Poker Tournaments

Play smart.
The chances of winning the WSOP Main Event are about 8,000 to 1.
The chances of winning a Mega Ball Lottery are about 13,000,000 to $1, and most people buy 5 tickets.

You need to play in 8,000 poker tournaments to have a good chance at winning the WSOP. You need to play over 2,600,000 lottery tickets to have a chance in winning the big prize in a Mega Ball Lottery. That’s based on ‘fuzzy Math’ at best.

Winning the Lottery is pure Luck, even if you have some lottery picking type of program, which usually tells you more about which numbers not to play.

Poker tournaments are a mixture of Skill and Luck.
Deep Stack tournaments require more skill than luck. Short Stack tournaments need more luck than skill, to get to the final table, where skill is more likely to prevail.
Tournaments that have a longer period between blind changes require more skill than luck. Turbo tournaments require more luck than skill, again until the final table, where skill is more likely to prevail.

If you are looking to make money in poker tournaments, play in tournaments that have fewer players. The prize pool may be smaller, but you have a getter chance of being in-the-money.

The optimal tournaments are Sit-and-Go tournaments. Most are from one table to three tables, 10 to 30 players. These tournaments usually have more skilled players than the larger tournaments, on a purely percentage basis. If you play with the Luck Factor, you should get ‘In-the-Money’ 30% of the time, or more.
In larger tournaments, 100 or more players, you need to get ITM at least 10% of the time or more.

If you have $100,000 to $1,000,000 to buy-in to a high stakes tournament, your odds of making the final table are higher than most tournaments where you pay a few hundred to play against hundreds players. Still much better than playing the lottery.

In most tournaments 10% of the players are ‘In-the-money’. Rebuys and Add-ons increase your Luck Factor, but decrease your ROI, which is only important if you can get ITM in a high percentage of tournaments you play in, which is highly unlikely.

I actually like to play Cash Games and use those winnings to play in tournaments.
[see Luck Factor]

I DON’T BLUFF

Mr Lucky Poker
Mr Lucky Poker

Poker Minefield Attacks

The minefield in poker usually starts when the ante begins. It’s when aggressive players start to really attempt to steal the blinds and generally lasts until the part of a tournament where non-aggressive players would be blinded out of a tournament or the bubble period begins.

Minefield attacks are used in poker tournaments and are based on stack sizes, used primarily for stealing pots with moderately strong starting hands or B+ to A- flop textures. [see Flop Textures]

Big stacks attack Short Stacks, Medium Stacks attack Big Stacks and Short Stacks attack Medium Stacks.

Playing a medium stack in a tournament minefield is more dangerous than playing a short stack. A medium stack will be 50 to 60 big blinds. With tournaments now going to games with a Big Blind ante, stacks take on a different strategy. 60 big blinds have a utility of about 40 hands depending on the blind change interval.

Many tournaments have 20 minutes between blind changes. At 2.5 big blinds per orbit, you’re looking at your stack going down to 15 big blinds when the deal gets back to you, as the blinds, and ante have tripled . Most live games have about 30 hands per hour, that’s only 10 hands per blind change. Short stacks, 10 Big Blinds or less, will be going All-in with any playable hand for the rest of the tournament.

If you have a medium stack, you must increase your stack by 20 % every orbit, or double up each hour. In order to be competitive, you need to play about 20% of the hands you are dealt, that’s 6 hands per hour. Each hand will cost about 7 to 10 big blinds to get to the river.

Picking playable hands is crucial in the Minefield, but you can’t just play premium hands to survive. You have to learn how to use the Luck Factor as a skill. Learn how to play marginal hands in optimal situations.

Advanced Poker Tournament Strategy 2, by Arnold Snyder.

I NEVER BLUFF

Mr Lucky Poker
Mr Lucky Poker

GTO (Game-Theory Optimization)

GTO (Game-Theory Optimal): This playing style is where you essentially attempt to play perfect poker yourself, which in turn only allows for your opponents to make mistakes against you (which is where almost all of your profit will be derived from). It always incorporates having bluffs or semi-bluffs mixed in with your value bets, can help clarify bet sizes to use, and more.

Simply put, most of the player population do not play GTO poker and often times open themselves up to be exploited in some facet of their gameplay and strategy, allowing for more profits to be made from them using an exploitative approach. In fact, it’s only in some of the largest games at the highest stakes that GTO concepts are fully utilized and seen in practice, and even then, exploitative plays are still sometimes used.

