Interviewed by Mitchell Cogert

An interview
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Yesterday I was interviewed by Mitchell Cogert, author, blogger, fellow twitterer @Mitchell1969, who has written two poker books thus far,  Tournament Poker: 101 Winning Moves: Expert Plays for No-Limit Tournaments, and Play Razz Poker to Win: New Strategies for Razz and HORSE poker players that are proven to work!.

Besides providing great insights and tips about Hold Em Poker and Razz, Mitchell has been interviewing the winners of the “Twitter Poker Tour” events to learn more about the players.

This is the first interview that I have ever been asked to do and I was excited about it. As this honor happened as the result of winning a couple of Twitter Poker Tourneys, I was proud to be selected.

The following is a link to the interview that Mitchell conducted with me yesterday. Enjoy.

Interview with last week’s #tpt winner SteveBrogan

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No Limit and Limit HoldEm Cash Games – both require attention

A pair of aces is arguably the best hand to be...
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I am currently starting to play a few hours a day of both “No Limit Holdem’ and “Limit Holdem” cash games online. My goal is to play about 20/25 hours a week, earning a modest income and having fun while doing so.

My game choices of Limit and No Limit require that I pay strict attention to the details of the game. Limit Holdem is more of an ABC type of game, in that if you don’t have a good starting hand you don’t play it or try to bluff your way through. Yes, there are times when you can bluff and you should bluff even in Limit Holdem, but for the most part you need a good starting hand based on your position relative to the dealer button.

No Limit Holdem is more of a game of position and power then Limit Holdem. You don’t even need a good hand to play. If you are on the button, a raise of three or four times the big blind will usually get the small blind and the big blind to fold and give you their chips, even if you have just 7 2 off suit. That is the power of position in No Limit. It helps if you have good cards, but this is more about playing the player.

Both games offer the opportunity for a good player to earn a reasonable amount per hour while having fun doing so, providing that the player does one thing very well.

That one thing is: paying attention to what is happening around him.

Last night I was playing two games at once, at two different poker sites. This was made possible because I was folding about 83% of all hands I was dealt pre-flop. Of those 27% of the hands that I stayed in for, I folded almost half of them after the flop. I folded almost half of the remaining ones on the river. So I had a little free time between hands that I was not actively playing.

I used that free time for tasks that I hoped would help my overall playing ability. I took notes about certain players and their actions. Some players will play any two cards or will never fold. This information is good to know and I write notes to myself about these players. Some players do not like me to steal their blinds and will defend themselves, so I write notes about that as well. Of course, that does not mean that I will stop trying to steal their blinds, just that I might plan my attack better.

When I am playing a hand I usually try to pay very close attention to what is happening, such as betting patterns, betting amounts, cards being turned up on the table, etc.

A couple of times last night, I was lax and paid for it by losing some chips. In one hand, I lost about a quarter of my total chip stack because I kept raising and calling raises even after the third diamond hit the board. I had top and bottom pair, which was enough to win, up until my opponent hit his flush on the river. At that point in the game, it was time for me to give it up and check or fold. Instead I called a reasonable value bet and saw my chips float away to his side of the table.

So the point of all this is just a simple reminder … pay attention to what is happening in the game and you will be okay, as long as you are doing what you are supposed to do.

Has this ever happened to you?  Have you ever missed noticing a flush or a straight possibility that your opponent might have?  Has that cost you a large pot or a tourney? How could you have prevented that from happening?

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Recap of TPT:Stars Event #10 – Money Added!

An image of a person playing the poker varient...
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Special thanks goes to @Panndyra of Tourney Blog who sponsored this event with a $5 bounty placed on herself and $15 added to the prize pool!

The following is a listing of the top ten finishers from last nights No Limit Hold Em Twitter Poker Tour Event.

