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5 Ways To Prevent Poker Burn Out

Poker Burn Out

Anyone who has played poker for a few years will probably relate to this article. Poker burn out is a real challenge that affects lots of poker players. It doesn’t just effect weak players or those who chase losses. In fact, it could be argued it is more prevalent among winning players and professionals. In this article, we will take a look at five ways to overcome burning out.

Beginner Texas Hold’em Question

What is “burn out” in poker?

To burn out is to play too much poker. So much so, that it affects your game negatively. You are physically and mentally exhausted from playing too much and it is causing you to make poor poker decisions. This almost always leads to losing money.

1) Play When “On It”

Most player who suffer from burn out follow the same routine. They play, regardless of their mental state. This is because they’ve almost become robotic in their poker playing. They play on certain days or times, irrespective of whether they are prepared for the game. Poker is not an easy game to win money at – to give yourself the best chance, you need to be playing when you’re free of stress, and focused on the game. When you’re mind is elsewhere, and not on the game, you’re missing a massive part of winning. You will make poorer bluffs, stubborn calls and not pick up on opponents tendencies. Games will always be there so don’t feel obligated to play if you’re not ready.

2) Sleep Well

Some poker players seem to think the laws of nature don’t apply to them. How many players do you know that play at the casino until unholy hours, get 3 hours sleep then proceed to play the following afternoon? This is not an uncommon sight and never ceases to baffle me. I don’t care what line of work you’re in – rest is key to functioning properly. Getting lots of sleep will ensure your mentally and physically ready for the day ahead. This is especially true if you want to play slow paced tournaments that span several days. Getting your full quota of sleep is an effective way to prevent poker burn out and will help your win rate.

3) Get A Second Opinion

People find it hard to judge themselves properly. Getting another person’s opinion is a good idea as they are more likely to be impartial. When you’re starting to creep into burn out territory, a friend or poker coach might be able to identify it. If you’ve played a lot recently, losing and unsure why – ask a trusted party whether they think you might be burning out. If they say yes, take a few days off and come back when you’re ready.

4) Explore Other Interests

One of the reasons players suffer from burn out is their only interest is poker. It’s important to train your mind and not focus on just one thing. The good thing about learning about other subjects is that it can compliment your poker game. For example, learning Excel spreadsheets , reading psychology or gambling on something else like sports betting. Whilst none of these subjects will mention poker rules or strategy, both have intrinsic value to your poker game. Learning spreadsheets may help you with poker maths or record keeping. Psychology will help you understand your opponents better and probably help your hand reading skills. Understanding more about sports betting at sites like Free Bets India will strengthen your poker maths. By exploring other interests, you will be keeping your mind sharp while also taking the necessary time away from poker.

5) Have An Exercise Routine

I’m not a physical trainer but it’s common knowledge that exercising regularly helps your mental acuity too. There’s a lot to be said for staying in good shape. Having decent stamina levels and endurance will undoubtedly help the longer sessions and long tournament days. The mental and physical side of our bodies are twinned. If one succeeds, the other wants to. Regular exercise is a great way to combat poker fatigue and help you avoid burn out. It’s also likely to make you feel better and happy, both of which will help your frame of mind when you fire up a session.

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On a Poker Heater? Enjoy it. They Don’t Last Forever!

Poker Heater

Players love to moan their luck and complain how bad they run. When things are going right, they don’t praise the poker gods or claim they’re lucky, it’s justice to them. In this article, we will have a look at what a poker heater is, how to know when you’re on one and what to do if you’re on one.

Beginner Texas Hold’em Question

What is a Poker Heater?

A heater is when everything is going right and you’re winning everything. You’re winning coinflips in tournaments, hitting your draws and gaining coolers in your favour too. A heater is basically when you’re on the good side of variance.

Can’t Stop Winning? You Might be on a Heater

Often, players run good and don’t even realise they are on a heater. Poker tracker software is a way of seeing how bad you’re running, but is also a good barometer for the times you win. I recommend pulling up the stats every few sessions to see how far above expected value you are. Obviously, it’s great to keep winning, but it’s important to be making the best decisions for your long-term game. I’ve seen players run well, win 10 sessions in a row and move up stakes too soon. Had they taken a proper look at their stats; they would have realised that they were actually only a small winner at their current stakes. Long story short, if you’re winning every session despite not playing well at times – lady luck might be on your side. If it is, you may as well try other forms of gambling available at Live PowerPlay Casino.

Playing More on a Heater – Placebo Effect?

