How to Ask for Poker Hand Advice

January 04, 2014 :: Posted by - admin :: Category - online gambling

bald-poker-playerIf you are losing your hair because of the online poker competition, it is time to improve your game. And one way to do so is to ask advice about such and such hand so that you learn from your mistakes.

Using forums to ask for strategy advice on specific hands and situations is pretty much a universal practice among aspiring online poker players. But many of these threads go unanswered, or worse, attract bad and overgeneralized advice. Useful posters have a tendency to only respond to threads with complete information about poker hands.

Here’s how to get the best results when seeking advice on a particular hand:

• In the title put the poker room name, type of poker and stakes, as well as a brief summary of the hand. (ex. 200nl on Pokerstars – Fold overpair to huge turn raise?)
• Include your stats that your opponent is likely to know about you. A good standard array is VPIP percentage, preflop raise percentage, 3-bet/4-bet stats, continuation bet stats and aggression factor. If you have played few hands with your opponent there is no need to include any at all.
• Mention your table image if you think you have done something that might have attracted your opponents attention, even if he wasn’t in the hand.
• Don’t forget that players that were in the hand earlier (or not at all, such as shortstacks and aggressive 3-bettors) can be relevant to the hand. This is a bit hard to have a knack for as a beginner, but err on the side of inclusion.
• Post the stats of your opponent that you had available to you at the time you played the hand. If you didn’t have time to look at his turn fold percentage, don’t include it now. It will skew the analysis.
• Post any relevant history with the opponent in question. If a brief written summary doesn’t explain the hand well, just post the hand before the one you have a question about.
• Include any other relevant background information. Does your opponent play a lot of tables, is he known to tilt, does his screen name reveal skill level, does he normally play higher stakes, etc.?
• Use a hand converter. There are some free hand converters online that work across a variety of formats. This usually includes positions, stacksizes, and a running count of the pot size, as well as the action of the hand. If you aren’t using a hand converter make sure to include these things.
• Don’t include the results of the hand! Even as a spoiler, it probably isn’t a good idea. If you really want to share it with someone, just wait till you have gotten a satisfactory response before revealing the results.
• Be polite. Don’t post a hand for the sake of defending your ridiculous play. Ignore bad posters.

Recent tournament

November 04, 2012 :: Posted by - admin :: Category - poker

tourneyDoug Lee and Gavin are the prominent Canadian players still left but Doug doesn’t last much longer.

Talking to him later, he confessed, “I struggled with being short-stacked, got some breaks utilizing my chips, but I ended up getting knocked out in forty-third place. The calibre of players was pretty good.

There were a lot of Canadian pros and some good US players. I like playing the events in Canada. I finished second in the Deerfoot CPT event last November and the great thing about winning in Canada is that it’s tax-free.”

His comments on Johnny Chan included, “Johnny Chan has been a great poker player for many years. He has proved himself with ten bracelets alongside Phil Hellmuth and having him here meant a lot to many people.” From here, Doug plans to head back to Calgary to rest up for his annual pilgrimage to the WSOP.

Holding medium pair with a flush draw seemed OK. Unfortunately Tony Ng flopped 2 pair with his K-3 and busted the 2006 Player of the Year after pushing his 486K. Out in 15th is the great white (north) hope for an entertaining final table.J10o looks harmless enough. Gavin raises a bet all-in with his 99. Gavin lasts until LVL 19 (10K/20K +2K) when a flop of K72 hurts him a bit.

The river is inconsequential and Tommy goes from chip leader to middle of the pack while Keith spends several minutes stacking his chips. I’ll have to ask Brian Alspach what the odds are of flopping the nut and second-nut flush, but I suspect they’re not good. With about a half a million dollar swing it’s a pivotal hand with only 13 players left. Keith checks, Tommy fires again with 300K. This time Keith raises all-in and Tommy insta-calls. The so called “steal” hand turned out quite different, with Keith holding A•7•for the nut flush and Tommy with the K•4• for second-nut.

