During the 20th Century poker has transformed from a recreational activity played by male enthusiasts, to a widely popular spectator activity with huge prizes and an international fan base full of online casino fans. The World Poker Tour gives players the chance to win huge prizes. Below are some of the most successful poker players around.
The Iranian Magician is the undisputed king of poker. As of July 2013 his total tournament winnings exceed $25.5 million. At the age of 26 he won his first World Poker Tour title in L.A. taking home close to $1.4million. He has placed first in six tournaments and has three World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets. His most recent price was a cool $329,339 for a fourth place finish in the Five Star World Championship Event in December 2012.
Nottingham born Trickett is the most successful British poker player of all time. He has eight first place finishes and three bracelets. Trickett made his name in 2012 when he scooped a colossal $10,112,001 in the WSOP Big One for One Drop. With total prize winnings of $19,752,481, he is the second most successful poker player of all-time.
New Yorker Seidel is a veteran on the poker tour; he finished second in his first major tournament, the 1988 WSOP. With an impressive 23 first place finishes as well as eight WSOP bracelets; it’s no surprise that he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010. Seidel total winnings come to $17,285,021.
Another veteran of the tour, the Canadian has amassed an impressive $16,532,751 in winnings, placing first in 34 tournaments and collecting four WSOP bracelets. He has also taught a variety of celebrities the game, notably actor Tobey Maguire.
The mathematical aspect of poker can be a little unnerving for some players, but with a little bit of practice, a sound understanding of the fundamentals can go a long way.
One of these fundamentals is pot odds.
Pot odds are a mathematical expression that presents you with your risk-to-reward ratio for calling a bet. It is a quick calculation that you make when you are deciding whether to call a bet, particularly connected to action when you are holding a drawing hand.
The calculation of pot odds takes into consideration the ratio of the pot relative to how much it is to make the call.
Example: The action folds around to you in the small blind. At this time the size of the pot is your opponent’s big blind and your small blind.
If you choose to call it is going to cost you another small blind. If you break your opponent big blind down into two small blinds then you can see that your cost of a call is 3 to 1.
Now let’s imagine that you do make the call and after a series of plays you and your opponent find yourselves at the river. The pot is now $1,000 strong and you have one pair. You check and the big blind bets $200. The pot is now $1,200 and it costs you just $200 to call. 1.200/200 = 6 to 1.
So, you should call if you believe these odds are good enough to justify the money that you put into the pot. The key criteria being do I have a better than 6 to 1 chance of winning this pot should I call? Or put another way, does your opponent have a hand that is worse than yours 14% of the time?
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Table selection is one of the key principles when it comes to cultivating a winning poker game. It’s vital because the better poker player will achieve that mantle by making fewer mistakes than his, or her, opponents.
To increase the likelihood that this becomes a reality, you need to make sure that you avoid playing with people who are better than you.
To create a good strategy for table selection you need to create a colour coding system to identify different player types. Most online poker sites offer this facility, and it allows you to quickly browse the lobby to see if there any tables that are top-heavy with weaker players.
So how do you know who is a good player?
The two main ways to ascertain whether a player is talented, or not, is to pay attention when you play, or alternatively, use tracking sites like Sharkscope or Official Poker Rankings. Then create a colour for each type of player: Top quality, break even, fish and the jury is out.
Once you have a system to categorise the strength of your opponent’s it’s time to choose a table. A good rule of thumb is to find tables that possess at least three weak players on a nine-handed table, but this is easier said than done. If you can’t find that Golden Goose then try to find tables that contain one fish and then a consistency high in break even players.
If this all seems a little too much for you then you can always simplify things by collecting a Betfair free poker bonus and purchasing table selection software. Products like TableScan Turbo and even your Heads-Up Displays (HUDs), like PokerTracker and Hold’em Manager, possess table-scanning software that does the hard work for you.
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The game of poker is evolving all of the time. At this years World Series of Poker (WSOP), the Carnivale of Poker mini-series is going to hold an Open Face Chinese event, which if successful might be a bracelet event in 2014. Nobody would have thought this was possible a few years ago, but tournament poker is an ever-changing feast these days.
Here are three very different forms of tournament poker, all of which can be experienced with Betfair Online:
#1 Ante Up
An Ante Up tournament is a form of tournament poker that doesn’t see any increase in the blind levels. They may begin at 5/5 and remain that way throughout the tournament. Instead the antes increase each blind level. So if you were playing 5/5 with an ante of 4.5k there would be 36,010 in the pot to play for, each orbit, and only 5 to limp into the pot.