There’s some that argue heaters don’t actually exist. After all, it’s just simple probability so playing more or less won’t make a difference. It’s akin to roulette, the odds are independent so what happened before has no affect on the now. This is a fact and can’t be disputed, however, there is something to be said for the human mind. You can’t control the coolers or bad beats in poker much, but you can control how you play. This is heavily influenced by your mental state. If you are happy, positive and think you’re running good, you will more inclined to play better too. You will be free of stress and psychological burdens that you may carry.

The flip side is when you’re running bad, you play a bit differently. Perhaps you play cautiously or too aggressive. Either way, whether you’re on the right or wrong side of variance, how you play is important. The long-term results will be impacted on how you’re playing most of the time. To give yourself the best chance, feel free to play more when you’re on a heater. Not because you are going to continue running well, only cos you’re in a better frame of mind!

Final Thoughts

A poker heater shouldn’t influence your bankroll management decisions or make you move up stakes. Stay as objective as possible and ascertain how you’re really playing. That is key to your win rate and expected earnings in the future. Use poker software, monitor your results and stay positive and you will be in a better place for it.

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How to Handle Being Card Dead

Card Dead

Being card dead is part and parcel of poker. For many, it’s just bad luck and you can’t change anything. A lot of players believe you cannot do much to avoid it and you will have sessions of card dead and either lose some money in cash or blind down in tournaments. This is only partly true. Obviously, poker is easier when you are on heater or picking up good cards but there is ways to help your chances of success without requiring strong hands. In this article, we will explore ways to handle being card dead so you are better prepared next time.

Beginner Texas Hold’em Question

What Does “Card Dead” Mean?

It is where someone is dealt poor starting hands for a long period. Hands like deuce-seven and eight-three off-suit would qualify.

Take Advantage of Your Tight Image

One of the key parts of poker is perception. Now, if you’ve been folding for an hour, forget that you’ve had rubbish hands – your opponents don’t know what you’ve had. They’ve just seen you fold continuously. You have a solid table image. This image will allow you to get away with a steal or two that other players can’t. Use it to your advantage! This could be as simple as a pre-flop 3 bet or a flop check-raise against an active c-bettor.

Using your image to your advantage is something you should always be looking to do. Whether it’s getting paid off as a LAG or pulling off more bluffs. This strategy should employed regardless of whether you’re card dead or not.

Stay Active From Late Position Regardless

Have you ever noticed that a lot hands just end pre-flop? A simple raise pre-flop is all that is needed against some players. I’ve banged the drum about stealing in late position many times and will continue to here. As we know, hand selection widens, the later position you are. It’s important to keep your tournament stack growing and for your image and win rate in cash games too. So this point is important for both types of poker player.

Being an active player from late position is a way to help you when you’re card dead. This can come in a two forms:

  1. Raising first in. If it folds to you in the cutoff or button, put in a raise and pick the pot up or play post flop in position. I recall in live poker, I used to pretend to look when I was in late position then just play the pot. I didn’t want to look down and find rags so would prefer to just play blind. You’d be surprised how effective this was! Be prepared to adopt solid continuation bet strategy though. You can’t just blindly c-bet, you need to know the right opponents and flop textures. (Take our course to improve your c-betting)
  2. 3 Betting bad LAGS in position. If you’re observant, you will realise who is active preflop and who isn’t. An effective counter strategy to bad LAG players is to 3 bet them when you’re in position. They’ll often just fold pre-flop. Therefore, you can sometimes do this with rubbish hands. The strength of your hand is irrelevant, it’s the situation you’re playing. This is particularly effective on the sports-betting sites which attract bad LAG players. Free Bets UK showcases reputable sports betting sites so take a look there and use ones that offer poker.

Assess Your Hand Selection…

Many players cry “I was card dead” when they’ve actually had lots of profitable scenarios and hands. If you’re folding ace jack under the gun or folding suited connectors multi-way in position, you may want to review your hand selection. If you’re continuously finding yourself card dead, you may not actually be card dead, but just playing too tightly.  

This happens to a lot of poker players who have hit a level in their learning. They are not a beginner anymore but think they can skirt by playing super tight. This is rarely the optimal strategy and will find you losing a lot in blinds and more importantly, wasting opportunities to make money.

Conclusion

Being card dead is just probability. Poker is more than the cards you’re dealt though. We’ve looked at a few ways to help your win rate when you’re card dead but there are other ways too. Pay attention to your table, stay patient, pick your spots and don’t tilt. These are all practical ways to ensure you are equipped to handle being card dead. As are taking advantage of your image, staying aggressive in late position and assessing the cards you play.

