March 2009 - Poker Root


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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

High Stakes Poker Season 5, Episode 5 - Watch The Full Episode

March 31, 2009 0
If you missed High Stakes Poker Season 5, Episode 5, you can watch the full episode below;

Returning players are some of the world’s best, including Doyle Brunson, Eli Elezra, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Laak and Antonio Esfandiari. They will be challenged by well known, but new to HIGH STAKES POKER players: Tom Dwan, Joe Hachem, Howard Lederer, Alan Meltzer, Peter Eastgate, Dario Minieri, David Peat, Ilari Sahamies and Sam Simon. Former New York gossip columnist turned author and television personality A.J. Benza will host with popular poker analyst Gabe Kaplan. Henry Orenstein of HSPR, L.L.C. and Mori Eskandani of Poker Productions serve as executive producers. The fifth season of HIGH STAKES POKER is filmed at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV.

Past Episodes Below:

High Stakes Poker Season 5, Episode 4 - Watch The Full Episode

High Stakes Poker Season 5, Episode 3 - Watch The Full Episode

High Stakes Poker Season 5, Episode 2 - Watch The Full Episode

High Stakes Poker Season 5, Episode 1 - Watch The Full Episode

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Strategies for Short-Handed Limit Hold'em - John D'Agostino

March 31, 2009 2
Taking on a Short-Handed No-Limit Game - John D'Agostino In last week's tip, I shared some strategies for playing short-handed no-limit cash games. This week, I'm following up with some more short-handed advice, this time concentrating on Limit Hold ‘em.

If you read last week's tip, you'll know that hand values change in short-handed play and that it's proper to play a greater percentage of hands than would be wise at a full ring game. In these games, I play a lot of hands. So many, in fact, I've gotten the reputation of being something of a maniac. But there is a method to my madness. By the end of this article, I think you'll agree.

Button Play

In a three- or four-handed Limit Hold ‘em cash game, I will raise about two of every three times I have the button. The quality of my hand is essentially irrelevant. The position raise puts me in control of the hand and, even if I'm holding total trash, the pressure puts the blinds in a spot where they need to catch a piece of the flop.

For example, say I raise on the button and the big blind calls with a modest but playable hand, maybe Qc-Td. Now, if the flop comes with any Ace or King, the blind is going to have a very difficult time continuing with the hand if he checks and I bet the flop. In fact, the blind is going to have a very difficult time continuing on any board that doesn't contain a Queen or Ten.

If I follow up my raise and bet the flop with, say, 7-high, and get called or check-raised, it's very easy to lay down the hand. I know this is going to happen at times, but I pick up the pot often enough to make the constant button aggression profitable.

Small Blind Play

When playing against opponents who raise frequently in position, I'm sure to respond with aggression in the small blind. If I'm holding a hand that's likely best at a three-handed table - something as modest as A-9 might qualify - and I'm facing a button raise, I take control of the hand and three-bet. That puts additional pressure on the big blind. If I only call the button raise, the big blind will be getting great odds (5:1) to call the additional bet. And I'd far prefer to play the hand heads-up.

After three-betting from the small blind, I follow up with a bet on the flop almost 100 percent of the time. Since I represented a big hand pre-flop, I want to put my opponent to a decision immediately. Once I see how my opponent reacts, I can decide how I should proceed with the hand. I'll have to give it up sometimes, but the pressure will force a lot of folds.

Big Blind Play

The big blind is the only place where I'm content to call bets pre-flop. In fact, a call is my usual reaction to a button raise. If I start with a moderate hand, I can see the flop and decide how to proceed. If I start with a strong hand, like pocket Aces or Kings, I'll still call and look to check-raise the flop. I don't like to three-bet from the big blind because it tends to announce my hand. My opponents know that I'm starting with a very big hand.

Overall Goal

As you can probably tell by now, I believe that aggression is key to success in short-handed Limit Hold ‘em. I think the constant bets and raises create two dynamics that can be exploited for profit. First, by being the aggressor, I have the opportunity to pick up a number of pots where both my opponent and I miss the flop.

Second, the aggression has the tendency to lead opponents to make some very bad decisions. After some time, opponents may call bets on every street with nothing more than Ace- or King-high. When they start doing that, I can tighten up and only bet hands that are likely to be winners at showdown.

At times my style may look maniacal. But in short-handed limit play, it works.

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Is Internet Poker Illegal In The United States?

March 29, 2009 3
Internet Poker is not illegal in the US but it is illegal for US banks to process gaming transactions (credit card payments, wire transfers, etc). Now, to deposit legally you have to go through a 3rd party such as an ewallet like eWalletXpress, e-checks (poker sites use third party companies to process e-Check payments) or a money transfer company such as Western Union (But don't waste your money on Western Union, there are other ways to load your account. Check out my article How to Start a Poker Bankroll From $0).

Is Internet Poker Illegal In The United States?

In 1961 Congress implemented the Wire Act which prohibited the operation of certain types of betting businesses in the United States. It begins with the text:

Whoever being engaged in the business of betting or wagering knowingly uses a wire communication facility for the transmission in interstate or foreign commerce of bets or wagers or information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers on any sporting event or contest, or for the transmission of a wire communication which entitles the recipient to receive money or credit as a result of bets or wagers, or for information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.

No casual bettor has been convicted under this statute. In 2006, The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was passed which made it illegal to transfer monies between financial institutions and on-line gaming sites. Notice the word, enforcement which is to enforce the 1961 Wire Act.

Why was the UIGEA bill implemented?

Because there are some people who would gamble money that they do not have. Such as a California woman who raked up more than $70,000 on a Visa card. Here is the official reason why the bill was passed;

Internet gambling is a growing cause of debt collection problems for insured depository institutions and the consumer credit industry.

The obvious solution to this is to "Stay within your Limits" and have a separate bankroll for your gaming account. But some people become "compulsive gamblers" and there really should be a better system to help them. I'll write an article tomorrow about compulsive gambling.

Here is Barney Frank, Chair of the House Committee on Financial Services, at a hearing entitled,"Can Internet Gambling Be Effectively Regulated to Protect Consumers and the Payments System?"

Barney Frank has been trying to repeal the UIGEA for some time. The last attempt to repeal the act failed resulting in a 32 to 32 voting tie. Now, with the new Obama adminstration, Frank has expressed his intention to reintroduce legislation designed to counter the effects of the UIGEA.

"I'm going to be pushing it," Franks said. "The existing legislation is an inappropriate interference on the personal freedom of Americans and this interference should be undone."
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How to Start a Poker Bankroll From $0

March 29, 2009 2
There are several ways to start a poker bankroll without investing 1 cent. Here are 3 different ways I started a bankroll from $0;

How to Start a Poker Bankroll From $0
1) Free Poker Bankrolls
This is probably the easiest way to start from $0. Pokerrooms want to bring more customers and are willing to pay people to come play at their site. The bankrolls are usually between $5-$150 and usually have a cashout restriction such as play 500 hands before you can cashout(Cashout restriction is there to prevent someone requesting a cashout without playing).

VC Poker $10+$25 Free Bankroll only has a 1 hand cashout requirement and is therefore good as your first free bankroll you try. Free bankrolls such as Pokerstars Free $50+$50 is better after you get more experience because you have to past a quiz before you can get the money and you have to get 500FPP points within 90 days(which is not very difficult). I have made a list of the best Free Poker Bankrolls here. I like Free Bankrolls because they give you a chance to test the site out and see if you like it. Plus it's free money and if you lose it than just move onto the next free bankroll with no consequence.

