Adjusting your game for weak opponents

Whenever I play poker then I am always trying to draw weaker players into playing big pots on my terms. But this underlines how so many players allow themselves to become trapped in pots. When I play at NL100 I am trying to create value and stack players in increments. This is the best way to do it for two clear reasons.

Firstly your opponents will simply not have all that much of a hand most of the time. This means that escalating the pot too quickly is simply going to scare them away. It is almost like fishing in principle because if you try to reel them in too fast then you will lose them. So because of this fact then players will fold an awful lot and especially in full ring games where your average player is far more risk averse!

So you need to increase the pot size in increments and here is an example. You flop a set on a board of Q-7-2 and your opponent has Q-J. If they bet then you probably shouldn’t raise as a raise is showing your opponent that they will probably have to put their stack in the middle. They will obviously not be prepared to do that with such a hand and so you need to allow them to place more money into the pot on their own terms. If they check the turn then make a half pot bet. They will not know if this is a bet of strength or simply because they have checked so they are far more likely to call again.

Face Cards – Who are the Kings, Queens, and Jacks

Have you ever wondered who the kings, queens and jacks really are? Well, “the man with the axe” is the King of Diamonds. He is the only king holding an axe while the others carry a sword. It is a common term for that card and is often used in many card games using wild cards. For example, some people play games where the wild cards are “one eyed jacks and the man with the ax”. That makes the wild cards the Jack of Spades, the Jack of Hearts, and the King of Diamonds.

But why Kings, Queens and Jacks in the first place? Playing cards have a long and evolving history. They appear to have originated from India or Egypt and arrived in Europe in the 1300’s. They were originally hand crafted carvings for use by royalty but these were expensive. Later they were printed from wood engravings and stencils.

The design of the cards and choice of suites varied and changed over time till printing methods in France allowed for cards to be mass produced very cheaply. The French used suites of Spades, Hearts, Clubs, and Diamonds. These cheaper cards spread across Europe quickly. This became the standard and is still used today.

Face cards, or court cards, were fashioned from the dress of royalty at the time. Early court cards were very elaborate full figure drawings and were often named after popular and famous people from history or fables. The face cards we have today are said to still represent specific people.

The Kings

the_kings_cards

King of Spades – King David the first official King of the United Kingdom of Israel

King of Hearts – King Charlemagne, Charles the Great, king of the Franks (Germany and France)

King of Diamonds – Julius Caesar, not really a king but military and political ruler of the Roman Empire

King of Clubs – Alexander the Great, arguably the most successful military commander in history

The Queens

The Queens

Queen of Spades – Pallas of Greek Mythology, the Warrior Goddess

Queen of Hearts – Judith for the book of Judith (warns of the dangers of a beautiful woman)

Queen of Diamonds – Rachel, the biblical mother of Joseph

Queen of Clubs – Argine,  unknown origin

The Jacks

The Jacks

Jack of Spades – Ogier, a knight of Charlemagne

Jack of Hearts – La Hire, a comrade-in-arms to Joan of Arc

Jack of Diamonds – Hector, the prince of Troy

Jack of Clubs –  Judas Maccabeus, leader of the Jewish rebellion against the Syrians

More tidbits of information:

– The King of hearts is also called the “suicide king” because his sword appears to be entering his head.

– The Jack of hearts and spades are shown in profile and only one eye is showing, hence the term “one eyed Jacks”

– Aces used to be the lowest card in the deck. But some games make it the highest or lowest and many games make it only the highest. This may have partly originated about the time of the French Revolution where “ace high” represented the common man rising in power above the king and queen.

– Face cards are reversible so your opponents don’t spot you turning them around so they stand up in your hand.

Turbo Strategy

No matter what the level of turbo your playing, from 10c to $50, the style of play you must use, is TIGHT/AGG. The key is to pick your own spots ALWAYS, rather than shove with A-10 under the gun, wait till your by the button with 7-3 and everyone has folded to you and take the blinds.

My advice is to stay super tight while the blinds are meaningless, then just start picking your spots once the antes kick in. If someone else has shoved all in, and your thinking your A-10 looks good , don’t do it, that’s his spot , pick your own.

Because there’s no room for play in turbos, its all in or fold once the blinds hit 300-600 ( in the type of sng’s I’m playing here 45 player games) so don’t get involved unless its on your terms.

If you shove with 7-6 sooted and the BB calls you , so be it lets gamble, its on your terms, you didn’t call your chips off, you made the play , it was your balls , so lets do it!

That’s the attitude to adopt in these crazy games! Pick your own spots, that’s how to beat them!

