Thursday, April 5, 2012

Gus Hansen, why not get your picture removed here?

I mean, do you really want your photo linked with Full Tilt Poker and the US Department of Justice?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Humor: Why do poker players make crazy calls...

Humor: Why do poker players make crazy calls...

knowing they are on a draw and they are not getting the right odds to call? Because....

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

"I won over $100,000 at the 2011 WSOP Main Event & I could've cried!"

After playing poker for 6 days and over 60 hours, I got knocked out of the biggest event in poker, the World Series of Poker Main Event. I was one day away from the final table. Getting to the final table would have meant at least $750,000 and a shot at winning over $8 million.

Do you want to find out how you can win your next poker tournament?

Let me be very clear: I am not a professional poker player. Tournament poker is a game I love to play. It is a hobby. Like you, I have a real life outside of poker.

By 2008, I had played in over 500 live poker tournaments in my local card rooms for over 10 years. During that time, I had taken hundreds of pages of notes from reading poker books and magazines, watching poker on TV, studying at online poker schools and even attending a poker conference.

I had gathered the "best of the best" information on poker plays the pros use to win tournaments. I decided to organize and summarize my notes in order to improve my poker game. When I was done, I realized that I could help other beginning and intermediate level poker players by turning my work into a book on winning tournament poker plays.

There was no poker tournament reference book on poker plays. And, my notes were all about winning moves that I found from 20 years worth of materials. I figured that it would cost someone else $1,000+ and months of searching to find everything I had compiled.

To make my book even more valuable, I included a section on poker tells, poker odds, and poker facts. There are even a few fun stories based on my play again Daniel Negreanu, Erick Lindgren, David Pham, and other top pros.

Improve your poker game with these poker moves.

My book is Tournament Poker: 101 Winning Moves. Expert Plays for No Limit Tournaments. When I finished my book I did not expect it to get much notice--after all, I am not a poker star.

But, I was pleasantly surprised when players wrote to me on how much my book had helped them improve their tournament poker game, and I was grateful when players wrote positive reviews on amazon. (Yeah, there are a couple of negative reviews--but to be clear, I did not invent these plays--they are from poker pros--and no, there is not one review from someone I know).

My poker book became a #1 best seller in it's category on Amazon!

Frankly, after writing my book my tournament poker results improved as well.

What happened at the WSOP Main Event.

The buy-in for the Main Event is $10,000. I won a satellite to get a seat into the tournament.

I read and re-read my poker book before I played each day. There is a lot to recall and I wanted to be ready to make a winning move or two or three.

At the start of the Main Event, there are so many players they break up Day 1 into four starting days. I believe there are 150+ tables in the Rio Pavilion; a room the size of a football field. Over 6,800 players entered this main event.

When it got to Day 6, there were only about 100 players left. Imagine what 11 poker tables would look like on a football field. Pretty empty. But, with the spectators, the press and the ESPN camera crews, things were in constant movement.

It was a few minutes before the dinner break, when I was on the big blind. A player in middle position raised. It was folded to me. I peeked at my cards and found pocket Kings. I three bet (re-raised).

My opponent went into the tank. I used a reverse tell to appear weak. He picked up on the tell and moved all-in. I insta-called and he moaned. He turned over A-10 offsuit. I turned over K-K. He had me covered; meaning he had more chips than me.

The camera crew came over to the table to film the action. The flop--all rags. I was now a big favorite to win the hand. The turn.....oh, Ace. I got no help on the river.

71st place, cashing over $100,000, and feeling so....bummed.

Anyone can win a tournament, even the Main Event

Anyone can win the WSOP Main Event! Yes, even you! And, you can win any poker tournament if you know the moves that accumulate chips and embrace my winning philosophy: "Risk is Good!"

"Your book is SUPERB! Even after reading Harrington and Sklanksy, I wasn’t very good. Your book showed me the way. I now play a very aggressive game and it works. People at the local casinos tell me I play like Gus Hansen, which is never a bad thing." -Jules Carter

"I wanted to thank you for your book "Tournament Poker: 101 Winning Moves." 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. While this is a modest success it is a positive step forward and I just wanted to thank you." -Thanks William B.

"This is a new diamond-in-the rough - not a lot of publicity, but a truly good, comprehensive look at various moves that good players tend to use often. Some of these are very basic, but others are quite advanced and have not been outlined in such a clear-cut, easy-to-digest format in other books." -VW

"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!" -Blog: What're the Odds?