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Perfect Poker Doesn’t Exist

Perfect Poker

I am as much of an optimist as the next person, but when it comes to perfect poker, I contend it doesn’t exist in the real world. Not the world we live in. It’s not popular opinion to hold this view. After all, surely a poker coaching website should be aspiring for perfection? We can be positive and aspire for greatness while realising our limitations though. In this article, I will set out what perfect poker means, two reasons why I believe there’s no such thing, but more importantly, what this means for poker players aspiring to be the best.

Beginner Texas Hold’em Question

What is Perfect Poker?  

Perfect poker is the theory that there is a perfect, 100% optimal way of playing poker. It means making no mistakes whatsoever.

Disclaimers

Before I set out why I don’t think perfect poker exists. I need to preface it with a couple of disclaimers. When I say perfect poker, I am referencing a perfect session, a perfect week or a perfect month of poker. A hand taken in isolation can be played perfectly, this cannot be disputed. One hand may require one decision i.e. folding pre-flop with deuce seven off suit. In many instances, this will be the perfect play, for that hand.

I also need to add a disclaimer that there are scientist’s that have worked on AI that play poker perfectly. I’m not qualified to state whether this is true or not, but even if it is, the content in this article is strictly aimed at you and me, people.

I just wanted to make these disclaimers before putting forward my case against perfect poker.

1) Humans Are Fallible

We are imperfect beings, not robots that are programmed to do certain things. We all have our own tendencies and patterns that we adopt. This translates to the poker table and is evident in our playing style. Whilst this is not a universal truth, and, with hard work we can alter our strategy, the point stands that we are human and prone to mistakes.

In order to subscribe to the notion that perfect poker can be played, we must discount the enormous factor of us being human. Be it on a conscious, or subconscious level, we will make mistakes when we play poker. This mistake could range from as seemingly innocuous as slightly under-betting to incorrectly shoving. This point cannot be stressed enough as to disregard human nature is to disregard what poker is, a people game.

2) Too Much Information in Poker

Poker is complex isn’t it? The rules are simple enough but the reason sites like mine exist is due to the inherent complexity involved. There are so many aspects to poker, each with differing skillsets required and it’s why we love it.

Texas Hold’em is the best poker format, evidenced by the fact it’s the most popular poker variant. However, this level of complexity makes it all the more harder to become “perfect” at it.

Often, there is just too much information involved for anyone to correctly assess what the perfect move may be.

This is not true for every hand in Texas Hold’em as per my disclaimer, but it will stretch to a lot. We’re making mistakes without even realising it. This isn’t even necessarily due to a lack of attention. You could be 1 tabling on a 6 max table and not take in all the information. Perhaps you missed the fact your opponent only checks twice out of position with bottom pair or worse and missed a bluff?

What Does It Mean If Perfect Poker is a Myth?


This is the crux of my article. Whilst I don’t believe anyone can play perfect poker over a sustained period of time, we can work hard and do our best to get as close as possible. Remember that “shooting for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll land among stars”. You can only be the best version of yourself. That’s not a negative though. On the contrary, it’s an encouraging thought and should be motivating.

I think we need to be realistic, humble and have a good worth ethic to be successful, both in poker and in life. By adopting this attitude, you are more likely to succeed. So, when you hear people bust a tournament and say they played perfect, by all means offer empathy, but don’t believe it.

I hope you enjoyed this article. If you’re interested in improving your game, we’d love to hear from you. Drop us a message in our contact page and we will get back to you soon.

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Poker Multi Tabling – What’s Right For You?

Poker Multi Tabling Introduction

With the explosion of internet poker, came the opportunity to play more poker and quicker. The 21st century, so far, can be summed up by instant gratification and convenience. This extends to poker where we can play an great deal more than we can play in live poker, where we are restricted to slow deals, one tabling and players who take time over their decisions. Cue poker multi tabling… The ability to play lots of tables and hands at once is something that has allowed players to become expert in the time it would take a live player decades to learn. This speed of learning has meant becoming an online professional poker player is a reality. In this article, we will explore some truths about multi-tabling and also offer a quick test for you, to see how many tables are right for you.

Giving Up Some Edge for More Earnings

One thing you must realise when choosing to add tables is the edge you are giving up. This is just part and parcel of the game. For every table you are adding, you are giving up a bit of focus and attention overall. This can be problematic for people who struggle with decision making and have a small win rate already. But, for those who crush their stakes and are competent multi-taskers, it’s less of an issue.

