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POKER BEGINNER GUIDE

Friday, 06 May 2016

How to start in Texas Holdem – The Basics

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The Secret

First of all, I’d like to make you understand that poker is not easy. It’s easy if you get lucky, but that won’t last forever. The only thing that does last and is a universal constant is SKILL. And you need to acquire that SKILL by accumulating KNOWLEDGE and EXPERIENCE. Because in poker, being an incomplete information game, knowledge is power!

We’ll focus on those in the following article, and I’ll explain how you can get from having a small bankroll, to getting the most out of your competition, and earning a lot of C A $ H!

The Knowledge

First of all, you have to evaluate yourself. How much do you know? Is your knowledge up to par with all the new tendencies and do you really know any of the math, psychology, post flop tricks and how to read your opponents efficiently?

What I’ve learnt over the years is that a lot of articles about poker are very general and diverse, and most of them just aren’t true or helpful. We’re going to change that here.

We’re going to touch on a few aspects in the following articles that are going to improve your poker knowledge to at least a 300% compared to what it is now, and only give you the very important stuff! What are you waiting for? Keep reading on!

The Experience

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Experience is as important, if not more, than knowledge in poker. I personally know players that are successful at high stakes, and they advanced through by just playing a lot.

Unfortunately, when starting out in poker, you won’t win that much. You’ll probably lose a little bit. That’s why it’s very important to have some backup in case you’re currently a losing player.

To be honest, no one in this game loses a lot consistently, if you put your mind to it and know the rules pretty well, you’ll be making the right decisions out of sheer intuition sometimes. Everyone has a rough start in this game, but the good thing is that rakeback exists!

Rakeback

 

Every poker website takes its’ rake from the pots that are played, and it usually is around 5% per pot. To bring more people in, they have created affiliation deals where, if you sign up through popular sites like PokerEternal.com, you get a part of the rake back in your account, and that will make your venture into the poker world a lot easier when starting out!

Check out the Deals section on the top, that’s your gateway to a safe and rewarding poker environment, where hard work pays off! Even if you don’t win at first, and you’re break even on the profit, when the rakeback money comes, you’ll be smiling big time, having your first profits into your account!

The more you play, the more money you get, so gaining poker skills and experience in the game has never been better! You’re actually getting paid to play poker, and when you start playing better and climb up the stakes, the higher you play the more rakeback you earn, so the money will really start piling up! 

Check the next articles for very good insights on how to play a good solid poker game and win money!

How to start in Texas Holdem – Basic odds that will help you improve – Post-flop

In the previous article we learned that basic probability can influence a lot of decisions in poker. Today we’ll see how math can influence bluffing post-flop moves on opponents that you didn’t know you could make and get away with it! Not only this, but you can also make a lot of money with them!

All online poker pros, and even live ones know all these mathematical odds, and make decisions usually based on their chances to win the hand, or the chances for the opponent to have a worse hand than theirs.

You have to understand that in poker you’re going to make money either by getting your opponent to call a bet with a worse hand than yours, which is called a value bet, or get your opponent to fold a better hand than yours, which is called a bluff.

Let’s learn a little bit about the different types of flops and which ones should we be bluffing more.

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Flop Texture

Flop texture is the characteristic of the three cards that says either if they’re connected very well, or not, to various hole cards. It is pretty obvious that some boards connect better than others, and these boards are called wet boards, and some boards just don’t connect at all, and these are dry boards. In between them you have the semi-wet or semi-dry boards, that are mildly connected.

Let’s see some examples, and after that I’ll tell you the catch:

Dry: A73r (rainbow – all suits are different) / K82r / Q42r / 227 / JJ4 / T62r

Wet: T98ss(ss means two cards of the same suit) / QJ8ss / AKTss / 678ss / 456s / KQ9ss

Semi-dry: T97r / KT2r / QJ8r / AKTr / 456r / 986r

Semi-wet: A84ss / QT2ss / AJ2ss / K86ss / T72ss / A25ss

Why do we need to learn this? It’s actually easy.