That said, though, knowing, understanding, and being able to apply GTO poker basics is going to help create an incredibly sound, solid foundation for your poker game – no doubt! Additionally, it’s important to have that baseline of GTO knowledge so that you can know how to appropriately deviate from it when necessary in order to maximize profits.

Poker GTO Strategy

As illuminated in Ed Miller’s book, “Poker’s 1%,” the most fundamental concept that only the most elite poker players truly grasp and understand is that regarding frequencies, which could be in relation to cbets, bluffs, folds, calls, raises, etc. .

GTO poker solvers (downloadable online software – something that will be talked upon in a later section of this article) often will give solutions for how to play as optimally as possible in any given spot, and often, they recommend using a mixed strategies based on select frequencies.

https://www.888poker.com/magazine/strategy/beginners-guide-gto-poker

I NEVER  BLUFF

Mr Lucky Poker
Mr Lucky Poker

Game Theory Optimal vs Exploitative Strategies

In poker, there are two primary types of winning strategies you can choose to play by in any given situation:

Exploitative: This is where you play in a way that you maximize your expected value (EV) in any given situation by appropriately countering your opponents’ sub-optimal plays and weaker tendencies. Yes, playing this way often opens yourself to be exploited, too, but often times the weaker opponents you’re targeting with this strategy will not change their game to appropriately counteract this, allowing you to reap maximal profits continue to do so over the long run.

 

GTO (Game-Theory Optimal): This playing style is where you essentially attempt to play perfect poker yourself, which in turn only allows for your opponents to make mistakes against you (which is where almost all of your profit will be derived from). It always incorporates having bluffs or semi-bluffs mixed in with your value bets, can help clarify bet sizes to use, and more.

 

Which Play Style is Best in Poker: GTO vs. Exploitative?

Before delving into strategic concepts regarding GTO poker, it’s important to understand which of these two very different play styles is going to be more profitable for you to use as a beginner or more advanced player. The simple answer will likely be a combination of both, but usually more of an exploitable approach.

 

Simply put, most of the player population do not play GTO poker and often times open themselves up to be exploited in some facet of their gameplay and strategy, allowing for more profits to be made from them using an exploitative approach. In fact, it’s only in some of the largest games at the highest stakes that GTO concepts are fully utilized and seen in practice, and even then, exploitative plays are still sometimes used.

That said, though, knowing, understanding, and being able to apply GTO poker basics is going to help create an incredibly sound, solid foundation for your poker game – no doubt! Additionally, it’s important to have that baseline of GTO knowledge so that you can know how to appropriately deviate from it when necessary in order to maximize profits.

 

Poker GTO Strategy

As illuminated in Ed Miller’s book, “Poker’s 1%,” the most fundamental concept that only the most elite poker players truly grasp and understand is that regarding frequencies, which could be in relation to cbets, bluffs, folds, calls, raises, etc. .

GTO poker solvers (downloadable online software – something that will be talked upon in a later section of this article) often will give solutions for how to play as optimally as possible in any given spot, and often, they recommend using a mixed strategies based on select frequencies.

 

For example, in a given river situation, a solver may tell you to call with a specific hand within a range 70% of the time and fold it 30% of the time. It might also tell you that in a given spot, you should call 50% of the time, fold 35% of the time, and raise 15% of the time (with a certain range of hands).

Frequencies are such a fundamentally important and often unrecognized part of poker, but the concept of this runs true through the following 5 poker GTO concepts:

 

  1. Preflop Starting Hand Ranges

To make up for positional disadvantage, players must open up tighter hand ranges than otherwise the further they are out of position.

That said, it’s never enough to just open premium starting hands. Considering GTO poker ranges and principles, you usually want to have a good, balanced starting hand range from each position with at least some hands that will allow you to have a very strong poker hand regardless of how the texture of the flop comes (low, mid, high, disconnected, etc).

Below is a poker GTO preflop beginner poker chart for starting hands for online 6-max play, showing which hand ranges one should open-raise with, after the action has folded to them. The table is coded by colors representing different table positions (see key below).

GTOvsEXPL1

[chart 1: poker GTO preflop beginner poker chart for starting hands for online 6-max play]

NOTE: It’s advisable for GTO play to use a mixed strategy for opening in the small blind, combining some open-limps with open-raises for various hands in the range, something that cannot be illustrated with the color system used for this chart.

