4 Common Texas Hold’em Mistakes to Avoid

Players should always strive to be their best and whilst I’ve said perfect poker is impossible – playing your best isn’t. We’ve offered coaching in various forms for over 3 years now and came across all kinds of poker leaks players have. There’s too many to list in one post but in this article we’re going to share four common Texas Hold’em mistakes to avoid. If you are a victim of any of these, reach out to us and see how we can help.

1) Not thinking decisions through

This mistake is not unique to only newbies who barely know how to play Texas Hold’em poker. It’s also grinders and even professionals who are guilty of this mistake. It’s easy to do when you’re multi-tabling or on the backend of a long session but there’s no excuses for rushing decisions.

Texas Hold’em is a game that requires methodology and your brain to work out what is the right action. If you rush decisions you will make bad plays that cost you money. This happens a lot in tournaments where some poker players turn off and are basically playing on “autopilot”.

2) Only playing your own cards

The beauty of poker is when you’re “playing the player”. A common Texas Hold’em mistake is to just play your own cards and not assign ranges to your opponents. This is especially true for inexperienced poker players who are focusing on what they have in their hand and how good or bad it is and not giving attention to those around them.

A strong player is using GTO or exploitative poker strategy to beat their opposition. They are not just looking at the fact they have king four in the cut-off. Hand reading opponents is a critical skill to learn and starts with pre-flop and assigning ranges. It means narrowing your opponents range based on their playing style and position. As you progress throughout the hand you can eliminate certain groups of hands which will lead you to good decision making.

3) Playing too many hands

Whether its impatience or watching their favourite pros bluff with deuce seven – the most common Texas Hold’em mistake is to play too many hands. The experienced poker players make the mistake of thinking they can outplay everyone post-flop or get away from a solid holding if they’re beat. In reality, they will always lose some money with top pair if they connect.

The fishier players are just impatient and overplay certain hands. They love their ace rag and suited kings because they have big cards or are suited. This mistake is often the first one we eradicate from a new player looking to improve their game.

4) Reacting poorly to bad luck

Humans are emotional beings and don’t handle adversity all that well. This is amplified when money is involved at the poker table. Tilt is a challenge that many poker players have to deal with.

Tilt is the term coined to describe a player’s behaviour at the table. Tilting is typically associated with erratic behaviour, raising too much, going all in and just playing bad in general. It hits poker players when they lose to a bad beat or perhaps a cooler. It can happen for many reasons, even as mundane as losing a single buy in.

We can’t control the luck aspect of poker, we will get unlucky at times but you can control how you react to it. If you can’t keep your emotions in check and stay playing well, you need to get up and leave to protect your bankroll. We recommend setting a stop loss limit so you don’t tilt off your profits.


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Bitcoin Casinos: The 2021 “thing”?

Introduction to Bitcoin Casinos

Bitcoin has continued to attract immense interest this year. With all the buzz around the price of 1 bitcoin and figureheads like Elon Musk weighing in, it’s no surprise that casinos have grown to love bitcoin.

Bitcoin casinos are any casino you find online that accepts bitcoin or another cryptocurrency instead of the local currency. It’s a smart move to accept BTC as it caters to the recreational gambler who may have money tied up in bitcoin. In this post I’m going to share a little bit of news and hopefully some insight on bitcoin casinos in 2021.

Why Operators Love Bitcoin

The online casinos will be loving the boom in cryptocurrency. They are reaping the benefits for one simple reason – no bank fees. It doesn’t matter if you’re depositing or cashing off, no bank or admin fees whatsoever with bitcoin. When you consider the volume that online casinos deal with, to wipe them out through a different payment method is a huge deal.

Operators will also be loving the new registrations coming from bitcoin investors new to online gambling. Bitcoin is not accepted in all parts of the economy yet. Individuals with bitcoin are still a little restricted in where they can use it but online casinos are (with open arms). It’s quite likely that anyone who took a shot on bitcoin will enjoy the potential to win from online gambling.

It’s too early to say if this cost-saving is benefitting punters or not. In theory, the operators could now offer more lucrative bonuses and incentives for players to sign up. Or, they might use it for advertising or just retain their profits. I haven’t found a conclusive answer to this question but either way, the operators will be happy they aren’t forking out millions to banks.

Why Gamblers Prefer Bitcoin

Bitcoin is a universal currency that makes no distinction between Canadian, Aussie, German or Brit. I think this commonality is one reason why gamblers love to use cryptocurrency. It’s also why brand-new casinos are opening with Bitcoin as their primary selling point. Websites like new-casinos.ca highlight all the new casinos in Canada and it’s amazing to see how many are around today.

One of the biggest reasons for gamblers using it has to be the privacy factor. Bitcoin casinos allow players to keep their details private. Most casinos only ask for an email address to register and deposit and some only request ID when you want to cash out. That’s very appealing as you no longer need to provide name, address, date of birth and more.

I think most gamblers like to keep their gambling to themselves. It’s not only those with problems that keep gambling private. There are many professionals that keep their results to themselves. They don’t want to see it on their bank statements. In today’s “big brother” society, keeping prying eyes away from our affairs is no bad thing so it’s understandable why gamblers enjoy the privacy that bitcoin casinos offer.

Constant Bitcoin News

Bitcoin casinos are thriving from the trending Bitcoin news. It’s in inescapable and shows no signs of dying down. I think Bitcoin will be here for a long time to come. With everything in the 21st century moving to a digital platform it’s perfect for all parties. Operators make more profits and punters love the convenience, privacy and speed it affords.

