Fish Party Changes

December 1, 2016 by  
Filed under News

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Even the wheel probably needed a bit of tweaking when some smarty pants first discovered how to get stuff from A to B by rolling it along on a couple of round things.

Such is the case with the introduction a few months ago of our popular Fish Party Sit & Go tournaments, the fun-filled, breakneck speed 3-player No Limit Hold’em tournaments that suit all bankrolls and promise enormous jackpots, with payouts that can be thousands of times the buy-in!

We want to make them as player-friendly as possible while keeping prize pools suitably nosebleed high and, with this in mind, as of December 14th we’ll be reducing the effective rake by almost half – from the current 10.17% to 5.85%.

We hope this will keep the Fish Party experience a fun and, of course, profitable one, and that you make the most of the amendments to the prize structure, too. One advantage that is bound to prove very popular and be particularly noticeable is that the next jump up in the prize pool from 2 x the buy-in will be a new 4x multiplier. This will replace the current 3x multiplier and mean that you’ll be fighting for prize pools that are higher than total buy-ins considerably more often than before!

As with all our games, we constantly keep an eye on how players are doing and what is the best way to maximize value and other important factors with a view to providing the best playing experience possible for as many players as possible. Have fun at the Fish Party and, remember – don’t be the fish!

Find out more

Dangers of Drawing on the Flop

August 19, 2014 by  
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Potentially pot-winning draws on the flop provide some of the most exciting, tense situations in No Limit poker. Decent looking odds and the prospect of a big payout should we hit against an opponent we will be ahead of when the chips hit the virtual felt tend to make flush and open-ended straight draws look particularly attractive. We will, after all, be getting 2:1 pot odds to hit our draw by the river simply by calling a pot-sized bet on the flop – poker made easy…

If only it were that simple! We are indeed on a flop-to-river 2:1 draw but that’s in an ideal, convenient world where the next two streets cost us nothing to see. In reality, matters are often quite different and, unfortunately, sufficiently confusing to elicit mistakes. Let’s say that one of the cards we need to hit doesn’t materialise on the Turn, and our adversary again bets the pot. Doesn’t calling allow us to maintain the same conditions we had on the flop thanks to our continued 2:1 pot odds? Alas, no. Our pot odds might have remained the same, but failing to hit from Flop to Turn means we now have one less bite of the cherry than when we undertook this typical poker challenge – in fact our draw odds are now 4:1, rendering the call impossible to make. Moreover, not only should we fold here when faced with a pot-sized bet, but our initial call on the flop should also have been avoided! This is the problem when we focus too much on pot odds while not fully appreciating the actual odds of hitting our draw. In this example the 2:1 odds to hit are redundant as soon as a comfortable ride to the river becomes unlikely. A sizeable bet on the Turn is going to throw an enormous spanner in the works, effectively forcing us to abandon what was probably a doomed mission.

Of course other factors should be considered when contemplating the initial flop bet, such as whether our opponent is bluffing or making a continuation bet, perhaps, do we have overcards to the flop that would put us in front should we hit a big(ger) pair, are we up against a player who tends not to maintain the aggression come the Turn?

We always need to weigh up an assortment of situational properties when making these awkward decisions but, generally, it pays not to get into the habit of misinterpreting true ost-flop draw odds. A crue truism in poker is how one mistake can quite naturally form the ill-judged foundation for a subsequent, increasingly significant error and, before we know it, instead of the hoped for successful resolution of a pot that was ostensibly affording us attractive prospects on the Flop, we find ourselves dressed up with nowhere to go, a little bewildered at how easily our chip stack has dwindled.

Good luck at the tables!

Angus Dunnington
32Red Poker Ambassador

Stealing Pots (It might as well be you)

August 13, 2014 by  
Filed under News

Human nature is a fascinating thing, and poker is full of it. Intuition, habit, how we perceive both ourselves and others, projection, interpretation, wishful thinking, caution and countless other thoughts/thought processes and emotions play their part (often collectively) at some point or other.

What makes the game so rich is that these factors can have such vastly different significance from one hand to the next, and it’s a constant battle – the more we become involved in a session – as we strive to zone in on the various aspects of table dynamics.

However, some potentially profitable situations are easier to recognise than others and, just as much as players try to be flexible, they can be predictable. One such scenario is the pot to which nobody wants to commit for one reason or another. Often this is simply because a player’s cards and the board don’t match up as per desired, at which point any interest in continuing (i.e. parting with any more chips) ends. Some people are almost transparently predictable in this regard, but it is such a common element of the game that this particular opportunity crops up time and time again in online poker, where it is not unusual for a table to get through 100 hands per hour.

