Category Archives: Poker Strategy

Micro stakes poker strategy

Micro Stakes Poker Strategy Guide

Micro Stakes Poker Strategy Guide

When you start out with poker, you will soon learn that it is a difficult game to master completely. However, it is not difficult to start dominating the low stakes games (2NL to 25NL). If you’re in that micro stakes market and having a hard time making money, don’t take this the wrong way. Instead, put some of these tips to work for you so that you can start winning.

Winning poker isn’t about drawing the right cards. It’s about managing your mistakes so that you make fewer than your opponents do. In the low limit poker tables, players make a ton of mistakes, which means if you know how to avoid them, you can win consistently. Let’s take a look at some ways for you to benefit from the incompetence of others.

Let’s start by talking about starting hand selection. This is a key element in your micro stakes poker strategy, particularly if your post flop play still has some weaknesses. There are a lot of loose opponents at this level, so you can take advantage just with some smart bets.

In the area of starting hand selection, here are some important tips:

  • Don’t go all-in pre-flop with A-K. Just don’t.
  • In the blinds and in early position, make sure you play tight.
  • When a raise happens in front of you, and you’re holding a hand that is easy to beat (K-J, Q-J, A-T and so on), think twice before calling. Poker hands such as A-Q, A-K and high pocket pairs will be well positioned, and you’ll be behind the 8-ball. If you have that sort of opening hand, just fold.
  • Do you want to play suited connectors, one-gappers (such as Q-T) or suited ace-low? Then do it in late position, by raising when you are the first one to act (primarily to swipe the blinds) or call with a lot of players in the pot to take a look at a cheap flop.

A lot of the time, you will get called when you are betting for value. This means that you don’t get any benefit from slow playing. If you do that with a strong hand, you’ll likely miss out on a lot of the value from strong second best hands or draws, which fall away when scary cards come out. So don’t slow play with a big hand when your opponent has the likelihood of a pair, or there is a wet board with a lot of potential draws on the table.

This doesn’t mean that you should never play slow play. Sometimes you come out of the flop with a hand so great that you’ll carry on the river no matter what comes out. Slow playing could allow your opponent get a second best hand that will allow him to kick in some real money to make the pot sweeter, or your opponent might bluff. If you have aggressive opponents, slow playing to draw in the bluff can be very smart indeed.

These are just some ideas to have in mind as you put together your micro stakes strategy. There are other points to consider, but this gives you a starting point, so try to put in them in practice the next time you spend some time at the free online poker tables.

Ready to put your skills on the line? You can practice as much as you need on the free online poker tables at Cafrino and get all the practice you need while winning real cash. Good luck!

Cafrino poker multi table strategy

Optimal Multi Table Strategy

Optimal Multi Table Strategy

Before the arrival of online poker, you had to work to find a game. Which is not the best when trying to improve your multi table strategy.  You had to go out of your house and head to a table or bring people over for a night of cards. It was also a lot slower, as you had to play one table at a time. Now, thanks to the Internet, you can play as many games at once as you want, so long as you don’t overload your own stamina (and your ability to pay attention). People who were playing 10-cent and 25-cent games didn’t have a chance of making serious money, but now if you can play 20 tables at once, you can bring in some bank (as long as you can pay attention). A lot of people think that multi-tabling is a waste of time and money, arguing that you can’t make smart decisions because your reaction time is cut down. While there is some validity to this argument, the other side is that since you’re playing so much poker at once, having a decent game running at such a high quantity means that you’re going to make more money than if you have your superior game going on one table. Let’s look at some tips to help you make money off multi-table play.

Don’t Play multi-table Right Away.

Multi table strategy is NOT for amateurs or novices. First try to build some confidence playing at the free online poker tables, start with one game at a time, and start increasing the number of tables until it feels easy and almost natural. Then, feel free to expand the number of games you are playing. When you have more hands per hour, you have more decisions — and a lot of decisions in a short amount of time. If you’re looking at aces on one table, but they time out because you’re considering making a huge river raise on another table, you’re burning money.

Prioritize your Decisions.

