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Holdem Strategy Archives

The game of poker is a game that is won by good decisions made at the right time.  There is no clear cut winning poker tournament formula.  But, there are poker tournament tips that can serve to guide any poker player in winning a tournament.  Playing a poker cash game is entirely different from playing in a tournament.  The ultimate goal in playing in a tournament is to win all the chips in play.  A more aggressive poker tournament formula is necessary to implement as part of poker tournament tips that could result in major winnings on the table.

At the end of this article I’ll direct you to what I have found to be some of the  best poker tournament formula to be found in books.  I generally advocate poker training sites as being preferable to texts, but these are stand out publications that are basically a must read for tournament players.

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Poker Bad Beats – How To Prevent Tilt

Guest Author: Grant Kennedy

Taking a bad beat in poker can be a really frustrating thing.  A bad beat, in poker parlance, is losing a hand that is initially thought of as a winning hand.  This often happens for example when someone who has a hand of a pair of aces or any suited cards continues through the betting rounds upping the ante every time only to lose to a player who simply gets lucky when making an improbable draw or hitting a miracle card.  Poker bad beats such as this happens all the time, is part of variance, and is considered to be a normal occurrence that any good poker player should know how to accept.  Not all good hands result in winning the pot, good hands also result in poker bad beats.

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Turbo Poker Tournament Strategy

Turbo poker tournaments have gained immense popularity of late, especially on the World Wide Web and online poker sites. Almost all major online rooms provide a good combination of turbo, super turbo as well as extreme or hyper turbo poker games. In this article, we will focus on the basic Turbo poker tournament strategy in its’ various stages.

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Strategies For 4 Man Heads Up Sit n Go’s

Despite its propensity for higher variance, heads up poker is increasing in popularity in both ring games and sit n go’s.  Its diversity from other forms of poker necessitates a different style of play, and we’re now going to take a look at some effective strategies for 4 man heads up sit n gos.

As most 4 man HU SnG’s involve a flat payout to the winner, clearly that’s our goal.  Getting there usually requires a combination of understanding the general concepts behind winning heads up play, and being prepared to be adaptable to ensure we’re playing optimum poker irrespective of the style of our opposition.

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Poker Outs & Odds

This is a quickie but a goodie.  I realised one thing we didn’t cover when we took a look at calculating poker pot odds and our discussion of implied odds earlier was simply what percentage we had of making our hand depending on the number of outs in the deck.  Remember that ‘out’s are cards in a deck that make our hand.  For example, if we are on a heart flush draw with two hearts on the flop, we typically have 9 outs (nine heart cards still left in the deck that make our five heart flush). 

Now, we did take a look at one easy way to calculate our pot odds, but if you kick ass at counting how many outs you have, it also pays to commit to memory the percentage likelihood of hitting our hand depending on our number of outs. 

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Falling Off The Tilt Wagon

One of my best friends father was a chronic alcoholic. It was a serious and debilitating disease which ultimately took his family away from him, and then later him from them. I start this post with a slightly downbeat tone because it ties in with one of the morals of the story, namely that no matter how bad things can be, they could always be worse, and a frame of reference can help give us perspective. Ok…enough serious stuff.

So how does my mate’s dad liking a mid morning nip relate to poker I hear you say? Well, on a much smaller scale and on the frame of reference of poker alone, there is an equally debilitating disease which, much like an addiction, can be an unwanted influence on our health. By health I mean the size of our bankroll, and I am of course talking about tilt.

I used to tilt. I used to tilt a lot.
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No Limit Hold Em Strategy – Poker Pot Odds

A while ago we started a series on no limit hold em strategy and looked at essentials like bankroll management, different playing styles and pre flop play.  In this post we’ll revisit that all important element of poker…pot odds.

Poker pot odds can be approached from a fairly elementary standpoint, but in later posts we’ll be looking at more complex situations where ascertaining pot odds takes more than using the fingers on our hands to count our outs (if only it were that easy). 

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iTune, uTune, We All Scream For Good Tunes

Believe it or not, this article is ultimately about playing good poker, but we’re going to approach the topic from a slightly oblique angle, so hopefully you’ll forgive me. You see, I’m currently listening to my latest downloads on iTunes, which include some pretty cool riffs.  In fact, the songs I’m listening to are so good, that I’m inlcined to forget the fact that it’s currently 2:30am, and even though I’m crushing a $1/2 game on Stars, I have to get up for a blistering day of work in just 4 measly hours.

