Category Archives: Poker

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!

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 →

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.

The role of stack sizes in cash games

The stack sizes have a very significant role in NL Hold’em games. The stack sizes should substantially affect our initial strategy, which we should always choose according to the amount of the chips. I would like to share some thoughts in this subject.

First we should go through the most basic stack sizes.

Short stack, which means 20 BB. I think the most of you know, or at least have heard about, the Short Stack strategy, which was very popular a few years ago. Today, this strategy is a bit old fashioned and demoded for a number of reasons, so I don’t recommend using this strategy. One of the reasons is that, despite you play a lot, you aren’t really developing your game, because this is a very mechanic strategy. In addition you could interfere the others play, because, if a short stacked player is involved in the hand, the others game can change dramatically. Therefore most of the poker rooms increased the minimum buy-in to 35 BB, which falls in the category of Medium stack.

Medium Stack. This means an average depth of 40-60 BB. Basically this medium stack buy-in is not so prevalent in the online poker rooms, who use this buy-in, generally doesn’t have a big bankroll, or don’t want to loose a big amount. Most of the times we will see not so experienced or skilled players with this kind of buy-in, but it could happen, even on higher stakes, that a really good player will be sitting at the table with a medium stack buy-in.

Deep stack. This is our goal in the cash games, preferably we should always play with a full buy-in, because with this can we maximize our profit, and in deep stack cash games can we use our edge.

stack sizes

In the beginning of the article I mentioned, that the stack sizes should be closely related to the initial strategy. The short stack strategy is based on the tight preflop hand selection. In the case of SS strategy on the flop usually all the money goes in, that’s why we need those kind of hands, which can easily be the best hand on the flop. These are the premium cards, like big pocket pairs, AK, AQ, and hands like that. As we go towards to the deeper stacks, the gap between the strong and weak hands is reducing. 100BB deep the suited connectors, and the low pocket pairs become playable, because if we hit the flop, we have a very strong hand, and we can win our opponent’s whole stack. The premium cards however loose a bit from their role, because rarely will we playing 200 BB pots with a single pair, or if we do this, we can easily be surprised.

In the following 3 examples I would like to illustrate the difference of the short stack and deep stack thinking.

Example No. 1: You are sitting in the big blind with 20 BB stack, so you are playing the short stack strategy. Your hole cards: AK. It’s folded to the button, who raises to 3BB, you reraise to 9,5BB, and your opponent calls. The flop: K72. It’s a quite good flop for you, top pair top kicker is a very strong hand in this situation. You go all-in with your remaining 10,5BB stack, your opponent calls, and shows KQ, your cards hold up, and you win the 40BB pot. Fair simple choreography, there is nothing to say to this hand. Read More →

Bucketlist

Turbo Strategy

No matter what the level of turbo you are playing, from 10p to £50, the style of play you must use, is TIGHT/AGG. (Learn how to fight and aggressive poker player during a heads-up tournament). 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.

turbo strategy poker

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 suited (click here to learn the power of suited cards in poker) 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!

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