Often times, the correct solution of deciding which hands to play is simply a math problem, which is something discussed below.[1]

 

Other preflop GTO poker charts can include which hands should be played after a raise, which hands to 3bet, which hands to continue with after raising and now facing a 3bet, etc. Using solvers can assist you with choosing which hands to continue with preflop and in what capacity (call / raise / re-raise / etc).

 

  1. Pot Odds

As a poker player, you should always be looking to make +EV decisions that render you profit. Understanding and applying principles of pot odds (and equity) can certainly help you out with that.

 

Poker GTO Examples: Postflop Pot Odds

Let’s say that we have JhTh on a board of 9h8h2s4c (open-ended straight-flush draw). There’s $50 in the pot and we have $40 left in our stack. Our opponent has you covered, and he goes all-in.

Playing GTO here would simply involve making the calculations to determine whether or not a call would be +EV or –EV, as calling or folding are our only options. (There would be no further action in the hand.)

We assume any remaining heart, Queen, or 7 will give us a win on the hand. This means that we have 15 cards (outs) to improve out of 46 remaining unknown cards, meaning we’ll improve 32.6% of the time.

 

However, what if our opponent has a set already some portion of the time? In that case, if the 4h or 2h came, it could improve our hand to a flush, but it also might improve villain’s hand to a boat. If we reduce the number of outs from 15 to 14.5 to account for this, this would bring our equity to 31.5%

Now we must calculate the pot odds we’re getting.:

(bet amount / (our bet + pot)) = pot odds

= $50 / ($40 + $90)

= $40 / $130

= 30.7%

This means we must have greater than 30.7% equity to make a profitable call. As we have 31.5% equity (even when we’ve taken the possibility of villain having a set into account), we can see that this is a profitable call.

Yes, the majority of the time we will lose, but over the long run, we will show a small profit from calling here, thus rendering a call to be correct.

NOTE: Additionally, it should be noted that the concept of pot odds is not only applicable to draws. If an opponent bets 50% pot, you are getting 3 to 1 odds on a call, this means you should win 25% of the time in order to make a call profitable. Therefore, if you take your current hand (and use an equity calculator like “Equilab” on a PC or “PokerCruncher” on a Mac) and it has better than 25% equity against your opponent’s perceived range, then you should call.

 

Poker GTO Examples: Preflop Pot Odds

Assume you raise to 3bb preflop and get 3bet by the button to 9bb. Action then folds to you, and you must decide how to act. In situations like these, we can actually use pot odds to assist our decision-making.

In this case the size of the pot is:

= (our open + 3bet size + small blind + big blind)

= (3bb + 9bb + 0.5bb + 1bb)

= 13.5

This means that we need to call 6bb to try and win a pot of 13.5bb, meaning we would need to have equity of approximately (6bb / (6bb + 13.5bb)) = 30.7% against the range of the 3bettor in order to continue.

 

However, there are at least 3 additional factors that need to be considered:

  1. Positional Disadvantage: Being out of position on our opponent, it will be much more difficult to realize our equity in the hand, as our opponent will be able to effectively utilize his position better in order to put us in tough spots. As a result, we should usually add ~7% points to our equity needed in order to profitably continue against villain’s hand range.
  2. Implied Odds / Reverse Implied Odds: This is the ability to win or lose a significant amount of more money post-flop (than what we invested pre-flop) as a result of the remaining money in our stack.
  3. Villain’s Hand Range: While statistics on 3bet stats can be gained with a big enough sample size (i.e. 8% 3bet stat from button), the numbers don’t tell us which 8% of hands villain could be 3betting with. Both of the charts below represent 8% of possible hands, using both a polarized and depolarized approach.

GTOvsEXPL2
Depolarised Hand Range (7.4% of hands): [chart 2]

GTOvsEXPL3
Polarised Hand Range (7.54% of hands): [chart 3]

You can see that the contents that make up each hand range is vastly different. Additionally, we don’t necessarily know if he’s 3betting some hands a certain amount of the time and calling or folding those same hands another percentage of the time.

However, knowing how to correctly proceed against a specific hand range comes down, in part, to using an exploitable strategy. Sticking with GTO, the next concept will help allow you to continue with ease.

  1. Minimum Defence Frequency (MDF):

This concept refers to the % of hands in our range that we must continue with (either by calling or raising) in order to not be exploited by our opponents. It should be noted that this concept is most commonly used in off-table study and can be difficult to apply in-game.

However, studying these beginner GTO concepts off-table will assist with your decision-making during a hand, especially against opponents who show relentless aggression.

