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    Poker Strategies

    POKER STRATEGIES

    Poker is a popular card game that combines elements of chance and strategy. There are various styles of Poker, all of which share an objective of presenting the least probable or highest-scoring hand. A poker hand is a configuration of five cards, either held entirely by a player or drawn partly from a number of shared, community cards. Players bet on their hands in a number of rounds as cards are drawn, employing various mathematical and intutitive strategies in an attempt to better opponents.
    Given the game's many different forms and various dynamics, poker strategy becomes a complex subject. This article only attempts to introduce basic strategy concepts.

    The fundamental theorem of poker
    The fundamental theorem of poker, introduced by David Sklansky, states that: every time you play your hand the way you would if you could see your opponent's cards, you gain, and every time your opponent plays their cards differently from the way they would play them if they could see your cards, you gain.[1] This theorem is the foundation for many poker strategy topics. For example, bluffing and slow-playing (explained below) are examples of using deception to induce your opponents to play differently than they would if they could see your cards. There are some exceptions to the fundamental theorem in certain multi-way pot situations, as described in Morton's theorem.

    Pot odds, implied odds and poker probabilities
    The relationship between pot odds and odds of winning is one of the most important concepts in poker strategy. Pot odds are the ratio of the size of the pot to the size of the bet required to stay in the pot.[1] For example, if a player must call $10 for a chance to win a $40 pot (not including their $10 call), their pot odds are 4-to-1. To have a positive expectation, a player's odds of winning must be better than their pot odds. If the player's odds of winning are also 4-to-1 (20% chance of winning), and if they play the pot five times, their expected return is to break even (losing four times and winning once).
    Implied odds is a more complicated concept, though related to pot odds. The implied odds on a hand are based not on the money currently in the pot, but on the expected size of the pot at the end of the hand. When facing an even money situation (like described in the previous paragraph) and holding a strong drawing hand (say a four-flush) a skilled player will consider calling a bet or even opening based on their implied odds. This is particularly true in multi-way pots, where it is likely that one or more opponents will call all the way to showdown.

    Deception
    By employing deception, a poker player hopes to induce their opponent(s) to act differently than they would if they could see their cards. Bluffing is a form of deception to induce opponents to fold superior hands. If opponents observe that a player never bluffs, they won't call their bets unless they have very good hands. Slow-playing is deceptive play in poker that is roughly the opposite of bluffing: betting weakly with a strong holding rather than betting strongly with a weak one. If opponents observe that a player never slow plays, they can pounce at any sign of weakness.

    Position
    Position refers to the order in which players are seated around the table and the strategic consequences of this. Generally, players in earlier position (who have to act first) need stronger hands to bet or raise than players in later position. For example, if there are five opponents yet to act behind a player, there is a greater chance one of the opponents will have a better hand than if there were only one opponent yet to act. Being in late position is an advantage because a player gets to see how their opponents in earlier position act (which provides the player more information about their hands than they have about his). Position is one of the most vital elements to understand in order to be a long-term winning player. As a player's position improves, so too does the range of cards with which they can profitably enter a hand. Conversely this commonly held knowledge can be used to an intelligent poker player's advantage. If playing against observant opponents in tournament style play (when the amount of chips one has is finite, which is to say there are no 'rebuys') then a raise with any two cards can 'steal the blinds,' if executed against passive players at the right time.

    Reasons to raise
    Unlike calling, raising has an extra way to win: opponents may fold. An opening bet may be considered a raise from a strategy perspective. David Sklansky gives seven reasons for raising, summarized below.[LIST]
    To get more money in the pot when a player has the best hand: If a player has the best hand, raising for value enables them to win a bigger pot.
    • To drive out opponents when a player has the best hand: If a player has a made hand, raising may protect their hand by driving out opponents with drawing hands who may otherwise improve to a better hand.

