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Poker Psychology – Is it a Big Deal?

Poker Psychology

Psychology permeates the majority of jobs people work and the sports they play. It’s the mental state you’re in but much more than that. It’s also the relationship between you and another. When you hear someone use the term “mental warfare”, they’re describing a psychological battle. It should come as no surprise to you that psychology is an integral part of poker. In this article, we’re going to explore several aspects of psychology and how it manifests itself in poker. I will also offer a few tips.

Psychology in Poker

Your mental state is absolutely vital in poker. A players’ mood and how they’re feeling will impact decision making whether they know it or not. It can be positive, negative or neutral. Poker is all about decisions so it’s needless to say you need your mind to be on point.

If you have negative feelings, it’s very unlikely to help your decisions. On the contrary, you’ll be more inclined to make rash decisions, execute poorly timed bluffs and chase draws with bad pot odds. A player in a psychologically weak state is prone to tilting, taking shots at higher stakes and playing for too long, risking burn out.

A good mental state is conducive to playing well. You’ll be thinking clearly, free of stress and anxiety. These feelings are common when you’re on a heater, rested and enjoying poker. These are the best times to play poker. Those days where even if you have some bad luck and experience negative variance, you’re feeling great and not affected mentally.

What Causes “Bad” Psychology in Poker?

I am not a psychologist so I can only go from my own experiences and those of friends and players coached. So, take this with a pinch of salt. Most poker players on the wrong side of psychology suffer from a trigger or few that sets them off. These triggers come in various forms for different people. These are the most common:

A Bad Beat

Taking a bad beat is hard for some people to swallow. When you’ve got the best hand and get beat by an unlucky turn or river, it can eat away at some people. Seeing the chips/money go to someone else when it should be yours can act as a trigger that causes players to tilt.

Getting Bluffed

Nobody wants to get bluffed but for some people, it’s more than a lost pot, it’s painful. Knowing you hand the best hand and was outplayed is not a great feeling. Beginners and intermediate players struggle with being bluffed. Some players would actually be big winners if they let their ego go, but they hate being bluffed and will pay off instead.

Getting bluffed out of a pot is a trigger for a lot of players. They take it as personal insult and hurts their ego. How do they react? They go after that player or the next few pots, trying to assert themselves. This is not a good idea in 6 max or full ring poker.

Life Away from Poker

Players lives away from the table can be a cause of bad poker playing. An argument, tough day, money woes or relationship problems. They’re all psychological impacts that can trigger a player to play poorly. A player may use a session as form of escapism from real life. They may play on laptops, desktops and iPhone casinos to escape real life issues.

The problem with this is that you’re not really playing poker, you’re a robot or an empty chair. Playing winning poker requires a focus and a clear mind. This is not possible when you’ve just had a fight with your partner or in loads of debt. (See our responsible gambling page for info).

Poker Psychology Tips

It’s been pretty negative so far hasn’t it? Don’t worry, there are positive aspects to psychology too. Let’s look at some tips to help you be psychologically strong and prepared for poker.

Become Disciplined

Discipline is all about routine, prudence and self-control. Practice good bankroll management to ensure you’re not playing above your means. It will ensure you’re not as stressed if you lose a few buy-ins. Bankroll management will mean you’re not taking big risks to move up stakes. It’s about patience and thinking about the long term, qualities that will help you in life too.

Discipline can come from a healthy diet and regular exercise too. Having a healthy body has countless benefits. Just because the typical older players were fat smokers that sat in a chair all day doesn’t mean you have to be. Eating well and getting exercise will give you endurance and stamina for cash games sessions and long tournaments.

Take Accountability

Most players that come to us for poker coaching have the same trait – accountability. They realise something is wrong or they’re doing something wrong and want help. Taking accountability is a positive psychological mindset as it means you’re not blaming others for failings. When you’re not pointing fingers and blaming bad luck, you’ll be less prone to mental fatigue. You’ll also look at any issues within your own game and be inclined to solve them through hard work. If you’re someone that blames everyone else but yourself, you need to look in the mirror and start taking responsibility. It will feel like a burden has been lifted.

Learn to be Humble, Not Egotistical

Humility is a amazing trait to have in life and poker. You’re unlikely to get many adversaries and you can still attain greatness. An ego is often described as a fantastic thing to have, but is it? An ego in poker can cause you a lot of grief. By letting go of your ego and remembering poker is a game, not life or death, you will be a bit closer to playing free poker.

Many that come to the table carry some baggage. The less weight you carry, the freer you are to play great poker. Don’t read this and think I am advocating a quiet, nitty approach to poker with no ambition. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I am promoting an a pro-active, hard-working, disciplined and humble approach to poker. If you do your best to action these tips, you will become a better player. When will you start?

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Teen Patti – The Indian Poker Game

Teen Patti Poker Introduction

The poker market in India continues to grow and gain popularity year on year. In addition to the normal poker variants, India has some of its own card games that Indians enjoy playing. In this article, we’re going to look at Teen Patti, a 3-card poker variant native to India. I hope this post will be useful for both international and Indian visitors interested in learning other card games.

