Poker Psychology: Superstitions, Rituals & Habits 

January 12, 2015 by  
Filed under Angus Dunnington, News, Poker School

It’s strange how some of the most logical, rational people are prone to superstition. Even during my days as a pro chess player it was not so unusual, in a vast hall full of people engrossed in arguably the most testing game around in terms of there being no luck element, to see superstitious types. Lucky shirts are common (despite causing certain sartorial challenges), as are pre-game rituals and even placing (and moving) the pieces in a very specific manner, and without exception. A Dutch International Master, for example – also a fan of loud shirts, funnily enough – deliberately positions knights facing backwards which, from the opponent’s point of view, can be quite disconcerting…

Poker players are no different. Anyone who plays ‘live’ for the first time might initially be surprised to see people around the table almost obsessively stacking and rearranging their chips in a particular fashion. Some like the sight of giant stacks, others multiple small stacks which, in turn, will be arranged according to a player’s taste – all ostensibly meaningless but, in reality, often providing the player with a confidence-boosting familiarity.

Lucky charms (usually as card protectors) abound, which might be more understandable when our fate can be cruelly determined by Lady Luck but, of course, has no influence on which cards will next appear. Some male players believe they’re ‘unlucky’ against women, others have one or more starting hands (not necessarily trash hands) that they simply never play. This last one perhaps best explains how we might succumb to superstitions, which are (in this context) essentially a subjective construct founded purely in hindsight, and emotionally driven. We might experience unusually good (or bad) results – or perform with a certain level of success – which we attribute to a change in circumstance and, subsequently, consciously endeavour to reproduce (or actively avoid). We see a pot ‘stolen’ from us two or three times after calling a pre-flop raise with this or that hand, and will be loathe to repeating the same play. Poor results against women, incidentally, might well be a genuine problem for lots of male players, but this is due to poor luck or – more likely – good old-fashioned chauvinism obscuring the decision-making process (or simply being an inferior player).

Of course results-led irrational thinking can also have its upside if it means scaring us away from poor strategy but, in the main, we are far better off having nothing to do with superstition and instead focusing on facts. Poker is, after all, a matter-of-fact game that continually delivers psychological blows, and if we were to succumb to the notion that all manner of circumstance and condition can contribute to our fate, then it would never end.

Ritual and habit, on the other hand, can be quite different if it means adhering to certain types of behaviour that are beneficial to our game, such as sleeping properly, good diet and the general aspects of health that aid concentration and help us maintain psychological stability. We’re going to have more luck in the long-term if we avoid alcohol before sitting down to play. Listening to ear-bursting thrash metal isn’t something we should associate with bad luck after noticeable losses – it’s a distraction we should associate with producing poor concentration.

Good luck at the tables!

Angus Dunnington
32Red Poker Ambassador

Flip Festival II: Flip Harder

January 8, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured, News

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Flip your way to cash prizes at 32Red Poker with our Flip Festival II: Flip Harder promotion… €33,000 is up for grabs! Flip (formerly ‘carnage’) tournaments are modern, online poker‘s easy, strategy-free format where everyone is automatically put all-in, every hand, until just one player is left standing. Apart from not having to worry over difficult decisions in Flip tournaments, you don’t even need to be logged in to take part in them! It’s enough to just register for the tournament, and you can leave the rest to fate.

However, during the Flip Festival II you’ll be able to increase your chances of winning. Only 100 raked hands during the promotional period are necessary to register in one of the three weekly Flip Freerolls, but the more hands you play, the bigger the starting stack! Given that each tournament offers a prize pool of €11,000, with €1,000 for the winner, and the top 400 finishers are paid, it’s well worth racking up those hands! The promotion runs from 9th January 2015 until the last promotional Flip tournament ends, and the freeroll tournaments will take place on the 16th, 23rd and 30th January 2015, with each starting at 18:00 GMT. Get flipping, and good luck!

