Category Archives: Poker

The basic rules of Texas Holdem

I was introduced to poker a decade ago, and we have been “best friends” ever since. I personally find poker to be a very appealing and addicting game because it offers me something that most activities don’t offer these days – actual fun! In addition, my favorite poker game is undoubtedly Texas Hold ‘Em and not just because it’s the most popular version!

It is estimated that 14% of the total US population play poker, either online or offline. The figures are constantly growing so it’s “advisable” to learn the basic Texas Hold ‘Em rules so that you can fit in as well. Best of all, the rules are not as tricky as they might sound – you can master the Texas Hold ‘Em game within a few hours.

Let us begin with getting a general idea about what Texas Hold ‘Em is all about. Prior to dealing any cards, the two players located to the left of the card dealer have to place bets known as “Small Blind” and “Big Blind”. The “Big Blind” is twice as much as the “Small Blind”. The “pot” is the center of the poker table where the money is put. Afterwards, all players are dealt two cards faced down, also known as “hole cards”.

The player on the left of the Big Blind has to begin the betting. The lowest amount the player can bet has to meet the Big Blind. The player might decide to raise the amount, and this will become the new minimum betting amount. Then, each player has to declare whether they want to ‘call’ (bet the current amount of money), ‘raise’ (bet more), ‘check’ (pass to the other player to make decision) or ‘fold’ (leave the round).

After all players declare, the dealer places three faced-up cards known as the “community cards”. The next round of betting takes place. All declare whether they want to call, raise, check or fold. Nevertheless, in this round there is no minimum betting amount, unlike the ‘blind’ on the first round. If everything is set, we can move to the other round.

The dealer places another faced-up community card on the table and a betting round takes place just as it did before. They have to declare if they want to call, raise, check or fold so that the final round can take place. Lastly, the dealer places the final community card called “the river”. The players declare whether to bet or withdraw, a.k.a. fold.

This is the part where the game nearly comes to an end. There are a total of five community cards on the table, and each player has two cards on their hands from the beginning of the game. Using the five community cards and the two cards on their hands (known as hole cards) they have to make the best poker hand.

The player with the best poker hand wins, or in the event of two players having the same hand, they share the victory equally. I believe this concludes the basic rules of Texas Hold ‘Em and with a little practice you might learn these rules much quicker than you think!

Confidence – The Poker Player’s Best Weapon Yet

Are you a confident poker player? Chances are good that if you’re reading this, you consider yourself a very confident poker player but there are still things that you will need to think about in order to become an even better poker player. When you first start out in the world of poker, you can feel a little overwhelmed because you will be facing people that are a lot more confident than you are. Is there really a difference between you and more seasoned poker players?

Well, yes and no. There is no difference in terms of potential — you can become just as good if not better than the people you’re playing against. No one is perfect, and this means that everyone has a chance at securing a little piece of the poker world for themselves. If you’ve ever watched poker on TV, you already know that it’s definitely ripe with mistakes that big players make — from bad calls to just plain old bad beats. Does that mean that the experts of poker give up? Definitely not.

We’re going to go out on a limb and say that confidence is truly the poker player’s best weapon yet. When you have confidence, you tend to make better decisions. You tend to really want to do something amazing and powerful with your time at the tables, and that’s usually to bring back as many pots as you can. Poker is enticing because it allows us to compete against each other and against ourselves at the same time. In addition, it also allows us to take other people’s money without being unfair about it — you’re picking on people’s inner weaknesses in order to win money. That’s a gamble to end all gambles, and part of the reason why we like poker so much in the first place.

You can’t wake up and think that you’re going to naturally be confident when you’re starting out. However, there are a few things that you can do to make sure that you aren’t playing poker from a place of fear.

First and foremost, you should make sure that you look at your bankroll, from its strengths as well as its weaknesses. Far too often new players think that they’re going to play these high stakes games, because that’s where the money is. However, if they don’t really have the money to sustain that type of play, they won’t last in the great world of poker for very long at all.

It’s better to start small and build your way up. Not only will you resist big swings in your cash flow, but you will also have a nice practice field to get better. When you start out, you usually will want to make sure that you have a support group that can help you replay different scenarios and learn from your mistakes.

