Category Archives: Online Poker

Making bluffs in Texas Holdem poker

Bluffing is very important when you play poker. However, timing is extremely important when you make bluffs. If you bluff at the wrong time it might prove very costly. There are no holy poker rules that always apply, but here are some things to think about regarding bluffing:.

Try to bluff:

1, When the pot is small. Small pots are less desirable, and hopefully your opponents will not find it worth it to call your bluff.

2, When the cards on the board probably didn´t help your opponents. If there are no obvious draws on the board and there is a scare card you can represent you will have a good chance to make a successful bluff.

3, When you have a good read on the other players, and are fairly certain that theirs cards are not that strong. If you have assessed the situation correctly your opponents will probably fold to your bluff (unless they have a good read on you, of course).

4, When you´re facing only one opponent. It´s obviously easier to scare one player away than to scare many.

5, When you´ve played conservatively for a long time. If you have a tight table image your opponents are more likely to buy your bluff.

6, When you´re sitting in late position and all the other players check. A bet might cause the other players to fold, but you must remember to consider the cards on the board in these situations.

Avoid bluffing:

1, When the board looks unfavorable. If there are many possible draws on the board some other player is likely to call your bluff.

2, When you´ve been caught bluffing recently. If you have a loose table image it´s difficult to get away with bluffs.

3, When there are three or more players still in the hand. In these cases your bluff is likely to be called, or even raised or re-raised.

4, When you´re playing against bad poker players. Bad poker players don´t know when to fold and this makes them very hard to bluff against.

5, When there is a lot of money in the pot. Big pots are desirable and a lot of players will try to get their hands on the chips in these cases.

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Texas Hold’em Tips: Reading the Board

If you’re a serious Hold’em player, you probably want to improve your game as much as possible. One of the best ways to sharpen your skills is to learn how to read the board. When you’re able to quickly and easily read the community cards, you’ll have an edge over the casual players.

“Reading the board” simply means that you look at the community cards and figure out the best-possible hand. If you know which hands could exist, you know where yours stands. This helps you decide if you should bet, raise or fold when it’s your turn to act.

Texas_Hold_'em_tips

Example:

If you’re holding A-A before the flop, then you have the best-possible hand right now. No two hole cards are better than pocket aces, so you should bet or raise accordingly.

However, your situation could change on the flop. Let’s say, for example, that the first three community cards are:

A-3-9 (rainbow – no matching suits).

If this is the case, then you have a set of aces. Right now, you have the nuts (poker slang for the best hand). You know that nobody else’s hand beats yours right now, so you can act accordingly.

Let’s say that the turn card is a 7. Now the board looks like:

A-3-9-7.

If two of the cards are the same suit, then an opponent could be drawing to a flush. This hand would beat yours, but nobody has made a flush yet. You still have the nuts, so you can put in a large bet. This often chases away anybody who is drawing to a flush. However, people with two pairs could call or, better yet, re-raise.

Now, let’s say that the river card is a jack. The board reads:

A-3-9-7-J.

You still have a set of aces, as your hand has not improved. However, somebody else could have a straight. If another player is holding 10-8, then your set loses. And if three of the cards on the board are the same suit, your hand loses to the flush.

You can, however, try to get a read on anybody else who’s still in the pot. Trying to put an opponent on a hand (figure out what he or she is holding) can help you make the right decision about your own cards.

If you practice reading the board, you’ll soon be able to figure out the best-possible hands in just a couple of seconds. Having this skill in your poker arsenal will help you make better decisions at the table, which will lead to better sessions and more fun.

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Bankroll Management: Staying In Front!

When it comes to playing poker, how you manage your bankroll is a significant indicator of how decent a player you are. If your bankroll (the amount of money you set aside to play poker) is constantly dwindling to nothing and you’re forever recharging it, then you’re not really a poker player at all and should quit before you get into serious debt, or at least take some time out to reassess your strategy. The general rule is that your bankroll should not interfere with your other financial commitments.

The key aspect of bankroll management is never to risk an amount of money that could see you land yourself in any kind of financial trouble. Every poker player will tell you they experience periods in their poker career where things just never seem to go right, even though they are playing as well as they’ve ever played. You should never takes risks in re-establishing your funds when you experience the same.

You should never risk your entire bankroll in one game or tournament. The amount you play with should be a fraction of your complete bankroll. If you lose that fraction, then you walk away as you’re done playing for the day. You re-adjust your playing funds for the next day depending upon how much your bankroll now contains.