When you play real money poker, you have to be prepared. Working on your multi table strategy means that your decisions are going to pile up. You have to sift through the easy ones, leaving the ones that require a lot of thought for more priority. If you’re playing ten tables, it’s unlikely that you’ll have more than one really tough decision to think about at once. However, you’re likely to have one tough decision and nine easy ones. It’s hard to block out the nine easy choices and focus on the hard one, but that can often be what separates those who make money from those who do not. Once you’ve focused on the tough choice, then you go back and make those other easy ones. Once you get good at this, you’ll be able to make those easy choices on autopilot while you’re still pondering the tough one, but don’t do that until you’re ready.

Know your Limits and Protect your Poker Bankroll

Are you winning money playing four tables, but when you jump to six tables, you’re losing money? Stay at four. You might think that you need to push yourself to play six, but you’ll be able to do that when you’re ready. If you push yourself beyond what you can do, you’re going to burn your poker bankroll.

Ready to put your skills on the line? You can practice as much as you need on the free online poker tables at Cafrino and get all the practice you need while winning real cash. Good luck!

Home Poker Game

Simple tools to improve your home poker game

Simple tools to improve your home poker game

Improving your home poker game is easy. These days, there is more material out there than ever to help you better your skills at poker. If you’re just starting out playing poker for fun, all of the information might seem a little intimidating. Also, not all of the information is really that solid, so you can actually end up losing money if you follow bad advice. Different people have different playing styles, so make sure you are getting the best tips for yourself. This is a list of tips that have helped people improve their own home poker game. Take a look and choose the ones that work for you.

Play as much poker as you can

You can read as much as you want about poker, but until you start playing, those tips just won’t make the same amount of sense. There is no way to replicate being in the different situations without actually having to play the game. You’ll make plenty of mistakes early on, but then you’ll learn from them and you will get better. Then you will know which advice you have read out there works for you — and which advice does not work. Over time, you will find yourself in the same situations time and time again, and you’ll feel more comfortable playing in a variety of scenarios.

Reflect on the hands that you play

The best way to keep from repeating mistakes is to take a mental look back at the hand you just played. If you just move from hand to hand without thinking about what you just did, you’re likely to end up back in the same situation — and making the same mistake. This is why casinos pay players with free drinks, so they will get careless over time and give more of their money to the house. Stay focused and take time to think about why you lost when hands don’t go your way.

Watch some training videos

When the first videos came out, they turned the poker education system on its head. They remain one of the best ways to enhance your chances of winning real cash. Watching the best players as they go through live play, and understanding what those players are thinking, combine to give you a huge advantage as you brush up your own home poker game. There are quite a few solid training websites out there. Many sites offer free poker strategy and poker guides, but the best way to start is to research information about the different coaches and then using the free trials to start. That way you can figure out which sites regularly create solid videos from coaches who play around the stakes that you want to play yourself. Why watch someone going over NL2000 strategies when you never get above NL20? Those stakes are like comparing apples…and ants.

Also, don’t just watch the videos like you would watch that new Godzilla movie. Watch them like you’re in a lecture hall. Try to take some notes and implement your newly acquired skills the next time you play online poker. Remember that ever new trick requires time, but if you have questions at the end, email them to the coach at the end.

Poker Strategy: Hand Strength vs Bluffing

Poker Hand Strength vs Bluffing

Poker Strategy: Poker Hand Strength vs Bluffing

Your poker hand strength and the bluff… why is it important? There are some poker players who never, ever bluff. There aren’t a lot of players like that, because bluffing is necessary to keep other players on their guard. But once you figure out that one of those players is at your table, they are easy to beat. If they put down money once the cards are all out, you should fold — unless you have a hand that you think is ironclad. In that case, you should raise, because if they just have an average hand, they will then hold.

Other people like to bluff all the time. Once you identify this sort of player, you must keep calling if you have a decent hand at all. It’s true that habitual bluffers are going to find good hands now and then, but they still bluff far too often, and you can still take advantage of that tendency. Calling against this type of player will help you win real cash over time as opposed to folding because you will catch them in their bluffs.

