Big poker weekend winners

Congrats to our big weekend winners!!

We had a great weekend at Cafrino.

Were you a part of the winners list? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more chances to win a Level 10 invite!

$200.00 michealow
$100.00 pecosking
$80.00 davydog
$50.00 arson112
$40.00 crazy6666
$40.00 ugetair
$30.00 Squidless
$20.00 poollady
$20.00 CardQueen
$20.00 Quints
$20.00 RobotDr
$20.00 Jamescarpenter
$18.00 newjags1
$12.50 Moonma49
$10.00 TeamRed
$10.00 UncleRico
$10.00 parkbuiey89
$10.00 JimmyzHere
$10.00 pecosking
$10.00 DragonBite

And special shout out to 8srbetr, who wins our Level 10 Bubble Boy award (a free ticket to the next Level 10 game). Join us all week long for cash tournaments daily!

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!

What are Sklansky dollars?

Poker Strategy 101: What are “Sklansky dollars”?

Poker Strategy 101: What are “Sklansky dollars”?

David Sklansky came up with idea of the “Sklansky dollars” (Sklansky dollars)  in one of his many books about poker strategy. It’s a term that you can put to work for you when you play Texas Hold’em.

Basically, “Sklansky dollars” indicate how much money you should expect to win out of the pot based on your equity at any point in a hand. They’re not real, of course, but they are a good way to evaluate the amount of money you win from your hands. Multiply the pot size by your equity, and then subtract the call amount from that answer. If this is starting to sound too much like algebra, let’s take a look at an example.

So, you’re playing an $100 No Limit poker game with an aggressive counterpart. You have AA, and your opponent has A-Q. The opponent goes all in before the flop, and you call, excited about what’s coming. Unfortunately, the board shows up like this: Q-3-7-J-Q. No, you didn’t win, and your $100 is gone. However, you’re going to win this situation a lot more often than you will lose it, based on that high pair you were holding, so this wasn’t a bad decision. A Sklansky calculation shows you what you can expect to win on the average.

So what’s your equity?

Well, if you use a poker hand evaluation software, poker utilities or a probabilistic poker calculator, you’ll find that if you have A-A against an A-Q preflop, your equity is 87.9%. That final pot size was $200 ($100 for each of you), so if you multiply that by the equity, you get $175.80. So you might have lost that $200 pot, but you should expect to win $175.80 on average every time you have A-A against A-Q pre-flop.

Get your earnings by taking out the call. So you take out that $100 you had in the pot, and you see that you had $75.80 in Sklansky dollars (your earnings).

Remember — real dollars and Sklansky dollars are quite different. In that last example, you picked up $75.80 in Sklansky dollars, but your real stack went down by $100.

What is The real benefit of the Sklansky Dollars?

The real benefit of the Sklansky dollars is that they show you whether a decision was wise or not. You’re not going to use probabilistic poker calculators and run a detailed analysis in the middle of a poker tournament or when your are hitting the free online poker tables. However, when you’re feeling sore afterward, understanding that this is a situation that you would win almost all of the time, you can feel better about your judgment. If you start questioning your judgment, then you’ll start making bad decisions, following anger and frustration instead of logical principles. That’s the surest way to see your account drain in a fairly short amount of time. You’re going to have bad losses like the one described above. That’s why it’s called GAMBLING. But if you make decisions with the right judgment, more often than not you’ll get the results that you expect. And when you’re on a streak when the luck isn’t going your way, looking at the Sklansky dollars in each situation can help reassure you and keep you consistent in your strategy so that, when the luck turns, you’ll be hitting those expected outcomes.

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.

Cafrino Level 10

An easier way to win your way to the $500 Cafrino Level 10!

An easier way to win your way to the $500 Cafrino Level 10!

Hi Cafrino Players,

Now there’s a much easier way to get to the $500 Cafrino Level 10. Are you aware that you can buy and sell Cafrino Tickets in the Cafrino Marketplace? You can find the Marketplace link in the dropdown under your username.

1. Sign into your Cafrino account
2. Click your username
3. Scroll down to find the “Marketplace” link
4. Click the link and find the options to buy or sell Level Tickets

It’s that easy! Sell your tickets for chips, or buy your way into the higher level games.