Click here to find out more…

 

32 DAYS OF POKER

December 2, 2014 by  
Filed under News

It’s that festive time of year again, and at 32Red Poker we like to make sure you’ll remember December for being a great poker month. From Monday 1st December, right through to Thursday 1st January 2015, our 32 Days of Poker will feature a range of festive goodies. Check out what’s on offer by clicking on the corresponding bauble on our special seasonal tree…

There’s something for everyone, with different tournament formats from freezeouts to rebuys, free bonus chips just for logging in to 32Red Poker, micro buy-ins with mega prize funds, freerolls… it’s a veritable hamper full of poker treats.

Day 1, for example, on Monday 1st December at 7pm GMT, will be our €1,000 Welcome Freeroll, with free entry and a prize fund of €1,000! A freezeout, this tournament offers 2000 starting chips and 12-minute levels.

We’ve even made ‘competing’ easy for you as New Year approaches by having ‘Flip’ tournaments (everyone is all-in), where the only effort required is playing a few raked hands to qualify and then registering. Day 31, Wednesday 31st December, 10:30pm GMT is our €1,000 Flip Freeroll (100 Raked Hands)

Our 32 Days of Poker culminates on Day 32, Thursday 1st January, 7pm GMT, with the HAPPY NEW YEAR! (€2015 Freeroll) when you can start 2015 with a bankroll-boosting bang.

Have a December of poker fun with 32Red Poker!

Get Your Hands on Added Sit & Go Booty

November 4, 2014 by  
Filed under News

Not very much tends to happen in November, so we’re spicing it up at 32Red Poker by adding money to the prize funds of our bankroll-friendly Sit & Go tournaments. This format is popular among both beginners and more experienced players, being simultaneously exciting and instructive. Sit & Go poker is also good for when you don’t have a great deal of time but still want to play, allowing you to enjoy the poker tournament experience in a small field, even lending the proceedings a final table feel.

Play our promotional Sit & Go tournaments during November and you’ll have the chance to boost your winnings by getting your hands on added prize money. If you fancy the gladiatorial strategy found in Heads-Up poker, then these are included in our promotion, too. See the Sit & Go lobby to find the tournaments that are eligible, as well as how much money is added to the prize fund.

If you’re new to S&Gs, a good tip is to keep your powder dry during the earlier blind levels and not slip into the habit of calling with decent looking but not very strong hands. There’s also no need to panic when one or two players seem to be forging ahead with big stacks – the important thing is how many players are still in contention, and having a stack that can do some damage. The mission, of course, is to finish in the money and make a profit – in this case a bigger than usual profit.

Click here to find our more.

Bad Beat Jackpot

October 29, 2014 by  
Filed under News

Thanks to the internet and the natural development and evolution of online poker, every poker enthusiast is sure to eventually play enough hands to experience some very bad luck. How many times do we see our near invincible hand lose on the river to a long, long shot? (too many…). While bad beats can be demoralising, we should be able to see the funny side and put them down to simply being part of the game.

Thanks to the Bad Beat Jackpot it’s possible to earn money from the ultimate in bad beats – even someone else’s. When a big hand (minimum 2222) loses to an even bigger hand, the jackpot is paid out on multiple levels. The ‘loser’ (the bad beat winner) receives the biggest share of the booty but anyone who has paid the 2 cents to opt in is also a winner – it’s not even necessary to be playing at the same table as the jackpot hand, merely the same stakes.

This week, for example, the jackpot was hit on a €100 max table, four of a kind, 4444, ‘losing’ to four aces, when the jackpot had reached €13233.59…

You’ve got to be in it to win it, so to be in with a chance of making a profit from poor fortune for a change, opt in by simply clicking on the BB icon.

Click here for more information and good luck at the 32Red Poker tables!

TTayseer555 Wins €1,500 Tallinn Package

October 15, 2014 by  
Filed under News

When the MPN Poker Tour rolls into Tallinn, the scenic Estonian capital, 15-18 January 2015, 32Red player TTayseer555 will be on his way to the €40,000 Guaranteed Main Event after winning his way to glory this week.

We’re giving away €1,500 packages via our extensive, bankroll-friendly qualification satellites, so if you fancy a fantastic poker break, including four nights’ accommodation at the Radisson Blu Olümpia (the venue hotel), an additional €150 buy-in for a Side Event and €400 expenses… hit those satellites.