Indeed it is the speed of the game (where the potential for volume can mean quantity is given as much priority as quality) that helps create these ‘abandoned’ pots as players keep their powder dry for the next, soon-to-come hand. This is where we come in. Not untypically, we might have missed the flop but be in the same boat as our opponent, or they might have a pair of 4s or 5s, for example, with a couple of overcards showing. It’s imperative to be in ‘thief’ mode at all times so that we don’t slip into the same automatic (negative) frame of mind, and are thus ready to round up whatever chips are going unclaimed. Unless the opposition has a specific reason to stay in the hunt for a modest pot, it’s time to act with a purposeful but not enormous bet which, most of the time, will suffice to scoop up those chips. Note that it is ‘natural’ for people to view these chips as heading elsewhere as soon as it becomes apparent that they have no realistic chance of taking down a pot based on the strength of their hand.

Good luck (stealing) at the tables!

Angus Dunnington

32Red Poker Ambassador

Let us know your best steal – our favourite gets a free €4+1 Flush Royale ticket…

The Transparency of the Minimum Raise…

February 3, 2014 by  
Filed under News

No Limit Hold’em is so-called for a reason – unlike Limit poker, where our betting choices are defined by the limit put on how much we can add to the pot at each betting juncture, NL affords us literally unlimited flexibility.

However, when presented with such an abundance of choice we are also given the opportunity to make mistakes, and the minimum raise is one such fundamental part of the NL game that in some respects – for the vast majority of players – is best avoided altogether.

Let’s see why… Read more

Punishing Tight(er) Players (Part 1: General Bullying)

February 22, 2013 by  
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Overcoming those players weaker than ourselves should rarely be too complicated a strategy – usually (by definition) they will be responsible for their own downfall simply by putting their chips in the middle without proper justification. In this case our cards matter.

However, it is the more knowledgeable players who show some caution when it comes to committing their chips who we want to concentrate on because, if we put enough thought and effort in, we should be able not only to bully them but even to seriously punish them.

Bullying, importantly, forms the foundation of setting this type of player up for later (Part Two).

First we need to find our target by determining which player – preferably to our right – is suitably predictable. Ideally we’re looking for someone who focuses too much on both their cards and what they perceive others’ hands to be, as well as how they evaluate their prospects based on these restrictive parameters. They have a predictable range and, subsequently, aren’t difficult to second guess both pre-flop and once the cards arrive. Crucially, they don’t like to take risks and are not afraid to back down in the face of aggression. They invest however many chips they feel their hand (and the situation) justifies.

Armed with this information, we then single them out and plug away. When they limp, we raise all hands that can put up some kind of fight, which include any pocket pairs, suited connectors, any ace, picture cards and even 1-gaps. Being tight and too cautious, our victim tends to either fold (they believe us) or call pre-flop. In the event of a call, given that they will have missed most of the time, then on most flops they are going to check-fold. Note the significance of position.

Taking this strategy a step further – when our target opens with a raise we are going to re-raise but, critically, with an even more liberal range than above (it’s even possible to do this with any two cards). Remember that these players aren’t afraid to play per se, rather they consider themselves capable of being prudent. They’re not only raising pre-flop with massive pairs but are willing to have a go with other hands, too as long as they don’t have to risk too much. Consequently, knowing that most of the time they are going to miss the flop, they’re going to assume – especially because they are aware of their tight image – that we are re-raising them with the goods. Most of their pre-flop raising range (such as AT) can’t justify being out of position in the face of a re-raise, so we can expect enough folds to make this tactic a profitable one.

Furthermore, we are setting in place the foundations for a bigger payout… (see Part Two).

Good luck at the tables!

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

Poker: Finding your path 2

March 15, 2012 by  
Filed under News

I, like most players, sampled what was on offer and plumped for Hold’em. However, here, too, we are faced with further choices in our quest for the right fit, namely the completely different animals of Limit and No Limit, and not forgetting their potentially troublesome relative Pot Limit (personally, this is the type I wish I’d spent more time on over the years).

My initial instincts steered me clear of the ostensibly dangerous waters of No Limit and instead to the calmer, finite ripples of (low) Limit ring games. Then began the Fixed Limit Sit & Go adventures in which I expected the prospect of finishing in the top three of ten players would be a tall order but, right from the beginning, proved achievable (through making fewer mistakes than most of the other players rather than doing anything special).

