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The final results were:
Place Player Earnings
1 Mike Takayama $198,568
2 Lorenc Puka $122,627
3 Matthew Smith $88,938
4 Steve Jelinek $65,145
5 Spencer Baker $48,196
6 Kavish Shabbir $36,019
7 Elizabeth Montizanti $27,193
8 Jack Duong $20,743
9 Oliver Rusing $15,988
Ryan Tosoc Wins 2018 WSOP $1,000 Online No Limit Holdem Event
The largest online WSOP bracelet event, the $1000 Online No Limit Holdem event, was won by Ryan Tosoc. The event had 1635 players. He won top prize of a gold bracelet and$238,778. Tosoc has previously won the WPT Five Diamond Classic for nearly $2 million dollars. For this summer's WSOP, he has two additional cashes under his belt.
The online event itself took 16 hours to complete. It came down to Tosoc and Anthony Maio. They were about even stack wise, when Maio went all-in with ace, nine of clubs. Tosoc called with ace jack unsuited. Tosoc won with ace pair and jack kicker.
The final results were:
Place Player Earnings (USD)
1 Ryan Tosoc $238,778
2 Anthony Maio $175,206
3 Joel Feldman $124,570
4 James Robinson $89,777
5 Justin Lapka $65,391
6 Markus Gonsalves $48,306
7 Russell Powers $36,190
8 Aurelian Guiglini $27,377
9 Aditya Sushant $20,968
Calvin Anderson Wins 2018 WSOP $10,000 Razz Championship
The $10,000 Razz Event at the 2018 WSOP was won by Calvin Anderson. The event had 119 players. Anderson gets a gold bracelet and $309,220 for his efforts. This brings the 30 year old poker pros earnings to over $2 million dollars in live tourney earnings. This is his second gold bracelet.
In poker pros quest for respect, a Razz tournament such as this one is a sought after event. This event was no different attracting pros like John Hennigan, Mike Leah, and three time bracelet winner Frank Kassela among others.
Kassela knocked out Julien Martini to third place, setting the stage for heads up with Anderson. Anderson was on a roll leading 3:1 going into the final day. He kept his momentum with Kassela down to just two blinds for a chip stack. He was knocked out taking home $191,111.
The final result were:
Place Player Earnings (USD)
1 Calvin Anderson $309,220
2 Frank Kassela $191,111
3 Julien Martini $134,587
4 Mike Leah $96,744
5 Jerry Wong $71,014
6 Alex Balandin $53,253
7 John Hennigan $40,817
8 Dzmitry Urbanovich $31,992
Jessica Dawley Wins 2018 WSOP $1000 Ladies No Limit Holdem Championship
Poker pro Jessica Dawley has won the 2018 WSOP $1000 Ladies No Limit Holdem event. For the win, she gets $130,230 and her first gold bracelet. Her total poker earnings from live events are $733,413.
She knocked out Danielle Anderson with a king high straight and became chip leader. Though Jill Pike entered the day chip leader, she wasn't able to maintain her dominance. She succumbed to Anderson with unsuited king and four against Dawley's eight and five of hearts. The board gave Anderson a five pair for the win.
The final results were:
Place Player Earnings (USD)
1 Jessica Dawley $130,230
2 Jill Pike $80,444
3 Lisa Fong $55,812
4 Mesha James $39,334
5 Jacqueline Burkhart $28,167
6 Tara Cain $20,499
7 Weiyi Mo $15,167
8 Molly Mossey $11,411
9 Tara Snow $8,732
Tommy Nguyen Wins $1,500 Monster Stack No Limit Holdem at the 2018 WSOP
From over 6,200 players, down to one winner, Tommy Nguyen has won the 2018 WSOP $1500 Monsterstack. In doing so, he takes home a gold bracelet and $1,037,451. This is the largest cash for the 28 year old Canadian. He only recently went pro after winning the Partypoker live for over $150,000.
The final day of the event, Nguyen was in 22nd place chip-wise with 29 players left. He, nonetheless, came back from a chip deficit and placed sixth at the final table when he lost an all-in bet sending him to the last place again. He came back with a double up and then knocked out Shyam Srinivasan for some nice chips.
The heads up came against James Carroll. By the final hand Nguyen held a 6:1 chip advantage. The final hand had Carroll going all-in but losing against Nguyen's ace-king combo.
