Appendix C Glossary

Over a thousand words and phrases used in poker literature and heard in poker games are defined below While this is the most comprehensive glossary ever compiled, it provides something much more than a long list of colorful jargon Reading through the glossary provides unique insights into poker, available nowhere else. A-C Player--The Advanced Concept Player. Aces Up--A pair of aces with one other pair. Action--The betting. Action Spot--The table area where the betting is occurring. Active...

When there is a raise and more than bet to call

Instead of having to call one bet, sometimes there will be two bets to call on the Turn. This can happen if there is a bet from one player, and then a raise from another player, and two bets need to be called in order to stay in the hand. Notice that it is possible it may wind up to be even more bets as other players can still raise, but lets focus on the situation when we know it is only two bets. The assumption spelled out in the DIPO method is that the player only has to call one bet. If...

Detecting the Undercut

Suspect any dealer who repeatedly runs single cards off the deck just prior to overhand shuffling. By detection methods described in Chapter IV, look for blind shuffles, false riffles, or false cuts that must follow any undercut-stacking maneuver. The undercut can be done so swiftly that no one can see the top and bottom cards being pulled off individually, but the alert player can sometimes detect the snapping sound of cards being pulled together from the top and bottom of the deck. Before...

Expectation

Expectation is the return that can be anticipated from any given wager or proposition after enough bets have been made to normalize the result. All experienced poker players are intimately acquainted with the concepts of both positive and negative fluctuation. Results from any given proposition may vary greatly from a correctly calculated expectation in the short term, but will completely normalize themselves after a sufficient sampling. We know that the odds against drawing an Ace from the top...

Poker Betting Rhythms

During any poker hand, we could say that there are three different betting rhythms taking place, simultaneously. First, the rhythm you want to establish of yourself as a bettor and player over many hands (deliberate, decisive, thoughtful, and so on). You seek to keep this pace going. It is who you are as a player, a pace you've been refining for years. It's the rhythm that accompanies your Lifetime Player Personality. Secondly, the rhythm of the betting as it is currently going around the...

Coevolution and security

We have focused on best-response against a fixed opponent given that we know how he plays. I.e., we assumed we had a perfect opponent model. Of course this is, in general, not the case, which could make our calculated policy vulnerable. In this chapter we will discuss coevolution. This technique can be used to find policies that are more secure against multiple opponent policies. The general idea is to find a policy that is secure against a certain group or population of opponent policies, then...

Hutchison Point Count System

Hutchison used Mike Caro's Poker Probe software to find the winning percentage of selected four-card hands against nine opponents. After he finished running the simulations, he correlated the hand's winning percentage with characteristics of that hand, such as card rank, suitedness, pairs, and the distance between cards that could be used to make straights. His goal was to create a point count system that approximated the winning percentage for a given hand. He succeeded by assigning points for...

Physical Vs Virtual

Perhaps the single most obvious difference between live and online poker is the fact that at a live poker table, players are physically present and can therefore see the moves of their opponents, their emotions, as well as their reactions. This makes playing live poker far more challenging than online, because players always need to be conscious of what their opponents are doing, and if they are being watched. Moreover players need to have control over their body language, emotions and...

Rule Gathering information when people dont know theyre being watched

A certain percentage of our impressions about other people are gained by observing them when they don't think they're being watched - maybe even the majority of our impressions about them. If true, then we can use this -to silently communicate things about ourselves to other people. This approach might be described as getting yourself in their line of vision, pretending not to notice that they are looking at you, and then conveying what you wish to convey. Rule 149 People's facial expressions...

Rule What do good players see How do the pros read their opponents

They notice things. They notice the things their opponents do, the things they don't do, and the things they do but suddenly stop doing. If you have a good hand, one that you feel pretty good about, and you get a cigarette out of your shirt-pocket, light it, and put your lighter down in front of your chips, then the next time you decide to smoke, when you don't have quite as good a hand, you'd better do all these things exactly the same way. Or if you're doing...

Rule Good players are able to separate their game personality from their regular personality Their g

Expert players often have gestures and mannerisms that operate independently of game play. For instance, it is not uncommon to see two good players carrying on a sociable conversation about some other subject at the same time they are battling it out in a game situation. They are entirely capable of having a friendly conversation at the same time they are locked in a deadly duel within the game itself. They are able to separate the two things in their minds. In fact, it is a measure of their...

Chapter Notes on Online Internet Poker

It is sometimes said of people who have a physical handicap (such as blindness or deafness) that their other senses become more acute. A little bit of this effect occurs in online poker. Deprived of the usual clues we are accustomed to seeing in a game, we strain harder and become more attuned to clues that are available, thus enhancing our abilities in this area more than we otherwise might. Playing poker online doesn't offer opponents very much information about us our play (of course), our...

Rule Most peoples poker games are too predictable

Many players feel they've got their game honed down nicely to one workable set routine. They've eliminated most of their bad habits, weeded out the mistakes one by one, but in truth their game is kind of stationary and stagnating. It's become rather stale and one-dimensional, which is itself a mistake because it allows opponents to put them exactly on a hand. They'd really be better off if they were all over the map once in a while, even at the cost of a few chips. The player needs to shift...

