Monthly Archives: May 2008

When is Analyzing a Hand become Over-Analysis

If I had my choice, I’d much rather analyze a hand too much than to never do much analysis at all.  However, I hate when I know I’ve read too much into a hand and screwed myself out of more chips I could’ve had, or worse yet, talked myself into folding.

The other day, I was playing in the middle stages of an [[Poker_tournament|online tournament]] and sitting in middle position during a hand.  The blinds for the hand were 100-200 and I had a chip stack of 8,000.  After the hand was dealt, the first player to act raised the big blind making me think that this person had a big-time hand since they raised in first position.  However, I was sitting in middle position with pocket 10’s and, out of pure conventional poker strategy (and the need to build by dwindling chip stack), decided to call this raise after everyone folded to me.

The player on the button was the only other person to call and then the flop was dealt.  It came up: As, Kh, 10s and the first player to act bet out.  Seeing as how I had just flopped a set, I raised this bet which made the person on the button fold.  Despite my initial thinking that the first player to act had to have either A-A, K-K, Q-Q, or J-J to be betting and raising from this position, I decided that raising the bet was a must with trips.  

Unfortunately, I began to regret my decision as the first player to act re-raised me which almost had me convinced they had either A-A, or K-K.  But not letting the set go, I called their raise and the turn came up 7d which made the board: As, Kh, 10s, 7d.  Once again, the first player bet out and I simply limped in with a call leaving the river to be shown. 

The river came was shown to be nothing more than an 8c and the first player to act again bet out.  And yet again, I limped in which many people advise against but I was in a gray area at this point.  Should I let the trips go and fold just because I was convinced this person had them too or should I keep potentially wasting bets out of the hope that this person only had a pair or two-pair (I hadn’t been at the table long enough to know what kind of player this was)?  My choice was the second and it was time for the showdown.

Somewhat to my surprise, the first player only showed a pair of queens which meant my set of 10’s did the job and I collected the pot.  This person definitely was right to bet out and raise with Q’s early on and definitely was determined to keep up with this trend. 

I could’ve gotten a lot more into the pot than I did but failed to do so because of my analysis of the situation.  Maybe next time I flop a set, I won’t over think it so much. 



Different Bluffs

One of the greatest feelings in poker is pulling off a great [[Bluff_(poker)|bluff]].  I know that every time I make good on one, it makes me feel like I just picked the other player’s pocket (which in a sense I kind of have).  But what’s even better is being able to pull a wide range of bluffs off.  

I know that my personal favorite is the continuation bluff which involves betting out before the [[Flop_(poker)|flop]] with a good hand and then continuing to be aggressive after the flop has been shown no matter what it reveals.  It’s always fun to watch how many people will bow out of the hand thinking that I have a monster.  Of course, I’ve been the one bowing out many times as well so I can’t talk too much.

I can talk about the semi-bluff though as it’s always a classic.  Everyone from novices to pros use this one as it sees a player who doesn’t quite have a made hand yet betting out anyways in hopes of getting others to fold.  But if they don’t fold, the player still has a chance to win the hand if their card comes on the river.

One bluff that I don’t use that much is the all-in bluff.  The bluff that involves going all-in without the best hand in hopes of knocking others out worries me too much.  I don’t like risking everything without the nuts or something close to. 

Two bluffs that I rarely ever use are the cold bluff and the check-raise bluff.  I think that the cold bluff, one which involves making daring bets and raises with nothing at all in an attempt to get everyone to fold, is best left for the movies.

The check-raise bluff is one I never use because most of the types of players I go against wouldn’t even think about it.  Check-raise bluffing sees a player do the typical check then raise if the other player opens the betting in order to get more money into the pot.  However, the difference is that the check-raiser doesn’t have a great hand and wants the other player to fold after the raise in fear that a monster hand awaits. 

This only works on very skilled players as the large percentage of people don’t usually worry about a bluff on a check-raise.  This is a pretty complicated one and makes me glad that I just stick with my continuation and semi-bluffs.

Moving the WSOP final table may actually be a Good Idea

People who are big fans of the [[World_Series_of_Poker|World Series of Poker]] may not be big fans of the decision by the WSOP administrators to delay the final table a full 117 days from the time it’s determined to the time it is played out. After all, the decision means that when the last nine people who will play at the final table are decided at the end of July, fans will have to wait until November to see who will be crowned

However, people have to realize that this move wasn’t made to appease the hardcore fan but rather to engage the casual fan. The WSOP ratings have been sliding for a few years now and keeping the format the same doesn’t seem to be doing the trick. Many people really don’t seem to care that much for the idea of watching the culmination of an event that is almost two months long.

But now, fans will get to see plenty of build-up for the WSOP final table in the form of advertisements, commercials, and commentary. All of this pre-event news may even start drawing new people into the TV audience as they’ll want to know what all the hype is about.

Now I definitely don’t buy the other reasons the WSOP administrators are giving for the move such as any that would benefit the players. These include the final table change being good for those trying to secure endorsement deals, amateur players being able to get professional coaching, and the players being more rested for the last leg of the event.

If the WSOP knew that they would make more money by holding the final table two minutes after it was decided, they would say screw the players, let’s get this thing over with. This idea nonwithstanding, the change should still help the players in the previously described ways.

One thing that I think will suffer though is the viewing of the play and events leading up to the final table. If fans know that the Super Bowl of [[Poker|poker]] is four months away, they’re going to be less likely to watch the pre-final table stuff as intently. We’ll have to wait and see how it all turns out in the end but I think it will be a good move – at least for the WSOP and their final table anyways.

How many Tables can you handle in Online Poker?

Hello and welcome to My Poker Thoughts – a blog that discusses poker news, [[Poker_strategy|strategy]], laws, and pretty much anything that relates to the game of [[Poker|poker]]. And the first thing that I’d like to discuss is something I was talking to a friend about a few weeks ago.

Now this guy makes a living playing [[Texas_hold_em|Texas Hold’em]] online and he was telling me about how he plays five tables at once. Five tables!!?? I began wondering how in the world he could concentrate on five tables at one time. His answer was that he gradually worked his way up to that number by taking it table by table. Plus he kept track of his hourly rate to make sure that he could find out what amount of tables was right for him.

Now, as I found out, it’s very possible for anyone to do this if they follow the right steps. Obviously, moving from one table to two tables is the first logical step. And just about anyone should be able to handle playing two tables at once. It may even be an advantage over playing one table as it forces one to concentrate more on the poker rather than surfing the web in between plays, clicking through songs, etc.

One’s hourly rate should definitely go up upon making the switch from playing one table to two (provided you’re not losing money in the first place). Even if you’re playing No-Limit Hold’em where it is very advantageous to study opponents’ tendencies you should have ample time to get a profile of your opponents in both games.

If you find yourself being able to consistently handle two games and make a decent hourly rate, the next move is definitely three tables. This is where things get a lot trickier as three games seems like a huge jump from two. But, even if play drops off initially, it is a move that can definitely be accomplished. I personally found that three tables at once is about optimal for me.

However, there are definitely many people out there that can handle even more tables and not have a significant drop-off in their play such as my friend who can play five at once. This amount is not for me but I’m sure there’s others who can make this kind of jump and I’d definitely encourage them to do so if their play is up to the challenge. You should also check out this Gambling Library for excellent tips on online gambling.