Making Your Own Future

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3991I spent all last night watching the EU results come in until around 4am when it was obvious that the “leave” vote had won. I am not going to enter into political debate here as I never mix politics with poker….I voted but how I voted is academic. However I do know this….a lot of people rightly or wrongly are concerned about their future as a result of this referendum. The bottom line is that whatever the result had been be it leave or remain then millions of people would have been worried about their future anyway!

The latest data on debt levels in the UK are very sobering. The current level of debt in the UK has doubled in the past ten years and now stands at a staggering £1.47 TRILLION or 1470 BILLION (as of July 2015)!! This figure is rising and currently stands at about £4000 per adult (I did the maths). Whether we are in or out of the EU has NOTHING whatsoever to do with this figure and neither is which political party happens to be in power.

Brian-Townsend-2008-WSOP-Main-EventThere is an excellent poker training video by the poker player Brian Townsend where he talks about the biggest step that a poker player has to make in order to become a winner…… “Becoming responsible for your results”…..but doesn’t this reflect life in general? People are in financial difficulty in the UK (and in most other countries too) because they have made poor decisions in their life and do not take the responsibility for that.

So their debt levels spiral and they then make even further poor choices when it comes to controlling that debt and then trying to eliminate it. In 2002 I made the choice to stop making excuses as to why I wasn’t successful and other people were and stop accepting that they were lucky and I wasn’t and I got into poker in a serious way.

I had bummed out during my early years and that was MY FAULT…..not the governments fault or the EU or anything else because the fact of the matter is this……THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCES THAT HAPPEN WITHIN OUR LIVES ARE CREATED BY OURSELVES. Successful people and winners don’t need to be in the EU or out of the EU or for the Conservative Party or Labour Party to be in power or supposed good economic times….they succeed because they have creativity and they decide to do something productive about their future rather than sit back and hope for the best.


As I watched the results from the referendum come in, Sterling plunged after the early result from Newcastle. These were actions taken by smart traders shorting the Pound in anticipation of a leave vote happening. By the morning the Pound against the USD had fallen from $1.49 to $1.34……but GUESS WHAT! Traders had been shorting the pound and buying it back after it had fallen and had made MILLIONS! For every winner in life there are numerous losers and it’s your choice as to which side you are on……not luck or fate or what the “stars say”.

I recall the line delivered by Tom Hanks who played Jim Lovell in the movie Apollo 13 when he was sat on the lawn with his wife looking up at the moon after watching Neil Armstrong become the first man to step out onto its surface

“It’s not a miracle…..we just decided to go”



It was only when I became a successful online and live poker player, writer and coach did I realise that the reason for that success had simply been the determination to make something happen and the drive to follow it through. Poker is a way to change people’s lives and it is achievable unlike the plethora of false dawns and utopian avenues that people pursue like buying lottery tickets and scratch cards and hoping to find a job or get a pay rise.

If people want to change their life and have the desire to want to put the work and time in and they want to work with me then I am interested to speak with them. People that make money from poker simply take money from the people that lose it and the ones that get that money take steps to place themselves into the top 5% of players…..THE WINNERS! All they need if they have that desire is to reach out to the right people and be taught effective ways of playing poker or in other words…..WINNING!

Winning poker isn’t about being super smart, it isn’t about being incredibly lucky (not if you play cash games) and success doesn’t mean getting into debt like with University fees or loans and you don’t need to be a great poker player either (SNIPER takes care of that)……it’s about DESIRE to want to change your life and realising that the ONLY HURDLE that stands in your way is the person that you see looking back at you the next time that you look in the mirror.

Carl “The Dean” Sampson


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SNIPER: Winning the Battle of Decisions

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3991Poker is all about making decisions….we literally live and die so to speak at the poker table by not only the quality of our decisions but the quality of those decisions when pitched against the quality of the decisions from our opponents. So as the great poker theorist David Sklansky once said…. “Poker is a Battle of Decisions”.