The A6o key hand approaching the televised bubble, involved Tommy Pavlicek and Keith Wintermans. Tommy raised preflop to 80K, which Keith called. A flop of 5•6•8• looked like a great opportunity for a steal from someone, so when Keith checked, Tommy was quick to bet 125K. Keith calls. Turn is the harmless 2.

Not until 1:30 in the morning did the night end when Tommy pushes all-in with Q-Q and get called by Narinder Khasria with A-K. It’s over quick when a Queen appears on the flop and turn, leaving Narinder with about 40K, which he pushes with on the next hand. His desperate attempt doesn’t hold up and the Milton, ON native is busted in 11th, leaving a final table in his wake; not too bad for someone who was playing in his first tournament and collected $15,000 to help find his way into more tournaments in the future.

Breaking for the night, our final table is an eclectic mix of amateurs, colourful misfits, seasoned players, a televised table repeater and cantankerous malcontents. For some players it just about the poker, for others, it’s a great once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Unfortunately for others, it’s just a big hassle and for those who downplayed the experience, found themselves… well, downplayed.

Starting Hands in Texas HoldEm

November 12, 2011 :: Posted by - admin :: Category - online poker

No other casino game offers similar advantages to those we enjoy in the poker room. The other games don’t even come close. What other game allows you to view your cards and then decide whether you will play or not, even before you have placed a bet?

The importance of selecting good starting hands can’t be overstated. Some players seem to believe any two cards may end up getting “hit in the mouth” on the flop. In the short term one might see profits from playing low quality starting hands.

Over a period of time, however, the profit derived from low quality starting hands will invariably turn into a loss.

There are many considerations regarding starting hands including but not limited to:

The quality of your hole cards,
Your chip stack,
Your opponents chip stacks,
Your position at the table,
The size of the pot,
The aggressiveness or passiveness of players yet to act,
In tournament play you will also want to consider the stage of the tourney.

If you try to start out with an inferior hand (hoping it will hit on the board), then you place yourself in a position of having to play catch-up time after time. Over the course of time this will have a negative effect on your bankroll. All other things being equal, over time the player who generally plays better starting hands will emerge as the more profitable player.

Consider this: in each hand of poker that is dealt, there are likely to be two or three players who are dealt good cards. If you decide to play with inferior cards you have to beat all the people who have been dealt good cards. Over time the results of playing inferior starting hands against good hands will create a negative expected income from your poker play.

Obviously the blinds and the player on the button will enjoy greater latitude to play weaker starting hands, but don’t get crazy. If you’re in good position and can limp in then go ahead and you may get lucky. If you don’t get lucky then you should get out of the betting before any more of your chips go into the pot.

Until next time, good luck on the felt.

Pokerstars bonus code

June 18, 2011 :: Posted by - admin :: Category - Uncategorized

Pokerstars is still the largest online poker site in the world, even though they are not offering real money games in the United States anymore. It seems that a new online poker legislation should rapidly been enacted in the US, but pokerstars will probably not been allowed to get a license there for a long time given that they are currently sued by the Department of Justice for money laundering and other frauds related to online gambling.

On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, Pokerstars is the dominating force in European online poker. This is a much more segmented market and indeed the American market may look more and more like it, as each State can decide to ban or to regulate online poker once a clear federal law has been implemented. So in Europe each country has its specific legislation.

In France for example a new online gambling law was voted in 2010 that regulates online poker. Online casinos are totally banned and online sports betting is very tightly regulated in order to protect the Government operators such as PMU. For online poker each operator must obtain a license from ARJEV and this is a stringent process. Pokerstars got one, so if you use the code marketing pokerstars you can register there.

In Italy only online poker in the form of tournaments is offered, but no ring games. On the other hand Great Britain is a very free country when it comes to online gambling and most types of games or betting are allowed. The UK has a very long history of allowing all sorts of gambling games and some of their bookmakers were created in the nineteenth century.

