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  #1  
Old 06-26-2007, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Venice
The following are direct quotes from the resident pros on Full Tilt Poker. We have kindly been given the blessing to post them by the people at Full Tilt

Don't Play a Big Pot Unless You Have a Big Hand
- John Juanda (Pro at Full Tilt Poker)

"I'm at Foxwoods playing the $2,000 No Limit Hold 'em event. We all started with $3,000 and now I've got $15,000. At my table is Richard Tatalovitch, a player whom I've competed against many times.

I raise pre-flop from middle position with K-J offsuit and Richard calls from the big blind. The flop comes 9-6-4 with two diamonds on the board.

Richard hesitates for a moment before checking, and I put in a pot-sized bet. Richard thinks for a while and calls. All of a sudden, I don't like my hand -- so much.

Imagine my relief when a non-diamond J hits the turn. Now I have top pair and a pretty good kicker. Then Richard comes out betting. Uh-oh.

Now, let me back up a moment and mention that when someone hesitates before checking, it's usually a huge tell. But Richard is the king of delayed action, so I ignored his tell and bet the flop anyway. And his bet on the turn just screams, "Raise me! I dare you!"

I go into the tank and my thoughts go something like this:

1. He flopped a set. That explains the smooth call on the flop - he's trying to trap me into staying, hoping I'll bet the turn, too.

2. No. If he had a set, he'd have checked the turn and waited for me to hang myself right then and there, or let me catch something on the river. He can't have a set.

3. The jack helped him. I don't have the jack of diamonds. Maybe he does, and he called the flop with a jack-high flush draw. If so, I like my kicker and my hand.

4. He's betting on the come with a flush or straight draw and is hoping to buy the pot right there.

I run through these possibilities and reach no conclusion.

Normally, I would just call here. We both have a lot of chips, and I don't want to put them all in with nothing but top pair. Then, I have the misfortune to remember a hand from a month earlier at Bellagio:

Richard had been running bad and was complaining about a string of horrific beats. I saw him check and call with top boat because he was afraid of quads! A guy that afraid of monsters under the bed isn't going to check-call top set on the flop with a flush draw out there.

"All in!" I declared.

Oops. This is now a Big Pot. And rest assured, top pair doesn't even resemble a Big Hand.

In the four years I've been playing with him, I've never seen him call so fast. I am drawing dead to his perfectly-played 9-9.

Sometimes, we all forget that big cards don't always equal a big hand and that the smart move can be to play conservatively instead of going for the quick kill. As for Richard - he had the good sense to be in a Big Pot with a Big Hand, and the patience to make it pay off."

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  #2  
Old 06-26-2007, 08:00 PM
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Common Mistakes
- Phil Gordon (Pro at Full Tilt Poker)

"Everyone makes mistakes. The thing is, a good player will learn from them while a bad player will make the same mistake over and over again. And poker players that can exploit these mistakes will win.

Here are some of the most common mistakes that bad players make and my usual methods for exploiting them:

A player doesn't bluff enough. When these players bet or raise, I usually give them credit for a good hand. When they check, I will usually bet to try and take the pot.

A player overvalues top pair. The "average" winning hand in Hold 'em is two pair. Yet many players are willing to take tremendous risks with top pair. When I have a hand that can beat a player who overvalues his top pair, I will over-bet the pot and put them into a position to make a big mistake. I go out of my way to play small pocket pairs against these players because I know that if I flop a set, I'm likely to get paid off in a huge way.

A player under-bets the pot. It is incredibly important, especially in No Limit Hold 'em, to make bets large enough to punish opponents for their draws. When a player under-bets the pot and I have a draw, I take advantage of their mistake by just calling the small bet. When I think I have him beat, I'll make a raise.

A player calls too much. I will very rarely bluff against a "calling station." I will, however, make value bets throughout the hand.

A player tightens up under pressure. Most bad players "squeeze" too much in the middle stages of a tournament, or when they're on the bubble. They tighten up and wait for a huge hand. Against these players, I will play a lot looser, looking to steal a larger share of the blinds and antes.

A player telegraphs the strength of his hand with "tells." I am always observing these players, whether I am in the hand or not.

Playing perfect poker may be nearly impossible for most players but, by recognizing your own tendencies - and those of your opponents - you're much more likely to limit your mistakes and capitalize on the weaknesses of others at the table."
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  #3  
Old 06-27-2007, 04:49 PM
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When Passive Plays
- Chris Ferguson (Pro at Full Tilt Poker)

"There's no question that aggressive poker is winning poker. If the world's top players have only one thing in common, it's that they take control of the hands they play with bets and raises. Usually, among the world's poker elite, calling is the least attractive option.

For this tip, however, I thought I'd talk about a couple of instances when playing passively - just checking and calling bets - may be the preferred option.

Top Pair, Favorable Board

Say I'm in the early stages of a tournament and I have an ample stack. I find Ace-Jack in middle position and raise to three times the big blind. A player in late position, who I know to be solid but fairly aggressive, calls my raise, and everyone else folds. The flop comes As-4d-8h. I've got top-pair, with a decent kicker.

First, I want to think about the hands my opponent might hold. It's likely he called my raise with an Ace or a pocket pair, maybe in the range of 66-99. He may have also called with two high cards like KQ, KJ or QJ.

In this situation, I'm likely very far ahead or hopelessly behind if my opponent hit a set or has a bigger Ace. If he's got an Ace with a worse kicker, he's drawing to only three outs. If he's got a pocket pair like 77, he has only two outs. With just two face cards, he's almost drawing dead. And on this board (As-4d-8h), I don't need to be especially worried about straight or flush draws. Because of this, I don't mind giving my opponent a free card.

If I bet my top pair and my opponent holds a pocket pair, he's likely to fold, and I'll have failed to get any additional value out of my hand. If I check, however, I give this player the chance to bluff or bet his lesser Ace, and I can then call.

Ideally, I want to get one decent-sized bet in over the course of this hand and by checking, I prevent my opponent from giving me more action than my hand can handle.

Say the turn is 3c. The situation hasn't changed much. I'm still either way ahead or very far behind. I can check again, and allow my opponent to bluff.

On most river cards, if we have checked the hand down, I will generally bet. If we've put one bet in, I'll probably check-call, and if we've put in two, I'll likely check and fold. Playing the hand in this manner provides three advantages. It allows me to get good value out of a strong hand, and it also keeps me from losing more than I need to against a hand that has mine beat without too much risk. Additionally, playing this way gives my opponent the opportunity to bluff, which is the only way to get any money out of him if he holds a hand like QJ.

