These tips are mostly for live poker tournaments. A brief summary of the video is it covers table image, and hands to play. Of course, no one has all the answers but Negreanu has covered a lot of territory in the poker world most people could only dream of.
Initially, he says you should focus on your opponents. Are they sharks or donkeys, loose or aggressive? Another thing he focuses on is small pairs and suited connectors. Early in the tournament, they could be priceless but in the later stages not as much. He also touches base on table image and the need know what you’re putting out. Opponents will re-raise or fold in some cases based on the image you are putting out there.

Early Stages of Poker Tournament

How do you play in the early levels of a tournament okay and the answer isn’t to just open up your iPad or check Twitter. It’s to really focus on your opponents. I’m going to give you three specific tips on what to think about on day 1 of a tournament now. Of course, it’s going to depend a little bit on how long the levels are. But let’s say for this example, we’re going to talk about a tournament like the world series of poker with 60-minute levels which gives you plenty of time to set a table image and do a lot of other good things. Okay, the first thing you want to be like really clear on is the fact you can’t win the tournament on day 1 but you can lose it you can totally bust yourself.

Don’t Be in a Rush

Don’t be in a rush to accumulate a big stack of chips on day one because the value of those chips isn’t worth the risk of you going broke. There’s no prize unless you’re playing at the bay one-on-one WPT for being shift leader at the end of day one and really the reward doesn’t outweigh the amount of risk that you have to take. And the downside of going broke. So, for example, look at it this way if I could play ten tournaments right and with the average stack in all ten imagine that straight all ten or have the chip lead in you know four of them and be or less like three of them and be out in seven of them. That’s not the kind of Poker I want to play on day one. So you want to make sure you’re in it to win it but not on day one. Just be alive and you’ll have a chance to win later getting all those chips really is not going to give you a big advantage the second day.

Suited Connectors and Small Pairs

Another thing I want to talk about in terms of early play is suited connectors small pairs and how they relate to like big pairs like aces. Right now aces are obviously the best hand to hold. But aces are a much better hand later in a tournament when you can get it on before the flop. You play against one opponent maybe get in on the flop early in a tournament. When you guys are really deep in chips if you play a big pile of aces you’re probably losing okay. Aces are a hand that you know you get married to early on, you know. The board comes jack, eight, six ,turns a four mean yeah you know the guy might just have a jack but he could easily have a straight trips. It’s early on people, play a lot more funky hands and so should you. In the early stages, small pairs and suited connectors go up in value. In a tournament, they’re worth more so, seven, eight suited is much better in level one than it would be when you’re playing on the bubble trying to see some flops and you’re not that deep.Those hands play much better deep because listen you take a few shots you throw a few jabs here and there you see some flops you don’t hit anything doesn’t not get a tournament it’s not a significant percentage of your stack. However, later, you know, you just keep messing around with seven eight suited in pocket threes and pocket fours you’re all of a sudden going to look at your twenty five big blinds and think wait a second well I only got fourteen blinds and I’m in shove mode. So, you want to be looking for more four big pairs late obviously and early play them carefully big pairs play them carefully suited connectors pocket pairs be way more willing to see flops with those kind of hands.

Table Image

The third thing I want you guys to be aware of when you’re playing your list ages is your table image. Okay, I want to be very self aware of the hands you’re turning over of also the things you say at the table in terms of how your playing style affects, you know, your mood and whatever it is that you’re babbling about. Be aware that everybody’s listening and they’re gonna adjust that information and decide what kind of player you are especially when they see the hands you’re turning over. So, really be mindful okay I just showed four Bluffs in a row or three bet three times in a row hmm I think my opponents are starting to not believe me so much. So, then you have to adjust or you can actually set up a table which if you’re deep enough and you feel like you know you’re a newcomer nobody knows you you’re so you know middle-aged dude who doesn’t look like he knows what he’s doing and you got all these young whippersnappers with headphones and sunglasses and doing the thing right. You go in there pretending like you don’t know what you’re doing maybe you throw in a few wild you know re-raises here and there and then later you play a little more set up whatever it is you do. Be very mindful of what you’re giving up in terms of information and use that information to your benefit.

Don’t let them exploit you you exploit them.

 

 

Fedor Holz is one of today’s top poker players. With earnings approaching 30 million dollars, I thought a mini bio would be an inspiration for many people looking at the world of poker and everything you can get out of it. Born July 25, 1993, his mother was a teen mom and he grew up with a distant father and two younger sisters. Since his mother had to quit school because of him and raise not only him but two daughters as well, he sees this period as a time of lots of challenges. In his family expectations were extremely high but he couldn’t meet many of those expectations and often lost interest in many things. Being a smaller guy, he was often bullied. He thinks that showing interest in some things and being excited could have an impact on those around him but not necessarily a positive one. He felt his enthusiasm could spark a backlash around those who might not have been as interested in things as he was. As a result, he lost interest in things and just went along with the flow, passionless but just going.
He went to college for computer science but again he wasn’t interested in it. He was playing poker since he was 16 but at college he. He continued playing poker with friends who were making 2000 Euros a month. It was enough at the time to afford trips and etc. He was interested in something at that point. He wasn’t successful in the beginning. He stuck with it and set strict goals that are hard to achieve and would stick to them everyday. During this period, he changed his mentality from results driven to overall goal related. One of the key reasons he loves poker is that everything is really on the individual. Any mistake as well as any victory is all about the individual.
After 2016, his first major year when he won or made $16,000,000, he found himself at a crossroad. Though being one of the world’s top poker players was his goal. He found the most important thing was the process of getting there and not necesarily the end result. How he reached the overall goal was more important than the overall goal itself. The interest in poker was more important than the cash itself. At this point he started a business Primed Mind and he briefly retired from poker.
During his retirement from poker he started Primed Mind. Primed Mind was launched with Holz’ poker coach Elliot Roe. It takes the same principles used to help Holz achieve his poker goals. These same principles can be used to achieve anything else in life according to Holz and his coach. It’s an app available at Google Play. Users listen to a mindset coach named Elliot. The goal is to allow visualization, and relaxation techniques to set goals. The ultimate agenda is create self confidence, better health, personal growth and recovery skills. He along with Nathan Schmitt and Duane Ludwig are the three key people at Primed Mind along with Elliot Roe, the mindset coach. It’s an interesting concept and has led to dramatic results for Holz. This is also a way to give back and help others who want to achieve their goals. He has won tens of millions of dollars at live poker events as well as online.
PokerStars is where Holz has played poker the most online. His nickname is Crownupguy and his results there are impressive as well. He was Pocketfives top player for the years 2015 and 2016. More recently, Holz has signed on with Party Poker. The online poker juggernaut to become one of their representatives. This means major money, lots of great compensation in the forms of being able to play top games and salary. It is hoped this move will attract more players to the site. He will wear the Party Poker logo at live tournaments and help design a high roller series to offered at Party Poker.
Holz’ top ten cashes, though they probably don’t mean too much to him since they are in the past. Everyone is salivating over the numbers. So here’s a look at his top cashes. It’s arranged with tournament date, name, buyin, Holz finish and cash result.
 Jul 10, 2016 $111,111 No-Limit Hold’em for One Drop 2016 World Series of Poker $111,111 1 $4,981,775
Jun 01, 2016 $300,000 No-Limit Hold’em Seven Max 2016 Super High Roller Bowl $300,000 2 $3,500,000
Jan 04, 2016 $200,000 No-Limit Hold’em 2016 WPT National – Philippines $196,000 1 $3,463,500
Oct 20, 2017 HKD 1,000,000 No-Limit Hold’em 2017 Triton Super High Roller Series $128,150 2 $2,131,740
Dec 20, 2015 $100,000 No-Limit Hold’em 2015 Five Diamond Classic (WPT) $100,000 1 $1,589,219
Aug 22, 2016 €50,000 No-Limit Hold’em EPT Season XIII / Estrellas – Barcelona $55,253 1 $1,471,485
Apr 03, 2017 HKD$400,000 No-Limit Hold’em Shot Clock 2017 PokerStars Championship Macau $51,473 2 $877,392
Jun 04, 2016 $50,000 No-Limit Hold’em 2016 Super High Roller 9 $50,000 1 $637,392
Sep 15, 2017 $50,000 No-Limit Hold’em 2017 Poker Masters $50,000 2 $550,000
Sep 20, 2017 $100,000 No-Limit Hold’em 2017 Poker Masters $100,000 3 $504,000
Jul 17, 2017 HKD 250,000 No-Limit Hold’em Six Max 2017 Triton Super High Roller Series $32,022 1 $451,386

