Roy Rounder Poker Tips Newsletter
Issue: January 20, 2008
Next Issue: January 28, 2008
There are two types of bad beats:
BAD BEAT #1...
When you catch a monster hand but lose to a BIGGER monster
For example, let's say you're holding pocket Aces and the
flop hits A-6-6. That means you've got a full house.
Your opponent goes ALL-IN... and you call. You think your
Aces are the best hand but they're NOT, because your
opponent has pocket sixes, which gives him the
BAD BEAT #2...
When YOU have the best hand and your opponent has the WORST
hand but your opponent GETS LUCKY and wins the pot.
For example, let's say you have pocket Aces and go all-in.
Your opponent calls with pocket three's.
The flop hits 2-4-5 and the turn card is a 6, giving your
opponent the STRAIGHT and causing you to lose the hand.
Now that's a bad beat.
And let's face it, the SECOND type of bad beat-- the one
where your opponent gets totally LUCKY and outdraws you-- is
the kind of beat that just plain SUCKS. And pisses you off.
In fact, the second type of bad beat is the kind you
REMEMBER the most too. When someone says, "Hey man, how did
your card game go?", the first thing that will come out of
your mouth will be the story of that bad beat.
Am I right?
Now here's what's interesting...
MORE BAD BEATS HAPPEN IN ONLINE POKER THAN IN "REGULAR" LIVE
Literally, you'll see more bad beats happen in an online
poker game than you'll see at a local cash game or in a
If you play both online and offline poker, I'm sure you
agree with this statement.
So what's going on here? Why would it be this way?
There are two popular "theories"...
1. Online poker is rigged.
2. There are more hands per hour, therefore it's an ILLUSION
that there are more bad beats.
My opinion is that BOTH of these theories are WRONG.
First off, I genuinely believe online poker is NOT rigged.
I mean, c'mon... Do you REALLY think these multi-billion
dollar casinos would need to RIG hands?
They make their money from tournament entry fees and
rakes... and trust me, they're making plenty.
OK, so what about the second theory?
Well, I do agree that there are more hands per hour in
online poker than offline poker. There's no disputing that.
But I don't think that's a good enough reason...
Because my belief is that there are MORE bad beats that
happen per X number of hands ONLINE than for offline poker.
For instance, let's say you played 100 hands. And let's say
you caught two really bad beats for every 100 hands at a
casino. That's 2%.
In online poker, you're likely to catch FIVE or even TEN of
those really bad beats per 100 hands. That's 5-10%.
So the fact that you're seeing MORE hands doesn't explain
the HIGHER PERCENTAGE of bad beats.
Still with me?
OK, so now let me give you MY "theory" about this.
It's not really a theory. Just good old simple logic,
Here it goes:
The reason there are more bad beats in ONLINE poker is
because the very NATURE of online poker leads people to PLAY
The CARDS and ODDS are the same.
It's the PLAYERS that aren't the same.
What I mean is that for online poker, a LARGE portion of
players adopt the style of LOOSE-AGGRESSIVE.
They act irrationally... play hands they shouldn't play...
and bet way too aggressively for most given situations.
Because online poker isn't as "real".
The money isn't as real. I mean, heck... the casinos give
you so much "free" money when you sign up, how COULD it feel
The cards aren't real. The chips aren't real. The table
isn't real. NONE OF THAT STUFF EVEN EXISTS.
All you see when you play online poker are some silly little
animations. And you hear some "clickity-click" sounds of
And if you LOSE a game, all you have to do is make three or
four mouse clicks and you're INSTANTLY playing another game.
And hell, you can PLAY ten games at once if you want!
You can literally play poker against 100 players AT THE SAME
It's a different world, my friend.
Now... let's get back to the bad beats.
The FACT that players are LOOSE-AGGRESSIVE is what leads to
the SITUATIONS where bad beats happen.
1. Players bet their draws more or call large bets with
draws or OK hands (i.e. bottom pair).
2. More players are involved in every pot.
3. The pots are bigger, since players are more aggressive.
When these conditions COMBINE TOGETHER, it creates an
environment where there are a lot of BIG POTS and bad beats.
It's not that the cards are "rigged".
It's that the betting patterns and playing styles are
DIFFERENT than what you're used to.
And when you combine that with the fact that you see more
hands per hour, it inevitably leads to seeing a lot more
"crazy" hands and bad beats than in regular poker.
OK, so now the obvious question becomes...
Is there any way to PREVENT bad beats?
The answer is yes and no.
Ultimately, bad beats will occur NO MATTER WHAT if you're
playing good poker. Because to win at poker, you've got to
be willing to take RISKS.
And most risks have a minimum 20% chance or more of NOT
working out in your favor.
With that being said, there ARE ways to prevent a LARGE
PORTION of the bad beats you'll see online.
Not only can you prevent them, but you can literally turn it
around and make it YOUR ULTIMATE ADVANTAGE.
The key is to "tilt the tables" in your favor and USE the
fact that players are so loose and aggressive to HELP YOU
win more pots.
The way you achieve this is by adopting a SPECIAL playing
style designed SPECIFICALLY for online poker...
My name for this "secret sauce" is this:
The concept of "tight-aggressive squared" is quite simple...
It starts with the logic that tight-aggressive is the most
effective playing style to use in poker.
Tight-aggressive means TIGHT with hand selection, AGGRESSIVE
With online poker, there are more players in every hand.
That means you must play EVEN TIGHTER with your hand
You should ONLY play monster hands!
There's absolutely no reason to get involved with "decent"
hands because the odds are against you.
You're bound to run into players who are CHASING or who just
caught an extremely lucky flop.
When you DO get involved with a hand, you must be OVERLY
aggressive. The pot size will be bigger, so you can't lose
many hands or else you'll be out of the game in a hurry.
You must STRIKE... and you must STRIKE HARD.
You must risk ALL OF YOUR CHIPS-- frequently-- in order to
Of course, it's much easier to risk all of your chips when
you have a GREAT HAND than it is otherwise.
You see, the goal is to do two things:
1. Force out all but one, maybe two players for any pot you
get involved with.
2. Have the odds so unbelievably stacked in your favor that
you win far more HUGE pots than you lose.
And when you win lots of big pots, you become chip leader
VERY QUICKLY. And that's how you take control over a poker
The reason you want to force people OUT of the hand is
Let's say for instance you get pocket ACES.
Here's what three of your opponents are holding:
Player 1: K-K
Player 2: 10-9 suited
Player 3: Q-10 offsuit
Now, if you went heads-up against any of these hands
ONE-ON-ONE, your odds of winning would be about 80%. They'd
be 85% against Player 3.
If you went up against ALL THREE of these opponents in one
single hand, your odds of winning is just 58.5%!
That's just over 50/50 with the absolute BEST starting hand
Get my point?
So when you GET pocket Aces, you need to FORCE OUT all but
You've got to be VERY AGGRESSIVE.
In low stakes Sit and Go's and ring games online, that quite
often means going all-in.
Like I said, you've got to risk ALL your chips.
Now if you go all-in and one of those players makes a CALL,
you'll win four out of five times.
So if you get five big hands a game, you only lose ONCE. Of
course, that one you lose USUALLY won't wipe you out,
because you'll have more chips from the OTHER big hands...
Get my drift?
Literally, if I play low-stakes online Sit and Go's, here is
what my betting pattern looks like:
And so on...
THIS IS HOW YOU WIN. It seems kind of "strange" to think
about, but this is it!
