lla

,
leker
like the
lres
lhi l Fel l nath. } r .
ícr ny jarents, Iynn anJ ílil, ulc leljeJ ne belieie I cculJ Jc
anytling anJ ulc sujjcrteJ ne eien after tley frealeJ cut cier ny
neufcunJ cccujaticn.
Tc CranJna Aggie, ulc lcieJ a gccJ gane cf carJs.
tent ent s
lntrecactienFe« te learn te lla, leker
l, /ncre« \. :. Ulazer ix
Jhe Universe Conspired to Help
. :kill ·ersas lack in leker .
. 1exas Felcen. :et ap anc lasic lla, ¦
l linit Felcen. le,inners :trat e,, .6
¡ linit Felcen. lnt erneciat e :trat e,, ¸.
¸ linit Felcen. /c·ancec :trate,, ..¡
6 \elinit anc letlinit Felcen :trate,, .l.
¸ linit Felcen 1earnanent :trate,, .6.
¦ Unaha. :et ap anc lasic lla, .¸6
, Unaha li,ht er lett er (Fi,hle« :plit) :trate,, .,c
.c letlinit Unaha. le,inners anc lnterneciate ..¸
:trate,,
.. :e·entarc :tac. :etap anc lasic lla, .¸¦
.. :e·entarc :tac. lasic anc lnterneciate :trate,, .¸c
.l :e·entarc :tac le« (lazz) :trate,, .,c
· i te nt e n t s
.¡ :e·entarc :tac li,ht er lett er :trate,, l.l
.¸ leker en the lnternet anc t,ler Felcen :trate,, ll6
/ppencix .lank ei Fancs in leker l¸l
/ppencix .thanpien ei t he ¥ear /«arc l¸¸
/ppencix l1he Vest lresti,ieas leker l¸¸
1earnanents
/ppencix ¡lla,in, in a \erlc :eries ei leker (\:Ul) l6.
1earnanent
lhils Ulessar, l6¸
Searchable Terms l¦¸
/ckne«lec,nents
/leat t he /ather
trecit s
te·er
te,ri,ht
/leat t he lallisher
lnt recacti en. Fe« t e learn t e
lla, leker
l, /ncre« \. :. Ul azer
lreies si enal leker ll a,er . 6a·1 l|a,s· Va¿a: :os
1earnane nt leke r lci ter anc «e ekl, ,anll i n,
celanni s t ier the us:·e: : í·ss l·ss s
Plil Hellmurl, ]i., a seven-rime vinnei oí rle Woilu Seiies oí
Pokei, las µur rogerlei a µoveilouse oí a Look÷rle culmina-
rion oí moie rlan 1¯ yeais oí rouinamenr µlay. ílay ícler Iile
tle írcs vill reacl you lov ro µlay anu vin rle mosr µoµulai
casino anu íamily µokei games.
Plil Legins Ly laying our lov ro ser uµ anu µlay eacl game
anu rlen moves on ro exµlain Lasic anu auvanceu sriaregy íoi
eacl game. Plil reacles exacrly vlicl lanus ro µlay, vlen ro
Lluíí, vlen ro call a Lluíí, vlen ro iaise, anu vlen ro íolu. He
uemonsriares lov ro µlay againsr a mouse (a rimiu µlayei), a
jackal (a ciazy µlayei), anu an eleµlanr (a µlayei vlo alvays
calls). In auuirion, Plil µioviues µiiceless sriaregies íoi ieauing
orlei µlayeis anu Leing µarienr anu cool unuei µiessuie.
Deµenuing on lov goou you alieauy aie, lov mucl µokei
you µlay oi vanr ro µlay, anu lov ligl rle srakes aie rlar you
x l n t r e cact ie n
µlay íoi oi vanr ro µlay íoi, rlis Look coulu lelµ vin you rlou-
sanus oí uollais.
Low to Read l| a, le|s· l:|s :|s l·es
In oiuei ro use any µokei Look eííecrively, even rlis one, anu
Leíoie iisking lors oí laiu-eaineu uollais ar rle raLles, rle ieauei
µioLaLly sloulu unueisranu rle íolloving:
1. Youi ieauing µiocess sloulu Le acrive, nor µassive. By
¨acrive,¨ I mean rlar you sloulun`r ieau rle Look rle vay you
miglr ieau a novel, luiiying on rliougl Lecause rle Look
excires you so mucl rlar you vanr ro ger ro vlar µiomises ro Le
a uazzling conclusion. Ií you ieau oi skim ílay ícler Iile tle
írcs, rle lessons may make sense as you`ie ieauing rlem, Lur
you`ie exriemely unlikely ro iememLei rlem, anu even ií you
iememLei rlem, you`ie unlikely ro Le aLle ro aµµly rlem suc-
cessíully ar rle raLles, Lecause eveiy lanu is uiííeienr, anu suLrle
clanges in ciicumsrances can easily clange rle coiiecr aµµioacl
ro a siruarion.
Insreau, as you ieau ílay ícler Iile tle írcs, you sloulu
move moie slovly rlan you`u µioLaLly µieíei, anu you sloulu
ask youiselí quesrions aLour vlar you`ve jusr ieau. Coulu you
exµlain ir ro someone else. Ií rle siruarion clangeu sliglrly, vlar
eííecr miglr rlar lave on rle auvice. Wlar ií rle srakes veie
liglei oi lovei, youi oµµonenrs veie sriongei oi veakei, you
veie riieu oi slaiµ, youi raLle image oí riglr oi loose lau
clangeu Lecause oí rle vay you`u µlayeu some iecenr lanus, you
uiu oi uiun`r lave any knovleuge oí lov youi oµµonenrs µlayeu
xi l nt r e ca ct i e n
(oi vice veisa). 1le lisr is almosr enuless. In µokei, conrexr is
king, anu you neeu ro rake rle rime ro consiuei vaiious conrexrs.
Alrlougl Plil oííeis numeious examµles anu uemo lanus
rliouglour rle Look, ií you can sroµ anu riy ro rlink oí anorlei
lanu vlile you`ie ieauing, anu uiscein lov rle auvice you`ve
jusr ieau miglr aííecr lov you µlay rlar lanu, you vill leain a
giear ueal íiom ílay ícler Iile tle írcs.
2. Don`r riy ro uo roo mucl ar once. Alrlougl you miglr
enjoy ílay ícler Iile tle írcs so mucl rlar you vanr ro ieau ir
covei ro covei íiom rle hisr momenr you µick ir uµ, you`ll Le
asking roo mucl oí youiselí, unless you µlan ro go Lack anu
ieieau inuiviuual secrions caieíully. Plil coveis a lor oí reiiiroiy
in rlis Look, anu ir`s jusr nor µossiLle ro aLsoiL ir all in one sir-
ring, even ií rlar sirring is an ¨acrive¨ one.
]usr lov you Lieak rle Look uovn is uµ ro you anu youi
cuiienr level oí unueisranuing µokei. You miglr vanr ro ieau all
rle lolu`em mareiial in one uay, oi you miglr move mucl moie
slovly. You`ie rle one vlo knovs youi caµaLiliries. 1iusr youi
juugmenr.
3. Don`r assume rlar an inriouucroiy secrion oi claµrei is
¨Lenearl¨ you, jusr Lecause you`ie an exµeiienceu µokei µlayei.
You miglr Le suiµiiseu ar some oí rle marreis Plil Hellmurl
consiueis inriouucroiy. Ií you`ie alieauy a lorslor, you can
µioLaLly move rliougl inriouucroiy secrions µierry quickly, Lur
you`ie uoing youiselí a uisseivice ií you jusr skiµ rlem.
4. Ií µossiLle, riy ro inregiare youi ¨Look leaining¨ (as rle olu
µios uisuainíully call ir) inro youi game Ly alreinaring acrive
xi i l n t r e cact ie n
ieauing virl µlaying. Unril you rake vlar you ieau leie anu riy
ro aµµly ir in a ieal game virl money ar srake, you can`r ieally Le
suie rlar you`ve leaineu vlar you rlink you`ve leaineu.
Ir voulun`r luir rlar inregiarion µiocess one Lir ií you
aµµlieu a Lir oí scienrihc merlou ro youi µokei exµeiimenrs. By
rlis I mean rlar using a conriol Lase in youi exµeiimenrs vill
allov you ro unueisranu vlar soir oí eííecr youi exµeiimenrs aie
laving on youi iesulrs. Peilaµs rle Lesr conriol Lase you can use
is inregiarion oí nev conceµrs one ar a rime. Ioi examµle, suµ-
µose rlar in ieauing rle inreimeuiare lolu`em claµrei, you come
acioss seven íaiily majoi nev vays oí rlinking aLour rle game.
Ií you riy ro aµµly rlem ro youi game all ar once, ir`s going ro Le
uiíhculr íoi you ro unueisranu vlicl oí rlese nev aµµioacles is
lelµing you (oi íoi rlar marrei, vlicl oí rlem you even unuei-
sranu). Ií you auu one ar a rime, ir vill Le easiei íoi you ro see
lov rlar one clange aííecrs youi iesulrs.
You sloulun`r caiiy rlis µiece oí auvice roo íai, lovevei,
Lecause ir`s likely rlar you vill encounrei lunuieus oí nev con-
ceµrs in ílay ícler Iile tle írcs, anu ií youi µlan is ro inregiare
one nev conceµr íoi eacl µlaying session, you vill Le invesring
roo mucl money in roo many µokei games virlour enougl
veaµons in youi Lag oí riicks. You can riy somerling nev íoi
lalí an loui, oi ií rle clanges aie ielarively minoi, you can µioL-
aLly riy seveial nev ones simulraneously. ]usr uon`r clange
eveiyrling aLour rle vay you µlay all ar once, oi you von`r lave
any iuea oí vlar clanges aie voiking, oi vly.
Incoiµoiaring seven majoi clanges in youi game simulra-
neously miglr vell imµiove youi iesulrs, Lur ir coulu Le rlar hve
oí rle clanges aie lelµing anu rvo aie luiring, Lecause you
aien`r aµµlying rlem coiiecrly. Ií rlar laµµeneu, youi iesulrs
xi ii l nt r e ca ct i e n
voulu imµiove, Lur nor as mucl as ií you coulu hguie our
vlicl clanges aie lelµing anu vlicl aien`r. Ií a clange isn`r
lelµing, you miglr vanr ro ieieau rle secrion, oi you miglr sim-
µly ueciue rlar rlis is one case vleie vlar voiks íoi Plil
uoesn`r voik íoi you.
5. 1iy ro íocus on one µairiculai game, esµecially ar hisr. Wlile
rleie`s norling viong (anu inueeu rleie is mucl iiglr) virl ieau-
ing ílay ícler Iile tle írcs íiom covei ro covei, you vill µioLa-
Lly hnu ir mucl easiei ro imµiove youi µlay ií you ueciue (oi ií
rle suµµly oí local games ueciues íoi you) ro sµecialize in one
game Leíoie you riy ro masrei all oí rlem. ^osr µeoµle lave a
hnire amounr oí rime rley can invesr in sruuying µokei, anu you`ll
µioLaLly hnu rlar ir`s easiei ro riy ro masrei games one ar a rime.
1leie`s norling viong virl µlaying orlei games occasionally
(anu ií you`ie a lome game, ¨uealei`s cloice¨ µlayei, you von`r
Le aLle ro aµµioacl rle leaining µiocess any orlei vay), Lur
íocusing youi sruuy on one game vill make ir mucl easiei ro
leain anu iememLei suLrle nuances oí rlar game.
Ulrimarely, rlougl, you vill µioLaLly neeu ro leain moie
rlan one game. Kirclen µokei is usually uealei`s cloice, anu rle
liglei-srakes siue games renu ro involve iorarion íiom one game
ro anorlei. 1leie is also a Lir oí cioss-riaining auvanrage ro µlay-
ing mulriµle games. You miglr easily aclieve an eµiµlany aLour
lolu`em vlile µlaying seven-caiu sruu, as rle uiííeience Lerveen
rle rvo games reacles you an imµoiranr lesson.
6. Don`r make rlis rle only µokei Look you evei ieau. I lave a
ceirain naruial Lias aLour rle value oí ílay ícler Iile tle írcs,
Lur unless you`ie a Hellmurl-ryµe savanr, rleie`s orlei ieauing
xi · l n t r e cact ie n
you sloulu Le uoing. Ir`s imµossiLle ro covei eveiyrling you neeu
ro knov aLour µokei in one Look, anu rleie aie a numLei oí
orlei suµeiL Looks availaLle ro you. By rle rime you`ve ieau anu
aLsoiLeu ílay ícler Iile tle írcs, you`ll knov enougl aLour
µokei ro Le aLle ro iecognize rle uiííeience Lerveen a goou
µokei Look anu a Lau one, anu uníoirunarely÷in laige µair
oving ro rle laige numLei oí selí-µuLlisleu Looks on rle mai-
ker÷rleie aie a lor oí Lau ones our rleie. Don`r auromarically
iejecr a selí-µuLlisleu Look jusr Lecause ir`s selí-µuLlisleu,
Lecause some oí rlem aie excellenr, Lur ir can Le a ieu lag.
7. Pick rle iiglr srake level íoi youi µiacrice games. Ií you`ie a
millionaiie anu vanr ro leain µokei so rlar you can evenrually
µlay ligl-srakes µokei againsr youi millionaiie Luuuies, ir µioL-
aLly uoesn`r make mucl sense ro µlay $2 ro $4 µokei vlile
you`ie leaining. Lov-srakes anu ligl-srakes µokei games renu ro
cieare veiy uiííeienr imµiessions aLour vlar kinu oí lanu ir
rakes ro vin: in lov-srakes games, ir`s common, rlougl nor uni-
veisal, íoi laige numLeis oí µlayeis ro iemain in a lanu íoi a
long µeiiou oí rime, meaning rlar ir vill usually rake a íaiily
sriong lanu ro vin rle µor.
Ií you aie nor a millionaiie Lur µlan ro µlay íoi meuium
srakes evenrually, ir jusr makes goou economic sense ro µlay in
lovei-srakes games vlen you aie srairing our, so rlar you can
Legin ro ueveloµ a íeel íoi rle eLL anu lov oí rle game anu lov
ceirain lanus renu ro ueveloµ inro orlei kinus oí lanus. You`ll
also lose less uuiing rle leaining µiocess.
S. Don`r Lear youiselí uµ íoi misrakes you make vlile you`ie
leaining. Almosr as imµoiranr, uon`r ler orlei µlayeis inrimiuare
x· l nt r e ca ct i e n
you virl slaiµ ciiricism oí youi µlay. 1leie`s an immense uiííei-
ence Lerveen rle comLinarion oí euucarion anu exµeiience anu
one`s inrelligence. An inexµeiienceu µlayei is nor an iuior. Lveiy-
one las ro srair somevleie. Ií you ler eirlei selí-ciiricism oi
orlei µlayeis` ciiricism uesrioy youi selí-conhuence, you`ie µioL-
aLly uoomeu as a µokei µlayei, Lecause conhuence is a key ro
success. Remain oµen ro consriucrive ciiricism, anu iemain oµen
ro leaining, Lur uon`r ler youiselí oi anyone else uesrioy youi
µorenrial virl slaiµ voius.
9. Reieauing is nor a sign oí veakness oi a lov IQ! As you
srair inregiaring vlar you ieau in ílay ícler Iile tle írcs (oi,
íoi rlar marrei, any orlei goou µokei Look) virl acrual µiacrice
virl money on rle line, ir makes excellenr sense ro ieruin ro youi
souice mareiial anu ieieau a secrion, a claµrei, oi even rle enriie
Look.
1leie aie numeious µokei Looks I lave ieau seveial rimes,
anu I almosr alvays hnu rlar I sµor oi leain rlings on rle seconu,
rliiu, oi íouirl ieauing rlar I uiun`r ger rle hisr rime aiounu,
somerimes Lecause I uiun`r lave rle exµeiience Lase ro unuei-
sranu vlar rle aurloi vas riying ro reacl me, anu somerimes
Lecause my ovn game lau giovn so mucl in rle inreiim rlar
auvice rlar vas goou íoi me ar one srage oí my caieei vas nor
goou íoi me ar a larei srage.
Ií you uo hnu youiselí evenrually suiµassing youi reacleis
(anu goou luck riying ro suiµass Plil!), congiarularions, anu uon`r
íoiger rle immoiral voius oí Sii Isaac Þevron: ¨If I laie seen
furtler tlan ctlers, it is because I laie stccJ cn tle slculJers cf
Ciants." Plil Hellmurl is inueeu a µokei gianr, anu rlar leaus me
ro my lasr µoinr aLour lov ro use rlis oi inueeu any µokei Look.
x· i l n t r e cact ie n
10. In rle enu, you lave ro hnu youi ovn sryle. Plil Hellmurl is
one oí rle giearesr µokei µlayeis vlo las evei liveu, Lur a lor oí
vlar makes lim giear simµly cannor Le rauglr. He can µlay
lanus rlar orlei µlayeis, even orlei giear µlayeis, cannor,
Lecause le las an aLiliry ro ¨ieau¨ lov sriong oi veak lis
oµµonenrs aie. We sµenu a lor oí rime riying ro reacl you aLour
lov ro ieau oµµonenrs in rle Look, Lur ar Plil`s level, some oí
vlar le can uo Loiueis on a sixrl sense. Leain vlar you can
íiom ílay ícler Iile tle írcs, Lur in rle hnal analysis, you vill
lave ro unueisranu youiselí, youi sriengrls, youi veaknesses,
youi morivarions íoi µlaying, anu jusr lov seiious you vanr ro
Le aLour vlar is, aírei all, a game, alLeir one rlar can Le liglly
µiohraLle (oi cosrly).
Plil las given you a veiy useíul rool in ílay ícler Iile tle
írcs, Lur vlen ir comes rime ro µusl rle cliµs inro rle µor,
ycu´re rle airisr, anu unless you µlay a sryle rlar you`ie comíoir-
aLle virl, you von`r vin. Use rle rool le`s given you visely, anu
you can Lecome youi ovn kinu oí masrei ciaírsman. 1o me, rlar
sounus a lor moie íulhlling rlan riying ro Le an imiraroi, anu ir`s
íai moie likely ro Le successíul, roo.
A Rot e to Begi nners
Alrlougl rle raLle oí conrenrs lisrs vlar you vill Le aLle ro hnu
in ílay ícler Iile tle írcs, you may nor yer Le auvanceu
enougl in youi sruuies ro unueisranu vlar rle claµrei leauings
mean. Wlar Plil las uone is Lieak uovn rle mosr imµoiranr,
mosr commonly µlayeu games in rle mouein µokei voilu, anu
x · ii l nt r e ca ct i e n
rlen oííei iníoimarion aLour eacl oí rlem. Wlile Leginneis vill
leain moie rlan inreimeuiare oi auvanceu µlayeis, simµly
Lecause rley lave mucl moie ro leain, eveiy µokei µlayei alive
vill hnu somerling useíul in rlis Look. Lven ií you`ie a suµeiioi
µioíessional µlayei, you`ll leain moie aLour Plil`s game, anu ií
you vanr ro vin rirles ar rle Woilu Seiies, rle ioau ro rlose rirles
oíren musr µass rliougl Hellmurl.
Beginneis can lelµ rlemselves Ly raking auvanrage oí rle
mareiial in rle aµµenuixes, µairiculaily Aµµenuix 1, anu rle
Glossaiy. Wlen an aurloi is assemLling a Look íoi µlayeis ar
vaiious levels oí exµeiience, ir`s avkvaiu ro sroµ anu uehne
eveiy µliase oi reim. 1le moie exµeiienceu µlayeis uon`r vanr
rlar kinu oí íoimar, anu Ly rle rime you ieieau ílay ícler Iile
tle írcs (anu I rlink you`ll hnu youiselí uoing so eveiy íev
yeais) you von`r vanr ir eirlei. Þonerleless, rle Lasic uehnirions
anu iankings aie leie, íoi rlose oí you vlo neeu rlem.
One rling you may norice is rlar rleie is a ielarively laige
amounr oí mareiial aLour 1exas Holu`em, usually ieíeiieu ro
jusr as ¨Holu`em.¨ 1leie aie rvo ieasons íoi rlis. Iiisr, Holu`em
las Lecome íai anu avay rle mosr µoµulai casino anu caiu-
ioom íoim oí µokei. 1lar`s vleie mosr oí rle games aie, anu
rlis means rlar`s vleie mosr oí rle money is. Seconu, many
µokei conceµrs aµµly acioss rle Loaiu, íiom one game ro
anorlei, Lur neeu ro Le exµlaineu in rle conrexr oí a sµecihc
game. Because Holu`em is rle mosr µoµulai game, Plil close ro
exµlain many oí rlese geneial µiinciµles virlin rle secrions on
Holu`em.
