Posts Tagged ‘texas hold-em’

How to win more playing Texas Limit Hold-em Poker with winning strategies to increase your odds

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Ok, I figured out I might as well write an article on how to win this game (or rather how to increase your chances of winning).

Texas Limit Hold’em is a lot different from Texas No Limit, but you can win a lot more than average by literally playing “honest” poker. (verycoolwriting.com) Its a lot more boring, but if you don’t mind sitting around for a couple hours, you can usually always double or triple your buyin (assuming max buy-in) earliest within an hour, maximum usually within 3 hours.

So… How To Increase your chances of winning at Texas Limit Hold-em. (c)-2008 verycoolwriting.com

1. Be prepared to spend 1-3 hours playing poker straight. If you aren’t, or you get bored easily, don’t play this, because you’ll most likely make mistakes (and make someone else money).

2. Only play your absolute best hands pre-flop. “Best” hands consistent of (a) any pocket pair (yes, ANY pocket pair, i’ll explain later), (b) Ideally SUITED and CONNECTED cards (i.e., J10 diamonds), (c) and then suited (with at least one high card for nut or close to nut flushes), or connected or semi-connected (i.e., 6-7, or 8-6, etc).

3. DON’T BET BIG ON THE FLOP IF ALL YOU HAVE IS TOP PAIR. You can bet — but if you are playing in a casino 10-ring game (or even 6 ring), you usually get some dork that will always, always, call you to the river, and if all you had was 10 high on the flop, moron will probably spike a jack, queen, king, or 2nd pair on the river. So if you bet, and someone calls — if their is a higher card on the turn, or your hand isn’t any better, either just call or fold. This is not no-limit poker, so rarely is top pair on the flop ever the ‘best’ hand. (Unlike how most no-limit players like to play). verycoolwriting dot com

4. Once you see the flop, play it mathematically. No matter how you bet, since the bets are so “small” in limit poker, you are always going to have morons that chase straights, chase flushes, chase a full house, etc, etc — ALL the way to the river. There could even be a couple raises — and they will just merrily call along. So first thing you should do when you see the flop is this. Check for any straight draws or flush draws. Check to see if the board has paired up. If none of this is true — and you have top pair or better — then chances are you’ve won the hand and can bet aggressively. But if any of the above is true, play cautiously, and be prepared to fold top pair to any aggressive re-raising, because you are almost always going to have some moron that will spike something he needs on the turn or the river.

5. AA and KK ARE NOT GREAT CARDS IN LIMIT POKER!!! Yes, it’s true. No-limit, yes, they are beautiful cards, because you can make the bets big enough to scare out most of the players, such that the only ‘heads’ up players you are going against are people who have say AK, AQ, AJ, KK, KQ, etc — in which case you already have them totally dominated. In LIMIT poker — you can have AA, “raise” 2x the blinds (which is nothing), get 5 callers and then get someone who hits two pair, flush, a set, etc and start do crazy betting. If you try and bet and someone crazy bets you, chances are they have better than you so either fold or just call.

6. PLAY ALMOST ALL YOUR POCKET PAIRS PREFLOP! Providing the betting doesn’t get crazy stupid (in which case it’s usually two ‘no-limit’ players battling it out with AQ vs AJ, etc) — then you should always play your pocket pairs, even 22. It is the sweetest thing when you can start crazy betting the flop against a no-limit player who things their top pair or high pocket pairs will beat you. They become ‘married’ to their cards, and almost always will give you a massive payout. So play as many pockets as you can afford to.

7. BET BIG WHEN YOU HAVE THE NUTS OR CLOSE TO THE NUTS ON THE FLOP! It’s the funniest thing — when you have the nuts flush/straight/set/etc (or at least ‘close’ to the nuts) — wierd thing in limit poker is most people simply don’t believe you. And if you get a turn card (that say wouldn’t give you a 1 card straight, but you already hit the nuts on the flop) — keep betting. People generally speaking simply do not believe you that you hit the nuts on the flop. It’s rare — but when it happens you can usually get quite a sweet payout. AND — the funny thing is — if you DONT bet on the flop when you have the nuts — and try and ‘trap’ players and wait until the turn card to make a big bet — almost always most of the people will fold. It’s wierd — bet when you have it, don’t bet when you don’t — and you generally will win bigger, and better, pots.

