Small Ball Poker Vs Home Run Poker, Skilled Vs Beginner

In the last post I talked about pot odds and betting. The topic today has a direct correlation to that. As you start to play a little bit more, you may have heard the term small ball poker and wondered what it was. Basically it means winning lots of smaller pots with smaller sized bets. Home run poker, on the other hand, is winning pots with larger bets. More skilled players tend to play small ball while it is a good idea for beginners to go for the home run. The reasoning is very simple and it has a lot to do with pot odds. Like I said in the previous post, poker is a very mathematical game and when employed properly can make you or save you lots of money. If you listen to Mike Caro (and you should) then folding when you’re supposed to actually makes you money as well. Below are the reasons for playing each:

Small Ball Poker: Like I said above, more skilled players tend to play this way. I know it is heavily endorsed by Daniel Negreanu and he has some videos on YouTube that talk about it as well. They tend to keep the pots a bit smaller but then win more pots with betting. Preflop, the raises tend to be in the 2.5-3x the big blind (BB) with an extra BB unit per person that may have already limped in front of you. For example, you’re playing $1/2 and you know you’re going to raise. Your raise will usually be $5-6 total. If one limper is in front of you, you’ll make it $7-8, two limpers, $9-10 etc. Now a flop comes out that you don’t think helped your opponent(s) and you want to bet (as most players do after raising preflop, firing the continuation bet). How much do you bet? In the last post about pot odds I talked about how half to two thirds is enough to make it the wrong call to chase most draw. Hands like open ended straight and flush draws are one of the exceptions as those draws are mathematically favoured against most hands. So, say you bet that $6, get called by one person and both blinds fold. That’s $15 in the pot (your bet + opponent’s call +$1SB +$2BB = $15). A correct bet would be between $8-10. You will get a surprising amount of callers a lot of the time and it’s because a lot of players ignore pot odds. Don’t be that person! I mean, sometimes if you’re the one that’s drawing you’re going to call because not everyone has the hand they’re representing. Everyone and their dog C-bets the flop now and sometimes you’ll have the best hand even with your draw. If you’re holding KQ of spades, the flop is J 10 2 with two spades, and your opponent has pocket 7’s, guess what? You are favoured to win by the river because if you hit one of 9 spades, 3 aces, 3 nines, 3 kings, and 3 queens, you will take the lead. So, you can’t lay it down every time. You don’t want it to look like you can just be run over. You could call one time and if they didn’t hit their hand, may check the turn to you. You can make a semi-bluff (a bluff that could turn into a big hand and another post topic for another time) and win the pot either by him folding, or him calling and you hit your draw.

OK, so I’ve gone off on a bit of a tangent there. Where was I? Ah yes. You’ve bet $10 into a $15 pot making the pot $25. $10 for him to call into a $25 pot is 2.5-1. If he’s drawing to an open ended or double belly buster straight, he has 8 outs and is just over 3.2-1 to hit his hand. He is not getting the proper odds to call. If you get raised and you think you are somehow raised you can fold your hand and lose your $10. What happens when you don’t play small ball, bet the pot, get raised and fold? You’ve lost another $5 on top of it that you didn’t really need to lose. Betting half to two thirds the pot will generally wield the same information as a pot sized bet will. Now, because I recommend being the tight/aggressive small ball player, you will win lots of little pots with your image and as you build your stack can open your range a little later on and really confuse the table with where you’re at. And that’s exactly what you want. A table of confused players who don’t know how to play you. So remember, keep the bets smaller and don’t worry if you get called. Like I said, many don’t take pot odds into consideration. All they see is their hand and what they think they can win if they hit their hand. What they fail to realize is two things:

1) They’re going to lose with that chase in the long run. Ah yes, the long run. Remember, the numbers are taken over a period of time but the more you play, the more you’ll see that you’ll win in these cases.

2) Even if they hit their hand they aren’t necessarily going to win any more money from you. What if they’re chasing a flush, have just check/called the flop and turn to hit their card on the river, and now lead out with a bet? Chances are pretty good they’re not going to get any money from you because you can put them on that hand and fold. But the majority of the time their card won’t come and they’ve lost all this money on a draw they should have folded two streets ago. They’ll cry about how unlucky they are and you’ll just smile to yourself as you rake in some chips.