2) Freerolls
Every pokerroom has freerolls. The 2 things to look for is how many players are in the freeroll and the prize pool. You might also want to look at the blind structure and look for past freerolls to see how long the tournament takes on average. I have set up a Freeroll Script with the latest freerolls.

3) Play Money
Surprisingly there is a market for buying and selling playchips where people actually buy/sell playchips with real money. Pokerstars playchips are most valuable and harder to accumulate. Full Tilt and Party Poker playchips are less valuable but you can still get some money for them. As far as I know, it is not illegal to buy/sell play chips. If you do wish to sell, here are some tips; (If you wish to buy playchips than I suggest you get a free bankroll instead)

- Make sure the website looks professional and is not a free domain
- Bargain and negotiate, don't be eager to sell and be willing to say no if the price is not right.
- Send a small increment first to find out if they are trust worthy

The value of chips fluctuate just like any market. For example, 6 months ago you could sell Pokerstar's chips for $10-$11 per million. Now you can only get $7.50-$8.50 per million. The reason is because recent economy issues.

Anyway, check out Chris Ferguson's $0 - $10k challenge.
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Taking on a Short-Handed No-Limit Game - John D'Agostino

March 29, 2009 0
Taking on a Short-Handed No-Limit Game - John D'AgostinoLet's face it; nobody takes up poker because they love the idea of sitting idly at a table while folding for hours on end. But, in a full ring game with eight or nine other players holding cards, it's proper to spend most of your time folding because there's too great a chance that one of your opponents holds a powerful hand.

But, in short-handed play when only three or four people have cards, you're forced to open up. With the blinds coming around so frequently, you need to be playing and winning a number of pots just to stay even. And, with only a couple of opponents, you can be less concerned about running into a big starting hand. On most deals, everyone's holding trash.

Here's some advice for altering your strategy for short-handed no-limit cash games. Keep in mind that all the advice here is geared toward short-handed play while players have deep stacks. The advice given here won't work especially well in a tournament, or against players who come in with less than 100 times the big blind.

My love of short-handed play is one of the reasons I play online so much. It's rare to find a three- or four-handed table in a casino, but online, I can find short-handed games any time I want.

Pre-Flop Strategy

Three- or four-handed games are usually very aggressive, and I will never limp in. I open-raise or I fold. In a typical short-handed game, I'm raising one in every three or four hands when I'm not in the blinds. I recommend raising with every hand you'd raise with in a full ring game (big pair, AK, AQ). In addition, I raise with any pocket pair, including twos and threes. I'll also raise with suited-connectors, such as 4s-5s.

What might be something of a surprise is that I'm extremely wary of hands that seem to hold some promise. Hands like A-J, A-T and K-J, are hands that most know to treat cautiously in a full ring game, but I will often fold these in a short-handed game as well. Why? Well, these are hands that are likely to get me in a lot of trouble. For example, if I were to raise with K-J, and the flop came K-T-3, I'm either going to win a small pot, after betting my top pair and seeing my opponents fold, or I'm going to lose a much larger pot as my decent hand goes down in flames against two-pair, a set, or an out-kicked top-pair.

It's also important to note that A-J, A-T are just about useless against re-raises and must be mucked against most opponents. With a hand like 4s-5s, however, I can call a re-raise with hopes of catching a big flop (two-pair, trips) or a big draw, and then taking my opponents entire stack when I hit. If I miss a flop with a suited connector or manage to hit only bottom pair, I can easily fold to a flop bet. But if I call a re-raise with A-T and then catch top pair on a Ten-high flop, I may get in real trouble against a bigger pair. Or if I flop an Ace, I could be out-kicked.

Post-Flop Strategy

If a pre-flop raise from the cutoff or button has been called by one of the blinds, it's important to make the most of your positional advantage. Keep in mind that in a short-handed game, your opponent isn't likely to hold much of a hand and that even if he held something decent, chances are he missed the flop. (In hold 'em, unpaired hole cards will fail to make a pair on the flop about two-thirds of the time.)

So, if I missed the flop completely while holding something like 6-high, I'll almost always bet the flop. If I get called or check-raised, I'll happily shut down. But, I pick the pot up often enough to make the bet in this situation worthwhile.

If, however, I'm holding a decent Ace and miss the flop, I'll usually check. In a short-handed game, Ace-high can win at showdown, and taking a free card gives me a chance to hit my hand on the turn.

I'll also bet most of my draws on the flop. Often, I'll win the pot with a bet. Even if I'm called, I've got the added benefit of building a large pot. If I happened to hit my draw on the turn or the river, there's a good chance I'm going to take my opponent's stack.

Psychological Strategy

Short-handed play takes some getting used to. The pace is furious, forcing a lot of tough decisions in very short periods of time. The swings are far more dramatic than in a full ring game but, I think that after adjusting to the pace of the action, most players will come to love the excitement that accompanies short-handed play.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

$100 S&G Double-Up - Advanced Level

Vanessa Rousso Joins "Big Slick Boot Camp" Tour

March 28, 2009 2
Vanessa Rousso Joins Vanessa was featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition in February, recently became the first female to make the finals of the NBC National Heads Up Poker Championship and starred in the latest GoDaddy commercial. Now she joins Big Slick Boot Camp and is doing a tour in California teaching anyone who is willing to put up $400. Big Slick Boot Camp promises you will learn "poker strategies and techniques based on the concept of Game Theory" in a one day course. I would never pay that for a one day class but it would be a nice experience meeting some poker pros and getting some autographs and pictures.

My biggest passion outside of playing poker is in teaching poker strategy. I love watching that light bulb go off in my students' minds when they discover something new, said Vanessa.

Rousso is engaged to poker player and commentator Chad Brown. Chad is 47 years old, Vanessa is 26 years old. I guess woman like older guys but Rousso did say "Well, behind Chad I will have to go with Patrik Antonius. He is very handsome--and his wife is drop dead gorgeous. When their baby grows up, they'll probably use it to start some kind of superior race."

Vanessa Rousso's Bio
A French-American dual citizen born in New York, Vanessa Rousso studied at Duke University, where she graduated with honours on full scholarship. She then went to law school in Miami with hopes of becoming a securities litigator. That was until she discovered poker.

During her time at Duke, Vanessa became interested in Game Theory, which teaches how to apply complex math-based decision making strategies to everyday life. Couple that knowledge together with a lifelong love of games and it seems a natural fit that she would wind up as a poker player. Vanessa began making an impact on the live tournament circuit in 2005, developing her skills with several impressive results. A year later, she made the final table of the WPT Championship event, finishing 7th and taking home over $250,000. In the same year, Vanessa also became the youngest ever female player at the time to reach a World Series final table, with an 8th place finish in the $5,000 Shorthanded Hold’em event. This was followed by victory in a preliminary event at the WPT Borgata Poker Open, where Vanessa beat a field of 173 to win first place prize money of $285,450.

Amazingly, her most significant cash finish has been online. In October 2007, she finished 2nd in the main event of the PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker. Vanessa walked away with over $700,000, one of the biggest cash prizes in the history of online poker. Vanessa RoussoIn March 2009 Vanessa added another big result to her varied resume, this time in the discipline of heads-up poker. At the star-studded NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship, Vanessa played through a field of 64 of the world's best players to reach the final, where she placed second for a cash of $250,000.

When Vanessa isn’t playing, she somehow manages to find time for many hobbies. Describing herself as something of an adrenaline junkie, she regularly goes skydiving and bungee jumping. Vanessa has also contributed strategy articles to several poker magazines.