Plus… follow us on Facebook and Twitter pages for promotions to win tickets and chips.

Good luck at the tables!

xo Petra

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.


Shakespeare, the Unexpected Poker Coach

William Shakespeare, the Unexpected Poker Coach

William Shakespeare, the Unexpected Poker Coach

William Shakespeare, the unexpected poker coach. One of the many cultural gems in my new home of Asheville is North Carolina’s longest-running Shakespeare festival, with five free outdoor plays every summer. I recently saw the troupe put on Measure for Measure. I knew nothing about the play going in, but ended up loving it, in spite of its reputation as one of William Shakespeare‘s least liked works. It’s an extended meditation on justice, mercy, and hypocrisy.

Five Lessons from William Shakespeare, the Unexpected Poker Coach

I liked it so much that I followed up the performance by studying an annotated edition of the play, trying to understand all the bits of difficult language that went over my head when seeing it live. As is my tendency, I ended up noticing a bunch of things that seemed to speak to the poker player in me.

1. Our doubts are traitors

I’ll start with what is probably the most famous line in the play:

Our doubts are traitors
And make us lose the good we oft might win
By fearing to attempt.

The applicability to poker is self-evident. Every time I play, I end up kicking myself for not pulling the trigger with a bet or raise in a difficult situation where I would have made more money if I had been braver. Whether on a bluff or a value bet, the reason for chickening out is always the same — the fear that my opponent will call with something better.

Later in the play, another character admits that she is torn — she’s “At war ‘twixt will and will not.” Again, that’s exactly the inner struggle I feel in such situations.

It’s possible that the single most profitable change I could make to my game would be to bet or raise in the situations where it feels right, without letting my “what if” fears second guess that impulse. How about you?

2. Straight feel the spur

In Measure for Measure, Duke Vincentio, the ruler of Vienna, temporarily delegates his authority to his deputy Angelo. Whereas Duke Vincentio had been lax in enforcing the laws, Angelo, when newly put in power, is ruthless — much to the consternation of the citizenry. One of them laments,

the body public be
A horse whereon the governor doth ride,
Who, newly in the seat, that it may know
He can command, lets it straight feel the spur.

There is something to be said for this as a poker tactic, particularly in tournaments. That is, when you are moved to a new table, especially with a big stack, start pushing the other players around immediately, regardless of what cards you’re dealt. Announce your presence forcefully. Let them know that there’s a new sheriff in town, so to speak.

Of course, there’s a limit to how long you can get away with such bullying before the populace will rise up in rebellion. But you can pick up a lot of chips with less resistance than usual when they don’t know quite what to make of you. Furthermore, it serves the metagame function of establishing your image as a dominant player to be feared, even long after your short burst of pure tyranny.

If you’re on the receiving end of this tactic, it’s important to recognize it for what it is. You can be the one most to profit if you’re the first to stand up to the would-be table captain. A big-stacked player new to the table who is immediately betting and raising is much more likely to be trying to establish control than to be accurately representing the strength of his hands. So push back early and often.

3. The jewel that we find

Elsewhere comes this bit of wisdom:

The jewel that we find, we stoop and take’t
Because we see it; but what we do not see
We tread upon, and never think of it.

In poker, pots are our jewels. Of course we treasure those we win. But there are many that we wrongly let go without a second thought.

One of the easiest ways to increase your poker profits is to become bolder at picking up “orphan” pots. These are the pots that nobody seems to want. They’re not hard to identify — everybody’s checking rather than betting.

If you’re in position when the flop and turn have been checked around, you should be firing at these pots a very high percentage of the time. Your goal, in Shakespearean terms, is to see and take the jewels that everybody else is simply treading upon, not recognizing their worth.

Five Lessons from William Shakespeare, the Unexpected Poker Coach 101
From “Shakespeare on Poker” (1906) by Martha C. Ballard

4. Be absolute for death

In the play, Angelo has sentenced to death a man named Claudio. Claudio’s sister, Isabella, is trying to persuade Angelo to rescind the sentence, but we don’t know yet if she will succeed. The condemned man is visited in prison by a friar, who gives this advice:

Be absolute for death; either death or life
Shall thereby be the sweeter.

