Training Videos – helped to open up my game.

Flop, turn and river in community card poker v...
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One of my favorite poker games is Limit Hold ‘Em. I currently play on various online sites at the low limits while I continue my education on how to play winning poker. As I mentioned in my last post, I have won a one month training subscription to DeucesCracked.Com which includes the unlimited use of their videos and reading materials.

I began by focusing on materials regarding Limit Hold ‘Em and started watching a video from a series entitled “Passing the Torch”. Episode one was about opening up my game. Prior to watching this video I was what is considered a TAG type of player, Tight and Aggressive. I would raise hands in the AA, KK, QQ, AK range and call with hands such as TT, 99, 88 but only if a raise had not already been made. I would try limping in with suited connectors or one gappers but only if I was in position.

After watching the video, I saw that there was value to be aggressive pre-flop with these type of hands and would come into the hand raising, re-raising and even capping the betting preflop. If the flop was good for me, I would continue to fire bets into the pot. For the session that I attempted this, more loose type of play, LAG, Loose and Aggressive, was very profitable for me.

Last night I watched “Passing the Torch – Episode two”. This video contained ideas about the practice of value betting your hands, something I had not been doing much of. Basically, if you have made the hand you wanted, you would continue to bet out as long as the board cards were not too scary. By that I mean, if I made a pair or my pocket pair was higher that any of the cards on the flop, I should continue by betting out and seeing what happens. If I was called, I would continue to bet the turn and the river. Again this would depend on whether the board looked like I might be beaten. At that point, if I was raised, I would call as I was getting good pot odds to do so.

My results last night were not as spectacular as the night before, but I did show a profit for the hour of play while watching the video. In the hands that I did hit, I was able to value bet sucessfully.

Do you value bet at the river when you think you might have the best hand to get more value out of your session? How do you learn in order to improve your game? Videos, books, live training?

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Taking advantage of training and other lessons

Kirby and his chips [Feb 7]
Image by santheo via Flickr

Last Thursday night at the Twitter Poker Tour’s Season Three debut, I managed to outlast all of my opponents and win first place. Besides the first place cash prize, I was awarded a tee shirt and a month’s subscription to, a poker training website. To summarize the prize I won, I have included the following from their website.
————————————- Premium Users get access to videos created by the industry’s top poker coaches. Improve your game anytime, anywhere with videos built by coaches who have expertise in both theory and teaching.

Participate in forums
Access ALL articles & blogs
Download (DRM-Free) videos for any device
Access NEW premium video series
View 100+ archived videos
7-DAY FREE TRIAL! (Only with the Monthly Plan)*
The one month training package is worth $29.00. With their annual rate, you can bring the cost of training down to $23.20.

I have watched just three videos since signing up on Friday but those have been very helpful to me thus far. Last night, I played ” Passing the Torch, episode one, while playing Limit Hold ‘Em on PokerStars at the .50/1.00 level. By the time the video had finished, I had won over $20 more than I started with. Some of my playing was influenced by the video. I was able to make adjustments to my games while playing the video. I am sure the trainers would be shocked that I did not give the video 100% attention. I plan to continue playing during the videos to  use their advice immediately. I have only 27 days remaining, I want to put the training to use and benefit from the results. I will let you know my overall impressions of their training once the month is up.

Do any of you subscribe to paid poker training sites? Which ones do you use? What has been your results since the training? Do you feel the training was worth it to you?


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Good decisions plus good cards plus good reads makes for a winning session.

Andy Bloch at the 2007 World Series of Poker -...
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Last night at the No Limit Hold ‘Em Tourney run by the Twitter Poker Tour and sponsored by DeucesCracked (free month subscription) and PrintMojo (#tpt t-shirt, I was able to stay in my comfort zone and play winning poker. As a result of making the right decisions, I was able to keep chipping away and staying in the top third of the entire pack until I made it to the final table. I stayed in the top three for most of the final table play until I eventually had all the chips and first prize. My biggest help was that I was being railed by my lovely wife Diane, who kept reminding me about my post yesterday on decision making and about my resolve to take more time to think before committing myself to a specific action.

Congratulations go to all who played last night. The top five finishers were as follows:

1: StevieTrips
2: donnij
3: astro_pup
4: mcmichael51
5: charlibigpla

Special thanks also goes to @sebastianrocks who invited Andy Bloch of the FullTiltPoker Team to play with us last night. Andy’s Twitter name is @Andy_Bloch.

Do you ever plan out your strategy prior to an event? Do you stick to your plans? Do other players make you lose your resolve and cause you to forget your best laid plans? Do you go on tilt easily?