With sizeable winnings both live and online, there are surely many more titles on the horizon for Vanessa. She is a member of Team PokerStars Pro and can be found playing in the biggest tournaments, using the screen name ‘LadyMaverick’.
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What I learned at the WSOP - Jay Greenspan

March 28, 2009 0
What I learned at the WSOP - Jay GreenspanThis past summer, I had the good fortune to cover the World Series of Poker for Full Tilt Poker. For six weeks, I watched world-class players ply their trade and, in that time, I learned a ton about poker. What follows are three lessons I learned from watching Full Tilt Poker's pros during their long days of play.

Never Rush a Big Decision

Even in the top ranks of poker, there's a tendency among players to act rashly and blurt out an action – "All in!" or "I call!" – without having taken nearly enough time to carefully consider the situation. Of course, a player shouldn't delay while holding the nuts. But I was often surprised to see the time the pros took to mull over situations that seemed to have only one clear-cut action.

One of the best examples of this came in the final hand of the WSOP*'s first event. Allen Cunningham was heads-up with Scott Fischman. Fischman bet the flop of T-6-3 and Cunningham raised. Fischman called, then checked the turn, a 4. Cunningham made an aggressive bet, but Fischman then quickly check-raised all-in. Cunningham stopped and thought. He had two-pair, 3s and 6s - a hand that usually requires a call in heads-up play. But, he didn't rush the decision. After a few minutes of thought, he called. When Fischman showed 4-5, it was clear that Cunningham made the right choice. The river, an Ace, gave Cunningham the pot and the bracelet.

I was impressed that after 13 hours and 300 hands of play, Cunningham didn't automatically put his faith in a fairly big hand. He took the time to stop and review the conditions in their entirety. This sort of thoroughness is one reason the pros are less likely to make big, costly mistakes.

Never Talk During Play

In one of the early WSOP* tournaments, Mike Matusow was playing very aggressively. He had a huge stack and used it to bully the table. In one early orbit, he raised on the button. The big blind re-raised all-in.

Mike had spent most of day chatting up the table. He turned to the man and asked, "You gotta hand?"

The man replied, "Best hand I've seen in hours."

"Best hand in hours," Matusow echoed, "That means you don't have Aces… I only have King-five, but I think I have to call."

And Matusow was absolutely right. The big blind had pocket 10s, and given the size of the pot, Matusow correctly determined that with one over-card, he was getting the right price to call the bet.

Through a seemingly vague and innocuous statement, the big blind had given Matusow vital information, which he was able to use to make the best possible decision.

The lesson here when playing, keep your mouth shut and don't do your opposition any favors.

Bet Your Hand

The great players – Phil Ivey, Erik Seidel, Chris Ferguson, etc. – usually err on the side of aggression. That is, they sometimes find themselves betting with hands that are underdogs to win. But, in my time at the WSOP*, I can't remember a time when I saw a top pro miss a bet in a vital situation.

By contrast, many novice players in this year's WSOP* seemed determined to check-raise or slow play their hands. They were trying to be tricky. But often, their failure to bet was disastrous. Opponents were permitted to check down hands with which they might have called bets, and others were allowed to draw for free.

The best players are aggressive, and by following their lead, you're less likely to make mistakes that could cost you valuable chips.

We've all heard that poker is a game of skill rather than luck, and watching the top pros play – either live or on television – only proves the truth of that statement. Watch how they act at the poker table, and it quickly becomes clear why the same players consistently finish in the money. Follow their examples, and it's a good bet that you'll pick up a few tips that can improve your game.

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Vanessa Rousso Stars in GoDaddy Commmercial (Watch The Commercial Below)

March 28, 2009 0
As you may know, Vanessa Rousso has signed a contact with GoDaddy. She has also appeared in the latest GoDaddy Commercial with original GoDaddy girl IndyCar racer Danica Patrick, Go Daddy founder Bob Parsons and WWE wrestler Candice Michelle. (Video Below)

Vanessa's blog for


Vanessa Rousso Stars in GoDaddy CommmercialWhat a week! I started in Los Angeles playing in the World Poker Tour $10,000 Buy-In Event at the Commerce Casino. From there, it was on to New York City for three intense, 12-hour+ days as host/analyst for the Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT). Then Thursday morning, I hopped on the 7 a.m. flight from NYC to Las Vegas, landing at 10 a.m. PST – just in time to rush to Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino to meet my new Go Daddy colleagues and to film a poker-themed Go Daddy commercial. My call time was 11 a.m.!

I somehow managed to make it in time, and was whisked into hair and makeup. Within an hour and a half, I was on the set with Bob, Danica and Candice, trying my best to get my lines right. Acting is tough! It seemed the others had done this before – they had a handle on it much better than I did. The script was very funny and certainly GoDaddy-esque!

All in all, the shoot went well and most importantly I felt things clicked really well with everyone at Go Daddy. What a group of dynamic, interesting and creative people! I am very excited about working with Go Daddy, not to mention thankful for the confidence they have in me.

After we wrapped shooting for the commercial and took some pictures for the Web site, I was off to the Draw Party for the NBC Heads-Up Poker Championships at Caesars. The event features 64 of the world's top poker players (and will be televised April 12). Unfortunately for me, I drew the legendary godfather of poker, Doyle Brunson, as my first opponent. If I managed to defeat him, the others in my bracket looked very, very strong as well.

I woke up Friday feeling super tired and groggy – not a good start! I spent the morning analyzing some YouTube footage of Doyle playing past heads-up matches. Research is especially helpful in preparing for heads-up matches, and I think it is a big mistake not to take advantage of information on the Web. My round was set to start at 6 p.m., and after some preliminary interviews and a group photograph, we were off on-time.

I took an early lead and slowly ground him down to a short stack when he decided to move all-in on a 10 Q K all-hearts flop. Unfortunately for him, I had 9 10 of hearts, so I had flopped the flush. I called and he flipped over J 10 for bottom pair and a gut shot straight draw. He didn't have a heart and would need a runner full house (less than 1 percent chance) to beat me.

So, for the third year in a row I won my first-round match. But this year I was determined to get past the round of 32 (where I had fallen the last two years). That was, until I found out who I was I playing in the next round... the Tiger Woods of poker and the world’s all-around best poker player, Phil Ivey.

Tune in to my blog in a few days to find out what happened next...


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Friday, March 27, 2009

Second Day of Cash Game - Pokerstars Challange Day 26

March 27, 2009 0
So I played 4 tables of NL25. Played 1144 hands and finished +$63. I Lost $95 at one point which made me tilt but I continued playing and and won back $80.

Second Day of Cash Game - Pokerstars Challange Day 26

Here are a few hands

This hand turned out well; Semi Bluff with AK on the turn.

Biggest hand of the day: $105.10 Pot, I flopped bottom set. I thought he had middle set but he only had top pair.

Aces vs ??? - I hate big pairs and deep stacks, I either win a small pot or lose a big pot. The last 3 times I C-bet with an overpair, I get reraised so on this hand, I was scared to c-bet. Than when I c-bet on the turn, I get reraised, I couldn't believe it..How can I lose with aces everytime..I should have made my decision on the turn whether or not to call river. Than a scare card comes and he pushes all in, putting me in a world of hurt:( Maybe I should have reraised all in on the turn, maybe I should have called the river, I don't know.. $17 bet on the river could have easily been a bluff and I'm getting 2-1 odds but I fold. Maybe I should have folded on the turn but I bet $2.25 to make it look like I was weak, than how can I fold. If he had QJ or 33 than I played it bad..Whatever he had I played it bad.