Anyways, these are 7 great strategies for improving your chances of winning texas hold’em poker more consistently. Enjoy!

How to increase your chances of winning at No-Limit Texas Hold’em Poker – 10 easy steps.

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Ok,

I’ve written several articles on why you *shouldn’t* play texas hold’em poker and why you will actually lose (due to cheaters, scammers, etc, and the emotional toll on you and how it affects your life, etc, etc), if you really really really really still want to play poker, you are 100% responsible for your actions. Following the rules below can help you win, but you can still lose. If you can be disciplined, this will help ensure a better winning streak and the chances of you consistently winning. You will not win all the time, and you can even lose a lot of money before you make anything. It is and can be extremely nerve racking to play poker, and many people lose to the few that win, if you still want to play, here are rules to live by to help you. This is based on personal experience, and I don’t believe I’ve ever (directly) seen it in any book. Standard internet disclaimer: It is copyright me, etc, so if you’d like to republish it, etc, please ask me first and give me credit. 🙂 However, you are welcome to play by these rules.

So, if you are going to play poker, despite the fact it is really really hard to win (I’m just emphasizing it, because if you can’t afford to lose money, don’t look at this as a get-rich-quick scheme, and I really do recommend staying away from the game unless you just really enjoy playing cards), then this is how you play.

1. Don’t get emotional – in otherwords, play the same style no matter what. If you are winning, great. If you are losing, that sucks. But DON’T play differently (i.e., cocky or too protectively) if you are winning or losing. Play the same way. Otherwise you are no longer playing logically, you are playing emotionally, and it is one of the fastest ways to drain your bank accounts.

2. Don’t play pre-flop chicken / bingo / the lottery / (aka preflop all-in) unless you can afford to, or just like to really, really, gamble. Yes, “statistically”, “according to the books” AA should most of the time beat someone heads-up. But many times I’ve seen some dork call on 7-2, and hit the flop with 7-2 (or worse still, flop a full house). Or, you have Joe idiot who, according to his `poker books` sees that the “pot odds” are good (i.e., lots of money on the table, low risk) and that he ‘might’ win, so calls on crap — and does win. AA does get beat. So does KK, JJ, etc. I was in another hand where the pot got ridiculously high, 3 players. I had KK. Another guy had JJ, someone else I think had 99. We all went all-in. The guy with JJ won by getting a set. Yet another type, I played against a russian guy who just didn’t care how he played, and magically was beating people out with 22 vs AA, etc. (And ironically the hands I folded would have been the ones I would have won against him :P) Anyways, playing all-in preflop really is a gamble, even on AA. Yes, it should win — but it can lose. Don’t get upset if you lose your whole stack on someone playing crap. It happens.

3. Watch out for raises and re-raises. If you don’t have something good, fold. Most of the time, people raise because they figure they have something better than you. And if you have nothing or just a pair, chances are they do. Most common mistake is say betting on top pair, and then smeone re-raising you. Chances are they have a set, or are at least chasing.

4. Don’t go all-in on the flop (or even the river) unless you have the absolute best best hand. Yes, sometimes people will fold due to the pressure. But then other times, someone will have a set, hit a full house, and you won’t, and you’ll be screwed. But if you are going to put the pressure on — do a big raise, not all-in. You All-in — you are committed, there is no going back. The only time you should ever go all-in is if you have the absolute best hand.

5. Get information. You can usually get information by how people play consistently. Don`t pay attention to the faces they make, the sighs, the comments, etc. Play according to how they bet.

(a) Watch how they play over time. If they always say raise $10 on certain hands, and then you see a showdown 3 times (all the cards) — and see that he/she raised on pocket pairs, the next time you see a $10 raise, chances are he/she has pocket pairs again.
(b) Pay attention to their re-raises and subsequent showdowns. If someone re-raises on a flop and you see a showdown, and they hit a flush, then you know they like to chase cards (and that they are a little bit of a more aggressive tight player because how they played the hand). If, on the other hand, they raise, you see a showdown and see that they only had top pair — then you know that person is a bit of a `looser` player and doesn`t play the absolute best cards. So you will know how to play him/her in the future.