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Decision making – the key to good poker

Gambling man
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I have been playing various forms of poker lately: Texas Hold ‘Em, Omaha, Omaha High/Low, Seven Card Stud, Seven Card Stud High Low, 2-7 Triple Draw and RAZZ. All of these games are somewhat similar even though the rules for each game might contain some differences; they all require decision making.

There is a famous quote that says “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game” and that applies to poker games as well. The most basic decision you make during a game is whether to play the hand you are dealt to begin with. After you get your starting cards, your decisions should be based on what position you are at in relation to the dealer button, what your opponents are like, and what your hand strength is relative to all these other factors.

Once you decide to play a hand, you also have betting decisions to make such as calling, raising, re-raising, or even going all in. In some of these games, you are given more cards and more decisions to make based on what you hold and what you think your opponent holds. Did your hand improve? Did your opponent’s hand improve? Did your opponent think that your hand  improved?

As you can see, it starts to get very complex. And you can add to that the math decisions to consider;  the pot odds, the odds of making your hand if you are drawing, the implied odds if you make your hand at the turn or the river or on fifth, sixth or seven street.

In the book Caro’s Fundamental Secrets of Winning Poker by Mike Caro, he says in a blackboard style post, “The key to winning: In order to overcome the odds against you at gambling, your decision must really matter” and “in the long run. In poker you don’t get paid to win pots – you get paid to make the right decisions”.

The human condition being what it is, we sometimes replace sound decision making for emotional decision making and that is where we can go astray. When we forget to take the time to think over our decision, we are setting ourselves up for failure.

How do you make your poker decisions? Do you ever take the extra time to consider your actions before making them? Do you react emotionally to the players around you? Have you ever over thought a decision?

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Recap of the CPL for last night and other random poker thoughts

Card game, 1895
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I finished fourth last night at the Cowboy Poker League Tourney. Ordinarily, that is not too bad a finish, but last night there were only four players in the tourney.We were playing Seven Card Stud Poker High/Low. Originally, the games were supposed to be just Seven Card Stud, played High only, but there was a mix up at FullTiltPoker and the game turned out to be Seven Card Stud High/Low. That did not change my results. I was only involved in 31 hands before finishing the tourney. Congratulations to the top two prize winners. The tourney summary was as follows:

1: Belsepub
2: ffcowboy76
3: BrooklynBeast
4: StevieTrips

When asked how I had finished so poorly as I had previously finished first place three times and third place once, I could not really figure out what had happened. Did I play too many hands with bad cards, did I play too few hands with good cards that did not hold up. I really was not sure. I think it was a combination of playing poorly when I had good cards and not folding when I had bad cards.

In a tourney, you play until you either win all of the chips or loose all of your chips. It is just that simple, baring of course illness or family emergencies. At a cash game, I can decide if I am playing poorly or am just not feeling well and I can stop playing. This is providing that I recognize the signs in time. Of course one of the signs is seeing my chip stack going down. That is usually a good indicator that I might not be playing well. You at least have to ask yourself if you are playing your best poker. If yes, you continue to play until you are either tired or you are no longer playing good poker.

Playing good poker means making the right decisions even if you don’t get the results you expect. Playing bad poker is chasing draws without proper pot odds or enough outs to make staying in a hand profitable. The trick however to this is to be self aware and that is not always easy. Human nature being what it is, there is always the tendency to continue to play if you are losing in order to get even or gain back chips you have lost. Mike Caro, the “Mad Genius of Poker”, says that “you are always even” no matter what your chip stack is at any moment. He also stated that “chips not lost are as good as chips won”.  It takes awhile to get one’s head wrapped around those concepts, but once you do, you can see how they apply to your game.

How can you tell when you are playing bad poker? What do you do about it?  How do you decide when to stop during a session (cash games only)?

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Tonight at the Cowboy Poker League – Pot Limit Stud High

Painting "Herd Quitters"
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Tonight’s  Pot Limit Seven Card Stud High tourney is being hosted by the Cowboy’s Poker League played on FullTiltPoker at 9:00 pm EDT. You have plenty of time to visit the blog and join up. Scott (twitter name is ffcowboy76) and Jeremy (twitter name is IBGPN) are the hosts and contact persons. Tweet or follow them on their exploits as well as follow their league twitter name – @CowboyPoker.

I have had very good luck at the Pot Limit Tourneys at the Cowboy League and am looking forward to tonight’s game. Stud Limit High is basically a drawing game and if you start with good cards and catch the cards you need by street five you are basically going to play the hand all the way to seventh street. Otherwise it is best to bail out and save some chips for later.

How do you plan for a tourney? Do you play Pot Limit differently than Limit or No Limit? What is your strategy for the game of Seven Card Stud High?

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