Card Player Poker Tour

The Card Player Poker Tour will return to the Venetian from December 4 thru 11. The series features over $900,000 in gtd prize money. It’s one of the most popular poker circuits with tourneys held around the U.S. like Seneca Niagara in New York.
The main event features a $500,000 3500 buy-in event. This tournament lasts four days starting December 8. There are three satellites for the event at the Venetian from December 6-8.
Additional events scheduled include the $600 DoubleStack on Dec. 5 and offering a guaranteed pool of $150,000, as well as a no-limit hold’em $300 rebuy tourney with a guarantee of $25,000 starting on Dec. 10. Earlier this year, the Venetian hosted the Card Player Poker Tour Venetian $5000 buy-in main event, which drew nearly 700 poker players. That event had anticipated a guarantee of $2 million; however, the overwhelming attraction of entries resulted in over $3.1 million being awarded, with the first-place winner, Javier Gomez, receiving $561,349. Hopefully, this one will exceed the guarantee as well. Card Player is one of the top destinations online for poker players and enthusiasts.

Hong Kong Poker player Park Yu Cheung Breaks Cashes in Year Record

Hong Kong poker player Park Yu Cheung has broken the record for the most cashes in a year with 62. He broke the record at Asia Championship of Poker in Macau.
His recent streak of luck has boosted his career earnings to over a million dollars. This year he won almost a third of that with $317,000 in cashes this year so far. Previously, he averaged $75,000 annually.
Before becoming a professional poker player, he was an accountant. He is chairman of the Hong Kong Poker Players Association.

Patrik Antonius Gripes about Poker

Finnish professional poker player has over $20 million dollars in tournament wins both online and land based. He is one of the elite top poker players in the world and he has criticism for both online and land based tournaments.
He stopped playing online tournaments because of HUDS or poker analyst software that sizes up situations and technically help players win more. Will online operators stop the use of HUDS? Who knows but many places accept the use of them.
He also has criticized players who take too long to make decisions at live poker events. This takes away the momentum. Also players having conversations while at the tables interfere with concentration and the ability to make good decisions and taking up more time for players to make decisions.
Bill Perkins, a poker wunderkind, also agrees and won’t play anywhere that doesn’t have a shot clock. Another poker player, Steffen Sontheimer tweeted the absence of a shot clock is killing the game. The World Poker Tour, WPT, introduced a shot clock in 2016. Maybe other live poker events will follow.

 

With the recent surge in players at Americas Cardroom, the online poker room will be hosting million dollar Sunday tournaments each week the first quarter of 2018. There will be lots of satellite events where players can gain entry for a fraction of the $250 buy-in fee. If you’re not a member, now is great time to sign up and get the feel that will make you a winner. For new members, you get a wealth of bonuses including up to $1000 cash back, a couple of freerolls and free jackpot poker entries. Jackpot poker is played like a slots machine where you can win a random jackpot as you play poker. The poker game is run concurrently and is the standard no limit holdem poker.
As noted above, the Sunday Million Dollar Events will be every Sunday from January to March right now. If it works out, then you can expect it to grow and be every Sunday!. Many players at other online poker rooms have been disappointed with recent changes and have lead an exodus to other cardrooms. Americas Cardroom has picked up many new players and is now according to Forbes, one of the top ten cardrooms in the world. Great customer service, new offerings, nice bonuses all come together for a great way to spend the day. And Americas Cardroom is always on the forefront of whatever is new like mobile poker.
Mobile Poker
Play mobile poker games at Americas Cardoom. To get started you need an account already. From there go to play.americascardroom.eu and enter your username and password and you’re good to go. To get an account simply download the software to your computer, install and create a username and password. Just that simple. With mobile poker, you can play anywhere, anytime. And while Americas Cardroom has a wealth of big buck tournaments, you can play in free cash games, freerolls 24/7 or low to mid stakes poker tournaments and cash games. It’s got something for everyone from new poker players to the very experienced.
Upcoming Events
In November, there will be a High Five Series. The High Five Series is poker festival at ACR, they sponsor several times a year. The theme is “420”. The series culminates in a $420,000 Main Event and the winner not only gets the top cash prize but a bracelet as well.
Punta Cana Poker Results
For several years, ACR, has sponsored the Punta Cana Poker event in Santo Domingo. This year, 2017, Roberto Carvallo from Chile and Jamin Stokes split the first place prize and each got $97,590 after a long heads up match. Carvallo was declared the winner for the trophy and title with a pair of 3s. For members of ACR, there have been satellite tourneys for the event. The hotel in Santo Domingo rocks and looks like the kind that has been featured in many music videos of the “good life”.
Million dollar Sundays, mobile poker, and recurrent poker series as well as the land based Punta Cana Poker Classic are reasons to check ACR out. For new members, get a wealth of great incentives and for current members check out the great comp for players.

By Rick Braddy

Welcome to the fifth in my Texas Holdem Poker Strategy Series, focusing on no limit Texas Holdem poker tournament play and associated strategies. In this article, we’ll examine starting hand decisions.

