Playing Great Poker

1 Poker Is Like Driving

Great poker is an art. Gus Hansen has said that poker is a lot like driving and rightly so.

Just think about it there are several ways we drive a car. Sometimes are driving calmly peacefully slowly without taking any risk. Sometimes we are in a hurry that we may be late and may be driving too fast and we may be taking more risk.

Sometimes for no reason we are driving fast just for the thrill we are listening to high octane music and it is pumping adrenaline in our brain and we drive too fast and ignore safety precautions.

Sometimes we are in a bad mood our pulse is racing and we drive rashly so all these scenarios happen in poker games too.

Poker is a lot like driving and if we watch our body if we watch our pulse and heart beat and learn to control it, if we can learn to control our moods, become more calm, balanced our poker results are going to be a lot better.

Just think about a particular hand you are 100 big blinds deep you are dealt pocket Kings and you raise 6x the big blinds from button and two players call.

Now the flop is 7c 8h 2d and you make a pot size bet, the pot is already 18BB and now one player calls so the pot is 54 BB and you are behind 64BB and your opponent has 30BB more and turn comes Jh and you check and opponent moves all, you grudgingly call and you find he has a straight.

Now you are left with 34 BB and you think could you have played it differently for better? This example of a poker hand is just like going at a high speed unable to control your vehicle and suddenly an unexpected event happens and you crash. Tight aggressive poker is a lot like driving fast and in these days if you still are following this type of strategy you are doing your poker bankroll a big disfavor and putting it at risk. This loss can tilt you and then open up path to bigger poker losses.

Now let us think how you could have played this poker hand better.

You are 100BB deep you notice that average stack at the table is 50BB deep. Hence with a deep stack you need to take position and take down a deep stack that is the art of playing deep stack and winning poker and not taking down small stacks as when they push all in generally they are following good push fold strategy and it becomes a gamble.

In a deep stack if you take position on another deep stack then the chances that he makes a mistake and ends up donating his deep stack to you makes poker worth it today because of the high rake costs and players improving considerably.

So with a 100BB stack you limp with KK and the table limps the flop comes 7c 8h 2d and you notice there’s a straight draw on the board and someone could have a two pair as well, you check and your opponent now in a 10BB pot bets 5BB and you call turn is a Jh and you notice that straight has completed and you check, fold your one pair.

So with a 7BB loss you are good to move on to the next hand and in the next hand you hit a set and win another 50BB this is what your poker strategy should look like.

You need to avoid losses on one pair two pair hands, figure out where your opponent stands, don’t make info bets, wait to hit hands like sets, make sure you have positive equity to call on draws, remember when the whole table is playing and limping then chasing draws will give you a lot of equity provided the continuation bet is weak.

Getting much more equity is going to beat the rake. Also by going slow you have saved yourself from a disastrous situation of losing 2/3rd of your buying and possibly going on tilt.

Pocket pairs can tilt you in a game if you lose, imagine if you lose 100BB on AA your goal will become to recover it quickly and hence you will lose further, you don’t want to put in between more than 1/3rd of your stack on any one pair two pair unless you know for certain what your opponent has.

Just like Sun Tzu has said you will win every time if you know your strength and your opponent’s strength, if you know your strength and you don’t know your opponent’s strength you will win half the time, if you don’t know your strength and you don’t know your opponent’s strength you lose all the time.

In poker like game where there is heavy transactional cost you cannot afford to win half the time you need to go slow and then take down the deep stacks and focusing on their mistakes.

2 Always Be Wily

You need to be a wily poker player. You cannot do without being wily. I really mean it when I say this. For example let me illustrate. You have a hand like  suited connectors and you are in position and you want to be heads up with a mate who is calling and folding you bet and he calls and you make a cbet and he folds.

Or there is a straight draw on the board and you bet and he folds, now the straight draw can either complete or he can fold there are two ways to win. You need to put yourself in such type of situations.

You don’t want to put yourself in such situations like you call with a suited connector if the fop does not connect then you fold.

Or the better way si you call with a suited connector and you don’t connect you float and on the later street you push him out.

How is this going to be possible when you are having a good image. The good image needs to be maintained and If you don’t maintain your good image on the table you just can’t win.

