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something for all

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  • something for all

    hey all,

    a little birdy flew by my window the last day and dropped off something that could be very useful if reviewed and worked upon. thought i would share so happy reading!

    "Without specific thoughts about what you think you need advice on, all I can really offer is general advice.
    Here would be 10 things I think I have learned in poker.

    Keep in mind, this list is not a panacea for poker, and it will not necessarily guide you to extreme wins in all cases. But if you think HARD about them in light of the poker experiences you have had, you may find they help you out.

    (These are not in any particular order of importance)

    1) The true goal of poker is NOT "winning the pot". The true goal of poker is making the best DECISION in terms of your greatest expected value.
    (distilled by me from many sources)

    This may seem counter-intuitive, but let me explain:

    If winning the pot is the true goal of poker, then if I gave you a magic formula that will make it possible to NEVER be out of a pot you might have won, you'd be a fool not to abide by that formula, right?

    Well this "magic formula" for never losing ANY pot you might have won does exist, and it is very simple: Never Fold.

    Obviously, if you never folded you will also LOSE the maximum number of pots you could lose as well, and those losses would almost certainly entirely wipe out any winnings. The only way this may not happen is if the entirety of your table were following the same "no fold" strategy.
    (Note: This is the key difference between "kitchen table poker" for pennies amongst friends and family, and "real poker")

    Luck will always be a factor in poker, and that is something you cannot control.
    But your DECISIONS will also always play a factor in the amount you win or lose, and those ARE things you can control.

    Spend your time concentrating on your DECISIONS in any game of poker you play, and not on the results; you will benefit from that in the long run.

    2) Poker is a game of incomplete information. The more information you can draw on and use to form your decision(s), the better chance there is that your decision will be a good one for you. (distilled form many sources)

    Start hand charts, and pot odds are very good things to learn and know, but when you play PL/NL games those things can sometimes go out the window completely when you are faced with a very large, or very troubling bet. There are a myriad of OTHER factors which might hold the potential for you to win a given hand, or avoid losing one.

    The better you are able to "see" other informational bits beyond the purely mechanical ones, the better able you are to make your decision the best it could possibly be.

    3) Money you do not LOSE is exactly equal to money you win. (From Mike Caro)

    Think of yourself sitting by a fire on New Year's eve, while you are looking over your result book for the entire year.
    You see you did pretty well, and have booked a decent profit, say around $10,000 at the $1/$2 NL level.

    But as you dig further into the notes you've made on your sessions, you see that there is about $5,000 you lost through "mistakes" you did not need to make.
    suddenly you do not feel as good.

    "POOF" a Genie appears out of the fire, and says, "This is your lucky day, I am the poker Genie! I am here to grant you a choice. I will either grant you $5,000 in additional winnings, or I will ELIMINATE $5,000 of your losses."

    Which do you choose?

    It doesn't matter which, each choice has exactly the SAME effect on your end of year bank roll.

    The point of this thought is simple: The amount you can possibly WIN is finate, as is the amount you can lose, but often the amount you could LOSE is far greater in the long term than what you might win. If you only spend time worrying about maximizing your ability to win money from your opponents, you may miss critical ways you can avoid LOSING money you have no need to lose. Both sides of the coin will make up the amount you will have to spend at the end of the year in terms of profit and loss.

    4) Bet/Raise more than call; Fold more than Bet/Raise. (From Al Spath and Barry Tennenbaum)

    While there is a place for calls in poker, calling leaves you only 1 way to win the pot: by holding the best hand at showdown. Betting or Raising leaves you 2 ways to win: by holding the best hand at showdown, OR by possibly making a better hand feel enough of a "threat" that it folds.

    The core reason why "aggressive" poker tends to be the most effective kind of poker lies within this simple truth.

    5) Start Every Hand with a "Plan", and only deviate from this plan when you have a VERY SOLID reason. (distilled from my own experiences)

    It is very true in poker that Any 2 cards CAN win.
    It is also true that entering a pot without a blueprint for how you are most likely GOING to win (if you do end up winning) can lead you to missing critical things which would otherwise indicate a hand has become un-winnable. Do not be 'afraid" to take 1 shot (or NO shots), and then give up if that seems the best choice.