The final results were:
Place Player Earnings (USD)
1 Tommy Nguyen $1,037,451
2 James Carroll $640,916
3 Frank Rusnak $475,212
4 Chris Chong $354,903
5 Daniel Corbett $266,987
6 Michael Benko $202,327
7 Shyam Srinivasan $154,463
8 Harald Sammer $118,802
9 Rittie Chuaprasert $92,061
High Stakes Pro Scott Seiver Wins $10,000 No Limit Holdem at the 2018 WSOP
Scott Seiver has won the $10,000 No Limit Holdem event at the 2018 WSOP. There were 114 players who put up $10,000 for the event. The event tends to draw the big names in the poker world. Other notable poker players here included Nick Schulman, Maria Ho, and John Hennigan among others.
For Seiver the win gets him his second bracelet and $296,222 in cash.
The final results were:
Place Player Earnings
1 Scott Seiver $296,222
2 Matthew Szymaszek $183,081
3 Anthony Zinno $129,186
4 Christopher Chung $93,009
5 Matt Glantz $68,352
6 Philip Cordano $51,296
7 Daniel Zack $39,329
8 Michael Moore $30,821
9 Ken Deng $24,700
Ryan Leng Wins 2018 WSOP $1,500 No Limit Holdem Bounty Event
Sustaining a chip lead going into the final day, Ryal Leng has won the 2018 WSOP $1500 No Limit Holdem Bount event. Bounty event give bonuses for knocking out players in this tournament it was $500.
For the win, Leng gets a bracelet and $272,765. As noted Leng's lead only increased on the fourth and final day. He took out player after player ending in heads up against Ranno Soofia. Soofia went all-in with a nine pair but lost against Leng's straight.
The final results were:
Place Player Earnings (USD)
1 Ryan Leng $272,504
2 Ranno Sootla $168,329
3 Jay Farber $121,329
4 Christian Nolte $89,079
5 Javier Gomez $65,851
6 Russell Rosenblum $49,146
7 John Gulino $37,063
8 Mark Mazza $28,247
9 Mikhail Semin $21,759
2018 WSOP $1500 Pot Limit Omaha Won by Joey Couden
Winning his first ever gold bracelet, Joey Couden took down the 2018 WSOP $1500 Pot Limit Omaha event. His grand prize includes $244,370 in cash. The event had 935 players. Though basically an unknown player, Couden has cashed multiple times in the summer's WSOP.
The top winners for the event were:
Place Player Earnings
1 Joey Couden $244,370
2 Bruno Fitoussi $150,990
3 Eli Elezra $106,193
4 Mike Matusow $75,708
5 Christopher Conrad $54,738
6 Kim Kallman $40,141
7 Dustin Pattinson $29,862
8 Greg Jamison $22,541
9 Daniel Negreanu $17,268
Diogo Veiga Wins 2018 WSOP $3,000 Big Blind Ante No Limit Holdem Event
Portugese poker pro, Diogo Veiga has won the 2018 WSOP $3000 Big Blind Ante No Limit Holdem event. He is the third player from Portugal to ever win a bracelet. For his win he gets a whopping $522,715.
The big blind ante format is just entering the WSOP for the first time this year. In a big blind ante event, players put up the ante for the entire table. In theory it speeds up the game. Its detractors say for low chip stack periods, putting up the ante for the entire table could wipe a player out. Most players agree, though, it speeds up the game.
On the final day, poker pro Barry Hutter seemed to have everything under control knocking out player after player. Hutter and Viega went heads up with Viega taking the lead by 3:1. Hutter moved all-in with ace ten, but the board proved victorious for Viega who won with a king pair.
The final results were:
Place Player Earnings (USD)
1 Diogo Veiga $522,715
2 Barry Hutter $323,019
3 Radoslav Stoyanov $228,241
4 Jonathan Abdellatif $163,404
5 Tom McCormick $118,552
6 David Yan $87,179
7 Anna Antimony $64,991
8 Cathal Shine $49,126
9 Todd Ivens $37,660
Wednesday, June 6, 2018
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Texas Holdem is a variation of 7 card stud that became popular in the United States in the 1990s but had been played a decade earlier. Poker has always been popular in the United States and Texas Holdem is a poker game. It is believed that the concept of poker started in the Middle Ages although the concept of the game of chance with numbers can date back to the ancient Chinese. The game was introduced in the United States in the French quarter of New Orleans as "poque" hence the name "poker."
