Archive for the ‘Poker Tips’ Category

Poker Pro Matt Smith wins $1 Million in Fantasy Football

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Fantasy sports have been growing in popularity over the past decade and a half. And since fantasy sports offer positive expected value for those with skill, it’s little surprise that many poker players embrace the activity.

Case in point, numerous poker players flocked to the recent “Millionaire Maker” fantasy football event at DraftKings. For a $27 buy-in, entrants got to play for a $1 million top prize and an overall prize pool of $2.2 million.

As this event got near the end, poker players Brian Hastings, Aaron Jones and Tony Dunst all had a shot at winning. However, it was a lesser-known poker player named Matt Smith who’d eventually capture the title along with a $1 million payout. After winning, Smith wasn’t quite sure what to say so he just tweeted this:

I don’t even know what to say. I’m in complete shock and can’t thank everyone enough for all the support!

As mentioned before fantasy sports have been attracting more and more people every year. And this has given rise to daily fantasy sports, where players pay a buy-in, draft their team and see the game play out in a single day.

Switching to another note, somehow daily fantasy sports continue to be completely legal across the United States – yet online poker is only legal/regulated in three states. I’m not sure why this is the case….oh wait, yeah I am. Professional sports leagues have done heavy lobbying over the years for various interests, and making sure that fantasy sports stay legal is one them.

The NFL has especially benefited from the widespread popularity of daily fantasy sports – and season-long leagues too – because these generate far more interest in the games. Call it a double standard while online poker waits on the sidelines, but it’s an unfortunate reality now.

Randy “Nanonoko” Lew uncovers Secrets of Multi-Tabling

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Randy “Nanonoko” Lew is perhaps the most legendary multi-tabler of all time. The online poker pro has made millions from his ability to handle numerous tables at once and still make profits. And recently, Lew was in the sharing mood as he offered up some great tips on how players can become better at multi-tabling. Here’s a quick synopsis on the five pieces of advice that Nanonoko offers:

1. Add Tables Slowly

One of the biggest faults of multi-tablers is that they try to move up tables too quickly. But rather than worrying about how many tables you’re playing, you should concentrate on win rate and move up slowly.

2. Use a Heads-Up Display (HUD)

When playing 10 tables or so, you don’t have time to analyze each player at every table. So HUDs can help you quickly identify which players are loose and tight.

3. Limit Distractions

Keep your phone away, TV off and distance yourself from any other distractions. After all, it’s nearly impossible to focus on many tables when you’re worried about what your latest text says.

4. Use Hotkeys

Rather than wasting time clicking the bet, fold and check buttons in the exact spot, hotkeys help you do this with a simple keystroke. Using hotkeys can even be helpful for bet sizing, such as a 3 big-blind bet for example.

5. Tile your Tables, rather than Stack Them

Tiling tables is better because it gives you a better visual of all the action. Stacking, on the other hand, makes it more difficult to follow each street on every table.

If you’d like to see Nanonoko explain these tips in their entirety, please visit PokerListings and watch the multi-tabling video.

Annette Obrestad relives “Blind” Online Tournament Win

Monday, August 11th, 2014

From winning the 2007 WSOP Europe Main Event as an 18-year-old to starting her poker career through freerolls, Annette Obrestad has become one of poker’s living legends. But if there’s one act that truly defines Obrestad’s career more than anything else, it’s when she won an online tournament without looking at her cards.

The Norwegian was playing in a $4 buy-in, 180-player sit and go and decided to go in blind. According to Wikipedia, she only looked at her cards once during the entire tournament. The idea was to “show just how important it is to play position and to pay attention to the players at the table.”

That was back in 2007, and Obrestad says that she still gets asked about the impressive tournament win. In a recent interview with PokerListings, the 25-year-old said that she put some paper over the screen where her cards were. “At first it was kind of weird because it was so different to not be able to have any other reads,” she recalled. “Just like bet sizing and how people had played before. And the more I played the more I realized that you actually don’t always need to see your cards to pick up on stuff.”

