The couple that plays together

couple-playing-cardsMy worst bad beat came not at the hands of a seasoned veteran, or even an amateur player, but from my girlfriend, Sarah. It didn’t cost me a huge sum of money, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t on tilt for days afterward.

Having felt excluded from my weekly home game, Sarah asked me to teach her how to play poker prior to one recent tournament. I obliged, explaining the basics of Texas Hold’em, as well as the general strategy for novices, for about an hour over dinner. She listened intently for maybe the first 20 minutes and then started sneaking peeks at ESPN on the TV behind me. “She’ll regret this later,” I thought to myself.

A couple of hours later, our casual $5 tournament began. I played well from the start, taking out three players in a single hand when I landed queens full. The beautiful boat gave me a commanding chip lead ? almost triple that of anyone else at the table. I quickly became content to fold all but the best hands.

After several rounds had been played, our table was down to just four players. A large pot began brewing between Sarah and the person in second place, Jon. I was concerned that Sarah was biting off more than she could chew with Jon, who’s an excellent player. The flop came Q-Q-6. Sarah checked. Jon bet out and Sarah smooth called. The turn was a king. Sarah checked. Jon bet the pot, and Sarah smooth called again. The river was a 10. Jon immediately went all-in, pushing his stack into the pot. Smiling, Sarah called.

Jon flipped over Q-J for the top straight; Sarah flipped over pocket 10s for a full house. The table exploded in laughter, and Jon left with his head hung low at being slow played so easily. Knowing the truth about how long Sarah had been playing poker (roughly four hours at that point), I smirked. “Well, she got lucky,” I said to myself. “But she’s definitely no threat to me.”

I was dealt KH-6H on the very next hand. As the big blind, I checked. The flop came 10H-2H-AH. Sarah checked, and I slow played my nut flush by also checking. After the turn produced a rag, I decided to bet the pot. Sarah called. The river was a second two. Without blinking, I pushed my stack all-in. Sarah looked at me and asked, “Are you sure you want to do that?” I laughed, confident that my flush was going to crush her trips or two pair.

Instead, however, she turned over pocket 10s again, which gave her another full house, and began raking in my chips. I was dumbfounded. After several minutes, I got up and made some snide remark about luck. Sarah looked at me, somewhat insulted, and said defensively, “I asked if you were sure!”

Sarah eventually went on to win the tournament (a fact she never fails to remind me about!). After that game I decided to hold of playing poker for a while and instead I started trading binary options. This is quite similar to poker where it is a question of making small bets with positive expected value, except binary options relate to financial markets, not a deck of cards. But the basic idea is the same.

Make correct judgment and you can make money, that is the bottom line. I only trade at topoption and I am very satisfied with the service and trading platform.

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pot odds for beginning players

odds
It is my experience that playing everything up to 20$ tourneys many casino game players have little idea of pot odds. They have memorised that 22 is maybe 52% over most overcards, they know the odds of a straight draw and a flush draw and a straight flush draw, but that is about it.

They either dont know how to calculate pot odds from first principles or just can’t in the time frame available.

I won’t say that I can calculate to the percentile during live play online but my estimates are almost always accurate to the nearest 5 percent. I will start by showing beginners how to calculate pot odds and then show others some more advanced concepts I am trying to formulate with them for tourney play.

A common scenario is say you have A8 of heart, the flop is 4H KH 7C. You have 2000 chips, 400 in the pot already, first to act you bet 500 and are reraised all in by someone who just has you covered. Do you have pot odds to call?
The chance of catching a flush is the number of hearts unaccounted for (9) divided by the number of cards unaccounted for (47) +(45-9)/45 (chance of not getting a flush on turn) * 9/46 = 35% almost exactly.

In other words it is the chance of catching a flush on the turn plus the remaining chance of catching a flush on the river otherwise you are counting heart on turn + heart on river twice. It is important to not that this is just your chance of catching a flush not of winning.

