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?

Why Tight Aggressive Poker Wins at Low Stakes in 2020

Like a lion waiting to attack prey, tight aggressive poker players are patient but deadly!

Tight Aggressive Poker (TAG Poker)

The poker world, much like the real world is an ever changing place. New moves, strategy and technology shape ideas that can change the way poker is played. There are some things though that are a mainstay and no amount of technology or innovation will change that. One of these is the tight aggressive style being one of the most profitable styles for low stakes poker. This article will highlight and explain why tight aggressive poker still wins.

Beginner Texas Hold’em Question

What does TAG mean in poker?

“TAG” is the shortened definition of tight aggressive. To be a TAG or tight aggressive means to play few hands but play them aggressively. It essentially means you are the aggressor when you enter the pots you play.

Playing fewer hands give you maths edge

Players at lower stakes make the mistake of playing too many hands. This is not a winning strategy for any stakes of poker. You will run into premium hands too often and be fighting an uphill battle trying to outplay opponents who have strong hands. Please note, I am not referring to Loose Aggressive (LAG) which can be a profitable strategy. I am referring to playing like 50% of hands or more at full rung. Playing fewer hands will give you a mathematical edge on your opponents. It stands to reason that if you are playing better hands, you are more likely to have top pair or a better kicker. This edge can’t be understated at low stakes. It’s one of the core factors that will separate winning and losing players.

Aggressive poker wins

Being aggressive means you are going to win more pots you contest. Whether by winning it uncontested before the flop or after the flop, more pots can be won when you are betting and raising. In the 15 years I’ve played poker, I’ve never heard of anyone who wins in the long term adopting a passive style of poker. Every professional I’ve spoken with, every book I’ve read and every video I’ve watched have all recommended aggressive poker. The amount of hands you play is less relevant than the fact you need to be aggressive in poker. Poker is a battle and passive poker does not win battles. 

More successful bluff rate

One of the best consequences of employing a tighter style of poker is the way you can pull off bluffs better. Playing a looser brand of poker is more fun but also gets you caught more. Tight aggressive poker gives you a solid image. People will believe you. With the right balance, this is a fantastic image to have. This means you can raise more liberally, particularly on the button and still get respect. A successful bluff rate doesn’t just mean the big bluff representing big ovepair on a low board. It also means having a success steal rate or a high continuation bet success rate too. 

Easier decisions & less mistakes

Poker players don’t like being out of the comfort zone or awkward spots. This is where big mistakes can be made. The risk of this is significantly reduced when you are playing premium hands and the first in bettor. A tight aggressive poker style means you won’t be playing hands like J 7 offsuit and wondering what to do on a 10-7-5-6 board. When you are playing stronger hands, you will typically be hitting top pair type hands. This makes decisions quite straightforward. This is music to the ears of beginners and intermediate players. 

Downsides to TAG Poker

I want to provide a balanced article and provide all the information on this style of poker. TAG poker comes with limitations too. There are a couple below.

Predictable Playing this style means people can read you a little easier than if you played more hands. Consider a flop of 2d 5d 6s. A capable opponent will recognise this board is unlikely to hit your range of hands. Sure, you can have an overpair or possibly a set, but that’s it. Please note though, there is a big difference between TAG poker and being a nit. A nit plays far fewer hands and not necessarily aggressively either.
Lost ValueIt’s great to have c bets and bluffs work, but the downside to this is that you may not get full value with your strong hands. Don’t worry too much though, low stakes poker is littered with bad players that still pay you off. 

Conclusion on Tight Aggressive Poker

Tight aggressive poker is one of the best strategies you can employ at low stakes. You may be a little predictable, but most players at low stakes don’t care and still make mistakes. Playing this style allows you to win more pots you contest, steal more from late position and manipulate pots the way you want. As you develop as a player and move up the stakes, you can incorporate more hands and creative plays, but at low stakes TAG poker is winning poker.

