learn how poker works in reality — the poker how to

   May 20th, 2009
   Surfing, Trip Reports
   written by Dan

I just got back from Nicaragua.  Sunny weather, warm water, big clean waves – everything a surfer could ask for.

Flying out of Miami, my Dad and I arrived in Managua, and took a bumpy, dusty ride to the Surf Sanctuary about 3 hrs to the south.

The friendly American owners greeted us on our arrival.

We ate a delicious fresh-cooked meal and enjoyed the brand-new accomodations with pool table, AC, and internet.

I hoped to play poker during my stay, but the central american internet was good for email and chat but not stable enuogh for poker.

After dinner we took the short ride to the beach to check out the waves.


Dad, while playing pool, befriended a group of cheerful brazilian surfers.  The next morning we all drove north to Popoyo.

Popoyo is a fun, rippable wave, both lefts and rights.  Bigger sets would roll through periodically.


The tide rose and softened up the smaller waves.  We had a blast!


After lunch, the brazilians took us to an un-named surf spot they dubbed “little popoyo.”  The wave broke off a large outcropping of lava rock!  I kept my distance from the rock, but the brazilians would charge waves mere meters from the cliff.


Little popoyo breaks slowly, yielding big open faces for carves and cutbacks.   Lots of fun.


Surfed out, we ate a delicious dinner of locally grown chicken, vegetables, rice and beans at Surf Sanctuary, and crashed for the night.  Stay tuned for part 2!

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   May 12th, 2009
   written by Henri

I just saw the first episode of Tommy Angelo’s series The Eightfold Path to Poker Enlightenment. It is all about the non-betting aspects of poker and it is awesome!

I have been in contact with Tommy Angelo for about 4 years I think. I started getting coaching and talking to him when I was playing Limit Hold’em and he helped me discover why I was tilting and what I could do to stop!

In these episodes he goes through a lot of material that is in his book Elements of Poker, but he also talks about other things that are interesting to hear, at least for me!

It’s on DeucesCracked, where their thing is to make series, each series consists of seasons, each season consists of 8 episodes, and each series is about different topics.

One could be about how to beat low-limit NLHE and one could be about how to become a poker budddha, and that’s what Tommy’s series is all about!

I highly recommend that you check out not only Tommy’s series but all the stuff on DeucesCracked if you want to become a poker player who kills your poker game or any new poker room!

If you can’t find Tommy’s video, just type “Tommy Angelo” in the Find box at the top. You can try DC for free (for 7 days), until then you can see small preview of each video, until you sign-up.

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   May 5th, 2009
   General, Psychology
   written by Henri

full-cup-5454842About a year ago I started slacking off. I thought I could just auto-pilot my way to profit, and I was right, I could, but not without consequences.

My winrate started going downhill because I wasn’t keeping up with what was going on at the poker table.

I wasn’t paying attention to my opponents and I wasn’t REALLY studying the game.

Sure, I was getting coaching and watching poker videos at deucescracked, but I wasn’t really paying attention or even caring.

And that’s when I hit a pretty bad downswing and it has taken me awhile to get back on track. I lost focus and started to focus on the money more than the strategic aspect of the game.

It’s funny because it happens in cycles. I have soon been playing poker full-time for five years, and I can only laugh at myself because I go through the same cycles over and over.

I play well and I win a bunch of gold, then I’m like “this is so easy, I’m going to play more tables and own people even more.”

After that I usually hit a downswing and I am oblivious to why it has happened. Cards do matter, but often enough my play has deteriorated and I have no one but myself to blame.

I then whine to everyone I know about how unlucky I am and how I am the unluckiest guy in the world and why me. I consider doing animal sacrifices for the poker gods, but always decide against it.

That’s usually how the cycle goes for me. The animal sacrifice thing is usually rock bottom for me, and that is when I get a coach and slap myself in the face.

Lessons Learned

1 – Don’t play 8 tables and think you can play ABC poker and own people.

2 – DON’T whine to your friends, because it is a waste of energy and your friends will want to do bad things to you.