When playing Texas Holdem poker, you get two cards dealt face down. These are called your pocket cards. Five other cards are dealt face down in the center of the table. The betting commences as each of the first three cards on the table are flipped over. These are called the flop cards.
Poker is always a hand of five cards, although you can be dealt five or seven cards in the game. Even though you have seven cards, you can only use five to make up your poker hand. In the game of Texas Holdem, you have to use your two pocket cards plus any of the five cards on the table, which everyone else can use as well. Each player has the same hand with the exception of their pocket cards.
There are two different types of poker. Stud poker is when the cards that are dealt is all that is dealt from the deck. Draw poker is when you can take additional cards from the dealer when you relinquish other cards from your hand. With draw poker, you stand a better chance of getting a higher hand than with stud poker. Texas Holdem is a stud poker game.
The fourth card turned up is the turn and the fifth is the river. A conservative poker player will go out after the flop if he or she does not have a good hand. A good hand in Texas Holdem or any other poker game is a pair of Jacks or better. However, many players will stay in the game even if they do not have a good hand if they feel that they can bluff their way through. If you are playing in a tournament for real money, you might be tempted to go out if you are unsure of your hand. A good winning hand in Texas Holdem poker is three of a kind or better.
Poker has been played throughout the ages in one form or another. Texas Holdem is just a variation of this timeless game can easily be dated back to the 13th century. There are thousands of variations of poker that are played throughout the world. Once you understand the concept of the poker game, it is very easy to pick up each different game.
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While we all dream of becoming a master Texas Hold 'em Poker player, the stark reality is that most players never progress to become an effective and consistent player. Those that do develop into consistent winners typically do so because they are able to understand and grasp the nuances of Texas Hold 'em Poker.
There are many considerations for the novice to understand when setting out to play limit Texas Hold em Poker.
While many of us have watched Texas Hold 'em Poker on TV and have seen players bluffed out of pots we understand that this effective strategy in no-limit Texas Hold 'em rarely works in limit because you are limited to a maximum bet. This makes bluffing and picking-up small pots more difficult in limit Texas Hold 'em Poker.
While I do favor an aggressive style of play in limit Texas Hold 'em Poker it does need to be controlled. What this means is that when you do play a pot, you play it strongly.
Another factor to consider in limit Hold 'em is that you can have as many as five or six players going for the pot. This is a result of the fact that bets are fixed so it can be harder to trim down the number of players vying for the pot.
Going up against several players for a pot means that the ability to read an opponents hand is one of the most important tools a limit player needs to develop. Most of the times you are going to have to show down a hand, and being able to read what hands you are going up against will help you make better decisions. Because most of the times you will have to show down a hand you will typically want to stick to playing big hands.
Oftentimes the deciding factor in whether you are successful in limit Texas Hold 'em Poker is patience and self-discipline while playing.
Being patient and waiting for playable hands, especially when you are a beginner is very difficult. It can be boring sitting on the sidelines watching others play out their hands.
You can't let past hands ruin your judgment. Being patient will pay dividends in the long run. Resist the temptation to play bad hands, throw them away. We've all folded away poor hands only to see a great flop that comes down that would have given us a full house or straight. Never let that tempt you into playing poor hole cards.
When you are on the sidelines you should be paying attention to what others are doing. This is where you will begin to develop the ability to read your opponents hands. As mentioned previously, this is one of the most important tools that you can develop.
The time you spend watching others and learning how they play hands will be very useful when you do play a hand against them and are now armed with information on how they played in similar situation.
If you've been playing close attention to your opponent you'll know how many hands he plays, is he aggressive or does he tend to call most of the time. Is he a good player? Does he play the same hands the same way all the time?
By carefully observing your opponents you will be able to pick up 'Tells' - physical mannerisms which may give up information about their hand. When playing online, while you won't be able to pick up the physical tells, you will be able to pick up whether an opponent tends to slow play a certain type of hand or just jump right in with a bet.
You're more likely to profit from this type of information if you're playing with relatively inexperienced players. Tell's great if you find one.
Also keep in mind that your opponents will be observing you for clues on your style of play. That is why it is a good idea to mix-up your play by treating the same situation in different ways. You can avoid being too predictable by changing the way you play your hands.
By avoiding predictability you will keep your opponents off balance.
