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Just how important is it to be deceptive in poker? Well deception is very important to succeed in many games once your opponents reach a very good level. In boxing then you would never move beyond mediocre levels if your opponents always knew when you were going to hit them and where.
In a boxing contest of course then this can be compared to a heads up dual in poker because there are no other people involved. In cash games and tournaments at say 888poker then more players and competitors are involved and so you need to deceive more people.
In casino blackjack then deception is very important once you are faced with a greater level of sophistication. Card counters wouldn’t last very long if they telegraphed their intentions to the casino. I have known several card counters in the past who failed in their “careers” for the simple reason being that they didn’t pay enough attention to deception.
Once your opponents know what you are doing then it becomes easy for them to combat you. Imagine how bad it would be for your chances of making money in poker if every time you played a hand you had to do so with your cards exposed?
Your opponents could play accurately against you and basically destroy you in a very short space of time. You would never ever be able to bluff with exposed cards and you would never win a big pot with a powerful hand because your opponents would always fold. So it then becomes clear how important deception is and to maximise deception means that you usually have to sacrifice something.
In card counting then this often means losing some of your “edge”. In reality of course then your edge has not been reduced at all but your overall chances of making money long term have been increased dramatically.
Sports like Cricket and Baseball have strong links with deception when the bowler and the pitcher are getting ready to release the bowl. They play a cat and mouse game with the batsman because they do not want to allow their opponent to know the exact spot that the ball is going to be pitched.
In other games and sports then deception is of lesser or no importance. Sports like Golf, Darts and Snooker are such examples where your own performance level is what matters.
Tennis is a sport where deception is very important and you need to trick your opponent into believing that your serve or your forehand is going somewhere other than it really is. In poker then you make money by being deceptive but many players get this wrong and think that deception means bluffing.
You have to remember that bluffing while being important in poker is of lesser importance than many people believe. Often you can be deceptive with made hands. As an example imagine if the flop is Q-10-4-6 and you have A-10. Your opponent bets two thirds of the pot and you raise with their hand being J-J.
You are not raising because of the power of the A-10 on this board. You are actually turning a mediocre made hand into a sort of semi-bluff that will hopefully get a stronger but vulnerable hand to fold. If you get called then you have five outs to improve to the possible best hand.
So you are being deceptive but not with a nothing hand but a made hand. So there is room for creation in poker but one thing is certain and this is that deception is a very important part of the game and this applies equally so to business as well.
As you will probably know, Pot Limit Omaha is a variation on Texas hold’em but played with four cards at sites like www.888poker.com . This means that more flops, turns and rivers are seen than in hold’em. The nuts and very powerful holdings are made more in PLO than in any other mainline poker variation.
In full ring games then the hands that you build become of paramount importance. This means that a hand like 4c-4d-2c-2d in early position is a piece of junk at PLO.
Why is this? Well the reason being is that the hands that you are building will be the under full and weak flushes. These are hands that will get you crushed in Omaha. However in hold’em then when the stacks become very deep then you almost have what I call an “Omaha effect”.
This is because as the stacks become very deep then you gravitate towards the nuts. Like for example if I asked you for how many big blinds would you get all in for before the flop with K-K before you finally folded?
Nearly everyone would do so up to 50bb and be correct to do it. In fact many players and probably around 75% would do it with 100bb. However what if you raised to 3.5bb with pocket kings and your opponent three bet to 14bb.
You then four bet to 50bb and your opponent then five bet shoved in a full ring game for 250bb? No sane player would do that with Q-Q because they would have to be facing hands like A-K and J-J to be ahead and so you are almost certain to be facing A-A.
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Once upon a time when there were plenty of fish in the poker sea then good tight and solid play would get the money. At the lower stakes levels then that is still the case although there is substantially less fish money around these days and so any good player needs to be able to do one thing and that is to accept higher variance and greater swings to their bankroll. Some years ago I had a very low variance poker play in cash games like on 888poker but there is a vital clue here because if you are encountering low variance with your style then your earnings must by sheer definition also be low.
By earnings then I mean earn rate but the bottom line is that if you have played for say 50k hands and you have been feeling great about only dropping 3 buy-ins in all that time and your earn rate has been a measly $5 per hour then the likely reason is that you have been playing too tightly. If that continues to say 100k hands and you still haven’t dropped more than 2-3 buy-ins at any one time then you simply cannot and should not be expecting to earn more money in terms of your earn rate.