From here, you will also want to review games on your own and think about your emotions while you’re playing. You might not realize it, but the mood you’re in when you’re playing poker definitely matters. You can take on the best game and if you’re in a bad mood you’ll end up making mistakes that you’ll regret. Over time, this can definitely take away from your confidence in a big way — why would you want to deal with that? It’s just better to forgive yourself for the little mistakes, train hard and keep playing poker — you’ll get better over time as long as you believe in yourself!

Avoid the Dog Ring of Poker

As we’ve already established in a few past articles, there are numerous parallels between poker and psychology. You know where else psychology matters? Sales. If you’ve ever been an outbound telemarketing agent, then you definitely appreciate where we’re coming from with that statement. Indeed, if you’re not careful you will find that you’ll get sucked into one of the worst places for a poker player to be.

How bad is this place? It’s like this — if you get sucked into place, you might think at first that there’s no danger. After all, most guides — including all of our guides — tell you to seek out a version of this place. That’s because the version that we speak of is actually beneficial. However, if that place crosses over into the dark side, then you’re really in trouble.

So let’s reveal what we’re talking about, shall we? We’re referring to the dog ring of poker.

Now, let’s be honest — poker is a social game, and social games involve people. People come from all different walks of life, which means that they are going to have their good days and their bad days. If someone is playing on tilt and they’re having a hard time and there’s already a social feature or three set up, you can bet that they’re going to vent.

Venting is good …in small doses. When you’re trying to become a great poker player, you need to avoid the dog ring. It’s usually the part of the message board where everyone comes to complain about their poker player. They got bad cards. They had a bad day at work. Their girlfriend was yelling at them about cleaning the dishes and they really have no desire to be up to their elbows in dish soap — especially when there’s a tournament happening online!

The dog ring in sales got its name because most supervisors noticed that the weakest people were always outside in the “smoke pit”, “barking” about how some customer wasn’t bright enough to know a good offer when they saw it, or how another customer kept ranting about something that had nothing to do with the original complaint. However, what about the things that the salesperson could have controlled? What about the offer in question? Isn’t that worth something to step back and think about the things we can control versus the things that we can’t.

In the game of poker, we can certainly control when we call, when we raise, and most importantly — when we fold. You might feel that everything in poker is outside your control, but it’s really not. You will need to step back and look at the things that you can control, and then make a strategy based on the game going on around you. If you’re not someone that bluffs well, you might want to make sure that you leave that out of your toolbox for the moment until you do get good at bluffing.

It’s the same with looking at where to start. It’s better for your bankroll and your confidence to play at lower stakes until you are really certain that you’re going to be able to handle the game play at the higher stakes. While it’s more money on the table, it’s also a lot of problems that are best avoided if you really think about it. Competition gets tougher the higher you go, and if you aren’t faring well against people in your current tier, you might find yourself without a bankroll quickly at the higher levels.

After reading this, you might feel that we’re bashing message boards and forums — we’re not. That’s not the point of this at all. You can use forums, but we recommend using them productively. Logging onto the boards just to complain about how your cards were bad and you were tired from work and your life isn’t going the way you want it to is a waste of your time — you could be practicing more poker!

In addition, you don’t always have to play for money — even at a money-casino you can play practice games for free. This will let you go head to head against humans without watching your bankroll pay the ultimate price. Poker is not the only arena where people practice, you know — investors “paper trade” before they put real money at stake so that they know when to act and when to react. This isn’t a sign of weakness, but a point of strength that you might want to adopt for your own strategy.

It could take you years and years to finally refine your strategy, but the truth is that anything worth having is worth fighting for — avoid the dog ring of poker, and see how fast your game improves!

Working Past Your Own Struggles in the World of Texas Hold ‘Em

Here’s a news-flash: if you really want to rise to the highest levels of online poker, you need to deal with a lot of failure before you make your way up to the top. Unfortunately, a lot of people seem to think that you don’t have to deal with anything when you decide to play poker online, because it’s so easy to rise up in the levels. This isn’t the case. Perhaps in the beginning when poker online was new and you didn’t have so much competition this might have been the case. However, today is a new day, and this new dawn upon us means that the players you’ll sit across from in the virtual poker rooms are going to be well-read, well-read, and well-trained.