Decent Hand, Scary Board

Here's another early tournament situation where my opponents and I have relatively deep stacks. Say I'm holding pocket 8s in middle position and a player has raised pre-flop from early position. I call the raise and a player in late position calls as well. The three of us see a flop of Jd-Jc-4s.

There's a decent chance that my 8s are good, but I want to proceed cautiously, as either of the other players in the hand could hold a Jack.

Say that all three of us check this flop. I really haven't learned too much, because someone could be slow playing trip Jacks.

The turn comes 6h. This doesn't look like it would have helped anyone's hand, but the pre-flop raiser bets from early position. This is a spot where I'd likely just call. There are a couple of advantages to just calling in this situation. First, it doesn't over-commit me to the pot. If the player in late position raises, I can muck having lost a minimum number of chips. Secondly, the call is going to look very scary to my opponents. They might be thinking that I'm the one slow playing trip Jacks. So, even if the early position player holds a higher pocket pair, he's likely to check on the river no matter what card hits. At that point, I can show down my 8s and see if they are in fact the best hand.

The problem with this play relative to the last one is that I am probably giving my opponent six outs to catch up and beat my hand if he has two over-cards, as opposed to two or three outs in the previous example.

I don't play passively often, but under the right circumstances, just calling bets can provide good value while minimizing risk.

For another perspective on passive play, be sure to read the lesson entitled In Defense of the Call by Gavin Smith."
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  #4  
Old 06-27-2007, 06:10 PM
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Pretty nice articles Unaccounted.
Nice to read the thoughts that run through the head of John Juanda when he plays poker. I liked that article the most. The tips were nice as well, I think the tip "A player doesn't bluff enough." is referring to me. But I don't like bluffing. My experience is that bluffing based on nothing is suicide. Semi-bluffs are nice though.
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  #5  
Old 06-28-2007, 03:59 PM
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Thanks a lot buddy...i think tips from the pros. might be helpfull to all usHere is one of my favourites..Easy way to count odds from Clonie Gowen..

A Way To Approximate The Odds
- Clonie Gowen (Pro at Full Tilt Poker)

"It is very difficult to calculate the exact odds of hitting a drawing hand when you're sitting at the poker table. Unless you're a genius with a gift for mathematics like Chris Ferguson, you will not be able to do it. That leaves two options for the rest of us: The first option is to sit at home with a calculator, figure out the odds for every possible combination of draws, and then memorize them. That way, no matter what situation comes up, you always know the odds. But for those of us without a perfect memory, there's an easier way. Here is a simple trick for estimating those odds.

The first thing you need to do is to figure out how many "outs" you have. An "out" is any card that gives you a made hand. To do this, simply count the number of cards available that give the hand you are drawing to. For example: suppose you hold Ac 8c and the flop comes Qh 9c 4c. You have a flush draw. There are thirteen clubs in the deck and you are looking at four of them -- the two in your hand, and the two on the board. That leaves nine clubs left in the deck, and two chances to hit one.

The trick to figuring out the approximate percentage chance of hitting the flush is to multiply your outs times the number of chances to hit it. In this case that would be nine outs multiplied by two chances, or eighteen. Then take that number, multiply times two, and add a percentage sign. The approximate percentage of the time you will make the flush is 36%. (The exact percentage is 34.97%.) Now let's say that on that same flop you hold the Jd Th. In this case you would have an open ended straight draw with eight outs to hit the straight (four kings and four eights). Eight outs with two cards to come gives you sixteen outs. Multiply times two and you will hit the straight approximately 32% (31.46% exactly) of the time.

One important thing to keep in mind is that the percentage stated is merely the percentage of the time that you will hit the hand you are drawing to, NOT the percentage of time that you will win the pot. You may hit your hand and still lose. In the first example, the Qc will pair the board and may give somearticle a full house. In the second example both the Kc and the 8c will put a possible flush on the board, giving you the straight, but not necessarily the winning hand. Still, knowing the approximate likelihood of making your hand is a good beginning step on the road to better poker."
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  #6  
Old 06-30-2007, 11:58 AM
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Sizing Up Your Opening Bet
- Chris Ferguson (Pro at Full Tilt Poker)

"I never get tired of saying it: If you're the first to enter the pot in a No-Limit Hold 'em game, never call. If you aren't prepared to raise, throw your hand away.

Why, you ask? Simple. By raising, you put pressure on the blinds and the other players at the table, making them consider just how strong their hands really are. Chances are that by raising, you'll force marginal hands to fold before you even see the flop, limiting the number of players you have to beat through the rest of the hand.

OK, with that out of the way, the next obvious question becomes: How much should I raise?

To that, I say; it depends. First off, you shouldn't allow the strength of your to hand affect the size of your raise. A tough poker game is like real estate. The three most important factors in deciding how much to raise are: Location, location, location.

You always want to make your opponents' decisions as difficult as possible. In choosing the size of your raise, you want to give the big blind a tough decision between calling or folding if the rest of the table folds around to him.

Raising from early position is to advertise a very strong hand - one that can beat the seven or more other players who still have to act. Since you are representing such strength, it doesn't take much of a raise to convince the big blind to fold. Also, since your hand is so strong, you actually don't mind a call from the big blind anyway. The real reason for a small raise is that you have so many players acting after you, any of whom might wake up with a monster and re-raise you.

When you raise in late position, you're representing a hand that can beat the two or three remaining hands. This gives you a lot more freedom to raise with marginal hands, but your raise must be bigger or the big blind can call too easily. Another reason to raise more from late position is that you're trying to put pressure on the big blind to fold, not call and, more importantly, you don't have as many remaining opponents who can re-raise you.

One of the most common mistakes in No-Limit Hold 'em is coming in for a raise that's too big. In early position, you want to keep your raises at about two times the big blind. With four to six players to act behind you when you're in middle position, raise to about two and a half big blinds, and raise to about three times the big blind from late position.

If you're representing a big hand by raising from early position, it stands to reason that you'll only get played with by huge hands. Why risk four, five or more bets to win only one and a half bets in the blinds when you're often going to be running into monsters along the way? If you're holding A-Q rather than A-A and a player comes over the top, you can lay it down without having risked much.

Some beginners raise more with their strongest hands to build a bigger pot or raise less with these monsters to get more action. Instead, I recommend that you play your starting hands the same way no matter what you have. With A-A or A-J, raise the same amount so you're not telegraphing the strength of your hand to watchful opponents. An exception would be if you know your opponents aren't paying attention and you feel sure that you can manipulate them.

