Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Recommended Tournament Poker List

Yesterday I received an email from a poker player asking me for a recommended list of tournament poker books. My list is only four books long.

The first two books are about the basics and most often mentioned in any poker list:

1. Harrington on Hold 'em Expert Strategy for No Limit Tournaments, Vol. 1: Strategic Play by Dan Harrington
Dan Harrington wrote this breakthrough tournament book a few years ago and it's still an essential read. This first volume tends to deal with situations early in an event when blinds are small and chip stacks are high. It provides a sound approach to tournament strategy.

2. Harrington on Hold 'em Expert Strategy for No Limit Tournaments, Vol. 2: Endgame by Dan Harrington
After you read Volume I, you will want to get Volume as it talks about how to play after the early stages of an event. Here you will learn about inflection points and the mighty M, so you can calculate when to move all-in It is a reasoned approach to poker tournaments.

This next book is a must if you want to think about being a winner. It takes Harrington to the next level. I was told that Erick actually wrote his book by talking it on the phone. I don't know if that's true or not.

3. Making the Final Table (World Poker Tour) by Erick Lindgren
This is a book that has never received the accolades it deserves. Erick is another big winner and he gives you great advice by revealing how he approaches the game. His approach is not about cashing, it's about winning.

Finally, this is must book to own since it really is Erick's thinking put into action. It is my favorite poker book on no limit poker in 2008 that I didn't author.

4. Every Hand Revealed by Gus Hansen
This is a winning book written by arguably the best no limit tournament player. In this book, Gus analyzes every hand he plays on his way to winning a major tournament--the Aussie Millions in 2007. It is insightful, smart and eye-opening to read how a champion thinks through every decision.

I actually took Gus Hansen's book and reviewed his playing style to make it easier to learn from his game:

Tournament Poker How Tos

Happy Holidays!

Testimonials from Tournament Poker Winners!

I keep getting emails from players who read my book and experienced improved results.

Here are just a few:

Jules Carter: "I’ve played in 23 $40 buy-in tournaments in the last month and made the money in 17 of them."

William B: "After studying your book I finally made my first breakthrough and cashed in the 2008 WSOP, Event #32, $1500 No Limit Hold'em, finishing in 181st place out of 2300 players."

Robert Kerwin: "It is already helping me win or place in the money in sit and go tournaments."

Daniel: "I am having better results than before-4 final tables in a row cashing over $2k in $20 MTT's."
(Note: No, it's not from Daniel Negreanu)

Jill Shoten: "I took the action as suggested and took down a huge pot. I ended up placing second in the tournament."

Rich Bacca: "I discovered I've have been playing too tight. I played a little more aggressive at my Wednesday tournament and finished 3rd."

William Barman: "I played in the Canterbury Fall Poker Classic here in the Minneapolis area. $500 buy-in, 210 players. I finished in 15th place and took home a nice chunk of change."

Pascal Garnier: "I finished 3rd in tournament (Full Tilt 10+1$ 45 players)... this was the first time."

Congrats to all!

Happy Holidays,

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Pushing All-In Blind in A No Limit Tournament

No limit
100 players

In the early stages of this event you want to identify the bad players and try to beat them for a big pot. The bad players do get knocked out in the early stages, or their luck will usually run out for them later on. In this event, their were two poor players at my first table, but I didn't have the opportunity to knock them out. Another player did...bummer.

As we get down 60 players, I get moved to a new table. My stack of $5,000 is down to $3,500 and the blinds are $200-$400.

What this means is that it's time to push. I am 3 off the button, and a player raises, so I fold. The next hand I actually get my 2nd hand of the day, pocket 9's and move all-in and don't get called. Winning this hand makes my stack to about $4,800.

I don't have a hand again and I don't have an opportunity to steal with raises in front of me. However, what is very clear is that the two players to my left are very tight.

When everyone folds to me in the small blind. I don't even look, I push all in.

In the next hand, everyone folds to me on the button. I have K-6. The big blind is going to be pot committed. I raise just 2x's the BB...just in case the small blind wakes up with hand. Nope. It's heads up against the BB who has 4-2 suited. I win the hand.

The blinds come around again, and I am in the SB. Everyone folds to me. Why look? I move all-in. The BB folds and shows pocket 2's.

A new player to my right enters the game with lots of chips. He raises three straight hands, and wins 2 of them. Under the gun he raises again, and I find A-10 suited. I move all-in. With the blinds at $400-$800, and I have $10,000, I still need to add chips plus my raise may make this opponent fold. It works.

I have about $12,500 and get moved to a new table.

Still no hands, and the blinds are increasing fast. I find K-10 in a middle position. I push all in and win uncontested.

Everyone folds to me on the button. Why look? I move all-in. The players to my left fold..they are also tight players with medium stacks.

Down to 22 players.

Blinds go up again. I only have 7x's the BB and I'm in the middle position again. I find Q-10. Gotta make a stand.

I get called by A-Q....and no help. Time to drive home.

For the day, the best hands were pocket Aces early on in the event, and the pocket 9's. The next best hands were A-J and pocket 7's. But, hey, in these tournaments you need to get lucky with good cards, no suck-outs against you, no one finding a better hand than you when you are forced all in--and if so, you need to suck out.

Overall, I don't think I missed an opportunity to steal, except one time. I was on the button, and everyone folded. I made the mistake of looking and found 8-3. If I didn't look, I would have won the pot.

I still think that pushing all-in blind is one of the best ways to add chips when you go card dead. I mean are you going to push when you see 7-2 offsuit? Probably not. Without looking, though, you won't hesitate when the situation is right.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

What A Backward Country We Are...

From the Financial Times...

PartyGaming founder to pay out $300m

By Roger Blitz, Leisure Industries Correspondent
Published: December 15 2008 23:57 | Last updated: December 16 2008 11:53

The biggest shareholder in PartyGaming, the UK-listed online gambling company, has agreed to pay US authorities $300m and plead guilty to a charge relating to illegal web betting in the most prominent prosecution so far in the US clampdown on internet gambling.

Anurag Dikshit, co-founder of the company, retains a 27 per cent stake and is due to appear in the Southern District Court of New York on Tuesday to admit to an offence under the Wire Act and to agree to co-operate with the US Department of Justice, people close to the situation say.

No plea bargain has been agreed, and Mr Dikshit, one of India’s richest businessmen, risks a jail sentence of two years. He hopes the DoJ will recommend to Judge Jed Rakoff that, having gone voluntarily to the DoJ, he should not go to jail.

Observers say it is a landmark moment for online gambling.

Mr Dikshit’s fate and the DoJ recommendation will be watched by individuals and companies who have been pursued for taking bets in the US.

They want to put the liabilities behind them to enable consolidation and growth.

But Ruth Parasol and her husband Russ DeLeon, Party Gaming’s co-founders, who each own 14 per cent of the company, have shown no sign of any willingness to settle.

PartyGaming, which enjoyed a stellar rise as a FTSE 100 company three years ago and made millions out of online poker, has been in separate talks with the DoJ for months, as have other companies – including 888 and Sportingbet.

In a statement to the stock exchange on Tuesday, the company said: “The company’s discussions with the DoJ have made good progress and it is currently negotiating the final terms of a possible settlement with the DoJ.

“Whilst these discussions are at an advanced stage, the terms of any settlement have not yet been finalised and there can be no guarantee that an agreement will be reached between the company and the DoJ.”

Shares in PartyGaming rose 7½p to 146¼p in mid-mornng trading. James Hollins, an analyst at Daniel Stewart, noted that the company’s statement made clear that its own negotiations with the US authorities are independent of those of former directors, “implying, in our opinion, that the likelihood of a settlement and a fine ‘significantly lower than that reported to be paid by Dikshit’ are now very high.”

People close to Ms Parasol and Mr DeLeon say they believe the new White House administration will have weightier concerns than online gambling. Many in the industry believe the US will regulate online gambling and say Las Vegas gambling operators are lobbying for regulation of an industry they shunned.

Mr Dikshit is believed to have found the pressure too much and is ready to risk jail to draw a line under the matter. But it is thought unlikely that he will sell down his shareholding in the company. Mr Dikshit’s representatives declined to comment.

He made £420m when the company floated in 2005 and a further £65.7m when he sold another batch of shares the following year. He also received a dividend of $64m that year.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday at the Oaks...

$225 buy-in, NL tournament
100+ players

5 hours of being essentially card dead...but there is always a way to accumulate chips without cards.

In the the first hour, I had one hand A-Q in early position. Player under the gun called, I raised, and the next player called. The BB moved all-in, so I folded. The BB had 6-6 and the player to my left had A-K. She made a bad play just calling. The 6 hit the flop.

When it got down to 7 players, I raised with position a few times to get chips. A key hand was I raised on the cut-off with 10-8. The player to my left had a tell so I knew she'd fold. The SB called. The flop was 8-5-2. The SM moved all in and I called. He had 8-7 and I added more chips.

It got down to 7 tables and I was moved. This table was weak. I made some steals by calling the limps in position, and then betting the flop when checked to. If I got called, I would move all-in on the turn.

Down to 5 tables..and moved again. My first hand at the table was J-J. I raised and everyone folded. Card dead again...I stole in the cut-off twice to get some chips. My hands were not important, as I needed chips to have a chance. And when you fold a lot, it allows you to look strong when you raise pre-flop.

Down to 3 tables...and moved again. The table was 9 handed, and the blinds were big. When I was on the button and everyone folded, I pretended to look at my cards and moved all-in. I knew the guy to my left was super tight, and the BB I had never seen before.

I made the all-in move from the button twice and fortunately, the blinds folded. The third time I knew that one of them would call, so I really looked this time. 5-4 offsuit. I folded.

The next time around I made the move on the cut-off with the no look steal. It worked.

Down to 2 tables...and moved again at the worst time and in the worst position. I had to take the big blind. With the antes it was getting desperation time. First hand, a player limped, and another player who is also very tight moved all-in. While I had slightly more chips than him, I needed a big hand to call.

