Category: Tips

Starting Poker at an Early Age with Froot Loops

Poker has always been a popular pastime in the United States, but it didn’t reach the phenomenal mainstream status in our culture until Chris Moneymaker managed to turn $39 (the entry fee for a tournament) into $2.5 million (the first place prize for the World Series of Poker Main Event). Since then, virtually anyone with a computer can go to http://68.65.121.238/ and start playing poker from the comfort of their homes. It’s also managed to give many online players the confidence to take their skills to the professional arena and challenge the players that have been on television for well over a decade. What about your children?

Before you jump to the conclusion that poker is simply gambling and can only lead to bad money habits, think about what it takes to be a good poker player. In conjunction with lying, a good poker player knows how to read people and can devise strategies within the parameters of the game to manipulate the field to their advantage. Several of these qualities can be applied to the real world where they can be used to advance positions and handle situations calmly. So, how exactly do you teach a savvy six years old how to play poker? Easy: Froot Loops.

While the ins and outs of the game can be taught to anyone at any time, playing poker for money is an entirely different beast. Since your child isn’t exactly going to be carrying out hundreds or thousands of dollars to exchange for chips in a poker game, the next best thing is to use something that you have plenty of and doesn’t cost very much money. Bottle caps too cumbersome and coins are dirty. Your best bet is to use a circular substitute that comes in a variety of colors and thus can be used to represent various different chips and their values.

Start off low with values such as 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 when you first start out. Using the front loops or whatever other colored cereal you find in the pantry is the perfect way to allow your child to begin to associate different value.s with different colors.

While bluffing and making bets may not come as quickly to a five-year-old as it would to a thirteen-year-old, you’ll still be able to teach them what to do with their cards and which combinations are better than others.

Crisis of consciousness? There’s nothing wrong with simply teaching your child a game which they can eventually take and use for the rest of their life (especially if they’re going to be a lawyer or detective). Then again, they might become a professional poker player and poker players generally don’t forget who taught them how to play.

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).