SNG’s (sit and go) or single table tournaments are one of the most popular forms of poker on the internet at this time at sites like 888poker. They offer lightning fast action and a thrill a minute poker ride until you either bust out or get into the cash seats. The tournament structure itself is simple and the name of the event simply highlights the fact that you literally can sit and go. The blinds go up rapidly and you are soon reaching the money seats before long. The key to doing well in this form of poker is to carefully balance survival strategies with chip accumulation.
Experienced SNG players tend to play very tightly during the early levels in the hope that many lesser players will get impatient and make careless moves and bust out. This is a powerful strategy because if you fold a large percentage of the hands that you hold during the early stages then you can easily make up the chips that you have lost with one simple blind steal during the later levels. This strategy is then followed by experienced players becoming far more aggressive during the middle stages and beyond.
So you are clearly looking to survive and not do anything special during the early levels. But then you must switch into chip accumulation mode because you cannot win any SNG tournament without amassing all of the chips in play. However this needs to be done with a fair degree of thought because you will at some stage be looking to shove your remaining stack in the middle. There are a few tips to help you in this situation and the main one is to make sure that it is you that makes the first move.
Basically this means that you should shove all in rather than call all in unless you have a very powerful hand. This simple but effective strategy allows you to have two chances to win the pot. Your shove can elicit a fold from your opponents or you could be called and then double up by winning the pot. But if you call all in then you can only win the pot by winning the hand at showdown. In SNG’s then your ideal goal is to win chips without having to make a hand and the more that you can do that then the more chance you have of getting into the cash prizes and actually winning the event.
Poker tournaments are perhaps the most popular form of poker at this time with millions upon millions of people getting in on the action. We at 888poker have tournaments commencing all the time to suit all tastes and budgets. Each poker tournament will have a designated start time and once the tournament begins then players are slowly eliminated until we reach a final table. Blinds increase periodically which forces the action along until only one player remains with all of the chips! It may seem daunting at first to know that you have to win every single chip in play to win the event but somebody somewhere has to be that person.
Irrespective of your skill level then any player has a shot at winning a poker tournament and this is what makes them so appealing. If you play in the larger events then you have the opportunity to do something that you cannot possibly do in cash games and that is to win a potentially life changing sum of money or at the very least a highly significant sum of money. The way that poker tournaments are designed gives the lesser players almost an equal chance as the better players with luck playing just as much of a part as skill.
Many poker tournaments on 888poker also have what are called “satellite” events that feed players into them. These are tournaments with much smaller buy-ins that give players a chance to be able to win their entry into larger events with bigger buy ins that a player may not be able to afford or may be outside of their bankroll. So the satellites form a vital piece of the poker tournament jigsaw and many players have qualified for big online events and won them after having won their place in a qualifying satellite.
Joining a poker tournament couldn’t be easier and if you go onto the tournament lobby then you will see all of the tournaments within the calendar that are due to start immediately or in the near future. They will be broken down by time, tournament type and buy-in levels and prize pools. If you are feeling adventurous and want to play in more than one tournament at the same time then that is fine and many serious online tournament players do this. There is no better feeling in the world than starting a tournament with a large field and outlasting hundreds of players to make that coveted final table.
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 bring as many players as possible 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. 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. 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.
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 back in 2000-2002 instead of buying countless books and going down numerous blind alleys. 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 130k word Sniper documents which will give you the entire blueprint for no limit hold’em cash games including my unique FERN system.
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 $2000 for the players that show the most maturity and the most talent. 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. 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? I also understand that many peoples’ lives simply do not allow for such things 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 $2000 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 email@example.com 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 “The Dean”
There are several key differences between live and online play but one of the key areas that many live players struggle with when they attempt to make money online at great poker sites like 888poker is that expert play in the online environment involves a far greater degree of information retrieval, analysis and usage. Your sophisticated opponents have the facility to take and attain and then use far more information against you that many of the strategies that you can get away with in a live game will get ruthlessly exploited playing against good players online.
A lot of people incorrectly assume that online poker is crooked because they haven’t or cannot succeed at it. How can it be possible to not be able to beat NL100 online when I can do well at $10-$20 live is an often quoted argument? The fact is that online play is far tougher than live play by several levels merely because multi-tabling forces tighter play and players can watch you far more closely and then get software to help them even more.
So the natural knock on effect of this is that you absolutely need to balance your ranges out far more online than you would in a live game. If you are playing against “Gustaf” from Stockholm and you are playing six tables and “Gustaf” is playing four of those tables and you are seeing 90 hands per hour per table then he is collating data on you to the tune of 360 hands per hour which is a formidable rate. It will not take him long to begin to build up a picture of how you play.
So if you are very aggressive and like to triple barrel then this strategy will get ruthlessly exploited against better players! Raising pre-flop and seeing a flop heads up will likely mean that your opponent has missed and many LAG’s try to exploit that. These bullying tactics may work against weak players but stronger players will realise that if your betting pattern goes raise-bet-bet-bet far too often then your range on the river is polarised massively between powerful hands and fresh air.