PokerStars Tournament #145571320, No Limit Hold’em
Buy-In: $5.00/$0.50
36 players
Total Prize Pool: $180.00
Tournament started 2009/03/12 21:00:00 ET
Tournament finished 2009/03/12 23:19:49 ET
1: Steve_Treys (Fremont), $72.00 (40%)
2: ExMember (Hollywood), $43.20 (24%)
3: edihpoker (Elk Grove), $28.80 (16%)
4: Waz Poker (Carmel), $21.60 (12%)
5: ffcowboy76 (Gardner), $14.40 (8%)
6: rhoegg (Oklahoma City),
7: LaBangBang (Parker),
8: Shackedin05 (Redondo Beach),
9: taz31362 (hermitage ),
10: amuzulo (Berlin),

The tourney lasted about two hours and twenty minutes, but by the time it finished, it seemed much longer. I was exhausted. At the start of the tourney, I had mentioned to fellow twitterer  @Imanoth that I had a plan and some idea of how I was going to proceed. Some of those plans were put to rest immediately by the action at my table.

In the last few tourneys, I was not playing as well as I was capable of. Another #tpt member, @PokerVixen, pointed out some holes in my game and I knew that I had some work to do.  I reread my favorite poker books and purchased a new one (new to me), The Full Tilt Poker Strategy Guide: Tournament Edition. It also helped that I had recently enrolled in the Full Tilt Poker Academy and was working on poker tournament challenges that they supplied online.

Last night I was ready to do battle and have some fun while doing it. Because if it is not fun, don’t bother. My overall game plan was to be in the top three when I finished the tourney. By surviving up to that point, I knew that I would have a chance to finish first providing I played well and also caught cards that helped.

Within the first twenty five hands, I was down to 1,170 in chips from the starting amount of 1,500. And this was with careful playing on my part. There was very aggressive raising and reraising going on at my table. You could lose your chips quickly if you were not careful.

Overall, I was dealt 201 hands in the tourney. There were 36 players, each with 1,500 in chips to start, giving a grand total of 54,000 in chips to be gathered by the first place finisher.

I was catching good cards at the right times. I had AA once, AKo once, AQo once, AJs once, JJ once, KK twice, 99 twice, 88 once. I only caught 72 twice.

I had won three hands with flushes, 2 Ace high, 1 King high. My best hand was my last one. I had a straight flush at the river, hole cards were 7d 8d and the board was 9d Jd 7s Jh Td. My opponent had Ac Ts, giving him two pair. I rivered out, hitting one of 9 remaining diamonds to make my straight flush.

The last hand summary, unedited is as follows:

*********** # 201 **************
PokerStars Game #25901654847: Tournament #145571320, $5.00+$0.50
Hold’em No Limit – Level IX (300/600) – 2009/03/12 23:19:18 ET
Table ‘145571320 3’ 9-max Seat #9 is the button
Seat 2: ExMember (14145 in chips)
Seat 9: Steve_Treys (39855 in chips)
ExMember: posts the ante 50
Steve_Treys: posts the ante 50
Steve_Treys: posts small blind 300
ExMember: posts big blind 600
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Steve_Treys [7d 8d]
Steve_Treys: raises 1200 to 1800
ExMember: raises 2400 to 4200
Steve_Treys: calls 2400
*** FLOP *** [9d Jd 7s]
ExMember: bets 9895 and is all-in
Steve_Treys: calls 9895
*** TURN *** [9d Jd 7s] [Jh]
*** RIVER *** [9d Jd 7s Jh] [Td]
ExMember said, “damn”
*** SHOW DOWN ***
ExMember: shows [Ac Ts] (two pair, Jacks and Tens)
Steve_Treys: shows [7d 8d] (a straight flush, Seven to Jack)
Steve_Treys collected 28290 from pot
fleapid [observer] said, “wow”
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 28290 | Rake 0
Board [9d Jd 7s Jh Td]
Seat 2: ExMember (big blind) showed [Ac Ts] and lost with two pair,
Jacks and Tens
Seat 9: Steve_Treys (button) (small blind) showed [7d 8d] and won
(28290) with a straight flush, Seven to Jack

All in all, I was satisfied with my playing. I felt more comfortable even under pressure. I am looking forward to the next event.

Do you have a game plan before you enter a tourney? Do you make adjustments to your play as the tourney progresses? Do you catch a hand and can’t give it up regardless of what action is occurring around you?

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FullTilt Poker Academy – The Power of Position Challenge

Example of position in texas holdem
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My current poker challenge at FTP Academy is to successfully complete the next five objectives.

