Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Art of Observing in Poker

Part of the reason why a lot of poker players fail is due to their lack of appreciation on the importance of observation. Poker is not a game where in your actions are automated; the fact is that by keeping your eyes open, before and after the session, you will be able to win more games and make more money.

If you continuously study your opponents you are guaranteed to learn a lot. It's that simple. Most of the time you spend playing you will not be involved in a hand, and you should use that time to observe your opponents. Watch how each player plays their poker hand and use that information against them. It is important to listen to what they say. A lot of poker players will tell you what kind of hand they threw away or why they played a hand in a certain way. Try to figure out what they are holding and put them on hands whether you are involved in the pot or not. Consequently, when you are playing a hand with them, you will know what their checks, bets, calls and raises mean.
Pay equal attention to your own poker game and think of your poker table image at all times. You will notice that some players do not examine the game at all and therefore your table image is virtually non-existent when playing against them. Just as you search for tells in your opponents, look for tells in yourself. When you spot one in an opponent, consider whether or not you are displaying that very same tell.

Observation is key in poker, yet the fact remains that very few adhere to it. It is time consuming, true, but it will pay off. The more time that you spend in observing the game, learning from your opponents and taking stock of your money, the more skilled and polished you will be.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Patience Tells in Poker Skills

The really good poker players will tell you that one of the must haves for being a good poker player is patience.
Patience is required to hang around in a game until you get just the hand you were waiting for. A good player also needs to be disciplined enough to know which games he can play and which he should quit early. A disciplined player will quickly realize when the edge is lacking, would bother to take notes of how each hand transpired and would take steps to ensure mistakes are not repeated. When you have both of these almost half the skills required to be play poker is acquired.

When you are playing poker for money and there is lot of it involved it is imperative that your mind is sharp and thinking is lightning fast. Learn to think on your feet, take mental notes, and use the data in a statistical sense to make each hand as effective as possible. One another very important aspect or skill that is required in a poker player is the ability to keep emotions under check. Your face should not give away what you are feeling. Keep what is called a poker face…it is a skill

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Limit Holdem Rules and Procedures

Limit Holdem is one of the most popular variants of the Texas Holdem family of poker games, and its tournaments continue to draw huge fields and talented players each year wherever they are contested across the World.

1. The first two players to the left of the dealer button---which marks the position of where an actual player-dealer world be if participants took turns dealing---are required to post the blinds. A blind bet is a wager a player is required to put in the pot before receiving any cards. In our example game, the player immediately to the left of the dealer puts in a blind bet of $2 and the player two seats to the left of the dealer puts in $4. In online sites, this is all handled automatically by the software. So, in this game, there is $6 in the pot that players than can compete for even before any cards are dealt.

2. The computer shuffles and distributes one card at a time face down to each player, beginning to the left of the button, and continuing clockwise until each participant has two cards. These two cards are the only ones each player will receive during a hand of holdem.

3. The action begins with the player to the left of the big blind. Each player, acting clockwise in turn, must call the previous bet, raise it $4, or throw the hand away.

4. All bets are added to the pot, along with the original blinds, in the center of the table.

5. If you bet or raise and all your opponents fold, you win what’s in the pot, and there is no subsequent dealing or betting on this hand.

6. If there are callers and no raise, the big blind has the option to raise, even though he has only been called. This is called a live blind.

7. If two or more players remain after the first round of betting, the deal continues. Three face-up cards will be dealt all at once in the center of the table. This is called the flop.

8. Players coordinate the two secret cards held in their hand with the three cards face up on the board to form their five-card poker hand. There is a second round of betting, beginning to the left of the dealer. All bets remain at the pre-established $4 limits.

9. If two or more players remain after the second round of betting the deal continues. The dealer turns over a fourth communal board card in the center of the table. This is called the turn card.

10. There is a third round of betting, beginning with the first active player to the left of the dealer. All bets now double to $8.

11. If two or more players remain after the third round of betting, the deal continues. The dealer delivers a fifth and final communal board card in the center of the table. It’s called the river card.

12. There is a fourth and final round of betting, beginning to the left of the dealer. All bets remain at $8.

13. If two or more players remain after the final betting round, there is a showdown to determine the winner. The computer turns the winning two cards face up on the table. The best hand is determined by incorporating those two cards and any of the five communal board cards to form the best traditional five-card poker hand. The player having that best hand wins all the money in the pot.

14. The dealer button moves clockwise, one spot to the left, the blind bets are placed for the next hand, and the process is repeated.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Pot-Limit Omaha

Pot-Limit Omaha is a unique game. It is one of the few poker games that is much more widely played in Europe than in North America. Pot-Limit Omaha also is a game that tends to have huge swings. Even a poor player can be lucky one night and win almost all of the chips at the table in a game of Pot-Limit Omaha. It is also one of the few games that tends to be associated with higher stakes. While there are many low- and mid-stakes Pot-Limit Omaha games played at home, on the internet, and in UK casinos, Pot-Limit Omaha tends to be played for fairly high stakes in most offline casinos. However, this article is intended to help beginners learn Pot-Limit Omaha. This is NOT intended for people planning on playing the higher-stakes games.

Pot-Limit Omaha is very different from Hold'em. In Hold'em, people commonly call down with second best hands. This is because people rarely hold the nuts in Hold'em. If someone always folded their made non-nut hands in Texas Hold'em, they would be a guaranteed loser in the long run. One must call or bet with imperfect hands such as top pair or bottom set.