The Origins of Teen Patti

Before we go into the nitty gritty of how to play the game, I always find it helpful to look at its past. Teen Patti originates to the 1500s in Great Britain. It was known as three card brag, a game still played in England amongst older citizens today.

Interestingly, it was one of the first poker games that involved bluffing. It was and is played with a normal playing deck of cards (52) and involves between 2 and 9 players playing.

How to Play Teen Patti

The game can be played in fixed limit, pot limit or no limit formats; players are dealt three cards face down. Like Texas Hold’em, there is a button and forced bets known as blinds. This drives the action.

The betting moves anti-clockwise. The game is won by a player revealing the best hand or making others fold. To win by showing the best hand there must only be two players remaining. So the pots can get quite large as action develops! There are no community cards so what you are dealt is what you have and that is that.

The key to becoming a good Teen Patti player is to understand hand strength and implementing timely bluffs. As the game is played with only three cards each, it is not possible to make five card hands like in most poker formats. That’s why the hand rankings are slightly different.

See below for hand rankings in order of strength.

Three of a Kind

This is the best possible hand to get with a probability of around 0.24%.

Straight Flush

Three cards of same suit in sequential order. Interestingly, this is 0.22%.

Straight

Three cards in sequence but different suits.  You have a 3.26% chance of getting this type of hand.

Flush


Any three cards of the same suit. Unlike Texas Hold’em, this is less value than a straight in teen patti with a probability of 4.96%.

Pair

Two common cards e.g., a pair of kings. You can expect to get a pair around 16.94% of the time. Remember, the higher the pair, the more valuable.

High Card

This is where you have nothing, no pair. You will get this more often than not, approximately 74.39% of the time. You can see why bluffing is important?

Is it Legal for Indians to Play Teen Patti?

The laws in India are complex ,old and vary state to state. This is not a helpful answer but my research into this article shows that Teen Patti is a primarily lucky based game and therefore not permitted for the most part. However, it is legal to play in some states online. There are also foreign websites that offer Teen Patti to Indians too. In short, if you’re an Indian looking to play real cash Teen Patti, play on a foreign site, or check your local state laws.

Other Teen Patti Variants

In this post we’ve focused on the common and most popular way of playing. Unsurprisingly, there are other variations that exist. Below are some interesting twists:

Draw

Players put in agreed amount in the pot. Then, they are dealt their cards. Each player then has the option to exchange a card. To replace the card, you have to put in the pre-agreed amount. This version can get quite expensive!

2 Cards Open

This version involves two cards being face up and visible to everyone. The third card is face down and only seen by the player. The regular version is adopted for the remainder of the game.

One-Eyed Jack

This variant is a funny one. The Jack of hearts and the Jack of spades are called one-eyed jack and become jokers.

Cobra

Every player is dealt one card and put in a pre-determined amount into the pot. Without seeing, they pick their card and put it on their forehead. Every player can therefore see each others card except their own. This game is usually the final hand of any game and done for fun.

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5 Things to Look for in a Casino Review

Casino Review

I know many of our visitors love to gamble on other casino games. But it’s important you don’t just register on any casino randomly. There are literally thousands of casino sites online and whilst some are respectable and trustworthy, some should be avoided.

To find the best casinos to play on requires a little research. Like most things online, you can find reviews to ascertain which casinos are good and bad. In this article we’re going to highlight five key elements of a strong casino review so you know the important aspects of the best online casinos.

1] Deposit and Withdrawal Options

The best online casinos should have plenty of banking options available. If a casino site only has a couple of options to the customer, they clearly lack expertise and infrastructure. The best online casinos cater to their clients, knowing that we all have different preferences when it comes to banking. Don’t assume an online casino accepts PayPal or Skrill, as some may not and you don’t want to be disappointed.

2] Customer Support Methods

An online casino that cares about its customers will offer multiple layers of support. Most of them will have a help centre or email support but the major players will have even more. They will offer support via live chat and telephone too. This shows dedication to its customers. They know a happy customer will return and by answering queries efficiently they will be reducing the stress and anxiety of the customer.

Casino portal sites that offer reviews like onlinecasinosrealmoney.co.nz show the support options in their casino reviews. This is very useful for prospective players and certainly something to look for in a casino review.

3] Bonuses

A decent bonus is possibly the biggest thing players look for before registering and depositing. If you’re reading a casino review and not seeing any juicy bonuses, walk away! All the major online casinos offer bonuses as an incentive for gambling with them. The marketing departments know customers want lucrative bonuses and they usually oblige. The common bonuses are no deposit bonus, matched deposit and free spins. Bonuses like refer a friend are less common these days but found occasionally too.

4] Games Available

We’re a demanding species, aren’t we? Everyone knows what they want and want them quickly. Online casinos are not foolish, they know this and will try to satisfy as many of us as possible. That’s why the best casinos have dozens, if not hundreds of variants of games available to play.

When looking at a casino review, keep your eyes peeled for the games they offer. If you love a certain brand of roulette or slots and it’s not there, why bother playing there? Stick to the online casinos that give offer games you enjoy and you will have a more pleasurable experience.

