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Playing Middle Pairs


Texas Hold’em poker players almost dread getting dealt a middle pair because they are so tricky to play. Middle pair can get you in so much trouble and the purpose of this article is to help you make smart decisions when you have to play such hands. For all the examples used in this lesson, your middle pair will be two jacks. read more…

To win the tournament, one player will win all the tournament chips in play.


That’s right, I’m talking about the WSOP main event.  It started today.  About an hour ago actually.  So if you’re in Vegas, and are a bit hung over and trying to get there…you should get there quick..Late registration is closing over the weekend!!

There are more than 1,100 players trying for the top prize at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino this year (In the first day last year there were 1,297 registered players).  Pros,Amateurs, Celebrities (I’m looking at you Jennifer Tilly) anyone who has won a ticket online or just had the cash sitting under their mattress is there and the blinds have already started counting down.  Will it be a “moneymaker” year or more of a Raymer year?  It looks like Pro’s are at the top of the betting line to win the main event this year, with the co-favorites being Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, Gus Hansen, and Tom Dwan. Each is listed at +12000, and as a close second are Andrew Black, Juha Helppi, Ivan Demidov, John Juanda, Barry Greenstein, and Allen Cunningham at +17000 (according to betED).  But hey, anything can happen in poker right!

Last year’s winner, Peter Eastgate, took home $9.15 million after topping a field of 6,844 players — including eight others who had a four month break before the final table in November.  Raphael Zimmerman, a 27-year-old poker player from Oneonta, N.Y., was the first player eliminated from last years tournament when his aggressive play on a straight draw ran into three queens after the first three community cards were dealt.  Zimmerman hit his straight on the turn, but his opponent hit a full house on the river to end Zimmerman’s tournament. “Next year, I’m going to be last out,” said Zimmerman, who said he regularly plays cash games with $50 and $100 blinds. “For a minute, I thought I was going to win anyway.”

I guess we’ll see soon if Zimmerman’s prediction will come true.

Who do you think is going to win this year?

Poker on TV should ALWAYS be played by professionals


Image via Wikipedia

Apparently some producer in Los Angeles (Sam Simon) has had the brilliant idea that you can put any poker game on TV and people will watch it.  That may be true, but as a player myself, i HATE watching “celebrities” play a game, simply because they are famous. 

“Sam’s Game” Debuts Thursday on Playboy TV, and has such stellar poker players as Norm MacDonald, Brande Roderick and a former playmate of the year.  Wow. this show will be entertaining and improve my game.

The only decent player they have is Jennifer Tilly, and i believe she has magical poker powers that live in her breasts. (I’m not complaining..i would gladly give her my cash during a poker game, provided her..ahem..style of play..hasn’t changed…)

Back to poker….Sam Simon said “Texas Hold’em games may not always be stellar, but they will be funny..” While that may be true Sam, if you want people watching your show for any amount of time, get great poker with big names playing a solid game.  Or go in the complete other direction and have strip poker with only playmates playing.  I’d watch that, and not for the poker.

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Online Pokers effect on Big Tourneys


Every year Bluff Magazine puts out a list of top “amateur” players to watch.  It’s a great list with some fantastic talent, but that’s not really what this post is about.  What i noticed about the list is the fact that it’s all WSOP Rookies, or to put it another way, they’re all 21.  Young players with very little live experience is becoming the new norm for WSOP final tables.  They are starting when they’re 18, honing and really translating their online skills to live games.

Starting Young

Players who start playing online at 18 years old are able to make the mistakes all newbies make, but do it in a way that is very minimal risk to them.  By the time they’re 21 and able to play in major live tourneys in the states, they have had 3 years to correct those mistakes and are already well past the nerves of most first time players.

The other advantage to playing online early is all of the tournament entry’s possible to be won.  A lot of these players are able to not only win entry into tourneys in the Caribbean or Monte Carlo (or Canada), but they’re able to cash.  These tournaments have as wide a variance as any tourney in the states, and gives these players a real look at what live poker is all about (not to mention some nice paydays).