Casino Review: Intercasino

Intercasino has been around a long time. They opened up in 1996, right at the cusp of the online casino revolution. The fact that they’ve been in business for as long as they have is an indication of their commitment to excellence. In an industry where casinos are constantly coming in and out of business, it is clearly apparent that the folks at Intercasino are doing something right. Online Gambling Magazine has taken notice of this and has awarded Intercasino with their coveted “Best Casino” award three times in a row.

The engine behind Intercasino is courtesy of software giant, Cryptologic, which has been at the top of the online casino software field since the very beginning. As with the other casinos that license the Cryptologic platform, there is both a download version and an in-browser no download version. Both have their pluses and minuses, but the download software is truly amazing to look at. The no download version is no slouch, but it is more limited in scope, and really better suited to players who want to get a few games in on the road—whether on their mobile or at a friend’s house.

The download software package ties you up to one computer. But it is absolutely worth it. The graphics and sound are constantly being updated to be on the cusp of technological innovation. It is detailed, realistic, and extremely beautiful. Unlike other casinos that try to simulate the seedy interiors of brick and mortar establishments, Intercasino has opted for a clean and modern interface that perfectly suits the computer. They don’t try to pretend to be something they are not. And it makes for a surprisingly enjoyable experience.

Intercasino

Players are immediately treated to an easy banking solution that welcomes several payment methods. The real draw, however, is the fantastic bonuses Intercasino offers both new players as well as veterans. The Welcome Bonus is a generous 100% Deposit Match. There is a limit of $/€/£250, but upon first deposit, you will find $/€/£500 sitting in your bank. There are casinos out there that offer bigger welcome bonuses, but they can’t match the sheer variety of bonuses that Intercasino offers after the initial Welcome Bonus. Yes, the first bonus isn’t as high, but take all the other bonuses they offer, and they eclipse the other casinos.

One of the more interesting bonuses offered at Intercasino is the outstanding “Where’s Ryan H?” Bonus. This is an anomaly in large online casinos, but Ryan Hartley, the casino’s manager actually goes from table to table and introduces himself to players. If he chats with you, he’s liable to give you $50 just because he’s that kind of guy. Of course everyone knows about it, so you will be competing for his attention with other players, but it is quite interesting to see what kinds of things people will say in order to stand out from the crowd. It is a sort of game in its own right. He makes things even more interesting if he challenges you to play at one of the Blackjack tables. If you win against him he will add another $100 or $200 to your win. It’s absurd and unique all at once. You will certainly not find this kind of bonus promo anywhere else. Read More →

Caribbean Stud Poker Top Ten Guide

Caribbean stud poker is not a difficult game to learn – or to master. Use these guidelines to ensure yourself a fun and enjoyable gaming experience!

  1. As with any gambling endeavor, decide on your budget beforehand, and don’t go overboard when you start playing poker for real money. There’s no sense in turning a fun experience into a regret!
  2. Because this is a game where you play against the house and not against other players, there is a house advantage. On the whole, this poker variation is not particularly advantageous for the player.
  3. Even though you’re all in it against the dealer, this doesn’t mean you can be buddy-buddy with the other players. It is strictly forbidden to discuss your cards with other players at the table.

    Caribbean Stud Poker

  4. Casinos introduced the progressive jackpot feature to make the game more attractive to gamblers – but don’t be fooled! Statistically speaking, the $1 contribution is not worth the risk until the meter surpasses $263,000.
  5. Also about the progressive jackpot: many casinos impose house upper limits on the amount a player can win from the pot with a straight flush or a royal flush. If this is the case where you’re playing, it may be even less worth it to contribute to the pot.
    Read More →

Is it a good idea to legalize online casinos in Canada?

Legalizing marijuana, prostitution and gambling are probably the three most controversy questions that any government in the world can deal with. I don’t intend to take one side or the other in this conflict, as there are reasons for and against both of them and all of them have are perfectly sound.

Let’s focus only on online gambling, specifically on online casinos this time. Today, an average land based casino can generate thousands of dollars per day, but they have to give a good deal of that money for taxes, paychecks for their employees and other expenses. So, as you can see, the government gets a good deal of that money.

But casino owners were not very keen with the idea of giving away their income to the government, so they thought: “why don’t we go online?” So they started making online casinos. This meant that they had a lot more expenses to pay and they could attract a lot more people than they ever could in their land based casino. Thanks to this, they were able to earn more money.

