Daniel Negreanu Wins WSOP Asian Pacific Main Event

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Kid Poker, known on his Canadian birth certificate as Daniel Negreanu, has racked up another big win in the poker world, capturing the title at the first World Series of Poker Asian Pacific main event of 2013. Beating out a 405 player field at the event held at the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia, Negreanu has now officially notched his fifth WSOP bracelet, his first since 2008. His payout, meanwhile, of AU$1,038,825 (or USD $1,038,825) was his first 7-figure payday in any WSOP event.

In heads-up play against the man that would become runner-up Daniel Marton, Negreanu had a commanding chip lead of 9 to 1. This also gives Negreanu the lead in the 2013 Player of the Year contest, admittedly still early in its running. But having finished fourth the Event #3, the WSOP APAC AU$2,20 Mixed Event, certainly helps. That event, incidentally, comprised of 8 games in one, was won by Kid Poker’s good friend and fellow poker pro Phil Ivey, who claimed with this win his 9th World Series of Poker bracelet.

Neagreanu’s first WSOP bracelet came in 1998 when he was just 23 years old, at the time the youngest player ever to pick up a WSOP bracelet. This WSOP APAC Main Event win brings his career winnings to over $17 million. Daniel Neagreanu travels the world representing the Poker Stars team of professional players in events like the upcoming PokerStars and Monte-CarloCasino European Poker Tour Grand Final, Europe’s largest poker tournament, taking place in Monaco, as well as the upcoming World Series of Poker in Las Vegas this summer.

Americas Cardroom Online Super Series II Coming Up

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America’s Cardroom has just announced that the return of its Online Super Series will take place between January 12th and 27th, 2013 during which the site will give away $1 million in guaranteed prizes.

The 2nd annual Americas Cardroom Online Super Series (or OSS II, for short) is a 15-day “mega-event” made up of 82 events in both No Limit Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha.  With the exception of the $200 + $15 events (see below), buy-ins range from $3 + $3.30 to $100 + $9 and prize pools range from $2,000 to $75,000.
The 3 “main events” (as it were) are spread out throughout the series with increasing rewards of $100k, $150k, and $200k all for the same $215 buy-in.

•    Event 4 on Sunday, January 13 at 7:00 pm has a $100,000 prize pool
•    Event 42 on Sunday, January 20 at 7:00 pm has a $150,000 prize pool
•    Event 80 on Sunday, January 27 at 7:00 pm has a $200,000 prize pool

What’s more, in addition to the 82 regular OSS II events, there are special 100 seat guaranteed events into these $100k, $150k and $200k GTD events, as follows:

•    Saturday, January 12 at 8:00 pm is a 100 seat guaranteed into Event #4, the $100k GTD
•    Saturday, January 19 at 8:00 pm is a 100 seat guaranteed into Event #42, the $150k GTD
•    Saturday, January 26 at 8:00 pm is a 100 seat guaranteed into Event #80, the $200k GTD

Most events take place in the evenings on weekdays, from about 7:00 pm and on, and take place starting in the afternoons on the weekends (at 2:00 pm on Saturdays and 3:00 pm on Sundays).

Poker Bankroll Tips | Online Poker Bankroll

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Poker Buy-in and Bankroll Tips

Before a new player decides what limits they’re going to play when they sit down at the poker table, they must first set aside money for their poker bankroll. This money should be used strictly for poker, and not for other everyday expenses. If one is constantly dipping into ones bankroll for common everyday expenses, then one day there may not be enough money to play in the juicy game that evening. A second rule regarding a poker bankroll is that it should only consist of money that would in a worst-case scenario be acceptable to lose. If one is gambling with ‘important’ money, like say ‘rent’ money, then they may find themselves playing scared and not making the proper decisions at the table.

For limit poker, there should generally be around 200 big bets in one’s bankroll. For example if a player decides that 5/10 is going to be their game for the next little while, they would want to have about $2000 set aside. For an individual session, one should normally start off with 20 big bets, with another 10 big bets in reserve (this is more relevant for live games where one is bringing a limited amount of money with them, as opposed to online where the entire bankroll is readily available).