1le orlei games coveieu in uerail aie Omala anu Seven-
Caiu Sruu. 1lese aie rle nexr rvo mosr µoµulai games, anu you
x· i i i l n t r e cact ie n
can hnu rlem in many vaiiarions. ^any lome games aie Laseu
on Seven-Caiu Sruu, anu leaining rle geneial µiinciµles leie vill
lelµ you auaµr ro rle incalculaLle numLei oí Lizaiie ¨uealei`s
cloice¨ games íounu in Lasemenrs anu ar kirclen raLles aiounu
rle voilu.
Jhe Universe Conspired to Help
1le man lau a uieam
He knev vlar le vanreu, ir seems
Once le vas suie in lis leair rlis vas ir
He voveu someuay rlar le voulu aclieve ir
Bur le íelr íaiily ceirain vlar rle
íuruie voulu Liing
Wlen one uay rle rime vas iiglr
Wlen le vas ieauy ro hglr rle goou hglr
He conqueieu all lis excuses anu ser íoirl
virlour any iemoise
Once le rook rle hisr sreµ uovn rle line
1le univeise consµiieu ro lelµ make suie
le vas hne
He nevei uieameu le voulu accomµlisl so mucl
1lar rle univeise voulu give lim sucl
incieuiLle luck
Þov oluei anu visei le unueisroou rle laiuesr µair
÷Plil Hellmurl
He vasn`r quire ieauy ro uo lis rling
1o rake rle iisk-íiauglr hisr sreµ
Was convincing limselí rlar ir vas rime ro srair.
C h a p t e r 1
Skill versus Luck
in Poker
^osr µeoµle rouay misunueisranu µokei. Ler`s Le íiank: mosr
µeoµle knov µokei íiom rle lov-srakes games rley nov µlay
(oi giev uµ µlaying) virl rleii íamily anu íiienus. In rlese lov-
srakes lome games, luck oíren µlays a mucl Liggei iole rlan
skill.
1le money ro Le gaineu oi losr in a lome renus ro mean
nexr ro norling, anu eveiyone ar rle raLle µlays almosr eveiy
lanu ro rle enu. 1le uealei`s cloice games aie oíren nonsran-
uaiu, even Lizaiie vaiiarions (oíren íun) vleie, íoi examµle,
ueuces, Llack kings, oi one-eyeu jacks (oi all oí rlem) aie vilu. In
rlis ryµe oí µokei game, µeoµle jusr µur rleii money in rle miu-
ule (in rle ¨µor¨) anu loµe ro make rle Lesr lanu. Oíren, rleie
uoesn`r seem ro Le mucl sriaregy oi rlouglr involveu. Wlen rle
evening vinus uµ, eveiyone seems ro agiee rlar ¨]olnny suie vas
lor roniglr!¨ You uon`r leai anyone saying, ¨Boy, uiu ]olnny
µlay giear roniglr. I suie am aíiaiu oí lin ar rle µokei raLle.¨
2 Play Poker Like the Pros
One ieason vly luck las sucl a Lig iole in lome-sryle
µokei games is rlar many oí rle skills ve use in µio-sryle games
jusr uon`r come inro µlay in a lome game. Ioi examµle, rliee oí
rle moie imµoiranr skills rlar ve use aie Leing µarienr in uerei-
mining vlicl srairing lanus ro µlay, Lluíhng, anu ieauing µeo-
µle. Parience, like uisciµline, is a viirue in many aieas oí liíe, anu
µokei is no exceµrion. Ir is in rle naruie oí µioíessional oi rougl
ligl-srakes µokei games rlar ir is marlemarically coiiecr ro íolu
a lor oí lanus iiglr avay. Ií you aie µlaying roo many lanus
(vlicl equares ro roo many baJ lanus) in a rougl µokei game,
you vill oíren hnu youiselí ¨uiaving miglry rlin,¨ rlar is, riying
ro vin Ly carcling µairiculai caius rlar aie in sloir suµµly.
1le µlain íacr is rlar ií you µlay roo many lanus in a µio-
level µokei game, you jusr cannor vin, ceirainly nor in rle long
iun anu µioLaLly nor even on jusr one given niglr, no marrei
lov lucky you aie. Bur ií you`ie µlaying a lor oí lanus in a lome
µokei game, you may Le in goou slaµe anyvay, Lecause rle
sleei size oí rle µor vill vinu uµ oííeiing you ouus suíhcienr ro
uiav ro an insiue sriaiglr (auu a nine, íoi examµle, ro youi ¯-S-
10-] lanu) oi anorlei ¨unlikely ro lir¨ lanu. You`ll usually lose,
Lur vlen you uo manage ro lir rle caiu you neeu, you`ie going
ro vin a luge µor.
Iuirlei, rle numLei oí caius rlar can comµlere vlar you
neeu in rle lare iounus oí a lanu in a lome game is oíren laigei
rlan one sees in rle µio game, Lecause rle uealei las uesignareu
vaiious vilu caius oi iules rlar allov you exria uiavs oi give
you clances ro Luy anorlei caiu oi ieµlace a caiu.
Because you uon`r see rlese Lig µors anu µeoµle µaying you
oíí virl veak lanus in a µio µokei game, µarience is ciucial
rleie. In rle riauirional lome-sryle µokei games, µarience nor
3 Skill versus Luck in Poker
only is nor as imµoiranr Lur may acrually clasl virl rle ¨sµiiir¨
oí rle game÷rlar ¨We`ie all leie jusr ro lave íun anu gamLle.¨
Playing a moie reclnically iníoimeu sryle may vin you moie
money in a lome game, Lur ir miglr also mean rlar you`ie nor
invireu Lack rle nexr rime rle game is lelu! In a casino µokei
game oi an online µokei game, oí couise, you uon`r neeu ro Le
conceineu rlar you miglr nor Le invireu Lack.
Anorlei key uiííeience Lerveen lome µokei games anu rle
games rlar rle µios µlay is rlar Lluíhng acrually succeeus in rle
µio-sryle games! In a lome game, ir`s exriemely laiu ro µull oíí a
Lluíí, Lecause you usually can`r Ler enougl money on rle lasr Ler
ro ger youi oµµonenrs ro íolu. Ioi 25 cenrs, someone vlo is con-
vinceu le is Learen is nonerleless villing ro rliov rle rvo Lirs
inro rle µor, jusr ro see vlar you lave, anu, ooµs, rleie goes
youi arremµreu Lluíí. In íacr, in mosr siruarions in rlese lome
games vleie rleie is a ¨Ler on rle enu¨ (in rle lasr iounu oí
acrion in a given lanu), someone is alvays egging someone else
on ro Le rle ¨sleiiíí.¨ ¨Bill, you call rlar Loy anu Le rle sleiiíí
rlis lanu! We can`r ler lim Lluíí us!¨
In rle µio game, Lluíhng is a sounu sriaregy, Lecause in rle
lare srages oí a lanu rleie aien`r many µeoµle vlo laven`r
íolueu. Ií you`ve Leen µlaying veiy íev lanus (rlar is, µarienrly),
anu lave seluom Leen cauglt Lluíhng uuiing a uay oí µlay, rlen
vlen you Jc Lluíí, ir`s laiu íoi rlose iemaining in rle lanu ro
¨call you uovn¨ rliougl rle lasr Ler. Long live rle Lluíí! Bluíí-
ing vell is an air íoim, anu I vill Le auuiessing ir ar vaiious
µoinrs rliouglour rlis Look. 1le Lluíí is one oí rle µokei ciaírs-
man`s rools rlar is seluom availaLle ro µlayeis in vilu, íiienuly,
lov-srakes games.
Anorlei imµoiranr elemenr in µio µokei games is ieauing
4 Play Poker Like the Pros
youi oµµonenrs. Aie rley iiuing on ¨lor aii¨ oi rle ieal rling.
In a lor oí lome games, rleie is jusr so mucl money in rle µor,
ielarive ro rle size oí rle hnal Ler, rlar ir makes sense ro call rlar
Ler. (Wlar uo you lave ro lose.) In µio µokei, rleie is enougl
money involveu, anu enougl acrual rlouglr µiocesses aie Leing
urilizeu, rlar many siruarions come uµ vleie you can rake
auvanrage oí a goou ieau÷vlicl miglr aiise eirlei íiom youi
aLiliry ro uerecr veakness oi sriengrl in Louy language oi íiom
youi aLiliry ro assess rle imµlicarions oí rle Lerring µarrein on
rle lanu÷anu make eirlei a goou call oi a goou íolu. Bur ir`s
laiu ro ieau someone vlo lasn`r ieally Leen rlinking aLour rle
lanu anu can`r µossiLly Le neivous aLour losing $1.¯5! 1le skill
íacroi in µokei is mucl liglei in rle µio game. 1leie is jusr roo
mucl ar srake íoi anyone ro iely solely on luck.
Ler`s rake a quick glimµse ar rle ligl-srakes µokei voilu,
an enreiµiise rlar yielus seveial oí my íiienus ovei a million uol-
lais a yeai! Ar rlis level, roo, luck is a íacroi on any given uay,
veek, oi monrl, Lur vlar`s uiííeienr is rlar ií you µlay Lerrei
µokei rlan youi oµµonenrs uo, µierry consisrenrly, you`ll hnu
rlar ovei almosr any tuc-monrl µeiiou youi vinnings lave
exceeueu youi losses. Iuirleimoie, ií you µlay Lerrei µokei rlan
youi oµµonenrs ovei a six-monrl µeiiou, youi iesulrs vill lave
moveu veiy soliuly in rle vinning uiiecrion. ^aking a íev vell-
rimeu Lluíís eacl uay vill auu uµ ro a lor oí money eacl yeai!
In íacr, ií an inexµeiienceu µokei µlayei veie ro sir uovn
íoi a íev louis virl a giouµ oí voilu-class µokei µlayeis, le
voulu lave viirually no clance ro vin ovei even an eiglr-loui
µeiiou. 1lis veiy íacr is vly hve oi six roµ µios miglr Le villing
ro sir uovn in rle same game virl rlis íellov anu eacl orlei:
rle money rlar even one amareui is likely ro conriiLure makes
5 Skill versus Luck in Poker
ir voirl rleii vlile ro uo Larrle virl so many iesµecreu oµµo-
nenrs.
1lis is vly so many oí rle roµ µokei µlayeis rouay uiive
hne cais anu live in µalarial lomes. Riglr nov, as you`ie ieauing
rlis Look, rleie is a $600÷$1,200-limir µokei game ar rle Bel-
lagio Casino in Las Vegas anu a $400÷$S00-limir µokei game
ar rle Commeice Casino in Los Angeles. 1leie is a $200÷$400-
limir µokei game in 1unica, ^ississiµµi, a $100÷$200-limir game
ar rle 1aj ^alal in Arlanric Ciry, anu a $200÷$400-limir game
somevleie in Þev Yoik Ciry. 1ley`ie µlaying no-limir µokei in
San Iiancisco ar rle Lucky Clances Casino anu ligl-srakes
µor-limir µokei in Lonuon ar rle Giosvenoi Vicroiia (¨1le Vic¨)
anu in Paiis ar rle Aviarion CluL ue Iiance. In Vienna, ar rle
Concoiue Caiu Casino, rley`ie µlaying $¯5÷$150 Seven-Caiu
Sruu. (I`ll lave moie ro say aLour rlese rvo-hguie games in
Claµrei 2.)
Ií rlar`s nor enougl acrion íoi you, íoui niglrs a veek in
Los Angeles, rleie is a $2,000÷$4,000-limir Seven-Caiu Sruu
game ar Laiiy Ilynr`s Husrlei CluL Casino, virl Laiiy limselí
oíren µlaying. In rle $400÷$S00-limir µokei game ir`s easy
ro rake a $25,000 sving in one loui. In rle $2,000÷$4,000-
limir game, vleie movie srais, íoimei goveinois, anu Lillionaiies
µlay, ir`s nor uncommon íoi someone ro vin oi lose $250,000 in
one niglr. In rlese ¨noseLleeu¨ µokei games (rle reim ieíeis
ro rle alriruue oí rle srakes), sriaregy, uisciµline, calcularion oí
rle ouus, anu µiacriceu oLseivarion conriiLure ro a game rlar
involves mucl moie skill. Berrei µlay vins moie lanus in rle
long iun.
Imagine youiselí íacing uovn Laiiy Ilynr in rle $2,000÷
$4,000 Seven-Caiu Sruu game ar rle Husrlei CluL Casino.
6 Play Poker Like the Pros
You`ie sirring rleie riying ro hguie our ií le las a sriong lanu oi
is íull oí lor aii (Lluíhng). Ií you ueciue iiglr, you vill vin
$25,000, Lur ií you`ie viong, ir vill cosr you $25,000. Wlar uo
you uo. You make a goou ieau÷oí rle siruarion, oí rle ouus, oí
youi oµµonenr÷anu make an euucareu guess, iarlei rlan a
µlain olu Loluíaceu guess! 1le clieí uiííeience Lerveen youi
lome µokei game anu rle games oí rle Lig µlayeis is rle µieµon-
ueiance oí luck in rle one anu rle µieµonueiance oí skill in rle
orlei. In a game (rle Ilynr game) vleie vinning jusr one $4,000
Ler a niglr voulu mean an income oí $16,000 µei veek (rlis
game iuns íoui uays a veek), one caieíully eaineu Ler can make
a giear ueal oí uiííeience.
1lar`s rle vay rlings look inro rle ligl-srakes ¨siue game¨
voilu ar laige, Lur rleie is even moie eviuence rlar skill is µies-
enr anu imµoiranr in ligl-srakes µokei rouinamenrs rouay.
(Wlen I say ¨siue-game¨ voilu, I mean rle nonrouinamenr µokei
voilu.) Wly uo rle same µeoµle, Ly anu laige, keeµ vinning
µokei rouinamenrs yeai aírei yeai. 1ley vin Lecause rley aµµly
hnely loneu sriaregies anu racrics, calculare anu iecalculare rle
ouus, ieau rleii oµµonenrs vell, avoiu Lecoming µieuicraLle,
anu knov lov anu vlen ro make a goou Lluíí.
Some oí rle mosr íamous µokei µlayeis in rle voilu rouay
lave maue rleii names in µokei rouinamenrs. Doyle ¨1exas
Dolly¨ Biunson las eiglr Liacelers (rirles) íiom rle Woilu Seiies
oí Pokei (WSOP) ar age 66. I lave seven, anu so uoes ]olnny
¨1le Oiienral Lxµiess¨ Clan. ¨Amaiillo Slim¨ Piesron÷vlose
name is knovn even ro rle geneial µuLlic÷las íoui oi hve
WSOP rirles, ueµenuing, as Slim limselí voulu say, on ¨vlo
uoes rle relling.¨
I`m µiouu ro say rlar I vas rle all-rime leauing money
7 Skill versus Luck in Poker
vinnei in WSOP lisroiy in 2001, laving von moie rlan
$2,S00,000. (Uníoirunarely íoi me, ]olnny Clan anu 1. ].
Clouriei Lorl µasseu me in 2002. Bur rleie is no one virlin
$600,000 oí rle rliee oí us.) As I viire rlis in 2002, only six
µeoµle lave von moie rlan $2 million in rleii WSOP ¨caieeis¨
(rlar is, on rle all-rime lisr), anu ]olnny Clan jusr ciosseu rle
$3 million maik in 2002. (He Lear me rleie! Bur I`ll vin rle iace
ro $¯ million!) Alrlougl rle same µeoµle uon`r vin all rle µokei
rouinamenrs, Ly rle rime yeai`s enu iolls aiounu, rle same µeo-
µle alvays seem ro enu uµ laving von seveial rouinamenrs, yeai
in anu yeai our. 1lis is one oí rle aµµealing asµecrs oí µokei
rouinamenrs: rle iecoiu is our rleie íoi eveiyone ro see, some
µlayeis aie consisrenrly successíul, anu orleis aie nor. (1le siue
games, rlougl veiy luciarive, keeµ no iecoius.)
Ií seiious µokei veie a game vleie luck µieuominareu, rlis
voulu nor anu coulu nor laµµen. Lveiyone involveu voulu vin
aLour rle same numLei oí rouinamenrs as eveiyone else (as renus
ro laµµen in slor rouinamenrs oi ciaµs rouinamenrs), anu no one
voulu make (oi lose) any seiious money. Bur rlar`s nor vlar
yeais anu yeais oí µioven, iecoiueu iesulrs slov.
One lasr nore: Bevaie oí µlaying in rle small srakes µokei
games in Las Vegas oi orlei casinos. Þo marrei lov goou you
aie ir is veiy laiu ro Lear rle "iake" (rle money rlar is raken our
oí eveiy µor eacl lanu). Ir`s Lesr ro avoiu rle $2-$4 limir games
anu Lelov, anu varcl rle iake--ií ir seems like ir's roo mucl,
rlen µlay virl sloirei money in a liglei limir game rlar is Lear-
aLle.
C h a p t e r 2
Texas Hold’em:
Setup and Basic Play
1lis claµrei vill inriouuce you ro 1exas Holu`em, commonly
ieíeiieu ro as ¨Holu`em,¨ rle mosr µoµulai µokei game in rle
voilu rouay. 1le claµrei sloulu reacl you enougl ro allov you
ro sir uovn anu µlay rle game virlour neeuing ro ask youi íel-
lov µlayeis a lor oí vlar íeel like emLaiiassing quesrions.
(Beginneis, Ly rle vay, sloulun`r íeel emLaiiasseu aLour asking
quesrions, eveiyone las ro srair somevleie.) Larei claµreis vill
guiue you rliougl rle suLrleries oí Leginning, inreimeuiare, anu
auvanceu sriaregy.
Leaining rle Lasic sriucruie, oi íoimar, oí 1exas Holu`em
(Holu`em) is easy. 1lis uoesn`r mean, rlougl, rlar rleie isn`r a
giear ueal oí sriaregy involveu: rleie is. Bur rle vay rle game is
consriucreu is íaiily simµle, comµaieu virl a game like cless,
vleie you musr leain lov ro move many uiííeienr µieces, oi
even comµaieu virl many vilu lome µokei games, vleie rle
iules íoi a game oíren rake vay roo long ro exµlain. (¨Seven-
9 Texas Hold’em: Setup and Basic Play
Caiu Sruu, rliees anu nines aie vilu, Lur ií you carcl a rliee íace
uµ you musr marcl rle size oí rle µor ro keeµ rle caiu oi else
íolu. You can Luy an exria caiu on rle enu íoi $20 oi ieµlace a
caiu on rle enu íoi $10, anu ií you carcl a íoui íace uµ you ger
an exria caiu íiee.¨)
Ií you veie ro valk inro a caiu ioom oi a íiienu`s louse ro
µlay 1exas Holu`em, anu laun`r seen Holu`em Leíoie, you
voulu vanr some exµlanarion. Bur once you unueisranu rle
µarrein oí rle ueal, vlose ruin ir is ro Ler, lov mucl rlar
µlayei can Ler, anu vlar all oí rle oµrions aie (clecling, call-
ing, betting, raising, anu fclJing) uuiing rle µlay oí a lanu, rlen
you`ll lave a soliu íounuarion íoi unueisranuing rle Lasic sriar-
egy riµs you`ll hnu in rle larei claµreis. Aírei ieauing (anu
aLsoiLing) rlis claµrei, you`ll Le aLle ro inriouuce Holu`em inro
youi ovn Saruiuay niglr µokei game, alrlougl I voulun`r iec-
ommenu µlaying ir íoi mucl money unril you`ve leaineu some
sriaregy!
The Role of the Dealer
In mosr µokei games, incluuing 1exas Holu`em, rle ueal iorares
clockvise. Wlen you`ie µlaying ar lome, you simµly clange
uealeis aírei eacl lanu, moving rle ueal aiounu rle raLle clock-
vise, one µlayei ro rle nexr, Lur in a casino rleie is a µioíes-
sional uealei ar rle raLle vlo ueals eveiy lanu. 1le uealei vill
sluíle, ueal, keeµ rle Lers iiglr, anu lelµ conriol rle remµo oí
rle game. A goou uealei vill keeµ rlings moving, Lorl Ly ueal-
ing quickly anu ieliaLly anu Ly uiµlomarically encouiaging
acrion íiom rle slovei µlayeis.
1 0 Play Poker Like the Pros
The Role of the Button: Whose Deal
Is It?
In ¨casino-sryle¨ Holu`em, rle uealei uses a vlire µlasric µuck
iouglly 2 incles in uiamerei, calleu rle buttcn, ro inuicare vlo
rle uealei voulu Le ií rle game veie Leing µlayeu virlour a µio-
íessional uealei. Usually, rle µuck las rle voiu ¨uealei¨ µiinreu
on eacl siue. Insreau oí simµly µassing rle ueck one µlayei ro rle
leír aírei eacl lanu, as you uo in lome µokei games, you sir srill
vlile rle µioíessional uealei moves rle Lurron one sµor ro rle
leír aírei eacl lanu, anu rlen ueals. Wly Lorlei virl rlis sreµ.