Now... when you get down to just a few players in a game,
it's time to bust out the strategies, bluffs, trick plays,
and so on.
BUT WHAT GETS YOU THERE is this TIGHT-AGGRESSIVE SQUARED
style of play.
OK, so now the question becomes...
If all you did was ever FOLD or go ALL-IN, why would anyone
ever CALL your bets?
What a great question.
And we've already gone over the answer...
It's because online poker isn't the same as offline poker.
The people on there are DISTRACTED and often STUPID and VERY
That's all there is to it.
AND THAT IS PRECISELY WHY ONLINE POKER IS SO MUCH EASIER TO
MAKE MONEY AT... ONCE YOU LEARN THESE SECRETS.
Once you "crack the code", it's amazing how SIMPLE it is to
win at online poker.
It's actually SO SIMPLE and SO IRRATIONAL that I'm not sure
it will always be this way. It seems that all those fish out
there have GOT to go broke sooner or later.
But until that day comes, I'll be making hay while the sun
And I recommend you do the same.
So, you've learned the basic style of play for online poker,
which is "tight-aggressive squared".
Use it, go win some pots, and let me know what you think.
I'll write to you again soon.
Apr 9, 2008
Dec 31, 2007
Roy Rounder Poker Tips Newsletter
Issue: December 29, 2007
Next Issue: January 5, 2008
You DON'T need to be a "math genius" to understand poker
Not at all.
In fact, you can be TERRIBLE at math (like me) and still be
able to use "odds" to your advantage at the no limit Holdem
There are TWO main things you need to learn right away:
1. The concept of OUTS
2. The concept of POT SIZE
These are easy. Let's start with the first.
"Outs" refers to the number of cards in the deck that will
complete (or "make") your hand.
For instance... if you have Ace-King and the board reads
Q-J-4, you need a ten to make your straight.
Since there are four tens in the deck, you have FOUR OUTS.
Or... let's say you're holding Q-J and the board reads
K-10-5. That means you have an open-ended straight draw--
either the Ace or the nine will complete your straight.
Since there are four nines and four Aces in the deck, you
have EIGHT OUTS.
Let's do one more. Let's say you've got 8-7 of clubs and the
board reads 2c-Ad-Kc-3s. That means there are two clubs on
the board and two in your hand. If one more club hits on the
river, you'll have a flush.
There are a total of thirteen clubs in the deck (thirteen of
each suit times four suits equals fifty-two cards).
But that DOESN'T mean you have thirteen outs, because you're
already using four of the clubs.
Instead, you have NINE OUTS (thirteen minus four). If any of
those nine cards hits on the river, you'll have a flush.
OK... so that's how you calculate OUTS. We'll do some more
in-depth examples in a minute, but first let's talk about
Pot size is how much money is in the pot. Pretty simple,
There are three main parts to pot size:
1. How much money is already in the middle
2. How much is bet in the current round of betting
3. How much WILL be bet in the current round
Let me explain.
Let's say four players call the big blind of $4 in a game.
That means there's $16 in the middle.
The flop comes out. You're on the button, which means you're
LAST to act. Player 1 bets $10 into the pot. Player 2 calls,
and Player 3 folds. Now it's your turn. What's the current
The answer is $36. There's the $16 that was in the middle
first, then $20 more from Players 1 and 2.
The $16 is the first part, the $20 is the second part, and
there is no third part since you were last to act.
Let's take another look. Let's say you were SECOND TO ACT,
instead of on the button.
Four players call the big blind of $4, which means there's
$16 in the pot. Player 1 bets $10, and now you must make a
decision. What's the pot size?
Well, it's $16 + $10 + UNKNOWN.
The reason is you DON'T KNOW if the two players BEHIND you
are going to call, raise, or fold. So you really don't KNOW
the exact pot size.
This is a fundamental reason why math doesn't solve all your
problems in poker. You must use your INSTINCTS to "guess" or
In this case, you would try to guess whether or not the
other two players would call or fold (or raise) and make
your decision then. This is also another reason why
POSITIONING in a hand is so important.
One more thing about pot size before we move on...
A lot of players don't know whether to count THEIR OWN MONEY
in the actual pot size.
The answer is you count your own money that's ALREADY THERE
from before. In the example, your big blind of $4 is already
in the pot... so you DO use it to calculate the pot size.
Once your money is in the middle, it isn't yours any more.
But you would NOT include your $10 in the pot size, because
you haven't put it in yet. You're THINKING about putting it
Let's say you called the $10 bet from Player 1 and the other
players all folded. The turn card comes and Player 1 bets
$20. What's the pot size?
Well, it's $16 from pre-flop, $20 after the flop, and now
$20 after the turn.
You DO count your $10 after the flop because now it IS
already in the middle.
OK... so what does OUTS and POT SIZE have to do with ODDS?
The answer is EVERYTHING.
Now that you know these two basics, you're ready to start
calculating "complicated" poker odds.
To calculate odds, you need four pieces of information:
1. Number of outs
2. Number of "unknown" cards in the deck
3. Pot size
4. Current bet amount
We talked about the outs and pot size. The other two are
The number of "unknown" cards in the deck simply means how
many cards you DON'T KNOW. Before the flop, there are 50
cards you don't know. You only know the two in your hand.
After the flop, there are 47 cards you don't know. You know
the two in your hand and the three on the board and that's
After the turn there are 46 cards you don't know.
Like I said, this is simple stuff.
And the CURRENT BET AMOUNT is just... well, the current bet
amount. It's how much you must put in the pot to "call".
OK, let's review.
Let's say you get dealt J-10 offsuit. You call the big blind
of $6 and so does one other player. The small blind folds.
The player in the big blind checks. That means the POT SIZE
is $21 ($6 + $6 + $6 + $3).
The flop comes out Q-2-9. You've got an open-ended straight
draw. Either a King or an eight will make your straight.
Since there are four Kings and four eights in the deck,
you've got EIGHT OUTS.
There are 47 unknown CARDS in the deck (52 cards minus the
five that you see).
You're second to act. The first player bets $12. That means
$12 is the CURRENT BET AMOUNT.
The POT SIZE is $21 + $12 + UNKNOWN. The unknown is what the
player after you does...
So there you have it... those are the four pieces of
information you need. The only thing you don't know for SURE
is the pot size in this example.
Sometimes you'll know the pot size exactly (like when you
have good positioning). Other times you'll just have to
OK, let's do some odds.
THE WAY TO CALCULATE ODDS IS TO COMPARE THE ODDS OF MAKING
YOUR HAND TO THE ODDS OF THE POT.
Here's the exact "formula":
(Unknown Cards - Outs) : Outs
Pot Size : Current Bet Amount
If the first comparison is smaller than the second one,
that's good. It means that "pot odds justify a call" (or
For instance, if you have 12 outs and there are 47 unknown
cards, that means you have ABOUT a 25% chance of "making"
The odds against you are 35:12, or about 3:1.
Remember... when you see two numbers like X:X, the first
number is the chance of one thing happening against the
chance of the second thing happening. You'll miss your hand
three times and make it once. That's 1/4 or 25% or 3:1.
Now let's say the pot size is $50 and the current bet amount
is $10. That means the odds would be $50:$10, or 5:1.
It's easiest to look at in the X:X format and not use
OK, so here's what you've got for this example:
Outs = 12
Unknown Cards = 47
Current Bet Amount = 10
Pot Size = 50
There are 35 cards that WON'T HELP YOU (47 - 12).
So the odds are 35:12 for the cards.