Rule As you move up to higher levels of play you begin to look for smaller and smaller tells

At higher levels of poker play, the body-language clues of opponents get smaller. A player who moves his hand just a fraction of an inch, the downturn of a mouth a quarter of an inch for a fraction of a second, or simply a moment of sudden silence might be all that you get. Proof that this is so - that the tells get smaller - is simple. If you go back down to lower-limit games after this, the clues in the game suddenly seem very broad and obvious. (Heads shaking from side to side angry and...

Rule There is an underlying conflict between poker and acting

There is a major conflict that occurs between the two disciplines of poker and acting, and that is this The body-language approach chosen by most players of always acting the same is a very bad platform from which to launch an acting career. A poker face (over the years) does indeed start in the face, and a kind of woodenness branches southward, from the face down, until eventually it takes over the whole body. Trying to show no emotion is a pretty bad foundation for suddenly trying to spring...

Rule Dont pick the best hands to play pick your spots

Look for the right combination of probability, weakness, hesitation (by opponents), body language, position, past tendencies, who is short-stacked , and your hand's value in the overall scheme of things. Look for all of these things, and then play. This is called picking your spots . Less skilled players simply wait for a good hand . This is something quite different. The picking-your-spots approach considers ail things before making a play. It is the one used by successful top players.

Putting It All Together

Communication through body language has been going on for over a million years but has only been scientifically studied to any extent in the last twenty years or so it became popular during the 1970s. By the end of this century it will have been 'discovered' by people throughout the world and I predict that its impact and meaning in human communication will be part of formal education. This book has served as an introduction to body language and I encourage you to seek further knowledge through...

How To Learn Body Language

Set aside at least fifteen minutes a day to study and read the gestures of other people, as well as acquiring a conscious awareness of your own gestures. A good reading ground is anywhere that people meet and interact. An airport is a particularly good place for observing the entire spectrum of human gestures, aspeople openly express eagerness, anger, sorrow, happiness, impatience and many other emotions through gestures. Social functions, business meetings and parties are also excellent....

Rule Dont key your body language to your cards

Nothing about your gestures or body language should be keyed to your cards. Ideally, the two things should be independent of one another. (In the movie Rounders, the character played by John Malkovich has an Oreo tell - he puts a cookie up to his ear and fiddles with it when he has an unbeatable hand. This would never happen in real life. Experienced players would pick up on this in a minute. They would notice the connection and file it away in the back of their minds.) You shouldn't have any...

PreFlop Strategy When First to Act Ivey vs DAgostino

Let's briefly take a look at how the players bet when they were first to act in the hand. A few ideas stand out as we look at Ivey's hands, 1. He never folded because of the pot odds. 2. With his strong hands he mostly raised, but mixed in a few calls. 3. With his weaker hands he mostly called, but mixed in a few raises. 4. His raises were in a very narrow range of 2 to 2.5 times the big blind. It was a strategy designed to mix up his hands and ke the pot small, and it was very consistently...

Reading Your Opponents

Online Poker eliminates visual and verbal clues 'tells') from the game. You can't see the faces of the other players (their real faces, in any case). This limits your ability to read the other players. The rules in online poker compensate for this by giving us a wealth of information in other ways. - How the other players react to the bets - How often do they raise and when - Are they consistent - stay, raise, raise

Effect Of Cheating And House Cutslas Vegas Casino Poker

All data are estimates based on author's direct experience.) Earnings of Best Professionals* (with cheating) Good Players in Equivalent Private Games * Earnings are estimated for the best professional players observed in Las Vegas. The average professional in Las Vegas (including house shills who are paid by the casino for starting and maintaining poker games) probably nets less than 18,000 per year. The net average earnings of all the professional poker...

Famous bluffs Jack Straus and the

The late Jack Straus, who won the 1982 World Series of Poker, was a man known for his creativity, flair, and imagination at the poker table, as well as his willingness to risk all he had if he liked the odds. Once, in a No-Limit Hold'em game, Straus was dealt a 7 and a 2 of different suits. That starting hand is one of the worst in the deck one the overwhelming majority of pjay-ers would throw away without a moment's hesitation. But not Straus not this time. I was on a rush, he said, so I...

How To Think Like A Winning Poker Player

Socrates once said that the unexamined life is not worth living. So let's give some thought and examination to how we as card players process information and respond to decision-making pressures. These are important areas to consider as we work to improve our poker success - and be more successful in life generally. There is a science around the study of body language and human communication called Neuro-Lingusitic Programming (NLP). NLP is both an interesting and valuable area of study to...

Use The Science Of Tellsand

If you're serious about winning and you've mastered the basics, you'll realize most of the profit comes from being able to read your opponents. Their body language hides secrets you never even knew existed This book reveals them to you. Learn to interpret tells, such as subtle shrugs, sighs, shaky hands, eye contact and many more. The Legendary Mad Genius of Poker * Learn when your opponents are bluffing, when they aren't and why-based solely on their mannerisms. 4 Over 170 photos and...