      To bluff or semi-bluff: If a player raises with an inferior or drawing hand, the player may induce a better hand to fold. In the case of semi-bluff, if the player is called, they still have a chance to improve to a better hand (and also win a larger pot).

      To get a free card: If a player raises with a drawing hand, their opponent may check to them on the next betting round, giving them a chance to get a free card to improve their hand.

      To gain information: If a player raises with an uncertain hand, they gain information about the strength of their opponent's hand if they are called. Players may use an opening bet on a later betting round (probe or continuation bets) to gain information by being called or raised (or may win the pot immediately).

      To drive out worse hands when a player's own hand may be second best: Sometimes, if a player raises with the second best hand with cards to come, raising to drive out opponents with worse hands (but who might improve) may increase the expected value of their hand by giving them a higher probability of winning in the event their hand improves.

      To drive out better hands when a drawing hand bets: If an opponent with an apparent drawing hand bets before a player, if the player raises, opponents behind them who may have a better hand may fold rather than call a bet and raise. This is a form of isolation play

    Reasons to call
    There are several reasons for calling a bet or raise, summarized below.
    • To see more cards: With a drawing hand, a player may be receiving the correct pot odds with the call to see more cards.

      To limit loss in equity: Calling may be appropriate when a player has adequate pot odds to call but will lose equity on money contributed to the pot.

      To avoid a re-raise: Only calling (and not raising) denies the original bettor the option of re-raising. However, this is only completely safe in case the player is last to act (i.e. "closing the action").

      To conceal the strength of a player's hand: If a player has a very strong hand, they might smooth call on an early betting round to avoid giving away the strength of their hand on the hope of getting more money into the pot in later betting rounds.

      To manipulate pot odds: By calling (not raising), a player offers any opponents yet to act behind them more favorable pot odds to also call. For example, if a player has a very strong hand, a smooth call may encourage opponents behind them to overcall, building the pot. Particularly in limit games, building the pot in an earlier betting round may induce opponents to call future bets in later betting rounds because of the pot odds they will be receiving.

      To set up a bluff on a later betting round: Sometimes referred to as a long-ball bluff, calling on an earlier betting round can set up a bluff (or semi-bluff) on a later betting round. A recent online term for "long-ball bluffing" is floating.

    Gap concept
    The gap concept states that a player needs a better hand to play against someone who has already opened (or raised) the betting than they would need to open himself.The gap concept reflects that players prefer to avoid confrontations with another player who has already indicated strength, and that calling only has one way to win (by having the best hand), whereas opening may also win immediately if your opponent(s) fold.

    Sandwich effect
    Related to the gap effect, the sandwich effect states that a player needs a stronger hand to stay in a pot when there are opponents yet to act behind him. Because the player doesn't know how many opponents will be involved in the pot or whether they will have to call a re-raise, they don't know what their effective pot odds actually are. Therefore, a stronger hand is desired as compensation for this uncertainty.

    Loose/tight play
    Loose players play relatively more hands and tend to continue with weaker hands; hence they don't often fold. Tight players play relatively fewer hands and tend not to continue with weaker hands; hence they often fold. The following concepts are applicable in loose games (and their inverse in tight games):
    • Bluffs and semi-bluffs are less effective because loose opponents are less likely to fold.
    • Requirements for continuing with made hands may be lower because loose players may also be playing lower value hands.
    • Drawing to incomplete hands, like flushes, tends to be more valuable as draws will often get favorable pot odds and a stronger hand (rather than merely one pair) is often required to win in multi-way pots.

    Aggressive/passive play
    Aggressive play refers to betting and raising. Passive play refers to checking and calling. Unless passive play is being used deceptively as mentioned above, aggressive play is generally considered stronger than passive play because of the bluff value of bets and raises and because it offers more opportunities for your opponents to make mistakes.

