Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The BASICS - WillisNYC

When I first started playing poker, everything was about the odds. I played limit ring a lot and needed to know if certain calls were justified. My first poker book listed all those "drawing"odds in a neat little chart that I copied and taped to the side of my computer monitor. It stayed there until I memorized those numbers and hard coded them into my brain. When I started playing a lot more NL ring, those numbers helped me to make good decisions quickly. Below is a copy of that chart with some explanations.

Odds w/2 cards Odds w/1 cards Examples
21 70.1% 45.7% Open end str8 flush draw with 2 overs
20 67.5% 43.5%
19 65.0% 41.3%
18 62.4% 39.1%
17 59.8% 37.0%
16 57% 34.8%
15 54.1% 32.6% Open end str8 flush draw
14 51.2% 30.4%
13 48.1% 28.3%
12 45.0% 26.1% Flush draw with one over
11 41.7% 23.9%
10 38.4% 21.7% Flopped set, missed turn, need FH
9 35.0% 19.6% Flush draw
8 31.5% 17.4% Open end Str8 draw or double gut
7 27.8% 15.2% Flopped a set, need a FH to win
6 24.1% 13.0%
5 20.4% 10.9% Have a pr, need to pr your kicker
4 16.5% 8.7% Inside (gutshot) straight draw
3 12.5% 6.5%
2 8.4% 4.3% You have pp and need a set
1 4.3% 2.2%

You also need some other numbers ‘hard-wired' about preflop odds for different types of starting hands. The odds of flopping a full house or other stronger hand are so low (.09% or less) as to be considered insignificant.

However the following stats are VERY significant.

A Beginner's Guide to Single Table Tournaments - Chris "Fox" Wallace

Single table tournaments (commonly referred to as STT's or SNG's) can be a huge source of income for an online player, and all it takes is a quick strategy lesson to beat the lower levels.

Micro-Limit SNG Guide - Chris "Fox" Wallace

Fox recently posted this in-depth guide to Micro-Limit SNG's in his blog and we thought it was worth putting up here as well. Watch for more videos from him on these games in the coming weeks. Building a bankroll from scratch? Trying to make a few bucks into a nice chunk of cash? Whatever your situation is, if you are playing the micro-limits I can help you make money. I’ve done all the research for you, played a bunch of different games at various levels, and even took that knowledge and built a bankroll from $200.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Set Mining - WillisNYC

This is such a basic concept of ring poker. Yet it constantly amazes me at how few people know and apply the concept of ‘set mining'. The concept is based on the odds of a person, who holds a pocket pair, flopping a set. Those odds are 12.5%. That percentage converts to one time in eight, a person holding a pocket pair will flop a set. A set is a very powerful ‘made' hand. It is almost always ahead on the flop and is likely to be the winner on the river unimproved. You can also ‘catch up' to flopped or made straights and flushes by pairing the board. A set is a hand most people who play ring NL are quite willing to put all their chips in the pot upon the flop.


Bankroll Requirements - WillisNYC

Early on in my poker career I lost my initial bankroll by not realizing the proper bankroll requirements for playing limit poker.

A normal string of losses at 5/10 limit poker quickly depleted my $3600 bankroll that I had built over the months preceding that one month run.

I started reading about bankroll requirements and started following the advice I found on them fanatically. Conservatively would be the way most people would term how I follow those bankroll requirements.
Mark Blade wrote an excellent book called Professional Poker in which he devotes two chapters to money and bankroll management for professional poker players. The gist of those chapters that I summarize below is for someone playing out of a given bankroll size for a living. Thus they do not apply to someone who is not playing for a living and can thus 'reload' his bankroll from other sources of income.


Why Your Post-Flop Play Sucks - Adam Stemple

I am a musician. At one time, a classically trained musician. There is a common problem among musicians when they try to learn a piece, and it comes from the very laudable desire to play the piece perfectly. I had this problem for many years. Once I learned a piece a little, I would immediately set myself the task of playing it all the way through without mistakes. If I screwed up even a little, I'd go back to the top of the piece and start over. When I finally played it without even a single minimal error, I would drop my bow in exhaustion (I was a cellist) with a tremendous sense of accomplishment.

The problem was I could now play the beginning of the piece with my eyes closed, the middle if I squinted, and the end? Well, the end I could play okay if I was looking at the sheet music carefully. And got lucky.

If you are playing Holdem correctly, in a full ring you're only playing 15-18% of your hands. And of those, how many do you take to the turn and river? Whereas you exercise your preflop muscles every time you look at your cards. Think of these areas like the beginning, middle, and end of the piece of music I was describing.


Friday, February 01, 2008

Taking the Free Money - Adam Stemple

Let's talk about tournaments. Everybody loves them, but so few people seem to know how to play them. Even knowledgeable players hold some common misconceptions that consistently cost them money.

