Category: Poker

Balancing Your Hand Range in Poker

In this scenario, we are “John” and “Google” is our opponent. It is a heads-up poker match with $200 and $400 blinds. It’s only one scenario but we show two hands that we have.

  • Google ($40,000) – SB $200
  • John ($40,000) – BB $400
  • John is dealt
  • Google raises to $1,200

My decisions: Fold, Call, Raise

AJ suited beats the majority of his raising range so folding isn’t an option. A raise can get worse to call so were going to raise. With 93 suited were also going to raise because his opening range is so wide that a lot of the time, he’s just going to fold. 93 suited isn’t a good enough hand to call because it can’t improve to a better hand other than the flush.

Raise size is important, so if were going to play 93 suited the same way as AJ, we need to stay consistent. We are going to raise to 4,000 because this is enough to get weaker hands to call but also to get hands to fold.

  • John raises to $4,000
  • Google calls $2,800

FLOP: Ac 7s Qs

This is a perfect flop for AJ and a miss for 93. With AJ we’re going to bet and with 93 we should also bet. If our range, at this point, is anything from AJ to 93, we need to stay consistent. We want our range to be widest at all times so our opponent can’t get a read on us. If we always check pairs less than top pair but we bet bluffs and strong hands, our opponent can take advantage of us. The pot is $8,000 and I don’t think we should bet something like $6,000 because if our range consists mostly of bluffs and middle pairs, our opponent can raise a lot and were going to have to fold. A bet like $4,400 is perfect. It gives a good price on our bluffs and with hands like top to mid pair, a lot of weaker hands are going to call. Also, if were raised, we can fold and not lose that much.

  • John bets $4,400
  • Google calls $4,400

TURN: Ac 7s Qs [Ks]

So if were going to bet with AJ, we have to think of worse hands to call and if were going to bet with 93, we have to think of hands that are going to fold. Now we have to put our opponent on a range.

Google raised to $1,200 preflop and that doesn’t tell us much about his hand. We raised to $4,000 and he called. We still have no idea what his hand range could be. We bet $4,400 and he called. This gives us a little more information as we can assume he’s not calling with T8. So what did he raise preflop, called a 3-bet and now called the flop? Here are our list of hand ranges starting from strongest to weakest:

  • 77
  • A7
  • Q7
  • Ax
  • Qx
  • 7x
  • 99+
  • KJ
  • KT
  • TJ

Flush Draw

As you can see, his hand range is very wide. Let’s assume he 4-bets AA, KK QQ, and AQ so those hands can come out. If we have 93 suited and we bet, I don’t think he’s folding the majority of his range. He folds 99+, 7x, and maybe Qx, but that’s it. He’s calling everything else. With 93, I think we have to check.

However, with AJ, I think we should bet because weaker aces, queens and kings, like KJ and KT, are going to call. We should bet like 11,000 and check almost any river.

With 93, we check. Our opponent bets and we fold. With AJ, we bet $11,000 and he calls.

RIVER: Ac 7s Qs Ks [4h]

We folded 93 and I believe we did the best play with that hand. We now have AJ and have to decide whether a bet or a check is the best play. To figure out our best play, we have to put our opponent on a hand. What is calling a 3-bet, calling the flop and then calling the turn? We obviously leave hands like two-pair, sets, and flushes but his range also consists mostly of weak pairs like Ax and Kx. Here is my guess:

  • 77
  • A7
  • Q7
  • Ax
  • Qx
  • KJ
  • KT
  • TJ

Flush Draw

This range consists mostly of hands that beat us so unless were looking to turn our AJ into a bluff, a bet isn’t profitable. Hands that we do beat are Ax and Kx but those hands aren’t calling a bet, so a check is just as profitable.

