TEXAS HOLDEM - POKER ODDS CALCULATOR:
POKER PLAYING STRATEGIES:
There are four main poker playing 'styles':
The first part of each style refers to which hands are being played. "Loose" describes someone who plays a wide variety of hands. "Tight" describes someone who is more selective and only plays good hands.
The second part of each style refers to the betting. Someone who's "passive" often calls and doesn't raise the pot much. An "aggressive" player makes frequent bets and raises.
In general, the most effective poker style is TIGHT-AGGRESSIVE. We'll discuss the reasons WHY in a moment. But first, let's take a look at each style and learn the strategies for winning against them...
Loose-passive is the most "amateur" style of play. These fish like to play a wide-range of starting hands and rarely fold before the flop.
They'll check-call after the flop (and on the turn and on the river) with hands like middle pair, ace high, or even low pair. That's why they're often nicknamed "calling stations".
When you spot this type of player, you want to wait for a good hand and then bet into them consistently. But dont bet too much unless you want to scare them out.
Usually, the best technique is to "milk" them for chips before the flop, after the flop, after the turn, and after the river.
If you're going to bluff a loose-passive player, do so aggressivelly... otherwise they might call.
Also, be selective when you attack. The loose-passive player might have top pair and still just check-call it. So be careful.
This is the "manic" playing style.
A manic can empty your pockets quickly if you don't use the proper strategy against him.
You must be patient and understand how to "get under the skin" of a manic player. Do not let him upset you.
For instance, a manic will often play bad starting hands... or even RAISE with them. When he hits, no one knows what to put him on, which is part of the reason why he's so dangerous.
Let's say a manic calls a pre-flop raise with 2-4 offsuit and the flop comes: A-3-5
Jerry is holding A-K, and so he obviously thinks he has the best hand. The turn card is a King and the river is a 10.
Jerry ends up losing a ton of chips to the manic's straight.
And then what happens is Jerry goes on tilt and starts calling the manic's raises and loses his composure. This is how the manic can break you.
In order to beat a manic you must wait for a strong hand. The manic's weakness is that he hates being raised or "bullied". Also, I've found that most manics feel "pot-committed" much more easily.
When you get heads-up with a manic (and you have a strong hand), raise him or make small bets that entice him to bluff.
Let the manic come to you... let him make the wrong move at the wrong time and you'll be able to take his chips. Often all at once.
Tight-passive players are fairly easy to beat. If they bet or raise, get out of there. Otherwise, you can consistently represent the flop and bluff them out of pots.
Tight-passive players will often "survive" for a long time in a game because they never risk too many chips. But eventually they'll get "blinded to death".
Use bluffs, semi-bluffs, and aggressive bets to take a tight-passive player's chip stack.
OK, so now we're to the preferred playing style for no-limit Texas Holdem... and that's tight-aggressive.
Tight-aggressive players choose their starting hands wisely. They rarely "limp-in". Instead, they usually either fold or raise before the flop.
After the flop, they'll make aggressive bets if they've got a hand or if they raised pre-flop.
The reason a tight-aggressive playing style is so effective is because you only risk chips when you've got a good hand. But when you do risk chips, you risk a lot of them... so it only takes a couple wins to build a nice-sized stack.
This is the playing style used and recommended by just about every professional card player.
It's often referred to as "aggressively smart" or "selective aggression".
Now, the downside of a tight-aggressive style is that it's often easy to read. This style can often build a tight table image... and when that happens, your opponents won't give you action for your big hands.
So how do you solve this problem?
The solution is to intentionally establish a loose table image... by carefully choosing times in the game to play like a "manic".
For example... once in awhile... show a bluff. Especially near the beginning of the game. You'll want to do this when you sense weakness and have good positioning-- just as you'd do with any good bluff.
Let's say you pick up 8-7 clubs on the button and three players limp-in. You raise 7x the big blind and everyone folds.
That's when you flip over your suited-connectors and say, guys, I just know someone had my eight high beat!"
A move like this is usually enough... depending on the table... to get you action for your big hands later.
That way when you pick up K-K on the button a bit later... and make the SAME pre-flop raise of 7x the big blind, you get a caller or two.
A huge advantage of playing tight-aggressive is that many of your opponents won't distinguish between loose and aggressive.
As we discussed, "loose" is related to which hands you'll play... and "aggressive" is related to betting.
