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The Full Tilt saga

After more than one year of equivocation, it seems that the end is near for the Full Tilt saga.

Indeed official rumors have been circulating for a few days indicating that the site will be back online before the end of the year, probably next month.

Pokerstars the new owner of FT poker is actively recruiting key staff in preparation for the relaunch. All pundits are waiting for that day to see if the site can regain its former glory. But this should be an uphill battle.

On one hand thousands if not millions of players have been unable to access their cash balance for more than one year. It is expected that once they get their money back (normally in the next few weeks), many will take their cash and run. Just because they have been upset with the Full Tilt fiasco for such a long time, waiting for this moment. But others may choose to stay if the traffic is reasonable.

The positive aspect is that Full Tilt will be run by pokerstars, and as the current global leader of online poker they have demonstrated that when it comes to deliver and please their players, there are second to none. So some players may think that the new Full Tilt will be well managed as far as players’ balances are concerned, and decide to stay. Given that pokerstars was able to convince the US Department of Justice to take the company over, despite being indicted themselves, this is a big confidence boost for the public, no doubt.

And new players may deposit too, simply because now there is practically no risk at all for their poker bankroll to get in some sort of trouble. After all pokerstars reimbursed all their US players just a few weeks after Black Friday.

Two of the unique features at Full Tilt were their software and their pro team. Regarding the former, it is still one of the best online poker software on the market, so reintroducing it as such will be a major attraction. In respect to the pros, pokerstars will probably not renew any contract, but they may decide to rehire a few of them. And some high stake players may want to sit at some of the nosebleed tables, just for the nostalgia of it.

The Full Tilt saga is almost over but not yet. Keep posted as this story will keep on filling the gossip columns to the foreseeable future.

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Sunday, September 16th, 2012 online poker Comments Off on The Full Tilt saga

Tricky poker

Often the hand you get in Texas Holdem Poker determines how you should play it.

If you have A-rag suited on a board A-rags with two cards of your suit giving you the nuts flush draw, you have flopped a monster. Technically, you only have a weak ace if the hand was to go to showdown without catching anything else, but this type of hand is the perfect spot that you can choose how to play it, making your opponent believe that you flopped strong, flopped weak, protecting your hand or just flopped and ace.

Out of position you can check-raise the flop, which looks very strong. Though you only have one pair on the flop, the draw makes this hand the statistical favorite over many hands and you can play it aggressively, knowing you have many outs. Often a check-raise will take the pot down.

Betting out on this flop is deceptive as well as your opponents do not expect you to show strength with a drawing hand. They would think that you are protecting a hand like a medium to strong top pair or two pairs. This line might lead to extra value later in the hand if you hit your draw, then check to feign weakness, like you are afraid of the draw hitting someone.

Some the ABC way is the trickiest way. Say you call out of position with a pair or sevens. And the flop is 47Q rainbow. An opponent checks over to you or bets with a queen and you raise. On a dry textured board like that, he would never put you on a set as he figures you would slow play such a monster on such a flop.

One favorite move used by the pros is to three-bet shove pre flop with a monster. As online players love to three-bet late position raisers from the blinds, this is very deceptive. You are likely to get called with hands such as 99 and better. As your opponent would be thinking that you would not be betting that much if you wanted a caller. Reverse psychology!

Add these plays to your game to mix it up and the table will fear you.

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Friday, March 25th, 2011 online poker Comments Off on Tricky poker

Reading opponents in PLO

This is a post about Pot Limit Omaha strategy. This game is known to have even more variance than NLHE. This means that you can lose or win a lot of money very fast. Winning money is possible, and one of the keys is to understand each one of your opponents.

What are the things to look for in the other players at the table? Here is a list of the things I consider when I play PLO:

Consistency of betting amounts. How does he vary his bet size? If this player usually pot bets, but sometimes he bets less at the flop such as 60 or 80% of the pot, make sure to take a note if there is a showdown. Does he bet less with monsters, or does he bet less with his draws?

Pre flop raising requirements. At one extreme there are the players who never raise. Rare but highly valuable if you find one, as they let you limp with a wide range of hole cards. Another fish type is the player who only raises with KK or AA, as they do not raise more valuable hands preflop such as KQT9 double suited.

