Category Archives: Poker strategy

The whole subject of Poker Strategy is an ever evolving thing, but even so there are still good, basic poker strategies that have always worked well and will most likely always continue to work well.

Even the limited subject of free online poker sometimes changes so rapidly in the offers that are available, that you can miss out on good deals by not keeping up to date with the latest changes.

You could categorize the basic poker strategies as playing poker properly, but you might be amazed at just how many poker players do not play the basics well. Many players, especially the newer players, think that poker is all about bluffing and playing aggressively for high stakes. The truth is that most players will win most of their money simply from grinding with good solid hands played solidly. No fancy stuff or trickery.

Getting to grips with some basic strategy should be the foundation of all poker players learning.

Continuation Betting for Beginners

Once you start to learn a bit about Texas Hold’em you are going to come across the term ‘continuation bet’, also know as the ‘c-bet’.

This is a fundamental part of the strategy of any type of poker game, so you may as well get to grips with the concept right now.

Aces can make a dangerous flop
Continuation betting when an Ace shows on the flop can be a tricky proposition.
Basically, when a player bets or raises before the flop, their next bet when the flop has been dealt is known as a continuation bet. Simply put, the player bet, and now continues to bet.

To understand what is happening here in human terms, when you bet pre-flop you are telling the other players that you are holding (what you believe to be) a good hand.

So when the flop has been dealt, if you do not bet again you are saying ‘I don’t think I have a good hand any more‘.

With the true slipperyness of a good poker player, you would only not bet after the flop if you in fact had a great hand.

Leg’s get an example going here. Say you are dealt pocket jacks, and, position allowing, you have raised accordingly. This raise reduces the field to just you and one other player, who flat calls your bet.

If the flop comes, for example, 9 6 4 no matching suits, then you really should bet again here – the continuation bet – unless you want to entice the other player into trying to steal the pot. While that is a reasonable play, we are not talking about that here.

So, if instead of the rags above, the flop comes A K 10, should you still bet here?

The answer is not a straight forward ‘no’. As ever in poker, it depends. In this case it depends a great deal on what read you have on the other player in the hand.

It will also depend on the size of your initial pre-flop bet. When you bet out, and the other players folded, leaving just one opponent, you should have been figuring what he was calling with. If you figured that was an Ace, then where does that leave you with an Ace on the flop?

Of course, not betting that second flop example leaves you open to a bluff from your opponent. Should he bet now, what should you do with you pocket jacks?

Without a good read it can be very difficult to bet in this situation as it will feel like you are throwing away your chips. Even if you are playing with free poker chips this can be a very hard bet to make.

Anoother situation where you should continuation bet is when there are many callers and the flop is weak. In this case you really must reduce the field to have a reasonable chance of winning. If too many players stay in the pot, the odds of one of them getting lucky by the river increase considerably.

One final way to look at c-bets is to imagine a scenario where you have stayed in the game to see the flop with a marginal or weak hand. When the flop comes and you have missed it, how do you feel about a large bet now from the pre-flop raiser?

Have you ever been in a situation where you held cards that you wanted to play out but has to reluctantly fold due to the cost of seeing the river? Well, that is where you want to put your opponents.

Texas Holdem – defending versus 3bets

There will be many times when you look to open raise from position to maybe steal the blinds in either six max or full-ring no-limit Texas Hold em cash games and you get three bet. If these three bets are infrequent then you can put them down to what they are which is basically a re-raise by a stronger hand. However many really aggressive players become too active from the button or cut-off when they get anything remotely decent. Position is an advantage in poker as is aggression but it does need to be used wisely. If it has been folded around to the cut-off who open raises then you do not have the green light to three bet with anything. Continue reading Texas Holdem – defending versus 3bets

Playing suited connectors

A lot of hands in poker stand out as automatic. You know to play pocket rockets every single time preflop. And you know that you’re supposed to fold 7-2 or 6-3 if someone even hints that they’re going to raise the pot. But what do you do about 8-9 of hearts or 10-J of diamonds? These suited connectors can be big hands if the price is right.

If you’re the type of poker player that takes advice from the pros, then you already know to play these suited connectors whenever you can get into a pot – even if you’re playing 5-6 of clubs. Unless someone’s putting a large portion of your stack at risk, the odds are just too great to fold.

For starters, having two different cards gives you a solid probability of catching two pair. In a short-handed game or reading someone with a strong Ace or big pair, two pair is a heartbreaker for opponents.

A bigger pocket, like the blackjack on line special A-J, is going to tie your opponent’s hands if he catches a 5-6-J board and you’re holding a 5-6. Nobody sees this coming. At best, he’s going to think you’re holding a bigger pair or a set.

Then you have a straight possibility. Middle-of-the-road suited connectors will always have something either in front of them or behind them to give you a reason to play. And if you have a reason to be in the hand, you become dangerous. The only thing more dangerous than a bluff is a semi-bluff.

Save the online slots for lucky spinners. Suited connectors are a pro’s hand because they also bring the flush possibilities out of the woodwork. Catching a five-card board with the A, J and 10 of hearts puts you in the driver’s seat if you’re holding the 6-7. What did your opponent play? K-5? It’s possible, but the odds suggest you win.

Of course, the same poker rules apply with this hand as with any hand – must know when to act and when to get away. But coming in with suited connectors gives you multiple ways to take down the pot. They’re just too good to pass up.

Online Satellite Tournament Strategy

Calvin Ayre, CEO of BodogLife.com, encourages poker players who want to become successful professional poker players, to start with online multi-table satellite tournaments. These tournaments are like discount air fares into big live events like the World Series of Poker (WSOP) and the World Poker Tour.

With low buy-ins (anywhere from $1 and up), the payouts are phenomenal. The more inexpensive the buy-in, the more people you will have to beat, and sometimes, there are multiple qualifying tournament seats to win before you make it to the live event, but, as everyone knows, persistence pays off! Continue reading Online Satellite Tournament Strategy