5 Reasons Not to Play Turbo Poker

Turbo Poker

The online poker sites are continuously adapting and offering new games. They are doing a great job in keeping poker appealing and vibrant but some of this is not in the interest of serious players. In this article I’m going to share five reasons why the turbo poker format is not worth your time. This may seem like a contentious statement to make in an era where hyper turbo SNGs are turbo tournaments are the rave but by the end you will see why.

1) Your potential edge is smaller

The turbo formats may seem convenient due to the fact they finish quicker but your edge is smaller. This is due to shorter stacks, quicker increments and the high variance nature that comes with these formats.

Secondly, the grinders who play turbo poker have practically solved the game. So, you are playing against players that have used poker software to ensure they are playing as close to perfect as they can. Therefore, your natural edge has gone against these and it is only against the fishier players. Whilst you still have an edge, the luck element will surely reduce this significantly. After all, you have less opportunities to stack your opponents and are less likely to bluff them in this format.

2) It’s not “real” poker

I don’t intend to upset any players who make their money from turbo games but the truth is, turbo poker isn’t proper poker per se. You’re really playing just a small portion of what poker is, namely push/fold poker. There’s nothing “bad” about this but only learning what hands to play when under 20 big blinds is a tiny part of a complete poker game.

Poker is much more than knowing when to shove your short stack. It’s about the flop, turn and river too. It’s about post-flop decision making and maths, playing the player and executing timely bluffs. These concepts are practically lost on someone who is only playing turbo poker.

3) Very swingy

Most poker players run bad at some point in their journey. They come and go and its part and parcel of poker. However, good players will restrict the swings where possible and seek to take advantage of their skills to maintain a consistent and strong hourly win rate.

Turbo games are notorious for being very swingy which can lead to many buy-ins being lost before you turn a corner. The variance element is amplified in turbo games because you’re playing more showdown poker. This is what happens when you play a variant where nobody is deep stacked.

If you are happy to embrace big swings in luck, then perhaps you’ll enjoy the turbo format. The majority of players who come to Texas Hold’em Questions prefer consistent results.

4) Mentally draining (more chance of tilt)

Further to the argument that turbo poker is swingy, they can be mentally draining. Catch yourself on a bad run and you’ll be exhausted and fed up of them. This is not an environment where you can play your A game. Instead, a bad run in this format is likely to increase your chances of going on tilt. This is disastrous in a format where you can go through buy-ins in a matter of minutes.

Tilt is a challenge many poker players have to deal with. Some deal with it by knowing their games weaknesses and avoiding them. Turbo SNGs might be one that could set you off so be sure to avoid them if you’re someone that suffers with tilt issues.

5)Restrictive to the serious player

Anyone who wants to advance themselves and become a strong player will struggle with the turbo format. As previously stated, it’s push/fold for the majority of it which means you’re a little handcuffed. You’re restricted in the amount of moves you can do. Contrast this to deeper stacked games where you have many options available and you can see why I am anti-turbo poker for serious players.

An experienced poker player wants to exercise freedom in their decisions at the poker table. This is simply not possible in a super-fast format. A serious player will be frustrated that they can’t shift gears or make use of their post-flop skills


Clearly, I am not a huge fan of the turbo poker games online. It’s great that they exist as it captures the interest of recreational players and they are convenient too. However, for anyone who is keen to develop as a complete player, they’re far from ideal. I think there are better games around that can be more rewarding from a financial, intellectual and enjoyment perspective.

 Featured Image Source: Unsplash

The Advantages of Online Poker

Casino games have always fascinated people in different ways. Slots are easy to play but they can bring you great awards. Roulette is for those that are feeling extremely lucky. And poker has always been reserved for players who like a challenge and who think they are good at reading other people. 

The fact that poker is a new trend isn’t anything new. Ever since the first online casino appeared, there has been a massive interest among gambling fans for the virtual version of this popular game.

In this article, we’ll dig a little deeper into the world of online poker to see what are the advantages of playing this amazing game on the Internet.

Where to Play Online Poker?

