”There’s no business like show business” it’s usually said, but I beg to differ. Show business has a cousin, casino business, which is very much like show business, since it’s goal is to make people tremble with excitement, cheer from joy and, sometimes, cry when a tragedy happens. Sounds pretty much like show business to me.
You just can’t stress how important the casino industry is for some people; they would just not enjoy life as much without the casinos as they do with. Nevada is one of the places where they have the most casinos, and their popularity never seems to diminish. Last year the Nevada casino revenue was $10.8 billion, 1,5 percent up from the last year. Quite impressive. There’s something special about going to the casino. To walk into that red and golden room with the green tables full of people playing Texas Hold’em or Black Jack, the sound of the one armed bandits and the murmur of people working out their strategies. Yes, it’s really something special, feeling like James Bond when you walk in with your fiercest poker face plastered on, ready to win some bucks.
But if you want to enjoy the casino with all its games without actually going there, there’s a solution for you. Thankfully, the number of online casinos accessible from any computer with internet has increased a lot, so there’s always an opportunity for you to play your beloved casino games without even leaving the comfort of your own home. So why don’t you try on a site, for example www.pokerloco.com? Let yourself have some fun and play some casino games! Playing online is safe and comfortable, and if you like traditional casinos even just a little bit, you’ll sure enjoy this.
I cannot believe how close we are to World Series time once again. Maybe when you turn thirty then time flies faster or so they say! I get asked every year if I am going to Las Vegas for the series and I give the same answer every year……no….will not be going and have never even been to Vegas. There will be no change in this stance either unless I fancy a holiday at some future point in time. I play cash games and even then my average session length is about three hours and I have got used to that over the past few years.
I don’t even think that I would have the stamina for a long tournament these days over several days and playing poker for twelve hour days. So I don’t think that I would be +EV going to the series and I would be playing exclusively in the cash games. However how do you compensate for being able to multi-table online? The fact of the matter is that you can’t and even though the live games during WSOP time are known to be soft, you would have to play at considerably higher levels to compensate for the drop in action.
The ring games at 888 poker usually average out at around 70 hands per hour due to the time banks constantly being activated. However that is colossal compared to the average 25 hands per hour that you get in ring games. In fact if you play dealers choice and see a lot of Seven stud and Omaha on a slow table with a slow dealer then you may be lucky to see as many as that. As I have aged then my risk profile has changed as it does when you have more to lose.
As you become older then you obviously have less time to compile money and the consequences of losing what you have become more severe. It is very difficult for any pro that hasn’t been active for a while to just jump in and play high stakes games constantly and stay in them. However I much prefer the more sedate levels these days and I play poker more for recreation than professionally. However many people still see me as a pro but I don’t see myself as one anymore. While I may be a recreational player in my own mind, I am still fiercely serious about the game.
I still study as hard as I have always done and I have undertaken a refresher course this year to drag my weak mind-set back into sync. Your poker game is in a constant state of shift and this is something that you are going to have to recognise. I lost my ego some time ago and that was the biggest move that I have made in the last five years. When you stop trying to be a baller and become more laid back then the game becomes easier.
I think as human beings then we have a strong tendency to complicate things and make life more difficult for ourselves…….I certainly know that I do. These days when I play poker than I really am indifferent to if I win or lose and all I care about these days is the professional level pride that I get in playing very well.
Funnily enough when I stopped being an out and out “pro” then my game became more professional. In fact the weird thing is that I am more of a “pro” now that I have stopped being a full time pro than I ever was when I was a pro….confused……so am I J
Carl “The Dean” Sampson is a professional poker player at 888 poker and you can also see Carl on Google+ at https://plus.google.com/u/0/115053726433255054649/posts
It has been literally ages since my past post and I have to apologise for that. So what have I been doing since January? Well my poker took something of a back seat for a while as did my blogging and so nothing much happened. However I am back with a bang and playing some poker again. Nothing to get too excited about really as I am still multi-tabling the NL100 full ring levels. I had a pretty hectic festive period where I was moving home and so this led to me becoming a little distant from poker for a while as a few personal issues needed sorting.
In this post I would like to respond to a PM sent from Gary who asked me what I felt was important in the modern online game at poker sites like www.888poker.com to make money? Well I think there are three key areas that a solid player needs to focus on. Firstly game selection is more important than what many players think. We can look at this by hypothetically rating our game as well as our opponents. Let us say that our game was rated as a 6 but every other player in our game was also rated 6…..how can you make any money in this game?
I know that it’s difficult to spot things like this in the heat of battle but my point is that if you do not bother at all to game select then don’t be surprised if you don’t make any money. Another key factor in not making money in my opinion in games like deep stacked no limit Texas hold’em is poor bet sizing and bet sizing errors. A post flop min-raise is a good case in point. Let us polarise your range for a minute between fresh air and the nuts. If you have the nuts and your opponent has already shown interest in the hand then why not raise bigger than a min-raise?