Remember that our satellites provide players with more than one format, from Sit & Go to Rebuys, as well as wonderfully random Flip tournaments. Different poker variants call for different approaches, so good luck on your quest for Tallinn.

Click here to start your journey…

Win a €1,500 Package to Tallinn, Estonia

After successful events in London and Malta, the MPN Poker Tour will move to the picture-postcard Estonian capital, Tallinn, 15-18 January 2015. Live poker is always thrilling, but being part of a poker festival in such a great setting makes the experience even more memorable.

We’re giving our players at 32Red Poker the opportunity to qualify for a €1,500 package  which includes the €550 buy-in for the €40,000 Guaranteed Main Event, a €150 buy-in for a Side Event, four nights’ accommodation at the fantastic Radisson Blu Olümpia venue hotel and €400 expenses.

That should be more than enough motivation to begin your qualifying quest, which is as bankroll-friendly as it gets. There are satellites to suit all pockets, with buy-ins starting as low as 40c. Furthermore, the tournament formats are also varied, featuring SnG, Freezeout, Rebuy, Turbo and even Carnage tournaments. These, of course, each require different skill sets, and will make the qualifying experience an interesting and rewarding one whether or not you win your way to the €1,500 package (and the  15 January Welcome reception that also comes with it…).

Good luck, and hopefully you’ll be celebrating the New Year with a trip to Tallinn…

Click Here to find out more.

Four Play: Play 4 – Get 1 Free!

October 1, 2014 by  
Filed under News

We just can’t help giving stuff away for free at 32Red Poker. This month, for example, during our Four Play promotion, which will run throughout October, we’ll be handing out free entry to two of our most popular tournaments, namely The Mosh Pit and Big Night In. And it’s not rocket science – simply play either of these tournaments four or more times this month and you’ll receive a free buy-in ticket to have another go in November (note that a free tickets will be awarded on November 3rd).

Poker tournaments come in various formats, and these two have a distinctive feel that has proven rather popular.

The Mosh Pit (€8,000 Guaranteed) is a daily rebuy tournament with a €22 buy-in and €20 rebuys. It is the nature of rebuy events that they can be fast and furious and, with a juicy prize fund on offer, the aptly named Mosh Pit is no exception. There are plenty opportunities to make the money (and earn your free entry) during the course of the month because this tournament is held every night at 7pm UK time. There are also satellites that provide discount qualification thanks to buy-ins as low as €2.20.

Meanwhile, our Big Night In (€7,000 Guaranteed) is exactly that. Starting at 8pm UK time – also nightly – this is a different set-up, being a deep-stacked freezeout with a total buy-in of €110. Again, satellites are available, from as little as €5.50, and the freezeout aspect lends itself to a quite different approach than the more bloodthirsty Mosh Pit.

As well as being able to earn free tickets just for playing four tournaments, you’ll also have the opportunity to take advantage of additional freebies this month, as we’ll be giving away over €10,000 in free tickets to both these tournaments! Satellites are always worth a go in order to sit down to play big money tournaments at bargain buy-in prices, but there’s even more incentive this month because, throughout October, we will be adding value to some of our Mosh Pit and Big Night In satellites in the shape of additional tickets! Indeed the total added value during the month will be over €10,000, so don’t forget to check out these value added satellites to make the most of the Four Play promotion.

Click here to find out more, and good luck at the tables!

Thinking Poker

September 30, 2014 by  
Filed under Angus Dunnington, News, Poker School

How far do you think ahead? Indeed, do you bother considering how a hand could pan out from street to street or – more to the point – your potential influence on the direction it might take? Poker obviously has a luck element in the form of the ‘unknowns’ but, crucially, there’s far more to the game than waiting for each new card to appear and making adjustments and decisions based rather simplistically on how each new arrival relates to our holding.

We need to experience a level of control as a hand progresses (if we don’t we can be sure someone else will) and this clearly requires some serious aforethought. Moreover, with one of the chief characteristics of online poker being the limited thinking time that keeps the game fluid, it’s imperative we try to think ahead in order to facilitate the decision making process as the temperature inevitably hots up. Note that there is a distinction between thinking and planning – the former means taking into account what might lie ahead and what our actions could be, while the latter is perhaps too specific and elusive.