5] Mobile Compatibility

People use their mobiles more than ever. The convenience of using our phone can’t be ignored. We use it for everything, work, emails, social media and gambling too. The major casinos have invested heavily in apps so that customers can play their favourite games on their phone too. This is definitely a game-changer for some people. After all, some people don’t even own a laptop or desktop anymore. Therefore, it’s essential you look for this in a casino review.

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A Guide to Online Gambling in Australia

The online gambling industry soars in Australia. Wikipedia reports that over 80% of adults gamble in Australia and that it is one of the highest rates in the world. That’s unsurprising given the relaxed approach Australia took to gambling for many years. In this article, I’m going to share some insights into Australian gambling. By the end, I hope you will have a greater understanding of our Aussie friends, their laws and their gambling habits.  

The Law – Interactive Gambling Act (2001)

First of all, lets’ get the legal bit out of the way. The interactive gambling act is the chief law that experts refer to when discussing gambling in Australia. The main thing to come from this bill was the prohibition of advertising real money online games to Australian residents. This was obviously a way to curb some of the problem gambling that was rising in many states. The second cause of the bill was to protect Australians; unlicensed regulated interactive gambling services must not be provided to customers in Australia.

There were quite a few games that were not eligible to Australians but innovative operators have found loopholes e.g. accepting bets over phones. The Australian government tried to resolve this by passing an amendment bill in 2016. The biggest hit from this bill amendment was the major poker sites leaving Australian market. Whilst many forms of gambling could be accessible, online poker was not. It was helped when some operators like Ignition entered the market.

In short, there is nothing for an Australian to be concerned with when gambling. It is the operators that are impacted by the laws and have to jump through hoops. Gamblers are protected by the laws and cannot be prosecuted for betting online.

Disclaimer on Gambling Laws in Australia

Australia, like the USA is a country that is regulated at lower level i.e., state or territory. There are eight territories, each of which have their own jurisdiction for gambling activities in its own area. The areas are listed below and I recommend you do some research if you live in one of the areas, to ensure you are compliant with up-to-date regulations.

  1. Australian Capital
  2. Northern Territory
  3. New South Wales
  4. South Australia
  5. Queensland
  6. Victoria
  7. Western Australia
  8. Tasmania

Taxation in Australia

Like the UK tax system, Australia does not view gambling as anything but a recreational past time that involves luck. Therefore, any winnings that arise from gambling is not subject to tax. That’s pretty awesome eh? The reason they take this stance is due to the fact that gambling is not a profession, its luck based, and that the government seek to take taxes from the operators instead. For astute Australians who regularly win at gambling, this is great news.

Favourite Australian Online Gambling Game

Without doubt, slot machines or “pokies” are the default go to game in Australia. These games are so popular that there are laws regulating the use in some territories. It’s a massive market that generates interest from all over Australia.

The popularity of pokies is probably down to the variety of slots available. A google search shows there is literally hundreds of variations of pokies so it’s no surprise Australians love them.

Online Poker in Australia

Like USA, online poker is going through a turbulent time with Australia. Essentially, many operators don’t want to get fines or run into legal problems by operating to Australians. Whilst the law is clear and individuals are safe to bet, the operators and offshore sites are the ones that could get into trouble. This means Australians wanting to gamble online need to do due diligence and find the right sites. There are fantastic review sites that do the hard work for you like  https://www.onlinecasino-australia.com/. By sticking with the best and trusted sites, you will have a better experience.

Conclusion on Online Gambling in Australia

There is no risk of fine or penalty for an Australian gambling online. Like any gambling activity, it’s important to do research, exercise bankroll management and gamble responsibly. If you do this, you will be more likely to have a fun time and hopefully win too.

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Playing the Poker Bubble in Tournaments

The Poker Bubble

Tournament poker is a minefield isn’t it? You’re constantly being moved and facing opponents you know little about. The blinds and antes are increasing and your stack size is changing too and with it, your strategy and hand selection does too. In this article, we will be looking at the poker bubble, what it is, common errors and what I think correct poker bubble strategy is when approaching it.

Beginner Texas Hold’em Question

What is the Bubble in Poker?

The poker bubble is the closest place to cashing, without actually cashing. Every tournament has a bubble position. If 180 pay and you finish 181st, you’ve busted out on the bubble. It’s a bad place to finish as it means you’ve invested the maximum time without making any money.

Common Mistakes Players Make on the Bubble

Too Tight & Cautious

Probably the most common mistake tournament players make is tightening up too much. They stop stealing the blinds and opening as wide from late position. It’s like they have their sights on cashing and forget about the big picture – securing a final table place finish. This may not cost one lots of chips but it’s missed opportunities.

Not Adapting to Table

There is a lot of moving around on the bubble, particularly in live poker as they even out the tables. Many players don’t’ seem to adapt to their new surroundings. You may have been the big stack at the previous table, but you may be average on the next. Bullying people won’t work here as often and they may be more aggressive or taking more flops. It’s important to quickly eye up stacks when you move as this will affect how you play.

Too Gung Ho

Aspiring professionals make this mistake a lot. They ready strategy that says exploit the bubble and think this means raising ½ their hands. To be fair, on the rare occasion, you may be able to get away with this. But on most tables, in the long run, this style won’t reap rewards. You’ll find yourself overcommitting, calling all-ins with below par hands and doubling up opponents too often. 

