Archive for September 2017

Tadas PeckaitisTadas “My Poker Coaching” Peckaitis

The first decisions that you have to make in a hand are always pre-flop, and choosing the right path will make your life much easier on the coming streets. Many players make these decisions automatically without even thinking of alternative lines or adjustments that could increase their win rate, and that could cost a lot in the long run.

I strongly believe that you need to have a solid plan with balanced ranges as your starting strategy. If you still do not have one, make sure to grab my poker hands cheat sheet. However, to reach better results, you have to adjust these ranges versus different players,instead of playing it blindly.

Adjusting versus recreational players

One of the most common changes in your strategy should be loosening up and playing more hands when you are up against weaker competition. First of all, you can easily open more hands because these opponents will not 3bet you much as a bluff and play very straightforward post flop, giving you many chances to outplay them. Moreover, their strategy will be very obvious, and you will always know where you stand in the hand.

Thus, when you face a raise from a passive player on the river, you can easily fold all your medium strength hands knowing that it is the right move. Taking into consideration that these players will not give you a hard time post flop, will straightforwardly play their hands and make many mistakes, you can easily play more hands versus them and considerably increase your win rate.

Adjusting versus tougher opponents

There is a whole new story when you are up against someone good. Contrary to the first example, these players will punish you quite hard for any irregularities in your game, and you really do not want to get out of line against them.

The best adjustment is to play a bit tighter and try to gain range advantage over them. If you can do that and have better hands pre-flop, then you obviously will have more made hands post flop as well and can build your stack without taking enormous risks. Apart from tightening your ranges a bit, you should not deviate from balanced strategies. Your best bet is to play in an unexploitable GTO (game theory optimal) way and stay away from  trouble.

If you can do that and exploit all the mistakes of your weaker opponents by changing your pre-flop ranges, you will gain an ultimate edge and be on the right track for success at the poker tables!

Send me your thoughts, comments or questions!

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

We’ve written about how generous many poker players are about donating a portion of their earnings to various charities before, but there are some that have a passion for a special cause and create a tournament dedicated to raising money for it. For example, there’s poker super star Vanessa Selbst, who is hosting her “Justice Is Blinds” (see what they did there?) event for the third year in a row, on September 26, in New York City. Tickets are $1,500 to enter and $2,000 for VIP access.

Selbst loves the idea of helping her home town’s most socioeconomically challenged populations by raising money for the Urban Justice Center (UJC) a non-profit that provides legal services to thousands of NY residents, including survivors of domestic violence, international refugees, veterans, the homeless, and more. A huge advocate in the fight for a just and equal society, Selbst feels that she can best support the UJC by hosting this extremely popular annual tournament.

As she said, “There’s actually a great community of poker players [in the city] who don’t get to play very often because poker isn’t legal here, but charity poker is. There are a lot of people who come out just for charity events.”

And a lot of celebrities and poker stars show up, too, which helps make this one of poker’s premier charity events. This year they are expecting Erik Seidel, Andy Frankenberger and Jonathan Little, not to mention co-hosts Daniel Negreanu and Olivier Busquet.

“Justice is Blinds has been a tremendous success the last two years,” said Gretchen Wagner Nealon, director of development at the UJC. “Vanessa knows how to throw a poker tournament! We have heard many people at the tournaments say it’s the best poker tournament they have ever been to. We raised over $180K last year and hope to surpass that this year.”

Top prize will be a $15,000 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure package. Players can also win other tantalizing prizes. The best prize, of course, is helping a worthy cause.

Send me your thoughts and comments

Tadas PeckaitisTadas “My Poker Coaching” Peckaitis

Bankroll management is one of the most fundamental concepts in poker. You will have many problems in poker, just like in real life, without learning to manage your money.