    Hand reading and tells
    Hand reading is the process of making educated guesses about the possible cards an opponent may hold based on the sequence of actions in the pot. The term 'hand reading' is actually a misnomer due to the fact that a professional poker player does not attempt to put a player on an exact hand. Rather they attempt to narrow the possibilities down to a range of hands which makes sense based on the past actions of their opponent. A tell is a detectable change in an opponent's behavior or demeanor that gives clues about their hand. Educated guesses about an opponent's cards can help a player avoid mistakes in their own play, induce mistakes by their opponent(s), or influence the player to take actions that they would normally not take under the circumstances. For example, a tell might suggest an opponent has missed a draw, so a player seeing it may decide a bluff would be more effective than usual.

    Table image and opponent profiling
    By observing the tendencies and patterns of one's opponents, one can make more educated guesses about others' potential holdings. For example, if a player has been playing extremely tightly (playing very few hands), then when he/she finally enters a pot, one may surmise that he/she has stronger than average cards. One's table image is the perception by one's opponents of one's own pattern of play. A player can leverage their table image by playing out of character and thereby inducing his/her opponents to misjudge his/her hand and make a mistake.

    Equity
    A player's equity in a pot is their expected share of the pot, expressed either as a percentage (probability of winning) or expected value (amount of pot * probability of winning). Negative equity, or loss in equity, occurs when contributing to a pot with a probability of winning less than 1 / (number of opponents matching the contribution).
    Example
    Alice contributes $12 to a pot and is matched by two other opponents. Alice's $12 contribution "bought" the chance to win $36. If Alice's probability of winning is 50%, her equity in the $36 pot is $18 (a gain in equity because her $12 is now "worth" $18). If her probability of winning is only 10%, Alice loses equity because her $12 is now only "worth" $3.60 (amount of pot * probability of winning).
    If there is already money in the pot, the pot odds associated with a particular play may indicate a positive expected value even though it may have negative equity.
    Texas hold 'em example
    Alice holds J♦8♠. Bob holds K♥7♠. After the flop, the board is 5♥6♥7♦. If both hands are played to a showdown, Alice has a 45% chance to win, Bob has a 53% chance to win and there is a 2% chance to split the pot. The pot currently has $51. Alice goes all-in for $45 reasoning Bob has to call to stay in game. Alice's implied pot odds for the all-in bet are 32%. Bob's simple pot odds for the call are also 32%. Since both have a probability of winning greater than 32%, both plays (the raise and the call) have a positive expectation. However, since Bob has more equity in the pot than Alice (53% vs. 45%), Alice would have been better off playing the pot as cheaply as possible. When Alice went all-in, she gave up the difference in equity on the money she contributed to the pot.

    Short-handed considerations
    When playing short-handed (at a table with fewer players than normal), players must loosen up their play (play more hands) for several reasons:
    • There is less likelihood of another player having a strong hand because there are fewer players.
    • Each player's share of the forced bets increases because there are fewer players contributing to the forced bets, thus waiting for premium hands becomes more expensive.
    This type of situation comes up most often in tournament style play. In a cash game, the adjustments are very similar, but not quite as drastic as the table can ask for what is known as a 'rake break.' A rake break occurs when the floor-man, who represents the casino, agrees to take a smaller portion than usual for the hand. For example a random casino might normally receive 10% of the pot up to 5 dollars for a 'rake.' In this case the table would only owe 10% up to 3 dollars until there are a sufficient number of players again. In online poker rake breaks are determined automatically.

    Structure considerations
    The blinds and antes and limit structure of the game have a significant influence on poker strategy. For example, it is easier to manipulate pot odds in no-limit and pot-limit games than in limit games. In tournaments, as the size of the forced bets relative to the chip stacks grows, pressure is placed on players to play pots to avoid being anted/blinded away.

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    Re: Poker Strategies

    The truth about online poker, or in fact, any poker is that skill, talent, and knowing the tricks of the game play as much a part as luck does in ensuring a win!

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    Re: Poker Strategies

    In regular poker, if a person goes all in and the other person sees it and raises one more, does the other have to fold.