#1.  Open-fold A-J, A-T, A-9, K-Q, K-J, or K-T 3 times in early position (UTG, UTG+1) in 8- or 9-handed NLHE cash games. (This will teach me the discipline of folding hands that are troublesome when opened in early position).

#2. Raise with A-Q, A-J, A-T, A-9, K-Q, K-J, or K-T 3 times in late position (button, cutoff) in 8- or 9-handed NLHE cash games. (This will teach me the advantage strong drawing hands have in late position).

#3. Win a pot with a continuation bet on the flop with no pair in an 8- or 9-handed NLHE cash game, after open-raising from late position (button or cutoff) pre-flop. (This will teach me yet another way to show strength due to position without having an actual hand).

#4. Successfully bluff on the turn with no pair after calling a bet in position on the flop. (This excercise will demonstrate the power of position verus the need for having a good hand).

#5. The Pro Play  –  Win 3 consecutive pots from the button. (This one is a trickier one to accomplish because you are not always going to have a hand on the button, so some of the time you will have to bluff your way through).

A lot of the above tasks will also require a strong table image. One that implies you only play strong hands. One that makes the rest of the table respect you. If for any reason you have lost your table image and your bluffs no longer work, just move on to another table with unknown players and start rebuilding your image again.

As it stands right now, I still have to complete 1/3 of step 2 and all of steps 4 and 5.

Do you play your hands based on position regardless of what cards you hold? Is your table image strong, passive or manic? Do your opponents give you respect for your raises?

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Protecting your hand in Limit Holdem versus No Limit Holdem

Homeward Bound: The Poker Game
Image by Jayel Aheram via Flickr

I play a lot of Limit Hold Em poker and I have had a couple of interesting hands come up in the last seven days, once during an online session and once during a live session. In both cases, I was dealt a pocket pair of threes.

In the live poker room game I raised and was called by only one player so two of us were going to the flop heads up. The pot contained 4 small bets.  The flop came down Q 7 3. This gave me a set of threes (3 threes) and I led out and bet one small bet and was called. The turn card was a seven giving me a full house. I bet one large bet, was raised one large, I re-raised and we continued this back and forth betting until we had 5 large bets in the pot. Besides getting more money in the pot, I had hoped he would fold. Unless he had a pocket pair, he was beat, so he was probably trying to catch a card which would beat me.  The river card was a queen, making the board Q 7 3 7 Q. I checked, he bet, I called. He turned over his cards, a Q 10, giving him a full house of Queens and 7’s while I had a full house of 3’s and 7’s. My hand had his beat right up until the river. He had only a pair of Queens to my trips at the flop, and only two pair after the turn to my full house, and finally catching a four outer at the river to bust me with a full house.

In the online game I also raised pre-flop with my pocket 3’s. I was called by only one player and we went heads up to the flop.  This flop was 10 5 3, giving me a set of threes again. I bet one small bet and was called. The turn card was a 10, giving me a full house. I bet, was raised, re-raised, until we had the maximum allowed four big bets in the pot along with our six small bets from the pre-flop and flop betting.  The river card was a 10, making the board 10 5 3 10 10. I checked, was raised and called. My opponent turned over a Q 10, giving him quad 10’s (four tens). I mucked my full house.

In both the online and live poker room game, my hand was the best hand right up until the river card. In both games, I tried to bet the person out of the pot but was called and raised each time. At least in the second hand the player had a set that was high and I could understand his calling and raising. In the live game, the player only had the top pair with the common pair of 7’s. Because this was a limit game  my betting would not stop either player from calling and betting and seeing the river.

If this was a No limit game, I could have put in a large enough bet to make both opponents think first before calling. The bet size could have been a pot size bet or even an all-in bet. In the live game, the player would probably have folded. In the online game, I am not so sure the player would fold, having top set. But in any case, the difference between the betting of Limit and No Limit can make a difference between winning and losing a pot. Both type of betting games have a slightly different strategy  to accomplish the same goal of winning pots.

Do you play in both Limit, No Limit, and Pot Limit games?  Have you ever been in a Limit game and wished you could go all in, either to protect your hand or to get more chips in the pot?