Even the most modest kind of success can massage the ego in such a way that the fear factor simply disappears, and I was soon happily diving into No Limit S&G’s with – surprise, surprise – absolutely no success at all, my playing style swinging frantically from ridiculously passive to even more ridiculously aggressive, and nothing in-between…

This developmental curve is no doubt familiar to many readers, for whom the next practical step is to analyse each specific situation that has proved problematic or confusing.

With this imperative part of the learning process in mind It helps, obviously, if we have the time to devote our efforts to getting to grips with our game and subsequently improving it in as many areas as possible. However, if time is limited to a few hours per week – which is the case for most people – I would recommend getting reasonably well acquainted with more than one type of game before specialising. At least then it is possible to recognise our strengths or weaknesses better because we can compare how we fare, for example, in Fixed Limit multi-table tournaments compared with No Limit multis. With experience – as in life – more complex, subtle comparisons can be made and subsequent judgements and remedies grow more detailed.

There are two snippets of advice that should prove useful:

  1. Try to avoid sitting down for a couple of hours and merely playing for playing’s sake. If, when your session finishes, you’re concerned only with how much has been won or lost and can barely remember anything about the hands themselves and how they were played, then you’re making a big mistake and severely limiting your potential. 
  2. Think about poker when you’re not playing. It is surprising how easy it is to analyse, and in so doing make important discoveries about your game, when away from the action and therefore unfettered by the constant decision making process. Such a Zen-like approach is perhaps one of the least appreciated yet most rewarding means of improvement. 

Good luck at the tables!

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



No Limit Hold’em: The Importance of Position on the Turn

August 24, 2011 by  
Filed under News

No Limit Hold’em: The Importance of Position on the Turn

We all know by now the importance of position in No Limit Hold’em, and just by sensibly acquainting ourselves with the numerous implications of being in or out of position in the more common types of situation we can make a significant improvement to our game.

Here we shall touch upon considerations we should give to position in certain scenarios at the Turn stage of betting. The turn is a particularly awkward phase to play because by this stage the field has been whittled down to those players who believe that they have a realistic chance of winning the pot, whether this is through the strength of a made hand, draws or by way of a bluff. But of course there is usually only one winner, so how the players act on the turn plays a vital role in deciding who emerges with the chips, and whether or not players have made the best of their circumstances – do we get the most out of the pots we win and – equally important – do we get away with losing as little as possible when we don’t succeed in taking a pot?

Regardless of what our strategy has been during a hand then, depending on what the turn brings, we might find ourselves having to change tactics, and we must also look at the action (or otherwise) on the turn in terms of how the card might have affected the opposition’s play. Clearly, with only a limited amount of time to act, it helps to have in mind what we might do in response to certain cards appearing that are related to both our own hands and those we put our opponents on. We need to get used to thinking along these lines rather than allowing ourselves to be distracted while ‘waiting’ for our time to act – it’s not possible to concentrate ‘too much’ during a hand, and there’s no excuse for realising that we made a mistake moments after the hand has gone pear-shaped when we could have worked it out when it mattered and acted accordingly (of course we should be concentrating throughout a hand – even those we’re not involved in!).

For instance if a scare card comes on the turn we need to weigh up for whom the card has more meaning. It might not help us, but may also not help our opponent, who could well me more afraid of its arrival than we are.   Consequently the matter of position here is crucial. Let’s say the card brings a third heart that could have filled someone’s flush (but not us). The choices afforded us by being in position are very helpful indeed. Factoring in our opponent’s tendencies both in this hand and in previous play, we can respond to a check, for example, by checking behind if we judge that by betting we might run into a spoiling check-raise. Alternatively, if this opponent has shown a willingness to back down, then we can instead bet and most likely take the pot if doing so fits in with how the betting has panned out thus far (and, hopefully, is believable in terms of our table image). Even if out of position it might be possible to exploit these same factors by betting if it appears that assuming the initiative will induce a fold. However, such a play brings with it some danger, highlighting the problem of being out of position in this typical scenario. First, this being a game of information, having to act first means that to avoid being in the dark we need to invest more money, yet even when we do bet we are not going to be much wiser if our opponent merely calls – in fact the problem could be compounded if the river fails to help or further adds to the confusion and again we are first to act. On the other hand, if we check the turn and are faced with a bet, this ‘information’ could mean completely different things – our opponent might have filled a flush or the bet could be a total bluff that might see us folding the stronger hand, while it is also quite feasible that it is a genuine bet with another made hand. This example well illustrates the implications of position at the crucial stage of a hand. Of course it helps to be in position, but the more we appreciate its significance the more opportunities we will come across if it is apparent the opposition doesn’t fully understand the concept.