As long as bitcoin is trending and, in the news, more people will see it’s value for online activities and particularly gambling. Anything that boosts the poker industry and gambling industry in general can be good but as always, we need to tread carefully too. The price of bitcoin is prone to fluctuating regularly so a small disclaimer to be cautious and gamble responsibly.

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Video Poker and Gambling in Finland

Poker is among the most popular casino games in Finland. Players like Patrick Antonius, Joni Jouhkimainen, and Juha Helppi have been instrumental in shaping Finland’s professional poker environment. However, despite being the hub of poker for years, Finland does not have poker-friendly laws.

Finnish punters don’t have access to a lot of legal poker rooms and despite the recent boom in the iGaming market, the situation has largely remained unchanged. On that note, let’s take a quick look at the Finnish poker industry.

The History of Poker in Finland

Unlike most of its neighbours in the European Union, Finland’s love for poker is only a few decades old. Before the early 90s, poker was primarily restricted to underground gambling venues. The Lotteries Act of 2001 is the primary benchmark for the current regulations in Finland. Despite frequent protests, the authorities are yet to amend the ageing restrictions.

The Gambling Act enforces the monopoly of state-owned operators in Finland. And while this has its pros and cons, a growing number of Finnish punters are signing up on offshore gambling platforms despite the inherent risks. A major amendment was made to the 2001 Gambling Act in 2010. The legislation imposed new regulations on advertising. This barred online casinos from promoting poker outside venues where the game was already offered. This drastically reduced the presence of video poker in Finland.

The Current State of Poker in Finland

Considering the Finnish authority’s stance towards poker in the past few decades, it’s no surprise that the current state isn’t promising for poker enthusiasts. Barely a handful of licensed brick-and-mortar casinos offer poker today. I recommend Casino Helsinki as one of the most prominent poker venues in Finland.

While that’s about it for land-based venues, the online poker scenery is far more complex. Since offshore online casinos aren’t regulated in Finland, players have a tough time deciding on whether to sign up. Legal online casinos don’t offer video poker, which is a serious point of dissent among the gambling community.

With that being said, offshore casinos are immensely popular in the country since the government takes a softer approach against international platforms. From the player’s perspective, this is a golden opportunity as the authorities are unlikely to take action. Moreover, since Finland is a part of the European Union, players constantly take advantage of the loopholes in the Finnish gambling legislation. So, if you’re signing up for an online casino that’s illegal in Finland but regulated in the EU, there is no legislation to stop you.

The Future of Video Poker in Finland

It’s too early to predict the fate of video poker in Finland. There have been rumours of the authorities cracking down on illegal casinos offering poker and other casino games. However, the EU is still against the country’s harsh monopoly on gambling and has been quite vocal in warning the Finnish government to amend its policies.

The next few years will be interesting to watch as the government plans its next move in modernizing the market. Experts predict that a large number of poker aficionados will seek solace in neighbouring markets like Sweden and Denmark as new legislation paves the way for a booming iGaming market in the Scandinavian region.

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Deep Stack Poker Strategy & Tips

The complexity and beauty of No Limit Texas Hold’em is found in deep stack poker games. These are typically cash game formats but can also be found in super slow tournament structures too. Its splendour is due to the fact a player can lose a lot of money in any given hand. Secondly, it’s poker at its best – you and your opponents have more available options.

Every round is a challenge and a mental exercise as you wrestle to decide the best move available. That’s why in this article I’m going to share some deep stack poker strategy that should give you an advantage over low stakes players (NL $100 and below). If you combine the brief overview in this with hard work, you should be able to generate a positive win rate.

Don’t get attached to top pair and over-pairs

One of the major leaks found in players who struggle with deep stacks is the top pair overplay syndrome. As stacks deepen, the relative hand strength changes too. In other words, top pair top kicker might seem like the nuts with 20 bbs but at 200 big blinds or more, it’s potentially costly.’

The best deep stack poker players are profiting from inferior opponents who don’t correctly adjust for the deeper stacks. This happens all the time in major live tournaments too where you can see beginners stacking off in the early levels with top pair or over-pairs.

Obviously, you want to extract value in times when your hand appears to be best but there’s a balance between getting value and not going over the top. This is especially true on wet boards that contain potential flushes and straights.

Remember, you don’t have to re-raise with top pair all the time. You can pot control occasionally and adjust your sizing based on board texture too. Finally, you need to be prepared to fold to large river bets if the action suggests your opponent has you beat. The worst thing you can do is continuously pay off large river value bets from nits.

Speculative hands go up in value

The hands that appear as underdog to premium hands go up in value in deep stack games. This is due to the fact you’re not playing match ups like pre-flop all-ins or playing out an all-in pot before you hit the turn. Hands like suited aces and suited connectors have various combinations of flush draws, straight draws, insight draws and disguised two pair and three of a kind.

These hands also go up in value because they’re easier to play. As you’re more likely to have better equity post-flop, you can make more creative players. For instance, you can semi bluff with a draw or float with backdoor potential or call with bottom pair – hoping to improve or make a move later. You can apply pressure and win it now or improve to the better hand.

The possibilities are wider and the value of deception goes up when you’re playing with big stacks. These hands are also easier to play multi-way as many pots are contested with more than one opponent in deep stack play.

Position becomes even more powerful

I expect all of my readers to understand position is vital in poker, otherwise you’ve not read out strategy before or are brand new to poker. But the emphasis on position is amplified even further in deeper stacked formats. Closing the action on every round is a huge advantage that can’t be stressed enough.