Some hands are easier to weigh up – and their futures easier to anticipate – than others. Hitting a set, for example, affords us some flexibility but brings with it a rather simple choice of strategy. The common scenario of being dealt AK, on the other hand, is well worth investing time in before we even sit down at the virtual table. If we are in c, for instance, and throw in a raise, then we already know that we will bet a number of flops, regardless of whether we hit. Of course the better our position the wider our range, so we also need to think about the trickier and potentially very profitable hands with which we can win big pots by bypassing the opposition’s radar, a perfect example being calling late with suited connectors. The obvious train of thought revolves around how best to engineer a situation, when we hit big, to get the most out of the pot. But what do we do when our holding has no relation whatsoever with the flop? The ‘automatic’ response for most players is to put the brakes on, and herein lies the problem with not thinking sufficiently about the game because, in this particular scenario, part of our deliberate thinking should include our readiness to react to it being checked round to us by putting in a steal bet when we fail to hit. Adhering too closely to ABC-type poker by effectively limiting our options in advance due to a lack of proper consideration, rather than actively anticipating how we might most positively act as a hand evolves, is a considerable, cumulative error.

The more we grow used to thinking ahead, the better we can approach pre-flop decisions, with our range and pre-flop criteria eventually becoming a natural part of our post-flop thinking and overall strategy. Some holdings clearly have more post-flop mileage than others, and we learn to incorporate certain hands – and certain types of hands – into lines of thought that can subsequently be adjusted, as well as associate this or that hand with situations that can to some extent be confidently anticipated.

Good luck at the tables!

 

Angus Dunnington (AngusD at the tables)
32Red Poker Ambassador

Poker Personality: Are You Suited?

September 17, 2014 by  
Filed under Angus Dunnington, News, Poker School

I once read that Sebastian Coe, one of the greatest ever distance runners, had the advantage of having legs of equal length (you may be surprised to know that most of us are not so lucky) and, in turn, the additional bonus of symmetry that is required to transform ‘normal’ running into a smooth, economical glide. If this is indeed true, as it will be for some amongst elite athletes, then Coe was – quite literally – born to run.

Regardless of factors such as dedication and the four-letter word that is work, it certainly helps to be naturally disposed to poker. After all, with so much literature, strategy advice and number-crunching statistical software around nowadays we’ll more than welcome a potentially key edge that DNA affords us if it means we’re more likely to pick up an extra pot or two here and there.

Who, then, possesses the natural attributes that are, typically, most conducive to a successful poker quest? And is having the natural skills that enhance our game necessarily more significant than not being weighed down by equally natural bad habits and permanently undiscovered misconceptions? Not everyone at the table was destined for profit, so it follows that some players are simply more genetically wired up for the game than others.

Of course this subject is absolutely specific to the individual and, as such, necessitates a potentially brutal level of honest introspection, but it’s well worth the effort. In poker – as in life – understanding our strengths is imperative if we are to make the most of them, while appreciating and addressing our weaknesses and their implications is no less crucial. Just one ostensibly irrelevant personality trait could have a major influence on how we play.

I have been told recently, for example, that I am prone to passively going with the flow rather than making decisions. In my defence I should point out that this ‘analysis’ stems from my being a gentleman and subscribing to the theory that the lady should decide certain matters. Yet she swept aside my protestations that I am, in fact, the epitome of assertiveness and, given that her legs are – allegedly – exactly the same length, placing her alongside Lord Coe and thus appearing to lend her assessment added gravitas, I was forced to entertain the possibility. Can I be passive when I should be pro-active? Do I allow opponents to dictate the course of a hand instead of finding ways to assume the initiative? When I think I’m being clever and tricky by merely calling bets, am I really achieving no more than being a passive calling station?

Regardless of the answers, the point is I’m now asking the right questions – prompted by something as far removed from poker as the theoretical (in)significance of my companion’s leg measurements.

Good luck at the tables!

 

Angus Dunnington (AngusD at the tables)

32Red Poker Ambassador

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