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Category Archives: Poker Strategy
Many players think that table selection is a very easy process; you simply search for the limit you want to play and pick the first available table. Wrong! If you wish to make a more consistent and considerable profit at online poker I am afraid you are going to have to re think your table selection significantly. Good table selection can allow you to yield a greater profit from poker, and in a game where every possible advantage helps this is one concept you cannot afford to overlook.
Many online poker rooms offer vital statistics on each of there poker tables. It will be these statistics that determine the table you play at.
To become a good poker player you need to be able to change your game, to combat the different styles of play you come up against at the poker tables. You have to be able to do this because a certain style you adopt may end up being very profitable against a small group of players but then, may see you lose money against a another set of players. This is why you need to find different styles to earn money against all types of player.
In simple terms if you can learn how to read every poker player you come up against you will in time consistently earn money off of all of them. The big question is how do you know what style your opponent is playing?
Bluffing is an essential part of playing poker, allowing you to make winning hands out of not-so-great cards. There is certainly an art to making a successful bluff, and it is important that you understand the in-and-outs of this strategy before you attempt it at the table. Below are some tips from the experts at OnlinePokerAmerica.com to help you bluff with the best of them.
Be Aware of Your Image
How other players perceive you is the key to becoming a successful bluffer. If you have a loose image (for example, playing every hand and bluffing fairly often), then your reputation may work against you when you’re trying to bluff. On the other hand, being a tight player (for example, not playing very many hands), then your bluffs are more likely to be effective.
Let’s face it, very few people enjoy math but if you want to make more money playing No Limit Texas Hold’em you need to use some. We have come up with a simple way for even math intolerant people to benefit below.
To calculate pot odds in the heat of the battle can be a little intimidating for the Texas Hold’em beginner. There are basically 3 simple equations that need to be learned, and you will be on your way to increasing your winning percentage in Texas Hold’em.
Percentages are easier than working with fractions. Using division on the fly is not easy for most of us.
First we need to find out how many outs we have.
What is an out? An out is the number of cards left in the deck that will help you complete your hand.
Example your first 2 cards contained 2 spades, on the flop 2 more spades were revealed, there are nine spades or nine outs left in the deck that will make your spade flush.
Let’s break this down into simple steps.
Step 1: Lets count how many outs we have to make our hand.
Okay now we will use our hand example above, to make our spade flush we have 9 outs as shown above.
Step 2: Multiply the number of outs by 4 (9 outs multiply by 4 = 36) to be more precise subtract 1 if there are more than 8 outs. In this case we had 9, so we subtract 1 from 36 equals 35 that is your percentage the card you need will hit 35% hey now that wasn’t too bad was it?
Step 3: Okay we move on to the River card because our spade did not hit on the turn.
To figure the odds no take the number of outs 9 and multiply by 2 = 18 or an 18% chance you will hit you card on the river.
What are Pots Odds? The ratio of the amount of money in the pot to the amount you must call to stay in the pot.
The bottom line for Pots odds is if the percentage of the pot that is coming at you is higher than the percentage of you getting the card you need, you have to call!
Pots Odds the simple way.
Divide the pot by the amount to call. For example: you’re being asked to call $20 into a $48 pot. 48/20 = 2.4. (to convert from pot odds to percentages, divide the odds by one plus the odds).
So if you are getting 2.4:1 you need to win only 1 in 3.4 times. Then divide 100 by 3.4 and you get the % or 29.4%. So if you are getting 2.4:1 you need only 29.4% equity in order to break even.
According to pokerplayersresearch.com the 2.6 percent of the adult population who consider poker to be something more than a hobby is constantly looking for ways to improve and get to a higher level. In the cutthroat world of poker in which more and more people are competing every year, this is imperative. The playing figures at the World Series of Poker say it all. In 1970, there were only seven entrants to the Main Event where it was decided that Johnny Moss was the best in the world, but in 2017, when Scott Blumstein emerged victorious, there were 7,221 players. This massive increase not only shows the growing popularity of the game but also highlights the fact that getting to the latter stages of major tournaments like this is getting ever more difficult.
To get to the top, players need to incorporate new techniques and strategies, and use systems that others may not know about. One option could be to use a betting system such as the Kelly Criterion. But what is it, and how can it be applied to poker?