Because either you will get bluffed out, or you won’t connect or your 1 pair or two pair won’t hold. There are so many ways in poker to lose, with high rake you just won’t make any money to live off it.

Now let us think of a imaginary situation there is a computer universe and there are robots each robot has his own algorithm of making decisions. In a universe where rake has been set by the system and every algorithm looks almost similar to the other who is going to end up with all the money?

It is a no brainer anyone will tell you that the house will take all the money if the cards are being dealt forever and every robot will end up broke   if he continues playing.

The same is in stocks, the same is in poker. The house ends up winning tones of money, it needs tall strong guys to lift up  the rake boxes after sessions. It is a mountain load of chips.

So what do you want to do in such a scenario when you are good and improved you want to get lucky you want to play a big tournament get lucky win it all and then never put half of that money back in poker again.

The governments know this and already are out to collect the monies, they need a 30 percent tax cut of that big paycheck and sometimes more, they really hate you and will take your last dollar for nothing and leave you broke.

3 Getting To Know A Powerful Poker Concept Called Corollary

Small things matter more than you think. Your routine, your emotions, your habits have a direct impact on your poker results.

Phil Galfond has said that your workouts can help you more than you think. He said that rightly when we play poker sometimes we are in very tight spots, our heart is beating rapidly or we are in stress. We need to become calm and peaceful.

When we workout our heart rate rises, our body gains strength, fat is burnt and it makes us physically and mentally healthier.

When we take long walks it is very peaceful and calming such states need to be remembered and we need to learn these mental states when we play poker and put our mind in such states.

When we can do this we can play much better, we won’t tilt that easily and we can have great sessions.

Every little thing helps a lot in poker.

Just like on earth there is day and night. It is cyclic so this cycle impacts us significantly, it impacts the life on earth, there is life and death, it is a cycle. We sleep and we are active.

Everything matters, if you look at senior poker players you will notice them extremely calm, composed, unaffected by the vagaries of poker. If they lose a hand they will still remain composed and not tilt.

If you have had a fight before poker or are in emotional trauma you are going to take these mental states with you in the game and it is going to impact you significantly.

Great poker is not just about the technical’s of the game it is about a lot more, it is about you as a person, how you are feeling, how your mental state is, is your mind sharp and concentrated, or is it hazy, confused and just wants to get back even in the game?

4 The Juiciest Poker Games Of India

India welcomes poker players with open arms. It welcomes foreigners of all types and classes. India has traditionally welcomed and respected foreigners, it is in their blood.

You will never get better service in India than anywhere else, if you are a foreigner you will be treated with respect and your wishes fulfilled with alacrity and promptness. The only thing you need to be aware of is how to escape paying more for some common services like transportation and if you are smart then you will book Ola or Uber and use common sense.

In this detour I am going to tell you about the places you can play poker in India and explore India.

GOA

Goa is the first place where you start your poker journey in India. You can get visa on arrival if you are coming from USA and service is awesome. You can stay in Panjim city which has docked casinos like Deltin Royale, Deltin JAQK and Pride Poker room. Most of the action happens in Deltin Royale from 8pm in the night to anywhere early morning. You will find the poker room full with players playing equivalent stakes of about 2/5USD with min buy-in of approx 300 USD. Some games will have min buy-in of 1000 USD which makes this worthwhile for poker players around the globe as the games are really loose and you can expect a lot of action as the players are not that experienced and are action players. In a good tight players can expect to make 3000USD and you can live from as low as 500USD a month with living, food and travel expenses combined for a single poker player sharing his room.

A lot of good players have built their poker bankroll here and moved on to bigger and better places.

There is an entry fee of rupee 2500 or 40USD but it is refundable provided you play 3 hours in the Deltin Royale Poker room.

From time to time 4 times a year tournaments are held again very easy tournaments and very soft field, one of the Korean player who is regular in the cash games made over 20,000 USD winning a tournament and then the next day he cracked another tournament winning over 10,000USD.

Apart from Poker Goa is a very hip and happening place, there are so many wonderful beaches like Calangute, Miramar, Carazalem, Odshell, Anjuna and more.

There are lots of clubs if you like night life and best of all there is entertainment and free food in Deltin Royale.

It seems the poker times of 1990 of USA have returned here with a bang.

