April 7th, 2010 — Poker Tips
1. Read everything you can find on poker 2. Try to talk to everyone you can get a hold of 3. Save all the hands you have difficulties with 4. Discuss all of your hands on poker forums and anywhere you can
5. Get a poker coach or join an online program!
6. Always review your sessions and learn to improve by yourself
7. Calculate and look at your equities
8. Learn how to apply hand ranges
9. Keep an open-mind and test everything 10. Understand the concepts in poker so you can customize them to fit your own style 11. Be generous – Help others with what you know 12. Keep your life balanced – don’t let poker swings affect your life
11. Use poker tracking software
to plug your leaks (and if you’re Finnish, check out netticasino
for more tips)
12. Be a copy cat – Look at how big winners play, think about it and imitate them. 13. If you think poker will make you rich quick, you’re wrong. 14. Prolonged stretches of bad-luck will happen, tighten up during them, take more breaks and discuss more hands to make sure you are playing your best. 15. Love your mistakes – How else will you know what to improve?. 16. Be self-critical, but do not put yourself down. Every mistake is an investment if you learn from it. 17. Learn how to spot exploitable patterns in players and how to take advantage of them.
18. Focus on one game and invest in an online course – whether it be Sit & Go’s, Tournaments, Cash Games or even mobile casino games (weird, I know), pick one as your main focus
Essential Tips for Beginners
19. ALWAYS play tight! 20. Try different poker games – Even though Hold’em is the most popular game, it doesn’t mean it will be the game for you 21. Study the game as much as you can 22. Have patience – It was frustrating as a balloon for me in the beginning, but turn that frustration into determination and you are good to go. 23. Keep your calm – This is incredibly important throughout your whole poker career, but especially while starting out. 24. Become a master of game selection 25. Keep it simple
26. See the first 8 tips in this list and make them your 8 commandments
Forum Posting Tips
27. Post meaningful stuff 28. Post funny stuff
29. Don’t just spam the forums with standard hands – Search the forums and archives first and learn
30. Discuss others hands at least as much as you post your own 31. Don’t be afraid to get yelled at, this is how you learn
32. Participate! The more hands you analyze and think about the better you become.
Poker Coaching Tips
33. Find a coach with experience and a good track record 34. Ask around what others think 35. Don’t hire a high-stakes coach when you only need a low-stakes one 36. Hire a coach if you’re “running bad” 37. No matter how good a coach might be, he might not be the right one for you. Try many coaches to gain several perspectives, sometimes you need to hear the same information from several angles to fully comprehend it.
38. Join a subscription site like Cardrunners or Stoxpoker
Poker Strategy Tips
39. Master the fundamentals – Solid poker wins the money. 40. Don’t fall into the trap that poker is all about great moves 41. If you don’t know the correct places to bluff in – don’t bluff 42. Learn to adjust to different player types 43. Play tight as a motherfather out of position
44. Don’t get into ego contests
45. Make specific bankroll management rules
46. Have AT LEAST 20 buy-ins for the level you are playing and move down if you drop below that 47. Make your rules so specific that you cannot break them without knowing it, it is easy to fool yourself
48. Make sure you never go broke, if you go broke you can no longer play (shocking isn’t it?)
49. Learn in what games you win the most 50. Learn in what games you lose the most 51. Improve your weaknesses 52. Make a living off of your strengths
53. Make super specific rules for what games you play in and leave if they do not make the cut
54. Learn how you tilt
55. Stop playing
after you lose a big pot or take a break 56. If you feel any kind of emotional change in your body after taking a beat or several or just not getting any cards – get up or just quit the game. 57. Discipline is one of the key pillars in the fragile house of cards – If you do not use it, the house collapses. 58. Most downswings or prolonged stretches of bad luck are magnified by bad discipline.
59. Don’t be afraid to move down in stakes if you’re having trouble
60. How does he play big hands? 61. How does he play medium strength hands? 62. How does he play weak hands?
63. How does he play draws?
64. What is your table image? 65. Learn to manipulate your table image. 66. Learn how to use what others think they know against them
67. Learn to quit a game when it turns sour or when your table image is beyond repair
68. Don’t waste your energy on whining about how unlucky you are 69. Take breaks
70. Be specific about what you want (write down goals)
71. Use you winnings to take a vacation or just take your friends and/or family for a dinner!
72. Keep the game fun
9 Reasons Why You Will Never Make Money Playing Poker
February 1st, 2010 — Poker Tips
I’m sure some of you might ask yourself the question of “Why do I lose all the time?”. I got this divine inspiration to write an honest post about what I see people doing that ruin their chances of becoming winning poker players. Mostly it’s because you refuse to be honest with yourself, the blocks are entirely mental
I strongly believe anyone can become a solid poker player and make a living doing it, but it takes work and it takes DETERMINATION. I know some that are in it for the money and it apparently is a strong motivator for them, when I started playing I liked playing poker, but I also liked making money. I had a kind of mix and that kept me interested.