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Sit & Go By The Numbers – assignment completed.

As I mentioned in my last post, I have signed up for FullTilitPoker.Com “FullTilt Poker Academy”. I have just completed my first challenge assignment entitled “Sit and Go by the Numbers”.

My tasks were as follows:

1. Don’t finish in the bottom 3 in 4 9-handed S&Gs that pay 3 spots.
2. Fold A-J,A-T,A-9,K-Q, or K-J in early position 2 times while 7 or more players remain in a 9-handed S&G.
3. Go all in with A-Q,A-J,A-T while 5 or 6 players remain in a 9-handed S&G.
4. Play 5 S&Gs; your buy-in for each can be no greater that 2 percent of your Full Tilt bankroll
5. Finish in first place in 2 9-handed S&Gs.

Over all I played in 25 Sit N Go’s to complete my assignment. In theory, I could have finished this assignment by playing well in just five Sit N Go’s if I was able to complete multiple goals in the same Sit N Go.

Here are my results of the 25 Sit N Go’s.
First Place      – 2   $4.50 x 2 = $9.00
Second Place  – 2   $2.70 x 2 = $5.40
Third Place     – 2   $1.80 x 2 = $3.60
Forth Place     – 3
Fifth Place      – 2
Sixth Place     – 4
Seventh Place – 2
Eighth Place    – 5
Ninth Place     – 3
Total cost to play = $31.25, winnings = $18.00. Net cost of lesson: $13.25.
Experience – priceless.

One of the problems that I encountered trying to finish the assignment was to my second finish in first place. It turned out I was trying too hard to win. I would push all my hands to the limit, committing all my chips to draws that were not realistic. I took some time to read a chapter from a book entitled The Full Tilt Poker Strategy Guide: Tournament Edition. This chapter was about Limit Hold’Em written by Howard Lederer. I was reading this to see if I could get some help in my cash games of Hold Em Limit. While the book was written about tournament play, I felt I could get some valuable ideas about playing Limit Hold Em anyway.

What I did get was Howard’s idea of Limit Tournament play. He said that he played to finish in the top three places and did not play to just finish first. He said that by doing it his way, he was able to earn more cash overall as he always finished in the top third of the payouts in most of the tourneys. So rather than win just 3 out of 10 tourneys, he would place in at least 7 out of 10 in the top third. This would include some first place finishes as well. He would get paid for most of his tournament play.

In all, I had played almost 6 games at the end of this assignment just trying to get my second finish in first place. In the last three games I played, I tried out Howard’s idea of trying to survive and I finished in 8th, 3rd, and finally in 1st, completing my assignment.

If nothing else, this has caused me to rethink how I play in a tourney and I will use that knowledge going forward to see if my results improve.

How do you learn how to play your game? Do you use book learning? Video learning? Are you a natural and just learn from your experiences?

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FullTiltPoker offers an online Academy for players

Screenshot of Full Tilt Poker software.
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The following is an excerpt from FullTiltPoker about their new online FullTiltPoker Academy.
Full Tilt Poker Academy offers a unique interactive experience that allows you to learn from members of Team Full Tilt including Chris Ferguson, Howard Lederer and Phil Gordon. You’ll use a library of multimedia content – including video, podcasts, hand replayers, quizzes and tests – which is updated daily and suitable for players of every skill level.

You can begin with Lessons on key strategies and techniques, view live Sessions to see the theory in action, take a Pro Challenge online at Full Tilt Poker or put your knowledge to the test with an interactive Sit-N-Learn.

The most comprehensive training school in poker, Learn how to play poker with the Full Tilt Poker Academy and enroll for free.

I have an account with FullTilt and I have signed up for the academy. You can enroll for free, but … you cannot play for free. However, I think that this is yet another way for a person wanting to become more professional in their play to take advantage of the experience of other pros online. I have been working on the course entitled “Sit & Go By The Numbers” and only need to win one more “Sit N Go” in first place to complete my assignments. Just this one module has helped to improve my thinking about tourney play, position play, and cards playable at different positions and times in a tourney. There are also some great training videos and pop quizzes to test your skills and knowledge. Check out the FullTiltPoker Site for more details.

