Posts Tagged ‘bet sizing’

Annette Obrestad relives “Blind” Online Tournament Win

Monday, August 11th, 2014

From winning the 2007 WSOP Europe Main Event as an 18-year-old to starting her poker career through freerolls, Annette Obrestad has become one of poker’s living legends. But if there’s one act that truly defines Obrestad’s career more than anything else, it’s when she won an online tournament without looking at her cards.

The Norwegian was playing in a $4 buy-in, 180-player sit and go and decided to go in blind. According to Wikipedia, she only looked at her cards once during the entire tournament. The idea was to “show just how important it is to play position and to pay attention to the players at the table.”

That was back in 2007, and Obrestad says that she still gets asked about the impressive tournament win. In a recent interview with PokerListings, the 25-year-old said that she put some paper over the screen where her cards were. “At first it was kind of weird because it was so different to not be able to have any other reads,” she recalled. “Just like bet sizing and how people had played before. And the more I played the more I realized that you actually don’t always need to see your cards to pick up on stuff.”

Obrestad also discussed the lessons that players can learn from her blind tournament victory. “Basically what it comes down to is that poker is a game of reading people,” she explained, “and the more you play the more you understand how the betting patterns work and how people think. And once you can kind of get into people’s heads, understand more how they play. And that’s really what you have to do to become a good player – it’s not so much about the cards.”

Obrestad finished by saying that many people who sit at live tables with her ask if the legend of the blind tournament win is true. She added that more people recognize her for winning a tourney without looking at her cards than for the WSOPE victory.

Forgetting Poker Strategy Basics at the Table

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Many poker players strive to improve their game by reading articles, books and blogs, watching training videos, and even investing in coaching. But no matter how much time you put into learning poker strategy, it’s a given that you’re going to forget or overlook a basic concept at some point.

One of the easiest strategy aspects to accidentally overlook is table position. Sure this is one of the first and most important things you’ll learn through poker strategy. However, it’s safe to say that there’s not a poker player alive who hasn’t forgotten to consider their table position when making a bet.

Another basic that players commonly forget involves thinking about their opponents’ potential hand strength. By the time you think about your own hand strength, table position, your table image and bet sizing, it’s not unfathomable to occasionally ignore the people sitting across from you.

So how do we rectify these brain slips that have us suddenly forgetting how we like to play J-T from middle position? Well there’s no magic cure since even the best players have an off-hand where they leave out some basic thought. However, just being aware of the potential problem is a good start. By constantly doing a mental rundown of what you need to consider with each hand, you’ll make fewer careless mistakes.

Another way to stop forgetting poker basics involves continually playing and learning strategy. Through repetition and thinking about the game on a normal basis, remembering poker strategy basics is a much easier process. Eventually, knowing what to do in each situation will almost become automatic.

Leaning and practicing fundamentals is the quickest way towards becoming a successful poker player. Of course, you also need to remember to apply these fundamentals on the table for your hard work to pay off. So always make a conscious effort to go through the basics in every hand.

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.

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.



Bet Sizing Tips

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

One intermediate concept that you learn about later in poker is bet sizing. As the name implies, bet sizing simply refers to the size of bet that you make in a given situation. For example, if you have pocket aces preflop and you shove your whole stack in, the bet size was your whole stack in this instance. Okay, that was a horrible example, and it’s exactly what you want to avoid with the bet sizing concept.

Instead, your goal should be to make appropriate bet sizes based on a given situation. Taking the aforementioned pocket aces preflop example, most people suggest raising just enough so that you isolate one opponent, yet not so much that you make everybody fold. This helps maximize your advantage with pocket aces, while keeping drawing hands out of the equation.

Depending on the stakes and dynamics of the table you’re at, this amount will differ in every instance. But for the purpose of this article, we’ll say that you are in a $0.25/$0.50 game, and a 4 times the big blind raise should isolate one player without encouraging others to call.

For another example, let’s say that you’re holding As-Qh on a flop of Ad-7h-Jd against one opponent; in this instance, you have top pair and a good kicker, but you are vulnerable to a flush draw (assuming you don’t already think your opponent has a set or two pair). This being the case, you don’t want the opponent to see cards for cheap if they’re on a flush draw, so you should size your bet to offer bad calling odds.

To do this, consider that the opponent has around 4:1 odds of hitting their assumed flush draw, so you need to raise enough to make this a profitable play for you in the long run. If $20 is in the pot, you need to make at least a $6 raise to give them worse pot odds (3.3:1 pot odds).

As you can see, sizing bets properly goes a long way to helping you reach a desired result on the poker table.