This is what is so powerful about SNIPER because it puts index numbers and weight of money numbers onto situations that allow you to make BETTER and MORE ACCURATE poker decisions. In fact if you look at the high-stakes poker videos on this site then you will even see when you come on board just how effective SNIPER can really be at that exalted level of poker as well.


I go onto YouTube an awful lot these days because I find it more entertaining than the rubbish dished out on modern terrestrial and cable/Sky TV. I put the SNIPER numbers onto many cash game situations and it even holds its own against world class players which is certainly not what it was designed to do.

In fact when I put SNIPER into these hands and see the results it makes me even more proud of what for me is close to being my greatest achievement in poker. The development of SNIPER and my poker stable is the biggest reason why I now play less live poker and certainly online poker and concentrate more and more on the business of poker.

There is one HUGE reason as to why my coaching methods work and you only need to look at the following image to see why.


Anybody that enrols in SNIPER will not be attending lectures, there are no audio-visual aids and so no videos and there are certainly no demos. There are no group discussions and while there is a lot or reading……it isn’t just random reading but reading about the index numbers that allow you to make many more powerful poker decisions.

Couple this with practice of being involved in my poker stable and the fact that you will be able to teach SNIPER to others if you so choose means that my methods are PARTICIPATORY in nature and not passive…..they are not passive because you can take SNIPER into battle within a very short space of time after enrolling.

Contact Carl “The Dean” Sampson for details of his SNIPER programme at and you can also see Carl at

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The Future is SNIPER….Make it Happen!

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sta_pic_0There is no doubt that poker changed my life and there is no doubt that it can change yours too. Back in 2014 when I first devised the SNIPER system I was acutely aware of just how flawed modern poker had become and not to mention how complex…..I felt it had to be simplified and the famous quote by Leonardo Da Vinci which says “Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication” is displayed on the home page of my PC. It was Albert Einstein who remarked that “things should be as simple as possible but not more so” meaning….keep things simple but don’t overdo it.

This complexity is the main pivotal reason as to why people are simply not making money from poker and certainly not making life changing sums of money. There are simply too many voices and too much opinion and complexity so is it any wonder that people can’t see the wood for the trees? If you factor in that the majority of players are following the EXACT same theory lines and using broadly similar styles then you have the making of poker Armageddon.

There is no doubt that poker and especially online poker has gotten tougher in which to make money but for one simple reason…..a combination of ego (playing too high) and too many people playing the same way has compressed earn rates. Too many are playing similar poker styles to each other and not exploring other avenues!


Live games are every bit as profitable as they were due to the influx of a new wave of recreational amateur tournament players many of who venture into cash games. I made £34k (around $50k) in 18 months just playing part-time around 15-20 hours a week in live games using SNIPER around the UK between 2012 and 2014 and that figure is rising as I still play live and when I do play then I use SNIPER. Prior to that I was using SNIPER in online $25, $50 and $100 ring games and doing very well there also.

The system itself is not only UNIQUE… is also devastatingly effective and uses financial day trading principles at its very core that allows players to KNOW when to launch bluffs, when to value bet and how much and more importantly when their opponents are bluffing and when they are value betting.

In short it tells you in a systematic way just when to fold and when to bluff successfully. Making bad calls and losing money is an earn rate killer…..SNIPER corrects this. Making bad folds and being bluffed when you could have called and won or raised and won is also an earn rate killer…..SNIPER corrects this also. How many times have you missed value because you didn’t know that your opponent was strong enough to call a much bigger bet?

1491391-thumbnailSNIPER does all this and it achieves this objective by placing index numbers and weight of money ratios onto each situation that you encounter at the table. The unique F.E.R.N or “Fold Equity Ratio Number” is a fantastic concept that has card counting principles as its very core. Couple this with the W.O.M or “Weight of Money” ratio number and you have a massively powerful money making tool at your disposal. The SNIPER system is revealed in a 40 lesson course that incorporates not just the SNIPER but also an entire blueprint for playing professional level poker.

To Gain an Edge…..Be Different!