I found A-Q suited. I folded, since I was sure I was behind. And I felt I could steal in position to accumulate chips. A player called. He had 10-10, and hit the 10 on the flop. Good fold by me.

I was still card dead...the best hand of the day was J-J for me, along with the two times I had A-Q and had to fold. And...unfortunately, nothing changed and my opponents were raising all-in before me and showing A-A, A-K, and K-K. It was sick.

I finally was on the button and had to make a move. Q-9 all-in. Called by both blinds. One who had Ace high and knocked me out.

I got back $170 for finishing in 14th. A $50 loss for 5 hours of play.

Not a good day, but there was only one play I missed the entire time. With 4 tables left, I thought a player raised, and folded A-8 in position. Turns out the blinds had just gone up and he just called. The flop came A-8. I would have won a few more chips.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

What's your Poker IQ? Free Widget for your poker site!

If you want to put this on your site, at the end of the quiz will be an "Embed" icon. Just copy the html code and paste! It's free. Good luck. I hope you get all 10 questions right!

Note: If the Poker Widget does not appear below, go to:
Tournament Poker Widget

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Lock Up Sharp Objects While Playing Poker...Part 2

Sunday at the Oaks
$225 buy-in 135 players

We are down to 11 players. 6 players at my table.

Blinds $3,000-$6,000 with a $500 ante.

I am in the cutoff.

Players fold to me, and I look down and find A-A! I am in 3rd place with $60,000. I raise to $18,000. The big blind moves all in for $35,000. I call. He has A-Q.

The flop is K-2-4. The turn is a 10. The river is a J. Noooo!!!!!!!!!

I go on tilt and take myself out of the event in the next 2 hands.

Win $200 for over 5 hours of play.

Yes, one of my biggest weaknesses in poker is that I go on tilt.

Lock Up Sharp Objects While Playing Poker...

On Bodog...250 players $50 buy-in No limit event. Pays 27. It's down to 33 players and I hit a set on the flop. Since there are drawing possibilities I move all-in. The guy with almost as many chips as me calls (to my left). He hit a higher set. Doh.

Multiple table event...4 players left. An aggressive player raises under the gun. I decide to move all-in on the SB with pocket 8's to get him to fold his weak hand. Yeah, he folds, but not before the BB calls me with pocket Kings (to my left). I win about $300, but still I'm not happy.

Single table satellite...2 get paid. 3 players left. Button folds, and I raise with A-J suited on the SB. The big blind moves all in (to my left). I call and he shows A-Q. Noooo....

For some reason the Bodog software has a lot fewer stupid hands than Full Tilt or Poker Stars. I'm not sure why. But on Full Tilt and Poker Stars you run into quads and full houses way way too often, IMHO. There is also a difference in that Bodog has fewer of those runner runner bad beats, and that slightly slower than normal river card reveal where you know someone is about to get screwed.

Instead, Bodog will beat you by setting you up more often pre-flop...like K-K against A-A, or A-A against Q-Q...and the favorite actually wins! If you do get beat, it will happen more often on the flop than the torture of beating you on the river.

I also think there is a slight software glitch in Bodog which gives me a very small edge with certain starting hands. I won't reveal it until I win $1 million on the site:) Actually, I think it will help me slightly, oh very slightly when the situation comes into play.

If Bodog pays me $100,000 in cash I will tell them the glitch. Or, if you want to pay me $100,000 I will tell you the glitch....operators are standing by.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

60 Minutes Story on Online Poker to Air Sunday

Picked up this lead story from Dan at www.PocketFives.com--the first paragraph follows:

60 Minutes Story on Online Poker to Air Sunday

Rumors have been swirling around the online poker industry as to when a report by CBS News program “60 Minutes” about the recent cheating scandals on Absolute Poker and UltimateBet would air. On Tuesday, we received our answer. The story, which is actually a joint production by 60 Minutes and the Washington Post newspaper, will air this Sunday, November 30th, at 7:00pm ET. The report is dubbed “How Online Gamblers Unmasked Cheaters” and is one of three features that will air on 60 Minutes this weekend. Also scheduled to be a part of the show are news clips about Silver Star winner Monica Brown as well as U.S. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Was there something shady going on at Full Tilt?

I am playing online at Full Tilt at one of their no limit MTT events. At the same time, I'm reading an article about the Golden State Warriors on my Firefox browser.

As I'm reading, that buzz sound at Full Tilt goes off indicating it's time for me to check out my hand and decide my play. As I'm about to click over to Full Tilt, my Firefox screen changes to the following:

On this mostly white screen, is the name Full Tilt, my name, some numbers and I think a folder icon. Frankly, I only glanced at the screen, because I was being rushed...I didn't want to lose my article and I had to make a poker play.

So I quickly hit the back button and then folded my hand.

Of course that's when I realized I should have saved that screen, and taken a photo of it.

Being the skeptical guy that I am, it makes me think that maybe just maybe something fishy is happening. Why would this poker program send a signal to my computer which would appear on my browser? And why would this happen while I am playing?

I already think that online poker sites are not 100% fair and unbiased. For example, I am convinced that poker sites have programs that provide intermittent rewards so you get hooked on their poker site. It's like a slot machine, where many people stay and play because they hope for a big payday while getting small payoffs on an intermittent basis. Sound familiar?

Was this just some malfunction or was something else going on?

I have decided to stop playing at Full Tilt Poker for now.

Trust but verify. I can't verify, and now I'm not sure I trust them.

FYI: I am a Full Tilt Poker affiliate.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

An Interesting Day Of Poker and Bad Beats...

1. Entered a 45 player $69 NL event on Full Tilt. When it got down to 8 players, I had more chips than everyone else combined. When it got heads up I had a 5-1 chip lead. And then I lost 3 consecutive hands with bad beats. Bummer....it was a $700 win instead of $1,100 for first place.

2. Entered a second 45 player event. When it got down to 8 players, I was in 4th place. A player raised the min pre-flop, and I moved all in with QQ. To my surprise he called 2/3rds of chip stack with A-8. He hit his Ace on the river. Wow! 4 bad beats...only pays 6 players.

3. Entered a 500 player MTT NL event. Half way through I had a good chip stack. I raised and got 2 callers. The flop was Q-10-3. I had Q-10. I bet the pot and got one caller. The King hit. My opponent checked, and I moved all-in not wanting him to call for his draw. It was a way bigger bet than the pot size. My opponent called anyway with A-K. The river was another 3! Another bad beat...

4. Went to PS to change my luck. Another MTT NL event. Early on, I raised pre-flop with A-K, and one player called. The flop came 3-6-8. I moved all-in, and my opponent called with 2-4 of clubs. He hit runner runner clubs to take me out! No.....

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL! Frankly, I can't wait till next year...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

60 Minutes at Bodog Poker

Bodog is a favorite site of mine since it is the one site that I consistently win money at, especially at the no limit tournaments. My biggest win was finishing 2nd on their big Sunday event. The only reason I didn't win that day was because I misread my opponents bet..but that's history.

I do have problems at the Bodog limit ring games. And sometimes players at the highest level appear to acting in collusion. I don't have proof, but sometimes these super aggressive players on flops and turns, suddenly fold heads-up. It seems fishy to me. That's why I avoid the highest game--$30-$60 and play at $20-$40 or $10-$20.

Tonight I knew that I would win since I hadn't been on the site for months. Yes, I am a believer that things are not 100% kosher at online poker sites. I believe the software is programmed to reward players who have not won, and might leave. Or, have not played on the site and want to come back to play more often. It's all about the psychology of giving intermittent rewards so a person gets hooked, plays more, and eventually busts.

I entered the $20-$40 limit cash game. There were 2 and then 3 opponents. I played for 10 minutes and doubled up to win $400.

I didn't think it was realistic to do better than doubling up quickly, so I left.

I tried a heads-up no limit game for $105. Oh my, my opponent got pocket 9's, 10's, Q's and K's--and I was ahead 2-1 in chips! He won all those hands, but I slow-played 2 pair on the flop and won a major pot, when he hit a lower 2 pair on the river. (I never even got a pocket pair. My best hand was A-Q, and my opponent won the pot with A-K)

I thought this was going to be an easy win now. I was wrong. He got even and then with the blinds going up, we were now at such a a high level it was going to be push or fold time.

The first hand after this blind increase, I got dealt A-J suited. I moved all in for $1,500 with the blinds at $100-$200. He snapped called with pocket Aces....oh come on! That's not right!

Actually, it was right. I lost. But I made the mistake. I shouldn't have left that first game since I think the program was helping me. Hey, maybe the program was helping him at the heads up game. He certainly got all the big hands. Who knows? That's why these sites should be regulated.

One day I'll have to play in one of those Sunday events after a long layoff.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

ESP in Poker? Do you believe?

Entered the $300 no limit event at the local card club.
200 entries.

After the first five rounds, I was not doing well. I was down to $2500 and the blinds were up to $200-$400 with a $50 ante.

On the cut-off a player raised preflop and I had an easy fold with 7-2. The raiser was called and the flop was A-K-4. Suddenly I had this feeling I was going to find a big Ace on the next hand, and be knocked out.

The next hand a player raised to $2,000 pre-flop. Sure enough I looked at my cards...A-Q! No! What to do? This raise meant he had a hand like pocket J's or 10's. I know it sounds nuts, but I just had this bad feeling...I folded!

That was the best hand I had seen today, and it was not easy to fold.

After more bad hands, I was two under the gun. I had 4-5 of hearts. I was about to fold when I had this feeling to play it. I moved all in and got called by an opponent who had A-J. I hit the straight on the turn and the flush on the river.

I was up to about $6,000. The same blinds. A tight player raised to $1,600, and the button called. I was in the SB and found pocket Q's! I moved all-in.

