Posts Tagged ‘beginning poker players’

Tips for becoming a Winning MTT Player

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

One of the biggest draws to online poker is the fact that you could win a huge prize in any given tournament. Of course, few novices actually capture a big payout on their first few tries – though the hope is always there.

But since the average player isn’t going to get lucky right away, solid multi-table tournament play is more about grinding and learning your way to success. So if you’re just getting started down this road, here are some tips that’ll hopefully improve your play.

Tip #1: Focus on Bankroll Management

Most beginning poker players don’t last long because they don’t know anything about bankroll management. Luckily, this concept isn’t overly-difficult for people to learn since you should have 50-100 buy-ins for the stakes you play. 100 buy-ins is the conservative recommendation; but those who have prior poker experience might be able to get away with the 50 buy-in range.

So if you had a $500 bankroll, you’d want to stick with tournament buy-ins ranging from $5 – $10. The reason why is because this enables you to survive the variance associated with online poker and hopefully make some profits.

Tip #2: Invest in some Poker Training or Coaching

You simply can’t beat poker over the long-term if you don’t spend time studying the game. And articles, books and free YouTube videos are always great for this. However, the ultimate way to learn poker tournament strategy is by watching training videos or investing in a coach.

The latter method is more expensive because you’re paying a coach’s hourly fees. But this can definitely pay off if you find the right coach. Training videos are a little more reasonably-priced since you can pay a $30 monthly fee and watch as many videos as the site offers.

Tip #3: Understand Variance

The bigger the MTT’s you’re playing, the more variance you’ll be dealing with. So if you’re playing the Sunday Million on PokerStars, your big cashes will come few and far between – no matter how good you are. On the other hand, $5 buy-in MTT’s often have smaller field sizes, which enables you to cash more.

The style of tournaments you choose will all depend upon your goal. For example, if you’re fine with going on cold streaks while searching for the biggest payouts, large MTT’s should be good. However, if you want to keep cashing and gradually increasing your bankroll, look for the smaller MTT’s,

Above all, never stop learning the game and trying to expand your poker tournament knowledge. The best players continually seek the advice of others and know that there’s always room for improvement.

Poker Bankroll: How Much should you spend on One MTT?

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

A common question among beginning poker players revolves around how much they should spend on a single multi-table tournament buy-in. The general answer is that it’s a good idea to only spend 1-2% of your bankroll on a lone MTT. After all, you wouldn’t want to put too much money into a single tourney and lose a big chunk of your bankroll. But sometimes the general answer just doesn’t cut it because there’s more to consider with this subject.

Field Sizes

The primary aspect to consider when buying into an MTT is how many players are going to be in the event. Assuming you were entering a 100-player poker tournament, you could spend a little more of your bankroll (say 3-4%) because there’s a better chance of cashing. However, if you were entering a 3,000-player tourney or larger, you’d want to stick with the 1-2% recommendation.

Skill Level

Another huge factor in the poker bankroll discussion involves how good you are. Sure this is a no-brainer, but not a whole lot of players consider this in regard to their bankroll. The better you are, the more you can afford to spend on a single tournament. For example, it would be okay to spend 3-4% of your bankroll on any event (regardless of size) since you have a decent chance to cash. However, if you’re relatively new to the game, you should spend a very low amount of your bankroll on each poker tournament.

One more general rule to consider with MTT’s and bankroll is that you should only play at stakes that’ll allow you to lose 20 straight buy-ins without severely affecting your BR. For example, if your BR is $1,000, playing tourneys with $20 + $2 buy-ins would be okay because losing $440 during a major downswing wouldn’t decimate you.

Looking over Blind Structures before playing Poker Tournaments

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

Beginning poker players often wonder how they should play tournaments in regard to the early, middle and late stages. And the general answer to these questions often revolves around a typical strategy: play tight in the beginning, open up during the middle to combat rising blinds, and be even more aggressive as the tourney gets into the later stages.

But rather than blindly jumping into a poker tournament with this logic in mind, it’s a good idea to look over blind structures beforehand. The main reason for doing so is that understanding blind structures will prepare you for what’s to come in the tourney.

For example, let’s say that you enter a poker tournament where starting stacks are 10,000 chips, blinds begin at 15/30, and blinds increase every 20 minutes. This all combines to make for a deepstacked tournament where you’ll have plenty of time in the beginning to wait for good hands and build your stack.

On the other hand, let’s assume that you’re playing in a tourney where starting stacks are 1,000 chips, blinds start at 50/100, and they increase every 10 minutes. This kind of structure is a turbo event, and it requires very aggressive play to combat the small stack sizes. After all, you need to steal as many blinds and small pots as possible to keep from blinding out.

