Friday, September 02, 2005

I'd like to let you all know I am going to be teaching/writing for this website. Anyone interested in improving their game should stop by.


Friday, July 22, 2005

Rant on Ultimatebet

First let me say that I have been a loyal UB patron for almost 3 years. I love their graphics, customer service, and atmosphere. If fact, no other site comes close.

However if UB doesn't implement Heads Up NL cash game tables above .25/.50 soon, or at least give me a knowledgable explanation why they don't exist, I am walking away. Even after numerous emails demanding these tables, UB has done nothing. In fact they almost play dumb. Here is a recent reply I got back from Antonio.

"Dear Mr. McGuire,
Thank you for contacting us. When looking at our games, I have seen several NLheads up that are higher than .25-/.50. We have SitnGos' with NL heads up of 20+1,10+0.50., 200+8. In the games sectionour no limits do appear to be of 0.25+.50. If you would like, I can forward your e-mail and suggest that the NL heads up atGames, not only the SNG's, should go beyond .50+.25. Please do confirm and Iwill gladly go ahead.
Best Regards,"
-AntonioCustomer Service

No offense Antonio but WTF is that? Am I supposed to be satisfied? Its gonna take more than a little magic to get me off your ass(only applies if you are Antonio the magician).

I can't tell you how much time I spend a week playing heads up at the Ten & Six seat NL cash game tables pleading with a 3rd player to leave after his interuption. There is no worse feeling in poker than getting stuck playing some terrible player heads up only to have 4 more people sit down in 5 seconds thus ending any chance to get it back.

If anyone out there can shed any light on this subject please post a comment. Also, if anyone knows of another site that does have these tables, please post a comment. Finally if anyone else is tired of this same shit, please post a comment.

As far as the tilt series, probably not gonna be too insightful in that area right now but stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Book Review: Tales from the Tiltboys

So, in the past I haven't been particularly kind towards Phil Gordon. I gave his book (Poker: The Real Deal) a terrible review. Then, I told about how he cried like a little bitch when we played together at a preliminary event during the WSOP. Well, I'm going to make up for it a little bit by giving his newest book, Tales from the Tiltboys, a glowing review. The book is actually credited as being written by all of the 'tiltboys', which includes Phil and 12 others. This is an extremely funny book which tells about the tiltboys' trips to Vegas, betting on roshambo, and setting each other on tilt playing the circle game. Oh yeah, there is a little bit of poker in the book also. If you've never read a trip report from the tiltboys I would recommend looking that up first. If you don't find that funny don't spend your money on the book. If you were crying out loud laughing like I was than you will find this book equally hilarious. Phil, your other book sucked and you were a big crybaby when we played together. All is forgiven.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Poker: A Game of Controlling the Mind (Setting Your Gameplan)

This post will officially start my second serious poker writing undertaking; the journey to control the angry ghost that is tilt. Before you read on, please make sure you have read my last post entitled “Your Next Great Poker Education,” as it explains what I want this series to be and why.

“Your Next Great Poker Education” will be composed of 4 parts: 1) Setting Your Gameplan 2) Getting in the Zone, 3) Dealing with Traumatic Hands & 4) Knowing When to Quit. I believe that each of these parts demands certain skills. I also believe that anyone can master them and that once they do, world-class poker is within reach. While different, all four parts do require one similar mentality: a cool, detached, analytical stream of thought (see Zen and the Art of Poker by Larry Phillips). This Zen-like state is the base of your mental house; which if missing, crumbles like the Yankees in the ALCS. There is NO reason to bring emotion into poker; this is not college football, college tennis, or even sex. Now, hopefully you are mentally ready, so let’s talk about your gameplan!

When people ask me if poker is gambling, I say not for me. Now hear me out before you call me a cocky asshole. The reason I say this is that my definition of gambling is playing casino games where you know you SHOULD lose but you COULD win huge! Gambling is earmarked by this invincible, Christmas-time feeling. Unfortunately, for many poker players, they play cards with this same feeling. They might even think they SHOULD win as they carry this lottery type mentality with them to every table they encounter. Setting a gameplan can keep you from this unenviable fate. Everything from your bankroll to the games you choose should be thought out ahead of time. Don’t let yourself play under-funded because you decide to move up limits while you are in the middle of a session. Decide ahead of time what games you will be playing as well as what happens if you get up or down. Be practical about what limits you play, realistic about how much you expect to win, and analytical about reviewing your hands. Poker should not be treated like blackjack.

Make yourself answer these questions before every session, review your answers afterwards, and be ready to adjust.

1) What games will you play?
-Keeps you from playing under-funded and going broke
2) How much do you expect to win?
-Keeps you from getting down on yourself for not meeting unrealistic expectations
3) When will you stop playing?
-Prepares you to recognize warning signs as well as to always put your “A game” forward
4) What is your long-term poker goal and how does this session fit in?
-Prevents frustration and promotes purpose and accountability within every session

You wouldn’t go to war without a strategy, the same goes for poker. A winning poker player approaches the game with the preparation of a trial lawyer: hungry to win but ready for anything. Know yourself, your game, and your limits. When the shit hits the fan, walk out of the room instead of opening your mouth. Finally, the next time some girl says that she doesn’t agree with gambling, tell her that you don’t either which is why you play poker. Don’t forget to say ‘Ship It’ later that night when she.....

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I busted out but Drew is still alive!

I had a hell of a run and in some ways it was more satisfying than last year's. The money just wasn't quite as good. I started day 3 with 57,000 in chips and I really felt that I had put myself in a great position if I could start to get some cards. But, right away things went dramatically wrong. On the third hand of the day I was on the button with AK off. Everyone folded to a player 2 off the button who moved all in for 15,200. I called on the button and then Garry Bush, former Euro player of the year, moved in from the SB. He had me covered and I folded without hesitation. I've played with Garry before and I was surprised that he only had KK. Of course, an ace hit on the river and I would have won a monster pot against KK and JJ. I played it right though and I don't think there is any other play I can make there. You could make a case that I could fold AK but I don't think I can with blinds at 1000 and 2000 and 2700 in the pot from the antes. I am getting pot odds against any hand but KK or AA. I called 15,200 into a 36,100 pot. I only have to be 42% to make this call. It was unfortunate that Garry picked up KK but I only had to risk about 25% of my stack to try to take a player out. I flat-called incase Garry or the BB picked up a big hand. After I made the money I raised to 7000 in the cut-off with 99. The SB moved all-in for 55,000. I mucked my 9's feeling that there was just no way he could do that without a monster hand. He showed me KK and I again felt like I was making good plays that were costing me money. Finally, a round later, I raised to 10,000 on the button with AJ. The SB called and I only had 12,000 left. The SB moved in on a flop of 6 7 8 rainbow and I automatically called. I wasn't about to fold for 12,000 into a pot of around 47,000. As it turned out I had the best hand anyways when he showed me AT. Of course, a ten hit the turn and I was out in 501st place. I missed making another $1,635 but a measly 10 seconds by finishing 501 instead of 500. But, 5 minutes later they called me over the loud speaker to tell me someone got knocked out before me but left the Rio. So, they gave him 501 and switched me to 476. I wasn't complaining and I got an extra $1,635! I really am proud of how I played. I hung in there and gave myself a chance. I just couldn't get the cards to absorb a bad beat. But, the most exciting part of the trip is that my younger brother is still alive in the $1,000 no-limit hold 'em event #44 at the WSOP. This is his first WSOP event ever and he is in around 14th place out of 27 with an average chip stack. 971 people started so he has outlasted about 97% of the field already. He's guarenteed $4,300 or something like that so he's already making some nice dough for a kid without a paying job. I'll be there watching him kick some ass tomorrow (today - damn I'm tired).

Monday, July 11, 2005

Still alive

I made it past day 2. It's time to get some rest so I'm not going to write too much but maybe I'll come back later and finish. I started the day with 26,775 and almost immediately got involved in a hand with Clonie Gowan. I played it about as bad as possible and I'm not going to go over it right now. I was down to 10,000 after that hand though. I doubled up about an hour later when everyone folded to the SB and he raised with 99 - I pushed with QQ and he called. I then proceeded to move my stack up to 44,000 before going card dead. How card dead? I haven't had aces all tournament and only got kings once but this was unreal. I couldn't find anything playable and moved under 25,000. After my table broke I had abou 22,000 with 45 minutes left in the day. I raised with 99 and the button moved me all in. I called and won a coin flip when I turned a flush vs. his AK. I then knocked out a short stack and stole some blinds to end the day with 57,000. The average is 98,750 and there are 569 players left. 560 make the money. I'll post more another day.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Through Day 1 - Ship It!