Fluctuations will be a lot higher than in a brick and mortar poker room

Online poker players will see much higher profit and loss fluctuations than they would if they played in a brick and mortar poker room. Here are some reasons why 1. The average online poker player plays more aggressively than the average brick and mortar poker player, as discussed in the previous section. 2. There are also more shorthanded games online than in brick and mortar poker rooms. Naturally, shorthanded games have a higher fluctuation than full table games because all the players are...

Seven Card Stud

Flop games such as Hold 'em and Omaha are the most popular games in online and brick-and-mortar poker rooms, but the old favorite seven-card Stud still has a solid following. Some players insist that seven-card Stud is a simpler game than Hold 'em, but we don't believe them. Yes, you can determine each player's possible hands from the cards they have showing, but you can do the same thing in Hold 'em. One skill you need in seven-card Stud that you don't need in Hold 'em is remembering which...

Different Types of Players

In the previous section, we gave the example of three players who heave a similar style but whose drives and motives, and hence their precise betting patterns, are very different. One of the first things you should try to determine is the type of opponent you are facing. Sometimes you can generate an idea before even playing a hand The main way of determining the type of player you face is through analyzing his betting patterns, but you can also glean clues from other places such as Appearance...

Draw What should you do

Answer Check with the intention of raising a bet from late position. Betting out does not protect your hand. If you bet. any prospective caller will be getting over 11 -to-1, making it correct to call against your hand with weak draws like bottom pair, gutshots, or even as little as A434 (an overcard and backdoor flush draw). Since the most likely bettor, the preflop raiser, is on the button, it is likely that your check-raise will make three opponents face two bets cold.5 Missing your...

Crossedleg Gestures

Like arm barrier gestures, crossed legs are a signal that a negative or defensive attitude may exist. The purpose of crossing the arms on the chest was originally to defend the heart and upper body region and crossing the legs is an attempt to shield the genital area. Crossed arms also indicate a more negative attitude than do crossed legs, and the arms gesture is more obvious. Care should be taken when interpreting crossed leg gestures with women as many have been taught that this is how to...

Physical Tells

In the wonderful poker movie The Rounders, Teddy-KGB is undone when Matt Damon's character discovers his tell. If Teddy holds an Oreo cookie up to his ear, breaks it, and eats it, he has a monster hand. (He's psychologically devouring his opponent, you see.) If he merely listens to it break and puts it back in the tray, he's bluffing. As a result, the hero is able to break Teddy and survive with his bankroll and neck intact. If only real life were that easy Teddy's quirk is an example of a...

Monte Carlo Procedure and Areas

It is sometimes desirable to estimate quantities whose exact values are difficult or impossible to calculate exactly. In some of these cases, a procedure involving chance, called a Monte Carlo procedure, can be used to provide such an estimate. Example 2.2 In this example we show how simulation can be used to estimate areas of plane figures. Suppose that we program our computer to provide a pair (x,y) or numbers, each chosen independently at random from the interval 0,1 . Then we can interpret...

The Three Approaches

The Low-Power Approach Neo-Tech is used defensively to avoid loses to Neocheaters. The Neo-Tech Discovery reveals (in Parts Two and Three) detailed, specific techniques for the low-power approach, including the original White-Hat Techniques that are effective, ethical, and honest. 2. The High-Power Approach Neo-Tech is used offensively to gain advantages and profits -- in cards or beyond. The Neo-Tech Discovery also reveals (in Part One) detailed techniques for the high-power approach,...

What To Stay On

(1) A-A, A-K, A-Q, A-J, A-10, K-A, K-K, K-Q, K-J, K-10, Q-A, Q-K, Q-Q, Q-J, Q-10, J-A, J-K, J-Q, J-J, J-10, 10-A, 10-K, 10-Q, 10-J, 10-10- (2) A-9, A-8, A-7, A-6, A-5, A-4, A-3, A-2, K-9, K-8, K-7, K-6, K-5, K-4, K-3, K-2-But fold if one Ace or one King is exposed-Under (1) and (2), the 3rd card must be above a Nine for me to draw the 4th card- If I then have 3 cards above a Nine, I will take the 4th and 5th cards unless I am beat in sight or unless I have reason to believe I am beat by a...

Table of Contents

About This Book by David Some Notes About the Examples Part One Fundamentals The Skills for Manipulating the Pot Size Adjusting Correctly to Stack Sizes 13 Winning the Battle of Mistakes 14 Reading Hands Manipulating Opponents into Playing Badly 15 From Skills to Success No Limit and the Fundamental Theorem of Poker 17 Thinking In Terms of Expectation Playing the Nuts on the Final Thoughts The Pot Size The Pot Size Philosophy An Example 28 The Importance of Implied Imperfect Information and...