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Texas Hold’em Strategy for Beginners – 8 Practical Tips to Winning

Texas Hold’em Strategy for Beginners

If you’re new to Texas Hold’em and still learning the basics, you may feel a bit overwhelmed with the information around. Don’t worry, every professional started the same place you are now. There is an abundance on information available to you that can help you improve but there’s no use running before you walk. This article on Texas Hold’em strategy for beginners will provide 8 practical tips to help you start crushing the low stakes games online.

One Table

As you’re new to poker and learning the rules, it’s wise to stick to one table initially. This may seem a little boring or tedious but trust me, it’s in your interest. Texas Hold’em is more complex than you think and requires full attention. Once you have mastered one table and play to a decent standard, you will be able to start increasing the number of tables but please play one to start with. Your bankroll will be all the better for it.

Table & Game Selection

You are probably a tournament or cash game player but not both yet, right? Either way, select your games carefully. Don’t just jump into any game. Like anything, if you are worse, you are more likely to lose. Instead, pick the cash games with higher % of players at flop and bigger pots. If you’re a tournament player, stick to the sites that are generally softer.

No Limping

One of the most common traits of a beginner is to flat call before the flop. This is known as “limping” and is widely considered poor poker strategy. Presented with 3 options before the flop, open limping (to enter the pot with a call), is the worst of all 3 options. It’s much better to raise and take control of a pot or just get out of the pot than to enter with a flat call. Without going into great detail, limping will get you into lots of difficult situations and cause you to get run over by regulars. If you are keen to learn more about why limping is bad. Read our article “Limp in poker and why it’s almost always bad”.

Use Late Position

You may have heard that playing on the button is the best, without understanding why. Simply put, it’s the best position because you’re last to act on every round of betting post flop. This privileged position means you get to see everyone else’s actions before deciding to invest more money or tournament chips. This means you can play more hands than you would in other positions. When I say “use late position”, I mean raise from it, call more raises from late position and bet flops when checked to. It’s the best seat at any poker table and will make you more money than any other position.

Be Careful with Ace Rag

Beginners get a little too excited when they are dealt an ace. Whilst it’s the best card to be dealt, the card that comes with it is equally as important. There’s no use playing big pots with ace two off suit as you’re always going to be at a disadvantage. If you are playing ace rag, be careful if you hit top pair, the second card (kicker) will often fail you and cause you to lose more money. This is arguably one of the biggest reason’s beginners lose to nitty low stakes regulars. They can’t get away from ace rag. Check out a previous article on ace rag here.

Play Small

Like most things in the 21st century, there is almost too many options available. Login into any major poker site and you will see countless games running at different stakes. As you’re new to Texas Hold’em, don’t get excited and play higher stakes than your ability. Instead, start small at the micro stakes. Work up a bankroll and move up gradually, in line with your ability. Winners at low to high stakes will prey on beginners who take shots. Don’t be one of them. Your day will come when you will be playing with them and hopefully have an edge.

Be Aggressive

One of the most important pieces of Texas Hold’em strategy I can impart is to be aggressive. There are lots of ways to be a winner at poker but none of them, to my knowledge, involve playing timidly. You need to be aggressive when you play pots. A tight aggressive style will help you beat the micro and low stakes games still. Tight aggressive poker means playing fewer hands but assertively. It requires you take control of pots by open raising and betting post flop. This Texas Hold’em strategy for beginners is mathematically sound. If you are playing better hands than your opponents, for bigger pots, you should expect to win in the long run.

Watch Poker Training Videos

A little plug for our poker training video membership here. Watching, listening and learning from experts will undoubtedly help you improve at Texas Hold’em. Our poker training video membership is exclusively focused on Texas Hold’em. With over 16 hours of video content, you can learn tips, secrets and insights that will help you beat low stakes tournaments and cash games. It’s an efficient time saving device as you can learn effective strategy that might take another beginner several years to learn properly. For more information and to join, click the join below or click the banner for more information.

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If you enjoyed this article perhaps you’d be interested in our poker cheat sheet article? You can download it for free too!