The first player thought for about one minute and folded. The player on the button had about $12,000 and couldn't decide. I waited and waited...and yes, I had this feeling that I would win the hand if he called unless he had pocket 10's. I don't know why I was having these thoughts or whatever they were...

He called, and turned over 10-10. I sighed because I knew it was over. The flop had the 10 and I was out..

Is this esp or just plain nonsense?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Bummer--Knocked out of the event....

At the club today, I entered the $225 No limit event. I was dong very well. I had about $9,000 and just got moved to a new table as the blinds increased.

My first hand, I have A-K. The blinds are $150-$300 with a $75 ante. I have about $9,000 and probably one of the bigger stacks.

The player under the gun limps. I raise to $1400. A player in middle position moves all-in for $8,000. Everyone else folds.

I have played against this opponent before and he likes to move all-in with any pocket pair. What should I do? I decide to call...which may be a mistake, but in general I like to take chances in the middle event to accumulate lots of chips.

He turns over pocket Jacks. I get no help.

The next hand I get dealt pocket Jacks. I have $1,000 and move all-in. The same opponent raises me to $5,000 and another moves all in to $10,000. He gets called. The first raiser has pocket Queens and the player who moved all in has A-K.

The A hits the flop. I'm out....I guess it was flop lag...

Friday, November 7, 2008

My One Day Promotion to Support the Poker Players Alliance

To support the PPA's efforts to keep online poker legal, I am going to donate all the net proceeds on the sales of my "Tournament Poker: 101 Winning Moves" book on Tuesday, November 11. It will be a one day promotion that will occur the same day that the WSOP will be aired on ESPN.

I tried to get the PPA endorsement of my promotion but they never returned my emails.

For details of the promotion, go to:


Hmm, I just got knocked out of the 45 player $69 event..my AQ ran into AK.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Full Tilt 45 player $24 buy-in: We have a winner

After Obama's speech, I decided to play poker at Full Tilt...I hadn't played in a tournament on FT in some time. I was able to get into one of their 45 player, $24 buy-in event. I like this smaller sized events since they don't take long to play.

Key play was when I was down to 7 times the BB on the cutoff. No cards for about 45 minutes. Everyone folded and I had King-5 offsuit. I have to try to steal and get chips so I move all-in. The chip leader in BB called. He had K-J. I hit my 5 and won.

The guy wasn't happy and he didn't understand how I could move all in on such a bad hand. But it's the right play even if he beats me. I was in the right position, with a low chip stack, and I had a King.

I got moved to a new table shortly after the break, and I moved all in with A-K against a limper under the gun. The limper called with the 4-4. That's a lousy call. Anyway, I won that hand on the flop.

From then on, I won every all-in situation but one:
My 6-6 beat A-10.
My K-Q beats Jacks.
Got A-K twice more and beat pocket pairs.

And the last hand...
My A-K beat 10-10.

Almost a $400 win.

As to Obama...
Obama is a great speaker--both his style and the way he says things so that everyone who listens can read into his speech some part they will like. I think everyone feels good after listening to an Obama speech. But I wish I knew what he was passionate about.

"Change, We Can" is a winning slogan. So is "Don't Try, Do" to quote Yoda.

What does he exactly want to do, to create precisely what kind of change? I believe he has the smarts to be a great President. But no one knows for sure what he will do. We will all soon find out...

Oh yeah, I also think McCain is a quality guy who could have been a good president; yeah, too bad he wasn't running the country instead of Bush the past 8 years.

I finally figured what the W in George W stands for...Worst. He is the Worst president in my life time.

Congrats and good luck to Obama!

You've been warned....

The press just got hold of Obama's plan for the country.

It's a big book and the title of the book is:

"To Serve Man."


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Poker and Politics....

Sunday: I had my pocket Aces cracked. Opponent had pocket King and hit the King on the flop. My next book will be on how to avoid that problem with pocket Aces :)

Politics: I am leaning toward Obama because there is a better probability he will be nicer to online poker players. However, I find it difficult to vote against McCain since he has sacrificed so much for our country.

Of course since I live in California it doesn't matter who I vote for. Obama will win California easy. If I vote I guess it will be against those who voted for the UIGEA.

A couple of days to go, and it looks to me like an Obama landslide.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Life and Thoughts of a Midwest Geek

I just want to point out a blog that I really enjoy called The Life and Thoughts of a Midwest Geek. Read blogger Oh Captain and enjoy. Yes, he is a poker player. I added his link as one of my "Favorite Blogs" on the left column.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Our Next President--Who To Vote For...

I am a registered independent since I do not agree with all of the policies of either party.

Tonight I watched a great Frontline on PBS that reviewed both Obama and McCain.

My impressions based on this program:

* smart, driven & cautious.
* has a vision of what he wants to accomplish which I think is centered around getting people out of poverty and helping the middle class.
* knows he is good at giving speeches.
* looks like his Presidential campaign is what he used to get elected as Senator in Illinois...from the speeches to the slogan.
* hasn't really had much time to accomplish much at all in Senate, since it appears he
had a plan to run for President since day one in the Senate. The Democrats also
saw him as the celebrity who could get elected President--probably after Hillary
served her term.

* courage, patriotic & driven.
* has been at odds with conservative wing of his party for decades. Almost became a Democrat while in the Senate at the start of the Bush 1st term.
* committed to winning the war in Iraq. Could not stand Rumsfield or Bush during the 1st term since he knew their military plan was wrong.
* he was a key reason for the change in military strategy by Bush in the 2nd term, which is the "Surge" strategy
* it seems that the Bush re-election team took over his campaign for President once he was selected as the nominee. The result: he had to embrace the right wing policies and even Bush to appease conservatives and religious right. The choice of Palin--who clearly is not ready to take over as President--was driven by a need to get conservatives energized.

Overall IMHO:
Very impressive men. Perhaps the best choices we've had for President in a very long time.
I believe that either man would be an excellent President.
But it seems to me that Obama is the right man since the country is looking for
inspirational leadership at home, rather than winning a war abroad.

My fear is that once elected, our new President ends up just being a loyal party leader, rather than someone who can bring the best people together (regardless of party affiliation) to solve our country's challenges.

That's just my 2 cents.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My Radio Interview--on No Limit Tournament Poker

click here to listen to my poker tournament interview

We talk about a few no limit plays in the book and even a stock market suggestion.

It's about 20 minutes long and it's more interesting than listening to Alan Greenspan not take responsibility for the financial mess we are in. Reminds me a little bit of Colonel Schultz in Hogan's Heroes "I see NOTHING! I know NOTHING!"

Sunday, October 19, 2008

What To Do When You Are Card Dead?

Played in the Sunday event at Lucky Chances. I was card dead the entire time I was in the event--over 5 1/2 hours. The event had 140 entrants and paid 10 players.

How did I survive and give myself a shot at winning?

I moved all in on the small blind without looking when everyone folded to me and I needed chips. The big blind called--uh oh. I turned over K-2, and he had A-Q. I hit my 2 and doubled up.

I moved all in on the button without looking when everyone folded to me. The blinds folded.

I moved all in on the turn against two players, when I hit the low pair. I got called by one player who thought I had nothing. He had an Ace--but with antes I more than doubled up.

I did fold pocket 7's--which was a big hand for me today--when the under gun player raised, and he was re-raised before it got to my action.

And, earlier in the event, I did fold my best hand of the day A-J when a tight player moved all in under the gun. I put him on A-K, K-K or Q-Q, or pocket 9's or 10's. I decided to fold since in every situation I would be a dog AND there were 7 players still to act behind me.

We were down to 12 players and playing 6 handed. I moved all in on the small blind when everyone folded to me. I had a decent hand A-2, and the big blind folded. This pushed my low stack to $22,000--which put me in a decent situation as I needed just one more double up to be around 4th place.

On the next hand I was on the button, everyone folded. The blinds were $2,000-$4,000 with a $500 ante. I found the 4th best hand I had seen today---A-9. The small blind called right away. He had A-8.

The 8 hit on the flop and I was out. If I won that hand, I would be in 4th place and have a shot at the $11,000 first place win. Oh well...

A New Web Site To Help Your Poker Game!

I put this new website together to help you improve your no limit tournament game.

The focus is on poker strategy with advice on how to play pre-flop, flop, bluffing, poker tells...and on and on.

Please check it out and let me know what you think.

The website is: Poker Strategy Today

Friday, October 17, 2008

My Radio Interview with Ashley Adams

about my book Tournament Poker: 101 Winning Moves.

I am interviewed by Ashley on his radio show House of Cards and it will air on Monday and Tuesday. Monday the show is on Boston's Sports Station 1510 the Zone from 5-6pm, and on Tuesday on the Cyberstation podcast from 9-10pm.

The link is House of Cards Radio

I recently finished taping the interview and I thought I did a sub-par job. Guess you gotta learn from these things.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

5 Must-Have Books For Tournament Poker Players

Here are the books you need to have in your library to improve your game and win poker tournaments.

1. Harrington on Hold 'em Expert Strategy for No Limit Tournaments, Vol. 1: Strategic Play by Dan Harrington
Dan Harrington wrote this breakthrough tournament book a few years ago and it's still an essential read. This first volume tends to deal with situations early in an event when blinds are small and chip stacks are high. It provides a sound approach to tournament strategy.

2. Harrington on Hold 'em Expert Strategy for No Limit Tournaments, Vol. 2: Endgame by Dan Harrington
After you read Volume I, you will want to get Volume as it talks about how to play after the early stages of an event. Here you will learn about inflection points and the mighty M, so you can calculate when to move all-in It is a reasoned approach to poker tournaments.

