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“M” Poker Ratio for Tournaments

M Poker Ratio

Tournament poker can be very complex can’t it? There are so many aspects to tournament poker and very few all encompassing strategies. This is where “M” can help you. It’s a tournament poker concept that was named after the late Paul Magriel Jr, a professional poker player and author. In this article, we will explain the meaning of M poker, highlight its value in tournaments and hopefully provide some food for thought for you moving forward.

Beginner Texas Hold’em Question

What does M-ratio mean in poker?

M Ratio is a measurement of how healthy our stack is relative to the blinds and antes. It’s basically a measurement of how long you can last before being blinded out of the tournament.

How Do I Calculate M-Ratio?

To calculate your M poker ratio. You simply divide your stack by the blinds and a full round of antes. So, if you have 25,000 and the blinds are 600/1,200 with an ante of 60 at a full ring table, your M would be 10.6 (25,000/ 600 + 1,200 + 540).


M poker

How Tournament Poker Strategy Changes Based on Your M

The value of knowing your M is that it helps your overall mentality, at a given time in the tournament. In theory, the healthier your stack, the more flexibility you have. You can play aggressively or conservatively. Dan Harrington’s tournament poker books identified various zones in which the value of M fit into. These zones help define the strategy one could employ to help their chances.

Value Colour Zone Mentality
20 +Green Zone Wouldn’t it be lovely to always live in this zone? This is deep stack poker playing and allows you to pick and choose the hands you play. You can play suited connectors, set mine and make speculative plays. A little hit to your stack won’t cripple you.
10 to 19Yellow Zone The blinds and antes put a bit more pressure on you here. You can’t get away with quite as many speculative calls but you’re still doing ok. No need to panic yet.
6 to 9Orange Zone You can’t waste any chips here. Flat calling raises is out of the question. Every steal is a decent increase to our stack so first in mentality is paramount. We won’t have to open shove just yet though.
1 to 5 Red Zone Time to start shoving. We have very little fold equity and need to get our chips in. It’s better to be the one shoving but either way, we need to be all in or folding.
Less than 1 Dead Zone No fold equity and very little chips. Even a double up won’t be of much value. This is the zone we want to avoid at all costs as we are going to have to get lucky several times.

Final Thoughts on M Poker Ratio for Tournaments

Knowing your “M” is a great way to measure your stack and assess how you’re doing. It’s a really useful tool for tournament players who perhaps don’t realise how deep their stack size is. Sometimes you see tens of thousands and think you’re doing well. In reality, you may actually be desperate and need to be playing push fold poker.

I can attest to the value of using M in tournaments. I used to always have my calculator with me, working what my M is and how I should be playing. With experience, you kind of know it intuitively and less need to stick to it religiously. It’s also worth pointing out that “M” poker was coined decades ago and primarily for poker in casinos. Live poker was often slower and deeper stacked play. In online poker, stacks are generally more shallow and blinds go up quicker. The strategy still holds up pretty well today but it’s good to be aware of it’s limitations too.

If you enjoyed this article, perhaps you’d be interested in reading our ITM poker ratio or tournament poker strategy article?



How Can I Get Poker Bonus Codes?

Poker Bonus Codes

With the unprecedented expanse of the poker scene over the past decade, lead almost solely by the wealth of resources available on the internet, players are looking online for strategy tips, guides, mentorship and offers to ensure they’re maximising their wins in each game. Bettors that enjoy sitting at the virtual tables and playing a game of poker would benefit by acquiring poker bonus codes as these will provide them with some great offers that can enhance their gameplay experience further.

Naturally, trying to find a poker bonus code can be a time-consuming process. Poker bonus codes are not always readily available. When they are found, they can provide you with some top bonuses which give you the opportunity to play with ‘free’ money.

These rewards can come in various forms, such as a No Deposit bonus, a First Deposit bonus, and Reload Bonuses.

What are poker bonus codes?

A poker bonus is a code that needs to be entered when making a deposit. It can also be when signing up at an online poker game. It has the power to provide them with one of the aforementioned bonuses available. These codes tend to come in the shape of letters and numbers mixed together. They generally depend on the online casino.

Each code is rather different – just as sports betting bonus codes are too. Therefore, the rewards that can be earned by using one can vary. For example, there can be different deposit bonuses available with the likes of a percentage of the deposit being received as extra funds or a matched-cash value of the deposit all being used by some of the top online poker rooms.

Casinos will offer these to entice new customers and keep existing members incentivised to continue using their online poker rooms. Online poker has become a highly saturated market and one that is incredibly competitive, therefore online casinos need to provide players with something that is appealing to ensure they can continue to make money.

How do poker bonus codes work?

Each poker site will have their own terms and conditions in regards to how their respective codes work, but many will generally follow the same system. Players will be able to claim the bonus that has been offered by placing real-money bets and by playing regularly. For example, a poker room may want a certain amount to be wagered with real money before providing the bettor with the first bonus and then continue to follow that particular pattern.