Well, if I am only going to make one freaking dinner break the whole WSOP I guess the Main Event is the one to do it in. I'm through to day 2 with 26,775 in chips. This will be about average on Sunday when play resumes for me. I want to get some sleep so I'll get to some key hands. My first table was pretty tight. Nobody busted out for 5 hours. I didn't recognize anyone but then about 3 hours in Layne Flack showed up and he looked sick as a dog. Immediately he went from 9,000 down to 3,000 and just as quickly moved up to 28,000. He then left to take a nap and didn't return for 3 hours! Apparently he is doing very well still. I stole lots of hands early and took advantage of the fact that my opponents were playing very tight. I had my stack up to 11,500 early in level 3 when I looked down at 99. One player in middle position raised, another called in the cut-off, and I called on the button. The BB called and we had 4-way action. The flop came T 8 2, all clubs. All checked to me and I bet 1200 into a 2100 pot. The BB called and the other 2 folded. I was pretty sure he was on a flush draw but he only had 2500 left. The turn came jack of hearts and he checked. I could have moved him all-in but I checked behind him. The river came 3 of clubs and he led out for 3oo! I had to call 300 into a 5100 pot and he showed me the ace of clubs for the nuts. Oh well. Later that same player was down to 3500. I raised in early position to 900 with JJ and he moved in for his last 3500. I of course called because I never lay down JJ in the main event (kidding). He showed me QQ and I got incredibly lucky when a J hit the flop. Instead of being down to 7000, I was slightly above the average at 14300. One interesting hand came about 7 hours into the tournament at my first table. I raised in middle position to 1100 with J T suited. Blinds were 200 and 400 with a 25 ante. The player on the button tossed in 700 in chips. When told that I made it 1100 he tried to take back his money. The ruling was pretty obvious; he could either call the extra 400 or fold but leave in the 700. He then proceeded to fold! I love this guy. Everyone else folded and I was at my all-time high for the day at 18,000. Just before our table broke a short stack moved all-in for 1500. I called with QQ in late position and he had A T. A ten hit the flop and a ten hit on the river and just like that I lost all the momentum I had. I went card dead for about 30 minutes waiting for our table to break and lost a couple hands when Layne Flack re-raised me. Each time I had no better than KJ so they were easy folds. Still, I was at only 12,000 when our table finally broke. At my next table I was seated 2 to the left of David Grey who finished 8th in the WSOP main event in 2003. For about two hours I did nothing but fold as there were two aggressive players dominating the action. One of them was directly on my right and the other was 2 to my left. Finally, I got to play a hand when the aggressive player on my right just limped in from the SB. I checked in the BB with A 5 off and just the 2 of us saw a flop of A 4 7 rainbow. I checked behind him looking to trap. I know I had a weak kicker but I had a gut feeling he would fire on the turn. A jack hit the turn and he fired 1500 out and I just called. He checked when a 4 hit the river and I bet out 4000. The 4 was a great card for me because it gave me two pair and a jack kicker. He folded quickly and after falling below 10,000 for the first time in a while I was now at 12,000. 2 hands later everyone folded to David Grey who made it 2500 to go. Blinds at that point were 250 and 500 with a 50 ante I think. I just called on the button with my favorite main event hand, JJ. David only had 7000 left and had been playing very aggressive. He was up and down a lot and I just knew I had the best hand. I didn’t raise because I could fold if the SB or BB raised. To my surprise the SB called. He was an inexperienced player I think. The flop came down T 5 3 with two spades and the SB checked. David moved all in and I moved in behind him fairly quickly. I was pretty sure I had the best hand and when the SB folded I immediately showed JJ. David said, “I have that crushed….when I hit my hand”, and showed 7 5 of spades. Not exactly what I wanted to see, but I was ahead in the hand for a monster pot. The turn came 8 of clubs and the river came 9 of clubs. All of the sudden I had 23,000 in chips and I knocked out David Grey. I felt pretty good. The table really tightened up as we got close to our goal of 650 players left. I used that to my advantage and built up my stack by playing aggressively. I seemed to be winning about 1 out of every 7 hands and we were 10-handed. Every trip around the table I seemed to have more than the trip before. I was pretty happy with where I ended up with 26,775. I played for about 12 hours, got KK once and never got AA but I managed to stay alive and keep my stack near the average. Can’t wait for Sunday. Ship it.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Still Strugglin

I feel like making this blog into an entertainment blog since poker has been pissing me off lately. So on that note, I'll start with some short thoughts about some movies I saw. Batman Begins was great. It is probably one of my top 5 favorite movies of the year (Crash, Sin City, Mr. And Mrs. Smith, and Cinderella Man being the other 4). I'm usually not that into big-budget films but I thought director Christopher Nolan (Memento) was perfect on this one. Unfortunately, last night I watched The Longest Yard. Wow, what a disaster. I was embarrassed for everyone involved. I probably laughed at most 6 times. I am also a huge Adam Sandler fan. I have seen every one of his movies. That's right, every one. Even that stupid Going Overboard piece of crap. On Thursday, some of my friends came up to visit, which was fun. Chris Power, who posts about those amazing reload bonuses, came down and a couple girls from home, Ashley and Christie, came to Vegas and cheered me on. Ashley and Christie met Luke Walton and Richard Jefferson on Thursday and hung out with them all weekend, which was kind of cool. One funny moment came when Ashley told me she had talked to Greg Raymer when she was extremely intoxicated. She then proceeded to tell me that she told Greg we were married while not wearing a wedding ring (obviously). Greg went from first out of 7 people to out in 6th at his final table shortly after. I can only hope his weird conversation with my intoxicated 'wife' didn't throw him off. Fine, I'll talk about poker. I am currently 0 for 5. I haven't even made a dinner break. The limit event was a complete disaster. I was close to being the first out of the tournament, which is hard to do. But, then I made a miraculous comeback to my original chip count. At that time, the blinds were getting higher and I got committed in a pot with A T. I raised on the button after one person had limped. The flop came T 6 2 rainbow. The BB tried to check-raise me and I three-bet to see where I was. The turn came 3 and he check-raised me again!!!! I lost another bet on the river and he showed me trip 3s. He then told me he was gone on the turn if he didn't hit his 3. I freaking hope so!!! I was out soon. In my next event, the $1500 no-limit event I got off to a great start. I doubled up with a set early and then got sent to Phil Gordon's table. There was one hilarious moment when I raised with AQ of spades. Phil called. The flop came 9 8 2 rainbow and I led out for 3/4 of the pot. I used my best reverse tell which I won't reveal. I only use it against tough players and I obviously considered Phil and tough player. He folded and then a couple hands later someone commented that Phil was playing tight. He then said rather bitterly, "I would have had all that kid's chips if I hit my set." He was looking at me! It kind of caught me off-guard so I asked him to repeat what he said. He said he had pocket sevens and that if it came 9 7 2 instead of 9 8 2 I would have lost all my chips. He told me that he was sure I had pocket jacks. I couldn't help but laugh in his face. I mean, I didn’t even have a pair and I’d like to think I wouldn’t lose all my chips with JJ on that flop in the second level of the tournament. Phil Gordon was talking shit to me! He then repeated, "I'm sure you had jacks...or queens." At that point I was almost crying laughing. Is Phil Gordon a little girl? He later glared at the dealer when his A9 could only garner a split against A8 when the board came A K 3 7 3. Maybe he was just having a bad day, maybe he just wanted to find out information about my hand for later. He looked like a baby though. Unfortunately, I went card dead at the worst possible time and ended up getting all my money in with AKs against 99. The flop came with a 9 and that was all she wrote. I had a rough time in the $2500 no-limit tourney where I doubled up early again and then lost a huge pot with AQ vs. KQ in level 6. Two people at my table commented that they folded a king. Shocker, king on the turn crushed me. I was up against a short-stack and was committed after a pre-flop raise so that only took half of my chips. Later I re-raised a short stack with only the A T of hearts but I thought he was weak. He finally called the rest of his chips off with 6's. Of course I didn't win that one either. Later, when I was extremely short-stacked my JJ lost to AA and that was it. In the $2000 no-limit event I had a premonition that I would play well. In fact, my mom had a dream that I would win a bracelet. Within an hour I was down to 375 chips and was playing the worst poker of my life. I then re-raised the rest of my chips off with 22 and somehow doubled up. What a truly awful play, I know. I then doubled up with KK vs. QJ and then doubled up when I flopped an open-ended straight draw and rivered the straight. All of the sudden I was slightly above the average with 4000. I re-raised a player with 2700 chips when I was on the button with 99. He decided to make a stand with AJ even though he was just below the average in the 5th level. Of course, a jack on the river took most of my chips. One round later I raised half of my chips with 99. Only the chip leader called in the SB and we took a J J J flop. He checked and I moved all in. He didn't think about it much with AJ. I hate AJ. Oh well. 2 events to go. I'll post again later. If you made it to the end of this entry you win the right to knock me out of my next event. Good luck with my chips.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

My First Event

Howdy gang. I know I haven't posted in a while, but there is a very good reason. I just didn't feel like it. But, since I'm in Vegas for the WSOP I thought I'd ramble on about some of the events I've been playing in case anyone cares. My first event was the $1500 No-limit Shootout which took place on Friday June 17th. For those of you who don't know, a shootout is a sit-n-go/single table satellite format tourney where to advance you must win your table. The only player I recognized at my table was Mickey Appleman who has a number of WSOP bracelets. We all started with 1500 worth of chips and when play began 3 people at our table had not shown up. Blinds started at 25 and 25. My first hand was 4d 6d on the button and I raised to 75 after one person had limped from middle position. The BB and the limper called. Both players checked a flop of Q J 7 so I threw out a bet of 150. The BB called and the other player folded. When another Q hit the turn the BB bet 250 into me. I didn't feel he was very strong but I didn't feel like going broke on the first hand of the WSOP for me so I folded. The next hand I limped in with Qd Td from the cut-off and 6 of us took a flop of Q T 2. One player in middle position bet 100 chips and I raised to 300. I think there were 2 clubs on board so I wasn't thrilled about letting too many players see the turn cheaply. Only the original better called. When a 4 of hearts hit the turn he checked to me and I bet 500. He folded and I was now second in chips at the table. Of course I get QQ the very next hand and I decided to just limp because I was a little wary of the UTG player who limped also. The flop of A A K didn't really help my hand much so I check-folded. The next hand I got QQ again and decided to raise to 100. At this point I was wondering if I was ever going to sit out a hand. The cut-off raised it to 350 and I just called. My thinking was that I was so aggresive that my man would call an all-in with AK which is what I put him on. I decided to let him bluff at me if he missed the flop. Of course the flop came K 8 6 so I went ahead and checked. He bet 200 into a 750 pot which seemed awfully small. Please call Matt! I decided to wait for a better spot and folded. I was down to about 1300 in chips after the first 4 hands of the tournament. I really slowed down after that and picked my spots. Mickey Appleman was directly to my left so I didn't get too out of line. I managed to get my stack up to about 1900 with 6 players remaining at the table when I got involved in a big hand. The blinds were 50-100 and I had As 8s in the cut-off. I made it 300 to go and the BB called. The BB had by far the most chips at the table. He probably had 6000 while the next closest player had maybe 2800. The flop came 9s 7s 3d. The BB checked to me. I decided that I wanted to take the pot there so I made it 500 to go. The BB then moved all-in like a shot. I counted out that I only had 1100 chips left which would go into a pot of 3850. I only needed to win the hand 29% of the time to make this a profitable call. More importantly, this is a winner take all table. I knew (obviously) that I was behind with just an over and the nut flush draw but if I fold here I have 1100 chips and just as important - the chip leader has 7000! I didn't think too much before I threw the rest of my chips in. The BB turned over pocket 9's and I was in worse shape than I could have ever thought possible. The turn and river brought no help so I went to the rail (translation: strip club). If I had to do it all over again the only thing I'd do different is that I'd get my final chips in a little bit faster. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose - that's poker. I'll post about the $2,500 limit event when I feel like it.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

