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Record year for online poker

Posted by kulubes | January 24, 2012 | Posted in: online poker | Comments Off

The crisis, what crisis?

French online poker did not see any crisis. 2011 was a record year for gaming in general. But it is the online poker that takes the lion’s share on the Internet, with 8.8 billion euros wagered. Online poker represent over 80% of all recorded online bets.

Online poker has a 86% market share according to the regulatory authority for online games in 2011. This game attracts half of all the bettors: mostly young men and mostly people with graduate degrees. Behind the game of poker comes horse race betting: a billion euros in 2011 put in a total increase ompred to 2010. Then follows far behind the sports betting.

And there was a big tumble for sports betting in France. It does not seem to get as popular as it is in Anglo-Saxons countries. In 2010, the year of the opening of online games in France, sports betting had generated 450 million euros in bets. But only for seven months since paris Internet had been allowed only from the month of June. In 2011, over 12 months, the bets do not even total 600 million euros and they are low: on average less than 10 euros. The bets on soccer fell by 20%, for tennis 36%.

In 2010, sports betting was boosted by the World Cup of Soccer, and perhaps by curiosity. However, last year’s World Cup of Rugby has not unleashed the crowds. Will sports betting get a boost from the Olympic Games in 2012? Wait and see. This will be the test for French sports betting, but in more established markets like the USA or the UK, there is no doubt that the Olympic Games will generate a lot of betting as they always do. The thing is, in the UK for example, punters have been betting on sporting events for decades. Whereas the French have by tradition only bet on the Sunday horse races, though the Pari Mutuel.

It may take some time for the French to catch up, but as the country gets more American every day there is no reason to believe that sports betting will not rise in popularity at some point.

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Playing versus a TAG

Posted by kulubes | June 23, 2011 | Posted in: online poker | Comments Off

Playing a TAG requires some adjustment, like playing a maniac, a LAG or a calling station of course. For example it is usually better to just come out betting with most of your good hands on the end. And to avoid getting involved heads-up with your weak hands.

One important concept is to not try to steal their blinds. Since TAGs do not over-protect their blinds, your attempts to steal will often succeed. However, when they fail, they can be quite costly, particularly if you are in the small blind, as the big blind has position on you.

If he calls, you are one on one with the toughest player. Your cards are weak and he has position on you. That’s the last place you want to be at a poker table. Furthermore, he will recognize your late position and be willing to reraise with some “marginal” hands. In other words he may exploit you without mercy if he has read through your attempt at deception.

If the TAG is to your immediate left, suggest to him that you chop the blinds. This means each player takes back his money and this is allowed at live poker games. Chopping is particularly desirable, and quite customary, in games with a rake. Don’t wait until the situation arises; agree in advance.

You don’t want to fight anyone to your left, but provoking a very tough player there is really asking for trouble. What do you do for an encore, challenge Mike Tyson to a biting contest?

Overall you want to avoid any time of confrontation against the TAG as much as you can. You would only stay at such a table if there are other weak players at that table to give you an incentive. Play them as much as you possibly can, but avoid the TAG like the plague unless you have a monster.

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Poker or college

Posted by kulubes | September 19, 2010 | Posted in: online poker | Comments Off

I really hate to hear of folks dropping out of college to pursue being a professional poker player.

There is no reason that both can’t be accomplished at the same time. My friend played poker to support himself, his wife and 3 children in New York City of all places and also finished his doctorate in Biology at the same time.

So if you think you have it rough with no responsibilities but yourself to take care of and that you need all of your time to play poker, you should really reconsider your line of thinking. Poker has been extremely nice to him in more ways than one throughout his career, but he wouldn’t give anything for the experiences and knowledge that he obtained while attending college.

Those days at school have had a huge impact on shaping the person that he is today and which without he would be a much different and no doubt a less fulfilled person intellectually and emotionally. He can certainly see nothing wrong in taking a little time away from school as he did that as well after his freshman year and went into the military for a stint (although Nuclear Power School was not really taking much time off from school) and then drove semis for a year afterwards before he was ready to get back to the job of attending school.

Just make sure that you don’t thwart yourself by not going back to school before you get too old and have responsibilities besides yourself to attend to, because I can assure you that makes the road a much more difficult one to traverse.

Poker is a mirage for many. They expect an easy life of leisure in front of them but this is quite the opposite. The opportunity to get an education is something that should not be dismissed lightly.

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Online poker at various levels

Posted by kulubes | July 30, 2010 | Posted in: online poker | Comments (2)

Let’s first talk about poker at the low limits. Since many poker players limp to see the flop, bluffing is almost meaningless. You must raise with your strong cards, otherwise it is like slowly seeing your bankroll evaporate. The important poker skills at this level are a good understanding of odds and knowing when it is best to fold.

If you know how to play good poker, you should only sometimes bluff, but you must bet and raise with premium hands, augmenting the pot size when you are leading. Don’t be afraid to throw a bullet to increase the pot is also important because you need to be cautious not to provide cheap cards to the other players.

