Are sit ‘n goes better than cash games?

Depending on what kind of poker game you get used to, it will become your second nature and the transition to the other one would be particularly difficult. Those who make a living by playing sit and goes, will need some time to adjust to the fast pace rhythm of cash games. On the other hand, switching to sit and goes after playing in ring games for most of the time requires a great deal of self-control and the ability to weave long term strategies. While each sit ‘n go has to be played according to real table conditions, those who plan on relying exclusively on this mini tournaments should get their facts straight.

The advantage of playing these shorthanded tournaments is that variance is not much of a problem, and winning cash on a daily basis is possible. The online casino will charge a entrance fee just like you would for its weekly tournaments, representing a percentage of the total buy-in. One can choose to play in single or multitable sit ‘n goes, depending on how much time he is willing to spend at the poker table in a single session. Even those who go for the multitable events, can expect them to last no longer than two hours, which is significantly less of what traditional tournaments last.

Compared with cash games, sit ‘n goes don’t leave players such exposed to the parent of tilt, because the same set of steps need to be taken time off their time. Playing it safe when blinds are small and increasing your aggressiveness when the bubble is reached, is the recipe for being a constant winner. A bad beat can only result in the forfeit of a buy-in, which shouldn’t be a problem if the player chooses his limits wisely.

Strong starting hands win pots

When playing Texas hold them it is inevitable to get dragged into pots that you have the second chance to win, but by keeping a healthy selection of starting hands, these situations would be less often. Everyone hopes that he will be dealt pocket Kings or Aces, but given the fact that these hands are rare players have to extract the most from the ones they receive. Especially when playing at week tables, many find it impossible to resist the temptation of broadening their range of starting hands because they feel that their skill can compensate the lack of strong cards.

The problem with not folding mediocre hands is that unless your opponents are mostly tight passive ones, you will not have the initiative on the flop. As this is the street where most pots are won or lost, being unable to dominate it is a severe handicap that will trigger a significant losses on the long run. Those who visit will learn more about why it is vital to be in control of the hand as soon as the flop is dealt. Trying too hard to become the prominent player at the poker table can easily drag you into situations where you are pot committed.

Premium hands are called so for a reason, and when used in conjunction with late position, they can single-handedly winning large pots. The truth is that in an overwhelming majority of occasions, the better player will win the hand without even reaching the showdown. A solid pre-flop raise followed by a continuation bet is frequently enough to convince opponents that it is time to lay down their hands. If this doesn’t work, then firing one more bullet on the turn will almost always close the deal in the favor of the player who has the initiative.

Play marginal hands like a pro

Any beginners should know that playing marginal hands poses certain risks, and that a tight aggressive style of poker is more profitable in the early stages. By limiting yourself to premium hands and playing them aggressively pre-flop, you don’t risk walking into traps. Many hands that seem too strong to be folded triggered the most significant losses, and the player who doesn’t protect them properly is the only one to blame. Knowing how to play marginal hands is an art that takes a lot of practice, but there are some rules that when respected greatly increase the chances of loose aggressive players.

Granted the transition from tight to loose aggressive play is fairly difficult, the first adjustment the player needs to make is to tone down his aggressiveness. In exchange for the opportunity of playing a broad range of cards and drawing more often, players need to bet lower amounts in order to keep the pots manageable. The reason for why this is vital, is that most of the draws will not turn into strong hands, and reaching a showdown is not always the best solution. If the pot is low enough, a player can easily back off and accept the small amount lost, because on the long run these losses will be offset.

Another reason for why the bets should be low enough not to cause the pot to grow out of proportions, is to get the chance of seeing as many cheap cards as possible. If the pot is too large, your opponent will feel compelled to make an equally sizable reraise which hurts your implied odds. Even when you have many outs, your underdog status would make you unable of calling such a bet, which means that an excellent opportunity to draw for a straight or flush will be lost.

Pick up on the vibes quickly

When you sit down at the poker table in a traditional casino, time is on your side because due to the low frequency of hands players have enough time to figure out what kind of opponents they compete against. Everything changes when you play Texas hold them over the Internet, because players come and go and before you get the chance to tag them, many are already playing at a different table. The trick is to know them as soon as possible, and it is possible to pick up on the vibes as soon as they sit down.