It may seem obvious, but deciding which starting hands to play, and which ones to skip playing, is one of the most important Texas Holdem poker decisions you’ll make. Deciding which starting hands to play begins by accounting for several factors:

* Starting Hand “groups” (Sklansky made some good suggestions in his classic “Theory of Poker” book by David Sklansky)

* Your table position

* Number of players at the table

* Chip position

Sklansky originally proposed some Texas Holdem poker starting hand groups, which turned out to be very useful as general guidelines. Below you’ll find a “modified” (enhanced) version of the Sklansky starting hands table. I adapted the original Sklansky tables, which were “too tight” and rigid for my liking, into a more playable approach that are used in the Poker Sidekick poker odds calculator. Here’s the key to these starting hands:

Groups 1 to 8: These are essentially the same scale as Sklansky originally proposed, although some hands have been shifted around to improve playability and there is no group 9.

Group 30: These are now “questionable” hands, hands that should be played rarely, but can be reasonably played occasionally in order to mix things up and keep your opponents off balance. Loose players will play these a bit more often, tight players will rarely play them, experienced players will open with them only occasionally and randomly.

The table below is the exact set of starting hands that Poker Sidekick uses when it calculates starting poker hands. If you use Poker Sidekick, it will tell you which group each starting hand is in (if you can’t remember them), along with estimating the “relative strength” of each starting hand. You can just print this article and use it as a starting hand reference.

Group 1: AA, KK, AKs

Group 2: QQ, JJ, AK, AQs, AJs, KQs

Group 3: TT, AQ, ATs, KJs, QJs, JTs

Group 4: 99, 88, AJ, AT, KQ, KTs, QTs, J9s, T9s, 98s

Group 5: 77, 66, A9s, A5s-A2s, K9s, KJ, KT, QJ, QT, Q9s, JT, QJ, T8s, 97s, 87s, 76s, 65s

Group 6: 55, 44, 33, 22, K9, J9, 86s

Group 7: T9, 98, 85s

Group 8: Q9, J8, T8, 87, 76, 65

Group 30: A9s-A6s, A8-A2, K8-K2, K8-K2s, J8s, J7s, T7, 96s, 75s, 74s, 64s, 54s, 53s, 43s, 42s, 32s, 32

All other hands not shown (virtually unplayable).

So, those are the enhanced Sklasky Texas Holdem poker starting hand tables.

The later your position at the table (dealer is latest position, small blind is earliest), the more starting hands you should play. If you’re on the dealer button, with a full table, play groups 1 through 6. If you’re in middle position, reduce play to groups 1 through 3 (tight) and 4 (loose). In early position, reduce play to groups 1 (tight) or 1 through 2 (loose). Of course, in the big blind, you get what you get.

As the number of players drops into the 5 to 7 range, I recommend tightening up overall and playing far fewer, premium hands from the better positions (groups 1 – 2). This is a great time to forget about chasing flush and straight draws, which puts you at risk and wastes chips.

As the number of players drops to 4, it’s time to open up and play far more hands (groups 1 – 5), but carefully. At this stage, you’re close to being in the money in a Texas Holdem poker tournament, so be extra careful. I’ll often just protect my blinds, steal occasionally, and try to let the smaller stacks get blinded or knocked out (putting me into the money). If I’m one of the small stacks, well, then I’m forced to pick the best hand I can get and go all-in and hope to double-up.

When the play is down to 3, it’s time to avoid engaging with big stacks and hang on to see if we can land 2nd place, heads-up. I tend to tighten up a bit here, playing very similar to when there’s just 3 players (avoiding confrontation unless I’m holding a pair or an Ace or a King, if possible).

Once you’re heads-up, well, that’s a topic for a completely different article, but in general, it’s time to become extraordinarily aggressive, raise a lot, and become “pushy”.

In tournaments, it’s always important to keep track of your chips stack size relative to the blinds and everyone else’s stacks. If you’re short on chips, then play far fewer hands (tigher), and when you do get a good hand, extract as many chips as you can with it. If you’re the big stack, well, you should avoid unnecessary confrontation, but use your big stack position to push everyone around and steal blinds occasionally as well – without risking too many chips in the process (the other players will be trying to use you to double-up, so be careful).

Well, that’s a quick overview of an improved set of starting hands and some general rules for adjusting starting hand play based upon game conditions throughout the tournament.

Until next time, best of luck to you at the Texas Holdem poker tables!

Rick

Rick Braddy is an avid writer, Texas Holdem player and professional software developer and marketer for over 25 years. His websites and Texas Holdem poker software helps people become better Texas Holdem players. If you’re a poker player, be sure to visit his Texas Holdem poker poker today and learn how you can play better Texas Holdem poker, too.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Rick_Braddy/2011

http://EzineArticles.com/?Texas-Holdem-Poker-Tournament-Strategy—Starting-Hands&id=13814

By Rick Braddy

Welcome to the fourth in my Texas Holdem Strategy Series, focusing on no limit Texas Holdem poker tournament play and associated strategies. In this article, we’ll examine the “Sit and Go” tournament – the most popular online poker tournament format today.

When I first started playing in Sit and Go tournaments, I was beginning to think they called it “sit and go” because you sat down, played a little, then it was time to go do something else since you’d just been whacked and knocked out of the tournament! These tournaments can be really tough, since they’re effectively like being at the “final table” of a regular tournament.

The recent popularity of playing online Sit & Go tournaments sometimes amazes me. On any given evening, you can try to jump into a Sit and Go (SNG) table on Party Poker, for example, and easily find yourself competing just to get into a seat before that table fills up, forcing you to go find another table (especially on lower-entry fee tables). I’ve seen times when it can take up to 10 attempts to get into a Sit and Go tournament table during prime time. That’s because there are literally thousands of players across the world who are hungry to get into these tournaments and hopefully win some money.

All of the major online poker rooms now offer Sit and Go format games now, so you can find a place to play just about everywhere. You can think of these games as being very similar to small “satellite” tournament games that surround the bigger poker tournaments at traditional poker tournament venues. They also somewhat resemble play at a final table in a regular tournament, with one key exception – nobody at this table earned their way to this tournament table – they simply paid their entry-fee to play there. Because of this, the broad range of players and skill levels you’re likely to encounter varies wildly – one of many challenges you’ll face in Sit and Go play.

Generally, there are two types of Sit and Go tournaments offered. Single table and multi-table tournaments. Nowadays, there is also a faster game, sometimes referred to as “Turbo” mode SNG tournaments. In these games, the tempo of the tournament is much faster (blinds go up every 5 minutes instead of 15 minutes), with the blinds increasing much faster and less time allowed to make your decisions. This is a very challenging game format, but it does move along much faster than a traditional Sit and Go tournament.