In Germany people play online poker as well, but they are working on regulations that may change that. Most other European countries do not have a clear online gaming as well. Some countries are heavens for gambling operators, such as the Isle of Man, Malta or Cyprus. These small island states benefit from their status as a sovereign land to allow and license gambling in order to collect fees and attract businesses.

Segmented is the word in online gambling and the trend will only get stronger.

Online casinos in China

February 01, 2011 :: Posted by - admin :: Category - online casinos

Guess what the US did? They boast of providing freedom of thought and expression to its citizens, but how come they have formulated a perplexing law named UIGEA for prosecuting as well as blocking online casinos. It seems that the US is determined to thwart online gambling sites from operating, following the footsteps of China religiously for once.

China has already brought its citizens’ Internet activities under the scanner, deploying some of the best technicians in the country to spy on people. Besides, it has passed laws to censor online content. The country also scrutinizes the usage of the Web to find out sites that are deemed inappropriate, such as those encouraging free expression, dissension with politics or online casinos.

China has also ordered all Internet cafes to install mechanisms letting the government easily spy on the users, for the pretext of safeguarding copyrights. The government also asked businesses to utilize licensed copies of China’s indigenous software named Red Flag Linux, or Microsoft Windows. However, more emphasis is given to using local software. Government officials claim that the Red Flag software is the perfect anti-virus system, assuring that cafes abiding by the laws shouldn’t lose their sleep over surveillance.

Monitors have been installed for scrutinizing politically incorrect sites, gambling and pornography sites. This stringent measure taken by China has led to the imprisonment of many offending citizens. So, whether it’s assessing a politically sensitive site for project work or pornography for a moment of pleasure, the citizens of China have to be very careful of what they are downloading. They can be jailed!

China has a deep-rooted culture and maybe the government officials are too loyal to see it erode. But, the question here is not about eroding culture but dictating the people what to do and what not to do.

Now, the same thing is happening in the US. China has set an example and the US is determined to follow it. Right now, the ban has been laid on online gambling sites. Soon, it’d be on pornography, and then on political expression that the government doesn’t like. Gradually, this might even be followed by anything that the government doesn’t like. Who knows?

a bad poker session

December 01, 2010 :: Posted by - admin :: Category - online poker

A Bad night at Pokerstars. I hit my stop loss of $150 in about 45 minutes two tabling 2/4. I know that 38 big blinds is probably a small stop loss, but I tend to tilt and start playing Axs, small suited connectors from early position, and crap like that, so I just stop playing ring games. Nothing I think I played horribly tonight, I just had KK vs. AA, set over set, missed my draws, got redrawn when I flopped a flush, that sort of thing. A really ugly session with pure bad luck and I can only hope it does not happen too frequently, otherwise I will say bye bye to online poker. What a nightmare, even for a short session.

The stop loss rule is new for me this week, after reading the thread in bankroll management at various online poker forums. I just got hit up a couple multi table tournaments. I cashed just in the money in a 10+1 mega at Party Poker and a 5+.5 Cannonball at Full Tilt Poker. I also cashed in the minor player freeroll at Party Poker, so all in all a good finish to a frustrating evening session. Now I need to work on getting deeper in the money.

I am watching some poker video by Daniel Negreanu right now in his training site to pick up some pointers. He is such a successful tournament player, I hope I can pick something from his brain. Only Phil Ivey has better tournament results, so there is no question that Daniel knows what he is talking about. And he is so entertaining to watch and listen to. I like his concept of small ball poker, this is a technique I am going to add to my poker strategy. This will add an element of randomness in my game and this should make me less predictable. And we all know that predictability is the worse enemy of a poker player.

Poker Hands Ranked

August 23, 2010 :: Posted by - admin :: Category - poker

The game of poker, in almost all its variations, relies on the value of different combinations of cards. The cards that you have in your hand are what decide whether you win or lose, bet or fold. Certain combinations outrank others, and it is important to familiarise yourself with the winning and losing combinations so that you recognise them when they appear. Poker hands are ranked on the likelihood of their appearance, so the combinations that appear less frequently are of course ranked more highly. Check out At the end of a poker game, the player with the highest hand wins the pot. Here is a list of poker hands ranked from highest to lowest.