If you raise aggressively with strong hands... and then mix it up with the occasional well-timed bluff... you'll be able to throw your opponents off and keep them guessing every step of the way.
Of course, as you know, there are many "degrees" in between these four main playing styles...
Even though you should use TIGHT-AGGRESSIVE as your main style, you must be able "shift gears" and mix up your approach throughout the game... that way you don't become predictable.
More importantly, you must learn when to shift gears... how to vary your playing style... and special "tricks" you can use to fool your opponents without risking too many chips.
When you learn skills like these, you'll be able to consistently win at Texas Holdem poker-- at virtually any level-- and immediately raise your "poker profits".
HOW TO AVOID BAD BEATS:
There are two types of bad beats:
BAD BEAT #1:
When you catch a monster hand but lose to a BIGGER monster hand.
For example, let's say you're holding pocket Aces and the flop hits A-6-6. That means you've got a full house.
Your opponent goes ALL-IN... and you call. You think your Aces are the best hand but they're NOT, because your opponent has pocket sixes, which gives him the four-of-a-kind.
BAD BEAT #2:
When you have the best hand and your opponent has the WORST hand but your opponent GETS LUCKY and wins the pot.
For example, let's say you have pocket Aces and go all-in. Your opponent calls with pocket three's.
The flop hits 2-4-5 and the turn card is a 6, giving your opponent the STRAIGHT and causing you to lose the hand.
Now that's a bad beat.
And let's face it, the second type of bad beat-- the one where your opponent gets totally lucky and outdraws you-- is the kind of beat that just plain sucks. And pisses you off.
In fact, the second type of bad beat is the kind you REMEMBER the most too. When someone says, "Hey man, how did your card game go?", the first thing that will come out of your mouth will be the story of that bad beat.
Am I right?
Now here's what's interesting...
MORE BAD BEATS HAPPEN IN ONLINE POKER THAN IN "REGULAR" OFFLINE POKER.
Literally, you'll see more bad beats happen in an online poker game than you'll see at a local cash game or in a casino.
If you play both online and offline poker, I'm sure you agree with this statement.
So what's going on here? Why would it be this way?
There are two popular "theories"...
1. Online poker is rigged.
2. There are more hands per hour, therefore it's an illusion that there are more bad beats.
My opinion is that both of these theories are wrong.
First off, I genuinely believe online poker is not rigged. I mean, c'mon... Do you really think these multi-billion dollar casinos would need to rig hands?
They make their money from tournament entry fees and rakes... and trust me, they're making plenty.
OK, so what about the second theory?
Well, I do agree that there are more hands per hour in online poker than offline poker. There's no disputing that.
But I don't think that's a good enough reason...
Because my belief is that there are more bad beats that happen per X number of hands online than for offline poker.
For instance, let's say you played 100 hands. And let's say you caught two really bad beats for every 100 hands at a casino. That's 2%.
In online poker, you're likely to catch five or even ten of those really bad beats per 100 hands. That's 5-10%.
So the fact that you're seeing MORE hands doesn't explain the higher precentage of bad beats.
Still with me?
OK, so now let me give you MY "theory" about this.
It's not really a theory. Just good old simple logic, actually.
Here it goes:
The reason there are more bad beats in online poker is because the very nature of online poker leads people to play differently.
The CARDS and ODDS are the same.
It's the PLAYERS that aren't the same.
What I mean is that for online poker, a LARGE portion of players adopt the style of LOOSE-AGGRESSIVE.
They act irrationally... play hands they shouldn't play... and bet way too aggressively for most given situations.
Because online poker isn't as "real".
The money isn't as real. I mean, heck... the casinos give you so much "free" money when you sign up, how could it feel real?
The cards aren't real. The chips aren't real. The table isn't real. None of that stuff even exists.
All you see when you play online poker are some silly little animations. And you hear some "clickity-click" sounds of fake chips.
And if you loose a game, all you have to do is make three or four mouse clicks and you're instantly playing another game.
And hell, you can play ten games at once if you want!
You can literally play poker against 100 players at the same time!
It's a different world, my friend.
Now... let's get back to the bad beats.
The fact that players are LOOSE-AGGRESSIVE is what leads to the situations where bad beats happen.
1. Players bet their draws more or call large bets with draws or OK hands (i.e. bottom pair).
2. More players are involved in every pot.
3. The pots are bigger, since players are more aggressive.
When these conditions combine together, it creates an environment where there are a lot of big pots and bad beats.