Bankroll Management

You must decide what kind of player you are as this affects how you should manage your bankroll. If you just play for fun and the amount you wager doesn’t really affect you financially, then you can be pretty loose about your bankroll management. If you’re a serious player who relies upon poker to fund part of their lifestyle, then you must be much stricter.

Of course, if you’re a professional player, then you must adopt the strictest bankroll management policy going, as it’s your sole source of income.

The easiest rule to stick to is to set a limit on your bankroll and never player higher than this limit permits. A good rule of thumb for this, if you are a recreational player, is never to risk more than 10 percent of your bankroll at any cash-game or tournament. If your bankroll stands at $200, then you sit down with $20, and quit the table if you lose it.

For serious players and professional players the rates are much higher. A serious player should have 30 times the buy-in rate for a cash game or tournament in their bankroll, meaning they must have a bankroll worth $150 to enter a $5 tournament. A professional player should have 100 times the buy-in. These rates apply to sit and go tournaments or low stakes cash games.

In multi-table tournaments the risks and swings are much greater, so the rates go up to 50 times for serious players and 200 times for professionals. Fixed limit games are the riskiest of all and you shouldn’t play them unless you have 300 times the buy-in in your bankroll.

If you’re starting out in poker, you won’t learn to manage your bankroll if playing for play money. For bankroll management it’s better to play low stakes rather than with free money.

The key to bankroll management is to have enough funds so your lifestyle is not affected by the losing streaks you are eventually going to encounter. If you stick to these management and maintain a succinct playing strategy, then you’ll enjoy the game more and are more likely to be profitable in the long run.

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Short stack strategy

In poker, the player with the smallest number of chips at the table is know as “The Short Stack.” It’s obviously not a great position to be in, and given the choice no one would want to occupy it. However, as poker players we don’t get given that choice and no matter how good you are, if you’re a regular tournament player, you will have found yourself labelled The Short Stack at some point in your career.

Players generally find themselves in this position for one of two reasons. The most likely one is that you’ve slowly been leaking chips over the course of your current game. Whether’s it’s down to bad luck or poor decisions, most of your chips you started off with are now sitting in front of your opponents.

The other way you might find yourself as the short stack is if you’ve joined a tournament late. If your opponents have been playing for a while, then it’s more than likely they will have built up their chips and as someone just entering the tournament, you will be needing to catch them up.

Whatever the reason for you being the short stack though, you need to have a successful strategy for picking up chips and making sure climb up the tournament ladder nice and quickly.

Short stack strategy

The main problem with finding yourself low on chips is that you suddenly have a lot less room to maneuver. This is especially true if you’re playing in a tournament. When playing Hold’em Poker, the majority of the chips in any one hand will be bet on the turn and the river. This is a problem for you, the short stack, as it means that you’re unlikely to be able to afford to see many cards after the flop.

Bearing this in mind, you need to make sure that you don’t end up playing marginal hands which are just going to end up with you hemorrhaging more poker chips. Forget about small pocket pairs or suited connectors – the chances of you making your straight/flush aren’t particularly high and you run the risk of being re-raised by one of your opponents. These hands are better off played with a deep stack of chips. Continue reading

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Tips for Beginner No Limit Holdem Players

No Limit Texas Hold’em Poker takes just minutes to learn the rules. However it takes a lot longer to master the game. The following are a series of tips that beginner player who is just starting out can use to instantly improve their game.

Starting Hands

The following is a list of possible starting hands and the ideal way to play them, particularly for an entry level player.

Small Pocket Pairs

Try to play small pocket pairs against as many players as possible yet see the flop as cheaply as you can. With small pocket pairs you pretty much either want to just limp in (simply call the big blind) or perhaps call a very small raise.

The idea behind this is that you are hoping to hit trips, meaning a third identical card on the flop giving you three of a kind. This becomes quite a powerful hand as nobody will suspect that the low number card on the board is of any danger. If this does happen (which it will roughly 1 in every 8 times you have a pocket pair) then you should begin to bet and raise, trying to get as many chips into the pot as you possibly can.

The logic behind playing this against many other players is that you hope somebody else has made a high pair that they are willing to lay a lot of chips on the table for. For example if an ace appears on the board and another player holds an ace than they will most likely bet big as they have the highest pair on the board, little do they know you are holding trips.

No Limit Texas Hold’em Poker

Suited Connectors

Suited connectors are simply two cards that are next to each other and of the same suit. For example 9 of Hearts & 10 of Hearts, 7 of Spades & 8 of Spades or 8 of Diamonds & 9 of Diamonds. The advantage of having these hands is that there is the possibility of making one of two monster hands – either a flush or a straight.