Other bonuses can be activated after a certain number of winning hands. Others may just want a certain amount of money to be won before activating the bonus. It should be noted that there can be time limits on the bonus codes that are available. This is so bettors can not sit on these for a lengthy period of time. Otherwise they may lose them, and not benefit from the promotion.

How can I get a poker bonus code?

There are a number of different ways that poker bonus codes can be found. It can be a rather time-consuming process, but definitely worth it. As mentioned, it is certainly something that needs to be done as players can benefit from doing as it will provide them with the opportunity to earn some big rewards.

Some online casinos will regularly send out codes via email communications. There’s also a plethora of sites available that can list all the latest and best codes available. They are all trying to capitalize on the growth of the game by enticing both new and existing players alike.

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LAG Poker Style – How to Play Loose Aggressive Poker Profitably


LAG Poker

Playing lots of pots is the dream. It’s more fun, intellectually challenging and potentially profitable too. It’s what most developing poker players aspire to. They want to play LAG poker well. This article will take a close look at what loose aggressive poker is, what it takes to play the style well, the pitfalls and what you can do to become a winning LAG.

Beginner Texas Hold’em Question

What is a LAG in poker?

A “LAG” is a loose aggressive poker player. The most common trait of a LAG is seemingly playing lots of hands and playing them aggressively. A LAG is therefore the polar opposite of a nit – someone who is playing tight and often passively.

How Many Hands to Play?

A loose aggressive poker player has their own ideas about what hands they like, what hands are profitable and from where. The key to being a good LAG is to identify what hands YOU play well i.e. don’t overplay and be comfortable playing pre and post-flop. It’s fine to have your own recall to draw on but I recommend using proper poker software to analyse your game. Your personal memory is biased and not as reliable as data.

When it comes to the actual % of hands you are looking to play, it ought to vary based on the table composition. With other aggressive poker players to your left, it would be wise to counter that by playing a little tighter when out of position. Conversely, you can open raise wider on a tight table. Check out the opening range charts below for generic guidelines for opening hand ranges for a LAG poker player at full ring cash table (100 big blinds or deeper).

Early Position Opening Range

A LAG can play up to 26% of hands from early position.

Middle Position Opening Range

A LAG might open raise around 33-35% of hands from middle position.

Late Position Opening Range

A LAG will play well over 58% of hands from late position. The graph above is actually a little conservative as many LAGS will play hands like Q-7 suited.

How to Play LAG Poker Well

First things first. Before you even consider adopting a loose aggressive poker style, you need to be profitable already. You don’t run before you can walk do you? Otherwise you will keep falling. This is true for profitable poker. Master a simpler style before trying the complex. In other words, ensure you are profitable playing a tight aggressive (TAG) style of poker first. Once you’ve got 6 + months of profits behind you and lots of hands, then consider the looser style.

SkillDescription
Mental ToughnessA LAG style is inherently more volatile and likely to result in a few more swings than a tighter brand of poker. This means you need to be mentally tough to take the bad times. You need to have faith in your system and style and keep with it, provided you are playing well. Don’t beat yourself up if you lose money in a spot where you wouldn’t as a TAG and don’t be results orientated in the short term either.
Abuse the Tighter GamesPlaying loose aggressive poker means winning lots of nothing pots. Steal those blinds all day if the tight regulars won’t fight back. It may seem a little boring but trust me, over time, it’s worth it and will help you win rate. You are also creating the table image you are wild. This will help you get paid off in the future.
Don’t Get SpewyPlaying this style will sometimes put you in spots you don’t want to be in. Facing a 3 bet, you may have to call more hands than you would in the past. There is a fine line between an ok call and a bad, spewy call. Remember, not every LAG is a good LAG. If you want to be a good LAG, stay on the well-timed aggressive side of the spectrum, not the spewy side.
Get it Heads UpLAG poker works best when you are one on one. There’s no question that it is easier to win pots heads up than it is with more opponents. It’s common sense. Luckily there are lots of cash games where players are just playing ABC solid poker. This is perfect for a good LAG poker player to exploit.
Adapt ProperlyA good LAG cash game player knows when to make adjustments and modify how they play. Fighting fire with fire is rarely the optimal strategy. If you are getting 3 bet regularly from cut-off against the button, 4 bet or play a little tighter. Don’t do the same thing and expect different results like lots of players are. Adjust and adapt to the table and situation.
Be Aware of Your ImageYour table image is critical when it comes to decision making on later rounds. Your opponent’s propensity to bluff or hero call you is likely to be based on your table image. This is what you have conveyed to your table, for that session. Be aware of it and take it into account. You may have played 30/28 yesterday but today you may be playing 22/15 and appear very solid – this difference in perception could be massive to an opponent.