False Tells

This comes from a question I received about using false tells. Here is one example of a false online tell I will use.

yes - i do use false tells.

generally they only work against really good opponents who would actually notice online tells (online tells are harder to notice as there is less information to convey to your opponent. ie: they cant actually see you, just your betting pace and amount).

it really depends on the game. i try to just think about what i have done earlier in the game, or against that player at another time.

for example: lets say on the turn in a heads up game against a really aggressive opponent i have top pair, weak kicker (or some fairly marginal hand) he may make a large bet on the turn and i may just decide that i think my hand is the best and i am going to call him here (i WONT raise here because he will only call if he has me beat).

now, lets say it takes me awhile on the turn to decide what i want to do. i may use up almost all of my alloted time to decide. assume the player is bluffing, and he fears i have a monster hand so he checks on the river. he sees that i have top pair with a weak kicker, and thinks to himself - "i probably could have bluffed him off that hand." (which he probably could have)

later on in the match, or sometime against that player, i may use this false tell. if i have a MONSTER that i want to slowplay, i will play it the same way. I will not only slowplay it, i will use a lot of time to 'think' about if i want to call on the turn (or flop or whenever). this player will be very likely to think i have that same marginal hand again, and continue to bluff.

this is just an example of using natural tendencies the other way around to trick players. i would be interested to see if anyone else has some examples that they use.


Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Answer to Zac's Question

Zac Wrote:

Hey Taylor, I'm currently playing $5/$10 HU SnG's at UB looking to improve. Eventually, I want to play higher cash games. What's the most important things you learned from HU SnG's that helped make you a great cash game player? Also, what do you think helped improve your HU the most? Thanks in advance.

This question hits home for me as this is just how i started to play poker online.

The are a TON of things to learn from HU SNG's. I would recommend anyone that has a basic knowledge of NLHE to start playing these before they dive into the cash games.

First, you get to play a TON of hands. Playing one on one you should be playing maybe 8o% of hte hands you are dealt. However, along with playing a lot of hands, you should be noticing some things. Simply put, higher cards win more pots than lower cards. Same thing goes with pairs. You will start to see that hands with just one face card and a 2 or 3 just dont win too many hands. You basically have to hit your big card to win.

You should also concentrate on how opponents play their hands. When an opponent shows down a huge hand like a full house or something, go over the hand history and look at how he played it. Most poker players tend to check their big hands trying to trap the other player. Look at peoples tendencies. You can get a feel for how 'the average' player plays his big hands. Also, when you see a monster hand, think back to any pauses or inconsistencies in the way the player was playing. Did he make the bet really fast? Did he pause? Most times a player with a HUGE hand will change his pace a little bit because he will either A) bet really fast because he knows what he wants to do (bet) or B) wait a little longer because he is unsure of how to play it. If a player is usually chatting, or never chatting, changes in this might also tell you something about his hand.

You can go through the same rundowns of players when you catch someone in a bluff. Basically you just want to make a mental profile of what the average guy tends to do in different situations. You also want to make sure YOU are never doing these things either.

You should focus on playing hands in position as well. it cant be stressed enough in poker to play a hand in position as you have a lot more information with which to act on. When you raise a hand preflop and you are in position, you should make a bet near pot sized about 3/4 of the time. Sometimes if you flop middle pair or if you have two overcards you might check just to keep your opponent off balance. BUt you need to get in the habit of following up a preflop bet with a bet on the flop in order to try to win the pot there.

Once you start to do well at these games, you can start to move up in stakes. See my bankroll management posts for information on that. Once you start to master the higher stakes games, you are probably ready to try to apply this knowledge at the cash games. Along with playing these HU SNG's, you should be playing some full table SNG's too to get experience in full games.

Hope that helps, keep the questions coming.


Monday, April 25, 2005

I'm Back....Sort Of

Sorry for the big delay in posts...I've had a crazy spring so far. I am going to be taking a lot of time off of poker this summer (maybe an hour or two a day at night) because I landed an internship in New York. I figured the opportunity was too much to pass up even though it will cut into my short-term bottom line.

I would however like to talk some poker with you all still. Right now I don't have anything in particular I want to talk about, but I'd like to leave this page open for any questions anyone might like me to answer. Anything about no-limit cash games, situations, or poker in general I'd be glad to (try) to answer your questions!

And yes - I did make the "wall of shame" for that website that lists online poker players results! I had a terrible ferbruary/early march where I probably lost close to 40K. The 25-50nl game has brutal swings. If anyone has been watching lately though, things have definitely picked up as I actually had two amazing sessions a week or two ago where i made well over what i lost in the previous month or so in 48 hours. Unreal! Poker is so weird sometimes.

Anyway, throw some questions my way. I'd be glad to help!


Saturday, April 16, 2005

Party Poker Bonus Codes

Here are a few lesser known Party Poker bonus codes:

$100 Igmpay Bonus: This bonus is a 20% deposit bonus up to $100. It is open to all accounts, old or new. The bonus code can be used one time for each Party Skin (Party, Empire, Intertops, Multi, Pokernow except eurobet).

Igmpay is Party’s version of neteller. Like neteller you register a bank account with Igmpay and they withdraw and deposit directly from your bank account. If you play on the party network I would suggest setting this up. It is free to sign up and usually takes 3 to 4 business days to verify your account. Igmpay will make two small deposits to your bank account to verify that it is valid. You will need to keep track of these numbers because you will need them to re-verify your account at each skin. You can use the same bank account for each skin.

Once you have your account verified you are going to want to make a $500 deposit and enter the code “IGMPAY”. Then send an email to support stating you made a deposit with Igmpay and would like your 20% bonus. They should put it in your account within an hour or so. You will have to play 5 raked hands for every dollar of bonus (Intertops X 7). Some of the smaller skins like Intertops and Multi might be reluctant to give you this bonus. Just keep sending emails till you find a CSR that will credit you with the bonus. I would send a new email each time I was turned down. Do not attach the old reply with the denial. I think it took me 4 emails before I received the bonus from Intertops. Here are the email addresses to support for each site. If you would like more info on signing up for each skin read this post.


$100 Compbonus: This is a deposit bonus open to accounts exclusively on party poker. It does not work at the other skins. This code is valid for both old and new accounts. The bonus is 20% up to $100 Type the code “COMPBONUS” when making your deposit. You will need to make a $500 deposit to get the full bonus. This code is not a published code. It is party’s code for support when they screw something up. If you do not get this bonus automatically credit to your account then you may have unknowingly already used the code. Unfortunately since this isn’t a code you are supposed to know about you can not email support to complain that you were not credited with the bonus. If the bonus does not appear in your account after you deposit you are one of the unlucky few. This code should work for about 90% of accounts.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Your Next Great Poker Education

Hey guys, I’m back after a long break from posting. Reading other blogs, I constantly see posters apologize for a lack of posts. Unfortunately you will not see many apologies from me. I always have many things going on in my life and since posting is the least profitable thing I do, it gets the back seat when things get hectic. However, I really do enjoy posting and once law school finals are over as well as a much needed vacation, I will get back to posting three times a week. So please stick with us here at ‘ShipIt!’ And remember that while we have busy lives and do not get paid for posting, good things are on the horizon for this site.

I post today because of this comment I saw attached to one of Chris’s posts.

My comment has nothing to do with this post. I have a problem with leaving when the game goes bad. Often I'll stay in the game until I really can't play anymore. I guess I like to play too much and my competitiveness makes me stay in the game even if I sense other players are stronger than me. Perhaps you guys could make a post on a poker players discipline. Thanks.Phillip Liou 04.06.05 - 1:13 am


Lately I have not been spending much time at all at the poker tables. However the break has given me an opportunity to see poker in a way that is impossible when completely immersed in it. Poker can completely chaotic at times. Bad beats, tough beats, cold cards, bad bluffs, bad play, and a thousand other variables can make poker seem uncontrollable. When things are running good, poker can seem like the easiest thing in the world. Just a few hands later when things are bad, poker can seem unbeatable. I have posted about the following mentality before, but I will now put a slightly different twist on it. The following is how I believe that all good poker players have to start seeing the game to become long term winners and avoid tilt and frustration.

In the beginning, a new poker player must master odds, hand rankings, position, tells, and overall strategy. This is consuming and takes a very long time. However, once it is mastered, only small tweaks are necessary. The player’s next big education is learning to control their mind and emotions. Millions of poker players have reached a sound level of proficiency and grasp of the game. However, as long as any player plays poker, the following situations will occur.