So how do you find the right mix in your own game?

There are different situations and variables, especially when playing online poker. The key is to keep others guessing. If you bluff some of the time, then you’re a better player than those who never bluff and those who bluff pretty much all the time. Better players are able to keep their opponents from guessing whether a bluff is at hand or not. If you have to guess, of course you’re going to be wrong sometimes. That’s why it’s called gambling, remember?

The key comes with the “tell.” This is a gesture that a player has that reveals when he either has something good or doesn’t have anything at all. All but the most elite players have a tell of some sort; it just comes as a visceral response when you see your hand. If you can identify (and then eliminate or even reduce) your own tell, you will have a lot more success at the table, because people won’t be able to tell what you are doing.

A lot of people bluff way too often when they are in a low-limit games or when they play at the free poker tables. Why? Because when you have nothing on the line or when are playing with fixed limits, you just have to make one more bet to see a player’s hand. The pots are usually sizable enough, at least in comparison to the size of a wager, to make the call the right choice.

However, in other situations, just the threat of a bluff can be crucial. Good players — those who bluff just the right amount of the time and in the right circumstances — also have the threat working for them. You don’t know whether this opponent has a solid hand or is simply acting like he does. You want to become that type of opponent. There is no set of hard and fast rules that will help you figure out what that balance is. The only good strategy is to play, read your opponents and their tells. Once you have found it, though, you will feel it — and you’ll see the results when your wins pile up.

 

Ready to put your skills on the line? You can practice as much as you need on the free online poker tables at Cafrino and get all the practice you need while winning real cash. Good luck!

Poker opponents strategy

Poker Opponents | Strategy for driving out player with best hand

Strategy for driving out poker opponents when a player has best hand

So you’ve finally picked up a big hand, and you’re ready to win real cash. So how do you manage the process of getting your pot as large as possible so that you can drive your poker opponents out of the game with your good fortune?

Step one: Analyze the situation and pick a poker strategy. The first step is to determine whether you have a small-pot hand or a big-pot hand. Do you have a pair or two? You’re looking at a smaller pot. If you have a straight, flush, a full house, or even better, now you’re willing to throw in the whole stack for the chance to drive a poker opponent out of the game. This is harder than it sounds, even more if you’re playing online poker. Regardless of the game or platform, you are facing poker opponents who want to protect their stacks and stay in the game. So take a look at his perspective — just like you, he doesn’t want a big pot unless he feels confident he can win it.

So the job now is to trick him into thinking that he has a better hand than you do, which is harder than it sounds. You have that huge hand and what do get things all-in, because you can’t knock your opponent out until you put your entire stack on the line. But if you do this right away, you won’t get called. If you throw $300 into a pot that has $15, no one will call you. They will know that you have a primo hand and will fold right away.

So you have to work more gradually. You have to bet and keep betting, putting money on the flop, the turn and the river. If you’re playing no-limit poker, you know that bets always take shape in proportion to what is already in the pot. So as each street comes and goes, the pot will start growing exponentially. The pot might be paltry at the flop, but if you stick around and stay consistent, it could be mammoth by the time you get to the river.

Here’s an example. You’re playing $1/$2 No-Limit Texas Hold’em, with $300 effective stacks. You have AK and raise to $12 on the button. The big blind calls, and the flop shows QJT. So the big blind checks, and you bet $20 into $32. He calls again, and the turn shows 3, and the big blind checks again. You now put $55 into $59, and he calls again. The river shows a 7, and your opponent checks. So you look down and see $161 in your stack, and the river has $170. You now have a chance to go all-in, and you won’t have to make a massive overbet to do it. If you’re working against weaker players who follow the calling stations, this bet is likely to work like a charm every time. If you’ve been caught in a bluff lately (or have lost some big pots recently), your opponents might think you’re on the tilt and are overbetting anyway, which will make it extra sweet when you rake in their stacks.