Over the years, I have found how important it is to keep your poker bankroll separate from the money you need to pay your bills. In other words, your “poker bankroll” is the money you set aside for poker only, and should not come out of the money set aside for living expenses or funds you need for other things.This is the only way to maintain your peace of mind. Knowing that you do not need to win to pay the bills will give you the time you need to concentrate on making the right decisions while playing. You will have more confidence in yourself even during times when you are running bad, or facing a big downswing, because even if you lose, your life doesn’t fall apart. You can easily come back to play the next day, which is what separates the winners from the rest!

Keeping it all for poker

However, if you are playing poker professionally and it is your primary source of income, you work it the other way. You decide how much money you need to cover your living costs and only withdraw that amount from your poker bankroll. In other words, you should keep the bulk of your money for poker.

This way you will be able to move up stakes quicker and win even more. Moreover, having extra money will help you with improving your game as well, because you will not only be able to play higher stakes but invest some of that in learning, coaching or even getting poker software that can help.

Bankroll based on your skill

You skill level compared to your competition’s is the most important factor to consider. If you are crushing the game and have a huge edge over your opponents, you can play with very aggressive bankroll management only having few buy-ins. Therefore, when an extremely weak player joins the game, you can easily justify playing higher stakes than your regular ones without having the required amount of buy-ins in the first place.

However, if you are barely beating the games, you will need a huge bankroll to outlive swings that will eventually happen. So do not make the mistake of taking this lightly, because everyone encounters downswings at one point or another in their careers so you better be ready.

Different strategies for different games

Obviously, every game requires different bankroll management strategy. If you are playing MTTs, you will need more buy-ins compared to paying single table tournaments or cash games, so you need to choose wisely. It is especially important for MTTs, where the requirements can be very different based on the size of the tournaments you play. Naturally, if you are playing  MTT with 100 entries, you will need much fewer buy-ins compared to someone who is playing games with 1000 players and more.

To learn more about strategies for different games you can read the full article about poker bankroll management and choose what best suits your needs.

Summing it up

As you see, there are many things you need to take in consideration, and there is no one answer fits all. Therefore, try to build your strategy based on your poker goals, your skill level, and games that you choose to play to reach the best results and protect yourself from going broke.

Send me your thoughts, comments or questions!

Pocket Bullets ParisJim “Pocket Bullets” Paris

Just four days ago we wrote about the WPT’s Legends of Poker Final Table.  I was rooting for poker icon Phil Hellmuth to finally grab his first WPT Title, but to my surprise and dismay he was denied the big W once again. In heads up play, on the final hand, Art Papazyan, who was holding the chip lead, went all in with  KcQs as did Hellmuth with AhKd preflop. Papazyan got a Queen of hearts on the flop which was all he needed to lock it down and grab the win for all the marbles, including $653,692 in first prize money; a $15,000.00 seat into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions; the Hublot watch, and best of all … the title of World Poker Tour Champion. So that was last Thursday night, which got me and my wife slightly upset, because after all we love brats and Phil Hellmuth is the Poker Brat of all time.

Then we rested a couple of days to get our heads into the upcoming football battle between our beloved Texas A&M Aggies and the infamous UCLA Bruins. Sunday rolled in and amidst all the usual pre-game hoopla we were hyped up and ready to watch our Aggies outperform the Bruins and for the first half of the game we weren’t disappointed as they ran over the Bruins with ease, taking a 31-3 lead with 4:11 left in second quarter. UCLA managed to score their first TD to make it 31-10. Not to be intimidated by that the Aggies answered immediately when Trayveon Williams ran for a 61-yard touchdown to give the Aggies a 38-10 lead late in the second quarter.

The third quarter had the Aggies score two field goals to make it 44-10. Then it seemed as if all hell must have broken loose in the Bruins game, and they started getting a lot tougher and ultimately came back and scored late in the third quarter to make it 44-17 and continued their push through the 4th. Scoring 4 TDs for a total of 35 unanswered points giving the UCLA Bruins a 45 to 44 VICTORY over our beloved but now deflated Texas A&M Aggies.

And with that, we’re heading back to the poker tables where our anxiety levels can be a lot calmer.

Send us your thoughts, comments or questions!