Home Run Poker: Definitely the style you should employ when you’re going against someone you know is a very good player or if you yourself are just starting out. I also only recommend playing a select few hands and playing them fast when you get them. In Phil Hellmuth’s book “Play Poker Like the Pros” he recommends beginners play his “Top Ten Hands”. They are: AA, KK, QQ, JJ, 10’s, 9’s, 8’s, 7’s, AK and AQ. I like this idea. Yes, it’s a very tight way to play but until you get some experience, see which hands are good hands to play in certain situations, get better at reading opponents and things of that nature I’d recommend this style too. I don’t necessarily agree with playing 9’s, 8’s, and 7’s too fast though. If you have a raise and a reraise in front of you, it’s still a good idea to fold those hands and same with AQ. As you may have read from my Top Overrated Hands post, AQ is a dangerous hand to get too involved with and while you can raise it and reraise it with position, be wary on the flop if someone comes hard at you. Also, what are you going to do when the flop comes A Q 10 and you’re holding two 7’s? Probably throwing them in the muck at any sign of an opponent wanting to play the pot. Or if you have KK, you’ve raised preflop, two people call, and an ace hits the flop? You can bet out but proceed with caution if you get either raised or they just call. One probably has an ace and you should be ready to fold your hand.

So, how should you raise preflop? In small ball I suggested 2.5-3x the BB. Now, I would suggest 5-7x the BB. Seem like a lot? Well, it is. You’re going to chase out those that are holding hands like QJ os, maybe KJos and maybe even some middle to smaller pairs. Your tight image plus the bigger sized bets will help you win a few more pots preflop. It’s a fact that more skilled players don’t want to play big pot poker, especially preflop. They want to see flops in position and try to outplay you later. They like to be the ones to put you to a decision, not have their own decisions taken away from them. If you bet $10 preflop and get a caller, how much do you bet on the flop? Right now you have $23 in the pot (your bet + his call + the two blinds = $23) so right here I would go ahead and bet $20-23. If they didn’t have a pair preflop, remember the chances of hitting a pair on the flop are about 33%. In other words, chances are they missed. If they had a pair lower than yours then they’ll hit their set 1 out of 8 times, or 11%. If they do hit, you’re probably going to lose some money. That happens and unless you get a great read on the person when they raise, you’ll probably end up paying them off. But for the most part they’re going to fold when they miss and you will take down a decent pot. (Warning: When you go into a brick and mortar casino to play the $1/2 games, you’ll notice that there’s a lot of preflop raising to $10, $15, and even over $20. I don’t understand it and when I’ve asked people at the table it’s because they say they want action. Now, to me that seems almost like an oxymoron because if you want action you bet less. Or they say they want to gamble. It’s not gambling, it’s just dumb betting and if they really wanted to get action or gamble with those stupid bets they’d move up to $2/5 where the bets make sense. And lots of people call those dumb bets with marginal hands. I don’t get it. I’m not throwing in $20 with KJos when my hand could very well be dominated but that’s me I guess)

OK, so there you have it. Home Run, or bigger bets for the less experienced player until you get that feel for the game, for your opponents, and especially a feel for your own game. As you start to learn and get that experience, you can start seeing a few more flops with a few more hands (playing some suited connectors, Ax suited etc.) while betting a little less. Remember, you’re still getting the same information with those smaller bets and you’re still making it incorrect for your opponent to call. As I’ve pointed out before, your main goal in poker is to make correct decisions but also to capitilize on opponents’ mistakes. Making them do something incorrectly is making money for you

Information On Online Poker Rooms

Poker is quickly becoming the fastest growing game in the gaming industry. Poker has had a new addition with the entry of online poker sites. The popularity of poker is exploding due to internet poker sites and all the television coverage the game is getting. Internet poker has gained popularity because of the ease to use. All that you need is a computer and an Internet connection to start playing the game!

An internet poker room is actually a company that allows users or poker players to access their software they developed to host poker games on their internet site. There are many poker sites available today that accept US players, but not all of them do. This is because of a gambling law passed in the United States called the UIGEA or Unlawful Internet Gaming and Enforcement Act. This made it hard for the online poker rooms to transfer money in and out of the United States so some companies stopped trying and left the market.

Internet poker sites make their money from the rake from the pots. The rake in poker is what the casino takes for allowing you to play in their game. The percentages can vary and in a traditional casino it is generally in the range of 5 and 20%. Internet poker rooms charge less rake because the overhead expenses of online US poker room are very less compared to a brick and mortar casino. The rakes of online poker rooms are as low as 2% and as high as 5%.