And for the pot it's 50:10. You don't add your $10 to the
first number. Just use the current pot size.
35:12 is about 3:1.
50:10 equals 5:1.
The entire point of calculating odds is to make a good
decision. To make a decision of whether or not to call a $10
bet here, you would compare the 3:1 versus 5:1.
The odds here are IN YOUR FAVOR.
If this scenario played out four times, here's how it would
- You lose $10.
- You lose $10.
- You win $50.
- You lose $10.
You lose three times and win once (3:1). When you add your
losses it equals $30 but your wins are $50, giving you a $20
If the scenario happened eight times you'd win twice and
lose six times. That means you'd lose $60 and win $100...
for a $40 profit.
For real life poker situations, the key is to calculate
whether or not you can "justify" staying in the hand.
Let's say you have A-8 and the flop comes out:
Someone bets $10 and the pot size is $20. What should you
Well, you don't have anything but an Ace high. If the Ace
comes on the turn, you'd have top pair. So let's ASSUME that
your top pair would be the winning hand.
That means there are three cards in the deck that can help
you (the other three Aces). And there areexactly 47 unknown
cards in the deck.
So we have our numbers:
Outs = 3
Unknown Cards = 47
Current Bet Amount = 10
Pot Size = 20
Using our formula...
(47 - 3) : 3
20 : 10
So the numbers come out 44:3 (about 15:1) versus 2:1. Should
Of course not.
You're only getting 2:1 for your money but your chances of
winning the hand are very slim.
If the hand played out 16 times you would win ONCE. So you'd
lose $150 (15 X $10) and win $20, for a total loss of $130.
You're always striving for good odds on your money and good
odds on your hand.
Good odds on your hand means the X:X number is as SMALL AS
POSSIBLE... because you want lots of outs. You don't want
there to be only one or two cards in the deck that can help
you. You want fractions like 47:12, 46:10, 46:8, and so on.
Good odds on your money means the X:X number is BIG. You
want 10:1, 5:1, 12:1, and so on.
OK, I'm going to give one more example. See if you're smart
enough to figure this out on your own (you may need to use a
scratch piece of paper)...
You're second to act pre-flop and look down to see Kc-Jc.
You limp-in by calling the $4 big blind.
Three other players call. The small blind (who put in $2)
The player in the big blind decides to RAISE the pot to $8.
You call. Two of the other three players call... but one
So now there are four players total in the hand... the guy
in the big blind, you, and the two other callers. (Still
with me here?)
The flop comes out:
What a great flop for you. You've got the nut flush draw.
The player in the big blind is first to act. He checks. You
check also (which I would NOT recommend doing here, by the
The next player bets $16. The next one calls. The guy who
made the original pre-flop raise folds.
So now the action is on to you.
What is the...
Number of outs?
Number of unknown cards?
Current bet amount?
AND MOST IMPORTANTLY...
Should you call?
See if you can figure it out before I give you the answer.
OK, so the answer is this:
Yes, you should call.
The pot size is $70. The current bet amount is $16. The
number of outs is 9. And the number of unknown cards is 47.
The pot size was the hardest thing to figure out.
Remember... the small blind folded his $2. Another player
folded their $4. So there was $6 in the middle, plus $32
with the four callers. So $38 before the flop.
Then there were two players in for $16 after the flop, which
equals $32. $38 + $32 = $70. Luckily, there weren't any
other players left to act after you in this exact round of
The number of outs is simple. Thirteen clubs in the deck
minus the four you already see equals nine. And the number
of unknown cards is 52 minus the five you see... which
Plugging those numbers into our handy "formula" gives us:
(47-9):9 Versus 70:16
That's equal to 38:9 versus 70:16
Now you might be wondering, "How the hell am I supposed to
know what 70 divided by 16 is or 38 divided by 9? It's not
like I'll have a calculator handy at the table!"
But you don't have to know the EXACT numbers. All you need
to know is if the second one is bigger than the first. And
that's pretty easy.
When I do it, here's what goes on in my head:
"38 over 9 is about the same as 36 over 9, which equals 4.
That means 38 over 9 is 4 and 2/9ths.
70 over 16 is closest to 64 over 16, which also equals 4.
That means 70 over 16 is 4 and 6/16ths.
Now I just have to compare 2/9 to 6/16. 2/9 is like 2/10,
which equals .2. 6/16 is kind of like 6/18, which is .33. So
the second one is bigger."
And that means the call IS justified.
Now let me clarify something...
In this example the two numbers are VERY close (4.22 versus
4.375). Usually they WON'T be that close. Usually they'll be
something like 3.3 versus 8.2 or 2.5 versus 4.1.
That means in MOST cases you won't have to do all that
fraction stuff. OR, even if you DO have those fractions, you
won't need to calculate it. You'll probably just consider it
"about even" and make your decision based on other factors.
All right... so that's basically how you calculate pot odds.
Of course, there's more.
You also want to know IMPLIED ODDS. Implied odds aren't as
math-related. Implied odds basically pertain to hands where
you can "bust" or "surprise" your opponents.
In the last example, you were on the nut flush draw, because
you had the King of clubs and the Ace of clubs was on the
If your opponent was ALSO on the flush draw and he had the
QUEEN of clubs, this would be very good for you...
Because if another club hit on the turn, you and your
opponent would both have flushes. But yours would be higher.
In this case, your opponent would likely go "all-in" and you
would win a TON of chips.
So even though the "odds" on your money are 4.375:1, they're
actually higher because of the "implied odds" of your NUT
Besides implied odds, you'll also have to think about the
"unknown" pot size, as we discussed. Many times you just
won't KNOW the exact pot size, and will be forced to guess.
Also... you must be careful to consider what your OPPONENTS
Let's say you're holding As-5h and the board reads:
You have the flush draw. And the odds of "making" it are
good. But that doesn't mean you want to calculate the nine
other hearts in the deck as your "outs".
Because all your opponents need to BEAT you is a heart
higher than a FIVE. And someone most likely has it.
The point is, when you calculate OUTS, you want to calculate
outs based on making the WINNING HAND.
And obviously there's no way to know for sure what the
winning hand will be... unless you've got the nuts.
So as you can see... there are a LOT of different factors to
take into consideration.
Calculating pot odds is a useful technique for the right
situations. Over the long term, it can become very handy and
will help you make sound, logical decisions at the poker
And fortunately, after practicing pot odds for a few games,
most of the numbers will become "instinctual" very quickly.
That's why I recommend you download and use an "odds
calculator" when you play online poker. Calculators will
AUTOMATICALLY show you the odds of every situation you're
in... no effort or manual work required.
The best odds calculator on the market today is called
HOLDEM GENIUS. You can get it here:
Of course, ultimately an odds calculator is just another
tool in your Holdem "toolbox".
In the same way that you can't build a house with just a
HAMMER, you can't base your entire game on ODDS or math.
Dec 19, 2007
Should I Stay Or Should I Go
by Jennifer Harman
Being a winning player isn't only about playing good cards - it's also about making good decisions. And there is one important decision you face every time you sit down in a cash game: Should I quit, or should I keep playing?
When should you keep playing?
I see so many players playing short hours when they're winning, and long hours when they're losing. It should be the other way around.
When you are winning in the game, at least a few of the other players must be losing. And when your opponents are losing, they often aren't playing their best. But you are.
When you're winning, other players fear you; you have a good table image. And when you have a good table image, you can get away with things that you can't seem to when you're losing. For one thing, you can bluff more. Usually a losing player is scared to get involved with a winning player, so it's easier for you to pick up pots. You can represent more hands than you actually have because your opponents believe you're hitting every flop.
