A common mistake on the river

November 18, 2011 by  
Filed under Angus Dunnington, News, Poker School

One of the problems with poker is that, when we try to adhere to this or that guideline and introduce into our armoury more ways of playing, if we fail to read situations properly our action instead becomes a mistake rather than a money earner.

One such common error is throwing in a raise on the river because we convinced ourselves we were way ahead, or making unnecessary would-be ‘value’ bets, calling big bets/raises and generally being unable to acknowledge that we are beaten.

For example if we raised in position pre-flop with a hand like AsKs and get a lone caller we run the risk of overestimating our chances on a ragged board that features an ace. Let’s say the flop comes Ac 4s 9d, our opponent checks and we make a ¾ pot bet that is called. The turn brings the 2d, we are checked to again and we bet roughly ¾ pot, with another call. The 4c appears on the river but this time, instead of checking, the opponent bets around 1/7th of the pot. Given the way the hand has panned out thus far we figure that a possible holding could be an ace with a weaker kicker so we see this as an opportunity to extract some additional value, raising to triple the bet… After a slight pause we see a call followed by the chips heading away from us because all this time we have been up against 4d 6d. Thus the result of our attempting to earn a little extra did succeed in making a bigger pot, albeit one that we didn’t get to collect – we made our opponent some cash!

This is easily done, especially in view of how we assumed the initiative right from the beginning. A very similar mistake is when the hand follows the same path and we bet the river when checked to and call a raise with what turns out to be the worst hand.

It is an imperative to continually reassess during a hand so that we can make more realistic evaluations, ideally picking up warning signs along the way that help facilitate the decision making process. In this case our opponent check-calling considerable bets should serve as a wake-up call and alert us to the fact that we may well be holding second best despite our strong looking hand. When the board pairs, incidentally, the alarm bells should be at their loudest. At least then we can avoid falling into traps. It makes more sense to just call these bets and check out rather than expose ourselves to bad situations – remember that raising/betting with a pair on the river tends only to be called by a better hand.

Generally, a dangerous looking board and an opponent who wakes up (or checks after check-calling big bets) need treating with respect.

Good luck at the tables!

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


Satellite and Sit & Go Strategy Revisited

November 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Angus Dunnington, News, Poker School

Having seen some pretty drastic approaches in both sit & go and satellites recently I thought we should have a few reminders about how we might try to weave our way through the one-table jungle…

First, the desperate all-or-nothing factor inspires some players to go into do or die mode at the earliest opportunity, jumping into pots with big bets to pick up not very much in blinds, tempting fate at a full table of unknown hole cards in the process. This works every now and then but is certainly not the best way to skin this particular rabbit. Assuming such aggression earns a couple of hundred chips to add to an original stack of 2000, for instance, then what is this gain worth in practical terms when we take the potential risk into account? The answer is very little when a full table of players remains. There is simply no point getting too busy when the blinds are at their lowest. Note that it is perfectly acceptable to try the occasional value (speculative) mini-gamble early as the rewards can be considerable and the investment is so low that the hand is easy to get away from when nothing hits. This is quite different from over-betting with a view to netting meagre rewards (and in a way that involves being effectively pot-committed). Remember that we have to (typically) steal seven or eight lots of blinds at level one to earn the same amount as one steal at a higher level.

Of course there is nothing wrong with some kind of tempered aggression that might succeed in both picking up a few blinds and establishing a not-to-be-messed with table image that can be exploited later, and some experienced players manage (more than their fair share of the time) to gradually bully their way to first with apparent ease. But all the time this kind of player accumulates chips and works through the gears while making sure he doesn’t put too much of his stack in jeopardy.

It follows, then, that survival is a major consideration even in these circumstances, and the target should be to remain in the running so that, when the field has been narrowed down to, say, three or four, we are in with a shout and ready to step up a gear or three. By now it is likely that someone – for one reason or another – has become a runaway chip leader, but as long as we have enough chips with which to get involved, the all-important top place(s) will still be up for grabs.

Additionally, as the game progresses we should be able to get some kind of read about the remaining players – does anyone seem unable to adapt to the changing situation, for example; is the chip leader afraid to risk his position or is he more interested in seeing other players get eliminated? We should start to throw chips around at this stage as the blinds are too big to either ignore or to fail to defend, while we should also remember that the short(er) stacks are more likely to be taking chances to double up with virtually any two hole cards, so gunning for their chips with a decent holding is a fair option.