These numbers need to be modified if there are antes. You should generally add about half the total antes to any raise. Your early position raise should be two big blinds plus half the total antes, and three big blinds plus half the antes for your late-position raises.

There are many loose live games these days. If you find yourself in one of these games and you can't steal the blinds with a normal raise, tighten up your starting requirements slightly and make larger raises. If this raise still can't take the blinds, don't tighten up anymore, but choose to raise an amount that you expect to get called once or twice behind you. Since your opponents are playing too loose, take advantage of it by building bigger pots when you think you're getting the best of it.

The last exception is when you're short-stacked. If making your typical raise means putting over a quarter of your stack in the pot, just go ahead and move all in instead. Betting a quarter of your stack before the flop commits you to calling just about any re-raise or, at the very least, it gives you a very tough decision. Moving all in here instead of raising less forces the tough decision on your opponents and eliminates one of your tough calling decisions. All of which brings us back to my first principle: Avoid being the one to just call."
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  #7  
Old 07-01-2007, 10:09 AM
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Should I Stay Or Should I Go
- Jennifer Harman (Pro at Full Tilt Poker)

"Being a winning player isn't only about playing good cards - it's also about making good decisions. And there is one important decision you face every time you sit down in a cash game: Should I quit, or should I keep playing?

When should you keep playing?

I see so many players playing short hours when they're winning, and long hours when they're losing. It should be the other way around.

When you are winning in the game, at least a few of the other players must be losing. And when your opponents are losing, they often aren't playing their best. But you are.

When you're winning, other players fear you; you have a good table image. And when you have a good table image, you can get away with things that you can't seem to when you're losing. For one thing, you can bluff more. Usually a losing player is scared to get involved with a winning player, so it's easier for you to pick up pots. You can represent more hands than you actually have because your opponents believe you're hitting every flop.

The only time to quit when you're winning is when you are tired, or when you start playing badly.

When should you call it a day?

Many players can't seem to quit when they are losing. You have to remember that there will always be another poker game -- if not tomorrow, then the day after, or the week after. I like to think of poker as one continuous game going on for my whole career. So, if I'm losing more than 30 big bets in the game, I usually quit.

There are a couple of reasons I do this: For one, if I lose a ton of money in one day, I don't feel so hot the next day. That means if I go in to play the next day, I might not be able to play my best game. I might actually have to take a few days off to get my head straight. Another reason is that when I'm losing more than 30 bets, I might not be playing that well. I might think I'm playing my "A" game, but in reality, I'm probably not. You can't be as objective about your play when you're losing. After all, we are not robots; we're just human beings."
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Old 07-02-2007, 04:14 PM
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Playing a Big Draw in Limit Hold 'em
- Chris "Jesus" Ferguson(Pro at Full Tilt Poker)

"In Limit Hold 'em, it is not uncommon to see pots that are contested by four, five, or even six players. This happens with some frequency at lower limits, especially when playing with those who haven’t learned the virtues of a tight-aggressive style of play.

In multi-way pots, draws become especially powerful, and playing big draws aggressively against multiple opponents can create very profitable situations. For example, say that you’re dealt As-8s on the button. Three players limp before the action gets to you, and you decide to limp as well. Both blinds call, so a total of six players see the flop of 4s-7s-Jc. You have no hand at the moment, but you do have the nut flush draw.

On the flop, the small blind bets and three players call. What’s your best action? Clearly, folding would be wrong. With two cards to come and nine outs, you’ll make the nut flush roughly 35 percent of the time, making you only a 2:1 dog. With six small bets going in the pot pre-flop and four going in on the flop, you’re getting pot odds of 10:1.

You might be tempted to just call and see what the turn brings but, in fact, raising in this situation gives you better value. The pot is getting large and it’s likely that all your opponents are going to call. Even those who have nothing more than second pair or a gutshot straight draw may feel that their pot odds are favorable enough to justify calling the second bet. If your raise gets called by four people, you’ll be getting great value. You’d be getting 4:1 on your money when you’re only a 2:1 underdog – a clear win for you.

The raise might also work well for you on the turn and river. By acting after the flop, there’s a chance that the other players will check to you on the turn. This gives you the option of checking and taking a free card if you don’t make your flush.

The level of aggression that you show with a draw will largely depend on your position. To show how your play might change with position, imagine you’re in a hand with the same hole cards (As-8s), the same number of players (six), and the same flop (4s-7s-Jc). This time, however, you’re not on the button but are in the big blind instead when the small blind bets out. Here, you want to encourage the other players in the hand to put as much money in the pot as possible. If you raise, you’re probably going to force players with second pair or a gutshot to fold, so your best option is to call. Give your opponents every opportunity to throw money in the pot.

Finally, let’s look at how you might play the same cards when you’re the first to act. If you have a nut flush draw in the small blind and there are six players in the pot, go ahead and bet. It’s a favorable situation for you, so you want to make sure that some money goes in the pot. When out of position, I’ll usually follow-up my flop bet with another bet on the turn no matter what card hits. Then, if I miss again on the river, I can decide whether or not I want to bluff at the pot. If I’m against only one or two players on the river, I’ll usually bluff. If there are five players left in the hand, I won’t bother. It’s too likely that someone will call.

You can make a lot of money playing draws in low-limit Hold 'em. Just remember that you want as many people contributing to the pot as is possible, which means that in different positions, you’ll need to do different things to get the most out of your draws."
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Old 07-02-2007, 08:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unaccounted View Post
Thanks a lot buddy...i think tips from the pros. might be helpfull to all usHere is one of my favourites..Easy way to count odds from Clonie Gowen..

A Way To Approximate The Odds
- Clonie Gowen (Pro at Full Tilt Poker)

"It is very difficult to calculate the exact odds of hitting a drawing hand when you're sitting at the poker table. Unless you're a genius with a gift for mathematics like Chris Ferguson, you will not be able to do it. That leaves two options for the rest of us: The first option is to sit at home with a calculator, figure out the odds for every possible combination of draws, and then memorize them. That way, no matter what situation comes up, you always know the odds. But for those of us without a perfect memory, there's an easier way. Here is a simple trick for estimating those odds.

The first thing you need to do is to figure out how many "outs" you have. An "out" is any card that gives you a made hand. To do this, simply count the number of cards available that give the hand you are drawing to. For example: suppose you hold Ac 8c and the flop comes Qh 9c 4c. You have a flush draw. There are thirteen clubs in the deck and you are looking at four of them -- the two in your hand, and the two on the board. That leaves nine clubs left in the deck, and two chances to hit one.

