Archive for July, 2008

A Beginner’s Guide To Texas Hold ‘Em Part 4 – How To Avoid Common Beginner Pitfalls

Saturday, July 19th, 2008

This is part 4 of a 4 part beginners series on how to effectively play Texas Hold ‘Em Poker. In Part 3 of this series we saw how holding a premium hand does not guarantee you a win. In this final part of the series we’re going to go over some of the most common pitfalls that often plague the beginner texas hold ‘em poker player.

Despite knowing which hands you should play pre-flop and how you should play them once the flop comes some beginner poker players still make some crucial mistakes that end up either costing them their entire chip stack or drastically crippling them.

Pitfall #1 – Moving all-in pre-flop with a premium hand

This is a very common mistake and while most often times it’s committed by a beginner poker player, several pros are also guilty of committing this error.

You’re holding A K in the BB and the SB decided to raise three times the big blind in the early rounds of a tournament. You figure your opponent has a strong hand but he’s still an underdog to your A-K if he calls. So you move all-in, everyone folds to the SB who calls and he shows you

A♠-J♠.
A K
Odds of winning 67.24%
vs.
A♠-J♠
Odds of winning 28.36%

The 4.40% discrepancy is in the unlikely event of a tie. For instance if the flop came 234♠ and the turn came 5 would make both players a straight resulting in a tie.

So in this case you’re slightly higher than 2 to 1 favorite to win the hand.

The flop comes

4♠ 7♠ K

Turn

Q

Only one more card to dodge

K♠

What a heart breaker, you just made a set but your opponent caught the flush on the river. Now you’re out of the tournament 76th out of 80 and you’re going home empty handed.

The point that needs to be stressed here is that regardless of whether you’re a favorite going to the flop it doesn’t mean that your opponent isn’t going to hit his 2% chance of catching the card he needs to beat your pair.

There are some instances in which it is conceivable to move all-in pre-flop with a strong hand like A K which is either when you are on the verge of elimination and you only have enough chips for a few big blinds or when the player against who you would be all-in has less than 20% of your chip stack. In all other circumstances the idea of moving all-in should not enter your mind and instead you should opt to outplay your opponent on the flop.

Pitfall #2 – Checking the flop with the best hand.

Aside from slow playing the absolute best hand, checking with the best hand on the flop is simply asking for trouble.

You’re holding A♠ Q and you simply call the big blind to see the flop.

The flop comes

10 8♠ Q
You check, perhaps because you don’t want to scare away your opponent.
He in turn calls you all-in. Now you start to think that you’re A♠ Q is probably trailing either a set or two pairs and you decide to fold. Your opponent smiles at you and flips over Q♣-2.

Did your opponent make the right move? Perhaps it was rash to move all-in in an attempted bluff, but you not betting your Q with the A kicker was an even bigger mistake that allowed your opponent to take control of the betting and made you doubt your hand.

This concludes the 4 part series on the beginner’s play of Texas Hold ‘Em Poker. Hopefully by now you feel more confident in your abilities as a poker player and you’ll be ready to crush the low limit cash games and tournaments. Be sure to come back to read the intermediate series on selecting your pre-flop hands which will cover suited and non-suited connectors as well as A-x and K-x hands.

High Rollers Lounge

Friday, July 18th, 2008

The pokeriot crew has been testing out Googles Lively and this is what we came up with:

Want so se more of the High Rollers Lounge please go to the official page.

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A Beginner’s Guide To Texas Hold ‘Em Part 3 – Playing A Premium Hand On The Flop

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

This is part 3 of a 4 part beginners series on how to effectively play Texas Hold ‘Em Poker. In Part 2 of this series we expanded a little more on which hands are suitable to play before the flop according to your odds of connecting on the flop. In part three of this series we will talk more about how to play these hands on the flop.

