Category Archives: Poker Strategies & Tips

Trading Money on Online Poker Accounts

Ever since the UIGEA act was signed into effect in 2006, poker players have had a much tougher time getting their money in and out of accounts.  Not only can United States players not use credit cards to fund their accounts, but the number of online payment options have been reduced as well.  So, with only a handful of options at their disposal to receive and withdrawal money, poker players are forced to find alternative ways to make financial transactions.

One way poker players are doing this is through player to player trades that involve Player A who can’t easily fund their account on one site trading money to Player B on another site.  Once the trade is made on the other site, the Player B will then transfer money on the site where Player A has difficulty doing so.  It may sound a little confusing, but it’s really not that bad.

Unfortunately, this process often involves two people that have never met face to face so it can be risky for those involved – especially the person that makes the first trade.  That’s why it is so important to make sure you take some precautions before making poker account trades with other players. 

The first thing that you should do is exchange contact information with the player whom you are thinking of trading with.  This way you’ll have a way of getting a hold of the person if the exchange doesn’t work out as planned.  And make sure to check out the contact information to see if it is indeed a way to reach the player before proceeding.

Another thing to do is to make the player comes to a table so you can be assured that they do indeed have the money you need.  Once you can verify this then it is much safer to make the transaction since you can contact the player and know they have the money needed.

Dealing with Poker Jerks

Whenever I get the chance, I like to play online video games with my Playstation 3.  I would say that the majority of the other players in any game you’ll play are pretty cool and reasonable.  Basically, they’re just on there to relax and have a good time.  Unfortunately, there is also a breed of people that get on these games and act like total assholes doing things like berating others for messing up and bragging about how good they are at the game.  Whether they are good at these games or not, it doesn’t matter because the only reason they play for hours is to fill some giant self-esteem void.

I see the same thing in online poker rooms where most of the people are pretty cool while there is also a minority of losers ruining the game for everyone else.  These are the same players that will hit a straight and criticize those that called them at the river with a middle pair.  Then, they’ll turn around and do the exact same thing as the person they were criticizing before and call that player a “donk”, “fag”, or “idiot” through the message box. 

Now, to deal with this type of player, you could always leave the game and find a friendlier bunch to play with.  But this isn’t any fun and the great thing is that, most of the time, these players aren’t really very good themselves.  Personally, I like to challenge these types by raising them a lot and trying to bait them into focusing about me.  A lot of these types will relentlessly go after you until they’re satisfied that they won a pot from you while forgetting the amount of money they lost to try and “get back at you”.

Sure you’ll lose a few pots to players like this and have to hear about it afterwards.  However, I’ve won a lot more money off of these players than anything and think that challenging them is the best thing to do – as long as you can stand the barrage of text insults thrown your way.



The Introduction of Free Poker Training

Almost every poker player knows about the concept of poker training since there are multiple sites across the Internet offering this service.  Poker training, or coaching, sites have several skilled professional players that teach others winning strategy for the game.  In return for this training, players will pay the site a fee so that they can keep getting more coaching. 

And the whole poker coaching scene has created a mini-industry within poker with lots of people rushing to these sites to learn from the best.  However, things could all change since CardRunners is offering free poker training via the poker room Full Tilt Poker.  Last year, the CardRunners pros signed a deal with Full Tilt where they would represent the room and now Full Tilt has included a deal where people can use their rewards points to get a month of free training at either CardRunners or their newly acquired StoxPoker.

Of course the deal isn’t totally free since players will need to use 2,500 Full Tilt Points to get training from StoxPoker or 4,500 points for training at CardRunners, which is geared towards higher limit players.  But, when you look at how many points everything else costs in the Full Tilt store, this is actually quite a deal.

And with two major poker training websites like CardRunners and StoxPoker offering free poker training via the second largest poker room in the world in Full Tilt, it makes me wonder if other training sites will follow this trend.  I’m sure people will still be paying for poker training services for quite some time, but if the deal that Full Tilt/CardRunners/StoxPoker is offering goes as planned, the other poker coaching sites could set up similar deals with other poker rooms.

Small Ball Poker

Most people who play poker stick to rigid starting hand requirements where they make raises and reraises with certain hands pre-flop, make calls with others, and fold everything else.  And this is certainly a good way to condition yourself to avoid playing too many hands, but it’s a poor strategy to carry into every tournament and cash game situation.

Daniel Negreanu is one person who agrees with this and thinks that a poker style called small ball is the way to go when it comes to starting hand requirements.  Negreanu says that small ball poker is a great tournament strategy since it allows a person to stay in control of the table while, at the same time, giving them a steady increase in their stack over the course of the tourney.

Negreanu says anyone who uses small ball poker strategy should certainly play A-A, K-K, Q-Q, J-J just as any advice would suggest.  However, he also says that these hands don’t require automatic raises and reraises – especially if someone in early position has already raised.  With middle pairs like 10-10, 9-9, 8-8, 7-7 a person should make a small (ball) bet in hopes that they will win more money.  The point of playing these hands is to eventually hit a set; once you’ve hit this set then it’s time to bet more money. 

