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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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Working tactics

The tactic shown in the video below is a good unbeatable one,proven mathematicly and in practice.But there-s one problem,the casinos knows about it and fights it by two metods:First of all they impose a high minimum bet and second they impose a low maximum bet.So,even if you have enough money to double the loses every time,if you loose too many times you won't be able to double the bet.
Anyway,if you find a roulette table with a low minimum bet and a high maximum bet,it worth trying.But be aware of the risc of loosing money!

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Amateur casino to accommodate an anticipated compliance advantage to the casino, or "House", while alms the amateur of the feasibility of a concise payment ample. Some Bank amateur accept an element of the performance, the amateur area makes decisions; This amateur would have "random with a suitable element." Although it is accessible by the game done to shorten the advantage of residence, it is acute attenuate that an amateur has achievement acceptable to absolutely annihilate his law-abiding inherent disadvantage (residence bend or levied residence) in a game of Bank. One such set of accomplishments absorb years of training, an amazing history and numeracy and (or) saw clever or even aural observation, as in the case of caster synchronization in Roulette.
The disadvantage of the player is an aftereffect of the Bank not paying acceptable updates according to "true odds of the game", which are services which would be accepted because that allocation of action neither acceptable nor losing. For example, if a bold is played by wagering on the bulk that would have the aftereffect of the cycle of one die, precise allocation would 6 times the big bet back there is a 1 in 6 adventitia of any individual in bulk appearing. However, the Bank can pay only 5 times the big bet for an acceptable bet.The bend residence (he) or allowance is authentic as the accumulation of Bank to bid as an attribution of indigenous bet for the player.
The addition of the abode bend wheel was an atomic exercise; This is not generally the case for added games. Simulation assay or Combinatorial computer is very important to perform this task.
Amateur accept an element of achievements, such as Blackjack or Spanish 21, the elbow of residence is authentic as the benefit of the optimal residence of game (without the use of technologies such as the counting of the order of the day)on the native Duke of footwear (alembic holding cards). The set of the optimal plays for all accessible easily are accepted as "basic strategy" and is debased terrible on the specific rules and even the major part of used bridges. Good amateur of Blackjack and Spanish 21 accept abode edges below 0.5%.
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Friday, April 15, 2011

Use of the Casino

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Money is exchanged for tokens in a bank to Bank cage, at the gaming tables or an accountant position. Tokens are editable with money at the casino. They on accept none in bulk alfresco of the casino, in Las Vegas, admitting some capacity account [citation needed] added Casino chips Casino and dynamic enterprises (such as taxis or waiters†"especially for advice") in the cities of the Bank can explain informally.
Tokens are active for several reasons. They are added acceptable to use the currency and aswell accomplish the annexation and counterfeiting said difficult. Consistent size and regularity of the endless of chips, they are easier to calculate in endless from Bill if acclimated cardboard on a table. This aswell aspect allows the bang-up or aegis pit bound check the bulk being paid, abbreviation the adventitia that a capacity of distant banker pays a client. Consistent weight of tokens official casino allows their balances make ample endless or bags of chips instead of their account (though counting AIDS such as tooth trays is added common) Furthermore, it is empirical consumer action added to good use with backup that cash currencies.[citation needed]
Finally, the chips are invited to be a grant of basic environment of the Bank, and replacing them with some bill alternating would be unpopular.
Many casinos accept only the use of metal tokens (and parts), in their machines for opening, for cardboard or receipts of prepaid, cards, while costs of acute abundant basement to install, offset the costs of administration of bread and interference problems encountered in machines that took the Bill or tokens. While some casinos (such as the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas), which installed the cancellation arrangement had retained $1 tokens on to use $1 chips, many adding application casinos receipts had ingenuement demolished entirely tokens. Many recipes of application for casinos accept automatic machines at which barter may redeem receipts, eliminating windows counting workload and to shorten the activity of bread costs.
A set of 300 accepted section of Injection plastic chips generally awash as "composite of clay" chips
Casino tooth is an attribution of numismatics, added exactly as specialized exonumia collecting. This attraction is more accepted with Bank Chips & Gaming tokens Collectors Club formed in 1988. Some chips are up to $100,000 and the many way accepted for aggregate and barter is on eBay. Several casinos announce sets custom-built chips and one or two decks of cards with the name of the Bank on them. Each game is independent in a box or a baby attached.
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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Online casino strategy

