Saturday, September 19, 2009

9 Online Poker Tips for Your Next Tournament

Number 9, Number 9, Number 9, Number 9, Number...Image by DerrickT via Flickr

9 Online Poker Tips for Your Next Tournament

Here are some tips when you play in your next online event. Some of these may make you uncomfortable--so try them out! Even if you lose the pot, you will learn something.

Here are some tips--there pertain to situations where you are heads-up on the flop:

1. Look for a reason to play a hand.

One of the things players do way too much is fold. I know you are suppose to be patient, so how many tournaments have you won being patient. Time to open up the range of your starting hands.

Example: Let's say you are on the button early in the event. A player raises pre-flop 3x's the big blind. What should you do with these hand 3-4 suited, 7-5 suited, and Q-8 suited? Call.

2. Defend your big blind when getting the right odds.


This is an extension of the first tip. If you are getting 2-1 or better, just call.

Example: Blinds are $100-$200. Your opponent raises to $500. There is $800 in the pot and it will cost you $300--better than 2-1. You don't care about your cards, call the bet.

3. Play the players to determine your action--it's okay to make crying calls to try to win big.


If your opponent checks on the flop, always bet. If he bets, how much is it. A pot sized bet is a fold. If a player bets less than the pot, and you have even a backdoor flush draw, call. You want to see what he does on the turn.

4. Play the players and not your cards.

If you flop a pair, bet out. If you flop a straight or flush draw, bet out. Seize the action.

5. Steal from late position with almost any hand.--just don't always do it.


Hands like J-9 or 7-5 suited are good enough hands to raise pre-flop in late position (from the button, cutoff, hijack). Early in the event, make these steals only from the button and cutoff.

6. Early positions are where you want to keep your downside low, and upside high.


If you have a good hand, raise coming in first. If you have a medium or small pair, just call--you are looking to keep the pot small and hit a set on the flop.

7. Vary your pre-flop raise sizes based on your opponents and your position.


In early position, you want to raise 3 times or less the big blind. In late position, raise 3x's the big blind. In the small blind, raise 4x's the big blind.

8. Chip stacks sizes versus the big blind--when to move all-in.


Online poker requires you to make bigger than normal all-in moves. Ideally, if you decline to about 8x's the big blind, it's time to push with a range of hands. You can also do the all-in sooner with a bigger stack--just realize that you are taking a big risk.

9. If you are a chip leader, don't push all in with hands like A-K or J-J.


You don't want to risk all your chips in a lucki, heads-up drawing hand situation. Don't risk it all--unless you feel it's the only way to get chips into your next online tournament.
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8 comments:

Yasmine said...

I've heard you say "cutoff" and "hijack" a few times and I'm not sure what you mean. Can you explain? Are you referring to the small and big blind?

Mitchell Cogert said...

Cutoff is the position that acts right before the button.

Hijack or sometimes called the Power position is the position that is two seats before the button.

So--in order of the back positions, you have the hijack, then the cutoff and then the button.

After the button, of course, comes the small blind and then the big blind.

If that's not clear, please let me know.

Thanks,
Mitchell

Jonathan Gelling said...

All this is great advice, but I hope players reading it realize it's a bit of a "capsule summary." I think a lot of poker authors expound on these points at much greater length (hint, hint - buy the books people... why I think the blog owner has a couple few out there? I'd just add my own two cents to some of these ideas for what it's worth:

1. Look for a reason to play a hand. Your cards are only one factor, and rarely the most important one. Sometimes you can play position or vs. the right opponent. E.g. you can call any raise from a weak, tight opponent who won't bet unless he hits if you're in position, and you might call a loose, aggressive player who's prone to bluffing off all his chips with a wide range too. But Q8 suited is a very sucky hand in any position!

2. Defending your big blind does NOT mean just calling with good odds. It can mean re-raising pre-flop if you suspect theft or calling with the intention of betting on any friendly flop.

5. Try limping and betting with complete trash hands on the button too. Delayed stealing can work wonders.

7. Such a good point! Always raise 4x the bb from the small blind. You NEVER want to play even a good hand out of position against any opponent who might have called with a HUGE range.

9. The most important point! A chip lead is NOT to be used for reckless gambling!

Holly said...

Awesome blog Mitchell!
You are talking head to head here correct?
Thanks,
Holly

Mitchell Cogert said...

Holly:

Thanks....

Yes when it comes to #3 and ideally with two or less opponents in #4.

Mitchell

online casinos said...

Hope to see more of this blog post! :-)

rakeback said...

I dont really understand rule 2 at all. You are almost always getting the odds to call in the big blind, but you certainly dont want to mix it up with 3-9 offsuit out of position on a regular basis, thats a recipe for disaster not good poker.

Mitchell Cogert said...

Overall, yes, it is an awful hand.

Fortunately, I don't think you are always getting the right odds in the big blind.

As to calling with 3-9 offsuit on a regular basis with the right odds on the big blind...yeah, sounds like bad poker advice.

But, you know what, give it a try once or twice and see what happens. If it doesn't work out, don't do it again. If it does, well, maybe try it a few times.

Some top pros call in the big blind almost all the time with the right odds, if their opponent is weak. They win the hand, when they check-call the flop, and when the turn is check-check, and win with a river bet. Or, check call the flop and bet with a scare card on the turn.

I agree it is not traditionally "good poker," but it can improve someone's ability to outplay an opponent with nothing.

So, yes, there are some really lousy starting hands that you may want to fold....but the fact is, even a lousy starting hand can turn into a winner.

In fact, I would recommend that a player try this in a tournament and see if they can figure out how to outplay their opponent heads-up with lousy cards once in a while. If nothing else, it might improve reading ability...or it might not:)

Thanks for your comment. Oh yeah, maybe the better play is to re-raise with 3-9 from the big blind.

What's Your Poker IQ?