Posts Tagged ‘Poker Tips’

Tips for becoming a Winning MTT Player

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

One of the biggest draws to online poker is the fact that you could win a huge prize in any given tournament. Of course, few novices actually capture a big payout on their first few tries – though the hope is always there.

But since the average player isn’t going to get lucky right away, solid multi-table tournament play is more about grinding and learning your way to success. So if you’re just getting started down this road, here are some tips that’ll hopefully improve your play.

Tip #1: Focus on Bankroll Management

Most beginning poker players don’t last long because they don’t know anything about bankroll management. Luckily, this concept isn’t overly-difficult for people to learn since you should have 50-100 buy-ins for the stakes you play. 100 buy-ins is the conservative recommendation; but those who have prior poker experience might be able to get away with the 50 buy-in range.

So if you had a $500 bankroll, you’d want to stick with tournament buy-ins ranging from $5 – $10. The reason why is because this enables you to survive the variance associated with online poker and hopefully make some profits.

Tip #2: Invest in some Poker Training or Coaching

You simply can’t beat poker over the long-term if you don’t spend time studying the game. And articles, books and free YouTube videos are always great for this. However, the ultimate way to learn poker tournament strategy is by watching training videos or investing in a coach.

The latter method is more expensive because you’re paying a coach’s hourly fees. But this can definitely pay off if you find the right coach. Training videos are a little more reasonably-priced since you can pay a $30 monthly fee and watch as many videos as the site offers.

Tip #3: Understand Variance

The bigger the MTT’s you’re playing, the more variance you’ll be dealing with. So if you’re playing the Sunday Million on PokerStars, your big cashes will come few and far between – no matter how good you are. On the other hand, $5 buy-in MTT’s often have smaller field sizes, which enables you to cash more.

The style of tournaments you choose will all depend upon your goal. For example, if you’re fine with going on cold streaks while searching for the biggest payouts, large MTT’s should be good. However, if you want to keep cashing and gradually increasing your bankroll, look for the smaller MTT’s,

Above all, never stop learning the game and trying to expand your poker tournament knowledge. The best players continually seek the advice of others and know that there’s always room for improvement.

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.


Online Poker Cheating Incidents

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Unfortunately, we’ve seen a number of online poker cheating incidents lately, and some of the biggest names in the game are involved. So without further delay, here is a look at the major online poker scandals, and a description of what went down in each instance.

Jose Macedo (superuser scandal) – Jose “Girah” Macedo, who was once labeled the Portuguese Prodigy, was caught in an elaborate cheating scam where he referred unsuspecting friends to a supposed fish named “sauron1989.” Little did anybody know that Macedo was actually playing as sauron1989. He then asked his friends if he could view the match via Skype’s shared screen feature (to share poker tips), which they obliged to since it was unknown that he was also sauron1989. This gave Macedo access to his opponents hole cards, and essentially made him a superuser.

Haseeb “Dogishead” Qureshi (chip dumping) – Qureshi, who is Macedo’s poker friend, engaged in chip dumping, which involves intentionally playing hands bad so another player at the table can scoop up the chips. In this instance, Qureshi found chip dumping as the easiest way to deliver Macedo $100k since he backed the Portuguese Prodigy. However, this also enabled Macedo to win a Lock Poker challenge, and the victory was later rescinded after Lock discovered what happened. Qureshi has since quit online poker in light of the most recent Macedo scandal (they had close ties, Qureshi’s name is officially ruined).

Dan “Jungleman12” Cates (multi-accounting) – Cates was also linked to both Qureshi and Macedo, and he recently admitted to playing on three of Macedo’s online poker accounts. In an interview, Cates lied about not being involved in multi-accounting, but later admitted to playing through Macedo’s accounts in several $25/$50 PLO sessions.

David “Chino” Rheems (not paying money back) – Rheems has no connection to the aforementioned players, but he’s still earned a bad rap by borrowing money from players, and not paying it back afterward. At one point, Rheems was said to owe Will Molson, Tom Dwan, Joseph Cheong and Ben Lamb over $200k collectively. After winning the first Epic Poker League event, Rheems reportedly started paying people back with his $1 million in winnings.

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.



UB and Absolute Poker Bankruptcy is Not True

Friday, May 6th, 2011

Both UB Poker and Absolute Poker have been embroiled in scandal ever since 2007 when “super user” incidents on both sites permanently damaged their reputations. Former WSOP champion-turned-villain Russ Hamilton was at the center of the UB scandal, as he could reportedly see other players’ hole cards while he was playing. Since the scandal, Hamilton has been ostracized from the poker community, including an incident where he was mercilessly taunted at a live tournament until he broke down and left.

As far as Absolute goes, numerous members started getting suspicion when they were losing massive amounts of money to certain players like eventual super user “Potripper.” Nate Arem was one of the members, and he managed to break the file encryption, only to discover that frat boys/Absolute founders Scott Tom and A.J. Green were cheating with super use accounts right from the Costa Rica office!

Since these disturbing events, where the perpetrators escaped into the Costa Rican sunset, both sites have combined into the CEREUS networks, and have worked to put the incidents behind them under new management. Things were going well for a while, until the bankruptcy scare earlier this week when chief shareholder Madeira Fjord tried to file for bankruptcy protection in Norway. Was this the third and final crushing scandal at UB/Absolute, where those who had trusted the parent company, Blanca Gaming, were burned one more time in the form of non-refunded deposits?