Over time you will make more money and raising to x2.5 or x3 will stack your opponent on more occasions when they have second best hands that are good enough to stack off with. Do not allow your opponents to get off light because over the space of a year those losses really mount up. Secondly if you are bluffing then you are giving your opponent excellent calling odds of around 9/2 depending on how much they bet. So in both cases it pays to bet more irrespective of what you are holding.
So when I see someone min-raise post flop then this is something that I perceive as a bet sizing error. Failing to successfully bluff will cost you entire pots and failing to stack players when you should also costs you a lot of money as well. This can literally be the difference between playing very successfully and recycling money or worse. The third failure in my book is poor non-showdown winnings.
While one can say a lack of bankroll management, poor poker game and a lack of emotional control are vital factors……these are factors that are obvious to everyone or at least they should be. However game selection, bet sizing and poor non-showdown winnings are factors that are far less apparent. Players work on their game, work on their emotional control and practice bankroll management……but this isn’t necessarily enough.
This is why I do not fear regs as much as many people do. If I feel that they are simply multi-tabling rakeback “pro’s” with very low VPIP’s and a lack of imaginative play then I simply look to combat that with more aggressive play especially when I suspect that their range is wider than normal.
Carl Sampson is a professional poker player who plays online at www.888poker.com
I still see many players failing to recognise big hands in poker when they see them. Hand strength in deep stack no limit cash games is different to other games like limit hold’em and tournament no limit hold’em for example and this then affects the overall poker strategy. In a deep stack situation like say with 150bb or more then there isn’t one single hand in no limit Texas hold’em that you could be dealt pre-flop that would require you to stack off or get all in with betting increments on every round when your hand has not improved.
That even includes pocket aces because if the pot starts to escalate with betting on the flop, turn and river then your aces are unlikely to still be the best hand at showdown. So here we have a relationship between hand strength and pot size which is highly instructive. If you take a hand like Ac-Ad then it is immensely powerful pre-flop as it is the nuts at that stage. The arrival of the flop weakens pocket aces considerably when they don’t improve and that effect is compounded even more by the addition of turn and river cards.
So we can see that a big pre-flop hand that fails to improve gets seriously weakened by the arrival of more board cards. So big cards that fail to improve or improve significantly are usually not helpful to us in big pots in deep stacked cash games and especially when our opponents are tight-aggressive. So when there is betting on the flop, turn and river then hands like unimproved premium pairs are not the types of hands that you want to be holding. Years ago the great Doyle Brunson started talking about suited connectors and such in his pivotal book SuperSystem.
Many people believe the book to be dated and while that is true, it still has vast amounts of poker wisdom inside it. There is no doubt that a thorough understanding of that book (and I do mean thorough) would elevate a player to a level that was higher than any player that they would encounter up to say NL25. For example that book teaches us to be wary of high cards because they frequently make second best hands. However it isn’t just that they make second best hands, they also make the types of hands that can get you into trouble when the pot starts to escalate.
Hands like top pair and top kicker or even worse…….top pair and decent kicker are hands that can keep you giving action past the point where you should have folded. Suited connectors may start out being weaker than hands like aces and kings but as the pot begins to escalate post flop through the streets then you are either done with the hand or you have made a big hand with it. In order to be a strong deep stack no limit Texas hold’em cash game player then you are going to need to restructure your thinking when it comes to hand strength.
I have been a poker pro now for ten years and in that time the way that I have evolved as a poker player has been rather striking. These days I also do a lot of trading on the exchanges and I have read and digested literally hundreds of books on trading and electronic day trading. So I can see the strong connections between playing online poker and trading stocks of which both are done electronically. In fact with the launch of new ways to play poker like with ipad poker at sites like Switch Poker then the online poker world has become even more technological.
I play a very systematic style when I play online and that is a style that is very effective but also very limited in its earning capability. This is identical to day trading where automated systems do well in the market as a whole but can never come close to the earning levels of the best traders. I believe that using an auto-pilot style system in online poker helps people with weak poker skills to be able to make money from online poker.
I have been playing $0.01-$0.02 lately in a bid to try and build $0 into $10,000 in the same way that Chris Ferguson did some years ago starting with the free money that is available. I like challenges like this because they motivate me. However I also know just how badly the players are at the $2 level in online poker. So from the comfort of your own home then you can make money against players that are playing merely for fun just by playing iphone poker.
Ever since I first came into the world of online poker in 2002 then I have always searched for ways to make money from poker without actually playing the game. I think that this is the best way to go for any poker pro or semi-pro. I recently came across Switch Poker and their new “Aeroplane” promotion.
Basically you get paid an initial 5% of the rake of any friends and family that you sign up that end up playing at Switch Poker. Not only that but any contacts that these people have and then ultimately bring on board you then also qualify to earn 5% as well which reduces on a sliding scale based on each individual level.