 

Your pre-flop hand selection is undoubtedly the most important factor to your overall success playing Texas Hold ‘Em poker, but that’s not to say you will win them all based solely on your pre-flop judgment. At the average online poker table a flop will be dealt approximately 30%-35% of the time, meaning that the other ~70% of the time the hand will be won pre-flop. The problem with that is a pre-flop pot will only be a few blinds and perhaps a raise, and if you are to going to win a poker tournament or make a considerable amount of money at a cash game you will need to learn how to play your cards right on the flop as well.

 

Remember that the odds of winning with a particular hand we discussed in the first part of this series is based on a heads-up all-in situation with a flop-turn-river showdown. These odds don’t take into consideration the fact that your opponent will most likely bet on the flop forcing you to either call, raise or fold.

 

With that being said let’s go through a few scenarios.

 

Scenario #1

 

Your hand 9♣ 9

Odds of winning heads up 72.1%

Odds of winning against 9 players 15.6%

Odds of flopping a set 11.76%

 

4 players call the big blind and now it’s up to you.

You raise 3 times the big blind

The big blind calls and two players call, the other two fold.

So now you’re 4 to the flop

 

A quick calculation reveals that you are now a 32.6% favorite to win the hand assuming everyone checks to the river.

 

The flop comes

K7♣ 6♣

 

The BB checks, Player 2 checks, Player 3 bets the minimum, and now it’s up to you. Let’s take a second and do a quick analysis of the board.

 

Q: How does your hand relate to the board?

A: Middle pair, only one overcard.

 

Q: Is it possible someone is holding a K in their hand?

A: The BB and player 2 checked which potentially rules them out. Player 3 bet the minimum which is generally a fishing bet and not representative of a K.

 

Q: Is it possible someone is holding 7-7 or 6-6?

A: Same as with the possibility of a K if someone was holding trips they would have bet out on the flop and more than the minimum amount.

 

Q: Are there any possible draws?

A: A club flush draw is possible.

 

Q: Are my pocket 9s good?

A: Only one way to find out: raise.

 

You raise half the pot.

 

The BB folds, player 2 fold. Player 3 thinks about it for a second and says those words you didn’t want to hear “I’m all-in”.

 

You fold immediately.

 

Chances are that player 3 was in fact holding either A-K or made a set on the flop.

 

Keep in mind that while you may have lost a small portion of your chip stack by raising a fractional amount of the pot you were able to determine that you were behind and most likely beat by an opponent who was bent on slow playing a stronger hand. In texas hold ‘em poker, a good laydown is often more valuable than a good win. Had your opponent been holding 6 or 7 he would have laid it down immediately following your raise.

Continue Reading… 

 

 

A Beginner’s Guide To Texas Hold ‘Em Part 2 – Expanding Your Starting Hand Selection

Friday, July 11th, 2008

This is part 2 of a 4 part beginners series on how to effectively play Texas Hold ‘Em Poker. In Part 1 of this series you learned the odds of winning pre-flop with the top 10 best starting hands in Texas Hold ‘Em Poker in a heads up situation as well as in a 10 player situation. Part 2 of this series will focus on expanding your starting hand selection based on the probabilities of connecting your hand on the flop.

As you saw in the first part of this series the odds of flipping over one of the top 10 hands in Texas Hold ‘Em are fairly slim. While playing conservatively and waiting to be dealt one of these hands is a good beginner strategy in a cash game where the blinds always remain the same, in a tournament with increasing blinds and antes this strategy will result in your being blinded and lead to an eventual early exit. Let’s take a look at some more odds to illustrate this logic:

Odds of being dealt either A-A or K-K 1 in 110.5, or 0.905%

This means that for every 110 hands dealt you will be dealt the pocket rockets or american airlines only once.

 

Odds of being dealt 7-7 or better 1 in 27.6, or 3.62%

Granted your odds are improving but you are still looking at very marginal odds.

 

Odds of being dealt ANY pocket pair 1 in 17, or 5.88%

Now you’re getting some slightly better odds but remember a pocket pair doesn’t always make you the favorite in a 10 way pot.