For No Limit poker, there should be around 15 times the max buy-in in the bankroll for that particular game of choice. So if one is going to be playing mostly $100 max buy-in No Limit Hold’em games, they would want to have about $1500 in their bankroll. When a player sits down for a session of No Limit poker, there is a hard and fast rule regarding how much should buy in for. Always, always buy in for the maximum amount that is allowed. If one were to buy in for less, their stack would not be scary to other players and they’d find themselves being pushed around. As they say in the movie Rounders; ‘The size of your stack is almost as important as your cards in your hand’. Players may be leery of getting involved with someone the one that is able to put them all in, and not the other way around.

If one follows these rules regarding bankroll levels and buy-ins, they will find that they will usually be at an acceptable comfort level for the games and limits of their choice. There should also have enough money to take an occasional stab at a higher game if there is a particularly soft one to play in. One will also be protected from a string of bad luck which all poker players will have to go through at some point or another. If a player finds that their bankroll is dwindling away to about 50% of what they started with, then maybe it would be advisable to go down a limit or two and back up to a healthy amount. Remember, playing with a short bankroll is a sure way to go broke.

The great thing about the current poker boom is that there will be online poker games for players of all levels, whether one has $100 in their bankroll, or much more.

Poker Odds Calculators

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In order to understand odds calculators you must understand the game of Texas Hold’em Poker. By its very nature poker is a game of chance / luck and skill. This means that you can employ the best poker strategy in the world but an inferior poker player can still win the hand if luck is on their side. That doesn’t mean that skill doesn’t matter but it does mean that you cannot beat luck or variance. The fact of the matter is that you want to get your chips in the middle with the best hand and hope that your hand holds up. That is the best that any competent poker player can do.

Having established the fact we still need to know that over the long term luck cannot overtake a skilled poker player. So we can all take solace in that fact as we are all striving to be as skilled a poker player as possible. In order to play the game and optimize your opportunities to win you need to understand the math of the game. That means you are going to need to know the percentages of your hand winning or losing the pot. That means you will need to understand where your outs are and how many of them are available. You will need to know the potential of hitting those outs as well. Lastly, you will also need to understand what the implied odds are should you hit your out(s).

Poker Odds calculators are just as the title suggests. Odds calculators enable the player using them to determine just how strong or weak their hand is and what are the odds of that hand winning the pot. Most of these applications are pulling information from a back-end database and making it available to you through their template that fits neatly over your avatar. This allows the software to present that information to poker players in real-time and ultimately enables that player to make best decision based on the current circumstances at the time.

In the end the poker odds calculator acts as a bit of an advisor in that it tells you when you have the best opportunities to win when the odds are in your favor. However, we should not confuse favorite with always. Too many poker players think that just because they are a huge favorite that they should never lose a pot. That is not true and if you are looking for an “always” type of situation then poker may not be the game for you.

Many of these poker odds calculators are software applications and applets that can be found all over the Internet. You can also purchase some of the high end products if you believe they are a good fit for your scenario. Odds calculators can be used in both poker tournaments as well as cash games. One of the caveats from using poker odds calculators is that they are banned in many of the popular online poker rooms. Many of the rooms have published lists of products that they consider as giving an unfair advantage to poker players. The reasoning for this is because when you have players entire poker history at the touch of a button and your opponent has none on how you have fared over the years you clearly have an advantage.

Poker Odds Calculators do not guarantee that you are going to be a successful online poker player. What will determine how well you play online or otherwise is how much effort you put into learning the game. If you can devote yourself to understanding as much strategy as possible as well as looking at the game of poker from various perspectives you are well on your way to becoming a skilled player, poker odds calculator or not.
Curtis Mayfield III

Preparing for the Poker Tournament

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In today’s Texas Holdem poker world, tournaments can be found in just about every country. You can play large tournaments or small buy-in tournaments just the same. The prize money has even increased as poker rooms chip in to raise the size of the prize pool to lure in new players. But how much do you really know about tournament poker? Are you really ready to play or just excited because it’s popular? Since Moneymaker won it all in 2003 the game has become wildly popular and it seems like everyone is playing some form of poker these days. Just because everyone is playing the game doesn’t mean they are all good players. That is where you can take advantage by being prepared to play the game.