The only time to quit when you're winning is when you are tired, or when you start playing badly.
When should you call it a day?
Many players can't seem to quit when they are losing. You have to remember that there will always be another poker game -- if not tomorrow, then the day after, or the week after. I like to think of poker as one continuous game going on for my whole career. So, if I'm losing more than 30 big bets in the game, I usually quit.
There are a couple of reasons I do this: For one, if I lose a ton of money in one day, I don't feel so hot the next day. That means if I go in to play the next day, I might not be able to play my best game. I might actually have to take a few days off to get my head straight. Another reason is that when I'm losing more than 30 bets, I might not be playing that well. I might think I'm playing my "A" game, but in reality, I'm probably not. You can't be as objective about your play when you're losing. After all, we are not robots; we're just human beings.
Dec 15, 2007
Roy Rounder Poker Tips Newsletter
Issue: December 11, 2007
Next Issue: December 16, 2007
Warren Buffett is one smart dude. And RICH.
He's the second richest man in the WORLD... right behind
Bill Gates. Forbes estimates that his net worth is $40
(How's THAT for a bankroll?)
What's interesting about Buffett is that he made his fortune
over a LONGGG period of time... by consistently beating the
stock market year after year after year.
He wasn't one of those "overnight" dot-com billionaires.
He wasn't "lucky" to be in the right place at the right
He didn't "invent" some new technology that changed the
Nope... all he did was invest and "pick winners" over and
over. Since taking control of Berkshire 40 years ago,
Buffett has delivered a compound annual return of 22%.
AND JUST BY DOING THAT, he became the 2nd richest man alive.
OK-- so why am I rambling on about 75-year old man who's
good at investing?
The reason is because I've realized that there are DOZENS of
important parallels between the STOCK MARKET and POKER.
Here are just a few:
* The stock market is often considered "gambling", due to
its unpredictable nature... just as POKER is often
considered gambling, even though it's a SKILL game.
* The stock market has a heavy emphasis on odds and
mathematics... just like poker.
* The stock market is predominately a male-driven
industry... just like poker.
* The stock market has PLENTY of up's and down's, and
"streaks"... just like poker.
* And so on.
Of course, these are "surface" similarities.
Now think about the PSYCHOLOGY of poker and the stock
market... and how they're often EXACTLY THE SAME:
* In the stock market, everyone dreams of buying that one
MIRACLE STOCK that will go from $2 to $200 and make them
In poker, everyone has their "pipe dream" of winning a huge
million-dollar tournament on ESPN.
* When a stock tanks, most investors FREAK OUT and
immediately make several bad investment decisions in a row.
It's usually THESE decisions that hurt them the most.
In poker, this is known as "tilt". Bad beats cause some
damage... but it's usually the decisions you make AFTER the
bad beats that cause you to lose the game.
* Believe it or not, most stock investors come out on the
LOSING END over time... even though the market has
historically gone UP year after year.
Most poker players end up losing over time also, despite all
the "fish" out there to prey on.
* And so on.
OK, so you get the idea.
Lately I've been reading a lot of books about the stock
market... and especially about Warren Buffett. (Hell, I need
somewhere to invest all these poker winnings!)
Anyway, here's what's REALLY interesting:
Warren Buffett's INVESTMENT APPROACH is almost identical to
the POKER STRATEGY I use every day.
And it's the SAME approach used by top poker pros to
consistently win tournaments and ring games...
Of course, it makes sense when you think about it.
If poker and investing are similar, then the guys who beat
the STOCK MARKET probably use the same techniques as the
guys who win at POKER.
And who better to learn poker from than the "KING" of the
stock market... and the 2nd richest man in the world?
*** WARREN BUFFETT'S WINNING APPROACH ***
Warren Buffett operates on PRINCIPLES. He doesn't get caught
up in "hype" or emotion.
Below are the five MOST IMPORTANT principles that he
follows... and how they relate to your poker game.
PRINCIPLE 1: PATIENCE IS KEY.
Patience, patience, patience!
It's the number one mistake that causes most poker players
to lose... and it's one of the "secrets" to Buffett's 22%
Warren Buffett does not make an investment unless he is
absolutely 100% confident that it will make him money.
That means he PASSES UP a lot of great investment
Warren Buffett has said "no" to stocks that ended up
increasing by 10,000%!
But more importantly... he's passed up all those other
stocks that LOOKED GOOD, but PLUMMETED later.
The problem is, us human beings are addicted to ACTION and
MOVEMENT and EXCITEMENT. We don't want to just sit around
But that's EXACTLY what Buffett does...
He KNOWS that sooner or later, a GREAT opportunity will come
up... and then he'll jump on it.
It's the same way with poker.
You've GOT to be patient. We all want to "get in there" and
make strong bets... bluff out opponents... and take down
lots of pots. We want ACTION.
BUT THAT'S NOT HOW YOU DO IT.
You've got to sit back... be patient... and WAIT.
Wait for good cards.
Wait for the PERFECT time to bust the manic at the table.
Wait for the PERFECT time to steal the blinds.
Wait for the PERFECT time to bluff out an opponent.
Wait for the PERFECT time to go all-in.
And then when you DO make a move...
PRINCIPLE 2: MAINTAIN A "LOW TURNOVER" PORTFOLIO OF JUST A
Buffett insists on keeping 10-20% turnover with his
portfolio. This means he generally holds onto a stock for
5-10 years... AT LEAST.
This is obviously OPPOSITE of how most investors do it. Most
investors are checking the tickers every HOUR-- watching for
the slightest indication of movement or news.
More importantly... Buffett only invests in a FEW STOCKS AT
Now THIS is crucial, because it goes against everything
you've ever learned.
Growing up, you probably heard this advice a lot:
"Never put all your eggs in one basket."
Well, Warren Buffett does the OPPOSITE.
He puts all his eggs in one basket... but... he chooses that
basket VERY CAREFULLY!
You see, Buffett believes that if you've done your homework
and you're confident in your decision, there's NO NEED to
In fact, he believes this is the ONLY REAL WAY to get rich
in the stock market. Because if you buy LOTS of stocks, some
are doomed to go down... and that will hurt your gains.
Now think how this relates to poker.
In poker, most players risk money on LOTS of pots, and try
to get the best odds for each one... maybe 55%, 60%, and the
OCCASIONAL 70% or higher.
What PROFESSIONAL poker players do is only play those
OCCASIONAL pots with the best odds.
BUT, they risk more chips when they do it...
So instead of risking 20% of your chip stack five times...
you want to risk 90% of your chip stack ONE time. But you
choose that time VERY CAREFULLY!
For instance, let's say the "average" poker player enters
three pots where he feels the odds are in his favor.
The three pots go like this:
1.) He risks 1000 in chips with 60% odds.
2.) He risks 1000 in chips with 50% odds.
3.) He risks 1000 in chips with 60% odds.
Now... MATHEMATICALLY speaking... there are EIGHT different
ways these scenarios can go. They are as follows (a win is
designated with "W" and a loss with "L"):
If he wins all three, he ends up with 3000 chips in profit.
If he wins two but loses one, he ends up with just 1000
chips in profit.
If he LOSES two but wins one, he ends up with 1000 chips in
And he if loses all three, he loses 3000 chips total.
Now let me share with you the PERCENTAGES of the above
Watch out, this may surprise you.
If you were to play three pots as described above and risk
1000 chips for each one, and do this exercise 100 times,
here's what would happen:
18% of the time you'd win 3,000 chips total.