Our goal is to earn as much as possible in as little time possible. So, if the data shows you can earn $8 per hour on average 2 tabling and $7 an hour 4 tabling, clearly 4 tabling is the wiser decision as you will be earning $12 more an hour overall.

Prioritise Decisions

When you’re only playing one or two tables, there’s no such thing as prioritising decisions really. Very rarely, do you have two difficult decisions at the same time. This is far more prevalent when you multi-table and something you need to incorporate into your game. Prioritising decisions is about giving full attention to the more important hand.

If you have trouble assigning priority to one over another, consider the round of betting and pot size first. If you’re pre-flop in one with nothing committed and facing a pot bet on the turn on another, clearly the latter is more important. In time, this will come naturally and is usually only a challenge at the start.

HUD Stats More Important Than Ever

If you play one or two tables, the HUD stats are useful but you’re not reliant on them as such. You know from observation players tendencies and the HUD is there for insurance and a guide. As you mult-table more, you will have to rely on the HUD to help you. If you’re playing 8 tables, you can’t trust your eye alone. You won’t be picking up as much so you need the stats to help you. It’s simple maths. If you’re playing two tables of 6 max, you have 10 opponents, or less if you have the same opponent. By comparison, 8 tables have potentially 42 different opponents. Not easy to remember them all and how they play is it?

I highly recommend ensuring your HUD is properly setup and revealing only the most relevant of stats. Visit our poker resources page for poker software.

Deciding How Many Tables To Play

It can be tricky choosing how many tables to play. There are a number of factors that need to be considered:

How likely are you to tilt?Playing more tables will not be for you if you struggle with tilt. With more tables and hands, comes more variance and more bad beats and coolers.
Concentration levelsIf you have excellent concentration, playing more tables won’t harm you as much as it will others.
Current win-rateIf you’re a big winner, you can probably safely add more tables and maintain a decent win rate. If you’re breaking even though, you will surely start losing. Win rate is very important when poker multi tabling.
Decision-making speedAre you a slow thinker and like to take your time? Multi-tabling won’t be for you. However, if you can make good decisions fast, you will be at home playing lots of tables.
HUD competency There’s no use having a HUD if you struggle to use it effectively. Anyone who can look at HUD stats at a glance and use it accordingly will be confident multi tabling. You need to be able to look at it in a few seconds and know what to do.

Poker Multi Tabling Test

We’ve created a test for those of you unsure how many tables to play. The test only takes a few minutes and will give you an indication as to how many tables to play.  All you need to do is take the quiz below. Once completed, you’ll get a grade which suggests how many tables. Please remember this is not a test on your ability or anything like that. There’s no perfect score. What’s right for one won’t be for another.

Texas Hold’em Questions Poker Multi-Tabling Test

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“When the online poker gods smile” by Ryan Harvey is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

6 Max Poker Strategy Guide 2021

6 Max Poker

6 Max poker or short-handed poker is the most popular form in cash games. It’s popularity has surged in the last 10-15 years. This is probably due to the fact it combines the appeal of fewer opponents with rewarding a looser playing style. Look on any poker site cash game lobby and you will see the numbers – players prefer 6 max to full ring. The sharks tend to prefer this format too and will prey on weak opponents who do not make the necessary adjustments when moving from a nine or ten handed game. This article is dedicated to those of you new to 6 max or considering playing it. This 6 max poker strategy guide is mostly focused on cash games but can also be applied to tournament poker.

You Must 3 Bet More

There are some schools of thought that advocate a 3 bet or fold playing style. I do not subscribe to that theory being the best way but there’s no question you must 3 bet more in shorthanded games. You need to be aggressive, particularly in position. You will be playing more hands and you only connect on 1 in 3 flops so it is necessary to mix in some 3 betting to ensure you have the aggression and also aren’t reliant on hitting the flop to win.

Looser Hand Selection

If you are uncomfortable playing more than the very best hands, 6 max isn’t for you. You will lose too much in blinds and antes if you are not prepared to play more hands. Throw away your hand charts, as you won’t need them for 6 max. With fewer opponents, you are less likely to walk into premium hands as often. In a full ring game, you are folding your ace ten from under the gun, not in 6 max. Remember, if you open under the gun in 6 max, you only need three folds to your left to be playing in position.

Bluff More

Playing short-handed affords a lot more bluffing opportunities. You will quickly realise that weaker hands will win at showdown. In a full ring table with multi-way pots, a strong hand is often needed to win. Not so for 6 max games – one pair will often be sufficient. This means you can run more bluffs and try more moves to win. I am not suggesting you go crazy and re raise every flop bet but feel free to some flop check raises against those who c-bet too much or 4 bet the LAG who keeps 3 betting you. Bluffing effectively is a must for 6 max poker so look for opportunities.