1) KK v. AA
2) Getting sucked out on with AA
3) Boat over boat
4) Set over set
5) Flush over flush
6) Suck-outs

Simply put, a player can play ten hands in a row perfectly and lose their stack on each one. However, remember the following sentence each time you are the victim one of pokers most frustrating hands. In the long run tough beats are a push, and you will be on both sides the same amount. You must understand this because these hands will come up the rest of your poker career. There is good news; these hands do not determine a winning poker player. What does determine long-term success is preventing mistakes that come from some type of tilt. Once a player has a certain grasp of the game, roughly 90% of mistakes come from being emotional or tired.

If you know the ins and outs of the game, change your focus. Work on the next great challenge, always putting your ‘A’ game forward and controlling tilt. If before, when you were studying poker you worked on strategy 90% of the time and mental aspects of the game 10%, REVERSE IT. Put everything you have into making yourself the best possible mental player you can. Please re-read this paragraph before I give you the good news and the bad news. I’ll give the bad news first: Becoming a mentally tough poker player on a world class level is easily twenty times harder than learning poker strategy. However the good news is that mastering the mind is the true secret to poker and anyone can do it. If you use sound strategy at the table and are mentally tough you will be a winning poker player.

Now you know your next great education and journey in your poker experience, but how do you do it? When I return to posting I will first finish The Heads Up Doctrine. However, after that my next great poker undertaking will be entitled…Poker: A Game of Controlling the Mind, which will be a series of posts that break down how to be mentally tough at the table. In the meantime, next time your quads get beat by the runner-runner straight flush remember that those hands even out in the long run. What does not even out in the long run is the amount of time a player makes mistakes while on tilt. Work hard on controlling your mind at the table. ShipIt!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Empire Reload for April

Empire is currently offering a 25% reload bonus up to $150. Just deposit between Wed. April 6, 2005 at 00:00 EST and Sunday April 10, at 23:59 EST. Enter Bonus Code "EPmania" with out the quotes when depositing. You will need to make a $600 deposit to get the full bonus. For every dollar in bonus you will have to play 7 raked hands. To clear the full bonus you will have to play 1050 raked hands. You will have 7 days from the time of your deposit to play the required hands. For some people this is a lot of hands to play in a week. Playing full ring limit holdem I average roughly 35-40 raked hands an hour per table. Playing 3 tables at a time I usually clear a bonus like this in 10 hours.

You can combine this reload bonus with the new player sign up bonus. They are currently offering new players a 20% bonus up to $100.Click Here to get this Bonus. You will need to make a $500 deposit to get the full bonus. You will have to play 5 raked hands for every bonus dollar. To clear the full bonus you would need to play 500 raked hands. If you already have an account on the party network and are having problems signing up for an empire account read this post.

If you are considering playing both bonuses I would suggest not doing the deposits on the same day. I would make the initial deposit for the new player bonus then try to clear that one before the reload bonus expires then making the second deposit for the reload bonus. That way you won’t have to play 1550 hands in 7 days. If you are a new player you will have to claim the new player bonus before the deposit bonus. Any hands played will go to the sign up bonus until it is cleared and then hands after that will count toward the reload bonus.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Lil' Dean Goes Down

I've talked about how my brother, Drew, is a pretty good poker player. Pretty good meaning he's taken me out of the biggest tourament in the world, The World Series of Pikes, in which I finished an impressive third. Last week my brother called me with a horrible bad beat story during a qualifying tournament online when I was throwing down a few drinks. He was in 11th place with 19 people to go and gets KK in the big blind. Blinds were at 1000/2000 so Drew made it 4000 to go. He had about 45,000 in chips. Under the gun, who had limped, called immediatly. Everyone else folded. Flop came 8 9 3 rainbow. Drew went all in. In one millisecond, UTG called with 10 7 suited. As you can probably guess...yeah, 6 on the river. Tonight my brother calls me again. Same type of tournament, I'm still drinking. He's the short stack at his table with 4,000. Blinds at 300/600. Drew gets AA in the big blind. Three callers so Drew pushes all-in. Table leader calles with 9 6 suited. Flop comes 676. Drew now has to buy a new computer, or at least that's what I think cause he was throwing stuff all over his room. Let me say this: to win a tournament, you have to get lucky. You have to win with your draws, win with your big hands, win on the river and swim like a shark. So keep your head up little brother, you'll be at the Series this year. Of course, you'll probably be watching me win it. Ship it!

Monday, March 28, 2005

The Party Skins

Well I just finished playing off Party’s March reload bonus. 1400 raked hands is a lot of hands. It took me about 15 hours of playing 3 tables of .50/1 limit holdem to clear the $200 bonus. Now that this out of the way it is time to find the next juicy bonus. I think I am headed over to Intertops Poker a new Party skin I just found. Don’t know what I am talking about? I will try to explain.

The party network is actually a network of 5 poker sites all playing on the same servers. Each site is called a party skin. The party skins are Party, Empire, Intertops, PokerNow, and Eurobet. If you are playing on Party you might be sitting at a table with someone playing on Empire or any of the other party skins. The software for each site is almost exactly identical. The only difference is the look of the table. Each site offers their own bonuses and other promotions. Each bonus code is specific to a particular site. If you enjoy playing on party poker then you have no excuse for not having accounts at all 5 sites.

Party has designed their software to make it difficult for players to create accounts at multiple sites. They do not state that you cannot have accounts at all sites. They just don’t make it easy for you to do so. Once you have user accounts set up on each of the skins you will not have problems. You have 2 options when creating a new account on a party skin.

Option 1: For most this will be the easiest option. First find a computer that has never had a Party skin previously installed on it. This should not be very hard to do. Any PC with an Internet connection should work. Once you have found a clean computer follow one of the links below and download the skin you want to create a new account on. Install the software and set up a new account. You will have to create a new username because your old name is already taken by yourself. You are going to want to use all the same information as you did for the previous accounts. (I.E. same Name, Address, Neteller, etc). I wouldn’t use fake information because sometimes party will make you verify the information you have provided. Every once in a while party will call and ask you why you are setting up a new account. Just give them some BS answer. “ I like the freerolls offered at such and such.” They will say OK and leave you alone. I have never gotten one of these calls. Once you have setup your new account you are done with this computer. You can now head back to your main computer and play on the new site as much as you want. Just download and install the software on you main computer and login with you new account information.

Option 2: This option is for those that are comfortable messing with the windows registry. I would only use this option as a last resort. Any time you mess with the windows registry you are taking a chance of messing up your computer. First you need to disconnect from the Internet. If you have dial up make sure you are not connected. If you use broadband or access the Internet through a network unplug the network cable from the back of your computer. To make sure you are disconnect from the Internet try and visit a web page. If you can’t pull up a web page then you are not connected to the Internet. If you can still pull up web pages then you are still connected. Once you are disconnected from the Internet you will have to uninstall all of the Party skins Installed on your computer. You may want to back your notes and hand histories before uninstalling. Once you have deleted all the Party skins. Go to start then run and type in regedit. I would suggest backing up your registry before making any changes. Go to hhkey local machine then software then calculator. You are going to want to delete this entry. Save your registry and restart your computer.

If you are using windows xp do the following otherwise skip to the next paragraph. Xp users are going to want to create a new user account on your computer. Go to control panel then User accounts then create new user. Make them an administrator. Now log off and switch to the new user you created.

Connect to the Internet and follow one of the links below to install the new party skin. Make sure to reconnect any connections that were unplugged. Install the software and set up the new account just as you would have in option 1. Once you have set up your new account you can go back and reinstall the other skins you just deleted. You will have to follow one of these steps for each new skin you want to create an account on.

This is the order that I would sign up for the different skins. If your bankroll is not large enough to get the max bonus then I would suggest waiting till it is. Some of these bonuses are one time deals and you don’t want to leave money on the table. Just because you make a large deposit at a site does not mean that you have to play with all that money. Make the big deposit then wait 24 to 48 hours and cash out the majority of your initial deposit. The money can be back in your bank account within under a week.

Empire: Empire is the largest skin after Party. They are currently offering new players a 20% bonus up to $100. Click Here to get this Bonus. You will need to make a $500 deposit to get the full bonus. You will have to play 5 raked hands for every bonus dollar. To clear the full bonus you would need to play 500 raked hands. I would start with empire because they are one of the few skins that offer monthly reloads like Party. Cash outs from Empire are very quick. The average cash out to neteller takes 3 hours.

Intertops: is the next skin I would sign up for. Folow This Link and use bonus code "HAPPY2005" to get the bonus. You will need to make a $500 deposit to get the full bonus. You will have to play 5 raked hands for every bonus dollar. To clear the full bonus you would need to play 500 raked hands. Intertops occasionally offers reload bonuses but not monthly like party or empire. To cash out at intertops you first have to transfer your money from the poker room to the sports book. Once you have transferred your money login to the sports book and transfer your money to neteller. Transfers are slow and takes 4 to 5 days for the money to hit your neteller account. Remember your poker screen name and your sports book login name are different.

Poker Now: They are currently offering new players a 20% bonus up to $100. Click Here for the bonus.You will need to make a $500 deposit to get the full bonus. You will have to play 10 raked hands for every bonus dollar. To clear the full bonus you would need to play 1000 raked hands. This is not as good as the other sites but still doable.

Eurobet:. They are currently offering new players 25% up to $50. . Folow This Link and use bonus code "LOY25" to get the bonus.You will need to make a $200 deposit to receive the full bonus. You will have to play 5 raked hands for every dollar in bonus. You will have to play 250 hands to clear the full $50. You will have to transfer money from the sports book to your poker account and vis versa for withdrawals. Make you sure to write down any sign up information you are given. I have yet to receive a confirmation email from Eurobet even though I have deposited, played off the bonus and cashed out.

