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A Basic No Limit Holdem Strategy

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When I graduated from the freeroll tables to play poker for money, I learnt some tough lessons, that hurt.. in fact they still hurt a bit when I think about them today…

But one of the most important lessons I learnt, which actually probably applies to life in general is – knowing when to fold and keep out of a hand.  Its a basic strategy, that a lot of new poker players say, come on tell us more.. but you cant tell that much more.. people have to play a lot of poker to get a feel of when to pull out.  And thats because it depends on so many factors.. how are the other players playing? how many people are playing? etc etc.

Knowing when to fold is even more important in no limit holdem games, because if you get on the wrong side of the betting, it can damage your bankroll badly!!  Believe me!!  So remember one important basic strategy for no limit holdem – learn when to back out of a hand.

I am still trying to perfect the life lesson of knowing when to keep quiet…

You just got Durrrred!

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Ha You just got Durrrred!  That has to be one of the weirdest poker hands I have seen.  Once again I was watching High Stakes Poker, Howard Lederer and Tom Dwan square up – four bets before the flop, check, check and Dwan takes it with a pair of eights…

Learn poker from the pros…

But comeon!! Who bets before the flop with 8,6 off suited – no-one!  Dwan does… but dont try this at home it may be dangerous!  The prof of poker is so confused with Dwan’s play that he looks in a daze afterwards, like he’s done 15 rounds and is punch drunk!

Talk about courage and conviction… you certainly need that playing against Dwan!  Cant wait to see more of him facing up to Antonius, should be good.

Poker- A test of your courage and convictions

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Poker is a real test of your courage and convictions.

What do I mean… I mean you know the strength and ranking of your hand, the probability of it being a winning hand, the probability of what the other poker players have, all the information from the way they bet, their body language, their characters and the way they have played previous hands.

All that is left is to back yourself, to have the confidence in yourself, to have the confidence in your poker ability and to have the courage to go for it!  If you don’t think your hand can win, then get out early, it won’t cost you as much.

Do you have the courage to back yourself when you get a winning hand, to push those chips in with confidence?

Folds trip deuces

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Did you see that incredible hand play out on High Stakes poker?

Tom Dwan has the weakest hand and he raises to a huge amount of $104,000 which completly scares off Peter Eastgate and Barry Greenstein.  Thing is that Eastgate folds trip deuces!!  Can you believe it??  Would you do the same thing?  For $104,000 that may make you think twice about calling the bluff.

It was an interesting poker hand, all of them thought they were in with a chance, so eight players went to the flop!! Then it comes down to Dwan, Greenstein and Eastgate – Dwan comes out strong post flop, the others are wary and just check… then Dwan really turns it on to see who wants to play poker!!!

This hand must have had a big impression on the players because they talk about it for ages afterwards in the next episode.  In fact, because Eastgate admits to folding trip deuces, the other players figure he may have a weakness in his poker game when he is put under pressure – Doyle Brunson exploits this later on in the next episode – Have you seen it?

Have a look at the High Stakes Poker episodes on YouTube if you haven’t seen them already.

Traditional Seven-card Stud Poker

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Traditional seven-card stud poker has a long history and is known by many poker players.  This poker game is usually played with 2 to 8 poker players.  All players are dealt two cards, face down (also called hole cards) as well as one card, face up – this is called ‘third street’.  A player holding the lowest card is required to ‘bring in’ and start the betting.  Players then raise, call or fold, just like any other poker game.

‘Fourth street’ – each player is dealt a fourth card, face up and then betting continues.  The player holding the best-exposed hand starts with the betting.  For instance, if a player holds an exposed card combination of AQ, another holds 55 exposed and the other holds 48 exposed, the player with 55 is considered the first since he holds a pair of 5s.

‘Fifth street’ – each player is dealt another exposed card, which is followed by another betting round.  The game continues for a ‘sixth street’ card and further betting.  The ‘seventh street’ – Each player is dealt a final hole card and the final betting round takes place.

If there are 8 players and not enough cards are left in the deck, for each player to get a final hole card, one card is put on the board, which is shared by each player, similar to a Texas Holdem poker game.

If you don’t know seven-card stud poker, give it a try – expand your poker skill and poker knowledge!

