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Many believe that to win money or online poker free tournaments you must chip up as quickly as possible.
On the other hand there is a school of thought that maintains it is best to be passive for the first few rounds so as to allow the maniacs and donks to eliminate themselves in the initial blinds.
I am not sure that either of these strategies are correct or incorrect but neither works well for me. In this article I will outline what does work for me and hope it helps you win more at the poker tournament tables.
Where both the fast chip out and passive strategies are 100% correct is that the early hands in a poker tournament are critical to the overall result. Where I disagree is that neither of these strategies will work all of the time.
Both early chip out and passive start approaches can be seriously affected by local conditions such as the player mix and the simple fall of the cards. I try and play a more measure pace somewhere in the middle of the 2 schools of thought.
I feel that early on you need to play quite tight, top 10-15 hands and pocket pairs only, but you need to play them aggressively. Aim to build your pot early on so that you can take it down later you know you have the edge.
You should muck all other hands preflop and forget about them. Yes, forget them, that’s because say you fold a marginal hand like 6h 7h that you’d normally play in a tournament and the flop gives 345 rainbow you’ll go tilt really quickly and be in danger of losing chips badly.
Later in a tournament it is advisable to play these hands as throughout a long tournament suited connectors will probably be your biggest money makers. For now, however, you need to play safe and stay in the game while other people are throwing chips away and being eliminated.
Make sure that you try and maintain a decent size stack relative to the other players and never get too far behind or our final table hopes will be dashed ahead of the bubble.
How you maintain this optimum stack size is actually straight-forward, particularly in online play. We will play tight-aggressive-aggressive and monitor the biggest stack, smallest stack, number of players in the tournament and the average stack size.
What we need to do before the first bubble is merely stay alive to make it into the cash. The way to do this is to watch these things rather closely and, by playing your hands properly, maintain your stack at or a little above the average.
I’ve had people tell me that this won’t work as you can’t make the final table this way. Untrue! If you’re stack is always at the average you are forever in the top 50% of the remaining player in the tournament, this means that when the final table begins you are sitting in 4th or 5th place and poised to take the larger stacks. I play this plan in both live and online play and it works rather well for me.
Play after the bubble is slightly different as you still want to maintain that average+ stack but by now the average class of players you’re facing will have gone up too.
Now it’s time to open up your hand selection a little bit. If you can get in cheap, say 1-2 BBs, you now want to play any top 20-25 hands as well as any suited connectors from any position, off suit connectors can now be played from late position as well.
Keep in mind that when I say connectors I mean cards that really connect, i.e., 6h,7c are connectors while 6h,8c would not be, lots of people get confused by this saying that these cards do connect and while they are able to connect to create a straight you’re now drawing inside and hurting your chances. You’ve much better odds of making that straight with 6,7 than you do of making it with 6,8.
I really hope this helps you with your poker tourney play, if you’re a new comer to poker tournaments then I advise you to learn to play free poker and at no risk of cash loss at a free online poker tournaments games site first before moving onto cash play.
In poker online free games where there are many inexperienced players who don’t have the poker skills needed to win frequently by skill a good player deploying solid ABC poker will win a lot of games. Against experienced players, even in some free poker games online and for certain in cash games, ABC poker won’t work so well.
To win frequently you need at mix new methods into your game. One tactic that you can employ to confound skilled poker players is the ‘light’ three-bet.
It serves a very different purpose than the typical ‘value’ three-bet in which you raise with premium pre-flop hands like aces, kings, queens, or ace-king. With those kinds of hands, you’re looking to extract the maximum value from a strong hand before the flop.
The ‘light’ three bet is a really different sort of move altogether.
When you “light” three-bet, you’re re-raising with a hand that may not be the best before the flop but may turn out to be the best when all is said and done. The Light-3 bet then is a type of semi-bluff, but only semi as the hand is not total rubbish.
You want to win the hand before the flop with your re-raise, steal the hand from your opponent after the flop, or get lucky and make up a big hand.
Even if it fails you will succeed in affecting your table image and balancing your range. Should you play too tight you will find it hard to get your pay off when you get a Big Hand. But if you Light-3 bet the other players will not think you’re a nit.
They won’t know whether you have pocket aces or a hand that may be much weaker.
You don’t want to use the “light” three-bet against a poor player. You do not need to get sophisticated with them, if you have good poker skills you can beat them with your ABC solid tactics.
You do want to use the “light” three-bet against a good player who plays somewhat loose. Since the player will play a wide opening range of hands, he’ll be playing less than premium hands frequently. Oftentimes, this type of player will lay down his hand when you “light” three-bet. He wants to steal pots. He doesn’t want a confrontation.
You obviously don’t want to “light” three-bet with the worst starting hand possible. Although, some young online pros have been seen to “light” three-bet with all sorts of trashy hands.
Ideally, you’ll want to “light” three-bet with suited connectors or suited aces. Even when you miss the flop, you may pick up a strong enough draw to allow you to stay in the hand the hand. If you “light” three-bet with 7-2 off suit, it’s essentially a stone cold bluff with no real outs.
