Archives for February2013

In the initial stages of a poker freeroll event avoid the action

Stay away from the frenzy at the start of a freeroll




In the initial stages of a freeroll event, try not to get involved in pots unless you hold a very strong hand, and especially not from early position. Too many players will simply shove all their chips into the middle, regardless of what cards they are holding.

Whatever the position

You should go all-in preflop with : AA, KK, QQ an AK (even if someone raised before you)

Middle position (cut-off, cut-off -1, cut-off -2)

  • Preflop, you can add JJ and AQ to your game if nobody raised before you
  • Preflop, you should raise to x4 (or above) BB if you find a 66 or higher pair if nobody raised before you

Late position (BB, SB and button)

Preflop, you should limp with all speculative hands (pair of 55 and under, all AXs and all middle or high suited connectors at least 67s)

After the flop

  • The question is  »did you improve your hand? ». If yes you should go all in with double pair or better.
  • With an open-ended straight draw (OESD) you should go all-in if several opponents already put money into the pot
  • With top pair, you go all in if you have at most two opponents, otherwise you should play the turn and river cautiously

How to build your poker bankroll from scratch?





You will cross 2 types of players in a freeroll (true beginners who do not know how to play or players who play for fun and which do not care so much about their result in the tournament).


  • Build a bankroll starting with no funds / 100% profit game
  • Accumulate experience at the tables without having to  »buy » it
  • Enter freerolls light-hearted and play them for fun


PROFITABLE GAMESTYLE : do not bluff, wait for a good hand and enter the hand with heavy bets/raises (heavier than what you are used to)

How to secure the 1st place in a poker sit & go?

Sit & Go

You made it and you bursted the bubble. Now given the pay-out structure your sole objective is to win. Agress and steal blinds. Be aggressive. Below 5BB you have no more fold equity! All players will open up their range now they are paid. If you are not the short stack and if the short stack has less than 3BB you can afford to wait to see him bust out.

In a heads-up situation remember that hands that have > 50% chances to win are all A and all K, Q5o / Q2s and higher suited kickers, J7o / J5s and higher suited kickers 108 and above, K2o.

Above 15 BB :
Play small ball (raise with a wide range of hands fromthe button, C-bet and be aggressive on the turn also if you connected).
Below 10 BB :
You are back again to a push or fold but based on the SAGE system. Although profiling and size of stacks are important factors in your decision making, tthe SAGE System is the only mathematical system allowing to take optimal decisions in all situations. SAGE method: is to be applied as soon as one of the two stacks is < to 10 times (BB+ante): decision is then easy, its a FOLD or an ALL IN.



Climbing your way up to the bubble in Poker Sit & Go’s

To make it to the bubble in a Sit & Go you will have to show more activity at the table


During intermediary levels (5-6 players left, usually 1 big stack and 4-5 short stacks) your game will consist in pre-flop moves when you are in position (steals, squeeze, re-steals…).


  • Open up your game
  • Blind stealing becomes profitable


  • Connectors (suited or not) will very rarely find appropriate odds
  • Middle pairs increase their relative value
  • Stop playing A with small kickers and small pairs
  • Do no hesitate to not defend your blinds if faced to a raise
  • With a strong hand in the BB position do not raise preflop and favor a check-raise move on the flop
  • With a strong hand in the BB position if you are faced with a raise you should opt for a strong 3-bet


  • Should you have succeeded during the first 3-4 levels to maintain your initial stack or have had the chance to double you will have to be more active.
  • Blinds represent 6 to 8% of the average stack, players are the table are more chilly and it becomes profitable to steal blinds. Open up your range.
  • If your M < 20 and if you are the 1st or 2nd stack adopt a semi-agressive mode.
  • If your M < 20 and you have one of the smallest stacks you have 2 options  »to die slowly at a passive table » or opt for a « push or fold » strategy if a lot of players are still involved (with a A or a K with a good kicker or any pair…). The size of stacks at these levels make 3-bet all in moves very profitable. Basically be aware when you open that you are ready to commit to go all-in. You should attack all average stacks and not try stealing from the small stacks or the cheapleader. If you face a 3-bet or a lot of action preflop should fold all Ax, broadways, 22 to JJ.