The formula to determine MDF is:

POT SIZE / (POT SIZE + BET SIZE) = MDF

To help simplify this, here is a poker GTO chart of common bet sizes you may encounter in a poker hand, and the corresponding minimum defence frequency you must apply.

Bet Size relative to Size of Pot (%)
Minimum Defense Frequency (%)
100%
50%
75%
57%
66%
60%
50%
67%
33%
75%

To determine which hands, you want to continue with, take the number of hand combos in your starting hand range and then use the MDF to calculate how many combos you should be continuing with. Generally, you should be choosing the hands with the best playability and highest equity against your opponent’s betting range.

As an example, suppose you open-raise in the HJ and the BB calls. The flop comes Qh9h6c. Your opponent takes the unusual play of leading into you for a ½-pot bet. Based on MDF, we should be continuing here with 67% of our range.

Using the starting hand chart above, we can determine that we’re opening 254 combos from the HJ, something that looks like this:

[chart 4]

According to MDF, we must be defending 67% of these hands, or 170 combos to be unexploitable. Hands that we should continue with are those that retain the highest equity and playability, including:

Flush draws

Open-Ended Straight Draws

Gut-Shot Straight Draws

Overcards

Any Pair or better

That means that perhaps our flop continuing range will look something like this:

[chart]

Highlights to note include the following:

We eliminated pocket pairs of 4’s and 5’s, as these have little chance of improving on the turn or river.

Additionally, we’re only continuing with AX combos of hearts (with a flush draw) that don’t have a pair or better to go along with it.

Lastly, we’ll include 4 combos of AJo, all 3 which have the Ace of hearts, as well as AcJh, which can block a backdoor nut flush combo.

For simplicity, let’s suppose we call with all these hands and that the turn is a blank (2 of spades). Our opponent bets full-pot. Now to remain unexploitable, according to MDF, we must defend 50% of our flop continuing range, which means we must leave ourselves 85 of 170 combos. This strategy should be comprised of our best flush draws, our best straight draws, and our best made hands, which might look something like this:

 

Notice here, we’re continuing with all of our combos of:

Nut flush draws

Pair + flush draws

GS + flush draws

Second Pair, Top Kicker+

One combo of JJ that doesn’t block the flush draw or backdoor flush draw.

 

The same exercise can be repeated on the river, however this time, we’d be able to fold all of our missed draws to a bet and keep all of our strongest made hands. Be sure to think about blocker effects and card removal when calling with some weaker hands (to avoid overcalling and to decide which specific combos are best to continue with, according to MDF.

  1. Finding Balance: Poker GTO Bet Sizing

To remain unexploitable (and to remain balanced and unpredictable), you must balance the number of bluffs to your value bets when you bet. The number of bluffs you include in your betting range is dependent on how big of a bet you make (in relation to the pot). This concept is solely applicable for river situations, as draws (“bluffs”) on the flop and turn still have equity, whereas on the river, busted draws have no equity (and are therefore total bluffs).

NOTE: For the flop, generally, you want a bluff to value bet ratio of about 2 : 1. This is because there won’t be as many made hands on the flop as on the river and also because your bluffs will usually still contain equity. For the turn, a “bluffing” ratio of ratio of about 1:1 is advisable. As for the river, use the chart below to determine GTO poker bluff frequencies (relative to your bet sizing choice):

 

Bet Size

Value Bet %

Bluffing %

25%     (1/4-pot)

83%

17%

33%     (1/3-pot)

80%

20%

50%     (1/2-pot)

75%

25%

66%     (2/3-pot)

72%

28%

75%     (3/4-pot)

70%

30%

100%   (Pot)

67%

33%

150%   (1.5x-pot)

62%

38%

200%   (2x-pot)

60%

40%

The way this chart works is in relation to the pot odds you’re laying your opponent. If you bet 50% pot, your opponent is then getting 3:1 pot odds and must therefore win 25% of the time, if he wants to call. As a result, poker GTO theory says that you should have 25% bluff combinations included in this betting range, so that you’re indifferent to your opponent calling or folding.

The best bluffs to include in a river betting range would be ones that don’t block the hands that you want your opponent to have (or not have). For example, in the case of missed flush draws, betting with missed Ace-high flush draws would often be a mistake because you block a missed flush draw that you want your opponent to have when you’re bluffing on the river (meaning that it would subsequently be less likely he would have it, if you held two of the flush draw cards). In addtion, ace-high usually carries with it some showdown value still on the river.