3. Every Hand Revealed by Gus Hansen
This is a winning book written by arguably the best no limit tournament player. In this book, Gus analyzes every hand he plays on his way to winning a major tournament--the Aussie Millions in 2007. It is insightful, smart and eye-opening to read how a champion thinks through every decision.
To get an understanding of Gus' strategic approach to the game, I analyzed his plays and wrote articles on how Gus plays at both the early and middle stages of an event. The articles are on my blog http://therazzchallenge.blogspot.com

4. Making the Final Table (World Poker Tour) by Erick Lindgren
This is a book that has never received the accolades it deserves. Erick is another big winner and he gives you great advice by revealing how he approaches the game. His approach is not about cashing, it's about winning.

Of course, the #5 book is my book Tournament Poker: 101 Winning Moves. You can get 10 free moves and five free tips from my poker reference book at my website Best Tournament Poker Book.

Good luck. I hope this helps!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Three Heads-up Wins in A Row

Entered heads-up tables on PokerStars for $100 buy-in. Won three in a row, and it was too easy.

I was surprised that the opponents didn't understand heads-up play. Some errors these opponents made:

If you only raise when you have a premium hand, that is a mistake.
If you bet the minimum as a bluff on the flop every time, that is a mistake.
If you are going to fold to a pre-flop raise unless you have a big hand, that is a mistake.
If you are going to fold with rags pre-flop every time, that is a mistake.
If you never re-raise a pre-flop raise, that is a mistake.

You can't be predictable in heads-up play or you'll never win. While luck is always an element of poker, I think heads-up play may give a good player a bigger edge.

Monday, October 13, 2008

12 Top Poker Tournament Strategies We Learn From Gus Hansen about Early Stages of Play

Gus Hansen’s new book “Every Hand Revealed” is one of my favorites books since he analyzes the hands from his winning the 2007 Aussie Millions Event.

After reviewing the book, I have identified 12 top poker tournament strategies from Gus Hansen’s book. It’s important to note that Gus plays in big stack events with long time periods before blinds increase. Your events may be give you fewer chips and less time in each round.

Overall, you can use these poker tournament strategies to help your own game or to simply beat Gus Hansen when you play against him.

A. Pre-Flop

1. He likes to limp and see flops. Gus doesn’t like to risk all his chips early in an event.

2. He takes early position pre-flop raises seriously and therefore is less likely to re-raise the player. Early position is the first three positions after the big blind.

3. He will call pre-flop raises often in the big blind with speculative hands when the pot odds are 2-1 or better. Speculative hands are drawing hands like 5-4 suited.

4. He is willing to raise pre-flop with K-x suited if he is first in the pot and in late position.

5. He looks to raise pre-flop on the button, cut-off or power positions.

6. He will re-raise pre-flop on the cut-off or the button with a hand as weak as K-7 offsuit if he thinks the raiser is weak; especially if that raiser is seated right next to him in a back position.

B. Flop

7. He doesn’t always make a continuation bet on the flop. He will check with awful flops for him; that is, for example a coordinated flop where the flop totally misses his hand.

8. He tries to avoid being outdrawn by putting the other player all-in on the flop or the turn when the pot size dictates it’s the best play.

9. He will fold top pair on the flop when he gets bet into on the flop; although he prefers not to fold if he was the pre-flop raiser.

C. Turn

10. He has no issue in folding his hand if someone check raises him on the turn.

D. Overall

11. He doesn’t call an all-in bet without the best hand. The exception is when the odds and the relative chip stack situation dictate a call.

12. He does not have FPS, or Fancy Play Syndrome, as he will move all-in when he knows he has the best hand.

I have posted more poker tournament strategies I learned from reading Gus Hansen on my website at Poker How Tos

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Top 9 Signs That John McCain Wants to Lose the Election

After the debate, I got this feeling that Senator John McCain actually wants to lose the election. I mean given the state of the economy in the US and the world, wouldn't you be having second thoughts?

He is over 70 years old, and you know he didn't expect the entire world to be a mess. Dealing with a war is up his alley, but dealing with credit default swaps? I mean the last time he heard about swapping, it was wife swapping back in his prime.

I'm sure he can't back out now, but the signs are there:

9. Does an interview with Katie Couric rather than show up for his planned appearance on David Letterman

8. Realizes that as President he would no longer have time to play his favorite game of craps

7. Pretends to have early stage of Alzheimer by calling Obama “that one”

6. Admits to his shrink he dreams of being Slim Pickens in “Dr. Strangelove” riding the bomb down on Hanoi

5. Has been caught sleep walking into Sarah Palin’s bedroom

4. His latest ad campaign blames the Senate for all of the country’s problems, and Obama is a Senator so there!

3. Wants the government to buy back home mortgages because while he still can’t recall how many homes he owns, he knows he must owe a shit load of money

2. Rather than go to the first debate, he wanted to stay in Washington and party with President Bush and his daughters

1. Openly tells staff he made a mistake picking Sarah Palin as VP. Yes, he now wants Tina Fey.

Friday, October 10, 2008

How to take advantage of poker odds to win big pots

You probably know what pot odds and implied odds are in poker, but do you know how to take full advantage of this knowledge in a no limit poker tournament?

As a reminder, pot odds are the ratio of the size of the pot to the size of the bet. If the pot has $400 in it, and your opponent bets $400, the pot is $800. Since you need to call with $400, the pot odds are $800 to $400 or 2-1.

Implied odds are based on the amount you believe you may win at the end of the hand, if you make your hand and win.

For example, the pot has $1,000 after your opponent bets $500 on the flop. You have a straight draw, and the pot odds are $1,000 to $500 or 2-1. Which is not favorable for drawing to a straight.

However, if you hit your straight on the next card, you believe that you may end up winning $4,000. Therefore, your estimate of your implied odds is $4,000 to $500 or 8-1 and you can call the bet.

While it's important to know these odds, it's even more important to know how to take advantage of the odds. Here's an example:

You are in a no limit poker tournament. It is the first hand with the blinds $25-$50. Everyone starts with $4,000 You are in the big blind.

The player under the gun raises to $150. Everyone folds to you. You have the pot odds of $100 to call the bet. Your pot odds are $225 to $100, or slightly over 2-1.

You look down at your cards and you have 8-7 suited. What should you do?

The correct play in this situation is to call the bet since you are getting excellent implied odds. If your opponent has a big hand like pocket Kings, and you hit your hand, you could win a much bigger pot.

What happens in this situation is that right before you call the raise, your opponent picks up his cards to look at them. By accident he flashes his cards to you. He has pocket Aces! Now what should you do? Does this change your original decision?

Not at all. Call the bet.

As a general rule, when you are in the big blind consider calling a bet if you are getting 2-1 pot odds or better, have much bigger implied odds (due to deep stacks) and have a drawing hand or better.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Play A Poker Hand With Me: Pocket Kings

I entered the local poker tournament today. It is a $120 buy-in. First place is a guaranteed $3,500. You get $4,000 in chips. No rebuys.

On the second level of blinds, one player limps for $100, and this aggressive player only raises to $250. He had been more aggressive with his pre-flop raises since the start of the game. The big blind and the limper calls. There is $800 in the pot.

The flop is K-Q-5 rainbow. The limper checks. The aggressive player bets $800. The big blind moves all in for $4,000. The aggressive player has about the same amount in chips and without blinking calls all-in. What do these players have?

When the big blind moves all-in, I put him on K-Q. But when the aggressive player calls without even thinking, I figure he must have a set of Kings or Queens. I was wrong.

The big blind had the two pair with K-Q, but the aggressive player just had pocket Aces. He didn't get any help and he was out.

Now, let's play a poker hand with me.

It's the third level. You have $3,100 in chips and you are on the button. The blinds are $100-$200. The player under the gun limps. You know this player and he likes to raise with big hands under the gun, but limps with strong drawing hands in this position.

A second player and a third player also call the $200. Players have been tight overall, so you figure they have drawing hands or low pairs. The player on your right with $3,200 moves all-in.

You look down on your hand and find pocket Kings. Easy decision. You move all-in. Everyone else folds so it is heads up.

Your opponent turns over A-J. The player who limped under the gun says, "I had the same hand." Another player who called and folded speaks up, "I had the Ace 10."

How are you feeling? There is only one Ace in the deck that can beat you.

The flop comes and....yes, it's the Ace. You get no help and you are driving home.

That was a quick ending. Yet, there is nothing you can do in that situation. It's just one of those things.

What was the probability your opponent would hit an Ace?

He has 5 tries at hitting one card.

Do you think it was a bad beat?

It doesn't matter. You made the right play and lost. It's called poker.

At least you have a story for your poker blog, right?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Has Barack Obama Already Let Poker Players Down?

Many poker players think that Obama is the better choice for President since he plays poker and he will understand the need to regulate rather than outlaw online poker. Well, think again.

It seems that he is doing the political thing and ducking the issue, or perhaps worse.

Recently Senator Obama responded to the issue regarding online gambling. What he said in a letter dated 8/15/08 is disappointing. in fact, I'd say he replied like a typical politician.

To quote him regarding the UIGEA: "This bill was then folded into a conference committe report on unrelated port security legislation, and became Public Law on October 13, 2006.

I recognize the need to comply with federal and state laws and the desire of many Illinoisans to not have the federal government over-regulate their behavior. As opportunities to re-examine this issue arise, I will certainly keep your concerns in mind... -Sincerely, Barack Obama, United States Senator

I know he wants to get elected but geeze, take a stand.

I guess the next time you get dealt Ace-King in a no limit tournament, you should say:

"I recognize the need to comply with TDA rules and the desire of many players at my table to act on my hand. I am forced to wait to see all the community cards on the table, and I will re-examine my thinking and play my hand accordingly. If you have concerns about this strategy, I will certainly keep your concerns in mind."

I just found his letter online. It is at:

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Poker Tournament Survey: One question only

Click Here to take survey

You are in a poker tournament and have a medium chip stack. The
players at your table are typical with a range of playing styles. You
are in a middle position, and the first three players after the big
blind fold. You peek at your cards. Which hand would you least want to
get in this situation?