Ioi one rling, no one las ro vonuei, oi ask, vlose ueal ir is.
^oie imµoiranr, rle ¨uealei¨ (rle µlayei sirring Lelinu rle Lur-
ron) acrs lasr in Holu`em in eacl iounu oí Lerring anu rlus las a
signihcanr µosirional auvanrage, Lecause (among orlei rlings)
rlar µlayei las moie iníoimarion availaLle ro lim vlen ir`s lis
ruin ro Ler rlan rle µlayeis vlo lau ro acr hisr. 1le use oí rle
Lurron ensuies rlar eacl µlayei÷rlougl nevei acrually uealing
rle caius÷gers a clance ro enjoy rlar auvanrageous µosirion
once in eacl iounu oí lanus. Anu oí couise virl eiglr oi moie
µlayeis ar rle raLle, nexr-ro-lasr is a µierry goou sµor ro Le in roo.
1le Lurron also enaLles us ro uereimine rle oiuei oí µlay
íoi eacl lanu. 1le µlayei seareu ro rle leír oí rle Lurron acrs hisr
(exceµr on rle veiy hisr Lerring iounu), anu rle µlayei vlo ovns
rle Lurron acrs lasr (virl rlar same hisr-iounu exceµrion). We
ruin ro rlose exceµrions nexr. By rle vay, I iecommenu rlar you
use a Lurron even vlen you`ie µlaying Holu`em in youi lome
µokei game, anu uealeis aie riuly uealing. Ir lelµs ieminu µeoµle
vlo uealr, anu vlose ruin ir is ro ueal nexr, anu I rlink ir also
1 1 Texas Hold’em: Setup and Basic Play
makes íoi an easiei riansirion ro casino Holu`em.
The Two “Blinds” to the Left
of the Button
Beíoie rle hisr iounu oí Lerring, anu Leíoie any caius aie uealr,
rlose hisr rvo µlayeis, uiiecrly ro rle leír oí rle Lurron, µosr
(µlace in íionr oí rlem) vlar ve call rle blinJs. We call rlese rle
¨Llinu¨ Lers Lecause rlose rvo µlayeis musr invesr rlem in rle
µor, in µieser amounrs, Leíoie rley can look ar any caius. Imme-
uiarely aírei rle Lurron, ve lave rle snall blinJ, vlicl is usu-
ally, Lur nor alvays, ser ar lalí rle size oí rle nexr Llinu, vlicl is
calleu rle big blinJ.
1le size oí rle Llinus is uereimineu Ly rle size oí rle game.
1le small Llinu is usually lalí a small Ler, anu rle Lig Llinu is
usually a íull small Ler. In a lyµorlerical $2÷$4 game, rle small
Llinu voulu Le $1 anu rle Lig Llinu $2. Limir Holu`em games
aie rlus uehneu Ly rleii Ler sizes. Ioi examµle, you miglr µlay
$2÷$4 Holu`em, oi $10÷$20 Holu`em, oi vlarevei. In rle
$2÷$4 game, all Lers anu iaises uuiing rle hisr rvo Lerring
iounus aie maue in $2 inciemenrs, anu all Lers anu iaises uuiing
rle hnal rvo Lerring iounus (rle rliiu anu íouirl iounus) aie
maue in $4 inciemenrs (you can`r Ler, say, 50 cenrs, oi $3 on any
iounu). As you miglr exµecr, in rle $10÷$20 game all Lers anu
iaises uuiing rle hisr rvo Lerring iounus aie maue in $10 incie-
menrs, anu all Lers anu iaises uuiing rle hnal rvo Lerring
iounus aie maue in $20 inciemenrs. In Las Vegas, rle maximum
numLei oí Lers is hve, unless rleie aie rvo µlayeis leír in rle
Play Poker Like the Pros 1 2
Hold’em Setup
µor÷rley can rlen iaise anu ieiaise unril rle money in íionr oí
one oí rlem is gone.
Two Cards Are Dealt, Facedown
Once rle Llinus aie µosreu in rle µor (uiiecrly in íionr oí rle
µlayeis), rle uealei ueals rvo caius íaceuovn ro eacl µlayei, one
caiu ar a rime. 1le µosirion oí rle Lurron anu rle rvo Llinus
uereimines vlose ruin ir is ro acr hisr uuiing a lanu oí 1exas
Holu`em. (1le illusriarion slovs a µokei raLle virl µlayeis sir-
ring aiounu ir, rle Llinus µosreu anu rvo uovn caius in íionr oí
eacl µlayei.) 1le caius rlar lave Leen uealr aie youi ovn ¨µii-
vare¨ caius, oíren calleu lcle carJs, rake caie nor ro ler youi
neiglLois see rlem. 1ley Lelong ro you anu you only íoi rle
uuiarion oí one lanu, anu as soon as you see rlem, you sloulu
Legin assessing rle sriengrl oí youi lanu. Larei on in rle lanu,
1 3 Texas Hold’em: Setup and Basic Play
rle uealei vill Le uealing caius íaceuµ in rle miuule oí rle raLle,
vleie eveiyone can see rlem. 1lis isn`r a misrake: rlese larei
caius aie ccnnunity caius, anu I`ll exµlain lov rley hr inro rle
uealing anu rle Lerring in jusr a momenr.
The Player to the Left of the Two
Blinds Acts First
Þov rle Llinus lave Leen µosreu, anu rle uealei las uealr our
eacl µlayei`s hisr rvo caius. 1len, ro Legin rle hisr iounu oí µlay,
rle µlayei ro rle leír oí rle Lig Llinu acrs hisr. 1eclnically, rle rvo
Llinu Lerrois lave ¨acreu¨ hisr, Ly µosring rleii Lers, Lur Lecause
rleii ¨acrion¨ is involunraiy, rle µlayei sirring ro rle leír oí rle
Lig Llinu is ieally rle hisr µlayei vlo íaces a uecision, anu rle
hisr vlo vill rake some kinu oí volunraiy acrion, as le sees hr.
Þore rlar rle Llinus aie µosreu only Leíoie rle veiy hisr
Lerring iounu. Aírei rlar, rle µlayei closesr ro rle Lurron`s leír
(rle one vlo lau µosreu rle small Llinu on rle hisr iounu) is rle
hisr ro acr, ií le is srill in rle lanu.
Duiing rle hisr Lerring iounu, rle µlayei ro rle leír oí rle
µosreu Llinus las jusr rliee oµrions: calling rle Ler (marcling rle
Lig Llinu), iaising rle Ler (ro exacrly uouLle rle Lig Llinu), oi
íoluing lis lanu. (All calls oi iaises aie µlaceu in íionr oí rle
µlayei, in rle µor, so rlar you can keeµ riack oí vlo las µur in
vlar: vlen rle Lerring on a iounu is uone, rlen you uiag ir all
inro rle µor.) Usually, µlayeis íolu Ly genrly rossing oi sliuing
rleii caius inro rle miuule oí rle raLle íaceuovn, virlour com-
menr, Lur a veiLal ueclaiarion÷saying simµly, ¨I íolu¨÷is also
1 4 Play Poker Like the Pros
acceµraLle anu is consiueieu Linuing: you musr rlen ielease youi
lanu. Alrlougl µokei involves a giear ueal oí ueceµrion, ií you
srare rlar you`ie raking an acrion, you musr íollov rliougl. You
can`r say ¨I íolu¨ anu rlen, aírei leaiing a sigl oí ielieí, µusl
cliµs inro rle µor ro make a Ler. Similaily, you can`r say ¨I iaise¨
anu rlen ross in youi caius insreau.
1le nexr µlayei ro acr las rle same rliee oµrions as rle µie-
ceuing µlayei: le may call, iaise, oi íolu. 1le nexr µlayei ro acr
also las rle same oµrions÷call, iaise, oi íolu÷anu so on unril
rle acrion in rle hisr iounu oí Lerring is comµlere. Once rle
acrion is comµlereu, rle hisr iounu is ovei. (By rle vay, ií you
íollov my auvice in rle claµreis on sriaregy, you vill Le íoluing
íiequenrly on rle hisr iounu oí Lerring, as Holu`em is a ieal
game oí µarience.)
One More Circumstance of the First
Round of Play
1le only orlei Lerring iule you neeu ro knov aLour in rle hisr
iounu is rlar rle rvo µlayeis in rle Llinus lave rle oµrion oí
iaising rle Ler, jusr as anyone else in rle lanu uoes vlen ir is lis
ruin ro acr. In an uniaiseu µor in oui lyµorlerical $2÷$4 game,
rle small Llinu may come inro µlay Ly auuing $1 ro comµlere lis
Ler ro rle íull $2 size, oi $3 ($3 + $1 = $4) ro comµlere one íull
iaise, anu rle Lig Llinu, even rlougl le alieauy las lis $2 in, las
rle oµrion oí iaising rle µor anorlei $2. In íacr, a µio uealei vill
alvays ask rle Lig Llinu ií le visles ro iaise ir ií rle Lig Llinu
lasn`r maue a morion one vay oi rle orlei. I knov rlar rlis may
sounu comµlicareu ar hisr, Lur aírei you`ve µlayeu aLour íoui
1 5 Texas Hold’em: Setup and Basic Play
lanus ir vill seem veiy simµle. (^y µaienrs µlayeu in a µokei
rouinamenr rle uay aírei I rauglr rlem lov ro µlay, in Seµrem-
Lei 2000.) Pur moie simµly, vlen ir`s youi ruin ro acr uuiing a
Holu`em lanu, you vill alvays lave rle oµrion oí Lerring (vlen
no one else las Ler yer), clecking (vlen no one las Ler anu you
uon`r vanr ro Ler eirlei), calling, iaising, oi íoluing.
Second Round of Betting
Aírei rle hisr iounu oí µlay is comµlere, rle uealei liµs rliee
ccnnunity carJs íaceuµ in rle miuule oí rle raLle. 1lese aie
availaLle íoi use Ly eveiyone (as ve slall see), anu rley sray rleie
rliouglour rle lanu. We call rle rliee communiry caius (anu rle
momenr rley aie uealr) rle þcj. In eveiy lanu oí Holu`em, rle
loµ is a signal momenr, íoi eacl µlayei srill in rle lanu, rlese
rliee nev communiry caius aie likely ro conhim lis ligl loµes
íoi rle lanu oi all Lur slarrei rlem, since rleie aie jusr rvo caius
srill ro come. Since rle Llinus aie useu only uuiing rle hisr iounu
oí Lerring, rle hisr iemaining µlayei vlo is closesr ro rle leír oí
rle Lurron Legins rle acrion in rle seconu iounu. You miglr suµ-
µose rlar rlis is rle same µlayei vlo lau ro µosr rle small Llinu
Leíoie any caius veie uealr, Lur ir`s quire µossiLle, even likely,
rlar rle small Llinu, rle Lig Llinu, anu orlei µlayeis lave íolueu
uuiing rle hisr iounu Lecause rle eaily-µosirion µlayeis uiun`r
like rleii ovn lanus oi Lecause someone iaiseu.
1lis µeison, rle one vlo Legins rle seconu-iounu acrion,
may nov cleck (make no Ler ar all, Lur nor íolu lis lanu eirlei,
in eííecr, le is saying, ¨I`m nor Lerring iiglr nov, Lur I ierain my
Play Poker Like the Pros 1 6
Hold’em Flop
oµrion ro call Lers oi even ro iaise, larei in rle lanu¨), íolu (you
sloulu nevei íolu unril someone las maue a Ler rlar you voulu
orleivise lave ro ar leasr call), oi Ler. Ir`s µossiLle rlar eveiyone
vill cleck, rle µor iemaining jusr as ir vas, in rlis case, roo, rlis
iounu oí µlay is comµlere. Bur rle aµµeaiance oí rle rliee loµ
caius on rle raLle vill clange eveiyone`s viev oí rle lanu.
Third Round of Betting
Aírei rle seconu iounu oí µlay is comµlere, rle uealei liµs uµ a
íouirl communiry caiu íaceuµ. 1lis caiu, vlicl also srays on
rle raLle rliouglour rle lanu, is usually calleu eirlei tle turn oi
fcurtl street. 1len rle rliiu iounu oí Lerring Legins. Again, rle
µeison closesr ro rle leír oí rle Lurron vlo srill las a live lanu
(lasn`r íolueu) Legins rle Lerring, anu, rake nore, tle stales are
Texas Hold’em: Setup and Basic Play 1 7
Hold’em 4th Street
ncu JcubleJ. (1le Lers aie laigei, Lur rleie aie, in neaily all
lanus, íevei µlayeis÷rle orleis lave íolueu.)
Fourth Round of Betting
Aírei rle rliiu iounu oí Lerring is comµlere, rle uealei liµs uµ
rle hírl anu lasr communiry caiu, íaceuµ in rle miuule oí rle
raLle. 1lis caiu is usually calleu eirlei þftl street oi tle riier
(mucl moie oíren). Þov ve lave rle hve communiry caius in
rle miuule oí rle raLle µlus rle rvo rlar you lave in youi lanu:
seven caius roral. Lacl oí you vill serrle on rle Lesr hve caius our
oí rle seven availaLle ro you (incluuing one, rvo, oi neirlei oí
rle caius in youi lanu) ro make youi Lesr µossiLle µokei lanu.
1 8 Play Poker Like the Pros
Þov rle íouirl anu hnal iounu oí Lerring Legins. Aírei rlis
iounu is comµlereu, you vill all liµ uµ youi lcle carJs ro uerei-
mine vlo las rle Lesr lanu. Usually, once someone las slovn a
lanu rlar no one else can Lear, no one else Lorleis sloving lis
lanu ar rlis µoinr. (Somerimes a µlayei vlo íeels le gor unlucky
on rle ruin oi rle iivei may slov a goou lanu rlar ¨venr Lau.¨
We call rlis a ¨symµarly slov.¨)
A Short Review of What a Hand of
Limit
Texas Hold’em Looks Like
1leie aie íoui iounus oí Lerring in limir Holu`em. 1le hisr
iounu µlays our Leíoie rle loµ (Leíoie rle hisr rliee communiry
caius aie uealr, íaceuµ), anu on rlar hisr iounu you can Ler anu
iaise in one-unir inciemenrs. 1le seconu iounu occuis aírei rle
loµ, anu you can srill Ler anu iaise in exacrly one-unir incie-
menrs. 1le rliiu iounu oí Lerring occuis aírei rle íouirl caiu
(íouirl srieer oi rle ruin) is liµµeu uµ, anu nov all Lers anu
iaises aie maue in rvo-unir inciemenrs. 1le íouirl anu hnal
iounu oí Lerring occuis aírei rle hírl anu hnal communiry caiu
(rle iivei) las Leen liµµeu uµ, anu again you can Ler anu iaise in
rvo-unir inciemenrs.
Srairing virl rle seruµ rlar I`ve illusriareu (on µage 19) in
an eiglr-lanueu limir Holu`em lanu, ler`s iun rliougl a $2÷$4
samµle lanu. 1le uealei las uealr our rvo caius eacl, íaceuovn,
anu rle small Llinu oí $1 anu rle Lig Llinu oí $2 lave Leen
µosreu. Playei one (P1) íolus lis lanu, P2 (vlo lolus, ler`s say,
Texas Hold’em: Setup and Basic Play 1 9
First Round of Betting—P2 Raises
ace-jack, a lanu rlar ve vill Le ieíeiiing ro as A-]) iaises, mak-
ing ir $4 ro call rle Ler. P3, P4, anu P5 all íolu. P6, loluing K-Q
(king-queen), calls $4. 1le uealei anu rle small Llinu (SB) íolu.
1le Lig Llinu (BB) calls rle Ler loluing 9-S: Lecause le alieauy
las $2 invesreu in rle µor, ir cosrs lim only $2 moie ro see rle
loµ. Þov rle uealei ruins uµ a loµ oí 2-4-9.
Alrlougl P2 lelu rle Lesr µieloµ lanu virl lis A-], íoi-
runes lave clangeu on rle loµ. 1le µlayei vlo sar in rle BB
virl 9-S is nov rle only µlayei vlo las a µaii (rlougl le las no
vay ro Le ceirain oí rlis), anu susµecring rlar lis µaii miglr Le
rle Lesr lanu, le Lers $2. P2 anu P6 somevlar loosely anu sruL-
Loinly call rle $2 Ler, even rlougl neirlei yer las a µaii.
1le ruin caiu µioves ro Le a 10, íoi a bcarJ oí 2-4-9-10,
anu alrlougl rle BB is a Lir conceineu Ly Lorl rlis ciercarJ (a
Loaiu caiu liglei rlan lis µaii) anu rle íacr rlar rvo µlayeis
calleu lis oµening Ler, le ueciues ro sray aggiessive anu Lers $4
2 0 Play Poker Like the Pros
(iecall rlar rliiu-iounu Lers aie uouLleu). P2 íolus (visely,
Lecause rleie aie nov only six caius in rle ueck rlar can save
lim÷rliee aces anu rliee jacks), anu P6 (vlo nov neeus a jack
íoi a sriaiglr, oi a Q oi a K ro make lim a µaii) calls rle $4 Ler.
P6`s call is goou, Lecause virl any jack, queen, oi king µioLaLly
vinning íoi lim, le las 10 µioLaLle vinning caius, vlicl aie
usually calleu cuts in µokei slang.
Iare isn`r alvays jusr, lovevei, anu even rlougl rle ouus
veie againsr ir, rle iivei caiu is a Q, íoi a 2-4-9-10-Q Loaiu,
anu rle BB simµly clecks, hguiing rleie is a goou clance rlar ií
le vasn`r alieauy Learen Ly a srairing lanu like ]-] oi A-10, le
is nov vulneiaLle ro any lanu conraining a queen. Þov P6 Lers
$4, anu BB sigls anu calls rle $4 Ler. P6 slovs lis Q-K, íoi a
µaii oí queens, anu BB slovs a 9-S íoi lis µaii oí nines. 1le µor
is avaiueu ro P6, vlo, µeiveisely enougl, lau rle seconu-Lesr
lanu Leíoie rle loµ anu rle voisr lanu on Lorl rle loµ anu
rle ruin!
Two Important Aspects of Hold’em
Etiquette
1le game uoes involve some µoinrs oí eriquerre, anu I voulu Le
iemiss nor ro menrion rvo issues ar rlis µoinr. Ioi one, Le suie
you avoiu ¨slov iolling¨ an oµµonenr in a casino. Wlen you`ie
viirually ceirain you lolu rle vinning lanu (anu ir von`r rake
you veiy long in youi µokei euucarion Leíoie you knov vlen
you µioLaLly lolu rle vinnei!), anu you rlen lesirare íoi a
momenr Leíoie you liµ youi lanu uµ÷cleaily gianusranuing
anu µioLaLly riying ro make youi oµµonenr rlink le lolus rle
2 1 Texas Hold’em: Setup and Basic Play
vinning lanu÷rlar`s slov iolling.
Usually, a lesirarion on rle enu Ly rle Lerroi means rlar rle
Lerroi`s lanu is veak, anu rle µlayeis lare ir vlen you rlen liµ
youi sriong lanu uµ slovly. Wlen a µlayei µeiceives rlar le las
von rle µor, Lecause you`ve sralleu, Lur rlen, ¨Lang,¨ you reai
lis leair our anu rake rle µor avay íiom lim, you`ie nor making
a íiienu, inueeu, you`ie µioLaLly making an enemy vlo vill
lave an eleµlanr`s memoiy anu vill look íoi ievenge someuay.
Anorlei imµoiranr µoinr oí eriquerre is ro Le suie you
alvays acr in ruin. Playeis aie suµµoseu ro acr one ar a rime, in a
clockvise uiiecrion. Ií you look ar youi lanu anu iealize you
lave norling anu aie µlanning ro íolu, you srill lave a uury ro
rle orlei µlayeis ro sir rleie anu look as inreiesreu oi uninrei-
esreu as you usually uo, iarlei rlan íoluing our oí ruin. Wly. I
coulu give you many examµles, Lur rley mainly auu uµ ro rlis:
youi µiemaruie íolu gives rle orlei µlayeis iníoimarion ro vlicl
rley aien`r enrirleu. Youi eaily uisµlay oí veakness may encoui-
age someone ro µlay vlo miglr orleivise lave Leen Lluííeu our
Ly rle µlay oí an oµµonenr.
