Posts Tagged ‘Texas Hold’em’

WSOP Champ Naoya Kihara dreams of Japanese Poker Boom

Friday, July 18th, 2014

The three most talked-about online poker markets these days are the U.S., China and India. And this is for good reason too given that these three countries together contain over 2.9 billion people. But if there’s one promising market that often gets left behind in these discussions, it is Japan.

WSOP champion Naoya Kihara recently brought this topic up in a recent interview. Kihara, who’s the only gold bracelet winner in Japanese poker history, spoke with PokerListings about the implications of widespread poker in his country

“People love to play games and gambling in Japan,” Kihara said. “So I’m pretty sure the poker market grows huge if the poker is legalized in Japan.”

Unfortunately, there are some misconceptions in the Land of the Rising Sun when it comes to poker, which Kihara hit upon in the interview. “When somebody doesn’t know the poker, their image of poker is just gambling,” he said. “The image of poker in Japan is still 5 card draw, single change and no more betting rounds.”

Kihara went on to describe how Japan’s version of 5 card draw is a simplified game that’s basically all luck. So his mission is to let his countrymen know what “real” poker is like with regard to the large skill element involved. Kihara added that if he can get people to like Texas Hold’em and some of the other skill-based games, then attitudes towards poker could change.

He may have a lot of work on his hands, though, because certain Japanese politicians are still trying to get casino resorts legalized in the island nation. Once this happens, perhaps poker could start showing up in the casinos and become more accepted.

Such acceptance (and legalization) would mean a nation of 127.6 million people being eligible to play online poker. Moreover, Japan has one of the world’s top economies, so this adds even more significance to the matter.

French Rapper Kool Shen joins Winamax Poker

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Bruno “Kool Shen” Lopes, who’s released a number of hit rap albums and songs, has just signed a deal to represent Winamax Poker. Winamax is the largest poker site in France, and they already have Gaelle Baumann, Davidi Kitai, Ludovic Lacay, Patrick Bruel and Nicolas Levi on their pro team. The poker room was thrilled to have Lopes join their brand as they released this statement:

For over twenty years, the suburban Parisien has been one of the major figures of French rap..and now Kool Shen is one of the most respected poker players on the tournament circuit. Kool Shen joined Team Winamax in autumn 2012.

As for the 45-year-old hip-hop star’s poker background, he first started playing home games when he was 13. But his interests eventually led to the music world where Kool Shen has become one of France’s most successful rappers ever. But in the mid-2000s, he began watching Texas Hold’em on TV and got involved with poker again.

In 2008, Lopes picked up his first live tournament cash and collected some more small money finishes along the way. However, his biggest successes have come this year after winning both the Diamond Championships Euro Finals of Poker ($127,514) and WPT National Series in Cannes ($135,294), finishing fourth at EPT Madrid ($183,660), and grabbing 468th place at the 2012 WSOP Main Event ($24,808). Thanks to the $523k he’s made this year, Lopes now has $745,691 in career tournament winnings.

As for how Kool Shen made the successful transition from rap to poker, a lot of it has to do with his willingness to learn. He discussed this by saying, “I love poker and I’ve been very lucky to meet lots of good people who play great poker. I’m good friends with Stephane Albertini who finished 47th in the Main Event and he’s taught me a lot of what I know.”

Now that he’s signed by a major online poker site, it’ll be fun to see Bruno Lopes at a lot more tournaments. If you’d like to see one of his old videos, you can check it out below:

Matt Perrins wins WSOP 2-7 Draw Lowball during First Time Playing

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

The World Series of Poker isn’t exactly the best place to try out a new poker game. After all, the WSOP is full of the best live poker players in the world. However, Matthew Perrins felt perfectly comfortable trying to parlay his Texas Hold’em skills into a 2-7 Draw Lowball tournament. And what’s funny about this story is that Perrins won Event #9 and $102k despite barely knowing how to play the game.

In order to learn how to play 2-7 Draw Lowball, Perrins watched a few YouTube videos, and that was it. He picked up the rest by asking fellow opponents how to play the game.

As Perrins told the media, “During Day One and the first three or four hours, I was not sure what was going on. I was getting into a few hands, and I was not sure what I should do here. So, I ended up speaking to some of my mates. I started to pick it up. As the tournament got deeper, it was kind of similar to Hold’em as in where being aggressive and three-betting will get you a lot of chips. That’s where I started moving toward the final table.”