If you want to improve your game close to the bubble please check our partner tips at

Poker ITM target if you play Sit & Go




  • With a 33,3% ITM playing Sit & Go is probably the best option to build your bankroll while facing a low risk of getting broke.
  • At a given limit your ITM should be >35% and you should finish 1st >10% of the games you enter.
  • You should always favor the 3rd place winnings to the 1st place winnings.
  • If your ROI is >10% (over a significant run) you should climb up to the next limit
  • Pros have a ROI between 15 and 20% (being over 20% proves impossible except over a short run)

How to burst the bubble in a poker sit & go?

How well you play the bubble in a Sit & Go will be a driver of your profitability

bubble 1





Only 4 players left, you have to be active.
Do not expect to make your way to the money by staying out of the frenzy. Its always a push or fold (if you are not the cheapleader). You need to master the ICM concept here.
If you are the cheapleader you can keep stealing from middle stacks mostly.
If you are the small stack you have a great fold equity against medium stacks which are waiting for the cheaplead to take you out. You can go all in with marginal hands like Kx, Q8+, 22+, 67+s except against the cheapleader in which case you will need stronger hands (77+, A10+, KQ+).
If you have a medium stack attack your sibblings (other medium stacks) or wait for the shortstack to get eliminated.


  • Forget about postflop game
  • With a decent stack if BB is called or raised you should fold even with a strong hand
  • If you have a small stack you should leverage the fold equity
  • Do not expect to make your way to the money by staying out of the frenzy. Its always a push or fold (if you are not the cheapleader). You need to master the ICM concept here.


  • Playing the bubble is really complex (a full book could be written on it).
  • Exploit the  »bubble factor » (or again the fear of busting).This bubble factor is even more important for 2 players at the table (the 2 middle stacks).
  • If you are chipleader (>30 BB) at that time you should use your stack to agress the table and try to weaken the middle stacks essentially. Always re-raise those 2 players with a 2,5 to 3BB raise. Always try to steal the small stack blinds remaing careful if he tries to stop your steal attempts by raising all-in. Sooner or later he will make a mistake against you or the other players. The general idea when you are chipleader is to try and make the bubble last as long as possible. Avoid as much as you can to call a pre-flop all in.
  • If you are one of the two intermediary stack (between 10 and 20BB) you will have to focus on your counterpart at the table (the 2nd middle stack). Steal his blinds and avoid confrontations with the small stack or or wait for the shortstack to get eliminated.
  • If you are the small stack (<10BB) take risks and raise all in even with marginal hands (Kx, Q8+, 22+, 67+s). Avoid the cheapleader unless you hold stronger hands (77+, A10+, KQ+).
  • At the bubble AKs is a hand that can be folded to an  »ALL IN »


  • If the small stack raised all-in and has been called and if the small stack represents less than a 1/3 of your own stack and you have a hand with a good potential you should also go all-in to increase the chances of busting the small stack and striking an ITM

Poker tips for the 1st rounds of a Sit & Go

When beginning a Sit & Go keep your nerves and be conservative

Sit & Go


  • Preseve your stack to use at later levels your fold equity when there will be 5/6  »short » stack players so that you can deploy an efficient « push or fold strategy ».
  • Target is to try to reach an acceptable M-Factor (M being the ration between your stack and the value of blinds) when approaching the bubble in a Sit & Go
  • You will rarely have an interest in growing the pot preflop. Big pots are for big hands. Do not spew your chips.