When you are selecting an internet poker room, it is vital to check the safety of the internet site. Some sites are not as secured as they should be and any information that you pass on may be used in wrongful manner. Check if the room is secured so that all financial transactions that you do are safe. In addition, some of the online poker rooms do not have license from a trusted gaming commission. You must always choose a room that has a license to host poker games. Other things to consider while choosing online poker rooms are personalized features, multi-table features and compatibility with the operating system of your computer.

It is also recommended to check the traffic that an online poker sites has before selecting it. The more number of players a room has, the more number of games you can play and better are your chances of winning and making money. There are many poker sites that offer bonuses and promotions to enhance poker players to play online. Since there are so many poker sites to choose from, it is advisable to spend some time researching before you select one. Whichever online poker room you select, you are sure to have tons of fun and make tons of money!

Benefits Of Online Poker Sites

Online poker sites offer many benefits to a poker player, we will discuss some of the biggest benefits in this article.

In my opinion, the biggest advantage to online poker players is the ability to play poker from the comfort of your home. You have the flexibility to play poker online at all different times of the day or night. Online poker gives you the ability to play several different types of games, both cash and tournaments. In a brick and mortar casino there is usually one tournament going on and a few cash games. You are subject to the casinos schedule and you dont have many options on the buy in amounts.

Online poker sites are also a good answer for many poker lovers who reside in states where gambling is illegal. Players can play online rather than travel to a place and state that allows gambling.

Another advantage of playing poker online is no long lines or long waits to play. In a traditional casino, the lines can be long to get a seat at the poker table. The result is a long wait and a waste of your valuable time. You also save the time and expense of traveling to a casino. By playing online there is very little wait and your time is spent actually playing and not waiting.

The US poker sites are open 24×7. You can play a game whenever you like, no matter what time of the day or night it is. You cannot enjoy this benefit at a traditional casino. In addition, since you do not have to travel, the playing begins almost immediately after you have decided on a game.

Most of the US poker sites offer a variety of discounts and benefits to poker players. Most traditional casinos do not match the amount of money you deposit. However, the online sites have many offers that will match a percentage or the entire amount you deposit. Though you will have to do a little research to find the best offer, it is often worth the time spent, since you will make more money playing at the site that offers the best bonuses. Also, be sure to find which sites accept players from the country you live. There are some poker sites that dont accept US poker players, but many that do.

Another advantage that the internet poker sites offer is that there are no dealers. There are two benefits arising from this. One is you do not have to worry about dealer mistakes and second is you do not have to pay dealer fees or tips.

There are many benefits that online poker sites offer and these are just but a few. If you love gambling and do not want to travel to a casino, the various US poker sites are your solution to play the game you love.

Poker and the Stock Market

I was out of town this weekend in Southern NJ, Atlantic City to be exact. After finishing my business at the convention center, I traveled back to the newest casino, the Borgata where I was staying for the night. I don’t consider myself a gambler and have never enjoyed losing money at the tables. When I do gamble, my preferred games have always been craps and blackjack. Until recently, I had never played at a poker table in a casino environment but I enjoy the game of poker and have only played in backyard and basement games with old buddies. Many people consider the game of poker pure luck but this is not an accurate observation. Many factors run parallel with the game of poker and the game of stock market investing. Luck may play a part but rules, odds and money management are the largest components of the two entities.

When investing in the stock market, it is essential to have a sound set of rules or a system that has been tested in real time, no back testing or historical testing needed. After the system has been tested, the investor needs to follow rules in order to preserve capital and cut losses. The investor must also consider the odds of his/her stock making a gain or making a loss. Price objectives and targets should be a large part of every investor’s system. With proper money management and calculated expectancy, the investor should aim to trade only in situations where the odds are in his/her favor. In a strong bull market, it may not be wise to start shorting many stocks; the odds of making a big gain with this strategy could be very low. Another major component that works its way into investing is psychology and/or human emotion. Stocks are made up of human character traits, similar to the type of people that own them. Some stocks are risky and volatile while other stocks are conservative and predictable. The market repeats cycles and specific chart patterns because humans repeat their actions and character tendencies.

Now, back to the poker table; as I sat down and started to play, my first goal was to become familiar with the character traits of the players around me. With 10 players at the table, I had plenty of time to evaluate the people I was playing with, without risking a great deal of money. After several rounds of play, I was aware that the gentleman to my right would only bet high odd hands and would fold every other hand. He was very edgy and nervous and folded his cards with force when he was angry. The gentleman to the left would also play hands with high odds but I did see him call bets with some hands that were risky with lower odds. One gentleman across the table was the bluffer and always had a smirk on his face with a pair of dark glasses. I challenged this man on several occasions and paid to see his cards because I felt he had nothing. More times than not, I was right and still beat him with an average hand. I could go on but you understand the point I am trying to make: all poker players and investors bring their emotions to the table.