If you’re not willing to put in long hours, you won’t develop the talent for playing high stakes poker.

Of course, this is all pointing towards obvious points that everyone else has probably already spoken to you about. What if there’s something else that you really need to know? What if there comes a time where you really need a little more advice?

…what if you’ve already failed miserably? Is this the time to pull up stakes and get out of Dodge?

Slow down, pardner. There’s a lot of reasons why you might be having some rough patches in poker — we’ll cover those another day. What you need to learn today is how to actually move on past your mistakes in order to become an even stronger player. Now, we know that this isn’t going to be easy. If things were easy, then everyone would be making Scotty Nguyen type money, and we know that’s not happening, right?


So, the first thing that you need to put into your head is that everyone makes mistakes. Now, you probably idolize a few poker players, both online and offline. Instead of thinking that these people are perfect and they don’t make mistakes, look at moments where they have. If you follow the WSOP like we do, you’ll see times where the poker players make mistakes. The top players don’t let defeat stop them from reaching their goals, so why should you?

If you have the ability to look back on past games, you should definitely review your old games. Even if you don’t have that ability, you can always start paying more attention to what you do in poker. Do you go all in without really calculating your pot odds? Do you raise just to try to play psychological games with opponents that have probably already seen that bluff one too many times? In order to become great, you have to start thinking about your own strengths and weaknesses. Even if you have a lot of strengths, getting too cocky about them can make you a weak player overnight.

It also cannot be stressed enough: you cannot play great poker in a vacuum. It’s a social game and there’s nothing wrong with comparing notes. You don’t want to feel like you’re just going to get with a bunch of people online who are going to tear you apart. As long as you ask smart questions and you’re really dedicated to playing better poker, you should be welcomed by the community with open arms. Of course, we can’t speak for every message board and forum that you will run across online. Every place has its own pool of people that thrive on negativity because it lets them feel like they have plenty of power over you. Don’t let them win — conquer them by staying polite, eager, and ready to learn more about your poker strategy. You’re not playing against them socially — you’re playing against your self every game to see how your performance changes. That’s what top athletes do in any sport — why should poker be any different?

At the end of the day, you simply have to accept the mistakes that you make with grace and strive to be better and better over time. It might not happen today, and it might not happen tomorrow, but you will grow as a poker player over time!

Why Cheating by Collusion does not Work in Online Poker

As soon as the first online poker website went live people began to consider whether there would be opportunities to cheat the system for financial gain. People started to wonder how they could exploit the system by colluding over the telephone with another player. Obviously nobody would be able to hear people talking with each other.

The strategy of working with a partner is by no means new in the world of gambling. At traditional casinos players have been trying to beat the house with teamwork for as long as the casinos have existed.

It works something like this. Two players enter the cardroom and they sit at the same table. They will have created a system already whereby they can communicate with each other via body language. They believe that they can manipulate the betting and win money. In theory this does not sound too complicated but in practice this scheme can be very difficult to pull off due to the casinos being very aware of these practices.

When it comes to online poker it may appear much easier to get away with collusion. You do not need to use body language to collude as nobody can hear or see you. You can simply talk with your strategic partner over the telephone. But working in this way is by no means a recipe for success. Many people who have already worked in collusion with other people have actually given up on the idea. Players notice that they are not making any more money then they were when they were working alone. Sometimes players actually make less than they were before. Sometimes it’s too much bother. So what do players in cahoots do wrong?

Poor communication is a reason that is cited for not winning. Players will not have worked out an effective system of communication before playing online. In other words they begin blabbing on the phone.
One player may not actually play well and let the other player down. They do not concentrate on what they should and they will play too many poor and marginal hands. They will be too concerned with their perceived advantage.

Sometimes players will try to collude with a team of three but this makes things far too complicated. Also, two players colluding at a table of ten will make no real difference on the outcome of a game.
In short, if you think you are going to get rich through colluding at online poker then you are most probably mistaken.