Raising for a Free Card

What do poker players tend to do if someone else raised on the previous round 2. When someone improves on fourth street, what does he usually do He often checks, hoping to check-raise. 3. How do you exploit this tendency to check to the raiser Raise the flop in late position with a drawing hand, intending to check behind on fourth street if you miss to see the river card for free. 4. In what kind of games is the free card play most effective 5. As the game gets more aggressive, how must you...

Territories and Zones

Thousands of books and articles have been written about the staking out and guarding of territories by animals, birds, fish and primates, but only in recent years has it been discovered that man also has territories. When this is learned and the implications understood, not only can enormous insights into one's own behaviour and that of others be gained but the face-to-face reactions of others can be predicted. American anthropologist Edward T. Hall was one of the pioneers in the study of man's...

Getting More Money In the Pot By Not Raising

Sometimes even with no more cards to come you can get more money or at least as much money into a multi-way pot by calling instead of raising, and at the same time avoid the risk of a reraise from the original bettor. You go for the overcall. That is, you call instead of raising in order to extract money from one or more of the players still in the pot behind you. Suppose, after all the cards are out, the bettor to your right appears to have a hand you can beat. If you raise, that player will...

Situations When Effective Odds Need Not Apply

There are a few times when you do not have to consider future bets when assessing your pot odds. The first case occurs when either you or your opponent is all-in or almost all-in. Obviously, when your opponent has no more money to bet or you have no more money to call, the last card will be free. So all you need to do is observe your immediate pot odds and compare them to your chances of winding up with the best hand. In the example For the finicky, the exact equation is 10 47 x 9 46. Ten of...

Calling on the Basis of Pot Odds With More Cards to Come

What about deciding whether to call before the draw in draw poker and in stud games when there is one card to come Now the math becomes important. If you know you have to improve your hand to win, you have to determine your chances of improving in comparison to your pot odds. With a flush draw or an open-ended straight draw we'll assume the game is five-card draw poker you would be correct to call a 10 bet when the pot is 50 since your chance of making the flush or the straight is better than...

Raising to Gain Information

Raising simply to gain information is a tricky play and shouldn't be done often. Generally you should consider any information gained as an extra benefit of a raise you are making for other reasons. There are occasions, though, when you cost yourself less by raising to gain information early than you would if you had not led your opponent into giving his hand away. These occasions usually occur in heads-up situations and only in early betting rounds. Furthermore, your opponent should be the...

Draw Poker

Everyone folds except the player under the gun who originally checked to you and who now raises another 5. We'll assume you know this player will never make such a play without three-of-a-kind or better. We'll also assume that with the antes and your implied odds it would be incorrect to fold even if you knew your opponent had a pat hand. So the question is whether you should simply call the 5 raise or reraise another 5. Your opponent's raise tells you he has...

Stopping Bluffs

Essentially the strategy to stop bluffs is to represent more strength than you actually have. Your opponent will not try to bluff, thinking you have at least a calling hand and perhaps better. Let's say you are playing draw poker, jacks or better to open, against someone you want to stop from bluffing. As the dealer in last position, you open with a pair of aces. After having originally checked in a very deep position, the potential bluffer now calls you. There is no chance that player has...

Emotions

Money affects emotions, and emotions control most players. Poker involves the winning and losing of money. Common emotions of anger, excitement, greed, masochism, sadism, and self-pity often take control of players during the action. Most players fail to recognize or are unable to suppress those emotional influences that decrease their objectivity and poker ability. The good player recognizes his own emotions and prevents them from influencing his actions He avoids acting on his whims and...

Giving or Not Giving a Free Card With a Marginal Hand

When you are certain you have the best hand, deciding whether to bet with more cards to come is relatively easy. However, you are frequently in a situation where you suspect you have the best hand, but you know you will be called only if you are beaten. Still, you must consider betting so that you do not give your opponent a free shot to outdraw you in the event you do have the best hand. The factors to consider when deciding to bet are 1.Your chances of having the best hand. 2.The chances the...

Bluffing and Betting for Value

The number of poker hands anyone can have is comparatively limited, but in addition to the hands themselves there are so many other variables that rarely if ever is a particular play always right or always wrong. Your play is affected by the size of the pot, your position, the opponent or opponents you are facing, the way they have been playing, the amount of money they have and you have, the flow of the game, and other, more subtle factors. This point is particularly applicable to questions of...

Increasing the Betting Stakes

After increasing the betting pace, the good player can often increase the betting stakes sharply. Most games can withstand a tenfold to hundred fold increase in the betting stakes. Even when the big losers seem to be at their financial limits, the stakes can usually be increased significantly. The good player increases the stakes in carefully planned steps. Several temporary increases may be necessary before higher stakes become permanent. But in some games, stakes can be increased immediately...

John wins consistently but still his opponents refuse to realize that they are paying him thousands

Edge Odds or Edge Percentages (12) Edge odds indicate the relative performance of a player in a poker game. These odds are calculated by the following formula average winnings (or losses) of player, x 100 Edge Odds 10 average winnings of the biggest winner, For example, if the biggest winner of each game averages plus 150, and if a player averages plus 75 per game, then the edge odds for this player are +75 150 x 100 +50 . The more games used to calculate edge odds, the more significant they...