The trick to figuring out the approximate percentage chance of hitting the flush is to multiply your outs times the number of chances to hit it. In this case that would be nine outs multiplied by two chances, or eighteen. Then take that number, multiply times two, and add a percentage sign. The approximate percentage of the time you will make the flush is 36%. (The exact percentage is 34.97%.) Now let's say that on that same flop you hold the Jd Th. In this case you would have an open ended straight draw with eight outs to hit the straight (four kings and four eights). Eight outs with two cards to come gives you sixteen outs. Multiply times two and you will hit the straight approximately 32% (31.46% exactly) of the time.

One important thing to keep in mind is that the percentage stated is merely the percentage of the time that you will hit the hand you are drawing to, NOT the percentage of time that you will win the pot. You may hit your hand and still lose. In the first example, the Qc will pair the board and may give somearticle a full house. In the second example both the Kc and the 8c will put a possible flush on the board, giving you the straight, but not necessarily the winning hand. Still, knowing the approximate likelihood of making your hand is a good beginning step on the road to better poker."
Although this method will give you within about 5% if you have over 8 outs, Dan Harrington's method usually gets me within 1.5% with more than 8 outs. This is the method, only to be used on the flop, not the turn.
Let x be the number of outs. Remember, MORE THAN 8 OUTS.

4x - (x-8)

So, if you have 12 outs, for example, a gutshot straight draw and a flush draw, you would be 48 - (12-8) = 48 - 4 = 44%.
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Old 07-02-2007, 09:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A-TRAIN View Post
Although this method will give you within about 5% if you have over 8 outs, Dan Harrington's method usually gets me within 1.5% with more than 8 outs. This is the method, only to be used on the flop, not the turn.
Let x be the number of outs. Remember, MORE THAN 8 OUTS.

4x - (x-8)

So, if you have 12 outs, for example, a gutshot straight draw and a flush draw, you would be 48 - (12-8) = 48 - 4 = 44%.
The difference between +/- 5% and +/- 1.5% actually isn't that significant.

If you calculate yourself to be 47%, but really you're 44%, no matter which percentage you use in your pot odds calculation, it's not going to matter. It's going to come so close that if 47%-44% seems significant, then you're pretty much "even money" and it's only a question of variance. Fold = 0 EV. Call = +/-0EV.

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Old 07-03-2007, 06:20 PM
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Play More Pots
- Erick Lindgren(Pro at Full Tilt Poker)

"In tournaments, I play lots of hands. I'll put my money in with all kinds of connected cards, especially when in position. I might limp, I might min-raise or raise a little more than the minimum, depending on the circumstances. I'm looking to keep my table off balance so they don't know where I'm coming from.

My overall goal is to pick up a lot of small pots without a lot of resistance. I might raise in position and hope for a call from one of the blinds. If I raise pre-flop with something like 6-7, I might miss the flop entirely, but the raise puts me in control of the hand. On the flop, I'll likely bet if checked to, even if I miss. That small bet on the flop will usually win me a small, but helpful pot.

Of course, sometimes it won't work out. I'll bet and get check-raised on occasions. But that's okay, because I actually don't lose much in the hands that I have to surrender. Overall, I get to gradually add to my chip stack by chopping at small pot after small pot.

The other major advantage to my style is that, occasionally, I will hit a flop hard. If I do happen to flop a straight, it's difficult for other players to put me on something like 5-7 or 6-8. If one of my opponents also gets a piece of the flop, I'll get paid off in a big way.

By adding to my stack early, I have a real advantage over players who play a cautious, tight game. The extra chips that I accumulate allow me to survive some tough spots. So, if I happen to get involved in a race with A-K or a pair of Tens, I can withstand a loss. An opponent who's playing tight will likely be on the rail after losing a single race.

New players often ask me how they can learn to play more pots. I always suggest that they drop down significantly in stakes and practice. If you're playing $2-$4 no-limit, drop down to $.50-$1 - a level where some losses won't hurt you.

Once you're at that table, try to play eight hands out of 10. Play everything but 2-8 or 3-9 - hands that are entirely unconnected. When you get yourself involved with this kind of frequency, you'll have to concentrate more on your opponents than on your own cards. You'll have to be on the lookout for opportunities to take down pots with well-timed stabs. You'll also learn how to proceed in situations where you flop a good, but dangerous hand.

By dropping down and playing a lot of hands, you're going to learn a lot about poker. You're also going to have a lot of fun. Lord knows, playing 50% of the hands is a whole lot more entertaining than sitting around waiting for Aces.

If you look at the success that Gavin Smith, Daniel Negreanu and myself have had over the last couple of years, you'll see that being active can be an excellent way to score big in tournaments. It takes practice to play this style, but it can lead to great results and be a lot of fun."
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Old 07-05-2007, 11:36 AM
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Managing the Short Stack
- Mark Vos(Pro at Full Tilt Poker)

"A couple of weeks back, I won the $2,000 No-Limit Hold 'em event at the World Series of Poker*. It's a great honor to have the bracelet. The $800,000 that I got for first place is, of course, awesome. For most of the tournament, I was short stacked. But, I think I played my short stack well and, for this tip, I thought I'd share some thoughts I have on short-stack play.

The key to my short-stack survival was that I was able to steal enough pots to stay alive. There was only one play I could use; move in, and hope everyone folded. It worked out for me, despite the fact I was card dead most of the day.

There were a couple of reasons my steals were effective. First was that I was careful not to let my stack fall below seven or eight big blinds. In No-Limit tournaments, it's very important to do your stealing when you have at least eight to 10 big blinds. If the average stack is between 20 and 25 big blinds, which is common in the later stages of tournaments, and you move all-in for eight or more big blinds, only very strong hands are going to call you. Your opponents won't want to risk becoming a short stack by losing a confrontation, so there's a tremendous amount of fold equity.

If your stack drops to the point where you only have five or six big blinds, you're far more likely to get called. So you need to be very aware of the size of your stack and the location of the button. If you're sitting on eight big blinds and you're in middle position, you should look for a chance to push in and steal before you move through the blinds.

While you're on the short stack, you also want to have a tight image. You want everyone to think you're patiently waiting for a strong hand. If you give off this impression, you are going to get a lot of respect, which should increase the likelihood that your opponents will fold when you move in.