Summary and Warning
You ought not risk the “light” three-bet too much and without an understanding of the intention of the tactic. You should play a generally solid game but still generate enough action to get paid off with your good hands. If you “light” three-bet too much, you’ll just develop into another weak, loose player who bleeds money at the table.
If you’ve not tried the light 3 before practice it when you play free poker first and work it into your cash game repertoire when you feel confident in its use. If you’re new to poker learn how to play poker for beginners first at a online poker free site and learn this sort of tactic in the process.
Despite the fact that I started playing free poker tournaments on NoPayPOKER my early days were not much fun. I assumed that the other players knew what they were doing and followed their all-in-all-the-time ways, as a result I lost all my chips very quickly.
Not a financial disaster it is true, after all it was poker online free play stuff but for me it felt nearly as bad as my goal was to make cash from poker after doing the play free poker to learn thing, now I was faced with not even being able to cut it in the free poker game, my ambition seemed destined for failure from the start. And my pride was pretty bruised too!
In this article I will tell you what I did to get past the early blues and win first in the free poker games and then on cash games.
Firstly, when you join a free poker site, hang out there for a while but don’t play yet, familiarise yourself with it, how it works, the poker games on offer and the players and how they interact. Watch a few games, and get a feel for the general speed of the games and players.
Don’t start off big and if someone goes all-in, don’t follow because you feel you have to. Assess your cards and play the hand you have not the one you wish you had! Make a decision and stand by it.
If you have what you feel is a good hand, don’t be pushed out of the game by the All In crew. These are mainly new players like your-self or just people messing about.
A little tip that hasn’t failed me yet:
Value your cards. Give the pocket cards (the first cards you get) a value according to your chips. For example, say you have 1000 chips, lets call an Ace as value 300, King 290, Queen 280 and so on, set your own values. If they Pair up, the value becomes one card value plus half. So 2 kings will be 435 (290 + 145). Once the first round of the hand is done and you get to the stage where 3 new cards are laid on the table (called the Flop), you revalue your cards.
If you’re not confident, then click check and do not raise your bet. Only call if the cards are worth the risk.
On the turn of the forth card, known as the TURN, check the cards and if they are worth it start to raise your bet. The turn of the final card (known as the River Card) is the most important card of the game.
Unless you’re all-in at this time, your bet could decide the outcome. A sharp rise could force the less confident players out of the game. After you’ve been playing a while you will know by now how confident they are by their bets.
But remember; don’t over value your cards. Obviously Three of a kind is good, along with a flush or straight. But 4 of a kind is normally a winner.
A good poker player reads the cards and players well; a bad one goes all-in straight away. Only bet what you can afford whether they free chips or paid for chips.
Here is an interesting free poker games strategy you can try in “trial mode” on NoPayPOKER that’s modelled on roulette strategy that you might want to have a go at to see if it works for you.
Roulette as you may know isn’t a game that can be won like poker, it’s basically a coin flip for red-black or straight % for the various number sets, yet a simple, we could call it, investment formula used by savvy roulette players can be used in poker to great effect. Read on and give it a try in free poker games first to see if it works for you.
When first investigating this idea I was surprised just how much math and strategy roulette fans are prepared to try in order to win a casino game that is fundamentally not winnable on mathematic basis!
Then I thought that as poker is a game where math and profit can work why not try to apply some roulette investment basics to poker and find out if it works.
Firstly I thought about progressing bet-sizes, which are meant to ensure, that you win roulette even when you lose several bets in a row. For instance: You bet 1 piece on black and you lose. Then you bet 2 pieces on red and lose again. Now you put 4 pieces on black and it wins. The result is that you have bet 7 chip for a return of 8 pieces from your last bet and made a profit from a small 33% win rate.
How to include this in poker strategy
For instance, lets use it in SnG tournaments. Starting with a short buy in, advancing to higher buy-ins, if you lose. As you can’t only play heads up, but 6-max, full-ring or even multi-table SNGs, you may not need to raise buy in after each loss.
For example: You play a 6 player SnG for $1 and lose. You play again and if you place 1st get $3.90 or 2nd $2.10 and therefore have gained win or at worst broke even and can rewind and play again at £1. If you lose, play again for $2 and so on.
I think this system could work very well if you can find a range of games with costs to suit the structure and populated by players of a skill level you can compete with. When you get to your profit then, depending on how much profit you have you can either begin again at the entry level or go back in at the next cost step up and aim to increase your profit take in your next “round”.
I believe this is a simple and profitable strategy. If you are excited about playing this method be sure to look at the payout you can get at your favourite poker site and factor in the effects of rake back. Then map out which tables and games will fit the plan and where you can break even or win by placing 1st, 2nd, 3rd and so forth. Remember, you don’t need to play games end on end, there isn’t any time rule here, and games may be hours or even days apart to suit your schedule and that of suitable games.
One key point is to try it out safe first, play free poker games on NoPay first. Do this to get used to table and game selection and to prove it to yourself in order to get trust in the system. And if you are new to poker you first need to learn how to play poker for beginners before you can use this so get on over to a good free poker site and get learning.