Nowadays when I play 8 tables and my only goal is to make money I feel bored, there is no passion in the game. Sure, I still learn if I focus, but I prefer playing less tables. In that way I can get reads on opponents, I can adapt my play and I can play real poker that is challenging and fun for me.
Why then, do some of you never become the players you can be?
1. Fooling Yourself
Are you constantly fooling yourself? “Poker is all luck and these fishies don’t know what they’re doing”. You constantly get “bad beats” and that’s why you can’t win at poker. You may even blame the card rooms for your bad luck.
Does this sound familiar?
If it does, then you are absolutely fooling yourself.
Bad players are what make it possible to win at poker, you have to embrace the bad beats because when people are sucking out on you, you are making money in the long run. If you can keep going then you will win, but if you just play bad and blame it on luck then odds are that you will never make money playing poker.
2. Playing the Ego Game
What about ego, do you get in emotional battles at the poker table?
If you answered yes, then this is another obstacle in your way to becoming an excellent poker player. Don’t think I am saying that you have no chance of becoming a winning poker player, because if you are honest with yourself and work on your game, you have a phenomenal
chance of doing so.
Your chances go way down if you get into pissing matches at the poker table. You have to keep your cool and be rational about how players are playing
, what are their hand ranges? How can you adapt? If you only believe someone is doing something then that is often not enough, you have to see some showdowns, you have to see his hand so you can make a proper assessment of how he plays.
If you’re thinking “I’m going to get this guy because he sucked out” or anything similar, you’re in big trouble.
3. Not Putting in Enough Time
You can’t expect to become a winner if you don’t put in the study time.
What is enough time? I can only tell you how much time I put in before I started to win.
I started around 2004 and after 5-6 months I was making ~$2,000 a month. During those 5-6 months I probably put in at least 3-4 hours everyday
of reading forums, annoying people with my questions and reading all the books I could get my hands on.
That should give you a perspective on what it could take. Keep in mind, that was my journey, yours will most likely be completely different
. What’s important is that you put in the time and be persistent
, results will come if you keep working at your game.
4. Neglecting Coaching and Help
I know quite a few players who blame bad luck and whine about how they’ve run bad for the past 6-12 months and I tell them to get coaching or send me their last 500 hands so I can look through them. And what happens?
They refuse because they know they’re playing bad poker. Why would you want to do this to yourself?
Is your goal to whine for the rest of your life?
If you want to become a winner you have to be willing to show your mistakes to coaches and other poker players to discuss how you can improve. If you keep losing you HAVE to figure out WHY, only then can you make progress.
5. Tilting Your Money Away
You might be one of those players who play really well until you get a few bad beats. You then proceed to throw a few buy-ins away and get pissed because you’re so unlucky. Guess what, you’re as lucky as anyone else
, but you’re throwing your money away but not keeping your composure.
In the end, you are the one responsible for your results.
Learn to meditate, do yoga or anything that helps you minimize tilt. You can start by quitting INSTANTLY when you feel any of those tilty feelings
come up. If you keep going you are just giving your money away, avoid doing this at all cost!
6. Money Management
Are you constantly playing in games where you are 2 buy-ins from being broke? Then you have a money management issue, you have to start making specific rules
and making sure you never go broke, because if you go broke and gamble foolishly then you have no money to play with (pretty obvious isn’t it?
Start by having at least 20 buy-ins for the level you play, preferably 30 buy-ins
. So if you’re playing $0.5/$1.00 No-Limit Hold’em, you would need $3,000 if you’re following the 30 buy-in rule and whenever you drop below that $3,000, even if it is to $2,999 you move down to $0.25/$0.50 to get back to 31 buy-ins for $0.5/$1.00 and then go back.
7. Game Selection
This usually isn’t a problem for beginning players as the games at the micro or low stakes are pretty good, meaning that you never have to use game selection. But when you reach stakes like $1/2 No-Limit Hold’em you have to start being picky. That means leaving games that are bad (i.e. you won’t make any profit in them) or just not playing when the games are bad.
It’s tempting to keep sitting in a game when you’re losing to get unstuck, but this is just backwards if you want to make money
. Set a stop-loss, if you lose 3 buy-ins you quit playing until you’ve regained your calm.