What are the Pitfalls of Being a LAG?

You play poker to win. You’re reading this article because you want to be a good LAG poker player or you want to learn more about the LAG poker style. It wouldn’t be fair to only show you the good side of this style. There are many, many bad LAG players online and in casinos. These are the players that think they have poker solved, but are long term losers. Worse than that, they are the worst type of loser, deluded and likely to be big losers. The table below highlights the common pitfalls to avoid.

PitfallDescription
Levelling YourselfThis happens to so many poker players. They think that just because they are playing more pots, they must make a hero call with second pair. Remember, you’re playing your game but so is the rest of the table. The reality is that most players, particularly at low stakes, are not adjusting enough and unlikely to be running a massive bluff. Certainly not as often as you may think.
Continuation Betting Multiway Too MuchWonders will never cease, when I see LAG players trying to push through continuation bets multiway like 80% of the time. This is just throwing money away. Remember, more people in the pot = more chance of someone having strong enough to continue. It’s the law of probability. This is not 30 years ago when a continuation bet would probably get a top pair weak kicker to fold. Don’t waste money needlessly continuation betting bad boards multiway.
Not Respecting Position EnoughPosition is and will always be one of, if not the most important part of Texas Hold’em. You can open your ranges a bit and play more hands but you need to give position the respect it deserves. This might mean folding A-10 off suit to a 3 bet out of position or folding a suited ace from under the gun at a tough table. The concept is clear and the results will bore out truth.
Be Humble and Find Better Table if Necessary You need to leave your ego behind. A good LAG knows when the table is right and when it isn’t. A table of short stackers with other good LAGs is no good for you. You need the threat of post flop aggression and deep stacks to thrive. Be humble and recognise when you need to leave the table and find a profitable one.
ImpatienceThere are different types of patience. Setting up a massive bluff or getting the big pay off after stealing pots relentlessly is a form of patience. You can ill afford to be impatient as a LAG player. You’re pushing small edges and playing the long game.

Final Comments

This article has concentrated on the good and bad sides of LAG poker. What it is to be a LAG, what skills you need, where you need to be at and the things you need to avoid to pull it off. To sum up:

  • Be a winner first, with months and data behind you
  • Develop mental toughness to deal with swings
  • Play in tighter games & get pots heads up as often as possible
  • Adapt to the table and be aware of your table image, from session to session
  • Be patient and have faith in your game

I hope you found this article useful. If you are keen to learn more and develop into a good LAG, we’d love to hear from you and help you. We offer hand history reviews, coaching by email and Skype coaching. Just visit our contact us page and we will get back to you ASAP.

Omaha vs Texas Hold’em – Which is Right For You?

Omaha vs Texas Hold’em

Omaha and Texas Hold’em are the most popular poker games in the world. Texas Hold’em is still the most popular (by some way) but as the game has got tougher, and there is far more material on Texas Hold’em – more players have been moving over to Omaha. Our site is 99% focused on Texas Hold’em but that’s not to say there isn’t any value in learning the other games. In fact, we have coaches in the mixed games as well as Texas Hold’em. In this article, we are going to look at the core differences between Omaha and Hold’em so you can decide whether to invest time and energy in one or the other, or both. Let’s begin Omaha vs Hold’em.

Number of Cards

First of all, the biggest difference between Omaha and Texas Hold’em is the number of cards you start with. Texas Holdem is played with just 2 whilst Omaha is played with 4. This is a massive difference as you’re now playing with 9 cards instead of the 7. It’s also worth noting that whilst Texas Holdem permits you to use as few or many as your starting hand, Omaha requires you to only use 2 of your 4 cards. This means a hand like A-A-A-7 goes down in value as it’s better to having 3 in your hand is of no use to you.

Having more cards significantly changes the mindset and strategy as relative hand strength in Omaha is reduced. In Texas Hold’em, a flush is a powerful hand. In Omaha, it’s far weaker as there is a much greater chance of someone having a higher flush or full house. The difference here can’t be understated – as many Omaha players are weak enough to pay off bets that they would in Texas Hold’em then moan after citing it as a cooler. In reality, this is just the game of Omaha and something you must adapt to.

What’s the Edge Differences Between Omaha and Texas Hold’em?

Texas Hold’em has bigger edges, on any given hand. If you get your money in on the flop with a set against a top pair hand, you’re virtually assured of the pot. If you’re all in before the flop in tournament poker with a higher pair than your opponent, you’re around 80-20. Edges like this do not exist in Omaha. You will have a much smaller edge with an at best maths advantage of around 60-40. These smaller edges mean you can expect bigger swings, more variance and need to exercise even stricter bankroll management rules. Otherwise, even if you have an edge, you could see yourself moving down stakes fast.