1lis may seem a Lir µicky, Lur I µiomise you rlar rle íui-
rlei you µiogiess in youi µokei caieei, rle moie imµoiranr you
vill iealize rlis is, anu rle moie likely ir vill Le rlar ar some
rime in youi caieei someone vill cosr ycu a µor Ly giving avay
lis veakness roo soon. Suµµose, íoi examµle, rlar you`ve coi-
iecrly hguieu our rlar one oí youi oµµonenrs las norling. You
rlen ueciue ro Lluíí ar rle µor virl youi ovn veiy veak lanu in
oiuei ro ger iiu oí a rliiu oµµonenr vlose ruin ro acr aiiives
2 2 Play Poker Like the Pros
Leíoie rle oµµonenr rlar you rlink is veak can acr. 1le man
you aie Lluíhng srairs ro sruuy you anu Legins ro íolu, µairly
our oí íeai oí youi Ler, anu µairly íeaiing rlar even ií you`ie
Lluíhng, rle oµµonenr Lelinu lim may lave lim Lear. Þov ií
rlar larei oµµonenr÷rle one you ieau as Leing veak÷íolus our
oí ruin, anu rle oµµonenr rlar you so skillíully Lluííeu ar
ueciues ro call you, insreau oí íoluing, you lave jusr losr a µor
rlar you voulu lave von, ií only youi veak oµµonenr lau
µlayeu in ruin!
Introducing Limit Hold’em into
Your Private Game
Ií you`ve íolloveu me ro rlis µoinr, you`ll Le aLle ro µlay Holu`em
in youi ovn lome game. Ar hisr ir miglr seem laiu, Lur aírei less
rlan an loui oí µlaying Holu`em, you`ll lave rle Lasics uovn.
Hov mucl sloulu you µlay íoi. In $1÷$2-limir Holu`em,
rle Lig vinnei íoi rle niglr miglr vin $100. (Þorice rlar rlis
hguie is 50 rimes rle laigesr Ler alloveu in rle game, exµiessing
exµecrarions in reims oí x numLei oí Lig Lers µei session oi µei
loui is µierry common in µokei.) Bur $20 ro $40 vins (jusr 10 ro
20 Lig Lers) vill Le íai moie common. Wins equivalenr ro moie
rlan 50 Lig Lers uo laµµen, Lur rley aie veiy iaie, anu you coulu
µlay a long rime virlour seeing one anu a mucl longei rime
virlour exµeiiencing one youiselí! Ií you`ve unueisroou vlar
I`ve Leen saying aLour µieuicring vins anu losses in reims oí
numLei oí Lig Lers von, you can µioLaLly hguie our rlar in a
$2÷$4 game you can exµecr rle Lig vinnei ro vin aiounu $200,
Lur rlar moie commonly you vill see a lor oí $40 ro $S0 vins
2 3 Texas Hold’em: Setup and Basic Play
anu losses ar rlis limir (again, 10 ro 20 Lig Lers).
So vlar limir sloulu youi µokei game Le. You`ll lave ro
ansvei rlis íoi youiselí. You can µlay virl a limir oí 25 cenrs
anu 50 cenrs ií you`ie a µooi college sruuenr anu rake $5÷$10
svings on aveiage. Ií you`ie an invesrmenr Lankei, µeilaµs you
voulu enjoy µlaying virl a limir oí $300÷$600, virl aveiage
svings lirring $6,000 ro $12,000 anu rle Lig vinnei somerimes
vinning $60,000! Ií youi giouµ noimally rakes svings oí aLour
$20, rlen I voulu suggesr rlar you µlay ar rlar level (¯5 cenrs
anu $1.50) íoi Holu`em. RememLei rlar rle srakes can Le
clangeu veiy easily jusr Ly clanging rle size oí rle Llinus. Þore
rlar ií youi giouµ ieally µlays Holu`em µooily, rlen rle svings
vill Le aLour rvice as ligl. Sµeaking oí µlaying Holu`em µooily
Liings me ro rle nexr secrion.
The Advantage of Position
As I`ve Leen reacling you rle seruµ anu Lasic µlay íoi Holu`em, I
lave ieíeiieu ro rle auvanrage oí µosirion many rimes. Having
µosirion in Holu`em oi Leing one oí rle lasr µlayeis ro acr in a
lanu is a giear auvanrage. You can jusr sir Lack anu vair íoi
eveiyone else in íionr oí you ro acr. Ií youi oµµonenr Lers anu
you aie sriong, rlen you can iaise, eííecrively uouLling rle
amounr oí money rlar is µur inro rle µor anu iaising orlei sriong
lanus our oí rle µor Ly making ir rvice as exµensive íoi rlem ro
call. Ií youi oµµonenr Lers anu you aie veak, rlen you can íolu.
Ií youi oµµonenr clecks (in rlis case le is sloving you some
veakness), nov you can acr on youi lanu accoiuingly. By acring
lasr, you ger a Lerrei íeel íoi rle sriengrl oí youi oµµonenrs`
2 4 Play Poker Like the Pros
lanus. I vill ieally ger inro rle uiííeiences Lerveen Leing in oi
our oí µosirion in rle claµreis on sriaregy.
No-Limit Texas Hold’em Structure—
The Cadillac!
Þo-limir Holu`em (ÞLH) is consiueieu rle Cauillac oí µokei
games, Lecause mosr µioíessionals Lelieve ir involves moie
skill rlan any orlei mouein-uay µokei game. 1le sriucruie oí
no-limir Holu`em is exacrly like rlar oí limir Holu`em, exceµr
rlar vlen ir is youi ruin ro acr you can Ler any amounr ar any
rime uuiing rle lanu! In µlainei language, rle game is srill uealr
rle same vay, Lur nov you can Ler any amounr ar any rime. Ir`s
µierry exciring ro varcl someone µusl a mounrain oí cliµs inro
one µor! Ar rle Woilu Clamµionsliµs oí 2001, I µusleu in
almosr $1 million in one lanu, anu losr!
Aírei a loµ oí Q-9-3, I Ler our $¯0,000 anu Cailos ^oiren-
son iaiseu ir ro $2¯0,000 ro go. I sruuieu avlile anu rlen
ieiaiseu all oí my cliµs (aLour $1 million roral) virl Q-10 (roµ
µaii), rlinking rlar Cailos lau ar Lesr Q-], anu rlar le coulun`r
call me even ií le uiu lave Q-]. Cailos uiu lave Q-], Lur le maue
an incieuiLle call on me! Þo-limir Holu`em is rieacleious, I lau
suiviveu íoi hve uays in rle Woilu Clamµionsliµs, only ro ger
Llovn our in one single sµecraculai lanu!
Pot-Limit Hold’em
2 5 Texas Hold’em: Setup and Basic Play
Again, rle sriucruie oí µor-limir Holu`em (PLH) is rle same,
exceµr rlar rle Lerring is limireu ro rle size oí rle µor. So ií rle
Llinus aie $10÷$20, anu you vanr ro raise tle jct (make rle
maximum iaise), you can call $20 anu rlen iaise $50 moie ($10
small Llinu + $20 Lig Llinu + youi $20 call = $50), making ir $¯0
ro go. Wlen ir is youi ruin ro acr, you can alvays Ler oi iaise rle
size oí rle µor. Because ir is almosr alvays coiiecr ro Ler rle size
oí rle µor, you see a lor oí Lig Lers in µor-limir Holu`em÷esµe-
cially on rle lasr iounu oí Lerring vlen rle µor is luge÷jusr as
in no-limir Holu`em.
Because rle uiííeiences Lerveen PLH anu ÞLH aien`r veiy
signihcanr, esµecially ro Leginning anu inreimeuiare µlayeis, I`ll
riear rle games rle same vay in rle claµreis on sriaregy. Hov-
evei, I vill µoinr our some oí rle suLrle uiííeiences in sriaregy
along rle vay.
C h a p t e r 3
Limit Hold’em:
Beginners’ Strategy
I iememLei vell my inriouucrion ro 1exas Holu`em ar rle
^emoiial Union on rle camµus oí rle Univeisiry oí Wisconsin
(UW). I vas a µooi (OK, Lioke!) unueigiauuare sruuenr ar UW
rlen, virl norling ro lose (lireially). Amazingly enougl, rle
game vas µlayeu iiglr in rle miuule oí rle Sruuenr Union,
iníamous íoi irs ielaxeu moies. Ioi some ieason, rle µoveis
rlar Le uiun`r rlink sruuenrs sloulu Le µlaying µokei rleie,
Lur Lecause ve useu some olu Ausriian coins as cliµs, insreau
oí rle usual ieu, vlire, anu Llue µlasric cliµs rlar veie rle
sranuaiu íoi rle rime, none oí rle aurloiiries seemeu ro norice
vlar ve veie µlaying. 1le game oí cloice oííeieu auuirional
camoulage: ve veie µlaying 1exas Holu`em insreau oí rle
mucl moie easily iecognizeu Seven-Caiu Sruu.
I íancieu myselí a giear µokei µlayei ar rle rime, anu vlen
I leaiu aLour rle game, I luiiieu uovn ro µlay. Oí couise, I
2 7 Limit Hold’em: Beginners’ Strategy
vasn`r even a goou µlayei rlen, Lecause I`u lau veiy lirrle exµe-
iience. Ir seems rlar eveiyone oveiiares limselí vlen ir comes ro
µlaying µokei!
1le µlayeis veie quire an eclecric mix: raxi uiiveis, sru-
uenrs, µioíessois, lavyeis, anu even a µiominenr µsycliariisr.
Wlen I sar uovn anu Louglr in íoi $20, I vas vaimly velcomeu
Ly rle giouµ, Lecause eveiy game neeus some nev Lloou (anu
íiesl casl) once in a vlile. I quickly leaineu rlar I lau a lor ro
leain aLour 1exas Holu`em. I lau a giear rime, Lur my $20 uiun`r
lasr long, anu ir vas all I coulu aííoiu ro iisk. Alrlougl I uiun`r
knov mucl aLour µokei yer, I ar leasr lau rle goou sense nor ro
iisk moie rlan I coulu aííoiu ro lose, oi Loiiov money I`u lave
riouLle µaying Lack.
Srill, I rlouglr I vas gaining a íeel íoi rle game anu irs
nuances, anu, virl so mucl money lying aiounu uovn rleie, I
rlouglr I miglr one uay Legin µaying my ruirion virl my µokei
µiohrs. So I sriuck uµ an acquainrance virl rle Lesr µlayei in
rle game anu ser our ro leain lov ro µlay 1exas Holu`em rle
iiglr vay.
^y nev acquainrance, 1uli Haiomy, enueu uµ Lecoming
my Lesr íiienu íoi rle nexr eiglr yeais. He vas also rle Lesr
µlayei anu Lankei íoi rle game. (1le Lankei is iesµonsiLle íoi
µassing our cliµs, casling clecks, juuging lov mucl le can lenu
vaiious µlayeis, anu making suie rlar eveiyone is µaiu ar rle enu
oí rle niglr.) 1lar maue sense, Lecause rle Lesr µlayei las a
vesreu inreiesr in making suie rle orlei µlayeis lave access ro
casl ro µlay virl (anu lose ro lim). Ir ruineu our rlar 1uli vas
oiiginally íiom Las Vegas, vlicl exµlains vly ve veie µlaying
Holu`em in ^auison, Wisconsin, in rle hisr µlace. Wirlour
2 8 Play Poker Like the Pros
someone virl 1uli`s Las Vegas Lackgiounu, rle clances oí hnu-
ing a Holu`em game in ^auison in rle eaily 19S0s voulu lave
Leen slim ro none!
1uli lau a Lasic rleoiy aLour Holu`em: ¨1iglr is iiglr.¨
¨1iglr¨ means rlar you uioµ our oí mosr lanus Leíoie rle loµ.
Ir vas goou auvice. Aírei sruuying rle game virl 1uli`s ruroiing
anu µlaying virl rle giouµ íoi aLour rliee monrls, I íounu rlar
I`u suiµasseu 1uli anu Lecome rle Lesr µlayei in rle game. Aírei
all, I lau no joL anu no money, vlicl meanr rlar I lau a lor oí
rime on my lanus anu a sriong morivarion ro leain rle game.
1le amounr oí money I vas vinning eacl veek vas µierry goou,
roo. In íacr, íiom my mouesr µeisµecrive, rle money vas µle-
nomenal. Aírei aLour 1S monrls, I`u µur moie rlan $20,000 in
rle Lank, anu I µaiu oíí all my sruuenr loans! 1le Liggei µokei
game on camµus incluueu mosrly successíul íaculry anu sraíí
memLeis, uocrois, anu lavyeis. 1le money, comLineu virl rle
íacr rlar my ego íelr giear comµering virl anu Learing successíul
PlDs, ]Ds, anu uocrois rvenry yeais oluei rlan I vas, causeu me
ro uevore a lor moie rime anu eneigy ro leaining 1exas Holu`em.
Wlile I vas ciusling rle games in ^auison, I Legan uevel-
oµing my ovn Lasic rleoiy oí 1exas Holu`em. I lau raken 1uli`s
rleoiy anu moveu on: suµeiriglr vas Lerrei rlan riglr. In orlei
voius, µlaying even íevei lanus rlan 1uli lau suggesreu vas rle
vay ro go. Anorlei skill I lau ueveloµeu vas an aLiliry ro ieau
my oµµonenrs (ro analyze lov sriong oi veak rleii lanus veie,
íiom suLrle clues oí Lelavioi). Reauing µlayeis, rlougl, is a
moie auvanceu conceµr, so íoi nov ler`s jusr rake a look ar my
rleoiy: ¨Suµeiriglr is iiglr.¨
1o make ¨suµeiriglr¨ somerling rlar you can sink youi
reerl inro, I`ll Legin Ly iuenriíying my roµ ren lanus íoi
2 9 Limit Hold’em: Beginners’ Strategy
Holu`em÷rle 10 sriongesr Holu`em lanus our rleie. I`ll rlen
reacl you lov ro µlay rlose roµ ren lanus Leíoie rle loµ, on rle
loµ, on íouirl srieer, anu, hnally, on rle iivei÷in orlei voius,
on all íoui iounus oí Lerring. I`ll reacl you lov ro use vell-rimeu
iaises on rle loµ ro gain iníoimarion rlar vill lelµ you juuge, in
rle hnal iounus, vlerlei oi nor youi oµµonenrs lave you Lear.
I`ll slov you lov ro make goou use oí rlar iníoimarion vlen
you`ie on íouirl srieer. Iinally, I`ll slov you rlar íoluing youi
lanu on rle iivei is usually nor a goou iuea, Lecause oí rle
amounr oí money rlar`s alieauy in rle µor Ly rlen.
Beíoie ve ger inro analyzing racrics in acrual lanus, I`ll also
inriouuce ceirain ¨animal ryµes¨ rlar uesciiLe many oí rle µeo-
µle you vill Le µlaying againsr. 1liougl examµles, I`ll slov you
vlen ro iaise, ieiaise, call, oi íolu youi lanu, ueµenuing on
vlar ryµes oí ¨animals¨ youi oµµonenrs seem ro Le, anu rlus
vlar rleii renuencies aie likely ro Le.
Ií you can riuly aLsoiL all rle iníoimarion I`ll Le oííeiing in
rlis claµrei, anu acr on ir unuei game conuirions, you vill
alieauy Le caµaLle oí Learing mosr small-limir 1exas Holu`em
µlayeis all ovei rle voilu! I vill nov reacl you lov ro µlay limir
1exas Holu`em÷a vaiiarion oí 1exas Holu`em in vlicl rle size
oí rle Ler in eacl iounu is µieser. 1lis is rle mosr µoµulai game
in rle voilu rouay.
RememLei ro ieau Claµrei 2 Leíoie you ieau rlis claµrei.
In rlis claµrei you vill leain:
z Pieloµ limir Holu`em íoi Leginneis: rle roµ ren lanus only.
z ^y ¨animal ryµes¨: jackal, mouse, eleµlanr, lion, anu eagle.
z Hov ro µlay rle loµ íoi Leginneis: rle µovei oí rle iaise.
z Hov ro µlay A-K on rle loµ.
3 0 Play Poker Like the Pros
z Hov ro µlay rle roµ ren lanus on íouirl srieer.
z Hov ro µlay rle iivei: call Lecause oí µor ouus.
Preflop Limit Hold’em: Lessons for
Beginners, Top Ten Hands Only
1o Legin virl, I iecommenu µlaying cnly rle roµ ren lanus anu
íoluing on all orleis. 1le roµ ren aie, in oiuei oí ielarive µiom-
ise: A-A, K-K, Q-Q, A-K, ]-], 10-10, 9-9, S-S, A-Q, anu hnally
¯-¯. Lxµeiience las slovn me rlar rlese aie rle sriongesr srair-
ing lanus in limir Holu`em. 1lis Leginning ¨sriaregy íoi sui-
vival¨ is uesigneu ro keeµ you in rle game vlile you leain rle
moie suLrle reclniques rlar aie necessaiy ro Lear rouglei games,
oi ro exriacr moie money íiom veak games. Anu in scne games
using jusr rlis sriaregy vill make you a vinnei. Wirl rlis µarienr
sriaregy alone, anu ieally nor mucl else in rle vay oí µokei
insriucrion, I vas aLle ro ciusl rle games in ^auison. Wlar laµ-
µens is rlar vlen you consisrenrly µlay only rle roµ ren lanus,
youi oµµonenrs vill Legin ro íeai youi Lers anu iaises Lecause
rley`ll see rlar you`ie alvays µlaying somerling µoveiíul. 1lis
íeai gives you some leevay ro make a íev uiííeienr µlays larei
on, vlen you`ve aLsoiLeu rle inreimeuiare anu moie auvanceu
auvice I`ll Le giving you larei. In orlei voius, rle ¨roµ ren
lanus¨ sriaregy reacles rle iiglr íunuamenrals. You vill neeu
rlese íunuamenrals vlen you uo auu some inreimeuiare anu
auvanceu sriaregy ro youi aisenal, Lecause µlaying suµeiriglr
alone jusr von`r ger rle µors in rlese rouglei games: rle goou
lanus uon`r come along oíren enougl, anu µeilaµs even moie
imµoiranr, you iisk Lecoming a Lir roo µieuicraLle.
Limit Hold’em: Beginners’ Strategy 3 1
Top 10 hands in Hold’em
Wlen you Lieak limir Holu`em uovn ro irs Lasic elemenrs,
goou game rleoiy suggesrs rlar you vair íoi Lig srairing lanus
Leíoie you ger involveu in a lanu, Lecause rle Llinus aie iela-
rively small comµaieu virl rle size oí rle µors, unless you`ie
µlaying in a veiy riglr game (vlicl is iaie ar lov srakes). Ir may
seem a Lir Loiing ro µlay only rlese roµ ren lanus, aírei all, mosr
oí you µlay µokei jusr ro lave a goou rime anu socialize÷rlar is,
íoi enreirainmenr. Iaii enougl, Lur ií you vanr ro vin rle
money, rlen you neeu ro slov some µarience anu enreirain youi-
selí in anorlei vay. Anu, anyvay, lov enreiraining is ir ro µlay
all rle lanus anu lose mosr oí rlem.
In geneial, I iecommenu µlaying rle roµ ren lanus iegaiu-
less oí youi µosirion in rle Lerring oiuei oi rle numLei oí Lers ir
vill cosr you ro ger involveu in rle lanu. Alvays iaise virl rlese
3 2 Play Poker Like the Pros
lanus, no marrei vlar ir cosrs you ro ger involveu. Oí couise, ií
you lave a lor oí eviuence ro suggesr rlar youi ¯-¯ is Learen (µei-
laµs rle riglresr µlayei in rle game las jusr ie-ie-ieiaiseu rle
lanu, making ir, as ve say, ¨íoui Lers ro go¨), rlen you miglr uo
vell ro íolu rle lanu. Bur in geneial, µlaying rlese lanus aggies-
sively is a goou vay ro µlay Holu`em.
I knov rlar you`ie µioLaLly rlinking iiglr nov, ¨Is ir ieally
rlar easy. All I lave ro uo is µlay Plil`s roµ ren lanus.¨ 1le
ansvei is Lasically yes, ar leasr as íai as youi starting require-
nents (youi hisr rvo caius) aie conceineu! Yes, Lecause ir vill Le
easy íoi you ro µlay Leíoie rle loµ (on rle hisr iounu oí Lerring)
vlen all you lave ro iememLei is ro µlay only rle roµ ren. (Play-
ing aírei rle loµ is mucl moie comµlicareu, I`m aíiaiu, Lur uon`r
voiiy, ve`ll covei rlar as vell.)