Next is poker at the mid levels. Almost all the players at these stakes can beat the low limits, but you will also meet here and there players who are only slightly knowledgeable about the game, but have enough money to afford to play regularly. Most pots are played with 3 or less players.

Your opponents will be playing aggressively. Make bets to increase the pots when you are the favorite to win the hand, especially against opponents who love to call or raise with decent strength hands, but not the really good hands. If you have achieved good results in low-limit poker, the transition to mid-stakes can be very profitable for you.

Now it is time for the high stakes. These games always are tight and aggressive. You will often encounter opponents who are stronger than you. Do not play with them but seek juicy tables where money can be won because of a whale or two. If you search well, you will find such tables waiting for you.

The average player knows how to play poker well, probably having put a lot of time and effort learning the game. Bluff, semi-bluff, deception and marginal plays to control the pots are very important skills against these players. Aggressive poker game with strong premium cards is always the best way to play. But you can win bluffing. If you focus on the selection of tables and hands, you may make money in these high stakes games.

There may be some variations, but basically the way your opponents play will be well understood and it will be hard to find a way to control the table. The players are very aggressive in fighting for the blinds, and use creative techniques to the game of poker. This is the difficulty of seating at these tables. Bluffs all in, post flop 3-bets, stealing and restealing occur more than anywhere else. The variance in these games is out of this world, and the average poker player here can easily loose it all.

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Some online poker statistics

Posted by kulubes | March 18, 2010 | Posted in: online poker | Comments (2)

Modern online poker is getting a very sophisticated game, almost an arbitraged game.

Arbitrage is a term borrowed from finance, which is not normally used in poker yet, but maybe the time will come. Arbitrage means that the players in a market think purely on a mathematical basis and attempt to seek and extract value wherever it can be found.

This is what is happening nowadays in online poker with the extensive proliferation of poker software, online poker tools and poker trackers. These programs are designed to perform in-depth analysis of historical hands in order to detect patterns. To profile your opponents, even the ones you have never met, and to detect and help you improve your leaks.

The standard three statistics at the core of such analysis are the so-called VPIP/PFR/AF, which represents in the same order (1) tightness pre flop, (2) aggression pre flop and (3) aggression post flop. Every online poker player can be cataloged first with only these three stats and this provides already a very idea about his playing style.

For example in a full ring no-limit Texas holdem game, a good VPIP should range between 10 and 18 roughly, possibly 8 for excellent rocks or 20-22 for ultra-aggressive pseudo-maniacs; but generally speaking if your VPIP diverges too much from 15, it means that you are a fish and observant players who are savvy about poker tracking will target you specifically.

It you are too tight with VPIP below 9, it means that you are a rock so most players will avoid confrontations with you. If it is above 25, then you play way to loose and the regulars will attempt to isolate and test you.

Similarly with all stats. Because all these poker tools enable to run zillions of tests and to determine optimal values for all these statistics or group of statistics, anyone found to diverge from such ideal number will be chased without mercy for his exposed leak.

There many other stats, and at higher stakes levels it is necessary to use more subtle ones. For example another favorite is CB = continuation bet, which indeed is a good reflection of the ability to bluff while not getting caught too often. A measure of credibility and guts, so to speak.

So good luck and remember to run your poker tracker when you play online poker.

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The good poker player

Posted by kulubes | March 6, 2010 | Posted in: online poker | Comments Off

How to become a good poker player, this is of course the question many amateur poker players and beginners are asking themselves. Clearly there is a wide spectrum of players, from the giant whales, to the small fish, the small shark and the Phil Iveys of this world.

Of course there is no recipe to become good at poker, but here is a list of concepts characterizing good poker players. This is for low to mid-stakes players.

Good poker players play their good hands fast. The new or bad player tends to slow play his good hands, but the good player tends to play them fast. The reason the bad players slow play is that they remember too well when everyone folded to their bets when they had a monster, so they do not want this to happen again. But slow playing too often is bad poker.

Strong players rarely make obvious mistakes. This seems trivial, but the point here is that there are many standard moves that all the good players know. Like how to answer to a resteal from a loose player in the big blind, or how to play your nuts flush draws. So a must in poker is to know and apply the standard moves.

Making good value bets is important as well. Weak players may shy away from making their value bets, in part because they are afraid of a raise. But the masters know how to extract maximum value from their hands.

Good players can play both short-stacked or deep-stacked. But the good players usually like to play deep-stacked in order to make the maximum profits when they play against weaker players, so learn to play deep-stacked, and to buy-in for the maximum at ring games, such as 200BB.

Finally here are two moves that you should practice to become a better player. Have you ever raise fold? Most weak players will not fold once they feel committed so this is a rather difficult move, but you should do it once in a while.

If you are tight, do you ever call a raise pre flop when 2 or 3 players have called? This is a move that can win big pots especially in position even with medium hands.

In conclusion good poker players are hard to predict. So make it a habit not to have habits. Do not always play the same situations the same way, otherwise the sharks will fest on your flesh. Good Luck.

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