Pot-Limit Omaha centers on two things: building the nut hand, and position. The first point is obvious. The hands are strong in Pot-Limit Omaha, so you want to be able to hold the best hand. Most Pot-Limit Omaha games do not go to a showdown. When they do, more than likely one player has the nuts or was drawing to the nuts. When two players have strong made hands against each other, generally one has the nut hand or second-nut and the other player also has a near nut hand.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Changing Gears When Playing Poker

A good poker player is unpredictable and is able to change gears. The way you do this is dependent on your opponents and your table image.
If you have been playing solid poker and were not once caught bluffing, you will have substantial bluff equity. If you have been playing loose and bluffing a lot, you will be in a position to get paid off when you hold a good poker hand. When your opponents are playing tight, you should play looser and, when they are loose, you should tighten up your game. Always try to be one step ahead of your opponents.
It is the ability to balance your game by changing gears at the right moment that makes you unpredictable. This is why you should occasionally advertise plays when you know you will be playing with the same players for a while: show them hands you do not normally play and mix up your play to cash in on those plays later. This is not as important when playing online poker since people usually don't pay as much attention to the game and also because players move around a lot. However, it should still be done under the right circumstances.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Manage Your Money in Poker Games

Win money is the basic aim in poker games. If you are unable to manage your money,it is impossible to be a steady winner no matter how good you are.

Money management means only playing in games you can afford and knowing how much you are expected to win in the long run. The reason that so many skilled poker players go broke is that they constantly play at limits that are not supported by their bankroll. There will be times when you are just plain unlucky for a longer period of time though you are playing well. You must have a bankroll large enough to handle these expected swings in poker.
For example, you should have a bankroll of 300 times the big bet when playing Limit Hold'em. If you are a winning Limit player and have 100 times the big bet in your bankroll, and you always cash out or use your winnings for other expenses and never let your bankroll grow, inevitably you will go broke.

Learn to manage your money in poker games and you will be the winner…

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Watch Your Opponents When Playing Poker

Watch your opponents closely. A lot of poker players after their game will tell what hand they had and what they were waiting for. Learn to take in such information as it will help you to know how all the player is likely to play. You also need to learn to reflect on what you say while at poker table. Make sure that you are not giving away much even if it is an after the game comment. Remember you are likely to play the same opponents sooner or later.

A good poker player will always be a step ahead of the opponents.
Poker is a lot about bluff and if you have been playing your hand right the chances of you getting caught bluffing is very little. Use bluff sensibly. It is important to play against the tide. If your opponents are playing a very loose game it is at such times that you need to tighten up your game. When your opponents are playing a very tight game play a loose hand. This approach will unsettle your opponents and give you an edge over them. As a player always remain unpredictable do not develop a routine to how you play, remember that others at the table will be observing you. Once in a while show your opponents the hand you have, call it quits saying you would not usually play with such a hand. The next time or in the next game continue to play with a similar hand and make the most of it.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What is Important in Poker

Poker is played for money. Money is how we keep score. But correct play is not judged by who wins the most money. Correct play is a matter of positive expectation on our actions -- and our actions include many more things than merely betting. I don't like to think in terms of "the best players" because that is basically meaningless. The best players though are the ones who play correctly. The best players are the ones who consistently get the best of it the best.
A player who could be or even should be a great winning player is not a great player if he makes losing choices. Circumstances dictate a player's ability. If the best Hold’em player in the world were to walk into a cardroom every day and only play stud, that person could be a poor, losing player, even though he could be more successful than anyone else if he made other choices.
Skill is not some mysterious ability that doesn't ever exist in actual reality. Skill is only skill when it is applied. Some folks who can be great players in some situations are complete fish in others. Some of the most talented poker players are dead busted because they in fact often play poker terribly.

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Monday, February 9, 2009

Don't Let Your Mistakes Compound

The fewer bad decisions you make, the more successful you’ll be at poker

Poker is a game of decisions. It doesn't matter if you're multi-tabling online or playing a single table live, you'll be put to the test often and every decision is important.

You are playing poker - by definition, you win money by making better decisions than your opponents. The fewer bad decisions you make, the more success you will have.

Mistakes are inevitable however. Nobody plays perfect poker, and even the best in the world make mistakes.

If nobody made mistakes, nobody would ever win in the long run. Everyone would just trade money back and forth playing perfect poker while slowly losing money to the rake. That's not my idea of fun. Mistakes are what fuel the poker economy.

So if even the best players in the world make mistakes, what makes them different from you or me?

Great poker players never let their mistakes compound. They take each decision independently and make the very best choice of action they possibly can, whereas when a new player makes a mistake, they often fall off the rails and allow their blunders to multiply.

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Friday, February 6, 2009

Hand Reading Skills

In order to make fundamentally correct plays, it is important to have some idea about what you are up against. So how do you put your opponent on a hand? Simple: pay attention. Whether you are in the current poker hand or not, you need to pay attention to the action at all times in order to learn what your opponents’ tendencies are. By simply watching the aciton, you will likely be able to find the answers to the following questions:

On the Pre-flop
1. What hands will opponents raise with?
2. What hands will they call with?
3. Do they play conservatively or loosely from early position?
4. How often do they defend their blind to a raise?
5. Do they raise a lot of hands, or are they on the careful side?

On the Post-Flop
1. What type of hands will they check raise with?
2. Do they play draws aggressively or passively at a poker table?
3. Do they slow-play made hands?
4. Do they ever bluff in a poker game?
5. Do they fold often on the flop, or will they call all the way to the river?

These are ten questions that you will learn the answers to simply by paying attention and making mental notes. And the more you play, the better you will get at it.

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