 Conversely, playing out of position becomes more problematic and trickier. Against tough opposition you can face pressure and difficult decisions for big pots in later rounds. Being under pressure and facing big bets is especially challenging in the deeper games as one mistake can prove very costly. You are generally faced with two decisions; hold on and bluff catch or fold and potentially be bluffed. Neither option is appealing and it shows the trouble you may find yourself in when playing regularly out of position.

The best way to handle this dilemma is to try and be the one playing in position more frequently. Yes, you have to play out of position too but by tightening up against the tougher players from out of position you are one step from protecting profits gained elsewhere. Err on the side of caution in big pots and you will also safeguard yourself from stacking off lightly.

Each position at the table will generate different levels of profit for you. The small blind is the worst as you will always be first to act. The later positions should always be your most profitable so take advantage of this in all forms, (both online and live poker formats).

Quick Tips for Deep Stack Poker Strategy

Now we have the three main tips out of the way, we can focus on some quick wins you can get in low stakes games. Remember to not overuse the plays, utilise them more in position and against weaker opponents and you will reap the rewards.

Wider range for 3 bets

The worst thing you can do in games of 150 bbs or more is to have a predictable range for your 3 bets. Even average poker players will pick up on this and exploit you if you’re only 3 betting jacks or better. To combat this, make yourself harder to play against and create confusion you must throw in some other hands into your 3-betting range. By doing this, you will increase your chances of getting paid later, enhance your table image as a LAG and cause problems to your opponents.

I know this advice seems quite general as you may be asking “what hands do I 3 bet?”, “Who do I 3 bet?”, “Does my 3 bet range change based on position?”. The chart below is a guide to some hands that can work well in 3 bet pots. Factor them into 3 betting opponents who are opening from middle or late position – ideally when you have position and you can expect decent results.

A word of warning though – this deep stack poker strategy tip is for players with experience. If you are a beginner and not accustomed to 3 bet pots or deep stacked games, read our cheat sheet or TAG poker articles first. The blue coded hands are a combination of suited aces, kings, ace rag and suited connectors that you can add to your 3-betting range.

Isolate players heads up

The second quick win for deep stack games is to iso-raise as much as you can. Most table dynamics should afford you opportunities to isolate weaker players. By doing this you will command a good win percentage of pots you contest. You’ll either win it pre-flop without contest or play the pots heads up against an inferior opponent. Both of these are a successful recipe to winning players.

To isolate players effectively, target players who make small raises frequently or like to enter the pot by limping in. They are the perfect players to use exploitative poker strategy against. You will be able to continuation bet with a higher rate of success against them.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are multiple aspects to profitable deep stack poker strategy. This article has touched upon and giving an introduction to the key elements involved. If you have enjoyed this article and are interested in improving your deep stacked play visit some of the relevant pages below for support or book in a free consultation with me to see how we can help you.

Most Popular Casino Banking Options

Every online casino has these features: a website or app, games, bonuses, a license, contacts, security tools and banking methods. Some features, like bonuses aren’t compulsory. But no online casino can survive without banking options.

Players need a way to deposit money to their accounts if they’re to play slots and card games for real money. Also, they need a way to cashout their profits. So, what are the best methods for depositing money to casino sites?

 1—Credit/Debit Cards

Debit and credit cards are the most popular payment methods at online casinos. It’s unlikely to find a gambling website that doesn’t accept Visa, MasterCard or Maestro. And if it’s an American casino, you could also find Discover and American Express cards.

Why should you deposit money using one of the cards mentioned above?

Visa

Visa is arguably the biggest card issuer in the world. It’s fast, secure and accepted universally. As such, you can use it at hundreds of online casinos. Visa’s fees vary depending on your bank.

Its benefits also vary depending on your bank. But generally, it comes with zero fraud liability in case you lose your card, emergency card replacement and sign-up bonuses at casino sites and eCommerce sites.

Mastercard

MasterCard is Visa’s biggest competitor. It comes with nearly all the benefits you receive from Visa. As a result, there’s almost no difference between Visa and MasterCard. Most websites that accept Visa also support MasterCard.

When it comes to fees, interest rates and transaction speeds, the two companies fair equally well. That said, you could select MasterCard over Visa if your bank offers some exclusive rewards for choosing the card issuer.

Maestro, Discover and American Express

If you prefer to use Maestro, Discover or American Express for various reasons, know that they have limitations in the casino space. They don’t rank amongst the most supported banking providers.

For reference, you can check this list of casino banking options to discover the best deposit and withdrawal methods. It’s a comprehensive list that features card payments, e-wallets, bank transfer and cryptocurrency accepted at top online casinos.

2—E-wallets

For many, e-wallets are the best options to depositing and withdrawing money from online casinos. Think about it. You don’t have to reveal your credit card information. Fees are lower and transactions are much faster compared to cards.

Unfortunately, not all e-wallets are accepted at online casinos. Still, to be clear, there are numerous choices:

PayPal

PayPal is the undisputed champion of e-wallet payments and not just in the casino scene. Nearly every shopping website also accepts PayPal. This means the eBay owned company does something right.

Let’s start with its fees. PayPal charges zero fees when depositing money to online casinos. Instead, it charges the merchants—casino companies. This ensures you can deposit from $10 to $10,000 and play games like Texas Hold’em at most casinos without paying any fees.

Another crucial benefit of PayPal is One Touch. This security tool keeps your banking data safely and away from merchants. Essentially, you give PayPal your data so that you don’t have to reveal the information to every online casino you join.