Limping in multi way pots. With what hands does he enter such pot before the flop? You should love to spot players who limp with weak hands such as middle pair only or middle suited cards. Very often he will put all of his chips in the middle with bottom set or a queen high flush.

Flop betting range. Does he play his strong draws aggressively or does he prefer to get a free card? Does he bet with top pair, two pairs, or does he need at least middle set to open bet at the flop? Some aggressive players always play fast as a continuation bet if they raised before the flop. Some of them are Texas Hold ‘em players who have not yet adapted their c-betting frequency, make sure to keep a note of that.

The nuts factor. How close does he have to be to the nuts to put his whole stack in the middle? As before make sure to look at the showdowns to keep track of how prudent or imprudent he is. Rock types only shove with the near-nuts, while other looser players do not hesitate to do it with the third or even fourth nut flush or with top straight when there is a pair on the board.

If you can pay attention to all above factors, you have a nice summary of each PLO player at your table. You need to do that to beat them and take their money.

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Monday, July 26th, 2010 online poker Comments Off on Reading opponents in PLO

How much to bet

I see a lot of players who are rather new to online poker and come to me and ask me the same question all the time. How much should I bet and when should I bet.

There’s definitely no exact answer and there’s a lot of great players who bet a lot of different ways. In poker like in most games you must develop your own style that you feel comfortable with and build up from there. In online poker the rule number one is to be aggressive, so the answer to the question when you should bet is as often as possible. Practice and see for yourself your comfort level, but do not fall in the trap of playing passively, a sure recipe for not making money.

As for how much to bet, here are some basic guidelines that can help you develop your betting style.

Try to bet according to the size of the pot. I often bet somewhere around 2/3 of the pot, this is my benchmark. Around this level, I may bet more or less depending on the circumstance. For example if I know my opponent is very aggressive I may start my betting at a lower level, such as 60% of the pot. Or if there is an obvious draw, I may bet 100% of the pot or even 125% (overbetting) sometimes so that calling with that draw is a clear bad play.

Adjust your bet sizes when the blinds get high. It is usually not advised to min-raise pre flop, but once the blinds are expensive in a large multi-player tournament, it can actually be a fairly large raise, sufficient to produce its result.

Make your bet size consistent. If you make the same size bets and raises, with good hands, bad hands, bluffs, you will be much harder to read. What the top poker pros do is that they will change their bet size depending on their position, not on the strength of their hand. Bet more early to discourage callers who will have the positional advantage over you post flop, but bet less in late position as you can open-bet with weaker hands and use position to your own advantage.

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Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010 online poker Comments Off on How much to bet

Selecting the right poker games

How to select the right game at online poker

It is important to be in the right poker games for you. The games where you are comfortable and where you can earn good money.

Select the games that allow you to play your way, but give you the best chance to win. Here are a few pointers to find the right games:

  • The lowest limits you can tolerate:
  • The smallest antes or blinds.
  • Lots of loose-passive players.
  • No more than one loose-aggressive player.
  • A large pool of players.
  • A full table.

Why low limits and small antes or blinds? Generally, the lower the limits, the weaker the players. In the smallest games many players are loose and passive. In addition, most of them will not recognize your style or exploit your predictability, but the better players in the larger games will quickly identify and adjust to your style, turning you from a winner into a loser.

The ratio of antes to bets also favors you in the smallest stud games, but works against you in the larger ones. You are virtually unbeatable at the smallest stud games because there are no antes (or trivial ones), and the players are so loose. The one negative in the smaller games is that the rake is relatively high, but you still have the edge in them. Unless you play at some micro-limits games without rake.

As the game gets larger, the antes become a larger fraction of the bets, and the players get tighter and better. These changes cause your style to shift slowly from an asset, to neutral, to a liability.

The same process occurs more slowly in hold ‘em because the blinds are always about the same percentages of the bets.

A good idea is to play at an online poker room that has a lot of traffic and attracts plenty of new players with their promotions. This way you are guaranteed to find loose or new players who make mistakes while playing poker.

In this respect, the largest poker room pokerstars has plenty of small fish. Use a pokerstars bonus code 2014 in order to qualify for their 100% bonus up to $600. That is a cool incentive to boost your bankroll when you sign up.

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Sunday, May 2nd, 2010 online poker Comments Off on Selecting the right poker games