Bengaluru

Bengaluru earlier called Bangalore is the silicon valley of India. Here apart from IT companies there are lot of poker clubs as well such as Kings and Queens, Rockets Poker Room, Foxwoods, IPA Poker room, Gold Coast Poker Club and they also host weekly games.

Here you can play NLHE cash games from as low as 50USD buy-in and in the weekends again they have some low buy-in guaranteed tournaments from 40USD buy-in.

It also has very cheap places to stay and play and is one of the cheapest places to live in the world. You can live in Bengaluru for a month for as low as 200USD per month.

If you are on a shoe string budget then you can take  PG available almost everywhere and share a room and you will find lots of local south Indian restaurants serving you food from as low as 1USD for 1 meal.

However that does not mean there are high end places to live and eat, for some hotel rooms in the city of Bengaluru you may need to shell out more than 600 USD per night.

The airport of Bengaluru is international airport and connects to other parts of India very well like Goa, and it also is connected internationally.

It has very cheap flights to all parts of India and there are lots of places to eat and connectivity of OLA Cabs and Uber cabs is excellent from here.

A good place to book your stay for India is www.MakeMyTrip.com

 Tips To Beat Indian Poker Players

  1. You need to be aware of some traits and psychology of Indian Poker players to beat them consistently Below I will share you some secrets as to how you can beat them consistently.
  • Indians have very large poker bankrolls thanks to the boom in real estate, if you go to Goa you will find players having easy access to finances upwards of 100,000USD this enables them to go to the river much more often and crack your good one pair and two pair hands with chased draws. They don’t know much about equity and will chase an open ended straight draw on the turn even if you make a pot sized bet.
  • The best way to beat them is to play strong draws like AK suited, sets and you will find that they will donate your stack very easily with one pair or two pair kings of hands.
  • Finally this is the best place to build your poker bankroll for WSOP or WSOPE or other high roller tournaments because the players are extremely loose and the edge that you will get here will make you very profitable.

5 Online Poker Is For Wimps

Seriously! I was playing a PLO poker tournament on PokerStars and let me tell you what happened I flop nut flush opponent moves all in and I move all in and he has flopped straight flush, the player name was yawnkiss. After 2 hands an opponent has King high flush on the flop and he moves all in and this player yawnkiss on PokerStars moves all in and again he has flopped straight flush. I checked his graph on SharkScope and yes what I assumed was correct he had a straight up graph going in the stratosphere. He never had any downswing at all. He was a confirmed run good bot.

The same was shared on TwoPlusTwo and very quickly the thread was toast and moved under the carpet. A couple of members did point out that finally this was proof enough that PokerStars had its own bots which were clearing the tables and they ran well.

Now in the past such allegations have happened and proved right on PokerStars about PLO bot ring. What was proposed that these bots were sharing hole cards among themselves but doing this on Zoom tables of PokerStars makes no sense because of the technical complexities involved, the simple way was to make the bots run good like I have described.

This is the state of the poker room that is controlled by Amaya a very big gaming company. It is the biggest poker room and gets hundreds of millions of dollars of rake every year.

If this is the state of PokerStars the best poker room online then you can only imagine what is it like to play poker at other small online poker rooms.

Apart from that I spoke with several two plus two members and they said they don’t play online, the owners of the twoplustwo said they have left poker.

Where is the money left in poker, do you have anything special in you that the others don’t have? The only reality is the rake and other costs associated that have made this game a –EV in the long run.

If you save for an year and then out of entertainment expenses put that amount in a tourney and win some good money that’s different.

If you have an edge in the game the bankroll will build itself, with a negative edge no amount of bankroll will sustain.

It is very similar to flying a kite with no wind, you can keep on trying and trying and everything is going to be in vain.

6 Insider Review of PPPoker Online Clubs App

PPPoker has taken the poker world by storm. It has achieved a height very quickly that no other poker venture has achieved.

This application is available on all app stores, desktop and anybody can download and play on it. Players can create their own clubs and invite their friends, add chips to their accounts and play with them privately. It is like having your own poker room, your own poker tables, your own dealers, chips and everything. And you can even charge rake. It is a great concept. Anyone with a mobile and internet connection can play with you. You can send invites, and they can download app and play with you.