 

Let’s take a look now at the odds of improving your hand on the flop;

 

Flopping a set with ANY pocket pair 1 in 9.51, or 11.76%

Those odds make a lot of starting hands look more attractive. Your 2-2 which had coin flip 50% of winning pre-flop now has an extra 11.76% chance of winning on the flop.

 

What’s important to remember with low pocket pairs such as 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, 5-5, and 6-6 is that they are vulnerable to a lot of overcards that can come on the flop. While the odds of hitting a set on the flop are 1 in 9.5 which gives you great odds and justify a raise pre-flop if the flop doesn’t make you a set you need to be ready to throw your cards in the muck as soon as an opponent raises. Let’s look at an example:

 

Your hand: 3 3

Odds of winning heads up 53.7%

Odds of winning against 9 players 12.0%

Odds of making a set on the flop 11.76%

 

With any pocket pair you should always put in a raise pre-flop to knock-off as many players as possible to improve your odds.

 

You raise the standard 3 times the BB and you only have 1 caller.

 

Let’s look at two different flops to analyze how to act accordingly:

 

Flop #1

3♠ 5♠ 9

 

Great flop, you hit your 1 in 9.51 odds and made a set. You move all-in and your opponent folds.

*** Normally in this situation you would slow play your set to extract the most chips as possible from your opponents but we’ll save that for a more advanced lesson.

 

Flop #2

A♠ 9♣ Q♣

 

Now you’ve completely missed the flop and there are 3 overcards to your pocket 3s. Make a small continuation to see whether your opponent connected with that flop and if you are faced with a raise fold immediately.

 

The more advanced strategy in this situation would be to make a sizable continuation bet to represent a big hand and take down the pot but playing an underpair on the turn and river requires a deeper understanding of the game.

 

We’ve now expanded the starting hand selection to include lower pocket pairs. Here’s a quick reference guide of your odds of winning with these pocket pairs.

 

66

Odds of being dealt 0.45%

Odds of winning heads up 63.3%

Odds of winning against 9 players 13.1%

 

55

Odds of being dealt 0.45%

Odds of winning heads up 60.3 %

Odds of winning against 9 players 12.3%

 

44

Odds of being dealt 0.45%

Odds of winning heads up 57.0%

Odds of winning against 9 players 12.1%

 

33

Odds of being dealt 0.45%

Odds of winning heads up 53.7%

Odds of winning against 9 players 12.0%

 

22

Odds of being dealt 0.45%

Odds of winning heads up 50.3%

Odds of winning against 9 players 12.0%

Part 3 

 

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Total traffic on all poker sites

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

You are of course interested in knowing how much traffic the poker rooms have on their sites. We have compiled a list with a little help from Google Trends who derive information from, among other sources, Google Analytics. There are a few flaws in the data, one is that sub-domains are not counted, sites that are split up in sub-domains as Bwin shows less traffic than they actually have. The data is in no way 100% but this is the best data available for all of us that don’t work in the poker rooms themselves. We have tested the tool a lot and the data seems pretty sound for a tool like this.

Please note that this is the data for the traffic on the site itself, the client is not included. Pokerstars for example doesn’t look so big but they are.