Poker Cooler – You Can’t Escape Them, or Can You?

Poker Cooler

We’ve all had them and they sting, don’t they? There are few worse feelings in poker than being on the wrong side of a cooler. You think you’re about to rake this huge pot and end up losing. Often, you can’t control anything to do with a poker cooler. You can control how you react to them. Some people will quit a session superstitiously believing “it’s not my day”, others will go on tilt whilst a seasoned professional or experienced poker player will shrug it off. This article will look at what a poker cooler is, a personal cooler story, examples of coolers, a brief look at probability and famous televised coolers.

Beginner Texas Hold’em Question

What is a Cooler in Poker

A cooler is a term used to describe a scenario where two or more poker players have very strong hands matched up e.g. flush vs full house. It’s a hand that will cost you money or chips, not because you’ve played badly but because of being on the wrong side of the luck element.

My Cooler Story

Many years ago, I was planning on playing what I considered a big live tournament (£1,000 buy in). I was only 19 years old and never played for these kinds of stakes before and wanted to get some deeper stacked, slower paced live tournament experience.  

I found a great £300 tournament in London that seemed perfect. An hour on the train, a few tubes stops and I was there at Gutshot poker club, eager to play. I was already thinking this tournament is perfect for me. I will play solid and let people blow up into me. Tournament poker rewards those who are patient in the early stages and the aggressive later on so I felt good about my chances.

The tournament begins..

It was about 15 minutes in and pocket threes are dealt to me. There was a raise and a few calls and I called from the blinds. The flop came out a beautiful 2d 3d 9c. I was going for the standard and predictable check-raise line. My plan was coming together, the initial raiser had continuation bet and I wasted no time in getting making a raise. You’d think most people would only flat with overpairs facing a check raise this early on.When my opponent put in a re raise of my check raise, I was still not concerned about pocket nines. I went ahead and got my stack in, instantly called and the first person out of the tournament. I paid £20 per minute I was in the tournament.

On the way home

I mulled over whether I played the hand correctly or not on the train home. It was a long ride. Was that hand worth £300 or should I have played it differently? Perhaps I could have played a little slower given it was so early on? Always perform an audit and examination of a cooler hand to find out whether you were unlucky or misplayed it.

Examples of Poker Coolers

Pocket Aces against pocket Kings

This is the most standard of coolers in poker. You have the second-best possible hand in Texas Hold’em. Few professionals have ever folded pocket kings pre-flop. Have you? It’s incredibly hard. Even when all the evidence points to them having pocket aces, you find yourself stacking off.

Set over set

As with my cooler story, flopping a set and being up against a higher set is incredibly unlucky. There are the odd occasion when the board run out may save you e.g. a flush possible or 4 card straight. But generally, you will just have to pay it off.

Flush against higher flush

I am referring to when the board shows 3 of a suit and you both have 2 of a suit in your hand. This is another one of those unfortunate situations. If you are the one holding a smaller flush, sometimes it’s best to be prudent, particularly if your opponent plays fit or fold and is betting and raising.

Swings & Roundabouts

On a positive note, volume in poker is the great equaliser. Play enough and you will see everything happen. Its simple probability isn’t it? You will be on the good side of coolers and be on the bad side too. When you get out of the way from a few spots when you’re on the wrong side, you’ve made money. After all, money saved is the same as money won, particularly in scenarios where 99% of players would lose.

Is it Possible to Avoid Coolers?

First of all, we need to establish that it is in fact a cooler. Most casino card-rooms and online poker forums are littered with poker players claiming “I lost to a cooler“. More often than not, it isn’t one, or, they should not have been involved in the hand in the first place. Calling a raise with K8 offsuit out of position, flopping K-8-Q and losing to K-Q or Q-Q is tough, but you misplayed the hand and had no business being involved.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but you can’t easily avoid poker coolers. If you can’t handle them, feel free to look at other games online for your fun, but make sure you get a casino bonus. It’s the law of odds. On the other hand, facing a very tight opponent with no inclination to bluffing and also reads the board well, then you may be able to fold and avoid a cooler, but it’s not easy! It takes a lot of practice and gut instinct to avoid them.