Know the Structure

The first thing you need to do before you pull out a wad of your hard earned cash is know exactly what the structure is for the tournament you intend to play. This means everything to you because it will somewhat dictate your approach to the game and how much risk you need to take in order to be successful. Basically there are two types of tournaments. There are fast tournaments where the blinds increase rapidly and the time between levels is below thirty minutes and there are slow tournaments that are just the opposite. The blinds increase slowly and the levels are anywhere from 30 minutes up to 2 hours. Usually slower paced tournaments will attract a higher caliber of poker player and also cost more to buy into.

Be Honest about your Game

Being honest about how well you play the game of poker sounds relatively straight forward. But we all have seen the guy that talks the most being the first one to bust out of the tournament. You really need to ask yourself a few questions before you plunk down your buy in. Those questions should include:

  • What is the skill level of my competition?
  • Can I realistically compete in this format and structure?
  • Can I afford to buy into this tournament without hurting my bankroll?

If the answer to all three of those questions is yes then by all means pull up a seat and start building your stack. Too many players overestimate their ability to compete in tournaments. This is particularly true in slow structures where skill is much more of a factor. Many online players are used to playing fast paced sit n go’s and have been very successful. However, when you are sitting with $10,000 in chips and the blinds are $50/$50 with one hour levels you need to be capable of playing small pot poker. That is not the typical environment for most online players and some have difficulty playing in space.

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I cannot emphasize this point enough. In order to win a poker tournament, particularly a live tournament, you have got to be capable of profiling players and being very accurate in your assessment of their play. This may sound easy but you would be surprised at how many poker players do not put the time in studying their opponents the way they should. When you sit down at the table and are not involved in a hand there are plenty of things to do to keep the game entertaining and your mind occupied. Profiling is your primary activity. You need to be involved in every single hand from a mental aspect. Paying attention at show down, watching betting patters and listening to your opponents banter are just a few of these activities.

If you are going to buy into a tournament and really make it worth your while it only makes sense to be prepared when the times comes for the cards to hit the felt. You will be glad you did.

Short Stack Poker Tournament Tips

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During most poker tournaments you are going to find yourself short on chips from time to time. That is not to say that you will not gain some traction and get back into the mix but it does happen. If you play tournament poker you are going to be short stacked no matter how well you play. True, some of us are short stacked a lot less times than others but it does happen. There are many poker players that are tremendous short stacked players and understand how to use the situation to their advantage. On the other hand there are players that have no understanding of how to play a short stack and might as well just give away the rest of their chips instead. We are going to examine short stack play and how to survive.

Situational Awareness
Obviously when you are short stacked you need to be extremely sensitive to not only your own situation but also that of other players at the table. If I am short I do not want to pick on another player that is in the same desperate situation as I am in. Why? The reason is because he is more likely to call than someone that has an average stack. Remember, just because you are short stacked does not mean that you don’t pose a danger to other players at your table as long as you do not allow your chips to dwindle down to nothing. Usually 10x’s the BB is as small a short stack as you want to get before getting all your chips in. This means you can still sting most of the players that are at your table enough to make them think before getting involved in a pot with you.

Even if you pick up the blinds you are increasing your stack by another 10% and allowed another orbit to pick up a big hand and double up. You need to stay away from calling raises or getting involved with speculative hands like flush draws or small pairs unless you are in the blinds or on the button and confident you will not see a raise behind you. But remember that there is no such thing as always. You must have a good feel for your table and how your opponents perceive your game in order to carry this out. Small raises and getting involved in hands out of position as a short stack do you absolutely no good. The reason is that you are likely to be put all-in after the flop hit so you need to be prepared for that no matter what hits the board. The same thing is possible pre-flop when you see a raise in front of you. It’s very likely that player wants you to get all your chips in the middle and is trapping.

