Jim “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.
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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Confessions 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.
Playing 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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Jim “Pocket Bullets” Paris
Because of the current Covid-19 Pandemic situation world wide, our beloved Poker World has certainly been limited mostly to online games. Of course, this makes it a bit harder for many people but not so much to the poker fanatics among us. Are you a Poker fanatic?
Poker games and poker tournaments can usually be found almost anywhere in the world, and even if you go to some remote island on vacation, the hotel is likely to have an internet connection and you can log in to your favorite online casino and play to your heart’s content; you can play for as long as you can afford to.
When your family or friends see you login in to play, their immediate thoughts are that you are a poker fanatic. These are the top ten signs that they are right:
- If you witness something bad happening your first thought is “That’s a bad beat.”
- You claim that you know exactly what cards every player has, even when you’re not in the game.
- When you count, you always follow “8, 9, 10” with “Jack, Queen, King, Ace.”
- Every person that beats you, pisses you off, or just irritates you, are just “donkeys” to you.
- If you could, you would celebrate your wedding anniversary by watching a poker tournament on TV.
- When booking any hotel room you make sure they have a computer connected to the Internet. That way you can still play online while everyone else goes to the beach.
- You can’t help yourself; when you pay for anything you stack up your cash in neat little piles before pushing them to the teller.
- You always think you’re the best poker player at any poker table.
- When you lose you can’t accept it graciously and always go on “Tilt”
- Whenever you lose a hand, you’ll make statements like “I’m just setting traps,” “I knew exactly what he had.”
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Lynn “Queen of Hearts” Paris
At first you might react the way I did when I saw the recently published book, “A Girls Guide to Poker” by Amanda Botfeld. Why would I want to learn to play poker from some unknown random woman when there are thousands of serious “how-to-play” poker books already written by well-respected, experienced poker players?
But as I began to look into Ms. Botfeld, I realized that she was an established researcher/writer based in Washington D.C. and not a well-known poker expert; in other words, I could definitely relate. Turns out she had a rudimentary knowledge of poker, but not nearly enough to compete in an online tournament or at a casino, kinda like me. So she decided to write a book, hoping it would encourage women to learn to play poker with confidence.
And this is a book that’s fun and easy to understand, written for people who don’t play poker- at least not well. It has a decidedly female flair, as it teaches the ins and outs of the game we all want to learn how to play, and does it with style, sophistication and girlish glam. But don’t misunderstand. This isn’t a book that talks down to women; it just totally “gets” what women want. It’s feminine, but very sharp, as most of us women are. It’s even funny and playful in a way that most women would want her best poker-playing girlfriend to be.
Nevertheless, Botfeld is very serious about the game and that comes through. She has definitely done her homework. She delves into all the important information that basic poker studies go through – the possibilities of making certain hands, for example – and offers precise and accurate information throughout the book.
In fact, The Girl’s Guide isn’t just for girls; guys can improve their poker skills before sitting down at their poker tables for their weekly game, as long as they’re not too proud to read this entertaining and highly informative book.
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