Category Archives: Poker Tips

Limping online poker

Is Limping a Good Poker Strategy

Is Limping a Good Poker Strategy?

A lot of poker players have moved away from limping when they play Texas Hold’em. It’s true that putting together intricate bluffs that cross several streets or putting down a three-bet is trendier, and limping has become a lot less popular than it once was. However, just because it isn’t popular doesn’t make it a good strategy.

Using Limping as a Poker Strategy

Some players say that if you never limp preflop, you’ll be a tougher opponent. However, when you take any weapons out of your arsenal, you make yourself easier to fight. Basically, you’re reducing your opponent’s worry down to the opening range.

Why have so many people come out against limping?

Well, the objectors talk about how limping represents a passive sort of play. They assume that limping before the flop means that the action after the flop will also be passive. However, if you use the “aggressive limp,” you can solve some of the other issues that may come up as you move through the streets and end up on top.

What is an “aggressive limp”?

It happens when you limp with the expectation that your opponent will do something in response, especially something aggressive. Here’s an example. Let’s say you have a skilled opponent directly on your left. He keeps there-betting you over and over. Most of the time, people will tighten their opening range to fight off these three-bets, pushing him into some four-bets that will either close him down for the night or make him a lot less aggressive.

Here’s the point, though. When you refuse to limp in this situation, you have to focus on that player to your left, so you can’t isolate any of your other opponents and steal pots before the flop. If you do limp, you can expect isolation from that opponent, but your opponent’s isolating range is going to make that three-bet range look pretty small. So if you can limp a range that is stronger that what that opponent has as his isolating range, you’ll be able to attack when the board is in your favor. So you’re not going to do some of the passive steps that people associate with limping, such as check-calling down to the river, or keeping lines consistent with the amount of risk and. Instead, you’re going to sprinkle some check-raises to your game and really shake the table up. This is one of the most aggressive defenses you can use in any hand, either live or when playing online poker.

Hold’em poker is one of the most sophisticated games in the world, and the deep stacks involved with live poker make it even more complex. Instead of trying to find ways to simplify this game, it is going to be more profitable for you over time to push the envelope and defy expectations. When you go against the grain you surprise your opponents and make an impact that will last for several hands, if not the entire night. So keep focused on evolving your game and keeping your opponents a step behind – and taking aggressive limps is a terrific way to do that.

Put your poker 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!

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!

How to Destroy Beginners at the Poker Table

Tips from a Shark: How to Destroy Beginners at the Poker Table

Tips from a Shark: How to Destroy Beginners at the Poker Table

Want to know how to destroy beginners at the poker table? Disclaimer: If you’re sitting around the poker table with some friends who are new to the game, you might not want to try these tips. You’re likely to end up making some people really mad — because you’re going to walk away with all of their money and humiliate them in the process. However, if you are playing online poker against some people you’ll never see, or if you’re at a tournament and find a novice at the table (or if someone starts talking noise), these can help you.

These Tips will How to Destroy Beginners at the Poker Table

First of all, when a novice comes into the room, he’s either going to be really nervous, or really careless. It won’t take you long to figure out which he is, either. The nervous guy calls a lot and folds most of the time when others raise. They’ll almost never open the betting. The careless guy makes crazy raises even though his hands are weak. If you have the nervous novice at your table, use big bets to scare him away each time, and watch his stack dwindle slowly. If he does raise, tread lightly, because it’s likely that he has something solid. If you’ve got the careless guy, value bet with your strong hands. Use big pairs to call down the big bets.

Oh, and when there’s another solid player at the table with you, make sure you target the novices. Solid players avoid targeting each other and instead enjoy feasting off the rookies.

One misconception that novices have is that they’re going to have a ton of great hands. After all, when poker games show up in movies, somebody always draws to a royal flush or something. There’s even that Bugs Bunny cartoon where the rabbit wins blackjack on one card by drawing the 21 of Diamonds (gotta love Looney Tunes). Most of the time, your hands will miss. Getting a premium starting hand like A-K is something that almost never happens.

Sharpen Your Bluffin’ & Reading Skills 

Knowing when it’s a good time to catch a fish will improve your chances of hitting a good pot. If you have a nervous beginner at your table, he will lay down a lot after the flop if they don’t get something solid right away, so you should bet just about every time. You can raise the other hands around you, and the novices will wonder why you’re getting all the good cards.

