Thursday, March 25, 2010

Seat Selection

Most players will spend time selecting the most profitable tables to play at, but do not take into consideration there seat position.  Obviously online you can not pick the seat you would like to sit at, but you can choose to stay or leave a table if your seat selection is not profitable for you.

You look for tables with a high amount of players seeing the flop and where the average pot is fairly high. This tells you the table is very loose and willing to play for big profits, but what happens when you sit down and find that the players around you make it very difficult to play any hand at all.

If you find that the player who has position on you is a perpetual 3 bettor, or a player that never gives up and forces you to make a hand, it might be better to move onto another table.  Ideally you would like to have position on the weaker players at the table and hopefully no players in position on you that know how to use that position.

If you find yourself at a table with a few weak players, but with a couple very strong or difficult to play against players who have position on you, there is no shame in moving to another table with more profitable overall conditions.

Just because you find yourself at a table with a couple weak players does not mean the table is most suitable for you to make a profit.  Find tables that allow you to have the most profitable seat selection to maximize profit.  For each player this will be different depending on your playing style and ability to adapt to the table conditions. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Making Big Laydowns

In order to be a big winner you have to be capable of making the big laydown when you know you are beat.

We have all been in that situtation on the river when your opponent suddenly bets into you after calling on the other streets.   There really is nothing that we beat that he would be doing this with, but we call anyways just to prove to ourselves that we are right.

In order to be a successful player we have to learn to trust our reads.  If your read is telling you that you are beat, even with a really big hand, then fold.  Calling to prove that your read is correct or being stubborn and not wanting to believe that you got sucked out on will eat into your profits. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Squeeze Play

A loose opponent raises from early position and gets called by another player.  The caller probably has a marginal hand or they would have re-raised the initial loose player.

The play is now on you and you re-raise knowing that the initial raiser is loose and could have a wide range of hands and that the caller must have a marginal hand or he would have re-raised himself.  A large amount of the time both players will fold and you will win a large pot without seeing the flop.

The move is most effective when you are in position on both players, making it even more difficult for either of them to call your raise.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Table Selection

Almost all poker site have made table selection a lot easier with lobby stats.  They display the percentage of players seeing the flop and the average pot size among other stats. 

What you want to look for is tables where the players per flop is at least 30% and have an average pot size of 10 big blinds or more.  These will be the most profitable tables to play at.  Many sites will also allow you to color code players.  You can then see these color codes from the lobby allowing you to identify players that you have marked as being profitable to play against.  It is good practice to always mark players, wether it is regulars or the fish for quick identification from the lobby.

When you do find the right tables to play at and sit down don't be afraid to continually re-assess and change tables when you feel the table conditions have changed. You could end up with a loose aggressive player who has position on you, making it very difficult to play any hands, or being sitting with a bunch of rocks that aren't going to part with their money easily. 

There are plenty of tables out there, so find the ones that have the most profitable conditions for you and your playing style. 

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Dealing With 3 Bets

Poker has become increasingly more aggressive with more players raising, 3 betting and even 4 betting.  Dealing with 3 betting can very difficult, particularly with players who will relentlessly 3 bet you when they are in position.  This article will cover how to deal with 3 bettors, things you can do to combat their aggression.

The first thing to consider is the position you are in and the position of the 3 bettor.  If you are in the first position and the 3 bettor is in the second or third seat, his 3 bet shows a lot more strength then if he 3 bets your cut off raise from the button.  Players tend to give respect to position.  A raise from the first position indicates to the table that you have a strong hand.  A raise from the cut off could just be you trying to steal the blinds. It’s very common for players to 3 bet from the blinds against a button raise as their is a high likely hood that you are just trying to steal the blinds with a marginal hand.  

The second thing you will want to look at is how often the player is 3 betting.  If you have played with them for a couple hundred hands and this is the first time they have 3 bet, they most likely have a very strong hand and you can safely throw away all but the very best hands.  If they player is continually 3 betting you the situation becomes more difficult.

Always take into consideration how deep both of you are.  If your opponent is short stacked you will not have the odds to call the 3 bet with suited connectors of small pocket pairs hoping to flop a set.  If you are both very deep, especially if you are in position, it might be profitable to call with these types of hands.  If you hit the flop your hand will be disguised and you could potentially win a very large pot. Playing deepstacked poker out of position will allow your opponent to put a lot of pressure on you post flop.  Calling with hands like AJs can be very difficult to play in this situation.  What will you do if you flop and A or a J and face going all in for 200 big blinds?

Finally take into consideration how often you are rasing.  Players are less likely to 3 bet a player who has been playing very tight and raising very few hands, then a player who has been rasing constantly.  If you have been very active running over the table expect your opponents to play back at you at some point.

Now that we have covered what to take into consideration when being 3 bet it is time to look at how to combat habitual 3 bettors.  The first and most obvious solution is tighten up your rasing range.  Play stronger hands that can safely call or re-raise a 3 bet.  This is the best solution of newer players and when you are out of position.

You can often slow down 3 bettors by 4 betting them.  If they are 3 betting frequently, they often will not have a strong hand that can stand a 4 bet.  This will allow you to 4 bet with much weaker hands as a bluff.  Once they realize that you will not easily give up when you are 3 bet, they will slow down.  This can be a very high variance play, especially when you are out of position.

Another option is calling their 3 bet and taking the pot away from them on the flop.  We know they can not always have a strong hand if they are 3 betting that often, by calling the 3 bet then rasing the flop, or even calling the flop then betting the turn you will be able to win the pot on most occasions.  Calling a 3 bet is a better option of you are in position.  Out of position it can be very difficult to play after the flop.

Although these general guidelines will help with 3 bettors it is always best to look at each opponent individually.  Watch them and see what kinds of hands they are 3 betting and from what positions.  Some players will call raises with hands like AQ and JJ and 3 bet their really strong and weak hands.  Some players like to call with small pocket pairs while others always 3 bet them.  Watch every hand closely especially those that go to showdown to learn more about your opponents 3 betting habits and you will be better equipped to make correct decisions when they 3 bet you.