Let’s pretend though that it is the same thing for the next calculation. You then must multiply the stack you would have if you catch the flush with the odds of catching. If this is greater than your stack if you fold – then you should fold. So .35*(pot of 1400 plus 1500 chips you have plus their 1500 equals 4400) = 1540 making a call the better decision under normal circumstances.

Normally you can place the opponent for holding certain cards then you would be dividing by 45 (turn) and 44 (river). It is key to calculating pot odds in this sort of scenario to realise that you can win without getting a flush. That is the part that most people dont twig and when you catch a flush they will say you lucky donkey when you might have had 8 or more additional outs.

Lets say he has AKo (no hearts) – you win with any flush unless he catches a full house and you win when you catch trip 8s and he does not catch another K – you also win if you catch a straight. So you will win
1) 1/45 (7 hearts) *42/44 (winning on everything except the two remaining kings) +
2) 8/45 (remaining cards giving flush +
3) 3/45 (remaining eights) * 33/44 (every heart + the two remaining 8’s) +
5) 2/45 (remaining 7’s) * 8/44 (7 of hearts will give him a FULL H) +
6) 8/45 (5or 6) * 13/44 (flush cards plus the 4 cards that will give a straight +
7) 2/45 (a king) *8/44 (hearts other than 7) +
8) 21/45 (remaining cards *9 (flush cards) /44.

It is possible that one number here or their might be wrong but that is the basic position and in this case it will not make much odds but because it is such a marginal decision it could affect whether it is a sound call. There chance of a full house seems greater than the chance of either getting the straight or of three 8’s being the winning hand so possibly no longer pot odds to call (particularly after house cut) but it is so borderline (34.09 is the probability needed to call (no of chips if you fold / no of chips if you call ) – so it is very close.

In some positions though it is a clear call ie if 700 chips already in pot – or if say he could be put at say a low pocket pair where you would win with either of your cards paired up most times in addition to the flush draw and long odds straight draw less a possible long odds straight draw for him.

Ok that was the simple stuff – remember that chips if fold over chips if call (*100) is the percentage you need to call.

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Free Texas Holdem Poker

cute poker girlTexas Holdem is a game that you can learn in a few minutes of play. But it can take a life time to master the game. Do not expect to sit down at the table and count on your luck to make a killing. Luck, a lot of the time, does not have a damn thing to do with who walks away with the cash.

Your hand strength should be set right after the flop. If you do not have the best hand or lots of outs to draw to the best hand by the time the dealer rolls the flop then get out of the game.

The best tip for a multi-player tournament is to remember that it is all about chips. If you are out of chips you are out of the game. In a regular game it is about money. You can always buy back into the game for more money.

Every card game should be a lesson to you. You made mistakes the last time that you played. Do not make the same mistakes this time. Playing a holdem poker online game can let you see lots of hands in a very short period of time. Use the online play for practice. The more hands that you see and get to play the faster the improvements to your game will come.

A common mistake is that people do not pay attention to the action of the guy who has the small blind. Watch him. If he bets then feel some fear. It may save you from making a horrible mistake.

The free download for an online game just takes a few minutes to install. Various poker sites will not conflict. I like to have about four or five different places to play. If you are just starting then the only calculator that you need is your head.

Play tight and only get into the hand if your cards total 20 or 21. Aces are eleven and face cards are ten. You can earn a spot in the big games in Vegas by playing on line. One of the best ways to practice is to get your own holdem poker chip set and table. Be wary of your friends and neighbors though. There is no such thing as friendship in a poker game.

There are lots of holdem strategy books. The secret to good play is to develop your own style. Always the best strategy in a no limit game is to adapt to the table. There is no rule that says you have to play a consistent game.

If the table plays loose you have to copy the play to make any money. If the play is tight then tighten up your game. Be sure and read any forum that talks about no limit online holdem. Take it all with a grain of salt. Be sure and check out this poker blog. There are tips and tricks that will help you to improve your play and make money.

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Lucky Ace

Lucky AceIf you like casino games, Lucky Ace Poker offers its players a sign up bonus of $400 no bonus code required our exclusive links will give you your bonus. Lucky Ace Poker offers its players an $100,000 guaranteed prize pool tournament.

