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Great Advice for Online Poker Newbies

Some of the worst players online at this moment in time that I have witnessed have been in the Omaha 8 games. I don’t know what it is about this form of poker that players find so difficult to grasp. I mean we are not talking about playing in pot limit games here or playing in short handed and heads up games, I am talking about players making basic errors in full limit ring games.

If you could find enough action and are prepared to multi-table then playing Omaha 8 could become a nice steady revenue source for you with just a basic understanding of it and nothing more. Maybe it is because I took to this game like a duck to water that I find it so staggering as to why many players struggle with it.

I will assume here that you have an understanding of just how Omaha 8 works so I will not be expanding on that here. But what I find happens an awful lot online is that many players drop into cash games for thirty minutes to an hour or so before a tournament is due to start or that they have got bored of their usual cash game and wanted to try something different.

Well poker and gambling for that matter is a very unforgiving business where naivety and ignorance rarely go unpunished for long. Omaha 8 is a split pot game where the high hand takes half the pot and the low hand takes the other half providing it qualifies of course. All right so I have just took the award for the most obvious statement of the year but hidden in that statement is one of the reasons for why many players fail at Omaha/8.

The fact that the pot gets split means that you should not be playing hands in O/8 that aim at winning only half of the pot. I sometimes think that many players view winning half of the pot as some sort of major achievement and the way that some of them play a bare A-2 underlines the fact even more. But when all you have is a bare A-2 and nothing else then even winning half of the pot could be out of your reach as two or more players having the nut low is very common in O/8.

But ending up with £250 out of a £1000 pot even if your boat comes in is not my idea of a successful pot. Because of how the game is played then there will always be a winner for high but not necessarily for low. This means that if all you have going for you is a nut low draw in a multi-way pot then you had better not get too excited about your prospects. But because of the fact that you are aiming for the whole pot and not just half of it then you can certainly play a hand that has high potential only because of the fact that there may be no qualifying low.

Winning the entire pot is called “scooping” and this is really where you make your money in O/8. But as a follow on to the subject of just having a bare ace deuce working for you and nothing else, not only do we have the very distinct possibility of getting quartered as was explained earlier but also the very real chance of getting your hand counterfeited. Let us say that the flop comes 8-7-4 giving you the nut low but then an ace comes on the turn….oh dear oh dear, look what has happened to your lovely nuts!

Carl Sampson is a professional poker player who plays online at www.888poker.com

The Cadillac of Poker

As a ten year almost full time poker player then I have often been asked which is the most demanding form of poker. For me there is only one and that is NLHE when played with a deep stack. It just adds so much complexity to the game that many novice and even intermediate players never really figure the game out.

It combines bookmaking skills as well because you will be constantly taking and laying odds all the time in no limit. These days I play on sites like 888 poker for the volume of action and I am amazed at how many mistakes I see even at levels as high as NL100 which is $0.50-$1.00.

Also there is one other very important factor as well and that is to do with the fact that HE is a two card game. While you may be wondering what on earth I am talking about here then let me explain. The fact that NLHE is only played with two starting cards instead of four like in Omaha means that hitting the flop is much more difficult. All of the players know this and so each player then knows that the other is unlikely to have connected. So it then becomes much easier to launch big bluffs and re-bluffs in this form of poker unlike in say limit or PLO.

This fact of the game can make it very difficult for some aggressive types once they reach a certain level of sophistication. I have known many players who simply spewed buy-in after buy-in away by being too aggressive in the wrong set of circumstances. One slight moment of indiscipline is really all it takes in NLHE and your stack is history.

So for me then there is really no comparison. I have played every form of poker known to man but NLHE is the most difficult to master but it also can be the most financially rewarding as well.

Carl Sampson is a professional poker player who plays online at www.888poker.com

The merits of online multi-tabling

I was recently having a discussion with another poker player about the merits of playing online poker and multi-tabling. To play multiple tables then you are going to have to do so with a reduced edge on sites like 888 and abide by the rules  so to speak. This is the norm for a player playing too many tables. A player that was crushing his level may do so for 15bb/100 at the lower levels although this certainly isn’t the norm.