One of the first things that it is worth paying attention to is the name of the player, because this choice can say a lot about an opponent. Many fake their immaturity or lack of experience, but there are enough whose name is revealing although it is nothing more than another piece of the puzzle. Those who sit down with the minimum amount are the short stackers who simply wait for an opportunity to double up and they should be treated with extra care. Not checking the auto rebuy to max is also a hint that the players are not regulars, which is of course good news.

Even seemingly unimportant details such as the fact that a player doesn’t enter the game immediately but chooses to wait for the big blind to be posted helps in picturing an accurate image. These are tight players who will stick to premium hands so when such an individual bets or raises it is better to abandon the hand. Their behavior at the table and in the chat room can also help you differentiate between maniacs, donkeys and professionals, and also sense the moment when they are more likely to go on tilt.

Use tracking software rationally

Most poker players are aware of the fact that there are plenty of tracking software available online, but many are reluctant to start using one. The apparent difficulty in understanding how they work and the dozens of numbers and charts that seem to pop out of nowhere, have a deterring effect on some players. Interesting enough, those who jump on the bandwagon and install such a tracking software are increasingly fond of it and many end up relying exclusively on it. While these applications can make it easier to identify patterns in your opponent’s game, they need to be used with moderation.

The software keeps track of everything that happens at the table, so instead of taking notes of each player you will be presented with a compelling list of facts. It is an invaluable support in a rather competitive industry, and it is only fair to say that a good tracking software will eventually pay for itself. Particularly useful against strangers, such applications can be enhanced by purchasing comprehensive databases that the poker networks release on a monthly basis. Due to the small size of the investment and the long term benefits, it is worth considering the prospect of using the databases to maximize the efficiency of the app.

There are very few downsides associated to tracking software, and the most obvious one is that some people end up playing on autopilot. They rely so heavily on the application that they no longer think the hands for themselves, which makes them vulnerable to savvy opponents who alter their style of play. Equally dangerous is to misinterpret the data displayed by the application, and the only way to mitigate the risk of misunderstanding what the software tries to convey, is to study it in details before using it.

Calculate your chances before drawing

If you are good at mathematics, poker might be the right game for you because luck plays a minor part in the equation and the ability to calculate chances makes the difference. The idea is to always get involved in pots where you are favorite to win, and stay away from hands where the odds are stacked against you. The only way to differentiate between these hands is to understand which cards would improve your hand and what is the chance for them to be dealt on the subsequent streets.

This ability is essential when you are drawing for a straight or flush, and need to decide whether it is worth calling on opponent’s raise. In the overwhelming majority of cases, it is not a wise choice to chase a hand if you are competing with a tight aggressive player, because there is the risk to get pot committed. On the other hand, you can risk a small amount when you know that if the right cards hit, you have the opportunity of taking all his money. This is what implied odds are all about, and calculating them involves a firm understanding of the game but also the ability to read your opponent.

A loose aggressive player or a maniac is more likely to go all the way and ignore the risks of you making a straight or a flush. If either of these players don’t play aggressive enough and that amounts are worth investing for the prospect of completing your hand, you should have no hesitations in calling. Regardless of how the implied odds look, the main concern when hoping for a straight or flush is to avoid drawing dead. This happens when you lose even when the card you expect is dealt, because the opponent can use it to make an even better hand.

World Series of Poker resumes in October

The World Series of Poker takes a break until October and the lucky players who will put their skill to test at the final table can now enjoy summer. It is for the first time in the history of this event that the games resume in October and the reason WSOP restarts sooner is that November is the month the general elections take place in the United States. Eight out of these nine players will get the chance to cast their vote, the exception being Andras Koroknai the only non-American still in the race for a golden bracelet.

With an overwhelming majority of the players who entered the competition being Americans, it comes as no surprise that so many of the surviving ones are residents of the U.S. Furthermore, it makes perfect sense for the current chip leader to be a professional poker player that lives in Las Vegas and plays poker for a living. Jesse Sylvia is just 24 years old but very experienced and he should be grateful for his spectacular ascension to another player that will feature at the final table.

Russell Thomas helped him hone his skills in poker and also assisted him when he was a rookie who came to Sin City hoping to make a name for himself. This friendship was mutually beneficial and now that the two friends go head to head for such a big prize is a really inspiring story. Just as impressive is what young Jacob Balsiger achieved, because if he prevails in October he will become the youngest player ever to win the World Series of Poker.