The government of Canada has two options here. It could either try to prosecute these online casinos and fight a never ending battle of legislation, going from court to court, or they could try and legalize them, regulate their business and start gathering some money thanks to taxes and licenses.

legalize online casinos in Canada

One of the things that helped online casinos in Canada to prosper is located in Kahnawake. This Indian reserve located a few kilometers from Montreal houses the Kahnawake Gambling Commission that regulates and licenses gambling in its territory from 1996 and online gambling since 1999, which makes it the oldest such body in the world. This commission did have some problems with the Canadian government in 2005, because the law in Canada did not allow gambling, but since the Canadian constitution allows the natives to do whatever they want in their reserves, this was soon abandoned.

By legalizing online casinos, the Canadian government can not only regulate them and protect the players from any casino owners with a little less scruple than usual, but can also make sure that they pay their taxes as well.

That is not all as the government is not the only one that can benefit from this. Players that visit online casinos also have something to look forward to. First of all, everything will be strictly regulated, they could expect the same rules in all casinos and they could also expect all of these casinos to pay their winnings in the shortest amount of time.

A lot of online casinos in Canada is already owned by the provincial governments. Unfortunately, this is a good deal only for those provinces, since access is restricted for everyone, except for the people who are currently located in that particular province. This means that these casinos have effectively closed their virtual doors to millions of potential players.

Betting basics

When playing poker, the action takes place in a clockwise manner. When it comes round to you, you will have to make one of three decisions. You can call (or check if no previous bet has been made), you can fold or you can raise. For the purpose of this article, we’re going to have a look at betting and why you should raise the pot and how you should go about it.

Why should you bet?

When you’re looking to raise the pot, you’re generally doing it for one of four reasons

  • You think you’ve got the strongest hand and you think you’ll probably win the pot
  • You want to encourage your opponents to fold
  • You’re not entirely sure where you stand and you want to get some information about the sort of hands your opponents have
  • You’re trying to encourage one of your opponents into bluffing

Betting poker basics

Betting when you have the strongest hand

When you think you have the best hand, you can either slow play it or you can bet out and raise the pot. In a different article (When should you slowplay in poker?), I suggested that the only safe time to slow play a hand is when you have the absolute nuts. Otherwise, you need to bet out.

The reason behind this is because you need to protect your hand. This is especially important if there is a straight/flush draw on the table. In these sort of cases, the last thing you want to do is give your opponent a free chance to make his hand. Instead, make sure that anyone who is on a draw is being forced into making a decision about how much they want to see another card.

Betting for information

There are going to be times when you’re sat round a poker table that with no idea what your opponents have got. It’s on these occasions that you should think about making a raise to see how your opponents react. These bets are called “feeler bets” and they tend to be 2.5 x the size of the big blind. Read More →

Slow playing in poker

Poker is without doubt a game of highs and lows. We’ve discussed in a previous article how suffering bad beats can take you to the depths of poker, so I thought it was only fair that we cheered everyone up by talking about one of the best feelings in poker: being in a pot with the stone cold nuts, knowing that you can’t lose the hand.

This is a great position to be in, because the only issue you have to worry about is just how much you’re going to win. Generally players have two options in this sort of situation: they either bet out or they slow play the hand. We’ll have a quick look at each of these strategies and try to highlight how you chose the best way to play.

Slow playing in poker

So what is slowplaying?

Slowplaying is the art of hiding your strength to make you look weak. Players generally do this by checking to an opponent or simply calling a bet that has already been made.

The idea is that if your opponent has a mediocre hand, he’ll probably be willing to throw a few extra chips into the middle of the table in the hope that he might be able to steal the pot without having to show his cards.

This is obviously great news for you if you’re sitting opposite him/her with a monster hand. After all, you want to encourage your opponent to throw as many chips into that pot as you can.

Let’s say for example that you’re dealt an A 10 before the flop. You limp in and the flop comes down A A 10, giving you a very strong full house. In this sort of situation though you need to be aware that it’s highly unlikely your opponents will have caught any part of the flop. Therefore, if you decide to go with a large raise, the chances are that everyone else will simply fold their hands and you will win nothing more than the blinds.

However, if you check your hand you’re not showing any strength at all. In fact, quite the opposite: you limped in before the flop and now that some pretty scary cards have come up, you’re quite willing to pass.

It’s quite possible that one of your opponent limped in with a medium pair or perhaps something like a K Q. In which case, they’re probably going to believe that their pair or straight draw is still the strongest hand and worth a bet. If only to try to push players out of the hand.

That’s great news for you, as you’ve already picked up more chips than you would have done if you had decided to raise. Ideally, you’d be praying that they make their straight so that you can really cash in!

However, you need to be careful. Slow playing at the wrong time can lead you into a lot of trouble.

Let’s say for example you’re dealt a medium pair in the hole and go on to complete a set on the flop. In this sort of scenario, I’d suggest a fairly strong raise – especially if there are connecting or suited cards out there.

