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Thursday, January 29, 2009

When You Need to Stop Playing Poker Free Rolls

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Poker freerolls are extremely popular on the online poker sites with thousands upon thousands of people playing each and every day. In fact on my website freeroll information is the one thing above all else that people are looking for.

Now freerolls are a great place to get some basic poker tournament experience, but they can teach you a lot of bad habits. The basic problem with the freerolls is that they are free! Nobody invests any of their own money so they feel that they have nothing to lose. This isn’t strictly true of course as you need to invest a lot of your time playing in poker freerolls if you ever want to be successful, and time as they say is money.

You will find a cross section of the entire poker community playing the freerolls; from absolute novices who have never played a single hand before but have maybe watched a bit of poker on the TV, to poker players of a very good standard who perhaps have a bit more time than money. This results in a situation where most of the poorer players get knocked out very early in the tournament leaving a hard-core of decent players to fight it out for the next couple of hours.

If you play a few online poker freerolls and you find yourself improving enough to make it past the first hour, it is probably time for you to move on and leave the freerolls behind. Playing a freeroll and being successful – ie winning some money – means sitting for anything from three to five hours for a prize from a prize fund of as little as $50. You could play for four hours, finish in the top ten and win less than $10!

The next step up in your poker ladder is to move on to the paid entry tournaments, even if you are only paying a dollar or two to enter. Here’s the difference between them in a nutshell. Poker freerolls typically have a total prize fund of anything from $50 to $500, this is money put up by the poker website itself so that you go there and play, brand recognition in other words. There are up to 2400 people playing in every freeroll tournament so the money per player is very small, typically $0.20 or less.

Now if you decide to opt instead for a paying tournament, even if the entrance fee is only $1, there is already five times as much money in the prize pool per player and that’s without “added” money which the poker site will often throw in to encourage more players to join the tournament. You have just as much chance of a prize in this game as in a freeroll, in fact you probably have a better chance because you don’t have as many players in the game so you stand less chance of coming up against a lucky player who will burn you with a “bad beat”.

So ask yourself the question, what would you rather spend your time doing – spending hours at a freeroll for a pittance of a prize or paying a couple of dollars and aiming for a prize that’s actually worth winning?

Article by Ian McIntosh of Check out the site for all the latest information on Texas Holdem tournaments andpoker freerolls. Please feel free to use this poker article on your website, newsletter or blog as long as this resource box is left intact and there's a live link to the site.

If you really need to play the Poker Freerolls click here!

Five Reasons Why Online Poker is Better

1. You don't need to do any organizing.
If you are having a poker game round at your house, there is a lot of organizing to be done. You need to make sure you have all the right equipment in place for the game - poker table, poker chips and cards as well as some sort of snacks and nibbles. You might be there for a long time so you need to provide some refreshments for your guests.

2. You don't need to rely on anybody else turning up for the poker game.
Most people have one or two friends who are unreliable. If you play poker online you don't need to rely on everyone turning up at the appointed hour for the home table game. When you play home poker there is always the dread that the phone is going to ring and somebody is going to call off at the last minute. You don't get that with online poker, you just turn up and play against whoever is there.

3. You can play for as long as you want to.
When you play poker on the internet it is up to you how long you play for, you don't need to wait until all your friends have had enough and want to go home. Or if you're the type of poker player who always wants to player on after everyone else is burnt out and ready for bed, you can do so on the internet.

4. You can play any time you choose. 
When you are trying to organize a real life poker game, one of the biggest obstacles is getting all of your friends available at the same time. You might need to wait for weeks until they can make it on the same night, people are very busy nowadays and nobody seems to have much spare time any more. But you can have a game of poker Texas Holdem any time of the day or night on many internet poker sites, and games like Omaha and Stud poker are available most of the time too.

5. You can go and do something else instead. 
If you want out of the game it is very hard when it is taking place in your house! You might be on a big losing streak or you might be tired or even bored with the company but if the poker game is in your house you'll need to be there until the end.