3 – Pay attention while you play and really THINK about every decision.

4 – Try to figure out your opponents thought process. If they show a weirdly played hand, think about why they’re playing it that way. What is their reasoning? Can you learn anything about them that you can later use to crush their soul?

5 – Do other stuff! Don’t take poker so seriously, poker has variance and you’ll get destroyed by poker if you take it too seriously. Get a hobby, girlfriend, dog, meditate or whatever you want.

Photo taken by Craig Dennis.

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   May 1st, 2009
   General, Hand Analysis, Poker Tips, Surfing, Trip Reports
   written by Dan

So after a long hiatus I’m back!


I’ve spent the last 6 months playing poker and traveling the world surfing, most recently to Hawaii.

Poker gives me the perfect combination of flexible schedule and portability – I can play free poker from anywhere that has an internet connection, and when the waves are up I can drop what I’m doing and go!

Hawaii was incredible!   I went with my fianceé Maria, we stayed in Waikiki for 3 days, and then we stayed on the North Shore for 5 days.  We were lucky to get some late-season swell on the north shore, and Maria snapped some awesome photos.


I’ll be recounting both poker adventures and surfing adventures in my posts from now on.

Poker, too!

Poker-wise I’m continuing to play $5/10 NL, and while game conditions have changed they are still quite beatable.

I’ve seen an increase in aggression in recent months, with many players becoming more tenacious about fighting for pots, and more paranoid about being bluffed.

Here’s an example that illustrates the change in the games, and also a counter-strategy.

$5/10 w/ $1400 stacks.
I raise Q♦K♥ on the CO to $35, and an aggressive, tenacious player in the blinds 3bets to $125.  I call.

A few years ago this would be a turbofold, nowadays a call is totally standard, and some argue for reraising!

Flop: K♦ 3♣ 4♥  (Pot: $260)

Villain bets $165 into $260.  This is a standard-sized cbet especially on a dry board.

A year ago I might have called for pot control, and to see what develops on the turn and river.  I wouldn’t want to build a big pot, because if I got the full 140bbs in my opponent would usually have AK, KK, or AA.

Today, however, I make a glorified min-raise to $400.  My opponent has been aggressive with 3bets, and is paranoid about being bluffed.

He also likely assumes(here his suspicions set in) that I would 4bet him preflop if I had a hand like A-K, and that I might be inclined to slowplay 444 or 333 on such a dry flop.

He quickly reraises all-in for  $1275 total, I call.  He shows 77.

While this player is more aggressive than normal, it illustrates an important point – by making my hand look like I’m getting frustrated and fighting back my opponent’s over-aggression and suspicion works to my advantage.

The hardest part about this hand is hitting top pair, haha!

Good luck at the tables!

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   April 29th, 2009
   written by Henri

So I got another book which I felt would help me think more deeply about my game. It is called The Poker Puzzle and is written by a fellow DeucesCracked member called Improva, his real name is Oliver Marx and he’s from Denmark. Before I bought the book I chatted with him on Skype for awhile and he was very friendly and answered all my questions, he also said that if the book wasn’t to my liking I would get my money back.

I had pretty much decided to buy it anyway because this book is all about making you think about the game, hence the name Poker Puzzle. It really does teach you to think for yourself about situations and solve them. The book is not cheap, it costs $400, but it comes with 2 hours of coaching from Oliver so that made it an instabuy for me.

I’ve spent the last two days reading, re-reading and doing the exercises pretty much non-stop. When I first got the book I read it cover to cover and did all the questions (not the same as exercises) in 6-7 hours, I then got some sleep and when I woke up I started re-reading the book and it made a lot more sense on the second read. Maybe you’ve noticed that I have a bit of an obsessive personality, it’s awesome, especially when I have time to read books and study for several days straight!

I know most of my readers can’t afford Oliver’s stuff and he says it is recommended for 200NL+ players so if you’re playing 100NL and below you probably shouldn’t get it yet. For you guys I recommend Bill ‘billyjex’ Vosti’s book – How to Beat No-Limit 6-max Cash Games.

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