Poker Bubble Strategy Tips

The bubble is just another part of the tournament. Yes, it’s important to cash and maintain a good ITM rate, particularly if tournaments are your bread and butter. But, as with most things in poker, we need to look at the big picture and the long term. This means finding a happy medium between maintaining a good ITM rate, taking advantage of opportunities and keeping your stack competitive as you go into the deep stages of a tournament. To do this, we can do a few things.

Look for 3 Bet Opportunities


A 3 bet is a great weapon to employ at the bubble. A 3-bet that works will often, increase your stack a high % so it’s important we try to find opportune moments to use it. In my experience, doing it against the small blind works very well. When it folds to them, most tournament players feel obliged to steal. It’s logical, the blinds are high and they are getting a good price on trying to pick it up with little resistance. This means we can 3 bet very wide and pick up even more chips. This works very well on big sites like Full Tilt, but sadly they’ve now closed. Players are unlikely to call out of position with weak hands. To illustrate the value of the 3 bet at the bubble, look at the example below:

You have 78,000 with the blinds at 1,000/2,000 and an ante of 100. It folds to the small blind who is a TAG player. He has around 66,000 and opens to 5,400. You are in the big blind with Ks 8c and decide to 3-bet to 15,700 and he folds. You increase your stack by 8,300 or 10.6% to 86,300.

Attack the Survivors

As we know from earlier, a lot of people are making the mistake of just surviving. They will happily give up their blinds and fold to ensure they cash. These are the players we should look to attack. They are the ones whose blinds we can take, almost with impunity. I say almost, as good regs, will pick up on this and may try some re-steals. This is not too problematic though. Each steal that works, is a free round paid for. It’s only if they’re re-stealing a lot when you need to re-adjust.

The 4 Bet

This weapon is only for the bravest and savviest. The 4 bet steal is an effective counter strategy to the gung ho players we mentioned earlier. The problem arises when you do it too much or run into a monster. You need a very good understanding of your opponent and the right situation to pull this off.  Please only do it if the criteria below fits the scenario:

  1. Your opponent has 3 bet wide before
  2. You have fold equity
  3. You have a solid table image

Without the items above, a 4 bet is unlikely to work. Stack sizes and fold equity is absolutely critical. Your opponent may 3 bet with an Ace Ten thinking he is ahead of your range and find himself committed when facing your shove. He may shrug at his laptop and make the call and be delighted to see he dominates your Ace Deuce. To avoid this, you need to ensure he is not pot committed. It also helps if you’ve not shown down any crazy bluffs. You don’t want people making hero calls against you at the bubble.

Conclusion

The poker bubble is another stage in a tournament that needs to be navigated. It’s a great time to increase your stack, provided you know how to strike the right balance of maintaining a solid image and staying active enough to steal. If you find yourself bubbling too much, over a decent sample, you may want to re-think your strategy. We offer tournament coaching and hand history review sessions can help too.

If you enjoyed this article, you may enjoy the articles below or check out our poker spreadsheets and reporting service.

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Poker Win Rate: What’s Good & How to Work it Out?

Introduction to Poker Win Rates

Some poker players are happy to know they’re winning and don’t give their win rate much thought. As you gain experience and take poker seriously though, you’ll want to dive into it and find out exactly how you’re doing. This is where we measure performance and results through a metric called “win rate”. In this article, we’re going to look at what a win rate is in cash games and tournaments, what a good win rate is and how variance impacts win rates.

Cash Game Win Rate

Most poker regulars do not need to compute their cash game win rate. It’s automatically calculated using their poker tracking software. However, with more poker sites banning the use of HUDs, calculating your own win rate will be more important.

The poker win rate in cash games is measured in big blinds. In order to calculate it we need to know the number of hands played and the total profit in big blinds. These two figures are needed as the typical win rate is measured as “big blinds won per 100 hands” AKA bb/100.

Cash Game Win Rate Formula:
Profit in bb/number of hands X 100 = cash game win rate in bb/100

So let’s say you played 10,000 hands and won 200 big blinds.

(200/10,000) * 100 = 2bb/100

And that’s all there is to it. The key to working out your cash game win rate is ensuring you know how many big blinds you’ve won and the number of hands you played. In online poker, you should be able to get this data from poker software or the client. In live poker, you will need to tally up your hands as you play.

What is a Good Cash Game Win Rate?

“Good” is a subjective term when discussing win rates in cash games. There are many factors to what contributes to a strong win rate; location, calibre of opponents, rake and stakes to name a few.

The table below is a rough guide on what a good win rate is in each setting.

SettingWin Rate (BB/100)
Live Poker Cash Games10 to 25 BB/100
Online Poker Cash Games3 to 10 BB/100

As you can see, there is a discrepancy between live and online poker cash games. It’s well established that live poker is far softer, with players lacking the same technical skills as online. Therefore, a strong cash game player can potentially win 10 or more big blinds per 100, with over 20 being extraordinary.

Conversely, with cash games online much tougher, a win rate over 3 is considered a strong win rate. The major online poker sites attract most of the better players.

If you want to maximise your win rate, stick to softer sites. Coral poker is very fishy with potential for high win rates. Click below and register an account to find out.

