Improvement

Understanding Position

9Position can be a hard concept for newer players to grasp.

To put it basically, the closer one is to the dealer button, the better position on has.

Players close to the dealer button have late position, the best by far. They will have had the chance to see the action of the other players and therefore will be able to make a more informed action.

Players furthest from button, called early position, such as small and big blind will have the second best position. They have the ability to set the tone of the round by initiating a bet or not.They can test the others to weed out the people without a decent hand.

Players right between early and late position are called mid position. They have the worst position. Not only are they subject to getting tested by potential bets by early positioners, they do not have as much free information that late position do. They are in that awkward spot like a deer in the headlights.

Players with late position often have the advantage of being able to bluff more effectively after seeing their opponents actions and determining whether they actually have a hand or not.

Regardless of how decent a poker player you think you are, you won’t get far without understanding position and how it can benefit you or be a detriment.

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Improvement

Handling Tilt

11What is tilt?

When one plays poorly due to being affected by typically recent, losing experiences.

Everyone who has played Poker has experienced a bad run. It’s not fun. Over the course of 6 hours, when one only receives a hand of AA only to lose it to some raggedy K7. When one is emotionally invested in a hand and ends up losing it, it could potentially put him/her on tilt. When losing hand after hand, it isn’t hard to end up on tilt.

When one doesn’t handle tilt properly, they can spiral into a huge vortex of lost money.

Take a breather, take a break. Take a moment to distance yourself from the table.Do any other activity that will take your mind off that hand. There is nothing  worse than to let past experiences negatively influence your actions in future hands. This only leads to imperfect poker play.

If you are experiencing a more long term tilt, it is time to shift the blame onto yourself. If you are experiencing weeks of bad runs, bad beats, and the like, and not letting it impact your actions, then don’t worry. Everyone goes through bad runs. Tell yourself that you are still playing perfect poker and are simply getting unlucky and that you will make money in the future if you continue to play perfect poker.

Poker is a game of variation, it is not completely skill based. It is completely possible for people to go on months or bad runs at a time. You can only not let it affect your play and realize that you will make money long term.

 

Experience, Improvement

Scared money don’t make money

10As the title suggests, scared money don’t make money.

I will be writing about a hand that I experienced recently.

My hand is 7 and 6 of clubs. The round starts by a player in mid position raising the bet to $13 pre-flop. After the action moves around the table, there are 5 total players in the hand.

The flop comes out 7Spades, 5Spades, 4Spades. Action begins and moves to the player who had raised pre-flop. He bets $15. When the action comes to me, I re-raise him $50, confident that no players made a pair on the board or have 2 spades in his hand completing a flush. I had a strong feeling everyone was chasing a flush with one spade in their hand or had overcards. The action moves to the player next to me and he re-raises it again to $150. The rest of the players fold and the action is on me to respond to the re-raise.

Continue reading “Scared money don’t make money”

Improvement

Developing a Range

8This blog is made for players to live, breathe, eat poker.

Part of that is becoming a better poker player. Every player needs to establish a range of hands they are comfortable playing with. A common trap a lot of players fall into is only playing the top hands. Sure a player can only play the best of the best hands, but will that get them far?

They will surely make profit slowly in the long run, but is it worth it? Are you really a good player if you are only playing the best hands? That is like saying you are amazing at math, but have a calculator at all times. Not only that, but these top hands won’t come all the time. You will be sitting at a poker table, waiting for the best hands, winning minimally. There is no fun in that. There is no excitement in that. There is no improvement in that.

Now that I’ve discussed the negatives of playing a hand range of only the top hands, lets move onto the better discussion.

What hands should you play?

Lots of players like playing connectors (7 8, 8 9, J Q, etc) because it gives them potentials for straights. Playing a hand with straights can be very rewarding since it is hard to put someone on that kind of hand.

Lots of players also play one gap connectors (7 9, 9 J, etc) for the straights. Although it is less likely than no gap connectors, they still provide potential straights.

Players also like playing same suited cards as it gives potential for flushes. Flushes are also very rewarding since people don’t like to believe that someone can have a pairing suit to specifically match the board.

Whatever the type of hands you like to play, it is important to broaden one’s range further than just the premium hands of AA KK QQ JJ AK AQ AJ.

 

 

 

 

Experience, Improvement

Don’t Assume You’re A Loser

7After posting the bluffing article, theres no more appropriate time to write this article.

Don’t assume you’re a loser.

Strange name right? Well, don’t assume you have a losing hand. Don’t assume the opponent has the best cards.

For example, you have K J. The flop comes out A K 3. You have the second best pair available. Your opponent bets. You’d be inclined to believe he has an Ace right? Don’t. This is a trap for a lot of players. They get into the nasty habit that the opponent has the better hand.

This will cause you to lose more hands in the long run that you otherwise would’ve won. Never let people walk over you. Never let them get away with bluffing you. Stand up for yourself and test them. If your opponent bets, then you raise. Check his reaction and his actions and determine whether he really has Aces or not.

Imagine if that same opponent had 7 2 and you folded. You would have beat him cause he didn’t have anything. You would feel pretty silly, right? Punish people who think they can walk all over  you. Don’t ever assume you’re the loser. Test for yourself whether the opponent is being honest with their hand or not.

I used to be part of the crowd that allowed people to walk all over them. Sometimes, you just have to take a stand, re-raise them or all-in, even if you have a small stalk. It not only shows aggression, that people will fold to, but also show others you will not allow others to walk all over you.

And that, is the most important trait to have in poker.

 

 

 

 

 

Experience, Improvement

Bad Beats

4Bad beat: a situation in which a player with the better hand bets and another player with the clearly weaker hands makes a bad call, lucks out with the community cards, and wins the hand.

How players handle bad beats will determine the type of player they are. If one reacts negatively to bad beats and starts raging or tilting, they are more prone to make poor decisions later on in the game and end up losing money they shouldn’t have. If one reacts positively, then he will have increased chances of maintaining a peak performance during the game. Poker is a game that requires immense concentration and focus.

What do you do when you get a bad beat?

The only viable option is that you accept that it happens to everyone. Not only you. It happens to professional players too. It can be hard to deal with a bad beat if you take it personally. Bad beats happen due to the variance in Poker. Everyone will have good runs and bad runs. Poker is not a 100% skill based game.  If a player is feeling lucky, then they will make a bad call and luck out.

Experience, Improvement

Tanking the Heat

3Anyone who has played Poker knows the feeling when someone makes a bet that outsizes your entire stack of chips, forcing you to go all-in if you want to proceed in the round. It’s an easy situation if you actually have a bad hand. All you have to do is lay down your hand and move onto the next hand. It’s also an easy situation if you have the best possible hand. You call the player’s bet and rack in some easy money.

But what do you do if you have a good but not great hand?

You’ll probably “tank” for a while, taking a period of time to critically analyze the situation and determine the correct decision.

This is normal. There will be huge heaps of pressure on you. You will double your stack and possibly more, or lose it all. These are the moments that define a player. These are the moments you analyze your opponent’s “actions” up until this moment and their overall demeanor. These are the moments you try to narrow your opponents hand down and try to figure out what two cards they have. You try to determine who has the better hand between you two or if they are bluffing.

It is at the end of this long silence you will come out a smarter player with another learned experience under his/her belt. A smarter player with double his/her stack or one forced to make the walk of shame, leaving the table with no chips left to play.

Regardless the results, these are the situations poker players yearn to be in as they have the potential for huge winnings.