Learned commentators tell us that “absolute for death” here means “certain that you must die.” With that understanding, the advice seems sound. It is torment not knowing if you will live or die. But if you have accepted the certainty of death, you lose the fear of it, and dying will be easier. Should you miraculously live, your joy in that outcome will be even greater.

Save for one lucky player, everybody entered into a poker tournament will “die” at some point. If you accept this reality from the get-go, you can play better. If you are controlled by the fear of being knocked out, you will play too timidly to win.

Of course, you can take this too far. The idea is to learn to play fearlessly, not recklessly. Those are very different things.

5. You might pardon him

Isabella, the heroine of Measure for Measure, is given some of the play’s most poignant lines, as she pleads with Angelo for her brother’s life:

Yes; I do think that you might pardon him,
And neither heaven nor man grieve at the mercy….

No ceremony that to great ones [be]longs,
Not the king’s crown, nor the deputed sword,
The marshal’s truncheon, nor the judge’s robe,
Become them with one half so good a grace
As mercy does.

Mercy is not a concept usually associated with poker, a game of ruthless self-interest. In fact, to the extent that mercy refers to deliberately not taking full advantage of another player, it can actually be unethical “soft playing.”

But even in poker there are circumstances in which showing mercy is commendable.

In June of this year, Lee Jones wrote an essay for the PokerStars Blog titled “Letting One Off the Hook.” There he describes an unusual situation in which he had the nuts in a cash game. His opponent moved all in, and Jones, of course, called. But the other player, upon seeing Jones’s winner, claimed that he had not said “all in,” despite both Jones and the dealer saying that that’s what they heard.

The floor was called, but the other player refused to surrender his or her remaining chips, and they had a stalemate situation. Jones describes what happens next:

“‘You know,’ I piped up. ‘It’s all just chips. Push me what’s there now and let’s get on with the game.’ I thought both floorman and dealer were going to hug me…. Look, I’m no saint, but when I added it all up, this wasn’t the time or place to bring things to a crashing halt over $300.”

In a recent issue of Card Player magazine, their anonymous columnist, “The Rules Guy,” reviewed the story and cogently discussed what went wrong and what might have been done differently to prevent the mess.

Five Lessons from William Shakespeare, the Unexpected Poker Coach 102
David “Chip” Reese at the 2007 WSOP

But the article concludes, appropriately, praising Jones for his mercy: “When you get a chance to be human, take it. The never-ending fight for EV doesn’t have to be a pact with the devil.”

I remember when David “Chip” Reese died, one of his high-stakes peers told the story of a time Reese played a private, heads-up cash game against an unknown player. Reese won all the money. The loser complained that something about the set-up had been unfair. It wasn’t true, but Reese gave him back his chips anyway, and let the game start over again.

Of course, Reese knew that he held a huge edge in skill and would likely win again, but the gesture also showed Reese’s capacity to put mercy ahead of pure profit.

I think Shakespeare would have approved.

Robert Woolley lives in Asheville, NC. He spent several years in Las Vegas and chronicled his life in poker on the “Poker Grump” blog.


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!

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!

Poker Pop Culture

Poker & Pop Culture: The Thompson Street Poker Club

As poker clubs began to emerge in America toward the latter 19th century, stories about the games emanating from those clubs became a popular form of literary entertainment. Such stories also provide a glimpse into how poker was played, even in those cases when the stories are fictionalized or embellished.

Last week we looked at one collection of poker stories describing the adventures of an actual (though unnamed) uptown New York club of the late 1800s. Another interesting series of comic stories appeared a few years before that one, these telling of a fictional group of poker players called The Thompson Street Poker Club.

The Club’s “Minutes” (with Illustrations)

Shortly after Life magazine first debuted in 1883, the magazine’s associate editor Henry Guy Carleton began to produce a short poker tales focusing on the invented poker club.

The son of a famous Union general, Carleton was also a playwright who would later have a few of his plays performed on Broadway. He was additionally an inventor who is credited with early versions of smoke detectors and fire alarms.