It's not that the cards are "rigged".
It's that the betting patterns and playing styles are different than what you're used to.
And when you combine that with the fact that you see more hands per hour, it inevitably leads to seeing a lot more "crazy" hands and bad beats than in regular poker.
OK, so now the obvious question becomes...
Is there any way to prevent bad beats?
The answer is yes and no.
Ultimately, bad beats will occur no matter what if you're playing good poker. Because to win at poker, you've got to be willing to take risks.
And most risks have a minimum 20% chance or more of not working out in your favor.
With that being said, there are ways to prevent a large portion of the bad beats you'll see online.
Not only can you prevent them, but you can literally turn it around and make it your ultimate advantage.
The key is to "tilt the tables" in your favor and USE the fact that players are so loose and aggressive to help you win more pots.
The way you achieve this is by adopting a special playing style designed specificalyl for online poker...
My name for this "secret sauce" is this:
The concept of "tight-aggressive squared" is quite simple...
It starts with the logic that tight-aggressive is the most effective playing style to use in poker.
Tight-aggressive means tight with hand selection, aggressive with betting.
With online poker, there are more players in every hand. That means you must play even tighter with your hand selection.
You should only play monster hands!
There's absolutely no reason to get involved with decent hands because the odds are against you.
You're bound to run into players who are chasing or who just caught an extremely lucky flop.
When you DO get involved with a hand, you must be overly aggressive. The pot size will be bigger, so you can't go losing many hands or else you'll be out of the game in a hurry.
You must strike... and you must strike hard.
You must risk all of your chips frequently in order to win.
Of course, it's much easier to risk all of your chips when you have a great hand than it is otherwise.
You see, the goal is to do two things:
1. Force out all but one, maybe two players for any pot you get involved with.
2. Have the odds so unbelievably stacked in your favor that you win far more huge pots than you lose.
And when you win lots of big pots, you become chip leader very quickly. And that's how you take control over a poker table.
The reason you want to force people out of the hand is simple mathematics.
Let's say for instance you get pocket aces.
Here's what three of your opponents are holding:
Player 1: K-K
Player 2: 10-9 suited
Player 3: Q-10 offsuit
Now, if you went heads-up against any of these hands ONE-ON-ONE, your odds of winning would be about 80%. They'd be 85% against Player 3.
If you went up against all three of these opponents in one single hand, your odds of winning is just 58.5%!
That's just over 50/50 with the absolute best starting hand possible.
Get my point?
So when you get pocket Aces, you need to force out all but one caller.
You've got to be very aggressive.
In low stakes sit and go's and ring games online, that quite often means going all-in.
Like I said, you've got to risk all your chips.
Now if you go all-in and one of those players makes a call, you'll win four out of five times.
So if you get five big hands a game, you only lose once. Of course, that one you lose usually won't wipe you out, because you'll have more chips from the other big hands...
Get my drift?
Literally, if I play low-stakes online poker, here is what my betting pattern looks like:
And so on...
This is how you win. It seems kind of strange to think about, but this is it!
Now, when you get down to just a few players in a game, it's time to bust out the strategies, bluffs, trick plays, and so on.
But what gets you there is this a TIGHT-AGGRESSIVE SQUARED style of play.
OK, so now the question becomes...
If all you did was ever fold or go all-in, why would anyone ever call your bets?
What a great question.
And we've already gone over the answer...
It's because online poker isn't the same as offline poker. The people on there are distracted and often stupid and very loose.
That's all there is to it.
and that is precisely why online poker is so much easier to make monet at. Once you learn these secrents.
Once you "crack the code", it's amazing how simple it is to win at online poker.
It's actually so simple and so irrational that I'm not sure it will always be this way. It seems that all those fish out there have GOT to go broke sooner or later.
But until that day comes, I'll be making hay while the sun is shining...
And I recommend you do the same.
So, you've learned the basic style of play for online poker, which is "tight-aggressive squared".
Use it, go win some pots, and let me know what you think.
HOW TO CONSISTENTLY BEAT SIT & GO's:
What's this easy-to-use secret for beating Sit and Go tournaments online?
The answer is this:
I know... I know... you were expecting something more, um... "secretive".
But the truth is, winning at Sit and Go's is pretty damn easy. I find them easier than "real" poker games, actually.