    Also, by starting with a plan before entry, you can tell a consistent "story" with your actions.
    Oftentimes, the "truth" of this story will lie totally within the perceptions of your opponent(s); this is especially true for hands which may have STARTED with good pre-flop "value", but which circumstances have conspired to make less valuable post-flop. Varying from your plan based on circumstances will tend towards making your "story" fall apart.

    If your story has fallen apart, then you are more apt to make "hope-less" bluffs to win at all costs, or leave VALUE on the table which otherwise may have been paid to you had you stuck with your plan.

    6) Be on the watch for 'Panic Bets" and Panic Bettors (from JMuzzey, an old school PSO'er)

    Per Jay, a "Panic Bet" is one made when an opponent feels he has a hand which SHOULD win, but board cards have come which makes it much less likely their hand is now good. Examples would be: KK pre-flop with an Ace on the flop, or a made set with 2 hearts on the flop when a 3rd heart comes on the turn. Quite often these opponents 'panic" and over-bet what is essentially now a bluff.

    Draws become much more profitable agaisnt these sorts, if you can identify them, since they often bet small-ish amounts when confident, and overly large when possibly beaten.

    It should go without saying that YOU should seek to avoid Panic bets, mainly by being cognizant of point #5.

    7) In poker, money "flows" to the LEFT. (from Mike Caro)

    The power of position, and the extra information you gain by playing in position, is such that if you were to put a time lapse camera above a typical poker table, you are almost certain to notice a distinct money flow to the LEFT around the table. Certainly there will be some instances when money moves across the table, or opposite the flow, but by and large the money will tend to flow towards the left; the players with position in the hand. This is so pronounced an effect that even strong long term winning players will tend to have negative win rates versus players with position on them.

    Never under-estimate the power of position.

    8) Try to come as close as possible to "break even" on your bluffs. (from Mike Caro)

    Most of what you win in poker will come from made hands which win at showdown.
    If these are the ONLY hands you play though, especially if they are the only hands you bet or raise, eventually your opponents will notice and stop giving you action.

    Bluffs in poker are meant to "balance" the un-certainty your opponents may have as to whether or not you hold a made hand. Bluff too little, and they are more certain you do hold a made hand; bluff too much and they will be more sure you do not.
    Either way, you LOSE money (either by not winning as much as you could, or by losing money you had no need to lose).

    If you are losing too much on your bluffs, you are probably bluffing too often.
    If you are winning too MUCH on your bluffs, chances are you are not bluffing often enough, and are losing value elsewhere.
    Seek to break even on bluffs.

    9) Never ignore "meta-game" concerns. (distilled from many sources, and my experiences)

    Things BEYOND the play of cards are vitally important to your overall poker "success".

    While not as "sexy" to learn and think about as the actual play of your cards, these things will often weigh just as heavily into your bottom line success as your playing skill. Poor management of your off-table concerns can be the total difference between being a long term winner and long term loser, so do not under-estimate the off-felt realities of poker.

    10) Learn how, and when to "change gears" (from Doyle Brunson)

    Doing the exact same thing ALL THE TIME can be a form of deception (such as keeping to a standard pre flop raise size).
    Unfortunately, lead betting for 40% pot when you flop a set is fine in a lot of circumstances, but against the guy who will call a 75% pot bet that costs you money.
    That means using this method of deception has its limits.

    Doing the exact same thing in exactly the same situations, but VARYING what you are doing based totally upon the situation (such as betting whenever you flop top pair hands, and always checking flopped sets), only tends to throw off discernable patterns to aware opponents.
    Avoid that.

    Your ideal goal is to "balance" your actions in situations to avoid throwing off patterns; you do this by sometimes betting large, sometimes small, and checking sometimes, with EXACTLY the same hand. The more aware your opponents, the more improtant this is to do.