The course is called “SNIPER: Professional Poker Blueprint” and is designed for live cash games and lower stakes online poker games. It doesn’t just teach the SNIPER and how to make money playing poker but how to think like a professional. You can basically put all of your books to one side and coaching videos because these have been holding you back. This isn’t because these guys are stupid or bad poker players or even telling you things that are wrong…..but they are in business to coach EVERYBODY so where is the edge in everybody knowing the same tactics?

If you are not making money in poker or your game is stagnating then you owe it to yourself to try the SNIPER. On top of that I am also taking any interested parties and bringing them on board into my stable of poker players who if these people so wish can enter into an ongoing poker business relationship with me where I coach them in SNIPER and then stake them for as long as they so choose.

If you want to change your life and become part of a poker partnership or if you want to supercharge your poker game or if you just want to damn well do something exciting and want to work with me and join the team then drop me a message to and l will get back to you as soon as possible

Carl “The Dean” Sampson is also one of the leading poker players and theorists on


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The Evolving Poker Player

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1491391-thumbnailThere have been periods of my poker career where I was a full time pro. There were also periods where I was a part-time player and periods where I didn’t play poker at all. The times when I wasn’t playing poker at all tended to be when I thought that there was something wrong with my game. So I elevated learning more than playing and this is important if you want to correct any flaw or flaws that you have as quickly as possible.

My own fundamental weakness was that I was not a trained poker player or one that was coached until recently. The worst way to learn poker is to do it in an isolated way without personalised outside professional help. Many players that were previously making money that are no longer making money will argue that the games have become tougher. If they are referring to the average opponent being quite knowledgeable now then they are correct. However there is always value at the lower levels simply because the average player doesn’t have all that much time to dedicate to learning the game.


The time that the average player has available is used primarily to play although there has been a far greater learning period than a few years ago and players these days have access to far superior coaching material. If you think that the poker games are tougher then you need to examine your own game. In the overwhelming majority of cases then previously successful players tend to be sound poker players and many of them have good ABC games. However once you move into an environment where there isn’t really much to choose between your style and everyone else’s then the profit potential dies.

A common buzz word in poker at the moment is “standard”. A line is “standard” or a particular tactic is “standard”. In my opinion then “standard” is just another name for something that is well known and widely used. Standard in this context means a well-trodden path. So just how effective can lines be if they are “standard”? Well that all depends on how high you play but the very best poker players in the world analyse their games differently to the rest. Understanding the game dynamic is the first step but adjusting to play non-standard lines that work is the next.

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At the higher levels of play then you need to be at the very forefront of the changes in game dynamics just like day traders otherwise you are either playing the same as everyone else or being exploited by the very elite players that deviated from conventional play first. Let us have a look at standard plays. It is folded around to you on the button with the Qs-Js. If you raise here then the raise is standard for the situation and especially if you raise to around 3bb-3.5bb. If your opponent calls from the big blind and the flop comes 10c-8d-4h and they check then your c-bet is standard.

You have the overcard outs plus the inside straight draw for a decent level of pot equity. Only having one opponent and a relatively dry board means that the c-bet is “standard”! If your opponent check-raises you then if you shove all in then you have deviated very widely from standard play. All this is beside the point though because the topic of today’s post was in how effective “standard” lines are. This is a major factor in my opinion for why previously successful players stop making money. They play at levels where their opponents adjust to “current theory” constantly and their own adjustments either only match up to that or fall short.

Carl Sampson is an online poker pro who plays at 888poker

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Know the Basics

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21It may seem very trivial to many people but simply knowing the rules of the game is an area that many poker players don’t even bother with at sites like 888 for example. The rules of poker differ somewhat and they certainly differ from game to game with huge differences in how various forms of poker are conducted.

For example I have run across many players who struggle when moving across from say no limit hold’em to Omaha based on the fact that in Omaha then you have to use two cards in your hand and three from the board.

The game rules in Omaha confuse many a novice player and this can be easily highlighted for example with the following hand. Let us say that in four card Omaha you get dealt the Kc-Jd-10h-8s and the final board is 9s-9d-8c-4h-8h. In hold’em then you would have a full house of nines over eights because you can play one card from your hand.