Article by Ian McIntosh of Love Texas Holdem Check out the site for all the latest information on Texas Holdem tournaments and freerolls. Please feel free to use this poker article on your website, newsletter or blog as long as this resource box is left intact and there's a live link to the site.

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Heads Up Poker--Aggression Pays

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Heads-Up Poker is the climax to every single game of Texas Holdem, if you are going to win you will always face a heads up situation. Heads up poker is where you play one-on-one against a single opponent and whether you start off with two players in the game or two thousand, the result is always the same - a heads up between the final two players.

If you start with a high number of players, or indeed any number of players bigger than two, the game will lose one of them at a time as they run out of chips until you are left with the final pairing - the heads-up.

Now heads-up poker is different from the rest of the tournament and requires a different mindset in order to be successful. Nowhere is the contrast more stark than in online Texas Holdem poker play and if you've never made it to the final of a Hold ‘em tournament you are in for a rollercoaster ride when you do!

The pace is extremely fast and furious with little or no time to think, you are relying mostly on your experience and quick thinking to pull you through. But the number one strategy you need to adopt when playing heads-up poker online is to be aggressive. It is a ruthless winner-takes-all situation and if you don't show enough determination and aggression, your opponent almost certainly will and you will quickly wilt under the onslaught.

You need to call almost every hand, after all you're paying for the blinds so if you don't call it your opponent gets to keep the blinds for free. Remember also that when it gets to this stage, the blinds are at their highest so every hand is important to win. You can’t afford to let one go for free unless you feel you have absolutely no chance of winning the hand.

Of course a Holdem hand that you would probably fold in a ten player situation is often one that you can go all-in with at heads-up poker. Any Ace at all is certainly worth raising and re-raising, the chances are your opponent is adopting a similar strategy to you and he may be going in with a King or Queen along with a lower card.

Say for example you are dealt King-Eight. Now at a ten player poker tournament you would most probably fold this hand in early position, but call or possibly even raise in late position. In a heads-up situation you would be perfectly entitled to go all-in with a reasonable expectation of winning the hand if it got played out.

Vary your play and if you find yourself in front in chips, be even more aggressive! Don’t be afraid to put in a big raise with no hand, your opponent will most likely back down unless he has a big hand.

The bottom line is this for heads-up poker - attack or be attacked!

=================================================== Article by Ian McIntosh of Check out the site for all the latest information on Texas Holdem tournaments and poker freerolls. Please feel free to use this poker article on your website, newsletter or blog as long as this resource box is left intact and there's a live link to the site. ===================================================

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Pot Odds, Your Secret Poker Weapon

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Pot odds is one of the most neglected aspects of Texas Holdem poker, especially by the beginner and intermediate player. Some poker beginners have heard the term and a few even have a basic concept of what pot odds are, but very few of these players know how to put them to good use in a poker game.

However knowing how to calculate and use pot odds is one of the crucial weapons that serious poker players have in their armory, one that most definitely separates them from the amateur.

Poker pot odds are often associated with complex mathematical calculations and the less serious player can feel overwhelmed at the prospect of tackling such a subject, but don’t fret, do you really think that to be a serious poker player you need to be a genius at mathematics? Do you think all the poker pros are?

Well of course the answer is that they are most definitely not all geniuses, but what they do have is a method of calculating the odds quickly and easily to see if they are in their favor in any given situation.

So let’s look at a simple, basic way of calculating the odds, remember it needs to be quick and easy so that it can be worked out quickly and accurately in the heat and pressure of a poker game.

Poker pot odds can be broken down to this simple one liner:

“If the odds of you getting the card you need to make your hand are less than the pot odds, you should bet.”

There are two sides to this equation which I will try and explain, “odds of you getting the card you need” and “pot odds.” Firstly “odds of you getting the card you need”, this one is fairly easy to understand. It’s best explained using the example of a flush or straight draw, so we’ll use a straight draw to illustrate it.

