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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”.

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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.

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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.
Carl

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.

Athletes

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

Short handed limit hold’em strategies

Six handed limit hold’em is unlike any other form of online poker around. Because of the limit nature of the betting then when you come into the pot then you must do so either betting or raising before the flop. To better see why this is the case then consider the money that is in the blinds. If an opponent comes into the pot before you and they raise then if you want to play your hand then three betting rather than raising is the preferred play. The extra one small bet that you expend on raising is more than worth it for two key reasons.

Firstly it will help you to drive the other players out of the pot who may have position on you or who are in the blinds. If that is the case then you will get the pot heads up and have position on your opponent. While you are not guaranteed to win the pot, you will profit in the long term by the dead money that is in the pot that has been placed there by both of the blinds who can now no longer fight for the pot.

Six handed limit hold’em is all about fighting aggressively for the pots once you opt to play your hand. If you have Ad-10c on the button then do not be put off by an opponent open raising in the cut-off seat. Simply see that action as an opponent helping you to get the hand heads up by allowing you to re-raise. Six max limit hold’em is all about pounding your opponents if they give you the chance to do so. Because you do not get the really big pot explosions that happen in no limit play with opponents getting their entire stack in the middle then you need to compensate for that by at least winning your fair share of pots.

So raise and re-raise before the flop and take any aggressive action possible on the flop and beyond with hands that can possibly make the best hand. Keep in mind that your stronger opponents will also be using aggressive tactics against you as well and so you have to call down with hands that are far weaker than in games like no limit hold’em for example. You simply have to be more aggressive pre-flop in six max limit hold’em otherwise you will find yourself being bullied by better opponents.

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

The dynamics of betting in NLHE cash

It is amazing to think just how “experienced” a poker player can be in terms of the number of years that they have been active in the game and still not know what today are deemed basics. This is both good news and bad news, bad news in so much that we don’t really know the game as much as we think we do but good news in that many of our opponents don’t either. Recently I have been looking at the three basic reasons why we bet in no limit hold’em.

 
As I explained earlier we are either ahead or behind in a poker hand (excluding the rare times where we tie). If we are ahead then we have the ability to bet for value. However betting for value is only correct if we can get called by a worse hand. If we are behind then we can bluff but a bluff is only correct if we can get our opponents to fold. So we can see that value betting and bluffing reflect how we are either ahead or behind.

 
We can also see that betting simply because we have the best hand is a poor poker play. The exact mirror image of that is to bluff simply because we have the perceived worst hand. Bluffing is only correct if it stands any chance of getting your opponent to fold. Well actually that statement is incorrect because we have to be careful with the wording here. Saying “any chance” infers that the percentage could be something like 1%. Clearly then in a $100 pot then it would be a massive mistake to bet say $50 on a bluff if there was only a 1% chance that our opponent would fold.

 
So our chances of being successful are reflected in how much is in the pot and the size of the bet coupled with the chances of the bluff working. So the bottom line is that if we are ahead then we value bet but only if betting can be called by a worst hand otherwise we are not betting for value…….we are just betting for the sake of it. On the flip side is when we are behind then we bluff……but only when there is the chance that our opponent or opponents will fold either the best hand or fold……otherwise we are just bluffing for the sake of it.

 
Let us say that you raised before the flop form the button with the Jc-10c and the big blind called you. Each of you had a 100bb stack and the big blind had the 9d-8d. The flop came Ah-5s-5c and the big blind checked. If you bet then you are not betting for value because no worse hand can call. So you are bluffing but if you knew your opponents hand then you would know that you have the best hand…….so is this technically a bluff when you have the best hand?

 
Well yes it is actually because when we bluff then we are not always directing our bets at superior hands. In this situation then the fact that our hand is superior is almost of no consequence. Our five card hand is A-5-5-J-10 while our opponents hand is A-5-5-9-8….they are almost the same hand. So despite holding almost the same hand our action is indicating that our hand is superior to the one that we actually do hold……so we are bluffing. We are betting to win the current equity and not to make a better hand fold although we could be if our opponent held something like K-Q. Remember that our action is a bluff despite holding a stronger hand for one simple reason.