Bankroll: $750
Pending Bonus (FPP Points) = 1021 of 3000
Silver Status (FPP Points) = 997 of 1200

My Cash Game Stats
Amount Won: $45.55
Total Hands Played: 2001

Aces 12 times down $.50
Biggest winning hand: 22, +$56.05
Biggest losing hand: QQ, -$50.30

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Dani Stern AA on the button - Pokersavvy Plus Video

March 27, 2009 0
Here is a clip of Dani Stern playing aces on the button:

Dani plays as anksy451 on Full Tilt and supernova9 on Stars. He primarily plays high stakes short handed NL cash games and also plays MTT's. In addition to being a very successful player, Dani is well-regarded for his knowledge of the game. Just 21 years old, he is a rising star in the online poker world.
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Back to the Drawing Board - Perry Friedman

March 27, 2009 0
You are in the big blind with Ts-8s against a player who smooth-called pre-flop. The flop comes K-X-X with two spades. What do you do?

You would like to make your flush, and you don't want to pay too much to get there. Instinctively, you think checking is the best way to get a free card, and you're right.

In fact, checking is the only way to get a free card, but it may not give you the best opportunity to make your hand, nor will it pay you maximum value when you make the flush.

Suppose your opponent bets the pot. Now you're getting 2-1 to call for a 4-1 chance of making your hand. You don't even get to see the turn card. You've been priced out.

What happens if you lead out with a small bet? If you're against a player who likes to slow play or a player who will bluff you out with a big bet, a small bet gives you the best chance of seeing the turn.

How small is a small bet? Try betting between 1/3 and 1/4 of the pot. If there is $300 in the pot and you bet $100, you are now getting the right price to make your flush. If you bet $75, you are now getting better than pot odds, and this doesn't account for your implied odds, which take into account the amount of money your opponent will bet or call on the turn and river. If you make your flush on the turn, and your opponent is willing to call your $400 bet, you are getting implied odds of $300 (current pot size on the flop) + $400 (expected amount your opponent will call on the turn) = $700 to $100 (your bet on the flop), or 7-1.

This is an even better play when your drawing hand is less obvious. Suppose the flop is Q-9-6. Now you are drawing to the double gut shot straight, where a 7 or a J makes your hand. While an 8 or a K is an obvious scare card, a 7 looks like a card unlikely to have helped anyone. (The risk factor here is that the J might give you the ";idiot end"; of the straight against an opponent holding K-J, and your 1/4 pot bet is exactly the right price for him to call.)

In a tournament, this type of drawing strategy can become a riskier and less profitable play, especially early on. Because you start with a limited number of chips in tournament play, your odds need to be closer to 5-1 or even 6-1 before you should consider risking them on a draw, and potentially leaving yourself short stacked.

The important thing when drawing is to be the aggressor. Losing initiative leaves you vulnerable to being priced out of the pot, whether it's by a made hand or a bluff. If you want to see another card at the right price, your best bet is to be the bettor.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dwan and Patrik Continue Durrrr Challenge - Session #11

March 25, 2009 0
Dwan and Patrik Continue Durrrr Challenge - Session #11Dwan and Antonius played session #11 for 117 minutes and 705 hands. They played a few big pots; Dwan coming on on top +$51,924.50 bringing his total lead to +$67,163.00.

Biggest Hand of The Day
Patrik Antonius wins the biggest hand of the day; a $163,596.50 pot. Dwan flopped 2 pair plus a gut shot straight draw. Antonius Flopped a flush draw and a gut shot straight draw. Antoninus bet pot on the flop, Dwan just calls. Turn is an ace of hearts, giving Patrik a pair of aces and Dwan a flush draw. Dwan moves all in, Antonius calls. River is a king giving Antonius aces and kings a better 2 pair than Dwan and Antonius collects the pot.

Second Biggest Hand of The Day
Antonius also wins the second biggest pot for $142,291.50. Dwan picked up a pair of aces preflop but they couldn't hold up against Patrik's flush draw with a pair of 9s. A 9 came on the turn giving Antonius three 9s and he wins the pot.

Third Biggest Hand of The Day
Antonius flops a full house but the turn gives Durrrr a better full house and Dwan collects the the pot of $124,799.50.

Current standings:
-durrrr's results: +$67,162.50
-Patrik Antonius's results: -$68,554.50

-Hands 6,633 of 50K
-Total Bet $38,286,339.00
-Total Sessions 11
-Time Played 20hours 33mins

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Playing Cash Game Now - Pokerstars Challange Day 24

March 25, 2009 0
I started playing cash game on Pokerstars; 2-3 tables, 6-max-fast. I played 857 hands and lost $17 which kind of sucks. But I was having fun and playing loose. I think tomorrow I will play 4-6 tables, 10 handed.

Playing Cash Game Now - Pokerstars Challange Day 24

Here is an interesting hand;

I pick up 8, 4 of hearts on the button. A guy in the cut off posted his blind automatically and he checked. Usually that means weakness so I raise and try to steal the blinds. Big blind and small blind fold, cut off calls. Flop comes 8,6,2 - 2 diamonds. I continuation bet and get min raised. Pretty strong move but I'm hoping he has a flush draw so I call. Turn brings a 5 of diamonds. Now, if he had a flush draw than I'm beat and if he has ace 8 than I'm beat too. I have a double gut shot straight draw (a 7 or 3 would give me a straight) and perhaps a 4 or 8 would give me the best hand so I check to avoid getting check raised. River brings a jack of clubs and my opponent bet $3 into a a $7.10 pot. My first instincts told me to fold but his bet looked like a blocking bet where he didn't have a flush but probably had my hand beat. So I pushed all in for ~$12 and he called with aces:( I shouldn't try these bluffs at low limits..

Bankroll: $686
Pending Bonus (FPP Points) = 843 of 3000
Silver Status (FPP Points) = 819 of 1200

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Blocking Bet - Glossary of Poker Terms

March 25, 2009 0
A blocking bet is a bet made by an out-of-position player with the intention of preventing an opponent in position from making a problematic bet when checked to. This type of bet can be made on the flop, the turn, or the river.
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It's Not Easy Being Green. Or Is It? - Team Full Tilt

March 25, 2009 0
Full Tilt Poker TeamIn the premier episode of our new show, "FullTiltPoker.Net Presents Learn from the Pros" broadcast on FOX Sports Net, five of our pros engaged in a roundtable discussion about stepping up in limits.

Everyone agreed that one of the best ways to improve your game is to play against better players. Jennifer Harman said she faced more tough decisions at her first table with Doyle Brunson than she'd faced in all her previous years of playing poker. Layne Flack and Howard Lederer agreed that the constant pressure can be a good thing, forcing you to weigh each decision more carefully and rethink old habits and patterns. Chris "Jesus" Ferguson said his best learning opportunities come at World Series final tables, and Phil Ivey remarked that, with time, you start to look forward to playing out of your comfort zone. Perhaps the adrenaline helps keep you focused.

But maybe there's a corollary to this; the idea that being a first-timer relieves you of the pressure that can only come from having already had a taste of victory.

It's true that you see a lot of the same names winning tournaments, but some newcomers have had some incredible finishes, and many of today's pros started out with very early success. Erik Seidel finished second to Johnny Chan in his very first World Series of Poker* Main Event. Andy Bloch won the first No-Limit Hold 'em event he ever entered. Phil Gordon finished fourth in his first WSOP* Big Dance. And Howard Lederer has made the final table of the World Series of Poker* Main Event just once - the first year he entered the event. When Howard survived to Day 4 in 2003, he made this observation:

I am playing for more money than I ever have, and this kind of chance at the WSOP* will probably only come up for me a few more times in my life. But, for some reason, I am only thinking about this table, this hand, this moment. I have read some Zen Buddhism in the last few years and it is really helping me now.