The Kelly Criterion
Once you know how to play poker, the next step is to master ways to improve. Knowing how much to bet and when is an important aspect of the game, and the amount that a player stakes can tell others a lot about their hand. Of course, in tournament scenarios and cash games the types of bets can differ greatly. In tournaments you have a set buy-in – in the WSOP it is $10,000, for instance – and then you are given a certain number of chips to play with in the competition. But when playing in a cash game and betting with your own money, you may be a bit more cautious about how much you put into the middle.
Sticking to a system such as the Kelly Criterion can help with this. The Kelly Criterion was developed by J.L Kelly in 1956, and is also sometimes known as the Kelly Bet, the Kelly Strategy, or the Kelly Formula. It is a system of probability which is used to decide the optimal size of a series of bets in order to get the best possible returns. It can frequently be applied to gambling and investing scenarios. To apply the Kelly Criterion in real-world circumstances, players need to learn a simple math equation, which is:
(bp – q) / b = f
The letter b refers to the multiple of the odds on the bet, or the decimal odds minus one. The letter p refers to the chances of the bet winning, and the letter q refers to the chances of the bet losing. The letter f is the answer to the equation, and tells you the fraction of your betting bank that you should use in the bet.
Kelly Criterion – Examples of Usage
The Kelly Criterion has most commonly been used for betting in general, as it’s easy to complete the equation with the readily accessible information. Using the odds provided by sports bookmakers, players can work out the formula and decide how much they want to bet on a certain outcome. If the probability of a bet being successful is higher than the implied probability of the odds for the bet, it is considered a value bet. Some of the more experienced roulette bettors may already know how to put this system to good use on the spinning wheel. When it comes to choosing the numbers, according to Betway Casino there’re numerous roulette strategies in existence already. For instance, some players may incorporate block betting combined with a Martingale strategy. However, the Kelly Criterion can still be useful to the block betting player, to show what percentage of a player’s bankroll they should be staking on each section. Obviously, a higher portion would go on a line bet than a single number, but what is the optimum amount? The system can be used to see how much you should stake on the lottery as well. In the Irish National lottery, the odds of winning a prize are 30.00. So the formula would be:
(29 x 0.034) – 0.066 / 29 = 0.032
This shows that you should only be staking a minuscule amount of your bankroll on the lottery; something which most lottery players would agree on. Other areas where the Kelly Criterion has been used have been in blackjack, and the stock market, where investors constantly have to calculate risk.
How Can you Apply it to Poker?
If you want to use the Kelly Criterion for poker, it would be wise to use it online so that you can quickly click between screens as you work out the formula and discover how much you need to bet. Once you’ve signed up to an online poker site, you want to head straight to the cash games where you will stake with your own real money. This way, you can keep track of exactly how much you are betting each time. Watching poker pros like Daniel Negreanu, winner of six World Series bracelets, play on shows like GSN’s High Stakes Poker is a good way to get a feel for how cash games are played. You will want to combine some of the experts’ tactics with the Kelly Criterion in an effort to maximize your returns. The Kelly Criterion can be used to assess how much stake you should bring to a cash game, and how much you should reload when you are running low.
Of course, if you really want to get to a stage where you are rubbing shoulders with the very best in the world, getting used to systems like this is just the start. You need to hone in on others’ psychological cues, as well as learning how to bluff successfully yourself.
References & Sources Online:
Playing in MTTs (Multi Table Tournaments) provides an excellent buy-in/likely return ratio. Although the odds of beating out several hundred, or even several thousand opponents drag the equation down, MTT play is still a pretty good EV+ one for an experienced poker player.
General MTT strategy is pretty simple. Since tournament chips are your life-blood in the game, you have to do whatever it takes to protect them. In this respect, in the early stages of a MTT, you need to play tight, and act only on good starting hands, from late position.
It’s amazing how many people there are who play the exact opposite of this strategy. They launch into all-in coin-flips early on, something they should avoid at all cost. If you play in a freeroll, this modus operandi will grow to epidemical proportions.
Be disciplined, and do not allow yourself to be dragged into the early all-in frenzy. Sometimes, in the very early stages it is a good choice to fold a hand you know is the best starting one, when you’re faced with several all-in calls.
The reason is simple: more calls mean more drawing hands, which suck the odds out of your hand. If you call the all-in and lose to a drawing hand, you lose everything.
If you call and you win, you’ll double or possibly triple your stack up, which may seem like a huge achievement, but if you look at the tournament in its entirety, you’ll see it’s not that big of a boost.
According to Sklansky, author of The Theory of Poker, play should be tighter when the blinds are very small compared to the size of future bets. In the early stages of a MTT, this is exactly the case.