 
Because our hands are almost identical then the difference in equity is insignificant. This is because we have nothing or at the very least we have a hand that cannot take any heat. So if our opponent could look into a crystal ball and see our hand then they would raise our bet on this flop because our hand cannot stand a raise. So we are forcing a hand to fold that could have beaten us if they had found the appropriate line.

 
In this situation we are weak and we know we are even if our hand is technically better in terms of the actual hand ranking. We have the same low pair no kicker holding as our opponent. The fact that our kicker is a jack while theirs is a nine is of little consequence with three betting rounds to go. Because of that then our bet is a bluff and nothing else. As long as you remember that bluffs are designed not to just make “better hands” fold then you will be using a stronger betting strategy. This is one of the basic fundamentals of no limit Texas hold’em.

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

 

Looking at your raise sizes pre-flop

How much you raise to pre-flop or even if you should raise at all is a very important issue in no limit Texas hold’em. For example if you have a 100bb then many players mistakenly see this as a deep stack. All experienced no limit hold’em cash game players only ever view 200bb+ stacks as deep. Let us say that an opponent opens for a 3.5bb raise in the hijack seat.   You deem them to have a 20% range and your hand is A-Qs. In this situation then your equity is around 60% but the question is “should you 3/bet”?

If you have overestimated your opponents range and it is something like 25% then you have slightly better equity at around 62% and 58% against a 15% range. So we can see that once we know our own hand that we can make a broad guess as to our opponents range and be there or thereabouts with our estimation. The difference in equity between our hand and a 15% range compared to a 25% range is only 4%. However as a favourite in the hand then we would ideally like to retain all of the weak parts of our opponents range in the hand.

This allows us to be able to make more money post flop than just the pre-flop money if we 3/bet. Ideally of course we would like to get our opponent to call with their entire range when or if we 3/bet and so we can adjust our bet sizing here to try and achieve that. If your opponent has a 25% range and we have A-Qs then we have around 60% equity against that range. If we 3/bet to something like x3 their raise size then we are making it 11bb. However we are risking 11bb to win an initial 5bb and so in betting parlance we are taking around 1-2. So in that instance then we need to have a dominating equity edge of around 66% and we are not quite achieving that.

The problem comes when we 3/bet and get called. If our opponent calls with something like 7% of their range then we are even money when our 3/bet gets called. Your opponent simply calling the raise is no green light to simply blow them from the pot. In escalated pots then you need to be very careful and especially during the early part of the session where you only have 100bb. If you make a pot sized 3/bet and it gets called then you are looking at a pot with almost 25bb in it with three entire betting rounds to go.

This can mean that with 100bb stacks that there are only two pot sized bets and calls left before you are all in with a 100bb stack. Even if you bet less than pot then you will still be all in by the river. The bottom line is that you will be all in if the betting action continues. This is something that you will not want to happen with hands like top pair and top kicker or even two pair hands.

Because we want to get our opponents to call our raises with weaker hands and still face their entire opening range then raising less than the pot is an attractive proposition. This is why the infamous “min-raise” is popular with some professionals. In this instance then a min-raise or even a 2.5x raise would probably extract a call from all of your opponent’s range of holdings.

The plus side of this smaller raise is that it controls the pot more than a pot sized 3/bet does. If we look at the effects of a min-raise as opposed to a pot sized raise in terms of measuring two identical lines then the results are instructive. For example a pot sized 3/bet and call places around 25bb in the pot. If one player bets pot on each round and is called then there are no less than 675bb in the pot at the showdown. Clearly it is unlikely that both we and our opponent will have such a stack size to build a pot like that.

A minimum raise with the same post flop betting sequence reduces this to only around 418bb by the showdown. This is still enough to get all in with 100bb stacks but it does give you room to manoeuvre post flop and even more so if you only called the raise instead of 3/betting. For a pre-flop 3/bet to be strong then you are usually better off totally crushing your opponents range if variance is an issue with how you play! If you are playing for rakeback or sign up bonuses then you need to give as much action as you possibly can without draining it away on the actual tables.

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

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