The most important thing that most poker players already know is choosing the right gambling platform. Only the best fast withdrawal casinos with amazing welcome offers have the best poker games. The ultimate gambling experience can be achieved only by opting for the right operator. Here are some of the things that only the best online gambling brands have:

  • Gambling license
  • Welcome offers and various promotions
  • Great customer service
  • Safe payment methods

Playing online poker has made this game more accessible than ever before, and this is why many operators include it in their game selection. However, only with the best operators will the players have the perfect gambling experience they want.

Online Poker With a Live Dealer

Everyone thought that online poker reached its peak after the first online version was launched. However, in the past couple of years, online casinos worldwide have been adding another important feature to their gambling platforms. And that is poker with a live dealer. For players who enjoy a land-based casino experience, this feature has been really helpful during the lockdown period. Moreover, it also quite useful for players who want to play poker with a live dealer but can’t travel to another city or state whenever they wish to play.

Online poker has made playing this game incredibly easy and simple. Once upon a time, people read an interesting article to dress up and travel to a land-based casino in order to play their favourite game. Others organized private card gatherings. But now, with online poker and live dealer, people can have all of that without leaving their homes.

How Do You Withdraw Winnings?

Another advantage of playing poker online is that players can have their winnings transferred to their bank accounts in a quick and easy way. Gamblers always prefer the best payout online casino Canada that offers the highest payout rates and safe transaction methods. The most popular withdrawal methods used by players worldwide are e-wallets, cryptocurrencies, and credit cards.

Are There Any Online Poker Tournaments?

The best online tournaments can be found on the gambling websites that have the biggest online poker rooms. One of the most visited poker rooms in the world is PokerStars, which in 2003 produced what is now known as the most important tournament in the world – the World Series of Poker.


Playing poker online offers many advantages to players, like the ability to play at any time and anywhere. Moreover, online players can benefit from special promotions and play their favorite game longer for less money. With the live dealer feature becoming available with almost every trustworthy operator around the world, even the brick-and-mortar casino fans can now enjoy playing their favorite game in front of the screen.

How Can You Learn to Play Poker?

Poker has always been one of the most iconic games at both land-based and online casino venues. Whenever we think about casinos or gambling the first game that pops into our minds is poker.

So for all gambling fans who want to become poker professionals, here are some tips on how to learn to play this amazing game.

Where Can You Play Poker Online?

Not so long ago, learning to play poker meant you had to visit the nearest brick-and-mortar casino or to convince a friend or family member who knows how to play to give you lessons. Nowadays, all online players can visit online casinos that offer the best paying online pokies and enjoy great slot machines while learning poker rules. Moreover, in this day and age, you can always visit YouTube or other similar platforms that have free to watch tutorials on how to play card games.

Learn Poker Hand Rankings

One of the first lessons that any poker enthusiast has to learn is all possible poker combinations. Some choose to learn these rules by visiting an online real money casino with the best deposit and withdrawal methods, others watch video tutorials or buy books on the subject. The basic combinations that all future players should know of are:

  • Royal Flush
  • Full House
  • Straight Flush
  • Flush

Moreover, there are also high cards, one pair, two pair, three of a kind, and straight. Professional poker players use these combinations with skill and a bit of luck to defeat their opponents.

Control Your Emotions

Another important lesson for all poker players is to learn to control their emotions. Giving up how you’re feeling is a basic mistake that one can make at the table. In this way, other players can read your emotions and tell which cards you have. Some of the best poker players in the world are actually experts in hiding their emotions. So, if you get a good hand, make sure you don’t show any enthusiasm, or if you get a band hand, don’t let your opponents notice what you have. In fact, if it suits you, you should make them believe the opposite is happening, so that they are never sure what cards you have.

Learn to Bluff

Learning how to bluff and hiding your emotions are actually the same lesson. You should learn how to make your opponents believe you have good or bad cards when it’s actually quite the opposite. Furthermore, it’s very important that you learn how to read other people’s emotions as well. Players who learn the skill to tell when someone is bluffing are some of the best players in the world because they can tell exactly what’s happening at the table at any given moment.