Pre-flop play a tight, agressive game and in position. A raise is 3 or 4BB during the first level (+1 BB by limper) with the following opening hands :

  • UTG / +1 / +2 / +3 : 88+, AK, AQs and only follow a raise with AA or KK
  • Middle: 77+, AQ+, AJs

At the button or the cut-off wait a few turns before attempting to steal the blinds (and preferably do not try to steal blinds)

  • Cut-off’ 55+, A10+, A8s, KQ, KJ
  • Button: 22+, A8+, A5s, broadways
  • Small blind: see « button ». You can compete the blind if you hold a hand with a potential and depending on BB level of aggression

General advices :

  • With pairs up to JJ do not fish for 3 of a kind if you are not at a passive table or at least at the cut-off position and with several limpers or if you are faced to a raise
  • Play all suited A with at least 10 as a kicker and all broadways suited or connected if you are not facing a raise
  • Call a raise preflop only if this raise represents less than 5% of your stack
  • With suited connectors go and see the flop if it costs you little and especially when a lot of players are involved in the hand
  • If somebody raised pre-flop, if you hold AA or KK you should 3-bet and never call. Flat call with AQ or 22+ and learn to fold weak Aces with low kickers even if suited. Play Q and J depending on the opener position and his supposed range.
  • In a pot with several limpers: call only with hands which have a good potential (suited Aces, broadways and suite connectors, pairs from 22 to 99). The more limpers the greater implied odds you get. Consider to raise only with 99+ or AQ+ (3BB + 1BB x number of limpers).


  • During the first 3-4 first levels of a Sit & Go you should play very few hands and use those levels to profile the players. Either raise or fold
  • You can use the continuation bet but not out of position
  • You will only get the chance to play a postflop game during the first 3/4 levels. Play a solid and straightforward game (value bet, play strongly top pair top kicker and overpairs, do not slowplay). Against 1 opponent C-bet as often as you can (50% to 75% of the pot) provided you have the position and  a favorable board. However, fold if needed on the turn if you have Air (no pair, no draw…). Against 3 opponents you should C-bet if you connected with the flop or if you found a draw. Check/fold with Air. With more than 3 opponents you should most of the time fold with Air.

Poker winning attitude in cash game NLH

In low stakes cash game you should:




  • Adopt a Weak Tight or Tight Agressive
  • Not bluff
  • Not slowplay (never never never – except if you hit a full-house or four of a kind!)
  • Not try to trick, do not go for fancy moves
  • Fold as much as needed
  • Get your  »tilt » under control. If you are facing a bad run or bad beat by a fish move away from the table and come back when you are calm again. Its EV+ in the long run, rest assured.

In middle stakes cash game TAG still works well:

  • Look for nits and maniacs in order to put pressure on them
  • Put pressure on the  nits (VP$IP <15% ,PFR <10% , 3bet <2%, (Fold to) 3bet >60%) : float the flop and make a big check-raise on the turn.
  • Put pressure on the maniacs (PFR >30% , VP$IP >35% , 3bet >6%, (Fold to) 3bet <30%) : for this you need to have the position on them and sit at his left

How aggressive should you be in small and middle stakes cash game poker (NLH)?

Aggression in cash game should lead you to build big pots with strong hands




At these limits your cash game opponents will almost always call if they are on a straight or flush draw or if they have hit a pair. You should always value bet if you found a strong hand (on the flop, turn and river) up to 50% ot 80% of the pot.

  • Do not use scare cards on a bluff attempt (for instance a 3rd heart on the turn) because your opponents will not have the skills to understand the meaning of your bet (and you will get called)
  • At NL2 and NL5 you can limp a bit more (than a higher limits) to try value your speculative hands but restricted to those 2 limits only as you will rarely be punished by a re-raise at a generally passive table
  • If you are faced on your left with a player that uses and abuses of 3-bets you have no option but tighten your game or change table (4-bet lights will rarely be profitable unless you increased your stack from 100BB to 200BB)
  • At NL10 cash game limit limps to the minimum (in late position following several limpers)
  • At NL25 cash game make some adjustments to your game : steal blinds, float, introduce 2nd-barrels…