In vlar íollovs I`ll Le giving you a numLei oí examµles oí
lanus rlar vill lelµ you unueisranu rle Lesr couises oí acrion
íoi a Leginning µlayei ro rake. Bur Leíoie I give you rlese exam-
µles, ir`s rime ro inriouuce rlose ¨animals¨ I µiomiseu you. I can-
nor go mucl íuirlei in reacling you lov ro µlay µokei virlour
claiacreiizing some oí rle µeisonaliry ryµes rlar you vill
ineviraLly íace as you µlay 1exas Holu`em, Lecause no marrei
lov mucl you may vanr ro rlink oí Holu`em as a caiu game
µlayeu Ly µeoµle, in many iesµecrs ir is even moie valiu ro rlink
oí ir as a game aLour µeoµle rlar laµµens ro Le µlayeu virl
caius. 1lis Lecomes moie anu moie riue as rle srakes ger liglei
anu rle games ger rouglei.
Limit Hold’em: Beginners’ Strategy 3 3
Phil’s Animal Types
Phil’s “Animal Types”
1lese aie rle hve animals: rle ncuse, licn, jaclal, elejlant, anu
eagle. I lave cieareu rlese animals Lecause rley seem ro Le rle
mosr common ryµes our rleie iiglr nov.
1le mouse is like youi olu aunr Luna, a conseivarive ryµe
vlo µioLaLly voulun`r even aµµiove oí youi ieauing rlis Look.
1le mouse÷like you÷µlays only rle roµ ren lanus Lur lares ro
invesr any money virl a lanu as veak as ¯-¯ oi S-S. 1le mouse
laiuly evei iaises someone else`s Ler, Lur vlen le uoes iaise,
look our, Lecause le las rle goous!
1le lion is a rougl comµeriroi vlo µlays íaiily riglr µokei
Lur uoesn`r limir limselí ro rle roµ ren lanus. He Lluíís virl
3 4 Play Poker Like the Pros
excellenr riming anu seems ro knov vlen rle orlei µlayeis aie
riying ro Lluíí lim. 1lougl le µlays µierry riglr, le`s occasion-
ally our on a limL virl a Lluíí oi a semiLluíí. You coulu uo
voise rlan µlay like rle lion.
1le jackal is loose anu vilu, anu some uays ir seems as
rlougl le`s jusr giving lis money avay. Because le`s involveu in
so many µors anu iaises so oíren, lis µlay can rake some µierry
Lig svings. 1le jackal`s logic seems ar ouus virl rle logic oí all
rle orlei µlayeis. He jusr seems ciazy! (He`s vlar many oí us in
µokei call a megalomaniac, oi somerimes jusr maniac.) 1le
jackal can luir you anu limselí roo virl lis ciazy µlay, Lecause
le µurs in so many Lers. Bur rleie is some merlou ro lis mau-
ness. He`s goou ar iaising rle µors ar rle iiglr rimes (lis sryle oí
µlay gives lim many occasions ro rlink aLour vlar`s going on),
anu vlen le uoes ar lasr vin a µor, ir`s geneially luge! Ií a jackal
iuns lor Ly carcling goou caius íoi a vlile, you may Lecome
convinceu rlar le`s rle Lesr µlayei in rle voilu, Lur vlen lis
caius come Lack ro eairl, le can lose money as íasr as le von ir.
1le eleµlanr is íaiily loose (vlicl means le µlays a lor oí
µors) anu seems ro Le íiom ^issouii, rle ¨Slov me¨ srare. He`s
vlar ve ieíei ro in µokei as a ¨calling srarion¨: le nevei íolus
vlen le is suµµoseu ro íolu, Lecause le uoesn`r evei Lelieve rlar
you lave rle goous. Because le`s imµossiLle ro Lluíí, no one virl
mucl exµeiience evei riies ro Lluíí lim÷virl one exceµrion: can
you guess vlo rlar is. 1le eleµlanr keeµs íeeuing rle orlei µlay-
eis lis cliµs, slovly Lur suiely. 1le eleµlanr isn`r veiy slaiµ anu
isn`r a veiy uangeious oµµonenr íoi mosr µlayeis, Lur le seems
ro uo vell againsr rle jackal, Lecause rle jackal keeµs on riying
ro Lluíí rle eleµlanr.
Iinally, ve lave rle eagle. 1le eagle is a iaie Liiu, anu you
3 5 Limit Hold’em: Beginners’ Strategy
miglr nor evei µlay virl lim, Lecause le`s one oí rle roµ 100
µokei µlayeis in rle voilu. You`ll hnu rle eagle vleievei ligl-
srakes µokei is µlayeu. He lies aiounu ligl in rle sky anu
svooµs uovn ro ear orlei animals` cliµs vlen le`s lungiy!
You`ll hnu rle eagles comµering eveiy yeai ar rle Woilu Seiies oí
Pokei (WSOP), riying ro vin voilu clamµionsliµs anu rle money
anu µiesrige rlar come virl vinning rlem÷ií nor in rle roui-
namenrs, rlen µeilaµs in rle Lig-money siue games rle WSOP
alvays geneiares. Leaining lov ro µlay like an eagle is a loíry
anu voirlvlile goal, Lur ir is Leyonu rle scoµe oí rlis Look. (In
íacr, ií you`ie aLle ro aLsoiL eveiyrling in rlis Look, rlen µei-
laµs I`ll see you sirring acioss rle raLle íiom me soon.)
Þov rlar ve`ve µonueieu rle µeisonaliries oí mosr oí rle
animals (µlayeis) rlar you`ll Le µlaying againsr, ir`s rime ro move
íoivaiu virl some examµles oí lov ro µlay rle roµ ren lanus ro
µeiíecrion. (As ve µioceeu, you`ll see rle value oí iecognizing
rlese µeisonaliry ryµes.) Again, rle Lasic µiemise in µlaying rle
roµ ren lanus is rlis: alvays iaise oi ieiaise virl rlese lanus
Leíoie rle loµ, no marrei vlar rle acrion las Leen Leíoie ir`s
youi ruin ro acr. (Wlile I lay our rlese examµles, I`ll Legin ro
veave inro rle equarions some vays ro µlay rle lanus somevlar
uiííeienrly, ueµenuing on vlicl animals you`ie µlaying againsr.)
Raising with a Top Ten Hand in Late
Position
1le game is $2÷$4 ar youi local Lai. You lolu ]-] on rle Lurron.
1le µlayei in rle hisr µosirion (see rle illusriarion) las iaiseu,
making ir rvo Lers, oi $4, ro go, anu rle jackal, in rle seconu
Play Poker Like the Pros 3 6
Re-Raise—“Four Bets”
µosirion, las ieiaiseu (1le jackal ieiaiseu! Wlar a suiµiise!),
making ir rliee Lers, oi $6, ro go. You rlen iaise ir again ro make
ir íoui Lers, oi $S, ro go. 1lis lanu is easy enougl ro µlay
Lecause you lave one oí rlose roµ ren lanus anu also lave rle
auvanrage oí lare µosirion.
Beware of the Mouse
1le game is $5÷$10 ar rle local Lusinessmen`s cluL. You lave
9-9 in rle small Llinu, anu rle jackal, in rle rliiu µosirion, las
iaiseu ir ro rvo Lers, oi $10, ro go. 1len rle lion, in rle íouirl
µosirion, makes ir rliee Lers, oi $15, ro go. Þov, rle mouse on
rle Lurron makes ir íoui Lers ro go! Yikes, vlar ro uo. You
knov rlar rle lion µioLaLly las a sriong lanu, Lur rle mouse
making ir íoui Lers, even ovei rle roµ oí rle lion. 1lar is Lig
3 7 Limit Hold’em: Beginners’ Strategy
riouLle!
You ueciue rlar rle mouse µioLaLly las A-A oi K-K, anu
you rliov youi lanu avay iiglr rlen anu rleie, Lecause you hg-
uie rlar you`ie a 4
1
´2-ro-1 unueiuog (a small µaii is iouglly a 4
1
´2-
ro-1 unueiuog againsr a Lig µaii). I knov rlar I`ve saiu you
sloulu alvays µlay rlese lanus, Lur somerimes a lirrle uiscierion
is rle Lerrei µair oí valoi. Ií no animal µeisonaliries lau enreieu
rle µicruie, you coulu µlay rlis lanu÷Lur µokei is aLour µeoµle
as vell as game rleoiy. Deciuing ro call rle íoui Lers in rlis case
voulun`r acrually Le íoollaiuy÷Lur ir voulu Le a µierry veak
µlay, one rlar voulu lose money ovei rle long iun. ^any µlayeis
vlo consiuei rlemselves exµeirs voulu call rlis a reiiiLle µlay,
Lur rley`ie íoigerring ro consiuei rle veiy laige µors you`ie likely
ro vin in sucl cases ií you uo laµµen ro ¨loµ a ser¨ (rliee oí a
kinu, in rlis case rliee nines).
Reraising the Jackal with a Top Ten
Hand in Cyberspace
1le game is $10-$20 limir (vlicl means you coulu vin oi lose
$1,000 on any given niglr) ar UlrimareBer.com, an online µokei
sire. You lave A-K in rle seconu µosirion anu virl youi iaise
you make ir $20 ro go. 1le eleµlanr, in rle íouirl µosirion, calls
rle $20 (rlar`s vlar eleµlanrs uo, aírei all), anu rlen rle jackal
makes ir $30 ro go íiom rle small Llinu. Wlar sloulu you uo.
You make ir $40 ro go, hguiing rlar you lave Lorl rle jackal anu
rle eleµlanr Lear. 1le eleµlanr las µioLaLly calleu virl a lanu
roo veak ro call virl, anu rle jackal las µioLaLly iaiseu virl a
lanu roo veak ro iaise virl.
3 8 Play Poker Like the Pros
Ií eirlei oí rlem las a µaii, rlen you vill neeu ro make a
lanu, Lur rlis is srill a goou rime ro µlay aggiessively. ^aking ir
íoui Lers leie is an esµecially goou µlay Lecause rle jackal coulu
lave anyrling. Anu µurring in rlose exria Lers nov vill make rle
µor so laige rlar you`ll µioLaLly Le íoiceu ro µlay rle lanu íai-
rlei rlan you miglr vanr ro, making ir easiei ro call rle jackal
uovn virl ace ligl. 1lis is goou, Lecause no one vill Le aLle ro
Lluíí you oíí youi A-K ií you miss rle loµ. 1le µor vill Le laige
enougl ro make ir iiglr ro call even ií you miss rle loµ.
A Top Ten Hand against a Mouse
1le game is $15÷$30 limir ar rle ^iiage µokei ioom in Las
Vegas. 1le jackal in sear one iaises rle Ler, making ir $30 ro go.
1le mouse on rle Lurron makes ir rliee Lers, oi $45 ro go. You
lave K-K in rle Lig Llinu, so you make ir $60 ro go. Yes, rle
mouse`s iaise is ominous, Lur you lave K-K, rle seconu-Lesr-
µossiLle lanu, anu you neeu ro iaise virl ir no marrei vlar rle
lanu looks like orleivise.
Pocket Aces
You lave A-A in any µosirion Leíoie rle loµ. Pur in as many Lers
as you can Leíoie rle loµ, iegaiuless oí vlar youi oµµonenrs
3 9 Limit Hold’em: Beginners’ Strategy
uo! 1lis is rle Lesr µossiLle lanu in Holu`em!
Kings, Queens, and A-K
You lave K-K, Q-Q, oi A-K in any µosirion Leíoie rle loµ.
Again, µur as many Lers our rleie as you can Leíoie rle loµ! Wirl
any oí rlese you lave one oí rle íoui Lesr lanus in Holu`em!
Pocket Jacks
You lave ]-] Leíoie rle loµ, in any µosirion. OK, you lave rle
hírl Lesr lanu in Holu`em, anu in geneial I voulu say nevei íolu
rlis lanu Leíoie rle loµ in limir Holu`em. Bur rleie may come a
rime oi rvo, as you Lecome a lion, vlen you cloose ro íolu rlis
lanu Leíoie rle loµ. ^ayLe, íoi examµle, rle riglresr mouse on
rle µlaner las maue ir íoui Lers ro go, anu you jusr lave a sriong
íeeling rlar you`ie Lear. Aírei all, vlar lanu voulu encouiage
rle riglresr µlayei in rle voilu ro make ir íoui Lers ro go. PioL-
aLly A-A oi K-K. Bur Lecause rlis is rle Leginneis` secrion, I`u
auvise you ro µur in youi íoui Lers anyvay, vlen you aie a lion
you vill knov vlen rle rime is iiglr ro íolu rlis lanu.
Beíoie rle loµ, rlen, successíul µlay in Holu`em is µierry uain
easy using rle roµ-ren-lanus sriaregy. In geneial, you iaise oi
ieiaise eveiy rime you lave a roµ ren lanu, anu you íolu rle iesr
oí youi lanus. 1le exceµrions aie: vlen a mouse makes a iaise
oi ieiaise (rvo Lers oi rliee Lers), a lion makes ir rliee Lers (a
4 0 Play Poker Like the Pros
ieiaise), oi an eleµlanr makes ir rliee Lers (since ir is our oí rle
oiuinaiy íoi rle eleµlanr evei ro Ler lis ovn lanu). In rlese
cases, you miglr vanr ro Lack oíí ií youi roµ ren lanu is 9-9,
S-S, ¯-¯, oi A-Q.
Þorice rlar I`m nor uiagiamming rle vay you sloulu µlay
eveiy lanu. 1leie aie jusr roo many vaiiaLles íoi me ro arremµr
rlar. 1le íacr is rlar rle µlay oí some oí rlese lanus ueµenus on
rle oµµonenrs involveu. Bur I`ve given you a íev rlings ro rlink
aLour, anu you vill ueveloµ many moie rlings ro rlink aLour as
you gain moie exµeiience anu a giearei íeel íoi rle game. Ir`s
rime nov ro move on rovaiu rle nexr sreµ in µlaying a limir
1exas Holu`em lanu: lov a Leginnei sloulu µlay limir Holu`em
on rle loµ.
Playing the Flop for Hold’em Beginners:
The Power of the Raise
1le µiinciµle rlar I am going ro reacl you in rlis secrion is lov
ro use a iaise on rle loµ ro hnu our ¨vleie you aie ar¨ in a
lanu. I`ll slov you lov ro use rle iaise oi ieiaise on rle loµ ro
gain iníoimarion, so as ro leain, µeilaµs, vlerlei you lave rle
Lesr lanu oi nor. Leaining rlar is ciucial ro youi uecision-
making µiocess íoi rle iesr oí rle lanu, anu somerimes you lave
ro µay leavily íoi rle iníoimarion! Anorlei giear rling aLour
using a iaise oi ieiaise on rle loµ is rlar even rlougl youi µui-
µose in Lerring vas ro hnu our ií you lau rle Lesr lanu, youi
aggiessive Lerring oíren causes a Lerrei lanu ro íolu. Aggiessive
µlay in Holu`em is oíren ievaiueu in vays you veien`r anriciµar-
ing ar rle rime, rlis is one oí rle ieasons vly jackals lave uevel-
4 1 Limit Hold’em: Beginners’ Strategy
oµeu rleii µairiculai µlaying sryle, anu vly rley seem ro vin
moie oíren rlan rley sloulu.
Aírei all, mosr oí rle rime rle loµ rlar you aie loµing íoi in
Holu`em jusr isn`r rleie. Wlen I make ir rliee Lers ro go in a
Holu`em lanu virl K-K, I`m loµing rlar no ace vill lir rle loµ!
Anu yer an ace uoes íall on rle loµ iouglly 30 µeicenr oí rle
rime. Wlen I lave Q-Q in a Lig mulrivay µor (virl rvo oi moie
oµµonenrs), rlen I`m loµing íoi neirlei an ace noi a king on rle
loµ, Lecause an ace oi a king on rle loµ is rle mosr likely vay
íoi me ro lose rle µor (ro someone loluing A-K oi somerling
similai). Yer oíren rle ace oi rle king uoes come on rle loµ. Bur
vlen you lave Q-Q, anu rliee small caius Lenearl rle queen
come on rle loµ, rle lanu is easy ro µlay on rle loµ: jusr jam
(iaise anu ieiaise) rle µor!
I`ve Leen relling you ro ¨iam anu jam¨ (iaise anu ieiaise)
virl my roµ ren lanus Leíoie rle loµ, Lur vlar laµµens vlen
you`ve maue ir íoui Lers ro go virl 10-10 anu rle loµ comes 2-
Q-K. 1lis siruarion is a goou Lir riickiei rlan one vleie you
make ir íoui Lers ro go virl 10-10 anu rle loµ comes uovn 10-
¯-2 (you lave loµµeu rle Lesr µossiLle lanu in rlis case): rleie,
you jusr jam ir.
You`ll Le aLle ro lanule rle uieam loµs, oi even rle ieally
reiiiLle loµs, Lur vlar uo you uo vlen you`ie leavily involveu
in a lanu Leíoie rle loµ Lur rlen lave vlar íoi you is a mai-
ginal loµ. Wlar you uo is iaise youi oµµonenrs as ií you lave
lir rle loµ µeiíecrly, anu rlen varcl ro see lov rley ieacr ro
youi iaises. Ií you ger rle sriong imµiession rlar you`ie Learen,
on rle Lasis oí youi oµµonenrs` ieacrions ro youi iaises, rlen
íolu. Bur ií you`ie µierry suie you srill lave rle Lesr lanu, rlen
keeµ on Lerring oi calling.
4 2 Play Poker Like the Pros
Þorice leie rlar voven inro rle µiinciµle oí using iaises on
rle loµ ro gain iníoimarion aLour lanus is rle iuea oí using rle
occasion ro ieau youi oµµonenrs. I uon`r vanr ro Le reacling you
jusr µlain olu Loiing game rleoiy virlour also sloving you lov
ro rake inro accounr youi oµµonenrs` moves, renuencies, anu
exµiessions. Pokei is a lor moie aLour ieauing youi oµµonenrs
rlan ir is aLour lov ro µlay µocker eiglrs againsr íoui oµµo-
nenrs! Ií you uo leain lov ro ieau someone, rlen eveiyrling vill
íall inro µlace as you ieau rlis Look. Bur ií you uon`r knov lov
ro ieau someone (oi rlink you uon`r), uon`r uesµaii: ieauing µeo-
µle is also a skill rlar can Le leaineu.
Þov rlar I`ve slovn you some oí rle µovei oí rle iaise on
rle loµ, I`m going ro valk you rliougl some examµles rlar vill
lelµ you leain lov ro µlay lanus after rle loµ. Bur Leíoie I
inriouuce rlese examµles, I rlink ir vill Le useíul ro rell a lirrle
sroiy aLour a lanu rlar I µlayeu ar Ioxvoous Casino (in Con-
necricur) in lare 2001 uuiing a $2,500-Luy-in ¨Woilu Pokei
Iinals¨ Holu`em evenr. We veie µlaying $300÷$600 limir
Holu`em vlen rle íolloving lanu came uµ. I sar in rle Lig Llinu,
anu rliee µeoµle calleu rle $300 Ler Leíoie rle loµ. Because I
lelu S-S, I iaiseu, making ir rvo Lers, oi $600, ro go. ^y rliee
oµµonenrs all calleu my iaise, anu rle loµ rlen came uovn A-9-
5. I Ler our $300, anu eveiyone íolueu! 1lis vas reiiihc nevs íoi
me, since mosr oí rle rime in a Lig-Luy-in µokei evenr someone
voulu lave an ace in rlis siruarion. Ioui µeoµle rimes $600 eacl
equals $2,400. I von $2,400 Lecause I`u maue rle iiglr Ler on
rle loµ anu rle iiglr iaise Leíoie rle loµ! Ií I laun`r Ler on rle
loµ, Lur lau jusr cleckeu, I µioLaLly voulu lave losr rlis µor.
A lor oí voilu-class µlayeis voulun`r lave iaiseu Leíoie
rle loµ on rlis lanu, anu rleieíoie voulu lave misseu our on
4 3 Limit Hold’em: Beginners’ Strategy
rle exria $900 rlar I gor rle orleis ro µur inro rlis µor Leíoie rle
loµ. Some orlei sriong µlayeis voulun`r lave Ler on rle loµ
eirlei, hguiing rlar someone lau ro lave an ace! I assumeu oi
gamLleu (loµeu) rlar my oµµonenrs lau caius like K-10, Q-], oi
, anu íoi a $300 Ler on rle loµ I eaineu $2,400.
Ií I lau simµly cleckeu on rle loµ, iarlei rlan Lerring, rlen
someone else miglr lave riieu ro Lluíí, anu I voulu lave lau a
rougl call, since I coulun`r Lear a µaii oí nines oi aces. Ií I lau
cleckeu anu eveiyone lau cleckeu Lelinu me, anu rlen a king,
queen, jack, oi ren lau come oíí on rle ruin, rlen I voulu µioL-
aLly lave Leen Learen anu voulu nor lave vanreu ro call a Ler!