You can also get into 4-player and heads-up (2 player) games, which just effectively puts you into the poker tournament final table, short-handed mode of operation immediately, so you can play the end-game out from there. I don’t really prefer these games, though, since there are far fewer players and therefore the pool size available to win is much smaller and not as worthwhile.

In general, two-table Sit and Go’s are much more profitable, since they begin with more players (18 to 20), making the prize pool larger and more attractive. Once you know how to play and win in these Sit and Go tournaments and can adjust your play appropriately, the number of tables and players really doesn’t matter as much, since you’ll be able to adapt your play quickly as the situation changes around you.

Some of my favorite places to play Sit & Go tournaments include Party Poker, Poker Stars and PrimaPoker’s Captain Cook’s poker rooms. There are many awesome poker rooms out there, with a wide range of players frequenting each of them. They are all very similar.

There are a number of different entry-fee levels to choose from, typically ranging from $5 up to $5,000. There is very little difference in playing in the lower limit games in the $5 to $30 range. When you get above the $30 threshold, the level of players you’ll encounter improves dramatically. The poker room site typically takes a “rake”, a fee of around 10% for hosting the tournament, and the balance of the funds go into the prize pool. In single-table SNG tournaments, the payout goes to the top 3 finishers. In two-table games, the top 4 places are generally paid.

In higher entry-fee games, you’ll be playing against some very good players. In these high tier games, you’ll encounter some of the best, most dangerous players around. If you’re interested in getting into these high stakes games, one way is to win enough at the lower stake games so that you earn, or leverage, your smaller entry-fees into the bigger games, a traditional way that satellite games work and a good approach to take.

I play in a lot of Sit and Go tournaments and regular tournaments, both online and in casinos and poker rooms. Throughout all of this, I have finally learned how to win consistently at Sit and Go tournaments. There are some key areas that you must focus on and shore up in order to properly “shape” your play and end up in the money.

You’ll need a well-rounded approach, though, to place in the money consistently at Sit and Go tournaments, including:

* Playing Position Correctly – you’ll need to know how to use position in the Sit and Go tournament to your advantage, which hands to play in which positions and how to keep from losing your chips from poor positions. Earlier in the tournament, it’s best to be more conservative with your play by only playing the best hands from the best positions.

* Adjusting to Changing Conditions – the key to winning Sit and Go tournaments is adjusting your play style and approach as the blinds and number of players increases. Done correctly, you’ll end up in the final 3 in the money up to half of the time (no approach you can take will allow you to win all of the time). As the game progresses, you must adjust or the blinds will eat you up.

* Winning Heads-up Play – arguably one of the most misunderstood, yet most fun part of any tournament, is playing heads-up against another good player. Learning to play winning heads-up poker means the difference between being the Winner and 2nd Place – a huge difference in payout in all tournaments goes to the winner, along with the recognition as the champion, so you must learn to play great heads-up poker. In general, you must play much more aggressively heads up than you would otherwise.

* Beating Aggressive Players – see my article on playing vs. aggressive players, which will definitely make a difference for Sit and Go play, as it explains how to take advantage of aggressive and wild players, without losing all of your chips in the process.

* Online Tells – there are many different special tells that you can use when playing online. Do you know them? Do you use them? If not, chances are they’re being used against you! For example, when players use checkboxes online and make a lot of their decisions ahead of time, then suddenly they’re not using the checkbox (because they’re taking longer), that could be a tell that they’re having to think things through more, which could be a tell. If they use checkboxes and act instantly, chances are they don’t have a very good hand, so didn’t even need to think about it (just clicked the checkbox and now waiting on the next card).

* Successful Bluffing and Blind Stealing – one of the most important moves in poker is bluffing the opponents, and in tournament play, you must be capable of successfully bluffing in order to survive the blinds and antes and to win heads-up. You can’t bluff weak players, so don’t even try. You’ll need to learn how determine the style or type of the players, so you’ll recognize who to bluff.

The next time you’re thinking about playing a poker tournament, give the Sit and Go a try. It’s a fast-paced tournament, where you’ll have the opportunity to experience first hand what it’s like to play at that Texas Holdem poker tournament final table. You’ll go through a sequence of fast play and changing conditions, starting from a full table of 10 players, progressing rapidly to only 5 to 6. Then, if you’re a good enough player, you’ll find yourself in the most dangerous position of all – where you’re one of only 4 players remaining, so you’re only one seat out of the money. The key goal is surviving to the heads-up phase, so you get a shot at being the tournament winner, who receives the bulk of the prize pool.

So, you can practice for bigger tournament events by playing in Sit and Go tournaments and that way you’ll be very comfortable when you do make it that final table in a big Texas Holdem poker tournament, and you’ll have a lot of fun and gain some great Texas Holdem tournament poker experience along the way.

Rick Braddy is an avid writer, Texas Holdem player and professional software developer and marketer for over 25 years. His websites and Texas Holdem poker tournament e-course helps people become better Texas Holdem tournament players. If you’re a poker player, be sure to visit his Texas Holdem websites today and learn how you can play better Texas Holdem, too.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Rick_Braddy/2011

http://EzineArticles.com/?Texas-Holdem-Tournament-Strategy—Sit-and-Go-Poker-Tournaments&id=10587

By Rick Braddy

Welcome to the third in my Texas Holdem Strategy Series, focusing on no limit Texas Holdem poker tournament play and associated strategies. In this article, we’ll build upon the poker tournament strategy fundamentals from last time, with some important poker betting strategy basics.

Winning at Texas Holdem poker doesn’t have to be a gamble, since it’s actually a game of skill. Of course, there will always be an element of chance, but there’s a lot more strategy and skill to poker than meets the untrained eye. When you learn to play the odds properly, it can make a huge difference in your winnings.

No limit Texas Holdem is the game of choice these days – and for good reason. The fact that anyone can decide to push a large raise or all of their chips into the pot by going “all-in” at any moment, adds an exciting dimension to the game. Unlike limit Texas Holdem, where each round of betting takes place in prescribed, fixed increments, no limit Texas Holdem is as varied as the players at the table, since everyone chooses their own betting style and approach.

When playing no limit Texas Holdem, you’re faced with some important decisions. Arguably, the most important decision you’ll make is how much to bet in a given set of circumstances; e.g., hand strength, your position at the table, total number of players, their styles, etc. There are many different betting strategies, but one of the first things to learn and pay close attention to are “pot odds” and whether you have a positive “expectation” to win.

You have a positive expectation whenever the odds favor you winning more than you’re wagering at anything greater than 1 to 1 odds. For example, when flipping a coin, there is a 50/50 chance of it coming up either heads or tails. If you flip a coin enough times, both heads and tails will come up an equal number of times.