Pocket Aces
Pocket Jacks
K-Q offsuit
Pocket 4's
7-2 offsuit
None of the above

Click Here to take survey

Monday, October 6, 2008

No Limit Poker Tournament Reviews and Results

All 7 Amazon reviews on my No Limit book have been 5 out of 5 stars, and here are the top lines:

Best poker book released this year!!!, October 1, 2008

Unbelievably awesome, August 25, 2008

Full of sound advice and a lot of fun to read, August 1, 2008

Superb!, June 25, 2008

Outstanding!, July 3, 2008

Great Poker Book, July 2, 2008

Excellent tournament poker tips, May 24, 2008

Frankly, I think that the book is really good because it makes every player's game better by being a great reference. It's incredible that more players don't understand the importance of having a reference book of plays to help them win.

An update: I've played twice more at the club. And, one Sunday I built I decent chip stack. It got down to the last 3 tables but I lost every time I was all-in with either a small or big advantage.

Today, I just played bad. Passive play. My number one weakness. These things happen for a reason. "Risk is Good." Just because I wrote the book, doesn't mean I don't revert back to bad habits.

Since I wrote the book, though, I've played only in 6 no limit tournaments. I finished in the final table in 3, and went out in the other 3 One of the final tables was a win.

It's funny but I notice that more and more players and will read one of my books do well for a while and then lose. Why do they and I start to lose? We start to revert back to old habits, rather than recalling what works. That is true in the Razz book and the Tournament Poker book.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Added a new blog: Let's Play Horse

His blog is worth checking out.

Oh yeah, he posted the great scene with Paul Newman bluffing in 5 card stud in Cool Hand Luke. Paul Newman was the best!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Who Is the Better Poker Player: McCain Or Obama?

The country is a mess. There is enough blame to go around. The President, the Congress, business leaders, financial institutions, etc.

Greed was a major cause of the financial problems we are experiencing
today. The entire residential mortgage mess is at the center of the
credit crunch. People who don't have a clue about gambling were
playing no limit poker with our chips. Time for a change.

Our next President must be a great poker player. A trillion dollar
economy requires a leader who knows when he has been dealt a winning
hand and when he has trash. He must know when to bluff and when to
fold. And he must be able to identify the "tells" of the people he
meets, so he can determine when someone is telling the truth or lying.

We have a choice: John McCain or Barack Obama. Who is the better poker player?

We need some criteria to judge this crucial question:

1. Knows what to do with 7-2 offsuit?

Advantage: John McCain.

Why? McCain almost lost his life in the Vietnam War. He was later shot
down over North Vietnam and with serious injuries was held captive
from 1967-1973. He was tortured in prison and has lived with physical
injuries from this service. No one can fully understand what this man
lived through in those prisons. He got dealt the worst hand, and came
out a winner. Impressive.

2. Knows what to do with pocket Aces?

Advantage: Barack Obama

Why? This guy has been on a poker rush. A rush in poker terms is
when you are getting winning hands over and over again. That is
certainly the case for Obama. He is smart, ambitious and must have
been dealt incredible cards to be running for President after only
five years in the Senate. Getting pocket Aces is important. Knowing
what to do with them is even more important. Obama knows what to do
with pocket Aces.

3. Knows when to bluff?

Advantage: John McCain

Why? McCain positions himself as a maverick in the Republican party,
but he has a solid history of voting for conservative positions. is
he going to seek "change" or does he just realize that everyone wants
change given the recession or near recession our country is
experiencing. It looks like a bluff. Will he pull it off?

4. Knows when to fold?

Advantage: Barack Obama

Why? He admits to be being a long time poker player. While in the
Illinois legislature, he regularly competed in a low stakes poker game
with colleagues. He was known as a poker player who would play it
safe and not take chances. He knew when to fold'em.

5. Can identify tells in those around him?

Advantage: Undetermined.

In the movie "Rounders" there was a great tell using Oreo cookies.
When faced with a big decision, Teddy KGB, played by John Malkovich,
would reach for his tray of Oreos and lift one. When he held a weak
hand, he'd twist the Oreo in front of his face, push the halves back
together and place the Oreo back on the tray. When Teddy KGB's hand
was a good one, he'd place the Oreo cookie by his ear, open it and eat
the halves one at a time.

Reading tells is critical in poker. It is more critical in being President.

Since so many Americans are undecided in whom to vote for, perhaps
it's time to break out the Oreo cookies and place them in front of
McCain and Obama at the next debate. Let's see who eats the halves
one at a time.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

How to Play the "Telephone" Game on the Internet

Tired of bad beat stories? Maybe some of them are not true. They have been passed along to so many people, that maybe they change.

I was wondering if the game of telephone--which you may have played once or twice as a child--would work on the Internet.

Here is how we can play it on the internet:
1. Listen to Poker Joke #1 recording.
2. Remember and record what you heard on your computer. Make up a list of friends and/or family members and email your recording to the first person on the list.
3. Tell this person to listen to your recording once and and pass it along by recording what he/she heard on their computer and passing it to the next person on the list.
4. Record and repeat until it gets to the last person on the list.

Now, check out how you did by having the last person right down the message. Come back to this website to compare it to the original message.

(Note: Before you listen to the recorded message one time, make sure you know how to record a message on your computer and email it. )

Poker Joke #1

Gabcast! Poker Joke #1

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Poker, Gambling and How to Solve our Country's Financial Mess

Fear. There is definite fear that things are about to spin out of control and get worse.

The Administration wants $750 billion to bail out the financial institutions. But the Democrats want to get elected and say it's all a scheme to help the rich. Even the Republicans are not sure if they want to come out to support the bailout.

I read Ben Stein on Yahoo Finance who finally reveals the real problem behind the mortgage mess...yep, gambling.
Read his article here: http://finance.yahoo.com/expert/article/yourlife/109609.

It seems that the mortgage mess is only (only?) $250 billion. So that's small potatoes for our huge economy.

The problem is that there are entities that "place bets on whether or not those mortgages would ever be paid. You didn't have to own a mortgage to make the bets. These bets, called Credit Default Swaps, are complex. But in a nutshell, they allow someone to profit immensely - staggeringly - if large numbers of subprime mortgages are not paid off and go into default."

And these bets were backed by banks, investment banks and insurance companies. They lost their bets to these other entities. The result they owe real money--in the trillions. That's why they are all in a heap load of trouble.

Once again we see why bankers shouldn't be allowed to play poker. They stink at gambling. And they lost the farm and maybe your farm as well.

But, how about a solution. I am not a financial genius. But, I have a solution.

1. The Government buys these lousy mortgages back from these bankers for $250 billion. That's what they are worth.

2. The people who own the homes with these lousy mortgages are given a break. A low interest loan that is fair and it gives them an opportunity to stay in their home and pay off the debt. That would also help the value of your home to stop declining. The Democrats would love that.

3. My big idea: Remember that TV series "Dallas." One year that program went totally off course and had a story meltdown. So what did the writers do, they said, hey, let's make believe that whole year was a dream.

Why not do that here as well: Pull a "Dallas!"

Here's how:
a) Tell all the banks and financial institutions to make believe they never made any of those awful loans. Just restate all their past year financials. And all that money they just got from the US government to buy the lousy mortgages is free money they can now loan out to businesses and people for home, autos, etc. That makes the Republicans happy!


Ok, the above probably shows my ignorance in all things financial. But, I like it. And, it seems to make everyone happy--it's like finding out the chip leader was cheating, forfeits and the players in 2nd and 3rd get to chop the pot.

What do you think?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Nice Tournament Poker win at the local card club-$5,000

I haven't had much of a chance to play any poker the last month+ due to work.

I needed some time off so I went to the no limit event. I actually looked through my book "Tournament Poker: 101 Winning Moves" before I left. Frankly I knew I was rusty from the inaction. But,

I won...$5,000. Not bad.

A few highlights...

1. I was low on chips when it was down to 4 tables. One player under the gun moved all-in, another player with lots of chips moved all in. I had A-9 offsuit, and frankly, it was not a big hand. I had as many chips as the first player. I figured the guy probably had a good hand, and the 2nd player was using the isolation play with a pair.
Since I needed chips I called.
First player had JJ, second player had Q-Q...and I won when the Ace flopped.

2. That hand kept me alive, but I really hadn't had a big hand throughout the event. It was down to 14 players, and I found A-7 suited. A player with lots of chips raised, and I was low in chips but needed chips so I moved all-in. It was only a few more to the raiser. He called with 4-4, and I hit the 7.

3. I got strong hands from that point on. I refused to chop 5, 4 and 3 handed. I was in the chip lead, when this hand came up.....The first player moved all-in, He had $80,000. I had $150,000 and found A-Q. I moved all-in. The player on the BB only had $20,000---and the blinds were $2,000-$4,000---he would make more money if the original player got knocked out, so folded.

The first guy had K-7. He hit his 7 and now he was in the lead.

4. When it got heads up, my opponent had a 2-1 lead. But he was inexperienced. He offered me a few dollars to end the match. I said no. He raised to $38,000, and I called with 10-8 suited. The 10 flopped, I checked and he moved all-in. I called. He had nothing. Now I was the 2-1 leader.

5. Another hand...he limped on the button. I had J-3. The flop missed me, I checked and he checked. The turn missed me, I checked and he checked. The river missed me, and he bet a little more than half the pot. I had J high, and didn't believe him. I called him. He showed 10 high.

5. I won a few more hands, and he was getting real low in chips. I offered him a sweet deal to chop. He said no, because his friends were telling him he can win. 2nd place was $3,600. We split the next two hands.

On the last hand he moved in with Q-7, and I called with A-10. No one hit their hand, and I won $5,000 and the Oaks Card Room jacket.

I also had my picture taken holding me book, which they post for a week at the card room. Oh well...back to work.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Free Poker Evaluation

I have posted a free poker evaluation of your no limit tournament game.

It is at www.apokerexpert.com/evaluation.html

There are 15 questions to answer. The answers hope to guide you on the right way to approach no limit tournaments and identify any leaks in your game.