6. Play your best cards, in other words, ONLY suited connectors, any two face cards and pocket pairs. That`s an easy rule, and makes a lot of your decisions easy. If the flop comes up with three clubs and you have hearts in your hand, it`s an easy fold with several people in the pot (someone else might hit a one card flush). If you instead played something like A2, UNSUITED, but say had an ace of clubs — you would be tempted to chase a flush (you would need a fourth club on the table), that you might never hit. And, if someone else already had a flush, they`d have no problem making it expensive for you to see the next card. But you would be tempted to chase. If you play crap (i.e., 10 2), and the flop comes up A 10 2, it is tempting to play that, but someone else could have you outkicked on two pair (i.e., slow playing A10), have a set, or hit a higher pair, or chase a straight (runner-runner).

7. Always play your pocket pairs, even with a raise (but call). It is really sweet when you call on 22, and hit a 3rd `2`on the flop. You can usually get paid of quite well and the other person doesn`t see it coming. And, if the board pairs up, you hit a full house. Pockets are usually quite valuable.

(c) 2008 verycoolwriting dot com

8. STEAL THE BLINDS/OTHER EASY STEALS. There are a few different (easy) way of stealing the blinds, that almost always seem to work.
(a) If you are the small blind, and the only person left in the pot is the big blind, bet 5x the amount. So for a $5/$10 game, you would bet $25. Unless he has something good, he is most likely to fold. If he does call, you can generally bet the pot on the flop with nothing, and he will fold.
(b) When you only have 2-3 people in the game, and everyone before you has checked, usually a bet from 2/3 to the pot size will get everyone else to fold. If someone actually does call, recall what kind of player they are. If they are a tight/aggressive, chances are they are trying to slow play you, and unless you have something good on the turn, should fold to any raise from them. (Almost always such a play will bet into you on the turn if you check). Otherwise, if it`s a loose player, you can usually bet on the turn and get him/her to fold.
(c) For whatever reason, raising 4 BB plus everyone elses BB seems to get them to fold, or make the games heads-up. In otherwords, if 4 people called on $1, and you are the last to act (to play), and you bet $8, chances are everyone else will fold. If you get more than one caller, then chances are you the players either have high cards, or a pocket pair.

(d) Bluff flushes/straights/etc according to how the other guy plays. Many times, there will be some guy that tries to `bluff`a flush or a straight. Lets say the flop is A hearts, 10 hearts, and a 2 diamonds. If the next card is a heart, and he just checks, chances are he doesn’t have it and you can outbluff him. Just make a bet, and he’ll many times fold.

9. Save yourself money.

Every now and then, you`ll have a killer hand on the flop, bet big, and some dork will call you. Initially this is what you want, because you figure you`ll get a big payoff for your big hand. But if the dork calls you all the way to the river, then re-raises you (or all-in) at the end, take a step back and take a look at the cards. If there is a good chance someone beat you on a straight/flush/trips/fullhouse/etc, chances are they did. You don’t need to call his all in when you have AAA, but there is a possible straight or flush on the board, just to see that yes, he had something better than you. I know it is hard to fold such a great hand, but dorks like that exist, and dorks like that do hit big. Now, on the other hand, if you have the best hand and maybe he was chasing a second best hand (let’s say you both hit a flush, but you have the ace), then by all means, go all-in and enjoy your winnings 🙂 Point is — on a river all-in — take a moment and re-evaluate the cards before you potentially lose more than you need to.

10. Pay attention to their nationality (in these politically correct times :)).

Regardless of what ‘politically’ correct people say — in poker, nationality actually is important. Different nationalities play differently. For example, a number of europeans (and it seems Germans in particular), for whatever reason, will almost always absolutely refuse to fold to anything if they hit a pair on the flop. And if he calls, it is usually a crappy 2nd or 3rd pair. So, as long as the board doesn’t pair up by the river, chances are you have him beat. On the other hand, many orientals will play anything and get very lucky. So if you are playing against them, and they are betting wildly, make sure you have something very good. Chances are they`ll hit a full house on J 3 (and they will have called that, offsuit, on your big raise when you had AA). Only play your best hands. North Americans tend to fall into one of two camps — either extremely tight (good), or extremely loose (bluff crazily). Pay attention to which one they fall into, and then play accordingly.

Anyways, here’s 10 sets of good rules on how to make money playing poker. Enjoy!