 

If a 3-flush came on a river and you wanted to raise, bluff raising with some AX combos holding the Ace of the bluff suit on the board would be an acceptable option. If you block the nut flush, it means that your opponent cannot have that nutted combo in his range.

  1. Cbetting Frequencies and Bet Sizes

 

GTO beginner concepts and strategies do not only consist of bluffs and value bets. They will also allow you to see how often you should be cbetting in certain spots and also show which bet size to use! Poker solvers have helped top players dramatically with these aspects, which is exactly what we’ll discuss in the next section.

Poker GTO Software

Various poker GTO solvers have been released in recent years to assist beginner, intermediate and advanced players in showing how to correctly play poker from a more balanced/GTO standpoint poker in various situations.

PokerSnowie and PioSolver are the most common programs selling on the market right now to assist with GTO work and poker study behind-the-scenes.

 

While you won’t be able to compute the various hand ranges of players and what hands to bet or check with in real time, taking the time with these programs to study in-depth GTO play strategies will ultimately pay you dividends. It will also help increase your level of thinking and understanding to be more GTO for poker.

The GTO methodologies that you’ll improve upon from using solvers can include balancing ranges, choosing optimal bet sizings, mastering cbet frequencies, and more.

Poker Tournament GTO

Tournaments often have shorter stacks in later stages than what will be typically found in cash games. As a result, in order to follow guidelines for GTO poker, Nash charts have been created, tweaked, and used over many years in order to know what hands to shove with (and also when to call, depending on what number of big blinds you have when you find yourself shortstacked).

Do note that the charts provided below are push/fold charts for heads-up play. Therefore, if you’re in a table with multiple players the “pusher” chart can only be used if play is folded to you in the small blind; as such, the “caller” chart can only be used if you’re in the big blind, and also would assume a small blind “pusher” (with a much wider range than if a player in another position was open-shoving).

For the pusher chart, if you divide all the numbers by 2, you can see which hands you should be pushing with from the Button. By the same thought, if you divide all of the original numbers on the chart by 4, you’ll find a solid pushing range from the CO. Do note, though, that some of the figures will be impossible to calculate accurately for the CO or positions further to the right of the blinds because the highest figure that the chart provides is “20+” big blinds, which is also a figure used for quite a large range of hands in the push chart.

Both of the GTO charts below are ideally applicable for heads-up play, but sometimes, using an exploitable strategies for HU shortstack strategy could lead to more +EV decisions against certain opponents. Simply following the charts below, though, will lead your play to being GTO and unexploitable.

 

Within the spectra of possible push/fold charts, poker pro Max Silver created a super helpful GTO push/fold software called SnapShove. (It’s available for access online via desktop at www.snapshove.com or as iOS or Android apps (most common).)

With the full version, players can access poker GTO examples for shove ranges for a range of situations. (There’s full customizability for # of bb’s you have, what position you’re in, how big the ante is relative to the big blind (if applicable), and a plethora of other options.)

In Conclusion

With the constant evolving landscape in the world of poker, players are always developing their skills to improve and get an edge in the game. While often times, using an exploitable strategy will render higher profit margins than using a GTO-based approached all the time, knowing and understanding GTO beginner and more advanced concepts can certainly help you can an edge for a few primary reasons:

It creates a solid baseline and foundation for your gameplay.

It makes it easier to know how to deviate your strategy (re: exploitative) for certain villains when you have such a baseline established.

It allows you to avoid levelling wars with your opponents, because you’ll be making sound poker decisions based on reliable, unexploitable GTO strategy.

It doesn’t require that you to make assumptions about your opponents’ play styles.

It doesn’t call for you to be results-oriented.

This article is simply the tip of the iceberg for GTO concepts and poker theory. Continue studying these strategies provided, and also seriously consider investing in the GTO poker solver software listed above, as these can assist you in making incredible improvements to your game.

https://www.888poker.com/magazine/strategy/beginners-guide-gto-poker

I NEVER BLUFF

Mr Lucky Poker
Mr Lucky Poker

3 ways not to get better in Poker [Review]

3 ways not to get better in Poker

  1. Only Playing Poker. Like any worthwhile endeavor, practicing improves YOU!
    More than even playing, practicing improves your game. Playing allows you to see where you need to improve.

Practice makes PERMANENT. Repeat the same mistakes over and over, and you won’t get any closer to Carnegie Hall.” [Sarah Kay]

The more you practice, the longer you will last.
That’s the goal in poker, to last longer.
Practicing makes us better at what we are practicing, unless you’re practicing wrong.

