Thursday, January 5, 2012

Calculating Outs part 3

But its not enough to calculate your outs. You have to consider the cards of your opponents, too.
Using the example from the previous post with different opponent cards:
We are holding: A, K
Our opponent holds: A♣, 9
Flop: 7,3♣,9

When an Ace hits the turn or the river we still get our pair. But our opponent gets a double-pair which is stronger.
=> Out hand will not be the winning hand if an Ace shows up.
Now our 15 outs (3 A, 3K, 9 Hearts) suddenly become 12 outs, because you would not win with the Aces.

What if our opponent holds pocket 7?

We are holding: A, K
Our opponent holds: 7♣, 7
Flop: 7,3♣,9

Aces or Kings won't help in this situation because he has a triple. The only remaining possibility is the flush. But a 3 will give him a full house.
So the number of our outs shrink to 15 -3(Aces won't help) - 3(Kings won't help) -1 (3 will give him full house)
=> only 8 outs left.

Even if we make our hand on the turn, even if we would hit a heart on the turn our opponent will have 10 outs left to make a better hand!
One 7, three 3s, three 9s and three of whatever car  hit the turn. So even if you have a flush he has 10 outs to make quads or a full house and beat you.

Runner-Runner Outs
If you need two cards to make your winning hand, one on the turn and one on the river, it is called a runner-runner out.

We are holding: 5,6
Our opponent holds: A♣, Q
Flop: 5, 7, Q♣

We have 5 ordinary outs:
Two 5s to make trips, Three 6s to make double-pair.

But we have also one runner-runner flush out (if a heart hits turn and river) and one runner-runner straight out (Turn 4, River 3 or Turn 4, River 8 or Turn 8, River 9)

So a total of 7 outs.

=> Do not put your money in for a second pair when they have top pair!

Calculating Outs part 2

Lets look at another example:
We are holding: A, K
Our opponent holds: J♣, J♠
Flop: 7,3♣,9

In this case the AK of hearts is the weaker hand.To win we have following options:
A pair with either the King or the Ace.
A double pair with King and Ace.
A triple with King or the Ace.
A flush.

You can categorize the first three options.
For all of them you need at least one King or one Ace. There are 3 remaining Kings and 3 remaining Aces in the deck. That gives us 6 outs for the first three options.

For the flush we need another card of hearts. There are 9 remaining heart cards left in the deck. So that gives us another 9 outs.
=> total of 15 outs for that situation

We know now that there is a maximum of 15 winning cards left in the deck. But some cards may have been already folded or some could be in our opponent's hand.
But since we don't know what cards have been folded we have to proceed under the assumption that all of our potential outs are available.

Common "outs" Situations:
- Flop a flush draw => 9 outs
- Flop a flush draw with two over cards (seen in example above) => 15 outs
- Flop an open-ended straight draw => 8 outs
- Flop a gut-shot straight draw => 4  outs (i.e. 5,6,8,9: you need the 7, only 4 7s left)
- Under-pair to your opponents over-pair => 2 outs
- If neither you or your opponent have a pair, but he is still ahead => 6 outs
(i.e. he has A,K; you have Q,J => 3 Jacks, 3 Queens)
- Flop a straight flush draw => 15 outs

Remember tho, you usually don't have all your outs to come and improve your hand.

Calculating outs part 3

Calculating Outs part 1

In this blogpost i will show you how to calculate the number of outs you have for a given hand. You probably saw it on TV: a player puts all his chips in the middle and then asks the dealer: "just one time!"
He is begging the dealer to give him one of his outs: a card to make his loosing hand the winning hand.
What are outs?
They are the card, or cards, that can hit the board to give a player who is holding a losing hand a winning one.

One basic example:
You have pocket Jacks and go all-in pre-flop. A player behind you calls and shows pocket aces. How many cards in the deck can give you the winning hand?

Pre-flop there are only 2 outs: the 2 remaining Jacks
Lets say the flop is 8,  9 and 10 offsuit. Now how many outs do you have?
The answer is 10.
7 and Q would both give you a straight. There are 4 7s and 4 Qs left in the deck so 8 outs for a straight. Plus the 2 outs from pre-flop which would give you trips or possibly quads.

=> The number of outs can increase or decrease depending on the cards which fall on the flop or turn.

I will post more examples in one of the next posts and show you ways to easily determine the number of out at any given time with any given hand.

Calculating Outs part 2

Intro to Poker Math

In the next couple of blog posts i will write about poker math. Many of you will now say: i don't want to learn  that, its too complicated.
But I assure you: this topic is very simple and easy to master and
When you understand the math...
-you make better decisions
-you win more money
-you win more pots

Poker is a game filled with numbers:
Stack sizes - Blind levels - Money in the pot - Players in the pot

Numbers are important to poker so you need to understand the math behind them!