Tournament Win Rate

Your tournament win rate is simply the return on investment or ROI. To work this out, you simply divide your profit by the amount of tournament buy ins and multiply by 100%.  This is the common way to measure tournament success. The formula basically shows how much you earn per dollar. This is in contrast to cash games where you work out how many big blinds you win per 100.

Working out your profit is a simple case of taking your total cashes and deducting the amount spent in buy-ins.

Tournament Win Rate Formula
Winnings/Amount Spent in Tournament Buy ins * 100

So if you’ve won $5,000 and spent $6,000, your ROI is 83%. Please note – this means your cashes are $11,000. We deduct the amount spent first to arrive at winnings.

$5,000/$6,000 * 100= 83.33%

What is a Good Tournament Win Rate?

Like cash games, tournament win rates are dependant on the setting. Again, your ROI is likely to be dependent on the types of tournaments you play.

If you are randomly entering turbo tournaments or a bounty tournament where you lack the expertise in strategy, your ROI will suffer. The table below is a guide as to what I think a good tournament win rate is for live and online poker tournaments.

Setting Win Rate as ROI
Live Tournament Poker 50 – 80%
Online Tournament Poker 20 – 40%

If you’re generating over 80% ROI in live tournaments, you’re doing fantastic. Likewise, anything over 40% for online poker is exceptional.

The table above should give you a good idea on what strong tournament players can expect to achieve. Are you near it? If not, why not join our training video membership? Most of our content is tournament based and may help you increase your ROI a few percentage points? Click below to find out how to get 75% off.

The Impact of Variance on Win Rates

The word that most serious poker players hate “variance”. Most poker tracking software has the ability to show you where you should be after X number of hands based on your data.

If you’re on a heater and showing 15 bb/100 but run the simulation of where you should be without variance, you may actually be at 1bb/100. This is a huge thing to remember as sometimes players make decisions like moving up stakes on the back of a good run of cards.

On the flip side, a player may lose confidence and drop down a few levels when they’re running bad when they in fact should be crushing.

In the long run, variance should not play a big part. The laws of probability show that it’s unlikely to have a big influence on your win rate over serious volume. I’m talking over the course of over 100,000 hands plus, or a year of playing.

Hourly Rate

This article has focused on win rates for cash games and tournaments. Whilst bb per 100 and ROI are key metrics to measuring success, I think hourly win rate is the most important metric of all. It is possibly the easiest and simplest way to calculate how you’re performing.

All you need to do is work out how much you win in a session and divide it by the number of hours played. So, if you played 8 hours and won $320, you’re averaging an hourly rate of $40.

This formula can be used in tournaments too. Naturally, it needs time to bear out in order to find out how much you can expect to make per hour from tournaments.

The key to understanding your hourly rate is to only judge it at intervals e.g. monthly or quarterly.

A True Hourly Rate Needs Data and Time

You need plenty of data to properly account for short term fluctuations. A good day you may win $100 an hour and a bad day you’re losing $80 an hour. That doesn’t mean you played exceptionally and awfully, it could have been coolers or bad beats.

The hourly rate can also be impacted by number of tables you play. You may find that 4 tabling NL $50 is more profitable for your hourly rate, albeit it at lower win rate when compared against 2 tabling NL $50. I think generating the best hourly rate is far more important than being able to boast of earning X BB per 100.

If you’re keen to improve your hourly rate, I suggest taking a look at our poker excel dashboard services. We can create a dashboard and report to you on a monthly basis. The report includes various measurements of performance and recommendations too. Click below for more information where you can also download a sample report and get a FREE quote too.

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How to Make Money Playing Poker Online

How to Make Money Playing Poker

Most visitors come to Texas Hold’em Questions for help in one way or another. You’re all looking to improve your poker skills. I know some of you play regularly and some play very rarely but ultimately, you’re all looking to start earning or improve your win rate at poker.

 In this article, I’m going to lay out, simply and concisely how to make money playing poker. It is not for mid-stakes players who already crush the games. This article is for the beginners or intermediate players that struggle to make money consistently. If you dedicate one month to the tips in this article, you should have a good shot at making money.  

Play Micro/Low Stakes Cash Games

First things first, if you want to win money next month, you will need to dedicate most of your time and energy to cash games. Don’t get me wrong, there is lots of money to be made from tournaments and we will discuss that shortly. But, if you want to increase your chances of regular income next month, start at low stakes cash games between NL $5 and NL $25.

Four Tables Maximum  

Don’t play lots of tables. If you’re used to playing 6 or more, this won’t be music to your ears but it will be worth it. Stick with a maximum of 4 tables. If you’re not sure how many tables is right for you, read our article on multi-tabling and take the quick test to find out.

Stick with 6 Max Games

I think the 6 max games are the best place to start. You will come across a range of players abilities from nitty regulars to the standard donkey. There will be a sprinkling of tough opponents too but you can recognise these within 20 minutes of sitting. If you ever find yourself on tables with more than two tough players, get up and leave. This is a very important rule you need to employ. There are plenty of games online so please take care with table selection. Need help with 6 max? No problem, download our free PDF guide in our 6 max poker strategy article.