Learn Continuation Bet Strategy

A shameless plug for our continuation bet course but it’s true, you need to c bet properly in 6 max. In most low stakes games, there are 2 types of mistakes players are making. They’re either not c betting enough or c betting far too much! Don’t fall into either category. Consider the opponent, flop texture, your hand strength and position before firing a c bet. You need to identify whether it’s a c-bet that is likely to work. This is not easy to do, in an instant. With our course, you will learn all this and more and it will become intuitive.

Thin Value Betting

Value betting is absolutely essential to winning poker. After all, you need to extract more from your opponents than they do from you, when you have the better hand. You need to value bet a lot thinner in 6 max poker games. A softly softly approach will not do you any good. If you’re checking back rivers in spots when your hand is best, you’re probably making a mistake. A thin value bet can be a small bet or an over-bet. If you are on unsure which is appropriate, err on the side of caution and value bet small. This will protect you from the bigger mistake of overplaying your hand. As you gain experience, you will be able to identify scenarios where a larger value bet will work. 

Take More Notes

As you’re playing against fewer opponents, there’s even more reason to know them better. Watch them closely, pay attention to the hud stats, and take notes diligently. If you have more information, you are more likely to make better informed decisions. You will know their strengths and weaknesses and can react accordingly. They fold to 3 bets a lot? Great! Three bet them like there’s no tomorrow. They fold overpairs to wet boards? Fantastic, an over bet bluff is likely to work! They don’t 4 bet bluff? Don’t stack off with pocket jacks! As you can see, note-taking will significantly impact your decision making. It may seem tedious to type up notes but trust me, it’s for your benefit and your bankroll too.

Play Fewer Tables

Short handed poker is going to take more of a mental toll. You’ll be involved in more pots, taking more notes and in more awkward situations. This is in contrast to the monotonous nature of full ring poker which affords you the chance to play more tables. One of the first tips I offer players I mentor is to find the right balance of game type and number of tables. Most prefer 6 max but are handicapping themselves by playing too many tables. This varies player to player but suffice to say, you will play better with fewer tables. This doesn’t mean you have to one table, perhaps you’re intelligent enough to play 8 tables and maintain a high win rate (rare). The key thing to remember is that each table you add on, the less concentration on each table on average.

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Poker Variance – The Winner’s Enemy?

Poker Variance

When it comes to anything that involves chance, there are swings in fortune you can’t legislate for. Naturally, the smaller the percentage of luck, the less likely you will see pendulum like swings in fortune. But, even in sports like football, chance can have a big say. Whilst poker is largely a game of skill, there is an element of luck that cannot be ignored. This is particularly true when focusing on the short term. On any given day, a weaker player can catch great cards or bad beat or cooler their stronger opponents. In this article, we will seek to explain what poker variance is, how it affects players and how to deal with it.

Beginner Texas Hold’em Question

What is Variance in Poker?

Variance is the difference between what you expect to occur and what actually happens. These can be summarised as swings or ups and downs involved in poker. Poker hand analysis software can highlight the variance easily with graphs.

What Influences Poker Variance?

Variance impacts everyone. Like the rain, it falls on everyone and does not discriminate. However, there are factors that can play a part in variance.

Style of Play

Playing a LAG poker style is likely to incur more swings and greater variance than playing a tighter game. This is because of the inherent risk of playing more hands and less than premium hands.

Tournament Type

The more entrants, the greater luck involved. This is especially true when blind increments are quicker too. Think about it, SNGs with 9 people are far less swingy than playing the Sunday Million with thousands of entrants.

Format

An obvious one here but worth making the point. No limit is more volatile and swingier than limit games. With the option to bet larger in relation to stack sizes, variance goes up.

The Negative Impacts of Variance in Poker

Variance takes it’s toll on lots of players. From micro to mid stakes, many can’t handle it and negatively impacts them:

Tilt

Many players suffer bad luck then proceed to go on tilt and lose even more, thus making it worse. This is a big problem for players at low stakes. They have the potential to be great players but tilt off buy-ins at the first sign of bad luck.

Moving Between Stakes

There’s a lot of players that have no clue on bankroll management. They continuously move between stakes due to variance and take hits to their confidence. If you exercise a cautious approach and have plenty of buy-ins, you should be able to handle variance. I suggest setting up a poker spreadsheet to keep on top of you results and monitor performance.

