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Some stories, and stats!

Entries in this blog

 

Starting Hands and position

Position is a key part of a successful poker game, and is often overlooked by players (I never used to take notice either). The best position to be in is to the right of the small-blind, ie the dealer. The advantage of being in this position is that you are the last player to act after the flop has come out, so you know what everyone else has done before you, so you can act accordingly. There are three 'classes' of position; early, middle and late. As mentioned above, the best position is late position. So how to take advantage of your position? In early position you should fold almost every hand, because you will be first to act after the flop, and you will not have a clue whether anyone hit the flop or not. I read somewhere that you should never call in early position, and I agree. You should only play premium hands from early position, and when you do get them, raise. In middle position you can play more hands, you shoudl limp in with low pocket pairs like 3,3. Again you should fold all marginal hands like King-6, Queen-8 etc. Raise with your premium hands. In late position you can play even more hands, such as suited connectors like 8,9 etc. The great thing about this position is that after the flop, everyone may check to you, so you can bet and scare players off the hand. Of course you have to be careful if the board looks dangerous (flush draws, straight draws and flop pairs). Early position hands: Raise with: AA, KK, QQ, JJ, AK, AQ, AJ, perhaps call with 1010, 99 Middle position hands: Raise with: same as above plus 1010, 99, 88 call with: any pocket pair, A10, A9, A8, KQ Late position: Raise with: same as above plus 77, 66, KQ, A10, A9, A8 call with: any pocket pair not mentioned above, any ace, suited connectors higher than 6,7. KQ, KJ, QJ, K10 Remember the chart is assuming that no-one has raised you! Thanks for reading. Next up, how to beat the fish! (bad players) Just a little note (and I'm not being nasty here), whoever has rated this blog 1/5 stars: If you don't like poker, why read the blog??

AKQ

AKQ

 

Heads up part 3

Ok, now this is how you want to be in a heads-up situation, chip leader by miles! Lets say you have 11000 chips, and your opponent has just 2500 chips. How to kill the little bugger off? Well there is one word you need to know......bully. You (once again) need to force difficult decisions on your opponent, so fold your crap hands, and raise him all-in with any decent hands (such as face cards with good/medium kickers, ie King-9(also suited connectors such as 8 and 7 diamonds)). When you do this, he can either call you and the five board cards all come out, or he can fold and give you the blinds (in which case you will be further ahead). Remember he can't re-raise you once you have raised him all-in! Two things to be wary of. First if he decides to go all-in before you act, reconsider your decision and think about whether your hand is good enough to call with, there is no shame in folding. The other thing is luck (again!!) when you raise him all-in with your King-9 lets say, and he calls you with Queen-7. The board can favour him, and come out 5h, 7d, 2s, Js, Ah, in which case he has paired his 7 and he will double his money to 5000. Don't worry too much about it, keep aggressive and some luck will eventually come your way. You have to remember that most of the time you and your opponents hands will be rubbish anyway. Almost forgot this bit! Speaking of luck, take one of my recent sit-and go tournaments. My very first starting hand was Ace-Ace, which is the best starting hand you can get. I raise to $400, one person calls. The flop comes out 3s, Jd, Ac. Woohoo three of a kind aces! So I check to my opponent, disguising my strong hand. To my surprise, and delight, he goes all-in! What could he have? I have the strongest hand possible at the time! I call his all-in and our cards are revealed. He has Ace-6 both diamonds. So he has paired his ace, but it's completely dominated by my trip Aces. The last two cards are dealt; Qd, 9d. My first reaction is good, those cards don't mean a thing, but what I did notice is that they were both diamonds, as were his cards, and so was the Jack in the flop. Oh no! He wins with an Ace-high flush! Running diamonds and he wins, disaster. So I finish the SnG in 9th, the lowest position. That sort of thing will happen to you sometimes. You can blame yourself sometimes, but when there isn't even a flush draw (when you need just one more card of a certain suit to get your flush), there is nothing you can do! Next week, a short guide to starting hands and position!

