This story was written by Ed Barrett – a poker player.

“The Malihowski’s put fried onions on their oatmeal!” Mom was sounding off at me again for not eating my oatmeal. What did she expect? Who would eat oatmeal that didn’t have any sugar on it? It was during World War II. Sugar was rationed and Mom was using saccharin, the original sugar substitute, to sweeten my oatmeal. I had no idea how she knew that the Malihowski’s put fried onions on their oatmeal. She knew I hated fried onions and was probably making it up, thinking I would be happy with the saccharin if fried onions was the only other alternative. Mom never looked me in the eye when she was fibbing. I didn’t know what a ‘tell’ was at the time, or how to take advantage of it, but this time Mom definitely was fibbing. And it made me mad. So I screamed. I’d turned seven two weeks before and the screaming, which had been perfectly acceptable behavior until now, set Mom off. When I saw her reach for the catty-nine tails which she kept hanging on a hook in the pantry, I made a beeline for the front door with Mom in hot pursuit.

playing poker game

None of this has anything to do with poker, but it sets my mood for the day on which I played penny-ante for the first time. I’d watched my older brothers play in the basement of Hennessey’s Candy Store on the corner of what is now 12th and Broadway Streets, in Poke Hollow, Pennsylvania, where I had grown up, but they told me I couldn’t get into the game until I was eight years old.

Poke Hollow had eight streets, except for the dirt roads that led to individual homes, but the town council thought that having a street with double digits in it would sound more prestigious. When I was growing up, Broadway Street was Pothole Lane, and 12th Street was once Winding Ditch Pass. The changes all came about a few years ago when the county black topped the roads.

I went to the town dump when Mom chased me out of the house. My plans were to run away to Wilkes-Barre, which was three miles from Poke Hollow. I dug through the trash for empty soda bottles, which were worth two cents each in deposit. It was a pretty good day. I found fourteen bottles and an old wooden box to put them in. This would get me three Royal Crown Colas and seven pretzel sticks. Enough to get me through the first two or three days on the road. Normally I’d take the bottles home and clean them with the garden hose before taking them to Hennessey’s to collect the deposit, but I didn’t want to get too close to Mom today. Continue reading “Four-Flusher”

Play when drinking, good or bad?

First of all I want to make sure that all of you know that my personal opinion is that gambling in any form and playing is not to recommend when you have been drinking, since it can make you lose more then what you can afford, and it will result in losing money more often than you win them.

Maybe this sounds like an odd theme to discuss, but I’m gonna try it anyway. The thing is, this is something I never do, play while I drink alcohol. I usually don’t make exceptions either.

Okey, well actually there was this one time…..

I got home after a great night out, drinking and having fun with lots of my friends. We got to talk poker (which is not totally uncommon when we meet up), and suddenly I got this big urge for some poker. Not totally surprising I ended up in front of the screen when I got home to play some Online poker.

Does this sound familiar?

I found this one player that i had played quite much that week already and he was good. Think he won 6 out of 8 sessions heads up, but that didn’t concern me at this moment.

As we played on I kept on winning and winning. Gosh he really looked like a bad player. Okey, the point I want to get to is that drinking makes me (and i think all of you guys out there) to play more loose and relaxed. My “new style” gave me a session with winnings of over 3 buy ins:)

Of course the fact that we had been playing eachother alot that same week made my gameswitch even more powerful. Maybe its not such a bad idea after all, but i still think that the chances of loosing is bigger than your chances of winning.

What kind of experiences of this do all of you readers have? Please share them with us.

Bad Habits by Tony G

And since we are talking about bad poker habits, if you want to get really nasty at the table. Follow Tony Gs example in this movie:

Wow, no matter how much money Tony wins from trash talk like that, it does feel like its not totally fair. I mean, where did that card game where everybody acted like gentlemens go? Can’t he get a minute to think about his decision just like you would have liked to yourself? Isn’t stealing his money enough? What if everybody would use this freakin strategy to win their bread and butter cash? Then poker would be a start of a new world war. Come on, I would like to punch him in his face if I was apart of that hand.

Gosh now every Tony G lover will start gaggin on me, don’t get me wrong. I love Tony but he crossed the line by some inches in that clip if you ask me.

And if you like this kind of trash talk, then enjoy because this is as good as it gets!