When I'm on the short stack, I don't mind moving in from early position, even when I'm under-the-gun. I did this frequently in the WSOP* tournament I won, even when I was holding rags. It worked out well. I had a tight image, so an early position move looked very strong. Unless someone picked up a hand like pocket Queens or Kings, I was likely to pick up the all-important blinds and antes.

When you're on a short stack, you need to stay alive while you wait for decent cards. The key is to find situations where your opponents are likely to fold. If you keep your stack over eight big blinds, create a tight image, and move in from a variety of positions, you have a good chance of stealing enough pots to stay alive in the tournament. Hopefully, things will go your way and you'll pick up some hands so that you can build your stack up and take out the tournament!"
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Old 07-07-2007, 12:54 PM
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Playing Two or More Tables at Once
- Erick Lindgren(Pro at Full Tilt Poker)

"Most players eventually realize that it's fun and fairly easy to play at multiple online tables at one time. Early in my career, I played as many as eight games at once on a daily basis. Here are some tips and instructions for playing multiple games:

1. Increase the resolution on your monitor. You can do this by right clicking on the desktop, then clicking on Properties, then clicking on Settings. You can then grab the arrow in the Screen Resolution area and move it to a smaller resolution.

If possible, use the 1,600 x 1,200 setting to get up to four games on one screen without overlap. In order to maximize your screen area, make sure your video card and monitor support higher resolution settings.

2. Once you get into playing more than one game, the best way for you to keep up with the action is to look for hands you can fold automatically. Use advance actions. That will help you pay more attention to the game you have a real hand in.

3. Play the same game at every table. It will help you avoid mistakes in reading and playing your hand, and you'll find it easier to get into a good rhythm.

4. Most importantly: Track who has raised the pot. Make sure you make a mental note of this since it is the key to how you will play your hand later. It sounds simple, but it is easy to get in a pot and not recall who raised when you're playing more than one game.

5. Make sure you take some breaks. When I used to play eight games, I was an animal. I would run to the bathroom and every screen would be beeping at me. Take a few breaks. The games will still be there when you get back.

Playing multiple games is a lot of fun and I hope to see you at the table. Or tables."
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Old 07-08-2007, 12:03 PM
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Bad Position, Decent Cards
- Howard Lederer(Pro at Full Tilt Poker)

"In the middle and later stages of tournaments, there are often times when you're forced to make a pretty big commitment on a relatively weak holding. These are uncomfortable spots because you never want to risk a large percentage of your chips with a mediocre hand. Things get even more difficult when you're playing from the blinds and out of position.

For example, say you're playing late in a tournament. The blinds are $500 and $1,000, and there's a $100 ante. You're in the small blind with $18,000. It's folded around to the button, an aggressive player who raises frequently in late position. He has $30,000 in his stack and he raises to $3,500. You look at your cards and see Ad-9s.

You know that A-9 isn't a great hand, but you can't ignore it in this situation. First off, given your opponent's history, he may very well be raising with a hand that is far worse than yours. In fact, in this spot, he could very well have two rags. Another consideration is that there are a lot of chips in play. Between the blinds, antes, and your opponent's raise, you stand to pick up over $5,000 in chips if you can take down this pot, which would be a nice addition to your short stack.

So, you're probably going to want to play this hand. But what's the best action?

At first, it might seem that calling is a reasonable course, as it would keep you from getting overly committed on this marginal hand. But calling has some pretty big downsides. With a hand like A-9, you're usually not going to like the flop very much. In fact, you'll fail to make as much as a pair about two-thirds of the time. If you do flop a pair of 9s, how are you going to proceed if the flop also has an over card? Even on an Ace-high flop, you'll have a tough time knowing if your hand is good.

What's more, if you miss the flop completely, you leave yourself vulnerable to being outplayed. It's going to be very hard to bet if the flop contains three cards that don't help your hand. If you check, your opponent will likely make a continuation bet, and you'll be hard-pressed to continue, even though Ace-high might be good.

In spots like this, your best move is to press an edge while you have it - before the flop. Re-raise all-in pre-flop. Your opponent probably won't have a hand that he can call with and, if he does, you'll have plenty of outs. You still have about a 25% chance against AK, for example. Not good, but not dead.
The important thing to keep in mind is that, in the later stages of a tournament, you don't want to make many decisions after the flop when you have a medium-strength hand like Ace-middle kicker or middle pocket pair, and you're playing out of position. Put your chips in while you think you have the best of it, and hope for the best. If you let these marginal but good situations pass you by, you might regret it later when your stack has been whittled down even further."
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Old 07-08-2007, 10:21 PM
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The Other Danger in Slow Playing
- Howard Lederer (Pro at Full Tilt Poker)

"You've probably heard the standard reason to avoid slow playing: It's dangerous, because when you slow play, you give an opponent a chance to make a bigger hand at a minimal cost. This is absolutely true. But there's another reason to play your big hands fast, and this one isn't talked about as frequently. A slow play can give an opponent a chance to get away from a hand more cheaply than he would have had you played it fast from the start. Consider the following example.

You're in late position in a No-Limit Hold 'em ring game. A player raises in early position. You look at your cards, see pocket 8s, and decide to call. The flop is absolutely perfect: Qh 8h 2d. You've hit your set and, with the Queen out there, chances are your opponent has something – maybe A-Q, maybe pocket Kings or Aces. He bets the flop.
Many players will just call in this spot, hoping to get their opponent to bet on the turn. But a raise is usually the better play. If you just call, you risk seeing a heart on the turn. I don't think you need to be especially worried about the flush beating your set. You might get your set beat by a flush draw even if you raise. However, you do need to be concerned about the effect the third heart will have on your opponent. He very well might suspect that you were on the flush draw and he'd no longer be willing to commit a lot of money to the hand, even if he has Aces.

In fact, any King, Jack, 10, 9 or a card that pairs the board is likely to give your opponent pause. If he bets on the turn and you raise, you're signaling that the turn card helped you. In effect, you're saying that you liked the flop enough to call and the turn improved your hand in some way. You're announcing that you can beat one pair.

So the flop very well may be the only time when your opponent is willing to make a stand with a single pair. If he bets the flop of Qh 8h 2d and you raise, he's likely to think that you're semi-bluffing -- raising on a flush draw. At that point, he might feel compelled to protect his hand with large re-raise or perhaps an all in. When this happens, you'll take down a monster pot.

It's OK when a flop raise doesn't get you the result you want. You might scare off someone holding pocket Jacks or Ace-King, but you wouldn't make a lot of money off these hands anyway. And, if you're up against Ah-Jh, you may lose a big pot to a flush. But that's OK, because you'll have gotten your money in with the best hand.