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    Re: Poker Strategies

    Sorry for being a bit leary of your intentions here but I am ready to hit that ban button on you :)

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    Re: Poker Strategies

    Quote Originally Posted by rachelpit View Post
    In regular poker, if a person goes all in and the other person sees it and raises one more, does the other have to fold.
    Once you go all in, you are in that hand no matter what anyone else bets or raises but when you win you will only get back what you put into it and the second best hand under you will get the rest.

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    Re: Poker Strategies

    Nicely written elaborative post. I think the strategies explained in th posts will be beneficial for the newbie players.

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    Re: Poker Strategies

    Lozano Mora. I'm watching your posts and you don't seem on the up and up to me. Don't give me a reason to ban you
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    Re: Poker Strategies

    I started playing poker back before the *Boom* and while most of the old poker logic books and rules were followed at that time and poker was; like chess; a game of skill and thought, it is no longer necessarily that way.

    Because of the huge influx of unskilled players that don't study the time honored game, it must be approached much differently now especially in tournament play. Bluffing used to be a strategy that players used in very specific situations and now it is more likely that someone is playing a bluff on each hand. For many novice players today, they use a stack of chips instead of cards and are extremely aggressive with very little in their hand. This type of play is dangerous to the skilled player because it is sheer folly to commit one's whole stack early in play especially without "the nuts".

    If there is any interest I will be happy to expand on some of the methods to deal with, or avoid these 'poker boomers' especially in relation to tournament play. thanks for this forum...I love poker...)

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    Re: Poker Strategies

    GL at the tables everyone

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    Re: Poker Strategies

    Quote Originally Posted by razorzzedge View Post
    I started playing poker back before the *Boom* and while most of the old poker logic books and rules were followed at that time and poker was; like chess; a game of skill and thought, it is no longer necessarily that way.

    Because of the huge influx of unskilled players that don't study the time honored game, it must be approached much differently now especially in tournament play. Bluffing used to be a strategy that players used in very specific situations and now it is more likely that someone is playing a bluff on each hand. For many novice players today, they use a stack of chips instead of cards and are extremely aggressive with very little in their hand. This type of play is dangerous to the skilled player because it is sheer folly to commit one's whole stack early in play especially without "the nuts".

    If there is any interest I will be happy to expand on some of the methods to deal with, or avoid these 'poker boomers' especially in relation to tournament play. thanks for this forum...I love poker...)

    I like the nick you give to such players.. "poker boomers". It fits very well. Of late, I think another nick for them applies as well... 'Dwanabees'! It seems that since Poker has become so prominent on TV and many are able to watch the big poker tourneys and some cash games as well... I see many online trying to emulate the play of Poker Pros they see on TV.. thus the nick.. "Dwanabees" LOL!

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    Re: Poker Strategies

    Pot odds, implied odds and poker probabilities:

    This aspect of the game is one that I see violated to the extreme especially, seems to me, when playing online poker. Many times over I see players calling huge bets and many times for all their chips when they have.. say. .. a flush draw. They may only have the 9 outs to make their hand a winner and could only have 3 to 1 or 4 to 1 odds against them depending on whether it is after the flop or after the turn, but time and time again I see them calling into a pot where their pot odds are many times 2 to 1 or worse. A player with a stronger.. made hand.. will shove into them and cause their pot odds to be 2 to 1 or less.. yet they will make the call even it is 4 to 1 against them to win. They will lose money hand over fist in the long run. Sure they might get lucky and win a pot now and then.. but in the long run they will lose money. If the pot odds were even or better for them in comparison to their odds of winning .. then it makes sense to call... but I see them making calls with draws a lot that make no sense at all.