As part of the 888 network Lucky Ace Poker is graced with some of the worst paypal poker players on the internet meaning there is place for a tidy profit to be made. Lucky Ace Poker is part of a trusted network that offers great customer service fast game play and minimum downtime.

Lucky Ace Poker was established in early 2008, and has since become a very good poker room; Lucky Ace Poker built its self on strong foundations by joining the 888 network which runs one of the easiest and pleasing poker software in the industry meaning there is a wide variety of game choice and ease of use.

Software & Graphics

The software that Lucky Ace Poker uses is very tidy and easy to navigate around the tables them selves are clear with many options and you can also now choose from a selection of 3-d avatars, the software also contains some good features for the more serious paypal poker player.

There is a nice featured called “ghost hands” this means that you can asses whether you have made the right decision allowing you to self assess you currently game play there is also the facility for you to have as many as 4 tables tiled onto the one screen while playing at Lucky Ace Poker. If you sign Up To Lucky Ace Poker today you can receive a sign up bonus of 100% up to $400, no bonus code required.

Games & Tournaments

There is a good variety of cash games available, from the ever popular Texas Holdem to Omaha, Omaha hi/lo, 7 card stud and 7 card stud hi/lo, with limits ranging from $0.01/$0.02 all the way up to $100/$200, games are available in both short handed 6 players tables and full handed 10 player ring games, Lucky Ace is a poker site that like to give its players variety.

Lucky Ace Poker hold a host of tournaments through out the day, and with buy in ranges from $1 all the way up to $500 there is a tournament suitable for every bankroll. Some of the more notable tournament that Lucky Ace Poker hold however is a weekly $80,000 guaranteed prize pool tournament and the daily $20,000 guaranteed prize pool tournaments, giving another reason to make lucky ace the paypal poker site for you.

Traffic & Bonuses

Traffic figures for Lucky Ace Poker are good you can expect to see around 6,000 cash game players during peak hours and around 10,000 tournament players, however with the growing popularity of Lucky Ace Poker and with pacific poker and the 888 network finding there feet once again expect this figure to rise and lucky ace become one of the biggest paypal poker sites.

Lucky Ace Poker offers a very competitive 1st deposit bonus of 100% up to $400 there is a also a progressive bad beat jackpot among other promotions that are run throughout the year as Lucky Ace is a paypal Poker room that always try to give there players a free opportunity to boost their bankrolls.

Players

Being part of the 888 network means that Lucky Ace Poker has had a reputation of having some of the weakest players of all our featured paypal poker sites, this means that a good profit could be made out of Lucky Ace Poker but be warned with the nature of the players at Lucky Ace Poker bad beats will be more frequent and a lot harsher, if you manage to keep yourself composed this could be a good place to play your poker.

Deposit and withdrawal methods

You can both deposit and withdraw money through the following methods credit/ debit cards, telephone, solo, switch ( maestro), clickandbuy, MoneyBookers, NETeller, pay point, fireplay, ukash etc deposits are instant where as withdrawals are usually dealt with within 3 working days of request.

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Lacey Jones played in tournament

Lacey Jones played the main event and was a member of the panel for the Johnny Chan Poker School that took place last November at the River Rock. With 50 full tables, she found herself across from Nenad Medic, before that table broke early in the tournament. Although Lacey did well by advancing deep in the tournament, Nenad was eliminated early and did a quick disappearing act to hop a flight to Vegas; such is the life of Canada’s top pros, who plays in many of the $10,000 events across the globe.

A brilliant structure for the event gave starting stacks of 15,000 with 45-minute rounds for the first day, and 60-minutre rounds for the final 2 days. Daryl McCullough, the most Senior Manager of Poker Operation and Development for Great Canadian Gaming described how many of the players complimented the expanded structure.

Several players approached them to say how much they loved the structure of the tournament. Getting 15,000 in chips is unheard of in other Canadian events and with the hour levels on the second and the final day, everyone was pleased with the amount of play. They expected the final table to showcase some great poker.