A Royal Flush is the best combination of cards. It consists of the 5 highest cards of the deck, the 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace, all in the same suit. What suit it is doesn’t matter, as long as all 5 cards are the same.

A Straight Flush consists of any five cards of the same suit in consecutive order, for example 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 all of hearts.
Four of a Kind means four cards of the same denomination, for example all the Queens in all the four suits. The fifth card can be any other card from any other suit.

A Full House is a hand that includes three cards of the same denomination, such as 3 4s, as well as a pair of cards from any other denomination, such as 2 Jacks. The overall hand therefore would be 4, 4, 4, Jack, Jack. Ties are broken by the worth of the three of a kind and then the pair.

A standard Flush is five cards of the same suit but in non consecutive order, such as the 2, 5, 7, 10 and King of hearts.
A Straight hand is five consecutive cards that don’t have to be of the same suit. You could have the 3, 4 and 5 of diamonds, the 6 of hearts and the 7 of spades, for example.

Three of a Kind is when you have three cards of the same denomination and two different ones, for example 3 Queens, a 4 and a 9.
A Two Pair is when you have two pairs of cards of the same denomination and one different one, for example 2 8s, 2 4s and one Jack.

A Pair is any two cards of the same denomination and three different ones, for example 2 Queens, a 5, a 9 and a 10.
If no other hand is achieved, the highest card held wins. The value of cards goes from 2 to 10, then Jack, Queen, King and Ace. The Ace is the highest value card of all, although sometimes it is also used to represent the lowest value in a consecutive streak.

Recent online poker sessions

July 27, 2010 :: Posted by - admin :: Category - poker sessions

I manage maybe 5 to 15 hours per week of online poker, depending on the circumstances.

Currently I’m playing $100 NL 6-max and struggling to come to grips with it to be honest. I have a tiny win rate (less than 1PTBB) over 13,000 hands since I started it a couple of months back. Before then I was running pretty consistently at about 9PTBB on full ring $50′s and $100′s. But I really want to crack the 6 max as that is where the action is going to be in the near future I think.

I’m also going to devote some time to Pokerstars $15 Turbo SnG’s. These are good for when I’m a little antsy and I’m running an experiment to see if I can get my ratio of 1st places as high as possible. I play 2 at once.

This week I’ve played more than usual as I’m stuck at home waiting for the baby to come. So I’m more in the groove than I have been recently. This week I’ve played 14 $15 Turbo SnG’s and placed 1st in seven of them (and 3rd in one) for net winnings of $343 in 4-5 hours total.

The 6 max are packed with maniacs and sponges (calling stations who will raise/bet at you if you slow down). The Full Ring is an easier game to read. Swings can be insane in 6 max, but there are more games and more money to be made there in the long run. Not sure how the $25 tables play these days. But the $100 NL 6 max play very much like the maniac-fest that was the Party $25′s 18 months ago.

In 6 max Ring my winnings so far this week (ignoring bonuses) are $161 at 7 PTBB/100 (7.5hrs). I’m due a $90 bonus from pokerstars soon (I’ve cleared all the easier bonuses already). I tend to 2-table the 6max (but I used to 3-table full ring).

My roll started from a $50 deposit at PokerStars at the end of 2008 (since cashed back out). My lifetime winnings stand at +$8,433.16 and my current bankroll (spread across about 12 poker sites) is $4,179.42. I also have about $2,700 in bonuses waiting to be earned (mainly at PS, UB, Absolute and Carbon Poker). So I’m waiting until I make the jump to $200 NL before I go for clearing these.

I will try to post the biggest winning and losing hands of sessions for comments. This might also make me think twice before making stupid plays.