No matter what type of poker game you play, free poker games at NoPayPOKER or casino money tables you’ll find 4 main player types by way of their psychology, playing style and philosophy, you too fall into one of these groups. They are tight-passive, tight-aggressive, loose-passive and loose-aggressive,
Within each type there are gradations, for example, probably the most extreme loose-aggressive is termed the “maniac”, this is a player who plays most hands and raises all the time, almost no matter the cards he’s got.
All poker players have a natural tendency to play a certain way. For most players this natural tendency will make them lose money as it makes them play too many or too few hands, makes them too aggressive or passive in many hand situations. All styles have a time and place and good poker players are the ones who can switch styles in order to maximize their chances.
As a first step to improvement you need to identify your natural playing tendency. It is also important to learn to recognize the style of the players who sit at your table so you can counter them in the most effective manner and exploit their shortcomings if they are weak.
The loose-passive player calls many hands pre and post flop. He wants to lay in as many hands as possible, and will try to hold on to the bitter end while not the slightest chance of winning. Loose-passive players are also generally known as “calling stations”.
The loose-aggressive player plays many hands aggressively with lots of betting and re-raises. Although these players lose long term they’re dangerous sometimes as if their luck in no-limit Hold’em tournaments is good they can get a lot of chips quickly and become the chip leader.
Generally known as rocks, they play a few hands and play passively. They just bet if they are sure to have the best hand, making their earnings small when they do win. One of many disadvantages the rock has is when you identify them as a rock and they play a hand you’re certain to fold. For that reason on any table with players who have some skill the tight-passive player is largely sidelined.
His game is selective, will bet hard whenever they have the upper hand. Most players who follow this style will be more skilled and have learned to play well and considers things like pot odds and implied odds. Not all players using this style are good but many are and overall it is the best singular style to adopt while adding loose and passive elements as game demands and situations change.
The ideal way to identify your style, learn to spot other players and improve yours is in good yet low risk free online poker games. It’s a fact that we learn by mistakes in poker so let’s keep those mistakes cheap! Micro stakes and free poker games online are the best way of learning new poker skills and the NoPayPOKER free learn how to play poker lesson series is brilliant with lessons for all player styles and skill levels, learn about things like pot odds and what pocket cards are best, so go start learning more now!
Regardless of whether you play free online poker games for fun at NoPayPOKER.com or seriously for money you always get a buzz when you get a good starting hand such as a pair of kings. The perpetual question that follows a split seconds later though is how to make best use of this stroke of luck? After all, if you go All-In hoping to win big there is a big danger that the other players will think “hmm must have a real strong hand” and will fold.
This can happen a lot and is very frustrating, however, there are ways to cash-in on such opportunities and in this article I am going to look at such scenarios.
Sadly there is no magic bullet, very simply it is about experience; knowing about things such as playable pockets, implied and pot odds and how to play in such a way that the others think you’re bluffing and not fold.
At the start of a hand, in most cases having a pair is good news and you will definitely get chances to win based on the cards that follow on the flop, turn and river.
Lets look at an example: You get a nice pair to start: Ks, Kd. A great pair that should give you strong winning opportunities.
<b>Your options at this point are</b> to either go all-in or wait for the flop.
If you wait you must keep in mind that if an Ace opens on the flop then your winning chances will be greatly reduced.
If an Ace does fall then going on and betting more could be a waste and you would be advised to fold as if someone else is bets then it’s likely they have an Ace in their hand and will be able to beat you. Alternatively they could be bluffing or are playing crazy. Your experience helps here, once you learn to observe other players you can get a feel for if they are bluffing, playing crazy or if they really might have a better hand meaning it’s best to fold.
You might think that it would have been better to have gone all-in but you need to remember that in that case too the person having an Ace might have gone ahead and bet and you would have lost more money. Having folded you are just down a bit but very much not out.
Now lets look at your Ks,Kd again but where the flop cards are 6s,6h, Qh. Now you know that if anyone has a 6, you will be beaten.
But do not lose hope, a 6 is a lower value card and there is a good chance that a player holding a 6 might have already folded. So in this case you should raise the stakes and see how the others react. If someone goes all-in then, unless you’ve flagged them as a crazy player, there is a good chance they have a 6 so your best option is to fold and minimize damage.
Don’t be disheartened by the examples, they’re not meant to imply that you can’t play to win or have to reply on pure luck. Not at all! What I am trying to get across is that poker is a game that involves a lot of probability (also known as luck) to which is added psychology, and into this is mixed what cards open up as the hand progresses which in turn affects the power of your hand.
That’s how poker works and sometimes even the best cards will be rendered powerless by events, so keep this fact in kind and when you get a great hand that turns bad just accept it as part of the game and aim to lose as little as possible.
As long as you playing solid good poker then probability will come out on your side in the longer term and as you have minimised your losses during the bad patches you will have money to bet when probability smiles on you.
The best way to learn better poker online is in quality but low risk games,learning by your mistakes is very much the way of things in poker so it is a good idea to keep those mistakes cheap! Micro stakes and free poker games are the way to go in the early stages and be sure to read up on lots of free poker lessons too in order to learn about things like pot odds and playable pockets.
See the DM Vadnais learn how to play poker free lesson series for lot more details and ideas about these sorts of situations.
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