Skrill

Although PayPal is the king of e-wallets, it competes neck and neck with Skrill in the iGaming industry. Not every casino supports PayPal but nearly every gambling operator allows you to deposit and withdraw money using Skrill.

The Paysafe-owned e-wallet was created to process payments for gambling businesses. However, it has since expanded to provide transactions for non-gambling businesses. The company is quick and low-cost. But beware: lots of casinos don’t give out bonuses if you deposit using Skrill.

Neteller

Neteller is Skrill’s sister site. As a result, it has most of the benefits and disadvantages of using Skrill. For example, it’s incredibly popular among casino players. It lets you deposit money to casinos freely. However, you also risk not getting a bonus when you use it for casino payments.

In case you’re wondering, the reason Skrill and Neteller deposits are disqualified from bonuses is because of bonus abuse. Some people used to create multiple accounts to receive bonuses, which casinos frown upon.

EcoPayz

EcoPayz is one of the most popular casino payment methods for casino players in Europe (it operates in Europe’s SEPA countries). It’s a mobile-friendly digital wallet that lets you fund your account using Visa, MasterCard, wire transfer, American Express or Giropay.

SOFORT

SOFORT is another casino e-wallet option mainly popular in Europe. Precisely, it works in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Belgium. It allows customers in these countries to fund their accounts through cards and wire transfer. In turn, it processes payments to casinos free of charge.

Google Pay and Apple Pay

Google and Apple are always competing. With Google and Apple Pay, these two technological giants are revolutionizing how we pay using credit cards. No need to provide your card numbers. You hover your card to an app and a transaction is processed.

Apple Pay and Google Pay are now available in loads of online casinos. And guess what? You can earn a bonus for using either payment method.

3—Bank Transfer

Bank transfer is one of the oldest banking options in the world. Surprisingly, it’s still a popular way of depositing and withdrawing money from casinos. Its biggest benefit is that you can deposit tens of thousands of dollars. But this comes at the cost of time—wire transfer payments take up to five days.

4—Cryptocurrencies

There’s no denying Bitcoin is a hot commodity in 2021. Elon Musk is a big fan. Snoop Dogg loves it and millions of people around the world own it for speculative reasons. Of course, BTC isn’t the only cryptocurrency out there.

If you hate Bitcoin’s scalability limitations, then you can use Doge coin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple and hundreds of altcoins for casino deposits and withdrawals. Cryptocurrencies offer extremely low transaction fees and flexible banking limits.

Interestingly, you can also claim huge bonuses for depositing money using crypto. At some casinos, you can grab up to 5BTC in rewards. This is way more money than you can receive for depositing using dollars or euros.

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Casino Bonuses That Work Best in Australia

Casino Bonuses Australia

I know many of my readers are from down under and have interests in other forms of gambling too. Pokies is particularly popular in Australia with it being one of the most beloved of gambling games. Like much of the world, Australia has a wide variety of bonuses available to residents.

What’s more, there are no complex tax issues in Australia. Like the UK tax system, gambling winnings in Australia are not taxed so any money earnt from casino bonuses in Australia is not taxable. This is unlike other areas of the world where they impose taxes on the few who win regularly from online gambling exploits. In this article I’m going to share a few of the most popular casino bonuses you can take advantage of.

The No Deposit Bonus

The best bonus of all has to be the no deposit casino bonus. This bonus is available on most online casinos in Australia upon registration. It takes just a couple of minutes to do and is well worth the time as you’ll be able to gamble risk free with spins or bonus money that the casino provides upon successful registration.

Usually, you only need to provide basic details like your name, address, date of birth and a valid email. Some places require a bit more information like contact number, ID and possibly a credit card too. This shouldn’t alarm you as a customer though. After all, if you win and want to cash it off, they need to know where it’s going to be sent.

Erik King of Zamsino is an expert in casino bonuses and regularly writes excellent content on this matter. He predicts that “darker times ahead” with casinos tightening the purse-strings on no deposit bonuses in the future so take advantage while you can.

The Free Spins Bonuses

This bonus type has been around for years and appeals to loads of people who want to gamble without investing. Again, it doesn’t require player to physically deposit funds. However, it’s worth highlighting that spins are played via online slots. This form of gambling is where the house arguably has the greatest edge. It’s therefore no surprise that spins are offered for free.

Furthermore, as with all bonuses, there are strict criteria that must be met before you are eligible for withdrawal. Always read any terms and conditions before trying to take advantage of a casino bonus in Australia.

Free spins bonuses have been subject to criticism and pressure in recent times as online casinos must be careful with advertising. Strictly speaking they can’t advertise “free spins” if they are asking for a deposit of funds in exchange.

The Matched Deposit Bonus

Finally, we come to one of my favourite Australian casino bonuses.  As the name suggests, you get a bonus equalling your deposit. Often the promotions that run offer 100% but the percentage varies from one casino to another. Again, the terms and conditions need to be read as you will need to wager x amount first and some games may be off limits.

The matched deposit bonus is great as it doesn’t only incentivise new players like most casino bonuses. It rewards existing players who may fancy a flutter. To take advantage, I recommend bookmarking some of your favourite Aussie casinos and regularly check them. They will periodically run and promote the matched bonus on their homepage.

Online Gambling: Using VPN to Play Poker Online

VPN Poker Online

One of the best things about online gambling is the fact that it is accessible almost everywhere.  The notion of having poker available at your fingertips excites poker fans worldwide, however many US states have in place restrictions to playing poker online. This is why having a VPN and knowing how to use it is useful.  If you are a true poker fan, and want to know how to access poker from countries where gambling is illegal, continue reading.