I won’t get into the exact rules of playing poker but I can tell you that only two players are required to bet per round while the other eight can view their first two cards without risking a cent. My game of choice is Texas Hold’em, the current craze across the country and one that excites me when I am in the environment. The two players required to bet represent the big and small blinds. If you are the dealer or anoy other players at the table, you can view your first two cards for free without an bet. If the hand is weak, you can fold and keep your gambling stake.

Here is where it gets interesting; if I have a decent hand, I can decide to call the larger blind and see the next three cards on the flop, which is still a low risk investment. If the flop doesn’t provide me with the cards I need, I can immediately cut my losses short by folding and wait for the next game. The same is true in investing; I can cut a loss short and wait for the next opportunity without risking the farm if I realize an immediate loss. If the cards are good and my probabilities of winning the hand are high, I can call the bet or raise the bet. A fourth and fifth card (the turn and the river) are placed on the table after the flop and betting continues with each round. Again, I can decide if I would like to call, raise or cut my losses short. The connection I am trying to make with investing in the stock market and playing poker relates directly to cutting losses short (capital preservation and money management) and my odds of winning the game (in the stock market this could be called expectancy).

In my opinion, the best game to play at the casino is $1-$2 no limit style. This means that the blinds are held to a minimum and it will only cost you a couple of dollars to see the flop in many cases. The “no-limit” aspect allows your upside potential to be unlimited which carries through to investing. If you cut losses short and ride your winner, the up-side potential in investing can also be unlimited, especially when using options (but that is for another discussion). Last night, I could see my first two cards for free, eight out of every ten hands and I could fold if they were no good. If they were good, I put money on the table after my idea. In the real world, the world of stock investing, you should always put money after your best ideas. The ensuing gain or loss will tell you if you are right. Again, for the umpteenth time in this article, the most important part of both games is cutting losses short and moving on without mixing emotions into the decisions.

All investors and poker players bring emotions to the table, some people control them better while other people employ better systems and understand the odds on a higher level. The bottom line is to understand the situation around you and to use a sound system to raise your odds. Never bet a hand that represents a low chance of winning and never ride a loss that could multiply overnight. Cut losses short and get out of the game and wait for the next opportunity because they are always around the corner.

Play Poker Online

The online version of poker games is definitely equally exciting. But, one should earn some helpful strategies and rules to beat his/her opponents. When it comes to play poker online, people usually believe that it is all about aggression. Well, aggressive play does help sometimes, but it is not the proper way to win at online poker games. You have to understand that there is a little difference between the situation that exists when playing poker at land based casinos and in an online poker room. In the latter case, players are not able to see each other, which can makes it a bit tough for you to analyze your opponents. For this reason, it is usually better to keep your aggressiveness in control.

First of all, after you have learned the basics of poker game and have tried your luck by playing few hands in the online world, you should try to know or understand about the main aspects of poker. Well, there are basically four to five aspects of online poker games. First of all, you should get familiar with the rules of various sorts of online poker games, such as Texas Hold’em poker rules, Omaha Hold’em poker rules, Seven Card Stud poker rules, and many more. The rules associated with every sort of poker games are quite different. For this reason, before you download and install poker apps in your computer system, make it very sure that you know the rules very well.

After you are done with the rules, it is the time for you to focus on the strategies of online poker games. However, one important thing you should always keep in mind that there is no such strategy which can help you to win each and every hand of poker game. Before exploring out the strategies, it is essential to know about poker betting terminology, such as Raise, Fold, Call, and Check. These four betting terminologies are the fundamental blocks of online poker games. Bluffing is considered as one of the essential skills to play poker online, and it is definitely counted among the advanced poker strategies.

Bluffing is all about acting and betting in a way which is completely unrelated to the actual position of condition of the player. For example, if a player has bad hand, but he still wager in a way as if he or she has a good one, then it means that he or she is bluffing. A player with strong hands pretending to be a weaker opponent is also a way to bluff. Being unpredictable is one of the best ways to beat your opponents in the game. The moment you let them you analyze your game play, your end would be near soon.

Apart from poker rules and poker strategies, you should also gain some idea about poker tips. When you play poker online, it is quite important to be patient and keep your cool. Along with, you should also know about your opponents by analyzing their game play. Once you master these things, you can certainly make yourself an expert of online poker games.