Archive for August, 2014

Do You Know When it’s Time to Walk Away From the Table?

Friday, August 29th, 2014

Poker can bring out the best and the worst of most people. One of the biggest things that separates winning and losing players is the ability to be honest with themselves when they are not playing their best. Here are four ways to know that you’re not at the top of your game and need to call it a day.

1. You’re Chasing Pots

Most people have an instinct to try and get something back if they lose it, and I’m not just talking about money at the poker table. It’s not surprising that when some players lose a significant amount in a session, they get more aggressive and often refuse to give up pots.

The result is throwing away money by committing too much with weak hands. It’s also hard to stop playing this way once you start, so even if you are fortunate enough to win a few big hands, it often goes right back.

If you notice that you called a bet you wouldn’t normally or made a raise that you shouldn’t, you’ve probably already started chasing pots. While this is something you can work on over time, the first step is realising the problem and walking away for a break.

2. You’re Playing to Beat Someone Else

Poker often becomes a personal game, but the best players avoid letting it degrade to that. If one particular person wins a few big pots off you, it’s natural to want to try and beat that specific player. You’re even more likely to feel this way if he or she was lucky to win those.

This is a matter of ego and pride. Instead of trying to get involved in every pot with your villain and trying to beat them to show your poker superiority, realize that there is incredible variance in poker and your goal should be to make consistently good decisions.

3. You Feel Distracted

Poker is often said to be a game of incomplete information. Winning players have a good ability to observe and digest important information to gain an edge and make better decisions. However, to maximize your information intake, it’s important to stay focused.

If there are other major things happening in your life, good or bad, it’s easy for your mind to start wandering at the table. If you feel like you’re not really paying attention to the game, stop playing, there isn’t much benefit to continuing.

If you really want to play, then take a break and clear your mind. Some people meditate, others go for walk. Do whatever you need to get focused for the game.

Walking away from the table when you’re not playing well is one of the most important skills a player can have. A disciplined approach to poker is needed if you want to maximize your win-rate and overall success.

7 Steps to a Great Poker Night

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Hosting a poker night is a great way to have a good time with your friends and co-workers, and of course relieve them of some money as well. Don’t haphazardly throw together a game though, spend time planning it in order to improve the experience for everyone who comes. There are seven main things that you must do.

1. Schedule it

Make sure that you are allowed to host a poker night (Read: clear it with your significant other). Secondly, if you live in an apartment, let neighbors know there might be a bit of noise. Better yet, invite them to the game as well.

The biggest challenge is finding a time that works for all your friends. This is why it’s best to set a date well in advance, so everyone can make time for it.

2. Get the Supplies

Once you have a date, it’s time to get everything you need for a poker game. Note that if you host frequently, it might be worth investing in higher quality equipment. At the very least you will need:

  • a table (preferrably a poker table or at least a round one)

  • cards (at least 2 decks in case of damage or lost cards)

  • chips (the kind you play with, not eat)

3. Snacks

What would a poker night be without good snacks? Put some thought into these because you don’t want messy food. Certain chips are okay, but most are greasy or come with tons of crumbs, both things you want to avoid. Vegetables and dip are a great choice, as are most nuts or trail mixes. While alcoholic drinks are common, cater to your guests, there are really no wrong choices when it comes to drinks.

4. Collect the Buy-in

Part of setting the expectation for the night is collecting the buy-in or setting the stakes. It’s important to choose an amount that everyone can afford to lose if you want to keep a relaxed atmosphere and friendly game. Collect the buy-in and make sure everyone knows how it will be paid out.

5. Choose the Game

You’ll often have at least one person who is new to poker. Make sure everyone knows the rules to the game you choose, especially the hand rankings. There’s nothing more frustrating than an argument about a straight beating a flush.

6. Set the Blinds

If you’re playing a tournament, it’s important to move up the blinds at specified times in order to keep the game from dragging on too much. There are many free online blind structure calculators to help you do this.

7. Set the Mood

Lighting and music can have a dramatic effect on the mood of the game. Low to medium light with some quiet music in the background is usually best.

Once you get the basics down you can add in some inventive twists in the future to make poker nights even more fun. For now though, get everyone introduced to the game and you’ll be having a great game in no time.

Getting to Know the Top Players of 2014 So Far

Friday, August 15th, 2014

Just past the midway point of the year, it’s time to check-in with the performances of the best players in the world. Player rankings are calculated weekly according to the Global Poker Index, which takes into account past performances and wins.

1. Ole Schemion

Ole has managed to finish in the top 10 of an impressive four major tournaments this year, including coming first at the PokerStars.it EPT Sanremo High Roller Event. The German based player who has only cemented his place as one of the top poker players in the world in the last few years is firmly sitting atop the rankings at number 1. He’s a great player to follow for the rest of this year with a great chance at winning Player of the Year.

2. Daniel Negreanu

Year after year Negreanu consistently finishes near the top of the player table. He is one of the few original superstars to not only maintain his high profile, but also continue to achieve success at the toughest events. While he hasn’t managed a win yet this year, he’s had a slew of strong results to put him in the running for Player of the Year again. Notable finishes include a pair of second place results at the $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop and $10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball Championship at the World Series of Poker.

3. Paul Volpe

A star on the rise, American Paul Volpe is sitting comfortably in the number 3 spot after taking home the title at Event #13 of the World Series of Poker, also known as the $10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball Championship. Volpe is a chameleon, known to play several varieties of poker strongly. He has had solid finishes in events this year playing Omaha, Hold’em, Razz, and of course 2-7 Draw.

4. Bryn Kenney

While he doesn’t play too many events, Bryn Kenney has secured the fourth spot so far based off his tournament win at the $1,500 Six-Handed 10-Game Mix event at the World Series, highlighting his versatility. He played four events at this year’s World Series, finishing in the top five of an amazing three of them. If you’re looking to see consistent top quality performances, Kenney is the man to follow.

5. David Peters

Rounding out the top 5 is workhorse David Peters. While he still hasn’t cemented his reputation in the poker world, he has all the potential one could ask for and the work ethic to match it. He is known for playing a staggering amount of events. At the World Series this year alone he played in an impressive 8 events. While he was unable to win an elusive bracelet, his strong overall performance has allowed him to consistently stay near the top of the leaderboard.

Not only is there a lot to learn from all of these top class players, but you’ll have fun doing so as you follow them. There is still a lot of tournaments to be played, with many changes in player rankings to come.