Quick Reads That Will Let You Exploit Tournament Opponents

Any experienced poker player knows that getting reads on opponents is very important. What separates a truly expert player from a non-thinking ABC player is the ability to alter his game in response to tendencies identified in opponents’ play. In cash games or even in sit n gos, you may be able to observe your opponents over hundreds or thousands of hands in order to get a good idea of their styles of play.

But in MTTs, you will be seated randomly with players you have never played against before, and you will be moved to new tables regularly. Since you won’t be able to build much of a history with most of your opponents, it’s very important to be able to get quick reads on their play, which you can begin to use almost immediately. Listed below are a few things to look for that can give you a solid understanding of your opponents’ level of play in a very short amount of time.

Preflop Raise Sizing

In the early stages of a tournament, there are plenty of good reasons to open for 3bb or even 4bb, but as the tournament progresses and stack sizes dwindle, there is almost never a good reason to open that large. By the time players have about 40bb stacks or smaller, most good players are making open-raises to 2 – 2.5 bb. If a player is regularly opening for a larger amount at that point in the tourney, he is almost certainly a player who is unfamiliar with tournament poker. He may be a good cash game player who doesn’t know much about proper tournament play, but on the other hand, he may be a complete fish. Either way, you can count on him to make big errors in his opening, three-betting, and calling three-bets strategies. Such a player is probably playing the same strategy that he was playing when the stacks were large.

Three-bet Sizing

Three-bet sizing can tell you many of the same things about a player that open-raise sizing tells you. In the beginning of tournaments, it’s common to three-bet to three times the size of the initial raise or even larger. But when stacks are smaller, many sophisticated players make their three-bets only 2.5 times the size of the raise or even less. Due to stack sizes and the commitment threshold, making such a small three-bet achieves the same purposes as a larger three-bet would while risking fewer chips. Players who are three-betting too large risk committing themselves to calling any four-bet. You can deduce that a player who continues making these oversized three-bets is not adjusting his strategy as the tournament goes on.

3 Reasons To Double Check Casino Reviews

We’re going to lead with a pretty unpopular opinion, but one that we think will make sense to you before this guide is over: casino reviews are still a really, really, good thing. There is a strange attitude online where people believe they can just dive into a new website and have no need to look at any information before they begin. It’s almost as if they believe the wins won’t be there if they delay at any point. We have good news for them: the ability to win isn’t held back by time. In other words, there’s always a chance to win big, even if you take time to look at reviews first. We’ve been checking out casino review guides as much as possible, since the site is laid out so nicely. You can find everything you want at just a click of a button, which is the way it should be anyway.

Casino Reviews

Need something more? Need reasons why double checking casino reviews is a good thing? No problem, that’s what we’re here for!

1. Details Change Rapidly

Things changed on the Internet quite often. In the tech world, it’s a matter of one standard falling out of popularity and another one taking its place. That’s why we’re seeing Flash sites starting to get out of the way and make room for sites run on HTML 5. In the casino world, it means that we’re making room for mobile versions and not just assuming everyone’s playing on a desktop with a wired connection. We like winning and mobility together, thank you very much.

2. New Features Trump Old Ones

The features of a particular casino are always changing, in order for that certain casino to continue attracting players. If you don’t keep it fresh online, people will go somewhere else that does keep things lively and new. So that’s why it’s important to look at casino reviews, even if you’ve browsed in the past. When there’s new information, Odds and Ends makes sure that you know about it. That’s why we really like browsing their site.

3. New Bonuses Mean More Cash in Hand

New information about casinos can also mean new information about bonuses. Even if you’re not a “bonus hound”, the power of getting money from the casino just can’t be ignored. You might as well see how you can get bonus cash for your gameplay in the future. The bonus cash offers usually do require that you use some of your money as well, but if you already plan to do this then there’s really no problem. There are also different bonus cash structures to choose from, and it just depends on how the casino wants to position the promotion.

We admit that not everyone is going to care about these reasons, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth it to at least check out everything at least once. But since information changes so quickly, do yourself a favor and check it out again. You can’t win if you don’t play, but you can’t play if you don’t get all of the great details in store for your future gameplay!

4 Key Skills that Every Poker Player Needs to Win

In contrast to most other types of games, poker is largely a game of strategy where you’re pitting your skills against those of the other players on your table. If you intend to do well then it is important that you hone certain skills so that you’re able to gain every advantage and come up on top the next time you play.