Another fun trick here is to make the minimum bet on the river. A lot of rookies don’t understand how pot odds work, so if they miss on the draw, they are likely to fold against just about anything. Finally, watch body language. Novices with good cards usually have problems controlling their emotional responses. If they have nothing, you can tell from their faces as well.

Knowing the hand rankings is obviously helpful

No matter if you are playing online poker, the WSOP or just a friendly hands of free money poker, beginners tend to commit the same mistakes. They often think that a straight should beat a flush (when it doesn’t) and that two pair are better than three of a kind (but they aren’t). This is an example of a way to make friends mad (because a friend would tell them the hand rankings). But if you’re not playing with friends, then don’t worry about it. You’ll only be able to win one hand for each of these misconceptions, of course, but hands add up.

Using tips like this will help you clean up…and teach those novices the same hard lessons you had to learn.

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 Cash Games

Poker Cash Games vs. Tournaments vs. SNG’s

Poker Cash Games vs. Tournaments vs. SNG’s

A lot of people who are new to poker have a hard time choosing among poker cash games, poker tournaments or Sit N Go’s (SNGs). If you’re just in this for some fun, then it doesn’t really matter which one you play, as long as you are enjoying what you do. If you want to make some money, though, there are some poker strategies unique to each type of game that will determine which is the best choice for you.

Poker Cash Games

A lot of poker players look at poker cash games as providing the biggest edge and the most reliable income stream for a player who wins regularly. Tournaments and SNG’s have a number of all-in situations, many of them flips that don’t give you control over how things turn out. You can get an edge from tournaments and SNGs, but it generally is not as big as what you can get playing poker cash games going per hand or per game.

Players in cash games often have a bigger percentage of winning sessions, and if you tend to win, your income will be more reliable over time. You can win real cash and make steady profits in the other formats too, but you have to play a ton of games or hands.

If you look at the number of successful players in each format, there are a lot more in the cash games than in the other two. A lot more people have figured out how to turn cash games into a money maker than those that have in tournaments and SNGs.

Also, the cash game will teach you skills that you can take to tournaments and use. Most of the best cash game specialists right now also do really well in tournament play. However, the top tournament specialists generally are not as skilled in cash games.

Multi Table Tournaments

Even though the edge in this format is smaller than what you can get in cash games, it is still bigger than what turns up in SNGs. The best SNG players bring back an ROI of no more than 10 percent, but in the MTT format you can go over 100% in your ROI. You do get a bigger variance in tournaments than you do in cash games, but a lot of the tournament players that engage in online poker are willing to post the additional volume to compensate for this difference.

Sit N Go’s

There are some poker insiders who think that the SNG format is becoming a thing of the past. Not as many recreational players are entering them, and the edge that you can get is really small, particularly if you are playing with a group of regulars. The best way to make money here is to wander outside the traditional SNG format. Heads up SNGs give a bigger edge to savvy players, and the double or nothing SNG seems to draw in more novices than the standard setup.

All you have to do is look at one of the big sites to see that the best nine-man SNG players are only making a small percentage of what the best cash and tournament players are raking in. So if you’re an SNG specialist, it’s probably time to develop your skills in one or both of the other two formats to get your winnings back up again.

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!

Avoiding Common Poker Mistakes

Avoiding Common Poker Mistakes

Avoiding Common Poker Mistakes that will Affect You in the Long Run

When you sit down to play Texas Hold’em or any other variety of poker games, you’re going to make poker mistakes. That’s just part of the process. The wisest players reflect on their poker mistakes, learn and improve over time. The people who don’t learn simply end up paying their money to the people who do. Check out these steps so that you hold on to more of your money.

Don’t play too many starting hands

Of all the poker mistakes that people who are new to Texas Hold’em make, this is the most common by far. Some people hit a losing streak and think that playing hands is the only way out; others think that the best way to keep a winning streak going is to take more risks and play more hands. You might just be angry at someone at the table — or someone who made you mad earlier in the day — and just play more hands to get back at that person.

Playing more hands means risking your bankroll, and with the easiness of online poker, people tend to believe that engaging in a dozen hands at the same time will increase their chances of winning. So you are going to need to win more hands (or win bigger hands) if you want to win over time. Unfortunately, you’re very likely to hit the number of hands you can expect to win (thanks to the law of averages) fairly soon, and keeping on after that, playing hands just for the sake of playing them, will drain your stacks. What’s the key? Pump more money into the strongest poker hands instead of trying to prop up semi-strong hands and playing them more often.