You’re in a Texas Holdem game and your pocket cards are Q T, the flop is J 4 9. In order to make a straight you need to get either a King or 8 on the turn or river so you have eight possible cards that can make your hand, four Kings and four 8s. These are known as your “out” cards.

You’ve seen five cards out of the deck, your own two pocket cards and the three flop cards. That means there’s 47 cards you haven’t seen. So the odds of you getting the card you need are:

Cards that won’t help you : Cards that will help you

Out of the 47 remaining cards, eight of them will help you and 35 won’t, so the “odds of you getting the card you need” are 35:8 or 4.375:1.

Now for the pot odds.

The basic formula is:

The size of the pot : Amount you need to put into the pot.

So if the pot is sitting at $100 and you need to bet $20 to call, your pot odds are 100:20 or 5:1.

In this case the pot odds (5:1) are bigger than the odds of you getting the card you need (4.375:1) so you should call the bet. This is known as getting "value" for your bet. If you are doing these sums quickly you can think of 35:8 as being about four and a half to one, it’s good enough for a quick calculation.

This is a simplification of pot odds and there are other considerations like – will the players after you in the round of betting add to the pot? This would make your bet an even better proposition as it would increase the pot odds but it is of course an unknown factor.

Understand pot odds and you will take your game forward to the next stage and prepare yourself for the poker big league.

Article by Ian McIntosh of Love Texas Holdem. Check out the site for all the latest information on Texas Holdem tournaments and Online Poker Freerolls. Please feel free to use this poker article on your website, newsletter or blog as long as this resource box is left intact and there's a live link to the site.

Sharpen up your pot odds skills at Full Tilt Poker

4 Big Online Poker Tells

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Online Poker Tells are when your body language just can't keep it's mouth shut! Any little sign or gesture by a poker player that might indicate what cards he or she has is called a tell.

In a real-life game at a poker table there are many tells that you can use to try and read what cards your opponents have. Eye movements are probably the biggest giveaway of all, that's why a lot of amateur and even professional poker players wear sunglasses at the table.
There are other signs peculiar to individual players, some may have a twitch or even sweat when they are in a spot. If you put a top class professional poker player at a table of amateurs, the pro player would be able to read the cards by the players' tells, almost as if the cards were sitting face up.

Playing poker online however is a completely different matter - there is no way to see your opponents so the normal poker tells are lost.
However there are a few things you can watch for in the other players that might just give you a read on what they have.

1. Speed of response This is the main tell you have on your opposition when playing poker online. In particular look for players who take a while to check, this is seen as a weak play and indicates that the player does not have a good hand.
You should beware of this in your own play - if you are going to check with a poor hand, don't hesitate before you do.

2. Chatting. This is the other big online poker tell. If someone is constantly chatting at the table it shows weakness. These players normally come along and tell you why they folded or tell you their hand after they've mucked it, basically copying what they've seen the pros do on the TV. These players normally don't do very well, there's not a great deal of time when you're playing poker online and if they are typing out chat then they aren't concentrating on the game.

3. Maniacs. These are players who live on a do-or-die basis and often go all-in with almost every hand, especially in the early stages of a tournament. They are of course very easy to spot, and equally easy to stop. All you need to do is wait for a good hand and call their all-in, you will probably find yourself very strong favorite to knock the maniac out. If however the maniac is left unchecked to do his work, he can turn very dangerous as he will have built up a leading chip stack by being unopposed and can then sit back and play only good hands.

4. The Limper. This player is the opposite of the maniac. He will try and see every hand for free but will fold as soon as the betting starts - unless he has a really good hand. This is another very good tell you can use, just simply fold if the Limper starts to bet, unless of course you have a really good hand too.

These four online poker tells should stand you in good stead and you will now be able to sort out the wheat from the chaff among your opponents.

Article by Ian McIntosh, Check out the latest poker articles at as well all the latest information on Texas Holdem tournaments and freerolls.
Please feel free to use this poker article on your website, newsletter or blog as long as this resource box is left intact and there's a live link to the site.

Use your Online Poker Tells!