These hands are however quite weak in the beginning and should be be played accordingly, as cheaply as possible. Try to see the flop for a low cost and even then you may only have a draw (a hand in which you need one more to make) but the advantage is if you hit the straight or flush you can really milk it for a lot.

2 Big Face Cards

Avoid the mistake of trying to slow play two big face cards preflop. If you have a hand such as AQ then you should definitely raise. The whole point of this is to knock out the competition so you are only going to play against a few players.

AQ doesn’t stand a strong chance against 7 or 8 players but against 2 or 3 you are more than likely to win, make them pay to stay in the game.

Also remember that if you hold a hand like QJ, KJ or AT then you shouldn’t call raises pre-flop. Yes it is hard to throw away a hand like that but more often then not you will find yourself dominated by a hand like AK.

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Dominating Weak Players

One of the great skills a poker player can have is to be able to identify the weak players at a table, and then take advantage of them. Once you know what to look for and how to play them it is actually a pretty easy process.

How to Identify a Weak Player

Weak Players poker

Pre-Flop Play

Do they ever raise before the flop or do they simply call. If you find someone is constantly limping into games then it is likely they are a weak player.

Betting

If a player likes to bet, odds are they are an aggressive player, however if a player tends to check or call repeatedly – they are usually a weak player.

Live Play

When playing at a live game you can even identify weak players by the way they dress and speak. A conservative player will dress conservative and often speak quietly where as an aggressive player may dress more flamboyantly and speak aggressively.

So now that you know how to identify the weak players on a table, how do you take advantage of – and dominate them?

The best way to reap the benefits of playing a weak player is to get them heads up. For example you might make a raise that the rest of the table will fold too just so you can get that player one on one. Then you simply let his actions dictate the way in which you play.

So if the weak players decides to check on the flop then even if you have a 2/7 off-suit, you should raise, because they are such a weak player they have clearly shown they have a bad hand. If they raise however, unless you have a strong hand yourself you should think about folding.

The thing with weak players is they are the most predictable players in all of poker and if you can work a few of their patterns out then you will be able to play them like a fiddle.

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The Turn

In Texas Holdem poker the Turn is the fourth community card, dealt face up in the middle of the table. Play begins with the first active player to the immediate left of the dealer. When the Turn takes place, the bets are doubled. At this point many Texas Holdem players complete their hands as there are four community cards on the board. Every poker player knows that there will be only one community card after the Turn and this is the Fifth Street.

In order to see the Turn, there are two possibilities for every Texas Holdem player. First, the player can see the Fourth Street if he has a strong hand after the Flop and second, the player will continue his play on the Turn if he has many outs and expects to form a very strong hand with the Turn card. If you think your opponents have worse hands than yours after the Turn card is dealt and you are first to act, the best decision in this case for you will be to bet. If you have only one pair in your hand and one of your opponents raises on the Turn, you should fold if you do not want to lose much money.

the turn poker

However, if you see the Turn with only two unsuited overcards and you see that it is not possible to improve your hand, you should fold. Also you should fold when there is a bet in front of you and you hold a poor hand. Do not expect very much from the last community card and remember that the best hand you can form with your two unsuited overcards is a pair. Knowing how to use the odds on the Turn will help you to improve your play and to become a successful Texas Holdem player.

In case when you are sure you have the strongest hand, the best strategy will be to make the other players at the table put money into the pot. It means that reading your opponents is very important when you are on the Turn. Another important thing to observe in the third round of betting is what kind of hands the other players have played and of course the way they play these hands. This will help you to build your own strategy and to see the Showdown.

Examine carefully your opponents before and after the Flop. It will give you useful information and will help you to make the right decisions on the Turn.

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A One Way Trip To Value-Town

I am sure anybody that is serious about poker or has been playing for a while, has heard the term “Value-Bet”. For those of you who have not, here’s a quick definition.

Value-Bet: A bet made intended to extract value from a second best hand.

Why should we value bet?

We all like money, don’t we? A lot of these people at the low-limits call way too much and overvalue their hands. We need to exploit this and take advantage of them.

First when we value bet, we have to be sure we have the best hand and will be called by worse. We will also need a little bit of hand reading skills and be able to put villain on a range of hands.

value bet poker

Example of value betting:

You’re dealt XX on the button you raise and get called by the BB. The Flop comes: XXX. Here we can value bet because we most likely have the best hand and will get called by worse.

Hands we are beating and could get called by: 33-QQ, K3+, JT-QT-AT, all straight draws, all flush draws and some air sometimes. That’s a lot of hands we are beating and which will call our value bet on the flop.