The Power of the Semi Bluff

Let's say you're playing seven-card stud. You have a pair of jacks, and on fifth street your opponent bets. You know he has a big hand. So your response is easy You fold. Suppose you know your opponent is bluffing with nothing. Again your response is easy You raise. Suppose you think he has you beat with two small pair, but you're getting sufficient pot odds for a call. So you call. Straightforward bets, straightforward responses. But what if your opponent is not so straightforward What if he's...

The Cost of Giving Your Hand Away

This extreme example points up a basic poker dilemma. You want to make the most of your hands by maximizing your gains and minimizing your losses, yet what are you costing yourself when you play in such a way that your opponents should know what you have The answer to this question is contained in the Fundamental Theorem of Poker, which states that every time opponents play a hand differently from the way they would have if they could see all your cards, you gain and every time they play a hand...

The Forms of Poker

Poker is a generic name for literally hundreds of games, but they all fall within a few interrelated types. There are high games like seven-card stud and Texas hold 'em, in which the highest hand in the showdown wins, and low games like draw lowball and razz, in which the lowest hand wins. There are also high-low split games, in which the best high hand and the best low hand split the pot. Among high, low, and high-low split games there are those like five-card draw, in which the hands are...

Semi Bluffs and Pure Bluffs

A pure bluff is a bet, which, if called, has no chance of winning in a showdown. A semi-bluff is a bet with more cards to come which, if called, is probably not the best hand at the moment but has a reasonable chance of becoming the best hand. Many expert players believe their bluffs should have negative expectation. They see them as a form of advertising that will lead to their being called on other occasions when they do have the best hand. However, I believe pure bluffs should have no worse...

Legitimate Hands in Loose Games

What about legitimate hands In a loose game people are willing to play a hand that is relatively lower in value than the average. Therefore, your own legitimate hands don't need to be quite as good as in a normal game since your opponents are likely to be staying with you with even worse hands. This becomes especially true when you get heads-up against one opponent. However, because of the action and the participants' style of play, loose games frequently tend to have multi-way pots. With many...

Evaluating the Players and Adjusting to Them

When you are deciding whether to play and how to play, the other players in a given game are much more significant than the structure. Rarely will the structure deter good players from sitting down, but if they look around the table and see nothing but top players, relative to their own abilities, they should probably find another game. There is an old and true adage in poker If you look around and don't see a sucker in the game, you're it. At the same time, everybody in the game does not have...

The Ante Structure

All poker starts as a struggle for the antes. If there were no ante, there would be no reason to play. It's true that some players would play anyway, but a good player in such a game would simply wait for the pure nuts and nearly always win. A good player would have no reason to play anything but big starter hands three aces, say, in seven-card stud because with no money yet in the pot, there would be nothing to shoot for. To play with anything less would be to risk getting picked off by...

Raising Versus Folding or Calling

Raising is often a better alternative than folding, with calling the worst of the three. Such situations occur frequently when there are several players in the pot. Thus, when you raise with two 10s against someone betting on the come and succeed in driving better hands out, you show a profit on the hand in the long run. However, when you don't want to try this play, calling cannot be profitable because you are too big an underdog. Similarly, we have noted it may be correct to raise with what...

Inducing and Stopping Bluffs

The two preceding chapters demonstrated how, with sound judgment or game theory, a player who bluffs correctly gains a tremendous edge over his opponents. In fact, given two games one with otherwise poor players who bluff approximately correctly and another with solid players who do not bluff you do better to play in the solid game. When I started playing draw poker for a living in Gardena, California, I intuitively suspected I was better off playing in games with the typically tight Gardena...

Analyzing the Cost of a Mistake

Unfortunately, the play that is likely to be right most of the time is not always the correct play. When you have a choice of plays, you also have to decide how bad it will be if you make a mistake. Here is an obvious example. If your opponent bets on the end and you think the chances are better than 50-50 that that opponent has the best hand, the correct play most of the time is to fold and save a bet. However, it costs you not just one bet but the whole pot when folding turns out to be a...

Requirements for Slowplaying

In most cases, for a slowplay to be correct, all of the following must be true. 1 .You must have a very strong hand. 2.The free card or cheap card you are allowing other players to get must have good possibilities of making them a second-best hand. 3.That same free card must have little chance of making someone a better hand than yours or even giving that person a draw to a better hand than yours on the next round with sufficient odds to justify a call. 4. You must be sure you will drive other...

Bluffs When There are More Cards to Come

When there are more cards to come, your bluffs should rarely be pure bluffs that is to say, bets or raises that have little or no chance of winning if you are called, even taking into account the cards you may get on future rounds. Instead your early-round bets should be semi-bluffs, those powerful, deceptive plays we looked at in detail in Chapters Eleven and Twelve. It is important to bluff occasionally on early rounds to keep your opponents off-balance. But why do it when you have only one...