So in essence then you could end up getting a percentage of the rake of literally hundreds of people many of which you may not even know. The key to all of this of course is to bring along poker players and not just people that sign up.
Building a way of making money that essentially earns you money while you are effectively in bed isn’t bad is it? Even $5/hour is better than nothing while you are fast asleep in bed and other people are earning you rake.
These are not pie in the sky quotes and figures either because all you have to do to make this happen is simply come on board at Switch Poker and spread the word. They may not be the biggest name in the online poker world but the professional team that work behind the scenes are second to none in the industry.
If you want to play poker on your iPhone or iPad then I advise anyone to try Switch Poker out. I think that the nature of the games that they will offer will mean that any solid player should be able to gain a good edge and especially in the cash games.
Tournament poker players have it easy, it is quite rare that they have to play deep stacked of 100BB or more and especially online where levels are very quick and a 100BB stack is soon only around 20-30BB. This is why many tournament players cannot hack it in cash games and cash games do require a higher skill level for sure. I am not saying that tournament players are weaker because a cash game reg who didn’t have enough gamble would not have the game to win or final table in huge fields, it is just that they are vastly different disciplines.
Mastering how to play a deep stack isn’t easy and this makes NLHE ring games more akin to financial trading than anything else. You can record a very high strike rate of winning trades to losing trades just like you can winning pots to losing pots but if you are only winning tiny amounts but losing huge amounts when you do lose then it becomes very difficult to become a net winner. The post UIGEA environment on major sites like www.pokerstars.co.uk in online poker has made it very difficult to make money and in six max then the effect is even more pronounced where very few players are recording significant ptbb/100 figures over large sample sizes anymore.
So what is the answer…..well a short stack professional system is one such answer because if you want to make money online these days then you need to often stop “playing poker” in the conventional sense. Playing a short stack in 2012 is far different to how users played a short stack pre-2006. It isn’t a simple case of waiting for good cards and shoving and being +EV. Too many people know that just like too many people know the tight-loose style in SNG’s…..they simply don’t work anymore. Playing a short stack these days requires far more.
Down at my local pub, they all know what I do for a living and that is to play poker. But very few of them really understand the game much above the novice level even though as per usual many of them think that they are Phil Ivey (assuming they even know who he is). However because of this they hold me in much higher esteem than is necessary because of one simple fact……a professional player basically makes money doing things that are very far removed from being exciting. They are reticent about inviting me to their poker evenings because they perceive the situation as if I sit down then suddenly……WHOOSH!….every single chip will come my way.
It isn’t going to happen of course because much of the aspect of being a pro is simply game selection and getting as many external financial incentives as you can. This means that being a pro is more within reach than what you think. However to be a deep stacked pro is far more difficult than being a minimum stacked pro but do you know what……the earn rates can be very similar for one simple reason. This is because a minimum stacked player is playing a very simplified version of the game and can thus play more tables. But I will tell you something else, the vast majority of players who play deep stack are not good enough to do so and should be playing minimum stack…….that is FACT number 1…….FACT number 2 is that the overwhelming majority of players who play a minimum stack do not play it anywhere near well enough.
Carl “The Dean” Sampson can be seen at www.pokerstars.co.uk
In my mind then the best players in online poker games are the ones who make the most money. However the jury is out at the moment as to who that will be in twenty, thirty or forty years’ time and for one very important reason. This is because it is a mere 13 years since the inception of online poker. So when it comes to seeing your poker profits making you money by investing them then unless you have made phenomenal amounts of money then you are not going to see huge returns very quickly.
A half decent player with a bog standard 4bb/100 at say NL100 could be clearing a safe $500/week working twenty hours. This is $25k per year but if you have other sources of income that mean that you could reinvest 100% of this money then online poker could make you financially comfortable within ten years. That is at least $250,000 plus all accrued interest and if you put your winnings into safe bonds that pay around 5% then by year three or the end of year three then you would be making as much money in interest than you would make playing online for an entire month given this example earn rate.
$250k is often touted as a “life changing sum” of money but yet it can be amassed if you are careful enough and play solidly against players who you can beat. It is simply committing to a process and making sure that you play weak players. This is how I essentially make my money and it isn’t hard to see that after twenty years of doing this then making a million dollars from poker despite being quite a mediocre winning player is possible. When you start to feel the effects of compounded interest in the later years then and only then do you begin to see what poker can do for you.
In terms of re-investing then you also need to do that in other areas as well. Luckily these days we have excellent software items like the no limit and pot limit packages at www.acespade.com that allow you to make that vital jump between learning theory and actually playing as problem free as possible. You can play against almost real opponents and get a good angle on just how strong your playing style is.
The good thing about this software is that it allows you to have a rough ball park earn rate figure for the games that you play in at the lower levels and the opponent categories are more life like than other software packages of their type. You just need to spend money to make money these days playing online poker.
Carl “The Dean” Sampson plays at http://www.pokerstars.com/poker/promotions/rafa-nadal/