Top Must-Have Productivity Tools for the Budding Poker Student

What separates good poker players from the bad ones? Simple – it’s lots and lots of studying. Popular cardsharks such as Phil Ivey and Daniel Negreanu didn’t earn their fame through sheer luck alone. They have lost many games, they have pored over hundreds of poker books, they have slaved over calculators and memorized common hand scenarios in their head. What you don’t see on TV is the humongous amount of hard work that these players have put in behind the scenes.

So, how can a budding poker student deal with this much information? Thankfully, technology has provided us with some helpful apps that can take their game to the next level. Here are some of the best ones:

1. TableScan Turbo

The app does what it says on the tin: it scans for tables according to a user’s preferences in online poker rooms. No need to manually select tables on your own. The app can work across multiple online lobbies (for those who like to play on multiple sites), pull up player statistics, and presents this information to you in an easy-to-understand table format all at the same time.

2. Equilab

Equity calculators used to be in the realm of premium poker software which you need to shell out money for. Thankfully Equilab is here to provide a free alternative. This freeware offers fast range-versus-range and multiplayer calculations, plus a whole other host of output options. Equilab also provides a scenario analyzer and a hand selection tool.

3. Timer

If you’re a fan of the Pomodoro Technique and other time-boxing productivity methods, then this nifty website is right for you. Users can customize the timer according to their needs or choose from a number of pre-set timers like the aforementioned Pomodoro (25 minutes and a five minute interval) or the morning exercise timer (to get your heart pumping in the morning!). Perfect when you want to keep track of the time you spent studying. Continue reading “Top Must-Have Productivity Tools for the Budding Poker Student”

Poker Strategy – Tips for online and offline poker


Finding out how long a person has been playing that day can tell you many things about their luck, their experience, their ability to continue playing, and their table knowledge. Consider the following: (most of these tips are for offline poker but some of them can and should be applied for your online game as well)

POKER STRATEGYAre they tired or alert?

There is nothing easier than playing against a tired poker player. The number one reason to go play late at night or very early in the morning is because you’ll get the person whom has been playing all night long. As you may know, when a person is tired they are off their game. It is difficult for them to even read the cards let alone read the player and the player’s cards. I have often seen players think they have a straight, a flush, or two pair when in fact they did not. Often a person will brag about how long they have been playing so do not hesitate to ask them.

Poker Strategy

POKER STRATEGYWhat are your poker opponents drinking? Water, coffee, or alcohol?

It has to be one of the three or a combination thereof. Anyway, as you may have figured, the person drinking the alcohol is most likely to over bet their cards in an attempt to bluff. They will also usually play more hands in an attempt to catch cards as their primary goal is often shifted from winning to entertainment. It may all come down to luck for them at this point. The alcohol drinkers tend to watch the players and their reactions a little less as the waitresses start looking better and better and the drinks become more and more important them. However, some drink casually to just to ease the tensions. Watch what people are consuming and how much.

Sometimes a drunken player is very easy to read as they become less and less aware of themselves and their reactions. Example, I once saw the flop come up King of clubs, 8 of clubs, and 7 of clubs. The player in the #8 spot rose to his feet looked at the cards and yell out loud, “Finally”. It wasn’t too difficult for me to determine that he flopped the nut flush. Continue reading “Poker Strategy – Tips for online and offline poker”

Top Ten Poker Tips

My top ten poker tips aim to help players with their poker strategy, approach and continued enjoyment of both online poker and live poker games. The poker tips are not listed in any particular order of importance except perhaps the first.

1. Bankroll level

Play at a buy-in level that suits your bankroll and attitude to risk. Never play with more than you can afford to lose. If paying the rent depends upon the result of a tournament or a single hand, you may find the pressure leads to poor decision making and a disproportionate reaction to the bad beats all poker players endure.

2. Do not chase your losses

If you lose a major portion of your table stake in one or several large pots, do not try to recoup your losses in a ‘do or die’ fashion. Stick to your sound, proven poker strategy; wait for your next playable hand and look to recover your losses over the longer term.

Similarly, if you take a big hit to your poker bankroll in one or several sessions, do not move up to a higher buy-in level thinking, ‘one good win and I’m back to where I started.’ Often you will play the higher buy-in level with a too loose or too tight attitude, neither of which is natural to your game.

No matter if you are playing $0.25/0.50 or $25/50; if you have lost 80% of your buy-in for any reason, do not throw the rest away. That remaining 20% (if you walk away with it) should be thought of as profit; because if you don’t, it is a loss.