Michael Vall is the webmaster of Texas Holdem Poker Strategy [http://www.Texas-Holdem-Poker-Page.com] - providing a Complete Strategy Guide and Tips for Texas Holdem Poker.
Your progression from superior Texas Hold 'em Poker player to eventual tournament champion begins with mastering shorthanded games. Shorthanded games typically involve five or six players and are very common in online poker rooms. When you are playing in a shorthanded game the action can come to you fast and furious. You'll be playing in more hands more quickly than in your typical ring games.
Playing in shorthanded games will typically favor the aggressive player. Because there are fewer players to begin with, hands that are not thought of as premium hands rise in value. Examples of this are medium pairs and high cards that you wouldn't normally raise with in a full game (A-8, 8-8, 7-7...). If you are raising before the flop, when the flop comes down and your opponents do not connect with it you may very well steal the pot.
Drawing hands in shorthanded games are typically not good hands to play with because of the limited number of players in the game. It is highly unlikely that you will get pots large enough to make it worthwhile to chase.
If you do not have a hand that you feel comfortable raising with you may be better off folding and waiting to play a better hand.
Just because you are playing in a shorthanded game do not plan on playing a greater number of hands, rather, play the hands that you do play more aggressively.
Being aggressive and occasionally bluffing in a shorthanded game, especially when others are checking and calling, will allow you to pick up small pots. Your aggressive plays may make others fold and hand the pot over to you. While it may not work every time, in the long run it usually proves to be profitable.
If you find that most of your opponents will only bet when they are turning pairs, a well timed bluff can steal the pot for you.
When you find yourself seated in late position in a shorthanded game and your opponents before you have folded, a raise can force the blinds to fold thereby winning you the pot. This move, known as stealing the blinds can also be an effective way to pick up small pots and add to your chip total.
Playing in shorthanded games is also great practice for playing in tournaments. As your opponents are knocked out of the game, you'll be going up against fewer players. Playing in shorthanded games will prepare you for these situations.
You'll also find lots of shorthanded games played online. With players dropping in and out for a few hands before dinner or on a lunch break at work, it is not uncommon to be sitting at a table up against ten opponents one moment and then before you know it you'll be up against Five opponents.
On a final note, with all the extra hands that you will be playing in shorthanded games your bankroll can take large swings. You need to be ready to handle these swings. Shorthanded games can be very profitable and remember you will need to know how to play in a shorthanded game if you ever want to play in and win a tournament.
Michael Vall is the webmaster of Texas Holdem Poker Tips and Strategy [http://www.Texas-Holdem-Poker-Page.com] - A Complete Strategy Guide and Tips for Texas Holdem Poker, Online Casino and Poker Room Reviews.
The great thing about Texas Holdem Poker is that it is easy to learn. Even a beginner can quickly develop into a winning player. By following a sound strategy and playing the best starting hands a Texas Holdem Poker newbie can dramatically shorten the learning curve. So what are the best hands that a beginner should play?
The best hands for a beginner to play are Ace-Ace, King-King, Queen-Queen, Jack-Jack, Ace-King suited (example - Ace of clubs & King of clubs).
I strongly recommend that you only play these starting hands as a beginner. In other words, if you are dealt a hand other than one of the above then fold!
Folding is one of the most difficult decisions for a Texas Holdem Poker beginner to do. The mindset of most Texas Holdem Poker beginners is to hang around and see the flop in the hopes of hitting it just right and improving a hand.
While a beginner will hit the flop and improve their hand occasionally, more often than not they will miss it. The Texas Holdem Poker beginner player that plays poor starting hands will end up throwing more money away than they will win.
When you are dealt one of the best starting hands I recommend raising the pot which will serve two purposes. First, it will force players with weak hands to fold instead of allowing them to stay in the game and see the flop for free.
Secondly, by seeing who raises and calls you get to see who feels that they have a good hand and who may be trying to hang in for the flop.
When the flop is dealt you should look carefully to see if you have improved your hand. Even if you have not improved your hand, because you started out with one of the better hands you may still have the best hand. This is especially true if your starting hand was a pair of aces or kings.
If your opponents raise back this can be a strong signal that they may have a powerful hand. Ask yourself, "What could my opponent have?" "Could they have improved their hand?"
Ask yourself these questions after each round of cards are dealt and try to "read" your opponents hand.