Obrestad also discussed the lessons that players can learn from her blind tournament victory. “Basically what it comes down to is that poker is a game of reading people,” she explained, “and the more you play the more you understand how the betting patterns work and how people think. And once you can kind of get into people’s heads, understand more how they play. And that’s really what you have to do to become a good player – it’s not so much about the cards.”

Obrestad finished by saying that many people who sit at live tables with her ask if the legend of the blind tournament win is true. She added that more people recognize her for winning a tourney without looking at her cards than for the WSOPE victory.

Rebuy Poker Tournament Tips

Saturday, October 26th, 2013

In the average poker tournament, you are finished when your chips are all gone. This differs from rebuy poker tournaments, where you can buy back into an event after busting out, and add chips to your stack when the rebuy period is over with (normally one hour).

That said, rebuy tournaments allow players to be more aggressive because they can buy back in after being eliminated. However, it’s important not to get too crazy with rebuys, as you’ll see in the following tips.

Set a Limit on Rebuys

Some players get a little crazy in rebuys and will re-enter 4-5 times after busting out. And while this might give you quite a bit of action and excitement, it’s also a great way to burn through your bankroll. So the first tip for rebuys is to set a limit and stick with it.

The original buy-in will have a lot to do with this because rebuying into an $11 event is a lot easier than doing so in a $1,100 tournament. But as a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t exceed more than 3 rebuys in a single event. Also, be sure to have enough money left for the add-on at the end of the rebuy period.

Don’t be a Maniac

Some players think that rebuys give them the green light to become a maniac and go all-in with pocket 3’s from early position. But just because you can re-enter after being knocked out doesn’t mean you should go crazy.

Instead, a better approach is to alter your aggression level slightly. If you’d normally only play AA through JJ, you could expand this to include AA through 99, and AK in a rebuy event. Of course, your observations of the table will affect this decision too.

Try Unconventional Playing Methods

In most cases, common poker strategy advises against limping in with marginal hands. But in a rebuy tourney, you can actually make unconventional moves like these work.

The reason why is because players are looser, and as long as they’re not being too aggressive before the flop, your speculative hand will pay off. After all, these loose players will be more likely to call big raises post-flop because they know that they can rebuy following a bust-out.

As you can see, rebuy tournaments are a little different from your average tourney when it comes to strategy. But you can definitely have some success in them through experience and hard work.

Why Open Freerolls should be avoided

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

A common starting point for many poker players is open freerolls. As the name suggests, open freerolls don’t feature any requirements at all. Instead, anybody can register and play as long as they’re a member of the poker site.

It seems like open freerolls are perfect for beginners because you can compete for real money without having to risk anything. But these free tournaments certainly aren’t the best route towards steady poker profits and we’ll explain why.

Not Enough to Go Around

The biggest problem that open freerolls present is the prize money-to-player ratio. For instance, these freebies might offer a $50 prize pool, but 2,000-4,000 players will likely register for the event. After all, there are no restrictions, so why wouldn’t a crowd of players enter?

But here’s where the big problem comes into play since these large, crowded fields make cashing much harder. Using a $50 freeroll with 4,000 players as an example, the average player would only earn 1.25 cents per tournament (5,000 cents/4,000 players). And nobody is going to consider 1.25 cents as being proper payment for a lengthy freeroll.

Still Useful

While open freeroll tournaments may not be profitable over the long-term, they aren’t entirely useless. This is especially the case for beginning players who are merely looking to sharpen their game against other players without risking money.

However, the key is to avoid getting overly wrapped up in open freerolls and relying on them to build a bankroll. Sure these are fun to play and can earn you a little pocket change. However, the best way to make serious poker profits is by playing in real money games and studying poker strategy. With enough hard work, you can eventually move up in stakes and make some nice profits.

Playing against Loose Poker Opponents

Saturday, August 10th, 2013

One of the most common styles in poker is that of loose players. A loose poker player is somebody who plays a large number of hands preflop. There is an even greater distinction here because there are both loose-aggressive and loose-passive grinders.