Game Theory and Bluffing

Game theory sounds like a theory about games, but it is actually a branch of mathematics dealing with the decision-making process. While it applies to games, as we shall see, it also applies to such disciplines as economics, international relations, social science, and military science. Essentially game theory attempts to discover mathematically the best strategies against someone also using the best strategies. Against an opponent you think is weaker than you are and it can be in any game...

Chapter Eighteen

The 1978 no-limit hold 'em world championship at the Horseshoe in Las Vegas came down to a battle between owlish Bobby Baldwin of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and sartorial real-estate magnate Crandall Addington of San Antonio, Texas. An hour before the championship ended. Addington had 275,000, and Baldwin, about half as much 145,000. Among the gamblers along the rail Addington was the clear favorite, but then came the hand that turned everything around. Acting first, Baldwin bet before the flop, and...

When to Fold and When to Raise

We have said, up to this point, that the two main defenses against the semi-bluff are simply giving up and folding, or raising. (In all cases we are assuming the pot is relatively small.) The question now is when to do the one and when to do the other. That is, when do you fold, and when do you raise Obviously when you have a very poor hand, you fold. When you have a big hand, you raise unless it's so big you want to slowplay and trap your opponent later. The difficult decisions occur when you...

Beyond the Written Word

You need a lot more than book learning to become a successful poker player. Personal characteristics, integrity, strength of purpose, resiliency, willfulness and dedication are all ladled into this stew. As in almost every other human endeavor, talent is nice to have, but character and the ability to stick with it count too. Where to get the books A buyer's guide You can purchase many of the books we mention in this section at the major chain bookstores, but there are other sources that...

Reducing Your Pot Odds With More than One Card to Come

Let's say you are playing hold 'em, and after the flop you have a four-flush that you are sure will win if you hit it. There are two cards to come, which improves your odds of making the flush to approximately l3 4-to-l. It is a 10- 20 game with 20 in the pot, and your single opponent has bet 10. You may say, I'm getting 3-to-l odds and my chances are l3 4-to-l. So I should call. However, the 13 4-to-l odds of making the flush apply only if you intend to see not just the next card, but the last...

The Fundamental Theorem of Poker

This example may also seem too obvious for serious discussion, but it is a general statement of some fairly sophisticated plays. Let's say in no-limit hold 'em you hold the You check, your opponent bets, and you call. Now the ace of diamonds comes on fourth street, and you bet, trying to represent aces. If your opponent knew what you had, his correct play would be to raise you so much it would cost too much to draw to a flush or a straight on the last card, and you would have to fold....

Mathematical Expectation in Poker

Poker plays can also be analyzed in terms of expectation. You may think that a particular play is profitable, but sometimes it may not be the best play because an alternative play is more profitable. Let's say you have a full house in five-card draw. A player ahead of you bets. You know that if you raise, that player will call. So raising appears to be the best play. However, when you raise, the two players behind you will surely fold. On the other hand, if you call the first bettor, you feel...

Calculating Effective Odds

Figuring effective odds may sound complicated, but it is a simple matter of addition. You add all the calls you will have to make, assuming you play to the end, to determine the total amount you will lose if you don't make your hand. Then compare this figure to the total amount you should win if you do make the hand. This total is the money in the pot at the moment plus all future bets you can expect to win, excluding your own future bets. Thus, if there is 100 in the pot at the moment and...

You have AT in the big blind Six players limp including the small blind What should you do

Your hand figures to win far more than its share against a big field. Again, many timid players dislike gambling with hands like these before the flop. They would check, planning to spring to life on a favorable flop. That strategy is profitable, but it is less profitable than raising now. A big suited ace is a terrific hand in a seven-handed pot. Expect to win significantly more often than the fourteen percent of the time that is your share against six opponents. Being out of...

How To Tell Lies Successfully

The difficulty with lying is that the subconscious mind acts automatically and independently of our verbal lie, so our body language gives us away. This is why people who rarely tell lies are easily caught, regardless of how convincing they may sound. The moment they begin to lie, the body sends out contradictory signals, and these give us our feeling that they are not telling the truth. During the lie, the subconscious mind sends out nervous energy that appears as a gesture that can contradict...

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BOBBY The Owl Baldwin

Bobby won all the money again. . .that's what my friend Iron Man told me a couple of years ago during one of his frequent visits to Vegas. After having played twenty years in Texas I was naturally curious about what was happening. Everytime I talked I got the same answer. Some young kid I didn't even know had taken over where I had left off. I couldn't believe it possible that some unknown like Bobby Baldwin would come along and dominate the group of good Poker players I knew inhabited the...

Raising as a Means of Cutting Down Opponents Odds

To illustrate this important point, we'll examine a hand from five card draw poker. You have a pat flush the player to your right has nothing at all, and the player to your left has two pair. For the purposes of this illustration, we'll assume you know exactly what both opponents have. We'll also assume the betting limit is a flat 10 but that somehow a 100 pot has been created before betting gets under way. With the cards out, we'll say the chances of the two pair improving to a full house are...