1liougl µlaying rlis lanu µioµeily anu making rle Ler on rle
loµ, I von a µor rlar many µlayeis voulu nor lave von. Anuy
Glazei says rlis is a ¨Smirl Bainey µor,¨ in rle sense rlar I gor
my money rle olu-íaslioneu vay: I eaiiinnneu ir!
1lis is rle µiinciµle I`m riying ro illusriare, rle µiinciµle oí
Lerring oi iaising on rle loµ, vlen you lave a roµ ren lanu, ro
hnu our ií youis is rle Lesr lanu. In rlis case I vas ieµiesenring
an ace virl my Ler, anu íoirunarely no one lau an ace oi a nine.
Ií someone lau iaiseu me on rlis lanu aírei I`u Ler my S-S on rle
loµ, rlen I mosr likely voulu lave lau ro íolu my lanu, Lur rle
$300 Ler vas going ro give me some valuaLle iníoimarion, oi a
Lerrei clance oí vinning rle µor (ií ir uiove our someone vlo
lelu somerling like K-Q anu vlo miglr lave cauglr rlar king oi
queen on rle ruin oi rle iivei), oi, as vounu uµ laµµening leie,
rle vlole µor.
Alrlougl I von rle Larrle in rlis lanu, I enueu uµ losing rle
vai in rlis µairiculai rouinamenr, going on ro hnisl in rvenrierl
µlace in a helu oí 100. Uníoirunarely íoi me on rlis uay, µokei
rouinamenrs usually concluue Ly µaying only one raLle µei lun-
_-_
4 4 Play Poker Like the Pros
uieu µlayeis, anu leie ir vas only rle hnal raLle oí nine µlayeis
vlo ¨casleu.¨
Examples
Þov ler`s rake a look ar rle examµles I`ve µiomiseu, siruarions
rlar vill reacl you lov ro µlay youi roµ ren lanus aírei rle loµ.
Seven assumµrions vill aµµly ro rle íoui examµles rlar íollov:
1. You`ie µlaying a $5÷$10 online game ar
UlrimareBer.com.
2. You lave ]-], also knovn as µocker jacks.
3. ]im (a jackal) iaises Leíoie rle loµ in rle hisr µosirion
(rle hisr µlayei ro acr aírei rle Llinus, usually ieíeiieu
ro as ¨unuei rle gun¨).
4. You ieiaise, making ir rliee Lers ($15) virl youi ]-] in
rle rliiu µosirion.
5. DumLo (an eleµlanr) calls on rle Lurron.
6. ]eiiy (uncleai µiohle) calls in rle Lig Llinu.
7. ]im (rle jackal) calls youi iaise.
The Flop Comes Down
]eiiy clecks anu ]im Lers our $5. 1lis is a veiy goou loµ
íoi you, Lecause rleie aie no ¨oveicaius¨ (Q-K-A) ro youi µaii
oí jacks (an oveicaiu cieares a ieasonaLle µossiLiliry oí a µaii íoi
someone vlo enreieu rle µor virl rvo Lig caius in lis lanu),
anu rleieíoie rleie is an excellenr clance rlar you srill lave rle
_-_-_
4 5 Limit Hold’em: Beginners’ Strategy
Lesr lanu.
Cleaily a iaise is in oiuei leie. You iaise Lecause you µioL-
aLly lave rle Lesr lanu ar rlis µoinr, Lur youi lanu is vulneiaLle
ro oveicaius, anu you vanr ro riy ro uiive our (íoice rle µlayei ro
íolu) a lanu like Q-K rlar can lir a queen oi a king on eirlei oí
rle nexr rvo caius, anu rlus Lear you. Youi iaise may also uiive
our someone virl 5-5, vlo voulu orleivise call íoi rle iela-
rively cleaµ $5 anu µeilaµs enu uµ Learing you Lecause le lir a
hve on rle nexr caiu oi cauglr a six anu rlen a rliee ro make a
sriaiglr. In orlei voius, iiglr nov youi iaise is all aLour ¨µio-
recring¨ youi lanu íiom losing Ly uiiving our oµµonenrs vlo,
rlougl riailing ar rle momenr, lave ieasonaLle clances ro Lear
you on rle ruin oi iivei, ií you ler rlem sray in rle lanu. Youi
iaise makes ir roo exµensive íoi µlayeis íacing veak uiavs ro
sray in rle lanu.
The Flop Has Come Down
]eiiy Lers our anu ]im calls. Þov vlar uo you uo. A iaise
ar rlis µoinr is a giear iuea. Cleaily, you cannor íolu iiglr leie,
Lecause rle µor is íaiily laige anu you may srill lave rle Lesr
lanu. As long as you`ie going ro µlay, you miglr as vell iaise ir
anu hnu our ií you lave rle Lesr lanu. You alieauy knov rlar
you µioLaLly lave ]im Lear, Lecause le`s a jackal vlo alvays
iaises vlen le las any kinu oí lanu anu le uiun`r iaise ]eiiy`s
$5 Ler.
Assuming rlar you uo iaise, ií ]eiiy ieiaises you leie, le
µioLaLly las you Lear, Lur ir`s nor a ceirainry: le coulu lave a
lanu like a µaii-anu-a-lusl uiav, sucl as , oi a sriaiglr-
_-_-_
_-_
4 6 Play Poker Like the Pros
anu-a-lusl uiav virl a lanu like . You sloulu call lis
ieiaise on rle loµ, since ir is only $5 moie ro you, anu you vanr
ro see vlar le uoes aírei rle nexr caiu is ruineu. Ií ]eiiy rlen
Lers our aírei rle nexr caiu, vleie rle limirs aie nov uouLleu (le
can Ler $10 nov anu on rle lasr iounu oí Lerring), rlen ir is rime
íoi a uecision. You lave ro analyze vlar kinu oí lanu ]eiiy is
likely ro lave.
Does le lave a uiaving lanu rlar you can Lear oi a lanu
like A-Q (a µaii oí aces, iememLei rle loµ is A-10-4) rlar Lears
you. Diu rle lusl caiu oi a king oi queen lir rle Loaiu on rle
ruin. (Þore, Ly rle vay, rlar even rlougl a jack on rle ruin
voulu aµµeai ro Le a giear caiu íoi you, Lecause ir voulu give
you rliee jacks, ir coulu also µiesenr some uangei, ií ir is rle jack
oí uiamonus, oi ií someone lau K-Q anu las nov maue lis
sriaiglr.) Ií so, rlen can you Lear anyrling anymoie. Peilaµs a
¨Llank¨ caiu (a laimless caiu rlar lelµs neirlei a sriaiglr uiav
noi a lusl uiav) like rle comes oíí anu ]eiiy clecks lis uiav-
ing lanu ro you. Wly las le cleckeu. Because youi iaise on rle
loµ scaieu lim oíí íiom Lerring rle . (Ií so, rlen youi iaise on
rle loµ las accomµlisleu irs mission!) Ií le uoes Ler leie aírei a
¨Llank,¨ rlen you musr varcl rle vay le makes rle Ler (look
íoi Louy language rlar miglr slov conhuence oi íeai) anu make
youi Lesr uecision.
On íouirl srieer (aírei rle íouirl uµ caiu is uealr), ií some-
rling in youi leau (inruirion oi insrincr) rells you rlar ]eiiy is
Lluíhng, rlen call. Ií you íeel rlar le las a ieal lanu, rlen íolu.
1iusr youi insrincrs anu you vill hnu rlar rley keeµ imµioving as
you conrinue ro µlay Holu`em.
You vill also hnu rlar youi aLiliry ro ieau orleis vill ger
_-_
_
_
4 7 Limit Hold’em: Beginners’ Strategy
Lerrei as you gain exµeiience, esµecially ií you voik sµecihcally
on varcling lov µeoµle Ler rleii lanus. One oí rle Lesr rimes ro
uo rlis is vlen you lave íolueu youi ovn lanu anu so no longei
lave ro concenriare on youi ovn racrical consiueiarions: you can
íocus enriiely on sruuying youi oµµonenrs (anu rle ourcome!)
íoi iníoimarion rlar vill come in lanuy larei.
The Flop Is
]eiiy Lers our $5, anu ]im iaises ir ro $10 ro go. In rlis case
rleie is no lusl uiav, anu ir`s laiu ro imagine rlar Lorl oí youi
oµµonenrs lave a sriaiglr uiav virl a lanu like Q-], Q-10, oi ]-
10. Alrlougl one oí youi oµµonenrs miglr lave a lanu like rlar,
vlar uoes rle orlei one lave. Almosr ceirainly rle orlei oµµo-
nenr las a µaii oí kings oi a µaii oí aces, Lecause µeoµle loluing
ligl-iank caius like rlar renu ro sray in lanus. In rlis case, rle
rvo oveicaius on rle loµ make íoluing youi lanu an easy
cloice. 1lis is one oí rle voisr µossiLle loµs íoi a µaii oí jacks,
esµecially in a rliee-Ler µor vleie youi oµµonenrs µioLaLly lolu
A-somerling oi K-Q, K-], oi K-10.
¨Bur vair a minure,¨ you miglr ask, ¨ií my oµµonenr can
ger lucky Ly lirring rle ace le vas uiaving ro on rle loµ, vly
can`r I ger lucky anu lir a jack on rle ruin oi rle iivei.¨ Ií one oí
youi oµµonenrs uoes lave a µaii oí aces oi kings, rlen you can
vin only Ly lirring a jack (uon`r even íacroi in rle exriemely
unlikely clance oí lirring rvo µeiíecr caius in a iov ro make a
sriaiglr), anu Lecause rleie aie only rvo jacks leír in rle ueck,
rle ouus againsr rlar laµµening aie aLour 22 ro 1 on rle nexr
caiu. ]usr say ro youiselí, ¨OK, I`ve µlayeu rlis lanu µeiíecrly so
íai, so even rlougl I`ve vaireu a long rime íoi a µaii oí jacks, ir`s
_-_-_
4 8 Play Poker Like the Pros
rime ro íolu rlem. Þexr rime I lave a Lig lanu, I loµe I lave a
Lerrei loµ ro ir.¨ 1len simµly íolu youi lanu anu íoiger aLour
rle ourcome oí rlar one. (Bur again, see vlar rle ourcome rells
you aLour ]eiiy oi ]im.)
Oí couise, rle jack somerimes lirs iiglr avay, anu some-
rimes you voulu lave von rle µor Lecause youi oµµonenrs lave
Q-10 anu . (OLviously rle jackal las rlis lanu!) Bur
iegaiuless oí rle ourcome, you maue rle iiglr move Ly íoluing.
Somerimes µeoµle uiive rlemselves ciazy Ly seconu-guessing
rleii µlays. 1le nexr rling you knov rley`ie sraying in µors riy-
ing ro lir rle slors rlar aie 22 ro 1 againsr rlem, anu viirually
giving rleii money avay! Somerimes µokei vill uiive you Larry
oi, in µokei reims, µur you on ¨rilr.¨
Ií you can keeµ youi emorions in cleck vlen Lau luck
smacks you laiu÷ií you can avoiu lerring a Lau Lieak in one
lanu aííecr rle vay you µlay youi nexr lanu÷you vill lave an
excellenr clance ro Lecome a vinning µokei µlayei. Bur ií you
hnu rlar you can`r ger rle lasr lanu our oí youi minu, anu you`ie
vulneiaLle ro rilr, you vill µioLaLly hnu ir imµossiLle ro vin
ovei rle long laul. In rle long iun, I`u iarlei invesr my money in
a ¨goou¨ µlayei vlo nevei goes on rilr rlan in a ¨veiy goou¨
µlayei vlo is vulneiaLle ro going on rilr.
The Flop Is
]eiiy clecks, anu ]im Lers our $5. A lor oí us voulu Le
remµreu ro rlink, ¨OK, I`m µioLaLly Learen in rlis lanu Lecause
I cannor Lear someone vlo las a K oi a Q in lis lanu anu I`m
íacing rliee oµµonenrs in rlis µor. Bur I`m nor convinceu yer rlar
_-_
_-_-_
4 9 Limit Hold’em: Beginners’ Strategy
I`m Lear, so I`ll jusr call rle $5.¨ In íacr, a ¨mouse¨ miglr even
íolu lis lanu ar rlis µoinr! Bur rlis is rle viong vay ro look ar
ir. Yes, you µioLaLly aie Learen, Lur íoi an exria $5 (iaising
insreau oí calling) you can gain a lor oí iníoimarion, anu Lecause
oí youi iaise you miglr even vin rlis µor. Assuming rlar you uo
make rle coiiecr iaise, making ir $10 ro go, you miglr:
1. Have ]im rle jackal Learen anu íoice DumLo ro íolu lis
Q-] (even rlougl ir las you Lear virl a µaii oí queens,
DumLo vill Le aíiaiu you lave a king in youi lanu).
1lis is an examµle oí vinning a µor rliougl aggiessive
µlay. 1le Leauriíul rling aLour rlis scenaiio is rlar you
veie ieally jusr making a iaise ro gain iníoimarion
aLour rle sriengrl oí youi lanu, Lur as a Ly-µiouucr
you íoiceu rle Lesr lanu ro íolu!
2. Have ]im rle jackal Learen anu íoice DumLo ro íolu lis
A-10, a lanu le miglr lave µlayeu íoi $5 riying ro lir
an insiue sriaiglr, anu lo anu Lelolu, rle µlay saves you
a íoirune vlen youi rliiu jack comes oíí on rle nexr
caiu, Lecause ir voulu lave given DumLo an ace-ligl
sriaiglr (10-]-Q-K-A)!
3. Iinu our rlar DumLo las you Learen vlen le ieiaises
rle µor Lelinu you, making ir $15 ro go. Þov you can
call $5 moie on rle oursiue clance rlar a jack vill lir
rle Loaiu oi rlar DumLo is sirring on a Lig uiav like
anu vill cleck ir on rle nexr rvo srieers ií le
misses lis lanu. Bur ií le Lers again oi ií ]im calls rle
$15 roral on rle loµ, you vill lave ro íolu. Ar leasr you
vill knov rlar you aie Learen ar rlis µoinr in rle lanu,
_-_
5 0 Play Poker Like the Pros
anu you can avoiu calling rle nexr rvo $10 Lers.
4. Iinu our rlar you aie Learen Lecause all rliee oí youi
oµµonenrs calleu youi $10 Ler on rle loµ, anu ir`s jusr
roo unieasonaLle ro rlink rlar youi µaii oí jacks is rle
Lesr lanu aírei rley all call a Ler anu a iaise. (All rliee
voulu lave ro Le on eirlei a smallei µaii rlan jacks, oi
a sriaiglr uiav, oi rle lusl uiav, anu rlis is µierry
unlikely.)
5. Lliminare all rle orlei oµµonenrs in rle lanu, Lur hnu
rlar ]im uoes lave you Lear. In rlis case, you vill µioL-
aLly vinu uµ losing some exria Lers ro ]im Lecause le`s
a jackal! 1lis is an examµle oí vlar I menrioneu eai-
liei÷oí lov jackals uon`r lose as mucl as rleii vilu
µlay voulu seem ro inuicare, Lecause rley ger µaiu oíí
Lig-rime vlen rley acrually uo make a sriong lanu.
Bur you vill lave amµle oµµoiruniry ro ger rlose Lers
Lack íiom ]im larei on, in anorlei lanu!
You can nov see vly iaising ]im`s Ler leie on rle loµ may
vin rle µor íoi you, oi ar leasr give you rle auuirional iníoima-
rion rlar says youi lanu is Learen. Oí youi rliee oµrions, iaising
is Lesr, íoluing is seconu Lesr, anu calling is rle voisr! Youi iaise
on rle loµ vill ser uµ rle vay you µlay youi lanu on rle nexr
rvo iounus oí Lerring, anu ir may Lluíí our a Lerrei lanu.
Playing the Flop, for Limit Hold’em
Beginners: The Special Case of A-K
Ir`s rime nov ro rackle an olu µioLlem in rle 1exas Holu`em
5 1 Limit Hold’em: Beginners’ Strategy
game: lov ro µlay A-K aírei a Lau loµ. Since you vill Le µurring
in a lor oí Lers Leíoie rle loµ virl A-K, you can usually µlay rlis
lanu µierry aggiessively aírei rle loµ as vell (Lecause you`ve
alieauy Luilr a µierry goou-size µor, one voirl going aírei).
Lven rlougl ve aie only in rle Leginneis` secrion íoi limir
Holu`em, I vanr ro ralk Liiely leie aLour rle lisroiical signih-
cance oí A-K in no-limir Holu`em rouinamenrs. 1le classic lanu
ro come uµ Lerveen rvo µlayeis in Lig no-limir Holu`em rouina-
menrs is A-K veisus Q-Q. ^any rimes one oí rlese rouinamenrs is
ueciueu Lecause a giear µlayei las lir oi misseu lis A-K veisus Q-
Q íoi a mounrain oí cliµs! Ar rle 2001 Woilu Seiies oí Pokei,
vlicl is rle µokei voilu`s voilu clamµionsliµs, I lau Q-Q eaily
in one evenr anu vas ¨all-in¨ (all my iemaining cliµs veie in rle
µor) againsr my oµµonenr`s A-K. I µur my lasr $2,000 in Leíoie rle
loµ virl my Q-Q, anu my oµµonenr calleu me virl A-K. Ií I lau
losr rlis ¨coin liµ¨ (acrually, Q-Q is aLour a 13 ro 10 íavoiire),
rlen I voulu lave Leen eliminareu anu voulu nor lave gone on ro
vin rle evenr anu $305,000 íoi hisr µlace. 1lis is a íaiily common
occuiience lare in rlese evenrs. Ir makes sense, consiueiing rlar
rle lanus ]-], Q-Q, K-K, A-A, anu A-K aie rle roµ hve lanus in
Holu`em. 1le riick is ro ¨hnisl rle joL¨ anu go on ro vin rle
evenr ií you aie lucky enougl ro vin a Lig coin-liµ µor.
Examples
Þov rlar I`ve slovn you rle key iole rlar A-K oíren µlays in no-
limir Holu`em evenrs, ir`s rime ro ser uµ rle nexr hve examµles.
Heie aie youi six assumµrions:
5 2 Play Poker Like the Pros
1. You lave A-K in rle small Llinu in a $2÷$4 game ar
youi louse (someone may vin oi lose uµ ro $200, Lur
usually $50÷$100 vins anu losses aie ro Le exµecreu ar
rlis limir).
2. A jackal nameu ]oe makes ir $4 ro go in rle rliiu µosi-
rion.
3. An eleµlanr nameu Lail calls rle $4 on rle Lurron.
4. You ieiaise, making ir $6 ro go íiom rle small Llinu.
5. 1le Lig-Llinu lion nameu Leo calls rle $6 Ler.
6. ]oe rle jackal anu Lail rle eleµlanr also call rle $6 Ler.
The Flop Includes an A or a K (For
Example,
A-9-4, K-10-7, A-2-3, or K-Q-J)
You Ler, iaise, anu ieiaise quire a Lir Lecause you lave lir
¨roµ µaii¨ virl ¨roµ kickei.¨ In eveiy case vleie an A oi a Klirs
rle loµ you vill lave roµ µaii virl roµ kickei (A-A-K oi A-K-K),
anu rlis is a veiy sriong lanu in Holu`em! Ioi examµle, ií rle
loµ is A-9-4, rlen you lave a µaii oí aces virl a king kickei. 1lis
lanu vill Lear all orlei µaiis oí aces like A-Q, A-], A-10, A-S, erc.
Bur ler`s suµµose nov rlar rle loµ is A-9-4 anu someone is
loluing A-9. Youi A-K voulu Le losing on rlis loµ, Lecause A-9
nov makes rvo µaii, aces anu nines. Srill, íoi eveiy rime someone
vlo µlays a veak A-9 againsr youi µoveiíul A-K anu Lears you,
you`ll Lear lim moie rlan rvo orlei rimes (rlar is, rle A-K is
sliglrly moie rlan a 2.5 ro 1 íavoiire leaus-uµ againsr A-9). 1le
µoinr I`m riying ro make is rlar A-K Lecomes veiy µoveiíul
5 3 Limit Hold’em: Beginners’ Strategy
vlen you carcl an A oi a K on rle loµ, anu you sloulu µur in a
lor oí Lerring anu iaising on rle loµ vlen rlis is rle case. Ioi-
runes lave Leen von anu losr virl A-K!
Þov ler`s move on ro a íev examµles oí lov ro µlay rle A-
K vlen you miss rle loµ.