However if you are only playing two tables and only seeing 140 hands per hour then this means that this player will make around 21bb/hour. At NL100 this will be $21 per hour and that is no small change in that game. Another player may be beating the game for 5bb/100 but playing eight tables and seeing 560 hands per hour. This equates to 28bb/hour and so is $28/hour. I think that the earn rates need to be scaled down these days in all online levels and I for one now see many players on sites like Full Tilt Poker making around £15 per hour which is around $22/hour.

What you need to remember is that making anything at all is seriously bucking the trend these days. Playing poker for a living isn’t about making correct decisions all the time. It is about making correct decisions most of the time. Fortunately in games like full ring then this is easier to do than in other forms of poker simply because you spend so much time folding. Making money in online poker is about having a strategy that isn’t weak and exploiting holes in your opponent’s strategy. This is why the best opponents in online poker are the ones that allow you to dominate their strategy.

Good opponents will tend not to allow you to do this but bad opponents will allow you to get the better of them. Maybe not in big pots but certainly in small pots. When players place a certain number of big blinds into the pot then they tend to not let the hand go for several reasons. Firstly they have already placed a significant percentage of their stack into the middle and secondly they could actually pick off a bluff if you happen to have nothing. So the combination of them possibly having the best hand and you bluffing makes them call.

So you should be on the right side of most of the big pot situations if you play carefully enough. However under no circumstances should you expect your opponents to fold hands like two pairs and sets unless the board is really scary like with four to a flush or straight for example and even then many of them may decide to pick off your bluff. So don’t be looking to force big lay downs when your opponents have gone past a certain point as this will simply not happen.

For example if you 3/bet aggressively pre-flop and see the flop heads up with the 10h-9h. The flop comes Jh-7c-5s and your opponent check-raises you on this board. Your opponent has now placed money into the pot on four occasions with the pre-flop raise and call and the call and raise of your c-bet. This means that an all-in shove will likely get called.

Carl Sampson is a professional poker player who plays online at www.888poker.com

The SNIPER professional poker coaching and staking partnership

My name is Carl Sampson and a few of you may be already aware of my pen name of “The Dean” as I have authored several books on gambling and written for numerous main poker magazines in the past like the WPT and Bluff Europe and hundreds of websites. I am currently a poker pro at 888 and you can see my blog at http://pokerworld.pacificpoker.com/pokerblogs 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 convert one hundred people 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.

I am now taking inquiries from interested parties who would be willing to strike up a deal with a professional poker player and coach to be coached and then staked to play cash games. 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 as well as permanent ongoing back up. This is also to show commitment and to prevent people from simply “stealing” the course data.

Permanent Back Up

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 after the sign up process and coaching begins.

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 instead of buying countless books and going down numerous blind alleys, it is also rather unique to be able to work with a professional player and coach in this way on a permanent basis and so this project brings a lot of new things to the table as it were.


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 155k word Sniper documents which will give you the entire blueprint for no limit hold’em cash games including my unique FERN and WOM systems for hand reading.

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 2000USD for the players that show the most maturity and the most talent.

Hard Work and Desire

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. I also need to say that in no way is this connected to 888 and players are at liberty to play poker wherever they wish and at what times they choose.

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?

Being Flexible to Suit You

I also understand that many peoples’ lives simply do not allow for such total commitment 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 a potential 2000USD 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 sharkpooldean@yahoo.co.uk 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.

Reasons to bet in NLHE

In this article then we will be looking at betting and raising in online poker and the underlying strategy behind why you make these actions. You need to be responsible for everything that you do at the poker table and this means understanding and knowing why you bet and raise.

Firstly let us look at the situations in online poker when you either have or you think that you have the best hand. In this instance then you clearly want to get more money into the pot and this is a sound reason for either betting or raising. Sometimes players call in order to allow their opponents to keep on betting and this applies more in heads up situations. However as a rule then you need to maximise the pots that you win because there are only four betting rounds in no limit Texas hold’em poker.