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Alpha is your online bank experience, the original affair, which you accept to accept a plan of attack. What to do, playing what game and are as abundant money to place for to spend? I hope that you will be a winner, but if you accept a band of bad luck have, would you don't lose all your savings. Their  mission is to purchase of an online bank, apparel that your wishes.It is celebrated and secure? The Blazon of the software use it? It does the amateur action you are completely with? They offer what affectionate bonuses do? Is it user friendly? You should purchase of this message on this Web site may be.
Now, that you in, afore you play, get with the Casino used. You can disregard what what does accept and if you accept problems met of the hip post for help. You ability aswell acquisition, that is a lure for exhortation and admonition of additional actors in the babble of voices Bank acceptable idea allowance. You are the acquisition, the players are blessed, exhortation and adore added a nice chat.
As soon as they are with the online casino, you will accept the bold that you (i.e. Blackjack, slots) want to play. Who is tired in our online bank amateur area best reminder that we accept for you, is that you accept to playing bold and apperceive above enable you, for you to play. You will purchase, that your Affairs of acceptable abundant College if you if taken apperceive or stand, turn or play 3 Bill 1 instead. It aswell pays a message area adjacent to of accumulate your remuneration and/or best available next plays outlines (similar to the blackjack table in our online bank start bonus section).
Finally, the best action you can use is to play with a light head. If you of are tired, in a vile affection or possibly a little intoxicated, you are not to Cerebration Beeline and will achieve errors. And keep in mind, online casinos are your audience out there for absorbing accept fun, anticipate, the Aftereffect you will accept at atomic absolute and no amount you are during this acquaintance and hopefully bigger your action for the next time enjoyed.
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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bet-sizing, Part IIb: Making Decisions Easy

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Somewhat belatedly, I give you the second of three examples on sizing bets or raises in a way to make the potential decision on whether or not to fold to a re-raise easy. The belatedness of this post has to do with planning and executing a close friend’s bachelor event (or stag , if you prefer) which took place last night. Great fun, but this post isn’t about men drinking beer and bonding in a sauna.
The main consideration when deciding on the size of a bet is the effective stack. With very deep stacks, the preflop raise decides how big the pot will (or can) eventually become. With very small stacks, you must instead focus on avoiding the trap of being committed with a hand that you don’t want to continue with. Today’s example illustrates the importance of planning the future betting already preflop:
$25NL, 6-max. It’s folded to you on the button, and you hold ace-queen. You would (or at least should) normally open with a very wide range here, so raising with AQ is a no-brainer. But before you raise, make sure to check how big the effective stack is between you and the blinds! If you have a loose big blind with a small stack, you should usually not raise to 3-4 times the big blind (the typical standard opening raise) but instead make a smaller raise. Look:
If the effective stack between you and the big blind is, say, 30BB, and you raise to four times the BB preflop and he calls, the pot will be 8BB with 27BB left behind. If he checks to you and you make any kind of continuation bet, you’re committed with your ace-high. Even if you only bet half the pot, you are more or less forced to call if he checkraises all-in, as the pot would be laying you about 2:1. In fact, even if he doesn’t checkraise all-in but to a smaller amount, you’re still committed. He’ll have so few chips left that if you’re calling that checkraise now, you can not fold at any future point in the hand anyway.
The hand plays out very differently if you instead raise to, say, 2.5BBs preflop. Yes, close to a minraise, but let’s leave dogma at the door. Suddenly, the same postflop scenario would become a 5BB pot on the flop, into which you bet 2.5BBs. If he checkraises you now, the effective odds you’re getting are 34:22, and while the difference in required chance to win “only” goes up by a paltry 10 percentage points, that’s really all it takes to make a close call into a clear fold.
It’s perhaps strange that I suggest raising to a smaller amount with a hand like A-Q preflop, given that it seems clear that that’s where you have your edge. Why not raise a lot preflop and create what is essentially a situation where HE’s the one who’s committed. That’s actually not a terrible idea; if you can somehow make him committed with your preflop raise, you’ve created a situation in which you get your chips in with an edge. If you raise to, say, 9 or 10BBs preflop and he calls, you can go ahead and push on the flop and he will almost have to call regardless of his holding. The trouble area for you, is when the pot isn’t so small that you can easily fold or so big that you can easily shove, but just in between. And that’s what you should try to avoid.
So, action point for next session: When you’re on the button, check the effective stack size between you and the blinds. If the stacks are somewhat deep, go ahead and make a regularly sized raise. Otherwise, make sure to raise less.
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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Bet-sizing, Part IIa: Making Decisions Easy