An important thing to understand is that Omaha is a drawing type game. Having more cards in your hand makes for more straights, flushes and “wraps” (multiple straight draws). This means even with a hand as strong as top set, you have to fade a lot of outs to win the pot.

On the plus side, the apparent small edge in Omaha masks the deficiencies of poor Omaha players games. This means there are lots of players thinking they play well when they are actually the fish in the games. It’s also worth highlighting that many Omaha players are playing it as they play Texas Hold’em. Remember to read a poker tutorial before playing Omaha.


Reads and Bluffing

In Texas Hold’em, you can sit with a player an hour and have a read on them. You know the types of hands they play, in what positions and their tendencies. This information is invaluable as it means you an exercise bluffs and adjust your value bets accordingly. In Omaha, you’re not going to be making soul reads. The game is too complex with the possible holdings that you can only play the game.

Bluffing is also much harder in Omaha. This can be a good thing as you want fishes to pay you off. The downside is that you need the best hand to win – something you don’t have control over. This is contrary to Texas Hold’em where you can often have a weaker hand, but a good 3 bet or flop continuation bet may see you win the pot. As a coach and mentor, I can’t stress the value of this skill enough. It is something that separates the weaker and better players. P.S check out our recently launched continuation bet course for more information.

Stakes and Competition

Another difference between the two games is the betting. Texas Holdem is almost exclusively played in the no limit format. There are some fixed limit and pot limit games around, but they are far less popular. Some sites do not even offer this function. Omaha is played in the pot limit format. This is logical to me, otherwise the games would be even more insane and people would go broke all the time! The side effect of this is the inability to over bet the pot – another reason why Texas Hold’em is the Cadillac of poker.

Competition is softer on the Omaha tables though. This is because Omaha is years behind Texas Hold’em and has not yet gained enough popularity amongst the recreational players. Its also softer. There are players that transition from Texas Hold’em that have not been properly educated on how to play Omaha well. Even the bad players at Texas Hold’em are ok at it but the bad players at Omaha are truly terrible. This is somewhat negated by the edges difference mentioned earlier but with good bankroll management, there is a lot of money to be won at Omaha if you are patient and not susceptible to tilt.


Omaha vs Texas Hold’em – The Conclusion

Omaha is a great, fun game to play. There are lots of fishes playing it and there are always games available on the major sites. There is a lack of material and training on the subject available which means you can crush low stakes games, if you put in the work.

Texas Holdem is still the most popular poker format around. The attention it draws from recreational players is what makes it the most profitable game to play. The wide array of skills necessary required to get to a high standard may seem daunting. However, when you are dealing with much bigger edges, you learn to appreciate why it’s worth investing the time to become good.

I always say that it’s better to be really good at something than average at lots. If you own a niche or dominate at one thing, you will have success. If this rings true for you, then focus one game and master it. As long as you are confident spreading yourself across multiple games and have the time too, go for it.


How Texas Hold’em Became the Most Popular Form of Poker

The Most Popular Form of Poker

Like it or not, but Texas Hold’em holds its status of being the most popular form of Poker for decades. Any Poker enthusiasts will find a suitable room with a legendary Texas Hold’em in virtually any online casino. Even though dozens of other game rules of Poker exist, such as Omaha, Omaha Hi-Lo, 3-Card Poker, and Pai Gow, Texas Hold’em stands out the most. This variation is the most popular poker game for a reason. If you have always been wondering what makes this game variation so recognisable, this article well educate why. We will look at the most compelling arguments why Texas Hold’em isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Overview and History

We won’t explain the game rules of Texas Hold’em since it is the easiest and the most accessible variation of poker, even for newcomers. Yet, you might have an interest in finding out how it originated in the United States and worldwide. Considering the name, Texas was the place where poker enthusiasts of the early 1900s were experimenting with the game rules. According to historiographic sources, the first-ever documented games took place in Robstown, Texas, in the early 1900s.

Even though this game originated in Texas, it was soon becoming more popular in the 1960s in Las Vegas. This variation became a big part of the poker scene amid the gambling boom in Las Vegas. For active gamblers of that time, having a session of Texas Hold’em in the Golden Nugget casino was a usual endeavour. Now you know the origins of this game, let’s analyse the main reasons that made Texas Hold’em so popular globally.

Accessible Rules

Unlike dozens of other Poker variations, Texas Hold’em is a game that makes it easy for newcomers to enjoy. Its set of game rules are simple, and the fundamentals of dealing cards, forming combinations, and winning is convenient too. Thanks to the ease of starting a Texas Hold’em session, it has gained the status of being a game that is “easy to start, hard to master.”

In addition to being easy for for newcomers, the game has intuitive game rules. There are clearly outlined scenarios of what to do in each specific game situation. Those who have some experience with playing professional poker will also consider a range of mathematical factors. For instance, Texas Hold’em has a total of 169 starting hand combinations. Compare that with Omaha Hi-Lo that features more than 16,000 various starting hand combinations. Sounds simpler and transparent, don’t you think?