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If there’s a dry flop, then there aren’t any flush draws or straight draws down there. Let’s combine this knowledge with some percentages:

- Hitting a pair or better on the flop : 32%

- Hitting a flush draw on the flop : 10%

- Hitting an open-ended straight draw with connected cards : 9%

This says to us, that if the flop comes really dry, that they’re only going to have something 32% of the time. The other times, they’ll either have overcards, one overcard and an undercard or two  undercards.

This means that two thirds of the time, they’re going to have absolutely nothing, and you can bet no matter what you’re holding and scoop up a hefty pot!

The same goes for semi-dry boards, it’s just hard for your opponent to have something on them, so you’re supposed to bluff them most of the time.

Also, tend to bluff A-high/K-high boards more, you’ll get more folds.

It’s very likely for your opponent to have something on the other two types of boards, so I wouldn’t really bluff them at all, only against players who like folding a lot and respect your bets.

The same goes for turns and rivers, if they look like they’re bringing a lot of draws on board and they don’t really help your hand in any way, don’t bluff them at all. If not, you could, depending on your opponent, continue with the bluffing.

This is actually called barrel bluffing and is a big thing in poker, but that’s for higher stakes and versus more advanced players, so don’t bother with that for now.

Just be aggressive when it doesn’t seem like your opponent has anything, and push your opponents out of the pot, to make a lot of money!

P.S.: Random fact – Even if your opponent has AK, he’s still going to flop a pair 32% of the time! Be brave!

How to start in Texas Holdem – Basic odds that will help you improve – Pre-flop

Dear Poker Players, today we will improve on our poker math, and that’s going to make our decisions easier at the poker table. Knowing these is not only important to aid us in making the correct decisions pre-flop, but also post-flop! So let’s get a little bit into poker odds and probability.

Pre-flop Probabilities

Thinking a little bit about the game of 6-max pre-flop Holdem, the first thing that comes into mind is, how often should you win a pot? How many hands should I play? And, getting more specific, is it okay to raise king five suited in the Small Blind? Well, let’s answer these questions.

First of all, if all players go all in every time in a 6-max Holdem table, they’re all going, in the long run, to win the same amount of hands as each other. The percentage of winning is going to be, easily calculated, as 100% divided by 6, so 16.6%. It would make perfect sense to play your top 16.6% of hands, because that’s the optimal frequency, right? Close. We all remember losing that hand with AA against 74o, although it’s pretty clear who is ahead. The keyword here is ‘ahead’.

Being ahead in a hand doesn’t really guarantee that we will win for sure. Outs are real, and the times when you get all the money in with your opponent drawing dead are rare occurrences.

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Let’s get one thing straight – in poker you can never be sure that you’re going to win a pot. The blinds are there, so if you’re never sure that you’re going to win a pot, so are your opponents. It’s your job to steal them! And although I’d recommend raising tight with 5 people ahead of you, when you’re, for example, in the Small Blind, the chances of you winning a hand is 50%. Also, think about all the times that you have a bad hand but you could out-flop a stronger one. There’s no secret that AJ wins against 74 suited only 60% of the time. This means that you can not only raise your top 50% of hands, but also more, because not only good hands flop trips.

So, going on this train of thought, the fewer opponents you have ahead of you, the more often you need to raise, and it’s called being positional awareness. The later the position you’re at, the more hands you need to open-raise because you don’t need that many people to not have strong hands!

Here are some probabilities that will help you understand more:

- Getting dealt AA(or any other pair for that matter) pre-flop: 0.45%

- Getting dealt QQ or KK or AA or AK pre-flop: 2.6%

- Getting dealt a pair or any two broadways pre-flop: 17.9%

- With 5 players ahead, one of them will have aces 2.25% of the time

- With 5 players ahead, one of them will have QQ/KK/AA/AK 13% of the time

Seeing these probabilities, it’s obvious that the Big Blind will not have a good hand more than 20% of the time, so if we’re in the Small Blind and everyone has folded, we can raise a lot of hands, because if he folds a lot, we’re going to be printing money.