A loose-aggressive (LAG) player not only plays lots of hands, but they enter pots with a big raise. Loose-passive players normally limp into pots and frequently call bets. It’s important to know the difference because each type of loose opponent requires a different strategy. That said, here’s a look at some general strategy for dealing with both types of loose players.

Playing Loose-Passive Opponents

The key to beating your loose-passive opponents is to see cards cheaply and keep players in the pot when you hit a strong hand. Since loose-passive players are defined by their willingness to call, you simply need a good knowledge of what bet sizes will keep them in the pot.

So you can enter a lot more pots with limps and small raises while hoping to hit sets, flushes and straights. Once the flop hits, you can use your pot odds and implied odds to continue chasing drawing hands. Value betting becomes your friend if you do get a strong hand, and previous observations of opponents will be really important here too.

Also remember that the pots will be much smaller when competing against a number of loose-passive players, so don’t expect to collect huge winnings.

Playing Loose-Aggressive Opponents

When pitted against LAG’s, you shouldn’t be playing too many hands. The reason why is because the majority of these grinders bet big and thin out the field. So it’s best if you can gain a preflop advantage and make large bets.

After the flop, many LAG’s will continue betting big, whether their hand connects or not. The idea here is to either force an opponent out of the pot, or build the pot if their hand does hit. Because of the nature in which these games go, you won’t have an opportunity to see many free cards.

However, you can often take control of hands by betting first when you feel that opponents are on a draw. By wagering enough, you’ll give these players bad odds to call, which is positive expected value for you.

Both kinds of loose grinders can put you up to some difficult situations. But with enough practice and observation, you have a solid shot at beating these players and making some money.

Forgetting Poker Strategy Basics at the Table

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Many poker players strive to improve their game by reading articles, books and blogs, watching training videos, and even investing in coaching. But no matter how much time you put into learning poker strategy, it’s a given that you’re going to forget or overlook a basic concept at some point.

One of the easiest strategy aspects to accidentally overlook is table position. Sure this is one of the first and most important things you’ll learn through poker strategy. However, it’s safe to say that there’s not a poker player alive who hasn’t forgotten to consider their table position when making a bet.

Another basic that players commonly forget involves thinking about their opponents’ potential hand strength. By the time you think about your own hand strength, table position, your table image and bet sizing, it’s not unfathomable to occasionally ignore the people sitting across from you.

So how do we rectify these brain slips that have us suddenly forgetting how we like to play J-T from middle position? Well there’s no magic cure since even the best players have an off-hand where they leave out some basic thought. However, just being aware of the potential problem is a good start. By constantly doing a mental rundown of what you need to consider with each hand, you’ll make fewer careless mistakes.

Another way to stop forgetting poker basics involves continually playing and learning strategy. Through repetition and thinking about the game on a normal basis, remembering poker strategy basics is a much easier process. Eventually, knowing what to do in each situation will almost become automatic.

Leaning and practicing fundamentals is the quickest way towards becoming a successful poker player. Of course, you also need to remember to apply these fundamentals on the table for your hard work to pay off. So always make a conscious effort to go through the basics in every hand.

Stop Sampling Every Poker Game

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

When you first start playing online poker, it can be a fun and exciting experience. You get to test your skills against other grinders and try to win profits in the process. Furthermore, there are a variety of poker games that you can try in both the cash game and tournament arenas. But does this mean you should really be trying every type of game imaginable?

The truth is that you really need to focus on one or two poker disciplines when you’re getting started with the game. Now we’re not saying that it’s easy to resist the temptation of wanting to play a variety of poker variations. However, it’s somewhat of a skill to remain disciplined and stay focused. In fact, your future profits really depend heavily on becoming good at one type of poker before moving on to the next.

Texas Hold’em is always a great place to start because you only have two hole cards, which cuts down on the amount of hands that you’re dealing with. Of course, some people think that Hold’em is a little saturated, so you might event want to try Omaha or Seven Card Stud. Whatever the case may be, you don’t want to be jumping back and forth between games when you’re trying to develop a good starting base.