Raising to Bluff or Semi Bluff

Raising as a pure bluff with a hand that has no chance of winning if called is a tricky play, too risky to be attempted often. It is usually done only when there are no more cards to come, often when you didn't make the hand you were hoping to make but are trying to convince your opponent you did. Presumably your opponent has a decent hand to bet into you and is reluctant to throw it away when you raise. In limit poker, raising as a pure bluff can succeed often enough to be profitable only...

Beyond Beginning Poker

The beauty of poker is that on the surface it is a game of utter simplicity, yet beneath the surface it is profound, rich, and full of subtlety. Because its basic rules are so simple, anyone can learn poker in a few minutes, and novice players may even think they're pretty good after a few hours. From the expert's point of view, the veneer of simplicity that deludes so many players into thinking they're good is the profitable side of the game's beauty. It doesn't take long for pool players or...

Appendix A Useful Links

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Historical Remarks

Anyone who plays the same chance game over and over is really carrying out a simulation, and in this sense the process of simulation has been going on for centuries. As we have remarked, many of the early problems of probability might well have been suggested by gamblers' experiences. It is natural for anyone trying to understand probability theory to try simple experiments by tossing coins, rolling dice, and so forth. The naturalist Buffon tossed a coin 4040 times, resulting in 2048 heads and...

Analysis at the Table

Like any other gambling game, poker is a game of risks versus rewards. Any decision you make at the poker table can be thought of as a comparison of the risk involved in a particular play and the possible reward for the play. There are three questions involved in arriving at a decision How great is the risk How great is the reward Is the reward great enough to justify the risk When deciding whether to bluff, your risk is a bet. Your reward is the pot (as well as advertising value if you show...

Shaking Hands

Shaking hands is a relic of the caveman era. Whenever cavemen met, they would hold their arms in the air with their palms exposed to show that no weapons were being held or concealed. This palms-in-air gesture became modified over the centuries and such gestures as the palm raised in the air, the palm over the heart and numerous other variations developed. The modern form of this ancient greeting ritual is the interlocking and shaking of the palms which, in most English-speaking countries, is...

Using Mcu Poker Charts

I devised MCU Poker Charts because there was clearly a need for a common method of presenting poker hands in printed form and on the Web. These charts are designed to be read from left to right and top to bottom, just like you're reading this book. Actions take place in sequence. So, wherever you see a wager, a fold, or cards appearing, that's when it happened. Everything in the chart that appears earlier reading left to right, top to bottom happened earlier. Everything that appears later...

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First Position Play

When you are first to act with a legitimate hand, you have four options. One is to check with the intention of raising if your opponent bets. Another is to come out betting. The third is to check with the intention of calling if your opponent bets. And the fourth is to check and fold if your opponent bets. With very strong hands your options are to try a check-raise or to come out betting. The key factors in deciding whether to check-raise are 1.The chances your opponent will bet if you check....

Using Mathematics to Read Hands

When you can't actually put a person on a hand but have reduced his possible hands to a limited number, you try to use mathematics to determine the chances of his having certain hands rather than others. Then you decide what kind of hand you must have to continue playing. Using mathematics is particularly important in draw poker, where your main clue to what an opponent might have is what you know about his opening, calling, and raising requirements. If, for example, you know an opponent will...

The Betting Limits

The first thing to consider about the betting limits is whether you can afford them. Even if you think you have much the best of it, you should not play in a game whose limits are so high in relation to your bankroll that you cannot play your hands correctly because you don't want to risk going broke. At the same time, when you think you have the best of it, you should play at the highest limits you can afford whenever possible. The excellent nohprofessional player Jay Heimowitz, from Monti...

The Rank of Starting Hands in OB

The best possible starting hand in 08B is A-A-2-3, with the A-2 good as it gets i n 08B for a starting hand. Any A-A-2-3 with j ust one suited pair is the next-best possible hand, followed by A-A-2-3 with no suits. Why is t his hand so strong First, y ou're s tarting with the best possible pair (A-A) second, you have the nut-flush possibility when you're suited to the ace and, third, you already have three wheel cards that offer the best possible l ow combination (A-2), the second-best possible...

Reading Hands

The ability to read hands may be the most important weapon a poker player can have. As the Fundamental Theorem of Poker suggests, the key mistake in poker is to play your hand differently from the way you would play it if you knew what your opponent had. The more often you play your hand correctly on the basis of what your opponent has the less you give up and the more you gain. If you somehow knew what your opponent had every time, you almost couldn't lose because you would always play...

Hourly Rate

As suggested in the coin-flip example at the opening of this chapter, hourly rate is closely related to expectation, and it is a concept especially important to the professional player. When you go into a poker game, you should try to assess what you think you can earn per hour. For the most part you will have to base your assessment on your judgment and experience, but you can use certain mathematical guidelines. For instance, if you are playing draw lowball and you see three players calling...

The Object of Poker

Whether you are playing 1-limit poker at the kitchen table or pot-limit poker at the Stardust in Las Vegas, whether you are playing poker for fun or for a living, once a week or every day, you have to understand that the object of the game is to make money. That's where the profits are. That's where the fun is. That's the way the game is scored. lack Straus, 1982 poker champion, has said he'd bust his own grandmother if she was in a pot with him, which is pretty much the only attitude a serious...