It has a concept of agents who will have higher priority than the average players and they act as people who will exchange real money with play chips. By not advertising PPPoker as a site for real money gaming it bypasses a lot of legal tangles and is available on app stores worldwide.

The concept of buying freebies

It has a very similar concept to Zynga and other play money sites where players can purchase gold with real money, however they are play currency and you cannot redeem them for real cash. However there are some tournaments where you can win iPad or latest iPhones.

Some players have alleged that it is rigging the games so that players will keep on buying more and more gold currency with real cash on the cash tables. It is a serious allegation and every claim has been promptly refuted by the company. When I tried this myself I noticed an absurd amount of bad beats.

Play Chips In Private Clubs

I joined the Asian PPPoker Club through an agent and the club id was 11111. At first everything seemed nice, no bad beats, fair play, concept of insurance and seeing all this it felt like the online poker dream had come true.

I kept on playing and I was winning, and winning big. However I checked the highest stakes, and I recorded videos on my Galaxy S8 of the game using additional game features. I recorded over 10 hours of PLO games. I could do more research but I believed that it would be sufficient to understand the innards of these games.

So I checked and reviewed the videos and to my dismay I found out that in the highest stakes games player were suffering 1 or two outer bad beats when the pot would be too big. They would not be able to get insurance sometimes because they were deep and there had been no all in.

Then I heard some other players complain and then I dug deeper into the site. I found out that the site was looking for agents and marketers in a number of countries and I believe that they would form clubs with a lot of members just like the Asian PPPoker Club 11111 and they would have some super users who would clear the tables.

It is still a presumption because you can’t prove anything and nothing has been able to prove of online poker. But as I see it there is a group of PPPoker insiders and they are making the money and quickly.

I understand that if anyone had access to federal gold reserve he would take out some gold. It is very easy to steal from poker players online. It has happened in the past and it will happen in the future.

The prudent poker players must make sure that they don’t put any money online at risk and if they are putting it then they must know that they may have a very big negative edge.

7 The Rot In The Poker Industry

I am really sorry for you to be in poker. It is so much tough right now. The poker players pay heavy taxes on tournament winnings. The rake is still too high despite we have computers, computers and internet should have pushed the rake down to 0.2% which would have been fair but as you know human greed as remained intact.

It is ironical that sites like PokerStars are charging very high rake and still have its own bots that are clearing the tables by running good.

The other parameter is that these run good players create an image of unbeatable players and legends which can beat rake, which can beat odds, and which create such legendary graphs that inspires millions more to aspire for poker.

This part of the year I spent in India playing low stakes poker and getting acquainted with the climate. The climate of India is extremely nice and weather is great all the year. In small poker clubs again there is pressure to get rake and money and the game of poker is again destroyed.

Here they have a dealer button and another button called PLO button and two times in every round PLO is played and the rest of the times NLHE and for nearly every player it becomes too confusing switching back and forth between PLO and NLHE, what happens is most of the times all the money is deposited in the rake box after a long session.

I believe that tables should run either of NLHE or PLO as they are both different game and very different strategies are needed to succeed in this game, however the poker gamblers love PLO and they need any opportunity to gamble and get back even. Little do they know they have better chance of getting even in Roulette then in Poker.

Reality is that in poker no one is thinking about the other player, the emphasis of everyone is how they can profit. The poker rooms want to earn more rake, the poker sites want to earn more, poker companies want more profits so that the executives can earn bigger salaries. Who is going to get cut, you of course!

Do the governments care about poker players, not at all, all they can figure is how to get the max tax out of poker players pockets. However this is not the case in other sports, in other sports, sportsmen are respected and they are given monetary benefits, they receive sometimes big monetary favors, real estate for winning gold medals.

Such type of favors don’t exist for poker players and I believe there is no incentive for poker players and no glory down the road like other sports. Even if you are Phil Hellmuth you won’t get fans like in other sports waiting in line for hours for your autograph. I see Phil Hellmuth on TV playing poker with other lesser mortals and they treat him normally, no one is running to get near him, and look at some new movie celebrities how people are crazy for them.

I hope you get my point!

8 Is Poker Dream Like Nigerian Scam

This is a very important chapter for my fellow mates.