Translating their Skills to a live Game

I don’t care what anyone says, online poker and live poker are 2 different monsters.  Translating your skills from sitting in front of a computer to sitting across from someone at a major tourney is a huge challenge.  Even the most  veteran online player has bad habits that need correcting and new skills that need to be learned before becoming a really successful live player.  But i think this discussion is something for a different post.

Overall i think that starting young, online is the way to go.  It really gives you the ability to, at 21 years old, walk in and sit across the table from any of the big names, and realize that everyone is playing the same game…and you know it as well as they do.

“I’m just preparing for the live poker grind. Six weeks of live poker is a shit ton, so I think getting in the right mindset and trying not to burnout,” – Harder

Link to the article

Professional Coaching at the WSOP (and the insane long break..)


Last year, when the final table was reached, there was a break for several months. Professional players offered up their skills to help the amateurs on the table work on their game. My question is this: Is that a complete game changer? Is it fair?

I know that breaks are part of the game, but when you start talking months, that gives time to improve greatly. And, i realize that luck is not the deciding factor in a poker game, but when you’re talking tournament poker luck does have a roll. And so, if your read on someone is that they are a marginal player, and got lucky in their coin tosses…you could get felted in the first round of the final table by following your read.

Admittedly, after a few months, game play can change. But if i was one of the pros sitting at that table, and knew that one of the amateurs was having lessons from chan, negranu, or any of the other pros (who, incidentally didn’t make it), i’d be pretty pissed off. It’s like going the first 10 rounds of a boxing match, then taking a month off, training really hard and coming back to finish the fight. it’s crazy.

So what is this rant about? The long break or the fact that people are exploiting that break? Both really.

But ultimately, the only people being short changed are the fans. All the pros and amateurs are on the same level playing field. If the pro’s at the table are so enclined they can take advantage of the break as well, and hire their professional friends to help them sharpen their poker skills. But the fans are getting an impure look at a deep stack tournament. Just when it really counts, they take a break…a really long break..and change the whole game.

Five Tips To Playing Poker Like A Pro


Full Tilt Poker Pros

So you want to play poker like a pro? You want to be winning millions a year, travelling the globe and living in the fast lane…..is it possible? Yes. In this article, we will cover five strategies employed by the top poker pros that allow them to consistently win at poker and maintain an advantage over the competition:

1. Self Control: Almost all of the majorly successful pros have a strong degree of self-control and discipline not only in life but in the game of poker as well. This is such a vital component of becoming a great player in the game of poker as the temptation to succumb to frustration and go on Tilt is so common and can be deterimental to a players game. All of the top professionals are aware of the effects of frustration and have learned to effectively control themselves when these situations arise.

2. Instinct: Another extremely important attribute that all professional poker players must possess is great instinct and the ability to listen to it.  If you watch any of the top players you will see that they have this innate ability to know when something is up and most of the time when they will win or lose a hand.  Almost all poker players have this, but learning to listen to it is the hard part.  Really listen to yourself when you play poker because most of the time your first instinct is right.

3. Passion: Poker can quickly become a boring game when you are playing 10+ hours per day 6-7 days a week.  To become a true pro you need to be dedicated to the game and really enjoy putting in the hours that are required to keep your game sharp.  This passion will help you through the days where you fold for hours on end or when you have a poor day playing.  Remember, if you don’t love the game, don’t try to be a pro at it.

4. Bankroll: This is probably the most basic aspect of becoming a pro but it is definetely crucial if you truly want to succeed.  Far too many people try to turn professional without the proper funding to do so.  If you want to play poker professionally, make sure that you have an adequate bankroll to play within your chosen limits and enough money to sustain a bad month at the tables.  Underfunded bankrolls are a sure way to ended a pro poker players career.

5. Knowledge: Being a poker pro means knowing all the games, rules, strategies and tricks inside and out.  Expect all of your oppenents to have all this knowledge as well so it is important that you constently study, practice and study some more.  Most of the top professionals watch countless hours of footage, read hand histories and study their opponents playing styles in order to gain an advantage while playing.  This type of research is essential in developing a sound poker game.

Hope you enjoy the article and the tips on playing poker like a pro.  If you want to play poker with some real professional such as Phil Ivey, Gus Hansen and others check out Full Tilt Poker.  They offer a $600 bonus which you can get by visiting our Full Tilt Poker Page via this link.

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