Play Correctly With Your Budget

Last but certainly not least is learning how to play within your budget in a correct way. New players can make the mistake of playing games with high stakes from the very beginning. However, you should give yourself time until you learn to play properly before you start investing large sums. And even then, you should be aware of how much money you’re giving per each hand, so you wouldn’t spend more than you have initially planned.


Playing poker can be fun, but there are many things that one should keep in mind. Learning the rules, how to control your emotions, and how to bluff are just the tip of the iceberg. But nevertheless, these are the basic lessons on the road to becoming the best poker player. Check out our cheat sheet for helpful tips.

Image Source: Unsplash

An Ego in Poker: The Hidden Leak for Many

Ego in Poker

Ego is something many people carry with them in all aspects of life. It can be something you have in your professional career, with a talent you have, concerning your intelligence and it’s in poker too. Having a big ego in poker is that it can manifest itself in negative ways and prove costly, harming your hourly win rate and bottom-line results.

We’ve discussed the common leaks before but underpinning many of them is “ego”. When you’ve been bluffed out of a pot, it’s often your ego that is hurt. It might make you want to go after that player and in doing so, at the expense of correct poker strategy. When decisions are driven by emotion and not calculated logic, you’re in trouble at the poker table.

Professionals Lose Their Ego

Ego, in many circles is discussed as a positive trait. But, as most successful people will attest to, it can more of a burden. Those who reach the top have a strong worth ethic combined with a humility that attests to the journey they took to reach success. The best poker players aren’t looking for validation from strangers or peers, they know their self-worth and know their results. They are perfectly happy raking in the money without drawing lots of attention to themselves.

Professional poker players who have made a living for years lose their ego after a couple of years. Riding the crest of good luck in a tournament or a heater in cash games can bolster your ego but the impact of bad variance soon puts things in perspective. Like many attributes for a professional, this comes with experience.

How to Spot Egos at the Table

In a live poker setting they a player with an ego is easy to spot. They are the ones educating the table on how to play poker correctly. They’re also the ones bragging about their latest successes and showing any bluffs with pride. These players aren’t necessarily bad players – some may even be semi-professional. But their ego will harm them in the long run, whether they know it or not. Tilt is one of the biggest challenge’s poker players face and having an ego is likely to increase the opportunities for tilt to raise its head in both cash games and tournaments.

Spotting an ego when you play texas hold’em online is trickier. Few poker players use the chat function these days so you can’t identify them through conversation. There is another way to spot someone with an ego though, particularly in tournaments and it’s through the pre-flop 3bet/4bet.

 In a tournament you may have stolen from the button 100% of the time so far when it’s folded to you. The big blind may get sick of it and 3-bet, you have a hand and 4-bet or perhaps you call and take it away post-flop, much to their annoyance. The next round the same situation happens again. He 3 bets fast and you move all in to which he folds. Now, it’s not for certain he has an ego but it’s fairly predictable of those who have one to repeatedly 3bet when they’re sick of you stealing. This opens them up to getting shoved on lightly from an observant opponent.

Another way to spot them online can be through their aggression levels increasing after you’ve bluffed or won a big pot from them. Again, this isn’t a universal truth that everyone who increases their aggression after losing a pot has an ego, but it there is reasonable probability.

How to Lose Your Ego in Poker

As you can see, ego is unlikely to serve you well in the poker world. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to stop it becoming a problem for you. The first thing you need to do is try to become humbler and realistic. This doesn’t mean remove ambition or anything like that. Most players overrate themselves and if you took a survey of players at a casino, nobody loses…

Try to give players more credit and not overrate your own ability. This will safeguard you from thinking you’re the best all the time and limit the impact ego will have in key pots.

Secondly, you must try to take a long-term view of poker at the table and away from it. Rather than fixate on specific sessions and lost hands, take the view of a decisions impact in the long run. Facing a river bet from an opponent, estimate the likelihood your hand is best over the long run. Think of it over a hundred or a thousand hands. Doing this will remove your attention on just your opponent and look at poker more logically.