Why poker pros love pro bets

June 25, 2010 :: Posted by - admin :: Category - poker

If you follow poker in particular the big tournaments and the biggest poker stars from Phil Ivey to Doyle Brunson, you may have noticed that they all love to make huge prop bets among themselves.

For example when Phil Ivey just won his 8th WSOP bracelet at the $3,000 HORSE event, winning over $300k, it was reported that this money paled in comparison to the millions he will earn from all the prop bets he has made against other pros, betting that he will win a Gold Bracelet. Similarly Tom Dwan has wagered millions, but unfortunately for him he finished second in one event, very close to racking millions as well.

One of the greatest poker player of all times, Stu Ungar was famous for winning millions of dollars playing poker, but he is also known to have lost millions in bets including sports betting.

So why is it that all these poke pros love prop bets so much?

The answer in a nutshell is that in order to become a great poker player you must have a passion for calculating the probability of occurrence of various events, plus the ability to wager large sums of money with whomever disagree with you. Therefore the prop bets are just a side effect of the nature of top poker pros themselves. It is just in their nature, otherwise they could not (or would be very unlikely to) reach the pinnacle of poker.

Think about it.

For example a straightforward player will play almost ABC poker. He may attempt bluffs or semi-bluffs, mostly the easier ones such as a continuation bet on a missed flop or a semi-bluff with a double straight flush draw. And he will rarely attempt to call a bluff. If he plays against a solid player who makes a large bet to represent a large hand, he will usually fold and not doubt his hand’s strength. Yes but this is not the profile of a great player.

A great poker player like Phil Ivey will constantly evaluate the likely hands of their opponents, their tendencies to bluff or to trap, the dynamics of the table, and many other factors. And they will often take chances based on their convictions of the moment. For example if Phil thinks a player bluffs, he will raise him. If he got reraised, he may even 4-bet with queen high if his belief is strong. Or he could do a three barrel bluff with nothing. How many players can do that? Certainly not a straightforward predictable player.

So the point is that in order to be truly successful at the highest level of poker, you need to constantly judge situations and make bets accordingly and aggressively. In other words, they must put their money where their head is. So all these prop bets are just a natural extension of their poker pro deep personality.

Burt Reynolds and poker

May 14, 2010 :: Posted by - admin :: Category - poker

Hollywood icon Burt Reynolds played against the world’s greatest poker players and lived to tell the tale.

From Gunsmoke to Deliverance, The Longest Yard to Smokey and the Bandit, Cannonball Run to Boogie Nights. In his lifetime, Burt Reynolds may have single-handedly reinvented the leading man persona (not to mention the world’s appreciation for a good mustache). But his greatest challenge yet may have been making his latest film, Deal. In the film, Reynolds went toe to toe against poker players like Antonio Esfandiari, Isabelle Mercier, and Phil Laak. The experience left him humbled but ultimately made him a better poker player. Now if only Jackie Gleason was still around to play one last hand.

Burt, how was it acting with professional poker players? “I was fascinated by how these guys study their opponents, figuring out their tells and using psychology to outsmart them. I was very flattered when some of these young stars said they couldn’t tell if I was bluffing. I don’t think that was true before I started this movie. Before starting this film and studying the WPT DVDs, I was an ok poker player, but not great. I just didn’t see how you could win with no cards. I could never figure out how you “play the player.” But I watched and learned. Poker brings out the actor in me, and I was happy to hear some of these young poker stars say “Damn, you’re hard to read”.

The movie “Deal” is reminiscent of Color of Money. Burt’s character, Tommy Vincent, is an older guy who is a teacher to this young player. “I’ve been away from the game a long time, and this brings me back to it. I play a guy who is incredibly faithful and may actually be the most admirable character I’ve played in my 40 years of film. This film may be making me a better poker player and a better person.”

Anything to say about tells? “You know, my dad was a sheriff, and he always said the greatest tell of all was the eyes. That’s why so many guys wear sunglasses in poker.”

What is your home game experience. Burt: “I play with Charlie (Durning) once a month in this very famous game that (Hollywood superagent) Norby Walters hosts. He casts it like he casts a film. Norby says, “I need two leading men, two leading ladies, one comic, and three character actors.”"