Now Negreanu’s strategy for these hands is no shocking revelation, but what really surprised me is that he advises using the small ball strategy for A-K too.  Negreanu says you want to make small ball raises with this hand because putting in a lot of money pre-flop is a sure way to lose the majority of the time since A-K is susceptible to being beaten by hands like A-6 or A-8 when they turn into two pairs. 

In short, the whole idea of small ball is to make smaller bets with hands that need something else from the board in hopes of winning big money later on. 

No Easy Poker Variations

I recently came across a poker strategy article on how poker players should be playing more Pot Limit Omaha and Limit Omaha HiLo.  The author’s reason for why people should be playing these games more is that players can hope to win more money with them since they’re less populated poker variations.  Basically, these two games aren’t like Texas Hold’em where everybody and their brother is an expert.

But to be honest, this author’s line of thinking is way out of date since people have already moved on to playing games like Pot Limit Omaha and Limit Omaha HiLo.  At the bigger poker rooms, you’ll commonly find full tables in most of the Pot Limit Omaha and Limit Omaha HiLo stakes.  I mean they have WSOP events for these games and online events like the Full Tilt Online Poker Series include these two variations as well. 

If I had to say it, we’re past the point where a person can dominate a poker variation just because there’s so many people who don’t know how to play it.  Every poker variation from 5 Card Stud to Texas Hold’em has players who are killing the game.  We are in an era of poker where there are going to be people who are great in every single variation.

A few years ago, you could jump in a game of something like Omaha HiLo and find people who weren’t so good at the game, but the same was true of Texas Hold’em before the boom in 2003.  People just were not as good at the game back then.  But now, way more people have jumped into the game of poker and there will always be people to fill in where there’s money to be made.

You could say that the smaller rooms have people who are less apt to be good players in the lesser played poker variations.  However, you’ll have a very tough time finding full tables at the limits you want in anything but Texas Hold’em.  Really, there are no shortcuts in today’s poker game and to make money with it, you’ll have to put in hours at the table and study lots of strategy.

Focusing on the Big Picture of Poker Strategy

While I was on the Internet today, I came across an article by one of my favorite poker players – Daniel Negreanu.  In the article Negreanu talks about how there are far too many poker players out there today obsessing about the little things when it comes to poker strategy.  He said they spend too much time trying to figure out stuff like if they’re a 56.2% or 51.8% favorite going into a poker hand. 

To sum things up he says, “the minor details of many poker hands are often unimportant and simply not worthy of in-depth analysis. Worrying about these insignificant details won’t have much effect on your bankroll at the end of the year.”  I definitely agree with these thoughts and I really liked his explanations for what players should be focusing on instead of minute statistics. 

Negreanu instead advises people to look at the bigger picture by spending more time reading opponents at the table and studying psychological aspects of poker.  Getting more in-depth, he also advises people to do a number of other things such as:

– Not calling frequent all-in bets just because you think one is bluffing.
– Avoiding bluffing away large amounts of chips.
– Making big bets in order to protect your great hands so you don’t become the victim of bad beats.
– Automatically calling hands that will only take 5% of your chip stack when you think it’s the correct play (it’s only a small error if you were just a little off in your calculations).

I definitely like this advice from Negreanu and I think that it puts a lot of things in a much bigger perspective.  I think that too many people are worried about shaving every single poker statistic down to the smallest detail when they’re probably getting away from the more important stuff by doing this.  Plus doing too much hardcore number crunching just makes the game less fun.




Learning Poker Tells from the FBI

Most people know the FBI as the investigative unit of the US government.  Some of the various functions that the Federal Bureau of Investigation performs include protecting the US from terrorist activity, combating cyber crime in America, and preventing major white colar crime.  But the last function that people would ever expect the FBI to perform is teaching poker to people.

Joe Navarro seeks to change all of this when he heads to Caesars Palace on November 7th and 8th to teach players at the World Series of Poker Academy.  Navarro’s specialty is nonverbal communication and behavior analysis as he’s been teaching this in the FBI for over 25 years.  But lately, he’s switched his focus to teaching poker players how they can better their game through reading other players at the table.

Obviously using the ability to read players isn’t a new concept but it seems to become something new when Navarro teaches this stuff.  Joe explains that, if a player goes all-in and then proceeds to lean back like he’s casually watching a football game, he’s got the nuts. 

Navarro gets deeper into the analysis by saying, “He’s all in and he’s all spread out.  His legs are open. His arm is splayed across two chairs.  It’s what we call a ‘territorial display’.  It’s what we do when we’re strong. And still, the other guy is struggling whether to call.  I can’t believe I’m watching this.  Why would you call? All the information is right there in front of you.”