Finally, discussing poker with friends, peers or a poker coach can keep your ego in check. Friends will bring you back to earth, other poker players will let you know when you’ve played bad and a poker coach will always be fair with you.  If you are concerned you have an ego and want support, our poker mentor service may be perfect. We offer a poker mentor by email service for a monthly fee.

Image Source: Unsplash

Punting & Poker: Three Crossover Tips

Once, sports betting and poker were associated with Vegas and high-stakes risks. Since both have expanded beyond Nevada, they may seem to have less in common. Sports bettors rely on hard analysis from algorithms and pundits. Poker players have only their own experience and knowledge to guide them at the table.

However, the underlying skills that both successful punters and poker pros foster are surprisingly aligned. After all, the margins for winning in either industry are deceptively slim, especially for newcomers.

As more poker rooms and oddsmakers shift to offer their services online and via mobile device, margins for victory have expanded along with the availability of resources. Though some prefer to play and punt in-person for the experience or out of habit, the most competitive deals are found online.

One simple way that poker players and bettors alike can maximize their winnings is to keep their fingers on the pulse in terms of online opportunities. Some sites collect free bets from top sportsbooks, which makes comparing deals from oddsmakers easy—and there are just as many that do the same for poker rooms.

Aside from shopping around for the best deals, poker pros and successful punters have three other critical characteristics in common. They know how to manage money, they know a thing or two about dealing with the unknown, and they aren’t afraid to evolve with the times.

Tip One: Managing Money

Urban legends about massive payouts abound, as do stories of those who lost it all on a wayward bet. Stories about either extreme don’t exactly depict the norm for those who play poker and wager on moneylines as a hobby.

Most end up cutting even—edging up in a good month or losing slightly in an unlucky month. However, pros who earn a living from point spreads or bluffing at the table have one thing in common: they know how to manage their money and construct detailed plans before they bet big.

For most, tracking expenditure is a skill that takes time to develop. Certain casinos and sportsbooks allow users to deposit money into a prepaid card, barring them from accessing funds directly from their bank. When the card runs out, the day is done. No matter the preferred method, honesty about finances separates pros from amateurs.

Image Source: Unsplash

Tip Two: Dealing with the Unknown

Punters and poker pros are experts at dealing with unknown quantities. In the case of sports betting, the entire point is to determine the outcome of a sporting event. For poker players, unknown quantities directly shape the game, including an opponent’s hand and their ability to bluff.

So how do pros in both fields deal with the unknowable—especially when it can make or break their day? The answer is deceptively simple; it’s a part of the profession and there’s nothing that can be done. That’s why Tip One is so important; those who first tend to their bank account will never be compromised—no matter how shocking the upset.

Dealing with the unknown is about keeping composure during a trying defeat and knowing when it’s time to cut losses. The most seasoned pros have flopped flushes on runner-runner full houses and lost big thinking Mike Tyson would barrel through Buster Douglas. It happens; chin up.

Tip Three: Rely on Technology

Modern technology has revolutionized poker and sports betting. Carnegie Mellon University made headlines a few years ago when it created the first AI poker program capable of defeating pros. Oddsmakers aren’t far behind with their machine learning algorithms that provide ‘computer picks’.

A veteran in either industry knows how to use technology to their advantage—though maybe not in the most predictable ways. For example, plenty of apps help manage more administrative sides of the job; a budgeting app can help a player or punter manage their funds, while a biohacking app can help someone isolate at what time of day their mind is sharpest.

Moving forward, advancements in AI will have direct effects on both industries. In sports betting, algorithms may be able to identify winners with enough accuracy that the industry changes radically. For poker, AI programs are likely to change how newcomers learn the game.

Featured Image: Unsplash

How To Set Up Private Poker Tournaments Online

Private Poker Tournaments Online

Over the past year, we’ve all seen less of friends and family with social events such as getting together to play poker with friends, prohibited. Many poker players have moved online to play but playing against anonymous people over the internet doesn’t have the same appeal to the more casual players. 

However, you may not know that some poker sites allow you to set up private poker tournaments and poker leagues. You can add your friends to so that you essentially create a private poker club. This means that you can play poker online with friends from the comfort of your own home for stakes and buy-ins of your choice. 