Media Attention and Broadcasting Accessibility

Thanks to the relative ease of playing Texas Hold’em, broadcasting this game variation is straightforward. In comparison, try imagining a TV broadcast of Omaha Hi-Lo, 3-card Poker, or Razz. These game variations, due to their more complex and complicated strategy rules, have game nuances that are problematic to explain to the viewers. Have you have ever watched poker broadcast on TV or on the Web? You’d remember that the screen compiles all necessary details concurrently. Since only two hole cards are dealt in Texas Hold’em, the audience can easily understand what is going on on the screen. In recent years, streaming poker on specialised services, such as Twitch or YouTube, has also become popular. It’s easy to understand why broadcasting and streaming of Texas Hold’em is the number one choice.

Other notable reasons that made media attention and broadcasting of this game variation so popular is a dazzling array of tournaments. Those enthusiasts watching Texas Hold’em on TV can take a look at WSOP, WPT, EPT, and other leagues. The same goes for amateurs who are looking for new online casinos NZ . It might be a bit tough to find a top- notch casino with dozens of tournaments for players, alongside having a low minimum deposit. For your convenience, you should read respective reviews of those new online gambling sites. Once you made your mind up, make a small deposit and join a Texas Hold’em tournament, just like the pros on TV!

Brand

It is no surprise that thousands of individuals who have never tried playing table games associate Texas Hold’em with poker itself. In other words, people don’t even know that other game variations exist. Consider tracking tournaments and leagues dedicated to other rules of poker. Even though dozens of tournaments dedicated to game rules exist, you will struggle to find the same prize pools as in Texas Hold’em leagues.

One of the most representative features that made Texas Hold’em popular once and forever was the triumph of Chris Moneymaker at the 2003 WSOP Main Event. Chris managed to win approximately $2.5 million in prize money , eventually making it a great driver for the popularisation of Poker. Other new players who managed to win WSOP and other titles only cemented the brand of Texas Hold’em as the most popular poker game.

The trend for becoming a pro player is associated with Texas Hold’em even now. Even for casual players that tend to make for living with poker, sticking to this game variation is wise. You’ll have plenty of tournaments to choose from, whereas the list of available leagues for amateurs will exceed your expectations.

Summary

Keeping in mind that Texas Hold’em is still the most popular poker variation. Even now, the mentioned reasons represent why this game became so widespread. The best thing about Texas Hold’em is that it is easy to learn, making it accessible for all online poker ​newcomers. In addition to easy rules and intuitive design, it is the game most suitable for TV broadcasting and live streaming. The final argument is that Texas Hold’em has become a brand that is associated poker, as a whole. These three reasons makes Texas Hold’em a game that won’t go anywhere for years to come and is the number one game to play.

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The Mathematical Aspect of Poker

If you dream about becoming a professional poker player, but you hated math in high school, we have some bad news for you. Math is as important when it comes to poker, as reading people or learning to bluff. One can spend years perfecting his game and his poker face, but a true player must also have a flair for numbers as well. There are numerous books written on this mathematical poker and studying some of them will surely improve your game. Knowing your math is a prerequisite to start winning in both traditional or online games.

Playing Just For Fun

Spending one pleasant evening with your buddies while playing texas hold’em can be fun, but we bet that you didn’t know one fun fact. Before texas hold’em entered our lives, there was a seven-card stud. This was the most popular poker game to play with your friends and family. Everyone loved it as it was more fun and less strategy orientated. Maybe the reason why the Texan version finally prevailed is that it is more challenging to win a hand than when playing seven-card stud.

There is one more reason perhaps, and that is much easier math that helps one calculate his odds quickly while playing. Knowing your odds by default can make you a lot of money, or at least prevent a player from casually losing it. In poker, mathematics comes in many ways while calculating outs and probabilities in every step of the game. Knowing even just the basics of flop, river, or turn odds will make one a much sharper player.

Playing Just To Win

With so much money in play, online gaming has become immensely popular in recent years. Some said that playing online defuncts the use of strategy, but they are so wrong. Math has never been more important when it comes to online gaming, especially when playing poker. There are hundreds of free calculators one can use for improving his odds, but these little gadgets can’t help if one doesn’t know how to use this info properly. Concepts like pot odds or implied odds should be introduced in your vocabulary if you consider yourself a true card player.

No one can survive today’s online session without understanding these concepts properly. These are just the basics of complicated math behind every card game that involves money. Knowing your mathematics is the best cure against bluffing, and it will help you see right through those who manipulate or bully you into folding. Remember that poker is a war with cards, and your goal is to win and annihilate all opponents without mercy.