    They say.. well... "I had a lot of outs" when, in reality, their outs don't add up to enough to come close to justifying a call in that instance considering the pot odds. Even with implied odds.. they shouldn't be making the call unless there are enough players still in the pot with a likelihood of staying in the hand. Too many players online make this mistake.. many think if they win now and then.. . they are doing well.. when in reality .. they are losing their butts. Of course, these types of players are the ones that are building our bankrolls..

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    Re: Poker Strategies

    my strategy is go allin when u ha,i push over the top allinve best hand,today in the very 1st hand of the freeroll i had pocket aces,there was a 220 raise b4 me i go allin and get snap called by kj off, he ends up with strait on river,last tourney i did 5 rebuys and addon and only broke even,i said im not falling into that trap again,add on i aways do if still alive. its not worth 2$ for 1500 chips,if they were a dollar ,i would rebuy up to 6 $.so it was short for me today. ty for freeroll .see u next 1

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    Re: Poker Strategies

    Glad you had a good time jimmy. I was out way early but still had a good time!

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    Re: Poker Strategies

    Quote Originally Posted by datsme53 View Post
    .. when in reality .. they are losing their butts. Of course, these types of players are the ones that are building our bankrolls..
    So leave them be then!!!

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    Re: Poker Strategies

    Quote Originally Posted by jimmyd1953 View Post
    my strategy is go allin when u ha,i push over the top allinve best hand,today in the very 1st hand of the freeroll i had pocket aces,there was a 220 raise b4 me i go allin and get snap called by kj off, he ends up with strait on river,last tourney i did 5 rebuys and addon and only broke even,i said im not falling into that trap again,add on i aways do if still alive. its not worth 2$ for 1500 chips,if they were a dollar ,i would rebuy up to 6 $.so it was short for me today. ty for freeroll .see u next 1
    Timing can be a significant factor in terms of whether rebuying is worthwhile. Early on, when you receive the starting amount, it puts your stack just below average, and the blinds are still small, so your stack is fully playable. But as the tournament progresses, rebuying leaves you farther and farther below average, and since the blinds have risen, your flexibility in how you can play may well be limited.

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    Re: Poker Strategies

    I rarely play a rebuy tournament for the very reasons explained above. The one thing that drives me bonkers is to be in a hand with a big pocket pair or two big cards and hit top pair and get pushed all in by someone early with minimal holdings like bottom pair and being forced to call with best hand at the time of the call only to get beat by two small pair this is why i hate rebuy's
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    Re: Poker Strategies

    Thank you all for your useful comments, I am a newbie at poker and everything you said I am sure will be useful for me to know once I get in the game :)

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    Re: Poker Strategies

    GETTIN READY TO PLAY IN THE INTERTOPS 10 DOLLAR BOUNTY HOPEFULLY I DO WELL. IS THERE ANY OTHER STREKERS PLAYING??

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    Re: Poker Strategies

    Quote Originally Posted by PINNERMAN30 View Post
    GETTIN READY TO PLAY IN THE INTERTOPS 10 DOLLAR BOUNTY HOPEFULLY I DO WELL. IS THERE ANY OTHER STREKERS PLAYING??
    first hand i get pocket aces and go up against pocket kings and get half of my buy in back
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    Re: Poker Strategies

    Thank you all for your useful comments, I am a newbie at poker and everything you said I am sure will be useful for me to know once I get in the game :)