To get you started playing, you need to have a VPN installed on your gaming device (desktop, mobile, tablet). The good news is, the cost of a VPN for a whole year subscription is relatively cheap. Once you purchase the VPN package, you can use it on all your gaming platforms via the same account.

If we had to suggest a VPN, we’d say that ExpressVpn or SurfShark would be a good place to start. The purchase will only set you back a couple of dollars max, so no issues there.  Once you make the purchase, you will need to make sure to adjust the VPN settings, so that your desktop would be able to use the VPN service. Simply choose a server you would like to join, anywhere around the globe, and hit the join button.  Once the green light appears, it means that you are connected to the specific country server that you have chosen.

Since you are here, most probably you would like to get access to a gambling site that needs some help to reach. This is why I’m writing about and this is why it would be useful to give you some information on VPNs. Choosing your VPN is an integral part of a successful gaming experience.

Why a VPN?

Just because you read about VPNs, it does not necessarily mean that you need one.  If you do need a VPN, there are tons out there to choose from. Start by reading some reviews from other people that downloaded would be a good start.  How effective was the VPN?  Was there a long waiting time to connect to the VPN?  Did other players / users get disconnected when using a specific VPN service?  When you are reading the reviews on different VPN offers, these are the questions that you need answered.

So, let’s now understand what a VPN does.  The VPN is a Virtual Private Network, and is used to help you access sites that your location does not allow you to.  It will keep your browsing information and also your current location as private, so that is a plus to know that you are safe 100% using a VPN service. Just keep in mind that using a VPN has pros and cons, so you need to evaluate if you truly need a VPN before using one.

How does a VPN work?

A VPN service has a very simplistic way in how it operates.  Once you settle on a location server, and hit the ‘ Join Server’ button, all your browsing information and location will be connected to another server.  In theory, this means that all your information will be sent to this new server.

Once you click on that specific server, you can access any site that accepts visitors from that location.  For example, you could be residing in Switzerland, yet accessing a VPN server in New York. Choose any location you want and just connect. Basically, the VPN operates in a way that will stop the data shared between your phone / laptop and the specific server. Your physical location will be hidden when connecting to a VPN server, any server.

Why use a VPN when you are playing online poker?

If the specific site that you have registered at allows players from your country to play, there is no need for you to use a VPN, however when playing online poker, VPN does come handy sometimes.  Let’s list some pros and cons and see how it could benefit you in the end.

Security

We all know that security is key when you are gambling online and using your bank information.  Sometimes you would need to use a specific e-wallet and you would need your private information safe. Using a VPN will allow you to keep all your personal information private, including financial and account information. Using a VPN will create a shield wall between an unsecured server getting access to your information. Hence in this case, the VPN would offer you added security to all your data and transactions.

Privacy

When you login to the internet, some of your information is transmitted, like it or not.  Your IP address is available to everyone with some skill to access and even your location via that. If you opt to use a VPN service, there is a small element of your persona that stays hidden.  You will have a new IP address once you connect to the server VPN, and this offers an extra added layer of privacy. If extra privacy is what you crave online, a VPN is a must.

Way around laws and regulations

If you are looking to access online poker, and you are located in countries where gambling is illegal, a VPN would be a good way to bend the system. Some states across the United States and also countries across Europe have limited access to gambling websites, especially the ones that offer online poker. If you want to access the sites, you can. All you need to do is access the VPN via a server where gambling is allowed and legal. Once that is done, you will be given the extra green light you crave to access the site.

Types of VPNs available in the market?

Now that we understand that a VPN is needed to have security, protection and also access to gambling sites, the next question to get answered is what type of VPN to go for. If you google free VPN, you will find many sites that offer you VPN, with no payment needed.  Other sites would ask you for an annual subscription. So, what is the main difference between a paid vpn and a free one?

The Free VPN does not need much introduction, and once you download the application on your device, you will not be asked for a payment. Here you will not get much perks, just the basic stuff that sometimes is irrelevant to your gaming needs. Unfortunately, using a free VPN, your data might get sold by the app. This might be a potential risk to your online security. Also, free VPNs offer limited access to a limited number of servers worldwide.

The paid VPNs are normally bound with a monthly or an annual subscription fee that you would need to pay for before using the service. You can choose between 1 month and a year, and some VPNs also offer you a trial period so that you can test the service. Here you get better layers of security for your online persona, plus you have access to a wider selection of servers. Apart from this, if you get stuck, there is always a CS team on hand with a paid VPN service.

You need to make a list of the pros and cons for you purchasing a VPN or not.  Do you need that added security?  And if you are needing a VPN to access a gambling site?  Do some research, and check out the best option for you.

Are there any consequences to using a VPN?

Rules and laws are there, and they are there for people across the globe to follow.  Although sometimes we do not agree that some countries do not allow gambling, it is a fact, and going ahead could lead to some serious implications.  If caught gambling in a state or a country where gambling is a no-go, you could face fines and even higher legal consequences.

Nowadays many gambling sites have powerful tools that they can use to surpass VPNs and get access to identifying potential fraudulent players. So, in truth, using a VPN is not always 100% safe as you might have thought in the beginning. And just to give you the heads up, casinos and gambling sites are obliged to tackle and report any misdoings, or they too might get fined heavily. Also, you will be banned from using that specific site in the future.

Using a VPN to access and play for real money at an online gambling site might be tempting, but you need to ask yourself if the risk is even worth taking?

Which VPN is worth it?

Now that you have decided whether VPN is needed or not, we can have a look at providers out there. The good, the bad and the ugly. But first, lets look at the key elements.