Casino games, such as craps, blackjack, slot machines, etc. all give the player a “negative” expectation and the casino a positive expectation. If you play these types of “gambling” games long enough, you will ultimately lose, since the game’s odd structure is never in your favor – negative expectation. People who experience “hot streaks” also have losing streaks (they just usually quickly forget about the losing and don’t discuss it). When you’re making a wager, you’d always prefer to have a positive expectation. This is generally true in poker, but not necessarily always in no-limit poker. I’ll explain why.

Pot Odds are the odds the pot is giving you for making a bet. Let’s say there is $50 in the pot and it’ll take $10 more to call – you’re getting 5-to-1 pot odds to call, since if you win you’ll be paid $50 in exchange for risking only $10. For purposes of this decision, any amounts you previously placed into this pot are irrelevant, since they’re already expended and gone (if you fold).

It’s essential to understand pot odds as it relates to your hand odds, as one key factor in making your betting decisions. If the odds of you holding or drawing to the winning hand are better than the odds the pot is giving you, you should call or even sometimes raise; otherwise, you should typically fold (unless you’re going to bluff, a different story).

Continuing this example, let’s say you’re holding a pair of fives, and the board flops 9, K, 2 “rainbow” (no flush draw, different suits). With 9 players at the table, it’s certainly possible and likely that someone else holds a King or a Nine, or both, making your 5’s look pretty flimsy at this point. Your best shot to win is to draw another 5. There are two more 5’s remaining out of the 47 cards that you can’t see (in the deck or in another player’s hand).

So, the odds of pulling that next 5 on the turn or river are: 2 in 47 (2/47 = about 4%) on the Turn, plus another 2 in 46 on the River (an additional 4%), for a total of roughly 8.6%, which equates to a 1-in-11.6 chance of pulling that third 5 to make a set. Since the pot is only giving 5-to-1 odds, it’s generally time to fold. Otherwise, you’d just be “gambling” with a highly negative expectation of losing that additional $10. In no limit Texas Holdem, players will often raise the pot sufficiently to actually lower your pot odds so far that you can’t possibly justify staying in the hand – at least not statistically.

Clearly you can’t sit there in a real poker room with a calculator and run through all of these pot odds calculations while at the table! So, how does one learn poker odds well enough to apply them in real-time? Well, it starts by seeing the poker odds repeatedly, in a context that’s suitable for you to learn and eventually retain them. A poker odds calculator is a piece of add-on software that runs on your PC, monitoring your actual online play. A poker odds calculator computes the prospective hands you and your opponents are capable of drawing at any point in time. It then displays all possible hands you and the opponents could draw, teaching you what the odds of making that kind of hand would be.

This makes it easy to see what’s going on, and since a poker odds calculator displays the poker odds right there in front of you while you play, you’ll begin to learn them, making it semi-automatic, so you don’t even think about poker odds any more – you just know them. So, the first step is learning and internalizing these “hand odds”. Then, you can quickly calculate pot odds anytime you’d like.

Calculating pot odds requires you to pay close attention to the game, a key trait of good poker tournament players. Unlike playing online, where the total size of the pot is easy to determine (the online Texas Holdem poker program typically displays the pot amount right there on the screen for you), when you play in traditional offline poker tournaments, you must keep track of the pot size and chip count yourself, so you can estimate the pot odds and your best betting options.

Pot odds become especially interesting as the blinds and antes increase as the tournament progresses. Let’s say there are 10 players at your table, and the poker tournament structure has you at $25 antes with $200/$400 blinds. That’s a total of $850 that’s sitting thre in each and every pot before anyone even places their first bet! So, before you even look at your hand, you know that the minimum bet is $400, so you’ll need a good hand (with roughly 1 in 2 odds or better) in order to simply break even.

At this point, people will be angling to “steal the blinds” by placing a hefty bet, typically at least two times the big blind, or $800, in order to make the pot odds so unattractive that everyone just folds. Therefore, the first player to act often makes off with the booty, since the pot odds become even less attractive and most everyone hasn’t made a good enough hand to call. Of course, this can definitely backfire…

Let’s say the first player to bet raises to $800 in an attempt to steal the blinds, making the total pot now $1,650. Let’s say that a second player then calls with another $800, boosting this pot to $2,450. To get in on the action, you’d only need to call with $800, which means if you win the hand you’re getting a slightly better than 3 to 1 on your money. If it’s the Flop and you are one card short of making a King-high flush, then your hand odds are roughly 1-in-3. This would be “even money” if you joined in on this basis alone; however, you’re holding a King and there’s a King on the board from the Flop, so you now have a better than 1 in 3 chance of winning – a positive expectation! You place your $800 bet, so now the pot sits at $3,250.

You should generally make this bet, since it will yield a good return and you have the high pair (Kings), plus a flush draw, thereby improving your odds even further. Let’s say there was an Ace also showing, making your Kings second best pair. In this case, it time to fold because you have a less than a 1 in 3 chance of winning this hand, and if you continued throwing money at this pot, you’ll end up “pot-committed” and beaten by a pair of Aces (there’s usually at least one player in 10 hanging in there with an Ace hole card).

So, let’s say the last player to act goes “All-in” – after we’ve put our $800 in this pot. Now what? The first reaction should be – what kind of hand *could* this player actually hold? If the player is a relatively tight or solid player, chances are they’ve made a set or an Ace high flush. It’s always possible they’re bluffing, but very unlikely if they’re a good player, since there are already far too many people in this pot and it’s likely they’d get called with a real hand when bluffing.

So, what’s happened to our pot odds? Let’s say they went all-in with $5,000, pushing this pot up to $8,250. If you called with $5,000, you’re now only getting a 8.25 to 5 return, or roughly 1.65 to 1 – especially unattractive under the circumstances with highly negative expectation and so many players in this hand, further reducing your chances of winning. Therefore, everyone will likely just fold; unless they have a very strong hand plus a great draw (some outs).

There’s clearly a lot more to poker betting strategy, including position and acting first vs. last. Generally speaking, though, if you’re going to take a shot at that pot, and you’re in a position to act first, there’s a good chance everyone else will fold; however, you’d better think carefully about the pot odds the opponents will be getting after your bet is in there.

If your bet modifies the pot size such that it improves their pot odds (by limping in with just a small bet), you’re actually encouraging the opponents to hang in there with you, since they still have a good, positive (and improving) expectation level. If you bet enough, such as two to three times the size of the big blind, you’ll be reducing their pot odds enough to swing into a negative expectation, so they’ll be much more likely to fold. It’s really important to think your bet amounts through and understand the pot odds implications of your betting.

When you make such a play at the pot, it’s ideal to have some kind of hand, along with a good draw. If you find yourself short-stacked, then this may be as good as it gets. Bluffing will be covered more thoroughly in a later article, but at this point it’d be great to have at least a small pair, as well as a good straight or flush draw (since you’ll also have the potential to make a set of trips, too). In this situation, you have so many good “outs” that your small pair begins to look a lot stronger, and your hand odds acceptable enough to go on a “semi-bluff” at this pot.