So this should get you another $350 not including any reloads these sites will be offering in the future.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Check your Party Account.

Party offered certain players special bonus offers today. Login to you party account to see if you are one of the lucky bastards that got one of these bonuses. If are one of these lucky fucks then the bonus will appear in a pop up saying you get a bonus or it will appear under your bonus account. I apparently wasn’t cool enough to be blessed with one of these account specific bonuses. I mean I sell out this site and put up Party affiliate codes and you guys can’t even throw me a bone. What are you going to do next, take away my birthday? Hey my parents died when I was ten why don’t you write me an email reminding me of that! Thanks for nothing party.

Ok, now that that is off my chest. There appear to be 2 different bonuses party has decided to give to people other than myself. It seems if your account was empty then you had a better chance of picking up one of these bonuses. So I would suggest not keeping any money in your party account unless you are actively clearing a bonus. I would keep the money in Neteller or another skin/ site. (You like that party? I just told everyone to cash out their party accounts. Maybe next time you will think before you pass me over on a special bonus.) The first bonus is called MAR05RELEASE. This is a 15% bonus upto $100. You would have to deposit $666 to get the full bonus. If you did get this bonus you are going to hell for sure. The other is called MAR05CASHOUT2. This is $50 bonus for 500 raked hands. I am not sure if you can get both of these bonuses but if you did then I have a little secret to tell you. You are adopted and your parents don’t love you.

P.S. Anyone who posts in the comment section about how great it is to get these bonuses will be ridiculed off the internet. So don’t even think about it.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

UB Reload Extended

If you thought you missed the reload bonus at Ultimate Bet then you were sadly mistaken. Ultimate Bet has extended its current reload offer until Wed. March 23, 2005 11pm ET. For further details see the post below entitled Help Out the OL Bank Roll.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Party Reload for March

Well I was hoping to have a little more time between post, but I had to let you guys know about the latest offer from Party. Party is the largest site on the Net and has more players at any given time than any other online poker site. Being the largest allows them to throw more money around than the smaller sites. I would say at least half of my bonus money comes from Party and the different Party Skins. Some people hate party and just refuse to play there. I used to be one of those players. I don’t particularly like the software and the players there are so fishy that they can put some of the most horrendous beats on you. That being said party is a gold mine. If you can avoid the tilt factor on the suckouts then you will soon fall in love with this site. After you clear a few of their bonuses you will soon forget about the less than stellar software and become immune to tilt on the suckouts.(Ok the suckouts are still going to be a bitch but they sting less and less each time) If you haven’t signed up for Party then I suggest you do so right now.

Party is currently offering a 20% sign up bonus up to $100 for new players. Just click here , Download the software and make your first deposit. You will need to make a deposit of $500 to get the full $100 bonus. You earn the bonus by playing raked hands. For every 5 raked hands you receive $1 in bonus. A raked hand is any hand you were dealt cards and party took a percentage of the pot. Not all hands are raked but most are. To check how many hands you have played go to cashier then click bonus account and it will show you exactly how many hands you have counted toward the bonus. To get the full bonus you will have to play 500 raked hands. The bonus expires if it isn’t cleared in 30 days. The bonus will be released all at one time once the raked hand requirements have been met. If you don’t play 500 hands in a month then I suggest depositing less than the full amount so that you can get some bonus. It takes me roughly 5 hours playing 3 tables of .5/$1 to clear a bonus like this one. So roughly 15 hours of single table play should clear the bonus.

Already have a Party account? They are currently offering a 20% reload bonus up to $200. Just deposit between now and Wed. March 23, 2005 at 23:59 EST. Enter Bonus Code "BONUSMAR" with out the quotes when depositing. You will need to make a $1,000 deposit to get the full bonus. For every dollar in bonus you will have to play 7 raked hands. To clear the full bonus you will have to play 1400 hands. You will have 7 days from the time of your deposit to play the required hands. For some people this is a lot of hands to play in a week. Playing full ring limit holdem I average roughly 40-45 raked hands an hour per table. Playing 3 tables at a time I usually clear a bonus like this in 15 hours. $13 an hour is pretty hard to beat when playing .50/$1.

You can combine this reload bonus with the new player sign up bonus. You will have to make 2 separate deposits to get both bonuses. Any cashouts prior to the reload bonus will void the bonus so you can’t pull your money out then put it back in just to get the bonus. If you are considering playing both bonuses I would suggest not doing the deposits on the same day. I would make the initial deposit for the new player bonus then try to clear it before the reload bonus expires and then make the second deposit for the reload bonus. That way you won’t have to play 1900 hands in 7 days. If you are a new player you will have to claim the new player bonus before the deposit bonus. Any hands played will go to the sign up bonus until it is cleared and then hands after that will count toward the reload bonus.

Well that should keep you busy for a little while. Two post and you have already picked up an extra $625. If you were fast enough to pick up the reload bonus at UB and don’t have enough funds in Neteller to do the Party reload I would suggest withdrawing your funds out of UB to Neteller and then depositing into Party. Cashouts from UB to Neteller usually take 2 to 3 hours. The bonus from UB never expires and it will be there once you are done with the Party Reload. Besides the Party reload clears at a much faster rate than the bonus at UB. I have a few other bonus codes for Party that not a lot of people know about but I will save those for a later post.

The One The Only

Well I probably should have introduced myself before making my first post but I wanted to make sure that some of you were able to pick up the reload bonus offered by UB before it expired. Now that we have that out of the way I’ll give you a little background information on myself and how I hope to contribute to this BLOG.

My name is Chris and I have been playing poker for about 2 -3 years now. Matt, Lloyd and I all went to Southwestern University together. We all started playing poker about the same time, right around the time the first season of the WPT started airing. Matt and Lloyd seem to have progressed a little faster than I have but I can still hold my own at the table. I have never met Taylor but he is the resident badass at UB so hopefully I can learn a thing or two from him. Most of my post won’t be about strategy and will be more of a heads up about the hottest bonuses and promotional offers from the different poker sites.

I have been bonus hopping (I called it whoring in my first post but obviously that was too much for some of you railbirds to handle so I will call it bonus hopping from here on out) for about 2 months now and have setup a rather good system to take full advantage of all this free money poker sites are giving away just to play at their site. In the first two months I made $1400 in bonuses alone. I now know how to get even more bang for my buck and will most likely earn $1,000 this month and don’t see that slowing down anytime soon. When I am clearing a bonus I like to play 3 tables of full ring .50/$1 limit holdem or 2 tables of $1/2 depending on the site and the bonus. Multi-tabling does effect your BB/hour/ table rate but clearing the bonus at a faster rate more than makes up for the 1 or 2 bets lost due to multi-table play. I will say this if you are new to multi table play then start slow and work your way up. Don’t just jump in and start playing 4 tables at once, it can get a little hectic at times and takes a little time getting used to.

I usually play 2 to 3 hours of poker a day. The income I generate from bonuses is about triple what I make from players at the table. Unless you are playing $2/ $4 or higher you will probably be able to make more from bonus hopping than you will from table profit. This doesn’t mean if you are playing the higher limits that you can’t collect the bonuses, it just means the higher the limits you play the less the total income these bonuses represent. .50/$1 may seem like low limits to some but I just made the switch to limit holdem and am taking my time making sure I am a winning player at a certain limit before moving up. Prior to this I played 10 person $20 SNGs exclusively but made the switch to limit because I saw the kind of money I could be making by switching over. I plan to move up limits as soon as I am satisfied that I have mastered the limit I am playing. The eventual plan is to be playing 2 to 3 tables of $2/$4 or $3/$6. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

I’d like to take this moment to give a shout out to Little Kiki and Lee Dawg in A-town. With out them none of this would be possible. OK that last part was a lie. On a side note my birthday is Thursday and my favorite beer is Fat Tire. HINT HINT HINT.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

What to do When Things go Wrong

Many times during the normal course of a poker players career, things aren't going that well. This is inevitable. It can be the result of bad beats, bad cards, or other factors in life causing you to not play your best game. I wanted to talk today about what to focus on when you are going through a time like this. I feel it is very important to consider these things as sometimes to be a winning player its more important to minimize your losses than to just try to maximize your wins.

The first thing to focus on is pretty obvious, but it still should be mentioned. Tighten up the cards you are playing. When I am playing poorly, it is usuall a result of a combination of two things. Usually I am playing too loose, and also not catching any flops with these cards. Because of this, my table image suffers as I am in a ton of pots and am not showing down great cards. The only way to remedy this situation is to start showing down some big hands. However, since my table image is not good, I will not be able to pick up many pots unless I have a good hand. This takes away a lot of the value of playing these cards because I have to hit my hand in order to win a pot. Because of these reasons, playing tighter is necessary when things aren't going well at the table. Once you start winning a few hands, you can start to loosen up again. I would recommend throwing away any hands except for pairs, AK, AQ and maybe something like JTs.

You should also focus on playing in position more. This is something you should always do, but you should focus on it more when you are having a bad stretch of cards. Don't be afraid to fold a hand like AQ or AJ even if its unraised to you and you are in middle position. If you have a loose image, someone is liable to call from the button with anything and try to 'take the pot away' from you. However, if you have this hand on the button or cutoff, you should still be agressive with it.