However in Omaha then the rules state that you must play two cards and so you only have one eight from your hand plus one other card! For you to be able to make a full house here then you need to have a four in your hand or a nine or possibly a pair of fours.


Another example could be if the final board is 9-9-4-4-9, taking your previous hand then you still do not have a full house. Remember that you must use only three cards from the middle and so the three nines must combine with two cards from your starting hand. Seeing as you do not hold a pair then you cannot have a full house.

You would be amazed at just how many players I have seen commit huge errors in this area and even experienced players who should know better often misread their hand in Omaha. Just like in any form of poker then not knowing the rules of the game can really hurt you where it hurts the most…….in your pocket.

Carl Sampson is a professional poker player that plays online at 888poker

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Taking Your Game to the Next Level

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sta_pic_0I have often read poker books in the past that have talked about the number of reasons that you have to place money into the pot by either betting or raising. The reasons that I have seen quoted have numbered from half a dozen to as many as twelve depending on who the author is. However the reasons that I have seen haven’t been reasons at all but consequences of taking certain actions.

The fact remains that when you bet or raise in poker then you are either doing so for value or to bluff……..there are no other reasons.

Sophisticated players often merge the two reasons but there are only two. This is because you either have the best hand in any given situation or you don’t. Also your opponent either has a hand that can withstand action or it can’t and the same applies to you. One of the things that you will notice when you play poker is that there are an awful lot of “either/or” type scenarios. If you feel that your hand is not only the best hand but if you bet then your opponent can call then you are betting for value.

If you feel that your opponent is unlikely to be able to call then you are no longer betting for value but just aimlessly betting. Likewise if you feel that you don’t have the best hand, if you bet or raise then you are bluffing. However if you also feel that there is very little chance that your opponent can fold then you are not actually bluffing or at the very least then you are either bluffing badly or with no forethought at all. What actually confuses many novice players is that you can actually have the best hand but you still need to bluff.

Knowing When to Pull the Trigger

This can be seen with the following example. You have Ad-Jc on a 10h-6s-2c board and your opponent has the Ac-9c. Clearly although you have the best hand, the important factor here is that both you and your opponent have weak hands. Your hand of ace jack high is only marginally better than your opponent’s hand of ace ten high. While your hand will win the pot at showdown, the fact of the matter is that both you and your opponent are weak. So if you bet then you are not betting for value for the simple reason that a worse hand will not call.

thSo if you are not betting for value then you are bluffing even though your hand is better than your opponent’s hand. Your bet is actually signalling to your opponent that you have a hand that is stronger than what you actually hold. Because this is not the case then you are telling a lie to your opponent and that means bluffing. If you can remember that in poker then you are only ever placing money into the pot for two reasons and they are to either bet or raise for value or to bet or raise to bluff.

If you cannot bet or raise for value or to bluff then this leaves you with only one possible option and that is to check. When you look at poker in this way then suddenly the entire game becomes logical and many of the problems that you have been encountering suddenly make a lot more sense. One of the biggest leaks in the games of novice and even intermediate level poker players is that they place money into the pot for either the wrong reasons or for no reason whatsoever which is many times worse.


Carl Sampson is an online poker pro and poker ambassador for 888poker

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How Poker Strategy Evolves

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sta_pic_0Over time then strategies evolve in poker and one strategy that has certainly evolved is pot control. Firstly I have never liked the term “pot control” because it implies that you can actually control something that cannot actually be controlled. I prefer to use the term “pot size manipulation” which is a more accurate description of betting or checking to influence the pot size at the end of the hand.
There is nothing fundamentally wrong with pot control but it does fall flat on its face in several key ways. Firstly astute opponents will attempt to take advantage of that by escalating the very pot that you are looking to control. For example if you raise before the flop and are called by the big blind who then sees you bet the flop and then check the turn after they call the flop c-bet, then it is pretty obvious to your opponent that you don’t hold a strong hand.
You are either checking the turn with a very weak hand with little pot equity and giving up or you are going into pot control with a moderate hand. Now your opponent knows that you could fold to a big bet and can bet big on the river in an attempt to force you to fold. Another line that an astute player could take is check-raising the river if you decide to bet for thin value. This is going to put you into a difficult spot and many players would fold to a river check-raise if they cannot figure out in time that their opponent cannot possibly hold a strong hand.