In particular "Zen and the Art of Archery", a short little book, has everything you need to know about staying in the moment. Thinking about the recent past or the possible future at moments like these can only hurt your ability to make the plays necessary to win. And, those thoughts can actually make it impossible to win. I have started to think that players like Varkonyi and Moneymaker have an advantage over experienced tournament players. Yes they would like to win, and they know this is an important tournament, but they don't feel that importance deep in their bones like a seasoned pro who has been trying to win the WSOP* for years. It frees them up to play their best when it matters. My best finish was in my first try. It wasn't real to me. I remember having a great time, and not feeling a lot of pressure.

Getting back to the roundtable... everyone agreed that tournaments are a good way to get out of your comfort zone without risking your bankroll. Try to let inexperience work for you, not against you. If you're at your first final table and you see enough bracelets to fill a Tiffany display window, use it as a learning opportunity. Also use it as a chance to enjoy the moment and focus on the here and now. You don't yet have a past, and living in the moment is the best way to ensure you have a future.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

High Stakes Poker Season 5, Episode 4 - Watch The Full Episode

March 24, 2009 0
If you missed High Stakes Poker Season 5, Episode 4, you can watch the full episode below;

Returning players are some of the world’s best, including Doyle Brunson, Eli Elezra, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Laak and Antonio Esfandiari. They will be challenged by well known, but new to HIGH STAKES POKER players: Tom Dwan, Joe Hachem, Howard Lederer, Alan Meltzer, Peter Eastgate, Dario Minieri, David Peat, Ilari Sahamies and Sam Simon. Former New York gossip columnist turned author and television personality A.J. Benza will host with popular poker analyst Gabe Kaplan. Henry Orenstein of HSPR, L.L.C. and Mori Eskandani of Poker Productions serve as executive producers. The fifth season of HIGH STAKES POKER is filmed at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV.

Past Episodes Below:

High Stakes Poker Season 5, Episode 3 - Watch The Full Episode

High Stakes Poker Season 5, Episode 2 - Watch The Full Episode

High Stakes Poker Season 5, Episode 1 - Watch The Full Episode

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Dwan Regains Lead In Durrrr Challenge - Session #10

March 24, 2009 0
Patrik Takes Lead in Durrrr ChallengeOn Sunday, Dwan and Antonius played a short session for 81 minutes and 411 hands. Dwan came out on top for +$123,849.00 and regained the lead in the challenge for a total of +$15,238.50.

Biggest Hand of The Day
Dwan wins an $81,184 pot when he flopped a full house with his queens; Queens full of of 6s. He slow played it, check called the flop, check called the turn and than check raised all on the river. Antonius calls but mucks his cards. I'm guessing he had at least a 6 for three of a kind.

Second Biggest Hand of The Day
Durrrr wins the second biggest pot too for $80,000. Patrik hits 2 pair on the flop but Dwan hits a straight on the turn. Dwan's straight holds up and he rakes in the pot.

Current standings:
-durrrr's results: +$15,238.00
-Patrik Antonius's results: -$16,495.50

-Hands 5,928 of 50K
-Total Bet $33,620,097.00
-Total Sessions 10
-Time Played 18hours 35mins

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Sickness - Pokerstars Challange Day 23

March 24, 2009 0
Literally 11 hands in a row I was the favourite and I lost everyone. All premium hands, all cracked by junk..I'm Past the stage of tilt..I think my brain is fried. Make that 12 hands..just finishing up last game, just lost ace king to ace queen. Make that 13..Can't believe it 99 vs 88, my opponent just hit 2 outter on the river, I'm going to cry...

I think this is the end of the double up sngs for me and pokerstars too.. I never seen so many bad beats in life, not even at Action Poker where there's nothing but fish. I'll finish my pending bonus and probably switch to Cash game..

Anyway, here are 3 hands. Lost middle set over top set, pretty sick;

Lost middle set over top set, pretty sick

Flopped a big hand here but can't hit. He's only 57% chance to win even though he flopped a straight.

Bankroll: $704
Pending Bonus (FPP Points) = 752 of 3000
Silver Status (FPP Points) = 728 of 1200

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Video Article: Justin Rollo 66 Hand (PREVIEW)

March 24, 2009 0
Justin Rollo makes a big bluff with 66:

Justin plays as WPTHero on Full Tilt and Stars. He is an MTT specialist. In addition to earning over $1 million lifetime in gross tournament winnings online, Justin is a very strong live player. In the 2007 WSOP, Justin took 3rd in Event 25 and 149th in the Main Event. His cashes in the 2007 WSOP totaled over $300,000.
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Texture Isn't Just For Fabric - Phil Gordon

March 24, 2009 0
When I'm thinking about my actions after the flop or turn, I look to the "texture" of the board - i.e., what cards are in play, and how might they interact with my opponent's likely starting hands - to help determine if and how much I will bet.

My normal post-flop betting range is one third of the pot to the full size of the pot. The texture of the board dictates where in that range I choose to bet, and I determine that based on the following four factors:

1. How strong is my hand with respect to all of the likely hands for my opponent?

If I have a very strong hand with respect to all of the likely starting hands for my opponent, I'll usually go for the lower end of the spectrum, betting around 1/3 of the pot. I want my opponent to call.

If I have a moderate strength hand with respect to all of the likely starting hands for my opponent, I'll likely bet 2/3 of the pot. I want my opponents to fold some hands that are better than my hand and call with some hands that are worse than my hand.

If I have a weak hand with respect to all of the likely starting hands for my opponent and I want to bet, I'll bet the pot. I want my opponents to fold hands that are better than my hand.

2. How likely is my hand to improve?

If my hand is unlikely to improve, I tend to bet more than 2/3 of the pot. I want to take this pot now.

If my hand is somewhat likely to improve, say about 15% to 20% of the time, I am more apt to bet 2/3 of the pot.

If my hand is very likely to improve (about 34% of the time or more), I am more apt to bet 1/2 of the pot.

3. How likely is my opponent to have "hit the flop" and have a pair or better?

If my opponent is unlikely to have hit the flop and have top pair or better, I tend to bet 1/3 of the pot whether I think I have the best hand or not.

If my opponent is likely to have flopped exactly one pair, and I think I have the best hand, I tend to bet 2/3 of the pot.

If my opponent is likely to have flopped two pair or better and I think I have the best hand, I tend to bet the size of the pot. If I don't think I have the best hand, I'll almost never bet.

4. How likely is my opponent to have a primary draw? (That is, a draw to the best possible hand on the board, like a straight or a flush.)

If I think my opponent is likely to have a primary draw and I think I have the best hand, I'm likely to bet the size of the pot.

If I think my opponent has a primary draw and there is a good chance I don't have the best hand, I'll almost never bet.

When the four factors above lead to different conclusions about how much to bet, I average the recommendations and bet that amount.

Over time, you'll develop a more immediate sense of the "texture" of the board, and the amount to bet based on that will become almost automatic. Then, you can spend less time calculating your actions and more time observing your opponents.

This lesson is from Phil Gordon's Little Green Book: Lessons and Teachings in No Limit Texas Hold'em , published by Simon Spotlight Entertainment.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

14 Tabling - Pokerstars Challange Day 21

March 23, 2009 0
So I was 14 tabling today. 2 sessions, 14 tables each time. First session went great, won 12 out of 14 but second session I got the worst bad beats right on the bubble.