Beginner’s Guide to Online Poker

Online poker is undoubtedly one of the most popular ways of gambling on the internet. The majority of regular poker players will play online from time to time. The types of poker are the same that you encounter at a normal casino but the online forms allow the players to participate at their own convenience and at any time of the day. The freedom associated with online poker is one of the main reasons why it has become so popular.

The betting limits can be set within a range that will leave most players within their comfort zone. Online tournaments start on a frequent basis throughout the day so if you want to get involved you need not worry about time.
The skill levels required will vary from site to site with the difficulty of the games and the ability of the competitors differing. The online poker sites will provide their own ratings to dictate the skill level of the site. This system makes it easy for players to decide which site is in accordance with their ability. If the player makes a mistake it’s easy to switch to another site that suits their needs.

Another issue to consider when comparing sites are the bonuses on deposits. Sites see it as important to allow US players to participate so they can increase their traffic. Rewards are also sometimes given out to local players so this is another thing to look into.

Many people enjoy games such Omaha HiLow and this game can also be played with limits set to a level that the player finds comfortable. At some points in the day traffic will be higher than at other times so gamblers should be aware of this. Some sites are definitely more professional than others. Some will have a poor selection of games and low levels of support for players. Some sites will allow people to participate who have inadequate poker skills and on these sites the better players take advantage of this situation.

If you are comfortable using poorly run site where you can take advantage of below par players then this may be the place for you. Some people though would describe these sites as unscrupulous. You can find sites that rate other poker sites and these are the places to locate these types of places to play.

Mass Reverberations in the US Online Poker Industry

Recent developments in the US have shocked the online poker community. Within hours of each other, huge industry players PokerStars and FullTiltPoker, announced that they would be, in effect, withdrawing from the US market.

At present it is not clear whether this is a temporary or permanent move but industry experts seem to be in agreement that this is the end of the two companies in the US at least.

The pullout was a result of the revelation of an indictment by the US DoJ against several well known online poker operators and also the companies responsible for processing their payments. Absolute/UB Poker was also named in the filed indictment.

The US Government has also made a civil complaint against the companies who want billions of dollars in damages. There are also numerous criminal complaints stated in the filing.

Some rooms remain for US online poker players but the impact of the withdrawal of PokerStars and Full Tilt poker cannot be understated. With the exit of the three industry heavy weights some experts are saying that 95% of the market for players has disappeared. As a result $200 million dollars of advertising and marketing money has now vanished.

Another impact of the dramatic developments is that the type, size and amount of games that US gamblers can take part in has significantly changed.

The seizures had no affect on the game servers but both PokerStars and Full Tilt had to create new sites to replace the ones that had been blocked by the DoJ and the FBI. PokerStars moved to an eu domain whilst Full Tilt changed to a UK address. Confusion arose as many players believed the servers that host the games were the main website of the poker room.

There have been further legal developments. The poker star Phil Ivey, who was a former Full Tilt endorser, is now suing Tiltware who are the marketing and software provider for Full Tilt poker. The reason being cited is Full Tilt has not has not given back the money that was being held in player’s accounts at the time of the shut down. Ivey has stated his own personal embarrassment because of his involvement with the company and he believes that the company owes online players approximately $150m.

The future of the online US poker industry is currently uncertain as there is much speculation from various parties. It may take some time for the full consequences of these events to be realized.

Winning at Poker

A lot of people think that there is some magic formula that can help you to win at poker. Some people are very good at the game and so it seems like perhaps they have some secret that they use to win.

However, as with everything, you need to keep practising. This is the way that you will understand the tactics and be able to play better. There are many books and guides that you can read and these will have useful hints and tips in.

It is a good idea understanding the rules, before you play for money. Also find out about different versions of the game. Then play a few games and you will then have a good enough understanding to learn more about tactics. Reading about them can help, but it is also a good idea to  chat to other people if you can. You may also be able to think of your own tactics, depending on the way that you play the game.

It is important to remember that the game should be about having fun and if you think to hard about how to win and concentrate on everything, it can take the enjoyment out of it. Of course, a game is more fun if you are winning, but while you are just learning you will have to accept that you will not win that much.

You can always play on some websites which do not charge you to play to start with. This should give you some practice without costing you money. This will help to keep you positive about playing because losing will not cost you any money.