Put in the Volume

Making money playing poker means playing regularly. That means playing a minimum of three times a week. You can’t play once or twice a month and expect to handle variance easily. To overcome short term fluctuations in luck, you’ll need to put in a decent number of sessions. I recommend playing at least 3 to 4 hours a day, 5 days a week.  

Play a Solid Tight Aggressive Style

Adapting to your surroundings is a necessary skill as you move up stakes. But at low stakes, TAG poker is the best form to use. It will strike the right balance of exploiting weak opponents who play the most overrated poker hands and the bad loose aggressive players who think they can run you over.

By playing a tight aggressive style, you will be able to get your bluffs through more often against regulars whilst continuing to get paid off from the fishes.

Playing in low stakes games can cause people to enter too many pots and deviate from solid strategy. Don’t fall victim to this mentality. Stick with the TAG style for the month and see what results it brings.

Play on Smaller and Softer Sites

There are plenty of online poker sites with many players around. You don’t have to play on the biggest sites just because there’s more traffic. The simple answer to “how to make money playing poker” is facing weak opponents. They are in abundance on the smaller sites that don’t offer poker as their main product.

Check out our Unibet Poker Review as a perfect example of this. I recommend registering an account with them. If you like the software then you’ll be happy with their competition. The standard is very low. I also find Coral to be a super soft site. You can register below.

Play Tournaments 20% of the Time (1 day)

Tournaments are still a great way to earn money online, particularly in games under $25 buy-in. Whilst cash games can be your bread and butter, there’s nothing wrong with investing time in tournaments too. In fact, it’s a good way to take a break from cash games. Tournaments can give a nice respite whilst also offer the chance to risk a little for a lot of gain. Assuming a working week is 5 days, try dedicating 1 day to tournaments.

Weekends Only

If you’re going to stick with the 1 day a week rule, please let it be a Saturday or Sunday? These are the best times to play online poker tournaments. Weekends tend to offer the best guaranteed prize-pools and also attract social players.

The weekend mtts are full of players lacking tournament poker strategy. They don’t care about m ratio or push/fold strategy, they are playing for fun. As such, they will be making a lot of mistakes! This is why you need to be playing with them.

Stick to Freezeouts

There are plenty of tournament variants about at the moment but freezeouts are the easiest format to follow. It may be tempting to play a hyper turbo or a bounty tournament, but remember, each variant requires revising your strategy. It’s much simpler and better for your ROI and ITM rate to stick with simple freezeouts.

Summary

As you can see, making money playing poker is very attainable. If you play low stakes games, focus on 6 max and use a TAG style, you’re on your way. Then, dedicate one day a week to tournaments and you’re all set.

The key to winning money from poker is treating it like a business. Make business like decisions in poker and you will increase your chances of winning.

To sum up:

  • Play NL $5- $25 6 Max
  • Play on a soft poker site like Unibet
  • 4 days a week cash games and 1 day for tournaments
  • Play tight aggressive
  • Play a minimum of 3 hours a day
  • Do NOT play more than 4 tables at once
  • Make your tournament day Saturday or Sunday
  • Stick to freezeout tournaments

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The Value Bet – Common Mistakes

Value Bet

It is an art that is difficult to master. The value bet in poker is perhaps the most important skill to develop in order to become a long-term winner. It combines the complexity of hand reading, understanding of opponent and maximising value.

Beginner Texas Hold’em Question

What is a Value Bet in Poker?

A bet that is designed to get called by a weaker hand. The sizing is irrelevant, it’s purely betting for value, hence value bet. It is usually at the end of the hand on the river. Although it’s technically possible to value bet all in before the river.

Common Value Bet Mistakes

One of the most prevalent errors an inexperienced or unconfident player will make is check back hands on the river that warrant betting for value. They will check back hands for one of the three reasons listed below.

1)Fear of Being Check-Raised

The river check raise is such an uncommon play and rarely ever done on a bluff that it is not to be feared, to the extent most players afraid. It takes incredible patience for an opponent to make their hand on the river then check raise for value. Few expert players have the discipline and skill to employ this and fewer online. The typical online player will often just bet their nut hand on the river. They do this even if their opponent has bet all the way through, purely because they are worried you will check back.

2)Lacking Conviction

Many players who miss out on value are doing so because they lack conviction in their own ability to know their hand is best and assign a range to their opponent. This is because they don’t have the confidence in their own game or lack experience. Perhaps they have suffered too many bad beats or read some hands poorly and it has affected them. Perhaps they are on tilt. Whatever the reason, they lack the conviction to put in the value bet they rightly should.

3)Wanting a Cheap Showdown

Some players just want to show their hand down. They don’t recognise that they are missing out on lots of value in the long run. They are happy to check back on the river and show the winning hand. This is extremely detrimental to their long-term ROI and profitability as they are costing themselves money. I contend that many of these types of players even know they are checking back the better hand, but do so anyway. Don’t be one of these players.

How Much to Value Bet?

This is the key question you should be asking every time you are considering a value bet on the river. One needs to think what is the most amount of money or chips I can extract from my opponent. This is a complex question. It involves assuming the perfect and maximum amount your opponent will call, given their likely hand range. Ultimately you need to have good hand reading skills to do this. This will come with experience and over time will be second nature to you.