Changing Your Game

Some people go the other way when variance hits. They question their game and strategy. Instead of tilting, they go into a shell, bluff less, value bet wrong and play too nitty. This is just as bad as tilting as it has longer lasting consequences. You may lose less from playing conservatively but remember, money you fail to pick up through accurate value betting and bluffing is the same as money lost.

How to Overcome Poker Variance

People deal with negativity in different ways. I always say it’s best to think of the long term. If you are doing this and not focusing on the most recent session, you will be better for it. Professionals accept that not every session will be a winning one. This is the burden that pro’s bear for playing a game with chance involved. If you can’t handle it, forget about playing professionally.  

Overcoming variance can be achieved by playing a happy song after a tough session to help your mood. Or, saying to yourself you will get the same fortune. My suggestion to think of the long run is ideal for consistent winners.

Variance isn’t All Bad

We’ve focused on the negative aspect until now, but remember, variance isn’t just the bad swings. Simple probability maths dictate you should receive your positive swings too. This means you will run good and win more than you ought to aswell. This is a comforting thought, particularly if you’re on a downswing or usually win. As stated earlier, poker variance doesn’t have favourites per se. The sun shines on all, just as the run falls on all.

It’s important to recognise when variance has been on your side. If your software is showing that you actually should be losing or breaking even, you need to work on your game. Good players cannot be results orientated in the short-term and variance can’t always bail you out. That’s why continuing to work at your game is important. I recommend regular hand history reviews to our students, so they can have impartial feedback on how they are playing.

Final Thoughts

Remember, poker variance is what keeps the weak players coming back. Occasionally, they win and that hope of winning again is what keeps them in the game. This is an incredibly important point and worth remembering if you moan about the luck in poker. You don’t want to only play against strong players, do you? Winning money is your goal and to do that, you need to take it from inferior players. They won’t want to play if they never win and the game was 100% skill based.

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Pros and Cons of Playing Poker vs Sports Betting

Poker vs Sports Betting

Gambling is increasing in popularity across the US as more states relax gambling laws, opening up casinos, sportsbooks, and poker rooms online and in-person. As more people than ever look to get involved in gambling as a way of fun and excitement, there’s an increasing number of people who also want to make money this way. Gambling is mostly about having fun, but some people use their knowledge and experience to turn a consistent profit.

If you’re looking to make money through Poker or sports betting apps in Michigan, it’s a good idea to look at the pros and cons of each. While it is possible to win money from gambling online, it’s not without risk, and you should always gamble responsibly. If you’re having trouble with staying away from gambling, you can use your state’s gambling commission to self-exclude from any legal gambling sites.

Sports Betting

Sports betting is one of the oldest and most popular forms of gambling with a history as long as sports themselves. Today, sports betting can be done in-person at specific retail sportsbooks or online. Be sure that the online sportsbook you use is legal and licensed in your state. That way, you can be sure that your money is safe and the site is fair to use.

Pros of Sports Betting

  • A large variety of sports to bet on
  • Gamblers can turn a good profit through careful research
  • Lots of good online sports betting sites and apps
  • In-play betting and cash-out features enhance the experience
  • Most online sportsbooks offer big bonuses to new users
  • Aside from the research, betting is fast and straightforward

Cons of Sports Betting

  • While it’s possible to spend lots of time researching the sport and betting options, bettors can still be unlucky
  • Pay-outs for winning bets tend to be fairly low. Unless betting on an underdog, you have to stake a lot of money to win big

Poker

Poker is a classic card game that can be played at casinos and poker rooms across the country. In recent years, online poker has also become available in some states, and many players also choose to play at off-shore poker sites. There are lots of different versions of poker, which all have different rules, but the objective remains the same, to create the highest-scoring hand.

Pros of Poker

  • Poker is a skill-based game that can be mastered if you put the time in to learn and study it
  • The best Poker players can win consistently
  • Poker sites often hold tournaments, which can sometimes feature massive prizes. The pay-outs are generally much larger than in sports betting
  • There are lots of different Poker sites available which usually offer great bonuses
  • Because there are so many different types of poker, you can pick one type and specialize in it
  • Freeroll tournaments allow players to enter for free and still potentially win big prizes

Cons of Poker

  • Games can take a long time, and professional Poker players devote hundreds of hours to practicing and playing
  • Poker is a complicated game to learn and can be daunting for new players
  • Poker training is often required to become a winner

Conclusion

Both sports betting and poker are fun hobbies that can potentially make money if you put enough time and effort into them. The very best poker players are able to win tens of millions of dollars, although it’s extremely difficult to get to this level. Sports betting is generally much more accessible, and anyone can instantly start betting without much previous knowledge or research. However, just as with poker, you’ll need to dedicate time to research in order to find the best odds and the best picks.