The pot is $38,800 and we check. Our opponent shoves for his last $20,600 and we fold. Since the only hands we beat are going to check, he’s only shoving hands that beat us like two-pair, sets and flushes. There are no hands he’s calling the flop and turn with that are now turning into a bluff. All the draws got there, like the straight and flush, but he’s not shoving the weak Ax and Kx, he’d just check back. Here is his hand range:

  • 77
  • A7
  • Q7
  • TJ

Flush Draw

We don’t beat any of those hands and a fold is most profitable. We played 93 and AJ nearly the same. This is why high stakes poker is so tough to beat because it’s so hard to put your opponent on actual hand. Playing against weak opposition is easier because they their hand and it’s easier to know what they have. You also have to be balancing your ranges so that in any one spot, you don’t have only one hand. You want your opponent to be putting you on a wide range of hands so that he can make mistakes.

However, all said and done, a game becomes more thrilling and exciting only when the stakes are high and getting a win over weak players is indeed a hollow victory and is nothing much of an achievement as DominoQQ is well known for.

Steal the Antes and Increase Your Profits in Seven Stud Poker

All poker games have forced bets at the beginning of the hand to increase action. This was also the case in PokerQQ where the format was basic but involved the same tactics anyway. If there were no forced bets at all, the correct strategy would be to just wait and play only the nuts. This would make for a very boring game of poker. While the presence of these initial bets like blinds and antes forces the action, it also creates an opportunities to steal dead money on the first betting street. In seven stud poker, this happens when it folds to you on third street and you have a chance to steal the antes and the bring-in, another forced bet specific to stud games. Here we are going to look at what you should be thinking about when stealing the antes so you can increase the money you make at the table during your seven stud games.

The most important thing above all else when considering stealing in stud is the betting structure. Unlike hold’em and Omaha games where the blinds remain constant, in stud games there are antes and bring-in values of various sizes. The larger the ante and bring-in compared to the size of the small bet, the more likely you should be to steal. An eight-handed $10/20 seven stud game with a bring-in of $5 will play very differently if the antes are $1 than if the antes are $2. If the antes are less than 10% of the size of the small bet, then this is generally a sign that you should play really tight. If the antes are more than 20% of the size of the small bet, then this almost always means you should loosen up and steal the antes and bring-in much more often. If the antes are between 10% and 20%, then it’s more situational.

In hold’em and Omaha games, when you get short-handed that usually means you should be stealing the same amount, if not more often. This makes sense in those games where the amount of the dead money stays the same, but in seven stud the exact opposite applies. If it folds to you with two people left to act in an 8-handed seven stud game, there will be a lot more dead money in the pot than if it folds to you with two people left in a 4-handed seven stud game. This is very anti-intuitive for players switching over from the very popular no-limit hold’em poker format, and is worth keeping in mind.

Finally, remember that you want to leave yourself some chance to win the hand if your ante steal happens to get called. If you’re stealing with three random high cards, it’s much better for two of them to be of the same suit than for all three of them to be different suits. Similarly, it’s much better to steal with something like a pair of Threes with an Ace kicker than three unpaired cards.

Keep these principles in mind when you’re considering stealing the antes in stud games since they are the sources of profit in steal situations.

Poker Strategy Tips: Stop-Loss in No-Limit and Pot-Limit

In another poker strategy tip article, I talked about how serious players should not be worried about stop limits. This is where you set an amount in which you will stop playing if you reach (for example – “if I can win $500, I’m done”). There is, however, a set of circumstances in which you should set a stop limit, even as a serious or professional player. This occurs when you are playing in a pot-limit or no-limit game.