Good luck.

Entered the Full Tilt Sunday big event

5,000+ players...

Got down to 200 or so players, and the guy to my right moved all-in. I thought it was a steal. I had A-Q and called. He showed 9-10 offsuit. He hit the 9 and crippled my stack.

Oh well...and it was going so good....would I do it again....yeah. But, after I called, I just had that feeling he was going to show Q-9 and beat me. Instead, it was 9-10...

I didn't think it was possible but it looks like a guy in China downloaded my no limit ebook. Maybe I can offer him a multi-level marketing deal--I mean there are like a few billion people living in China.

Maybe I should advertise the book during the Olympics--but only on the Chinese feed.

Or, maybe this guy is just going to email the pdf to a billion of his best friends.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

News: London Bookstore now sells my poker books

The High Stakes Bookshop has added both of my poker books to their store.

It is the High Stakes Bookshop. Located on Great Ormond Street in London.

The other bookstore that carries both my books is Gamblers Bookstore in Las Vegas.

They keep running out of my books, which is a good sign.

It's tough getting noticed against the "name" brand authors. But, I thank everyone who have bought my books and who have given me positive feedback.


My No Limit Poker Book--a positive post

From Two plus two poker forum:

Re: Tournament poker: 101 winning moves
Take it how you want it, but the book is great. There were so many tips in this book that I didn't know that have helped my MTT play tremendously. Reading this book together with "Every Hand Revealed" will definitely teach any player how to play LAG successfully.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Razz Poker-Got back what I lost...

The largest win was that I ended up playing heads-up and hitting some nice hands.

The table started with 4 players, but two opponents went broke and left. My opponent got most of their money.

It was obvious how my opponent was playing, which allowed me to take advantage.

Got back $600 on that $20-$40 table.

When i could sneak Razz into my day, I played and picked up a hundred here and there.

I still think I got incredibly unlucky that other night...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Got beat up at Razz....

Too many close beats on 7th...lost $1,000...oh well.

The annoying thing was how it was really against the same guy--

I let him be aggressive and let him raise me on 5th. He thought he had the better drawing hand each time, although I actually was the favorite. He would sometimes improve on 6th and sometimes not. I'd check...and if he thought he was ahead he'd bet. If not, he'd check.

And on 7th...he would hit perfect.

I lost with 8-4 to his 7-6.
I lost with 7-4 to his 6-5.
I lost with 6-5 to his 6-4.

I did bet my 7-4 hand on 7th..and called his raise.

I called the other hands.

If I played it more aggressively, I don't see him going away.

You can't win them all...oh well, I'd been running good at Razz the past week so it was meant to go south sooner or later.

Oh my...I forgot to move my seat!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Razz poker-Here is the key to winning....

Are you ready?

This is only good advice for cash games.

The key to winning in Razz is....get a good seat.

Tonight--some more proof:

I took my seat at $30-$60.

I ended up with almost 40% of the bring-in bets.

I was the favorite after 4 cards and bricked...on 3 different hands.

Down $400...bummer....what did I do?

I totally changed the way I played Razz and ended up the evening ahead $400.

Ok...I lied...I just moved my seat and I ended up the evening ahead $400.

I told a player, who says he is a semi-pro online player, that it's all in the seat. He told me I was an idiot. Maybe so...

But if you sit down at any table online and things are going bad--my advice is simple...move your seat.

Some people say that gambling is a long term thing. I disagree.

Gambling is all about brief moments in time where luck runs good or bad or neither. If your luck is running bad...move your seat...leave the game...whatever is needed...to change your luck for that short period of time.

When I play poker and things are running good...I will stay as long as the luck is going my way...when it changes...I put in a stop order to myself so I can "lock" in a gain for the period. Try it. If you always leave a winner your attitude is so much better.

One last point: Sometimes I start to play and realize I'm playing bad. So I just leave...I know when I come back there will be a game somewhere.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Razz Poker--you need to have a sense of humor

Playing this game.

You can have a great hand for the first 4 cards, and the bricks fall so you can't win.

And you can start knowing you have the worst of it, but your opponent or opponents all brick on you.

Tonight...I must be a lousy player, because I lost $200 at one $20-$40 table. I move to a new table and win $400. Did I play better at the new table? No. Just got a lucky seat.

You just need a sense of humor about the game or it will drive you...no, it will make you pissed.

One story or two: When online poker started years ago, the first time I played I joined Ultimate Bet. I set up my laptop on the kitchen counter and played in a no limit tournament. It wasn't a big tournament. I think it may have been like a $20 or $30 buy-in.

The tournament was going on for maybe an hour or so, and I make it to the final table. I am in 3rd place.

I get dealt A-A. The player under the gun raised and I am figuring out how much to re-raise when the power goes off in my apartment.

I had never lost power in that apartment before. There was nothing I could do. I waited for about 40 minutes...or maybe it was longer.

When the power came back, I immediately powered up the laptop and logged back on. I frantically searched for the event. When I opened up the table, I was no longer at the table.

I contacted Ubet via email. They quickly replied that I got paid 8th place money. Of course, I wasn't happy about it at all...I was in 3rd place and had A-A. I guess if I had 7-2 I would have been calmer.

In retrospect, it's funny that of all the hands to have when the power goes off...

Not happy with Ubet. I opened an account at Paradise Poker. After about one month on Paradise I had been winning at Limit hold'em and had a big enough bankroll to try either their highest limit or maybe it was next to the highest limit. I think it may have been $30-$60 or $40-$80. I quickly learned that my bankroll was not nearly big enough.

Anyway, I recall the first time I played at this high level and one of the first hands I was dealt was pocket Q's under the gun. I raised and was called by the player seated next to me, and the big blind.

On the flop I hit a set. The first player bet, I called, the 2nd guy raised, and the betting was capped. On the turn, there were all sorts of draws possible, so when the first guy bet, I raised. But once again a raising war started and the betting was capped.

I wasn't happy when a card that could make a straight and/or flush hit the river. The BB bet into me, and I just called. The next player raised, and the big blind re-raised.

I knew I was beat so I folded. I figured one of them must have a straight or flush.

The player to my left...folded without hesitation!

I jumped out of my seat and shouted "What the F@@K!" My sister came into my room, and I kept yelling at the computer while also trying to explain to her what happened.

She didn't care and left me alone to suffer.

To this day, I think it was collusion.

No, I did not have a sense of humor that day.

A week later I returned--making sure not to play with those guys again--figuring I'd just win the money back. Wrong. I lost the rest of my bankroll...and never returned to Paradise.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Razz $20-$40

Like I said good seats and bad seats....tonight the seat was bad...lost $300. Couldn't win while ahead on 4th, or 5th or 6th....oh well.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Razz Poker $30-$60 cash results, a tip and learning

Decided to play some more Razz...

One player was super aggressive. Since the table was only 5 players, his theory was to raise with the second lowest or lowest card. It worked as no one played back at the guy.

I got involved with him and a third player. We went to 4th street and the aggressive player hit a King, while the third guy and I both improved. The third guy bet since he was in the lead, and I raised wanting to get the aggressive guy out. But he called. On 5th street, I took the lead and the aggressive guy was still sporting King low. He called my bet, and the third player called. On 6th, I was in the lead and bet. Only the aggressive guy called. I had the better hand and even a better draw. On 7th, he hit his card and won a big pot.

On the next hand another player beat me as well; yeah, coming from behind. I had lost $600.

Here's my tip: There is such a thing as good and bad seats. It is not being superstitious.

I moved to a new table. The aggressive player was at this table. I sat to his left and decided to call almost all his raises.

Since there was only 4 or 3 players during this time it was a smart strategy on his part to be aggressive. Well, I beat him up most of the time and made back the money I lost. He was beating up on the other players, so when he lost to me the other players seemed to giving away their chips to him.

I learned a lot from the aggressive player. When he left, I used his theory.

Overall for the night I won $200...so I was satisfied.

Some learning:

Short handed it is best to try to be the aggressive player at the table by betting the lowest exposed card or the second lowest exposed card pre-flop 90% of the time.

What this does is it allows you to steal and accumulate chips, and you win when you hit good and the opponent hits bad.

When you run into one of these aggressive players, slow play him even when you are ahead on 3rd street. Wait till 4th street. If he hits good and you hit bad, you can still call. In fact, you can assume he has a card higher than a 9 in the hole when you play the hand.

If you take the lead and you bet and he doesn't fold, there is a chance he actually has a real hand.

If he has the lead and checks, you can assume he has a really bad hand so bet.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Razz Poker--cash game $30-$60 and a big tip on 6th street play

I played some Razz poker tonight. It's been a while. When the table was full, there were a few things worth noting...

Part 1: Two players decided to be the sheriff at the table. The sheriff is the guy with the second lowest card and nearest to the right of bring-in bettor (meaning acting later). If the lowest card raised, these guys would re-raise to get heads-up. Heads-up if they hit good and their opponent hit bad that would collect the pot.
Of course, this play is obvious when you do every single time.
The bad news I had both of these guys to my left, so I had to be more selective.

What happened for me was that I bought in for $600, and got it to $1,000 and was going to play one last hand. It was a good hand, but one of these guys beat me on 6th and I had to fold. So, now I was staying.

Part 2: The table became 4 handed, and only one sheriff remained at the table. The guy just kept beating me. I was down to $130.

Part 3: A new player sat down and this time I shot the sheriff....as I knocked him out. The funny thing about these guys is that they think because they play aggressive and bluff a lot, they think everyone else is doing the same thing. Well, guess what? Sometimes your opponents have hands!

I built my stack to $1,400. I lost two more hands, and decided to leave with $1,200--ahead $600.

One last comment: On one of my favorite blogs (brickin' the nuts), I tried to help by posting advice on how to play 6th street on the example provided. Unfortunately, the other Razz players don't get it since it is such an uncommon move in Razz--checking when you are ahead on 6th street.