If we manage to get heads-up, then being second of two with 20% of the chips on the table is a far better prospect than being second of five with 25%. We’ve got to be (still) in it to win it, remember, and even from a 20%-80% chip distribution it takes only two all-in wins for a role-reversal.

Satellites can be the route to potentially big rewards or a means of saving money in buy-ins for bigger tournaments, so it is worth having a good think about them and approaching them sensibly, with a good mix of safety and increasing aggression – not forgetting putting ourselves in the opposition’s shoes as we approach the business end…

Good luck at the tables!

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


A missed flop isn’t a missed pot

November 14, 2011 by  
Filed under Angus Dunnington, Featured, News, Poker School

Too many players tend to lose interest and be too willing to simply give up the hunt more or less automatically when they miss the flop. But seeing three cards appear that have absolutely no relation to our own doesn’t necessarily mean we must miss out on the opportunity to win whatever the pot has to offer.

Instead we should weigh up how the flop might have affected other players, consider what they perceive to be our role in the hand and any other relevant factors and make a decision accordingly as to whether we should indeed fold to aggression or take a stab. Even if we conclude that it’s not worth it this time, at least the process itself helps us improve our analytical ability as well as gain a useful understanding of what the other players are up to – information is key, and we can expect to pick up something that could prove crucial in a later hand. Taking every ‘poor’ flop as an excuse to surf the web or be otherwise distracted, breaking off only to fold, is a luxury we can’t afford, the cumulative effect being to seriously handicap our game (and thus our bankroll).

Incidentally, while multi-tabling is all the rage, and when done properly offers up increased profits and so on, if it takes up so much time that we feel practically forced to fold away missed flops without the chance to have a proper look, then it might be worth scaling down the operation so that we are able to actually think (if only until we are better able to carry out this and other aspects of the game, at which point we can add tables).

Obviously some missed flops are better than others. If we put in a pre-flop raise on the button with QsJs and bring along three other players to see a flop of 7h 7d 6h, then chances are we are neither ahead nor likely to be ahead as the hand progresses. If it’s checked round to us it could well be that anyone who caught some or more of the flop is just waiting for our continuation bet before pouncing, so we should check and see what comes next. This is a bad flop/situation to get involved in but learning why nevertheless helps us improve.

On the other hand, the same pre-flop button raise with the same hand but with only one caller and a flop featuring 9s 2h 6d is a different prospect entirely. This time we should bet out and, most of the time, we will pick up the pot. It is very unlikely that our opponent was only calling with an overpair, and we’ll know immediately that they have something if they remain in the hand – assuming we make a proper sized bet (at least 2/3 pot, preferably closer to 3/4). Lazily checking a missed flop in this kind of scenario is a poker sin that will result in the chips heading in the wrong direction much of the time.

Good luck at the tables!

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


Wise Guys Results (7th – 13th Nov)

November 14, 2011 by  
Filed under News

WISE GUYS, Exclusive to 32Red Poker

WISE GUYS, Exclusive to 32Red Poker

Win at the 32Red Poker cash tables and you may qualify for even more cash rewards with our Wise Guys weekly leaderboards. Yes, we reward our biggest winners at 32Red Poker and we reward them well, with over $1,000 in prizes every week!

Congratulations to last week’s prize winners…

32Red’s Wise Guys

Can you challenge a 32Red Wise Guy?

Can you challenge a 32Red Wise Guy?

32Red Poker rewards loyalty, and winners – so if you’re a winning player, don’t be shy and try out our Wise Guys weekly competition. Have fun at the tables and good luck this week!


$500 Freeroll, for facebook fans..

November 10, 2011 by  
Filed under Freerolls, News

$500 Freeroll

Join us on Sunday 13th November at 8pm (UK time) for a Club32 exclusive $500 Freeroll!

Sign up now!

 

  1. Click here and “LIKE” our facebook page.
  2. Then click on EVENTS for the password.

 

Poker News Latest: Heinz varieties help win $8,715,638

November 9, 2011 by  
Filed under Angus Dunnington, News

Pius Heinz must be feeling full of beans (ahem) right now, being the new WSOP Main Event winner and a not too shabby $8,715,638 richer.