Some players who have adopted this approach have even set up Google Meets, Teams or Zoom calls so that participants can interact whilst playing at their private tables. Below, we have listed the best casino sites to play texas holdem online with your friends and family.

Pokerstars (Pokerstars Home Games)

Pokerstars was launched in 2001 and is one of the biggest and most popular online poker sites. The brand also offers an online casino and sportsbook which were launched at a later date.

Pokerstars allows customers to set up private poker tables and leagues via ‘Pokerstars Home Games’ which in our opinion, is the best option available to do so. With Pokerstars Home Games, you can invite players to join your poker club. You can set up private tournaments, set the buy-ins and speed of blinds, record player statistics and much more.

Pokerstars Home Games is only available on the desktop version of the product so you will have to download the standard Pokerstars software to your PC or laptop to play. Once it’s downloaded, load the software and click on:

More > Create a Poker Club

This will allow you to set up your private poker club and get an invite link which you can send to friends or family to join. You’re allowed up to 501 members in your club which is more than enough for most people. Once your club has been set up, you can schedule new tournaments. There are various options to choose from which allow you to customise the game such as start time, buy-in, blind speed, rebuys and game type.

Players who finish in money positions at the end of the game or tournament will have the fund automatically credited into their Pokerstars accounts. League positions are displayed after each game for which players can set up their own season-long prizes if they wish

888 Poker (Play With Friends)

888 Poker is another poker site that allows you to set up private poker games. It works very similarly to Pokerstars.

After downloading the 888 Poker software, log into your account can click on ‘Play With Friends’. You can then set up a new private game or tournament which you can invite others to. Again, there are several customisable options such as setting the number of seats at the table, buy-ins, start time/date, prize pool structure, rebuys, player action time and more.

After setting up your game, you’ll be given an invite link that you can share with others that you’d like to join.

Both Pokerstars and 888Poker are reputable poker sites with decades of experience in the industry. Their unique ‘play with friends’ features are perfect for when you and others are unable to get together for a game of poker in person.

There you have it, private poker tournaments in a nutshell and how to set them up on two of the most popular online poker sites.

What makes the Starburst and Book of Dead slots so popular?

Starburst from NetEnt is a hugely successful game that is hosted at CasinoLuck for UK-based players. The brilliant Play’n GO game, Book of Dead, can be enjoyed by CasinoLuck players from other countries around the world.

Released almost 8 years ago, Starburst has proved to be one of the true all-time classic slots in the online casino world. To last so long at the top, NetEnt must have uncovered some hidden secret that appeals to thousands of players daily the world over?

Book of Dead is the Play’n GO hit with Rich Wilde as the main character. This slot tasted fame among casino players after its 2016 release. It is still as popular today as it ever was and has even spawned a few spin-off games from Play’n GO.

Both Book of Dead and Starburst have been reviewed in great detail at CasinoLuck already. It’s well worth your time having a read of those to inform yourself of everything you need to know before trying either game.

Catering to Players of All Levels

It’s very important for casinos and game developers to make sure a slot is accessible to players of all levels. If they want that game to be a worldwide hit, it’s simply a must. Starburst got this down perfectly. The game gives players a variety of betting options. They start at 0.01 and go right up to 100 per spin.

Very low risk players can start with one bet line and a total bet of 0.01. If you activate all ten paylines, then this means a minimum bet of 0.10.In between the lowest bet and the highest bet, Starburst offers you many more betting options thanks to the ten levels and the seven different coin values.

With Book of Dead, there is a similar betting range on offer. You can choose between 1 and 5 coins, as well as a coin value between 0.01 and 1. You can play with a bet range between 0.10 and 100 per spin.

Welcome Bonuses

You are sure to see Starburst or Book of Dead utilised a lot when it comes to welcome bonuses at various casinos. Why is this? Well, they are very attractive games to help introduce a new player to your casino. They look good and play great with easy-to-grasp gameplay. Add to that the wonderful win potential of each slot and the worldwide appeal of these games quickly becomes clear.