Practice makes Perfect“? It doesn’t! “Perfect Practice makes Perfect” [Lombardi].
Practicing and not improving on your errors, will guarantee poor performance.

  1. Reading too many poker books.

You need to do more than just read a poker book. Highlight those parts that are keys to good poker. Make notes about key parts in the book. If the book is worth reading, you must have learned something useful, point it out.

  1. Watching instructional poker videos or poker tournaments on TV or Youtube.

Trying to enact complicated instructional strategies on day one leaves you lacking in straightforward techniques that would be more profitable. Tools take practice to use them correctly.

Televised tournaments are more about luck, good and bad. They generally show bad beats or bad plays. The most important part is more about the commentary, which talks about odds and playing situations. Poker tournaments last several hours, even the ones with fewer players. Poker on television would be very boring if they showed the whole tournament.

I watch poker tournaments looking for why they play their cards and see what I would bet in that situation. Gus Hanson’s book “Every Hand Played” gives a better picture of playing a complete tournament, but still it’s not all the hands.

[Card Player Mag – Nov 2019; APT advancedpokertraining.com, advertorial]
From <https://www.cardplayer.com/poker-news/24341-three-ways-to-not-get-better-at-poker>

I NEVER BLUFF

Mr Lucky Poker
Mr Lucky Poker

 

In the Money by Antonio Esfandiari

TITLE: Book Review: In the Money
Author: Antonio Esfandiari
Genre: Poker
Rate: 0-5: 3.5
Date Read: Oct 2018
Series: Go All-In with World Poker Tour Winning Strategies
Other Books to consider: Shuffle Up and Deal: by Mike Sexton and Making the Final Table: by Erick Lindgren

Brief: First of all, Antonio admits he has a huge ego, as do most if not all Loose-Aggressive poker players. It comes with a CD of poker chip tricks, cute but worthless. It starts out with a little of an autobiography which is interesting. He covers a wide range of game types as well as player types. No Limit vs Limit. Cash games verses Tournaments.

Details:
Antonio is a fearsome accomplished professional poker player and his advice is very worthwhile. This book is directed toward getting in the money while playing cash games, same as mine which is to make a profit. I differ in one basic tenant from Antonio’s philosophy though for tournament play. My goal is to get in the money, while Antonio’s is to win the tournament.
You can not care about the money while playing poker. It should be money put aside that you do not need for any other purpose. It should be money you can afford to lose. Making money is your ultimate goal.
Always spread maximum disinformation and poker is a game of incomplete information. Don’t care what people think of your play. Table image is critical to your success. Only play when you have the edge. That edge can be cards, position, table image, or sensing weakness.
Poker is a skill, not a gamble. Do not take time off, observe the players and their play when you are not in the hand. The moment you think you can go on autopilot and run over the table is when you are sure to get a rude awakening. Every player is going to have losing streaks.
Position is the name of the game in every type of poker game. Limit hold’em is a science while No Limit holdem is an art. Be willing to take calculated risks and the risks are different in each type of game.
Playing cash games is completely different than playing in tournaments. Both are marathon games, but cash games are measured over a longer period of time, like weeks and months. You can always buy back into cash games, but tournament games are limited in how many times you can buy back in.
There is no substitute for experience at the poker table. Learning the fundamentals is essential before you even sit down. If you are not having fun, quit.

Compared to: “Every Hand Revealed” by Gus Hansen, I like Gus Hansen’s book better, but it’s about playing in a tournament though, not cash games.

I NEVER BLUFF

Mr Lucky Poker
Mr Lucky Poker

Table Type vs Player Type

wary[1]
Table Type vs Player Type
There is a huge difference between the two. You want to play at a table that is opposite your playing style.
At a tight table, if you are a tight player, you must play even tighter, so you had better take some WD40 with you and loosen up a little.
At a loose table, if you are an action player, and loose aggressive players fit this mold, bring lots of money because the win/loose variance will be swinging wildly.

Table Type
Tight or Loose. Characterizes the number of players who see the flop.
Tight tables have few players that play, usually 3 or less. Loose tables have at least 4 who like to see the flop.
Tight tables are usually not as profitable as loose tables, since fewer players see the flop, because tight players will play more rationally than loose players.
♠You want to be at a loose table but not an overly aggressive one.
Play the opposite of the table style.