Events like these also rely on collaboration between River Rock and the BC Lottery Corporation to make them successful. With over 7,500,000 in chips in play, there would be no shortage of opportunity for patient players. At 4:00 Friday – 4 hours into battle, there were still 400 players left at LVL 5 (blinds 100/200 + 25 ante). The first day played down to either 200 players or LVL 10, whatever came first. As it turned out, there were a few minutes left in LVL 10 before the number of players narrowed to 197 and it was called a day. The second leg of the journey would be the longest on Saturday.

The most notable elimination of the day was from the Orient Express himself, checking out in 304th place. He left to a standing ovation of the table, which may have been more of a relief reaction than anything else, having the back-to-back WSOP main event winner out of the mix. Gavin Smith gave his thoughts on the World Champion.

“Johnny and I have known each other for quite a while. In terms of playing I think the only time I’ve really had the chance to play against him was in the NBC Heads-up tournament in the second round and obviously we know the conclusion of that.”

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A recent tournament

I played a lot with John D’Agostino in Niagara recently.

He was at my table all three days. We were together an hour on the first day and then most of the second and third day. I really got to know him and watch him play. He’s just an amazing player. Obviously, when I first sat with him I didn’t want to get involved with him until I found out exactly how he was playing.

It turned out he was playing pretty tight and aggressive so I figured there really was no point getting involved with him unless I had a monster. It’s hard to believe but we played for over 24 hours straight at the same table and we never really got involved in a big pot against each other until finally, near the end of day three, he raised to 80,000 on the button and I had A-Q in the big blind.

I asked him to count out his chips and he had about 400,000. I had over two million so I put him all in. He thought about it for a minute and he called. Turns out we both had A-Q. We were laughing about it and then the flop came three spades and he was holding the Ace of Spades. So my laugh turned to a quick frown but luckily the turn and river didn’t bring a Spade. So we chopped the pot and that’s it. That’s the only big pot we got involved in.

On day three, I was the chip leader with about 450,000 chips and there was a guy with about 350,000 chips at my table. Two players limped and I raised with pocket Kings on the button. I’d been raising every other hand so I got three callers which I didn’t really like. I only wanted action from one or two people so I was praying “please no Ace”.

The flop came down K-9-4 rainbow so there were no real draws out but I was still going to fire out if it checked to me because they’d think it’s a bluff. The first guy checked, the second guy fired 35,000 (there was about 80,000 in the pot), the third guy folded and I just flat called. The first guy then folded as well.

On the turn, I was just praying for no Ten, Queen or Jack so that it wouldn’t put a one card straight draw on the board. Unfortunately, the turn was a Ten. I didn’t think my opponent would have lead into three people on the flop with Queen-Jack though. So, I still had “the nuts” in my mind. He checked and I knew I had to bet because I didn’t want the straight to fill on the river. I fired 90,000 into the 130,000 pot and he flat called. At that point, I figured I had him. I’d shown a huge bluff earlier and he must have been thinking that I was bluffing again.

The river came a Jack; the worst card in the deck for me because I thought, “Maybe he’s been calling me with King-Queen”. At this point, there were about 310,000 chips in the pot and he fired in his last 200,000 which was enough to seriously cripple me if I called and lost.

I got out of my chair and I said, “This did not just happen!” I could still have had the best hand but I should not have had to make such a tough decision. After I’d flopped an almost unbeatable hand, I was suddenly susceptible to one card that beat me; all he needed was any Queen in his hand.

I walked around in circles for a while and he started to look pretty nervous. Eventually I just said, “If you have King-Queen, I mean I was just destined to lose this hand”. I flopped a monster, I trapped him on the turn with my bet and if he had me beat then it just wasn’t my day.

I called and he said, “You’re good.” It was a huge relief. I showed my hand and he just mucked. I would have loved to see what he had but I didn’t want to be rude or rub it in and ask him to show. That was the toughest call of my life.