Consider is whether the hand that beats you is more likely than any others. A nitty opponent who has raised from the under gun and putting in lots of raises and bets on a Q-T-J is very possibly sitting there with big slick, so 8-9 might be easier to fold than you think.

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Famous Televised Poker Coolers

To help you fee a bit better, check out a couple of famous televised coolers below. Even Phil Ivey runs bad sometimes!

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Do You Take Notes on Opponents? You Should…

Take Notes on Your Opponents to Increase Profit

You might have heard of the phrase ‘Play the player, not the cards.’ The idea behind the statement is a little outdated because poker has moved on a great deal since poker faces and picking up on tells were the big thing.

While many tells – signs that a player subconsciously gives off to reveal the real strength of his or her hand – are indeed true, good players know this and can double bluff by deliberately showing a tell to confuse an opponent. For example, taking a sip from a water bottle was once supposed to be a sign of anxiousness or weakness. A good player might, therefore, drink in this way, hoping his opponent believes him to be weak… only to walk straight into a full house.

The whole debate about live tells means nothing in online poker, of course. Here, you don’t get to see your opponent, hear them talk, or see how they handle their chips.

Watch for Betting Patterns

What you can do is study their playing patterns using a HUD, which will help you better predict what they might do next. But while HUDS are all well and good, not everyone has them. And anyway, nothing beats good, old-fashioned note-taking on players to build a picture of how they play.

Every online poker room has a note take facility. You simply click on the player avatar or name and see the option to take a note. When you add one, the avatar always has a label to show you a note is in place, perfect for when you stumble upon the player again weeks, months, or even years later.

What Notes Should You Take on Players?

While you would think the more notes you take, the better, it’s not that simple. You might not be a fast typist, for one thing, and spending too long trying to write a note, even in abbreviated form, means you may miss out on an essential piece of the action.

It is best to keep things as straightforward as possible. Certainly, enough to have a basic idea of how a player performs. If you are new to the game, then start practicing with notes immediately, so it becomes a habit. You can do this risk-free if you play free poker games to gain confidence.

Colour Labels

Some poker rooms provide a coloured label system you can apply to a player name. You might, for example, have green for a calling station fish, blue for a rock who only puts in a bet with a monster, and red for a tight-aggressive player who could get you in trouble.

Colour labelling players at your table is fine, so long as you update the colours as you learn more about an opponent. Where once you had the player down as a calling station, you might find after a few hundred hands on the same table that, in fact, his range is tighter, and he does not get involved in so many pots.

Just relying on colours is not ideal. You should train yourself to write occasional notes, too, which should be an essential part of any poker coaching. There is no point in recording everything you notice. After one or two long sessions against the same player, you will have made so many notes that making sense of them if you meet again weeks later will take far too much time.

Example Questions for Note-Taking

It’s best to keep your notes to top-level ones that you can use to help future decisions. Here are some examples you might add to your list:

  • Does the player pay too much for draws, and too often?
  • Does he call out of position with weak hands?
  • Does he always min-bet monsters pre and post-flop?
  • Does a check-raise always mean the nuts?
  • Does he semi-bluff bet flush or straight draw?
  • Does he routinely open-raise on the button or cut off?
  • Does he always make a continuation bet, even if missing on the flop?

If you manage to build three or four of these notes on a particular player, you are in a much stronger position to make profitable calls or folds when you play them next.

Sometimes the difference between losing or making a profit in poker is wafer-thin. Some solid note-taking might be just what you need to move you into profitable play.

Reverse Engineering

While observing and taking notes on opponents is undoubtedly a good thing, don’t concentrate on it so much that you forget what image you are portraying to them. Your own play might be so robotic that a skilled opponent will be making notes on your style. This negates any advantage you had.