And that's why every time I turn on the computer these days I feel like a kid in a candy store... ready to clean out the amateurs at the poker room of my choosing.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
What I want to discuss here is why PATIENCE is so critical for Sit and Go success.
First, let's get back to some basics. There are four types of poker playing styles:
Your style should be tight-aggressive.
Don't confuse "styles" with "preferences". If you want to be a good card player, you DON'T get to DECIDE to be tight-aggressive.
You MUST be tight-aggressive in order to be good.
Of course there are DEGREES of each playing style, and that's what accounts for the differences between one pro and another... the DIFFERENT DEGREES of tight-aggressive.
OK, now let me ask you:
What does "tight-aggressive" really MEAN?
Here's the answer:
It means that you play TIGHT in terms of hand selection, but AGGRESSIVE when you enter a pot.
Be careful... "tight" and "aggressive" are not opposites. "Tight" and "loose" are opposites. And so are "aggressive" and "passive".
TIGHT refers to hand selection. AGGRESSIVE refers to betting.
OK... so this is how playing styles relate to Sit and Go's...
The NATURE of Sit and Go's makes them OVERRUN by LOOSE-AGGRESSIVE style players.
The reasons are simple:
1. You can play a Sit and Go virtually anytime, anywhere, and with anyone.
This means there's very low risk in LOSING, since you can easily just move on to the next game. It's not like in "offline" poker when once you get knocked out you're DONE.
2. The money seems less "real".
Let's be honest... We all know the feeling of making a deposit into an online poker account and thinking to ourselves how it doesn't quite feel like REAL MONEY. Am I right?
3. There's no "embarrassment".
Online poker is virtually 100% anonymous. If you make a stupid move, you're not worried about what the other players THINK of you. Who cares?
After all, the other "players" are really just silly little avatars on an animated screen.
OK, so those are three (there are many more) of the reasons why Sit and Go's (and pretty much all of online poker) are dominated by the playing style LOOSE-AGGRESSIVE.
Loose-aggressive is also known as the "manic" playing style. And what's the FASTEST way to beat a manic?
Yep, you guessed it...
The reason is because MANICS are constantly playing many hands (loose) and doing so aggressively.
What happens is that it's difficult to get a READ on them because you never know whether they're bluffing or not... unless you call their bets... which you can't do because you don't have that great a hand.
Has this ever happened to you?
Have you ever been up against a player who seemed to be playing VERY aggressively and you just couldn't figure out if they were bluffing or holding great cards?
And then when you got FED UP with it and DID make a call, he had you beat?
My guess is that it HAS happened to you... just as it's happened for me.
The key thing to know is that THERE ARE certain steps you can take to defend this. (I even wrote an entire chapter about this topic in my book.)
But fortunately in Sit and Go's, this isn't really much of a problem. Because you're usually not up against just one or two manics. You're up against an ENTIRE TABLE of them.
That means you shouldn't be CALLING anyone's bets.
Instead, YOU should push the action when you have a monster hand... and ONLY when you have a monster hand. And that, of course, requires...
It's actually much easier this way. Because with a table full of manics, you can rely on getting action with all your great hands.
(I should point out here that I'm generally referring to Sit and Go's where the entry fee is less than $50. When the stakes are higher the quality of play is usually more intelligent.)
OK, so what I'm about to tell you might take some of the "fun" out of Sit and Go's. But it will increase your profits dramatically...
Here's what your Sit and Go "experience" should look like when the field is from 8 or 10 players down to 4 or 5 players.
If your hole cards are...
A-A, K-K - Go all in pre-flop if you're in early position. If in late position and there was a raise, go all-in. If people were just trying to limp in, make a raise... and then bet very aggressively after the flop.
Q-Q, A-K - If you're in an early position, bet big (but not all-in). If you're in a late position, use your read on the other players to determine whether or not you think you have the best hand. If so, bet huge or go all-in.
All other pocket pairs - Limp-in. If you spike trips, go all-in. If not, fold.
Suited connectors - Limp-in if the blinds are reasonably low. Fold suited connectors under 7-6.
Ace-X suited - Limp-in if possible. Only bet if you hit the flush.
All other hands - Fold.
What you've just seen will be completely different than most "starting hand strategies" out there.