Ready to put your skills on the line? You can practice as much as you need on the free online poker tables at Cafrino and get all the practice you need while winning real cash. Good luck!

ways to stay off tile at the poker table

Poker Table: Easy Ways to Stay Off Tilt

Poker Table: Easy Ways to Stay Off Tilt

Going on tilt at the Poker Table is pretty much the last stop on the way to disaster. If your opponents can tell that you’re getting angry and distracted, then your play is going to start turning into a dumpster fire of disastrous proportions. The principle of every poker game is to win, and while losing the grip it’s sometimes understandable, getting mad isn’t going to help you win real cash at the poker table.

Of course, if someone else is on tilt at your table, you are probably going to love it and use it in your advantage. When you cause other people to fall off the table, you can rake in pots left and right. If it hits you, though, you are likely to leave empty-handed. So how can you avoid it?

Don’t stress over what you cannot change

Guess what? Even the best poker players suffer bad losses now and then. That’s why what you’re doing is called “gambling.” There is always a risk when playing real money poker— and with reward also comes the chance for failure. You know that losing is just a part of it, because you’ve taken your own lumps in the past. Even after a lot of practice (and after learning from your mistakes) there is just no way around the fact that you will occasionally take the big loss. The stronger a player you become, the fewer times this will happen, but it will happen to you now and then, no matter how big your shark fin has become. So when it happens, just grin and bear it, and get ready for the next hand.

Know when it’s time to sign off for some Z’s

A lot of the time, if you sit down to play and you’ve had plenty of sleep; it’s a lot easier to stay off tilt. People who are tired have higher levels of cortisol (the hormone that triggers when stress comes). This hormonal shift can make a loss you would normally shrug off into a catastrophe. If you’re playing short on sleep, you won’t make decisions at the same level of quality anyway, so you will lose more — and you’re more likely to find yourself on tilt.

To go up, you have to come down

There is no one who has seen their account balance simply climb up and up throughout their poker career. Even the sharks don’t win all the time — if that were true, tournament play simply wouldn’t work. This game is a marathon, and as long as you can come out ahead every now and then and slowly build up profit over the long haul, you’re doing well. You can’t worry about the progress in each and every poker game. If you just think about the bad situation going on right now, you will go nuts over time, and you won’t be able to play the way you want to. Instead, look at your poker career — not just this game — and the losses will fall into perspective instead of seeming like bottomless pits.

Are you ready to put your skills on the line? You can practice as much as you need on the free online poker tables and get all the practice you need before making the transition to legal online poker sites. Click here to check it out.

Multi level thinking in poker

Multiple Level Thinking: Levels Of Thought In Poker

Multiple Level Thinking: Levels Of Thought In Poker

Anyone who’s involved in poker games has to remain focused on coming up with the best way to out-think the opposition. This means seeing several steps ahead of where you are – just like you would if you were a champion chess player. This is why players that win real cash have the analytical mind to take a look at situations objectively and then take the right action at the right time. If you can’t put together different things in your mind to view a more detailed picture of how each hand ends up, you will not make a lot of money when you play poker. It’s essential to be able to figure out why opponents are doing what they are doing in a game if you are going to win. If you can use that to determine what your opponent is probably holding, you can make the best decisions for each situation.

Here is a look at some of the different levels of thought that you should apply to poker. In his book “NL Texas Hold’em Theory and Practice,” David Sklansky introduced an idea called “Multiple Level Thinking,” and here are the categories he came up with:

Level 0: No thinking

Level 1: What do I have?

Level 2: What do they have?

Level 3: What do they think I have?

Level 4: What do they think I think they have?

Level 5: What do they think I think they think I have?

Once you get beyond that complexity, you’ve left the vast majority of the poker players in the world behind. However, if you look at those levels, you can probably guess that the newest players to the game are probably at Levels 0 or 1. The very best players in the world can operate at Level 4 and 5 – if not even higher.

Level 0 – these are your newest players (or those who have taken too many drinks from the waitresses).

Level 1 – This is still fairly basic. This includes players who are still getting all of the rules down but are pretty familiar with the different ranks of hands. So they spend most of their time determining the strength of their hand and whether they can win overall. They won’t bluff well because they’ll only be thinking of their own hands instead of considering the hands of others.