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Texas Hold Em Poker Tips It Pays To Remember

Ever had a session where you know you played like crap?  Nevermind…it’s a rhetorical question.  If you read that first sentence and started shaking your head you’re either delusional, very lucky, or very very very good.  I’m none of those things, so I’ll happily admit there are days where despite everything I’ve learned about poker over the last few years I still play like a randy virgin taking his first shot at popping his cherry…in other words, I am completely devoid of insight or style, and generally fumble around or **** things up. After a hell session it can sometimes pay dividents to reflect on where things went wrong, and get back to basics.  In this post, I’m going to revisit some of the core texas hold em poker tips to avoid donkey plays, particularly in tournament poker.  

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I have a friend who plays in our regular home games who is a rock.  I mean he is tight…super tight.  Think of a joke involving tight, and the virgin mother’s nether regions, and we’re at least starting to get close to just how rigid this bloke is with his hand selection.  Now, I sometimes get called a rock, but that’s just fine with me.  I always enjoy making a point of bluffing the name caller out of a key pot during the game, and I try not to be too smug about the fact that they walk away believing they made a brilliant laydown.  The thing is though, whilst playing tight aggressive poker might be a good starting frame of reference, not having the ability to change gears when the situation demands it can be a loosing proposition.

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Taking a bad beat in poker can be a really frustrating thing.  A bad beat, in poker parlance, is losing a hand that is initially thought of as a winning hand.  There are varying degrees of bad beats.  Frequently, a bad beat is preceeded by some form of muppetry played out by a donkey who the poker gods have a hard on for.  An example - having your all in bet called by someone with bottom pair against your set, only to see them hit running cards for a straight.  A lesser degree of bad beat but no less typical, would be when someone who has a pair of aces  continues through the betting rounds upping the ante everytime only to lose to a player who simply gets lucky in making a gutshot draw.  Poker bad beats such as this happens all the time and are considered to be a normal occurrence that most of us need to learn how to accept.  Ask any poker player, they can tell you a bad beat story.  If you find a player who has a poker bad beat story but chooses not to tell it, chances are they can handle themselves at the table.

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Its doubtful Chris Moneymaker knew in 2003, when he won the World Series of Poker that he’d change the way the world looks at poker, but it’s true nonetheless.  Since then, people from around the world and certainly this author, have dreamed of sitting at the final table, holding pocket aces, and staring down Jackie Chan.

However any decent player knows you’re only as good as your last game (or tournament) and learning to play a good sit n go game can generate some serious cash very quickly (skill and the poker gods not withstanding) .

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No Limit Hold Em Strategy – Pre Flop Poker

This is the third part of our series on No Limit Texas Hold Em Strategy, and we’re going to take a look at where things all begin…pre flop poker strategy.  A poker hand pre flop is a little bit like the start of a first date.  We’ve made our selection carefully, we can feel the potential, and we’re a little bit excited about how things might develop. The only real difference is that unlike a date, in a poker hand we’re really not looking to get screwed.  Here are a couple of factors to keep in mind when playing your hand pre-flop.

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In texas hold em winning hands with massive holdings is easy.  It doesn’t take long to learn what beats what, and when we hit a monster like a full house or flush it’s less a question of whether we will win but how much we can extract from a hand.  However, in hold em, particularly tournament play, we won’t always hit the big hands we need to stay alive.  When this happens, winning hands without the holdings can be key to our enduring success.  Many players simply lack the experience or balls to make strong plays when our opponents show weakness, so we’ll examine a few of the situations where we can look to take down pots, even when our hole cards are against us.

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This is the second part of our series on No Limit Hold Em Strategy, and in this post we’ll take a look at the first poker playing style we want to master at the tables…tight aggressive.  Of all the playing styles new players should try to emulate, this is the one.  The reasons are numerous, but the advantages clear. 