The Flop Is J-5-2
You Ler our $2. 1le lion, Leo, iaises, making ir $4 ro go,
anu rle eleµlanr, Lail, calls rle Ler. In rlis case you hguie rlar
one oí youi oµµonenrs las you Lear, Lur you call $2 anyvay, on
rle clance rlar an A, K, Q, oi 10 vill lir rle Loaiu on íouirl
srieer. Ií an A oi K lirs, rlen you sloulu Ler our $4 on íouirl
srieer. Bur ií a Q oi 10 lirs, rlen you vill vanr ro call a $4 Ler
(cleck anu rlen call $4 ií youi oµµonenrs Ler) Lecause you lave
µickeu uµ a sriaiglr uiav. Since you knov you vill call $4 vlen
a Q oi a 10 lirs, you may cloose ro Ler our $4, arremµring ro
vin rle µor iiglr rleie (Lur iiglr nov ve aie ralking aLour µlay
on rle loµ). So rle µlay on rle loµ leie is íaiily simµle: you Ler
our $2 anu call rle iaise oí $2.
The Flop Is and You Have
You Ler our $2, anu rle lion iaises ir ro $4 ro go. 1le jackal
calls $4. Þov vlar uo you uo. Ioluing leie isn`r a Lau oµrion,
Lecause rvo oí rle caius rlar unuei orlei conuirions you voulu
like ro see on rle ruin oi iivei, oi , voulu make íoui uia-
monus on rle Loaiu, so rley`ie veiy likely goou caius íoi some-
one else, Lau caius íoi you. Srill, ir cosrs you only $2 ro see ií you
can lir youi lanu. I voulu µioLaLly jusr íolu íoi $2, Lur an
_-_-_ _-_
_ _
5 4 Play Poker Like the Pros
exµeir coulu call rle $2 Ler, Lecause le íeels rlar le ieaus lis
oµµonenrs vell enougl ro avoiu gerring roo involveu larei on in
rle lanu. 1le µoinr I`m riying ro make is rlis: somerimes, even
rlougl you lave A-K, you lave ro íolu youi lanu on rle loµ
vlen rle orleis iaise you. You`ie nor íoluing oíren, minu you,
Lur siruarions vleie you íace rliee suireu connecreu caius like
oi on rle Loaiu, anu you lave none oí rle
suireu caius in youi lanu (like virl ), aie jusr roo likely ro
lave lelµeu someone else in rle lanu. 1lose rvo examµles aie
rle voisr µossiLle loµs íoi youi , anu ir`s µioLaLly iiglr ro
jusr íolu youi lanu on rle sµor.
The Flop Is Q-10-2
You Ler our $2, rle lion iaises ir ro $4, anu rlen rle ele-
µlanr ieiaises ir ro $6 ro go. In rlis case, you neeu a ] íoi a
sriaiglr oi an A oi a K íoi a µaii. You lave ro call rle $6. You
lave ro hguie rlar ar leasr one oí youi oµµonenrs las you Learen,
even rlougl one oí rlem may lave a lanu like K-], an oµen-
enueu sriaiglr uiav. (You may even consiuei iaising ir again ro
make ir $S ro go! Wlooµs, nevei minu, rlar`s a µlay íoi rle
auvanceu uiscussion, srill ro come.) 1le µoinr oí rlis examµle is
rlar ií vlar ruins uµ on rle loµ gives you a sriaiglr uiav, rlen
you neeu ro µlay youi A-K. 1liee availaLle aces, rliee availaLle
kings, anu íoui oí vlarevei caiu comµleres youi sriaiglr uiav
(in rlis case íoui jacks) give you roo many vinning µossiLiliries
(µios call rlis laving 10 ¨ours¨) ro íolu iiglr avay.
The Flop Is 6-5-2
You Ler our $2, anu rle lion calls. 1len rle jackal makes ir
_-_-_ _-_-_
_-_
_-_
5 5 Limit Hold’em: Beginners’ Strategy
$4 ro go, anu rle eleµlanr íolus. Wlar uo you uo nov. You
µioLaLly lave rle lion Learen, since le only calleu rle $2 on rle
loµ, anu lions usually uon`r meiely call vlen rley`ie µierry suie
rley lave rle Lesr oí ir. 1le jackal coulu easily lave you Learen
virl a µaii oí ueuces, hves, oi sixes, anu jackals µlay a lor oí
sriange lanus. Bur le is rle jackal anu le coulu jusr as easily
lave ¯-S, A-4, A-3, ¯-9, oi S-9, all oí vlicl give lim a sriaiglr
uiav oí one soir oi anorlei. Ií rlis is rle case, rlen you aie a
íavoiire ovei lis lanu. (He las ro lir somerling virl only rvo
caius ro go, vlile you`ie alieauy vinning anu uon`r neeu ro
imµiove ro Lear lim.) You`ie going ro call rle $2 iaise anyvay,
so vly nor ieiaise, making ir $6 ro go.
1le ieiaise vill µioLaLly cause rle lion ro íolu lis lanu,
isolaring you (gerring ir uovn ro jusr rle rvo oí you) againsr rle
jackal. Ií you uon`r ieiaise, anu rle jackal uoes lave S-9, anu rle
lion uoes lave , you miglr enu uµ losing rle lanu ro rle
lion Lecause you ler lim in cleaµ! 1lis is rle auvanrage oí Leing
rle jackal, lis eiiaric µlay somerimes causes you ro µur in exria
Lers againsr lim. Bur aggiessive µlay againsr rle jackal is a goou
rling! Since le vill µlay lis uiaving lanus ¨íasr¨ (iaising anu
ieiaising), you vill lave a clance ro vin some Lig µors vlen le
misses lis lanu. Wlar I`m ieally riying ro say is rlis: µlay youi
¨A-K ligl¨ (rle Lesr nonµaii lanu) aggiessively on rle loµ
againsr rle jackal vlen you rlink rleie is a uecenr clance le`s
uiaving. You can alvays íolu youi lanu on íouirl srieer oi rle
_-_
5 6 Play Poker Like the Pros
iivei ií you rlink rle jackal las you Lear.
We`ll ralk moie aLour lov ro µlay A-K on rle loµ in rle
inreimeuiare uiscussion oí limir Holu`em, ro come.
How to Play the Top Ten Hands on
Fourth Street
One giear Lenehr oí rle sryle rlar I`m reacling you ro use in 1exas
Holu`em is rlar íouirl srieer anu rle iivei aie nov easiei ro µlay,
Lecause you vill lave uone some goou voik on rle loµ (iaising)
ro hnu our vlerlei oi nor you lave rle Lesr lanu. Iouirl srieer is
rle rime íoi you ro use rle iníoimarion you`ve leaineu on rle loµ.
Because rle Lers aie nov uouLleu on rlis iounu oí Lerring, a vell-
rimeu íolu vill save you ar leasr rvo Lig Lers, µeilaµs moie. On
rle orlei lanu, a vell-rimeu iaise may vin rle vlole µor íoi you!
Ií you Lelieve you lave rle Lesr lanu aírei rle íouirl caiu is
ruineu uµ, rlen you neeu ro make a Ler oi a iaise. Ií you`ve
leaineu rlar you aie Learen, nov is rle rime ro íolu youi lanu.
Iiisr, ler`s rake a look ar some oLvious µlays (oLvious ro an
exµeir, ar leasr) anu lov rley may aííecr rle ourcome oí a lanu.
Protecting Your Hand
You lave K-K. A jackal iaises Leíoie rle loµ, you rlen
make ir rliee Lers (ieiaise), anu an eleµlanr Lelinu you calls rle
rliee Lers ¨colu¨ (virlour laving any money alieauy invesreu in
rle µor). 1le jackal rlen calls rle one auuirional Ler.
1le loµ comes 10-9-2 anu rle jackal Lers, you iaise, anu
rle eleµlanr calls rle rvo Lers. 1le jackal also calls rvo Lers. 1le
5 7 Limit Hold’em: Beginners’ Strategy
ruin caiu comes uµ a 2, íoi 10-9-2-2, anu nov rle jackal Lers our
inro you. Ar rlis µoinr you sloulu Le rlinking, ¨Raise ir!¨ Bur
you`ie uisriacreu Ly rle conveisarion going on acioss rle raLle,
anu you jusr call rle Ler. Þov, rle eleµlanr calls rle Ler as vell.
1lis is a mosr cosrly misrake, since you`ve nov ler rle ele-
µlanr call only one Ler virl lis A-9, anu rle lasr caiu oíí is an A,
íoi 10-9-2-2-A. Þov rle jackal clecks anu you ueciue ro cleck
as vell, Lecause you íeai rle A may lave lir rle eleµlanr. 1len
rle eleµlanr Lers anu rle jackal calls, anu you call as vell. 1le
eleµlanr rlen says, ¨I lave rvo µaii, aces uµ.¨ You rlink, ¨^an,
am I unlucky, I cannor Lelieve rlar le lir an ace on me leie!¨
Wiong! You misµlayeu rlis lanu! All you lau ro uo vas iaise
aírei rle rvo came uµ on íouirl srieer, anu rle eleµlanr voulu
lave Leen íoiceu ro rliov lis lanu avay! Youi call on rle enu
miglr also íall inro rle misrake caregoiy (even rlougl I`ve saiu
you sloulu geneially nor Le íoluing on rle enu), Lecause rle one
caiu you lau legirimare ieason ro íeai, rle ace, lir rle Loaiu, anu
a Ler anJ a call veie alieauy in íionr oí you.
Ler`s ieviire rle sciiµr, rlen, so you`ie making rle oLvious
iaise on íouirl srieer. A ueuce comes oíí rle ueck íoi 10-9-2-2,
anu rle jackal Lers our inro you. You uon`r ieally rlink rle jackal
las a ueuce, so you iaise anu rle eleµlanr ielucranrly íolus lis
lanu. 1le jackal calls youi iaise. 1le iivei caiu is an ace, íoi 10-
9-2-2-A, anu rle jackal clecks. You concluue rlar rle jackal las
a µaii oí rens, so you Ler our, anu rlen rle jackal calls you. You
say, ¨Pocker kings íoi me¨ anu rle jackal says, ¨Þice lanu.¨ You
rlen µile all rle cliµs onro youi srack as rle eleµlanr louuly com-
µlains, ¨Dain ir, I voulu lave maue aces anu nines ií I`u srayeu
in, Lur I coulun`r call, Lecause youi iaise on íouirl srieer rolu me
you lau me Learen!¨ You jusr smile anu hnisl sracking rle cliµs,
5 8 Play Poker Like the Pros
rlinking, ¨Looks as rlougl I µlayeu rlar lanu µeiíecrly!¨
1lis hisr examµle is aLour ¨µiorecring youi lanu¨ virl a
iaise on íouirl srieer. Ií you íail ro uo rlar, you give youi oµµo-
nenrs a clance ro ouruiav you íoi jusr one Ler. 1le nexr examµle
is anorlei íaiily oLvious µlay, Lur in rle orlei uiiecrion÷íoluing!
Knowing When to Fold ’Em
1vo oµµonenrs lave calleu rle Ler Leíoie rle loµ, anu nov
you make ir rvo Lers ro go virl on rle Lurron. 1le Lig Llinu
anu Lorl orlei oµµonenrs call rle iaise, anu rle loµ comes N-
. 1le Lig Llinu clecks, rle hisr ¨limµei¨ (callei) Lers our,
anu rle seconu limµei íolus. You rlen iaise ro hnu our ¨vleie
you`ie ar¨ (giear sriaregy!) anu rle Lig Llinu calls. 1le iemaining
limµei, vlose µlay íalls somevleie Lerveen rlar oí a lion anu
rlar oí a jackal (le`s a íaiily sriong µlayei vlo`s somerimes
unµieuicraLle), nov ieiaises, making ir rliee Lers ro go. You call,
anu nov rle Lig Llinu calls as vell.
Iouirl srieer Liings , íoi , anu rle Lig Llinu
clecks anu rle limµei Lers our. You íolu Lecause you can`r Lear a
µaii oí queens oi a lusl (rle lusl uiav lir!) anu you`ie aíiaiu oí
Lorl rle limµei anu rle Lig Llinu. Wlar lanu coulu rle limµei
make ir rliee Lers virl on rle loµ, anu nonerleless Le a lanu
you can nov Lear.
Ií le las a lusl uiav, rlen le lirs lis lusl. Ií le las a µaii
oí queens, rlen you`ie alieauy Lear. Ií le las a ¨ser¨ (riiµs maue
virl a µocker µaii like 2-2 anu a 2 on rle Loaiu, rlen you`ie also
Lear). Oí couise ir`s µossiLle rlar rle limµei is oveiµlaying a µaii
oí rliees, like A-3 (virl 2-3-Q on Loaiu) oi somerling similai,
Lur ir`s veiy unlikely rlar le voulu ieiaise on rle loµ virl rlar
_-_
_- _- _
_
_-_-_-_
5 9 Limit Hold’em: Beginners’ Strategy
lanu. ALour rle only iealisric loµe íoi you is rlar rle limµei
rliee-Ler virl A-K, a lanu youi jacks srill Lear. 1lar`s ceirainly
nor an imµossiLle loluing, Lur aie you villing ro µay oíí Lig Lers
on Lorl rle ruin anu rle iivei ro hnu our ií you`ie iiglr. Ií rle
limµei is villing ro µusl A-K on rle ruin, rleie`s a veiy iealisric
µossiLiliry rlar le vill µusl one moie rime virl ir on rle iivei. I
von`r caiiy rle sciiµr oí rlis lanu íuirlei, Lur suíhce ro say rlar
you maue rle iiglr µlay, Lecause rleie is almosr no lanu rlar
you can Lear ar rlis µoinr in rle lanu. Clasing (calling) on rle
sriengrl oí rle sliglr loµe rlar rle limµei is µlaying like a
maniac anu µusling lis A-K vill gouge Lig clunks our oí youi
Lankioll ovei rle long iun.
Folding Down Your Hand
Wirl a lanu oí 10-10 you`ve maue ir rliee Lers ro go ovei
rle roµ oí a lion Leíoie rle loµ, anu rvo orlei oµµonenrs lave
calleu. 1lis means you lave íoui µlayeis µurring in rliee Lers
eacl. 1le loµ comes uµ , rle lion Lers, anu you iaise
lim, Lur rlis rime le ieiaises you (assume rlar eveiyone else
íolus on rle loµ).
Iouirl srieer is rle rime ro íolu rlis lanu. 1le lion can`r Le
uiaving leie, Lecause rleie is no uiav, anu you can assume rle
lion isn`r µlaying 6-¯! 1le jackal miglr lave 6-¯, Lur rle lion
voulun`r. So vlen rle lion Lers our again, inro you, aírei rle
comes uµ, íoi , ir`s rime ro íolu youi lanu. 1le
lion`s iesµonse ro youi iaise on rle loµ lers you knov rlar le las
you Learen! Þov acr on rle iníoimarion you`ve µaiu íoi, anu
íolu youi lanu. You may even vanr ro slov rle lion youi lanu
anu say, ¨OK, you vin Lecause I íolu.¨ Alrlougl you aie giving
_-_-_
_-_-_-_
_
6 0 Play Poker Like the Pros
avay íiee iníoimarion vlen you slov youi lanu in rlis sµor,
somerimes rlis soir oí au loc µlay encouiages youi oµµonenr ro
slov you lis lanu íoi íiee (nov oi in some larei lanu), anu you
may vinu uµ collecring a lor moie íiee iníoimarion rlan you`ve
given avay.
Examples
Ler`s nov ievisir an examµle ve lookeu ar eailiei anu consiuei a
íev uiííeienr µossiLiliries.
Assumµrions íoi rle íolloving hve examµles:
1. 1le game is $5÷$10 ar UlrimareBer.com.
2. You lave (µocker jacks).
3. ]im (a jackal) iaises Leíoie rle loµ in rle hisr µosirion.
4. You make ir rliee Lers ($15) virl ]-] in rle rliiu µosi-
rion.
5. DumLo (an eleµlanr) calls on rle Lurron.
6. ]eiiy (uncleai µiohle) calls in rle Lig Llinu.
7. ]im calls youi iaise.
S. 1le loµ comes uovn .
9. ]eiiy Lers our anu ]im calls rle Ler.
10. You iaise virl youi , making ir rvo Lers ro go.
Folding Your Hand Because a Bad Card
Came on Fourth Street
]eiiy makes ir rliee Lers, anu ]im calls rliee Lers. Þov you
_-_
_-_-_
_-_
6 1 Limit Hold’em: Beginners’ Strategy
call rliee Lers, Lur you nov Lelieve rlar ]eiiy las some kinu oí a
sriong lanu. You aien`r suie ií ]eiiy las an ace, oi a lusl uiav
anJ a sriaiglr uiav (like , oi ), oi a lusl
uiav anu a µaii like , oi -xu (x is a ianuom caiu).
1le nexr caiu is rle , íoi , anu ]eiiy Lers our inro
you anu ]im íolus. OK, rle lusl uiav las lir, so you íolu youi
lanu, Lecause you hguie rlar ]eiiy las eirlei an ace oi a lusl.
Protect Your Hand
The Elephant Scares You Off
DumLo makes ir rliee Lers ro go, anu le isn`r rle ryµe ro
iaise ir unless le las a Lig lanu. DumLo makes a lor oí calls Lur
uoesn`r iaise roo oíren. ]eiiy nov íolus, anu ]im calls rle $15
Ler. Ir is only $5 moie ro you ro call, so I voulu call, Lur I`u Le
ieauy ro íolu my lanu on íouirl srieer íoi one Ler íiom DumLo.
I voulu Le rlinking rlar DumLo las ar leasr a µaii oí aces virl a
ligl kickei, anu µioLaLly rvo µaii, aces uµ virl A-10 oi A-6.
Raising the Jackal on Fourth Street When
a Good Card Hits
]eiiy anu ]im Lorl call youi iaise on rle loµ, anu nov rle
_-_, _-_ _-_
_-_, _-_
_
_
_-_-_-_
]eiiy anu ]im Lorl call youi iaise, anu rle nexr caiu oíí rle
ueck is rle _, íoi _-_-_-_. ]eiiy anu ]im nov cleck ro
you. 1ley µioLaLly aien`r clecking an ace (a µaii oí aces) ro you,
anu you uon`r vanr ro give rlem a íiee uiav ar rleii lusl, oi ar
an oveicaiu lanu like K-Q. So you Ler ro µiorecr youi lanu.
6 2 Play Poker Like the Pros
comes oíí rle ueck íoi . (1lis is a goou caiu íoi
you: hisr, Lecause nov rleie aie only rvo aces leír anu rle
clances rlar one oí youi rvo oµµonenrs las ir aie uecieaseu, sec-
onu, Lecause rlis isn`r a sriaiglr oi a lusl caiu.) ]eiiy clecks anu
nov ]im Lers our inro you. You ueciue rlar you lave ]im Lear
anu you iaise ro µiorecr youi lanu, Lecause rleie is a clance rlar
youi iaise leie vill cause ]eiiy ro íolu lis lusl uiav. Ií ]eiiy
uoes lave an ace, you vill knov vlen le iaises ir ro $30 ro go,
anu nov you can íolu youi lanu. Lirlei vay, you`ie µierry suie
you lave ]im Learen leie, Lecause le`s a jackal vlo lasn`r maue
a Ler oi iaise unril nov! Don`r Le aíiaiu ro iaise ]im on íouirl
srieer ií you rlink you lave lim Lear.
A Tough Situation
_
_-_ -_-_
]eiiy ieiaises you on rle loµ, making ir rliee Lers, anu ]im
calls rle rliee Lers. You also call rle rliee Lers. Þov _ comes
oíí rle ueck, íoi _-_-_-_, ]eiiy Lers our inro you, anu ]im
calls rle Ler. Þov you lave a rougl siruarion ro ueal virl! You
ieally aien`r voiiieu rlar ]im miglr lave you Learen. 1le ques-
rion is, uoes ]eiiy lave you Lear (as le voulu virl an A oi rliee
íouis) oi is le loluing a Lig uiav like _-_, _-_, _-_, _-
_, oi somerling similai. I voulu lean rovaiu íoluing my lanu
leie, Lur eveiyrling voulu ueµenu on my ieau oí rle µlayei. Is
]eiiy rle ryµe ro riy ro Lluíí me leie. Wlen I look sriaiglr ar
lim, vlar uo I sense le is µonueiing. Does le vanr me ro call oi
ro íolu iiglr nov. ]usr make youi Lesr guess anu go virl ir! You
vill hnu rlar rle moie oíren you`ie µur in rlis siruarion, rle Ler-
rei you Lecome ar ieauing youi oµµonenrs.
6 3 Limit Hold’em: Beginners’ Strategy
Playing the River with the Top Ten
Hands: Call for the Pot Odds!
In geneial, ií you`ve maue ir all rle vay ro rle iivei virl youi roµ
ren lanu, rlen ir`s µioLaLly coiiecr ro call one Ler on rle iivei.
1le conceµr oí ¨µor ouus¨ vill lelµ me exµlain ro you vly I like
ro make a lor oí calls on rle iivei in Holu`em. In µokei slang, I`m
a ¨calling srarion¨ on rle iivei in limir Holu`em, I`m íiom ^is-
souii, rle ¨Slov me¨ srare!