If I’m there, then Tom Selleck isn’t invited. I don’t want anybody taller or more handsome than me, so that narrows it down. Among the women, Angie Dickinson is often there. She’s a terrific poker player and has a great laugh. She’s kind of bawdy, fun, and wonderful. You could say anything in front of her and she’d throw it right back.

One of the guys I’ve played a lot with is Jimmy Woods. He is a very skilled actor at the poker table and one of the brightest guys around. You know he went to MIT. He’s very subtle. He has a way of making other players feel as if they are holding up the game. He glares at you, as if to say, “What the hell’s the matter with you?”

I love playing with my old friend Jim Garner. I’ve known him forever. He’s good fun; we have great camaraderie. We kid each other that we’re not the ingenues. We’re getting to be “resident old character actors” now, but we don’t want to admit it.

For many years, Norby included Milton Berle in the game. He was great, but you had to watch him closely. He was the master of the double shuffle. Having done vaudeville all those years on the road, he learned just about every card game and every card trick. It got so that we just bypassed him every time the deal came around. Did it bother him? You bet, he cursed like the dickens.

Jackie Gleason was sensational at cards. I never met a vaudeville player who wasn’t. They could play 50 different card games. Playing cards on the vaudeville circuit, you could make some money.

When I was cast in the film Deal, I went back to watch Cincinnati Kid. Steve McQueen and I were good friends. I wanted to see again how he played his role. It was a really well-done performance. Knowing Steve as I did, I’m convinced he played poker a bit and became a student of the game before he took the film on. Watching those closing scenes, I know he just wanted to kill Edward G. Robinson. Robinson was beautifully contained. He just didn’t sweat.

Does being an actor make you a better poker player? Burt: “It’s supposed to. You’re not supposed to be able to read tells on a player’s face, and as an actor you should be able to hide tells. All those things an actor should be able to do should help you as a poker player. But real poker players, someone who makes a living at it, are truly amazing for what they don’t do. Things like giving you false tells.”

How was your downtime spent with the pro players? Burt: “I find them fascinating to be around. They can’t stand it just to be hanging around. They just have to be betting $23,000 on whether that girl is going to come over here or go right by us. It’s constant action.”

Is the competitive drive in sports the same as in cards? Burt: “Very good comparison. They have to keep athletes away from gambling because the very nature of being an athlete is to stay in there until you win. That can be very dangerous in gambling.”

What about your own poker game? Burt: “It sucks. Everybody is giving me tips on the set, thank God. But I’ve learned on this picture to at least look like I know what the hell I’m doing. ”

You think you know these guys. I got on the elevator the other night with the guy everybody loves to hate (Phil Hellmuth), and he said to me, “I love your work.” I said, “Shit! I wish you hadn’t said that.” He said, “You want to hate me, don’t you?” I said, “Yeah. You really do that well.” He said, “It’s just the role I play.” I guess it’s a little like wrestling; you play a role. He is so frigging arrogant, he just buries his opponents. “You don’t belong in this room, you don’t belong in this country!” You know that guy who talks all the time (Mike Matusow)? I wouldn’t last two seconds with him.

Is football a little like poker? Burt: “The closest thing you can say is you have to get up off the ground, dust yourself off, and go on. There’s no self-pity allowed in football. You can’t cry. It’s the no-cry league.”

I really appreciate the entertainment value of some of these guys. Actors can be really boring off camera because someone else gives us the clever lines. These guys have their own. Nobody writes them. I have certain guys I really like. There’s one guy with the cowboy hat (Hoyt Corkins) who is such a gentleman. “Well, thank you, sir. I was proud to lose to you.”

Do you have a poker face? Burt: “Funny, yesterday I was playing with one of the poker pros, and he said, “I can’t read you at all.” And I said I had a problem with that in acting at first, and that’s not good. You have to be able to read something in the actor’s face.”