Betting for value deals when you have the best hand or you think that you do. However bluffing and semi-bluffing deal with when you know or you suspect that you do not have the best hand. The key to be able to bluff and semi-bluff successfully is in how often you get away with it. Any fool can bluff and get away with it but your long term profitability at this part of the game stems from your bluffing and semi-bluffing success strike rate in online poker.

Bluffing and semi-bluffing form a very important part of any online poker players poker strategy and if you bluff and semi-bluff very well then you will add to your bottom line. Bluffs tend to be done with very little equity or no equity if called whereas semi-bluffs are done with hands that although are currently not the best hand can actually make the best hand.


You will see that the first category involves when you know or strongly suspect that you have the best hand and the second category involves when you know that you categorically don’t have the best hand or you strongly suspect it. However what if you think that you may be ahead but are not sure? For example you call a button raise from the big blind with 6c-6d and the flop comes 10d-8h-4s and here you think that there is a fair chance that you have the best hand.


If you check and call then your opponent may see that as weakness and fire another barrel on the turn. This forces you into playing guessing games if you want to continue on in this poker hand.

However making a probe bet allows you to see how serious your opponent is about their hand. If you bet say one third of the pot to one half of the pot then many opponents will fold a large portion of their range if they have nothing. If they raise the flop then they really have a hand or they are serious about playing this situation and so either scenario isn’t too great for a pair of sixes. You paid for information and you got it and now it is time to fold your weak holding.


Carl Sampson is a professional poker player who plays online at www.888poker.com

Delving into the area of position in NLHE

Let us say that you are in the big blind with 6c-6d and a player UTG raises to 3.5bb and two other players call them. If you call then you have the worst absolute position of the four players who will be active in the hand. However your position relative to the action is very good because if you hit a good flop then you can check and allow one or more of your opponents to bet. Online poker and the strategy that underpins it is often a balancing act between numerous different conflicting factors.

In this example then your absolute position was very poor because you have to speak first before your three opponents. This is not a great situation to be in when your hand is marginal. However in this example then you have the chance to simply check-fold if you hit a bad flop. There has been a raiser and two callers to speak after you so if the flop comes something like A-6-2 then you can check with the confidence that there will be action after you check.

In online poker then it is often assumed that you have a greater advantage if you get to act after your opponent. However in heads up pots then it can often be that the player that bets first has the advantage and wins the pot. Quite often in online poker both players in heads up situations will have no hand and so many online Texas hold’em hands are where both players have nothing. If a player raises with A-Js and is called by a player with A-Q and the flop comes 10-9-4 then the A-J hand will likely take the pot if they bet first.

The power of having first bet can be a strong one in online poker and is one that if used at the right time can be a very effective weapon. Sometimes in online poker then you can have great absolute position and great position relative to the action. Let us look at an example here to show you what I mean. An UTG player raises to 3.5bb and two players call and you call on the button with 8h-8d. Here in this example then not only do you get to act last but you are also acting after the other players who have voluntarily put money into the pot. The action is likely to come from your right and that suits you just fine because you could hit a great flop and your opponents will not know that until it is too late.

This is a better situation to be in than if you were in the big blind because you could check a powerful hand and your opponents could in fact have missed the flop and simply check it back. So remember that there are several different types of position in no limit poker and it is helpful to know how each type plays out.



Carl Sampson is a professional poker player who plays online at www.888poker.com


You could be Playing your Favourite Celebrity at Online Poker

Everyone loves a good game of poker. Whether it is a small game with friends and a few drinks, or a £1000 a hand game played by celebrities, there is always something that everyone can enjoy.

That is what is so enthralling about poker rules, you could literally be playing anyone. That anonymous stranger online could be your favourite actor or sports star incognito; which is a strange yet compelling thought.


Famous athletes can be some of the most dedicated and hardworking people that you will ever come across, which is what makes their poker game so strategic and unstoppable. They are often great poker players because of being adrenaline junkies. Read more

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