Both Book of Dead and Starburst are known for their huge potential maximum winnings. That’s a great way to introduce players to your casino, isn’t it? Give them a sample of some of the best games on the planet and they won’t be long falling in love with the website!

The Most Popular Slots in the World

If you are a seasoned pro at online casinos, or even if you are a relative newbie to the world of video slots, it’s likely that you have heard of either Starburst or Book of Dead. Maybe you are already familiar with both? NetEnt and Play’n GO created two absolute giants that became the benchmark for game developers everywhere.

You’ll see free spins offered up on both Book of Dead and Starburst as part of welcome bonuses everywhere. As well as a 100% bonus up to $/£/€150 at CasinoLuck, we also give new players 150 spins on Book of Dead. Why? Because it’s one of the best casino slots you can find. The same could be said for Starburst and that’s why CasinoLuck host that game too.

Image Source: Unsplash

Social Media: A Resource for Online Gambling?

Social Media & Online Gambling

Everywhere you turn there is a social media platform pumping out information. It is no longer just a tool for social influencers to plug products, it’s spanning practically every industry with various motivations. The online gambling industry is no different in this respect, offering lots of useful information to you. In this article I’m going to share a few ways you can take advantage of social media to improve your odds of winning when gambling online.

Twitter for News

One of the few platforms we use, Twitter is a great way to notify followers of news. We regularly share our latest article and provide snippets of what they are about. Twitter is restrictive in tips and advice due to the character count rules. However, fields like sports betting offer some free tips without issues and live casino online sites offer bonus information too.

Overall, Twitter is easy to access, free and simple to use. If you don’t have an account yet, we recommend you sign up and follow your favourite websites. Most reputable gambling sites have a Twitter account setup.

YouTube for Guides

My favourite social media platform of all, YouTube is just number one for convenience. There’s something about video that trumps other forms of learning. There are hundreds of awesome channels providing helpful video content on gambling. The best part is that there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re beginner, intermediate or advanced, you can usually find what you’re looking for.

YouTube is fantastic for basic guides as the creators offer visual aids that provides the viewer with something more tangible than simply reading. I know some people prefer to learn important concepts by reading or experience but videos can stimulate the mind and tap into our consciousness easily.

If you are a regular user of YouTube and considering a new form of gambling, search for a guide first. We recommend you pay attention to the channels stats. If the channel is old with no content in years and few subscribers, it’s unlikely to be offering new and relevant information. You are more likely to get great content from a channel that regularly produces content and has loads of subscribers. It’s an indication they are producing fresh and helpful content.

Twitch for Interaction

Twitch is a bit like marmite, you either love it or hate it. It offers random people the opportunity to stream their gaming, this extends to online gambling too. There’s definitely value as you can interact with the streamer, asking questions and getting feedback quickly. It’s popularity has grown massively in recent years with some streamers getting incredible numbers watching them when they play. This means you can watch and listen to someone gamble for free and potentially gain insights that would cost you money to learn yourself.

There is an obvious drawback with Twitch that we must highlight. Twitch has huge numbers of people streaming but there’s no criteria they need to record. Literally anyone can setup a channel and try to generate interest. So, you need to take advice with a pinch of salt. Don’t get carried away with what you’re watching a random do online. There’s a small percentage that are offering a great service but the majority are not. Most experts don’t give away their tips for free. After all, you don’t spend years learning a craft then share it our for nothing do you? Sure, some Twitch users make money but the vast majority are doing it for fun.

Social Media Online Gambling Conclusion

As you can see, there are plenty of benefits to using social media for your online gambling. You can take advantage of bonuses, learn new games, get free tips, and keep up with the latest news. The social media platforms are free to sign up and only take a few minutes.  Why not start by signing up to ours here.

Image Source: Unsplash

Defending the Blinds in Poker Tournaments

Becoming a successful tournament player takes a wide array of skills but one of the most critical is defending the blinds. In an environment where survival is essential and stealing blinds and antes are imperative, a tournament player needs to know how, when and why they need to be defending their blinds properly. In this post, we’re going to share some helpful pointers on the how, when and why so you will be prepared next time you register for a tournament.