Neither are guaranteed ways of making money, and the best option ultimately comes down to which you prefer. Some people enjoy the strategy and competitiveness of poker, while others prefer to enhance their sports viewing experience with betting. Whichever you choose, be sure to use a site that’s licensed by your state if you want to stay safe while gambling online. There you have it poker vs sports betting in a nutshell.

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Iso-Raising in Poker – A Complete Guide

Iso-Raising in Poker

There’s lots of different ways to exploit weak players at the poker table. Most of it is through post-flop skill but a key part of beating weak players is getting them heads up. It helps your chances of winning the pot there and then, and you also have better chance of making the best hand when you’re facing just one instead of taking the hand multi-way. In this article, we will explore what iso-raising in poker is, why it’s done and how to do it effectively from different positions.

Beginner Texas Hold’em Question

What is an Iso-Raise in Poker?

An iso-raise or isolation raise is where you raise pre-flop, typically over a limper. The raise is intended to “isolate” that opponent and take the flop heads up, or win it without contest pre-flop. It is a move routinely used by winning players at most stakes in cash games and tournaments too.

Who to Iso-Raise Against?

The iso-raise is something you want to do against weak passive players. You know the type. The players at the table that like to play more than ½ their hands and are quite happy playing limp in poker. They are playing to hit hands and hope to win big. Each hand they are dealt is like a new lottery ticket and like the lottery, you can make their chances of winning very slim. By isolating these players heads up, you can take control of the pot and be the aggressor.

Controlled aggression is a good way of looking at it. Once you are in control of the pot, you are master of the pot size, whether you are taking free cards, value betting, bluffing and semi bluffing. It’s a great position to be in and it’s why you will see professionals frequently trying to iso-raise a weak player in a pot.

The 3 Bet Iso-Raise

Not all weak players are passive limpers. Many have a distorted view of Texas Hold’em that is likely brought on by watching YouTube clips of Phil Ivey or Tom Dwan. They think they can get away with playing lots of hands, playing aggressively and turning a big profit. It doesn’t occur to them that there’s probably 1 in 100 people that can adopt such a strategy successfully. As such, they will be losing most hands they contend. Full ring poker rarely rewards those who enter every pot, no matter how aggressive you think you can be.

An effective counter strategy to these bad LAGs is to 3 bet their opens. It serves the same point as isolating limpers but with obvious differences; the pot is bigger and your opponent is likely to be more stubborn or bluffy. The 3 bet iso raise is something you can only really employ in cash games or deep stacked tournaments. Otherwise, you will find yourself in massive pots very quickly and may be stacking off lighter than you hoped. The 3 bet iso-raise is something that has grew in popularity in recent years due to the increased aggression. It was not even an expression when I first played online poker.

Iso-Raise Bet Sizing

Size matters…When it comes to poker, you need to have solid bet sizing strategy. You need to ask yourself is the size of your bet accomplishing what you want? If it is, well done, if it isn’t, take a look at your sizing and reconsider what you are doing. An iso-raise needs to get the pot one on one or win it outright. Given that someone has already entered the pot, you need to forget about small ball bet sizing as it won’t help you out. The table below is a guide to bet sizing for iso-raises. Please note it doesn’t take into account multiple limpers. To factor this in, just add an extra big blind per opponent in the pot.

PositionBet Size
Early to Mid Position4 Big Blinds
Late Position 4.5 Big Blinds
Small Blind 5 Big Blinds
Big Blind 5 Big Blinds

Our sizing adjusts based on the position we iso-raising from. Iso-raising from early or middle position is not ideal as we have lots of players to act behind us. If you are going to raise over the limper from here, you should have strong hand. Four big blinds should be enough to dissuade callers but not invest too much in case someone behind you has a premium hand.

Conversely, from later position, you can increase your sizing a little to pick up the pot right now. You can also widen your range from later position and improve your chances of winning the pot before the flop.

Finally, you want to increase your raise from the blinds to 5 big blinds. This may seem large but in reality, you won’t be raising liberally from here. Secondly, a smaller raise won’t accomplish anything. Once one calls, the rest of the table find themselves calling with favourable odds. For this reason, we need to punish the limpers and charge more for the privilege of playing in position on us.