Poker & Pop Culture: The Thompson Street Poker Club 101
“The Thompson Street Poker Club” by Henry Guy Carleton

Carleton’s stories about the club resemble colorful versions of the minutes of a committee’s meetings, and they proved popular among Life‘s first readers. In the spring of 1884 a collection of 13 of Carleton’s stories were published in a slim volume, titled The Thompson Street Poker Club.

The book was dedicated to Robert C. Schenck, referred to as “that noble expounder of the game.” A former U.S. Congressman, Schenck earned that distinction thanks to his having written an early work of strategy about draw poker first published in England and reprinted in the United States in 1880 (a book we’ll be discussing here soon).

A sequel penned by Carleton appeared five years later, titledLectures Before the Thompson Street Poker Club and containing six longer stories featuring the same cast of characters. This one even more closely mimics the committee-meeting conceit, with each story starting with references to a speaker and those in attendance and even pointing out how the “minutes” of the previous meeting were read at the start of each new one. These lectures in the sequel sometimes recall incidents from the first volume, with the club’s members revisiting earlier conflicts while debating the club’s various rules and procedures.

The Thompson Street stories are notable for a couple of reasons. One is the fact that they are illustrated with drawings by E.W. Kimble, best known for having been the illustrator for Mark Twain‘s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884). In fact, it was after seeing Kimble’s work in Life that Twain got in touch with Kemble and eventually got him to agree to draw illustrations for Huck Finn.(That’s one of Kimble’s illustrations for the book up above.)

Also noteworthy is the fact that the players in the Thompson Street Poker Club are African American, and thus the collections are often referred to as the first ever poker books to feature African Americans. They are also occasionally considered along with other late 19th-century examples of “black humor” or “slice of life” representations of urban blacks (albeit written and illustrated by whites).

Swapping Pots and Stories with Professor Brick, Mr. Cyanide Whiffles, and the Rev. Thankful

Reading through the two collections, the initial 1884 title contains many genuinely laugh-out-loud moments, as well as some very familiar scenarios from other poker fiction — both before and after.

For example, one story titled “The Scraped Tray” reaches a climax with a draw-poker hand being bet and raised with all the two players possess, then ends with a showdown of four kings versus four aces, perhaps recalling the climactic hand of Mark Twain’s story “The Professor’s Yarn” first published right about the same time (not to mention many other quad-kings-versus-quad-aces stories.)

A twist here is the manner of the cheating involved to produce such a showdown — one player has used a razor to scrape a three of diamonds to appear to be an ace. Indeed, the “razzer” is the favored weapon used to settle disputes in the games (unlike the pistol Backus draws in Twain’s story).

Poker & Pop Culture: The Thompson Street Poker Club 102
Trying to get an answer to the question in the story’s title: “Wharjer Git Dem Jacks?”

In fact, the first story in the collection — “Two Jacks an’ a Razzer” — might be read as a variation on the old Wild Bill Hickok story in which the lawman claims to have a full house with three aces and one six, then produces his pistol and announces “Here is the other six.”

Of course, anyone who reads The Thompson Street Poker Club today is immediately struck by the sometimes-hard-to-parse patois devised by Carleton to represent his characters’ speech and heavily employed throughout (again mimicking Twain). Such is evidenced in story titles like “Triflin’ Wif Prov’dence,” “Dar’s No Suckahs in Hoboken,” and “Dat’s Gamblin.'”

The characters aren’t too deeply developed although are suggestive of more thorough comic types, with Kemble’s drawings adding a great deal to the reader’s ability to imagine them. Most are given inspired names like Professor Brick, Mr. Cyanide Whiffles, Mr. Tooter Williams, Elder Jubilee Anderson, and the like.

The Rev. Thankful Smith is also a frequent participant, one of several churchmen who participate in the game. In one story the reverend finds himself involved in a humorous exchange about the relationship between poker and religion (or the lack thereof).

“I rises hit,” announces the Rev. Thankful amid the play of a hand, who then “put up such a stack of blue chips that Mr. Whiffles nearly fainted.”

“‘What yo’ go do dat for, Brer Thankful?’ inquired the Deacon, in wild remonstrance. ‘Dat’s not de speret ob de Gospil.'”