Value Betting Against Regulars

A pot sized bet gives poor pot odds; thus, a strong, experienced player is less inclined to call with a weak hand. Therefore, you you need to offer a good price.

Seasoned regulars have the ability to fold stronger hands so you need to either give them lucrative pot odds or be confident they will call a larger bet through levelling themselves.

Value Betting Against Weak Players

On the contrary, a weak and inexperienced may be happy to call a huge over bet. If you assign a weak player a strong range, they will almost certainly call whatever you bet. So, it makes sense to put in a large bet to get the most.

If your opponent is a stubborn calling station, you can value bet thinly. To protect yourself from value owning yourself, you can value bet like 20-25% of the pot. This will elicit the calls from weaker hands whilst also ensuring you don’t lose more than necessary for the times you’re just beat.

Correctly judging the amount within a few seconds may seem impossible, but it isn’t. Over time you will develop intuition, developed from playing many hands. You can always refer back to hands you played with poker tracking software. If you don’t have one setup, visit our poker resources page for our recommendations.

Conclusion

The importance of appropriate value betting can’t be stressed enough. A winning player needs to understand when and how much in order to extract the most possible. This article has discussed the reasons why people miss out on value and to avoid the common mistakes. To become proficient takes experience, thought and intuition.

To improve your value betting, why not read one of the articles below? Alternatively, check out our poker training services.

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Photo by Dmitry Demidko @wildbook
This article was originally published in January 2020 and has been updated.

What’s the Impact of Quick Internet Speeds on Online Poker Games?

For many online poker players, the Internet is a basic need. It’s a necessity for creating accounts at new online casinos. And they need to make deposits, participate in poker tournaments and research materials to improve their skills.

In other words, taking the Internet away from an online poker player is like suspending Phil Ivey or Daniel Negreanu from Las Vegas casinos. In that regard, this focuses on the impact of reliable Internet connections when playing online poker. Ready? Let’s get started.

#1: A Smooth Gaming Experience

Playing poker using fast Internet is not only enjoyable but it also provides a smooth gaming experience. No buffering, no disconnections, time wasted—games react instantly while streaming works out smoothly. This is the experience you deserve as an online casino player.

But it can only be achieved if you have a reliable Internet connection provider. Poker, like many casino games, isn’t demanding on data. So, for you to have a smooth gaming experience, you don’t really need to pay expensive Internet plans.

A smartphone with 4G Internet connections or a computer with access to 3Mbps to 10Mbps Internet speeds can deliver a buffering-free gaming experience. In turn, you can focus on the game and how to win without worrying about disconnections from the Internet.

#2: You Can Play Poker Live

Playing poker against RNG software is great, but you get a better experience playing the game with a fellow human being. You can see one another, talk and exploit each other’s weaknesses, all while using your cubicle desktop or iPhone.

The only condition is that you have quick Internet access and an account at a live casino. Of course, take time to select a great live dealer. Winny live Casino, which provides Texas Hold’em, Three-card poker and more variations of the game, is a great candidate. It also features quick payouts, has a mobile responsive website and welcome bonuses.

With that in mind, you can’t cherish live poker unless you have fast Internet connections. Any minor disruptions can mean losing your chance to call blinds or bluff. In turn, this can lead to unnecessary losses. If the Internet disconnections are rampant, a casino could even suspend you from a game.

#3: Increases Productivity

When you think about it, there isn’t much you can do online when your Internet service provider is terrible. You focus on loading web pages while you could be worrying about winning. What’s more, you waste a lot of time as your ISP provider takes ages to open web pages.

But with reliable Internet access, you can play as many poker games as you want. Better yet, you can play your favorite games with maximum concentration, allowing you to make smart poker moves and increase your potential profits.

#4: You Can Multitask

You might think you have quick Internet connections at home until you decide to download large files while playing poker. With the addition of an app to stream music, your Internet could become too slow that you can’t achieve any of the tasks you intended.

In light of that information, quick Internet access helps you kill two birds with one stone. On the one hand, you can play Omaha or Hi-Lo at your favorite online casino. On the other, you can listen to soothing music because it increases your concentration.

Most online casinos don’t allow you to play different games at the same time, though. Otherwise, you could open multiple tabs to play slots, blackjack and poker without stretching your data traffic package.

#5: Spend Less Time at the Casinos

Casino gaming isn’t supposed to be something you do for hours. You should play poker for an hour or two when you’re in the mood and spend the rest of your day doing more productive things. Unfortunately, saving time at online casinos is easier said than done if you have poor Internet connections.

Between buffering and web pages that won’t open, you could spend a lot more time at a casino because your Internet speed is slow. This is time you could use to read a book, watch a movie or take your dog out. In other words, you can save valuable time by using fast Internet providers.

Another benefit of minimizing your time at poker sites is that it reduces the possibility of getting addicted to the game. When your Internet speed is slow, you’ll have an excuse for spending more time at the website. But if it’s fast, you spend as little time as possible gambling.

#6: Quick Banking Process

Unless your intention is to play free poker, you must deposit money at an online casino. The entire process is meant to take a couple of minutes. But if your Internet connection is poor, it could take up to half an hour. This means you can easily get frustrated and abandon the gaming process.