If you have a high pair a raise after the flop can help you assess whether your opponents feel if they have a strong hand or not.
If you think you are beaten there is no shame in folding at this point.
When the turn card has been revealed, if you think that you may still have the best hand I would raise the pot so that I could obtain information about my opponents' hands.
I would follow this same strategy on the river card.
To summarize this basic Texas Holdem Poker beginner strategy:
- stick to playing the best starting hands
- fold the bad hands
- use the power of the raise to knock out weak players and to assess the strength of your opponents hands
By following this Texas Holdem Poker beginner strategy you will start out winning more hands than you lose. You will start out winning more money than you will lose.
Michael Vall is the webmaster of Texas Holdem Poker | Online Casino | Strategy | Tips | Reviews [http://www.Texas-Holdem-Poker-Page.com] - A Complete Strategy Guide and Tips for Texas Holdem Poker, Online Casino and Poker Room Reviews.
Come visit my site at [http://www.Texas-Holdem-Poker-Page.com] and learn more great starting hands, how to play them and more great Texas Holdem Poker strategy!
Texas Holdem has become the most popular version of poker,
and is played by billions of people all around the world.
The rules for Texas Holdem Poker are fairly easy to pick up
on, and the best way to learn Texas Holdem Poker Rules is
to jump in and start playing with people who are willing to
teach you! If you don't know anyone who can teach you the
Rules for Texas Holdem Poker, then you can play for free on
any number of online poker websites and learn both rules and
A standard 52 card deck is used to play. Most Texas
Holdem Poker Rules start with the two players immediately
to the left of the dealer button, which rotates clockwise
around the table. Before the cards are dealt, the two
players to the left of the dealer are required to put their
small and large "blinds" into the pot (a predetermined
amount of money that ensures there is always money in play
for each hand.)
Rules for Texas Holdem Poker indicate that each player is
dealt two cards face down and betting begins. Players may
call, raise or fold. Once all players have had their turn,
the dealer will discard the top card (called the "burn"
card) just to be sure no one saw this card, and then puts
out three community cards, called the flop, face up in the
center of the table. Another round of betting occurs. A
total of five community cards will be turned up on the
table and the players are able to use any combination of
five cards from their own two cards and the five on the
table to create the best five-card hand.
After the betting on the flop, the dealer will burn a card
and flip another community card, called the "turn". Texas
Holdem Poker rules allow for another round of betting
before the final community card is flipped up- called 'the
After the final round of betting, any players who have not
yet folded will reveal their hands. Rules for Texas Holdem
Poker state the winning player is the player with the best
five card combination from their two hold cards and the
five community cards.
As you can see, Texas Holdem Poker Rules are not
difficult. With a little practice you will be well on your
way to becoming proficient at Texas Holdem Poker.
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If you're new to Texas Holdem poker this article will be very useful. It's fairly easy to find online poker articles that offer tips and strategies to improve your game, but often they're filled with confusing Poker Terms. So if ever you get stuck you can simply refer to this list of Texas Holdem Poker Terms.
Fixed Limit Texas Holdem Poker:
In this type of poker game the betting is limited to a predefined amount. Usually you'll be able to see the limit in the description of the poker room, displayed as: $5/10. Meaning all bets are limited to $5 in the pre-flop and flop and $10 in the turn and river.
Pot Limit Texas Holdem Poker:
These types of poker games also have limited betting but it is not predetermined, rather the limit is set to the current size of the pot. As the pot grows so does the betting limit.
No Limit Texas Holdem Poker:
In these games the betting is not limited in any way, although some casinos do place a restriction on how often you're allowed to raise in a single game. These games are mostly played by experienced poker players.
Blind bets are forced bets. A blind bet is used to begin the betting before the players are dealt any cards. The first two players to the left of the dealer button are normally required to place blind bets.
A call is a betting option. To call in poker means to match the bet of another player.
So if Player A, bet $5 and you 'call', you're saying that you'll match his $5 bet.
To 'check' is to not place a bet. You only have the option to check if no other bets have been placed before in the round. By checking you're choosing not to bet, and as opposed to folding, you're still in the game.
To 'fold' is to quit the current hand, you're choosing not to place any more bets and end your participation in that hand.
To 'raise' means to place a larger bet than the player before. If Player A bets $5, to raise you would then place a bet of $6 or more.