Casino Review Sites

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I often get asked how do I find the best online casinos to play poker?  Or, another frequently asked question is, “How do I know I’m getting the best deal on my poker site?”

And the answer is easy – Look at casino review sites.  They do all the work for you, comparing online poker sites for the best deals and bonuses.  Why try and do it yourself?  The top poker sites all work closely with the top casino review sites, updating them with the latest information – it is a symbiotic relationship.  Casino review sites help find customers and advertise on behalf of the casinos.

Casino review sites will only choose the best poker sites because it is their name at stake and they want to look good to attract poker players – so you know you are getting the best comparison of online poker sites to choose from.  And, it is unbiased, they are just displaying the best poker bonuses and deals for you to choose.  In fact the offers from casinos are probably better on a casino review site because of the competition between sites.

Its the same if you want to buy a digital camera.  You buy a magazine that does all the reviews of the top cameras for you – allowing you to choose the camera that best fits your needs.  Sure beats visiting a whole lot of camera shops to try and find the best deal.  Each camera specialist will probably tell you their stock is the best, so that you buy their camera.

Gus Hansen

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Time to talk about some of the poker professionals…

Anybody heard of Gustav Hansen?  “The Great Dane” perhaps?

Gus Hansen is a well known poker professional who has been very good at marketing himself and making a name for himself in the world of poker.

For more detailed info you can go to his own “Gus Hansen” website and his blog that he writes on regularly.  Recently, he launched “Gus Hansen TV”, a free poker television channel which is broadcast over the internet.

Gus is Danish and was born near Copenhagen in 1974, but he now lives in Monaco.  He started out as a tennis player in his youth, moved on to become a backgammon pro and then found poker…

Gus is known for his loose-aggressive play which has been very successful – winning him four World Poker Tour titles and the 2007 Aussie Millions Main Event.  Sometimes his aggressive play pays off and sometimes it is his nemesis…

Poker vs. Blackjack

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It is commonly accepted that there is a great affinity between poker and blackjack games, but it is also true that you can find a lot of differences separating one from the other.  Just in case you are a poker player and you have never played blackjack before, you need to know the blackjack rules, which are totally different to poker.  Nevertheless, it is still worth playing blackjack and discovering it yourself, piece by piece.

It is important to know, right from the beginning, that, in blackjack games, you are going to compete against the House, and not against other players (like in poker games).  Blackjack is conceived in such a way that the more you play, the more chances of winning the House will have.  However, professional blackjack players that have the right skills and techniques, will know how to make things turn in their favor.

If you own these blackjack skills and strategies, you can really increase your chances of winning.  The truth is that there are not a lot of strategies you need to be aware of when playing blackjack, simply because this game relies on a lot of luck as well.  If you are a skilled card counter, you can increase your chances of winning significantly, but, if you are a great card counter and a lucky person at the same time, you have a lot more chance of winning.

When it comes to poker, the situation is completely different.  First of all, in poker games, you will compete against other players and not against the House.  This important aspect makes you realize that luck is not as important factor in the case of poker as it is in the case of blackjack.  It is essential to know your poker strategy if you want to win, when playing poker.

The majority of gamblers prefer playing poker rather than blackjack. There are many cases when professional blackjack players have simply transferred their entire interest from blackjack to poker.  Professional and serious poker players might have a great time while playing blackjack, but they do this only for fun, without taking into consideration the possibility of transferring their whole interest to the respective game.

The extraordinary popularity of poker also comes from the fact that it has been spread all over the world. You can play it at land-based casinos and also at online casinos.  However, there are people who think that blackjack has more advantageous points than poker.

One of the greatest aspects of blackjack games is represented by the fact they generally have a faster pace than poker games.  Due to the game being played against the House, you do not have to wait for the other players to think their decisions over.  You have to pay attention only to your own decisions without wasting your time uselessly. Blackjack is a simpler game and is easier to learn then poker.

Your only purpose when playing blackjack is to beat the House.  Your whole attention is focused only upon one opponent you are supposed to defeat and this makes your task considerably easier.  When playing blackjack you do not need to use your psychological skills in order to defeat your opponents, for the simple reason you have only one opponent and this is the dealer.  This way, if you want to be the winner, you must focus on your hand that has to be higher than dealer’s hand.

