Category Archives: Texas Holdem Poker

Texas Holdem Poker

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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Successful poker bluff

Tips for a Successful Poker Bluff

It is just about impossible to overstate the important of the right bluff in poker games. In very basic terms, a bluff happens when you put up a false move (and a false face) on what you have in your hand. You’re trying to get your opponents to respond in a particular way. To be a good bluffer, you need to understand the basics of the game you’re playing (Let’s say Texas Hold’em) and spend some time sharpening your reading skills. You have to be able to read the thoughts of the players around you so that you can put together an optimal plan for the win. You also have to know what types of players are at the table with you and have built the right sort of image for yourself at the table so that the bluff will work. Here are some tips to help you succeed when the time is right for a bluff.

Be selective with your hands (No matter if you play free online poker or real money poker).

If you’re going to have legitimacy with your bluff, you can’t play every hand. You should keep your bluff ready for the times when it gives you the highest chances of winning. This keeps some people from developing skill with the bluff because they simply don’t want to fold – because they just want to be part of the action. They will lose a lot of money. If you develop a reputation for folding unless you have a quality hand, they will start folding when you bet.

Don’t try to bluff a bunch of people at the same time.

When you have more than two opponents, bluffing will almost never work successfully. You’ll never be able to scare more than two people off the pot. Why? Because there is a higher probability that someone else at the table has a solid hand. And then you will be exposed.

Do not bluff against rookies.

Rookies are new to the game and want to play every hand to its resolution. No matter how strong (or weak) their hands may be, they will keep calling and keep going to the end. So if you have a pair of 3s, that rookie could just have a pair of 4s and play all the way to the end – and end up beating you. They do this because they still don’t understand how poker works. There are ways that you can take advantage of this, but bluffing isn’t one of them.

Act like you have the winning hand.

If you are making a bluff, you should always act like the person who has the winning hand – and be cognizant of the pot odds. Players are less likely to fold if the pot is bigger, because they have some more to gain by staying in. If the pot is already small, people are more likely to fold and wait for the next hand which could have more money. So if the pot is large, don’t bluff. Remember – you can only bluff so many times before people see it coming.

Break your own trend.

If you are regularly betting according to the same philosophy, mix it up now and then by throwing in a bluff. The bluff should not be your primary strategy – or method. However, every now and then it makes sense to throw in a bluff. Your opponents will not be expecting it, and it will force them to alter their perception you. If they are confused about your intentions, this could make it easier for you to pick up pots further into the game.

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.

Legal online poker

The only 100% U.S. legal online poker

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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.

Taking advantage of poker outs

Poker Outs: What they are and how to take advantage of them

If you are playing any type of online poker game that features more than one round, then you should start paying attention to the “Outs”. So let’s start by explaining the concept. An “out” is an unseen card that, if you draw it, it will increase your chances of ending up with a winning hand. If you know how many “outs” there are, you have a leg up in terms of poker strategy. For example, if you have Ace-2-3-4 (but if different suits), you have four “outs” to a straight, as there are four 5s that would finish that for you. If your Ace-2-3-4 are all the same suit, you have four “outs” to a straight and one “out” to a straight flush, as the matching 5 would give you that straight flush.

Sometimes you will see players using the number of outs to describe that drawing hand. They might say they had a “three-outer” to describe a hand that needed one of only three cards to become a winner. If you hold 5-8 (different suits), there are eight “outs” to a straight, because you only need one 4 or one 9 to show up, and there are four of each in the deck.

So how do you make the best use of them? You normally will figure this out after the flop is dealt. At some times, they can become important before the flop as well. If you end up AA pre-flop, you have more outs out there than anyone else, so in pot limit and no limit games where it is possible to manipulate the pot odds, outs like that can mean it’s time to raise pre-flop and get an advantage by pushing the odds in your favor.

Then, you want to figure out the number of cards are left in the deck after the flop that would give you what you want. If you are sitting AA and there aren’t any on the flop, there are two remaining – giving you two outs. You might not need either of them to win or to have top hand at the river. If you have two clubs pre-flop, and you see two pop up on the flop, you only need one more for the flush. There are nine clubs left in the deck, so there are nine outs for you. So figuring out the number of outs that you have is crucial for your strategy, even more if you’re playing real money poker or if you’re trying to win real cash.

Once you see the number of outs you have at the flop, multiply that number by four to get the percentage of your odds of getting a needed card at the turn or river. So if you have nine outs, your odds are 36%. Two outs? Just 8 percent. So now it’s time to decide whether or not to call. If the pot is $500 and you have to call $250 to remain in, you’re asked to put half the pot in. If your odds are less than 50 percent, you might consider folding. If you only have to put $100 in, now that’s 20 percent. That’s a lot more reasonable if you have a 36% chance of getting the card that you need.

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.

Big poker weekend winners

This may have been one of our biggest weekends so far

This may have been one of our biggest weekends so far. Congrats to our big weekend winners!! We had a great weekend at Cafrino. Were you a part of it?
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Cheers to all of our wonderful players!
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Short Stack Strategy Do’s and Don’ts

If your stack of chips is the shortest (or one of the shortest) at the table, you will probably need to adjust your strategy a bit. Regardless of the limits or poker games you’re playing, this situation happens all the time. Good players as well as bad ones can just have an awful run with cards. Some players also enjoy the challenge of starting out with a short stack. So how can you maximize your return when your opponents have more chips?

If you have a short stack, your room for making plays is more limited than it would be otherwise. Those advanced tactics like float plays and bluffs come from your ability to put down educated calls, raises, bets and checks at each round. If your stack is short, you don’t have as much flexibility to do that throughout the game.

Also, if you’re playing no limit Texas Hold’em, the whole point is that the turn and river feature the bigger bets, while the pre-flop and flop just set up the pot and get the hand ready for action. If you have a short stack, you won’t be betting after the flop much because you won’t have the chips that you need to continue.

So if you’re playing on real money poker tables and have a short stack, you should play the big hands that will be strong at the flop rather than smaller ones that could turn out well later on. So things like small pocket pairs and suited connectors, which work well for people with deep stacks, don’t work well for you. Now you need big suited cards that you can turn into a top pair or even better at the flop. Here are some examples of hands that you should look to play in this situation.

AA, KK, QQ, AK, AQ, JJ, AK(s), AQ(s), JJ, AJ(s) with 40 BB or less. With 30 BB or less, then it’s AJ, TT, AT(s), and KQ(s). With 20 BB or less, it’s AT, KJ, KJ(s), and KQ. With 10BB or les, it’s AX(s), AX, QJ(s) and QJ.

What do all of these have in common? Big cards that can turn into a top pair or even more. At the flop, this is likely to be the best hand out there. You won’t likely be betting past the flop, which means that you should be prepared to get that money in at the flop. Notice that hands with aces get a lot weight, especially if your stack is very short. This is because you are likely to be calling an all in or pushing on the flop, even if you haven’t caught some of it. If you are holding one ace, you are more likely to win with a high card against someone else who didn’t even end up with an ace.

When you get some of these cards above and they match our stack size range, it’s crucial to raise when you enter the pot. You might think that trying to play low and grab a good flop cheaply, but you will have more profits over time if you raise and then build that pot for the time when you hit your hand. If your stack has 10BB or more, that raise should be about 3 or 4 BB. With less than 10BB, going all-in isn’t a bad idea, because just one call from a raise of 4BB will make you pot-committed. There’s a simple rule you should keep in mind when you play online poker. The smaller your stack, the more willing you should be to call or push all-in as you are more likely to end up committed to the pot.

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