Take a cue from top players like Daniel Negreanu. He will mix up  play so that opponents can never easily classify him one way or another. Sure, min-bet with aces or kings one time, but open with a bet of four times the big blind on another occasion. Semi-bluff with a flush draw occasionally but elect to check to see a cheap turn or river another time.

Poker Kicker – How Big is Yours?

Poker Kicker

Your kicker is the second card you are playing in a game of Texas Hold’em. To some, understanding the hand strengths is enough to get by in poker. To the rest of us, we know there is a little more to it. Unfortunately, in Texas Hold’em, you are not going to make royal flushes and 4 of a kind very often. You are more likely to end most hands with one pair or high card, this is where your kicker plays.

Kicker Problems

You may have heard the phrase “kicker problems” before. This is when you’ve made a top pair type hand, read your opponent for similar hand but identified a problem – your kicker is low. Understanding when your kicker is no good and getting out of the way is an important skill to develop to help curb your potential losses in poker. To win at poker, you will have to learn to minimise your losses and sorting out kicker problems is one way. One of the biggest problems’ beginners have is overplaying ace rag, not realising the rag is the kicker costing them money.

Example Poker Kicker Hand

You’re in a $1/$2 cash game and a conservative old gentlemen limps in from early position (nice game eh?), 2 others limp in late position, and you complete from the SB with Ac 3c.

The flop comes:
As 9d 6d.

You check, BB checks and the conservative old gent bets out $9 into $10. The button calls and action is on you: What do you do?

This is a spot where you are probably up against another ace in the hand. An observant player will recognise the early position limper almost certainly has an A 10 + type hand and is way ahead. Rather than calling with your top pair and potentially losing $10 +, folding would be a wise move here.

When does a Kicker Count in Poker?

Texas Hold’em is played on best 5 card hand. Remember, the community cards are yours and your opponents. If the secondary card in yours and your opponent’s hole cards exceed that of the board, then the kicker will count. So if you have K-2 and your opponent has K-8 on a board run out of K-3-5-J-J than the 8 plays because the best hand is:

K-K-J-J-8 > K-K-J-J-5

Kings and Jacks with an 8 kicker beats Kings and Jacks with a 5 kicker.

The kicker’s can only count in the following hands:

  • High Card
  • One Pair
  • Two Pair

Final Thoughts

Understanding your poker kicker and when it counts is very important to being a solid player. You need to combine hand reading, hand selection and table awareness to judge whether a kicker will be your friend or foe. If you’re ever unsure, stick to playing solid starting hands and you stand a better chance.

Continuation Bet – The Do’s and Don’ts

What is a Continuation Bet?

A continuation bet is where you have raised before the flop and bet again on the flop. You’ve “continued” betting, hence continuation bet. This is also known as “C betting”. The continuation bet is necessary tool in a poker player’s arsenal. Without it, they will win fewer pots and gain less information on the cards their opponents are holding. Now you know what it is, we will outline the do’s and don’ts of continuation betting.

Do’s

Heads upIt’s much easier for a continuation bet to get through in heads up pots. Your opponent will only flop a pair 1 in 3 times so this makes a flop bet very profitable in the long run.
In positionContinuation betting is pretty much mandatory if checked to you in position. You can put players under pressure far more easily than if you are out of position.
Against fit or fold playersIt’s easy to continuation bet against players that are only playing the cards in their hand. They don’t care if the board is 2-3-9 and hits none of your range. They will still fold if they have nothing, so feel free to continuation bet.
Big card flopsThe flops with an ace or high card are far easier to continuation bet and get through because they hit your perceived range. Who care if you have pocket 3s? They don’t know that.
Dry flopsFlops like K-2-8 are easier to continuation bet due to the lack of flush and straight draws. It reduces the chances your opponent has anything and makes a continuation bet more likely to work.
When you have “it”If you have the hand, fire away too. There’s no use only continuation betting with air or overcards. You want to build the pot and get value so start putting money in on the flop.

