PartyPoker Punta Cana Video Blog

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I recently had the pleasure of traveling to Punta Cana for the PartyPoker Caribbean Poker Party. It was an awesome trip for me, turning a break-even 2017 into a nicely profitable one. Check it out and let me know what you think.

HUGE thanks to the Global Poker League team for editing this vlog and making my content as pretty as it can possibly be.

Good Spot for a Hero Call?

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In the process of running my exclusive bi-weekly Inner Circle Office Hours, I have the opportunity to review numerous hands from my best students. This hand from a small stakes tournament clearly illustrates an important concept you must master if you want to succeed at poker.

With blinds at 200/400 with a 25 ante, the player in first position (under the gun) called the blind. The players in second and third position also called. The action folded to the hijack who called, as did the cutoff. Hero, with Ad-3d with a 15,000 effective stack, decided to call 200 more from the small blind. The big blind checked.

Calling in this situation is the best option unless the initial limper is known to be incredibly weak. If he is weak, he will be highly likely to fold to a pot-sized raise to 3,600 or so. Notice that the other limpers should not cause too much concern because most players raise limpers with their best hands, meaning that when they just call, they will usually not have strong hands. While raising may steal the pot with no contest, limping is a cheap way to see the flop with a decently strong hand that flops well.

The flop came Ac-Ks-7d, giving Hero top pair with a bad kicker, plus a backdoor flush draw. Everyone, including Hero, checked to the player in third position who bet 1,300 into the 3,025 pot. The hijack called and the cutoff folded. Hero decided to call. Everyone else folded.

I like Hero’s initial flop check. Leading is only a good option if his opponents are blatant calling stations who will stick around with all sorts of junk. When facing a bet and a call, I do not like any of Hero’s options. If he folds, he is folding a decent hand that could easily be best. If he calls and significant money goes in the pot on the turn or river, Hero’s top pair is almost always behind. Hero should not raise the flop bet because he will only get called when he is crushed. When faced with numerous mediocre options, it is usually wise to take the one that makes it difficult for you to lose a large pot, especially when you are out of position. For this reason, would have folded. If you want to win at poker, you must learn to think ahead about how the rest of the hand is likely to play out. It is almost a guarantee that at least one more bet will go into this pot. Seeing how Hero doesn’t want to put more money in the pot, he should make the snug play and prematurely fold.

The turn was the (Ac-Ks-7d)-Td, giving Hero a flush draw in addition to his weak top pair. Hero checked, the player in third position bet 2,500 into the 6,925 pot, and the hijack called. Hero decided to call as well.

While Hero’s decision on the flop was close, he simply must continue on the turn. Calling is my preferred option because Hero is getting acceptable pot odds. If the player in third position bet larger, perhaps the size of the pot, Hero would have to fold. Raising the turn is not a good idea because it is highly probable that one of Hero’s two opponents has a superior made hand that will not fold to a check-raise. Leading the turn is also not a good strategy because when Hero gets called (which will happen most of the time), he will be behind. In general, you want to put as little money in the pot as possible when you are behind, assuming your opponents will not make many incorrect folds.

The river was the (Ac-Ks-7d-Td)-Qc, leaving Hero with top pair bad kicker on a 4-card straight board. Hero checked, third position bet 6,000 into the 14,425 pot, and the hijack folded. Hero decided to make a hero-call. Regardless of the result, I do not like the call. Hero loses to all value hands and chops with sporadic bluffs by weak top pairs. The only hands Hero realistically beats are middle pairs that are being turned into bluffs. It should be somewhat obvious, but bluffing on all three streets into multiple opponents is not a good idea.

Hero stated that he did not think the opponent would bet many Jacks on the flop, although that is difficult to stay with any amount of certainty because many amateur players who frequent small stakes poker tournaments have no real rhyme or reason for their strategies. Many players will feel inclined to bet with any gutshot, including both Q-J and J-T, because they think that is the only way for them to win the pot. Some players feel obligated to bet A-J and K-J for “protection”. Saying there are very few Jacks in the opponent’s range is too optimistic in my opinion.

If Hero wanted to construct a balanced calling range, he should probably call with two pair and all better made hands. Even then, some of the weaker two pairs, such as K-7 and Q-T, should be folded. All in all, without an insanely accurate live tell, Hero has an easy fold. Of course, Hero will fold the best hand from time to time, but on average, calling in this spot is lighting money on fire because the player in third position had to attempt a multi-street bluff versus two opponents on a board that should connect well with both players’ ranges. Attempting bluffs in this situation on a regular basis is a sure way to go broke, which means that making hero-calls is too.