Don’t lose patience

Sometimes you can go several hands without getting cards that are worth playing. This can make you get impatient and play simply because you think you need to play, not because of the quality of the cards that you have. Then you’ll look up to see someone else raking in your chips, simply because you got bored and wanted to play.

Some people find this to be a real problem when they transition from play money poker to real cash poker games or live poker tournaments. Online, the games go much faster, and players get used to the rush of the speed of action. Then they sit down to play at a table, and it feels like they’re watching the paint dry, even if the games are high stakes. So they push hands they shouldn’t, simply so they get the feel of action — and then they lose money. Don’t let that happen to you.

Don’t force yourself into a strong table

It’s important to know when you’re at a table where everyone is better than you. It’s true that it’s good to challenge yourself now and then, but if you’re the fish at a table of sharks, you’re going to be the prey. As you advance in the game, there will be fewer and fewer tables like this, but you should always give yourself a chance to win. Get up from tables where you’re going to get shredded and head for a table where there are some fish and maybe a couple of players at your level — and a shark or two. So you can learn — and still have a chance of winning some yourself.

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.

percentage of poker hands

What Percentage of Poker Hands Should I Play?

What Percentage of Poker Hands Should I Play?

Many beginners at the real or online poker tables wonder how loose or how tight they should approach the game, more particularly the percentage of poker hands they should play before the flop comes? There is no simple answer, simply because poker is a game that is always in flux. When you are playing, you will hit opponents who have different tendencies, which means that you will often need to vary your strategies to compensate. However, there are some rules that you can take into just about any situation. So let’s review the strategy you must apply whenever you’re ready to make the transition from free poker to the real cash poker tables.

Did you call? Then raise.

Has the action folded to you, but you want to play your hand? Then it’s time to go for some aggressive poker strategy and raise. If you’re not holding a raise-worthy hand, then you just fold too. That means your opponents won’t know that you had a weak hand (and won’t get the satisfaction of knowing how things look when you limp, and the players also have to add more chips into the pot before the flop if you have a strong hand.

Starting your poker hands in early position.

Are you in a 9-handed cash game? If you’re one of the first three to act, you are in early position (EP). Here you will be going with at least six more players to act after you, so you will need a solid hand if you want to play. Generally, solid players raise triple the big blind when they have something like 77+ or AK+. This might seem like a tight strategy, but you are putting three big blinds at risk with the reward of just 1.5 big blinds coming back if all six of your opponents decide to fold. Also, you might find yourself out of position after the flop if someone calls you. Because of all of these potential problems, if you’re going to play, you need a strong hand pre flop.

Starting your poker hands in middle position

If you are in the second and third positions to the button’s right, then you are in middle position. There are fewer people behind you waiting to act, so if a call comes, you find yourself still playing in position more of the time, so you can play a bit looser. The key players now are the ones between you and the button, because you will have to face them out of position after the flop, if they decide to call. If they are playing tight, though, you can play more poker hands. If the people on your left are loose, though, you need to stay tight.

This might seem like a drawback, but you will end up making more money with the poker hands that you decide to play. As you develop confidence in your post flop strategy, you can add poker hands such as QJ/A9/KT/J9/QT/K9 to your range of poker hands that you will play. Remember that when the players to your left are quite loose, you will need to tighten up a little more. However, if someone has position on you but only folds rarely, you don’t want to add to the pot with something marginal, as you are likely to lose.

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 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!

Identifying Fish - Cafrino Online Poker

Identifying Fish at the Poker Table

Identifying Fish at the Poker Table

Need to know the best ways of identifying fish at the poker table? No matter what you’re playing, there is always an immense gap between the pros and the rookies. If you’ve ever watched pickup basketball at the playground and then gone home to turn on the NBA game, then you know what I’m talking about: the action goes a lot faster, the players have a lot more strength and ability and the whole tenor of the sport is different. In poker (Online and live poker), you can’t always tell right away between the sharks — and the little fish.

Where does the difference come from? Sharks put a ton of thought into every move and have a sophisticated understanding of how the game works. Have you ever watched high stakes poker online? You can see the pros raising and re-raising hands, people calling with their second pairs, just like you might see in the cheap games. However, you’re really watching pros who have played against these same opponents thousands of time. That means that they recognize their opponents’ game as well as they recognize their own. Here are some signs that you’re playing against a shark — or against a fish.