Don’ts

MultiwaySimple statistics dictate the more players involved in a pot, the stronger the hand you need to win it. Player’s don’t like folding so if you elect to continuation bet, be prepared to fire 3 bullets to win it.
Out of positionThis isn’t a golden rule, obviously there are many times out of position when you should be betting the flop. It’s tougher to fire continuation bets with success against tough players on some flops, they will float or re raise many flops if the board doesn’t hit your range.
Coordinated boardsThe boards with 3 of a suit or 3 in a row often prove difficult to get a c bet through. People’s ranges are not polarized either, they may be slow playing a monster, prudently playing 2 pair or 3 of a kind. They may just have the ace of the suit.
After lots of bluffsIt’s a tad ambitious to persist with continuation bets if you’ve been showing bluffs or caught bluffing. Tone it down for a while if you have because people will be looking you up.

How Often Should I Continuation Bet?

It depends on the makeup of your table but you should be looking to continuation the majority of the time, particularly heads up. A rough guide below:

Heads up65%
3 Way45%
More than 3 players involved20%

Continuation Bet Sizing

Generally in tournament you want to bet a little less than you may in cash games. I think continuation betting between 49-52% is fine.Cash games afford more flexibility with deeper stack sizes. You are also keen to enforce errors later in the hand and narrow hands down easier. Therefore, continuation betting should be a little larger, between 56-62%.

Conclusion

There’s no way around it, if you want to win at poker, you’ll need to learn how to continuation bet well. To not know about continuation betting is akin to a golfer not knowing about his 9-iron golf club. It’s one of the most important skills to acquire for both cash games and tournaments. If you enjoyed this article and want to improve you continuation betting, sign up to our complete continuation betting course for only £299.

The Beginners Guide to Pocket Kings

Pocket Kings

Pocket kings are the second nuts pre flop. That’s not something people say very much but worth remembering. Otherwise known as cowboys, they are the second-best possible hand in Texas Hold’em.  They have a slight disadvantage to pocket aces. There is the possibility of an overcard on the flop. This makes them more vulnerable and cause players to make 2 common errors.

Bet them too hard and lose action

Play them scared and miss out on value

Beginner Texas Hold’em Question

What are pocket kings?

Pocket kings are when you have a pair of kings in your hand in Texas Hold’em.

What are the odds of pocket aces vs pocket kings?

It may seem crazy, but at a full ring table, the odds of you having pocket kings and another opponent pocket aces is 4.4%. That is quite high isn’t it? That’s almost 1 in 20 times you have pocket kings.

How to play pocket kings

King should be played aggressively and fast. They come round roughly 1 in 220 times and should be one of the most profitable hands for you. They should be raised from every position and 3 bet too. There are situations to be wary of, particularly in deep stacked cash games though.

Paired boardsIf you are getting alot of action on a paired board, think about slowing down. Paired boards are notorious for breaking overpairs.
Multi-way potsRelative hand strength is an important concept to understand. Kings are a great hand but if you are 4 way and there is alot of action going on, think twice. Regardless of board texture, a lot of action 4 way is reason to slow down. One pair rarely wins when there is more people in the pot
Flush boardsThere’s no reason to always fear a flush but sometimes its obvious. If there are 3 to a flush and your opponent has check called down and started firing turn or river, it may be time to get out of the pot.
Connected boardsIn a deep stacked cash game, kings don’t look so great on boards like 6-7-8 or T-9-8. Cash game players love suited connectors and will happily call a pre flop raise hoping to bust big pairs.
Turn check raiseA check/call followed by a turn check raise represents supreme strength. It’s rarely a bluff and often a monster. This is a concept lost on beginners but heed this warning and you will save money.

Conclusion

Pocket kings are a great hand and should make you money. Yes an ace will come out sometimes but as long as you don’t get wedded to the hand, you will be fine. If an ace comes or a dangerous board, just exercise some pot control. You can always value bet more on river if you’ve judged your hand to be good still.