Back in the summer Heinz, 22, was one of 6865 players who arrived at the Rio in Las Vegas with their eyes on the prize, the field being gradually thinned down over 12 long days. This left the survivors able to take a long break to eventually reconvene as the November Nine final table in the Penn and Teller Theatre. A good number of poker purists are very much opposed to having the final table battle it out months after they earned the right to play for the title, and they have a good point but, the importance of the media being what it is nowadays, this modern scheduling twist seems like an inevitable ‘development’ in the organisers’ efforts to maximise (and prolong) exposure.

Heinz started seventh in chips but emerged in the lead when only three players remained in contention. He won’t have been too concerned at being demoted to second of two against Martin Staszko of the Czech Republic because this meant he was guaranteed a payout of $5,433,086, although the extra $3 million and the coveted bracelet no doubt provided an incentive to remain focused and overturn the chip counts of 117.3 million to 88.6 million.

The crucial hand saw Staszko limp in from the button and Heinz raise to 7.9 million in the big blind. Staszko called and the flop came Tc7cKs, Heinz bet 8.2 million, Staszko raised to 17.5 million and, after a long think, Heinz announced all-in for roughly 70 million. Staszko called with Qc9c and Heinz revealed AhQh…

Despite cries of ‘He’s ahead!’ from his fans Heinz could easily have found himself in the soup given the hat full of enemy outs he needed to avoid, but when the turn brought the 3h and the river an equally irrelevant 6s he shot to a very healthy chip lead of 161.5 million to Staszko’s 44.4 million. Shortly after Staszko shoved with Tc7c but failed to beat AsKc and it was all over.

Until next summer, that is, when thousands more will once again turn up in Vegas, most with the confidence boost provided by the fact that an unknown player is likely to win the biggest prize.

Good luck at the tables!

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


Don’t Min-Raise!

October 27, 2011 by  
Filed under Angus Dunnington, News, Poker School

In a recent article about bet sizing we looked at how it is important to make sure we put in bets that are big enough to do the job in order to extract value from our strong hands, force the opposition to pay for draws, get information and so on. As well as feeling uncomfortable when making 3/4 pot bets, for example, many players have the same problem when it comes to raising so, to push the point home that we need to take the bull by the horns, this time we will look at what is wrong with the minimum raise.

First and foremost, if the point of the raise is to build a pot that we believe we have a good chance of winning, then we are missing out on value. Indeed if we are in the habit of doing this at every betting juncture, then the cumulative difference between the small pots we’re winning and the bigger pots we should be building is going to hold us back in our quest to progress. Big hands need big raises.

With a min-raise we are often committing a poker sin in that, instead of being the aggressor and taking the initiative, we are actually doing opponents a favour in many situations by helping them out with favourable pot odds for draws. If by raising too passively we are pricing someone in to overtake us then this is a serious leak in our game, and when it does happen it’s certainly due to poor play rather than bad luck. Moreover, we need to apply pressure with big raises to also take into account implied odds, so only slightly increasing a min-raise isn’t enough. (Note that with each successive call of a min-raise opponents are getting increasingly favourable odds).

Finally, apart from these numerical reasons to avoid the min-raise, it’s also a particular mistake pre-flop with a monster because, nowadays, with so many more experienced, thinking players around, it’s very likely when we believe we are being clever with premium hands (namely AA and KK) that we are in fact doing the opposite and instead ‘showing’ our cards.

The problem is that a min-raise isn’t intended to win the pot there and then, which means that opponents can effectively discount hands such as 10 10, AQ and AJ – holdings which, if we aren’t just calling with, we would prefer to play more aggressively – as well as small pairs, with which we’d like to see flops cheaply. Meanwhile, we are hardly going to be bluffing with a min-raise, either. All things considered, our min-raise essentially indicates aces or kings (this kind of bet doesn’t help QQ), so our logic has backfired. Poker might be a tricky game but often the obvious play is the best play; if we really must be crafty in this pre-flop situation we would be better off just calling to disguise our hand.

Generally, avoid the min-raise.

Good luck at the tables!

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


DAZZID wins 32Red’s Diamond Royale jackpot!

