Archive for the ‘Poker Lessons’ Category

Pocket Bullets ParisJim “Pocket Bullets” Paris
We are constantly being asked about playing position in Texas Hold Em . We know that question has been asked and answered a gazillion times but it still confuses a lot of players. Here is a brief description on the positions in Hold Em. Naturally the number of players tends to change the importance of positions, but generally speaking, when a table is full with nine or ten players as in our illustration below, the positions are usually titled Early Positions or EP,  Middle Positions or MP and Late Positions or LP. And as their name implies, EPs act first, then MPs and last players to act are LPs.

Early position players:

  • The small blind is usually considered the worst position after the flop. This player is always the first player to the dealer’s left.
  • The big blind is to the left of the small blind and his position is usually considered just as bad.
  • Under the gun is the player who acts first pre-flop. He sits to the left of the big blind and many consider this to be the worst position pre-flop because he must bet or fold first without having any advantage of knowing what everyone else might do.

Middle position players:

  • These players have a very slight advantage but they are basically in about the same position as EP players. They  just get to see a little more action before them and can act accordingly.

Late position players:

  • Hijack  is to the right of the cut off player and has the ability to steal the blinds but needs to be careful because he still has 2 more players to act after him.
  • Cutoff is a solid position and has the advantage of “cutting off” the dealers chance of stealing the blinds; that is if they haven’t already been hijacked.
  • Dealer or Button is the absolute best position because this guy has the advantage of acting last on the flop, the turn and the river.

Texas Hold 'Em Poker Positions

These are your basic positions but how you play them really varies according to your style of playing and, of course, the style of every other player at your poker table.  How to play your position, based on the layout of the playing field is entirely up to you. So the question is; do you really know your position?

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Pocket Bullets ParisJim “Pocket Bullets” Paris

I talk to a lot of casual poker players almost every day. I define casual players as those around the world who may love poker but really could never become professionals, mostly because they just ain’t that good, don’t have the kind of money necessary to hit the pro circuits, or probably could not stand the pace. However, there are some casual players I have watched and thought, now they could be good enough to play professionally, but they just don’t have the money. These guys could do well if they had backers, but backers are hard to get. And, if they did get them could they really handle it? I mean, if it was you, could you handle the rigorous schedules? Could you become a world-class poker player?

Poker game time at our man cave

Do you think you could hold your own at the poker tables for prolonged hours, even days against the likes of a Phil  “Unibomber” Laak, who set the world’s record for playing 115 consecutive hours at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. More than likely the answer would be, “of course not.” After all, Phil did it to get into the Guinness Book of World Records and that really isn’t about poker. However, the real schedule of most poker pros is anything but a walk in the park.

Take our favorite player, Daniel “Kid Poker’ Negreanu; in 2014 he played a total of 56 events for a combined total play time of 505.5 hours. He cashed on 13 of those events including the WPT Five Diamond Poker Classic where he walked away with$36,947, nine events at the 45th Annual World Series of Poker for total wins of $8,545,408, two events at the Aussie Millions bringing in another $1,611,022 and lastly one event at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure that earned him $89, 560. All together he picked up $10,282, 937 give or take a few dollars. To accomplish that, the buy-ins  for the 13 events that he cashed in totaled $1,395,170 and the buy-in for the remaining 43 events that he failed to cash in amounted to an additional $1,788,756. That still gave him a profit before payout for action sold to backers, swaps, taxes and, not to forget, traveling expenses to Vegas, Australia, the Caribbean, etc… of more than $7 million dollars. But that’s the exception. He could have just as easily lost his buy-in money and gone home, since less than 5 percent of poker players can actually make enough to “make it.”

Now think about that for a minute. If you wanted to try that in the hopes of netting the $7 million, you would have to travel and spend sleepless nights in foreign lands, invest more than $3 million dollars, play hundreds of hours, withstand the pressure of tens of thousands of people scrutinizing your every move, accept defeat about 80 to 90 percent of the time with dignity, and move on to the next tourney.  Reality is that only a very small percentage of people who try can really become professional poker players . Can you afford it? Are you a good enough poker player? Or are you satisfied enjoying your life as a casual poker player?

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pocket-bulletsVinny at the Indian Poker Legends TournamentConfessions of a Grinder

We thought that we would revisit our old friend’s column, Vinny’s “Confessions of a Grinder,” regarding what to do with Pocket Rockets. Since I am known as “Pocket Bullets,” and because recently I have been badly beaten several times while holding those glorious aces and just plain betting them wrong.

Pocket Aces a.k.a. Bullets, Batteries, American Airlines, Pocket Rockets, The Eyes of Texas or Alan Alda. How often do you hear losing stories involving Aces? “I had them bullets but I ended up getting shot in the head” or “I don’t even know why I play Aces. I never win with them”. Beginners tend to overplay Aces over-assuming their strength, or underplay them in a greedy effort to win more.

ultimate-Red 01Playing Aces can be tricky. On a poker table, where people are ready to call almost any raise pre-flop, it’s probably more profitable to ‘just call’ with Aces in an early position, and hope someone raises, so you could make a sizable re-raise. The key is to always play them aggressively either in a pre-flop situation to isolate, or in a post-flop situation to avoid letting someone draw out on you. Play them hard but at the same time, polish your antennae, and get ready to surrender them, when you sense danger.

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Lynn "Queen of Hearts" Paris

Lynn “Queen of Hearts” Paris

While many of us are either waiting for the casinos to reopen or playing poker online, we thought it might be a good time to clarify some of the most common myths that relate to playing poker. Separating the myths from reality is a good way to improve your poker playing skills online or offline:

MYTH #1

Online poker games are rigged by the casinos. Not true. In fact, online poker games are never rigged and happen to be the most secure way to play poker. Every online poker room uses an RNG (Random Number Generator) The RNG makes a random pick from a deck made up of 52 cards during every single hand.

MYTH #2

Poker is mostly about bluffing. Not true. Bluffing is an integral tool when playing poker but just one of many you need to be a skilled poker player. And, you can bluff either online or at a live poker table.

MYTH  #3

Reading your opponents’ tells is a necessary tool when playing poker. Not true. Your ability to read the table, or another player’s mind can help you win at the casino poker table. But online, you can’t see any supposed tells, read anyone’s body language or see anybody’s facial tics. Still, there are excellent poker players who understand poker strategy and carefully adjust theirs according to how their opponents play (after studying those patterns over a period of time.)

MYTH #4

Poker is a man’s game. Partially true. Of course, there was a time when casinos and tournaments were dominated by men. However, these days there’s really no difference in poker playing skill or strategy between men and women. And if you’ve seen Maria Ho, Liv Boeree, Jennifer Harman or Vanessa Selbst play, you know the main difference is how much better looking they are than the men! Still, significantly more men than women play poker.

MYTH #5

Poker is synonymous with gambling. Not true. Despite the fact that a large majority of people believe that if you place a monetary bet on a game, especially a game of luck, then you’re engaged in gambling. However, poker is much more than a game of luck; it takes skill, strategy, psychology and practice. Not only that, but many poker players consider poker a sport more than a game, and it’s not necessary to place a bet – it’s just more fun.

MYTH #6

You need a “poker face” to win at the poker table. Not true. Being able to hide your feelings or reactions can definitely help you win at the poker tables. But a poker face doesn’t help your online game at all.

Hope to see you at the tables – Online or at Live games.

Click here if you have any other myths that you would like to share with us.