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So pot control can be exploited and actually is exploited by better players. Another way that pot control tactics can be exploited is when you are out of position with a moderate hand against a tight player. Let us say that it is open raised from the cut-off by a reg and you call from the big blind with the Jd-10d. The flop comes 10c-6h-3s and you check and call your opponents c-bet. Your opponents range is wide and so your check-call extracts value from all of his weak c-betting range.
However if your opponent is both tight and giving up unless they improve then check-calling the flop and checking the turn is not a good line to take if your opponent will not place any more money into the pot unless they improve to beat top pair. Like for example if they held the Ah-2h and the turn card was an ace. Here you would be forced to call another barrel but your opponent is extracting value from you when they connect and not having to concede value if they don’t.
This is the value of having position and the flaw in exercising pot control when out of position to players that don’t have high aggression factors. You simply cannot use a strategy that allows your opponent to only place money into the pot on their terms and their terms only. So in the previous example you could consider check-raising the flop. This may appall pot control merchants but the check-raise will end a lot of pots with immediate effect.

Carl Sampson is an online poker pro and poker ambassador for 888poker

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Knowing Why You Bet

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sta_pic_0Some years ago when I first started reading poker books (too many to remember) then I would often see passages that discussed the reasons as to why we bet or raised in poker. Depending on which book you read then these reasons could be anywhere from between half a dozen and a dozen in number. This led to confusion and confusion is something that we need to avoid in our quest to improve our poker games to a level that gets us an edge against the masses.
One of the best passages that I have ever read on this subject was in the excellent Easy Game by Andrew Seidman. In that book Seidman breaks it down into just two key reasons as to why we bet or raise and those reasons are for either value or to bluff. Someone once said that “simplicity was the true genius” and in terms of wading through a potentially complex field like poker then simplicity is needed. If you look at a poker hand in a very simplistic way then certain obvious factors suddenly become much deeper in meaning and importance.CCF11062016_PPE COV
For example (accepting the rare occasions where we are tied with our opponent) in any given situation then we either have the best hand or we don’t. This is almost like a “heads and tails” situation. If we do conclude that we have the best hand then if we bet or raise then we are doing so for value most of the time unless having the “best” hand still means that our hand is weak as in if we hold A-Q on a 10-7-3 rainbow flop and our opponent holds A-J. In this instance then we are betting and raising as a bluff even though we hold the best hand.
Once you understand these basic but vital poker concepts then you will realise that they form the bedrock of all poker decisions. Just as Seidman says in Easy Game “suddenly poker will make a lot more sense”. As you gain experience then you will see situations where value betting and bluffing merge and this allows you to not only be creative with your decision making but it also allows you to bet and raise for the right reasons. I honestly think that chapter one in Easy Game will be revolutionary for millions of poker players worldwide who have struggled with their game.
I wished that I had access to this book years ago because I was betting for the wrong reasons. At the time then “betting for information” or probe betting as it was also known was a common so called “reason” for betting. It is only when you look back with more experience and knowledge that you can see the error and flaw in this way of thinking about poker. It simply leads to you betting for the wrong reasons on so many occasions.


Carl Sampson is an online poker pro and poker ambassador for 888poker

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Are you really a poker player?