42% of the time you'd win 1,000 chips total.
32% of the time you'd lose 1,000 chips total.
8% of the time you'd lose 3,000 chips total.
Your "net average" would be to PROFIT 400 CHIPS.
OK... that's the "normal" approach.
Now let's look at the WARREN BUFFETT approach.
Let's say you entered just ONE pot and risked 3000 chips
(instead of 1000) with 70% odds in your favor.
Now watch what happens:
70% of the time you'd win 3,000 chips total.
30% of the time you'd lose 3,000 chips total.
Your "net average" would be to PROFIT 1200 CHIPS.
That's TRIPLE the results over time!
The key is to get BETTER ODDS and RISK MORE.
I better interject here that I do NOT recommend being one of
those players who just sits back, waits for the "nuts", and
then goes all-in.
Not even close.
In fact, if you've read my newsletters you know that I'm a
very aggressive player who loves to push action.
The KEY is that I BUILD THIS IMAGE through techniques based
on feeler bets, positioning, and sensing weakness.
AND WHEN THE RIGHT OPPORTUNITY COMES ALONG, I RISK AS MANY
CHIPS AS I CAN!
I know that when the odds are heavily in my favor, it's time
to put my eggs in one basket and go for it...
PRINCIPLE 3: THE STOCK MARKET IS NOT ALWAYS RATIONAL OR
There's a popular stock market concept called, "Efficient
Market Theory" (EMT).
Most of the world's leading business schools teach this
Warren Buffett says that the EMT is a bunch of hogwash!
He's actually gone on record saying that part of him LOVES
the fact that business schools teach this theory: It makes
things easier on him because his competition doesn't know
what they're doing!
Now... I'm not going to argue whether the theory is right or
wrong. It doesn't matter for our discussion here.
What I find intriguing is what Buffett believes IS true
about the stock market...
You see, the EMT basically says that the stock market is
"efficient" in its pricing... and that most buy/sell
behavior is "rational".
Buffett disagrees. He is CONSTANTLY scouting for
opportunities where he thinks the market is acting in an
IRRATIONAL manner... and then he jumps on the chance to buy
an under-priced stock.
In other words, a core part of his investment philosophy is
that the stock market is NOT efficient... and that there's
always room to grow your "bankroll" when others act
It's the same with poker.
When you're playing Texas Holdem, you want to spot the
"sucker" at the table... the guy who is making IRRATIONAL
This doesn't only apply to amateurs, either. Even PROS have
"irrational" habits, tells, and "tilt" behavior.
Your OPPONENTS will open up millions of "profit
opportunities" for you... if you just watch closely.
And that brings us to the next principle:
PRINCIPLE 4: FOCUS ON THE VALUE OF THE BUSINESS, NOT THE
PRICE OF THE STOCK.
This one has almost a direct translation to poker:
FOCUS ON THE PLAYERS, NOT THE CARDS.
You're not playing poker against the house... you're playing
against your opponents.
With the stock market, everyone is always looking at the
PRICE of a stock to determine if it's worth buying or
Buffett actually doesn't even look at the price until LAST.
What he looks at is the VALUE OF THE BUSINESS.
He only invests in top-notch businesses that meet specific
conditions. He wants a business with strong growth prospects
LONG TERM, good management, and stable numbers.
Once he finds a business that meets these criteria, THEN he
looks at the price.
When the cards come out, what's the first thing you're
thinking about? What are you looking at?
You should be thinking about your OPPONENTS... the
POSITIONING at the table... the BETTING HABITS you've picked
up in the last few hands... and your opponents' FACES as
they look at their cards.
THEN when the action comes to you and it's YOUR TURN, you
should peek to see what you're holding.
Opponents first, cards second.
PRINCIPLE 5: DEMAND A MARGIN OF SAFETY FOR EVERY PURCHASE.
Warren Buffett is actually a very "conservative" investor,
as are most poker professionals. He'll only buy stocks that
he feels are practically "guaranteed" to go up.
You should demand a "margin of safety" on every hand you
play. This is actually much easier than it sounds.
Some of your tactics should include:
* Avoiding heads-up situations with players who have more
chips, and instead favoring those with fewer chips. (That
way if you go all-in and lose, you can still be in the
* Buying pots and bluffing when you have good positioning.
(That way you can get a read on your opponent and escape if
things go bad.)
* Only "chasing" draws when the pot odds are CONSIDERABLY in
your favor. (That way you end up way ahead over time.)
* And so on.
*** PLAY POKER LIKE WARREN BUFFETT ***
Perhaps the MOST IMPORTANT lesson I've learned from Warren
Buffett is to NEVER FEAR doing the "unpopular" thing.
His career PROVES that "going against the grain" is often
the BEST choice.
He doesn't live by what others do... he operates on GUIDING
PRINCIPLES that "win" over time.
Whether it's ways to leverage table positioning, tactics for
defeating common opponent styles, techniques for "stealing
the button", or figuring out the right times to bluff...
...You've got to first learn the POKER PRINCIPLES. And then
you need the GUTS and DISCIPLINE to stick to them.
So where do you learn these principles? And where do you get
the discipline required for long-term success?
The best place to start is with an ODDS CALCULATOR like
Holdem Genius. If Warren Buffet were a Holdem player, my
guess is he'd use an odds calculator ALL THE TIME.
Here's the link to where you can get Holdem Genius "free":
And after you get Holdem Genius, go get my 229-page eBook,
which is filled with poker tricks, tactics, and proven
winning systems. Click here:
Dec 10, 2007
The BIGGEST MISTAKE you can make while playing no limit
Texas Holdem is to focus too much on your cards...
If you're playing draw, stud, limit, or any other form of
poker, then it's more important to concentrate on
MATHEMATICAL ODDS and PROBABILITIES.
But no limit Holdem is different.
You can be a math WIZARD and know the odds of every possible
scenario in the deck... but it will only get you so far.
Hell, you can know how to COUNT CARDS... but I'll still
knock your socks off and take your rent money if you face me
Because no limit Holdem is a game of PSYCHOLOGY.
To win, you must learn how to play the PLAYERS, not just the
The reason no limit Holdem is different from other types of
poker is because it's possible to bluff HUGE pots and go
And the only thing that separates YOU from your OPPONENT is
just two down-faced cards that are dealt at the beginning of
That's it. Just two cards.
The reality is this...
No limit Holdem is PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE, and if you want to
WIN, you've got to learn how to get INSIDE THE HEADS of your
You've got to know them better than they know themselves...
and predict their every move.
There are a lot of strategies and techniques around
identifying "poker tells".
A poker TELL is a habit or mannerism of a player that is a
"giveaway" to the strength or weakness of their hand.
Like a twitch of the nose... a crack in the voice... a shaky
leg... or a rapid pulse...
Tells like these are IMPORTANT.
And you must learn how to spot and take advantage of them.
But there's one tell that's MUCH, MUCH MORE IMPORTANT... and
it has NOTHING to do with body language, voice, or
In fact, this tell is technically not even classified as a
But it WILL give you a read on your opponents.
What am I talking about?
Stay with me here.
BETTING is the KEY to getting a read on your opponents...
It is through BETTING that you find out the strength or
weakness of another player's hand, which is how you WIN in
BETTING is how you get inside your the heads of your
opponents. Especially the ones you've never met or played
Now, I'm not talking about just ANY kind of betting...
I'm talking about the bets YOUR OPPONENTS make IN RESPONSE
TO THE CONDITIONS AT THE TABLE.