Skill Vs Math

Making it online is getting harder as more amateurs are getting to that professional level. They learn fast and evolve their play constantly while searching for worthy opponents and the best casinos on the net. Finding a fast withdrawal online casino can be challenging, but our comprehensive reviews can help you with that. One needs a strong, reliable casino where he can show his skills and make a secure withdrawal of his winnings. Nobody wants all that training and math learning to be wasted, but some soft skills can indirectly affect your game as well.

We are talking about a seat at the table, knowing which cards to fold, and which ones to hold on to. These choices have implications on the probability of your success and can affect one’s win rate. Choosing an aggressive strategy approach or playing slow and cautiously is another thing that influences probability. Choosing the right online casino and weaker opponents shifts odds in one’s favor. Keep all this in mind if you want to stay on top of your game.

Advanced Math Skills

If you were wondering how does Phil Ivey read his opponent’s mind and wins so many tournaments in a row, we can tell you his secret. He is very good at math. Concepts like implied odds, preflop, or post-flop probabilities are so embedded in his mind that he is not even unthinking about it. One needs a ton of practice plus a great passion for this game for reaching this level of skill. Practice makes it perfect so start learning about probability and your money stack will rise steadily.

Another thing one needs mastering is patience. Many would think that patience has nothing to do with math but it actually does. Knowing when to fold or when to strike is essential for all these numbers and probability talk to make sense. Otherwise, your strategy won’t work, no matter how many books on texas hold’em one has read. There are no shortcuts toward greatness, so a pro player should learn the theory but also know how and when to apply it. When one gets to that level when he knows that his opponent knows that he knows what he is thinking, he is on a good way to becoming a master of this game.

Conclusion

Become a player you always wanted to be. Nothing can stop you except your fear, or just not believing in yourself enough. Start with some basics and work your way up while conquering this game. Small daily improvements can make a big difference in poker, so be persistent. Poker makes math seems fun and easy to learn, so start learning, and do not forget to enjoy yourself.

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4 New Zealand Poker Players to Watch Out For

New Zealand Poker

Poker is a global game. It’s popular on all over the world. Whether you’re playing in USA, United Kingdom, Russia or India, there’s famous poker players to watch out for. We’ve looked at the most famous poker players in the world before. But in this article, we will be looking some of the biggest names from New Zealand.

1) Lee Nelson

Arguably one of the most well known of New Zealand based poker players, Lee Nelson has earnt over $2,000,000 from live tournament poker. This retired doctor, originally born in United States, gained notoriety in 2005 when he won two events in the crown Australian Poker Championship. Lee is a force to be reckoned with. He even gains results in PLO and HORSE with a 6th place finish in a 2019 Aussie Millions HORSE event. He stands as number one in the all time money list for New Zealand.

2) Hamish Crawshaw

A Manawatu resident, Hamish Crawshaw is ranked 5th in the all time New Zealand Money List with over $1,000,000 live tournament winnings. This young man won a main event in the Asian Poker Tour earlier this year. He also won a WPT in Vietnam in 2019 besting a field of over 373 players. Hamish knows what he’s doing when it comes to tournaments. I expect him to see him at more final tables in the future.

3) Jan Suchanek

Jan is ranked 3rd on New Zealand all time money list. It’s no surprise as he’s been racking up live results since 2005. A 4th place finish in Aussie Millions HORSE event, a 4th place in WSOP 2019 6 max Limit Holdem and a 4th place in an Australia WSOP international circuit event at No Limit Holdem. These are just a few of his results in the last 2 years, highlighting why he makes our top 4.

4) Thomas Ward

Thomas is another on the all-time top 5 money list for New Zealand, with almost $1.1 million to his name. His best live cash is currently standing at $481,960. That was earnt in a 2015 Asia Pacific Poker Tour event where he came runner up to Jimmy Zhou. A quick search to see recent results show that he’s been playing the WSOP Online at GGPoker and finished 4th for a staggering $1,353,634 in a $5,000 No Limit Hold’em event. Clearly this man knows his way about online too so watch out if you’re on his table!

Conclusion on New Zealand Poker

There you have it, 4 of some of the biggest names to come out of New Zealand. As poker grows and online poker in NZ grows too, you can expect to see more faces emerge from New Zealand. This article has covered just a few poker faces from New Zealand, there’s other names making waves too. Special mentions go to Sosia Jiang, Simon Watt, Josh Egan and Jamil Dia. If you enjoyed this article and would like to see a piece dedicated to your home country, feel free to contact us at info@texasholdemquestions.com and we will see what we can do for you.

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Cash Games or Tournaments? Take Our Test to See What’s Right for You

Cash Games or Tournaments

Many players devote time to both disciplines, trying to become a master at both. There’s obviously value to learning both well as it affords you flexibility. Being a hybrid will also help you when it comes to live poker. If you bust a tournament, there’s usually cash games running! But it is important to know which one is more suited to you. It may be that you play one 90% of the time and the other the rest. It is important to know which to dedicate yourself to as it will shape your poker decisions, the money you earn and how many hours you play too.