However, the fact is that checking is the right play when you and your opponent have mediocre lows and you know your opponent is going to call your bet on 6th, and fold on 7th if he misses but call or bet when he hits better than you. Essentially, here are the outcomes:

Common Play:
Bet on 6th, and get called.
On 7th you hit and he misses....still win 1 bet.
On 7th you miss and he hits...you lose 2 bets, since you will call since he may be bluffing.
On 7th you both hit good...but you are not sure, so you check. He would only bet if he can beat you. Therefore, either up 1, down 1, or you lose 2 bets.
On 7th, you both hit good...he is going to call...you win 2 bets.
Net--this is not a good bet on 6th, even if you are a big favorite. A 10 low versus an opponent's J low is not all that good, when you know he is going to call the 6th street bet.

Uncommon Play:
Check on 6th.
Now you will either win one bet, lose one bet, or break even--given all possible outcomes.

This situation happens all the time in Razz and everyone continues to play it wrong.
If you have a mediocre or worse low on 6th and are ahead of your opponent's almost equally mediocre or worse low, and you KNOW for sure he will call your bet...don't bet! Check!

How often in Razz do you see that guy in the lead bet on 6th get called, and then check when he misses. If his opponent bets, he always calls. Loses two bets. If his checks, he only loses or wins 1 bet.
When he bets, his opponent is only going to call if he thinks he has a better hand. The bet on 6th, will result in most cases you winning one bet or losing two bets.
The check on 6th, will result in a 0, +1, or -1 outcome.

I decided against taken up the Brickin' the Nuts blog with a large post to explain. I understand why players always think when they are ahead on 6th, they should bet. But it's not always the best play. Really, even if you are a 60% favorite.

Oh yeah, this one change in your game will really save you money and result in better results. I mention this in my book as an advanced play for 6th street. Another way to look at it is if you were the other guy, given your draw, the mediocre low of your opponent and both the pot and implied odds, you are going to call.

Let me know if this is clear or not.

Monday, July 14, 2008

New Review of Tournament Poker book

Author and poker player, Mitchell Cogert, sets down 101 “Winning Moves” for no-limit tournaments in a thoughtful, meticulous manner. These moves fall under three main categories: Pre-Flop Moves, Flop Moves and River Moves. The premise of the book is handy, and it makes you feel “armed” for your next tournament.

Part of what Cogert succeeds at is illustrating his conviction that playing aggressively is the way to win no-limit poker tournaments. And he supports his argument by giving good advice on various types of raises and bluffs.

Cogert teaches the “No-Look” Blind Steal, Under-the-Gun Steal-Raise, Leave-Something-Behind Re-Raise and the Naked Ace Bluff, among others. These are tough, but needed, moves to pull off in a no-limit tournament, according to Cogert.

Throughout the book, Cogert gives little quizzes at the ends of each section and chapter. What’s great about these little tests is the amount of detailed information given in order to make your decision. Cogert sets up scenarios well. He tells you how many chips you and your opponents have, your seat position, blind amounts and what table images you and your opponents might have, and of course what cards you’re holding.

The only place to really fault Cogert is that his full-throttle approach to tournament poker doesn’t leave much room for tight, conservative play, or anything in between. Yes, you have to make some risky plays in order to win in tournaments, but Cogert preaches a “Risk is Good!” sermon almost to a fault.

This book has its fair share of stats and percentages, which are useful in the way Cogert uses them, and he doesn’t just throw numbers at you because he can. Another useful tool Cogert offers the reader is a two-page Appendix called “Planning: Boring But Necessary.” In this section Cogert gives the potential tournament player a little “pep talk” by listing key questions the player should be thinking about before and during the tournament. It boils the book down nicely, so if you can at least walk away thinking of those questions your tournament life should improve.

More fun little sections in Cogert’s book are the little stories he writes between a few of the chapters about hands he played against pros such as David “The Dragon” Pham, Daniel Negreanu, Layne Flack and others. Cogert doesn’t take himself too seriously in these stories, so it’s a nice distraction from the rest of the book.

As far as poker books go, this is an easy one to relate to. It’s based on real experience, a little theory, and a lot of courage! At about 200 pages, it’s a quick read and worth picking up.


Monday, July 7, 2008

It's true: I've been playing more no limit poker

tournaments than razz events to prepare me for that $1,500 WSOP no limit event...which I didn't get in.

The other mistake I made was that once I got into the Full Tilt main event 150 seat give away, I didn't play any events to get a seat. In that event when it got down to 650 players, I re-raised a player all in with pocket Jacks thinking he was on a late position steal. Wrong! He had A-K. I was happy, though, when the flop missed him, the turn missed him...yeah, on the river he hit his Ace. That hand sealed my fate.

I tried the steps on Poker Stars three times. I did get as far as the 4th or 5th step one time...I can't recall which one it was now. On the third hand, I had A-K and a player slowplayed his pocket Aces. When the King hit on the flop I was too aggressive and did myself in.

The good news is that a couple of players have left positive reviews on "Tournament Poker: 101 Winning Moves."

One player said he cashed for the first time ever at the WSOP and credited my book for getting him past the bubble.

Another player said he was very skeptical that the moves in the book would work, but has not only cashed but won a lot of events.

I did get an email from a player who said he can't understand why the word hasn't gotten out on my book since he thinks its one of the best he's ever read. I told him it's because I don't have a bracelet...maybe next year.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

My trip to the World Series of Poker

I flew into Vegas to enter Saturday's $1,500 no limit event. The event started at noon.

I missed the 11:15 am bus from Harrah's to the Rio, so I took a cab instead. The cab drove about 100 yards from Harrah's when the police pulled over the taxi. It wasn't the cops but a Vegas Taxi Commission officer. It seems that the taxi wasn't suppose to pick up passengers in the area--he was a restricted cab.

After asking the cabbie a few questions, the Taxi Police had me get out of the cab. He got me another taxi, which let me out in front of the Rio.

After the long walk, I was at the Registration Window about 11:45am. But the event was sold out. I was told the event sold out about 30 minutes ago.

Bummer. They capped the event at 2,700 players.

The extra taxi stop didn't matter. It was just not meant to be.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Book Review on Amazon for Tournament Poker: 101 Winning Moves

I had the honor of reading the manuscript to this book before it was released. Mitchell had contacted me through my personal poker blog and asked if I would like to review his up and coming book on tournament hold'em and I couldn't refuse!

I read the book cover to cover two or three times and thought to myself "these tips could never work" as I was trained to be a tight-aggressive player based on the works of Harrington and Sklanksy. However, I put my pride aside and decided to try about 15 or so of these awesome moves in my upcoming tournaments. Things turned out to be fantastic with the awesome preflop moves I used from this book! Also, the subjects on c-bets has really helped me be super aggressive on the flop, even when I didn't hit any piece of it. I have since played 47 tournaments, placing in the money in 13 of them, and took down 7 of the them!

Bottom line: If not for this book, I would not have made it very far in the tournaments I have played in. Harrington on Hold'em is still the greatest series of books in my opinion, but if you really want to up your game and mature from the kids to the big boys, read this book.

-Jules Carter

Monday, June 23, 2008

Full Tilt Sunday $750K Guarantee

Something like 3,500 players.

The first hand I was dealt was pocket Kings, I raised and everyone folded. The first hour I got premium hands more than I may have ever gotten before online, and the result I was down! Why?

I doubled up in the BB with my KK against the SB's QQ...which got me up to about $6,000 real early.

But, I made a call of a pre-flop raise in the SB with Q-J. The flop came Q-8-4. I check called. When the Q hit the turn, I moved all-in since I put my opponent on an overpair as he had been playing real tight. He called right away. He had pocket 8's. Doh! Back down to $3,000.

The premium cards stopped coming of course, but I was able to build my chips to a good size again. I played aggressive using my "risk is good" approach.

I got lucky when I had K-K against A-A and hit the K on the turn.

So, it was down to about 150 players. And I got moved to a new table. I hate getting moved to a new table since I have no clue on player images.

Second hand I was on the button with K-J. Everyone folded to me and I raised the $1,800 BB to $7,200. The BB thought a long time and moved all-in. Bummer. He had about $38,000 and I had $30,000 left, so if I called and lost I was out.

I had no clue how this guy played. My rule on Button play in this situation is that if you are going to call a move all-in from a blind after you raise pre-flop, just move all-in preflop.

I didn't follow my rule. I called all-in. He showed A-8. The flop had the A, and it was over.

Hours of play for a lousy $500 win. I made a bad decision....do as I write, not as I do...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Book Review from What're the Odds: Tournament Poker:101 Winning Moves by Mitchell Cogert

How many moves do you know?

In an attempt to improve my poker game during the last couple of years, I've purchased several poker books. I'm sure many of your bookshelves are also stacked with Sklansky, Harrington, Cloutier, Brunson and the 'Tell Guys'; Mike Caro and Joe Navarro. Today, I'd like to recommend an excellent one to add to your collection. The latest addition to my poker library is Tournament Poker: 101 Winning Moves by Mitchell Cogert.

Tournament Poker: 101 Winning Moves gives you one hundred and one expert plays for no-limit tournaments. It is the poker reference book that combines winning poker moves found in almost 20 years worth of poker materials with plays uncovered in heads-up battles against poker pros. -Mitchell Cogert

I have to confess, even as a poker blogger and an avid reader of poker strategy, I didn't even know about some of the moves discussed in this book! Of course, some are extremely well known, like the Continuation Bet, the Squeeze Play, the Stop and Go, the Isolation Play etc., but there were several that were unknown to me.

You may know some of these moves, but you don't know them all. And if you don't know them all, you are at a distinct disadvantage. It's time to step up to the poker table with confidence and an arsenal full of winning moves. -Mitchell Cogert

Each move is defined in a straight-forward, easily understood manner with example hands following. Unlike other strategy books I've read, I didn't have a single huh?? moment throughout the entire book!