As for his strategy during the tournament, Perrins told reporters, “I knew that everyone had a lot more experience than me, but since I was able to play it a bit like Hold’em, they would fold. When I three-bet and was aggressive, it worked.”

Perrins wildly celebrated with friends and other players after winning his first WSOP bracelet. With the WSOP victory and $102,095 in winnings, the Brit now has almost $655k in live tournament winnings. In addition to this, Perrins is also a very good online poker player who has carved out a very successful career.

Set Mining Strategy

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

One of the most important concepts for trying to take an opponent’s stack in Texas Hold’em is set mining. Basically, all set mining involves is playing a dominated pair in hopes of turning it into a set. And most of the time, you will have the best hand after hitting a set, which gives you a great chance to extract extra more money from an opponent(s).

But the main problem with the whole concept of set mining is that you only have around 8:1 odds of flopping a set. This being the case, your pot odds of hitting a set are always going to be bad, so you need to rely on implied odds. In addition to this, you should be in a deep-stacked situation because there needs to be enough money involved to make playing for a set is profitable.

Going back to the implied odds, you really need to know the opponent who you’re set mining against. If the player is likely to fold, even with top pair, as soon as you make a pot-sized raise against them, there’s little point in set mining. However, if you are up against somebody who has shown a willingness to put their stack in with kings or aces, set mining becomes a lot more profitable.

To illustrate how set mining works, let’s say that you have pocket 8’s and the flop comes up 2s-5h-8d; also, your opponent has pocket kings. In this situation, some players will play their pocket kings to the fullest seeing as how A) they don’t want the opponent to hit a flush draw without paying, and B) they likely don’t expect you to call their preflop raise with a low pair. And if they believe you are the type of person who would play a flopped top pair in this instance, it further increase your chances of making money.

Adjusting Your Holdem Strategy for Omaha

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

More and more Texas Holdem players are giving Omaha a try. However, if you are thinking of switching to Omaha don’t be fooled by the similarities in the two games – the strategy for Omaha is actually quite different than the strategy for Texas Holdem. Read on to learn more.

For starters, In Texas Holdem it is important to make big bets before the flop when you have good cards, like pocket aces or kings. The purpose of betting big pre-flop is to knock out other players so that you can narrow the table down to only one or two others. However, in Omaha big pairs don’t mean much if you don’t have the other cards to back them up. For this reason, many Holdem players find that they hurt themselves by making big bets too early, only to find that their pocket aces or kings aren’t such great hands. Play more cautiously in Omaha near the beginning of the game and only start betting big once more cards are dealt and you see where you stand.

In Omaha you will also have to adjust the way that you play after the flop. You need to find the right combination of passive and aggressive play. For instance, too many players play too passively when they’ve got a straight after the flop because they think another player may get a flush. If you play this way you’ll never win. Betting a little bigger may knock other players out of the hand before they have the opportunity to get a flush, securing your spot as the winner.

To Raise of Not to Raise?

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

In the game of poker, particularly in the game of Texas Hold’em, it is easy to know when to raise. You should raise when you have a great starting hand (such as A-A, K-K, Q-Q, A-K or A-Q) or when you want your opponents to think you have a great starting hand. However, knowing when to call another player’s raise is a different story entirely.

There are a lot of very tight players who will fold when another player raises in nearly every situation. However, when you do this you can lose an awful lot of money. After all, when you fold you are losing all the chips you have already put in the pot. For this reason, it is important to know when to match another player’s raise and when to leave the game.

When you play with the same opponents for a period of time you get used to the way that they play. You can start to understand which players are probably bluffing and which only raise when they actually have a very strong hand. This can help you decide when to raise and when to fold. However, if you are playing with a new player you may want to fold the first time they raise if you don’t have a strong hand. However, if you see that this player continues to make raise after raise then you know that they are most likely bluffing and can begin calling when they raise.

It takes practice to figure out your opponents. However, once you do you can easily determine when to call and when to raise.

Continuation Betting in Texas Hold’em Poker

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

In a game of Texas Hold’em poker one of the best strategies is continuation betting. If you aren’t familiar with continuation betting it’s an easy skill to learn. Put simply, a continuation bet is a bet that you make on the flop if you raised pre-flop. It is also known as a “c-bet.” This bet can be made whether or not your hand was improved by the flop and is a great way to get other players to fold. It is a great bluffing skill, as well as a way to show the other players that your hand is good when it really is.