“‘Whar — whar yo’ fin’ draw-poker in de Gospil?’ testily rejoined Mr. Smith. ‘Does yo’ tink do Possles ‘n de ‘Vangelists writ de Scripter after rasslin’ wid a two-cyard draw agin a flush?’ he sarcastically inquired.”

“‘Dis ain’t no prar meetin,”” Rev. Thankful adds by way of clarification.

I find the first collection of the two more engaging, and definitely recommend it to those who are interested. There’s much more to say about them, as well as about their status as historical representations of blacks by whites (and more or less for whites) — mostly sympathetic, though certainly of the era and thus unsurprisingly guilty of stereotyping and other negative connotations.

Later on the two Thompson Street titles would get sold along with another collection from 1888 titledThe Mott Street Poker Club written by Alfred Trumble in which the activities of a group of Asian poker players in Chinatown are described (with markedly less racial sensitivity). Full-text versions of all three books can be readily found online.

Inspiration for an Early Poker Song

Also worth adding to the story of the Thompson Street Poker Club is a later allusion to the collection made by the Vaudeville performer Bert Williams, the first black American to star on the Broadway. Among his many roles on the early 20th-century stage, Williams performed with W.C. Fields (also often seen at poker tables in his films) and with the Ziegfield Follies.

Poker & Pop Culture: The Thompson Street Poker Club 103
Bert Williams

It was for the Follies that Williams performed a song he co-wrote called “The Darktown Poker Club” that proved a hit in 1914 and is certainly among the first-ever “poker songs.”

“The Darktown Poker Club” is said to have been inspired by Carleton’s Thompson Street stories, and the story it tells of a player complaining about cheating going on in a game fits right in with others in the collection.

Later the comedian and singer Phil Harris (voice of Baloo the bear in The Jungle Book) would cover the song in the 1940s, then the country star Jerry Reed (of Smokey and the Banditfame) would do a version titled “The Uptown Poker Club” that proved a hit for him in the early 1970s.

The song tells of a character named Bill Jackson noticing all the cheating going on, and while sharpening his razor he decides to lay down his own rules for the game going forward:

“Keep your hands above the table when you’re dealing — please.
And I don’t want to catch no aces down between your knees.
Don’t be makin’ funny signs or tip your hand
And I don’t wanna hear no kind of language that I don’t understand.

Stop dealing from the bottom, ’cause it looks so rough,
And remember that in poker five cards is enough!
When you bet, put up, ’cause I don’t like it when you shy.
And when yo’ broke, get up, and then come on back by and by.

Pass the cards to me to shuffle every time before you deal
Then there’s anything wrong, why, I’ll see.
Not gonna play this game no more according to Mr. Hoyle —
Hereafter, it’s gonna be according to me!”

Here’s a scratchy 78 of the song to listen to, if you’re curious:

More next week regarding another notable poker club, a real-life one whose members came from one of the early 20th-century’s most famous group of cultural influencers, the famed Algonquin Round Table.


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!

Big poker weekend winners

Weekend Winners 9-11-2016

Congrats to our big weekend winners!!

We had a great weekend at Cafrino. Were you one of our weekend winners? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more chances to win a Level 10 invite!

$200.00 pokertoker7
$100.00 PCD01x
$80.00 ralphearl
$50.00 crazy6666
$40.00 TrueLuck
$40.00 TeamRed
$40.00 fazfore20
$35.00 BluFiYr
$30.00 xxwazoo11
$20.00 DrScorpius
$20.00 rants1990
$20.00 CrownShots
$20.00 GBD2113
$20.00 memelan
$20.00 luckyreign
$20.00 wildmanner
$20.00 sixeyes
$18.00 Jeff22
$15.00 RobotDr
$12.50 michealow
$10.00 dagrogster101
$10.00 nblauvelt21
$10.00 WhtKnight49
$10.00 kioti1
$10.00 JohnnybeGood
$10.00 jobie522
$10.00 JohnnyHoss

And special shout out to marius78, who wins our Level 10 Bubble Boy award (a free ticket to the next Level 10 game). Join us all week long for cash tournaments daily!

Good luck at the tables!


xo Petra

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!