If you take a big hit to a previously healthy tournament stack; re-evaluate your options for the amount of chips you have left and make the best use of them.

3. Do not play too many hands

Avoid playing too many hands especially the marginal ones unless you need to; more often, play the hands which have a better chance of winning.

Remember, when folding pre-flop, you are playing your cards. The reason to fold can be various including, too many players already in the hand, you are out of position, the price is too high or the cards dealt are just plain rubbish. The reason to enter the hand must be equally clear.

Online poker pocket cards are dealt to each computer simultaneously; effectively everyone sees their starting hand at the same time. Players can consider their options before it is their turn to act and may tolerantly follow through with their decision, regardless of the table action. Before you decide to play or fold; consider what has happened before you in the betting round and what may happen after your action.

4. Recognise trends

There are two trends to understand; table trends and player trends.

Table trends

Observe a cash table and make a reasoned assessment of its character before taking your seat or getting heavily involved in the action. Adapt your game to one that best suits allowing you to profit. The common thought of ‘if a table is loose, play tight and vice versa’ often applies. Do not be put off if a cash table is more passive or more aggressive than you would like, provided you can adapt your game to suit the condition. However at times, it may be prudent to find another table, sit out or even leave one where the action is far from that with which you are comfortable.

In a tournament you take what you are given but remember, changes in the players seated and the blind/chip stack ratio, means the table character will fluctuate.

Playing any table should not necessitate you making drastic strategy changes; generally you should consider subtle adjustments to what is already your standard profitable game.

Player trends

Recognise the LAG, TAG, LP and TP players at your table and have a strategy in mind to compete with them.

You may find a player who will always raise from the button or in the small blind if the table folds to that seat, regardless of the cards they hold. Others may play any Ace they are dealt. While you cannot tell exactly what cards a player is holding, you may gain an advantage in a number of hands.

Do not look for trends that are not there when playing online. If a player takes a long time to come to a betting decision, it may be they are playing several tables at once, rather than hatching a cunning plan. Continue reading “Top Ten Poker Tips”

Making the Most of the Bovada Poker Bonus

The Bovada Poker Bonus is a really great one. For new players there is the opportunity to have your deposit matched up to $1000. This means that if you deposit $1000 you will get an additional $1000 to play with, if you deposit less, then you will not have so much free money to use.

It seems obvious that the best way of making full use of the bonus is to deposit the maximum amount so that you get the biggest possible bonus. This is common sense, but it is important to make sure that you make the best use of the bonus, once you have.

Even if you cannot afford to make a $1000 deposit, then you will still get some bonus as they will match 100% of any amount that you deposit which means that you will still get extra money to play with. So think carefully about how much you can afford, when you are making your deposit.

Bovada Poker BonusOnce you have deposited the money in your account and you know how much you have to play with, then you need to make sure that you spend it wisely. You need to think about what sort of games you want to play and how much you want to spend in each game.

It can be wise to start off in a beginners game and spend just a little bit of money. This will allow you to get used to the way that the website works and what sort of players there are on there. You will also be able to get your online poker skills up to scratch if necessary, without wasting money. Continue reading “Making the Most of the Bovada Poker Bonus”

More Experience for Better Odds

Anytime that you play a game you are probably interested in your odds of winning. For instance, your odds of winning at blackjack are never going to be the same as they are when it comes to slot machines. And the same thing holds true for poker. Not only are there many different types of poker you can play, but there are also many different factors that will contribute to your overall success. For this reason, it is nearly impossible for you to determine what your odds are of winning.

One thing is for sure when it comes to the game of poker. The more that you play the better chance you will have of winning. In other words, experience is king when it comes to any type of poker. This is true regardless of if you are playing table poker, or have decided to take up the online version. The fact of the matter is that as you become more experienced you will learn what it takes to move your game to the next level. Some players advance quickly, and some others have a hard time in the experience stages. But you should not become too concerned with this. Instead, just worry about what you can do as a player and you should be fine.

Ace Queen..In order to become more experienced you will want to put in as much time as you can at the table. Even if you are only playing friendly games, you should still try to practice your craft as much as you can. And if this does not work out for you for one reason or the next, go online or buy a book to read about the game of poker. As you can imagine at this point, the key to tipping the odds in your favor is to increase your level of experience. Continue reading “More Experience for Better Odds”

Starting Chip Stacks – How much money you need to play the game

A question burning in the minds of many poker enthusiasts: How much should I buy-in to a particular game with?