Hand Ranges

Too many times I see short stacked players getting involved with minimum raises and then folding. The rule of thumb when you are short stacked is that you are going to get the rest of your chips in the middle after the flop at the very least. You should never call a minimum raise or flat call a limper when short stacked and then fold your hand. The bottom line is that you do not have enough chips to call and then fold. It’s true that we would love to get our chips in the middle with a premium pair before the blinds come around again. However, that is not always an option and we need to open up our range of hands considerably when short stacked. Just about any pocket pair from [5][5] or higher will be enough to justify getting your chips in the middle even with a raiser in front of you. You also want to consider hands like [Js]Ts], {Q][T], [K][T], [Ks][9s], [J][T], [Q][9], [A][5]-[A][9],[7][6], [Js][9s]. None of these hands are premium hands but they do allow you outs with straight draws and flush draws alike.

The objective of the short stack is very simple, you are on a mission to either double your stack or you are going home. So, even though your hand range must expand considerably you also can take advantage of those that are afraid to get involved and target them when you are not picking up cards so you can steal their blinds. Every time you are able to get away with stealing the blinds is another opportunity for you to pick up a real hand and double-up. It is another opportunity for survival. Anything can happen after you gain a little traction through a double up. I have seen players go on to make many final tables after starting off extremely slow. So give yourself the best shot you can and play your short stack aggressively and see what happens.

Taking the aggressive route in no-limit Texas Hold’em

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These days in no-limit Texas Hold’ em then if you have to choose between a passive route and an aggressive one then the aggressive route is usually best. Let us look at an example here to show what I mean. It has been limped by an early position player and it has then been folded around to you on the button with 5-5 and now you have to decide what to do. Do you limp or do you fold because of the poor implied odds? Well if you want to play the hand then with only one opponent in the pot why not take the aggressive route and raise?

This strives to take the initiative in the hand and often when you limp then a player behind you may try and take the initiative by raising and so your play is punished to a certain extent and so are your implied odds. I like raising over limping if I do decide to play the hand. Aggression is always rewarded in poker even though it may not be always rewarded in each individual hand that you play. Let us look at another situation and here we are playing in a six handed game.

It has been folded around to the hijack who open raises in a NL200 game and you have A-J on the button. Folding is definitely wrong and in stronger games then calling the raise can often be punished by a re-raise from one of the blinds. If you re-raise and that raise gets called by the original raiser then you know that they are not messing about as not only have they raised but they have also called the re-raise. Players with aces and kings will often just call the re-raise looking to trap over zealous aggressive players who are abusing their position.

So an opening raise followed by the calling of a re-raise is a powerful betting line and especially if the hand is heads up! Raising with the A-J also allows you to clarify where you stand in relation to other hands that are on the table. You ideally want to know if you are against AK or AQ. If you merely call the raise and the flop comes A-9-5 rainbow and you are out kicked against someone who has A-Q then you are going to lose a lot of chips here. You will expect your opponent to fire a c-bet regardless and so you cannot fold on the flop.

Likewise on the turn because most players will fire a second barrel on the turn if their flop bet gets called on a bluff. So this leaves the A-J hand in a difficult money losing situation. You cannot fold on the flop as that is too weak and probably would be too weak on the turn as well. So taking the aggressive route can often save you a lot of money in no-limit Texas hold’em by forcing other players to fold and also helping you to find out exactly where you are.

Playing Short Handed Poker

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Playing Short handed

A popular variation of the typical 9 or 10 handed ring games, is the short handed 5 or 6 player games which can be found on nearly every site that offers online poker. Many players prefer the faster speed and increased amount of decision making that this type of game requires. It is important to take a look at the differences between short-handed and full tables.