And that chart is NOT for all types of no limit Texas Holdem. We're ONLY talking about games that match these three criteria:
1. Online poker Sit and Go tournaments
2. Low stakes (under $50 entry)
3. While there are more than 4 or 5 players at the
table (in an 8-man or 10-man Sit and Go)
DO NOT use that starting hand advice for any other poker games... because that's NOT how you should play your starting hands in general.
So why would Sit and Go's be so much different than "normal" poker play?
Like I said before, the reason is because Sit and Go's are heavily dominated by loose-aggressive players... and THIS is how you beat those guys.
Why exactly does this strategy work?
It works because you're only playing monsters.
Now... if the players at Sit and Go's were SMART, they'd OBSERVE that you're only playing monster hands... and they'd FOLD as soon as you went all-in.
I mean... it only makes logical sense, right?
Indeed, this is how it works in live games. But not online. Because for online poker there's another important factor working to your advantage...
NO ONE'S PAYING ATTENTION!
The truth is, many players are either drunk, hungover, stupid, or playing multiple tables at once. Or all of the above!
They're not paying attention to your betting patterns. They're just playing the CARDS, not the PLAYERS.
I call my strategy for patiently waiting for monster hands and then going all-in:
The reason is because my strategy is like the playing style tight-aggressive... but on STEROIDS.
Why go all-in so much?
It's like I said... you WILL get action. Maybe not every single time, but enough times to make it well worth your while.
For Sit and Go's, all you need to do is double-up ONCE before the field gets to 4 or 5 players.
THEN you can start playing aggressively. What will happen is that the 4 or 5 players LEFT IN THE GAME will usually be the smarter ones. And some of them WILL notice by now that you're playing tight.
SO THEN what you do is steal blinds. It's easy.
Everyone tightens up when there are four or five players in a hand because they want to make the money... and they want to be VERY CAREFUL to make it into the top three.
That is when you steal some blinds and add to your chip stack.
Then, after that point you'll be in third place and will be in the money.
I have a ton of strategies for getting you into FIRST place too (after you get down to three players), but I'll have to save those for a different newsletter.
You know, when I first came up with this strategy of "Tight-Aggressive Squared" I wasn't COMPLETELY convinced it was the best way to win at Sit and Go's.
At the time, I had been trying a lot of things. The idea of just being EXTREMELY PATIENT and then going all-in with monster hands seemed a little TOO SIMPLE.
Then one night, I was at a 10-man Sit and Go. I went all-in with a big hand early and doubled up. It was the only hand I got really involved with.
Then... with 9 players still at the table... my Internet shut off. I didn't know what happened. All I know is that the Internet just plain STOPPED WORKING.
I would have called someone... but it was past two in the morning.
I messed with it for like fifteen minutes and then just gave up. Oh well... it's just one Sit and Go.
Anyway... I started working on something else on my computer for awhile until all of the sudden the Internet came BACK on.
I logged into my poker room to see what had happened with the game. Immediately the screen POPPED-UP and the action was to me...
I was still in the game, it wasn't over yet!
Not only that...
But there were only three players left!
I was in third, but still had some remaining chips to play around with.
I immediately went all-in and everyone folded. Then I did it again and everyone folded. And a few hands later I did it AGAIN.
I picked up three enormous sets of blinds and was right back in the game. The reason everyone was folding was because I hadn't played a hand in 25 minutes. They were probably wondering what the hell was going on!
Anyway, as it turned out, I actually WON 1ST for this Sit and Go. First place baby... and my Internet only worked for about 1/5 of the game!
After I was done I started thinking about what had just happened. I realized that by PLAYING in a Sit and Go you can often do MORE DAMAGE THAN GOOD when there are lots of players at the table.
And of course, I became 100% convinced that the "magic equation" for success is:
PATIENCE + AGGRESSION
Your goal for these games should be to place in the money as much as possible. Period. So why risk chips on silly hands early on?
They're just not worth it...
The other thing about this strategy is that it's a HUGE time-saver. Because it doesn't require hardly any work until there are 4-5 players left. It makes it MUCH easier to play multiple tables at once... or do other things while the Sit and Go plays in the background.
OK, so here's your "Tight-Aggressive Squared" Sit and Go strategy:
1. Be patient, be patient, be patient!
Only play the hands I showed you earlier. Only bet before the flop with Aces, Kings, Big Slick, and Queens.
2. When you catch a monster, go all-in. Don't do this if you think someone has you beat (i.e. there's an obvious straight or flush draw on the board).