Finally, I think it is important to take some time away from the game. Lloyd mentioned this the other day, and I agree with it. If you are having a terrible session, just quit for the day. I've talked about this before but I think some people lose sight of it. If you find yourself unwilling or unable to quit, it's probably a sign you have a gambling problem and poker probably isn't the best thing for you to be doing. Next time you are having a terrible session, make yourself stop before you really want to. If you can't stop, you should seriously consider if you have might have a gambling problem.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Help out the OL Bank Roll

If you are just starting out, building your bankroll is going to be key in becoming a successful poker player. I will be giving you a few tips on establishing a solid bankroll through bonus whoring. If you already have an established bankroll then I will explain how to pick up an extra $500 to $1,000 a month just for doing what you are already doing, Playing winning poker. If you are currently playing at a poker site and not receiving some kind of bonus from the site then you are just throwing money away. If you aren’t interested in becoming a bonus whore then you don’t have to read my posts and can read the other great posts on this blog, otherwise let the whoring begin.

The first thing you will need is a Neteller account. I assume most of you have one of these already but if you don’t just go to and sign up. It takes about a week to get your bank account verified but it is pretty painless and is the best way to move money between poker sites. Once you have your Neteller account set up you are ready to start bonus whoring. I would suggest putting at least $1,000 into your Neteller account. I like to have at least $3,000 floating between poker sites and Neteller at any given time. I know some of you don’t have or don’t want to invest this much in your bankroll at this time. If you can’t put $1,000 in I would suggest putting as much money as you can possibly spare into your account at this time. The more money you have in your bankroll the more money you will receive in bonuses. Don’t worry though, if you follow these posts your bankroll will explode with free money and by the end of the first or second month you should have a very healthy bankroll.

The first site I will discus is Ultimate Bet. This is by far my favorite site. Everyone that posts here plays almost exclusively on UB. The software is the fastest I have seen of any site and I have accounts at over 20 sites. If you haven’t signed up at UB yet this is the perfect time to do it. They are currently offering new members a 40% sign up bonus up to $200. If you want this offer just click here or on the banner to the left. Download the software make a deposit and you are all set. You will need to make a deposit of $500 to get the full $200 bonus. Yeah we get a few bucks for you signing up but you get $200 plus a great post later on how we blew through all the money we made from the site in Vegas on Hookers and Blow. Seems like a fair trade to me.

To clear the bonus you have to earn Ultimate Points by playing in cash ring games. For every 10 UB points you earn you clear $1 in bonus cash. At this time points earned in tournaments or SNGs don’t count toward the bonus. The best part about this bonus is it never expires and you receive the bonus money you earned as soon as you leave the table. You don’t have to wait around a week or a month to get your bonus. You get it in small increments every time you play. The higher the limits you play the faster the bonus clears. Another trick is to be one of the first people to sit at a table. UB will give you double points if you start up a new table. This means you clear the bonus twice as fast. The official rules for the bonus can be found at the site.

Already have an account at UB? They are currently offering a 25% reload up to $125. (The site says up to $100 but as erci pointed out it is actually up to $125) Just deposit between now and 11PM ET Thursday March 23th.(this was extended from March 17th recently) You will need to make a deposit of $500 to get the max bonus. You can do both the sign up bonus and the reload bonus. You will have to make 2 separate deposits but you can do them back to back. You will not be able to make 1 deposit and then cash out and make the 2nd deposit. The first cashout will void the reload bonus. If you don’t have the funds in you Neteller account but do have the funds in your bank account then you can do an instant Neteller transfer and UB will pick up the charges at no cost to you. Just be sure you do this through the UB software.

Once a bonus from UB hits your account it never expires. You can work through this bonus as fast or a slow as you like. Don’t want to play at UB right now? Just wait 48 hours from your last deposit and cash your money out. Neteller cashouts usually take around 3 hours tops. Your bonus money will stay in your account until you come back.

This is the first of many sites I will explain how to whore out. I will periodically be posting the best sign up and reload bonus so check back often. If you follow these posts then you will easily add an additional $500 to $1000 a month just by simply hopping from site to site picking up bonuses. Hell this is only your first site and you have already picked up $325 bucks. See how simple this stuff is.

New Poster

A lot of our posts have referenced bankroll management and in fact have stressed the importance of it. Tonight, a new poster will give a different take on the subject than Taylor, Lloyd, or I. He actually generates most of his income from bonuses. He will show that even if you are a break-even player how to make money online. Chris Power is a good poker player that I've known for five years. He graduated Southwestern University with Lloyd and I and is a regular drinking buddy of mine in Houston. I expect, no I demand you give him shit in the comments section.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Be a Well Rounded Poker Player

My laptop has now been broken for almost two weeks. I’m in the process of getting it fixed but things are going about as slow as Maurice Clarett. In the mean time I can’t play any poker and my only access to a computer is the computer lab at my school. Because I feel a little distant from poker strategy right now I would like to talk about the importance of being a well-rounded poker player.

I have read some articles about the common cycle that beginning poker players go through. Generally, in the very beginning the new player has a blast playing poker and sees it mostly as entertainment, with an unknown chance of winning money. Then the new player realizes how much skill is involved and he begins to study the game not unlike he would a subject in school. After the ‘student’ phase ends, the new player uses what he has learned, adds a personal touch, and comes into his own. Although this is a basic run down, I think this is about the transition I went through.

However, a concept that I have only seen written about once is the importance of being a well-rounded poker player. When I say well rounded I don’t mean throwing in triple draw and pineapple instead of just hold em, I mean well rounded in life.

Once you are in the final phase of the typical ‘poker education’ poker becomes less like a game and more like a job. However with a job, you only work for a set number of hours while poker can start taking up your life. Personally, I have had a lot of trouble with this in the past year. Poker can become very addictive when you win, however like in ‘Rounders,’ if you are not careful, you whole life can become one big grind.

I encourage all of you to look at how much time poker takes up in your life. If you constantly play poker instead of doing other meaningful things such as hanging out with friends or getting exercise, I firmly believe you will be benefited by addressing it now. As far as determining the correct balance, that is up to you.

I’m sorry if this comes across as depressing and don’t think for a second this post means I’m quitting poker. I’ll be back in Texas next week and Matt and I are heading down to Lake Charles on Friday for a nice little session. Any of you are welcome to join us; we will be the ones yelling “Ship It!”

Sunday, March 13, 2005


Yes, I'm alive. I apologize i havent been able to post because it is the week of midterms at U of I and for some reason I really care about them. I have three exams Monday, which is why I am sitting here saturday night studying. Expect me to start posting Tuesday or Wednesday, when I wake up from my sleep after the hell that will be Monday.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Aruba, Jamaica....ok well just Aruba

Over the Christmas break I went to Aruba with my brother and my folks for a vacation. Was the fact that there were three casinos with texas hold'em mearly a coincidence? I don't think so. Aruba was sweet. I won one small tournament and made about $1500 even though I only played 3 or 4 days. My dad won a tournament also but the real star of the trip was my little brother, Drew (not that little - 22), who won 2 tournaments and finished 3rd and 4th in two others. He only played in 6 total tournaments also. He's turning into quite a player and won't let me forget it. Of course we had a deal before two of his big tournaments so I made a lot of money off of him. Thanks bro. Let's just say that most of the players in Aruba are terrible. "I had KJ - I had to go for it right?" I heard that phrase or one like it over 100 times. Anyways, sorry for not posting that much. It's been a rough week as I've been sick and Lloyd has been out of town. We think that Taylor is still alive but it hasn't been confirmed.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

It was down in ole Virginny

I traveled to the always exciting Georgetown, TX this weekend to hang out with some fellow alumnus of Southwestern University. It was 'Founder's Weekend' for our fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha (Pike), which was founded on March 1st a long time ago. While I admit, poker was not the main reason I drove 6 hours roundtrip, there was a poker tournament that I intended on winning. I first played hold'em because of the fraternity and we take the game very seriously. The tournament during Founder's Weekend and the one at the University's Homecoming are kind of a big deal in our fraternity. Admittedly, the Founder's tournament isn't as big as the Homecoming tournament but there is still a lot of pride at stake. I have never won a big Pike tournament and to my knowledge neither has Lloyd which is a fact that has not escaped the members of the fraternity. And, I'm sorry to say the losing streak continued for me. Lloyd was in South Carolina so it was up to me to take home the trophy and I came in 10th out of 16. Oh well, there's always next year. There were only 16 players at 2 tables and the prevailing thought was to hurry the tournament up so we would have more time to drin......hang out. We started with 1000 chips and blinds of 10 and 20. The blinds went up every 10 minutes so you had to catch some cards. My disaster hand was when I raised with AK of diamonds and got 2 callers. The board came 3 4 8 with two diamonds. There was about 350 in the pot and I had 1000 chips left but I only bet 250 and got one caller. The turn was the 3 of clubs and it went check-check. The river didn't help and we checked it down. I lost to 55. I played it terribly and it cost me. The blinds killed me as I didn't catch any cards. I ended up moving all-in with A9o and getting called by AK. See ya. My brother, who got 2nd out of 35 last time, is a very good player and got knocked out before me. That was about the only saving grace. Congrats to Josh Nowak who won after making a deal. Also, congrats to James Lundquist who was the defending champ and took 2nd place.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Adapting to Others: Mr. Tilt

Heads up play, with the one on one format, constant action, and the ever-present possibility of being bluffed, is a very emotional game. Therefore, it is not surprising that another regular opponent that must be discussed is the player on tilt. This player can come to you from a few different places. First, this player can be a heads up player type already discussed that has simply lost his head and gone on tilt. Second, this player can be a regular full ring game player who has suffered an unfortunate hand or hands and now wants to get it all back quickly playing heads up. Third, this player can be a higher limit heads up player who has recently lost a significant portion of his bankroll and is now playing in a lower limit game with total disregard to the money before him. I think that while each of these players has some different nuances in their game, tilt is tilt and they play mostly the same.