Just ask yourself: How do the pros quickly and consistently
win at ONLINE POKER... where you can't even SEE your
That's right... the answer is BETTING.
You've got to watch and STUDY what each player does in
response to the action...
This is true no matter WHERE you play Holdem... whether it's
online, at home, in a casino, or in a tournament.
Now notice how I said IN RESPONSE to the action...
This is the key.
Because you can't get a good read on an opponent every time
they make a bet.
The best time to get a read is when they have to REACT TO
ACTION AT THE TABLE...
When they have to make a DECISION.
Because this is the time when they're NOT in control...
For example, let's say the action is to Don to call a $10
Does he fold, call, or raise?
Does he hesitate, or immediately make a decision?
If he makes a raise, he's representing a good hand, and
takes control of the action...
If he hesitates and then calls, there's a good chance his
hand is weak...
If he immediately calls, he may have something or be on a
You get the point.
You can get a read on your opponent when your opponent has
to REACT TO ACTION.
Unfortunately, your opponent won't always HAVE TO react to
action at the table.
In fact, your opponent will often take CONTROL of the action
and force YOU to make a decision.
Which means everyone will get the chance to get a read on
And that is NOT what you want.
So how do you counter this?
How do take control of the action AND force your opponent to
The answer is this:
Feeler bets are bets made in order to see where you're at in
They're named "FEELER bets" because they allow you to feel
out the strength or weakness of your opponents...
And they're a CRUCIAL part of becoming good at Texas Holdem
Let me demonstrate with an example...
Let's say you're fifth to act in a $1-2 no limit game at a
You've got over $200 in your stack.
You look down at pocket nines.
You're not too excited about your position right here, but
you've been on fire the whole game. The action is on to you
to call the blinds.
This is where you make a FEELER BET... which would be a
pre-flop raise in this situation.
"$10 to play", you say as you splash the pot with ten white
This feeler bet accomplishes four things:
1. You get to find out who's strong and who's not...
2. You get control of the action at the table...
3. You're not allowing your opponents to get a good read on
4. You're getting a read on your opponents by forcing them
to make a decision...
Okay... so let's say the action around the table continues
as Nathan and Greg-- who are both sitting left of you-- call
The next few players muck their hands, and then Cindy, who
is just to your right, jumps into the action and calls.
You really didn't want this much action with your pocket
But hey, you've built up a nice pot, and you might get lucky
and spike on the flop.
Plus, everyone simply called your pre-flop raise (no one
came back over the top), which is a good sign.
The flop hits:
Not too great of a flop for you, but not that bad either.
You would feel a lot better off without that King on the
Cindy, first to act right now, taps her hand on the table
and checks to you.
This isn't surprising, since you took control before the
So the action is to you...
This is where most poker players would CHECK.
Right now, you have absolutely NO WAY of knowing who has the
best hand at the table.
And that is PRECISELY why you must make a feeler bet...
Think about it:
If you CHECK, you're portraying weakness to your three
opponents... letting them know that the flop didn't help
Which gives one of THEM the opportunity to make a bet or try
to buy the pot.
And you still won't know where you stand.
So instead of checking, you throw out a small FEELER BET
that isn't going to get you into much trouble.
This isn't a bluff.
This is just a bet to find out who has a real hand and who
doesn't. And it keeps you in a position to WIN the pot.
"Thirteen dollars", you say as you push in a stack of chips.
Remember, this FEELER BET isn't going to get you into
trouble. You're not going broke if you lose this pot...
because you've got over $200 in your stack of chips.
And this is the ONLY WAY you've got a chance at winning this
Nathan and Greg both immediately muck their cards.
The action goes to Cindy now, who thinks for a few moments
while peeking at her hand a second time. Finally, she calls
Your feeler bet worked well. You got rid of two players...
and you've got a read on Cindy now.
Because she called, you think she might be on a draw or
might have the King without a decent kicker.
The turn card is an Ace.
This is GREAT for you.
It's great because you made that feeler bet...
Because you're confident that Cindy is NOT holding an Ace.
If she had Big Slick, she would've made a pre-flop raise,
rather than simply limping-in and calling your feeler bets.
She checks again.
This is where you can take the pot down with a real bet.
"Forty dollars", you say as you push in a stack of chips.
Cindy folds, of course, and you rake in a nice pot... all of
which was SET UP through your two feeler bets.
If you hadn't made your feeler bets, there's no way you
would've won the hand.
Because you wouldn't have scared out the other players, you
wouldn't have created good positioning for yourself, and you
wouldn't have had a read on Cindy.
This is why I make feeler bets all the time... and why you
I throw out "feelers" with top pair, second pair, bottom
pair, or draws.
These bets are the only way I know whether I have the best
hand at any particular point in time...
Sure, I get re-raised often. And that's when I fold the hand
and lose the bet I just put in.
BUT THAT'S OKAY.
Because I found out EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED TO KNOW.
If you get re-raised after a feeler bet, then you know you
probably don't have the best hand at the table... so muck
Losing the few dollars you made with your feeler bet is
Because it's MUCH BETTER than just CALLING bet after bet
without getting a read on your opponents... and then losing
after all the cards get flipped over.
That's a SUCKER way to lose a pot.
And you'll go broke that way.
Plus, my feeler bets give me CONTROL and create ACTION at
If a nine had come out at the flop in the example above, I
wouldn't have needed to slow-play it...
And I wouldn't have been worried about having a monster and
not winning any money with it (which happens to a LOT of
amateurs)... because I had already created action with my
So the next time you play no limit Texas Holdem, throw out
feeler bets consistently and use them to your advantage.
Nothing too big... just enough to get a read on your
opponents and find out where you're at in each hand.
You'll IMMEDIATELY realize the POWERFUL EFFECT that feeler
bets will add to your game.
Because you'll have HUGE stacks of chips in front of you at
the end of the night...
While EVERYONE ELSE will just be sitting there, with their
jaws wide-open, wondering how in the world YOU BEAT THEM SO
From: Roy Rounder November 18, 2007
Dec 7, 2007
The dealer position (known as the "button") is the best
position at the poker table.
The reason is because when you're on the button, you get to
act LAST after the flop... giving you the chance to see what
your opponents do first.
This lets you get a "read" on your opponents at the table...
and decide who has a strong hand, who has a weak hand, who's
bluffing, and so on.
OK, so that's common knowledge.
What's also common knowledge is the fact that LATE
POSITIONING is preferred over EARLY POSITIONING... because
once again, you get to see what your opponents do first
before it's your turn to bet, raise, call, or fold.
Of course, being on the button is BETTER than just plain
late positioning... because the button GUARANTEES that you
will be LAST TO ACT post-flop.
OK, now here's what is NOT common knowledge...
Once you understand positioning and its enormous
implications, you can begin "improving" your positioning and
setting yourself up for more pots each game.
The technique is called STEALING THE BUTTON.
It's simple... it's practical... and right when you're done
reading this newsletter you can immediately start using it.
Stealing the button is LEVERAGING your late positioning when
you're NOT on the button... but getting all the same
benefits as if you WERE on the button.
Remember, the dealer position is SO POWERFUL because it
means you're LAST to act post-flop.
Being SECOND TO LAST to act isn't nearly as good, especially
considering there's usually only three or four players to a
flop at an 8-man table.
So what you do is make a reasonable pre-flop RAISE when
you're in late positioning... and therefore force the player
on the button to fold.