Marking Detail

Fish pay way too much attention to their own details when you sit at a poker table. What do they have? What do they need? The sharks aren’t looking at themselves; they’re looking at everyone else. Even after they have folded, they keep an eye on everyone else and they watch every bit of the action. Even if they don’t seem to be paying attention, they are soaking up as much data as they can.

Fish don’t notice things like your reaction to turn raises, or how often that you bet out with a big hand. You can get away with the same tricks over and over against them because they just aren’t paying attention. Take a look at their eyes: they will be on their own hands the vast majority of the time. The sharks, on the other hand, are looking at you.

Fish get “Emo”

No matter whether they have a royal flush or a pile of junk, sharks know how to behave. They know that overreacting is a bad poker strategy. They always look calmed and keep the same facial expression. Fish, on the other hand, often have visible reactions depending on what they pick up. If they win a hand, even if they are playing a friendly session of free online poker, they act like they’ve never raked in a pot before. You can use these reactions to gauge which players are the most vulnerable to your strategies — and the least likely to spot your mistakes.

Fish don’t balance their ranges

Sharks know that they should not make the same move all the time. Fish tend to make the same play over and over once it works. If you don’t want people to recognize that you’re a fish, you have to play so that your opponents will have no idea what you have. Do you check-raise the flop with a huge hand? Then you have to show you will do that as a semi-bluff, or even a bluff. Keep altering your play, or you’ll be caught on a big hook and end up watching your poker bankroll disappear.

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 Online Poker Tournaments

The Differences Between Online Poker Tournaments & Cash Games

The Differences Between Online Poker Tournaments & Cash Games

Are you familiar with online poker tournaments? There are a number of different poker games and betting variations, but there are also two major types of game formats: poker tournament play and cash games. Here is a list of the primary differences between the two:

In a cash game, you swap money for chips, and you’ll usually see a minimum and maximum amount to buy in, depending on the stakes. In tournaments, all players have to buy in for the same amount, and they all generally get the same number of chips for the online poker tournament.

In a real money poker game, everyone is at the same table. Online poker tournaments may take place on a single table, but they can also take place on multiple tables.

If you’re in a cash game, you can quit whenever you want and turn your chips back in for cash. A tournament does not end until one player has all of the chips. Players receive payouts on the basis on their overall finish.

If you’re in a cash game, the blinds are always the same for every hand, depending on the stakes. In tournaments, the blinds go up in price, such as increasing every 20 minutes. Cash games allow you to buy more chips if you run out. Once you’re out of chips in a tournament, you can’t get back in.

Now, let’s take a more detailed look at each of these two formats.

When you enter a tournament, you pay a set amount of money that includes a fee for the venue to keep. So you might enter a tournament that costs $50 and charges a $3 fee to play, so you pay $53. $50 goes into the tournament prize pool, while the $3 goes to the organization running the tournament. Then, you might get $2,500 in tournament chips – which you can’t swap out for cash. The blinds could begin at $10 and $20 and then go up every 15 or 20 minutes. The blinds go up so that you have to bet more instead of just sitting back and waiting for ideal cards. This format progresses when players are forced out, and the eventual winners emerge.

The number of winners generally depends on the number of entrants. If you have a $50 entry fee for a tournament, and there are 200 players, that creates a prize pool of $10,000. That might go to the last 10 players at the last table. First place would range between $3,000 and $5,000 (30 to 50 percent of the pool), with descending amounts for second, third, fourth, fifth and so on. This is just how they work – the exact numbers will vary from one tournament to the next. The tournament organizer gets to decide how many chips you get to start, the initial blind levels and the time before increasing blind costs.

Cash games are often where people first learn about poker. You’ll usually face a minimum buy-in to start, and if you’re entering a no-limit game there will also be a maximum buy-in at times. This really protects the players over time. No-limit or pot-limit cash games usually mandate that you buy in between 20 and 100 big blinds. So if you are joining a game with blinds of $1/$2, you could buy in for as little as $40, but it’s more common to see buy-ins at $200 or so.

If you’re playing at a fixed limit table, you generally have to buy in with at least 10 times the small bet. So if the game is $3/$6, you would have to put down at least $30 to buy in. Stakes and buy-in amounts will change from one place to the next. You can find cash games of all sizes, especially if you start looking for legal online poker tournaments.

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.