    There ya go, 10 poker "tips".

    Keep in mind, while I did include a blurb on each one, I hardly expanded fully on any of these points. For you to derive the msot value from these, it is up to YOU to expand on them. I'd suggest you think about each one, indentify situations where each may be applicable, and write those thoughts down. Then as you are playing, test the thoughts you've had, and expand upon them. Talk to others about these things (feel free to psot them in the forum if you'd like), research these ideas, and see if you can 'see" some of these points in other things relating to poker that you read. In short, do not just "accept" what I've put out here by thinking these are some "golden rules" for poker success...expand them, flesh them out, USE THEM in the heat of battle. You may see some real benefit from the exercise.

    Good luck, and better decisions!


    A "quick hit" of 4 MORE thoughts...

    A) Always Know the Nuts (my experience)

    Due to the use of community cards, in hold 'em your hand value will ALWAYS be relative to the nut hand.
    There is nothing more costly than holding a good, but 2nd best hand.

    B) "Never count your money when you are sitting at the table" (Kenny Rogers song, "the Gambler")

    This is the biggest load of CRAP ever written.
    Always be aware of your stack size, and the amount in your opponents' stack(s), because failing to do so can lead to un-warranted committment decisions, or lead you to miss spots where additional "pressure" can allow you to win. You may also fail to extract value you might have if you are not stack aware.
    If you want to take this statement as meaning "only sit with what you can afford to lose, and never worry about losing what you've sat with", then it does have some validity; once you've sat down at a table, be certain to play like a LION, not like a lamb. If you cannot do that, leave the table.

    C) Never go broke in a limped pot (TJ Cloutier)

    If a pot is small, you are often better served by not fighting for it with a large portion of your stack (unless you are severely short stacked).
    Take steps to ensure that your hand's value warrants play in the size pot you are faced with, and never fail to recognize that once the flop has come AA is quite often jsut a 1 pair hand.

    D) The biggest "mistake" in poker is: putting a significant portion of your chips into the pot, then FOLDING.

    This is far worse a mistake than calling with a weak hand, because at least SOME of the time your opponent will be bluffing and your weak hand will be good; if you fold you have given up any chance of winning. By this I am not saying you should NEVER fold, but you should be looking to either fold EARLY or recognize when you are getting in too deeply to make folding a viable option and go for it then.

    Use them well,


  • #2
    Originally posted by JARGON1977 View Post
    Your thoughts about the table dynamic is something I did not consider , and will now question how loose or tight the table is playing as to whether I shove or 'stop & go' the 12-13BB stack with such a holding (AQs) .
    Keep in mind what you are trying to rep with a stop and go...

    When you raise an amount that is a large % of your stack as you did here, but do NOT go all-in, you are essentially signalling to the table that you have a hand so strong that you are willing to put the rest in no matter what comes. That is the "trouble" with making the SNG on a hand like AQ; that hand really does not fit that description...

    To make any sort of "bluff", you must have a reasonable expectation that your opponents will be willing to FOLD to your bluff. A lot of micro tables simply will not have players who will "believe" what you are trying to rep (an over pair if you miss), and they will CALL with a wide range of pairs (regardless of kicker strength), because they can easily convince themselves that you have what does NOT fit that board....

    If it is all small, you "must" have raised with AK if their T9o has paired.
    It it is A high, and they have A4s, you "must" have JJ/QQ, not a bigger A.
    They convince themselves of this because of the polarizing nature of your flop jam, See?

    This means in a lot of cases you will essentially be making a 6 out "semi bluff" on any flop that does NOT connect to your AQ.

    Semi bluffs are more common (and more +eV versus wider call ranges) when made with a greater chance of a "hit" resulting in a winning hand. If you turn AQs into a 6 out semi bluff on the flop, not only are you drawing to 6 outs with only 2 cards to come, but you are also drawing to a 1 pair hand. Un-like a semi bluff made with a oesd or a flush draw, there will be a lot of times someone with enough value to CALL your SNG jam after checking will not be beaten by a single made pair...see?