Why you shouldn’t gamble – how people cheat at online and offline poker

Sunday, August 17th, 2008

article (C) 2008 verycoolwriting.com

Online poker over the last five years has become exceptionally popular, more specifically something known as Texas Hold-em poker. I actually really got sucked into it, thinking I could start making $10,000/day after reading about students making millions of dollars. Instead of making that much in a day, I ended up spending months playing, only to find out I ended up paying for someone else’s really nice vacation from the money I had lost.

Part of the reason poker in general became so popular was because there was a hockey/sports strike a few years ago, so the t.v. stations filled the dead air-time with poker games. Almost overnight the casinos filled up with new poker players wanting to get rich quick. Then came on-line poker where you could play and win from the anonymity and comfort of your own home. However, it is extremely difficult, if not almost impossible, to win at online or offline poker unless you cheat, or are a robot, and I’ll explain why. Hopefully this will help you never start playing, or if you do – play it for fun. There are 3 elements to this article – offline cheating, online cheating, and why, just being human, you’ll almost always lose.

Cheating On-line

It is exceptionally easy to cheat on-line, and here is how people do it:

  • IM Chats/Phone/E-Mail/etc – Friends will sit at the same table, and chat/share information about their hands. So if are trying to bluff say having a King, and two other players know they each have kings, they aren’t scared, and will get your money. Many poker sites can detect ‘simple’ cheating – but only after it has happened a few times. Secondly, there are more sophisticated methods virtually undetectable.
  • Group Cheating – This is a much more effective way of cheating. Essentially a software program co-ordinates groups of 50 or more players playing at tables, which tables they should play at, when they should leave, etc – to thwart detection software at poker tables. The software then co-ordinates hands between players, letting each other know when they should bet, when they should fold, thus maximizing their profits and minimizing losses. For example, if three players are cheating together, and each has an ace, and on the board comes another ace – and then you try to ‘bluff’ having an ace, each of the players will know that you are faking it and then try to milk you for as much money as possible. When this type of software is randomized, it makes it virtually impossible for poker sites to detect it, because it would become too mathematically time-consuming to process. Most poker sites can only detect simple cheating (i.e., groups of identical players always playing together). As soon as they start mixing and matching with larger numbers of players, it becomes virtually impossible. To further confuse the poker sites, the software will occasionally allow players to ‘lose’ – so it doesn’t seem like any particular player is on a constant winning streak, but just has rather good luck
  • Software Helpers (i.e., “Odds Calculators”) – Surprisingly, many poker sites actually allow players to use software which is called an ‘Odds calculator’, which gives an unfair advantage over players simply using their brains (an example, not an endorsement, is ‘Texas Calculatem’ at calculatem.com). Basic version of this type of software simply shows the likelihood of winning a particular hand (i.e., % of you beating other players based solely on your cards, i.e., with flush draws, straights, full houses, etc). However, more sophisticated software – which many poker sites allow (such as partypoker.com) – constantly monitors what hands other players play – and records what cards they have when it goes down to a ‘showdown’. (I.e., when each player say goes all-in and shows each other their cards). This software then can determine ‘playing’ patterns. So as a basic example, if the software notices that you only go all-in when you have a flush draw (i.e., you have nothing right now, but are trying to force other players out so you can win the pot) – then the software will advise someone who say only has a pair of 2’s to go all-in, because they will probably beat you. And you lose money, instead of being able to scare other players out. I was actually playing a hand against someone – and stunned, I asked him why he didn’t fold to my all-in bet. He actually told me in the chat that the software he was using actually told me I was probably bluffing, and that he would probably win the hand with a single pair. I was very angry, obviously.
  • Poker Bots – Many sites actually disallow Pokerbots, but because the source code is available for some of them (i.e., http://www.codingthewheel.com/archives/how-i-built-a-working-poker-bot), and the fact that there are just so many different ways of fooling the poker sites, it is very difficult to stop them. (Actually, I was surprised how easy it was for me to find the above link, I simply went into google and did a search for ‘win poker bot’. A more ‘well-know’ poker bot is the WinHoldEm poker bot). Methods of figuring out cards use everything from something called ‘screen scraping’ (and analyzing pixels on cards), to reverse-engineering poker software to figure out what calls they are making, etc, etc. The only somewhat feasible way nowadays would be to have poker sites literally implementing a CAPTCHA every single hand. (In other words, before you made a bet on a hand, you’d have to enter a secret code). But even captchas are easier and easier to defeat nowadays. Bottom line, only if you use one of the most common poker bots like WinHoldem, will a poker site be able to detect it. But if you design your own poker bot, or use a lesser-known one – then you’ll be able to go ride your bike while the poker bot is raking in cash for you.