Having done this, you'll be last to act after the flop...
the same as if you actually were on the button. (Hence the
name, "stealing the button").
OK, let's look at an example so you can see what I'm talking
Let's say you're sitting two seats to the RIGHT of the
button at a 10-man table. The game is $1-2 no limit Holdem.
Two players limp-in... and you look down at your cards:
J-9 of clubs.
I call hands like these "semi-connectors"-- they're not
quite connected... but almost.
The great thing about semi-connectors is that they're a
"hidden hand". When they HIT (straight, flush, two pair...)
your opponents NEVER see it coming.
You decide to play your Jack-9 suited. Now remember, there
are two players BEHIND you that will act post-flop if they
both call the blinds.
So it's YOUR JOB to make sure they DON'T limp-in.
The solution is to crank up the pressure...
You make it $15 to play. Nothing crazy (after all, you don't
exactly have a monster). You simply want to force the two
players to your left to FOLD... which will happen most of
Of course, they won't always fold... because sometimes
they'll pick up a big hand. But odds arethey'll fold.
The RESULT, of course, is now YOU have the button.
Well, not the button exactly... but all the advantages that
Sure enough, the two players to your left fold, and Josh--
who's in the big blind-- is the only caller.
The flop comes out:
No flush possibilities for you here, but BINGO, you've just
flopped an open-ended straight draw.
This is the type of flop you hoped for.
Now it's on Josh to act first. And this is where your
positioning is so important. Not only do you get to see what
Josh does first... but you also have the CONTROL in this
Since you made the pre-flop raise, Josh will likely check
the flop to you... giving you the opportunity to play
aggressively and take down this pot.
No matter what happens after this, you've set yourself up to
win this pot. Sometimes Josh will pick up a real hand and
come out firing... but usually not.
Sure enough in our example, Josh checks.
You throw out a $30 semi-bluff. This is a bet you should
make even WITHOUT the open-ender... because you made the
Josh mucks it, and you rake the chips... leaving the table
wondering what you had.
That's how you "steal" the button. It's a simple, surefire
way to gain control at the table by improving your
There are five main steps you need to know...
1. You need a playable hand.
If you're going to bluff, make it a "semi-bluff" by raising
with a hand that can hit... something like semi-connectors.
I personally don't like raising with 7-2 offsuit or crap
like that. It seems to me like an "ego raise" more than a
Remember, the key is to gain that extra bit of control and
power by acting LAST after the flop.
2. Force out the player on the button (and possibly the
player to his right).
The whole point to stealing the button is to ACTUALLY STEAL
THE BUTTON. If you make a wussy raise that doesn't scare
anyone, you've failed.
If you're one seat to the right of the button, you want to
raise enough to force the player on the button out. If
you're TWO seats to the right, then you've got to force out
both players to your left.
One of the "secrets" to this process is to ALWAYS pay
attention to the pre-flop betting patterns of your opponents
on the left.
If you're sitting on the right of "Tight Tim" who only sees
flops when he's got pocket pairs, then you can steal the
button quite often.
On the other hand, if you're on the right of a LOOSE player,
you won't be able to steal the button nearly as much.
So pay attention.
3. After the flop, your opponents will usually check to you.
Notice if someone bets into you, beware. That's a red flag.
Usually players will check into you since you raised
When players check into you that gives you the power to
either BET and try to steal the pot right there... OR... get
a free turn card by also checking.
While I normally recommend a bet, you can check to mix it up
once in awhile or in the case that you're getting
4. Don't get pot-committed.
Remember, stealing the button is a simple technique that
improves your position and sets you up to have a BETTER
CHANCE at winning the hand.
Don't get stupid. Don't get stubborn and bet any amount in
hopes of bluffing out someone with a real hand.
Like I said, you need a playable hand to steal the button in
the first place.
Don't become pot-committed... Never bet so much that it's
PAINFUL to fold your cards after the flop.
5. Sometimes you don't need to raise to steal the button.
Often the blinds will be high enough where you figure simply
CALLING the big blind will get you the button (this is
especially true when you're to the right of a tight player).
Also, someone in front of you might raise the pot enough
that all you have to do is CALL THE RAISE and you'll get the
OK, so that's the process...
Here are the two types of situations where you DO want to
steal the button...
DO STEAL THE BUTTON WHEN:
1. You sense weakness and want to steal the pot on a bluff
or hidden hand.
2. You have a good hand that you want to play post-flop.
On the other hand...
DO NOT STEAL THE BUTTON WHEN:
1. You have a poor hand and you sense someone else has a
2. You think someone to your left will call a raise no
matter what (that defeats the purpose).
The MOST IMPORTANT lesson you can get from all this is to
realize that winning poker depends on ALL THE LITTLE THINGS.
Stealing the button is just a little technique for setting
yourself up for better positioning... it's not a "game
changing" strategy that will double your poker profits or
But when you combine it with ALL THE OTHER LITTLE THINGS--
like establishing the right table image, throwing out feeler
bets, representing the flop at the right times, buying free
cards, picking up betting patterns, spotting tells, and
more-- then you will become a DYNAMIC and POWERFUL poker
AND THEN your poker profits will double.
A lot of amateurs base their games on the "big hands" and
might get lucky once in awhile. But over time, the REAL
MONEY always goes to the GRINDERS... the guys who know how
to CONSISTENTLY take down pots.
It takes a lot of discipline, don't get me wrong.
But you can do it.
Nov 28, 2007
YOUR WINNING STRATEGY FOR HEADS-UP poker can be "boiled
down" to three simple steps:
1. Push The Action
2. Set The Stage
3. Trap Your Opponent
Let's take a look...
Step one is to PUSH THE ACTION. In heads-up poker, the
blinds are often substantial.
And the FASTEST way to build your stack and gain momentum is
to win the blinds as much as possible.
Be the player to push the action...
Consistently raise when you're the dealer. This is a
wonderful position because you get to act FIRST pre-flop but
last post-flop. You can represent a hand by raising... and
then get a read on your opponent after the flop.
The more you push the action, the more blinds you'll win.
Of course, this behavior will also keep your opponent OFF
BALANCE... while he tries to adjust to YOUR GAME.
As soon as he gets a hand, he'll start coming back over the
top of you. And that's when you back off.
Step two is to SET THE STAGE...
Now that you've been aggressive, it's time to set yourself
up for some BIG pots.
Heads-up poker is usually determined by one major hand...
maybe two. You want to SET YOURSELF UP for that hand.
In normal multi-player poker, those "big hands" usually
occur when two or more players have great cards-- like a
straight versus a flush, or trips versus two pair.
In HEADS-UP POKER, this doesn't happen nearly as much,
because the odds of someone catching a hand like a straight
or flush or whatever is much lower.
That's why the SET UP is so powerful.
Here's how to set yourself up for victory...
First of all, realize that what your opponent is trying to
do is "figure you out". He probably KNOWS that he needs to
take control and steal blinds in order to win the match.
After setting the tempo and stealing blinds from HIM, it's
time to give him a false sense of "hope" and "control". And
it's time to show your cards once or twice...
After stealing a pot, show your bluff... just casually. You
can say something like, "Jeeze, I'm bullying you here, you
didn't have 9-5 offsuit beat?"
Or maybe what you can do is "ACCIDENTALLY" show your cards
after winning a hand...
(This is sneaky.)
Toss your hole cards into the muck after winning a hand so
that they just "happen" to turn face up.
This will surely get your opponent riled up.
Then what you do is PRETEND to fall into a consistent
betting pattern. Start checking the flop-- or betting very
small amounts consistently.
