The SNIPER professional poker coaching and staking partnership

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As you know my name is Carl Sampson and a few of you may be already aware of my pen name of “The Dean” as I have authored several books on gambling and written for numerous main poker magazines in the past like the WPT and Bluff Europe and hundreds of websites.

I am currently a poker pro at 888 and you can see my blog at http://pokerworld.pacificpoker.com/pokerblogs I would now like to announce a project that I have been working on for quite some time in connection with Poker Pro Europe and Online Poker Pro magazines that I currently write for.

This is “Project Poker Pro” or in other words, a coaching program that is designed by me to try and convert one hundred people into being winning poker players using the very same system that I use and have used for many years…….a system that I affectionately call “The Sniper”.

Hopefully some of the students will be so successful that they become fully fledged poker pros’ and the ones that do well will be featured in either of these two widespread and widely read poker magazines.

I am now taking inquiries from interested parties who would be willing to strike up a deal with a professional poker player and coach to be coached and then staked to play cash games. There will be an initial sign-up fee and that is both for my time and for access to the Sniper program and course lessons as well as permanent ongoing back up. This is also to show commitment and to prevent people from simply “stealing” the course data.

Permanent Back Up

Also I am available 24/7 to answer questions on the course and also to provide back up for any poker related questions full stop after the sign up process and coaching begins.

This in my opinion makes the sign-up fee almost irrelevant as I wish that I would have had the advantage of working with a professional poker player years ago instead of buying countless books and going down numerous blind alleys, it is also rather unique to be able to work with a professional player and coach in this way on a permanent basis and so this project brings a lot of new things to the table as it were.

So the initial sign up to come on board with Project Poker Pro gets you access to the program and being able to work with me, access to the 155k word Sniper documents which will give you the entire blueprint for no limit hold’em cash games including my unique FERN and WOM systems for hand reading.

Also the student gets 24/7 back up while all the time being coached to a level where I will then stake them when the correct stage is reached. The staking will go up to a maximum of 2000USD for the players that show the most maturity and the most talent.

Hard Work and Desire

However these two requirements are not just what I am looking for. I am looking for commitment and the desire to not only play poker but to immerse yourself within the game totally. These are the types of players that I want to work with and we then enter a new phase where players are playing on my money and I get a percentage split of the winnings. I also need to say that in no way is this connected to 888 and players are at liberty to play poker wherever they wish and at what times they choose.

So you can see that I have total confidence in my methods and system and I am prepared to put my money where my mouth is and who can argue with that?

However I only have so much time in any one day and I work on my own and so I cannot take on loads of students at any one time. So now can you see that I am looking for people to be committed into not just playing poker but also studying and wanting to better themselves as players?

Being Flexible to Suit You

I also understand that many peoples’ lives simply do not allow for such total commitment and so anyone that merely wants to purchase Sniper and the coaching but without wanting the commitment of the staking afterwards then I am cool with that.

It is a totally flexible operation but if I am going to tie up a potential 2000USD of my money in somebody then that somebody needs to be playing poker with that money and for at least 15 hours per week.

That should be plain to understand but anyone that wants further details then simply e-mail me at sharkpooldean@yahoo.co.uk in the first instance to express an interest in either the Sniper professional poker system and or the combined system/coaching and staking on Project Poker Pro.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Carl

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The value of patience to a poker player

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Let us begin by looking at a hand example taken from $1-$2 online no limit Texas hold’em. It is folded around to you in the cut-off and you have the 7d-5c. You raise to $7 but what is your reason for raising with this hand and what is your underlying poker strategy here?

If you do not know why you are raising then you have something of a problem. If you find that you are raising because you crave some action then that is not the proper reason to raise. Likewise if you are raising because you have just taken a series of beats, this too is a bad reason to be raising and is often referred to as tilt.

Folding is the secret weapon

In online poker then patience is often the secret weapon that underpins success. Many players in online poker are able to win big pots but not many players are capable of losing the minimum in the pots that they lose. Quite often the hands that you fold make the hands that you win even more powerful. It is often a long series of tiny amounts that you haemorrhage away……a limp here…..calling a raise there that really kill your earn rate and profit potential.