As the tournament progresses, you need to loosen up a little. A good way to promote a loose table image (which you can then exploit) is to act loosely before the flop. That will also give you the chance to attempt making a good hand every time you take a peek at the flop.
The key to not paying too much for these hands is to act very tight after the flop. After the flop lands, your hand is 75% made. Keep this in mind and do not chase senseless draws.
Near the middle stages of the tournament, you’ll be confronted with a dilemma: the blinds will have escalated, and your stack is starting to show signs of cracking under the increasing pressure.
People around your table keep showing down good hands, and play doesn’t look like it’s loosened up on the whole.
Your primary objective in this situation should be to protect your stack. Acting tight won’t do anymore though, you’ll need to break out of your shell and – like it or not – start stealing some blinds.
Since the blinds are already pretty big, you’ll get nicely rewarded for your efforts.
Your secondary objective should be to catch a good hand you may trap an opponent with, because you need to keep in sight that the blinds will continue to rise, and soon, stealing one every now and then won’t be enough either.
As you’re nearing the bubble, play will tighten up. Nobody wants to be the last out-of-money player, so they’ll try to hunker up and let others bust out to thrust them into the money.
A good player can take advantage of the tight play, by stealing blinds, forcing people to fold better hands and so on. Needless to say, all the while you need to keep an eye on the size of your stack and its relation to Harrington’s M variable, which is a sum of the BB and the SB in a given moment.
The more such Ms your stack contains, the better you can focus on optimal strategy.
As you’re nearing the final table, play will get progressively looser. You’ll still be confronted with a full table of opponents, but there’s a different reason for loosening up: the size of the blinds is getting very big compared to that of future bets. This situation alone calls for loose play.
This is the coin-toss stage of the game. People will lower their starting and showdown hand requirements, even though they’ll be confronted with the same mathematical odds.
If you’re lucky enough to make it to the short-handed and heads-up stages of the game, you need to turn into a maniac. The odds are getting better too this time, the blinds keep increasing, so everything calls for aggressive play.
In short handed and heads-up play, the value of your cards gets a whole new significance: in heads-up play, for instance, 72o is no longer the worst hand: 23o is.
The power of position is crucial in all forms of poker and all winning players take advantage of it. When you’re playing Pot-Limit Omaha, position is a very important consideration; perhaps even more so than in No-Limit Hold’em, and this is true regardless of whether you’re playing at a full-ring table or when it’s short-handed.
In and at the table you will be open raising a lot when you want to play your hand, as you will be first to open the action, but there will be many situations when you just want to call pre-flop in position to see how your hand connects with the flop.
You should be more willing to do this when playing in position as opposed to playing out of position due to the positional advantage you will have after the flop. The thing to keep in mind when you’re playing unpaired hands is that the the majority of the time, you’re not going to hit much of the flop, and neither will your opponent(s). Even paired hands will likely be scared of overcards on the flop.
When you’re playing poker, bluffs are an integral aspect of the game, and positional bluffs are much easier to pull off when you have position in the hand. As you become more experienced with playing on post-flop streets, you will definitely want to start exploiting position and reads you have on your opponents to make plays even when you don’t have much of a hand. Bluffing is what separates great poker players from the rest, and the accumulation of winning lots of small pots can really add to your overall win rate.
An example of stealing pots in position:
For instance, you can consider floating in position when your opponent is continuation betting with a high frequency. The is when you call a bet from an opponent without any kind of hand, with the plan to take the pot away from them if they check the turn. The flop is unlikely to have helped your opponent, so they can’t really play back without a hand. This is is just one example of how position at a poker table can be used your advantage, and this concept should change your decision making and how your play your hands. You can also use this play when someone bets out from the blinds. If they weren’t the pre-flop raiser then in all likelihood they would check to the initial raiser expecting a c-bet before indicating strength if they actually had a hand.
How aggressive are the players at your table? The more aggressive your opponents are, the less likely you want to play in position because the increased aggression will prevent you from playing back at them as much when you’ve whiffed the flop and can only win when you try and bluff them. Avoid these players are try to play position against players
Hopefully reading this article has opened your eyes to the power of position, and how exploiting it can improve your chances of bluffing more effectively.
To become a winning poker player, you’re expected to know the rules and terminology. If you don’t know the different texas holdem hands to determine what makes the winning poker hand, then you would be advised to check out the video below.
Most advice aimed at beginning poker players will tell you to play a tight poker strategy. In other words, sticking to playing pairs and AJ+. But in order to take your game to the next level in No Limit Texas Hold’em, you need to play poker, so to speak. This is especially true in online games where the aggression is dialed up. Players are playing much wider ranges in NL cash games and tournaments, especially in late position at the table, since position is the most important consideration.