Why is Defending the Blinds Important?

To generate a decent ROI and ITM rate in mtts won’t just come down to luck in winning all in pre-flops or ability to play post-flop poker well. A big part of it is based upon your knack for picking up chips in “boring” or non-interesting scenarios. One of these scenarios is playing from the blinds, or big blind to be more specific. Contesting these pots are what will keep your stack healthy, ticking along and surviving the constant pressure from the increased blinds and antes. 

If you just play super tight from the blinds you are missing potential value and also giving your opponents an easy time. Even the most basic of poker players will recognise a weak tight big blind tendency and will abuse you every round.

By staying active in and protecting your big blind you will also deter some players from trying to steal from you. This is of great value as it means you will get more walks or play more blinds battles – which are fine when you’re the one in position.

How to Defend Your Blinds

Defending the blinds is achieved by one of two actions; calling a raise and playing post flop or 3 betting your opponent. Which option you choose should be based upon your opponents likely range of hands (based on seat and style), the amount it costs you to call, the stage of the tournament, your opponent’s playing style, the calibre of your opponent, the relative stack sizes and the type of hand you have. It probably sounds more complicated than it is so let’s take a look at an example to better illustrate.

Example of Defending Blind Defence & Analysis

Blinds: 1,000/2,000 and an ante of 250 at a 9 handed table. It folds to the cut-off who is tight aggressive but employs too much pot control post-flop. He raises to 4,500 and it folds to you in the big blind. He has 68,000 and you have 57,000.

Now let’s analyse the information we have already:

  1. Neither of us are short stacked yet (both > 28 big blinds)
  2. We are getting a great price to call (2,500 for a pot of 9,750). Some quick maths shows we only need around 20% equity to make the call.
  3. We have an opponent who is likely to be opening wide
  4. We are facing a moderately tough opponent but one who has a tendency to check post-flop a lot

Post Flop Play for Defending the Blinds

Armed with information above, we should be calling pretty wide here. We are a little too deep stacked to profitably 3 bet all in with anything less than top tier hands. Against this type of opponent, we know he will probably c-bet most flops if he misses but he will also c-bet if he makes a hand he will go with. A flop check from our opponent is likely to be mean a hand with showdown value or a bluff catcher like bottom pair or second pair. With these assumptions in place, we can now make some plans post-flop.

1) If we flop a draw we could try to check-raise and get it all in
2) If we miss entirely, we can check and consider barrelling turn and river if he checks back flop. There is no use betting just turn though as we know he probably is pot controlling
3) If we flop a medium strength hand, we can check/call flop and see how he proceeds on turn and river. Most TAGs won’t fire turn and river with these stack sizes unless he has “it”.
4) If we flop a monster hand, we can check/call flop then check turn hoping he has a hand. If he checks back flop, we can bet turn and put in a small value bet on river, enticing him to call with his bluff catchers.

Hands to Defend the Blinds with

Notice in the example above we didn’t even discuss hands – we already had plans based on the information we have. I know many of you will be specifically interested in what hands are valuable in blinds defence and which aren’t. First things first, the size of your opponents raise should influence your calling range. If they are open raising larger then 2.5 or 3 big blinds, you are getting weaker odds so you can’t profitably defend with the weaker hands. The opposite is true if they are raising smaller. A min raise from a weak opponent should be defended very liberally. After all, you can expect to win some pots post-flop which will compensate for your weaker hands too.

The images below are a guide on the types of hands you may want to call raises with. Please note that for simplicity I’ve not even gone into the player type, position or relative stack sizes. This is only on a standard assumption of a late position small raise (2.2 x bb). The hands in blue are certainly candidates for blinds defence and you could even mix in some other hands like the suited kings.

If you are not prepared to at least defend with the hands below, you may as well quit tournaments and play casino games at places that recommend.

When to Defend

We’ve covered why and how so now we need to handle when to defend the blinds. Basically, you want to defend when your stack size permits and when the odds of calling with your hand versus the opponent is likely to be profitable in the long run.