When you have stable Internet access, though, depositing money is a fast, stress free process. And as a result, you can save time, and enjoy poker with fewer frustrations. Withdrawing money after you win is also quicker when your Internet is quick. Otherwise, it could take days to get a payout processed if you can’t even make the request due to unstable Internet speeds.

#7: Reduces Stress

Saving time might be a good reason for upgrading your Internet package. But the main reason you deserve fast Internet is that it’s eliminates stress. This is not an opinion. A study done by tech firm Ericsson in 2016 shows that people’s heart rates rose by up to 38% when surfing the Internet through an unreliable ISP provider.

Worse, the study concluded that some people’s stress levels rose from 19% to 34% if their slow Internet began to buffer as they watched a video. For comparison, this is the amount of stress the average person gets while watching a horror movie.

Lesson learned: you can avoid stress by simply switching to an ISP provider with fast Internet. And because you can use the Internet on a lot more things than playing poker, you can enjoy your online work and social life without the stresses of slow Internet.

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The Pros and Cons of Poker Staking

Poker Staking

Anything that involves money interests’ other parties. I remember first playing live tournaments and being surprised when asked to trade percentages. I politely declined but it did make me think what motivates people give up potential earnings and get staked?

Poker staking is something that might be perfect for one and a disaster for another. It depends on several factors, which I will explore in this article. I hope by the end of it, you will have an understanding of what staking is and assess whether it’s for you.

Beginner Texas Hold’em Question

What is Staking in Poker?

Staking is where someone else invests the cash for your tournament or cash game. In exchange, you will pay them a percentage of your winnings. This could be up to 50%. Most staking deals run for a number of months or hands. The player being staked usually has to pay back any losses before chopping up the winnings.

The Pros of Poker Staking

There are several benefits to being staked in games. There are three obvious perks that I can see though.

1) No Risk

Playing poker without risk is very appealing to a lot of poker players. When you’re being staked, you are not financially invested. Regardless of your financial position, you won’t be impacted by a bad cash game session or tournament that you bubbled.

Playing poker without risk allows some people to play with more freedom. Not risking your own money also means you have free cash that you would have otherwise used for bankroll management.

2) Support

A lot of staking arrangements involve some poker support through coaching or general advice and support. A lot of the time the person who is backing you will be playing higher stakes. As they have a vested interest in seeing you succeed, they will be available for support, discussion, feedback and potentially coaching too. Learning from an expert for free is an attractive by-product of getting staked. Some backers recommend the best poker software to use or the where to go for the best poker blogs. These are helpful ways for you to develop.

3) Opportunity to play higher stakes

Most players who get staked are playing stakes they couldn’t afford on their own. That actually may be the sole reason why they are getting staked. Mike Matusow is one of the most famous faces in poker. When you see Mike playing big tournaments or high stakes poker, it’s usually because someone has staked him. This is a huge advantage to those who play smaller stakes or perhaps have poor bankroll management skills and need staking to play in bigger games.

The Cons of Poker Staking

Like most things, there are disadvantages and poker staking has some too. I feel obliged to inform you of some of these in this article.

1) Contract

The majority of staking arrangements involve an agreement between the backer and the person being staked. These is usually X number of hands or tournaments being played. This means you can’t walk away from a staking agreement easily. So, if you’re playing well and on a heater, winning lots of money, you have to see out your agreement with your backer regardless.

You may want to go it alone after 10,000 hands but if you’re contracted out to play 100,000, then your hands are tied. Good poker ethics dictate you should see out your contract, even if it means you are giving up a lot of your earnings.

2) Pressure

Being able to play without personal risk sounds fine but if you find yourself on a bad run, you will start to feel the pressure. Nobody wants to lose money but when you’re losing money that isn’t even yours, it feels even worse. This is true for the vast majority of poker players I’ve come across. They almost feel guilty if they bust a tournament or lose a few buy-ins.

Pressure can manifest itself in your play. You may find yourself missing value bets, bluffing less frequently or making bad folds. If you don’t cope well with pressure, poker staking is unlikely to be right for you.

3) Makeup

Makeup is embedded in practically every staking agreement. It is a way of ensuring the backer gets paid back any losses before their player can take some of the profit. For example, you’ve lost $500 in the first month, then win $700 on the second month. You are only entitled to $100 ($500 for the makeup, then the $200 split 50/50).

Makeup is a huge component of poker staking as it forces you to pay the backer his investment. It’s very difficult to get out of an agreement without paying them back. You either need to pay it back from your own money, quit playing or be released from your backer. As you can see, the freedom of staking is not so free after all.

Conclusion

You need to give it a lot of thought before entering into a staking contract. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly. There are great benefits but also some serious disadvantages too. Texas Hold’em Questions doesn’t offer any staking arrangements.

When we play, we want to win money for ourselves and not share it. We adopt this mentality in our coaching too, wanting you to win money for yourself. This is why we offer various methods of coaching for players with different needs. We offer 30 minutes free consultation to chat. You can book in a session by clicking below.

If you are interested in staking, do some research, speak with backers, find out their contracts and weigh up if it’s right for you.

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