Passive or Aggressive. Characterizes the betting.
Tables where many players fold or check most streets are passive. Tables where many players call or raise and re-raise on each street are aggressive.
♠With passive players it’s usually easier to get them to fold when playing aggressive.
Aggressive players though play too many hands and are easier to trap when you have better hands.
Both require patience and balance. You want to keep a player in the hand when you have the nuts.

Players Types
Tight or Loose characterizes the number of hands the person plays.
Passive or Aggressive describes the player’s betting style.

Loose-Aggressive players should be divided into two parts:
Action-seekers and solid players.
Action seekers
are more loose-aggressive prior to the flop and may even slow down a little at the flop, but will usually put in a minimum raise or continuation bet or raise after the flop.
Solid players will switch from small ball betting to continuation betting in order to maximize their edge.
♠You will make much more money off action seekers or loose players than tight or passive players and even less when up against a solid player.
Most of the low stakes cash games are filled with loose aggressive players as are most low entry tournaments.

Tight players will usually make small bets and play few hands.
A tight player will try to take advantage of starting hand selections to increase their chances of drawing to a winning hand.

Loose players will usually only make small bets but play as many hands as possible. They are not action seekers, as they tend to fold when raised.
A loose player plays far too many hands. Usually a novice with an “any two cards can win” philosophy. They will see the flop most of the time and will often play to the river with marginal hands.

♠Loose tables can be profitable for good players, but excessively loose tables can be unprofitable for tight players, since they often lose to lucky draws by bad players or just plain bad beats.
Loose players will play almost every hand to the flop, raise potential hands after the flop and usually play to the river.

Aggressive players will usually raise when in-position and frequently 3 bet at the flop.
Passive Players will usually only call and rarely play out of position.
Solid Players will play their hand for maximum value with minimum risk.

♠The better players are Tight-Aggressive.
♠The best players, and most profitable, are Selective-Aggressive or Solid Players.

I NEVER BLUFF

Mr Lucky Poker

Mr Lucky Poker

The 10 principles of the Art of War and Poker.

ArtofWarandPoker

The 10 principles of the Art of War and Poker.

1. Understand all of the potential consequences of your actions so you may properly balance the competing goals of survival and chip accumulation.

2. Play each hand for maximum value with minimal risk.
*Loose Table vs Tight Table Strategies*

3. If you have the opportunity to eliminate your opponent, you must do it.
♠Eliminate your Adversary.

4. Take advantage of any opportunity to accumulate chips from your opponent.
♠Raise the Stakes – Play Big Stack Poker
Once you gain a substantial chip lead, you strengthen your force,
allowing you to attack your opponent more effectively.

5. Mix up your play so that your opponent cannot get a read on you.
When your opponent is unable to comprehend your play,
he cannot completely control his own play.

6. If you know the enemy and know yourself, you will have the opportunity to exploit the situation to your benefit.

7. Play strength to maximum value when your opponent is weak.
You cannot afford to wait for every factor to be in your favor in order to make a play for the pot. Stay abreast of the situation so that you may take calculated risks to create an edge where none is perceived.

9. The situation is constantly changing in No Limit Hold’em Tournaments. Know how all of the factors comprising the situation are changing so that you may adjust your play accordingly.

10. Poker is an art of deception.

    War is about power and the ‘card game of power’ involves spilling blood, creating sorrow, abusing others, AND betraying trust, assuming success, and the ability to squirm out of tight spots; Raising bets to their highest to reduce the field and make your mediocre hand better). These are the coin of power, not goodness, not light.” Victor Lee

I NEVER BLUFF

Mr Lucky Poker

Poker – The Liar’s game of “Go Fish”

gofish

Remember the good old days as a kid and playing Fish with your brothers, sisters, friends and family?

Poker is the same game, but with a twist.

In the game of Go Fish, you are looking at cards in your hand and asking someone if they have one. If they do, they have to give all of them to you and if they don’t then everyone else playing knows what you have in your hand and can ask for it. In the kids’ version of Go Fish, you could not lie. You could not ask for cards you did not have and they had to tell the truth. If they had some they would give them to you or tell you to “Go Fish“.

Poker, on the other hand, is all about lying. The big difference is that you are not asking what specific cards someone is holding. Poker is a game where players play different ranges of cards. Loose players may play a large range of cards and tight players may play a narrow range of cards, all depending on how much they like to gamble, or how much risk their money is worth.