Of course, there are some occasions where slow playing is the best choice. If you flop quads or something like Queens full, you'll want to give an opponent a chance to make some kind of hand on the turn or river. But frequently, the best option is to play fast on the flop. It may be your only chance to win a big pot with a big hand."
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Old 07-10-2007, 01:02 PM
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Know Your Opponent; Own Your Opponent
- Paul Wolfe (Pro at Full Tilt Poker)

"I was at my first World Series of Poker* in 2002, talking to a player who had made the final table the year before. He told me something I've never forgotten, and it's helped me ever since.

I had raised pre-flop with A-K and he called from the button. The flop came all small cards. I checked and he fired a pot-sized bet. I looked at him and said, "You must have a good hand." His reply caught me off guard; "It doesn't matter what cards I have if I know what cards you have."

At first I thought I might have a tell – maybe I hummed when I missed the flop, or I looked away from my chips. It was later that I realized I did have a tell, but it had nothing to do with my physical demeanor. It was the way I played my cards.

Poker is often not so much about the cards you have, but knowing the way your opponent plays. Keeping track of which hands your opponent raises with - and the position from which he raises with them - is a large part of the game.

In a live game, it is hard to remember exactly what cards your opponent has raised with over the years and, if they're good players, those hands will change from time to time. But many poker players are creatures of habit, playing the style they are most familiar with. Online, there is no excuse not to have this knowledge at your fingertips.

While playing on Full Tilt Poker, I get to write notes on players and it is a great help. I am always referencing my notes, and they will often tell me which hands an opponent has played in the past. The color-coding makes it even easier for me. I use one color to mark the players who only bet when they have a strong hand, and another color to mark the action players.

When I see a player marked with a certain color, I can safely assume that he's going to overplay his hands. This is a guy I am more willing to call with a hand that might be a little weaker, or a drawing hand after the flop. Why? Because I know that if I hit my hand, he's going to pay me off; I have implied odds to call. With another player, I'll play a little tighter because not getting paid off means my implied odds aren't there. This one bit of information has both increased my winnings and minimized my losses.

Self-awareness is an important part of any endeavor. But in poker, knowing your opponent is just as important as knowing yourself."
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Old 07-12-2007, 01:16 PM
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Betting the River with Marginal Hands
- Andy Bloch (Pro at Full Tilt Poker)

"In No-Limit Hold 'em, it can be difficult to know what the right play is on the river when you're out of position with a marginal hand. In my experience, if you think your hand is good enough to call with, you should consider betting the river if you don't think your opponent will try to bluff.

Say you're playing in a tournament and raise in late position with K-10. You know K-10 isn't a great hand, but from late position, it's strong enough to pressure the blinds. The player on the button calls and both blinds fold.

Now the flop comes 10d-7c-3d. This is a nice flop for you and you lead out at the pot. The button calls. What are you to make of the call? Well, he's probably got something – maybe a flush draw or another ten – but it's hard to pinpoint an exact hand.

The turn brings the 2c. This wouldn't appear to have helped your opponent, but you don't really know where you stand and you're trying to avoid playing a big pot at this point in the tournament, so you check. Your opponent bets about half the pot and you call.

The river brings an interesting card: the 4c, making the board, 10d-7c-3d-2c-4c. What's your best play? It's tempting to check again, because of the completed flush draw. But betting here has a few advantages over checking and then having to make a decision if your opponent fires at the pot.

Since the flush cards came backdoor (on the turn and river), your opponent probably doesn't have the flush, and he may doubt that you have it, too. Thus, he will suspect that you're bluffing, having missed the diamond flush draw. So if you bet here, he may call with a hand weaker than yours, like J-10, Q-10, or even 9-9 or A-7. However, there's still the possibility that you have the club flush, so your opponent probably won't raise with a hand like A-10, J-J, or maybe even a set. On the other hand, if you check, your opponent might bet on the river with those hands and you may pay him off, because you think he might be making a thin value bet with a weaker hand like Q-10.

The trick here is to bet a little less than your opponent would have, had you checked to him when he had the best hand. By putting out a somewhat smaller bet, you get to show down your hand cheaply against a better ten or a set, and you will also get your opponent to call with weaker hands that he would have otherwise checked with. Your bet here serves a purpose whether you're ahead or behind in the hand.

If your opponent raises, you can be pretty sure he has you beat and you can fold (unless he's a tricky opponent who may bluff in this spot), having gotten some very good information on the strength of his hand at minimal cost.

Note that this is the kind of bet you want to make when you're pretty sure that your opponent has some sort of hand that you have a decent chance to beat, and that he won't bluff if you check. In spots where your opponent might hold a busted draw and bluff, it's often more profitable to check and then pick off the bluff with a call. For example, you might check and call in this same situation with 10-9 or 9-9 against an opponent who bluffs a lot.

There aren't too many worse hands (if any) that your opponent will call you with if you are beat, and your opponent may check some of the marginal better hands like J-10 or Q-10. The idea in this situation is to lose fewer bets against better hands while you get some value from your opponent's bluffs.

Do that often enough and you're sure to have a good poker career."
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  #18  
Old 07-15-2007, 11:45 AM
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Playing Aces in PLO
- Andrew Black (Pro at Full Tilt Poker)

"Players who are new to Pot-Limit Omaha tend to make more mistakes with Aces than with any other hand. They get themselves into really tough situations - ones where they can lose a lot of money. Avoiding these spots is one of the keys to playing PLO profitably.

Here's the kind of situation that newer PLO players sometimes find themselves in. Say it's a $2/$5 game where all the players have about $500 in front of them. There's an early position raise to $15 and a player in middle position with A-A-x-x re-raises to $50. Four players call the $50. Now the flop comes down J-7-2, rainbow.

The Aces might be good here, or they might not. It's very hard to know. This is the kind of spot where it's very easy to make a big mistake - either by putting in a lot of money while a huge underdog, or by folding the best hand.

Novice PLO players get in this sort of trouble because they don't really understand how Omaha differs from Hold 'em. In Hold 'em, if you start with a big pair like Kings or Aces, you know you're a big favorite before the flop. But this isn't the case with Omaha. For example, pre-flop, Ac-Ad-4s-7h will win only 51 percent of the time when heads up against Js-Ts-9h-8h. Throw a couple of other hands in the mix, and Aces become extremely vulnerable.

Because so many hands are so evenly matched, Omaha is a game where what you catch with the community cards is usually more important than what you start with. You're looking to make big hands - nut straights, nut flushes, and big sets.

