the dealer begins with the player on his or her left and deals two cards down and one card face up to each player. The player that has the lowest card face up begins the betting, known as the “bring in”. The betting goes around the table in clockwise fashion until every player has made their bet with each player either calling, raising the bet, or folding.

After this round of betting, the dealer deals the fourth card to every player that is still in the game, meaning they have not folded. Now, the player with the best hand showing begins the betting. Then the betting goes around the table again with players once again calling, raising, or folding.

The next card or fifth card is dealt to each player face up with another round of betting as before. Then the sixth card is dealt face up with a round of betting. The last card or seventh card is dealt by the dealer to each player that has not folded face down.

The players after this have another round of betting and then show their hand, known as the showdown. The winner is the one with the best 5-card hand. Each card that is dealt is also referred as street such as Fourth Street instead of the fourth card and so on until reaching Seventh Street or the seventh card.

Of course, this is just the basic game play, in order to play poker well, you must learn all about the rankings and what hands beat which hands. You may think that you have a great hand just because you have 2 pair, however, if another player has 3 of a kind or a full house, you will loose. The better you are at learning the rankings and the way in which to play the various types of poker games, the more likely you are to bring in some winnings.   

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

How to Play Omaha Hold'em


Omaha Hold’em is very similar to Texas Hold’em only with a twist. However, this article will give you a step-by-step guide so you will know the basics.

The way in which the game of Omaha Hold’em is played is that the first two player sitting to the left of the dealer place blind bets. The first player puts out a small blind bet and the second player puts out a large blind bet. A blind bet is a set amount that is determined before the game and is placed prior to any player seeing any of their cards, the reason it is called a blind bet.

The dealer will now deal four cards to each player face down, known as pocket or hole cards. The game begins with the person to the left of the one that placed the large blind bet. This player after looking at his or her cards can bet, raise, or fold. The betting continues clockwise around the table. (In Texas Holdem, two cards are dealt to each player).

After everyone has had the chance to bet, the dealer will then deal three cards to the center of the table face up, known as community cards. These cards are also called the flop. The community cards will be used along with the player’s cards to create a poker hand. After the flop is dealt, the betting begins with the player to the left of the dealer. Each player will be able to check or bet.

After everyone has had a chance to bet after the flop, one more card is dealt to the center of the table, also known as the board, face up. Many call this the turn card or Fourth Street. Once again betting is done around the table. The last card commonly referred to as the river or Fifth Street is dealt to the board face up. Another round of betting is done.

The players that have not folded will now show their cards. Now here is another twist, each player must use two of the four cards they were dealt in their pocket cards to form the best hand. The hand must include five cards in which two cards are theirs. All players must also show all four cards. The player with the best hand wins the pot. If a player only shows two cards and discards the other two, he or she will forfeit the game. If the best cards are the ones on the board, then all players left in the game divide the pot.

Now, you can enjoy playing a game of Omaha Holdem and at least have an idea of what is going on. The best way to learn more is by watching others online playing and getting a feel of the game.   

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Monday, May 9, 2011

Poker Hand Rankings


If you want to become a serious poker player online or offline, you need to know the poker, hand rankings or you not know if you have a good hand or a bad hand. Of course, if you are use to playing with friends at home, you are more than likely not playing by the rules that are seen at casinos. All casinos, poker rooms online, and offline play by the same rules.

The first thing you must know is that all 52 cards are used to play poker in most cases; however, the joker may or may not be used. The joker is often only seen in Draw Poker games and is not used in Texas Hold’em, other hold’em games, and stud poker.

Cards are ranked from highest to lowest with the Ace at the top. The King, Queen, and Jack come next in that order and then 10 all the way down to the 2 often referred to as the deuce. The Ace can be used at the top or the bottom as a one for straights or even for the lowest card.

In practically all poker games, only the five best cards are counted even if you are playing a seven-card game. Here is the breakdown so you will know if you have a good hand.

If a joker is in play, the best hand a person can have is a five of a kind with five Aces at the top of the list. If no joker is in play, the best hand is the straight flush. A straight flush is five cards of the same suit such as all spades, all hearts, all clubs, or all diamonds. Of course, the cards must be in order to be a straight such as five diamonds from 5 to 10. A Royal Flush is the best hand, which includes the Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and Ten.

Four of a kind comes next. All four cards must be the same card, such as all tens, kings, etc… with the higher the card ranking the better. The best of course would be four Aces.

Next is the Full House. A full house is three cards that have the same rank and then a pair. The higher the three cards the better such as 3 Kings and 2 5’s. Of course, the person with the higher three cards will beat other players.

The flush is next. A flush is cards of the same suit, but not in order. This means you can have five hearts of any rank. The person with the highest rank card will win if everyone has a flush. The straight is next with five cards in order from various suits. This means you can have 1 ace space, 1 diamond king, 1 heart queen, 1 club jack, and 1 spade 10. The suit does not matter.

Three of a kind means the same card such as all three kings. The next is a two pair of the same such as 2 Aces and 2 fives. The last one is one pair such as 2 tens.

Of course if no one has any of the above, the person with the highest card will win the hand.    

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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Seven Card Stud Poker Playing Rules

Seven card stud poker is a very popular form of poker played at both the card table and in online poker rooms. Anywhere poker is being played, either online or off, you'lll always find a game of stud poker in progress. Stud poker is one of the poker games where players are dealt some of their cards facing up on the poker table, while other cards are dealt face down.