Level 2 – This is the most common category. Some experienced players are in here, but they haven’t yet started winning regularly. They will think about what their opponent is likely to have in his hand, but they don’t have enough game knowledge yet to make the right play on the basis of the situation’s strategy or the math involved.

Level 3 – These players start to win more regularly because they are always focusing on what their opponents are thinking, and so they can pick up the right time to bluff and the best amount for a value bet more frequently. The difference between playing at Level 2 and at Level 3 is the difference between winning and losing regularly.

Level 4 – Now things are getting complex. However, the best players will be able to manage these thought processes. It’s less likely to need this to win, but you can win more often if you can get here.

Level 5 – If you come across someone who is this ingenious, you need to pick a different table.

Are you ready to put your skills on the line? You can practice as much as you need on the free online poker tables and get all the practice you need before making the transition to legal online poker sites. Click here to check it out.

Poker Strategy

Strategies That Are Useful In Poker

Poker 101: Strategies That Are Useful In Poker

If you want to become a better player and win real cash quickly, here are some ideas you need to keep in mind. Most of these tips are aimed at players new to the game, but even if you’ve been hitting the free online poker tables for a while, some of these could help you to improve your game and get to the next level.

Don’t play every hand.

The biggest make that novice poker players make is refusing to fold on hands. If you are a beginner, you really want to play the game, which means that you stay around in hands that are fairly bad just to be in the action. However, if you stick around, you’re more likely to lose more money. People who don’t fold at least half the time are throwing money away on the real money poker tables.

Don’t play when you’re drunk.

Hey, there’s nothing wrong with knocking back some cold ones while you are playing poker. However, there is a point where the alcohol kicks in and paralyzes your poker judgment. All of a sudden, your whole stack of chips has disappeared. This is OK if you’re just playing for fun or for low stakes with your friends. At the casino, though, you need to keep an eye on this because those stakes aren’t “funsies.”

Don’t bluff just to do it.

Bluffing is a major part of the game, but a lot of novices do not understand just how it works. There is not a hard and fast rule that you have to bluff a minimum number of hands during a game, but a lot of players feel like they have to try a bluff to win. There are some situations and opponents that make bluffing favorable, but if you run up against a player who will always call all the way to the showdown, you are going to lose bluffing every time.

Don’t play when you are angry, sad or just down.

Poker is not an escape from an awful day or from depression. You will start out playing with your feelings instead of logic, and your performance will suffer as a result. If you’re in the middle of a big game, and you just get hammered on a big hand and you feel yourself spiraling out of control emotionally, it’s time to stand up and take a break for a few hands. If you calm down later on, get back in the game. Your opponents will sense your loss of control and make you pay for it.

Do watch the cards that are on the table.

When you’re a new poker player, it’s hard enough just to focus your attention on the cards that you have. However, once you have that in mind, you also need to pay close attention to the table. If you’re playing seven-card stud, you have to know what is showing – and who has folded – when you think about calling your opponents. If you’re playing Texas Hold’em, determine what the best hand would be if you want to fit the flop – a lot of people overlook straight and flush possibilities when they are new.

These are some tips to help you get the most out of each poker game – both in terms of enjoyment and cash.

Ready to put your skills on the line? You can practice as much as you need on the free online poker tables and get all the practice you need before making the transition to legal online poker sites.

Cafrino Poker Metagame

Poker Metagame Explained!

Poker Metagame: What Is The Meta Game In Poker?

When you hear poker players talk about the “metagame,” they are referring to the game going on inside poker. This refers to a decision or play that you make that you have chosen on the basis of external knowledge instead of just fundamental strategy. Every time you choose a play that violates the basics of mathematic strategy in poker, you are likely using meta game strategy in that process.

The metagame has nothing to do with cards, stacks of chips, poker games or bet sizes. Instead, it has to do with the possible results of your actions and overall game play at that time in the hand, with an eye towards maximizing your profits over time.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you spend a few hours every day on a legal online poker site and you’ve been playing just a short time at this table. You’re in the middle of a hand against someone that you don’t know much at all about and have found yourself at the river with an iffy hand, and the bet is of a moderate size. The math of poker tells you that the call is not going to bring you profits.