14 Tabling - Pokerstars Challange Day 21I'm considering whether or not to continue these sngs. There's not much money to be made in them unless I move up limits. I enjoy playing them so I'll play a little longer.

Bankroll: $729
Pending Bonus (FPP Points) = 702 of 3000
Silver Status (FPP Points) = 678 of 1200

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Isaac Haxton's 3-Barrel Bluff

March 23, 2009 0
Isaac 3 barreling out of position with 7 high. Does his opponents fold?

Isaac plays mainly $25/$50 and $50/$100 cash NL, everything from heads up to full ring. He plays as philivey2694 on Stars, and as luvthewnba on Full Tilt. Since turning 21 in September 2006, he also has over $1 million in live tournament cashes, including 2nd in the 2007 Pokerstars Carribean Adventure and 7th in the WSOP 1k rebuy tournament. Isaac recently graduated from Brown University with a degree in philosophy.
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Know Your Opponent; Own Your Opponent - Paul Wolfe

March 23, 2009 0
Know Your Opponent; Own Your Opponent - Paul WolfeI was at my first World Series of Poker* in 2002, talking to a player who had made the final table the year before. He told me something I've never forgotten, and it's helped me ever since.

I had raised pre-flop with A-K and he called from the button. The flop came all small cards. I checked and he fired a pot-sized bet. I looked at him and said, "You must have a good hand." His reply caught me off guard; "It doesn't matter what cards I have if I know what cards you have."

At first I thought I might have a tell – maybe I hummed when I missed the flop, or I looked away from my chips. It was later that I realized I did have a tell, but it had nothing to do with my physical demeanor. It was the way I played my cards.

Poker is often not so much about the cards you have, but knowing the way your opponent plays. Keeping track of which hands your opponent raises with - and the position from which he raises with them - is a large part of the game.

In a live game, it is hard to remember exactly what cards your opponent has raised with over the years and, if they're good players, those hands will change from time to time. But many poker players are creatures of habit, playing the style they are most familiar with. Online, there is no excuse not to have this knowledge at your fingertips.

While playing on Full Tilt Poker, I get to write notes on players and it is a great help. I am always referencing my notes, and they will often tell me which hands an opponent has played in the past. The color-coding makes it even easier for me. I use one color to mark the players who only bet when they have a strong hand, and another color to mark the action players.

When I see a player marked with a certain color, I can safely assume that he's going to overplay his hands. This is a guy I am more willing to call with a hand that might be a little weaker, or a drawing hand after the flop. Why? Because I know that if I hit my hand, he's going to pay me off; I have implied odds to call. With another player, I'll play a little tighter because not getting paid off means my implied odds aren't there. This one bit of information has both increased my winnings and minimized my losses.

Self-awareness is an important part of any endeavor. But in poker, knowing your opponent is just as important as knowing yourself.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Patrik Takes Lead in Durrrr Challenge - Session 9

March 22, 2009 0
Patrik Takes Lead in Durrrr ChallengeOn Friday, Dwan and Patrik played 425 hands and 82 minutes with Patrik coming out on top +$161,068. Patrik takes the lead in the Durrrr Challenge by $107,445.00.

Biggest Hand of The Day
Patrik wins the biggest hand of the day for $155,683.50. PA flopped a jack high flush draw as well as 2 pair. Dwan flopped a 9 high flush draw as well as an open ended straight draw. Dwan hits his straight on the river but the river also brings a club giving Patrik a better flush than Dwan's flush.

Current standings:
-durrrr's results: -$108,611.00
-Patrik Antonius's results: +$107,445.00

-Hands 5,517 of 50K
-Total Bet $31,340,380.00
-Total Sessions 9
-Time Played 17hours 13mins

Note: I just noticed that in the end both players could end up in the negative due to Dwan paying rake. Patrik is a Full Tilt Pro so he doesn't have to pay rake.

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12 Tabling and Straight Flush and 4 of a Kind - Pokerstars Challange Day 21

March 22, 2009 0
Alright. So I played a 2 hour session of 25 sngs. Should have only been 1 hour 45 minutes but one guy in the last tournament took 30 seconds every decision...The blinds got so huge and some how the short stacks kept doubling up; including me. I was pretty happy when I hit an ace on the river to stay alive. Reminds me of Barry Greenstein's book, Ace on the River. I have that book and read it, only skimmed through it. I should read it again. I was watching High Stakes Poker and Eli Elezra was joking around and someone thought Doyle's Book should have been "Deuce on the River".

Anyway, back to my poker session. I hit a straight flush and flopped 4 of a kind today. Luckily someone else had ace high flush so I got paid off there, unfortunately I didn't get paid off with my quad jacks:(

Here's the screenshots;

Up $5 today..Not what i was hoping for. I'll try 14 tabling tomorrow. Once I get good at 20 tabling than I'll make a video.

Bankroll: $700
Pending Bonus (FPP Points) = 646 of 3000
Silver Status (FPP Points) = 622 of 1200

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Andrew "Foucault" Brokos - 2008 WSOP Recap (FREE Full Length Video)

March 22, 2009 0
Here's a free full length video from Pokersavvy Plus.

Andrew "Foucault" Brokos is well known on 2+2 for his knowledge of the game. Andrew's experiences in the $5/$10 to $25/$50 NLHE cash games provide plenty of fodder for his highly regarded poker writing and coaching. His innovative teaching style, informed by his work in urban public education, blends big picture strategy with detailed hand analysis and color commentary. Andrew has also cashed in the last 3 WSOP Main Events, including a 35th place finish in 2008 earning him $193,000. Visit Foucault's Blog.

The Card Player Pro/PokerSavvy Plus team of pros includes Michael “SirWatts” Watson, Justin “WPTHero” Rollo, Dani “ansky” Stern, Tony “Bond18” Dunst, Andrew “Foucault” Brokos, Christian “Charder30” Harder, Tom “LearnedfromTV” Chambers, and Evan “_Fisherman” Roberts.

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How Bad are the Beats? - Steve Brecher

March 22, 2009 0
While playing on Full Tilt Poker, I have said that there are three topics I won't discuss in table chat; politics, religion, and whether online poker is rigged. That's because many people's opinions on those topics are hardened and not amenable to friendly or productive discussion.

Away from the table, I'll venture a couple of comments about improbable events in poker. While not direct instruction in the tactics and strategy of play, these comments may help you take "bad beats" in stride -- and that, in turn, is an essential part of poker maturity.

First, let's consider what most would view as a typical "bad beat" -- a lower pocket pair winning against a higher pocket pair in hold 'em, such as KK beating AA. When those hands share one suit, the chance of the worse hand winning is about 18%. The chance of the lower pair winning twice -- that is, the next two times that such hands happen to go against each other -- is about 3%. If in one session of play, a lower pocket pair beat a higher pocket pair twice, that might seem a little, well, weird to some players.

Consider another situation involving chance. When two dice are thrown, the chance of rolling "snake eyes" (1-1) is about 3% -- about the same as a lower pocket pair beating a higher pocket pair twice.

Suppose there were 600 craps tables using standard, unaltered dice with nine players around each table -- a total of 5,400 players -- and these tables operated for a three-hour "session." How many players would observe snake eyes being thrown at least once? The statistical expectation result is not important. The point is that it's easy to intuitively see that a large number of players would.

Further, do you think some players might see snake eyes thrown several times in an evening -- say, three or four times? (That is equivalent to six or eight poker "bad beats.") And if some of those players would be inclined to report their observation on forums and in chat, then it might seem to some as if the dice were "fixed."