AKQ

AKQ

 

Heads up part 2

Now you have reached the final two with a decent sized stack, you and your opponent are equal. What to do?! Well again you need some luck on your side, you need the cards to go your way more often than not, but you can still win even if they don't. You have to take a risk, you have to gamble. Rarely do I call when I'm heads up. If I have a trash hand? Fold it. If I have a decent hand? Raise. If I have an awesome hand? All-in! Being aggressive all the time enables you to seize some control of the game. Your opponent will fold unless his hand is good, or he if he is happy with 2nd (it sometimes happens like that!) That said, if he calls you, or re-raise you, thats when you need the cards to go your way! So when it's your turn to go first, raise with any decent hand, cos chances are, it'll be better than your opponents. When your opponent goes first, you have to remian aggressive. He might fold, in which case woohoo! If he calls, rasie him all-in (with a decent hand) If he raises then you can call with a decent hand, or re-rasie him all-in with a good hand. You have to force the difficult decisions on your opponent, not yourself!!! You have to also realise that you will not always win at heads-up, sometimes the cards will hate you, sometimes the good hands will betray you, but as long as you stay aggressive and are willing to take a gamble, then you should win more often than not! Part 3 tomorrow

AKQ

AKQ

 

Heads up part 1

Heads up is basically one-on-one poker. It's extremely difficult to consistently win heads up, I have probably split 50-50 with wins and losses. I am going to write what I would do in 3 different situations heads-up. It is by no means advice or a strategy, as you should always play the way that feels most comfortable and fun to you! First off, well done for making the final two! Now you will be in one of three scenarios: 1. You scraped in with a small stack and the other player has complete control. (ie you have 2000, other player has 12000) 2. You and your opponent are fairly even in chips. 3. You ahve controlled the tournament and have a large stack, dominating your opponent. So I'll talk about each scenario in more depth! 1. If you have a really short stack, you will be relying mostly on luck, and you'll have some tough decsions to make. You opponent will look to raise the blinds, either to make u fold, or just to get you out. A decision you will have to make is whether to go all in on a hand like King-8, because you might not get any better. Of course you still could land Ace-Ace on your next go, but its highly unlikely. The best thing to do is to go all in on any decent hand, such as King-8. Remember you will only ever have 1 caller, or none, and the likelihood of your opponent having a rubbish hand is much higher in heads up. So you go all-in with your K-8. This eliminates the need to bet on any other rounds, so no more decision making! Obviously if you win, you double-up and inch closer to your opponent, if you lose, you're out, but there ain't much you can do in the first place, because your opponent started way ahead of you in chips. So to summarise, go for it when you have a short stack heads up! Part 2 tomorrow!

AKQ

AKQ

 

Making negilible amounts of money ;-)

Well things have taken an interesting turn over the last few days. If you have read my first entry you will know about the whole $50 withdrawal/deposit farce, and you should also know about the $4 left over. Now the good thing about the $4 is that I know I can't do anything about it, not until I either lose it in a tourney, or I win lots and get it up to the minimum withdrawal of $50. So I have entered in the odd low-stakes SnG without any sort of pressure really. I wouldn't mind too much about a bad beat or finishing just outside the money, but things have been better than that. The first few I entered, I broke even. I finished 5/9 in one, and 2/6 in the other. But a slight change in strategy put paid to the inconsistency. You see on the play money tables with 7 players left lets say, you could get dealt a good hand like Ace-Queen on the button. So you gotta raise. Trouble is, lesser players on the play-money tables don't respect you or your potential hand, so they call, sometimes with absolute crap like 10,6 off suit. Then you're in big trouble if the flop comes 10,7,3 or biiiiiiig trouble if it's A,10,6. I'm not saying it always does, bt generally when ou raise big with 5/6 other opponents, you still get 3/4 callers, and thats two many. The reason why I like the lower-stakes real-money tables is that people respect eachother more. You can still get the fish who think 'sod it I'll go all in on my J,10. But usually, the table is nice and tight. That enables me to get aggressive, and after winning lets say, one decent sized pot, you can survive to the top 3 with big raises with good hands and folding weaker ones. After that it's time to turn the aggression up a further notch! You see when there are 9 players on a table and you have Queen-Jack, chances are someone, maybe two have better hands. But when only 3 players remain, including yourself, Queen-Jack might be the best hand, by a long way. It's therefore an excellent idea to raise. Then if everyone folds, you take down the blinds (which are quite sizeable at this stage), or someone calls (time to be wary of their hand now, so fold if you miss the flop completely), or they will re-raise you; in whcih case you must ask yourself if your hand is worth the amount of money you are about to commit. If not, then fold. It's always important to know when you are beaten. I employed this strategy to my last 3 SnGs, two of them 9-seat, one 6-seat. My aggressive lay enabled me to do two things later in the SNG. Firstly, if I was behind, my frequent raises would often result on blind stealing, so I could eventually catch up to my opponent. Secondly if I was ahead, I could bully the smaller stacks into submission! Part of this strategy I have learned from simple logic, but I must say that watching some other players on the high stakes SNGs (including a couple of Pro's Dipthrong and Spin31) has also improved my game hugely. So (and I amazed myself with this) I won all three SnG's, and although the prize money is pretty low, it's still a profit. About $6 paid in, and $22 won, so not too shabby. So that meaningless $4 in my account is currently on the rise, and is standing at $19.30c On my next entry I will blabber on about heads-up play, which was the one part of my game I wanted to improve, and I still do! Thanks for reading, and I hope it's not too waffly! SnG stats: Play Money last 5 results: 5th, 3rd, 4th, 2nd, 2nd Real money last 5 results: 2nd, 6th, 1st, 1st, 1st