I ended the first post with the teaser of this post being about “sizing your bets and raises in a way that makes folding to a re-raise much easier.” This is only half the truth, really. I should have said, “sizing your bets and raises in a way that makes the decision of whether or not to fold to a re-raise much easier.”
No-limit, by and large, is centered around the big bluff. “Moving In.” “Pushing.” “Shoving.” “Going all-in.” It’s centered around it in the sense that the threat of the all-in bluff looms as a possibility at all times when you play no-limit. That threat, for instance, is what causes people to check behind on the river with decent hands because they fear their opponent might check/raise all-in, leaving them with a horribly difficult decision. So instead, they save (or lose?) a few bucks and just check.
It’s always there. And it’s how to take the edge of it by being smarter about bet sizing that’s the topic. And I want to do this with a couple of examples, starting today with one - potentially on my part grossly misplayed - hand, where I size my bet on the turn in such a way as to stop my opponent from bluffing me off. The example is very verbose, because I think it contains a few other interesting situations besides the actual problem of bet sizing; hopefully you will find it interesting as well. I played this hand a week or two ago:
6-max $50NL on PokerStars. I have 66 in the cut-off seat. It’s folded to me and I open to $2. This raise is half steal, half value raise. Most hands that would call that raise have me at either a coin toss or severely dominated, but I have some great fold equity to capitalize on post flop, as well as huge implied odds versus some hands when I flop a set.
Unfortunately, the button calls my raise, but at least both blinds folds. I say unfortunately, because now I’m out of position with a very marginal hand. What I know about the button so far is that he’s very loose, very aggressive and likes to bluff. He’s not “bad” necessarily, just very tricky, but he does seem to have some method to his madness. Also, his stack is a bit short.
The flop comes A-K-K. The effective stack at this time is $25, and the pot is $4.50.
Now, I could have given up on this flop, but I wasn’t too happy about that outcome. My equity wasn’t great, admittedly, but I should have had some decent fold-equity lined up here. Specifically, I thought I could get him to fold pocket pairs and overcards to my sixes, which (take my word for it, or play around with Stove yourself to find out) constitute 30% of his holdings. I think he will continue with all aces, all kings and all QJ/QT/JT combos.
You can perhaps see why giving up wouldn’t have been such a bad idea after all; continuing out of position is a recipe for disaster. However, I didn’t have time to Stove these things at the table, so I went with my (incorrect) gut feeling that I had a good case for betting here, and did. I bet $3 into the $4.50 pot. He calls. He didn’t snap call, and he didn’t tank either. He just called with the normal flow of the game, for what’s worth to the timing-tells people out there.
But what does it mean? It means he’s either slowplaying or floating. It means that I can’t win this hand without getting him to fold, because if we go to showdown, I’ve lost (as he’s not going to call down with QJ). This ties in with the topic how?
… because on the turn, the pot is $10.50, and remaining in his stack (the smaller one) is $20. If I check, I expect him to bet almost every time. And I can’t call if he does, because his equity is better than mine, after all. So I have to bet myself, but how much do I bet? “As little as possible” is really the key phrase, here. For all intents and purposes, my bet is a bluff - I want him to fold! I should bet the smallest amount that gets the job done. But, and this is important, there are two factors to take into account for the minimum size of the bet as well, and they are:
1. When he’s drawing, I should prevent him from drawing profitably (he will have 10 outs when that happens).
2. Don’t bet so little that he will be enticed to move all-in as a bluff.
… and it’s really #2 that’s the key problem here, and what this topic is all about. I want to bet enough on the turn that he will realize that there’s no point in bluffing, while simultaneously not so much that folding makes no sense if he re-raises. Let’s look at some different bet sizes:
$3: He will be getting about 4:1 on calling here, or about break-even for his 10-out draw, but it’s not calling that I’m worried about. He will also have another $17 left behind, for a pot-sized all-in raise, laying me about 1.7:1 - not good for me.
$6: Offering him a little less than 3:1 is better for when he draws. He still has a little power left in moving in because in doing so he’d lay me odds of about 2:1.
$10: Betting the pot. He’d only have $15 behind, and if he raises me, it will be another $15 in a $30 pot. This will discourage most thinking opponents from trying to bluff with air. He’d be laying me about 3:1.
Differently put, because it’d be so easy for me to call a re-raise, I don’t have to call the re-raise. If he pushes now, he expects me to call. Therefore I don’t have to. As you can see, I’m thinking on the second level here (what does my opponent think I have/will do) and that of course requires an opponent who thinks on the first level. But still.
If it’s not clear enough, let me just restate that I probably botched the 66-hand. Continuing past the flop (I think bet/folding the flop is fine) is probably a mistake. Letting him have it on the turn is probably better than bluffing. But what matters isn’t whether I played it perfectly or not on the turn, it’s the thought process: Trying to size my bet in a way as to stop him from bluffing. And I think my thinking around that was fine, in my defense.
More examples on simplifying your upcoming decision will be coming throughout this week - but I need to keep the posts to some kind of sane length to not risk losing everyone halfway through. :)
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Bet-sizing, Part III: Bluffing