Name: Mr. Tilt

Playing Style: This player bets and raises like South Carolina’s football players break the law. Pre-flop, this player will raise pot close to 100% on the button. Out of position this player will either raise pot pre-flop close to 100% of the time, or regain some sense and remember how important position is. Either way, a pot bet on the flop is almost a certainty if this player raised pre-flop. If he is simply called on the flop, this player will fire out as many bullets as he can when holding just about any hand. If raised, this player might re-raise if he has a decent hand, call if he has a weak hand, or fold if he has absolutely nothing. However, this player might also call with nothing for a chance to bluff on a later street. When facing a pre-flop raise, Mr. Tilt will call with or without position when holding almost anything. After the flop this player might bet pot when first to act, check raise, check call, or rarely check fold.

Strength: The thing about a player on tilt that too many card players forget is that they get the same amount of monster hands as you do. Yes it is easy to write off this player’s bets and raises as bluffs, but you just might be facing the stone cold nuts. Accordingly one of this player’s main strengths is his ability to make his opponents forget that sometimes this player is NOT bluffing. Mr. Tilt will bet the same amount whether he has trash or a royal flush, and the truth is, you never know what you are up against until the showdown. Another strength this player has is his fearlessness. With total disregard for money, this player will not think twice about jumping all over any sign of weakness in his opponent. Most sensible players are of course capable of picking up a huge pot with nothing when weakness is sensed, but with this player, it is the rule instead of the exception. This player’s final strength is his ability to get his opponent on tilt or just to play poorly. An example being that because Mr. Tilt raises 100% of the hands on the button, his opponent might get frustrated knowing Mr. Tilt is raising with trash. The player will then start calling pot raises out of position with hands like J7 suited.

Weakness: Well for one, this player has no respect for three slightly important things in poker: his cards, and his chips, and thinking. Because this player will constantly fire bullets, he will walk right into many slow played hands and shed many chips making dumb bluffs. Mr. Tilt’s opponent simply has to wait for a strong hand and let Mr. Tilt bet for him the whole way. Another weakness of Mr. Tilt is that he is a sucker for falling for his opponent’s induced bluff. This player falls for an induced bluff like Michael Jackson falls for…well that is just disgusting. Finally, Mr. Tilt does not think in a poker game and therefore does not really notice what his opponent is doing. If Mr. Tilt is facing an opponent who IS thinking about what is going on (you), Mr. Tilt is at another disadvantage.

Plan of Attack: Don’t forget to be selective in what you call raises with out of position. Yes it is frustrating constantly folding to inferior hands pre-flop. However in reality, you are going to get bluffed out of the hand later if you don’t hit your J7 on the flop. Even if the flop comes like 765, you might be put to a decision for all your chips. Be very selective out of position and only call with hands that you are prepared to go to war with when you hit. Also, don’t re-raise pot out of position unless you hold something like the top 5 starting hands. For one you will definitely get called, and secondly you know you are going to be put to a decision, as Mr. Tilt will make at least one stab at this pot. On the button you want to again be selective with starting hands but be aggressive when you get a good one. There is no point in raising with junk on the button because you know you will be called and probably bluffed out. Simply wait for a good hand and make him pay. When you do hit a monster either in position or out of position do one of two things. If out of position just let him bet for you. Raise here only if you are scared of him hitting an obvious draw on the board. If you have position, induce the bluff by under-betting or betting on the flop, then checking the turn. You will be surprised how well inducing the bluff works against this guy. Inducing the bluff against a player on tilt is one of my greatest joys in poker.

Notes: Tilt is a finite resource and you should always remember that a player’s mentality and style will change. Be prepared for this player to stop tilting and start playing well. However, you want to keep this player on tilt. Another one of my great joys in poker is showing a well-timed bluff to a tilting player. Showing a bluff to Mr. Tilt is like hitting a huge hornets nest with a stick. Sit back and wait for the explosion of fury. Two things should be remembered about this play. One is that it is tricky to bluff Mr. Tilt because he is crazy and might call or raise with 9 high. Two, there is no reason not to show a bluff to Mr. Tilt because he is already not thinking and probably won’t put to good use the information you give away. The last thing I will talk about when playing Mr. Tilt is that the swings are capable of being very high. Don’t play this guy under funded! Hey, you shouldn’t be playing under funded anyway but especially not against this guy. You are going to be forced to make many long calls with mediocre hands against this guy and the last thing you need to be worried about is losing your bankroll. Good luck!

On a personal note, my laptop mysteriously broke this week after my opponenet hit perfect perfect when we were all in on the flop. I'm kidding, my labtop broke but it had nothing to do with poker so it has been hard to write. I am also going on vacation for spring break next week and will be unable to post. However, thanks to all of you who regularly read us! We are currently thinking about some new ideas for the site and would love your input. Ship It!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Poker Tracker

For those of you who don't know much about this software, I'd like to give a little recommendation on one of the best ways to improve your game. Poker Tracker is a program you can purchase that will keep track of all of the stats you can imagine at the poker table. I'd like to start by saying that I have no financial interest in this program whatsoever, I just love the program and think it is a great tool for anyone looking to improve their poker game.

Why use poker tracker you ask? I'll tell you why I like it so much. Poker Tracker uses hand history information to keep track of every player at the table's stats. You can figure out your hourly rate, BB/100, how often you saw the flop, how often you raised, how much each of the 169 possible hands has won/lost you, and much much more. You can also keep track of who the big winners and losers are, which is important when you are playing with the same players everyday (this happens at the higher stakes games more often than the lower stakes games). You can also use it to figure out what type of game best suits you. I have found that I have the best BB/100 in NL games where there are between 2-5 players. I still am a winning player at the full tables, but not by nearly as much. I have made a decided effort to improve my ring game play (full table) because of poker tracker, and I feel I am becoming a better player because of it. Next, it works great with UB with the hand history grabber program that you can download with it. This program grabs every hand history that you tell it to, just by running the program as well as opening the hand history box. All you have to do is import these hand histories, and you can see all of your stats.

I seriously recommend you check out pokertracker, at You can download a free trial version, and it will let you store up to 1000 hands for free. After that I think the software costs about 50 bucks. If you are playing .5-1nl, or 3-6 limit or above, buying this software is a no brainer in my opinion. The stats you see about your game, and your opponents will win you back your investment in a few weeks, tops.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Should you fold the best possible hand?

The title of this post is slightly misleading and I'll get to that but stick with me. There are times in hold'em when it is correct to fold the best possible hand at the time. In Omaha there are plenty of possiblities where you can have the best possible hand after the flop and still be an underdog but it's fairly rare in hold'em for this to occur. One example I have comes from a hand I played a couple of months ago on PokerStars. I was playing in the $5/$10 no-limit game when I decided to limp in from the cut-off with A4 of hearts. 4 of us took the flop which came K J T with two hearts. This was a pretty big flop for me. I had 9 outs for the nut flush (maybe the J and T were hearts making a straight-flush possible I don't remember) and 3 queens for the nuts straight (not double-counting the Q of hearts). It was unlikely but not impossible that an ace may get the trick done for me also. I called a $25 bet from the big blind which put about $90 in the pot. My opponent and I both had begun the hand with about $1000. The turn brought an offsuit queen which gave me the nut straight and the nut flush draw. In other words, I was free-rolling my flush if I was up against another ace. My opponent bet out $70 at me and at this point I couldn't wait to get as much money as possible into the pot. I was praying that my opponent had an ace also. How much should I bet here? I didn't know much about my opponent but I hoped that he wouldn't fold an ace so I moved all in for about $895 more. Technically, my opponent can fold an ace here. It's a very close call though. If my opponent somehow knew I had an ace and a flush drawa than it is definitly the correct fold. You see, my opponent will lose the hand about 20% of the time and split the pot the other 80%. He will never win the whole pot. His expected value is therefore approximately 40%. The calculation is (20%*0 (you lose) + 80*.5 (you get half). He's being asked, though, to put $895 into what will be a $2020 pot. $895/$2020 is 44.3%. He should have an expected value of at least 44.3% if he's going to risk putting $895 into only a $2020 pot. The obvious argument against folding is that you can't be sure your opponent does have a flush draw here. Possibly your opponent has only the ace of hearts. Or, your opponent doesn't have a heart at all but doesn't think beyond the fact that he has 'the nuts!'. Oh yeah, in the actual hand my opponent called in a nanosecond. The river was the harmless 3c. I was a little confused but not at all disapointed when my opponent showed trip tens and I got the whole pot. Ship it!

Friday, February 25, 2005

Adapting to Others: The Maniac

So far, four heads up opponents have been laid out.

1) Loose Passive
2) Loose Aggressive
3) Tight Passive
4) Tight Aggressive

Know these players and be able to recognize them at the table but also realize that most of the opponents that you play will probably combine many charateristics of these four player types. Some also might have new tendancies unlike any discussed.

My next few posts will examine some of these player types that don't really fall into any of the main four catagories. Today's player profile, entitled "The Maniac" was actually written by Taylor Caby last summer.

Name: The Maniac

Playing Style: This Player raises on the button at least 80% of the hands. This player could raise any hand, ranging from low suited cards, to big pocket pairs. After the flop, this player will continue to bet out and probably on the turn if they have any sort of hand. If "The Maniac" has any sort of hand he will call your reraise, sometimes rightfully so because his opponent may start to play back with nothing. This type of player offers a huge money making opportunity for the great heads up player, but comes with an extremely high variance in profit/loss.

Strength: This player’s strength is the fact that he is constantly putting pressure on the other player. If the other player folds too much, the aggressive player will win pot after pot, accumulating tons of chips. This player can also hit many ‘unseen’ hands that the other player just cannot put him on. For example, if he raises the pot with 36 suited, and the flop comes A36, if the other player holds an ace he could be in serious trouble. This player forces the opponent to make borderline decisions, which often results in long calls at the end of the hand. The aggressive player has a tendency to frustrate the other player, which can easily put him on tilt.