In addition to sticking with one specific variation, you might also want to direct the bulk of your play towards tournaments or cash games. After all, the tourneys and ring games feature different strategy, so it’s a nice idea to become good at one or the other – rather than constantly switching back and froth between the two.

One last thing here is to avoid multi-tabling until you can beat one tournament or cash game table at a time. Some players will jump to two or more tables simply because they’re tired of waiting for others to act; however, you should spend the downtime observing other players and learning their tendencies to fuel your success.

By honing on a single type of online poker, you have a much better chance to eventually win money and move up in stakes.

Bankroll Management for Low Stakes Poker Tournament Players

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

We all know that big-time poker players get all of the attention since they’re spending major money to compete for huge tournament prize pools. But the truth is that the majority of the poker community is based in the low stakes world, where players are spending just $1 – $5 per buy-in.

Many of these low stakes tournament players are of the casual nature, and aren’t trying to make a living with the game. Some are more serious and hope to eventually supplement their income, or even become a full-time pro. Whatever the case may be, it’s important for every low stakes poker tournament player to know a thing or two about bankroll management. That said, here are a few quick tips.

Tip #1 – Divide your Bankroll into Buy-ins

A good general tip for managing a tourney bankroll is to divide your money up into buy-ins. It’s ideal to have 150-200 buy-ins for the stakes you play because of all the variance in online poker. But depending upon your skill level, you may be able to get away with anywhere from 50-100 buy-ins. Using our ideal example on a person with $300, they’d want to stick with $2 tourney buy-ins or less in order to survive the variance.

Tip #2 – Avoid Large Field Sizes

If money is an issue – as it is with most low stakes tournament grinders – you should stick with events that feature small field sizes. The reason why is because the bigger the field, the harder it will be to consistently cash. Sure the potential scores are bigger in large tournaments, but it takes the average player much longer to earn these big payouts. So you should definitely stick with smaller events in the beginning, then work your way up to bigger field sizes.

Tip #3 – Never stop improving

Just having good bankroll management isn’t going to guarantee you profits; in fact, it’ll just prolong the inevitable downfall of a bad player. You need to continually improve your skills along with exercising good bankroll management. Some of the different things that you can do to get better at online poker include joining training sites, hiring a poker coach, reading books, reading articles, browsing forums, and watching YouTube videos. The information is out there – it’s up to you to find it!


Ways to make Poker More Fun

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Poker can definitely be fun and exciting – especially when you’re new to the game. But as with anything you do continuously, poker can also become dull and boring at times. Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to re-inspire your love for the game. It just takes a little effort and imagination.

Play with Friends

Get together with some friends for a poker night so you can remember how fun the game can be. There’s nothing like a group of 3-9 friends playing poker and getting some social interaction! And if you’ve got more people wanting in on the action, you may even need to get two tables going. Just make sure to have the right people involved in your game so nothing gets out of hand or too crazy.

Set the Mood

It’s not the same mood you may be thinking of. Create a comfortable area to play poker in, get a table, buy a nice set of chips, and use warm lighting. Also, include music in your new setup, but don’t play it too loud. Creating the right feel for your home poker room is a perfect way to add to the game’s enjoyment.

Do Side Activities while playing Poker

Serious poker players realize that it’s important to focus on the game for the best results. However, if you’re getting bored on the online poker tables, a good way to pump up the action is by dropping down in stakes and enjoying side games and activities in between. For example, you could throw darts, shoot pool, or play video games when you’re waiting for the next hand to begin.

Try New Poker Games

One more suggestion that we have for making poker fun involves trying a new variation. Assuming you always play No-Limit Hold’em, you could try some low stakes (or free) Pot-Limit Omaha. There are also plenty of other games such as Seven Card Stud, Five Card Stud, Badugi, 2-7 Triple Draw and Razz.

Assuming your interest in poker is waning or the game feels mundane, try some of the simple steps we’ve suggested to increase fun on the felt.