Have any of you ever tried online training? Do you train in person with a mentor? How has that helped your game?

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Quick recap of the Twitter Poker Tour Event #10 held at FullTiltPoker

Nice Flop
Image by junkmonkey via Flickr

Last nights Twitter Poker Tour Tourney was held at FullTiltPoker and saw 35 players participate for a prize pool totaling $175.00 shared amongst the top four finishers. Last night top four were as follows:

1. Foggy89   78.75 (first time at the TPT, and placed first in this event)
2. Jordie21 43.75 (first finish in the money this season)
3. Street3 31.50 (most improved player, Season 2, aka “the ringer and PLO King”)
4. fleapid 21.00 (this is fleapid’s fifth finished in the top ten this season, great results)

There was a lot of banter and general kidding around. Another fun yet serious event run by the Twitter Poker Tour.

I had a quick exit finishing in 31st place, about 45 minutes into the event which actually lasted 2 hours, 33 minutes.

I was dealt 56 hands.
I folded pre-flop 44 times.
I called pre-flop 9 times.
I raised pre-flop 3 times.
I won a total of six pots, with two pots uncontested, when everyone else folded.
I tied for one pot.

My final hand was played out as follows:

Dealt to StevieTrips [Ks Th]
StevieTrips calls 80
sotied folds
thereelgator calls 80
taz31362 folds
jordie21 calls 80
iratedonkey folds
cprpoker calls 40
rhoegg checks
*** FLOP *** [Ts 2d 3h]
cprpoker checks
rhoegg checks
StevieTrips bets 400
thereelgator folds
jordie21 calls 400
cprpoker folds
rhoegg folds
*** TURN *** [Ts 2d 3h] [2h]
StevieTrips bets 1,170, and is all in
jordie21 calls 1,170
StevieTrips shows [Ks Th]
jordie21 shows [Tc Ac]
*** RIVER *** [Ts 2d 3h 2h] [3c]
StevieTrips shows two pair, Tens and Threes
jordie21 shows two pair, Tens and Threes
jordie21 wins the pot (3,540) with two pair, Tens and Threes
StevieTrips stands up
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 3,540 | Rake 0
Board: [Ts 2d 3h 2h 3c]
Seat 1: thereelgator folded on the Flop
Seat 3: taz31362 didn’t bet (folded)
Seat 4: jordie21 showed [Tc Ac] and won (3,540) with two pair, Tens and Threes
Seat 5: iratedonkey (button) didn’t bet (folded)
Seat 6: cprpoker (small blind) folded on the Flop
Seat 7: rhoegg (big blind) folded on the Flop
Seat 8: StevieTrips showed [Ks Th] and lost with two pair, Tens and Threes
Seat 9: sotied didn’t bet (folded)

jordie21 and I had the same hand, he had the better kicker. He was the second place finisher. Great game.

What was your best memory about last nights game? Did you have any connectivity problems? Do any of you play from your cell phone?

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Update – Steve takes a bad beat by Doyle Brunson – Resolved by Doyles Room Security

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This saga is over. Thank you Doyles Room Security.

I was a member of Doyles Room and when the conversion to Cake Poker was over, I ended up losing my balance of $15.62. I had chatted online with security and emailed many times but to no avail. The silent part of listen happened but not the way I thought. Doyle Brunson said, in one of his blogs, that silent is spelled with the same letters as listen, and to listen properly, you should be silent.

It did take a while, but the security at Doyles Room assured me that my account still had the balance of $15.62. After many failed attempts, I uninstalled and reinstalled the software. I logged in as directed, requested a new password, and low and behold my account was just as I and left it. Thank you Doyles Room, security and Doyle as well.

It may have help that I also posted my problems at the Doyles Room Blog.

I finally sat down to play using my $15.62 bankroll and I noticed quite a few improvements in the interface. It was easier to use and configure. I especially liked their last hand display. It is very informative and the graphics are sharp as well as you can see in the picture below.


Just these changes alone have gotten me re-interested in spending some time at Doyles Room. I will report back on any other new findings I might encounter both good, bad, and ugly.

Do you have a favorite online site? What do you like most about it? What do you like least?  How about the variety of games available?

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