Let’s say that your bankroll allows you to play in a $1/$2 No-Limit Hold’em game where the buy-in is $100. You do not have enough that you feel comfortable playing in a $2/$4 game with a $200 minimum buy-in. In your game you are doing quite well, in fact you’ve turned your $100 buy-in into a $250 stack. The game is going well. You’re the best player at the table. You’re a serious player who knows that stop limits can restrict your potential. So you should play on, right? It depends. There is one important factor as to whether or not you should continue in this game; the stack size of the other players. Since your bankroll allows you to put $100 at risk, but not $200, you need to be aware of when you are putting $200 at risk in your $100 buy-in game. As soon as your stack size is double or more of the original buy-in AND someone else at the table has double or more of your original buy-in, you are putting too much at risk. Remember in No-Limit (and even pot-limit) your entire stack is at risk in any given hand. No matter how good of a player you are, you can lose a single hand. If you would not risk $200 in a game, don’t continue once your stack and someone else’s has reached that $200 mark. Of course, even if you build up to $500, but everyone else has around $100 or less, you should keep playing. The only portion of your stack at risk is the amount equal to the largest stack at the table besides your own. Once someone does reach the $200 mark, you should consider stopping. Playing poker is not playing a simple game. It requires  effective and fresh strategies so you can beat your opponents. 

Here’s another reason why to make this stop limit for yourself. Let’s say you build your $100 buy-in into a $500 stack and there are other players with large stacks as well. You may think, “I am still only risking $100 because that’s all I’ve invested”. Here’s the problem; you have pocket aces, and a player goes all in front of you for $500. You would have to be crazy to lay down AA here, so you call. Disaster strikes and you lose it all. Your opponent has now won $500 from you in one hand. Since you would buy back in for $100, you must win multiple large pots to make back what you lost and can lose again in one single hand. Your entire stack is at risk on every hand, while your opponent only risks a small portion of what he just won.

Remember, it’s not the fact that you are up a good amount of money; it’s the amount of risk you are now taking. Pay attention to these situations and take your big wins. You can always buy back into the game later for the $100 buy-in (most games will not allow you to take chips off the table and return with less until a certain amount of time (30 minutes – two hours) has passed).

Poker Bots and What They Mean to You

Before we start lets clarify. An odds calculator like Texas Calculatem is not a bot but it gives you A lot of the same advantages as a bot. While many have a doubt about something like it, KoinQQ does not actually run on bots and their actions. Odds calculators are not banned from any of the popular poker rooms. An odds calculator will just tell you what move to make by calculating the known cards and what is left in the deck and the chances that another player will have a better hand than you. A bot on the other hand is fully automated, it plays poker without any human intervention. You can turn your poker bot on and then go to bed and wake up and most likely be broke or way ahead depending on the quality of table you chose and the limits you set in your bot.

A lot of people wonder if they should be allowed to use poker bots or not? Some players think that poker bots aren’t as efficient as people make them out to be. In reality poker is about really playing the cards you are dealt and figuring out your competition. You need to know what your opponents are going to do. You have to be smart enough to watch at a poker table and pick one with weak,tired or fatigued opponents. A real player will only play at times when he thinks his competitors are tired or intoxicated.

There is a difference between real players and poker bots that never have “hunches” and never get tired,emotional,angry or careless. a long tournament can wear me or you thin especially tournaments that go 12+ hours. after 12 hours a human will definitely not be playing his best but a poker bot will show no fatigue.

Playing against a bot that you think is a real human player is definitely a disadvantage that becomes gets stronger as the tournament goes on. It is s a form of cheating and most poker sites agree,especially Poker Stars who are adamant about poker bots. This does not include odds calculators which if you follow perfectly you will be playing as a poker bot yourself and will continue to play solid no matter how long the session lasts. Cheating at cards has been around since card games were invented. Now people can cheat on line and if they are careful they will never be caught. Its not like catching a card shark dealing off of the bottom and then making him pay (if you know what i mean).

Poker bots are here to stay, because there is a huge demand for anything to get an advantage over others and win. Money and greed are huge motivators and will cause many people to cheat regardless of the consequences. Poker bots do not necessarily have superior playing ability but they never deviate. A Poker bot will not get tired and even an odds calculator which is allowed at most sites including Poker Stars can give you an extreme advantage over others during tournament play.