Nevertheless, your hand must not be higher than 21.  In blackjack, you will be the winner if you have 21, as this number represents the best hand you can get.  It is much easier to get 21 in blackjack (as a matter of fact you often get 21 more than once during the same game) than getting a Royal Flush in poker.  For this reason, a lot of players might say that blackjack offers more satisfaction than poker.

Anyway…  this is a questionable matter, as winning in poker can represent a genuine challenge for professional poker players…Poker is a tough game for tough people.  And so, the debate will rage on…

Blackjack is an exciting and fascinating game, but it can never make you feel the same adrenaline offered by poker games.  If you are a competitive person and like being in competition with other people, then you should choose poker (as it will best suit your interests and character).

On the contrary, if you are a reserved person and don’t like interacting too much with other people, than you should undoubtedly opt for blackjack.  In blackjack you are not supposed to come with an amazing strategy because, all you have to do is follow the blackjack rules.  If you are a disciplined player and you follow these rules carefully, there is no doubt that you will have successful results playing blackjack.

When playing poker the situation is completely different, because the players do not always play the same way.  You have a higher probability of winning if you come out with some intelligent and shrewd strategies that are different to your opponent’s strategies.  Whenever you make a decision in a poker game, you have to consider many things at once, such as: your position at the respective table, the position of the other players at the table, their characters, their patterns and methods of play.

In poker, you must pay a lot of attention to the players’ reactions.  You need to be extremely careful of not letting yourself be deceived by appearances.  As a matter of fact, appearances are extremely dangerous in poker, as your opponents use them in order to intimidate you and deceive you.  On the other hand, you can also use this poker strategy to your own favor…

In poker you are able to make the other players act the way you want and control the game.  You can take charge easily as long as you use your psychological skills to the fullest.  In blackjack you do not have to pay attention at other players’ actions and reactions, only to a certain set of rules.

There are different ways to approach poker and blackjack.  The truth is that you will be able to decide which one you like the most and suits your interests – by playing both casino games.


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Timing and pacing yourself are important if you are going to being playing poker for a long time.

To some extent you can control the timing of what you want to do, but obviously its also up to the cards that you get.

I have found that it helps to play it quiet in the beginning whilst you are checking out everyone.  Finding out their type of game and character.  If you are keeping it tight and quiet in the beginning then you are not giving too much away about yourself.

You always get one loud person at the poker table, or if you keep quiet then at least one person who is louder than you.  Poker online is a bit different but you can tell by their play what character they are.

Then when you think the timing is right, I like to increase the aggressive play a bit, throw in a few semi-bluffs into my poker game and see how they go down… how the characters react… test them.  So often they fold because they are so taken aback by the aggressive play.

Don’t overdo the aggressive play because they will start to call your bluff.

What do you think?

The nice thing about being a woman poker player is that the guys are often throwing their weight around, all the egos are trying to outdo each other… whilst us woman don’t worry about that too much and just get on with the game.

We get enough satisfaction from beating big egos!!  We don’t have to brag about it all night!!

Living on the edge

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Nothing like living on the edge.  I’ve been playing poker in some cash games recently, I just needed a change and decided to head down to my casino and ruffle a few feathers.  Always like to get under the boy’s skin sometimes…

Sometimes I enjoy the social aspect of playing poker in the casino, poker online can get a bit lonesome if you play it over and over.

Anyway I was doodling along nicely, not really getting in anyones way, didn’t really have the cards to start raising… and my stack was down a bit, but nothing serious.  Then I hit on a pair of kings and although the flop didn’t go my way, I still bet… after the river I had two pairs… I didn’t get too much resistance, so I pushed a few more into see what would happen… anyway eventually it was showdown time and I lost to three nines… damn!

A few more hands later and I was getting low on chips… if things didn’t change soon it would be an early night for me… nothing seemed to be going my way.

When things were getting really desperate, I saw a bluff coming and won some back, well I had a hunch… turned out I was right… got lucky… got a lifeline.  Then I had a big showdown with this guy that thought he had the nuts… suppose because I was quiet for most of the evening he thought I was a weak player or something… shame!!  His full house was not full enough…

So there I was with a towering stack and a not so happy table… I tried my best apologetic smile.. guess it wasn’t working too well!

Amazing how in poker sometimes your fortune can change and swing around, other times nothing goes your way.