    If the player is LOOSE ENOUGH to call your 25% stack raise pre with a lesser hand than AQ, if they miss too they will likely fold to your jam...that ain't good for you if your AQ is still ahead right?

    Also if they are loose enough to call your near committing raise pre, they are unlikely to fold a lot of pair hits BECAUSE YOU ARE POLARIZED. The donk will probably not know what the heck polarized means, but he will be a bad enough player (perhaps) to convince himself that if you had a good hand you would not now jam in all your chips.

    That sort of player, if you witness a "poor" skill set in play, and one which may lead them to check/call a 2nd pair hand (you need to be looking for this earlier, long before you are in the 13BB spot), then you are probably better off "standing" straight off the bat with AQs...see?

    This sort of thought train, and info gathering, is CRITICAL for your later decisions. If you lack that sort of info, you are forced to "fall back" on a set of "rote" plays. It is far better to have solid REASONS for everything you do at the poker table, and not rely on "stock" plays (like always check a flopped set, or slow play AA on the flop in a heads up situation).


    Originally posted by JARGON1977 View Post
    Question : If I have been witnessed making short stack shoves with pocket 99's & or taking the blinds with such aggressive action uncontested - would that affect whether the villains choose to call our 'stop & go' play ?

    I mention this as I once went all in twice in a row with AQos & AJos with a short stack and then bottled pocket 55's in the next hand (even though still short stacked) reasoning fold equity may have dissipated . But , today a similar thing the other way round - 2 shoves with small pairs when short stacked only to be dealt pocket AA's in the subsequent hand , receiving alot of action from the table when pushing again .

    Interesting , such initiatives become more sophisticated the more they are required .

    Thankyou .
    Ssssssssss...again, the answer is "it depends".

    The possibilities are as wide and varied as the thought patterns of each individual poker player.

    Go read the General forum post put up by Yahooza1 (link here: ). When he asked me for general poker "advice", I responded with general thoughts.

    One of the thoughts in the pm I sent him (which he posted) was:
    Originally posted by JARGON1977 View Post
    2) Poker is a game of incomplete information. The more information you can draw on and use to form your decision(s), the better chance there is that your decision will be a good one for you. (distilled form many sources)

    Start hand charts, and pot odds are very good things to learn and know, but when you play PL/NL games those things can sometimes go out the window completely when you are faced with a very large, or very troubling bet. There are a myriad of OTHER factors which might hold the potential for you to win a given hand, or avoid losing one.

    The better you are able to "see" other informational bits beyond the purely mechanical ones, the better able you are to make your decision the best it could possibly be.
    Instead of me giving you an exhaustive "list" of things which may weigh into your decision to try a stop n go versus "weak" players, I challenge YOU to think HARD about the sorts of info you MIGHT see, and process, to use when faced with that decision.

    Post a list of at least 5 things BEYOND card value and pot odds you may want to note and consider before trying a SNG play. I think I've addressed both pot odds and card value quite a bit here...they are improtant factors, but not necessarily the only ones at work when considering a SNG play.

    After you have YOUR list, and have given an explaination of why you think each is an important factor to weigh, I will respond to that...ok?

    Maybe it isn't an "easy" answer for you, but then in all honesty, is anything "easy" really worth a whole lot? If you are willing to invest the skull swet to THINK about other factors which may weigh itno whether a SNG play is good in this spot, then the effort you put in will probably make the thoughts stick with you longer, and more effectively, than just me feeding you info...

    Double Bracelet Winner


    • #3 on wrong thread...sorry
      Double Bracelet Winner


      • #4
        Originally posted by JDean View Post on wrong thread...sorry
        I love how when JD posts something on the wrong thread, it's novel length... And a really good read.

        Unless he was just bluffing all of us with that "wrong thread" post... Hmmm.

        Folks, when you see posts by JDean, it's a good idea to read them. Yes, it's a lot of information to process, but I'll give you a hint... Skim over the post the first time. Come back the next day and read more in-depth. Then do it again and again.