Why Loosen up?
When playing short-handed it is a necessity to win more pots than one would normally at a full table. The blinds come around twice as often, and as such a player can’t just sit back and wait for the premium hands like they could at a full table. Seeing half as many free hands each round requires every player to begin playing less than optimum hands otherwise they will find themselves being blinded right out of the game.

Changes in hand evaluation

The main changes in starting hand evaluation when moving from a full to a short-handed table are in regards to high cards, and drawing hands. Drawing hands (like medium or small suited connectors) go way down in value since their will rarely be enough players in the pot to justify playing this type of drawing hand, and there won’t even be pot odds to pursue the draw even if there is a flop that hits the hand. Conversely, high cards even Ax or Kx are often playable if nobody else has entered the pot yet. Hands which would be trouble hands at a full table like KJ, or QT can be raising hands at a short-handed game. Quite often both players will miss the flop completely, so being the aggressor with high cards will often allow one to steal the pot if their opponent misses as well.

Winning small pots

The easiest way to win more pots to off-set the increased number of blinds that must be paid, is to win small pots, whether stealing the blinds, or betting out on the flop hoping the opponent missed as well. To improve the chances of successfully stealing blinds or winning pots early, it is important to show power in the opening round of betting. If one has a good position and feel they have the best hand; that player must not hesitate to raise. While in most cases not everyone will fold (although if they do then the blinds are immediately won by the raiser), the pre-flop raiser will often have the impetuous to continue betting on the flop, and pick up the pot if nobody else has hit.

The Art of Squeezing in Poker

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There are many different types of play in poker and they have all sorts of exotic names. We have the steal-raise, pick up, donk betting, the float play, whipsaw and the list goes on. But there is one particular play that I would like to talk about in this article and it is the squeeze play. This particular tactic can be executed in cash games as well as tournaments and it is designed to focus on the situation and not on your actual hand.

Let us look at an example from a Texas Hold em poker tournament to see a squeeze play in action. Player A raises to 600 with the blinds at 100-200! They have a stack of 24,000 in chips compared to your 22,000. You have been watching this player and they have been raising on a very high percentage of their hands so you know that they must be raising light, crucially they have also been backing down to aggression as well so you know that they are capable of folding a hand.

This player open raises from middle position and their raise gets called by the player in the cut-off seat who has a stack of 17,000. The action is now on you and you look down to see absolute junk with the Jc-8h on the button. Now this hand isn’t total junk of course as it does have some potential but against a raise and a call then folding is a solid play here.

But looking more closely at the situation reveals that you have another option open to you and that is to raise. Now before you think that I have taken leave of my senses here, a closer look at the situation will reveal a far different picture. We already know that the raiser is a loose aggressive player who is capable of folding so this now presents us with a rather interesting dynamic.

The original raiser has a stack of 23,400 remaining so they are not committed to the hand in any way shape of form. Also the caller has definitely implied weakness and also has a stack that will not commit him to the hand either as they have 16,400 remaining. A raise here basically takes advantage of the situation that has arisen.

We have a raiser who is likely not strong enough to call a re-raise and a caller who is almost certainly not strong enough. The remaining question mark is in what the blinds have. But amassing a big stack in tournament poker is all about playing the percentages and you cannot win tournaments without gambling. However if you can turn these gambles into calculated gambles then you can fare a lot better.

So you re-raise to 3000, both blinds fold and so do the original raiser and caller. You pick up a nice 1500 in chips and all because you spotted an opportunity to make a move. But look at another advantage to the play, your own stack before the hand started was 22,000 so even if you run into a big hand from the blinds or the original raiser then you still have a further 19,000 in chips in which to do battle with.

If your raise gets called then you can proceed accordingly as the chances that your opponent will have a real hand have now been magnified. But you now have the option to bet the flop or take a free card and see the turn.

This can allow you to win a big pot in several other ways as well as you will be connecting with a board that your opponent will not expect like with 10-9-7 or 8-8-2 for instance. So remember the “squeeze play” and add this to your arsenal of weapons for future use.

By: Carl “The Dean” Sampson