Budget

To start off, you need to check your bankroll, and see what is the budget that you have in terms of buying your VPN service. If you do some research and browse the available options, you will find that there are some decent VPNs out there which you can buy for a decent $100 and sometimes less.  For such a VPN, you will have available more servers to choose from, plus more security, hence peace of mind.

Operating System

When reading about VPNs make sure that you reach out to the ones that cater for your device.  You might be using Microsoft, Linux or even Mac. Make sure that the service that you settle on will be ok with your operating system.  Whilst some can be integrated, some cannot and are not supported.

Server Locations

Server availability plays a big role in the VPN that you choose. Before opting for a specific VPN, check that the VPN has the servers that you are looking for. It would also be wise to check the gambling site, and make sure that they accept players from servers available on the VPN.

Review and Feedback

One thing that we cannot stress enough about is the research that you need to do.  When accessing VPN sites, read the reviews of what other VPN users wrote about the site. Was that a good review or was it a bad one?  We also suggest that you check other independent and comparison sites for VPNs to and collect all the info you need to make a wise decision.

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Some VPNs to consider …

We have done some digging for you in terms of VPNs and below are some of the best suggestions out there.

CyberGhostVPNWe love the name of this VPN, it gives us the feeling of invisibility and that extra security needed. Here you can pay around $5 monthly and have accessibility to over 6,000 servers in more than 112 places worldwide. This VPN is quite cheap, but offers one of the best services out there.
ExpressVPNThis VPN is quite popular with VPN users and grants you a wider access to locations compared to other VPNs. Here you pay around $100 via an annual subscription, that grants you access to 160 locations. Deemed as one of the most trustworthy VPNs by many users.
Norton Secure VPNNorton, the same company that gives us the antivirus software, also offers a VON service. Quite reasonably priced at less than $40 for an annual fee, here you get access to 1500 servers that are located in 73 cities across the globe. You also get a 24/7 CS team that is ready to help you with any VPN questions.
SurfSharkThere is a specific reason that VPN users enjoy this VPN. The service offers you VPN, coupled with ad-blocking and tracker blocking features. All of this will set you back a 100$ for a whole year, which in our humble opinion, is worth every penny. You also get access to 1,000 servers spread across 60 locations.

How to change your settings to accommodate your VPN

Now that you have managed to purchase the VPN and downloaded it successfully onto your system, you would need some tech magic to make it work flawlessly. Some VPNs will have this pre-configured with the app, so no work is needed there.

If you need to amend your setting, worry not as the process is quite simple and straightforward. You start by filling out the server and the host information, here you might be asked to enter your password and username too. If you need to continue configuring the VPN service, do not just press yes and there.  Have a look below:

Automatic or Manual Setup – You can use your VPN service at all times that you are using the device, or you can use it when needed. Let’s say for example you are using your desktop to do some work, the VPN can be turned off, and you can switch it on by clicking the connect button when needed. Make sure it is on when you are playing online poker.

Unsecured VPN Connections – A VPN that is operational on your device will most of the time not allow you to use any unsecured internet connections. This means that you cannot be outside joining a free Wi-Fi and try to join a VPN. When using your VPN service, you need to be connected to a secured network.

Selecting Servers – You can choose your servers according to your liking and save these also. The VPN would simply look at your favorite servers and also connect your automatically. This will save you some time.

Connecting to the server

You are now one step closer to playing online poker. One last step and you and in and hitting the poker tables. Before you so do, there are some last bits to consider to keep yourself safe and also happy playing.

The gambling laws saga

Well, if you are here, it means that you want to play poker at a site that does not host any players from your country. However, some knowledge to which states allow online poker would be good.  Once you understand which servers’ locations will accept players, you can connect. E.g. – You might need to connect to a server in New Jersey or Nevada. Some research will definitely help.

Server Connectivity

Imagine you are playing online poker, and you land that 3 Aces. You have a good hand, and the odds are very much in your favour for winning the hand. As soon as you want to go all in, you lose connection to the server. How bad would that be? Very! Make sure that the server that you connect to has a good speed and will keep you in the game.

Server Location

Connecting to servers that are not located in your hometown would be the best option, or at least, choose one that allows gambling to happen. If you connect to a server where gambling is illegal, you cannot play your beloved online poker games.

Your internet connection also plays a big part on how the VPN will work.  Make sure that you are connected to a secure network and that all your internet bars are happily filled.

Conclusion

Now that you are all set with your VPN, you have access to playing online poker via your gaming devices. Be sure that you have listed all your pros and cons, and you are sure that you are happy to go ahead. Again, the pros and cons list is a must, especially when we are talking about laws and regulations being involved.

Settle on your VPN partner and download the application. Make sure that the VPN that you opt for has countries and state servers that allows gambling, and accepts players. Next you need to adjust your device settings to configure the VPN and make it operational. And finally, choose the server that will grant you access to the online poker site.

Featured Image source: Unsplash

Online Gaming: Mastering Video Poker

What do you get if you combine your love for poker and video slots? Video Poker of course, and today, we are here to spill some tricks about the game. To get you started, are you a poker player? Or at least know the rules of poker? I should hope so visiting our site! You need this knowledge to get you started playing video poker. Playing video poker, you will play with 5 cards, just like poker, but this time around you play via a set of reels on a slot game. Ready to kick off your video poker adventure? Continue reading to master the art of video poker.

Where did video poker originate from?

