Posts Tagged ‘poker hands’

Getting the Most Value out of Good Poker Hands

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

It’s always nice to win a poker hand no matter the stakes or opponents. But a lot of poker success is dictated by how much value you can get out of your great hands. For example, flopping a nut flush and immediately going all-in is likely to cause everybody to fold and rob you of maximum value. This being said, it’s important that you be aware of some different factors when trying to get the most out of your good poker hands.

Be aware of your Table Image

The first factor you need to consider when trying to get value out of good hands is how the table views you. For example, if have you been extremely loose-aggressive, then suddenly slow-play your As-Ts combo on a board of Ks-Js-3d-8s, there’s a good chance that players are going to know something’s up.

The same thing can happen if you’re tight-passive and begin raising like mad when you’re holding the nuts. So whatever your table image is, you need to understand how opponents see you and bet accordingly to keep up that image without tipping off your excellent hand.

Consider Uniform Preflop Raise Sizes

Based on what we just discussed, it’s important to throw opponents off and avoid being predictable when trying to get max value out of strong hands. And a good way to accomplish this goal is by keeping uniform preflop raise sizes. For example, any time you decide to play a hand, you could always open with a 3xbb raise. This way nobody can get a read on your hand based on specific raise sizes.

Ask yourself if you really have Best Hand

Sometimes you’ll think that you are extracting value from a superior hand, but it turns out you don’t really have the top hand. This is common with two pairs (opponent has set), sets (opponent has better set) and a nut flush (opponent has quads or better). In these situations, it’s always nice to have studied other players so you can make a smart laydown. After all, knowing when to fold is just as important as getting value out of great hands.

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.


Knowing when you’ve beaten an Online Poker Limit

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

Those who want to make more and more profits in online poker obviously have to move up the stakes. Of course, the smart thing to do is to wait until you’ve officially conquered a certain limit before moving on towards the next. That being said, many online poker players wonder when they’ve officially beaten a cash game limit.

After all, there is no set number of poker hands that will tell you when you’re a truly successful player at certain stakes. Some people say 5k hands or more, some people say you won’t know until you’ve played 100k hands or more. The reason why it’s so difficult to pinpoint an amount is because there’s so much variance involved with playing internet poker.

The reality is that you can never be absolutely sure about your win rate until you’ve played at least several hundred thousand poker hands at one limit. But you can take a look at your win rate vs. the amount of hands played to come up with a reasonable idea.

For example, let’s say that you’re playing at the $0.01/$0.02 stakes, and you are winning 2bb/per hour after 20,000 hands. Now this isn’t too bad for a recreational grinder who learns a little poker strategy on the side. However, if you truly want to be a winning player who makes money from the game, a win rate of 2bb ($0.04 total) at the smallest online poker stakes possible isn’t the greatest. Furthermore, it doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that you’ll crush the $0.02/$0.04 stakes and up.

So it’s also important to take into account the level of competition you’re facing along with win rate and hands played. For instance, if you were winning 2bb at the $1/$2 stakes after 20k hands, this might be cause for moving up since win rates are smaller as you advance.

In answer to the original question of how you truly tell when you’ve beaten certain stakes, it’s important to look at the hands played first, then win rate and competition secondly. Provided your win rate is good enough, 15k-20k hands should be enough to determine your success rate for a given limit.

Avoiding Tough Poker Hands

Friday, August 19th, 2011

As we all know, not every online poker hand we’re dealt is going to be pocket aces or kings. In fact, the large majority of the time, you’re either dealt garbage, or hands that put you into difficult postflop situations.

For example, let’s say that you’re dealt T-9 in late-middle position and two limpers are out in front. With two limpers already in the hand, this presents a good time to limp in with your connectors, and hope for a draw and good pot odds on the flop. However, you also have to consider that if somebody raises the hand in the cutoff, button or blinds, you’re going to be forced to make a very tough decision. And if the raise is large enough to make you fold, you’ve just wasted a bet calling with a marginal preflop hand.

Of course, this isn’t to say that you should avoid playing solid drawing hands like T-9 from middle position because they can lead to bigger hands later on. But you also have to think ahead in this situation, and consider what your table is like. Are there any fish who would actually give you action if the straight did come through for you? Are there any tight players left in the pot that would fold to a bluff if you completely missed the draw?

These are some of the things that you need to think about when deciding if it’s the correct decision to play a tough poker hand. And tricky poker hands only become tougher to play when you’re in early position. In any case, always be thinking ahead with those tough poker hands, and don’t be afraid to fold them until you’ve gained enough information on other players at the table.