And when you’re winning you should play longer sessions because your table image is such that you will win more pots easily and generally have an easier time. On the contrary, when you have a bad image other players will take more shots at you and bluff you at a more difficult frequency, thus lowering your win rate and if the game has gone bad you might even be a loser for that session
, because of your impaired judgment, table image and the table line-up.
8. Trying to Outplay People
This should go into the Ego category, but I decided to give it its own office space. This is very prevalent in today’s online games, players are paranoid that you’re making a move on them so they will call you down very loosely. And it kind of works against the bad aggressive players, because they bluff too much and are too paranoid about anyone bluffing them.
If you put one of these paranoid players vs. a good thinking player then he will get crushed
, because the good thinking player will adapt to his looseness.
This is another reason why you have to play tight solid poker in today’s games and when you learn new things you add them into your game, you do not and I repeat DO NOT start playing all those speculative hands like 97 suited out of position because you think you can outplay other players.
Avoid being that player who plays hands because he thinks he can outplay everyone and thus making the hand profitable.
9. Failing to Adapt
You cannot play a mechanical game
if you want to win decent money playing poker. Poker is about people and that means you have to adapt to be able to win.
If someone is playing too loose you adapt by, for example value betting them more. You have to learn how to adapt vs. different players and this knowledge or should I say wisdom comes from mainly experience and partly having someone to discuss these concepts with.
I hope this post will help you realize if you have any flaws in your game and propel you to take action. Because if you do not see your mistakes, how can you ever get rid of them? Magic? Possible, but unlikely.
May 1st, 2009 — General, Hand Analysis, Poker Tips, Surfing, Trip Reports
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-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!
How To: Play In The Blinds In No-Limit
January 3rd, 2008 — General, Odds, Poker Tips
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season!
I had a great Christmas, and enjoyed taking a break from poker to spend time with family and friends.
I’m ready to get back to the tables, though.
Playing In The Blinds: Comparison
In Limit, it is difficult to over-defend your big blind. Against a single raise we are typically getting 4:1 (or better) to see a flop.
If we fold, we lose .5BBs immediately. So, making the call only needs to result in us losing .49BBs or less and we have a profitable hand.
No Limit is very different, however. A typical raise is 3 times the big blind, so we are getting 3:1 on our money instead.
However, postflop is where the problem comes in. Most of the times we will miss, and against an aggressive opponent it will be difficult to show-down medium-strength hands cheaply.
Because of the huge disadvantage of being out of position in NL, we are forced to fold many hands that we would otherwise want to play.
Note that when the SB raises and we are in the BB we can call all these hands, things like Axs and JTo that play poorly OOP play well in position.
OOP we typically want hands that flop well, and can hold up to some heat. Pairs 66+, AJs+, AQo+, KQ is a decent range for calling heads-up OOP.
Against a passive / bad player we can call more hands, since he will give us cheap cards and pay off well. Hands like A9s-ATs, ATo+, KJs, PPs 22-55, and some stronger SCs like JTs become playable.
There will be aggressive players at your tables who try to steal the blinds too often. How do we fight back?
The answer: Preflop Reraises.
Someone who is opening 30-40% of the time from the button very rarely has a strong hand. They don’t mind being called, however, since they have the advantage of position after the flop.
Reraising a range of JJ+, AQo+, and occasionally some “creative” stuff like JTs, 65o, etc, will make him think twice about stealing your blind.
It’s easy to over-defend your blinds in NL, since we put so much at risk both preflop and postflop, that it is usually correct to just fold when OOP.
However, making sure to fight back against aggressive players with liberal preflop reraises, coupled with tight starting standards, will make you a tough blind to steal.
How A Poker Instructor Can Help Your Game
November 26th, 2007 — Coaches & Instructors, General, Poker Tips
A poker instructor – or coach – can be a powerful tool in the quest to improve your game and win more.
Successful players do lots of self-evaluation, reviewing tough hands after sessions and thinking about different lines. However, there are inherent limitations to self-review.
You Are Biased
This simply means that you already know the outcome of the hand. Knowing in advance that you got stacked by a set can skew your immediate reaction.
Innovating New Strategies Can Be Difficult And Time-Consuming
Each of us have a general set of strategies we use on a regular basis. Occasionally we develop a new one, but in general our play stays pretty consistent. Having outside perspective can facilitate rapid improvement in your game.
It’s Hard To Break Habits
We each form habits over the course of our game. Some go back so far that we don’t even notice that we are making tiny unprofitable plays, perhaps by raising an offsuit broadway hand from middle position or something else entirely.
A poker instructor can help you spot these tiny leaks quickly.
A poker coach is not for everyone. However, those who are serious about learning and getting better will reap great benefits from the help of a poker instructor.