Posts Tagged ‘pocket jacks’

Losing your Preflop Edge with Premium Hands

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

One of the biggest poker tips that’s preached by strategists is to isolate one player when you have a premium hand (AA, KK, QQ, AK). The reason why is because you have a much better chance to win the hand and take an opponent’s stack when there’s only one player to deal with.

To illustrate how this works, let’s say that you have pocket aces against pocket jacks. Assuming it’s just you and this opponent, you have an 80% advantage over the player with jacks. However, if you add another opponent into the mix who has pocket queens, your preflop advantage drops to 66% over the two opponents. Obviously this still gives you an excellent opportunity to win the hand, but it makes things a little tougher on you.

Now let’s add yet another player into the equation who has pocket kings. You still have a 54% chance to win the hand, but you have almost an equal chance of losing the hand now. Case in point, it really pays to isolate an opponent before the flop when you have an excellent hand. However, you can see that you’ve still got a sizable advantage with pocket aces when three or four people are involved in the hand.

But what about the other three premium poker hands we mentioned? If you had pocket kings with three other players in the hand, you’d still have around a 65% preflop advantage in the hand, which is not far off of having pocket aces in the same situation. This is also true of pocket queens in the same scenario.

Things change a little when you’ve got AK because this isn’t a made hand. For instance, if you had AK vs. pocket queens, you’d actually only have a 43% chance of winning. Throw another player in the mix with pocket jacks, and AK only has a 36% chance of winning. AK is actually a much better hand to win big multiway hands in postflop situations. In any case, just be careful when including AK in your range of premium hands.


Pius Heinz wins 2011 WSOP Main Event

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Ben Lamb may have been the talk of this year’s WSOP, but it was Pius Heinz winning the 2011 WSOP Main Event title, along with the top prize of $8.7 million.

Heinz walked onto the final table with 108 million chips, which put him well ahead of the other two remaining players in Lamb (55.4 million) and Martin Staszko (42.7 million). However, it didn’t take long at all for Heinz to have competition since Staszko doubled up through Lamb on the first hand of the final day. It happened when Lamb tried to steal a pot from Staszko with K-J, only to see the 35-year-old Czech Republic native go all-in. Lamb felt that he was pot committed and called; Staszko flipped over pocket sevens, and won the hand after the board provided nothing for Lamb.

Just three hands later, Lamb desperately shoved his remaining chips in with Q-6(o), which didn’t hold up against Staszko’s pocket jacks. With the American now eliminated from the tournament in third place, Heinz and Staszko battled for the title, with the latter holding a 117.3 million-to-88.6 million chip lead.

This was definitely a heads-up match for the ages as both players went back and forth with the lead. At one point, Staszko looked like he was in firm control of the tournament since he’d maneuvered into a 4-1 chip advantage. However, the German Heinz never looked phased, and battled back to be in contention.

On one very critical play, Staszko called Heinz’s shove with Qc-9c because he didn’t think that the 22-year-old had anything. But Heinz held Ah-Qh, and when the board provided no help to either player, the German took a big lead over Staszko. Just a few hands later, Heinz was able to put Staszko away and win the 2011 WSOP Main Event title.

With the world’s biggest poker tournament now in the books, Heinz becomes the third richest winner ever with $8.7 million. Here is a look at how all of the final tablist fared:

1. Pius Heinz – $8,715,638
2. Martin Staszko – $5,433,086
3. Ben Lamb – $4,021,138
4. Matt Giannetti – $3,012,700
5. Phil Collins – $2,269,599
6. Eoghan O’Dea – $1,720,831
7. Bob Bounahra – $1,314,097
8. Anton Makiievskyi – $1,010,015
9. Sam Holden – $782,115

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.