However, the metagame takes a different look at this. There are two reasons why you should call at this point anyway. First, you give yourself the image of a loose player at the table. People are more likely later on to think that you’re liberal in your calls and may try to take advantage of that. Second, you get to see what your opponent has. This can show you, later on, the sort of person you are playing against. Even if you lose now, that information could well come in handy later as you understand his style of play more completely.

A third advantage is that even though you are making a weak play on this hand, you’re giving the other players the idea that you are a less than sensible player who calls down river bets even with almost nothing in your hand. This means that your opponents could respect your bets later on – and give you the chance to pull in some big pots as time goes by.

So even though this play didn’t make sense and ended up costing you a little money, the information that you gather – and the impression that you leave about yourself – could end up benefiting you later in the game, and you may take away several large pots because of the impressions that people have made about you – and what you have learned about your opponent from what he was holding.

There are a couple things to think about here:

The metagme is best to use against people you know. Obviously, you’re using it initially to gain information, but if you’re continually playing against new people, sticking with the mathematical choices is better. The more you know an opponent, though, the more metagame information you have.

Also, don’t use this as a reason just to make poor plays or spend your bankroll hitting the online poker tables. Use some moderation when making plays that are mathematically unlikely to work, even if you are just looking for a way out of a bad streak.

Ready to put your skills on the line? You can practice as much as you need on the free online poker tables and get all the practice you need before making the transition to legal online poker sites.

Value Betting vs. Bluffing

Poker 101: Value Betting vs. Bluffing

A lot of times you’ll see players who are new to no-limit online poker have one simple reason for making bets and raises: it has something to do with confidence that they had the best hand at the table.

Quite often this will work, particularly when you’re playing against low-skill players. There are all kinds of reasons to call if you’re a poor player with a lousy hand. This means that if you believe that you have the best hand, if you bet and raise, you are likely to succeed. However, if you’re playing against highly skilled players, raising with the best hand isn’t always the best idea, even more if you’re playing real money poker. To understand this, let’s take a look at an example.

Let’s say you’re in a legal online poker site and that you’re playing against an aggressive, tight opponent who makes a button raise. You have the King of Hearts and the Queen of Diamonds, and you three-bet him. He folds, and you carry away the pot.

But why did you three-bet with a KQ? You probably thought you had the best hand the majority of the time. That particular opponent had been stealing about a third of the time, which means that he’s doing it with some trash in his hand from time to time. You figured him for a decent player, which means that he folds a lot of the time. But why would you raise to get him to fold with a hand that was already worse than yours? If it’s worse, wouldn’t you want him to add more to the pot before leaving?

If you know that your hand is better, you want to keep the opponent in there with you instead of intimidating him away. The idea is to put the right bed to put the opponent there to call and follow his draw with faulty odds, rather than throwing the whole stack in and knocking him away.

After all, if you’re holding a KQ, and you look at his steal range (about 33%), you’ll realize that KQ will win about 52 percent of the time. So you were holding a favorite hand, but you weren’t holding a dominant favorite. The reason is that the range your opponent was stealing on includes hands with an Ace. Even a pocket pair is already ahead of you. So you were ahead of that range, but not by much. In fact, many possible hands for him were still ahead of you. So what should you do now?

Also, what else might he do against a three-bet? In the example, he folded. So in a way, that three-bet was really a bluff instead of a value bet. You were trying to get him to fold, in reality, when he might well have had a better hand that what you did. That’s a great result if you can get it – but you can’t consider it a value bet.

So what is the difference between a value bet and a bluff? A bluff is a bet that you make to get people who would probably beat you at call to fold without seeing your cards. A value bet is a calculation that you make on the basis of what you have – and what others likely have – to get the best outcome mathematically. There is some overlap, but if you’re not in a strong position, you use that bluff to get clear of danger.

Ready to put your skills on the line? You can practice as much as you need on the free online poker tables and get all the practice you need before making the transition to legal online poker sites.