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No limit hold em strategy is a massive topic, but in this series we’ll be looking at some of the essential NLHE strategies to implement in your play, and then take a look at how those concepts can vary depending on whether we are playing tournament poker or cash games. Getting our head around some of these strategies whilst experiencing them through practice at the tables can make understanding how they relate to situational play much easier. Here’s what we’ll cover in coming blog posts:

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The decision to start playing small ball poker and integrating it into an overall adaptive poker strategy is a change players on all levels are making.  The style of play now known as ‘small ball’ has probably been in circulation as long as poker has.  However, its recognition and emergence as a profitable form of play has been assisted through it’s adoption by poker pro Daniel Negreanu, the man also responsible for the styles current moniker.  For those of us who have suffered one too many bad beats at the business end of a massive pot, it seems there might be some pretty tempting reasons to implement small ball poker into our playing repertoire.  Read the rest of this entry

I was playing at a home game last night and had a particularly up and down evening.  It was a single table deep stack tourney with limited rebuys.  Having been on holidays and playing some winning poker of late I was perhaps less concerned with the outcome than usual and just really enjoying the game.  However, being able to take a few steps back from the table highlighted a couple of interesting things.  We’ve all heard the maxim in poker that all you need is ‘a chip and a chair’.  If you haven’t, the story goes like this…

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How To Play Big Slick (AK)

Ahhhh the Big Slick.  We all like getting it, and it looks so good…especially when suited.  Starting a hand with AK is a lot like sitting at the very start of a tournament with a large, shiny, untouched chip stack…a veritable monument which brims with the potential for untold glory and riches.  However, much like a full tournament, this gem of a hand holds all the potential for triumph and tragedy, being just as likely to see us across the line and dragging in a huge pot as it is to see us take up permanent residence in felt city.  It all really depends on how we decide to play it…like chumps…or champions.

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Poker Starting Hands – Middle Pair

In acknowledging the importance of selecting appropriate poker starting hands depending upon our position, there is still a tendency among less advanced players to treat middle pairs in early position exactly the same way we’re trained to treat low pairs.  However, limping with 99 or 10 10 and looking to catch a set on the flop may not be the most profitable way to make the most of the opportunity a middle pair creates, and can be apt to get us into trouble spots if the hand goes south of cheese.  So what’s one alternative to passively entering a pot with middle pair in early position?

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The Poker Continuation Bet

A poker continuation bet is basically what it sounds like, a subsequent bet made by a player who bet or raised in the previous round of betting.  Continuation betting, or c-bet as it is also known, is used to represent and reinforce a strong pre-flop hand.  There is some argument that continuation betting has seen its hey-day.  Gone are the times when following up a pre-flop bet with a second barrell were enough to convince our opponents that our hole cards were actually worth something.  But can continuation betting still form an integral part of a poker players betting strategy?

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Developing the correct Sit N Go strategy is a crucial part of learning how to win Sit N Go tournaments.  Adapting to an ever diminishing number of players across a tournament or our own table is critical if we want to reach the cash, and employing the wrong Sit N Go strategy at the wrong time can be terminal to our chances. At the end of this article I’ll refer you to some of the best online strategy resources and publications specifically designed to ensure you’re crushing your Sit N Go Tables. For now, let’s get started on the essentials to a winning strategy.

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Poker Hands Best Played From Late Position

Playing positional poker means the range of hands best played from the 7th to cut-off seat (at a 9 handed table) is much broader than the selection of hands we might decide to play in early or middle position.  Let’s say we’re sitting at an 8 handed table, lounging in the cut-off, and look down at our hole cards of Kc9c.  Whereas this might be a foldable hand in early position, and a calling hand in middle position, with all the benefits construed upon us being in late position this can often be an easy call, or even a betting opportunity in an unraised pot.

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Poker Pre Flop Odds & Poker Hand Percentages

So we’re sitting at a table during the late stages of a multi-table tournament, are getting slammed by blinds the size of Seattle, and look down at our hole cards to see two beautiful queens.  We happily raise the blinds, and are distraught as the cut-off re-raises all in for his (and if we call…our) entire stack.  When considering whether our opponent has us beat, it’s also worthwhile knowing just how badly we’re in shape if we call in this spot and the villain tables an overpair.  To do this, it helps enormously to be aware of the poker hand percentages involved in hand situations which regularly arise in poker.  For example, just what are the odds of winning when facing off with queens vs aces?  Let’s take a look at some of the common examples.

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In keeping with the theme in holdem that ’duplicity is king’ it’s important to be able to play a wide range of hands to avoid our opponents being able to accurately guess our hole cards based solely on our play.  Whether to play a holdem starting hand like AA, or KK barely need consideration.   However limiting ourselves to the ‘top 10% holdem hands’ can often restrict our chances of getting paid off for our big hands.  To mix things up a bit, we need to open up our range of hands whilst still being able to make correct decisions once the hand is under way.  The question of what makes the best poker starting hands can seem obvious when looking at extremes, such as pocket aces, or 72off.  However, when the correct play is less clear, whether to play our starting hand requires consideration of one other important factor…our poker table position. 

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