The Weak Call

The Weak Call in Position

You’re playing in a ring game, and call a raise to $10 with Nine of Spades - Weak CallEight of Spades - Weak Call on the button. The flop comes Jack of Spades - Weak CallSeven of Clubs - Weak CallFour of Clubs - Weak Call, and your opponent makes a pot-sized $20 bet. What do you do?

“This is a standard pass, right?” I hear you say. You have nine high and just a gutshot. Yes, it is a standard pass, and it is not great to get into the habit of calling too much here. However, there are some situations where a call in position with a weak hand like this can turn into a very strong play…

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Post the Oak Bluff

The post-the-oak bluff

A bluff is usually thought to be a big move at the pot, designed to put your opponent under so much pressure that he will have to pass.

A post the oak bluff is a tricky attempt to sneak the pot with no hand by betting a small amount. Here, we’ll talk about post the oak bluffs as being very small, 25% or less of the pot.

These kind of bets are so small that they will often be called by your opponent if he holds any type of hand. You may well persuade him that he is probably beat, but any element of doubt will be enough for him to call.  (more…)

Bluffing with a Call

The tricks of the trade: bluffing with a call

You have weak cards, but you sense that you may be able to steal the pot. Usually, a raise or re-raise is your best weapon. However, there are some situations in the game where a flat call can be very effective in setting up a steal of the pot.

The strength of the play relies on the fact that, in some situations, a flat call looks stronger than a raise.

This kind of play relies on be able to pick up the pot if your opponent checks or bets weakly on a later street, and so has more chance to be successful if you are in position. (more…)

The Art of Bluffing

The Art of Bluffing

If you were to learn poker just from TV shows, you would believe that the game is all about bluffing. This is not quite the case, but the skills of creating a good bluff and spotting a bad one are integral to the game.

What is a good Poker bluff?

When someone is telling a lie, the tale they tell must be consistent with the facts available. If parts of the tale do not fit with what you can see, you become suspicious.

And so in poker, a good bluff is one that tells a believable story. The “lie” you are telling is that your hand has connected with the board in a big way. The tale you tell must mirror that.

This means that when you bluff, your sequence of raises and re-raises should look like they would do if you held a good hand.  The bad bluffer plays his big hands in one way, and his bluffs in another.   (more…)

Stack Size

Stack Size

Stack Size in Poker, and how it is even more important than you think…

Example #1

You hold Jack of Spades - Poker StrategyTen of Spades - Poker Strategy, call a raise from the small blind, and hit a great flop of Queen of Spades - Poker StrategyNine of Spades - Poker StrategyTwo of Diamonds - Poker Strategy, which gives you a straight flush draw. You decide to play aggressively with a semi-bluff, to give yourself two chances of winning the pot. What is the best way to do this? Is it

a) Moving all-in straight away, b) Check-raising all-in c) Check raising, and moving all-in on the turn

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Disguising the Strength or Weakness of a Hand

The disguise level of a hand

Many poker players are keenly aware of their outs and pot odds throughout the hand, but there is one factor that few are aware of – their disguise level.

The disguise level is a measure of how well hidden your hand is. The highest disguise level comes when

1) There are many cards which will concern your opponent if they come, but actually do not help your hand at all.

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2) The cards that do improve your hand will not concern your opponent (more…)

Tournament Strategy – Part 1

Tournament strategy

“What’s the right way to play in a live tournament, or in an online poker tournament?”

There is no such thing as a correct way to play in a poker tournament. In fact, the most important thing to realise is that best strategy changes greatly with the different phases of the tournament. We’ll take a look in the next two articles at what opportunities the different phases bring:

At the start of the tournament

Early in a tournament, you will not have had time to feel out the play of the other players. Whilst this remains the case, it is best not to play too aggressively, and not to be too tricky. (more…)

Bankroll Management

Bankroll management

It is not the most glamorous of poker skills, but even if your bluffing is well timed, your reading ability sharp and your courage ice-cold, poor bankroll management can bring you straight back down to earth.

Why is it important?

Imagine a player who plays without any care for managing his bankroll. He starts off on the smallest poker tournaments with $30 in his account. Incredibly, he reaches the final table on his first try, and wins $120. Full of confidence, he takes on the cash games, and builds up the levels. He is quickly becoming a great player, and has amazingly built up to $1000. He splits this between two different $4/8 tables, to see just how much he can make. (more…)

32Red Poker Ring Games

Crazy Times on 32Red Poker

I’ve been spending some times playing in the Ring Games on 32Red, which always throw up some great and testing poker. I feel that there is a real change once you hit the $10/20 games, and the psychology of bluff and counter bluff coming into play makes for some crazy games.

I won’t reveal any names, but here is one of the craziest hands that came up this week.

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