I'm talking about only playing hands when you know you have the best odds of winning.
3. When the field gets down to four or five players (depending on how high the blinds are and how many all-in showdowns you've won), shift gears completely and STOP using this "Tight-Aggressive Squared" strategy.
That, my friend, is the "secret" to Sit and Go's.
It's obvious... but not-so-obvious.
But it is DEFINITELY simple.
HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR POSITIONING:
The dealer position (known as the "button") is the best position at the poker table.
The reason is because when you're on the button, you get to act LAST after the flop... giving you the chance to see what your opponents do first.
This lets you get a "read" on your opponents at the table... and decide who has a strong hand, who has a weak hand, who's bluffing, and so on.
OK, so that's common knowledge.
What's also common knowledge is the fact that LATE POSITIONING is preferred over EARLY POSITIONING... because once again, you get to see what your opponents do first before it's your turn to bet, raise, call, or fold.
Of course, being on the button is BETTER than just plain late positioning... because the button GUARANTEES that you will be LAST TO ACT post-flop.
OK, now here's what is NOT common knowledge...
Once you understand positioning and its enormous implications, you can begin "improving" your positioning and setting yourself up for more pots each game.
The technique is called STEALING THE BUTTON.
It's simple... it's practical... and right when you're done reading this newsletter you can immediately start using it.
Stealing the button is LEVERAGING your late positioning when you're NOT on the button... but getting all the same benefits as if you WERE on the button.
Remember, the dealer position is SO POWERFUL because it means you're LAST to act post-flop.
Being SECOND TO LAST to act isn't nearly as good, especially considering there's usually only three or four players to a flop at an 8-man table.
So what you do is make a reasonable pre-flop RAISE when you're in late positioning... and therefore force the player on the button to fold.
Having done this, you'll be last to act after the flop... the same as if you actually were on the button. (Hence the name, "stealing the button").
OK, let's look at an example so you can see what I'm talking about:
Let's say you're sitting two seats to the RIGHT of the button at a 10-man table. The game is $1-2 no limit Holdem.
Two players limp-in... and you look down at your cards: J-9 of clubs.
I call hands like these "semi-connectors"-- they're not quite connected... but almost.
The great thing about semi-connectors is that they're a "hidden hand". When they HIT (straight, flush, two pair...) your opponents NEVER see it coming.
You decide to play your Jack-9 suited. Now remember, there are two players BEHIND you that will act post-flop if they both call the blinds.
So it's YOUR JOB to make sure they DON'T limp-in.
The solution is to crank up the pressure...
You make it $15 to play. Nothing crazy (after all, you don't exactly have a monster). You simply want to force the two players to your left to FOLD... which will happen most of the time.
Of course, they won't always fold... because sometimes they'll pick up a big hand. But odds are they'll fold.
The RESULT, of course, is now YOU have the button.
Well, not the button exactly... but all the advantages that it brings.
Sure enough, the two players to your left fold, and Josh-- who's in the big blind-- is the only caller.
The flop comes out:
No flush possibilities for you here, but BINGO, you've just flopped an open-ended straight draw.
This is the type of flop you hoped for.
Now it's on Josh to act first. And this is where your positioning is so important. Not only do you get to see what Josh does first... but you also have the CONTROL in this situation.
Since you made the pre-flop raise, Josh will likely check the flop to you... giving you the opportunity to play aggressively and take down this pot.
No matter what happens after this, you've set yourself up to win this pot. Sometimes Josh will pick up a real hand and come out firing... but usually not.
Sure enough in our example, Josh checks.
You throw out a $30 semi-bluff. This is a bet you should make even WITHOUT the open-ender... because you made the pre-flop raise.
Josh mucks it, and you rake the chips... leaving the table wondering what you had.
That's how you "steal" the button. It's a simple, surefire way to gain control at the table by improving your positioning.
There are five main steps you need to know...
1. You need a playable hand.
If you're going to bluff, make it a "semi-bluff" by raising with a hand that can hit... something like semi-connectors.
I personally don't like raising with 7-2 offsuit or crap like that. It seems to me like an "ego raise" more than a logical play.
Remember, the key is to gain that extra bit of control and power by acting LAST after the flop.
2. Force out the player on the button (and possibly the player to his right).
The whole point to stealing the button is to ACTUALLY STEAL THE BUTTON. If you make a wussy raise that doesn't scare anyone, you've failed.