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The lesson about sizing bluffs learned from No-limit Hold’em - Theory and Practise is that we should bet enough to “get the job done” but not much more. In theory, I could end this post on sizing bluffs on that note, because there really isn’t that much more to say. If you decide to bluff, make a bet that’s big enough, but not too big. For instance, if I want to bet into an opponent who will fold everything but the nuts to a bet that’s at least half the pot, then clearly betting more than just a little over half the pot is just wasting money. Every dollar that goes in over that ideal amount is a loss, of varying degrees.
Really, there’s not much more to say about how to size your bets when bluffing - except this:
Don’t go and get yourself committed.
I use “except this” kind of slyly here, because this is really a very big deal. A very easy-to-grasp example of this idea - that I’ve touched on earlier in this series of posts when dealing with “easy decisions” - is when you’re on the button and it’s folded to you. You should normally open with a very wide range, but now let’s say the big blind has a very short stack left - let’s say 10BB. If you raise to 4BB with 7-5 offsuit, and he pushes all-in, you might end up having to call because of the pot odds. See?
A slightly more complex, but really a version of the same theme, example comes fresh off the presses from this morning, when I played a little $50NL before work. In this particular example, I’m dealing with a semi-bluff:
100BB effective stacks, 6-max.
I raised to $2 under-the-gun. Only the big blind called, and he called with A-3 of hearts.
Flop comes Q-T-3, two spades, one heart. He checks, I bet $4, and he calls with bottom pair, top kicker. The pot is now $12.
The turn is the king of hearts, giving him bottom pair, top kicker and the nut flush draw. Again, he checks and I bet $8. Here, he decides to fire a semibluff, which is actually a fairly decent time to try it. I often bet two barrels and will fold a lot of my range here, and if he can get me off any hand at all, it’s a great victory for him. But here is where he went wrong: He raised to $25, leaving him committed to calling when I pushed all-in, because by then, the pot was $81 and it was only $19 more for him to call with a pair and a flushdraw. A better move on his part would have been to checkraise to a smaller amount - maybe even close to a min-raise - in order to give himself the option of folding. Instead, he was forced to put in $36 on the turn with what realistically was only about a 20% chance to win.
And at this point, I want to kill a potential misunderstanding before it spreads: Giving yourself future odds to call a bet is not a good thing. I believe this faulty logic is common enough to warrant a reminder in this post, despite me having talked about it before. Him raising to an amount where he’s forced to call a push isn’t, as some people have put it, “two +EV decisions in a row, and as long as I make +EV decisions, I’m OK!”
And that’s really at the heart of it. Bluffing an amount that will make you committed is to be avoided.
View the original article here