Super aggressive players will be more successful in no limit games. At any time, a player can raise you, and place all their chips in the pot. and the number of your hand has may not be important. Most players are so afraid of losing all their chips, that they fold the best hand. Good No Limit players know this and use large bets to put opponents to the test.
As you can see, in No Limit, you do not need to have the best starting hand. Sometimes you only need position to make a bluff successful. Super aggressive players will constantly be trying to steal pots, and most times they will be successful as there will only usually be one or two people in the pot. You can be more creative. It’s not always what you have in your hand, it’s what you think your opponent has. If they don’t have much of a hand, there isn’t much they can do when you show strength.
You want to categorize the players in your game. Are they also very aggressive? Are they very tight conservative players? If you know their playing style, you can use it against them to pick up pots when you are in a hand with them. Re-raise them, check-raise them, whatever it takes to get them off their game. If everyone at the table is playing tight, you should loosen up your game. Against tight players, you can bluff more often. If everyone is playing loose, you really need to play a tighter game. It’s almost a contrarian strategy.
Learning how to read your opponent and keep your hand a secret are two of the most important things for an aspiring poker player to master. Keeping your face as expressionless as possible, exuding an air of confidence that you’ve got the best hand even if you have nothing but a high card, and handling the pressure as someone calls your bluff – all vital skills that help to show you’re not just some amateur.
But what about when everyone has the same poker face? Or, more commonly, what if you aren’t playing face to face but you’re having showdowns in online casinos where you can’t see the person and they can’t see you?
Not even a problem for the real pro, it’s still possible to read your opponent even without seeing their face but by assessing how they’re betting. If a player continuously folds every hand when it comes to the flop and starts raising even before you’re done playing the blind, it’s probably safe to assume that the player has a pretty good hand.
But what if it’s a bluff? Well, you’d have to go by their prior behaviour and make assessments based on how they respond to other players seeing their blind or folding. It’s a sign of a talented player when they can deduce if someone is bluffing purely on how they raise.
We’ve got this great animation below that really helps explain what goes on inside a poker player’s head.
One of the most exciting parts of Texas Hold’em is just after the river card is dealt. Especially when there are only two players left in the game. When you get down to the river and it’s just you and one other player, chances are the other player isn’t bluffing. You’d better take a good look at the and determine what is the highest possible hand you can both have. There are three possibilities at this point:
- You fold,
- You stay in and win (if you have the winning hand at ),
- You stay in and lose
Limiting your losses is just as important as maximizing profits in Texas Hold’em, so you want to avoid calling river bets with second best hands. The more experience you get on the felt, the better you will get at determining where you’re at post-flop.
Let’s think about the different possible scenarios you will find yourself in on the river:
You’re not always going to find yourself in the ideal situation where you have a great hand by the time the action reaches the river. You can end up on the river with a busted draw, in which case it’s time to or bluff, but you need to figure out how likely a bluff is to work.
On the other hand, if you can the other player to bluff when they have a busted draw and you have a strong hand on the river, then you stand a good chance of extracting more value, and it will really add to your as the bets become fairly sizable on the river.
You can end up on the river with a medium-strength hand like decent kicker. In these situations where it’s difficult extracting value from worse hands, you’re generally happy to check it back and see a showdown.
Bet-folding is a great play to have in your poker arsenal, especially in low-stakes live cash games, which play passively in nature. You can safely bet-fold your medium-strength hands, because most players are making calling mistakes, and will be less likely to bet or raise themselves unless they have the best hand.
If you’re in the fortunate position of getting to the river in Texas Hold’em with a strong hand like or a set on a , then you want to bet an amount that your opponent(s) can call to get maximum value with your hand. Bet sizing is an important consideration; if you bet too big you might drive out weaker hands on the river; if you bet too small you might not be extracting as much value as you could.
Poker is all a psychological game. Sure, there is skill in how you play the cards you’ve been dealt, but you’ve also got to read the other players and determine whether they are bluffing, playing with a strong hand, or just trying to keep you honest.
One of the most intense parts of the game is the river betting action with the fifth community card and if you’re going to play the river well then you’ve got to learn to read the and the people you’re playing against. Most novice poker players assume that bluffing is integral to No Limit Hold’em, and you definitely want to do it sometimes, but the truth is that winning poker consistently is mostly about effectively value betting.