Let's go back to poker. Recently, I played a hand of No-Limit Hold 'Em on Full Tilt Poker. An opponent four seats in front of the button open-raised pre-flop. It was folded around to me in the big blind, and I called. I semi-bluff check-raised the flop, continued with a semi-bluff bet on the turn, was raised all-in, and called the raise. I made my draw on the river. After the hand my opponent chatted:

opponent: ur horrible steve
opponent: why the [****] did u call that?
opponent: horrible that this site rewards that

(Confidential to opponent: I know these comments were made in the heat of the moment after a big loss and don't necessarily reflect your considered view.)

Let's take a look at my call on the turn. I held Ad Td; my opponent held Kd Kc. The board was Qd 9d 7h Jc.

With my opponent's actual holding, I had 16 outs to win the pot on the river, making me a 1.75 to 1 underdog. Of course, it could have been worse for me against other holdings, but even the worst case for me would have been to be up against K-T (a made straight), and then I would have been only a 3 to 1 underdog.

After my bet and the opponent's all in-raise, I was getting pot odds of 3.7 to 1 to call, so the call is clearly correct. But it seemed to my opponent -- and to at least one observer -- that I made a bad call, and that my winning with a 36% chance to do so when I called was a bad beat for my opponent.

The moral of this story: While "bad beats" (low-probability events) do occur, sometimes a closer examination of a poker hand can change first impressions and allow you to continue to play with a cooler, clearer head.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Who Will Win The Durrrr Challenge?

Doyle Brunson Challenge

March 20, 2009 0
Doyle Brunson has issued a mixed game challenge to anyone willing to accept his terms.

On his blog Brunson says:

I’m getting old, there is nothing I can do about that, but I’m still willing to play anybody “Doyle Sez”, where I can name the game and change to another game when I want to. If any of the internet stars, that don’t play live, want to play, I’ll give them half their money back if they lose if they play 8 hours a day for a week.

The only problem with Doyle's challenge is that he has not listed the type of the games he can choose from. Doyle has mentioned that Patrik Antonius is interested and Patrik would like to know the list of games. Doyle says he will provide a list but he has not updated his blog yet.

Part of the reason Doyle issued this challenge is because a lot of people are saying the new generation of poker players are better and more experienced than the old generation. For example, Tom 'Durrrr' Dwan is only 22 years old (playing for 5 years) and has already played more hands than Doyle Brunson, age 75 and over 50 years experienced. Doyle has a hard time to believe this but Doyle can only play about 30 hands live per hour whereas Dwan can play 500+ hands per hour multitabling. Another reason is because poker articles and videos are are so easily available and nearly every top pro has his/her own instructional site.

These young kids have taken it to a new level... Nowdays, you have to pick your spots to bluff and you try to trap the over aggressive players... If you watch these games closely, you’ll see a lot of the guys, kids mostly, making plays strictly because they are on TV. Any professional poker player would certainly be wrong to shoot it out with the maniac players...The old time poker pro's could make minced meat of today's kids.

His particular gripe seems to be with anyone disrespecting the old time players, an issue that first arose when Layne Flack questioned Doyle's tournament accomplishments.

I just feel I can find a game against anyone that I can beat them at. I know this means I’ll have to play heads up, which I hate, but I can’t back down now. :)


Free $100 Bankroll at Doyle's Room. ( U.S.A and Canada Only )
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10 Tabling - Pokerstars Challange Day 19

March 20, 2009 0
Alright so I played 30 $5 sngs today. Won 20 out of 30 so that's good. I'm still taking my time for decisions like I can easily take 10-15 seconds if I need it. And I rely on Poker Tracker to track how my opponents play.

No straight flush today but almost:) I think I will try 12 tabling tomorrow.

Bankroll: $695
Pending Bonus (FPP Points) = 596 of 3000
Silver Status (FPP Points) = 572 of 1200

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Dan Harrington's Zone System - Tournament No-Limit Hold'em

March 20, 2009 0
From Harrington on Holdem Volume 2: The Endgame.
M is the ratio of a player's chipstack to the total of the blinds and antes.

Vanessa Rousso On Playing Short Stack - PCA PokerStars Caribbean Adventure 2009

The Green Zone : Your M is 20+ (20 or more times the SB + BB + antes)
This is where you want to spend as much of the tournament as possible. All styles of play are open to you. you can be conservative, aggressive, or super-aggressive, and switch back and forth among them as you wish, all moves are available. You can watch a raise and a reraise and come over the top of both players, and still have plenty of chips left for another move later in the hand. In the green zone you're a full- functional poker player, and it's worth taking some risks to stay here.

The Yellow Zone : Your M is 10-19
As you move from the green zone to the yellow zone you lose the ability to play conservative poker. The blinds are starting to catch you, so you have to loosen your play. You can be aggressive or super-aggressive but you have to start making moves with hands weaker than those a conservative player would elect to play. Oddly enough, however, certain hand types (small pairs and suited connectors) become less playable in the yellow zone (due to the lack of implied odds).

The Orange Zone : Your M is 6-9
In the orange zone, you lose the ability to make certain kinds of complex moves that require a reasonable stack size to succeed. Here's an example, a type of sandwich play. A loose middle position player raises 2-3 times the big blind. You know from past experience that he's probably trying a steal. But before you, another player sticks in a reraise. You realize that he probably knows what you know, and knows he doesn't need much of a hand to take the pot from the first bettor. If you have any kind of hand at all and a decent stack, you can come over the top of both players. The first player will probably lay his hand down, and if your raise is substantial and you have more chips to back it up, the second player will probably quit as well. But to execute this maneuver, you need a big stack relative to the pot. If you have to go all-in to make this play, the second bettor may be able to call you just based on pot odds, since he knows you can't do any further betting. In the orange zone, you have to play even more aggressively than in the yellow zone.

The Red Zone : Your M is 1-5
In the red zone you've lost any ability to make a bet other than an all-in bet. If you make a smaller bet, it consumes so much of your stack that you're pot committed anyway. So you might as well go all-in, since it gives you the best chance of winning the pot with your first bet. Of course when your M is lower than 3, your all-in bet will probably not be enough to drive other players out of the pot. The combination of your weak situation plus the attractive odds will usually result in at least one caller.

The Dead Zone : Your M is less than 1 times (SB + BB + antes)
In the dead zone you appear to be alive but your not... you're a poker wraith, just a gnat to be swatted. Your only move left is all-in. And when you make it they'll call just to get rid of you. Never allow yourself to get this low by having your chips blinded away, as you'd have been much better off making a stand earlier with marginal cards. Decent players arrive here only by accident, like after losing an all-in against a slightly smaller stack. It's essential here to be the first into the pot, so you must make a move before the blinds arrive. by moving first, some hands that would call you because of your tiny stack will fold because of the danger of someone coming over the top behind them. The need to move first is so great that your cards really don't matter anymore.

More About M

You should be estimating your M before every hand, and also maintain an idea of the M's of the other players. As you move down through the lower zones - yellow, then orange, then red - your M becomes a key piece of information about your hand, every bit as important as the cards themselves.

Another way of looking at M is to see it as a measure of just how likely you are to get dealt a better hand in a better situation later, and still have a reasonable amount of money left. There are two dangers in being too tight in the middle zones. First: your stack can get blinded away. And Second: You may wait for a good hand and get it at a time when it's no longer useful to you (like with raises and reraises ahead of you).