On the whole, there are four key skills that every poker player requires to win and they are:

Observation

Every good poker strategy relies on your ability to observe everything about your opponents. Not only should you be watching their reactions, but you should also be paying attention to their playing style and what they do when confronted with different situations. If you’re playing in a ‘live’ situation (or a poker room with a webcam) then the number of things that needs to be observed is even greater.

poker skills

Recall

After you observe how players react and their style, you need to be able to remember and recall that information when it is needed. Although this may sound simple it is actually pretty difficult especially considering there are so many things to remember and on top of all that you’ll also have to be thinking about how you’re playing the game too.

Calculating odds

No matter how you slice and dice it, poker is a game where you need to be fully aware of the odds at all time. The faster you’re able to calculate the right odds for your hands, the more time you’ll have to think about what sort of strategy you want to use – and also observe the other players too.

Psychological analysis

Everything that you learn by observing players needs to be analyzed – which is where psychology comes into play. More often than not what people refer to as ‘tells’ are really psychological reactions that players have – and you probably have some of your own too. Being able to analyze players and how they respond and react when put in different situations is key.

Make no mistake it is impossible to master all these areas overnight and it will take time for you to train yourself in each of these skills. As a starting point you could make a conscious effort to observe your opponents the next time they play and try to notice any ‘trends’ in terms of how they play certain hands, or when they are in certain positions.

At the same time you should also learn how to calculate the odds involved in your hands. It helps if you play more, and you may want to try out the online poker at Paddy Power to get a few more games under your belt and some real practice calculating odds. Just remember to take your time and don’t rush it. The more you play and try to develop your skills, the more you’ll start to see incremental improvements that slowly but surely add up.

Showing Cards

Everyone and their mother has an opinion on showing cards. If you bluff you way to a pot, do you show your hand to rub it in or do you just slide your cards to the middle of the table and stack your chips? If you fold a hand in a big pot is it ok to show what you mucked?

Personally I don’t like to show my cards under any circumstances, but there are times when showing your cards may help set a trap for a future hand. With that theory in mind, I’ve come up with my own compromise: Just show one card. Whoever said that if you’re going to show your hole cards, you have to show both? Showing one card can make your hand even more mysterious than not showing at all. I generally do this at least once at a table or tournament to throw off other players. I never knew its impact until I did it one night by “accident” in Atlantic City.

Texas_Hold_'em_Turn

I was playing in a low limit $2 / $4 hold em game. I was at the table for about an hour or so and was doing fairly well. I was up about $100. There was another player at the table who had to criticize other players when they won a hand on the river or didn’t play up his level. We’ll call him “Fred.” I think we’ve all encountered this type of player before. I immediately didn’t like Fred when he criticized me when I won my first pot. I was holding 6-7 of hearts and I flopped a straight. To make a long story short I won the pot with my straight, but the there were 3 spades on the board along with a pair of nines. I couldn’t raise my straight with the possible flush and full house out there. When I showed my straight Fred shouted across the table to me “Why didn’t you raise?!” I told him why (trying to be the gentleman), but Fred told me I played it wrong.

How to Play at Online Casinos Without Making a Deposit

Interested in playing at an online casino but don’t want to make a deposit (at least for the moment)? It may surprise you but it is actually possible to play at online casinos without spending a single dime – you just need to know how to do so.

Virtual Currency Online Casinos

Some online casinos will let players use virtual currency when playing their games. Essentially these games are exactly the same – the only difference being the fact that they are played using a virtual currency as opposed to real money.

Play at Online Casinos

Assuming you’d like to play a particular game in an online casino but don’t want to risk any of your real money when you do so then playing with virtual currency is a nice alternative. Some players use virtual currency games to try out new approaches and strategies for this exact reason.

The downside of playing with virtual currency however is that some players feel it lacks the excitement of playing with real money. After all, at the end of the day even if you do win the only thing you’re winning is a pile of virtual currency.

Cashing in on No Deposit Bonuses

Another way to play at online casinos without making a deposit is to take advantage of the bonuses that some casinos offer. While many online casino bonuses require a deposit, some online casinos have no deposit bonuses and sign-up bonuses that can be claimed without having to make a deposit.