Thank god this isn’t the case yet, as Blanca Gaming released a statement the other day that said they are both restructuring the company, and working with the US government to pay players. Apparently, the whole bankrupt fallacy arose when Fjord filed for bankruptcy because Blanca told her that there were “terminating debt payments” and the company’s relationship with her. From what I gather, she got mad after the relationship deteriorated, and filed bankruptcy protection. But you can make your own conclusions by reading the letter below:

As previously stated, Absolute Poker and UB ceased their U.S.-facing operations due to recent legal developments in the United States. The company is currently restructuring and is focusing its resources on consolidating its non-U.S., rest-of-the-world operation and software business. In order to have a more efficient and successful future business, an immediate need to downsize and streamline operations significantly at both online poker rooms has been required. Absolute Poker and UB continue to operate their non-U.S.-facing business.

This decision comes after considerable review and analysis of the impact that ‘Black Friday’ has had on the business as a whole. The workforce has been liquidated, and the process of rehiring approximately 20% of staff in key positions has commenced. All affected employees have been informed of this necessary restructure.

A company spokesperson said: ”We regret that we have been compelled to take these actions. We have worked tirelessly to create a truly amazing company that is filled with extraordinary people. We have always been and still remain fully committed to our employees and players. At the same time, we are confident that this restructuring will strengthen the company and its future.”

The Company spokesperson also addressed erroneous reports that Blanca has filed for bankruptcy. The apparent confusion over this issue stems from the fact that Blanca recently informed a debt holder, Madeira Fjord, that it was terminating debt payments to, and its relationship with them. As a result, Madeira Fjord apparently filed a notice of bankruptcy in Norway. This notice has no negative impact upon Blanca, the operating company, or its brands. As stated previously, Absolute Poker and UB continue to operate their non-U.S. facing business around the world.

For non-U.S. players, Absolute Poker and UB have increased their maximum withdrawal limits to $1000 for Visa withdrawals and $500 for all other methods. The number of transactions being processed per day has been significantly increased as well. Players are still restricted to one transaction per week, but we are working to return non-U.S. withdrawals to
normal service levels as quickly as possible.

As confirmed earlier this week, the company’s legal counsel is in continuing discussions this week with the U.S. Attorney’s office to formalize an agreement that would facilitate the return of funds to U.S. players.

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.



Learn To Play Texas Hold’em

Friday, February 18th, 2011

With so many tournaments right around the corner I figured it would be a great idea to brush up on a few poker rules. In doing so I came across a huge selection of free online games including one of my favorites, Texas Hold’em.

For those of you who’ve never played it, it’s a very easy game to learn. Believe me, I’m no expert and yet I managed to grasp the rules within a couple of minutes. Once you know how to play, the fun starts. An even if you’ve dabbled in Texas Hold’em before, you can always learn new things; that’s what makes the game so fascinating.

In Texas Hold’em a few of the cards are shared between the players. Each person receives two cards which are then combined with the five community cards. The goal is to come up with the ideal five card hand.

The best way to actually learn is to dive right in and play. You can find a slew of online poker rooms for beginners, where you can practice with phony money until you feel comfortable enough to get into the real action.

And since you’ll be taking advantage of free play online, you can place a cheat sheet by your side, containing all the poker hands. If you’re new to the game like I was a few years ago, you won’t always remember that a Royal Flush beats four of a kind.

Next time I’ll go over some simple rules to remember. For now, enjoy yourself and win big! There’s certainly no game like poker.

To Bluff Or Not To Bluff? That Is The Question

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

When it comes to bluffing in poker, either you’ve got it or you don’t. Some players are masters at bluffing while others are dead giveaways every time. If you are one of those players who haven’t quite got bluffing down yet, here are a few tips to help you along your way.

For starters, you don’t want to become known as a bluffer so don’t bluff on a majority of hands. When you do that it’s like the boy who cried wolf—the other players will expect that you’re bluffing and will call you on it. Bluffing works best when you use it so rarely that no one sees it coming. If you usually only go into the showdown with great hands then you are building up your bluff equity, so when you do bluff everyone will think you’re telling the truth.

Before you bluff you should also consider the type of hands that the other players who are still in are holding. If you suspect that one of the other players has the nuts or a really strong hand then you may want to call it quits rather than bluff a good hand and lose even more money.

Finally, understand that the higher the stakes the better at bluffing your opponents will be and the harder it will be to read them. Start out with free poker and low stakes poker games to practice your bluffing skills and then work your way up through the stakes as you improve.

Check Out The ‘Poker That Sucks’ Blog

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

A friend of mine, Michael Olsen, writes a poker blog at and I thought I’d let my readers know about it. Michael makes his living playing poker – a fact that I have always been a tad jealous of – and his blog is about everything having to do with poker.

At Poker That Sucks, you can find posts about poker news, different pro poker players, poker tips and strategies, and more. The tips and strategies are great, as Michael has done a lot of practicing and research to figure out what works and what doesn’t over his years of going from poker newbie to poker professional. He posts on a pretty regular basis, so you should check back often for new content.

The thing I like best about his blog is that Michael writes from his own experience. He has been playing poker for 5 years and has grown a lot as a player in that time. He has put a lot into figuring out various poker trends, analyzing why poker players do the things they do and the best ways to improve your game and work your way into the world of professional poker.

I highly recommend heading over to Poker That Sucks for some great poker reading material!