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thIt is a fallacy that all players can be good poker players but yet millions of people all over the world flock into poker for the entertainment value, excitement value and also profit potential. However poker exposes your very personality and this is what makes the game tough to beat at any level. Let us say that you were thinking of playing the $0.01-$0.02 micro levels and you deemed to be a sound player. Now most people would argue that a solid poker player would be guaranteed to beat these levels but yet I would wager that many high-stakes players wouldn’t beat $2 games.
If you find that you simply cannot respect the money at this low level then you have no chance of beating the level. This clearly shows that technical knowledge by itself isn’t enough at any level of play. In fact having technical knowledge is only part of the puzzle and it is almost useless if you never exercise that knowledge. In that aspect then the knowledge serves no more purpose than useless trivia. So if you are not a natural poker player and by that I mean that you have certain weaknesses that are not helping you play good poker then you have to come at the problem from a different angle.

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One such angle is to make your game systematic almost like a day trader. This word horrifies many people but the process of making your game systematic removes many negative factors from your game. Firstly it removes emotion from your game because your decisions are almost being taken out of your hands. Secondly it stops you from doing rash and impulsive things and if you can stop doing that then your poker is always being played on the same level. You may not be playing your “A” game and you may always be playing your “C” game but you are never stooping to play your “E” and “F” game……EVER!
If your views and opinions are not guaranteed to make money because you have no experience then using a system that is almost “automated” in nature is a big step forward and it is one that I think is an essential step for millions of players. In my experience then the vast majority of people who come into poker have flaws that are not conducive to playing the game well. Everybody has an “A” game where when they are on it makes them a very strong player. However there is a difference between someone being strong and being temporarily strong.
An analogy can be made with football, a lower league team can raise their game on any given day and beat a much better team in a one off cup tie. However this doesn’t alter the fact that there is a gulf between the teams even though the lesser team won on the day. Poker is like this because of the luck aspect within the game then players tend to naturally play better poker when they are winning and so are then automatically on their “A” game.
However if you play in an automatic pilot style way then you have actually redefined your “A” game into something else. Suddenly your “A” game has new boundaries and this is when you can really be on your game all the time. To play a very good automated style means having a lot of poker theory behind you and playing at stake levels where this style works because your opponents are making fundamental mistakes! So the facts are plain as day, you are in all likelihood not a natural poker player but the good news is…….neither are your opponents.


Carl Sampson is an online poker pro and poker ambassador for 888poker

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Do you need to know Maths?

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I get asked a lot of things in my capacity as a poker player and one that I was asked the other day is how much maths is needed in the game……actually the answer is surprisingly little. But there is an awful lot of odds/probabilities/psychology/game theory and logic involved. If you look at a piece of software like PokerStove for example then it is clear that equity calculations can be done for you. If you ever hear top class players speak about the game then it becomes clear that their level of understanding is far and away better than yours.

This can leave people a little intimidated about playing higher levels. However poker is a language and that language has evolved just like any other but once you speak that language then what these people are actually saying and talking about makes sense. I am not strong at maths but I am strong in game theory and psychology which is clearly not the same thing. So from my own standpoint then I too do not base my game too much on maths but I do base it heavily on statistics/data/logic and a thorough understanding of my opponents.

If you play low enough then good solid card dependent strategies can and will take you a long way. If your post flop game is solid then you can be a winning player doing relatively simple things. However with obvious betting lines in certain situations then your opponents at higher levels will jump all over that. Say for example you raise pre-flop and it gets called by a single opponent who then calls two barrels on the flop and turn. This line of raise-call-bet-call-bet-call is common.

So if you check the river then a weaker player may check it back happy that you checked so that they don’t have to put any more money in the pot. But stronger players will call two streets for different reasons and one reason is to see what you do on further streets. So when you check the river then this looks exactly what it is and is someone either checking for pot control or giving up on a bluff. So if your opponent has nothing then a big bet gets you off all of your fresh air hands and puts you under severe pressure to make a tough call with mediocre hands.

This is what better players do to your betting lines at higher levels. They notice more what you have done in the past and adjust. This means that set strategies do not work as well once you hit higher levels. In fact if you wanted to play a lot of tables these days then I wouldn’t recommend playing any higher than NL100 and probably lower. So the upshot of this article is that there is not as much mathematics in poker as what you think but a tremendous amount of other data compensates for that.


Carl Sampson is an online poker pro and poker ambassador for 888poker

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