Powerful hands are not that easy to come by in hold’em and so if you are not value betting mediocre hands as well then your opponents can make some call downs that are far lighter than they normally would against other players.
No limit Texas Hold’em carries with it a very different dynamic to limit hold’em because pots grow geometrically when you play in cash games on sites like www.888poker.com . This means that even the slightest bet or raise can and does have huge potential consequences for the final pot size or its likely size. In tournament play then hands like A-K are often considered powerful hands.
However there are two clear reasons for this and that is because A-K is only rarely dominated as having an A-K drastically reduces the number of A-A and K-K combinations that can be out against you. So when you get all in with A-K in a tournament then you tend to be up against hands like Q-Q and J-J rather than A-A and K-K.
Also in tournament poker then the number of big blinds that you have tends not to be that many as the rapidly escalating blinds and antes means that your stack rarely becomes very large. So your decisions with hands like A-K in tournament poker tend not to be all that difficult. However in cash games then the situation is very different where you may have 100bb or even more. This means that your stack is deep enough to be able to play through the streets.
When you are betting every single street with half pot to full pot bets with a hand like A-K on a board like A-10-9-7-Q and you are getting called all the way then your A-K is not a strong hand in this instance. If you get all in on the flop for say 15bb then you basically have not made a mistake in a tournament if you get called by a better hand. But if you bet say two thirds of the pot on the flop and turn and been called both times in a cash game then you had better watch out.
Pot escalation is a dangerous enemy in deep stack big bet poker and is a factor that cash game players have to deal with. This is why you see many cash game specialists check with hands like A-K on boards like A-Q-9-7 because the risk of checking and giving your opponent a free card to out draw you is not as dangerous as the pot escalating to silly levels while you are left holding a weak one pair hand. So keep this advice in mind the next time you are dealt a big pair in NLHE.
Whenever you play online poker then you are in fact entering into a highly complex moving dynamic. You can find someone with a great earn rate over say 1 million hands but if those million hands have been compiled over the space of only one year in online poker then that doesn’t alter the fact that only one year has passed.
All this means is that your earn rate has a very high confidence level for that particular year. But environments change and I started playing online poker seriously in 2001 and during that time have had to undergo numerous changes. The biggest one was totally switching poker codes in 2007 from limit to no limit.
The brief excursions into PLO have been nothing more than that but I am not a great PLO player and so my short stacking system has been my mainstay. But it is easy to take your finger off the pulse when you are making money and I have done well so far this year from all sources which mainly means NL100, sports and PLO. But after taking some good advice lately then it has become painfully clear to me that my earn rate in NL100 is nowhere near what it could or should be.
I do not frequent 2+2 forums anymore and so my contacts in regards to me playing poker have shrunk somewhat so I have been cocooned when it comes to talking to people. But I am going through a transitional period again and hopefully I can get my earn rate up to $100/hour by early next year.
The advice that I have been given is top notch by a strong pro that is unknown in the industry. His earn rate at NL200 exceeds $120/hour and if I was making this sort of money rather than the puny $/hour that I am making at the moment then I would maybe have more incentive to play poker.
The Dean plays poker at www.888poker.com where he is an ambassador and Poker Pro
Keep a look out for my SNIPER coaching and staking program starting soon. I have been placing the finishing touches onto this and will be giving out details shortly. Any experienced poker player that is interested in being personally coached and then staked can contact me in the first instance to tell me why they want to be considered and what their experience level is.
A few people have approached me recently to ask me about the importance of aggression in poker. Of course aggression is important and I am not going to say otherwise and I am a very aggressive player myself when I am involved in most pots.
But blind aggression is something else and can be a terrible weakness if implemented in the wrong circumstances. Any fool can be aggressive, I could teach that to a school kid in no time at all. But the skill is knowing when to be aggressive and how often.
I have lost count of all of the “hot shots” who have breezed into games that I have been in and thought that they could push everyone around all because they had seen someone do it on TV or they had read it in a book somewhere.
The trick is to get your ratios right, I get away with an awful lot both in NL100 because of the fact that my opponents believe me more because of how I play, underpinning all that is the fact that my ratio of aggression to non aggression is pretty good.
Been playing on NL100 this week and done quite well and also had a couple of good sessions at NL200 although one of the games was very tough and I should have left but I had a rush of cards that was something else.
I dont always play NL100 and sometimes drop down to NL50, the game needs to be very good, there are many strong players in those games that I will not tangle with because I have no discernable edge. I spend more time watching that game these days but I know when weak players are active so my time is not entirely wasted.
I will be discussing my SNIPER coaching program soon on Sharkpool as I will be going into poker coaching in a more serious way in 2014 as well as staking players that I coach. So it may be a good idea to keep an eye out for that to see if you want to come on board my coaching and staking program and get access to my SNIPER poker system.