It is important to note, however, that the c-bet should not be used carelessly. If you had a good hand pre-flop that was not improved by the flop card then you should not c-bet if you are in a game against a very aggressive player. Aggressive players are likely to call your bet, lessening the chances of you winning the hand. However, if you are playing against tight players the c-bet is a good way to get these players to fold, leaving you to win the pot regardless of what cards you have in your hand.

You should also avoid the continuation bet if another player called or re-raised your raise during the pre-flop. This could indicate that that player also has a strong hand and could beat you in the end.

You can practice continuation betting with a free poker game online, or a low-limit game.

Required Reading for Poker Players

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

A good buddy of mine just started getting serious about poker and has been looking for ways to maximize his skills. The other day he asked me to recommend a few good books about poker strategy and I thought I’d share a few of my favorites with you as well.

I play mostly Texas Hold’em so, for me, Lee Jones’ Winning Low-Limit Hold’em is a veritable bible. Jones’ book is the most popular reference on the game of low limit Hold’em and gives players a solid foundation in the tools and techniques that can help you win. Winning Low-Limit Hold’em starts out with an introduction to the fundamentals of the game, and to poker odds. Following chapters go on to explain how to play in each round of the game. Finally, Jones covers everything from bluffing to tournament play to rakes and more.

If you’ve already mastered all the techniques in Jones’ book or enjoy playing for higher limits than I recommend Hold’em Poker for Advanced Players by David Sklansky. Sklansky is one of the foremost writers in the poker industry and his book is considered one of the best about Hold’em strategy.

Also from David Sklansky, The Theory of Poker is a must read. This book covers everything from bluffing to slow playing, the value of deception, how position affects your play and other theories about the game of poker. Start out with these three books and you’ll be well on your way to massive improvement in your poker play.

Texas Hold’em Slang

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

If you’re new to the game of Texas Hold’em then you have, without a doubt, heard slang and nicknames being thrown around. If you aren’t hip to the lingo than you can feel like other players are speaking a foreign language when they talk about “the nuts” and say things like “I’ve got hockey sticks”. I’ve put together the following glossary to help you lean basic Texas Hold’em slang, so you won’t feel out at your next poker night.

The following are other names for specific cards:

Ace – Bullet or Rocket

King – Cowboy

Queen – Lady, Cowgirl, Girl

Jack – Jackal, Knave, Hook, Johnny

10 – Dime

9 – Nina Ross

8 – Snowman

7 – Hockey Stick, Candy Cane, Walking Stick

5 – Nickel

4 – Sailboat, Sail

3 – Crab, Trey

2 – Deuce, Duck, Quacker

Double Aces – American Airlines, Pocket Rockets, Bullets

You will also hear the following terms thrown around quite frequently at the Texas Hold’em table:

The Nuts – The best hole cards at any point during the game

Bad Beat – When a hand that is a favorite to win loses

Hole Cards – The two cards that you are dealt

Kicker – The high card in your hand that may not be used in your hand but may be used to break a tie

Sandbagging – Playing a strong hand slowly or passively in an attempt to bluff a so-so hand

Under the Gun – The player seated directly to the left of the big blind

Commit these slang terms to memory and you’ll be talking like a pro in your next Hold’em game.

Switching it Up or There’s More to Life Than Texas Hold’em

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

These days Texas Hold’em is viewed by many poker players, online and off, as the end-all be-all of poker variations. It is the primary game in most poker tournaments, it is featured in films and television shows. In the world of poker, Texas Hold’em is clearly King.

Texas Hold’em was the first game I played, as that was the game of choice at poker night with my buddies. But when I started playing poker online I thought I’d try a change. After all, it can start to get old playing the same game time after time. If you want to switch to the only slightly less popular Omaha Hi-Lo, Caribbean Stud, 5-Card Poker, something more rare like Crazy Pineapple or another poker variation it will take a little work, but its good to put a little variety in your life.

The first thing you should do when switching to a different poker variation is study up on the rules and strategy. Having a comprehensive understanding of a game’s rules and strategy is the key to success. Remember that strategy varies from poker game to poker game. A starting hand that is great in Texas Hold’em may be only so-so or not good at all in another poker variation.

When you are ready to play, consider dropping down a few levels in the stakes department, or even try a free game. When starting out with a new game you’ll have to work your way back up to the top.