A hand like K7 off suit against a tough player who has raised 3 big blinds is unlikely to be profitable for you, particularly if you’re under 25 big blinds. You’re not getting amazing odds to defend, you’ll be out of position against a tough opponent and your hand doesn’t play well post-flop either.

Jack nine suited with 40 big blinds against an average opponent who has raised the 2.2 times the blinds will yield a positive return in the run. You will easily have enough equity to continue and you will have a better chance at winning some pots without contest post-flop.

Defending the big blind is more of a middle and late tournament strategy concept. In the early stages, you can play more conservatively if you prefer. There are no antes involved and giving up 25 or 50 chips is insignificant. The more experienced and competent you are post-flop, the earlier the stage of tournament you will probably defend. I recommend waiting until the antes kick in before actively defending your blinds. Until then it’s not as important.

If you are keen to improve your tournament play, why not join our training video membership? There are plenty of tournament videos. Membership is only £6 per month and you can trial it for free too.

What are the Most Popular Online Casino Poker Games?

As our site name suggests, we are lovers of Texas Hold’em. Ninety-nine percent of our poker training is focused on Texas Hold’em but there’s other variants too. Whether you are suffering poker burnout or wanting to try something new, there’s other forms that might tickle your fancy that you can play online. That’s why I’m going to share some insights on three other popular forms of poker accessible online.


This is the most natural game to transition from Texas Hold’em too as the rules are similar. The game follows the same course of action with the exception of number of cards dealt to each player. Every player is dealt four cards instead of two. What does this do? It creates a lot of action! Prepare yourself for swings and variance like no other.

Omaha is generally played in the pot limit format. This means no player can bet more than the size of the pot at any one time. Truthfully, there’s no reason to ever want to bet more than this as it doesn’t take long for pots to escalate.

To win at this game I recommend playing low stakes and playing cautiously post-flop. Hands like top pair are practically worthless multi-way in pot limit omaha so don’t get attached to them or over- pairs when facing lots of bets. It’s common for the winning hand to be the nuts or second nuts so don’t be surprised and think you’re on the bad side of a cooler . The other thing to remember is aces are not the monster they appear in normal poker.

Seven-card Stud

One of the older and more popular games before Texas Hold’em exploded, seven-card stud is a limit- based poker game. As the name suggests, players are dealt seven cards (if they hang around).

Initially, players are dealt three cards with one face up. The player with the lowest card faces up is forced to start things. Action proceeds and there are four further rounds of betting where players are dealt an additional card each round (if they match the betting). The fourth, fifth and sixth cards are face up whilst the final round (the river) is dealt face down.

The standard betting options exist in seven-card stud (bet, call, check, fold and raise). So, as long as you have some experience with poker it shouldn’t be hard to get to grips with seven-card stud. It’s worth noting that there are other stud variants; seven-card stud hi/lo and razz. These are not as popular as the traditional seven-card stud format and require more advanced strategy too.

Video Poker

Unlike the other popular poker games, video poker is played against the house. It is unique in it’s gameplay as players have limited options. You choose which cards you discard and that’s about it -other than picking the initial stakes and how many coins. Where most other poker variants can be mentally taxing, video poker offers some fun respite to gamblers.

To win, you need to beat a specific hand ranking (usually a pair of jacks). However, unlike Blackjack where a win is equal to the value of the amount wagered, video poker rewards good fortune by paying out lucrative odds based on stronger hands. So, if you are fortunate to make a royal flush you can potentially earn 4,000 if you wagered 5 coins.

Most video poker strategy guides advise wagering maximum coins to take advantage of lucrative prizes in the event you make better hands. It’s also recommended to retain pairs made and discard low cards if you’ve been given a hand like K-Q-7-6-2. Common sense should help you decide what cards to keep but feel free to do some research and bone up on video poker strategy. I recommend you go to more information.

Final Thoughts on Other Casino Poker Games

As you can see, there are three other popular poker games to be played online. Most major poker sites offer Omaha and seven-card stud and all online casinos offer video poker. The good thing about video poker is that you can usually take advantage of no deposit bonus offers on casinos. As with all forms of gambling, exercise bankroll management and gamble responsibly.