Lynn "Queen of Hearts" ParisLynn “Queen of Hearts” Paris

I am a very loyal fan. I still root for the New York Yankees and Giants, despite not living in NY since 1988. Which is why I am so disappointed, Alexandre Dreyfus, about the absence of a Season Two for the Global Poker League.  The GPL is what turned me into a poker fan. I wrote more than 30 blogs extolling its virtues during its inaugural season; there were times I felt like an (unpaid) marketing director!

Chengdu Pandas GPLI understand that you and Mediarex Enterprises have been incredibly busy, coming up with your new tagline: Compete Globally, Play Locally, while forging strategic relationships in China and India. What’s more, GPL China had an extremely successful six-month season, as teams from 12 cities competed in regional leagues. The winning teams from each city became the championship franchise, and ultimately, the Chengdu Pandas defeated the Hong Kong Treasure Ships to win the first season of GPL China.

Meanwhile, there are six teams that now constitute GPL India, including the Chennai Sharks, Kolkata Creators and Nipun Java, with each team manager already named and Season I poised to launch.  And, based on the tremendous success of the GPL’s first season in Brazil, which fielded its own team, the Sao Paulo Mets, GPL Brazil is already becoming a “thing.”

All very well and good, but still no GPL Season Two (as promised) in the U.S. What happened to my favorite team, the LA Sunset, with poker superstars Fedor Holz, Olivier Busquet and manager, Maria Ho? What happened to the two-year contracts all the brave pioneers of the original GPL signed?

Custom Rockwell Poker TableIf you go to the GPL website like I did, you get a hint of something along the lines of a World Championship coming, with winners of each regional league competing against powerhouse teams from around the world. But there was a link on one page that said Season I has ended. Go on to Season II. I tried, but the link didn’t go anywhere. I hope that isn’t the fate of the original GPL that got me hooked on poker and even get my own poker table!

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Tadas PeckaitisTadas “My Poker Coaching” Peckaitis

Poker is becoming highly competitive, and to stay ahead of your competition, you need to keep improving all the time. Just ask all-time great, Daniel Negreanu, who says he continues to work hard to keep up with the young poker studs. Obviously, you can find a lot of information on how to balance your ranges and you can learn game theory optimal (GTO) strategies to compete with tough players. However, there’s very little talk about how you can exploit your opponents to maximize results.

Do not get me wrong, understanding and learning GTO strategy is essential if you want to play in higher-stake games and grow as a player. But if your end goal is to make more money, you can surely find some spots for that.

Betting versus missed c-bet
Today, I want to talk about one of the most powerful moves you can add to your arsenal – betting versus missed continuation bet. It is probably the most underused play that can change your results dramatically. When your opponent decides not to c-bet after raising pre-flop, you have a great opportunity to steal the pot and, with very few exceptions, should do that almost all the time.The joy of winning after C-Betting

It does not matter if you are in or out of position, playing 3bet or single raised pot. In all of these cases, you can put a lot of pressure on your opponents if your first instinct is to bluff, unless you get a very unfavorable run out.

Most of the time this happens when you defend from the BB versus late position open and then you both check on the flop.?  If your opponent decided to check, he either has a weak hand, total air or he’s trapping, which is going to happen very rarely. Therefore, on most run outs you should fire a bet on the turn and continue barreling on the river as well. The only dangerous scenarios are when the board pairs or an Ace hits on the turn, because many players tend to check back A-high hands. Moreover, when the board pairs, you will get fewer folds because players are more likely to bluff catch with low pairs or even A-high hands so you can let it go.

Apart from that, you should feel free to fire a bet. If you choose to bet 2/3 of the pot, you only need to make him fold 40% of his range to make an instant profit, and that is usually the case. People just don’t have that many strong holdings in their checking range, so you can and should take advantage of that. Even if your opponent decides to call on the turn, he will end up folding most of his hands on the river. Thus, this is one of the spots where applying aggression is going to pay you huge dividends in the future.

Summing it up
As you see, it is not enough to learn Texas Holdem poker rules to make the most profitable decisions and sometimes you just have to think outside the box. Do not try to balance your ranges blindly and if you recognize mistakes in your opponent’s play – take advantage of that.Poker tables from the Texas Poker Store

In the next few upcoming articles, I will show you other profitable spots to exploit your competition at the poker tables, so stay tuned for more!

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Lynn "Queen of Hearts" ParisLynn “Queen of Hearts” Paris

The title is actually a line spoken by entrepreneur Molly Bloom, played by Jessica Chastain in the upcoming poker thriller, “Molly’s Game.” I’ve written two previous blogs about this film as I eagerly awaited its release. The reasons are simple:

  1. What could possibly intrigue a poker blogger more than a movie about high-stakes poker, especially one written by one of my all-time favorite screenwriters, Oscar-winner Aaron Sorkin, also making his directorial debut
  2. In the late 2000s, Bloom ran the most exclusive high-stakes star-studded underground poker game ever seen in Hollywood;
  3. Poker-themed movies are generally filled with tension, humor, paranoia, excitement suspense and lots of poker chips;
  4. Idris Elba

So, if you’re ready to see the next great poker movie, you’re in luck. The movie has already received great reviews from film critics and was recently honored by the American Film Institute to run as its closing night gala.

Bloom, a world-class skier headed for the Olympics before a freak accident kept her out of the Salt Lake City games, went instead to Los Angeles where, as Sorkin states, she “ended up running for 12 years the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game, a game where there were movie stars (like Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Toby McGuire) and hedge fund managers, big name athletes, Saudi princes and millions of dollars changing hands in the course of a night. She became known as the biggest game-runner in the world.”

To find out more about the woman who’d been on her way to Harvard Law School and wound up running a poker room, you’ll have to see the film. And I can finally say, we won’t have to wait much longer. “Molly’s Game” is opening on Christmas Day!

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Pocket Bullets ParisJim “Pocket Bullets” Paris

Because it is the Thanksgiving weekend we decided to play a little quick game of Texas Hold’em. It was a friendly heads-up game between  me and my partner and love of my life Lynn “Queen of Hearts” Paris. I had pocket Kings and the flop was King – 7 – 7.  I tried to trap my baby by just checking and she threw in the min bet which I, of course, snap called, thinking that now the trap was solidified.

The turn was a blank, as was the river and I knew I had her beat with my Kings over 7s boat. I splashed the pot with about a third of my stack just for value and she jumped all in. I gave her a “I’m sorry” look with a wicked smile on my face and threw in the rest of my stack, stood up ready to rake it all in. It was not to be;  she destroyed me by flipping over a pair of 7s to complete her winning hand of Quad Sevens.

Watch the video below to see why our little game reminded me of the amazing poker game on an episode of Star Trek that ended with Dr. Stephen Hawking betting and Dr. Albert Einstein calling him.

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