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Table Ninja Review

For a while I have been meaning to write this review. Before I start, I am not getting paid by Table Ninja for doing this. Its simply an awesome piece of software and something that has increased my hourly winrate and just in general made me a ton of money. So what is Table Ninja?

Table Ninja is a piece of poker software for PokerStars that allows you to use various automated commands to facilitate multi tabling more effectively. In the simplest terms, it allows you to play more tables, easier with less clicks and mouse movement hence increasing a multitablers hourly win rate. The top reasons to play at Pokerstars are their excellent software, the $600 first deposit bonus, and this is the best site for heads up poker. Also you can play with the pros and they have lot of deposit options.

So what do I use Table Ninja for?

* Fold, Bet/Raise, call hotkeys
* Joining tables quickly using a hotkey
* Automatic preflop opening raise sizes and 3-bet sizes.
* Helpful pre-defined flop, turn and river bet sizes.
* Closing tables quickly
* Handling lobby and table annoyances (Such as automatically waiting for big blind)
* Auto click time-bank so i don’t timeout.

Table Ninja Benefits

The primary reason I use Table Ninja is because it allows me to play more tables than if I was playing normally. Instead of clicking the fold button, or the scroll bar to define my bet amount, I can auto raise with one tap on the keypad or I can fold with one tap on the keypad. I primarily tile my tables across two 30″ monitors and use my mouse to highlight the table that needs an action, I then press the key that is needed for that action.

Table Ninja also automatically places bet amounts into the bet box, usually these are close to the amount I want to bet and I just adjust them manually if I need to. The other cool thing about Table Ninja is if I am taking my time to make one decision it will automatically click time-bank on that table and all other tables awaiting action. This allows me to play upwards of 15 tables without timing out when I would have previously had alot of trouble if I was just playing manually.

Overall I really like the software, if you are looking for a way to potentially increase your $ per hour by playing more tables on PokerStars this software is probably worth a look. Remember, I spent many years working on my poker game before I got to this point. Playing too many tables too soon can lead to robotting and potentially stunting your poker growth. If you want to use Table Ninja or some other software to increase your ability to multi table just be careful, some players, especially inexperienced players who are not used to playing lots of tables, may not be able to cope.

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Poker Championship

This year my WSOP experience was the first time I ever attended a major poker tournament. Aside from the unfortunate restroom situation (picture 1,800 people taking a break at the same time), it was run spectacularly. The same complement can not be made for the next tournament I had the good fortune of attending: the United States Poker Championship (USPC) at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City.

For anyone who wants to know how not to run a poker tournament, pay attention. Where am I? I will preface my biting criticism by saying that the blind structure for the UPSC’s Main Event was excellent. $20,000 starting chip stack, tiny starting blinds, and ninety minute levels lent itself well to good poker. The biggest problem, however, was that the tournament itself was organized terribly.

From the get-go, it was a jumbled mess. The table numbers were not in plain view, so in order to find their assigned seats, players had to weave between tables, squinting at the placards placed on the felt, all the time bumping into each other. Some tables still had side game action running minutes before the scheduled tournament time, so many players were left holding their seat cards, wondering if that seat even exists.

On top of that, there was a featured table in an arena down the hall, a fact that most players did not even realize until a couple hours into play. One of the most common questions heard during the first level was, “Where is Phil Ivey? I saw him here right before we started.” I had to do some scouting to help players figure out that he was down the hall.

Bring a book. You know how, without fail, you arrive at your doctor’s appointment on time, only to wait another half hour before being seen, and then another fifteen minutes in the exam room? That’s what it was like coming back from every break.

It was bad enough that the breaks between levels were only ten minutes instead of the customary fifteen and the dinner break was only an hour instead of the usual hour and a half, but without fail, the tournament resumed late after every single intermission. And we’re not talking about “just let me finish this last bite of my sandwich” delays. We’re talking “take a shower, pick out an outfit, put it on, check yourself out in the mirror, chose another outfit, try that one on, brush your hair, take the dog out, get stuck in traffic, and still get to the Taj with time to spare” delays. Completely inconsiderate to the players who paid $10,000 for the right to play.

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