Hope that you have a good weekend,
See you soon
The Dean is an online poker pro at www.888poker.com
The brain sure is an extremely impressive organ. It controls everything we do and think about, and without it we would not be able to live. So if the brain does not feel good, neither do we. Because as earlier said, the brain is a huge part of us and we really need it to function to function at all. Some have done a microdialysis through life and know what it is all about, whilst others go on without ever even coming in contact with it. Either way, there are many things in life that we really enjoy doing, that would not even be half as fun and good if we were not able to think clearly. On various levels, but a simple thing as games are one good example! Let us talk a bit about it.
- Poker is a very good example of a game where you really need to be focused and think a lot, otherwise you will never win. That is clearly something that a person like Carl “The Dean” Sampson knows a lot about; otherwise he would not be the legend that he is! A tru inspiration for everyone who wants to become real poker pros.
- Playing chess is probably one of the most classical ways to keep your brain functional and alive, at least when it comes to games. It is truly a mind game, and if your head is not sharp, you do not have any chance in chess! It is always good to play chess, some even says it makes you a bit smarter!
- Playing charades might not be brain gymnastics at first, but think about it! You almost never think as much as you do when you are in a hurry to figure out what someone tries to impress. More charades to the people!
It is important to take care of yourself, in every way, not just for you precious brains sake. There are many things to do, for the brain and for the whole body, but you have to begin with yourself. What makes you feel good? Because that is always the right way to go!
There are several main characteristics of any successful system in gambling and system design is an area where game theory comes to the fore and this is probably my main field of
expertise and one that has allowed me to be able to make money in poker. It is for this reason why there have been so many analogies with other fields throughout my blogs. This is because they are not separate entities at all but linked conceptually in numerous principles.
In poker than any system has to fulfill several key functions to work. It first has to be theoretically sound and the plan of making money and the objectives for how to achieve this and how that is going to happen need to be clear and concise and this will be addressed in the SNIPER on why I have selected No Limit Texas Hold’em ring games.
The system also has to work in combat…….many systems fail that are theoretically sound in the actual field of play which kind of leads me to think that they were not theoretically sound at all…….a main cause of this failure is over complication.
The third criteria is that the system has to be relatively easy to operate. The final criteria is that the system if at all possible must not be in widespread use by other people if in the process of being so it nullifies the effect of the system. We can see here how “you” play a part in all of this. It is up to you to find a system that is theoretically sound and many go down blind alleys. Ditto for criteria number two as if a system is theoretically unsound then it is hardly going to work in reality.
Criteria number three is often seen all over the poker world, players try to learn a system of operation either from some book or online poker coach that they themselves have trouble replicating. This is often to do with what I call the “understanding gap”……this means the gap between what the author or coach is trying to teach or say and what the student actually takes in and comprehends (or in many cases only using the parts that they can be bothered with).
This is often done wrongly and leaves the student with some “warped” version of what the coach intended and they only have to change that version slightly without conscious thought and suddenly they are playing in a way that isn’t the same as what was shown to them.
This is a huge problem with coaching complex methods and systems, the information overload problem means that the true concepts are often lost in translation if you attempt to do this too quickly. The result is that it takes a certain amount of time for complex systems to be taught and then absorbed and this is time that your average player simply does not have.
We have already talked about poker sites at 888poker and good solid technical poker players being your two biggest enemies in your pursuit of making money. Well if you can overcome those two big hurdles then you have one more enemy to overcome and beat…….yourself. Make no bones about this……in many cases it is the individuals themselves that present the biggest obstacle to success.
There are so many problems that you yourself could put in your own way that I really don’t know where to start. In NL ring games then you have a big problem if you have any issues whatever with self-control and personal discipline. If you are prone to doing impulsive things then you will fare badly in deep stacked cash game play. Tournament players have it easy by comparison, many of the decisions that tournament players have to make are usually for only a small number of big blinds when compared to a cash game.
It is possible in deep stacked games to win a very high percentage of your pots and still be a net loser……..it is a brutal game in that department and why many players never master it. They never master the game because they never master themselves. Several hours of good play in NLHE ring games can be thrown away in ONE SECOND FLAT in online deep stacked games. Now I need you to ask yourself one very important question….
“Based on what I know about myself……is there ANYTHING at all connected with my character and personality that would be a negative playing NLHE or even poker in general”? ……..ask that question and then answer it……..HONESTLY!!!
I could go on all night quoting situations where players go wrong and getting the wrong education is another factor. It could be that they read the wrong books, sign up with the wrong coaches with risk profiles that don’t suit theirs, ignore the advice that they are given or simply do not follow it in the way that it was meant to be followed. The Sniper will show you a great way to make money but as the saying goes…… “You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink”. I cannot promise how much the Sniper will make you…….that is impossible……no poker coach in the world can possibly do that.
The Sniper is not designed to make you rich, it is designed to put players into the top 5% of online players when it comes to making money and to achieve that when you may have very minimal poker experience is a serious achievement and something that would be difficult to replicate in other fields.