In the next couple of blog post I will show you how to calculate
2.Pot odds
3.Implied odds
4.The "M"

Of course poker consists of many elements and math is just one little part of it but understanding and applying poker math is critical in analyzing hands and making decisions.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Proper bet sizing

No limit hold'em means you can bet whatever amount you want when you want during a hand. But nevertheless dont just bet randomly!
The very best players bet consistently throughout a hand.
Espscially in tournaments it is important to size your bets based on the size of the pot and the size of your stack.

The "ideal bet":
-between 1/2 and 2/3 of the pot.
-consistency: pick a percentage to use throughout the game or tournament no matter what size the pot is.

The opposite of the "ideal bet" is the "minimum bet". It is equal to the size of the big blind.
A "min bet" is almost never correct, unless the "min bet" is equal to 1/2 or 2/3 of the pot.

The "pot size" bet:
-A bet equal to the amount of chips already in the pot.
A "pot size" bet is typically not correct, but it can be used in certain situations.
-Puts maximum pressure on an opponent without betting all your chips
-To confuse opponents if you hit a great flop

The "all-in" bet:
-A bet with all your chips.
Allows you to apply maximum pressure on your opponent. Its the right play to make if you are betting 1/3 or more of your entire stack. By moving all in instead of betting 1/3 of your stack you have no further action in the hand, but to sit back and watch the cards. And you dont have to make a desicion for the few chips you have left.
If you have less than 15 times the big blind pre-flop, moving all-in on any hand you choose to play is the standard move.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Defensive betting

When you are defensively betting your goal is to have your opponent call or fold only so they dont take the lead or rase your hand.
Bet defensively when you are on a draw and have not made your hand yet.
I.e. we played 7,8s in middle position. On flop we get a flush draw. Checking in that situation is ok but it might not be the best decision because we give up potential value if we hit that draw.
But this would give our opponent the chance to make a bet which would force us to fold.

The trick to betting defensively is to make a bet big enough for them to call or fold, but cheap enough that it doesnt cost you too much to see the next card.
Usually a bet around 1/3 the size of the pot is the right bet.

Another example for the goals of betting

This time we want our opponent to call or raise our bet.
We are in middle position with poket eights and we raised three times the big blind in pre-flop. The player in the big blind position calls. Lets assume he has A 9 offsuit.
The flop is Ace of spades 8 of hearts and 3 of hearts.

We have triple 8 and our opponent a pair of aces.
How can we bet to get the most amount of money out of our opponent?
We want to makeour hand look weaker than it actually is.
How can we do this?

-If you act first, and your opponent is aggresive make a small bet roughly 1/2 the pot. If hes not aggesive just check and hope that he raises for you.
-If your opponent acts first and checks, you could check to make him think his aces look good.
-If he raises you should just call.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Making Money with Online Poker as a Beginner

The temptation is big: lots of thousands of dollars are moving through the online poker rooms. Everyone wants his share and wants to make money with online poker.
Sometimes you play and you won a big amount of money, but sometimes you loose a big amount of money. Usually for begginers the negative side is more.
Then you think about the time you won and you ask yourself the question what am i doing wrong at the moment. Probably nothing major! Your stack will always flucktuate and if you dont make any big mistakes it is more luck than skill in what direction it fluctuates.

The problem is that online pokerrooms always collect a rake (some percentage of the pot). So especially at beginner tables it is not unlikely that everyone looses. If you really want to make money with online poker you have to make a constant plus per hand and play at a lot of tables with high blinds.
That means:
-ALOT of practice
-seed capital
-immunity towards frustration

In conclusion: DO NOT try to make money with online poker as a beginner!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The goals of betting

As mentioned in the last to posts:
You want your bets to have purpose and you want your bet to tell a story to get your opponents to act the way you want them to.
How do you do this?
First, you have to identify what you want them to do.
There are only three possibilities: fold, call or raise.
One example:
Your on a 9 player table and you have KQ offsuit. You raise to 3 times the big blind preflop and only one opponent is left. The flop brings King of hearts and Queen of hearts and four of spades. You hit a top two pair. What do you do now?

Even though you hit top two pair, it is still a scary flop. Your opponent might have a flush draw or a straight draw. You want to end the hand right now.

The first thing to determine is what kind of player he is.
A: Loose (more likely to chase cards)
B: Tight (most likely to fold)

As your opponent will only hit the draw 1/3 of a time betting half the pot will likely get a tight player to fold because the odds are not in his favor for the amount of money he has to put in.
Against a loose opponent a 1/2 the pot bet is probably to small. You will have to make a full pot bet or even over bet the pot to try to get him to fold. In some cases this may mean going all in.