This hand illustrates one of the key flaws in the thought process of many players: They think their opponents are constantly trying to bluff them. More often than not, you will find they are simply playing straightforwardly.

If you enjoyed this blog post and want to be able to submit your poker questions to me, check out my Inner Circle. In addition to having the option to ask me your questions in real time, I also host exclusive mini-webinars where I can go deep on the topics that are giving you the most trouble. While this level of study is not for everyone, I offer a 100% money-back guarantee if you decide it is not for you within the first 30 days of your membership. Check it out!

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post. If you enjoyed it, please share it with your friends! Be sure to check back next week for another educational blog post. Good luck in your games!

$175,000 cash in Punta Cana

By | Training Videos, Video Blogs | 2 Comments

At the last minute, I decided to travel to Punta Cana to play the Party Poker Caribbean Poker Party, mainly because they added what I hoped to be a juicy $10,000 and $25,000 buy-in event. I hopped in the first event, the $10,000, and while it was far from juicy (it consisted of almost entirely pros!), I managed to run well and take 2nd for $175,000. That is nice!

Below are the two parts of the video. I have included times to some of my fun hands, as well as my brief thoughts. If you have questions about any of my other hands, feel free to ask in the comments section below.

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Big Fold in a Satellite?

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World Famous Las Vegas Nevada. Vegas Strip Entrance Sign in 80s Vintage Color Grading. United States of America.

I was recently told about a hand from a $1,000 buy-in satellite into the $10,000 buy-in World Series of Poker Main Event that illustrates a costly flaw in the logic of numerous amateur players. About 70 players remained in the satellite with 19 lucky ones winning their Main Event seat, so the players were nowhere near getting in the money.

With blinds at 1,200/2,400 with a 200 ante, a somewhat standard player raised to 6,000 out of his 110,000 stack from middle position with K-K. Another typical player 3-bet all-in for 25,000 from the cutoff seat. Another normal player on the button 4-bet to 50,000 out of his 150,000 stack and then the action folded around to the initial raiser (who has K-K). After some thought, he went all-in. Read More

Poker Night in America Vlog

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I recently had the pleasure of traveling to Choctaw Casino to play $25/$50 No-Limit Hold’em against Jennifer Tilly, Alec Torelli, Kelly Winterhalter, and lots of other great players at Choctaw Casino in Durant Oklahoma. I ended managed to win! That is lucky! Check out the vlog and let me know what you think!

HUGE thanks to the Global Poker League team for editing this video.

Poker Night in America Day 1

By | Training Videos, Video Blogs | 5 Comments

I recently had the awesome experience of playing $25/$50 for about 15 hours on Poker Night in America at Choctaw Casino in Oklahoma. It was a ton of fun and it ended up going quite well for me. That is lucky!

I will likely make a more concise video blog in the future, but for now, check out the entire first day of play below. Unfortunately there was a problem with the footage from the second day and as far as I know, it is not available. If you want to discuss any hands, feel free to mention the time they took place and ask your questions in the comment section below. Read More

Folding for the Win

By | Articles | 17 Comments

Today I am going to share with you a situation that occasionally comes up in No-Limit Hold’em tournaments that you must master if you want to succeed. To illustrate this concept, I will use a hand from a $3,500 buy-in World Poker Tour event I recently played at the Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Read More

(Incorrectly) Folding a Set

By | Articles, Short Posts | 6 Comments

I was recently told about a hand played by an amateur player in the middle levels of a $100 buy-in live event. With blinds at 400/800 with a 100 ante, an aggressive player raised to 1,600 out of is 16,000 effective stack from second position. A tight player called on the button. Our Hero looked down at 7c-7s in the small blind and decided to reraise to 5,000. Read More

Extracting Full Value

By | Articles, Short Posts | 6 Comments

I was recently told about a hand from a $240 buy-in live poker tournament that illustrates a key error that many amateur players commit on a regular basis. Early in the tournament with blinds at 100/200 with 15,000 effective stacks, a somewhat tight player limped (called the big blind) from first position, the player in second position called and then our Hero called from middle position with Tc-9s. Read More

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