Cheating Off-line

Cheating in the casino is just as easy, but is done differently.

  • Group Cheating – This is a different form of group cheating, but still group cheating. Usually more ‘experienced’ players will go in at least a group of 2 or 3 players per table, and will have an agreed upon set of rules before they start playing. This is everything from physical signaling (i.e., scratching your head, talking about the weather in different states to hint at what cards you have, i.e., talking about Arkansas might mean that you have an ‘AA’), to subtler signaling. (I.e., betting three times the blind always means you have a pocket pair, or if you re-raise your buddy by say 3 times, then you are telling him you have AA and that he should fold and you’ll split the profits later).
  • Folding/marking cards. Although the casinos will generally reshuffle their cards, and bring in new decks, it is still possible for astute players to mark cards. They can do this by folding cards (say aces), tearing off little pieces, or even using ‘dirty’ fingers (i.e., powder, etc) on their fingers to mark ‘special’ cards (i.e., aces).
  • Dealer/player collusion There are some players that collude with dealers, and the dealers shuffle from ‘underneath’ the deck. I played one game in a casino where the dealer seemed to know a few of the players very well, and one player in particular just always seemed to hit ‘magic’ cards. (Make a full house when someone had a straight, or four of a kind when someone had a full house, etc).

It is harder, but not impossible, for people to cheat in the casinos. Not to mention that – when playing in ‘person’, someone might ‘roll’ you (beat you up) simply for winning “their” $100, let alone to mention if you just had a really lucky night and happened to win a few thousand. Is it really worth the risk?

The Human Element:

Finally, there is the human element to why you shouldn’t play. Let’s say you are aware of all these different tactics employed, and feel that you can still ‘beat’ the system. Let’s say you’ve read all the poker books on when to ‘hold-em’, and when to ‘fold-em’. Can you still win? Well, this will affect how you play (and not in a good way).

  • Tiredness – Most people don’t know when to leave the table, especially when they are losing. They figure that they will play ‘just’ one more hand – but several hours later, are still at the table, and several hundred or thousand dollars poorer. Likewise, it is very, very hard to leave the table when you are on a winning streak, because you start to get greedy and think it will last, until you make one small mistake and find that your ‘huge’ winnings that you acquired in the last two hours, are lost in 1 minute.
  • Emotional Roller Coaster – Playing poker can be very emotionally draining. When you win – you feel very elated and excited, but when you lose, you feel really, really bad. I’ve know “professional” poker players that did actually manage to make a living at playing poker, but had gray hair in their late 20’s. Is it really worth the risk playing now, to maybe make a few extra thousand dollars, at the expense of your heath? Not to mention, when I played, I felt the exact same kind of feelings.
  • Time waster – Unless you play really really good tight aggressive poker (and know when to play loose), you are going to find that it takes a really really long time to win, and you’ll get bored very easily and start making mistakes. Usually if you are a good player you can make 2-2.5 times the amount of your buy-in within one hour. However, most people don’t have the patience to wait that long, and want the “thrill” of playing so will start making dumb moves. That’s when you start paying the really good players, and walk away empty handed.

If, however, after reading this article, you STILL want to play poker and try winning money at it, I’d recommend visiting one of the many sites where they give you money to play. One such site is pokerstrategy.com. They “give” you $50 without you having to spend your own money. However, please note – the strategy that they have will take you literally days of non-stop playing before you see any real-money, and you are more likely to blow the $50 within the first 5 minutes of playing (boredom), and then deposit your own money, than you are likely to make any real money. If you do play according to their strategy to the letter, then it is possible that you will win money. However, you will probably have to play non-stop at least 2-3 months before you see any ‘reasonable’ money, but by then it basically becomes just like having a full time job.

The only time I think you should play poker is when you can play the game without caring whether or not you win ore lose – but if you were in that position, you probably wouldn’t be playing poker, would you? I hope this article helps you save time and money, and helps you use it towards more fruitful endeavors.

article (C) 2008 verycoolwriting.com