AKQ

AKQ

 

Gambling for real money is wrong! I hated it!

Thanks for reading AKQ's poker blog! As you may have guessed, I'm a poker fanatic. But I don't like playing for real money. Some might say that without the excitement of playing for real money, you can't really enjoy poker to the full. That is true to a certain extent, however, I don't like the extra pressure put on me when it get serious, I'd much rather play knowing I can't really lose anything. The main focus for todays blog entry is about real money, the first time I ever deposited money into my Absolute Poker account. Mainly I was curious, and I thought I'd see what it felt like to play for real money (just so you know the deposit was only $50). I entered into a sit and go tournament, with 8 other players, for a buy-in of $11. I am experienced at playing in the SnG's at play money level, and I regularly finish in the top 3 out of the 9 entrants. I immediately regretted my decision of depositing real money into my account after the SnG. I finished 5th out of 9. That isnt too bad reall, but you don't win anything, and I had lost $11. thats not too bad either, it's only about £6. The bigger problem was that I hated the idea of gambling with 'real money' so I went to the cashier page to withdraw the $39 I had left. The minimum withdrawal was....$50!!!, and I only had $39!!!. Oh S**t! The only way I could get my money back safely into my account was by winning it back. So in the following few days (ie yesterday and today) I entered in the odd SnG, for much lower stakes this time (buy-in $1.10). I had entered in three by the end of the day yesterday, finishing 2nd in two, and 6th in the other. That worked out as a profit of 30 cents! Things weren't working out well so I entered into a ring game this morning. These are different because the blind structures stay the same (they rise slowly in SnG's) and you can leave whenever u like. So I bided my time until the right moments and soon I'm up from $39 to $45, success! $45 meant I could enter in a slightly higher stakes ring game. I entered in one where the average pot size was around $17. At first things went badly, nothing good came my way and i went down to $35. I thought basically I had to gamble. About 10 mins later I got a good hand, Ace-Queen unsuited. I have $27.50 left, and I go all-in. Other players fold to my biiig raise excelt for 1 player who had a fair amount of money supporting him. So he calls and our cards are revealed, he had Queen-8 suited which is good for me. Then the board cards come out: 3s, Qh, 7c, 10c and 2s. I win! We both paired with the Queen, but my Ace card acts as a higher kicker compared to his 8, so I double up to $54! Enough to withdraw from the poker site and transfer it safely into my account again, never to be touched again. So basically, I love playing poker, and I know that I'm a decent player too, but the idea of my own money being at stake scared me, even if it wasn't that much (for a student it is!!). I still play in the play money SnG because the y are immensly enjoyable, and I do well in them. I'll be updating the blog with any interesting stories, and also my SnG results every week. Ta! AKQ If you like poker too, come find me at the play money tables (Sit and Goes) or in the Play Money 500/Freeroll tournaments. I'm known as _AKQ_ I apologise if this entry was all waffly, but thats my style! This weeks Sit and Go stats: Note: A Sit and Go is a tournament for 6 or 9 players (I prefer 9). Players pay a fixed buy-in, in this case $3300. Players are given $1500 in starting chips, with no rebuys or addons, so once you're out you're out! There are no prizes for finishing outside the top 3 (when there are only 6 players its the top 2). £rd gets $5400, 2nd gets $8100 and 1st gets $13300. Balance: $21000 (all play money figures) 2nd, 7th, 3rd, 3rd, 2nd 5th 1st Total spent: $23100 Total won: $40300 New balance: $38200

AKQ

AKQ

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