If you're one seat to the right of the button, you want to raise enough to force the player on the button out. If you're TWO seats to the right, then you've got to force out both players to your left.
One of the "secrets" to this process is to ALWAYS pay attention to the pre-flop betting patterns of your opponents on the left.
If you're sitting on the right of "Tight Tim" who only sees flops when he's got pocket pairs, then you can steal the button quite often.
On the other hand, if you're on the right of a LOOSE player, you won't be able to steal the button nearly as much.
So pay attention.
3. After the flop, your opponents will usually check to you.
Notice if someone bets into you, beware. That's a red flag. Usually players will check into you since you raised pre-flop.
When players check into you that gives you the power to either BET and try to steal the pot right there... OR... get a free turn card by also checking.
While I normally recommend a bet, you can check to mix it up once in awhile or in the case that you're getting short-stacked.
4. Don't get pot-committed.
Remember, stealing the button is a simple technique that improves your position and sets you up to have a BETTER CHANCE at winning the hand.
Don't get stupid. Don't get stubborn and bet any amount in hopes of bluffing out someone with a real hand.
Like I said, you need a playable hand to steal the button in the first place.
Don't become pot-committed... Never bet so much that it's PAINFUL to fold your cards after the flop.
5. Sometimes you don't need to raise to steal the button.
Often the blinds will be high enough where you figure simply CALLING the big blind will get you the button (this is especially true when you're to the right of a tight player).
Also, someone in front of you might raise the pot enough that all you have to do is CALL THE RAISE and you'll get the button.
OK, so that's the process...
Here are the two types of situations where you DO want to steal the button...
DO STEAL THE BUTTON WHEN:
1. You sense weakness and want to steal the pot on a bluff or hidden hand.
2. You have a good hand that you want to play post-flop.
On the other hand...
DO NOT STEAL THE BUTTON WHEN:
1. You have a poor hand and you sense someone else has a strong hand.
2. You think someone to your left will call a raise no matter what (that defeats the purpose).
The MOST IMPORTANT lesson you can get from all this is to realize that winning poker depends on ALL THE LITTLE THINGS.
Stealing the button is just a little technique for setting yourself up for better positioning... it's not a "game changing" strategy that will double your poker profits or anything.
But when you combine it with ALL THE OTHER LITTLE THINGS-- like establishing the right table image, throwing out feeler bets, representing the flop at the right times, buying free cards, picking up betting patterns, spotting tells, and more-- then you will become a DYNAMIC and POWERFUL poker player...
AND THEN your poker profits will double.
A lot of amateurs base their games on the "big hands" and might get lucky once in awhile. But over time, the REAL MONEY always goes to the GRINDERS... the guys who know how to CONSISTENTLY take down pots.
It takes a lot of discipline, don't get me wrong.
But you can do it.
HOW TO DOMINATE THE POKER TABLE:
Have you ever lost a huge pot because you had a flush draw or straight draw and didn't catch the card you needed?
It's happened to all of us.
And frankly, it sucks.
Because when you're on a draw, you're just ONE CARD AWAY from raking in a ton of chips.
And you WANT to keep calling everyone else's bets, in hopes that your card will pop out on the turn or river.
Am I right?
Of course, what ends up happening is you have to put a ton of your chips in the middle... just to call everyone else's bets.
That makes you pot-committed... and if you DON'T catch your card, you're screwed.
Now let me ask you...
Wouldn't it be WONDERFUL if every time you were on a draw all the other players would CHECK around?
That way you didn't have to risk any chips, and could bet only after you KNEW for sure whether or not you caught your card.
That sure would be nice, wouldn't it?
What if there was a way to STILL WIN THE HAND... even if you DIDN'T catch your card?
That'd be nice too, huh?
Luckily, there IS a technique you can use to make BOTH of these things happen.
Let me show you how...
OK, so let's say I'm at an 8-person no-limit table and I'm sixth to act.
I'm dealt a 5-6 of diamonds.
Josh comes out firing with a $10 pre-flop bet. Sarah and Derek both call.
Now it's on me.
I love suited connectors... especially busting my opponents with them unexpectedly, so I jump in and call.
The players behind me muck their cards right away... scared to death of so much action.
The flop hits:
4d, 9s, 7d
That means I've just flopped an open-ended straight flush draw. I couldn't have asked for a better flop in this situation.