Evaluating the Game

Before sitting down, good poker players stop and evaluate the game, especially when they have many games to choose from as they do in Las Vegas, California, or New Jersey. However, a serious player should evaluate even a weekly private game before deciding whether to become a regular. There are two reasons for evaluating a game. One is to determine whether the game is worth playing. The second is to determine how to play in that particular game. When professional players consider whether a game...

Analysis in Theory

One of the most difficult things for the average poker player to do is to make accurate decisions at the game in the heat of a hand. Many good and bad players alike simply decide what they think their opponent has and then go on to determine their best play on the assumption that their opponent has the hand they're assuming he has. However, as we saw in the chapter on reading hands, this is a bad and potentially costly way of going about the business of decision-making. There is a better way,...

Small Antes

Not playing loose enough in high-ante games is a much less common problem among poker players than playing too loose in low-ante and average-ante games. When players in a game cry out, Here comes a live one, what they mean is, Here comes a player who plays too many pots, who always wants to get into the action, who doesn't consider the odds before calling, who calls to the end with next to nothing when two aces are staring him in the face. Put more succinctly, what they mean is, Here comes a...

The Ethics of Check Raising

There are some amateur poker players who find something reprehensible about check-raising. They find it devious and deceitful and consider people who use it to be less than well-bred. Well, check-raising is devious and it is deceitful, but being devious and deceitful is precisely what one wants to be in a poker game, as is implied by the Fundamental Theorem of Poker. Checking with the intention of raising is one way to do that. In a sense, check-raising and slowplaying are the opposites of...

The Rules and Mechanics of Limit Holdem

It is expected that the reader of this book has some experience playing Limit Hold'em and is not a complete novice. For completeness, the rules of the game along with some poker terminology is included. Limit Texas Hold'em is a form of poker with community cards. The rankings of the hands are in order The rankings of the hands are in order

Superadvanced Megalomaniac NLH Theory Playing with Nothing

Some great NLH players l ike to call an opponent's raise with any two cards, b ecause they t hink t hey can outplay the raiser l ater on in the hand. Again, I 'll s ingle out Daniel Negreanu as a player who uses this strategy. ( Sorry, Danny.) In many NLH tournaments I've watched Daniel apply this s trategy, knowing full weH what he was doing The key to the strategy lies i n recognizing who the preflop raiser i s. If the preflop raiser i s a weak player ( if you're new to the game, it's more...

Loose and Tight Play

Loose poker players play a large percentage of hands. They have relatively low starting requirements, and they continue in the pot with relatively weak hands. Tight players play a small percentage of hands. Their starting requirements are high, and they are quick to throw away weak hands that don't develop into big hands. Some players always play loose. Others always play tight. Good players adjust their play to the game. In Chapter Four we saw how the size of the ante relative to later bets is...

Rejecting Cheaters

Under certain conditions, cheating by others can financially hurt the good player. For example, valuable losers might quit the game if they detected cheating. Or the game itself could be destroyed by cheating. If necessary, therefore, the good player can eliminate the cheater or his cheating in one or more of the ways shown in Table 22. Make the cheater feel that he is suspected and is being watched. Tell the cheater that if he cheats again, he will be publicly exposed. Tell suspicious players...

Fundamental Theorem of Poker

In David's book The Theory of Poker, he introduces a concept he calls the Fundamental Theorem of Poker Every time you play a hand differently from the way you would have played it if you could see all your opponents' cards, they gain and every time you play your hand the same way you would have played it if you could see all their cards, they lose. Conversely, every time opponents play their hands differently from the way they would have if they could see all your cards, you gain and every time...

The Do I have Pot Odds Method or DIPO

Once you know the size of the pot, the amount you need to risk to stay in the hand, and the number of outs and non-outs that you have, you will now have enough information to figure out whether you have enough pot odds to stay in. Instead of using a complicated algebraic formula that most people can solve only with a pen and a piece of paper or a calculator, I will describe a way to make this calculation in your head with relative ease, which I will call the Do I have Pot Odds method or simply...

Betting and the Super System

Doyle Brunson is a legend in the No-Limit Hold'em arena. He's won the WSOP twice. The Super System has been called, the greatest Poker book ever written. Nobody can take away any of Doyle Brunson's achievements. I highly recommend reading Super System if you get a chance. That said, his book, and my book, are two totally different species. Doyle has mainly played in traveling ring games where people come and go as they please. If you are out of cash, you just hit the cash machine or pull some...

Territory And Ownership

Property owned by a person or a place regularly used by him constitutes a private territory and, like personal air space, he will fight to protect it. Such things as a person's home, office and motor car represent a territory, each having clearly marked boundaries in the form of walls, gates, fences and doors. Each territory may have several sub-territories. For example, in a home a woman's private territory may be her kitchen and laundry and she objects to anyone invading that space when she...