Let me first tell you about the Nigerian scam which most are already aware but just for reference.

My friend got a mail that she had won over 50 million pounds and to redeem the money she would need to sign and send some forms and send a little amount of money, she was very happy and she did all the procedures and sent the application fee.

After everything was done she was jumping with excitement and she had gone shopping and splurged all the money she had. Next she gets a call that everything is ready but he needs some money, and it seemed to her that this guy needed his share before he would send her the money.

So she transferred to this guy a somewhat large amount of money which again was a pittance compared to what she sent, she maxed out her credit card and sent this guy from western union all that she could afford. And now she was again dancing with joy about how her life would change.

A month passed and nothing happened and now he calls again and said that there is this problem and there is this official and he is asking for his share. So she understood that there is corruption and people want their share so she sold off all her jewelry and  told him that she should get her winnings now and she was completely fed up with everything.

So now this dude gets a seemingly large amount of money and does he send her the winnings. NO! Now after 2 months have passed and the women is desperate, he goes and meets her in a swanky restaurant in her same city and assures her that she is going to get it now and he even shows her a check by her name but before he gave it to her he says that the money she cannot get unless she deposits a large sum in his account last time. Now she is helpless and she already is down in the pits and she can do nothing but sell off her home and she finally deposits every last money that she had in his account.

And now he thanks her and sends her a bouquet and a check and she is dancing with joy, and first thing she goes to the bank and asks her to open the account and kind of angrily shouts at the desk clerk because he is taking so much time.

Then she is made to wait for another hour and then she storm in the bank manager’s office and she asks what is going on, still having ego of the 50 million pounds. She literally drags the manager out and then she is brought to her senses that the cops are on the way as the check is fake.

So finally she realizes that she has been made a fool and she has shipped all her money.

Now there are a lot of similarities between poker and Nigerian scam and because it is shown to the fish as it is a skill game and the big money is always round the corner people keep on betting their last dollars.

I will leave this chapter here and let you think about where you are in poker.

9 Complacency Is An Enemy

A lot of my poker player friends ask me how I can perform in live games every day and never appear to lose.

The secret my dear mates is that I am not complacent poker player. When I was a little child we used to go play Mario games on those arcade machines after an year or two everyone one of us would be an expert.

However there were kids who would go too fast, and would get complacent and would make mistakes by ignoring or caring less or being complacent and then they would add more coins to the arcade machines.

Since then I have not been complacent in competition games. I play very serious. I make sure I don’t repeat my mistakes, I make sure I don’t ignore the warnings. When a player starts acting up in a hand, and he might have a very strong hand, I will check my tells and make a wise decision. I won’t be complacent in calling him.

I believe in sure shot things, I don’t like to move all my stack in with AA because who knows my opponent has got JJ that will crack my pair and put me on tilt. I don’t want to earn a lot of money, I just want to earn a third of stack and not put my whole stack at risk.

I don’t like to play all ins and I would go slow and steady, and when I have a locked hand I will surely take my opponent to value town.

I also like to keep working on my table image if I have been too lose I would like to play very tight until people will start noticing that I am too tight and I am likely to have a very strong hand and I would not bluff them.

Once I achieve a tight image again then I can play my A game again, my A Game is not playing my cards, my A game is taking advantage of the board, the flop, my position, my image, my equity and everything that I can do to beat the house edge.

In live games you need to be very cautious. If you are not cautious then you may lose a couple of buy-ins and getting back then is very difficult. In online games you can play a lot of tables simultaneously to equalize the bad run of cards, however in live what can you do?

With just 30 hands per hour if you are running bad then you can’t afford to lose more and more, you need to play a kind of game that may not be GTO, that may not be TAG but that makes money and loses the least amount of money. On the surface it may appear that a person is making a foolish mistake by limping but he might be minimizing his losses. Who knows his pocket Jacks or pocket queens would  get cracked and he may lose his entire buy-in.

Poker is a very complex game, and add to it the rake expense and you have a game that becomes unbeatable if all the players are too good. The only winner is the house, and no matter how hard you try you only end up deeper in the hole.

So my friends if your graph is falling deeper and deeper in the crevice then it is time that you take a step back from poker and examine for yourself if poker is the right career choice for you.