This article will explain what is required for both forms, asking you to answer which is relevant for you. I recommend giving a tick to each one that applies to  you, when you get to the end of the article, the one with more ticks should probably be the one you focus more time and energy on.  

Have a pen and paper ready for your tally of ticks.

How Flexible Are You?

Does your personal life dictate poker needs to be flexible? If so, cash games are probably can up your street. You can get up and leave whenever you want. You can sit and play 8 hours or 1, there are no rules or regulations when it comes to how long you play for. This flexibility is ideal for players who have commitments and do not have the free time to commit to playing long sessions.  

Tournament poker is a different animal. You register and you must stay for the duration. Whilst online poker is played quicker than live poker, it still takes a long time to take it down. Many online poker tournaments have thousands of entrants and navigating through them is no picnic. You get a 5 minute break every hour but is that enough?  

If flexibility is a must then it’s a tick for cash games, if it’s not a problem, a tick for tournaments.  

How Risk Averse Are You?

Every form of gambling has an inherent risk with it. Poker is a game of skill in the long run, but it’s subject to risk every session you play. The question of how risk averse you is relevant though as a person happy to gamble, is probably going to more suited for cash games. If you are nervous about losing tangible money, you probably will play scared in cash games. Tournament poker might be more suitable as you know what the buy in is when you register. It’s a fixed fee and if you bust, you know what you’ve lost and it’s capped.  

Cash games require a certain mindset. You need to separate the thought of money and see it as blinds or chips so that you can make the best decisions possible. If you are worrying about making a call or a bluff because it costs money, then you probably shouldn’t be playing.  

If you are naturally very risk averse, tournament poker gets a tick, if you are mentally fine with gambling for money, then it’s a tick for cash games.  

What’s Your Attention Span Like? Prone to Boredom?

This may seem an odd question but if you want to play cash games, you need an excellent attention span. Cash games can seem monotonous after a while as the blinds and players are the same. You’re at the same table and things may seem repetitive.  

Tournament poker is dynamic and changing. You’re moved tables a lot, the blinds are always increasing, and your stack is constantly changing. This environment is less likely to cause boredom. Let’s face it, when you lose interest and bored, you are prone to making mistakes. You want to avoid mistakes when playing so its important to recognise the differences between cash games and tournaments.  

If you have excellent attention span, give cash games a tick, if you get bored quickly, give tournaments a tick.  

Are You Technical or Strategic?

This may seem like an unusual question to ask but allow me to elaborate. Technical poker is the ability to learn advanced, deep stack poker playing. Strategic poker is an overall strategy that guides your mentality. The former is ideal for cash games and the latter is required for tournaments. That is selling tournament poker experts short a little, but the underlying point is true.  

Deep stack poker playing is what cash games offer. They require advanced thought and poker playing. From river check raise bluffs to triple barrel bluffs and overbet bluffs. Cash games will often be played with 200 big blinds or more. This is not the case in tournament poker, where 50 big blinds is considered a great stack a few hours in! These stack sizes eliminate some of the advanced poker concepts that can be used post flop. To expand on this further, general short and big stack poker can help guide you through a tournament. Couple this with push/fold strategy and you can probably do well at micro stakes.   

If you are very technical then tick cash games, if you prefer general strategy, tournament poker gets a tick.

Money or Prestige?

People play poker for different reasons. Some play for fun, some play to play pass time. Most play to earn the most they can and some play for prestige and glory.  

It may strike you as unusual to ask which is more important to you. After all, if you win, money is there with prestige at the end. However, if money is your sole goal then cash games are going to be better for you. Cash games produce quicker results than tournaments and a more steady return on investment. Tournament poker bears results over time and is all about the long game. A good in the money rate is anything over 15% or so. That means 85% of the time, you won’t even get your money back. 

If the prestige of winning is more important, than tournament poker is perfect for you. Winning tournaments comes with a lot of prestige. It’s a great ego boost to best thousands of poker players and win hundreds of times your buy ins too. Prestige doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Many poker players use this as motivation to win. Look at the prestige that comes with winning events like the WTP or WSOP. You go down in history books as a winner. Prestige can come with cash games too but it’s definitely rarer. You can be a big long term winner at cash games and do so in anonymity.  

If money is more important than prestige, give cash games a tick, if prestige is just as important, give tournament poker a tick.  

Conclusion on Cash Games or Tournaments

Time to mark up your scores. How did you do? Did the results surprise you? Sometimes, people play poker out of habit and don’t know why they play one form over the other. Hopefully this article has helped you think about whether you are playing the right form and at the right ratio. Or, perhaps this article has re-enforced what you already do.

If you are a tournament poker, interested in improving at cash games. We’d love to hear from you. Check our cash games page.

If you are a cash game player keen to improve at tournaments, why not join our poker training video membership?

