Posts Tagged ‘NL Hold’em’

Loni Harwood has Record-Setting 2013 WSOP

Monday, July 8th, 2013

Coming into the 2013 WSOP, Loni Harwood had gained a little bit of fame for herself in the poker world after winning two WSOP Circuit bracelets. However, the acclaim she earned for her small WSOPC victories was nothing compared to the attention she’s getting now.

Last night, Harwood capped off a record-setting 2013 WSOP by winning the Event #60 $1,500 NL Hold’em tourney along with $609,017. She battled through a field of 2,541 players to grab the win and her first gold bracelet.

The $609k payout is what’s really impressive here because this is the biggest cash by a woman at the Las Vegas WSOP. It’s the second largest WSOP prize of any kind by a female, ranking behind the $2,013,734 that Annette Obrestad earned for winning the 2007 WSOPE Main Event.

The history doesn’t stop here for Harwood because she also became the third lady to make three final tables in one WSOP. She finished sixth in the Event #31 $1,500 PLO tournament ($39,803), fourth in the Event #53 $1,500 NLHE ($210,456) tourney, and first in Event #60. In all, she’s cashed six times this summer and made $874,698 – yet another single-year record for a woman at the Vegas WSOP.

As for why we haven’t heard of Harwood yet, she’s only 23 and recently graduated from college. Upon graduating, she moved from New York to Florida and began grinding in live cash games. Harwood learned how to play poker by watching her dad in online games, which naturally led her to the felt. Now she’s the female star of the 2013 WSOP and is looking towards a very bright future.

2013 WSOP Event #60 $1,500 NL Hold’em Final Table
1. Loni Harwood – $609,017
2. Yongshuo Zheng – $378,607
3. Mika Paasonen – $267,978
4. Yngve Steen – $193,265
5. Asi Moshe – $141,124
6. Daniel Cascado – $104,282
7. Cy Williams – $78,006
8. Bijon Notash – $59,036
9. Hiren Patel – $45,212

Full Tilt Poker gets Player Segregation Right

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

One of the bigger poker stories from last week involved Full Tilt Poker rolling out their ‘New to the Game’ tables. The games are meant to help new and/or recreational players get used to real money poker without being throwing into shark-infested waters (a.k.a. player segregation).

New to the Game tables are open to any real money player, they’re offered in low stakes NL Hold’em and Omaha ring games/tournaments, and players can try these tables for 2,000 cash game hands or 75 tourneys. Additionally, New to the Game tables run at a slower pace and players can only try two tables at a time.

The key in all of this is that players can only participate in 2,000 ring game hands or 75 tournaments. And this is where Full Tilt gets the idea of player segregation right, versus other rooms like Party Poker and Lock Poker.

Both Party and Lock run similar player segregation models where they prevent winning grinders from competing against losing players. In Party’s case, they didn’t even warn players about segregation; they just hid the losing players from winners and certain people happened to notice. In either case, there is no limit on how long the players are divided up, which really punishes winners.

Full Tilt, on the other hand, puts a restriction on how long players can try the New to the Game tables. Once the 2k cash game hands or 75 tourneys are up, people are forced to “graduate” to the regular games. What’s more is that everybody has a chance to try these tables, rather than being restricted to losing players.

Segregation is still in the early stages in the online poker world. So it’ll be interesting to see if more sites take a similar approach to the matter as FTP.

Swedish Poker Bots win $1.8m, Shut Down Afterward

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

People have been experimenting with poker bots for years now. These computer programs are used in online poker games because they run on their own and make decisions based on statistical observations. Players often debate about exactly how successful these bots are against humans, who can think analytically. However, there’s no denying that poker bots have been successfully used in Sweden after making a collective $1.8 million.

Sweden’s state-owned gaming operator, Svenska Spel, recently shut down 14 poker accounts after it was discovered that they earned $1.8 million in profits. Most of the money was made in the past six months at stakes ranging between $0.25/$0.50 and $3/$6 NL Hold’em.

About four months ago, a player reported suspicious activity from certain players to Svenska Spel. However, the gambling company admits to being slow in turning the matter over to Swedish police. By the time Svenska did turn their findings into the police, only $108k of the original $1.8 million was left in the 14 accounts.

Since then, the authorities have lunched an investigation into the accounts in hopes of recovering the money. Furthermore, the Swedish Gaming Board has begun questioning Svenska Spel on what all they know about the poker bot incident.

The reason why this matter has become such a huge deal is because online poker rooms  have outlawed bots – at least when they’re profitable. These programs can run 24/7 and play millions of hands for users, which gives bots a distinct advantage over humans.

Up until recent years, poker bots were largely unprofitable because they can’t read other players. However, computer programmers are constantly advancing these programs, and it appears as if bots are now good enough to consistently beat lower-mid stakes. It may only be a matter of time before they’re able to beat $5/$10 Hold’em games and above.

What Stakes do Poker Pros play?

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

When most people think of professional poker players, they envision grinders who make their living in $25/$50 cash games and above. But while these high stakes players may steal most of the headlines, the truth is that poker pros are found throughout a variety of stakes. This being said, let’s take a closer look at what stakes you have to play in order to make a living with the game.

It All Depends…

There is no set cutoff as to what stakes can provide you with a healthy living. And a large part of being a full-time pro depends upon where you live. For example, countries like the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and France have high costs of living. So pros usually need to play at least $1/$2 games and above, even as multi-tablers.

Contrast this to countries like the Ukraine, Mexico, Brazil and Romania, where cheaper costs of living make playing lower stakes more realistic. In some cases, pro grinders in these nations could play $0.05/$0.10 and above with some multi-tabling.

Win Rate and Multi-Tabling

We’ve mentioned multi-tabling a couple of times already because this is extremely important in regard to making profits – especially if you’re trying to earn a living at the lower stakes.

And of course you’re going to need a good win rate as well. The exact win rate needed depends heavily upon what stakes you are playing; for example, an American playing $1/$2 NL Hold’em will probably need to earn 10 big blinds an hour (depending upon daily hours played) along with some rakeback. But a pro $0.10/$0.20 NLHE player from the Ukraine might be able to get away with earning 10 big blinds an hour at this level.

So as you can see, there are all different types of stakes that pros play. And a multitude of factors go into deciding what limits a person has to play to earn a living.

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.