Still, hands that contain Aces are usually a decent favorite when played heads up. And, with Aces, you always have the opportunity to make top set or, if you're suited, a nut flush. So you're going to want to play these hands, but you often want to be more cautious pre-flop.

If there's a raise in early position, you don't have to re-raise with A-A-x-x, especially if that re-raise would commit you for only a small portion of your stack. When all the players have deep stacks, a few will be happy to call your bet and see a flop. Then you're likely to find yourself in the sort of situation described at the beginning of this tip. You won't know if your hand has held up on most flops. And when you do hit your set of Aces, you're not likely to get a lot of action, as your opponents won't have much difficulty putting you on a hand.

However, there are some occasions when you want to play Aces aggressively pre-flop. When there's been a lot of action and a raise will allow you to get about three-quarters of your stack in before the flop, go ahead and make that big bet. At that point, you're looking to force some folds and, hopefully, play heads up. With that much money committed, you know the rest of your stack will be going in on the flop no matter what comes.

Of course, once you're in the hand, your Aces can lead to some very profitable post-flop situations. You might catch top set while an opponent makes a lower one or your nut flush might take a big pot from someone who made a lower flush.

So slow down with your Aces pre-flop in PLO. Your deceptive play will win you some big pots when you make a big hand. Plus, you'll avoid losing a lot when the board doesn't fall your way."
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  #19  
Old 07-18-2007, 12:37 PM
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Firing the Second Bullet
- Greg "FBT" Mueller (Pro at Full Tilt Poker)


"In No-Limit Hold 'em, one of the trickiest and, sometimes, scariest situations occurs when you bluff at a pot on the flop and get called. The turn brings a blank and you're left with a big decision: Do I fire a second bullet and continue with the bluff?

Recently, while playing in the World Poker Tour event at The Mirage, an opponent launched a double-barrel bluff against me, and he got me to lay down the best hand. It was early in the tournament and I was in late position. My opponent, a pro whose play I respect, raised from early position, and I called with Ac-4c. The flop came A-J-7, rainbow with one club. My opponent bet out and I called. The turn brought a blank, and my opponent put out a very large bet.

I was in a tough spot. It was early in the tournament, and I didn't want to call off most of my chips with this hand. I was pretty certain the bettor wouldn't have fired a bet of that size with something like A-K or A-Q. With a hand like that, he'd have to worry that he was beat, and he'd probably try to get to the showdown as cheaply as possible. I figured he either had a very big hand - maybe a set of Jacks - or not much at all.

In the end, I decided to lay down my pair of Aces. My opponent then showed pocket Kings.

I give my opponent a lot of credit for playing the hand well. He had a good sense for how much heat I was willing to take. His play illustrates the most important consideration when deciding if you should continue with a bluff: Your opponent's mindset.

If you're up against an opponent who is unwilling to play without a very big hand, firing the second bullet can force them to make some bad lay downs. To make this work, however, you need to estimate the price a particular player is willing to pay, and then bet more than he seems capable of handling. In the hand I discussed above, my opponent zeroed in on a price I couldn't stomach.

Sometimes, a meek player will get stubborn and try to get through a hand by calling you down with something like second pair. You need to have a sense that he's trying to get through the hand in this way, then price your bets so that he won't be able to call.

If, however, you're against a guy who has shown a willingness to call any bet of any size with just about any hand, then you need back off and wait till you flop a monster.

In the end, the most important thing is to know your opponent. If you're attentive at the table and pick up on the tendencies of those around you, you'll find some nice opportunities for double-barrel bluffs.

That said, I should note that I'm far more willing to bluff on multiple streets in cash games than I am in tournaments. If I get caught running a big bluff in a cash game, I'll re-buy with the knowledge that my actions will force some bad calls later in the session. In tournaments, if I bluff off my chips, I'm on the rail.

As your no-limit game develops, study your opponents and identify those who are vulnerable to bluffs on multiple streets. As you develop this skill, you'll pick up some key pots and become a more profitable player."
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  #20  
Old 07-21-2007, 11:29 AM
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Stepping Up, Stepping Down
- Kristy Gazes (Pro at Full Tilt Poker)

"My first poker experiences were in the low-limit 7-Stud games at Commerce Casino in Los Angeles. From the start, poker was an important part of my income. It had to be. I couldn't afford to go broke. I needed to avoid the fate that hit many of the good players around me. They experienced massive swings in fortune -- one day they're playing in the big games, the next they're on the rail, trying to scrape together enough money for a buy-in.

Early in my poker career I set a simple rule for myself: I would never move to a higher limit until I won three consecutive sessions. If I lost three consecutive sessions at a given limit, I would move down to a lower limit.

It took discipline to stick to my rule. For a very long time – years, in fact – I never made it beyond the low-limit tables. I couldn't put together three consecutive wins. It was frustrating, but it was a great learning experience. By the time I made it to higher limits, I was a seasoned, experienced player who could deal with the intense competition I encountered.

Another nice thing about using such a patient approach was that I always had comfortable padding in my bankroll. In those early years, I may have had a hard time winning three sessions in a row, but I was beating the games regularly. I could pay my rent and add to my bank. When I moved to higher limits, I had plenty of money to sustain myself through any bad runs. In any case, if a lousy run of cards lasted three sessions, I'd back down to a limit where I was risking less.

I know a lot of players who have a hard time using an approach like mine. Most can't step back because they feel a lower-limit game is beneath them. Their egos tie up their heads and they try to prove themselves against better players. They end up playing higher than they can afford, in games that are tough to beat, and they wind up broke. As a professional, I don't play for ego. I play for money. As Paul Wolfe recently pointed out, often a smaller game offers a better opportunity for profit.

Think about incorporating something like my three-win, three-loss rule in your own play. Stepping down a level when things go bad will not only preserve your bankroll, it will sharpen your skills and build your confidence. When you step up, you've got the momentum of a winning streak behind you. You'll be playing your best – ready for higher stakes and sharper players."
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Old 07-23-2007, 03:42 PM
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Representing a Bluff
- Huckleberry Seed (Pro at Full Tilt Poker)

"Deception is a vital tactic in poker. Usually, when a player talks about a deceptive play, he's referring to a bluff - a time when he represented a hand of greater value than the one he held. But this isn't the only deception available in poker - not by a long shot. If you study your opportunities thoroughly, you can use the threat of a bluff to engage in another type of deception, one in which you're trying to convince an opponent that you are bluffing when, in fact, you have a great hand.