A player that earns say $1 per hour will on average encounter much smaller swings to their bankroll than someone who was making $40 per hour. This is where many players go wrong because they make it impossible for themselves to achieve considerable earn rates because their primary motive is to reduce the financial swings to their bankroll. Unfortunately there is a very powerful correlation between variance, standard deviation and earn rate in poker. The higher the earn rate that you aspire to then the greater deviation you need to embrace and accept.
This same concept applies equally so to all forms of gambling and sports betting. It is exactly the same in tournament poker, if you go into a large field poker tournament with a relatively cautious style then you should not expect dynamic results. There will be too many people in that field that are gambling more than you and so what right do you have to expect to attain a huge stack the same size as theirs or greater if you haven’t taken similarly sized risks?
The answer is that you have no right and this applies to whether or not you are playing cash games or tournaments. The bottom line is that if you want to earn more money in poker then you had better start preparing for greater swings to your bankroll because there is simply no other way to do it.
I still see many players failing to recognise big hands in poker when they see them. Hand strength in deep stack no limit cash games is different to other games like limit hold’em and tournament no limit hold’em for example and this then affects the overall strategy on sites like 888poker. In a deep stack situation like say with 150bb or more then there isn’t one single hand in no limit Texas hold’em that you could be dealt pre-flop that would require you to stack off or get all in with betting increments on every round when your hand has not improved.
That even includes pocket aces because if the pot starts to escalate with betting on the flop, turn and river then your aces are unlikely to still be the best hand at showdown. So here we have a relationship between hand strength and pot size which is highly instructive. If you take a hand like Ac-Ad then it is immensely powerful pre-flop as it is the nuts at that stage. The arrival of the flop weakens pocket aces considerably when they don’t improve and that effect is compounded even more by the addition of turn and river cards.
So we can see that a big pre-flop hand that fails to improve gets seriously weakened by the arrival of more board cards. So big cards that fail to improve or improve significantly are usually not helpful to us in big pots in deep stacked cash games and especially when our opponents are tight-aggressive. So when there is betting on the flop, turn and river then hands like unimproved premium pairs are not the types of hands that you want to be holding. Years ago the great Doyle Brunson started talking about suited connectors and such in his pivotal book SuperSystem.
Many people believe the book to be dated and while that is true, it still has vast amounts of poker wisdom inside it. There is no doubt that a thorough understanding of that book (and I do mean thorough) would elevate a player to a level that was higher than any player that they would encounter up to say NL25. For example that book teaches us to be wary of high cards because they frequently make second best hands. However it isn’t just that they make second best hands, they also make the types of hands that can get you into trouble when the pot starts to escalate.
Hands like top pair and top kicker or even worse…….top pair and decent kicker are hands that can keep you giving action past the point where you should have folded. Suited connectors may start out being weaker than hands like aces and kings but as the pot begins to escalate post flop through the streets then you are either done with the hand or you have made a big hand with it. In order to be a strong deep stack no limit Texas hold’em cash game player then you are going to need to restructure your thinking when it comes to hand strength.
I would now like to announce a project that I have been working on for quite some time in connection with Poker Pro Europe and Online Poker Pro magazines that I currently write for. This is “Project Poker Pro” or in other words, a coaching program that is designed by me to try and bring as many players as possible into being winning poker players using the very same system that I use and have used for many years…….a system that I affectionately call “The Sniper”.
Hopefully some of the students will be so successful that they become fully fledged poker pros’ and the ones that do well will be featured in either of these two widespread and widely read poker magazines. There will be an initial sign-up fee and that is both for my time and for access to the Sniper program and course lessons. Also I am available 24/7 to answer questions on the course and also to provide back up for any poker related questions full stop.
This in my opinion makes the sign-up fee almost irrelevant as I wish that I would have had the advantage of working with a professional poker player years ago back in 2000-2002 instead of buying countless books and going down numerous blind alleys. So the initial sign up to come on board with Project Poker Pro gets you access to the program and being able to work with me, access to the 130k word Sniper documents which will give you the entire blueprint for no limit hold’em cash games including my unique FERN system.