At the end of the day then the game of online poker will only allow you to make so much money. If you try to force it by getting involved in highly marginal or even –EV situations then your earn rate will end up going backwards. You will find that patience in online poker knocks on into other areas as well and one of those areas is your emotional control.

For example when you are going through a bad run or you have experienced a string of really negative beats and outdraws then emotionally you are probably not at your best. This is when some players can be at their most vulnerable psychologically. However when you fold more then you avoid many of the situations in which you will lose money.

Tight aggressive poker is the way

All of the best online poker players in all forms of poker play in a style that can be deemed as tight-aggressive. You will no doubt have heard of this terminology at some stage. There are four main broad generic styles in poker and these are tight-aggressive, tight-passive, loose-aggressive and loose-passive. The first part of that description refers to how often you play your hands and the second part refers to how you play them. If you play too many poker hands then you are merely no better than the weak poker players and the novice recreational players who play for fun and lose their money.

What should really separate you from these losing players is how often you play your hands. Playing too many poker hands means that you will be playing too many hands that have poor profit making potential! By sheer definition then if your hand has poor profit making potential then your results will suffer.

So what really underpins all of this is in how much patience you have and this applies especially to your hand selection strategy before the flop. Patience ultimately makes money in online poker and this means that folding more than your opponents is often the proper poker strategy.

Carl Sampson is a professional poker player who plays online at www.888poker.com

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Playing around the blinds in NLHE

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If you play full ring no limit cash games in online poker then the majority of your playing decisions will come from around 50% of the seats at most. These five seats are the hijack seat, the cut-off seat, the button and the two blinds. You will play the vast majority of your hands from the blinds and the button. This is because you have absolute position on the button and in the blinds then you are already in the pot anyway.

These seats are closely followed by the cut-off and the hijack seats. Because you will play the majority of your hands from these seats then it stands to reason that you’re playing decisions are very important in this critical area of the game in no limit hold’em. In order to be a decent winner in no limit Texas hold’em cash games then you need to learn to think and to play on numerous different levels.

Be aware of the basic ABC play

Let us say that is has been folded to you and you are in the cut-off seat and hold the Jc-9c. You make it 3.5bb to go and the button three bets you to 11bb. Both blinds fold and you decide to fold also as your hand is difficult to play out of position against a re-raiser. However on the very next orbit you see 8c-7c in the same seat and you once again make it 3.5bb to go. History repeats itself and your opponent once again makes it 11bb by re-raising.

Now you have a problem and many players would fold and if you fold here then you are down 7bb on the two plays with your opponent showing a total profit of 10bb with your money and the blind money. But the dynamic shifted on the very first hand of this sequence because your opponent saw you raise from position and then fold to a re-raise. This indicated to them that you were stealing and so this increases the chances that they are re-raising you on a much wider range.

In order to know that your opponent (you in this case) is stealing then you need to be aware of straight forward ABC play and what that means. Once you know how to play ABC solid poker then you will be aware of how other players are playing the same way.

Taking your poker to the next level

The majority of your profits in online no limit Texas hold’em poker will stem from what happens around the blinds and this is especially so in six max online poker. However you do need to be aware of what level your opponents are playing on.

If you raise to steal the blinds and a player three bets you who three betted you on the previous round of play then you can seriously contemplate four betting. If they three bet you from the blinds then you can four bet or float them and then look to play a pot post flop with this opponent. You simply play ABC poker when playing online and you only get out of line when your opponents get out of line.

Carl Sampson is a professional poker player who plays online at www.888poker.com

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The isolation play in NLHE

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I want to take the opportunity to look at isolating once again. This works in two ways, you first identify a potential weakness and then you attack it by isolating against it using a particular strength. The isolation doesn’t always work but it is a numbers game plain and simple. Let us look an example to show you what I mean. It is folded around to a very aggressive player in the cut-off who raises once again to 3.5bb. You have noticed that this player raises with almost their entire range from the cut-off when folded to.

This actually may work for them depending on how tight the players are to their left. However you can turn that into a weakness by three betting with any decent hand that has good post flop equity. Let us say that you have the 10d-9d and make it 11bb to go. If the raiser really does have a hand like J-5o then you would like to isolate against a weak hand and be able to use your position as well. You also don’t want any other player getting involved and spoiling your attempt to take money from this player.