To be honest, against players that fold more than 70% of the time in the Big Blind against Small Blind opens, I raise any two cards from this position, because math says that I am making money every time I raise, even if I fold every time post-flop.

How come? Well it’s pretty easy.

If you’re in the Small Blind, you usually raise 3 times the Big Blind, so you’re putting down 2.5 Blinds (0.5 is already there in the form of the Small Blind), to win a total of 4 Blinds. This means that if your opponent folds more than 2.5/4 times (which is precisely 62.5% of the time), you’re going to make money even if you fold to a re-raise every time AND check/fold every flop. But you’re not going to do that, because you’ll have some good hands sometimes, and you’re going to make some money with those hands too!

This is all part of a bigger picture, but if you understand these basic ‘starting out in poker’ articles, you’re going to have a great advantage over your opponents!

Check the next article for a lot of post-flop insights and how you can exploit your opponents and their tendencies to be successful in poker!

How to start in Texas Holdem – Free Useful Software

To get the edge these days on your opponents at the poker tables, you have to invest a lot of time into learning the game and all of its’ aspects. But, when you can get helped by programs that just make your life easier and also track what a human couldn’t possibly track(for example opponent tendencies on 16 tables at once), and also give you precise numbers that you’d have to deal, for example, hundreds of thousands of flops to get, why not take the opportunity?

There’s a lot of software that is free right now on the Internet, and we’re going to give you a little insight on the best ones.

PokerStove

This software is used for calculating poker odds, from what equity do we have in getting AA against an under-pair pre-flop, or you could go as far with it as calculating what odds you have with KT of spades on a 456 two spades board against your opponent’s perceived range when he raises.

You can select ranges easily (even suits):

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After you’ve selected the ranges and the respective cards, you can see exactly if you fare against your opponents’ range. Let me tell you how this helps. Let’s say the pot is 20BB on the flop and you bet 15BB and your opponent shoves on you for the full rest of his stack. You have to call 65BB into a total pot of 200BB so you need (65/200)*100=32.5% equity. Now, after you’re played the session, you assign the ranges that you put your opponent on, and see how you fare against them on that flop with your hand:

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 And now you know that for sure it was a call!

 Power Equilab

This is a more advanced PokerStove, and is for pretentious users. It does the same job, but also has some learning tools and some pre-built ranges. It’s a little bit more complex, so when you’re starting out, just use PokerStove, but as you advance, I really recommend this one for continuing the learning curve.

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The Best Free Poker HUD – Jivaro

 A poker HUD is a tracking software that keeps records on your opponents, like the total percentage of hands they played and the total hands that they like to raise pre-flop with, or their total fold to 3-bet percentage.

If you want to succeed in poker nowadays, especially at the higher limits, a HUD is mandatory. If you don’t employ one, you’ll be able to play successfully a maximum of 4 tables, and your opponents will have perfect recollection on your play-style, but you won’t have a perfect one on them, because let’s face it, the brain isn’t a perfect machine.

Nevertheless, don’t be afraid that you need to invest into expensive poker tracking software, because there are free and good alternatives. The best one of these, as I’ve found up until today, is Jivaro.

Not only does this HUD give you important stats on your opponents, it also adjusts the stats that it displays per street, so you’re going to have a really easy time with it, having only the most important stats displayed whenever the time is right for them.

Also, it just looks really sweet. Genuine eye-candy

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I hope I’ve convinced you that using poker software is mandatory nowadays, because it’s for your own good. HUD’s will give you an edge at the tables, and working off-sessions with PokerStove will give you more insights into your opponents, so next time you know how to make more money off them!

Good luck at the tables and keep reading these articles because they will help you improve your game and take it to the next level!.

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