Nobody knows the exact origin of video poker, but if we guess correctly the game originated in the last 70s, and is a celebration of poker with some elements of the slot game. The original video poker game was originally set to be an option to players who do not like to play slot machines at land based casinos. Apart from this, with video poker needing you to have some sort of strategy to win at the game, slot games on the other hand require you to have Lady Luck on your good graces.

Skill and strategy will land you winnings at video poker. And the good news here is that whilst video poker offers you a diverse game variants, the RTP stays quite close to 98% and above. Compared with your traditional slot game, that is quite high. If for example you tempt your luck at a game of Jacks or Better, the RTP is bumped up to a generous 99.54%, so practically winning is the norm. Again, strategy is key here, and reading the rules of the game and how to win, is always advisable.

The newbie video poker manual

To kick off your video poker adventure, you would need to get acquainted with all the card values in poker. Once you settle on a wagering amount, you will hit the spin button and be presented with 5 drawn cards. Now, the game will ask you which cards you would like to hold (keep) and which cards you would like to discard. Once you hit the ‘Draw’ button, your displaced cards will disappear and you will be handed new cards as replacement. The strength of your hand is then calculated once the cards are drawn.

Now to understand which cards you keep and which ones you discard, you must know the card values in the poker. You can keep all your cards if your hand is strong. Video poker has no rules against keeping all your initial cards. If you feel your 5 cards have no value at all, you can opt to change all 5 of them to replace your original 5 cards.

To it even more unique and rich, the game of video poker has been altered to produce many variants. Also multipliers have been added to make things more interesting. This gives you a better return on your money and your stakes. Continue reading our basic Video Poker tutorial, to kick off your gameplay, we promise, it is worth it.

Types of Video Poker Games Variants Available

To start playing Video Poker, you need to get acquainted with the types of game variants available. There are many, but the ones that gamblers like the most are listed below.

Jacks or Better
Ask any video poker lover and they will tell you all about Jacks or Better. Sometimes referred to as ‘draw poker”, to win you would need to land a minimum of a pair of Jacks, or better.

Tens or Better
Another video poker variant is the Tens or better. Here, the same rules as above apply, but you best hand needs to be Tens or better.

Deuces Wild
In this video poker variant, doubles and wilds have the ability to substitute for all other cards. To win, you need a minimum of 3 identical cards.

Joker Poker
Playing Joker Poker, you will be playing with a 53 card deck as opposed to the traditional 52. Here you can land the joker, that acts as a wild card.

Double Bonus
Double Bonus is another variant of Jacks and Better, but during the game, landing Aces also secures you a win.

All American
All American video poker is another variant of Jacks of Better, but with better pay-outs for some pairings like the Royal Flush and the Full House.

Some tips to master video poker

There is no game that is mastered without a good amount of strategy. And your video poker strategy starts off by understanding some poker knowledge. Unlike slot games that is all based on chance and RNG, a good game plan is needed when playing video poker. Which cards to keep and which one to discard knowledge will help you win. So let’s start you off with some pointers.

  • A royal flush is the goal, this means the best hand to have is J, Q, K, A and 10 of the same suit. Hard to land, but not impossible with also some dash of luck.
  • If you happen to land a low pair, keep them. It is more likely that you land a 3 card that gives you a 3 of a kind then landing a Higher Card pair.
  • If you did not manage a pair at the start, you could land one when you draw. Just remember that having a hand of the same suit is also a valuable hand to have.
  • We suggest to bet a maximum of 5 coins per spin, as this is normally the max bet at video poker. By doing so, you would also be able to partake in any video poker jackpot games of participating games. (This is mostly done at land based casinos)

What type of video poker variant should you start off with?

If you are familiar with Texas Hold’em and other video poker variants, you can chose any video poker game. If you are still a newbie and green to the game, we suggest that you start off with a good old round of Jacks or Better.

The goal is simple, land Jacks or better, so that could be quite a good, simple start. Landing a full house will see you scoop a 9x your bet, and a flush grants you 6x your bet. This is the reason that Jacks of Better is sometimes regarded as 9/6 Jacks or Better. We also suggest that you get acquainted with the game by ‘ Playing for Fun’ and once you feel comfortable playing, you can play for real money.

Once you master the game, and you can start calling yourself a Jacks or Better guru, you can try out Deuces Wild which is another variant that involves some advanced strategy. If you master video poker, the winning possibilities could be infinite!

Sources:

  1. https://www.best50casino.com/video-poker/
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxbS1hwwxWo
  3. https://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/how-to-play-video-poker.htm

Heads Up Poker Strategy & Tips

Heads Up Poker Online

One of the purest and most enjoyable forms of poker, heads up poker is fantastic to play online. It pits you against another person in a duel of the mind. It’s poker psychology at its best and combining it with all the complexities of Texas Hold’em makes it all the better. In this article I’m going to share some strategy and tips on how to beat low stakes heads up SNGs and cash games online. If you use the heads up poker strategy in this article, you should have fun playing and hopefully win too.

Steal the nothing pots

In case you didn’t know, it’s hard to make a hand heads up, particularly when you’re playing all manner of junky hands. A lot of pots would be one with one pair or high card. To take advantage of this fact and generate a good win rate, I recommend stealing as many “nothing pots” as possible. These are the hands where it’s evident nobody has anything. It’s those pots where your opponent has no interest in it. For instance, if your opponent completes the small blind and you’ve caught a rainbow flop – take a shot at it. A bet of around 30-40% of the pot is all that’s needed to take it down.