Going 'All In':
Going 'all in' means you're betting everything you have on your hand. If Player A bets $200 and you cannot match that bet, you have the option of going 'all in'. If you win the hand you're paid a portion of the pot - relative to the amount you've wagered.
The Dealer button is a token which is passed around the table in a clockwise direction after every hand. The dealer button is used to determine who the dealer is for that hand. It also determines who needs to place the blind bets, it is common for the first two players to the left of the dealer to place blind bets.
The pre-flop is the first round of Texas holdem poker. Players are dealt two cards each, and these are referred to as pocket cards.
The flop is the second round of poker, and occurs when the first three communal cards are dealt face up on the poker table. These cards can be used by everyone in the Poker Room to create the best 5-card hands.
The turn is the Third round. In this round a fourth communal card is dealt face up.
The river is the final round of Texas Holdem Poker. In this round the firth communal card is placed face up on the poker table.
Stanley Majors is an experienced online poker journalist who writes articles on a range of poker topics. You can read more on Texas Holdem Poker Terms [http://www.texas-holdem-net.com/texas-holdem-poker-terms.html]. Plus find other articles at Texas Holdem Net [http://www.texas-holdem-net.com], which provide useful and factual poker information and insight.
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Where to play poker online, which online poker room to start at, and who gives the best online poker bonus for signing up are many questions online texas holdem players ask quite frequently. Let's start off with where to play online. When starting online I HIGHLY recommend you start out playing Sit-N-Go's to build your bankroll instead of jumping right into cash games and losing all your money in a few minutes. If you jump right in to cash games at the poker tables, you will find yourself losing lots and lots of money especially if your use to playing free texas holdem online games. With free money poker tables, players will not play serious and you will NEVER get a feel of how to play unless you play for real money. You should start with Sit-N-Go's and NEVER look back. Sit-N-Go's are basically a mini texas holdem poker tournament in which the top 3 players are paid a percentage of the prize pool. Here is the breakdown:
1st Place Win 50% of the prize pool
2nd Place Finish 30% of the prize pool
3rd Place Finish 20% of the prize pool
If you learn poker and study the game well, in about a month you will be mastering single table Sit-N-Go's in no time and be earning a stable income even if you are just starting out. Now with that being said, which are the best poker sites to play Sit-N-Go's on? Here are a few recommendations that I suggest:
1. Full Tilt Poker- Full Tilt Poker is a great site to play on when starting out. They offer a 100% deposit bonus for any new players that sign up. It offers all U.S. Citizens the chance to play online to and offer great withdrawal methods such as bank wire transfer. Within 4 days your money is into your account and no fee is associated to cashing out. Fulltilt Poker has great message boards that will teach you texas holdem hands to play and also will give you texas holdem tips. Best of all, Full Tilt Poker supports multi-tabling Sit-N-Go's. You can play up to 6 Sit-N-Go's at the same time! Once you master single table Sit-N-Go's you can move onto multi-tabling. Once you master multi-tabling Sit-N-Go's, that's when the income starts flowing in!
2. PokerStars- PokerStars is a great site just starting out. They offer also a 100% deposit bonus for any new players that sign up. There has been many online poker reviews for Poker Stars and many players rank it as one of the top online poker sites out there. They also support U.S. citizens and have many great withdrawal and easy deposit methods. Whether you want to play a free online poker tournament or play for real money, PokerStars definitely one of the top online poker sites out there. There online poker software supports almost every single operating system and is user friendly.
Bottom line is, find the right online poker site that you feel comfortable on and stick to it. Build your bankroll by playing Sit-N-Go's and eventually you will be able to quit your day job when you master how to earn a stable ROI and ITM (In The Money).
Sean Moronse is a professional poker player. He has created an award winning course called Sit-N-Go Genius that's teaching poker players all over the world how to make an hourly playing by using texas holdem odds and texas holdem poker online at http://www.SitNGoGenius.com
Welcome to the fifth in my Texas Holdem Poker Strategy Series, focusing on no limit Texas Holdem poker tournament play and associated strategies. In this article, we'll examine starting hand decisions.