If you call then one of the blinds may also call. They could also three bet if they perceive what you are up to with your call. Then if that happens you have lost your isolation potential against the apparent weakness. Many players would fear three betting with 10-9s because they may be wrong about their opponent’s hand that may have K-K or Q-Q in it. At the end of the day, this is poker……..you are always making intelligent speculations when you play poker based on statistics and probabilities. There are very few times within a poker game where you can be certain of anything.

Another situation may arise if you have say Ad-Ks in early position in a full ring game. You would like to isolate against a weakness and use your strength. However you cannot be sure that the A-K is the best hand. If you raise then other players can identify your hand. However what about aggressive limping? Many people would ask how in heavens name can limping be aggressive? Well it all depends on the entire line that you are looking to take. You cannot define an action on whether or not it is aggressive or passive based on the opening move.

Which line is the more aggressive and passive out of these two bluffing actions, one goes raise-bet-check-fold and the other goes call-raise-bet-bet. In the first instance there were only two aggressive actions which ultimately resulted in losing the pot. The second example had three aggressive actions that resulted in winning. Sophisticated poker players limp and that is a fact. Remember that a limp enters you into the action and you do not always need to do it with a raise because there are some advantages to limping. For example let us say that another player limped and the button decided to attack what they thought was weakness and made it 6bb to go.

The big blind called the 6bb and now the action is on you. There are now 13.5bb in the pot that isn’t your money and the big blinds call indicated a hand that wasn’t a premium hand. The button raise stands a fair chance of being someone that is using their position to bully and so a limp-raise is a powerful play here. It isolates against the likely weakness of the original raiser. Here we can turn being out of position into an advantage and use our A-K to represent aces or kings. I have even had players flash me Q-Q here as they were about to fold.

Carl Sampson is a professional poker player who plays online at www.888poker.com

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Breaking down a poker hand in Hold’em

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All poker hands have a profit potential attached to them and that profitability is based on several factors. The first three factors are their high card potential, straight potential and flush potential. So a hand like Jc-10c is a much better hand than 7c-3d because it has straight potential, flush potential and also some high card potential while the latter hand doesn’t have anything. However there are other factors at work as well that affect the profitability. One such factor is your position and any hand irrespective of strength does better with good position.

When you look at any situation in a vacuum then it is possible for any hand to make money. It could be folded around to you on the button and you could raise with almost any two cards in no limit hold’em and if your opponents in the blinds have weak hands then your raise will take the pot. But this does not mean that raising with any two cards is a profitable long term strategy. There are also other dynamics at work here also and when hands have straight and flush potential then they make money in other ways by way of semi-bluffing.

Let us look at an example here to highlight what we are talking about. Your opponent raises from the cut-off and you call in the big blind with Jc-10c. The flop comes 9c-6c-4d and having a flush draw allows you to make an aggressive check-raise on the flop. This allows you to win the pot in two ways with the first being that you can win the hand without seeing a showdown if your opponent folds. Secondly of course you could make the flush and win the pot that way.

So much of the potential of a poker hand can be derived from what is known as fold equity and that is in reference to the money that has been contributed to the pot by your opponents who have then folded and how often your opponents fold in relation to the price of your bet. So when you are thinking about playing any poker hand then you need to assess how profitable the hand is likely to be based on the factors previously mentioned. If you can begin to look at poker hands in terms of hand making potential then you will improve your poker game beyond the players who do not think in this way.

Carl Sampson is a professional poker player who plays online at www.888poker.com

 

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The game of PLO is the new Hold’em

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Many Texas hold’em players shy away from playing Pot Limit Omaha because of the apparent complexity involved. In actual fact Pot Limit Omaha or PLO as it is commonly known is a much simpler game than many people think. The basic mechanics of the game are simple and you are dealt four starting cards instead of two as in hold’em. The flop, turn and river are exactly the same as well and three community cards are dealt on the flop that can be used by all of the players who are still active in the hand.