In the game of seven card stud, the dealer deals out seven cards to each player. The dealer deals two cards in the hole, then one card face up. After an opening bet is made, three cards are dealt face up, with a round of bets after each card is dealt out. The final card is dealt in the hole, and final bets are made. The players then create a hand from five of the seven they were dealt.

The following is how a typical game of Seven Card Stud should ideally play out:

Each player places up their ante.

The designated dealer then deals out three cards to each player. Two of these cards are dealt face down on the table, with the third being placed face up on the table. The cards dealt face down are referred to as a€?hole cardsa€™, while the card placed face up is called the a€?door carda€™.

Players place their first bets, or they can now fold on their hand.
All remaining players are dealt one card face-up on the poker table.
More bets are placed, any players who wish may now fold.
All remaining players are dealt one card face-up on the table.
Betting round, bets are placed, any players who wish may now fold.
All remaining players are dealt one card face-up on the poker table.
4th betting round, any players who wish may now fold.
All remaining players are dealt a last card face-down on the poker table.
Final round of bets are made.

Its time for the showdown, the players who have remained in the game will now show their hands.
Players are allowed to use any 5 of their 7 cards to make the best hand possible.

Seven card stud poker is played with a standard regulation deck of 52 playing cards. This game does not make use of the Joker card. The maximum number of players allowed in a game of Seven Card Stud Poker should never exceed eight players, to avoid running out of playing cards.

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Bet-sizing, Part IIc: Making Decisions Easy

Finally, the third and final post on sizing your bets to avoid getting yourself in a sticky situation with your next decision. This time, we look at river play - an area where most people seem to struggle badly. The balance between value bets and avoiding checkraises is not as delicate as it may seem, if you make sure your bet is a good size for what you’re trying to achieve. Most people’s problem seem to come from not really thinking through what they want with their bet before they make it.
An example from last week: $50NL, villain raises to $2 in middle position with AK, and the aggressive button (that’d be yours truly) calls. Effective stacks are $50. The flop comes K-7-2, and he bets $3 on the flop (I called), he bet $8 on the turn (another seven) and again, I call. The river brings a J. What remains of the effective stack is $37, and the pot is about $26. He bets $24.
If his goal is to prevent me from bluffing, $24 is a big enough bet size. It’s big enough that I won’t really have any leverage to try to bluff him out; going all-in would offer him a pot of $87 with $13 to call - hardly something he’ll fold. If he wants to stop me from bluffing, it’s better for him to bet a bit smaller; a size where he doesn’t risk quite as much (if he plans on folding if I raise - because otherwise, the point of the prevention is kinda moot) but still makes the pot big enough that it’s protected. Maybe something like $17…
… But why would he want to prevent me from bluffing? He has a hand that serves as an excellent bluff catcher! Shouldn’t he be encouraging me to bluff?
So his sizing is off. The only hand he will reasonably be extracting value from at this point is KQ, and his bet is a bit big for that, at least if he wants me to call. I sometimes take a passive line with TPGK in position versus opponents who will bet two barrels, but not three, but that’s a different story. So he puts in too much money versus the hand he can beat, and he puts in too much money to give me a chance to try to bluff, and he puts in too much money to be able to fold if I raise him. He simply puts in too much money.
By making a bet that big, he’s committed. But if he’s ready to commit, he should try to get the most bang for his buck! Against an aggressive opponent, you want to call river bets (since they will often be with weak hands/bluffs) not have the other guy call them. If I’m tight and aggressive, I’m not likely to call too often, but I might bluff. And that’s what you want to take advantage of!
Checking to me would accomplish that. But I’d often check behind with KQ and definitely all pocket pairs, which might call a small value bet on the river. With a $26, I might look him up with TT if he bets $8 or so. And the other nifty thing about betting small is that it doesn’t take away my option of bluffing. If my opponent decided he’d be happy to get it all-in versus me, then it’s important that I have enough rope to hang myself with, otherwise I’d only raise when I crush him.
In short, the river bet - versus aggressive players - should be of a size that both extracts value from weak made hands but doesn’t stop us from bluffing. A bet the size that my opponent chose achieves neither of those things, since I’d (almost) never call with a worse hand and he’d be extremely hard pressed to fold if I raised - and I’d never raise with a worse hand, either, given how unlikely I’d deem him to fold.
That’s the kind of problem he’d get himself in if he bets a bigger amount. If I raise, he’s very often desperately behind, but at the same time he’s gotten himself into the mess of being committed to seeing a showdown. With just a little bit of planning - and encouraging the aggressive player to take a stab - he could ironically have had a much easier decision to make! Getting it all-in when I make a pot-sized shove on the river is a much clearer decision than when I raise the rest all-in and he’s getting 7:1 to call with a hand that’s not going to win.
As a final sidenote, the beauty of this is that the same conclusion actually applies if you’re up against a passive opponent! What you want to avoid is being forced to call a passive opponent’s river raise due to pot odds, so instead you set the price so that if he raises, you can easily fold. A small bet on the river accomplishes this (usually), and also extracts value from the same hands as it would from me. You want to be careful with checking, though, because while raising is a clear sign of strength for a passive player, betting when checked to might not be. If you check to him, he might bet ace-ten thinking that he will be ahead.
This is the last of Part II of my bet-sizing series. Next up is bet-sizing when bluffing!
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