Site
Unique
Biggest country
Biggest Keyword
Partypoker.com
1 500 000
Germany
Poker
888.com
700 000
UK
Pacific poker
Pacificpoker.com
200 000
UK
Poker, 888
Fulltiltpoker.com
100 000
US
Poker Edge
Pokerstars.com
100 000
US
Intelli
Ladbrokes.com
70 000
UK
William hill
Bwin.com
70 000
France
Unibet
PKR.com
60 000
UK
Poker
svenskaspel.se
60 000
Sweden
Bingolotto
CDPoker.com
50 000
Germany
Poker
titanpoker.com
40 000
France
Poker Gratuit
Bodoglife.com
35 000
US
Free online blackjack
everestpoker.com
30 000
France
Poker en ligne gratuit
Pokerroom.com
30 000
US
Poker Games
sportsbook.com
25 000
US
Sports Betting
Betus.com
10 000
US
Niki Cox
Betway.com
10 000
Spain
Sportingbet
Betsson.com
10 000
Sweden
Unibet
Absolutepoker.com
10 000
US
Ultimate bet
myBet.com
10 000
Germany
Sportwetten
UltimateBet.com
7 000
US
Poker Tracker
Ultimatebet.com
7 000
US
Poker Tracker
mansionpoker.com
5 000
UK
Poker Strategy
celebpoker.com
5 000
India
Free online poker
CarbonPoker.com
3 000
US
Poker
Pokerloco.com
3 000
Brazil
Regras Poker
PAF.fi
2 000
Finland
Veikkaus
Hollywoodpoker.com
2 000
US
Poker
Sportbet.com
2 000
US
Belmont odds
Doylesroom.com
1 000
US
Poker
interpoker.com
1 000
UK
Poker
LuckyAcePoker.com
1 000
Spain
none
ChiliPoker.com
1 000
France
Winamax
EmpirePoker.com
1 000
US
none

The unique stands for unique visitors each day, Biggest country is the country from where the site gets most traffic and biggest keyword is the word that in searches give most traffic to the site.

    Google trends data sources:

    Trends for Websites combines information from a variety of sources, such as aggregated Google search data, aggregated opt-in anonymous Google Analytics data, opt-in consumer panel data, and other third-party market research. The data is aggregated over millions of users, powered by computer algorithms, and doesn’t contain personally identifiable information.

    A Beginner’s Guide To Texas Hold ‘Em Part 1 – Selecting Your Starting Hands

    Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

    This is part 1 of a 4 part beginners series on how to effectively play Texas Hold ‘Em Poker. Part 1 of this series will focus on selecting your starting hands.

    Whether you’ve been playing texas hold ‘em poker for a few months or several years you will surely know by now that the most important decision you can make is which two cards you will play before the flop. Unfortunately you can’t count on flipping over two aces every time as you will be dealt the pocket rockets on average once every 220 hand or 0.45% of the time. Since those odds don’t seem very favorable you will need to loosen you starting hand requirements. Determining which two cards to play preflop is not an easy task and there are several factors to consider most importantly your position at the table but we’ll get into that later on in the tutorial. For now let’s review the top 10 texas hold ‘em poker starting hands.

    The hands are ranked according to the odds of winning preflop against one opponent.

    AA

    Odds of being dealt 0.45%

    Odds of winning heads up 85.3%

    Odds of winning against 9 players 31.1%

    KK

    Odds of being dealt 0.45%

    Odds of winning heads up 82.4%

    Odds of winning against 9 players 26.1%

    QQ

    Odds of being dealt 0.45%

    Odds of winning heads up 79.9%

    Odds of winning against 9 players 22.2%

    JJ

    Odds of being dealt 0.45%

    Odds of winning heads up 77.5%

    Odds of winning against 9 players 19.3%

    TT

    Odds of being dealt 0.45%

    Odds of winning heads up 75.1%

    Odds of winning against 9 players 17.2%

    99

    Odds of being dealt 0.45%

    Odds of winning heads up 72.1%

    Odds of winning against 9 players 15.6%

    88

    Odds of being dealt 0.45%

    Odds of winning heads up 69.1%

    Odds of winning against 9 players 14.4%

    AK Suited

    Odds of being dealt 0.3%

    Odds of winning heads up 67.0%

    Odds of winning against 9 players 20.7%

    77

    Odds of being dealt 0.45%

    Odds of winning heads up 66.2%

    Odds of winning against 9 players 13.7%

    AQ Suited

    Odds of being dealt 0.3%

    Odds of winning heads up 66.1%

    Odds of winning against 9 players 19.3%

     

    While it’s not important to memorize every single percentage, what is important is to realize that even pocket aces, the strongest starting hand in texas hold ‘em poker, are only a 31.1% favorite to win in a 10 way pot. As a beginner player the concept of slow playing a big pair is too advanced and requires a deeper understanding of possible outs and probabilities therefore until you become more comfortable with these concepts you should focus on always raising when you are dealt one of these top 10 hands so as to preferably go heads up to the flop.