Why Buy Tournament Poker: 101 Winning Moves

Tournament Poker: 101 Winning Moves has 101 expert plays for no limit poker tournaments. Do you know the "no-look" blind steal, the defense against a continuation bet, the probe bet, and the value bet? What about the stop-and-go, steal flops, and the blocking bet?

Discover 40 pre-flop moves like the min-raise, isolation play, squeeze, and how to vary your raises.

Intimidate your opponents with 30 flop moves such as the continuation bet, the blocking bet, and floating.

Scoop the pot with over 20 turn and river moves including the delayed continuation bet, the action-inducing bet, scare card moves, and the naked ace bluff.

Walk away the champion with winning moves for your head-to-head battle at the final table.

I know my poker book will change your approach to poker tournaments. It will result in you achieving more cashes and more wins. The book has worked for thousands of other poker players, so give it a try now. You won't be disappointed.

"I have read over thirty poker books in my life and I can honestly say that this is the most important one of them all. I only wish I could have read this sooner!"

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Stop Misplaying Small Pocket Pairs

Stop Misplaying Small Pocket Pairs

When you get dealt a small pocket pair in a poker tournament, do you react with fear, confusion, joy or ? I believe small pocket pairs are an opportunity to accumulate a big increase in stack size.

Recently I sat down with a poker player to talk about his game. One of the things he said really surprised me. He stated that he entered a deep stack tournament and in the first round, he folded pocket 4's after a really good player raised pre-flop. His thinking was that he didn't want to get involved with this super aggressive player since if he hit a set, he would probably lose against a better set. In fact, when his opponent revealed pocket Aces, it confirmed his belief his fold was the right decision.

I was quite surprised and by his thinking. It is all wrong.

How To Play Small Pocket Pairs

Pocket pairs, even small pocket pairs, provide an excellent opportunity to stack your opponent when you hit a set. Poker tournaments are about winning. Winning is about accumulating chips. You can't accumulate chips unless you take smart risks with small pairs.

Here are the things to consider when you are dealt a hand like pocket 3's.

1. The stage of the tournament
2. Stack sizes of your opponents and your own stack size
3. Your position and the action in front of you
4. Your table image and the table image of your opponent
5. How your table is being played

Let me give you a couple of examples:

Calling early in an event
I was at the daily event at the Venetian. We had played one round and the table was playing ABC poker. I was taking advantage of this situation by making pre-flop raises after a lot of limpers. I had 12,000, while most opponents had 8-10,000 in chips.

I was in the big blind with pocket 9's. Pocket 9's are not a small pocket pair. They are a premium pair. 6 players limped. There was 750 in the pot, so I raised to 1,200. Everyone folded except for the button. I put this player on a small pair or a suited Ace.

The flop came 9-6-2 with two spades. I bet out. I was raised, so I re-raised. My opponent moved all-in and I called. He had pocket 6's and lost his stack.

The fact is that he played his hand correctly even though he lost. I had 12,000 in chips and he had 10,000. He called my raise because there was no more action pre flop, the stacks were big so the implied odds were excellent, and hitting a set would more than likely double his stack.

While the outcome was not what he wanted, the fact is that he played his hand correctly.

Re-raising in the middle or later rounds of an event

Small pocket pairs are also an opportunity to re-raise pre flop. An example is when an overly aggressive pre flop raiser, raises again in a back position. If you have position and get dealt a small pocket pair consider the re-raise here, if:

  • Your opponent has been raising pre flop too frequently
  • Your both deep stacked
  • You have a tight table image; that is, you haven't been raising pre flop often and almost never three bet pre flop
A re-raise here should get your opponent to fold. Now, some opponents won't fold their Ace-x hand against a three bet. That is okay. If the flop is not dangerous-for example three rags--a continuation bet should take down the pot. If the flop has high ranking cards and coordinated, checking is a good option to take a free card.

Too many players view small pocket pairs as chip bleeders. That is only true if you play them scared. Small pocket pairs are a great opportunity to double up your stack or increase your stack size significantly. In fact, when I am holding a small pocket pair and my opponent raises pre flop I am hoping he has pocket Aces.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Top 10 Things Martin Staszko is Doing With His New Fame and Fortune

Top 10 Things Martin Staszko is Doing With His New Fame and Fortune

Please note: This post is not meant to offend. Only to provide a chuckle or perhaps two chuckles from the reader. If you are one who gets offended with poor attempts at humor, please do not continue reading...but if you do read on, please accept my aplology.