Having position on the turn also gives us more influence on pot control, so that we can call/bet/raise and so on according to the relative strength of our hand. Acting first might mean having to check-call with a decent but not great hand, for example. With the same hand when in position we can simply check behind to keep the pot at an acceptable level in order to be able to make an affordable call on the river. This has the advantage of inducing a bluff and thus earning more from the pot than if we had bet the turn (thus running the risk of running into a hefty check-raise).

With a not so good hand that we probably won’t want to invest further in should the river not help, then it is prudent to give way to any aggression on the turn rather than planlessly waste a bet.

Some players don’t like to check with a decent hand out of position because of the subsequent uncertainty in the event of having to deal with the opponent betting. Instead they bet out to hopefully take the pot against an opponent who simply believes this show of aggression, but to do this it helps if we feel that a further bet (bigger, as the pot is growing) will do the trick – otherwise the resulting bigger pot makes the river situation more urgent than the turn. Nevertheless, getting into the habit of being too passive doesn’t win pots, and betting here also has the advantage of earning value from those players who call (and are loathe to raise) with a weaker hand.

Positional considerations are key to turn play, and combining these with relevant factors will make a big difference to our results, especially if we haven’t before properly investigated this specific part of the game.

Good luck at the tables!

Angus Dunnington (AngusD)
32Red Poker Ambassador


No Limit Hold’em: To slowplay, or not to slowplay

August 22, 2011 by  
Filed under News

No Limit Hold’em: To slowplay, or not to slowplay

‘Slowplay’ seems to be simultaneously a four-letter word and one of the joys of poker. We have all been guilty of doing it when we shouldn’t; it gives us great joy, yet can also cause heartache. There is a reason why advice such as ‘only slowplay sets on unconnected, rainbow boards’ crops up in strategy articles. However, the fact that slowplaying big hands can lead to disaster doesn’t mean we should remove this weapon completely from our armoury. The trick is to avoid digging our own proverbial grave by being tempted in situations that are shouting out to NOT slowplay, while keeping our eyes peeled for those times when it is appropriate.

The main debate we have with our poker conscience in NL is whether or not to try slowplaying pocket aces pre-flop. Often the fear of scaring everyone off the hand by opening the betting sees us limp in and then end up in the nightmare scenario of a multi-way pot. We might have succeeded in disguising our aces but we, too, are completely in the dark in terms of knowing anything about the strength or otherwise of all the other limpers’ hands and, unless one of the two remaining aces appears, the situation is potentially ruinous. For many players it is a case of once bitten twice shy when this happens, and the notion of slowplaying gets an undeserved lifetime ban.

The ideal opportunity comes when we are in early position at a table of players who have more aggressive tendencies than usual. Of course we must be prepared for these players to decide to go against ‘type’ and still find ourselves seeing the flop alongside numerous limpers but, when there are enough aggressive players behind us in the pre-flop betting, someone will usually raise, thus opening the door for us to re-raise. Typical dream pots see us win an explosive hand against a lone player with a lesser pair or AK, or someone might throw in a reraise so that our enormous further raise is more likely to get action because it will look more like a squeeze play.

Regardless of whether slowplaying like this works, we need nevertheless to incorporate such a play into our repertoire for the sake of balance, slowplaying having particular significance for our table image and subsequent big hands when others witness what we have done, thus sowing the seeds of uncertainty in the opposition’s minds – are we limping with aces again, or does our hefty pre-flop raise indicate aces?

Slowplaying post-flop is even more complex as we have to take into consideration who (including ourselves) was doing what during the pre-flop betting as well as the texture of the board, the tendencies of anyone still involved in the hand and so on. Obviously the more players we are up against and the more ‘connected’ the board, more can go wrong, hence such nuggets as ‘only slowplay sets on unconnected, rainbow boards’ being worth our attention.

We’re much happier slowplaying AsAc on a flop of 2s 7c Kd than if the flop came 8h 9h Th, the latter simply having too much potential for others and none for us. Indeed slowplaying would be awful on a draw-heavy, co-ordinated board – far better to make a genuine attempt to take the pot with a bet that means business (and denies draws value) and then decide accordingly if anyone comes back fighting: even two players willing to get dirty here means it’s very likely time to get out of the way.