There are two initial blinds and the betting action is exactly the same as in hold’em. There is only one key difference in how this form of poker is played. In hold’em then you can play the board if you want. So basically this means that if you held 2c-2d in your hand and the board was A-K-Q-J-10 then you can declare a straight as your hand. Or if your hand was A-2 and the board was K-Q-J-10-5 then you can use only the ace and once again declare a straight as your hand. So in hold’em then you are choosing any five cards from seven to make your five card poker hand.

This can either be by using both cards from your starting hand, only one or none and using the entire board. However in PLO then you have to use two cards out of the four that you are dealt. You cannot play the board like you can in hold’em and you cannot only use one card. This leads to many players becoming confused when they first switch to Omaha but this is quickly understood with a little practice. Let us look at a couple of examples here to see what we mean.

If you hold the Ac-2c-3d-4h and the board is Kd-Qs-Js-Jd-10c then you only have one pair of jacks as your hand and no more. You cannot just use one card from your hand to make a straight like you can in hold’em. You must use only three cards from the board and so in this example then you cannot make anything other than a pair of jacks. Likewise if the board was say J-J-4-4-2 and you held 5c-5s-4d-3h. Your hand is not a full house but only trip fours as you have to use three cards from the board which would be the two fours plus a jack and so your best possible hand would be 4-4-4-J-5.

Carl Sampson is a professional poker player who plays online at www.888poker.com

 

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Street by street betting in cash games

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Each street in deep stacked no limit play is important but some streets are more important than others. For example your hand selection is important in no limit Texas hold’em but position is even more important.

So how you play pre-flop will have a huge impact on your bottom line. However if you play badly pre-flop then you are playing badly while the pot is still very small but post flop is where you can make the really big errors that totally blow away any chance you have of carving an earn rate.

It is these big mistakes or stupid mistakes that you have to eliminate from your game. Against solid but uncreative and unsophisticated opponents then you basically only need a few major factors working in your favour to defeat them. The first is the patience to withstand short term variance.

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If you can do that when your opponents appear to be hitting flops and their betting frustrates you then you have a great chance of making money. The second key issue is not to make big mistakes. I am not talking about just losing a pot here but making a stupid mistake.

In fact “stupid” is a much better term for it because when you make a bad play in poker purely because you have not thought it through or in many instances not even thought at all then you have acted in a fashion that is identical to if you had acted stupidly…..there is no difference.

In fact not only is there no difference but your “knowledge” and hard work have all been for nothing because you are simply not replicating what you know within the heat of battle. You could in theory raise or re-raise with any two cards pre-flop in no limit hold’em as long as you don’t make stupid post flop errors in huge pots.

While I am not advocating that you do so, it underlines that we each have certain flaws that highlight the importance of certain streets. For example a player may make too many poor plays pre-flop and so it could be pre-flop where their biggest leak lay.

Somebody else for example could play near perfectly pre-flop but be prone to playing fit or fold on the flop. So the flop could be their biggest weakness. Another player may simply not back off when pots start to escalate and so the turn and river may be their biggest weaknesses.

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There will be times in poker where things just don’t go for you. Your opponent is 2/1 against making a pair in Texas hold’em but quite often they just make these pairs time after time and you end up bluffing money off.

As an ex-croupier then I am fully aware of the fact that any bet on a dozen is 2/1 against winning but yet I have seen countless sequences where the same winning dozen came up spin after spin.

In no limit Texas hold’em then the odds are worse because your opponent could have picked up a draw that they can hit and also started with a high pair that doesn’t need any improvement to continue. There will be times when your opponents simply don’t have anything and your raises and 3/bets and c/bets simply meet no resistance.

Some sessions though really test you because these things even out and when you have an aggressive style of play then you will incur greater short term losses. Another key factor in how you reach the turn is the level of equity that you have on the flop.

For example if you 3/bet with the 10c-9c after a cut-off player raises with you on the button and they call then the flop becomes important. If the flop comes Ad-Kc-5s then there is nothing wrong in actually checking this hand back. We can simply leave our commitment pre-flop if we so wish because our hand equity is very low here.

Checking the flop back allows us to see what our opponent does on the turn. If they check then a turn delayed c-bet stands a far greater chance of success as our opponent only has one card left with which to improve. I have seen many players really struggle with turn play but quite often what you sow on the flop is what you reap on the turn.