What Hands to Iso-Raise With?

You will want to iso-raise with all your strong hands from any position. You can throw in 2nd tier strong hands like king queen, ace ten and middle pocket pairs from middle position. From the cut-off and button, you can open your range significantly. Provided you are comfortable playing pots with less than premium hands, I recommend iso-raising with suited aces, suited and gapped connectors and even small pairs. Remember, the point of the raise is two fold; win it now or play the pot heads up against a weaker player with the aggression. If it does either, you’re on your way to winning poker.

Disclaimer

Iso-raising is a great strategy but a raise on it’s own pre-flop won’t win the pot all the time. You need to navigate post-flop effectively otherwise there’s no point. In order to iso-raise profitably, you must have a solid grasp of continuation betting and pot control. You can’t just c-bet every flop and expect to win. We have a continuation bet course that can help you understand it properly. Click below for more information.

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Poker Variants with a More Approachable Pace than the Fast Tempo of Texas Hold’em

Texas Hold’em may be the most popular variant of poker in the world, but it isn’t always loved by everyone from the outset. For some people just starting out, it can seem intimidating. After all, it is fairly fast-paced and requires players to have a solid strategy nailed down. On the internet, there can be a lot of sharks out there who are ready to pounce on the fresh fish as well. To get the hang of poker in a more controlled and relaxed environment, it could be a good idea to practice other variants such as Caribbean Hold’em and seven-card stud.

A Change from Texas Hold’em?

Now, before you start getting all up in arms about an article suggesting that someone shouldn’t be playing Texas Hold’em, let’s just make one thing clear. This article isn’t advocating avoidance of Hold’em for intimated newcomers altogether. It is merely a suggestion about how they can ease themselves into the community game later on.

On top of that, some Hold’em players may feel their skills stagnating or their progression halted. They may have watched all the training videos and played for some time without moving up the levels. These people may also find that a change from Hold’em to playing other poker variants could be beneficial to their overall improvement. It could lead them to take stock of the game and then come back more refreshed later on.

Caribbean Hold’em

It’s a lesser-known strain of poker, but Caribbean Hold’em poker is one option for beginners. This uses almost exactly the same rules as Texas Hold’em but, instead of having a number of players around the table, it is just the player against the dealer. The player and the dealer both receive two hole cards before three community cards are dealt in the middle. The player then decides whether to fold or bet. If they bet, the turn and the river are dealt in quick succession and the winning hand is revealed.

This game is good for beginners who want to get the hang of the hands. There is no time limit when making decisions, which gives the player a good opportunity to work out their odds of winning a hand. They can assess whether they have any good draws and calculate their outs. With practice, players are able to do this much more quickly.

Seven-Card Stud

Seven-card stud is a classic poker variant that has been overshadowed by community offerings since poker moved online. However, it can still be found at a number of poker sites and it makes a fun and exciting alternative to Hold’em.

Seven-card stud used to be the most commonly played variant of poker in the United States until Hold’em took over during the poker boom. The reason why this variant disappeared into the shadows is that it was far less exciting for live audiences to watch, and there wasn’t quite as much interaction between players. Still, it can be a great way for beginner players to learn the ropes and understand draws.

In seven-card stud, each player gets dealt their own cards. It starts with two face down and one face up, followed by a round of betting. A second, third, and fourth upcard is dealt to each player, with betting occurring at each stage. The final card is dealt face down with another round of betting. Players make their best possible hand of five cards with the seven at their disposal. They can also look at the four face up cards of their opponents’ to gauge what they may be holding.

Apply the Learned Knowledge to Hold’em

From playing Caribbean Hold’em for some time, players may feel that they are ready to take their newfound skills to the Texas Hold’em table. After learning the hand values and mastering how to calculate outs in a controlled environment, players should feel way more confident at the Hold’em table.

In seven-card Stud, players should be fairly accustomed to working out their own draws. During this variant, players need to assess multiple players’ draws by observing their upcards as well. In Hold’em, they only need to look at the community cards to assess everyone’s draws. This means that they may find Hold’em easier after having played seven-card stud.

Texas Hold’em players shouldn’t be against the idea of straying away from the number one poker variant from time to time. After all, some of the best players in the business have been known to play different games. For instance, Phil Ivey is widely considered to be the best player in the world, and he spends a lot of his time at the baccarat table. Bertrand Grospellier, better known as ElkY, plied his trade as a competitive gamer for some time before making it in the poker world. Beginners who opt to play these games first may also feel less intimidated when they sit down at a Hold’em table.

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