So, these are the basics of Texas Holdem poker tournament betting strategy that you should know and practice (the other good players do). Knowing your basic hand odds and being capable of quickly calculating pot odds are essential to making intelligent betting decisions under fire in poker tournaments, and regular ring game and limit play for that matter. A good poker odds calculator will help you learn the hand odds, and along with practicing calculating your pot odds, you’ll be making better decisions and getting the best of it the next time you play Texas Holdem poker.

In the next article, we’ll explore a popular Texas Holdem poker tournament format – the Sit & Go poker tournament. Until then, have fun. And as always – good luck!

Rick

Rick Braddy is an avid writer, Texas Holdem player and professional software developer and marketer for over 25 years. His websites and Texas Holdem poker software specialize in helping people become better Texas Holdem poker players. If you’re a poker player, be sure to visit his Texas Holdem website today and learn how you can play better Texas Holdem, too.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Rick_Braddy/2011

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By Rick Braddy

This is the second in the Texas Holdem Strategy Series, focusing on no limit Texas Hold’em poker tournament play and associated strategies. In the first installment, we examined a real-world tournament scenario and how to handle a particular class of difficult players – the “maniacs”, aggressive, wild players that are commonly encountered in today’s poker tournament venues.

In this article, we’ll examine the techniques that were used more closely to best these players, along with stitching a Texas Hold’em tournament poker strategy together with some good poker tournament fundamentals.

Let’s begin with some foundational elements of any winning tournament poker strategy – clearly understanding our priorities. In poker tournaments, each player’s primary objectives are:

1. Survival – first and foremost, surviving to play at the final table, and ideally to be the last surviving player (the winner!) is of paramount importance.

2. Building and Protecting that Chip Arsenal – to survive increasingly large blinds and tougher competition at the latter and final tables, a player must build up and sustain a “chip arsenal” – a substantially large stack of chips – early enough in the competition to be capable of surviving and taking various necessary, calculated risks from time to time.

This must be accomplished without risking the entire tournament and building that chip arsenal in the process. Failure to build an early chip lead is a sure ticket to being eroded away once the blinds and antes increase, chewing away at your stack until you’re cornered or dead.

3. Sustained Focus – concentrating on your game plan, attacking when the right cards and situations present themselves and converting those opportunities into “profits”, while avoiding killer momentary lapses of reason (i.e., making occasional mistakes by not paying close enough attention). Focusing like this over an extended period of time is much more difficult than it seems, requiring a constant vigil, self-awareness and self-discipline.

4. Adaptability – as the tournament progresses, it’s critical to recognize when the game dynamics change and quickly adapt to new conditions such as:

o Number of players at the table

o Style of the players

o Size of your chip stack vs. opponents’

o Odds the pot is giving you, especially as blinds and antes increase

o New players arriving that are initially unknown quantities

o New table you’ve been moved to and avoiding mistakes.

Since Texas Holdem tournament events are specifically designed to progressively eliminate players, your foremost objective must be to survive and protect your stack of chips. Taking unnecessary risks is a formula for disaster and an early trip home…someone can always get lucky against you.

Demonstrating the patience to hold back and attack at the most opportune moments, when the odds favor your success, and with a proper battle plan in mind is critical. While others are visiting and socializing, daydreaming, watching the waitresses, and otherwise taking their eyes off the ball, when you’re at a tournament table, it’s time for your focused attention on the game at hand. This kind of extended attention span becomes increasingly difficult to maintain, so rest up before playing in a tournament – do not play when tired if you can avoid it.

I also recommend against alcohol while playing, as it leads to impaired judgment and fatigue.

Here are some basic guidelines to use when playing in poker tournaments or at any table where there are many players that you don’t know well:

1. Prepare and Refine your Battle Plan – when you enter a tournament, you’re going to be fighting a “battle” for survival – against the blinds, the antes, fatigue, as well as against the other players. Would any good military commander go into battle without having first surveyed the battle field, understood the enemy and its tactics, and without having a well-conceived battle plan which takes these facts into account and ensures success? Of course not! If they did, they probably wouldn’t live to tell about it.

You shouldn’t go into a poker tournament without having completed some pre-planning for the battle ahead either. Think about your plan and several things you’ll do in each typical situation ahead of time. Refine this once you’re at the table as your battlefield unfolds before you.

2. Start out slowly. Be patient. Use the early tournament period, while the blinds are still low, to study everyone at your table, identifying the most likely prey, understanding their habits and play styles. Use this time to mentally prepare and refine your “battle plan” for transferring their chips into your stack. It’s best to formulate several strategies during your pre-tournament planning, and then refine each one as you see how the game is actually shaping up, the types of players at your table and how you’ll approach each situation.

3. Set the Stage – play a few “ugly” hands early, limping in occasionally and feeling your way around the table with the other players while the blinds are still low, playing a few hands you wouldn’t normally even consider. This prevents you from starting out with a table image as a solid or tight player; otherwise, you may not get the action you’ll need when you do get those pocket rockets (AA) and great opportunities later.

4. Know Your Own Table Image – Everyone develops a “table image”. Be aware of your own table image, and be careful to mix your game up along the way so that you can’t easily be “typed”. Once others can predict your behavior and your likely reaction to a given situation, they’ll definitely use it against you. For example, if you play mostly premium hands and fold at the first sign of trouble, other players will quickly type you as “weak” and will steal you blind, taking advantage of that knowledge by representing hands they don’t actually have so you’ll fold. If you project that image, know it, so you can trap them with a good hand – make the most of it, since that will definitely destroy your weak table image…

In the first article, I let several aggressive players push me around a little early on, then limped in and dropped out on a few draws, so they all thought I was a tight, weak player and a good target for their aggressive style of play. Letting them push me around some, while not losing much to them, conditioned these aggressive players to push me even harder when they absolutely shouldn’t have – a huge error on their part that I converted into a chip leadership position.

5. Be Careful, Protect Your Stack – You must protect your stack and survive until you get some good hands you can use, so be careful to expend that chip depot deliberately and judiciously – always with purpose. When a player raises you significantly, you must think: 1) how much of my stack can I afford to invest in this one hand, 2) can I win this hand if I play it fully, and 3) what kind of play will yield me the most chips and give me the best overall odds to win against this particular player.

6. Get a Real Hand and Extract Its Value – don’t go up against maniacs and aggressive raisers without a real hand – and definitely, do not challenge them while you’re chasing a draw! Their strength is their bravado and wild, aggressive betting style – it’s also their biggest weakness. When you do get a real hand that you believe is a winner, you must get the most value for it by extracting as many chips as possible from the other players:

o Hit aggressive players head-on, triggering their aggressive response systems, and be willing to stick it out with them, re-raising them all-in if necessary since you know you’re likely in top position, or

o Trap them with a check-raise play. You can often just let aggressive bettors take the initial lead, betting into you and thereby become pot-committed, leading them to putting many or all of their chips at risk. That’s another reason you’d better have a real hand whenever you challenge the aggressive players – they typically just will not fold or back down, and

o Bet enough to extract a significant chip “profit” from the opponents, without forcing them to fold, if you’re sure you have the winning hand.