For example, a tight player drifts through the orange zone, passing chances to make a stand with a somewhat marginal hand. When his M finally gets down to 2, his dream scenario occurs. He picks up AA, someone in front of him moves all-in and he calls... winning and doubling up. Great... but now his M is still just 5! He's still in the red zone, and still needs to double up again very soon. If he'd made a riskier move when his M was somewhat higher, like 7, a double up would have taken him to 14, well into the yellow zone, and bought him valuable time.

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Mike Matusow PLO8 hand (PREVIEW)

Third Street in Seven Stud - Perry Friedman

March 20, 2009 0
For those of you who are unfamiliar with seven-card stud, there are some betting quirks in the game that you should understand. During the opening round of betting (also called "third street"), the player with the lowest up card is forced to act first. There are two choices: Bet the "bring-in" amount (which is usually one-third of the full bet) or "complete" the bet (make it a full bet). If the player chooses to bet the bring-in amount, another player has the option of completing the bet. Note that this is not considered a raise, because it is only increasing the initial bet to one full bet. This means there is still a bet and three remaining raises allowed during the opening round.

You should almost never bring in for a completion in Stud Hi, except in very rare tournament situations. There are a number of reasons for this, including the need to conceal the strength of your hand and the desire to keep your options open later in the round.

If you make it a habit only to bring in for a completion when you have a good hand, an astute player will pick up on this and will steal from you every time you don't complete the bring-in. Conversely, if you always complete the bet, you are throwing away money when you are forced in, which is usually when you have a bad hand since you already have the lowest up card.

Furthermore, bringing in for a completion limits your betting options. If you bring in for the minimum and someone else completes the bet, you can raise back for a full bet, whereas your opponent can only complete for a partial bet. You can also decide to slow play your hand if someone completes. Completing the bet exposes you to being raised back a full bet. By always bringing in for the minimum, you do not give away the strength of your hand and leave your options open on third street.

When playing in a live ring game, I will seldom even look at my down cards when I am the bring-in. Whether or not you look at your cards first is a matter of personal preference, but by not looking, you can't give a tell. However, one of the important aspects of stud is being aware of what cards have already been dealt out to your opponents. If you decide not to look at your hole cards, you should still peruse the table and take inventory of what cards are already out.

For some people, cataloguing all the upcards may be a tedious and exhausting process, and they will prefer to look at their downcards first so that they immediately know which key cards will improve their hand, or if they even have a playable hand at all. The only flaw with this shortcut is that when you do have a playable hand, you need to be aware of what your key cards are and know which cards will help or hurt your opponents. I recommend getting in the habit of always mentally keeping track of all of the up cards.

In heads-up play, keeping track of the cards is much simpler; they are always there to see and you don't need to remember who folded which cards. This makes it even less important to check your down cards before acting.

In online play, you will always be aware of your down cards, but you should still get in the practice of tracking your opponents' cards. One way to keep the game interesting - and to work on your skills at the same time - is to track all the cards even when you are out of the hand. As the hand progresses, try to figure out what hands your opponents are likely playing. At the showdown, you can see how well your reading skills are coming along.

Stud can be a very enjoyable and interesting game, but it relies less on intuition and more on keeping your mind focused and your eyes open.

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Evelyn Ng Ruined My Life - Daniel Negreanu

March 20, 2009 1
Here's a story from Daniel Negreanu's blog. I don't want to spoil it.. so here it is.


So the story goes, when we were teenagers Evelyn and I dated. We got along, we fought, we got along, we fought, and in the end we just seemed to make for better friends. Or so I thought...

Never did I expect her to do what she did to me recently. We don't talk as much, she travels the world playing poker and I do the same from time to time in different parts of the world. We speak once and a while on MSN, she's always been a good listener always willing to give me advice. She knows my strengths, she also knows my weaknesses, so when I have questions, she's always been a good person for me to turn to. That was then...

I don't think I'll ever speak to her again. I'm just at a loss for words at this point. You think someone is your friend until they do something that makes you wonder, "What kind of friend would do that?" So I guess I should cut to the chase. A while back she bought me a birthday present and I was too lazy to pick it up from her place. Eventually she gave my present to someone else. No big deal, my bad for not coming by to grab it. That's not what destroyed me.

What destroyed me is that eventually, just this week, she did in fact have this "gift" sent to my house. This gift is just the end of me and I still don't know why she would do this to me. She bought me Rock Band 2 for X-BOX 360. It's over for me. My life wasn't all that exciting before I got this game, but now I'm just a total mess. Leaving the house is as unlikely as Michael Jackson fathering a baby without artificial insemination. I was instantly addicted, and I knew it from the very first drum beat.

I hate you Evelyn Ng. We WERE friends. I thought very good friends actually, but I see now that you really don't care about me at all. All you care about is your personal agenda: to destroy the youth of America with addictive video games that will corrupt their souls. I swear I thought I knew you... you are just dead to me now. No question about it- YOU KNEW! You totally knew that with my personality type I would lose all hope at a normal life once you got me this gift. Gift... it's just wrong to even call it a gift. Evelyn bought me poison for the mind and I hate the fact that I love it so much! You suck Evelyn!

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Chopping The Blinds - Glossary of Poker Terms

March 19, 2009 0
Chopping the blinds is a custom that occurs when all other players fold to the blinds before the flop. The blinds then remove their bets, ending the hand.

Chopping the blinds is a common occurrence in live ring games, whereas it is not allowed in tournament play (the small blind must call or fold and cannot reclaim their bet), and is seldom, if ever, possible in play on the internet.

Why players chop

Players generally chop for two reasons.

1. Many players do not enjoy playing heads-up, and would rather play multi-way pots, so if the first few players at a table fold rather than calling the big blind, the entire table may fold. In this case, chopping is more of a social custom.
2. Chopping allows the blinds to avoid paying the rake for a hand that is unlikely to develop into a large pot. In this case, chopping is more of an economic decision.

In higher-limit games, players tend to be tighter, and it is more common for everyone to fold to the blinds. In this case, chopping would occur so frequently that it would be pointless. Furthermore, higher-limit games are much more likely to be short-handed. Finally, the rake in higher-limit games is usually much smaller in comparison to the size of the pot, and if a collection is taken instead of a rake, this removes the economic reason for chopping. For all these reasons, chopping is much more common in lower-limit games than in higher-limit games.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Trying Out Poker Tracker 3 - Pokerstars Challange Day 18

March 18, 2009 0
Alright, 2 new things for my Poker Challenge. First, I switched from Turbo sngs to regular sngs. Second, I downloaded Poker tracker 3 two months Trial.

Poker Tracker 3
I must say, I really like Poker Tracker 3. I have never used a poker program before and so far it has been easy to setup and manage. There's basically 3 things it tracks;

-Voluntarily puts money into pot
-Preflop raise
-Aggression factor

It tracks more and I really should read a guide for it's full potential. Right now I really only look at Voluntarily puts money into pot. If they are tight (Plays 10% and less hands)than I try to steal their blinds and if they are loose (play 30%+ hands) than I try to avoid playing them unless I have a big hand.

And now since I changed to non turbos, there is a lot more skill and room to play without blinds eating my stack. I really do feel I can get 20%+ ROI, 8 tabling these Double ups sngs.

I tried 18 and 27 man sngs and did terrible in them..I'm so use to survival strategy in double up tournaments that I never accumulated chips. I got a straight flush in one hand. All the money went in on the flop, I had a monster draw - 20 outs, %65 chance. You can check the odds with The Poker Odds Calculator.

Anyway, here is the straight flush and 2 hands where the same guy busted my aces than my ace king(all in preflop each time).

Bankroll: $647
Pending Bonus (FPP Points) = 536 of 3000
Silver Status (FPP Points) = 512 of 1200

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