So there is not a secret formula to winning, but just keep practising, read using guides and have fun. You will soon get the hang of the game.

Choosing a Good Poker Site

If you enjoy playing poker, then it is likely that you will also enjoy playing online as well. The main problem with playing online though is choosing which site to play on. There are many different sites to choose from, each with different features, different design, different atmosphere and different prices. It can be quite difficult to tell, just from looking at the various websites, what it might be like to play on the sites.

A lot of sites let you play some games for free. This will start to give you an idea of what it might be like to use the site. However, this can be pretty time consuming. It is better to start by reducing the number of sites that you have to choose from. If you only have a couple to try out things can be a lot easier.

It can be a good idea to therefore read some reviews of sites first. This does not even give you the best idea of what a site is like, because it is peoples personal opinions. However, they may make comments which appeal to you. If they pick fault with an aspect of the site which you feel you would not like either or if they say something good about it, which you feel sounds good too, then it can help you to identify which sites sound good and which do not. Look at a variety of review websites too, as you may find that a site ranks high on one, but not on another.

By looking at these reviews, you should be able to make a short list of a few sites that you can try out. Then you can compare them and decide which one you like. However, try to stay aware of new sites and changes to current sites as you may find you want to change to another one after a while.

3 Card Poker Pair plus Betting

3 Card Poker is a popular casino table game. It’s fairly easy to find three card poker online, but players need to be aware that casinos offer different odds that can greatly influence their chances of winning. There are some basic strategies to follow that can help ensure you win more than lose. These include playing hands that are ranked no lower than Queen, 6, 4.

In the game of three card poker, players have the chance to make a side bet. That wager is called the pairs plus bet.

Pair plus Bet

The pairs plus wager in three card poker is made totally in the dark. Like the ante wager, it is placed prior to cards being dealt. Thus, there’s no true strategy in making the bet. There is strategy in deciding if you should follow through on it.

However, unlike the ante wager, which gets you in the game, this bet is optional. Also, it’s a highly prescriptive wager in that there must be two pair for it to offer the player a payout.

When betting pairs 25.6% of hands will be winners and 74.4% of hands will be losers Overall betting equally on the Ante and pairs plus provides the following probabilities: a win 32.06% of the time, push 13.23%, and a loss 54.71%. As it is with any type of casino wagering, players want to lower the house edge. The best way to do so is to wager at a casino that offers the best payouts.

Minimum Acceptable Payouts

You will find many different payout tables as casinos control how much they pay on a pairs plus bet that includes a specific hand such as a straight or flush. The house edge on a pairs bet is often high, coming in at around 7.28% and on an Ante and pairs plus wager together it’s 5.35%.

However, you can lower the edge by playing at casinos with the following minimum pay outs: straight flush 41-1, three of a kind 31-1, straight 7-1, flush 5-1, and any pair 2-1. These payouts include the original wager. Thus, if you wager $1.00 and get a pair on three of a kind, you would receive your original bet back ($1.00) plus $30.00 more.

If you bet at sites that offer the above minimum payouts and also play the minimum hand of Queen, 6, 4, the house edge goes down to just below 2.4%. That’s considerably better than the 7.28% and 5.35%.

Will Pairs Plus Pay?

A pairs plus wager can pay, but players need to be careful in making it. If wagering $1.00, you can easily lose $2.00 on each game if you adhere to the minimum prescribed hand. If you lose your pairs plus bet and win your ante and play wagers, you can end up posting a profit 50% less than you would have made if you had wagered on just the ante and play.

There are things that a player can do to cut losses. The first is to wager double on the play bet if you’re well suited with a strong hand. That wager is made after you see your cards. The other is to never make a pairs plus wager unless you’re on the plus side of the ledger.

A good rule to follow as far as this is concerned is to never wager more than 5% of your profit on the side bet. If you’re ahead by $20.00, that would give you one pairs plus bet at $1.00. Be careful, if you constantly wager on the pairs plus option, you could lose a lot of cash quickly.

Disciplined Play

Play three card poker in a disciplined manner. That includes the pairs plus bet. Although the game is simple, haphazard betting can result in large losses quickly.