October 27, 2011 by  
Filed under News

Congratulations to 32Red Poker player DAZZID, the 2nd player to hit 32Red’s Diamond Royale jackpot!

DAZZID landed the big Diamond Royale hand last night and it burst a juicy jackpot of €1,151.00. The lucky hand number was 4,142,839,004 and a total of 6 players shared in the jackpot winnings.

Here’s how the hand played out:

Opening Betting Round

Dealing the Flop

Dealing the Turn

Dealing the River

The Showdown

Jackpot Winners

 

DAZZID Diamond Royale Winner €575.50
Farmer323 Participating Winner €46.04
BASKETAA Participating Winner €46.04
Srojitas Participating Winner €46.04
InsaneAces Participating Winner €46.04
Meerkatx Participating Winner €46.04


No Limit Tournament Tips

October 26, 2011 by  
Filed under Angus Dunnington, News, Poker School

Given that beginners are absolutely not the only group of players to make fundamental errors in NL tournaments thanks to good old human nature, here are a few tips to help maximise our chances of finishing in the money. Or to put it another way, a few reminders to help prevent us from exiting a tournament because we did something we really knew we shouldn’t have.

Perhaps the most annoying way to leave a tournament is to do so very early on because we ‘played the percentages’ with a non-monster hand. Regardless of whether we think someone who has just (re)raised all-in – after we have committed a couple of hundred of our couple of thousand stack – is gambling/stealing and we should therefore oblige with our QQ, it’s prudent to fold when the tournament has barely started. Some players would be averse even to calling an all-in with kings during the early stages.

Of course the advice above is particularly relevant for freezout tournaments but it is also important not to become too loose in a rebuy just because we are ‘happy’ to invest in a certain number of additional bites at the cherry. Speculative play can pay off in these tournaments and, while we should keep in mind that the option to rebuy is going to influence how others act (and how they might perceive certain plays given this context), rebuying should nevertheless be seen as a safety net and as bringing key psychological factors to the game, rather than an excuse to go mad. A good idea is take advantage of 32Red’s excellent Auto Rebuy tool to pre-select the number of rebuys we are willing to have before the tournament starts and the adrenaline gets the better of us.

If we do succeed in building a big stack it would be nice to keep it that way. Too many players cancel out any good play or lucky breaks once they find themselves with a virtual mountain of chips by playing too many hands or taking risks that cold, hard numbers simply don’t justify. It’s one thing to use a big stack effectively when the time or situation calls for it, but quite another to get involved just for the sake of it because we think we can ‘afford’ to – sooner or later such cavalier tactics tend to come unstuck and we go hurtling back down the field, often unable to adjust.

Limping out of position with suited connectors such as 78 or with small pairs is fine in the early stages as long as we are willing to let go of the hand in the event of annoying raises, but generally – particularly with a medium stack – it’s best to keep in mind that on a full table these hands can lead to trouble and instead wait until the tournament progresses and the game tightens somewhat. That isn’t to say we should dump these hands all the time, rather be selective and conservative during the early stages.

Beware Aces with ostensibly good kickers. While AK is strong – and anyway not that strong! – AT and AJ (and even AQ) are trouble hands that are best left alone in normal circumstances. The likelihood of being dominated simply relegates these hands to the dustbin unless we have a very special reason to believe otherwise or our tournament situation demands a stand of some sort.

Finally, don’t be afraid of ghosts. There’s nothing wrong in being cautious, but if we give in as soon as a scary card appears or when someone bets big we’ll never win anything.

Good luck at the tables!

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


Wise Guys Results (17th – 23rd October)

October 24, 2011 by  
Filed under News

WISE GUYS, Exclusive to 32Red Poker

WISE GUYS, Exclusive to 32Red Poker

Win at the 32Red Poker cash tables and you may qualify for even more cash rewards with our Wise Guys weekly leaderboards. Yes, we reward our biggest winners at 32Red Poker and we reward them well, with over $1,000 in prizes every week!

Congratulations to last week’s prize winners…

32Red’s Wise Guys

Can you beat the 32Red Wise Guys?

Can you beat the 32Red Wise Guys?

32Red Poker rewards loyalty, and winners – so if you’re a winning player, don’t be shy and try out our Wise Guys weekly competition. Have fun at the tables and good luck this week!


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