The reason for this is that your opponent may well be on a draw and you’re effectively giving them a free card to complete their straight/flush. You need to bet out to protect what is a very solid hand for you at the moment, but could turn out to be a nightmare if the wrong card comes up. Read More →

Review of Paddy Poker

Paddy Power is one of the most popular sites on the rapidly expanding iPoker network. It offers a very attractive bonus for new players, a great loyalty scheme and a good tournament program that contains large cash prizes.

There is plenty of traffic at peak hours due to players coming over to the poker room from the other forms of entertainment that is available on the site (sports betting, casino, bingo etc). This means that play can be fairly loose and therefore profitable.

Software

Paddy Power offers its players a fast and reliable poker client that is updated regularly without any intrusive downtime.

The latest update to the software has allowed members to play at up to eight different tables simultaneously. Tables can be tiled and re-sized to suit the players needs while the vector graphics ensure no detail is lost from the screen.

More experienced players will appreciate the software’s ability to allow players to make notes on their opponents, while players new to the game will welcome the Hand History which presents details of a player’s performance in an easy-to-follow interface.

Paddy Poker

Games available:

While the games offered by Paddy Power aren’t as extensive as some of the larger poker rooms, they have all the standard bases covered. Hold’em, Omaha Hi and Hi-Lo, Seven-Card Stud Hi are all offered in both ring game format as well as multi-table tournaments.

Bonuses/Loyalty:

When you make your first deposit and use the bonus code, you will receive a 150% deposit bonus. This deposit is paid in increments, which is great as you get to see cash coming into your bank account a lot sooner than you do in most other rooms.

Paddy Power also offer a good loyalty scheme known as C*A*S*H. Unlike a lot of other programs, regular players can earn a free cash bonus every month. Points can also be used to enter various qualifier tournaments or just exchanged directly for money.

Tournaments:

Paddy Power runs a good tournament schedule covering multi-table tournaments, SnG’s and some really good value freerolls.

Their weekly promotions consist of a Jackpot SnG whereby any player winning a number of consecutive Sit N Go Tournaments is awarded a pretty impressive jackpot.

For those of you who enjoy Bounty Tournaments, the “Bounty Hunter” takes place every Wednesday at 20.00 (GMT) and “Paddy Whacker” sees the Paddy Power staff having some bonus bounties placed on their heads every Thursday at 21.00 (GMT).

Paddy Power is also well known for sending players to some of the big live poker events. They are the exclusive partner of the Irish Open 2009 and have also had players representing them at the Aussie Millions and the WSOP.

Buy ins for all tournaments start from as little $1 and go all the way up to several hundred dollars. There are also plenty of qualifiers for the larger tournaments and a lot of freerolls with some pretty tasty prizes and a monthly $100,000 Guaranteed Multi-Table tournament.

Deposit/withdrawl options:

  • Deposit options:
    Credit card, debit card, Paypal, Moneybookers, Neteller, Cheques, Bank Transfers
  • Withdrawl options:
    Credit card, debit card, cheque, Bank Transfer, Paypal

Competition/Traffic

Being a part of the iPoker network means that there are generally always plenty of people who are up for a game of poker. It’s worth noting though that the vast majority of this traffic comes from the UK and to a lesser extent Europe. Therefore, play can sometimes slow down during outside of peak hours.

However, on the plus side the players that do take part in tournaments are generally a lot softer than you’d tend to find at some of the more established poker sites. The general standard of play is not of a particularly high standard meaning that bank rolls can be built a lot more easily here than somewhere like Pokerstars.

Support

Players at Paddy Power can get support 24/7 via email or telephone. Should you want to use it, there’s also a fax number at your disposal.

How to Play Pocket Queens

Pocket queens are definitely not a hand that should be frowned upon. However it is quite a bit harder to play well pre-flop than pocket aces or pocket kings. The reason? Because whilst it is a strong hand it is also quite vulnerable – for 31% of the time a higher card will appear on the flop making it a very difficult play for anyone holding QQ.

Because of how difficult QQ can be to play post flop it is advisable for a beginner player to simply try to get as much money as they can in the pot pre-flop so they wont have to make difficult decisions later on. The only exception to this however is if you are re-raised by an extremely tight player.

pocket-queens

A more advanced player however should just focus on reading the other players. If the players behind you are passive/tight than you should raise your pocket queens from an early position however if you have realized that a certain player behind you has been raising limpers on many hands regardless of strength than you should limp in order to trap an overagressive player. This way when the opponent raises you can re-raise them putting them in a situation where they are very pot committed and may just have to call.

This is an excellent strategy particularly on the low limit tables in which the opponent’s pride will make them call even though they have a far weaker hand.