For example if you c-bet a board of 10c-9c-7d with a hand like Ah-4h then you are probably asking for trouble. The board has smashed the range of a caller in all likelihood and so with very minimal pot equity and fold equity then a flop check is more prudent.

If your opponent checks the turn then you have more justification for betting. If your opponent has a draw then they only have one further card to complete their draw and two checks are more indicative of a weak hand than one check on the flop.

Carl Sampson is a professional poker player who plays online at www.888poker.com

 

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Bet Sizing Strategy

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If you play multiple tables in no limit Texas hold’em then you will have much less thinking time. So areas like bet sizing and opponent range estimation are harder and your game becomes more automated and automatic.

There is essentially nothing wrong with this as long as you are playing at levels that are low enough for that not to be a problem. So today we are going to look at fixed bet sizing and the advantages and disadvantages of it. Firstly I am going to take an analogy with electronic day traders and use it in poker.

Many day traders use what is called a “staggered entry” system. Obviously when you open a trade then there is no guarantee whether the trade will go your way or not and you will have more confidence about some trades than others.

Poker is a little different because you have more information on whether the hand will be a winner or not based on your own hand strength and the board. Let us look at an example here to show you what I mean. You raised with the Qc-Qs from the hijack seat and the button and big blind both call you.

The flop comes Qh-10c-9c and the big blind checks and with 11bb in the pot then you are surely going to bet for value……but the question is how much? Clearly you cannot plan a method of bet sizing in advance for the turn and the river because you don’t know what will arrive.

If the turn card is the 8c then you probably don’t have the best hand and certainly if the river card was the Ac. So your bet sizing needs to reflect certain things and one of them is your dominance in the hand. The second one is your opponents likelihood of calling you with anything weaker.

So when you bet on the flop here then you are betting for value because many weaker hands can call or even raise. Because of that fact that I would bet for maximum value here and make a full or near full pot sized bet.

I would bet at least 75% of the pot but probably nearer to 100% than 75%. However let us change the board again to one where we still have our pocket queens but the flop was 10c-9c-6d.

Because the board doesn’t appear to have hit most of our raising range then I will also bet for value as many weaker hands can call. However if I only have one opponent then it makes it more difficult to get value here than if there are more players when you have the best hand.

So I may bet smaller in this instance and make it around 66%-75% of the pot but no more. This flexibility allows me to scale down the size of my bet when it is in my interests to bet smaller because my hand is weaker and I have fewer opponents that are less likely to call.

Many people would say that this bet sizing method is exploitable. Well there is a big difference between something being “exploitable” and something being “exploited”. One has the potential to happen while the other is actually happening or has happened.

This method also moves closer to what the top professionals use who base their bet sizes on opponent ranges and hand strength. Giving yourself flexibility in the hand when it comes to betting is key because you need to assess what types of hands your opponents have called you with.

Let us say for example that you open raise with the 7c-6c and the big blind calls. The flop comes Jd-5h-2h and your opponent checks.

Your fire a c-bet with little pot equity but a fair level of fold equity but the c-bet gets called. The turn card is the Jh and your opponent checks again. We bet two thirds pot on the flop and now what should our bet sizing be?

Well that is asking the wrong question because we first need to assess if we should bet at all? What did our opponent call with on the flop? If this is a relatively low stakes game like say at NL25 then they are probably not floating you with air.

So they have medium pocket pairs like TT-66, hands that include a jack like KJ, QJ, JT etc, A5s, A2s and possible overcards like KQ and flush draws. So any hand that our opponent called the flop with they are likely to call the turn with because their range has been strengthened.

The pocket pairs will still call another barrel and the hands with jacks have made trips. The flush draws have hit and they are not floating with air. Even the suited A5 and A2 will still likely call and so checking is the better play and bet sizing is not our main worry.

Carl Sampson is a professional poker player who plays online at www.888poker.com

 

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Getting a grip on reality

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Some years ago I played in middle stakes games and higher in an attempt to be a “player”. It is only now looking back that I realise that this was a huge mistake. If it were possible to beat these levels easily then more players would be playing at and beating mid-stakes poker at say www.888poker.com . The player pools are so tiny and the skill levels are so high that your margins are wafer thin and in fact are so thin that it then becomes very difficult to even know that you have an edge at all because of the shockingly high variance.