7. Pay Attention and Focus Outwardly – watch everyone and everything that’s going on at your table. Don’t daydream, and for Pete’s sake – do not focus on your own hand! As a general rule of thumb, spend 3 times as much energy and time trying to determine what other players are holding (especially when you’re not in a hand), gauging their play and betting styles, and refining your battle plan – than you do thinking about your own hands and play. You won’t be playing that many hands if you’re a good poker player, so use this available time wisely.

8. Play the Pot Odds – most people think too much about their own hand and what they might draw next. That’s because calculating and playing the pot odds isn’t yet second nature to them. If that’s you, then you definitely need to get the poker odds ingrained into your subconscious mind, so they’re second nature and you don’t even need to think about them while you’re playing. Find yourself a good Texas Holdem poker odds calculator, practice with it, and you’ll learn the odds of drawing each type of hand and find that you don’t need to think about them.

9. Bluff for the Pot from Good Positions – as the blinds and antes increase, the size of each hand’s pot becomes substantial. Bluffing for these pots from proper positions (e.g., acting late with a big bet, acting first with a semi-bluff hand and bigger bet) is a good way to hold your own while everyone else struggles against the blinds.

10. Play the Player – the key to winning in poker is to get other players to make the wrong play, which you then profit from. To do this, knowing your opponents, understanding what kinds of hands they play, whether they’ll fold when bluffed, and knowing when it’s time to lay down your hand to simply survive and play another is crucial.

The alternative is to do what many players do – just leave most everything to chance and play the game in a random, unpredictable fashion with whatever hands you’re dealt; a.k.a. “gambling”.

They say “those who fail to plan, plan to fail”, and that “hope is not a strategy” – a couple of my favorite sayings that come to mind…have a plan, and execute it.

You must be prepared to mix up your play enough that players aren’t sure what to expect from you. It’s helpful to “shift gears” from one mode of operation to another from time to time. It’s also recommended to play the opposite from everyone at the table; e.g., if most everyone is playing tight overall, then loosen up your play and take advantage of them by overplaying some hands, going on some draws, and a few semi-bluffs. If the table becomes loose, tighten up and attack with a good hand or trap them.

Remember, aggressive players’ egos usually can’t handle being overtly raised or publicly challenged. They expect to be the preeminent raisers and dominate the game, so they’ll often re-raise or go all-in in order to leverage their aggressive position against you. Be ready! You can just about count on it. When they push you at the wrong time, sock it to ’em! You can use these types of players to build up your chip arsenal and possibly earn yourself a seat at the final table.

There aren’t any absolutes in no-limit Texas Holdem tournament strategy, which is one of the things that make it so entertaining and challenging. These are just a few good tips and techniques that will help you get started and do reasonably well against some good players and some aggressive ones.

Finally, it’s been said “if you can’t spot the sucker at your table, it’s probably you!” I love this saying, because it’s so true. If you do your pre-planning and have confidence in your game plan, along with an ability to observe the opponents and apply the proper techniques against different kinds of players, you’ll go far in Texas Holdem poker tournaments.

So, there’s your first set of Texas Holdem poker tournament strategies. I sure wish someone had condensed things down like this for me when I first started playing. It would’ve saved me years of learning it the hard way. Enjoy.

Good luck!

Rick

Rick Braddy is an avid writer, Texas Holdem player and professional software developer and marketer for over 25 years. His websites and Texas Holdem poker software specialize in helping people become better Texas Holdem poker players. If you’re a poker player, be sure to visit his BetterHoldem.com Texas Holdem poker website today and learn how you can play better Texas Holdem, too.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Rick_Braddy/2011

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By Rick Braddy

The “Language” of Poker Bets

We humans are very perceptive creatures. We are able to communicate in many different ways with one another. By saying something, by saying nothing, by shrugging our shoulders, by winking, delaying, etc. These are all forms of communicating.

Do you realize that when you place a poker bet you are actually communicating something to the other players? Understanding what you are communicating with your betting, and understanding what the other players are communicating with their bets is one of the cornerstones of good poker play.

By mastering this form of poker communications, you will find yourself becoming a truly formidable poker player. If you ignore this betting language, you will consistently lose – it’s as simple as that.

When a player calls, it often just means they’re limping to see the next card with the hope of improving their hand. When a player checks, it typically means they’re not too happy with their current hand, and would like to see another card before making any move. Yes, they could be trapping, but that’s the exception, not the rule.

When a player bets, they’re communicating that they like their hand and they want some action, so they’re risking more chips in order to take control of the action or just take the pot. Whether this communications is “real” or not depends – upon what style of player they are: tight, solid, loose, maniac, etc. and how this player communicates.

If you’ve been paying attention (like you should be), you’ll have a pretty good idea of how “honest” this player typically communicates (bets/plays). Aggressive players who play a lot of hands and raise a lot to drive people out of pots can be generally considered “dishonest” and can’t be trusted to communicate (bet) honestly.

Tight/solid players are relatively honest, usually betting more in accordance with the true strength of their hand, making them easier to read most of the time. Learn to read these different player’s betting signals and you’ll be amazed at how much your game improves.

Decide how “honest” or “dishonest” you want your betting signals to be that the other players are reading from you. Try mixing these signals up a bit so the other players can’t quite tell what to expect from you and it’ll help by causing them to make more mistakes against you, resulting in bigger winnings.

Now, let’s have a look at an example situation. Let’s say you’re in a game with 9 people at the table, and on the button, so you’ll get to act last and have the most information to work with. Your starting hand is good, but not great, such as a 67 spades-suited connector. The action comes around and half of the players have dropped out, and several players have limped in. You go ahead and limp in as well, wanting to see the flop like everyone else. The flop comes: 4s, Jc, 9d – not exactly what you’d hoped for. The first three players check. The 4th player throws out a bet of 3 times the big blind. So, where are we?

Ignoring your hand for just a moment (since we’re talking about betting and communicating – right?), everyone except the 4th player communicated that they didn’t really like the flop, then the 4th player placed a decent bet. Is he trying to steal the pot or does he now have a pair of Jacks? Since we’ve been watching these players’ style of play all along, and we quickly realize that this is a fairly tight player, we would correctly conclude that this basically “honest”, tight player has hit that pair of Jacks.

On the other hand, if the 4th player had instead been playing loose with lots of bets and raises, stealing many pots and pushing people around quite a bit, then they can’t be trusted since they’re fundamentally “dishonest” with their betting communications patterns.