Top 10 Things Martin Staszko is Doing With His New Fame and Fortune

10. Opening a plaid fashion store on the Strip

9. Avoiding the constant calls from Matt Giannatti's girlfriend

8. Upgrading his home's dial-up connection to the Internet

7. Getting texts from Howard Lederer to be the new face of Full Tilt Poker

6. Buying the Czech Republic

5. Hiring Jason Bourne to liquidate Pius Heinz

4. Sacrificing two virgins to the poker gods for his success but having to leave Vegas to find them

3. Taking Rosetta Stone courses to learn how to say in 36 languages: "Damn, I should haven't called all-in with a lousy flush draw!"

2. Ending his 1-2 Koruna home poker game with Boris, Bogdan and Dudek

1. Making a sex video with Kim Kardashian
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Friday, November 4, 2011

November Nine: My Experience Playing Against Heinz & Staszko at the WSOP.

Poker chip with the WSOP logo.Image via WikipediaNovember Nine: My Experience Playing Against Heinz & Staszko at the WSOP.

I was fortunate to have finished 71st at the WSOP Main Event and play against Pius Heinz and Martin Staszko: two of the players at the November Nine final table.

On Day 4, I spent the entire day having Heinz seated next to me, on my right. Here are my observations about his game:
  • A successful online player who obviously has figured out how to play live.
  • He is super aggressive, and will two, three and four bet preflop in order to the take the initiative with a c-bet on the flop, or better yet, get his opponent to fold before the flop.
  • He was very lucky as he doubled up against a new player at our table with a big stack. This guy sat down and lost all his chips on two hands against Pius' two premium starting hands.
  • In a leveling war against another aggressive player at the table, Pius hit his draw on the turn and got paid off big on his river bet.
  • I learned a couple of moves from watching Pius play, which I have used in my game with some success.
  • He is young, super aggressive and a really nice guy at the poker table.
How will Pius do at the final table?
While I will be rooting for him to win, my hunch is that he is going to get it all-in against an opponent's premium starting hand like pocket Kings and lose a big pot. Just a hunch.

On Day 5, Staszko was also seated next to me, on my right. Unlike Heinz, I only got to play against him for around 3 hours. Here are my observations of his game:
  • A cautious player who uses his tight image to steal pots.
  • He will enter a pot with a range of hands if he has been inactive for a while.
  • My impression is that he likes to see flops and then evaluate the situation.
  • An opponent's continuation bet will not get him to automatically fold, even if he only holds an Ace overcard to the board.
  • He doesn't say a word at the table.
  • It will be incredibly difficult to win chips from him.
How will Martin do at the final table?
Unlike Pius, I believe Martin will more cautious given his chip lead. My hunch is that he will finish in second or third place, as his lack of aggressiveness will hurt him when the game is short handed.

My selection to win it all: Phil Collins.

Who are you picking to win it all?
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Thursday, October 27, 2011

10 Specific Poker Tells You Can Cash-in On

hellmuth at wsop 200610 Specific Poker Tells You Can Cash-in On

I may not be the best card player but I believe I am fairly good when it comes to reading my opponents. My ability to read players is about being able to differentiate when an opponent is strong or weak. Am I perfect at this skill? No. But, I have learned quite a bit that I want to share with you.

The one area that usually gets overlooked is the tells you provide your opponents. If you don't believe you
may signaling your hand strength to opponents, think again.

Recently, I moved all-in on the turn with a flush draw and an Ace overcard believing my opponent would fold since I showed strength pre-flop and flop, and calling my bet would cripple his stack. My opponent took quite a while to decide, but he did make the call. He said, "I know you're weak." I got lucky and I sucked out on the river. But, to me it meant I had a tell I needed to eliminate from my game.

One way to catch yourself giving a tell is to learn from these situations. Immediately think about what you did that gave away the strength of your hand. Perhaps at times you speak your bets and other times you are silent. Or, at times you slide your bet into the pot and other times toss them into the pot. Or, perhaps it was how you breathed after placing a big bet. It is not easy to find your own tells but you MUST do it to be a winning poker player.

Above I posted a picture of Hellmuth at the WSOP. The pose he is using is the one suggested by Joe Navarro to hide your tells during a hand. It may be something you should try.