Every time your opponent bets, let him steal the pot. But
only let him steal it with BIG BETS... no "wuss" action
In other words, when you don't have a hand, bet on the flop
the SAME EXACT AMOUNT a few times in a row. When your
opponent RAISES, muck it.
The goal is for your opponent to think, "Wow, I've finally
got this sucker figured out. He plays aggressively and bets
a lot, but folds when I crank up the pressure."
Once he's thinking that... it's time for the KILL.
Step three is to TRAP YOUR OPPONENT...
What you do is wait for a good hand-- or a hand you're
confident will be the winner.
Then play it EXACTLY LIKE YOU'VE BEEN PLAYING YOUR BAD
This is important. This principle is the "secret" that pros
use for all heads-up poker.
When you catch something really good, play it like it's bad.
Let your opponent come to you.
Bet small, check the flop, or do whatever it is that will
get your opponent to try to steal the pot.
Then go over the top of him.
Act is if you're TIRED of getting pushed around.
Of course, there may be no need to go over the top of him.
Often times in heads-up a single raise is already all-in...
and if that's the case, you've won the game.
If not, then you just need to get your opponent to go all-in
trying to bluff this pot from you. (Or maybe he has
Remember-- your opponent must think you have NOTHING. That
way he'll risk a lot of chips to win the pot... trying to
Obviously, your strategy is to make him feel pot-committed
with the worst hand... that way his only way to win the hand
is to go all-in.
Any time I win a heads-up match because my opponent goes
all-in on a bluff when I've got a real hand, I know I've
played the match well.
For whatever reason, most players make too many loose all-in
bets heads-up... and that's exactly what you want to
1. Push The Action
2. Set The Stage
3. Trap Your Opponent
This step-by-step process and these techniques are BEST USED
when you go heads-up against someone with about the same
starting amount of chips as you...
And of course, every heads-up situation is different,
because every OPPONENT is different.
But the key is to know the OBJECTIVE in each stage of your
match... and the ways to ACHIEVE that goal for any given
Nov 22, 2007
Why I Leave My Sunglasses And iPod At Home
by Howard Lederer
Why Sunglasses and Headphones Aren't For Me
I know this newsletter is being written for an online poker site, but I hope that most of you still find time to play live poker. As much as I love online poker, I would never completely give up sitting at a table and getting the chance to size up an opponent. This week's lesson will examine why I think it is a mistake to wear headphones or sunglasses during live play.
Poker is a game of information. You give information to your opponents, and they give information to you. Most of that information is in the form of betting patterns, which is why online poker is such a great form of the game. All of the betting information is right there for you to use while playing a hand. But when you play live, there is a small amount of additional information that is given off through physical tells and audio cues. I am a very visual player, and am blessed with good eyesight. I wear contacts, and with them, my vision is 20/15. I constantly use my eyes to take in every nuance of what's going on around me at the table. If I wore sunglasses, much of that information would be lost to me. I am confident that the information I take in with my eyes far exceeds what I give away.
If you currently employ sunglasses when you play, I would encourage you to try playing without them. Yeah, you look cool in them. Maybe. But, if you try playing without them while staying committed to taking in as much visual information as possible, you might find that not only are you doing better, the game is suddenly more interesting as well.
I reserve special scorn for the rampant use of headphones in poker tournaments. They slow down the action and, on the whole, I believe they hurt the people who use them. When a player throws a single, large chip into the pot, he usually announces 'raise' or 'call'. But all the guys at the table wearing headphones can't hear the call. Invariably, they have to take off their headphones and ask the dealer what the bet is. It is annoying when the action comes to a grinding halt to clarify something that anyone without headphones already knows. Also, poker is a social game. It would make me sad if poker someday becomes a game where nine people are sitting at a table listening to music, and no one is talking to one another.
Also, there are some valuable things you can pick up on simply by paying attention to the conversation around the table. You can sometimes tell when someone is over his head just by listening to him talk. In a recent tournament, I won a very large pot as we were nearing the last few tables because I heard someone speaking a few minutes earlier.
It was the Bellagio $15K WPT poker tournament. The blinds were $4K-$8K and I was in the big blind. A player who'd been playing very tight so far opened the pot from an early position for $25K. The small blind called and I looked down at 9-9. I often re-raise with this hand, but this seemed like a good time to just call. The flop was 8s 5s 3c. The small blind checked and, with about $275K in front of me and $100K in the pot, I continued playing cautiously and checked. The opener checked, too. The turn was (8s 5s 3c) 6c and the small blind checked. I felt like I must have the best hand, so I bet $50K. I was very surprised when the original opener raised all-in for a total of $175K. The small blind folded and now I had a big $125K decision to make. If I call and win, I have $550K and am in great shape. If I call and lose I'm in real trouble.
I didn't think he had a big hand, but it didn't seem like a very good bluffing situation either. The board looked really dangerous. Plus, I hadn't seen this player get out of line at all. But then I remembered a comment he had made to his neighbor about ten minutes earlier. He had hardly played a hand for about an hour, and said to the guy next him that his cards had been so bad, it would have been just as well if he had stayed in his room after the last break. Remembering that comment, I felt there was a good chance that he was frustrated. With that factored in, I made the call. He turned over the Kd-Qd, and with a 2 on the river, I won a key hand that put me in great shape in a big tournament. If I had been listening to music, I don't think I could have made the call.
Poker is a game of information. Sunglasses might keep some information from getting out, but they stop more from coming in. Headphones simply give you fewer opportunities to gain valuable information about other players. These are handicaps I am not willing to spot my opponents.
Nov 21, 2007
Nov 19, 2007
In Pot Limit Omaha
by Clonie Gowen
Most Pot Limit Omaha players know that Omaha is a game of "the nuts." In a multi-way pot, the winning hand is, more often than not, the best possible hand out there. When you start with four cards, you have six different possible two-card hands. This increases the chances that someone is holding the nuts. What many beginning Pot Limit Omaha players do not understand is that Omaha is really a game of redraws.
A redraw means that after the flop, you not only have some kind of made hand, you also have draws to a better hand. Having redraws in Pot Limit Omaha is so important that it is sometimes mathematically correct to fold the nuts on the flop. For example: suppose you raise in the late position with Ac Kh Tc 9h -- a very good starting Omaha hand. Two players call and you see the flop three-handed. The flop comes 6d 7s 8s. You've flopped the nut straight, which is the best hand possible at the moment. The problem is that you have absolutely no chance to improve your hand. This is as good as it gets. This may be okay if both of your opponents check to you. But, if one opponent makes a pot-sized bet and the next one makes a pot-sized raise, then what do you do? How can you fold the nuts?
If one of your opponents has flopped a set, and the other player -- or possibly even the same player -- has a flush draw, you are almost a 2-1 dog to win the pot. If one of those opponents has the same straight as you with a flush draw as well, or a wrap to a higher straight (such as 9,T,J), your hand is even worse because you can only win half the pot even if you don't lose to a flush or full house. You have to ask yourself what your opponents would possibly be betting and raising with on this flop. If there is a chance that all of the redraws are out against you, then you should always fold. If both of your opponents check and either one is tricky enough to be capable of a check raise, then you should still check this flop. If a blank comes on the turn - the 3c for instance -- your hand will be much stronger. Keep in mind, though, that if all of those draws are still out against you, even now you're not much better than 50% to win
Having multiple redraws to the nuts is much better in Omaha than having the best hand at the moment. Lay this hand down and save your chips for use in a better spot.