So if you want to be a pro or even semi-pro then you need to get real and to keep it real. Forget pie in the sky ideas and get down to basics and the type of strategies that will beat lower stakes games and beat them well. At the end of the day then you need to be clever in how you approach online poker these days. Gone are the days when huge volumes of fish could be found simply throwing their money away.

Sitting tight and nut peddling may get you a few dollars per hour but you can earn as much working in some dead end job that pays you a minimum wage. If you want to earn more than minimum wage then you need to learn how to beat the modern online game at levels that offer you opponents that are solid but considerably below a top class level.

Laying the ground work

I will be basically laying the ground work inside this month’s article for what will be to come in the coming months. No limit hold’em is a tough nut to crack for many players because in deep stack situations then you only have to make one tiny error and hours of hard work can be wiped out within the blink of an eye. In my opinion the vast majority of players who can play good decent solid poker and who are struggling with their results or who are stagnating are doing so for one simple reason…….this is because they are endeavouring to use a style that is too widely replicated by too many of their opponents.

To find an edge in any form of gambling involves utilising strategies that the rest of the population don’t use. If a strategy or a way of playing is popular then your opponents are not only playing in the same way but they are also aware of what your strategy is.

Thinking on different levels

In terms of game strategy then we need to be able to operate on several different levels. Let us start with the most basic of novices. This is someone who doesn’t really know ABC or how to play solid poker and who may even be quite experienced but has still not advanced their game to a winning level. We can call this a level 1 player. A level 2 player is where many online regs are at this time and is someone who has worked very hard on their game to take them to a level where they can exploit lesser players.

They have a decent grasp of ABC play and play a good tight and solid aggressive style. This level 2 player is the next step of the poker evolutionary ladder. However this is where many players stay for a number of reasons. This could be to do with a lack of time to seek out the extra coaching that is required to successfully move their game to the next level or it could be because they think that they already “know the game” and don’t need to bother anymore. At a basic level then a level 1 player can really only make money over the long term from level 0 players or in other words……very weak opponents on 888poker

Finding your level

So what I am really saying here is that if you know or suspect that you know a good solid ABC style and nothing else then you may beat up on the micro and low stakes levels for decent earn rates but you will never progress any higher than that and maintain good earn rates over big sample sizes. Your game needs something extra and it is that “extra” that we will discuss in the coming months. Unfortunately (and this is the hard part) making money at online poker is more than just replicating what you read in a magazine or see on some coaching video.

There is a tremendous amount of hands on experience needed both by you and your poker coach if you want to reach the Holy Grail of playing professional level poker. Do not get me wrong, I play full time but I seek out weaker opponents than most other pro’s and I multi-table against them. This is the safest way to succeed without too many obstacles and even though you will never get recognition from the poker fraternity playing levels like NL25 through NL100, what your friends and family and other poker players will recognise is your extra spending money that you have every month as well as being your own boss and not having to answer to anyone and your “living the dream” type live style.  

My coaching style

My students often ask me what my style of coaching is. Many people want “sweat sessions” but I think that is a poor way to learn. Some others want “videos” as they try to advance their game by the use of visual imagery. This is a better way but it often lacks the interaction from the student and any coaching method in my opinion needs interaction.

My method involves a co-operation between student and coach in examining hand histories. This is where each hand can be broken down on an individual basis without time being a factor or with anything being missed. I expect a lot of work from my students because there are no short cuts in poker. If you want a second income or even a full time alternative to your current job then you are going to have to get tough with your education.

I am a cash game player and always have been. I don’t play tournaments and never will because I don’t crave attention or fame. However I know through vast experience how to do well playing online poker in no limit cash games and this is something that I want to convey to others.

No need to be technical

I often get people asking me if they need to improve their maths skills or to use tracking software to do well in online poker. Well I would say that my maths ability is mediocre compared to an awful lot of players and I don’t use tracking software. Firstly tracking software is mis-used by a large percentage of the people that use them. There are large volumes of players that are either recycling money or losing money who use poker tracking software. While they are useful, the ability to be able to play more tables and encounter more weak opponents is even more vital in online poker.