    Use some of Sklanksys quotes, but watch people play at random tournaments. Some players are tight and only play good hands, but can be very aggressive at the same time, and other can be loose call almost every hand and usually continuation bet on the flop no matter what it is. When I play a cash table I tend to be more of a LAG player, I play more hands, never get in to deep with a garbage hand, but play the same if I have 2 7 off as if I have pocket aces, well I do this if Ive been playing the same players for a while. In a tournament, and when Full Tilt Had the ones where 10000 people could join I won a few and Final tabled a bunch. I play much tighter, the people you play against are always changing, and you have the luxory for most of the tournament to wait for a good hand. Towards the end of the tournament once the blinds and ante's get high I steal more pots than I normally would, especially if its near the bubble or a drastic change in prize when the next guy gets knocked out. For example lets say top 26 pay and there is 3 tables left and your on the button and you have enough chips to put them all in, they probably fold, unless there the lowest chip stack, because unless they have KK or AA they probably fold until the 27th guy gets knocked out. Same goes for example lets say theres 2 tables of 5 and the 10th player makes 5$ but the minimum you would make in the final table is 15$ If I have a lot of chips I become a bully, against those who stand to make it into the final table. There is a lot to poker its hard to right in a post, and you learn as you go along. Simple things like if your at a 9 handed table and the blinds are 15-30 and the guy under the gun (the first one to bet pre flop) say raises it to 60 and you have a hand like 67off suit, and lets say 3 other people call so its 270 in the pot, and all you have to do is call 30 and the pot would be 300, so your getting 10-1 on seeing the flop, and anything can flop, 345 or 667 or 589 and you might have the original raiser bet out, a guy slow playing aces might re-raise, and the 3rd guy has pocket 5s in the 345 scenario or a hand like a-2, he may go all in, the original raiser, will probably fold his hand AK or AQ or whatever the guy with aces probably calls (In a freeroll especially), the guy with pocket 5s calls and you have a straight, and if the board doesnt pair up, or the next 2 cards aren't 6-7 (which happened on a $600 pot I was in so We all split and lost a dollar in rake lol) but you have a good chance of making 3.2x your amount of chips. At the same time lets say your in the same spot with the same cards and the guy UTG raises to 150 and only one other guy calls it would cost 120 to get into a pot of 450, or 465 if the small blind folds.. meaning your only getting 3.875-1 pot odds and probably are a big underdog and its not worth the risk. Then there is also playing position in a hand but I wont get into that. If your a beginner I suggest playing good hands, pocket pairs, A-k- A-Q A-J. A-10 QK even QJ or suited connected cards I.E 9-10 suited 4-5 6-7 8-9 etc (if it doesn't cost a high % of your stack to call). Most importantly if your just starting out don't play like they do on the wsop or on the 5-10$+ blinds tables, because they play at a totally different level than your average player in a freer roll. And at the end of the day, unless your the luckiest player on the face of the earth, you will run into bad beats time to time, like if u have Aces and go all in against a guy with queens and a guy hits a queen on the river, or if you have Aclubs Aspades and the other guy has Queen Spades Queen Hearts and the flop is 4diamond 5hrt 10hrt the turn is a J of hearts and the river, just to rub it in is the Ace of hearts lol. When you get a bad beat, try not to go on "tilt", getting frustrated and going all in with a bad hand over and over just because your pissed. I know this isn't the best help its 6:30am Ive been up all night lol, but if your serious about playing, A. If your not from the US play at Intertops, or Poker Stars or Party Poker a reputable site. B. Read books, like Sklanksys, or books written by Doyle Brunson, you can research the best books to read, meaning don't buy Joe Shmoe's tips on poker. Finally there's websites that you can buy training videos or even hire a coach, to help you with the limit you play (the blinds) the game (Hold Em(limit or No limit), Pot Limit Omaha, Omaha hi-low, razz, stud, and there's even coaches that help you with tournaments. A good site to learn more would be to Google 2+2 forum I believe (Its been a while since I've played online poker 4 $$$). If you do decide to play poker ill give you one final tip don't be like me who, makes $100 into $1000 in 5 hours grinding, decide your going to quit, look for your TV remote, cant find it, go back and play way to high for your bankroll, and lose it all in 15 minutes. I would always win off the bat, but id play these stupid long 14-18 hr sessions and usually lose it, I was finally getting disciplined with that and played for only 2hrs max (unless it was a tournament), and then the DOJ shut down Full Tilt with about $900 in my account ill never see lol. This is my 2cents take it for its worth.....
    Last edited by andrew87; 03-18-2012 at 06:46 AM.

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