When you make a bet, you are actually asking a question of your opponents. If you are the first one to bet pre-flop, you are really asking the players if they can beat the range of cards you are representing. That’s why poker players are fond of saying, you don’t play the cards, you play the player. No one knows what any one else has. After a time they know pretty much which cards you like to play and how those cards may vary from position to position at the table.

If you are a tight player and everyone knows you are a tight player and you are the first to bet, you are basically telling them, I have great cards so you had better have a monster hand to beat me. If you are a loose player and every one knows you are a loose player, you a basically saying I have cards I think have the potential to beat your cards, so you had better have a monster hand to beat me. You tell them this by the size of your bet and how much you believe it is the best hand or can become the best hand.

The game gets interesting according the various types of players you are playing against. Loose players gamble more and tight players gamble less, but both players have to lie from time to time. Loose players lie more, based on the fact that they are involved in lots of hands. But on a percentage basis, a tight player can actually be lying more just by playing slightly more hands.

It’s even more interesting when you factor in the probability of hands into the number of liars playing a hand. If the fact that, at a full table, someone will get pocket pairs once every 16 hands, then when a normal 3 times the big blind bet is made and 2 call and one raises, then more than one person is representing that they have pocket pairs, which means that there is at least a better than 50% chance someone is lying. Of course, poker players don’t lie, they bluff! They can bluff meekly or they can be an extreme bluffer and bluff often.

After the flop is where the real art of the game comes into play. Each bet then is a series of questions about who has what and who believes what they are being told. If you believe the person who bet first had a good playable hand before the flop, is it still a winning hand after the flop?

Since the experts tell you that most hands miss the flop, then the question is which of those liars with pocket pairs will believe someone hit their hand and now their hand is beaten by a higher pair or a better “made” hand? And if they weren’t lying, can you get them to believe you actually did hit your hand or that you really had a real pocket pair pre-flop and now you have a set or better?

The strength of the truth or lie will come in the strength of the question. And the strength of the question may be masked weakly, by a strong hand in order to get more money into the pot. The question can be asked strongly, by betting more than the other players are willing to risk and scoop up the pot now. Of the two most common types of post flop bets, which is the truth and which is the lie? Is the PROBE BET, usually less than half the pot, really saying, “I have some of the flop, maybe not the top pair, but second pair or the nut straight or a flush draw“, the truth? Is the VALUE BET, usually half the pot or more saying, “I think I have the top pair or better“, the truth?

That’s what makes poker so great. You get to ask the players what they have and they will tell you. It doesn’t make any difference if it’s the stoic old player that never talks or the brash young player that not only talks but animates the antics of an answer to the world. They do this by folding or betting. They do this by not saying a word, or by saying loudly, many words. But after the silence or the noise, comes the answer in the form of a bet or non-bet.

It usually isn’t until you reach the river that you learn who bluffed or who lied and who didn’t.

I think I’ll start telling people to “Go Fish“, more often, then make my bet or non-bet. Which will start to mean, “I have a great hand so let’s go to the river – ALL-IN“!

I NEVER BLUFF

Mr Lucky Poker
Mr Lucky Poker

Big Fish – Small Pond or Small Fish – Big Pond

bigfish

The goal is to be the biggest fish in the pond, no matter how many fish are in the pond and AA is usually the biggest fish in any pond. You could look at the Flop, Turn, and River as food to make you an even bigger fish or just the evolution process.
The size of the bet could be considered the bait and it takes a big fish to eat lots of bait. Lots of bait tends to attract some fish and they may just be able to grow or evolve into a big enough fish to take all the bait. The action on the Flop, Turn and River will help determine the evolution process of the rest of the fish and if you should just cut your bait and run.

The first one in the pond usually thinks they can be a big fish, but the more fish there are in the pond, the bigger you have to be. You really don’t want to be a small fish, like most drawing hands tend to be, in a big pond, like one with many players. You can also relate the size of the splash in relation to the size of the fish and some players really like to splash their chips into the pond. But is it a big fish splashing or a belly flop, both make big splashes?

The size of the pond is important too. Position helps you determine how big you need to be or if you have the potential to grow into a larger fish. I’ve seen a few dead whales on the beach, so AA isn’t a sure thing, especially in a pond with lots of action and evolution options. If there is only one other fish in the pond, jump in, the water tends to distort the size of the fish anyway. The same think can be said of any action or lack there of. Of course, the possibility of the evolution process will be the determining factor.

I NEVER BLUFF

Mr Lucky Poker
Mr Lucky Poker