Also the student gets 24/7 back up while all the time being coached to a level where I will then stake them when the correct stage is reached. The staking will go up to a maximum of $2000 for the players that show the most maturity and the most talent. However these two requirements are not just what I am looking for. I am looking for commitment and the desire to not only play poker but to immerse yourself within the game totally.
These are the types of players that I want to work with and we then enter a new phase where players are playing on my money and I get a percentage split of the winnings. So you can see that I have total confidence in my methods and system and I am prepared to put my money where my mouth is and who can argue with that? However I only have so much time in any one day and I work on my own and so I cannot take on loads of students at any one time.
So now can you see that I am looking for people to be committed into not just playing poker but also studying and wanting to better themselves as players? I also understand that many peoples’ lives simply do not allow for such things and so anyone that merely wants to purchase Sniper and the coaching but without wanting the commitment of the staking afterwards then I am cool with that.
It is a totally flexible operation but if I am going to tie up $2000 of my money in somebody then that somebody needs to be playing poker with that money and for at least 15 hours per week. That should be plain to understand but anyone that wants further details then simply e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org in the first instance to express an interest in either the Sniper professional poker system and or the combined system/coaching and staking on Project Poker Pro. Look forward to hearing from you.
No limit Texas Hold’em is one of the most difficult games to master for many novice and intermediate players for one very simple reason. This is essentially because hold’em is a two card game unlike the four that you have to work with in games like Omaha. So what are the ramifications of playing poker with only two starting cards in your hand? Well it is to do with the frequency of occasions where both you and your opponents hit the flop. In the games that I play in at www.888poker.com then I see bluffs and re-bluffs all the time.
Essentially then this is because of the fact that in heads up pots especially that both you and your opponents both know and understand that the other player is not likely to have hit the flop or to have hit it hard. When you know the basic mathematics of hold’em and that an unpaired starting hand will only make a pair one time in three on average then the pot is often won by the player who shows the most aggression. So often then the best games to play in with regard to running multiple successful bluffs are games where your opponents have a fair level of poker knowledge but are not top players.
When you are running multiple barrel bluffs in poker then you essentially do not want two types of player opposing you. The first is the novice who tends to call down weakly either because they overvalue their hand or because they simply like being in action. I have seen many a player attempt this and lose their buy in when their opponent simply called them down and tilt soon followed in many instances.
However you don’t want a really sophisticated player on the other side of the fence either because sophisticated players will soon deduce that you are raising and then betting every street and that players who exhibit these betting patterns tend to only do so with polarised ranges. So these guys will call you down for two reasons, firstly because they have read your bluff and secondly because they have the adequate bankroll to do so.
Geometric escalation in no limit hold’em
One of the key factors that affects why many novice poker players fail to make money is in the concept of geometric escalation. This is that an object has the capacity to expand at a much faster rate once it begins the process of expansion. Let me quote an example from a recent game that I played at www.888poker.com to explain what I mean. I raised with Q-J after two limpers had come into the pot and both blinds folded with both limpers calling. Each of us had a 100bb stack in what was a full ring NL100 cash game with $0.50-$1.00 blinds.
The pot going into the flop was 18bb (less the rake) and the flop came Q-10-7 rainbow. If I had limped along then the pot would only have been 4.5bb but now a pot sized bet on the flop isn’t 4.5bb but 18bb or so. This means that a re-raise would be committing in terms of stack size and we are only on the flop. This couldn’t have happened had I not raised pre-flop. So we can see then how just one simple pre-flop raise has changed the entire dynamic of the hand. It is for this reason why players need to be very wary of escalating the pot with hands that still have huge potential to lose.
This applies to any hand that you could possibly be dealt pre-flop in no limit hold’em including A-A which after all said and done is still only one pair unless it improves. One of the key ways that players try and stack weaker players is by slowly sucking them into gradually escalating pots. In this hand when the board was Q-10-7 then my hand is more marginal than what it first appears in a pot with 18bb in it and me only having top pair with a mediocre kicker.
In fact if I was to bet this flop and it gets called then I would be very careful from there on in. My opponents checked and I bet 14bb which was called by the initial limper. This made the pot 46bb and a further bet and call on the turn would have possibly led to me losing a lot of blinds if my hand was second best. Had the situation been played out in a limit format then my hand would not have had the same potential weaknesses that it had in no limit.