See how this works? Now, about your hand. You need to fold either way here, since the odds of you making a flush or straight aren’t good, and there’s an overpair of Jacks that’s possible and likely based upon what’s being communicated (and someone could also be trapping that checked, too).

So, what are you communicating with your bets? Are you even thinking about that? Before you fire out a bet, you need to consider what “message” you want to send the other players, and make sure your intended message gets through, in order to affect the other players’ actions and control the outcomes more often.

What are the others communicating to you with their bets? What kind of “communicator” are they? Honest or dishonest? Consistent or variable? How much do you believe what they’re telling you? Are you really listening, or just looking at your own hand too much?

So, Betting Is Communicating. Become truly fluent in this “poker language” and you’ll be amazed at how much it boosts your winnings.

Good luck!

Rick

Rick Braddy is an avid writer, Texas Holdem player and professional software developer and marketer for over 25 years. His websites and Texas Holdem poker software specialize in helping people become better Texas Holdem poker players. If you’re a poker player, be sure to visit his Texas Holdem website today and learn how you can play better Texas Holdem, too.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Rick_Braddy/2011

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By Rick Braddy

Who came in 2nd place in last year’s Super Bowl?

OK, not everyone keeps track of American football…

So…who came in 2nd place in last year’s World Cup?

Can’t remember – me either. I’m lucky to remember who won! For the most part, almost nobody remembers the player who comes in 2nd place in a poker tournament, either…

Who won the 2003 World Series of Poker? Chris Moneymaker

How about the 2005 WSOP? Greg Raymer

And in 2006? Joe Hachem

Who came in 2nd place in any of those tournaments? No idea…

And you’d have to do some homework to figure that out!

In addition to the notoriety, the bulk of the tournament purse money goes into the pocket of the Champion – who comes in 1st place. The difference between 1st and 2nd place is much more than the money, too.

The Champion gets the press, gets talked about in all the blogs, the winner gets their picture on Poker Stars (at least the WSOP winner does!). The winner is who gets remembered. Nobody really cares much for who comes in 2nd place in any competitive game or sport…

Well, now it should be clear why understanding how to win at heads-up play is so important. So, let’s talk about how to do it, and how to win heads-up more consistently.

First, it helps to think about the odds. What are the odds of Player A winning a particular hand vs. Player B when playing heads-up? Answer: It’s dead even! Both of the players have the exact same odds – it’s a coin toss…until someone bets!

If you’re familiar with American football, there are two types of basic plays: running plays and passing plays… In a passing play, when the quarterback throws the ball, there are three possible outcomes:

1. Ball is “incomplete”, nobody catches it – LOSE

2. Ball is “complete”, receiver catches it – WIN

3. Ball is “intercepted”, defense takes over – LOSE

It’s similar in poker. When you are dealt a hand in poker (any hand), you have three outcomes:

1. Your hand remains “incomplete” and you fold – LOSE

2. Your hand is “beaten” in a showdown – LOSE

3. Your hand is the winning hand – WIN

4. Your hand could be beaten, until you bet/bluff – WIN (some %)

In all of these cases, you can only win chips IF YOU BET. The thing is, the odds of either of the two heads up player drawing a strong starting hand aren’t very good, so chances are excellent you both

have a loser hand at the outset.

When you are first to act and you BET, you force the other player to look at their hand and make a decision – to either call that bet with (likely) a lousy hand or just fold and save some chips.

So, in heads-up play, you should generally play much more aggressively than you would normally in regular play, realizing that both you and the other player are most likely to have crap hands.

You need to use betting as a means of controlling the action and winning as many of what would otherwise be “crap shoots” as you can.

By winning the crap shoots (where you both have crap hands), you come out on top, and take down perhaps 2/3 of the hands – the ones you can win with a great starting hand or actual hand, PLUS

the ones you win through a successful bet/bluff strategy! This often makes the difference between winning and losing heads-up.

Does that make sense? Is it helpful? (hit “Reply” and let me know what you think, and if you have some other heads-up suggestions to share)

So, here are the BASIC rules you can use when playing heads-up poker:

1. When in doubt, BET!

2. Any pocket pair or board pair, BET BIGGER!

3. Given an option to “represent” the board, BET BIGGER YET!

4. When you’re the small blind, fold occasionally to give the

other player the impression that you’re playing “honestly”

5. When in doubt, BET!

6. Whenever an opponent calls you all-in, fold UNLESS:

a. You’re holding a legitimate strong hand you can win with

– or –

b. The other player is going all-in as a strategy against

you regularly – then nail them with any pair or Ace-high

hand you get.

Generally speaking, in a normal heads-up match, you want to avoid calling all-in hands, since most players only go all-in when they have a big, winning hand.

You should go all-in anytime you believe you have a winning hand or good enough hand w/ some decent outs for improving it.

Now, you need to practice playing heads-up BEFORE you find yourself heads-up at the end of a hard-fought tourney.

You can find plenty of heads-up action at most online poker rooms – practice makes perfect, so invest some time and money and practice your heads up play. There’s no way to learn better than actually playing heads up a lot.

Trust me, your heads-up play will improve immensely if you follow the simple strategy I’ve provided above.

Here’s some excerpts from the heads-up chapter of my sit and go e-book:

“When heads-up, you should be constantly applying pressure to

the other player to make him fold. You may re-raise when you

think you’re either beaten badly or your opponent is bluffing. It’s

a bit like chess or war games, with attacks, feints, counterattacks,

and graceful retreats. This is part of the “feel” of poker that’s hard

to put into words, but hopefully you get the idea.

Avoid getting into a predictable pattern yourself, and look for

patterns that your opponent uses and take advantage of it.

Since you’re playing against a single player, now’s the time to …”

“When playing heads-up, you need to get a sense for how the

other player is operating. If they are still playing tight, then loosen

up and get aggressive with them. If they’re aggressive, then deal

with them like you would any aggressive player by …”

Playing heads-up is perhaps the most important skills one can develop

and hone as a poker tournament player, yet it’s amazing how many

people fail to really practice ahead of time.

You can practice heads-up play in a number of ways:

  • Online – most online poker rooms offer a sit and go tournament format that’s just 2 players. This is a great way to get a lot of experience playing heads-up – highly recommened.
  • Poker Software – there are a number of offline poker software tools that provide great heads-up practice capabilities

Be sure to study up and practice your heads up play. You’ll be amazed at how much it’ll increase your winnings. It’ll also give you a better chance of emerging as the champion in a poker tournament sometime soon.

Rick

Rick Braddy’s poker websites, books and software helps thousands around the world win more Texas Hold’em poker games. You can take his heads up poker skills test to measure your heads up and other poker skills, read his sit and go poker tournament e-book to get the full heads up play strategy and playbook, and watch his sit and go poker videos [http://www.SitAndGoVideo.com/] to learn how to win more sit and go poker tournaments.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Rick_Braddy/2011

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