Oct 8 2010
written by: Sara Comments: Comments Off
Call them what you will…bullets, American Airlines or pocket rockets, don’t be surprised to be stuck with a bad beat when playing pocket Aces.
Statistically the best hand to be dealt to you in Hold Em and often the most disappointing with the most uneasy reputation. Many regulars to Hold Em will tell you they’re cursed.
As poker players we’re supposed to know, love and play the stats (especially in online poker) and can get emotionally invested and hyped when dealt these cards. If you’re a veteran poker player you may have your method for dealing with pocket aces or you might just fold them all-together.
Most poker players will tell you they go one way or the other and many who have their tried and true method for handling bullets normally do so to avoid an emotional hand. Losing big when the stats start out in your favor is an easy way to start playing on tilt and letting the curse set in.
Online poker is more competitive than ever before. Players who used to crush 200NL are now struggling at 50NL, and old 50NL winners are now losing on a regular basis. Keeping ahead of the curve has become a near impossibility for many players as the pool of weak players has died down.
At this point in time, the most important and effective tools and skills are not skills at all. Most players think of skills as things like check raising and three betting, but many players have long since mastered these tactics. The real advantage can be found in the meta game aspect of poker. Look at a player like Tom Dwan or Phil Ivey. Needless to say, the competition doesn’t get any more difficult than these guys. What separates them from the rest of the field? It certainly isn’t because they know proper bet sizing and their opponents don’t. Instead it is their ability to think on an extremely high level. These skills are partially developed over time, but are also very much intrinsic.
A HUD is a heads up display. Heads up displays are one of the primary functions of poker tracking software programs. A heads up display can tell you everything from how often a player raises to the frequency in which they fold to a 3-bet. Needless to say, HUDs can make any player’s life a whole lot easier. Virtually every winning online poker player uses a HUD to one extent or another, so it only makes sense that you too are utilizing all of the benefits that HUDs have to offer.
The real trick with HUDs is not using them, but instead using them correctly. As is the case with most aspects of poker, a HUD does have a slight learning curve. You will have no clue what anything means when you first start to use one, but before long you will be relying on it for a number of tough decisions that you are faced with hand after hand. HUDs can be used in tournament or cash game settings, though they are far more prevalent in the ring games. The problem with using a HUD in sit and gos is that you will often be working with small sample sizes. It is difficult to gauge the accuracy of any set of data if it is only over a handful of hands. If you are playing against a lot of the same players over and over again, however, a HUD can then also be useful in a sit and go environment. No matter what types of games you are playing, all HUDs have the same basic information that needs to be accurately interpreted.
Sep 7 2010
written by: John Comments: Comments Off
Bluffing is undoubtedly a major aspect of poker, but it is often times wildly overrated. Bluffs should be used only sparingly and in the proper circumstances. There are also many different types of bluffs that can be attempted. For example, a continuation bet is technically a bluff, but it carries minimal risk along with moderate gain. On the other hand, a double or triple barrel bluff is both very risky and potentially very rewarding. Balancing the risk and the gain in any hand is crucial to success and consistency in bluffing.
Who and Who Not To Bluff
Knowing what types of players you can and cannot bluff will be an easy way to quickly identify whether you will be in spots where bluffing is ideal. A loose table will seldom provide an opportunity for bluffs while a tight table will give astute players many opportunities to steal away pots without much contention. These are the basic rules for who to and who not to bluff, but you should always be adjusting your judgment based on table dynamics. This is something that definitely comes with experience, but will also be relatively easy to understand.
Bet sizes are one of the biggest tells or reads that you will be able to gain on your opponents. Depending on the situation, a small bet could mean value or it could mean a complete bluff. By contrast, a big bet could also mean that it is for value or as a bluff. The key to accurately determining whether a bet is for value or as a bluff (or something in between) is to critically analyze the context clues.
Context clues are usually referenced when reading a book or hearing a story, but in the end, each hand of poker is like a story playing out one chapter at a time. By using the information readily available to you, it will be that much easier to deduce what information is not given. Poker players are often told that they have amazing reading skills or spectators comment on how “psychic” they are, but the reality is that picking off and discerning what a bet means is nothing more than careful speculation.