        Dude has a TON of valuable info that he's giving away for free. When it comes to the "community" of PSO, this is what it's all about...

        We help, we encourage, we beat the crap out of each other. Hopefully the cards fall our way and we take home the money.

        Thanks, JDean, and good luck everyone.


        • #5
          No really was a "mistake". :-)

          I was citing this post, and the point you see highlighted, in an answer to a reply to an answer I gave in the HA forum...BAH, you get the jist if you read the "mistaken" post.

          Of course I coulda cut OUT what I intended to put in the HA forum; I also posted by mistake the same thing on the wrong thread in the HA forum, and replaced that "mistake" with an edited blurb.

          The "bump" effect woulda happened either way, so rather than cut the text, I just left it and re-posted the reason that is here. But it was not my intent to make a "self serving" bump of this thread.

          Fact is, if people see me as long winded, and do not read my stuff, I've got no real problem with that. As far as I'm concerned, you really CANNOT "push a rope up a hill", and you cannot make people read and respond to stuff.

          I've said it before, a LOT of the reason I do post these things here is because it helps me to make concepts clearer in my own head. While responses which lead to discussions would be AWESOME, I cannot say it fusses me one way or the other.

          All these threads you see me start, everything I put up in the HA forum, all that stuff...I have saved on Note pads in a special "Poker thoughts" file on my desk top. I go back and look at it from time to time, add stuff to it based on things I may have seen at work on the tables, expand it with links to video's and articles, etc etc. That is all part of my own personal "study process".

          Needless to say, the docs I have in that folder run to the THOUSANDS of pages, and not all of it is my writing believe it or not)!

          As of tonight, I am perusing this particular list myself, and going thru and expanding on these ideas, and seeking out stuff related to point #2 in this initial post.

          I've jsut finished a nice article by Mike Caro (one I had read YEARS AGO, that ties in precisely to that point #2). his thoughts focus on a quoe he has made that is pretty well known:

          "In the Beginning, everything is Even Money".

          The jist of this quote is simple really...

          The day you are born, you know NOTHING.
          Every decision you face is a 50/50 proposition, because you lack information to decide one why or the other.

          It is not until you grow and mature, learn more things and evolve, that you can begin to see the world around you as more than a simple even money.

          The BETTER you get at processing info, the more effective you become at finding out if a decision is really 50/50, or whether there are factors which would tilt you one way or the other.

          I think that one of the reasons I am so long winded in anything i post on a forum (not JUST this one, but most all forums), is that I tend to live my life in constant "question mode" regarding what info I know, and how that might effect my decisions.

          My day to day life, when I am not writing, is not spent in constant questioning of my actions; I generally process my decisions pretty quickly (anyone who has played poker against me can attest to the fact that I am not someone to mull every decision). when I AM writing on a forum, I do try to include "options", to at least plum a little bit of the depth of thought that I use to look at a question; my goal in poker forums especially is to illustrate that NOTHING (ok, almost nothing) is black and white in poker...but are various shades of grey...

          It takes a while to describe the difference between "battlship grey" and "dove grey" sometimes, because oftentimes in order to be sure you are communicating the difference properly, you have to explain WHY there is a difference because of THIS circumstance...

          That leads to windyness.

          I could shorten my posts considerably by using "qualifier words" throughout them, such as "mostly" or "sometimes" etc. But since those words are subject to perceptions, the way I see them may differ from someone else's view. So instead I give a lot of examples...

          so if my posts are long as a result, I don't mind that...

          To me, that is how my brain works, only at a lot faster speed than reading the words in a forum post.

          Double Bracelet Winner


          • #6
            KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK JD umbup: umbup:
            sometimes i laugh so hard tears run down my leg


            • #7
              Best poker advice ever: Never count your money until you withdraw it off of the poker site and the check doesn't bounce.... or have the funds frozen by the DOJ... or any other number of post-Black Friday apocalypse scenarios.
              Last edited by RockerguyAA; Mon Oct 03, 2011, 05:31 PM.



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