Weakness: If the maniac is not careful, he will run into a slowplayed monster by the other player. If the maniac is doing all of the betting, the other player just has to sit back and get paid off, before making a re-raise near the end of the hand. The maniac may also over value hands such as top pair or middle pair, due to the fact that it looks like such a strong hand because he is betting with nothing most of the time. He may run into kicker problems in some of the large pots, or may flop top pair but be beaten by a high pocket pair.

Plan of Attack: The maniac must realize that he cannot have his way raising every pot. If you want to beat this player, you must be willing to ‘mix it up’ with him. Remember, his cards are probably just about as bad as the ones you want to continually fold. The best thing to do is show aggression and don’t let up. If you have an ace, a pocket pair, or even suited connectors, don’t be afraid to re-raise him preflop. The proper re-raise here is usually the size of the pot, sometimes even more. If he is folding to your re-raises, start doing it with more frequency. He will start to realize what you are doing, but this is not bad. Remember, the key to heads up is to make the other player react to you. By using the re-raise, you are forcing him to react to you. If he starts calling your re-raises with marginal hands, you have basically turned the tables on him. What HE wants to do is make you call his raises with marginal hands, but now you are making HIM do this. This is the key to beating this type of player. Once you see the flop, you need to bet out at least ¾ of the pot no matter what the cards are. Put the pressure on him. You can reevaluate after the turn if he is still in the hand, but remember by this point he knows you would do this with any hand, so he may be calling these raises and bets without much of a hand. One thing you need to remember about this strategy of playing back at him is the fact that you are going to be the aggressor, but he will have position on you in the hand. Having the button for the rest of the hand is a huge advantage, so you must become proficient at playing a marginal hand well, out of position. There will be times that you just want to take a flop against this player. These situations can be tricky and involve much thinking. When you take the flop, check your hand, and he bets, you have a few decisions to make. If you have nothing whatsoever, fold. If you flop a monster, you should probably just call (such as holding KdKs on a Kc 4h 8d board). The tough hands to play are the ones where you flop bottom or middle pair. After this player bets, you should probably raise with middle pair and top pair almost every time. If he bets the pot, sometimes a min raise is all you need to get him to fold. If he calls these raises often, you should probably lead out on the turn with a ½ of the pot sized bet. The important thing is that YOU are making HIM react to your play, which can’t be stressed enough. Another example of a play you can make is raising on the draw. If you flop a good flush draw, straight draw, or both, check raise him on the flop. Lead out with a pot sized bet on the turn, and you will probably take the pot down. If not, you still have a chance to make your hand. Another thing you need to make sure you are doing to play this type of player is being almost as aggressive as he is when it is your button. You now will have the advantage of being the aggressor, as well as being in the best position on the hand. Although you won’t be limping in too often, there are players who will raise every time you limp in. Get a feel for if he is one of these players, and then react accordingly. Limp with anything, let him reraise you, and then raise him huge. He will give you credit for a monster, and will only call with something big himself. If he does call, you can give him credit for some sort of hand, but remember, you are the aggressor and he probably is giving you credit for a top 5 hand. Bet out on the flop regardless, and you should take it down unless he has a set or AK and hits an A or K.

Notes: If this is the type of player that raises over 80% of their hands preflop, and usually folds the rest, be VERY careful if he just limps in. Do not proceed if he starts betting with out 2 pair, a good draw, or better. Its just not worth it due to the fact that there is so little in the pot, and he has played the hand so differently than the way he normally plays. If you see him start to limp a lot, then you can start to make some looser calls as he probably does not have a big pocket pair. There are some advanced plays you can make against this type of player. You know he is going to be betting with anything on the flop, so you can effectively ‘take the pot away’ from him, without even making a raise. If there is a flop including an Ace, a pair, or other ‘scare’ cards, think about doing the following. He will probably make a bet out at the flop. Pause for a moment, and just smooth call. When the turn comes, if he bets again, check-raise him with whatever you have. He will only call here with a huge hand. If he checks the turn, you need to get gutsy. When the river card hits, bet 2/3 the size of the pot minimum, and try to ‘take this pot away.’ This looks like you have an enormous hand due to the fact that you were just smooth calling, making him think you were TRYING to look weak. To give this play its best effect, you should play one of your real hands this way, and then a few minutes later try this bluff.

The most important thing to remember is that you can’t let this person run you over. You need to make him know that you aren’t going to lay down and play passive. If you flop top pair, you cant give them a chance to hit an over card, you need to raise them and make them pay more to see the next card. The same should be done with middle pair, and big draws, in order to add deception.

I've gotten some feedback from some of you who are implementing The Heads Up Doctrine as well as heads up play into your poker aresenal. I have 100% confidence in these methods but at the same time realize it is a huge transition from full nl ring games. I also realize that I do not explain things as thoroughly as I could. If you are having success or trouble with any of the information I have covered, please post a comment or shoot me an email. I'd love to hear from you.

As always, thanks for reading.

Thursday, February 24, 2005


This post is a little update on what you, the readers, have been saying. We have gotten many e-mails from you and I’m going to share some of them right here in my post. Without further ado I bring you our first mailbag.

hey guys, i want to thank you guys for maintaining your blog, the "your game" posts have really helped me fix some leaks headsup. it seems you concentrate your posts on ring games and headsup, do you think you could write about some strategy in small tourneys and sngs? thanks again, drew

Drew, I’m happy we could help you with your leaks. I hope your high school English teacher doesn’t read your e-mail though. It may kill her. Mix in the shift bar every once in a while. Oh yeah, definitely expect future posts on strategy in tournaments and sit-n-go’s.

Guys, I read your site and really enjoy it. I also publish a strategy blog focused on NLHE cash games and I am going to link to your site. if you like what you read at mine, please do the same. Tyler

Only because you asked nicely. Throw in some more posts though so that we don't boot you.

Hi guys,

Found your site via DoubleAs. I have to say, it’s the best Poker blog I have read (up there with The Poker Chronicles) and by far the most useful. I have read your advice on heads up play over and over and then I put it to the test last night. Now Im a winning player and a healthy one at that, but I am amazed at how I have won at all in the past after reading what you wrote. The bit about playing with the button seems to have somehow escaped me over the last 9 months. It is the greatest single bit of advice I have ever been given.

I hit 10/20 last night (above my usual stakes) and launched into heads up with a known good player who sits there waiting for his prey. An hour later, I was $400 up and he actually said ‘well played’. No-one who was worth anything has ever said that to me before and I was buzzing. I have NEVER been so aggressive. Thanks guys. You have improved my game no end and I will never miss another post.

Pokerchamps player

Flintoff, I’m glad we could help you. Hopefully you can continue your newfound success. I’ll e-mail you our physical address where you can send us 25% of all winnings. I think that’s the least you could do.

Fellas -Great info in your posts, I really appreciate it. One suggestion I have, as I am reading the 'player type' and other posts, you frequently refrerence previous posts. It would be very helpful to hyperlink them back, so readers can quickly jump back and get a refresher on that info. Keep up the great work. Thanks, Andy

Thanks genius. Now Lloyd links every other word of his posts. Do me a favor and never e-mail us again. Just kidding. Thanks for the support.

I am looking for a relative named Matt Dean. Just wondered if it was you. Can't find out much about you on the internet. If you are the correct Matt...your relatives would live in Arkansas. Either way, will ya let me know? Thanks,Val

Val, that’s not me. Sorry. You wouldn’t happen to be 20-27 years old, single, and attractive would you? Remember, we aren’t related!

There were some negative e-mails too but I found those people and let’s just say they won’t be bothering us anymore. I was sorely disappointed with the fact that not one of you sent us pictures of attractive females. How are we supposed to churn out good poker advice if we aren’t inspired? Keep e-mailing us and we’ll try to do a mailbag like this once every couple weeks. We linked some other poker blogs this week also for you to check out.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Playing a Hand Fast for Deception

Today I'd like to talk about a strategy that many good cash game players use. This situation comes up when you are in the blinds, and you flop a very good hand. Lets say in this case you hold K6 in the big blind, and it is an unraised pot. The flop comes out Q66. You know are holding just about as close to a cinch hand as it gets at this point. You reaslly are only worried about 6A, as QQ is highly unlikely given the betting preflop. Most weak players will check this hand in the big blind, wanting to look weak. I am going to tell you why sometimes this is not the correct play.
There are times when I am in this situation when I will bet out with this hand. Usually i will make a pot sized bet, or close to it. The reason i do this is because i want to trap anyone who is holding a queen, or may have slowplayed AA or KK. Most people rationalize, "why would the blind bet so strongly if he had a 6, he would rather check and try to slowplay it to get more value." This is the correct way to sometimes, but how much action do you expect to get if you check then call his bet, then check on the turn? Any good player will realize that you could very well have a 6. This is why betting pot works well here. Most opponents will think you have either a Q or a small pair, and are trying to protect your hand. If they hold a Q, they are probably going to go along for the ride. An opponent may take this strong bet as a sign of weakness, and try to re-raise you on the spot. If this happens, you have to decide if you think he will call a reraise, or if you think you should just call him here. If he doesnt raise, and just calls your bet, you should continue to bet hard on the turn. You could also check the turn if you are almost certain he will keep up with his "weak" read and make a bet himself.
The point here is that sometimes you need to make plays that other people think you wouldnt want to make. Playing a hand a strong hand very fast is something that many players just dont think you would do. Once you do this one time and win a big pot off someone, you can do it a few other times when you hold a draw or nothing as an attempt to bluff. You should continue to switch up your play and possibly slowplay a monster like this the next time you get one.