Now, here are 10 specific poker tells you can cash-in on. Almost all of these tells are subconscious tells-- the player does not realize he is doing it. These subconscious tells often become habitual and indicate strength or weakness.

1. Preflop: Check the Player to your left
-The player to your left will often look at their cards when it is your turn to act and you check your hole cards. Pause when you do these and peek to see what he does when he plays a hand versus when he folds a hand.

It may be where he places a card protector. Or, it may be how he holds his cards in preparation of his action. Or, it may be how he leans slightly forward or back.

I can not stress enough how important it is to get in the habit of noticing your opponent's differences when folding or playing a hand pre-flop.

By the way, just because someone does not look at his hole cards until it is his turn at the start of a tournament does not mean that he will not start peeking an hour or more into the event. Keep checking.

2. Flop: 3 Cards of the Same Suit
-The most obvious tell on the flop is when the board comes with three cards of the same suit. 99% of the time if a player checks his hole cards after this flop, you can be sure he does not have a flush yet. He is checking in hopes that one of his hole cards is the same suit as those on the flop.

3. Speed of a Call on Flop
-A player who calls a bet quickly on the flop means that the decision to call is not a difficult one. These quick calls usually indicate the player has a piece of the board or is on a draw.

4. Speed of Bet on River When a Scare Card Hits
-Watch the player who has taken the lead in betting on the flop and turn, to see how quickly he bets on the river when a scare card hits. If the player does not miss a beat and bets, it usually means that he is not strong. Why? Because a scare card will make a player think for a while before deciding to bet or not.

In fact, there is a rhythm to the series of bets that simply does not make sense:
  • flop: card on board, reach for chips, bet.
  • turn: card on board, reach for chips, bet.
  • river: SCARE card on board, reach for chips, bet. Huh?
Even if the player has been betting his draw and hit it on the river, he will usually pause before making that river bet.

5. Breathing after making a final bet
-I find it difficult to notice someone's breathing pattern. Instead, if I am trying to decide to call a big bet on the river or an all-in move, I will look at a person's chest. I need to pause about 10 seconds or so to see what happens. If after the pause, the person's chest starts to move in and out more noticeably, I take that as a sign of non-strength. It does not mean he is weak, but he is not strong.

6. Looking away after making a final bet
-This is almost a sign of strength. Let's say I find that the player is breathing more noticeably as above. If I have a good hand I am inclined to call. But, if the player looks away at any time after making the bet, I will use that as a more reliable indicator of strength. The reason is that a player who looks away usually does not want to give away any sign of the strength of his hand. Now, instead of calling, I will muck.

7. Torso Bobbing after making a final bet
-Navarro talks about how someone's feet is the most reliable poker tell. Well, I've never peeked under the table to check out an opponent's feet. But, if a player has happy feet, his torso will start bobbing quickly above the table. This is a sign of strength.

8. How bets are placed in the pot
-You may notice that the way you make a bet differs. Perhaps at times you slide in your bet, toss in your bet, toss in your bet with force, and/or bet palm down or palm up. Correct these mistakes and be consistent in how you place a bet in the pot.

Of course, you need to notice those same differences in how your opponents place a bet. These differences having meaning--strength or weakness. Make sure you have a consistent pattern before using these tells to make a decision.

9. Speech after making a bet or when making a bet
-A player who speaks after making a bet usually means strength. This player can not hold back his excitement of a strong hand and wants to tell everyone.

A player who speaks a bet may have meaning. Here, you need to see if there is a correlation of the strength of a hand when speaking versus not speaking a bet.

10. Posture after making a bet
-By posture I mean anything a player does with his hands and body that are different when strong versus weak. Let me share with you a couple of these:
  • A player who put his hand over his mouth when he was strong but did not do this pose when he was weak
  • A player who rested his head in his hand when he was strong but did not do this pose when he was weak
Of course, in all these tells, it is important to realize that every opponent is different and you are looking for consistent pattern.

Finally, there is something about having a "feeling" when getting a read on your opponent. Trust your feelings above all else. Recently, I was in a hand where I had pocket Jacks and had to decide whether to call an all-in bet pre-flop. I knew my hand was better than my opponent but I had a feeling that the last player yet to act had a stronger hand than me. I dismissed this feeling and called. It was a mistake as that last player had pocket Queens.

Trust your feelings!
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