From an overall standpoint, looking at blind structures beforehand helps you map out an effective poker strategy and properly prepare. Sure there are a ton of scenarios that will arise during tourneys and completely blow your initial strategy out of the water. But if you consistently check out blind structures prior to poker events, you’ll have a better chance to experience long-term success. And don’t forget to study a little general poker strategy every day as well!

Traits of Good Postflop Poker Players

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

For many beginning poker players, it’s hard enough to get comfortable with the various preflop situations that will arise. But when you add postflop play into the mix, it almost seems like an overload to some players. Of course, this is no excuse to neglect postflop play because it’s extremely important for those who want to experience long-term success in poker. This being said, here are some common traits among good postflop poker players, and ones that you should try to improve upon:

Strong Value Betting – When you’re ahead in a hand, you need to extract maximum value from the situation by getting opponents to call your raises. Of course, there’s a fine line between getting people to call the maximum amount, and betting so much that they fold.

Good Bet Sizing when Bluffing – One pitfall of many beginning poker players is throwing too many chips out on a bluff. However, the key is to size your bluffs so that you’re only risking the minimum amount that would make an opponent fold; anything more puts you at a bigger risk if they call.

Ability to give up when you’re beat – It’s never easy folding on the turn or river – especially when you’ve put a lot of money into the pot. However, it doesn’t help your cause to call with a set when it’s obvious that your opponent rivered a flush.

Balancing Continuation Bets – If you were the initial preflop raiser, it’s often good to show aggression after the flop by firing out another raise (continuation bet). But you need to find the right mix between c-betting too much, and not doing it enough.

Adjusting to the Table – No two poker tables play exactly alike, and skilled postflop players are able to adjust to the situation. So if people are overplaying top pairs and two pairs postflop, you need to adjust to this and take advantage.

Main Thing Poker Players should think about Preflop

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

Much is made about what hands beginning poker players should play preflop relative to their position. In fact, some poker theorists go as far as to create charts regarding what hands players should consider in each position.

And these charts can be useful to total beginners who don’t have any clue about what preflop hands to play. But eventually, you need to get away from these charts and start playing hands past the flop based on your observations of the table dynamic. And after making some good reads on how your opponents play, there is one main thing you need to think about preflop: what you’re going to do with the hand postflop.

For example, let’s say that you’re on a six-handed table under the gun (UTG) while holding Ad-9d. Now this is certainly a solid hand because it gives you top pair potential with an average kicker. In addition to this, you also have the ability to get the nut flush on a diamond-heavy board. The downsides to this hand is that your kicker is not exactly perfect, you have little straight potential, and your table position is terrible. So the big point to think about here is how many profitable scenarios will arise postflop.

You could flop top pair, but you also have to consider that somebody with a better kicker and position could hold an ace. There’s also the slim chance that you flop the nut flush, in which case you’ll have a very tough time extracting much value from this hand because of the suited board. A more likely scenario is that you could flop a flush draw, but with poor table position, this is a very tough hand to play.

In a general sense, hands like A-9(s) are difficult to play postflop – especially when you don’t have late position. However, if the table dynamic gives you a strong chance to limp UTG and still see the flop, it’s worth calling the big blind just for the nut flush potential. So don’t forget to include your table dynamic when thinking about how you’ll be able to play a certain hand.


Cold Calling in Poker

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

One concept that beginning poker players may not be totally familiar with is cold calling. Basically, cold calling involves making a call when at least two actions have been made (one involving a raise) before your turn to act. For example, if one opponent bets, another opponent raises, and you call, this would be considered cold calling. Seeing as how two players ahead of you have shown some hand strength, this isn’t exactly the ideal time to be bluffing or trying to draw with a marginal hand.

For example, let’s say that you’re sitting in middle position with KQ(o), and an early position player bets, then the player to your right raises; assuming at least one of the players isn’t a total maniac, you’re facing a dilemma here. Sure K-Q is a solid drawing hand since it has top pair and high-straight potential, but is it really +EV to call in this situation.

Some might consider this to be a good enough starting hand to cold call a raise with, but the majority of skilled poker players will pass on this one – even with position. After all, you’ve got somebody who raised from early-middle position, knowing that they have the potential to be called or re-raised later on.

Assuming you make the call anyways, you’ll often be put into a difficult post-flop position. For example, let’s say that the flop was A-Q-7 rainbow, which isn’t bad for you because you paired the queen. However, you also have to contend with the possibility that your opponent had AK or AQ, and they now have top pair. Of course, they could have pocket jacks as well, and this will take knowing your opponent’s range in order to decide if it’s worth calling any future bets they make.

But long story short, you need a very good hand to make a cold call in online poker because the opponents ahead of you have shown a considerable amount of strength.