Three Transferable Skills from Poker to Blackjack

Poker to Blackjack

Poker and blackjack might seem like very different games. One relies heavily on psychology and intuition while the other is more a case of cold, hard logic. Then there’s the small matter of poker being a game played against other people while blackjack is just you against the dealer. But there are a number of crossovers between the two games. This means that the skills that a poker player picks up over time can be a great help in their quest to become an accomplished blackjack player as well.

Using your intuition and observation

As we’ve just mentioned, poker is a game of psychology and brinkmanship. But you can also pick up a great deal of information from a combination of intuition and observation. We’ve all heard stories of, or experienced first-hand, tells that have given away particular players’ hand. In blackjack, you may just be playing against the dealer, but they’re human too. You can pick up on minuscule signals from them too as you play. This is even the case when you’re playing online blackjack in a “live” casino. Because you’re playing in real-time against an actual dealer you can also closely watch their reactions and become accustomed to their style of play. Try it and you may be surprised by just how much you can deduce.

Doing the math

As any experienced poker player will know, a great deal of their time is spent rapidly calculating odds and probabilities and then measuring the size of their bets, according to the estimated card values around them. The fact that they’re working with incomplete information may make this a little more challenging but it’s possible, all the same. The simpler set-up of blackjack means that the math involved is a little simpler and exactly the same principles apply. By seeing which cards have been dealt, you’ll have a good idea about which ones remain in the pack and can start estimating the probabilities of being closer to the magical total of 21 than the dealer. To help you on your way there’s also something that poker doesn’t have – and that’s the basic strategy.

Keeping your focus

Poker marathons can be long and arduous experiences, as anyone who has spent hours around a table can testify. But this is like any kind of training. The longer that one spends doing something, the easier it becomes. So the time spent playing Texas Hold’em or any other poker variant, and enlivening things with the odd hero call , will prepare you for an extended stint playing blackjack too. It might not be quite as mentally draining as poker, but you’ll still need to keep your focus if you want on top of the game.

So there you have them. Three ways that poker can sharpen up your blackjack too. As to what skills you can take from blackjack to poker, well, that’s another story altogether.



Featured image: “blackjack” (CC BY 2.0) by Andreasgh

Your Guide to the Expansive Scene of Innovative Live Gaming

Live Gaming

The online gambling space is enormous, continuing to grow with each passing day. Poker was one of the first booming successes of this iGaming industry, with everything from multi-million tournaments to poker training video courses being available via an internet connection.

Poker isn’t the only card game that’s been able to rise to prominence with the advent of online casino gaming. Flash versions of video poker, blackjack, baccarat. Other table games like roulette, became popular very quickly. Still, without the presence of human competition in the game, they grew a little stale. Developers needed to add the class and experience associated with these popular in-house casino games. They decided to create a way of utilizing live streaming technology, allowing for real-time play.

Now, live casino games are wildly popular at online casino platforms. They command their very own section separate from their video-format counterparts. Here’s your guide to getting into the innovative form of table gaming.

The live casino gaming experience

Whether you’re at a computer or on your mobile, playing a live casino game is as easy as playing any other online casino game. You tap the icon on the site, wait for it to load, and then, you’ll be watching a human croupier going through the motions of a live game. When the round ends, you’ll be able to place your bets via the UI that shows on your screen. Then you’ll be playing in real-time with the exact game being dealt via the live stream. You get the authentic casino table experience but from the comfort of your own home.

Enjoy the classics, as you would at a casino

Generally speaking, anyone who wants to enjoy a live casino game will do so because they want to experience the class and live action of a casino venue at their convenience. Most of the time, this inclines them to lean towards the proper casino classic table games. As you’d assume, the developers of these live casino games started the scene by offering the most recognizable names in this new innovative form.

Now, all live casino sites which offer a special welcome bonus, for which you can discover more on this site, are loaded with live forms of blackjack, roulette, Caribbean poker, and baccarat. However, to compete in this increasingly popular section, they had to get creative, leading to live casino gaming being much more than classic table games.

live gaming
Source: Pexels

Expanding into live game shows for the casino

Online casinos are always evolving and looking for new ways to entertain their players. Led by Evolution Gaming, creators of the live-streamed tables decided to create new sets for game show-like offerings. Featuring lottery-style drops, huge spinning wheels, and new variants on classic tables.

Despite first being patented in 1903 by a leftwing feminist, the capitalist game of Monopoly has stuck around as a mainstay in gaming. This made it perfect to base a new live casino game around. Monopoly Live is a fine example of innovation being pumped into an already ground-breaking product. Players being able to play along to the spin of a giant wheel and benefit from its additional in-theme stops.

Live casino gaming has transformed the way that we can play online games. Offering a heightened, authentic way to enjoy old favorites and flashy new creations in real-time.

Featured image source: Unsplash