#2 Crazy Pineapple
Crazy Pineapple is a tournament format where each player is given three hole cards and a pre flop round of betting ensues. The flop is then laid and another round of betting ensues. Each player must discard one of their three cards to leave them with a two-card hand and play resumes as in standard No-Limit Hold’em (NLE).
There are different variations of Irish, but the commonly found game on the Internet is one where players are dealt four cards face down. There is a round of betting, a flop, another round of betting before players must discard two of their cards before continuing like in NLHE.
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Imagine you are walking into the casino and are about to take your seat in your local game, or you are on line playing Betfair Speed Poker. You have a friend who is desperate to play, but they have never played poker in their life. You have about two minutes to offer some advice. So what is it going to be? What few words can give the maximum impact in just a few minutes?
Those two words are the best pieces of advice that you could give to a beginner and there is a lesson to be learned for the experienced player as well. Poker is a game that takes you on a journey and the experienced player can sometimes lose their way. They too once received this advice but now find themselves playing far too many pots. Becoming a coach can often help you screw that head on the right way around.
If you are on the Betfair iPoker Site and teaching someone to play poker for the first time, then teach them that they can only play a strict number of hands irrespective of what position they are in. Limit their options to any pocket pair, KQs+ and AQs+ and let them loose.
At least this way they are always going to have a fighting chance when in the pot. It also gives them the vital lesson of learning to fold, whilst affording them the time to focus on what else is going on in the game. How much are people betting? What are they showing down? When, and why, are they raising?
Playing tight is a great foundation from which to start your poker learning.
Poker is a game of incomplete information and your job is to piece as much of the jigsaw together, look at the incomplete picture and take your best shot. Your opponents are an important part of this jigsaw, and so you need to make sure that you eyeball them at all times. Put down that iPhone, place the iPad in the bag and throw that online poker tips book underneath the chair. The only time your eyes should avert from the table is when the pretty lady comes around to ask you if you want a drink.
But what should I be looking for?
Be is in a friend’s front room or at one of the WSOP 2013 Qualifiers, the first thing you should be trying to determine is how experienced they are. You should be able to piece together what you have in front of you to make a decent informed decision. Their mannerisms and moves at the table will paint a pretty accurate picture of how experienced they are.
Next you need to understand if they have a handle on position. Who seems to be opening up from early position too often? Who is only opening from early position sparingly? When you pick up on the positional knowledge of your opponent’s it helps assign more accurate hand ranges.
Another area you should be creating a judgment on is how loose or tight are they playing? Once again this allows you to set your own hand range when deciding to call or three-bet. Lastly, always try and remember the little nuances that stick in your mind. Maybe you saw a player check-raising the flop and then always check/folding the turn? Maybe you saw a player squeeze from the same position three times in the last six or seven orbits?
Collating information on your opponents is vital. Save your electronic gadgetry for your spare time at home.
When the super heroes all gather around Spiderman’s house for their Friday night game of poker, there is always one person who fails to make the list. Poor old Superman is stuck with Friday night TV as the rest of the guy’s battle it out for pot after pot. It’s not that they don’t like Superman. In fact, they think he’s a nice guy, but he does have x-ray vision.
If you could see what hand your opponent was holding then you would win all of the money. But normal human beings are not blessed like the man from Krypton. But the understanding that Superman would win most of the money, if he could see the other persons hand, it one worth examining in deeper detail, and this is where hand reading skills come into play.
Poker is a game of incomplete information. The job of the poker player is to acknowledge the pieces of information that are available to him, and then by using his skill and experience, fill in the missing pieces. The better you become at this art, the closer to the red and blue cape you become.
A lot of beginners don’t understand how to hand read. They spend their time trying to identify their opponent’s particular holding, instead of widening their perspective. In poker, it’s not the exact hand that you are after (although that would be nice); instead it’s the range of hands an opponent is holding that is most important, especially in Betfair Poker Live Prague events.
Starting pre flop, each time your opponent makes a play, ask yourself what possible hands could he be holding to make him want to act in that way. Then as each street progresses remove or include hands that make even more sense.
By the time you reach the river, you should have a pretty good handle on the type of hands your opponent is holding. This is the process of great hand reading.
Read more about the professional poker circuit on the Betfair WSOP website.