Continuation bet a lot…

Continuation betting in 6 max or even full ring games can be tricky, particularly when multiway or out of position. Our complete continuation bet course handles this in detail. But heads up cash games, particularly at low stakes, is a different matter altogether. You can have a high c-bet frequency and expect to do well still.  Your opponent won’t make a second pair or better hand very often, and truthfully, it’s not until you hit NL $100 and above where players are adjusting correctly enough.

C-betting a lot goes hand in hand with opening frequently from the small blind. You want to be staying active, bullying your opponent into submission. Ideally, you put them in a bind until they get stubborn and overplay a hand when you are actually strong. That’s the best scenario and the rewards for effective heads up poker strategy.

Open up your 3 betting

Even the most basic of heads-up cash players in micro and low stakes games recognise you need to open raise frequently. Where they go wrong is their inability to handle 3-bets. To exploit this, I recommend opening up your 3 betting to a wider range of hands than usual. This allows you to take control of the pot or win it outright before the flop.

Both of these are favourable scenarios when you are out of position. You either want to be the one with the aggression or take the pot before a flop is dealt. You can 3 bet with a variety of hands; suited connectors, gapped suited connectors, complete junk and premium hands too. But factoring in some non-premium hands, you will be able to win pots without contest and also have some deception post-flop. This makes you harder to play against and therefore a problem to your opponents. This is advanced poker strategy that works well in low stakes games.

Watch for tendencies and exploit them

Heads up poker is raw, primal and a combat of hand reading. You are in the thick of it every hand. The player who is attentive to their opponent’s behaviour, adapting and exploiting weaknesses will win.  There is not enough time to make hand written notes as you play so it requires you to watch for tendencies and make mental notes. Tendencies can be as simple as the list below:

  1. Limping weak, raising strong
  2. Checking back open-ended straight draws and flush draws
  3. Min re-raising on the flop with second pair
  4. Value betting half pot on river with top pair and ¾ pot with nut hands

A lot of players make the same types of plays throughout sessions. Few are smart enough to change gears and use their past profitably in the present, at least not at the micro and low stakes games. So, you just need to pay attention and find ways to exploit them. Once you’ve done that, you’ve got them beat. Exploitative poker is perfect for low stakes games, particularly heads up.

Value bet thin

Strong heads up poker strategy isn’t just about winning as many pots as possible. It’s also about recognizing when your hand is best and finding ways to extract the maximum. Strong hands are relatively easy to value bet but the weaker hands can be more problematic. You can’t afford to be checking back and giving free showdowns heads up when you have the best hand. You’ll need to quickly recognize when your hand, whilst mediocre, is best and thus requires a value bet. This might be second or third pair or even ace high on a double paired board.

Few players in low stakes games online are savvy enough to slow play to rivers with the nuts or have the patience to check-raise river. So you can safely value bet thinly in these games if your opponent has shown weakness throughout. The amount to value bet will vary from one opponent to another. If your opponent is a nit, a small bet is more likely to call get called. Conversely, if your opponent is a calling station, increase your sizing a bit to get the max from them. Even if they fold you won’t disclose your cards which also has advantages.

Conclusion

There are plenty of forms of cash games around that sometimes heads up is overlooked. But it might be the best form to play in the current era. With just one opponent in front of you and most heads up cash playing 100 big blinds or more, it’s a great opportunity to learn and improve as a player.

I recently produced a short lecture on heads up games that echoes some of the tips in this article. If this interests you why not join as a video member? We offer a free trial so you can access our videos without paying.

Poker Skills You Can Use for Sports Betting

Most poker players have several other interests around gambling. I know a lot of live poker players can’t help but try the blackjack tables or a flutter on roulette but sports betting is possibly the best alternative to poker. Why? Well, there’s skills a winning poker player can use to give them a better chance in the long run. In this article I’m going to share a few. If you already possess them perhaps you will give sports betting a try too.

Mental Toughness

Any form of gambling has a mental aspect we can’t ignore. Having a thick skin and an ability to handle losses well is a trademark among professional poker players. This toughness will put you in good stead when trying other gambling forms like sports betting. Being strong mentally is a requirement as it will prevent you from making foolish bets. You know the types I mean, haphazard bets that are long shots and for more of your bankroll than you should really be betting.

Recognizing a Good Bet

Decent poker players know the importance of betting and what it accomplishes. They recognise what a solid bet is, whether it’s for bluffing or value, they appreciate what a bet does. Being able to see a good bet i.e., favourable odds, is what might separate you from the millions of gamblers who regularly lose. This ability to recognise the positive odds and more importantly, take advantage is essential to winning really.

Taking Advantage of Resources

All the best poker players are using tools and resources to maximise their win rate. They’re not resting on their laurels or just assuming they have the game solved. Any poker player not making use of some accessible resources are missing a big part of what winning poker is about in the 2020s. Like online poker, sports betting has resources to help gamblers improve their odds. A poker player trying sports betting will almost certainly look at expert tipping sites. These sites are proficient in knowing the best odds around and where the best bets are on a given day.  

Forward Thinking

In order to win consistently and become expert in gambling, you need to think forward and of the long term. Poker players do this all the time. When facing a bet on the river and considering if it’s profitable, they are thinking of the long term i.e. Is calling this bet profitable in the long run? This knack for ignoring the immediate consequence and focusing on the long term is a great skill to possess. Transferring it to sports betting is fantastic and you won’t fixate on the short-term fluctuations in variance.

Summary

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons for serious poker players give sports betting a shot. If you are tough mentally, know a good bet when you see one, are regularly taking advantage of available tools and think for the long term – you’re on the right track for winning at sports better. I recommend you stick with sports you know well first and start of small too. As always, gamble sensibly and use cautious bankroll management.