Posts Tagged ‘implied odds’

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.

Casino Poker Tournament Strategy

Friday, August 5th, 2011

While most poker tournament strategy these days revolves around the online game, it’s still worth discussing casino poker tournament strategy because, well, plenty of people still play in the casinos. Assuming you’re looking to play in your first live tournament, or you’re just relatively inexperienced, here is some general casino poker tournament strategy.

Don’t deviate much from Online Poker Strategy

If you’re an experienced online poker player, then you’ve probably got a little strategy behind your play already. This being said, you don’t have to make a lot of adjustments heading into casino tournaments. After all, the same concepts are still in play such as bet sizing, keeping a solid set of starting hand requirements and implied odds.

Focus on Chip Stacks

One mistake that a lot of new casino players make is neglecting to pay attention to stack sizes. However, the size of your stack, as well as opponents’ stacks, should factor heavily into your strategy. For example, let’s say that you have less than 10BB in the middle of a tournament; in this case, you’d need to be willing to shove with any decent hand in order to steal blinds and keep yourself alive in the tourney. Also, assuming an opponent has 10BB or less and you’ve got a big stack and a decent hand, it might be worth calling when they make potential desperation moves.

Learn a few Live Tells

While the whole live tells/bluffing aspect of poker is a little overrated, it’s still important that you learn a few live poker tells before jumping into a casino tournament. And while some tells may be specific to certain players, a general one is when a person looks at their cards, then looks immediately at their stack, they have a good hand and are planning to bet.

Poker Strategy Stepping Stones

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

One thing that many beginning online poker players don’t realize is that poker strategy contains a lot of different levels and layers. For example, learning how to calculate pot odds is a lot more basic than polarizing an opponent’s 3-bet range. Assuming you don’t have a clue about what the latter means, it’s okay because this is a more advanced concept that most players learn later.

Basically, the key thing to realize with poker strategy is that you should look at each concept as a stepping stone. For example, the first stepping stones you should conquer include basics like pot odds, starting hand requirements and adopting a style of play. As you master the basics, you can move on to some intermediate concepts like bet sizing, implied odds, bankroll management, and figuring out the range of hands your opponents play.

After you’ve logged enough time on the tables and know plenty of strategy, you can move on to the finer points of online poker, such as defining players’ 3-bet and 4-bet ranges, realizing what cards opponents think you have, and searching poker forums to discover any other concepts that can improve your game.

To sum things up, you should be tackling two or three poker tips at a time before moving on to the next thing. Along with this thought, you need to make sure that the things you’re learning aren’t too advanced for the level of play you’re currently at. For example, if you play 0.02/0.04 NL Hold’em, racking your brain about what opponents think you have is somewhat irrelevant because players at this level aren’t very advanced. Furthermore, you might not know enough poker to put everything together when you’re jumping into advanced strategy too early.



Set Mining Strategy

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

One of the most important concepts for trying to take an opponent’s stack in Texas Hold’em is set mining. Basically, all set mining involves is playing a dominated pair in hopes of turning it into a set. And most of the time, you will have the best hand after hitting a set, which gives you a great chance to extract extra more money from an opponent(s).

But the main problem with the whole concept of set mining is that you only have around 8:1 odds of flopping a set. This being the case, your pot odds of hitting a set are always going to be bad, so you need to rely on implied odds. In addition to this, you should be in a deep-stacked situation because there needs to be enough money involved to make playing for a set is profitable.

Going back to the implied odds, you really need to know the opponent who you’re set mining against. If the player is likely to fold, even with top pair, as soon as you make a pot-sized raise against them, there’s little point in set mining. However, if you are up against somebody who has shown a willingness to put their stack in with kings or aces, set mining becomes a lot more profitable.

To illustrate how set mining works, let’s say that you have pocket 8’s and the flop comes up 2s-5h-8d; also, your opponent has pocket kings. In this situation, some players will play their pocket kings to the fullest seeing as how A) they don’t want the opponent to hit a flush draw without paying, and B) they likely don’t expect you to call their preflop raise with a low pair. And if they believe you are the type of person who would play a flopped top pair in this instance, it further increase your chances of making money.

Raising with Drawing Hands

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

One seemingly crazy play that a lot of high stakes poker players make is raising with drawing hands. And what’s puzzling about this move is that most poker strategy suggests only calling with drawing hands when you have good pot odds and/or implied odds. But when you take a closer look at the logic behind raising with drawing hands, the move makes a lot more sense.

But before we get into the logic behind raising with a straight or flush draw, realize that you should avoid doing this until you know your opponent’s range pretty well. Assuming you do know the range of hands that your opponent is willing to play, you can get a better idea of when is and isn’t a good time to raise with your drawing hand.

Now, getting to the reasons why raising with drawing hands can be profitable, the biggest benefit is that you disguise your hand. For example, while holding 9s-Ts on a flop of Js-5h-As, raising here indicates a strong chance that you might have top pair rather than a flush and/or straight draw. Maybe your opponent has A-Q non-suited and they’re wondering if you have A-T, so they cautiously think that they have you beat. In any case, you’ve disguised your drawing hand, and have a strong possibility of extracting maximum value from it later on.

Another huge benefit of raising with a drawing hand is that you can make somebody with a better hand fold. Using the same situation from before, your 9s-Ts combination is easily beaten by the A-Q non-suited combo at this point. But with a raise, maybe your opponent thinks you have a two-pair, set, or even A-K. With all of these thoughts running through their head, you are more likely to make them fold the better hand.