Archives for June2013

Improve your poker game by having a plan

The poker attitude that will take you far and help you improve your poker game

poker attitude






1.Define your bankroll (amount of money you are willing to put at risk to play & learn). By definition you should consider that this money is already lost (or that you will not put yourself or your family at risk financially if your bankroll happens to drops to zero)

2.Respect all bankroll management principles depending on the game you are playing (cash game, sit & go’s, multi-table tournaments….) and stick to it. They have been confirmed again and over again and there is no reason why you in particular could be allowed to move away from them.

3.Define your objectives and review them regularly. Setting yourself some objectives over a defined period of time (for example extracting a 7% ROI from NL 20 or hitting the 18% ITM mark in MTTs…) is the best way to assess objectively your performance, to stay focus and then take necessary steps and actions to improve your game.

4.Keep track of your performance. I personally  keep track of all profits and losses for all games played since the first day I started. I know exactly where I stand today in terms of ROI by game type, limit and overall. It helps me understand in which direction I can go and on which games I should focus depending on my skills and objectives. It is easy to do and once you get organized will not take you more than 10 minutes after each session. But you have to be comprehensive. All games should be tracked (online and offline) meaning games with friends also.

5.Be result oriented and though on you. Be realistic also at any point in time on your performance. The last thing you want to do is dream about the player you wished you were and go down the bankruptcy road in the process.

6.Know when you are on tilt and move away from the game when it is the case. One key thing about becoming a positive player is to start by limiting your losses (try to lose less every time you lose a pot). This will probably be the first most important leak in your game that you have got to fix as much as you will try extracting some bigger value out of each pot.

7.Identify your leaks and one by one and try to fix them. Is my preflop raise % to low? Do I fold too often my BB when faced to a raise? You should use a tracker to help you understand your game patterns. I personally use poker copilot on Mac and i find it very useful. Analyse and review the hands that generated great losses (hands replay functionalities of all trackers are a great tool to do so).

8.Read as much as you can (engage on forums, read books) to get a grasp of the reality of the game and also of all efforts that are required to become a fair player and improve your poker game.

9.Do not blame it on the cards. Poker is variance. You will get busted by donkeys and lose 80/20. It will happen all the time and never stop. Your game has to be above that and you need to digest these spots not blinking.

10.Have fun trying to apply the above.

And remember « Poker may be a branch of psychological warfare, an art form or indeed a way of life – but it is also merely a game, in which money is simply the means of keeping score. »

10 keys to be successful in poker short handed games

Patience is a key virtue at a poker table but certainly not in short handed games

short handed

1. ALWAYS KEEP AN OPEN EYE : Usually at a full ring table (9 to 10 players) the strategy consists in waiting for a good hand. This allows you to potentially open 10 tables at a time. In short handed games (4 to 6 players) it is a luxury you will no longer have. Blinds go by fast and the table is more active. It is urgent you identify the betting patterns at the table to benefit from them.

2. BE AGRESSIVE : it does not matter if you are large or tight. You will have to be agressive. A 6-handed game is at half way between a full ring table and a heads up.  When you get involved in a hand you should always raise or re-raise based on a wider range of opening hands than the one you are used to at a full ring table.

3. REVIEW YOUR OPENING HANDS : you have to take the position into consideration but a winning player in a 6-max game usually plays between 10% and 30% of his hands.

4. PLAY THE POSITION : It is always key but increasingly in a short handed game. It is the best way to control the pot size with a marginal hand, raise the stakes, or extract a maximum of value from your big hands. At a 5-max game the player in the UTG seat is also at the hi-jack (just 2 seats before the button) and his bad position is all relative.

5. ACT AS THE BUTTON  KING : In this position you could in theory raise 100% of your hands. You will collect a lot of dead money and it will establish your domination at the table.

6. ABUSE OF C-BETS : If you raised pre-flop you will often be in the position to control the rest of the hand. Your opponents will have the tendency to check on the flop to leave you with the initiative. The odds that somebody connected on the flop (with only one or two opponents) are scarce. If you face a check-raise after having placed your continuation bet it will be time to control the pot size (or maybe drop the hand). Meanwhile your C-bets will have to be systematic.

7. DEFEND YOUR BLINDS : You should identify re-steal spots and do not hesitate to squeeze play from the blinds when the situation is favorable. From the small blind never complete the blind. The only two options are to fold or re-raise quite heavily to secure the best fold equity possible.

8. CHOOSE THE RIGHT TABLE : in a full ring game you can wait for some good hands before confronting yourself with the strong players at the table. In a short hand game you will not be able to avoid them. If you have no edge at the table leave it and find another one before you loose 3 buy-ins.

9. TARGET THE WEAK : Profiling the players in a short handed game is easy. Focus on weak players raising them in position and punish the limpers. In such a situation you are not playing your cards but playing the man.

10. BE READY TO COPE WITH THE VARIANCE : Swings will often occur. You will be facing a greater risk to be on tilt. Leave the table as soon as you feel that your start loosing it. Lower your limits and play less tables at the same time or increase your bankroll.