Unfortunately, Josh comes out firing (again) with a no-hesitation bet of $20.
Sarah and Derek both FOLD this time...
And the action is to me.
I'm putting Josh on a high pocket pair, or maybe A9 or A7. And he's figuring the scraps on the board didn't help anyone, hence the strong bet.
Which puts me in a tough situation.
Think about it... If I CALL, I might miss my flush or straight on the turn card. Then what? Josh will make another strong bet... what will I do then?
And if I call to see the river and miss, then I'll have just given Josh most of my chips and lost a major hand.
On the other hand, I don't want to FOLD, because I have a ton of outs and I want to WIN this!
Now let me ask you, what would YOU do in this situation?
Most amateur card players don't think ahead, and they'd call Josh's $20 bet. And if they missed on the turn, they'd call another bet to see the river.
And if they missed on the river, they'd probably fold, watch Josh rake in all the chips, and wonder why they "never catch the right cards".
Now a more skillful player would ANTICIPATE what's about to happen... and would probably call to see the turn, but then fold if Josh bet again.
And of course, there are always the tight players who would never have played the 5-6 of diamonds in the FIRST place.
So what do I do?
Remember, I'm sitting on 5-6 of diamonds. The board reads: 4d, 9s, 7d. And Josh, who made a strong pre-flop raise, just bet $20 after the flop.
Here's the answer...
Not some wimpy raise either... I raise him $
40 more to play. Most players would NEVER think to raise in this situation... but here's what I've done:
1. I've TAKEN CONTROL of the hand and bought myself a FREE CARD when it matters most.
You see, if Josh calls the $40 raise, when the turn hits he'll CHECK to me.
(Remember what I said at the beginning of this email?)
That means I get to see the turn and river for a total of $40 more, which is a BARGAIN compared to what Josh's next bet would have cost me.
2. I'm representing possible trips.
Josh now has to wonder whether I called his pre-flop raise with a low pocket pair and just caught trips on the flop.
Or I could be sitting on a high pocket pair and I'm not "phased" by the flop.
3. I've raised the stakes of the hand in MY favor... not his. You see, if I just call Josh's bets and then hit a 8 of diamonds on the turn, what will happen?
Well, Josh will SEE the three diamonds and the straight possibility, and he probably won't make any more huge bets or call any huge bets from me.
This way, I've raised the stakes $40, which increases MY CHANCES at winning an even bigger pot than if I had just called.
And last but not least...
4. I've given myself a way to WIN even if I don't catch the straight or flush.
Now I get to see Josh's reaction to my $40 raise...
If I sense weakness, I may decide to BLUFF and buy this pot if I don't catch my flush or straight.
If I only call Josh's bets the whole way, he would't fall for this type of bluff. But my raise of $40 will sure get him thinking.
OKAY, BACK TO THE HAND...
Josh shuffles his chips around for a moment, and looks back down at his cards. It turns out he's holding an A9... so he's got top pair with the kicker. A good hand, but not a monster by any means.
The next card comes out... queen of spades.
THAT WAS IMPORTANT.
This is my "free card" opportunity that my $40 raise bought.
Now I'm in complete control... and feeling pretty good about this hand.
I can check and see the river for free. I've still got a lot of outs here.
Or I can bet STRONG and try to scare Josh away.
"One hundred dollars", I say, as I push a huge stack of red chips into the middle.
True, I only have a queen high... and the beginner card player may think this type of play is crazy.
But then again, that's why they're called "BEGINNERS".
Josh thinks for a minute and then mucks it.
I rake in a beautiful pot.
Even if Josh had called, I still had a good number of outs. And if I missed, I could have tried to bluff again.
Now think back to when the flop came out...
After Josh bet $20, what if I had called? (And not raised.)
Well, here's what would have happened...
The queen would have came and Josh would've immediately fired a huge $80 bet.
I would've had to either call the $80 to see the river, or muck my beautiful straight flush draw.
And THAT, my friend, is why it's CRUCIAL that you TAKE CONTROL of the game.
This type of technique allows you to truly DOMINATE THE TABLES and win more money playing poker. Period.
That's what makes Texas Hold 'Em such a fascinating game... there are just so many scenarios that can occur, and so many special "tricks" and "techniques" you can use to beat the competition.
Of course, you'll probably never figure them all out on your own... and that's why I'm here to help.