As our hand becomes stronger, the more correct it is to slowplay, to an extent that with a monster it is practically imperative in order to give the opposition enough chance to catch up sufficiently to justify staying involved. Checking the flop with a full house, for instance, also has the advantage that even if an opponent fails to improve their hand they might be tempted to try a bluff in reaction to our perceived weakness.

Note that slowplaying takes different forms against different types of players. Aggressive players might build the pot for us, whereas passive players tend to need us to make modest bets to build the pot because they might check to our check.

Of course slowplaying is not confined to pre-flop or on the flop itself, but whenever it presents itself as an option, we should remember to take into consideration the relevant factors such as those mentioned, not least our own table image and history in similar situations.

Good luck at the tables!

Angus Dunnington (AngusD)
32Red Poker Ambassador


Has Black Friday affected WSOP numbers?

June 22, 2011 by  
Filed under News

Has Black Friday affected WSOP numbers?

Meanwhile, with the ghost of Black Friday still haunting US-facing online poker rooms as well as the countless US players who continue to have problems with their accounts with the affected operators, the poker world is even more interested than usual in the numbers at this year’s WSOP. Perhaps surprisingly – or not, depending on who you ask – attendance records in 2011 are still being broken, with tournament, side events and cash game numbers showing healthy increases compared with last year.

For example, on Friday, June 18, an impressive 5,946 players showed up for that day’s scheduled tournaments – a record for a single day in live poker history. Moreover, Event 18, the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament, had the largest ever entry (3157) for such a single day start event, as did Event 20 for a $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em (3,175 entries), the two combining to generate the largest consecutive-days starting field sizes in poker history at 6332 entries.

And if you think poker is exclusively for the baseball cap and shades wearing younger generation, then consider Event 30, the Seniors tournament, which attracted a record 3752 entries…

Good luck at the tables!

Angus Dunnington
32Red Poker Ambassador


The Poker Brat’s non-hold’em quest continues; Anyone for tennis wagers?

June 15, 2011 by  
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The Poker Brat’s non-hold’em quest continues

Love him or loathe him, Phil Hellmuth remains one of the poker world’s most famous personalities and, credit where credit’s due, is a top class player. With his 11 WSOP bracelets all being in hold’em tournaments, this year’s Event 16, the $10,000 2-7 Draw Lowball, was Hellmuth’s 17th non-hold’em WSOP final table, and his third in this particular format. Was he finally going to end the ‘drought’ as he entered the heads-up phase of proceedings against the mighty John Juanda? With a 3:1 chip it certainly looked very promising indeed…

Alas, it was not to be. Instead Juanda managed to claw back the lead in what was said to be a one-sided affair, thus denying the Poker Brat the elusive bracelet. Attention switched to Juanda picking up his fifth WSOP gold bracelet, on his 27th WSOP final table, and registering his 56th WSOP cash! Enviable statistics.

For Hellmuth to reach the final table 17 times and still fail to win a non-hold’em bracelet is akin to a tennis legend’s feeling of frustration that his career is incomplete until he wins a particular major, such as the great Ivan Lendl, who’s tally of 8 majors included all but Wimbledon, despite reaching the final twice.
 
 
Anyone for tennis wagers?

Speaking of tennis, both Patrik Antonius and Brandon Adams might still be waiting for their first WSOP bracelet but, in the meantime, have been busy for months preparing for their high stakes tennis match. Originally agreed during a Poker After Dark episode, the two poker bigshots had other big shots on their minds as they finally met in Las Vegas during this year’s WSOP.

After a change of both venue and surface – the match was at first going to be played in May in Monte Carlo, on clay, and was switched to Vegas on a hard court – and adjustments to the odds to factor in these changes, the match was played with Antonius (once a budding professional) laying $295,000 to Adams’ $30,000, meaning a win for Adams would see him walk away with around $100,000 more than this year’s quarter-finalists at Wimbledon!

Just before the match, held at the Las Vegas International Tennis Centre, Adams seemed confident: “My strategy is to counterpunch. I have a pretty good game. I can attack, but today I’m just gonna lay low and try not to miss…” Hmmm. Antonius won 6-0, 6-1 to stroll away with Adams’ $30,000.

Good luck at the tables,

Angus Dunnington
32Red Poker Ambassador


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