So the bottom line is that you don’t need to be a maths wizard or some computer geek to do well playing online poker. However you do need the flexibility of thought to be able to look at deep stack no limit Texas hold’em in a slightly different way to how the masses are currently viewing it. Remember if your game is too similar to the games of people that either lose a little, break even or win a little then this is all that you will get from online poker in terms of your results. Just like in warfare…….the price of victory is never cheap! See you next month where we can start to break down what is important in no limit Texas hold’em.   

Contact Carl at deano1043@yahoo.co.uk for advanced poker coaching and staking deals up to $2000 per player. Simply state your experience and poker history and why you think you should be considered.

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Should you squeeze in NLHE?

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There are spots in no limit cash games even in full ring where you can profitably make money. The squeeze play has become popular of late and is based on the following dynamic. One player raises, another calls and a player in one of the blinds re-raises. The concept is a simple one in so much that the re-raise is geared towards two ranges that are wide. However for the squeeze play to be effective then it needs to be defined much better than this! At the end of the day then a squeeze is looking for fold equity most of the time.

Let us begin by looking at some examples as to when squeezing can be profitable and when it isn’t on cash games at say www.888poker.com. In this first example a player limps in the UTG seat and another player calls in the UTG+1 position. It then gets folded to a reg on the button who raises. We have the 10c-9c in the big blind. I may call here but the presence of the two early limpers would deter me from squeezing. There is a much greater chance that in a full ring game that they are limping with strong hands and do not want to identify their strong holding whilst being in early position.

Likewise if a minimum stack reg had limped followed by another player and the reg raised. I do not want to isolate myself against a big hand from the minimum stack player and so I would only three bet for value here. Another example where I wouldn’t squeeze is where it has been open raised by a fish and a strong reg calls in position. If the fish has say 70bb and is normally tight before the flop then I would ascertain that they had eventually found a hand that they liked.

I would be forced into too many situations where the fish either four bet with a powerful holding because their open raising range is narrow or calling with me being out of position. The reg may call as well getting better implied and expressed odds. This is a situation that I do not want. The regs calling range is wide but the fishes raising range isn’t. If I do not want to play a hand out of position then I will not squeeze. However, playing a hand out of position isn’t necessarily bad if the player that you are out of position to is a fish and will simply four bet the top end of their range and play fit or fold with the rest.

If we change the dynamic of the previous hand and make the opening raiser a reg and the caller a fish then the situation is dramatically different. Here both ranges are wide and the fish hasn’t committed to the pot anywhere near as much simply calling a raise as they did open raising. Before I squeeze then I want to have a good idea that I am facing wide ranges. This is because in order to capitalise on fold equity then I need my opponent to fold a large percentage of the hands that they originally raised with.

This will happen more with a sequence of raise (reg)- call (fish) than raise (fish)- call (reg). As I said then various other dynamics like position alter the ability to squeeze profitably as well. However let us say that a min stack player on 888poker with 17bb makes it 3.5bb to go and gets three callers. If you put their range at say 5% and you have the 10d-9d then there are 11bb in dead money in the pot if you squeeze and get called. There are 43bb in the pot and your investment is 17bb.

However your equity share against a 5% range is roughly 32% which roughly translated means one third of the pot. So you are –EV here and you need a bigger hand to squeeze with. This is why I said earlier that you can value bet sometimes as a squeeze. Change your hand to A-K and suddenly with 46% equity then you are +EV and in business. This highlights that squeezing lightly against a minimum stack reg who has raised from early position isn’t profitable.

For squeezing to be profitable then you need dead money. The best way to get dead money is to find wide ranges. When a range is wide then the holder of that range will fold a large percentage of it to a three bet. If they will fold 75% of their original raising range then you can make money squeezing if you time it right. However even if you get called by a fish then this scenario is better than being called by a fish and a reg. So if the raise has come from late position then knowing who has raised and what type of player they are is helpful.

Contact Carl for poker coaching and a staking partnership up to $2000 at deano1043@yahoo.co.uk

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