It’s a good question and I believe it deserves some contemplation and a deeper look. Typical No-Limit and Pot-Limit hold’em games have a minimum and maximum buy-in. While these are set by the cardroom, casino or online poker room they’re most often defined by the blinds. For example, it’s common for a 1-2$ NL to have a maximum buy-in of $200 (100 times the big blind) and a minimum of $40. Some online poker rooms even allow you to buy-in with less than 10 times the big blind.

Returning to the question at hand, I believe the answer is always, will always and should almost always be the absolute maximum. Holding the most chips gives you an edge over your opponents, and acquiring advantage over other players is the best way to maximize your profit.

Chip Stacks
When your stack is deep you can play any type of poker. You can play an aggressive or defensive style, you can bully or be bullied, you can be tight or even loose, it simply leaves you more options and allows for you to play a wider range of hands in different situations. Don’t have enough money for the full amount? Move down limits. There’s simply too many instances when you could be maximizing how much money you’ll make in a hand with a large stack. Imagine trying bluff on fourth street when you commit the remainder of your chips only to have it equate to a third of the pot size – it simply won’t put enough pressure on your opponents. Also, a larger chip stack is intimidating to other players which is never a bad thing.

If you’ve been around the tables long enough, or played poker online for any amount of time at all, then you’ve been witness to many a player buying in short. There are many reasons that he or she may be doing so. Maybe it’s their first time at this particular limit and they are uncomfortable with the amount of money in play.

Often, he or she is the kind of person who will sit down and try to win one pot and leave the table as quickly as possible. They’re simply not winning poker players. Another, more valid reason to buy in short is the belief that other players will play looser against a short stack. Often times players will ‘take a shot’ at knocking out an opponent – in a cash game! Continue reading “Starting Chip Stacks – How much money you need to play the game”

Bankroll Experiment – What to play?

Well people, time to experiment with $200. I know the mistakes I made the first time trying this out so here we go for try #2.

I figured I wanted to try out something different this time and see if I could find a good niche. (I played 9max Sit And Goes before and was really good at this format, but its a last resort, as I want to try different things). So here’s what I have done so far after re-depositing.

I started plying $5+50c Heads Up Sit And Goes. I have around 40 buy-ins for this level.

Day#1 was pretty crazy. I pretty much dominated this format and won 85$ playing all day. I found it pretty easy.

Day #2 was also really good. I decided to try a shot 10$+1$ Heads Up SNG. I also pretty much dominated again making 80$. I was a bit confused because this couldn’t be this easy could it.

Also I was pretty much playing my “A” game, taking a lot of notes on betting patterns and how they played draws, top pairs, middle pairs, everything.

poker-bankrollDay #3 – Lol, here is where it all comes in with variance and not playing my “A” game. I decided to keep playing the 10$ level. I played this one guy who was a huge calling station and a aggressive bluffer. I found him as an easy opponent to read when he had it and when he didn’t.

I lost 4 buy-ins to him. First 3 to bad-beats and last one due to moving down to my “C” game from losing 3 buy-ins to this guy. (I could read this guy like a book, got it in ahead every time, but its poker and we cant always win). I took a break and went for a walk because this guy frustrated me a lot. I came back won my first match then “BOOM” lost 10 games in a row.

“WTF -I said to myself – I was crushing here before and now I am back down to my original $200 bankroll. ” Ya variance hit big and I wasn’t playing my “A” game. I decided to quit for the day and start again tomorrow at something else. I learned a lot from these HUSNGs which I will tell you about in a future blog.

Day#4 – Well I did about 4 hours re-searching and studying some different ways I could play today. I was almost thinking Pot Limit Omaha High because people are so bad at this game but I am probably just as bad. Plus I wanted to stick to No Limit Hold-em. I ended up coming up across a thread about short-stacking.

I knew what it was and how it worked and knew people just despised these players because they only played pre-flop and were really dependent on fold equity and hand ranges and didn’t let the big stacks get their implied odds. I ended up taking this approach and it is actually a pretty good strategy.  I’ll also learn why people hate short-stackers so much and how it can be a winning strategy. Note: 80% of short-stackers are actually really bad and don’t fully understand the concept. Full stacking will make you more money and is more of a thinking poker game, and funnier.

Day#5 is today. I will be short-stacking again today and prob playing around 6k-10k hands today at 10c-25c. So we will see if this strategy is an actual winner.