Cogert's mantra for this one is Risk is Good and talks about embracing the risk associated with NL tournaments. Risk is good, because playing safe in tournament poker is a sure way to lose. While we may all know this, it helps to be reminded. I remember a live tournament that I played at Sam's Town not long ago where I 'forgot' this simple Golden Rule and proceeded to play the weakest poker of my life. I'll never forget that tournament. It was a lesson well learned. Too bad I hadn't read his book the night before that one.

Of course, it's all about knowing when to take these risks. For this, Cogert provides an Odds Chart with the number of outs you have and odds against improving on the flop and turn in the back of the book. Also, there's a FAQ section, such as How often will I be dealt pocket Aces? or What's the probability of my opponent having an Ace-high hand with a better kicker than me? The answer gives percentages on AJ, A10, A9 and A8, which I found interesting.

Then there are the Tips sections sprinkled throughout. There are some great tips in this book, such as the one on Fear: When your opponent makes a bet that puts fear in you, ask yourself if that is true or false. Remember that fear is often referred to as False Evidence that Appears Real. Is he bluffing? Semi-bluffing? I found these tips to be smart, thought-provoking and very useful.

If you've ever overheard someone say something like...."I decided to float the flop, then the turn. When I bet the river, he tanked and folded."...and wondered what they were talking about, you should definetly give this book a read. Even if you are familiar with floating, with 101 moves there are bound to be ones you don't know, but should know.

Not only will this book help you to incorporate more power moves into your tournament poker game, it will also help you spot when opponents are making these moves on you! You'll be able to effectively counter their moves and foil their plans.

My verdict: Ship it or skip it? Ship it!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Reflections on trip to WSOP...

1. Yeah, bad decision on forgoing a chance at $38,000 at the Venetian event. I was in 4th place in chips and I felt I could win it all.

2. Believed my NL book helped me to get to the final 10 players in both NL events---the 150 and 450 player events. Also, I read Gus Hansen book which gave me some more ideas on how to play aggressive and smart.

3. I need to figure out what to do when the blinds jump so high at the end and everyone is pushing. At one point in both events, I think I was chip leader or close to it. But once the pushing started, I felt it was best to get out of the way unless I had to call or had a hand. Maybe I need to review how Gus handles these situations, and his percentage evaluation when he calls with the worst hand.

4. Playing at B&M was easier than online since I was able to read the players better. Also, I really think the players at these two events were not very good.

5. It was the first time I was sick and actually played good poker. I was surprised.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

My trip to Las Vegas for Poker and the WSOP Razz event

Arrived Wednesday night. Entered a $330 No limit event at the Rio. Over 200 players and finished 3 from the money.

Thursday at noon. Entered a $330 No limit event at the Venetian. Over 450 players.
When it got down to 10 players, it was 2:20am. The director said that when one more player got knocked out, we would restart on Friday at 4pm. I told him that I couldn't make that time, since Friday at 5pm was the Razz event. He said sorry. First place was $38,000--what should I do? I decided to go for the Razz and I pushed all in on the next hand, and lost.
Finished 10th and Won $1,200. Was it the wrong decision?

Friday at 5pm. $1,500 Razz WSOP event. I had Marco (Jen Harmon's husband on my left). Nice guy, excellent player. I only lasted till around 9pm. One guy at the table killed me on this hand. I raised with x-x-3. He called. On 4th street I hit an Ace. He hit an 8. I bet and he called. On 5th street, I hit a 2. He hit a 10. I bet and he called. On 6th street, I hit a 10, and he hit a J. I bet and he called! The river I bet and he called. My river card was a King. He won with a 10 low. (I had A-2 in the hole).

Saturday at 7pm. Entered a $150 event at Caesar's Palace with 150 players. At 2am I got knocked out in 8th place. Won $500.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Full Tilt Razz event...

I started real low on chips the first hour.

The start of the second hour I got hot and built a good chip stack.

Got moved to a new table...and the luck turned all bad.

The key was one hand where the blinds were high and I couldn't hit a card from 5th street on. That one hand did me in...it happens.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Razz Poker article in Las Vegas Sun by Jeff Haney

Jeff Haney discovers razz isn’t a ‘miserable’ poker game, and finds an expert who says it can be the best way for many players to consistently make money

By Jeff Haney

Many recent converts to poker fandom had a dubious introduction to the game of razz, thanks to the televised final table of the 2004 World Series of Poker razz tournament at Binion’s.

Tournament veteran T.J. Cloutier emerged as the winner from a final table loaded with top-level pros, but only after a succession of lead changes and busted draws that prompted third-place finisher Howard Lederer to famously call razz a “miserable” poker game.

Mitchell Cogert, the author of a new book on razz, disagrees with that characterization even if he can empathize with Lederer’s frustration.

“You have to go deeper into a hand of razz than you do in other games because you’re always on the draw, and I think that’s what drives people crazy,” said Cogert, author of “Play Razz Poker to Win.”

In Texas hold ’em, for example, if your first two cards are a high pair you essentially have a made hand.

In Omaha, seeing the flop, or first three community cards, gives you a good idea of where you stand.

In 7-card stud, your first three cards could give you a made hand.

Not so in razz, or 7-card stud for low, where the object is to make the “worst” possible poker hand. (The best hand is 5-4-3-2-A, the second-best hand is 6-4-3-2-A, and so on.)

“People start with three good low cards and they think it’s the nuts,” Cogert said. “It’s not the nuts. It’s the nut draw. There’s a big difference. They have such a good draw they think they’re going to win, and that’s not always the case.”

Lederer found that out the hard way in a key hand at the infamous 2004 final table, drawing to a 6-4 but catching a series of “bricks” (useless cards) and losing to Cloutier’s 6-5.

Such painful hands notwithstanding, Cogert maintains that playing razz cash games, particularly online, is the best way for many players to consistently make money. One big reason is that good information on razz is scarce compared with more popular games such as no-limit hold ’em.

“In hold ’em everyone seems to know all the percentages, what hands are a coin flip, which are 60-40 ... we’ve all studied that and seen them so many times,” Cogert said. “Nobody knows anything about razz. If you start with a 5 (showing) and I start with a 4 and we know three exposed cards, who’s the favorite and why?

“You need a bankroll to play poker, but it’s very hard because there’s so much good information out there. It’s like a rising tide. Everyone’s getting better at hold ’em. But no one has said, what about razz? For a knowledgeable player, the easiest way to build a bankroll online could be razz.”

In researching “Play Razz Poker to Win,” Cogert found some solid advice in previously published material — usually just a chapter in books on various forms of poker — but also some erroneous information. For example, some poker writers thought a draw on fifth street is always favored against a made 9, Cogert said, meaning proper strategy would be to reraise with the draw to get more money into the pot.

“I would do that and I would lose,” said Cogert, a business consultant from Northern California. “It turns out it isn’t true. It depends on what you have and what other cards are out. So I started to get into it more and realized a lot of the information out there needed to be updated. There are new tools out there, so why not use them?”

For example, a player with a made 9-8 is a small underdog against a 7, 6, or 5 low draw — but a big favorite against an opponent with an 8 low draw, Cogert points out in the book. Similarly, a made 9-7 is a small underdog to a 5 low draw but a big favorite against an 8 low draw.

Cogert also examines “card duplication,” or the effect of which cards have been dealt on the odds of winning the hand, as well as the concept of “stealing” in razz.

Regularly scheduled razz tournaments are difficult to find, although Cogert thinks that could change if one of the major online poker sites launched a weekly razz tournament with a guaranteed prize pool.

Meanwhile, Cogert plans to travel to Las Vegas for this year’s World Series of Poker razz tournament, a three-day, $1,500-entry event scheduled to begin June 13 at the Rio. Razz, the “R” in HORSE, will also make an appearance in several mixed-game tournaments at the World Series.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Razz event $5,000 Guarantee

Finished 4th, and won $475.

On last hand, I had the lead with 7-5 and got rivered by a 6-5....if my hand stands up I'm the chip leader...major bummer.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

How to Improve Your Poker Tournament Game

Video ad for the no limit book promotion

New Promo idea for No Limit: A Free Poker Evaluation

The promotion is for my new book Tournament Poker: 101 Winning Moves. Here's the concept:

How many times have you entered a no limit poker tournament and not cashed? Or have you cashed a few times but never won an event?

Perhaps it's time for you to get outside help so you can stop making the same mistakes and improve your tournament play.

Here are three options to improve your game:

1. Ask friends for help.

The advantages of using friends is that it will not cost you any money and they are nearby. They can watch you play online or sit behind you while you play at a casino. The disadvantages is that your friends may not be poker experts and may not be able to identify where you need help. Also if you compete against them, you may not want to give away how you play.

2. Hire a poker coach

The advantages of using a poker coach is that they are experts and can help you improve your game. The disadvantage is the cost. The big seminars from Poker Pros often cost thousands of dollars.

3. Get a Poker Evaluation.

The advantages of a poker evaluation is that is totally free and you take the exam at your leisure. When you have completed the test, you review not just the right answers but also you get specific advice on what your wrong answer means as to how you approach a poker tournament and a given situation.

Getting help means knowing answers to questions like these:

1. Do you have the right mindset to win a poker tournament?

2. Do you know how to play in early stages of a poker tournament?

3. Do you know the best way to play pocket Jacks?

4. Do you know when it is the right or wrong time for a continuation bet?

5. Do you really understand how to use a semi-bluff?

6. Do you know when to bet or check on flops?

7. Do you know how to take advantage of scare cards?

8. Do you know how to approach heads-up play?

If you are not making any money playing poker, get help. Ask friends, hire a coach or start with a Free Poker Evaluation.

Take the Free Poker Evaluation at http://www.apokerexpert.com.
To watch the Poker Evaluation video ad go to:http://revver.com/video/902692/how-to-win-a-poker-tournament/

Hey, it's just an idea...

What's Your Poker IQ?