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!