Say you're playing in a No-Limit cash game and things are going well. You've been playing actively and aggressively. You've been firing at a lot of pots, using a combination of good cards and well-timed small bluffs to pick up a number of them. To your tablemates, it seems as if you're trying to capture every chip on the table. They're starting to grow suspicious and feel you're getting greedy.

With the table in this mindset, you call a middle position raise from the big blind. You're holding modest cards - 6d-8d. The flop comes 7c-4h-Qs. You now have a gutshot straight draw and check. You're opponent bets half the pot and you call, feeling that if you hit, you can win a big pot. The turn is the Tc. Now you have a double gutshot draw - any 5 or 9 will make a straight.

At this point, put out a large bet. If your opponent holds Jacks or Ace-King, he'll likely fold. If he's got Aces or Kings, he'll probably call. And, if so, you'll know he holds a good hand that he's willing to defend.

The river brings a 9, completing your straight. Now you can use you're aggressive image to your advantage. Move all-in, even if the bet is two, three or four times the size of the pot. To your opponent, it's bound to look like a bluff. Your bet will seem ridiculously large and impulsive. If you had the nuts, he'd reason, you'd bet smaller, trying to get some value. He'll look at his big pocket pair, feeling that he needs to make a stand against your relentless play. This deceptive play where you're actually representing a bluff will give you a chance to win a huge pot.

If your opponent folds, you'll want to make a note. You'll know he folded a big hand and might be willing to make other lay downs in the future. But, you don't want to push this guy too hard. If you force him to make two or three big lay downs, he's sure to call you down later. When he's reached that state of mind, make sure you have a big hand the next time you play a pot together.

No-Limit poker offers some great opportunities for deception. As you develop your game, look for spots where bluffs and the threat of bluffs can win you big pots."
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  #22  
Old 07-27-2007, 09:48 AM
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Check-Raising on Draws
- Steve Brecher (Pro at Full Tilt poker)

"In No-Limit Hold 'em, drawing hands can be very difficult to play out of position. Most beginners take a straightforward approach when they flop something like a straight or a flush draw; they check, then call a bet and hope the turn brings something helpful. But, simply check-calling can present difficulties later in a hand. If you miss on the turn, you'll probably have to check and, oftentimes, end up facing a turn bet that is too large to call. Any bet of normal size in relation to the pot will be too large because the odds against hitting your hand are typically more than 4-to-1.

The problems don't end there. What happens if you check-call the flop, then hit your draw on the turn? If you check the turn, your opponent might very well check behind you, fearing that you hit. If you lead at the pot, you're pretty much announcing that you made your hand and your opponent might fold. So, even if you hit, you may not get paid in proportion to the risk you took by calling on a draw.

Rather than check-call, I often like to check-raise when I flop a draw out of position. This sort of situation comes up most frequently when playing from the blinds. For example, say that I'm in the big blind with Ad-6d and I call a raise from a late position player who popped it to three times the big blind. The flop, Td-5d-3s, gives me the nut flush draw.

After calling from the blind, I'd expect to check the flop almost every time. It's the natural progression of the hand: my opponent took the lead pre-flop and I'm going to allow him to keep it. I'd expect him to make a continuation bet most of the time, even when he misses the flop completely. Most aggressive players will stab at small pots in these situations.

If he does bet, this is the perfect kind of flop for a check-raise. It's likely that my opponent raised with two big cards - something like A-K or A-Q - and, if that's the case, he's missed this flop completely and will almost certainly fold to the check-raise. Or, if he's got something like A-T or K-T, he may be worried that he's run into a bigger hand and he'll likely just call the raise.

If he does call the check-raise, I can then make a decision on the turn. Sometimes I'll check and sometimes I'll lead out, regardless of whether I hit my draw. If I missed, I may continue the semi-bluff or I may check with the hope that my check-raise on the flop was sufficient to make my opponent nervous and get me a free river card. If I hit, I may choose to continue my aggressive play and put my opponent to a decision or, I may check, deceptively representing fear of my opponent's having the draw.

Of course, things won't always work out. If the initial raiser has something like pocket Aces or a set, I'm likely to be re-raised and shut out of the hand. But nothing works out every time in poker.

Try varying your play when you flop draws. Look for opportunities to check-raise. It may be the best way to proceed with a draw when playing out of position."
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  #23  
Old 07-30-2007, 10:32 AM
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How Much Luck? How Much Skill?
- Ben Roberts


If you've ever sat at a poker table, you've invariably heard the questions asked in the title of this article. While all serious players believe poker is a game of skill, they don't always agree on how skilful a game it really is. Some people believe the skill to luck ratio falls at somewhere around 70% - 30%, while others argue that the ratio is closer to 90% - 10%. If you ask me, however, I'll tell you something you won't hear from almost anybody else. Poker is 100% skilful.

Now, I know many of you are already skeptical about how I can make this kind of claim. What about bad beats? Or the times you're out-drawn on the river? How can I not figure these kinds of situations into my thinking? The fact is, I already have. Variance is part of poker and it would be highly unusual if bad beats didn't occasionally happen or if two-outers didn't sometimes hit on the river, as this would defy the laws of probability. The fact is, these kinds of events should have less of an impact on your overall results the more you play.

If you only play a few hands or a few hours of poker at a time, luck will undoubtedly play a bigger factor in your results than if you play regularly. For example, let's look at a player who puts in eight hours a day, five days a week, for 50 weeks per year, which is equivalent to 2,000 hours at the table. Assuming this is a solid, smart player who doesn't vary his or her stakes throughout the course of the year, I believe their talent will outweigh the effect of luck to ensure that they produce positive results year after year. That's not to say this player won't run into the occasional rough patch or have losing sessions, but by sticking to their game plan, these occasional down-turns shouldn't adversely affect their bottom line.

In effect, all players get paid for every good decision that they make and penalized for their bad ones. By continuously making high-quality decisions over the course of so many hours, skilful players should make more good decisions than bad, and see their bankrolls grow as a result. I have done this for more than 33 years, and know many other professional players who have produced similar results for many years. What this shows me is that, over the long haul, luck is not only insignificant when it comes to your results - it's non-existent.

It takes a true professional to look at poker in this way, and I fully expect that many people will disagree with my conclusions. That's why I'm holding a scheduled chat session entitled "Poker - Luck or Skill" on Full Tilt Poker at 15:00 ET (3PM ET) on Saturday, April 7th. I'll be happy to answer any questions you may have about my position and further explain why I believe that, over the long term, luck has nothing to do with being a winning poker player.
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