His consistent performance throughout the tournament grants him a firm place among the players that are worth watching not only in WSOP, but also in the next years. While the chip leader has over 43 millions in chips and his stack vastly surpasses the amount the second placed Hungarian has, Balsiger is struggling at the opposite end of the spectrum. The other five players that made it through Day 7, are Steven Gee, Greg Menson, Jeremy Ausmus, Michael Esposito and Robert Salaburu.

Jesse Sylvia has plenty of reasons to look forward to playing at the final table, because recent history tells us that the chip leader won once and finished second during the last three years. Jesse has 14 millions more than the runner-up and the last time something like this happened, Jonathan Duhamel cruised towards winning the tournament. With no prominent poker pro at the final table, the game will be less flashy but not less intense and poker aficionados from all over the world will hold their breath in anticipation for the Autumn event.

Keep the grind on the mind

A successful poker player is one that doesn’t let this game take over his life, but at the same time expands his interest for Texas hold ’em beyond the poker table. While it is essential to stay sharp when playing and extracting as much practical information as possible, to make this lucrative career you need to double your efforts. The power of research can’t be denied and the sources of inspiration are critical, because they need to be in complete accord with the player’s expectations.

This is why it makes no sense to watch television shows depicting famous poker players competing in high-stakes games, at least not for educational purposes. Entertaining as these shows are, they should only be regarded as a pastime activity and never replace the less thrilling but more effective research. The benefit of watching poker tutorials cannot be overstated, because in addition to seeing how the hand unfolds, viewers learn about the reasons behind each action. The one recording the educational video is usually explaining his decisions and the goals that he was aiming for at the time.

Instead of seeing the cards of all the players at the table, viewers experience a first person simulation and think for themselves at the same time as hearing the right solution. Sometimes things go wrong and the trainer loses a hand, but if he properly explains what happened these losing hands are just as instructive for the viewers. While the video tutorials are essential for players regardless of the limit they play at, they should be taken with a pinch of salt. Remember that not all strategies work at every table limit and adjust your tactic so that you don’t overestimate your opponents and become the victim of auto-leveling.

Master the float bet and grab easy pots

In order to survive the inevitable bad beats and downswings, a poker player needs to amass enough money to weather the storm. Winning only the hands when they have the better cards is not an option and occasionally, bluffs are necessary regardless of how tight the player’s style might be. One of the most effective ways of bluffing is by making a float bet, which is essentially a continuation bet made from position. The benefits of being the second to speak becomes obvious when a dangerous board appears, and a player in early position attempts to protect his hand.

By smooth calling behind him or raising his hand, a player can induce the idea that he is either drawing for a flush or straight, or that he made it already. This can throw an opponent off-balance, and most of the tight passive players will immediately fold their cards, to mitigate the risks of running into a monster hand. There are occasions when the players in early position are so frightened by the flop, that they forsake the idea of making a continuation bet altogether and simply check.

This is the moment to make a float bet, regardless of what cards you are holding and the prospect of making a better hand on the turn. First of all, you have the fold equity and most opponents will be convinced by your action to lay down their hand, and second you get the chance of making another attempt on the turn. The trick is to observe your opponent and put him on the correct range, so that you don’t fall into a trap set by someone who is slow-playing his hand. Using the float bet with moderation and only when you have sufficient data about your opponent, is an effective way of grabbing easy pots.

Play hard and party hard

No quality is more important for poker players than perseverance, because the more hands one plays, the more effective he will be at the poker table. Whether they prefer tournaments or cash games, players shouldn’t hesitate to combine research with practical knowledge and spend increasingly more time at the table. The need for role models is clear and learning a few things about the most successful players definitely helps, but watching too many poker show instead of playing is a mistake.

Overcoming laziness is not as easy as it seems, because when you are your own boss and have no schedule to respect, you are tempted to delay things. Postponing poker for other distractions is just as wrong as spending money from your bankroll, and either of these character flaws are bound to lead to failure. Downswings will eventually hit and unless you amass enough poker money to weather the storm, you will be swept away by the string of bad beats or use money from other sources to fund your game.

In order to avoid procrastination, players should keep the grind on the mind and the mind on the money, and seek comfort and motivation in the high number of hands played. Even if the money is not impressive in the initial stages, practice makes perfect and beating one limit is a one-way ticket to a whole new adventure. It can take a long time to climb all the steps of the ladder en route to high stakes poker, but in this case the voyage is just as exciting as the destination.