Navarro’s excellent grasp of human body language has led him to teach plenty of pros in the past and he made this clear by saying, “I’ve had many professional players in my classes and they sit there with an interest you would not normally expect to see.  They are pros, so you think they would already know everything they need to know. But they are aware that any small edge to a poker player can be invaluable.”

Joe Navarro is one of six instructors that will be at the WSOP Academy this November.  The others are Phil Gordon, Mark Seif, Paul Wasicka, Alex Outhred, and Charley Swayne.  Those wishing to get in on this poker training will have to dish out a $1,999 fee.

Beating the Underpopulation of Fish

I never personally got into online poker during the late 1990’s, but I wish I would’ve.  These were the days when, even if you only knew the basics such as pot odds or that you should be trying to read opponents, you could easily make money.  This is because most people that hopped on the Internet in these days were the true definition of fish.  They had no idea of poker strategy and they were practically guaranteed money at the table (at least according to the stories I’ve heard).

Things remained in this fashion on into the early 2000’s, although players did start getting better.  By the time that I jumped into online poker in 2003, players weren’t really too great nor too bad.  I myself was just starting out in these days so I wasn’t the greatest either but I eventually got better.  Unfortunately, it seems as if everyone else got better too or just dropped out of poker altogether.  Now it’s much harder to find really bad Internet poker players out there and every review that claims a room is full of fish is way outdated. 

The truth is that there are still fish out there but they’re just not as bad.  The whole deal has changed now since players skills have improved so it’s not just a matter of seeking out really awful players.  Loose and aggressive players no longer bet out on every hand nor do they stay past the flop all of the time.  Basically, these people aren’t as easy to take advantage of anymore. 

The one thing that does remain constant is the tight players as there’s plenty of people who still see this as a safe alternative to playing too aggressively.  Now don’t mistake this for being tight/aggressive as most of these players are not to be taken lightly.  However the passive players, who used to be ignored back in the early days of online poker, are definitely a group that needs to be taken advantage of now. 

The great thing about the ultra-tight players, or tight/passive people, is that they will surrender blinds very easily.  They wilt to bluffs and semi-bluffs if they aren’t holding good hands and their money is easy to obtain.  The only thing is though, you’ll have to battle others for these blinds too and you will also have to battle players that you used to avoid at the tables.  This may mean going after the aggressive players who you perceive to be somewhat weak.  The key is that there aren’t as many major fish out there so you have to be more aware of the tiny advantages that you can exploit.



Part II: Are Poker Training Websites Really Worth It?

Several weeks ago I did a post on the issue of just how effective poker training websites really are (see it here).  After all, this is a growing part of the poker industry since places like,,, and have developed pretty big membership bases.  I couldn’t exactly speak from personal experience but I was kind of wondering on the success rate that these places offer their players.

Well just recently I got my first feedback on how these sites are doing as I heard of a thread at (see it here) that deals with the topic of how good the instructors actually are at playing the game of poker themselves.  The thread was aimed at the aforementioned and, unfortunately for the site, it wasn’t exactly good feedback.

The person who started the thread was somebody who got curious about the actual skill of the teachers at and did a search on their cash game histories through  After the search was completed, it was discovered that 7 out of 9 of the main instructors at the site were losing money when playing cash games.  This definitely begs the question: are these the type of people that you want to pay money to teach you the game of poker?

Now obviously this could have just been chalked up to a bad run if it was just one of the pros.  However, 7 out of 9 of them had poor results which again makes me question the effectiveness of these so-called pro instructors and even the sites themselves.  I’m definitely going to keep up on this story and see if anything else pops up about the subject.



Are Poker Training Websites Really Worth It?

I just recently saw where two of the bigger poker training websites out there in and have decided to join forces to make a mega-training site.  Now I’m not sure what the exact numbers of StoxPoker’s membership base is but it has to be somewhat similar to CardRunner’s as their co-founder said it’s over 14,000 members.  This is certainly going to make for a big-time training site that can now compete with some of the giants like PokerPwnage and Real Poker Training.

And this story really got me thinking; Are these poker training sites really worth the money?  I myself have never actually been a member of one nor do I have any immediate plans to join one of these places either.  I really just stick to reading books and strategy articles.  However, the prospect of having players who make millions every year like Nick “Stoxtrader” Grudzien training me is definitely an intriguing prospect.

I sometimes wonder what the success rate of the players who go through poker training websites like StoxPoker, Real Poker Training and others are like when compared to the rest of the online poker community.  There seems to be a lot of ads from these companies touting their training abilities by saying how they’ve trained so-and-so who just placed really high in a recent tournament.

Now I’m sure that these companies only take those who excel and use them for the little ads and articles they run but poker training is something that always seems to be worth the consideration.  But I’d really like to see what kind of return on their investment these players are getting for joining these training sites as I’ve never really seen any kind of figures.  Until that kind of stuff becomes available, I guess I’ll just stick to the books.