In a full ring game, when I first get my cards, there are basically three things I consider: cards, position, action. In that order, like a flow chart:

A. Cards:
Playable--Go to B
Unplayable--Muck 'em

B. Position: Does my position warrant playing the cards I have?
Yes--Go to C
No---Muck' em

C. Action: Does the action before me, or the possible action behind me, allow me to play these cards?
Yes--Play 'em
No--Muck 'em


When to Gamble in MTT Tournaments - Adam Stemple

Gambling is a part of poker. Sure, you try to avoid it as much as possible--push out hands that are drawing to beat you and win without a showdown, get your money in with as big an advantage aspossible, fold when you're sure you're behind. But in tournaments, there are times when you are going to be forced to gamble. You'll need to slowplay those aces occasionally, move all-in when you know you're behind, maybe call a raise preflop with a hand you normally wouldn't. The key is to know the right time to do it. Pot odds (which is a big umbrella that includes actual odds, implied odds, and reverse implied odds) are the major factor in all poker decisions. But in tournaments, another factor comes into play strongly: the tournament situation. The tournament situation is comprised of a lot of factors, but the main ones I consider when deciding whether to gamble or not are:

1. How far I am from the money or the next jump in payout
2. My stack size in relation to my opponent
3. My stack size in relation to the blinds/antes (My "M" in the parlance of Harrington on Holdem. If you have not read his books you need to if you want to play in tournaments.)


Card Dead - Adam Stemple

It's happened to me, it's happened to you, it's happened to all of us. You sit for hours and watch an endless parade of cards that have nothing to do with each other go by. J6o, 83s, 92o--the crap just keeps on coming. You finally pick up a playable hand--KJ on the button, say--only to watch the flop come A88 with a bet and a raise in front of you. You throw it away and look at 72 or its equivalent for the next hour. It's then you realize it: you're card dead.


Three Days to Better No-Limit - Chris "Fox" Wallace

Many of you have already read my article Three Days to Better Hold Em, and since I have been playing mostly no-limit cash games this last month or two I thought a version dedicated specifically to no-limit games might be useful. If you haven't read the previous article yet I suggest you go through those three days first, though it isn't absolutely necessary.

Day One - Today you will play more hands than you ever have before. You'll play 65o under the gun and you'll play QTs to small raise. You learn to be a loose aggressive player, and you will learn how to beat opponents who play this way as well. You'll learn how to play well after the flop, which most players only have a vague understanding of, and you'll get more comfortable playing later into hands.

You will want to move down to a much lower level than you usually play, because you are going to be playing so many hands that you could lose a lot of money while you are getting used to the style. I personally did this exercise at the $50 NL tables on Full tilt and Party Poker, but if your bankroll is small you may want to move down to the nickel and dime games.


Playing Multiple Tables of Low-Limit Holdem - Chris "Fox" Wallace

Playing multiple tables at the lower limits can have some serious advantages, and is one of the easiest ways to make a solid long term income from poker.

Playing 4 tables of 3/6 has the same win rate for me as playing one table of 10/20, but the variance is much lower. I haven't had an hour where I lose $300 at 4 tables of 3/6, but at a 10/20 table this can happen easily. Not only does this make things easier on your psyche, but it requires a smaller bankroll as well. For bonus whores, being able to multi table is an absolutely necessity if you want to make a reasonable hourly rate. At 4 tables of 3/6, I actually collect raked hands for my bonuses about 6 times as fast as playing one table of 10/20, because many hands at a 10/20 table don't see a flop, and therefore don't get raked.

It's also nice to have hands popping up every few seconds demanding a decision. Not only is it very good for my game to see so many hands, but it keeps me from getting bored. I see aces about once every 45 minutes playing 4 tables, and a playable hand or an unraised blind every minute or two, so there's always something to do, and it's easy to stay real tight and solid.


Bankroll Overview - Chris "Fox" Wallace

It has occurred to me recently that many people have questions about bankroll management that aren't easily answered with just a simple number or a formula. This article should give you some ideas about how to think about your bankroll and what you need to know to come up with a reasonable bankroll strategy for yourself.

I'll start with a few numbers for reference. These aren't exact numbers, but they are a good place to start, and for our purposes they will do just fine. Below there are three columns. The numbers in the "Pro" column are for players who derive the majority of their income playing, and would be devastated financially if they lost their bankroll to a bad run of cards. Using these figures will yield a less than 1% chance of going broke over the course of a lifetime of play assuming that you are a solid winning player.


Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Bankroll Building Project (Guide to Micro-Limit SNGs)

Staying Motivated
posted by fox on January 20, 2008

I’ve helped a number of students with the issue of staying motivated even at stakes where the money doesn’t feel like it’s worth it, and I know it can be tough. I face that myself sometimes with this project because I have so little time to play poker these days and it’s tough to play micro-limits when I do finally get a chance to play. Playing at a little higher level over the past couple days for a few hours hasn’t made that any easier, though it has been nice to make a few bucks.

I played some $10-$20 No-limit on Bodog last night, along with some $30-$60 fixed-limit, and was up over $1,000 on both tables when I left. When I combine that with the higher level SNG’s I played a few days ago, and I’ve made around $4,500 in a few hours of play. Makes it tough to go back to $20 SNG’s, but it’s also nice to know that I won’t lose it all back in a hand or two and be grumpy for the rest of the day, so maybe the lower stakes will be nice.

I really do enjoy the project, and within a week or two everyone will understand why I’ve been too busy to spend much time on it for the last month or so. Really fun news coming very soon!

Read more about Chris's Micro-Limit project here >