Free Poker Online Exists

Free Poker Online

You’ve found this article because you’ve heard of poker but want to play for free right? Don’t worry, you don’t have to spend lots of money to learn poker. You can play free poker online if you want to. Most online poker sites allow you to play on their site with play money. Most people want to make money but this is great way to learn the basics of poker before you spend any money.

Free Poker Tools

If you are interested in playing free poker online then you probably want some free resources to help you. The list below is a few free resources to help you learn the beautiful game of poker.

Texas Holdem Questions

This site is a free tool for you. We write lots of articles catered to all types of players so feel free to have a nose around. I highly recommend our poker cheat sheet to start with and then click on “poker basics” under our article dropdown menu.

YouTube

There are lots of free videos on YouTube to help you learn poker. There’s a lot of naff material too but it’s still a great place to start. Just search “learn poker” or something similar and you will get thousands of results to help you.

Poker Podcasts

Podcasts seem to be incredibly popular in the last few years with most industries jumping on the bandwagon. Poker is no different, have a search for poker podcasts and find the wealth of listening material. A word of caution, whilst most of the podcasts are free, a lot may be going over your head initially as it may be technically complex.

Freerolls

Save the best till last. Poker freerolls are the best way to play free poker online. You can play poker, for money, without risking any of your own. This is undoubtedly the best way advice I can offer you. It’s not the best way to be a great player but if you’re just dipping your toe into online poker, this is the best place to start. If you want to play free poker online, I recommend 888 poker. They have hundreds of thousands in their galaxy freerolls and give £20/$31 free (in increments) upon registering an account with them. To take advantage, sign up from the banner below and start playing free poker online.

Poker Misclick – It’s Your Own Fault

Poker Misclick

How many times have you done it? You’ve got a monster hand and your about to re raise all in but accidentally clicked fold. Or worse, you’ve called a river bet with nothing! You won’t like hearing this – every poker misclick is your own fault. All of them. This article will look at the most common reasons for a poker misclick.

Beginner Texas Holdem Question

What is a Misclick in Poker?

The term “misclick” means to perform an action not intended e.g. you have 9-3 off suit in the big blind. The nit under the gun raises and you call from the big blind by accident.

Lack of Concentration

This is probably one of the biggest reasons for misclicks. I get it, it’s 2020 and everyone is doing 50 things at once. Logic dictates the more things you are doing at the same time; the less focus you are giving each separate task. Its common sense isn’t it? If I am hoovering while reading a book, I am probably not doing a great job at either. The same logic can be applied to poker. You need to focus on the game at hand and give it the attention it deserves. If you’re watching Netflix, WhatsApping friends and on twitter while playing, you are likely to play worse and potentially misclick.

Poker Misclick

 Too Many Tables

It’s great that we can play lots of tables and get more hands in, but with it, comes the risk of a poker misclick or two. It baffles me some can play 8 or more tables and think this is optimal but alas there are thousands that do this.  If you play lots of tables, make sure you have them tiled properly otherwise you may make some big mistakes.

Playing Tired

Poker players have a tendency to play longer than they should. There are countless stories of players playing 24 + hour sessions. In addition to this being poor poker strategy (noyone plays well after 12 hours really), it’s also bad for your health. Playing tired will definitely lead to poker misclick. When you’re so tired that you can barely see the suits of your cards, you know it’s time to stop.

On a Mobile

Most of the major sites let us download apps to play poker on. They are pretty awesome really, allowing us to play from comfort of our phone. The poker misclick is definitely a problem. I have been guilty of this myself. It takes time to master mobile poker that’s for sure!

Automatic Buttons

You can argue this isn’t a misclick but I am going to lump it in. If you are using the automatic buttons like “fold” or “call any”, you are making some pretty bad mistakes in poker. You don’t know what the action will be before it gets to you so to use these buttons is foolish.

Other Reasons:

  • Laptop with clickpad
  • Small screen
  • Need glasses
  • Poor table layout
  • Faulty mouse