We are only losing to a few selective hands: KT-K2-AA-AK-T2 and sets. We can really almost rule out AK-AA-KK as these hands should have re-raised pre-flop and K2-T2 shouldn’t even have called your raise. So we are really only afraid of KT-TT-22. That is not many hands at all.

So we can profitably value bet here and get called by worse hands. This is one of the most important concepts to beating low-limit Holdem. One of the biggest mistakes people make is not value betting and getting all fancy and tricky. And that’s why they are still playing low-limit uNL. I was one of those people. I remember learning about more advanced plays before I really learned about how to value bet right. Its one of the most important concepts you need to learn to win at low-limit poker.

I see a lot of people thinking there value betting, but are actually bluffing. Most people think value betting is continuous betting when they get a piece of the board. Well its not, that’s more a bluff or just plain spewing your money off to the loose/passive-calling stations. Remember a bluff is getting a better hand than yours to fold and calling stations don’t like to fold. A value-bet is getting a worse hand to call you. A bluff and value bet is almost opposite of each other and if you don’t understand this your going to be playing low limits forever.

How big should we be value betting?

Well that’s up to you. We want to bet enough to get maximum value, but we don’t want to bet big enough to make the villain fold. Optimum value bet sizing is usually ½ to ¾ pot. It can be opponent dependent sometimes as some opponents will call a big bet and some will only call small bets.

There is many ways to extract value from our opponents. Value betting is one of them and a very important one to beating small stakes uNL. Remember a value bet is meant to get called by second best hands. We are not value betting when we are getting called by better hands. That my friend is a bluff.

So every time before you make a decision, put your opponent on a range of hands and ask yourself this question: Am I betting for value here or am I bluffing?

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Playing from Late Position

Each position at the poker table is different and being able to play from the various positions requires knowledge of what happens at these positions. You will not play the same hand from an early position as you would from a late position, in fact you might not even play the hand at all depending on your position. Being in a late position at the table is the most advantageous position that you can be in for a number of reasons.

The first reason that being in a late position at the poker table is so good is the fact that you get to see what everyone does before you have to act. This gives you a massive amount of information and having information at the poker table leads to better decisions, which leads to winning more often and making more money. It is important not to let this advantage go to waste. I cannot even explain how many poker players let the advantage of this information just slip by. Poker players have to pay attention to everything that is happening at the table before it is your turn to act. Whether you are playing online or in real life, do not think about your hands, do not even look at your cards if you are playing in real life, and focus on what every other player is doing. This will give you information on the strength of their hand.

poker late position

After you see what everyone has done in front of you, it is now time to make a decision as to what you would like to do. Because you have a good deal of information like how many players have folded, whether or not it has been raised after X number of players, etc, you can make your choices as to what to do. If a good number of players have folded or if the pot has not been raised and everyone has called, you can feel comfortable calling with a mediocre hand that, in another position you likely would have folded. Additionally, if you have a slightly better hand, you can raise without having to worry too much about the strength of the hands in front of you. There is always safety in knowledge and being able to capitalize on that knowledge from the late position is invaluable.

Overall, after you have downloaded your favorite poker client, being able to play from a late position provides you with great advantages that should not be neglected. By focusing on what is happening in front of you and gleaning all of the information that you can from the actions of other players, you will be able to greatly increase what you can accomplish and the amount of money that you will make at the table. The easiest place at the table is the person who is last to act and this is often forgotten. As the saying goes, “knowledge is power,” so use the knowledge you have to your advantage.

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Playing Small Pocket Pairs

Despite smaller pocket pairs having the ability to be quite a profitable poker starting hand there are many people who lose a lot to small pocket pairs because they have no idea how to play them and end up misplaying them.

The reason that small pocket pairs can be so valuable is that they give you the chance to hit a hidden monster hand, for example if you have pocket threes and another 3 appears on the flop you have three of a kind that nobody will suspect you to have. This gives you the chance to win a huge pot – particularly if another player is betting big with a pair of aces for example.

Small Pocket Pairs

On average you will hit a third card of the same kind one in every eight times you hold a pocket pair. For this very reason make sure that you do not invest too much into the pot pre-flop and then become committed to it.

If, however you miss your trips then you shouldn’t assume the whole hand is lost. If you are only against one other player it’s often easy to steal the pot with a simple raise. This is particularly effective if there is a dry flop (a flop in which there are no draws).

In summary you should always value your pocket pairs, don’t overplay them but try to limp in and see the flop because that one in eight times that you do hit trips – you should be able to milk a lot of chips out of the pot.

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