It may seem obvious, but deciding which starting hands to play, and which ones to skip playing, is one of the most important Texas Holdem poker decisions you'll make. Deciding which starting hands to play begins by accounting for several factors:
* Starting Hand "groups" (Sklansky made some good suggestions in his classic "Theory of Poker" book by David Sklansky)
* Your table position
* Number of players at the table
* Chip position
Sklansky originally proposed some Texas Holdem poker starting hand groups, which turned out to be very useful as general guidelines. Below you'll find a "modified" (enhanced) version of the Sklansky starting hands table. I adapted the original Sklansky tables, which were "too tight" and rigid for my liking, into a more playable approach that are used in the Poker Sidekick poker odds calculator. Here's the key to these starting hands:
Groups 1 to 8: These are essentially the same scale as Sklansky originally proposed, although some hands have been shifted around to improve playability and there is no group 9.
Group 30: These are now "questionable" hands, hands that should be played rarely, but can be reasonably played occasionally in order to mix things up and keep your opponents off balance. Loose players will play these a bit more often, tight players will rarely play them, experienced players will open with them only occasionally and randomly.
The table below is the exact set of starting hands that Poker Sidekick uses when it calculates starting poker hands. If you use Poker Sidekick, it will tell you which group each starting hand is in (if you can't remember them), along with estimating the "relative strength" of each starting hand. You can just print this article and use it as a starting hand reference.
Group 1: AA, KK, AKs
Group 2: QQ, JJ, AK, AQs, AJs, KQs
Group 3: TT, AQ, ATs, KJs, QJs, JTs
Group 4: 99, 88, AJ, AT, KQ, KTs, QTs, J9s, T9s, 98s
Group 5: 77, 66, A9s, A5s-A2s, K9s, KJ, KT, QJ, QT, Q9s, JT, QJ, T8s, 97s, 87s, 76s, 65s
Group 6: 55, 44, 33, 22, K9, J9, 86s
Group 7: T9, 98, 85s
Group 8: Q9, J8, T8, 87, 76, 65
Group 30: A9s-A6s, A8-A2, K8-K2, K8-K2s, J8s, J7s, T7, 96s, 75s, 74s, 64s, 54s, 53s, 43s, 42s, 32s, 32
All other hands not shown (virtually unplayable).
So, those are the enhanced Sklasky Texas Holdem poker starting hand tables.
The later your position at the table (dealer is latest position, small blind is earliest), the more starting hands you should play. If you're on the dealer button, with a full table, play groups 1 through 6. If you're in middle position, reduce play to groups 1 through 3 (tight) and 4 (loose). In early position, reduce play to groups 1 (tight) or 1 through 2 (loose). Of course, in the big blind, you get what you get.
As the number of players drops into the 5 to 7 range, I recommend tightening up overall and playing far fewer, premium hands from the better positions (groups 1 - 2). This is a great time to forget about chasing flush and straight draws, which puts you at risk and wastes chips.
As the number of players drops to 4, it's time to open up and play far more hands (groups 1 - 5), but carefully. At this stage, you're close to being in the money in a Texas Holdem poker tournament, so be extra careful. I'll often just protect my blinds, steal occasionally, and try to let the smaller stacks get blinded or knocked out (putting me into the money). If I'm one of the small stacks, well, then I'm forced to pick the best hand I can get and go all-in and hope to double-up.
When the play is down to 3, it's time to avoid engaging with big stacks and hang on to see if we can land 2nd place, heads-up. I tend to tighten up a bit here, playing very similar to when there's just 3 players (avoiding confrontation unless I'm holding a pair or an Ace or a King, if possible).
Once you're heads-up, well, that's a topic for a completely different article, but in general, it's time to become extraordinarily aggressive, raise a lot, and become "pushy".
In tournaments, it's always important to keep track of your chips stack size relative to the blinds and everyone else's stacks. If you're short on chips, then play far fewer hands (tigher), and when you do get a good hand, extract as many chips as you can with it. If you're the big stack, well, you should avoid unnecessary confrontation, but use your big stack position to push everyone around and steal blinds occasionally as well - without risking too many chips in the process (the other players will be trying to use you to double-up, so be careful).
Well, that's a quick overview of an improved set of starting hands and some general rules for adjusting starting hand play based upon game conditions throughout the tournament.
Until next time, best of luck to you at the Texas Holdem poker tables!
Rick Braddy is an avid writer, Texas Holdem player and professional software developer and marketer for over 25 years. His websites and Texas Holdem poker software helps people become better Texas Holdem players. If you're a poker player, be sure to visit his Texas Holdem poker poker today and learn how you can play better Texas Holdem poker, too.