Category Archives: strategy

Poker Tournament Strategy

Optimal Poker Tournament Playing Strategy

Optimal Poker Tournament Playing Strategy & Short-handed considerations

It’s true that most poker tournament formats are still using 9- or 10-player format, but 6-max is definitely on the rise. Regardless if you play online poker or a the live tables, there are some strategies that work much better at these short-handed tables than at the traditional tables, so if you’re interested in taking on some of the short-handed tables, this article will help you take on the challenge and win real cash.

The key factor with strategy in 6-max poker tournaments is blind pressure — both direct and indirect. In the direct sense, the blinds are coming at you more quickly, which means you have to go about gathering chips more aggressively so that your stack can stay constant. You’ll have to play more hands, and you’ll have to take a more aggressive stance when you play them. You have more time to wait for the right hand to come along in a larger tournament, but the later you get in a 6-handed tournament, the poorer a strategy waiting becomes.

In an indirect sense, you also have to watch out for the effects of the rest of the field playing more hands — and doing so aggressively as well. This means that your opponents are likely to bet and/or raise with a weaker hand, so you can adjust your poker tournament strategy by doing such things as pushing raises higher when you really do have a strong hand, and then you can play back at a lighter level when your hand is on the lower end of the spectrum.

What’s the benefit of raising “light”? If you never do it, you will blind away, and opponents who are savvy will figure out that you only raise when you have stronger hands. However, if you raise too often, you are vulnerable to the re-steal, particularly when the chip stacks get smaller later in the game.

Another consideration is that you get more “BVB” play in a 6-max game. This stands for “Button against Blind” and can bring several different factors into play. When you are looking for the right hand to use for blind defense often varies with which player is on the button — and that player’s habits when it comes to raising, and whether they will fold or call for re-raises. A 6-max game requires you to defend more — and to steal more. The button is always a strong place to be, going last in all of the betting rounds post-flop. A full-ring game allows you to do more stealing and less defending, but in a 6-handed situation you have to be able to do both.

Set mining has less value when you are in a short-handed situation. Because your opponents will not have as big of a chance to have a strong hand, this can payoff. In a full-ring game, someone else is more likely to have a premium hand against you in a raised pot, but in 6-max you are more likely to have the stronger hand, but your raises are also not likely to go as high.

If you like to get aggressive in a poker tournament game, use moves to get back at your opponents and play post-flop, 6-max play might be right down your alley. However, just as in any tournament, understand the skill levels of your opponents as quickly as possible, and adjust accordingly.

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!

Online Poker continuation bet

Poker 101: Continuation Bets Explained

Online Poker – The Continuation Bet

The “continuation bet” in online poker, also known as the cbet, is getting more and more popular among no limit Texas Hold’em players. Because the move is so easy to use – and works so often – players who are new to the game can pick it up and start incorporating it immediately into their strategy. If you’re watching a Hold’em session, no matter what the level, you’ll see continuation bets go down. If you’re playing, you need to know how to incorporate it into your poker game.

What is a continuation bet? If you were the raiser pre-flop, a continuation bet is that bet that you made on the flop, even if your hand did not get better with the flop. So if you made a pre-flop raise while holding the Ace of Spades and the King of Diamonds, but the flop gave you the 2 of Diamonds, the 5 of Clubs and the 10 of Hearts, you can still boost your chances of carrying home the pot by betting, even though you still don’t even have a pair.

Why does this work? The majority of the time, your opponents won’t get a pair out of the flop either. So if your opponent folded every time you put down a continuation bet and he didn’t make a pair with the flop, you will win more pots on the flop that you would if you just checked. This is the basic idea behind the bet, but there are some other factors to think of as well.

The right size of a continuation bet is between 2/3 and 3/4 of the current size of the pot. It is also important to get a read on your opponents before committing to that size, though.

So if the pot is $12, you should bet $8 to make a decent continuation bet. If you don’t bet enough, your opponents are likely to call because they have favorable pot odds if their hand is any good or if they are on a draw. When you make a continuation bet in online poker, you want to make it seem like you have a plus hand, such as a top pair or even better. The purpose of this is to intimidate the opposition from betting. Going between $8 and $9 in this situation is the right choice. If you bet even more, you’re risking more money that you need to, when all you need is $8 to influence your opponents the right way.

You also need to consider the ability of your opponents when you are considering making a continuation bet. When you’re playing in a real money online poker table and you’re dealing with lower level opponents, you’ll notice that opponents will call no matter what kind of hand they have. The fact that they have not learned the benefit of folding means that your profit from continuation bets can actually suffer because you can’t frighten away those iffy hands that your opponents hold. Also, a continuation bet becomes less effective against opponents with more experience because they are also likely to know how continuation bets work and may call you knowing that your hand is likely to be fairly poor. So if you are playing against top-flight opponents, use the continuation bet infrequently.

Also, you’re more likely to succeed if you’re just playing one opponent instead of multiple opponents because the more opponents you have, the more likely it is that one has connected on the flop. It also helps if you are the last to act, so you can see your opponents’ decisions and know where your own continuation bet will succeed.

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.

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.