    Let’s use an example to illustrate the importance of raising strong starting hands pre-flop. For the time being we will omit the positional advantage and just focus on starting hands.

    Your hand: A♠K♠

    At this point there are 9 players to act after you. If you call and everyone else calls your odds of winning at this point are 20.7%. The flop could come all ♠ giving you the best possible hand but it could just as well come all ♣ with no A or K thus putting you in a tough spot against 9 players as the odds of another player having x♣x♣ are approximately 25%.

    You raise three times the big blind everyone folds around to the BB who calls.

     

    Now your odds of winning before seeing the flop are 67.0%, you’ve just tripled your odds of winning a substantial pot.

    We’ll go into post flop play in the next few lessons, but here’s a preview.

    The flop comes

    A♣ 37

    A quick analysis of the board shows that you are now an 85% favorite to win the hand with your pair of aces and top kicker assuming your opponent did not flop a set or two pairs. You bet half the pot and unless your opponent is holding two pairs or made a set, he will fold.

    That concludes the first lesson on the top 10 starting hands in texas hold ‘em poker. Remember the key is to raise before the flop to knock off as many players as possible in order to improve your odds of winning.

    The second part of this series will go into more detail about how to select your starting hands based on the probabilities of connecting on the flop.

     

    Part 2 

     

    Poker bonuses

    Monday, July 7th, 2008

    The bonuses in poker online can vary a lot from site to site. How big the bonuses are an a certain site is usually a sign of how valuable the poker room consider their bonus players. Of course, the amount of profit they want to make on the player is also a factor, a fresh poker room might want to get attention by offering bigger bonuses than they actually can afford in the long run.

    Two poker rooms that have profiled themselves as big bonus rooms are PokerLoco and Hollywood, both offering massive amounts in bonus to their bonusplayers. Hollywood with bonuses on several hundred percent and PokerLoco with a thousand percent bonus.

    There is no doubt that you can make a lot of money playing for poker bonuses but you have to go about it the right way. The usual way is of course to keep playing a lot at a poker room with big repetitive bonuses but the ones that really benefit from the bonus system are the guys that go through all the rooms. By getting the maximimum first deposit bonuses on all the poker rooms and playing really tight until they have raked enough they are able to cash out the maximal bonuses from all the poker rooms. This is a sort of parasitic approach to the bonus system and it has made a lot of poker rooms change their systems a bit. Bonuses used to be paid even without any deposit earlier, they used to be paid out with less rake and a lot of people took advantage of this.

    There is still a possibility to do the bonus thing and race through all the poker rooms hoarding bonuses and player points. It’s not as it used to be a couple of years ago but you can still make a decent living from it if you’re a student or if you just have nothing to do at night.

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    What to do if I win WSOP?

    Thursday, July 3rd, 2008

    I am thinking of playing the WSOP this year. Last year Jerry Yang from California took home a staggering $ 8,250,000 with his win. I have already started to think about what I would do with kind of money.

    On my list so far:

    Quite my day job right away. No reason to stress to work everyday if I have millions on the bank.
    Minimize my poker game (I do not want to loose all that monet right away)
    Pay of all my debts
    A new car, probably a Porsche (always wanted one)
    A Panerai Watch, probably a Panerai Radiomir Chrono Rattrapante
    A trip around the world
    A summer house in south Europe (probably Spain or Italy)
    Last but not least, something for my girlfriend

    The rest of the money I will hopefully invest wisely.

    Have I forgotten anything important on my list?

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