Ií rle game is $5÷$10, anu I`ve µlayeu my roµ ren lanu
aggiessively rliouglour rle µor, rlen rle amounr oí money
alieauy in rle µor miglr Le $140. Ioi examµle, I make ir $15 ro
go virl rliee oµµonenrs ($60) Leíoie rle loµ, anu nov I iaise on
rle loµ anu rvo oµµonenrs call my iaise ($30). 1len I Ler our
anu rvo oµµonenrs call my Ler on íouirl srieer ($30), anu hnally
one oµµonenr Lers our inro me anu my orlei oµµonenr calls
($20). So rle µor lolus $60 + $30 + $30 + $20 = $140. Þov, my
$10 call gives me a clance ro vin $140!
Ií you uo ueciue ro íolu leie, rlen you musr Le ar leasr 93
µeicenr suie rlar you aie Lear (10/140 = 0.0¯14, anu 1 .0¯14 =
92.S6). 1lar`s vly I uon`r lay uovn roo many lanus on rle
iivei! Oí couise, vlen rle voisr µossiLle caiu íoi my lanu lirs
on rle iivei anu a mouse Lers inro me, rlen I`m 9S µeicenr suie
rlar I`m Learen! So rle $140 jct is laying me 14 ro 1 cJJs on my
call. $140 ro $10 is µierry sriong µor ouus! 1lis is vly I encoui-
age Leing a calling srarion like me in limir Holu`em!
6 4 Play Poker Like the Pros
Examples
Having saiu all rlar, I`ll srair virl rvo examµles oí vleie I
voulu íolu a lanu, even on rle iivei.
Folding on the River
Ler`s assume rlar you lave Q-Q in a íoui-vay-acrion µor
virl a Loaiu oí , anu rlar rleie las Leen a lor oí
Lerring anu iaising on rle loµ uuiing rlis lanu. Say nov rlar
comes oíí rle ueck anu a mouse Lers inro you. You`ll vanr ro
íolu youi lanu virlour íuirlei rlouglr. 1le makes a lusl, a
sriaiglr, anu a µaii oí aces all µossiLle. 1lar comLineu virl rle
sµecrei oí a mouse Lerring inro you is a scaiy scenaiio! You`u
µioLaLly lave ro íolu even ií a jackal Ler inro you, esµecially ií
rleie aie orlei oµµonenrs in rle lanu Lelinu you yer ro acr. Ir is
also a Lau sign íoi you rlar rleie vas so mucl Lerring anu iais-
ing on rle loµ, rlis suggesrs rlar rleie aie sriaiglr anu lusl
uiavs our rleie. Some caius aie jusr so Lau rlar you lave ro íolu.
The Board Is So Bad I Surrender!
Suµµose you lave , rle loµ comes (rlis is
one oí rle voisr µossiLle loµs íoi youi lanu), anu rvo oµµo-
nenrs aie ieally ¨jamming ir¨ virl you on rle loµ. Say lirs on
rle ruin, rley Lorl cleck, you Ler, anu rley Lorl call you. Þov
you knov rlar you µioLaLly lave rle Lesr lanu ar rlis µoinr,
since no one las iaiseu you, Lur you`ie also suie rlar youi oµµo-
nenrs lave Lig uiavs. (Wlar else coulu rley lave Leen jamming
_-_-_-_
_
_
_-_
_-_-_
_
6 5 Limit Hold’em: Beginners’ Strategy
ir virl on rle loµ.) So vlen µoµs uµ on rle iivei, íoi
, vlar can you Lear. Any leair makes a lusl anu any
seven oi queen makes a sriaiglr. Hov can you call even one Ler
on rle enu, esµecially given rle vay rle orleis lave µlayeu rle
lanu. You can`r even Lear an oµµonenr vlo lolus (rlar
lanu makes rvo µaiis). Lven rlougl you vaireu louis íoi youi
A-A, anu even rlougl rle µor ouus aie µierry goou, somerimes
you jusr lave ro suiienuei!
Þov ler`s rake a look ar some siruarions vleie, mosr oí rle rime,
you jusr lave ro call on rle iivei Lecause oí rle µor ouus.
The Following Hand Has Three
Different Endings
Heie, I`u µur ]im on K-Q, vlicl makes a µaii oí kings íoi
_ _-_-
_-_-_
_-_
Heie`s a íamiliai siruarion, involving ]im (rle jackal) anu
]eiiy (unknovn µiohle). You lave ]-] anu you`ve maue ir rliee
Lers ovei rle roµ oí ]im`s rvo Lers (ieiaiseu) Leíoie rle loµ. ]eiiy
calls you íiom rle Lig Llinu, anu rle loµ is _-_-_. ]eiiy Lers
our on rle loµ, ]im calls rle Ler, anu you iaise ir, ro hnu our
vlar rley ieally lave. Borl µlayeis call youi iaise, anu rlen _
comes oíí on rle ruin anu rley Lorl cleck ro you. You Ler our,
rlinking youi ]-] is srill rle Lesr lanu, anu rley Lorl call again.
1le lasr caiu is _, íoi a hnal Loaiu oí _-_-_-_-_. ]eiiy
Lers our anu ]im calls. 1le _ vas µioLaLly rle voisr µossiLle caiu
íoi youi lanu, orlei rlan _, Lecause nov you can`r Lear a lusl, a
sriaiglr, oi a µaii oí kings. ]eiiy µioLaLly las you Learen, Lur lov
aLour ]im. Ir looks ro me as ií ]im las you Learen leie as vell.
6 6 Play Poker Like the Pros
lim on rle enu. 1link aLour ir. Ií ]im las a lusl, rlen le voulu
lave iaiseu on rle enu. Ií ]im las kings anu rens (anorlei µossi-
Liliry, given rle vay rle lanu uníolueu), rlen le voulu µioLaLly
lave iaiseu on rle loµ limselí, virl lis µaii oí rens. Wlarevei
rle case may Le, ir looks as ií ]im las you Learen. Ir`s riue rlar
rleie is alieauy $125 ($45 + $30 + $30 + $20) in rle µor, so you
neeu ro Le ovei 92 µeicenr suie rlar you`ie Learen Leíoie you
ueciue ro íolu. Bur given rlis siruarion, I voulu lave ro íolu,
Lecause I`u Le convinceu rlar Lorl µlayeis lave me Learen. Borl
µlayeis exµecr you ro call on rle enu, anu rle clances rlar Lorl
oí rlem aie riying ro Lluíí you rleieíoie seem veiy iemore ro me.
Ler`s suµµose again rlar rle lasr caiu is , íoi
, anu nov Lorl oµµonenrs cleck ro you. Do you Ler leie oi
cleck. Ií you Ler leie, you lave ro Le loµing rlar eirlei ]eiiy oi ]im
vill call you virl a µaii oí rens oi voise. I voulun`r Le voiiieu
aLour ]im in rlis case, Lur ]eiiy voulu concein me a lirrle Lir.
(Coulu ]eiiy lave an ace virl no kickei, like A-2, A-3, oi A-5,
vlicl voulu exµlain vly le jusr calleu on rle loµ. Diu le íeai an
ace virl a kickei on rle loµ.) 1lis ¨value Ler¨ rlar you`ie consiu-
eiing making (a Ler you make Lelieving rlar ir vill eain sliglrly
moie rlan ir vill lose, ovei rle long iun) is one rlar neeus a lirrle Lir
oí ieauing aLiliry as vell (a lirrle hnesse). Ií you ueciue ro Ler, rlen
rlar`s hne, ií you ueciue ro cleck, rlar`s hne roo. I voulu Ler ir
Ler`s suµµose nov rlar rle lasr caiu is _, íoi _-_-_-_
_, anu nov ]eiiy Lers our inro you anu ]imíolus. 1lis Ler voulu
seem veiy susµicious ro me, anu I voulu call ir veiy quickly.
voulu Le rlinking, ¨Wly uiu ]eiiy ueciue ro Ler iiglr leie anu
nov. I uon`r rlink rlar rle six lelµeu lim, so le`s eirlei Lluíhng
oi loluing an ace.¨ Ií I`m íacing an eirlei-oi siruarion anu gerring
rlis kinu oí µor ouus, I`mgoing ro call virlour lesirarion.
_ _-_-_-
-_
_
6 7 Limit Hold’em: Beginners’ Strategy
myselí unless I íelr sriongly rlar ]eiiy lau me Learen. We`ll ralk
moie aLour value Lerring in rle inreimeuiare anu auvanceu secrions.
Pot Odds Say,“Close Your Eyes and Call”
You`ie loluing K-K, anu you rliee-Ler an eleµlanr Leíoie
rle loµ. 1le loµ rlen comes uovn , anu nov you
make ir íoui Lers (a iaising vai on rle loµ). 1le nexr caiu oíí is
anu le clecks anu rlen calls youi Ler. Þov comes oíí on rle
iivei, íoi , anu rle eleµlanr Lers our inro you. In
rlis case, any íoui oi nine makes a sriaiglr, Lur you call rle Ler
quickly Lecause you can srill Lear a lor oí lanus. 1le µor ouus
aie leavily in youi íavoi íoi a call leie÷rleie is alieauy $¯ íiom
rle Llinus rlar íolueu, $30 íiom Leíoie rle loµ, $40 on rle loµ,
$20 íiom íouirl srieer, anu $10 íiom rle eleµlanr`s Ler on rle
enu. One $10 call ro vin $10¯! I`u call quickly as vell.
Calling Two Bets on the River
1le quesrion leie is vlerlei oi nor you sloulu call on rle
iivei vlen calling cosrs you rvo Lig Lers. In geneial, vlen you
lave ro call rvo Lers (someone Lers anu rlen someone else iaises)
on rle iivei in a Holu`em µor, ir`s a goou iuea ro íolu. Usually, rle
only lanus rlar you can Lear on rle enu, vlen ir cosrs you rvo Lers
jusr ro call, aie Lluíís. You vill iaiely see an exµeiienceu µlayei
Lluíí iaise on rle iivei in lov-limir Holu`em! Ir`s jusr nor a veiy
µiohraLle µlay. 1o ieruin ro a íamiliai examµle: ler`s assume rlar
_-_-_
_
_-_-_-_-_
_
Suµµose ir`s _ rlar comes oíí on rle iivei, íoi _-_-_-
_-_, anu rle eleµlanr Lers our inro you. I`u call quickly leie as
vell, Lecause oí rle µor ouus (rleie is a lor oí money in rlis µor).
6 8 Play Poker Like the Pros
rle lanu las Leen µlayeu our among ]im, ]eiiy, anu you, as
ueraileu aLove. Wlen ]eiiy Lers our inro anu ]im
iaises, ir`s a goou iuea ro exir srage leír virl youi mouesr lirrle ]-].
Ií rle lasr caiu is , leaving , anu, as Leíoie,
]eiiy Lers our anu ]im iaises, rlen ger our oí rlar one roo. Lven
rlougl seems a laimless caiu, all you can ieally Lear leie is a
Lluíí Ly Lorl µlayeis. Is ir ieally µossiLle rlar Lorl ]eiiy anu ]im
aie Lluíhng. I uon`r rlink so! (Ií you vanr anorlei ieason ro íolu
rlis lanu, suµµose nov rlar you call, anu ]eiiy ieally las rle
goous, somerling like A-6, anu ieiaises! Þov vlar aie you
going ro uo.
Folding A-A for Two Bets on the End
Wlen ]oln Lers our inro on rle enu anu
Iiank iaises ro rvo Lers, rlen ir`s a goou rime ro uumµ youi A-A
even rlougl rle µor is luge! Wlen rley Ler anu iaise ar rlis
µoinr in rle lanu, vlar can you Lear. Ir seems likely rlar one oí
youi oµµonenrs las maue a lusl oi a sriaiglr (le neeus ro lave
only a seven in lis lanu íoi a sriaiglr) oi ar leasr rvo µaii. I`m
assuming in rlis examµle rlar you µlayeu youi A-A veiy aggies-
sively anu µur in a lor oí Lers, vlicl voulu lave uiscouiageu
rlem íiom rlinking rlar rley coulu Lluíí you on rle iivei.
When the Last Card Is Bad for Your Hand
Ler`s assume rlar you lave µur in a lor oí Lers virl youi Q-
Q (µocker queens), rlar rvo oµµonenrs lave calleu, anu rlar rle
Loaiu las ueveloµeu on rle ruin. Ler`s consiuei rvo
_-_-_-_-_
_ _-_-_-_-_
_
_-_-_-_-_
_-_-_-_
6 9 Limit Hold’em: Beginners’ Strategy
scenaiios.
In rle hisr scenaiio, Lorl oµµonenrs lave jusr calleu you on
íouirl srieer anu nov rle lasr caiu is , íoi a hnal Loaiu oí -
. Youi hisr oµµonenr rlen Lers our inro you, anu
nov ir`s youi ruin ro acr, virl youi orlei oµµonenr vairing
Lelinu you. Wov, vlar an avíul caiu vas íoi youi lanu! You
can`r Lear anyone vlo is loluing eirlei a nine (le nov las trijs,
oi rliee oí a kinu) oi rvo cluLs (le nov las a lusl), anu eirlei
oí rlose is a lanu µierry likely ro lave virlsroou youi leavy
iaising on rle loµ. A nine voulu lave given lim roµ µaii on rle
loµ, anu rle loµ µiesenreu a lusl uiav.
I miglr lean rovaiu íoluing leie íoi rle hisr Ler (I voulu
íolu ro a mouse, Lur nor ro a jackal), Lur ler`s assume rlar you
call anu nov rle oµµonenr Lelinu you iaises anu rle orlei oµµo-
nenr calls. In rlis siruarion you can Le almosr ceirain you aie
Lear. ]uuging íiom rle íacr rlar rley lave Ler inro you, iaiseu
you, anu rlen calleu rle iaise, you can suµµose rley µierry mucl
knov youi lanu! (By rle vay, my guess leie is rlar rley Lorl
lave youi Q-Q Lear.) Yikes, you lau Lerrei íolu, even rlougl rle
µor ouus aie luge. 1le µoinr is rlar you neeu ro Le veiy con-
ceineu vlen someone iaises on rle iivei! Iionically, rle giear size
oí rle µor (vlicl so µoveiíully enrices you ro call) uemonsriares
rlar rley almosr ceirainly lave you Lear, Lecause rley vill lave
assumeu you voulu call rlem virl sucl a laige µor sraiing you
in rle íace. In veiy-ligl-srakes games, rlis isn`r alvays going ro
Le riue, Lur vlen you`ie srairing our, you aien`r going ro Le see-
ing veiy many Lluíí iaises on rle iivei.
Ler`s assume nov rlar comes oíí on rle iivei, íoi a hnal
Loaiu oí , anu rlar rle hisr oµµonenr Lers our
_ _
_-_-_-_
_
_
_-_-_-_-_
inro you. 1le seconu oµµonenr is sirring Lelinu you, vairing íoi
you ro acr. 1lis caiu is Lau íoi you, Lecause ir comµleres rle
lusl uiavs, Lur nor neaily as Lau as rle ve lookeu ar in rle
µieceuing examµle, Lecause ir uoesn`r give riiµs ro rlose íolks
vlo may lave sraireu virl roµ µaii. Heie, you lave ro call youi
_
7 0 Play Poker Like the Pros
hisr oµµonenr. Bur ií rle seconu oµµonenr iaises, rlen you lave
ro íolu, iegaiuless oí vlerlei rle hisr oµµonenr calleu rle seconu
oµµonenr`s iaise oi nor. Ir`s jusr roo laiu íoi rle seconu oµµo-
nenr ro Lluíí leie. Wlar`s le going ro uo, iaise loµing rlar Lorl
oí you vill íolu.
In geneial, vlen you aien`r suie vlerlei oi nor ro call one Ler on
rle iivei, rlen call. 1le µor ouus suµµoir a vlole lor oí calling
on rle iivei, Lecause in rle long iun you uon`r oíren lave ro Le
roo successíul in µicking oíí a Lluíí íoi rlis call ro µiove µioí-
iraLle! Geneially, rlougl, I voulu íolu my lanu on rle iivei íoi
rvo Lers, since iaiely uo you see someone making ir rvo Lers ro
go on rle iivei on a Lluíí. Oí couise, ií youi insrincrs say íolu, oi
call, oi iaise on rle iivei, anu you`ve Legun ro riusr youi
insrincrs, rlen íollov rlem!
So, Leíoie rle loµ in limir Holu`em, µlay only rle roµ ren
lanus, anu make suie rlar you µlay rlem veiy aggiessively. On
rle loµ, iememLei ro iaise ro hnu our ¨vleie you`ie ar¨ so rlar
you can make rle iiglr moves larei on in rle lanu oi µossiLly
vin a µor rliougl youi aggiessive µlay rlar orleis voulun`r lave
von. On íouirl srieer make suie rlar you µiorecr youi lanu, oi
íolu ir, ueµenuing on vlar you leaineu on rle loµ, vlar caiu
came oíí, anu rle vay rle Lerring came uovn. On rle iivei, look
ro call uovn youi oµµonenrs Lecause oí rle µor-ouus µiinciµle,
Lur Le leeiy oí calling rvo Lers on rle iivei.
You`ve nov leaineu enougl ro vin money µlaying µokei in
mosr small-srakes games. RememLei, rlougl, rlar ir may rake a
long rime ro uigesr all rle iníoimarion I`ve given you so íai.
Beíoie you iusl on our anu µlay, keeµ in minu rlar you neeu ro
leain ro valk Leíoie you can ly. You`ie nor ieauy ro µlay virl
]unioi`s giauuarion money jusr yer.
C h a p t e r 4
Limit Hold’em:
Intermediate Strategy
Ií you lave a ieally sreeµ leaining cuive, anu rle aLiliry ro ieau
µlayeis vell, rlen you may Le aLle ro move uµ iarlei quickly
íiom rle Leginneis` level ro rle nexr, inreimeuiare level oí limir
Holu`em. Bur usually, in oiuei ro ieacl rle inreimeuiare level,
you vill neeu ro µlay íoi ar leasr a íev monrls anu aLsoiL rle
nuances oí limir Holu`em.
1le inreimeuiare-level limir Holu`em µlayei uoes exriemely
vell in lov-limir games. In íacr, le uoes so vell rlar le vanrs ro
resr limselí ar rle nexr level uµ. Ioi examµle, ií you Legin ro Lear
youi $2÷$4 lome µokei game consisrenrly, rlen ir is rime íoi you
ro riy a liglei-srakes lome µokei game (oi casino game)÷µei-
laµs $4÷$S oi $5÷$10. Ií you`ie only Lieaking even oi losing ar
rlis liglei level, rlen you neeu ro uioµ Lack uovn anu conrinue
ro vin ar rle lovei levels íoi a vlile Leíoie you resr youi game
again. Bur ií you`ie a goou inreimeuiare-level µlayei anu you uo
7 2 Play Poker Like the Pros
vell in rle $4÷$S games, rlen you vill vanr ro riy µlaying
$S÷$16 oi $10÷$20 limir.
Lveiy giear µlayei rlar I knov oí las moveu uµ rliougl rle
limirs in rlis vay, virl some uioµ-oíís along rle vay. You srair
our µlaying $1÷$2 limir Holu`em virl youi íiienus, anu rle nexr
rling you knov, you`ie µlaying $400÷$S00 limir ar rle Bellagio
virl Plil Hellmurl, ]olnny Clan, anu Doyle Biunson! I µeison-
ally von aLour $20,000 in lome games in 19S6, Lur vlen I
sreµµeu uµ ro Las Vegas casino µlay, I slovly losr rle vlole
$20,000 anu venr Lioke íoi rle hisr anu (so íai!) lasr rime. A
Lumµy ioau on rle vay uµ is ro Le exµecreu÷no one climLs
^ounr Lveiesr virl ease!
Extending Your Play beyond the Top
Ten Hands
Ir`s rime ro auu a íev moie lanus ro rle mix. I call rle nev giouµ
oí lanus rle ¨majoiiry µlay lanus¨ Lecause you can µlay all oí
rlem in rle majoiiry oí rle Holu`em games you hnu youiselí in.
Recall rlar rle roµ ren lanus in Claµrei 3 veie A-A, K-K, Q-Q,
A-K, ]-], 10-10, 9-9, S-S, A-Q, anu ¯-¯. 1le majoiiry µlay lanus
aie 6-6, 5-5, 4-4, 3-3, 2-2, A-x suireu, anu K-Q. ¨A-x suireu¨
simµly means an ace anu any orlei caiu oí rle same suir, like
, erc.
In rlis claµrei you vill leain:
z Hov ro ¨sreal rle Llinus¨
z Plil`s ¨majoiiry µlay¨ lanus
z 1le ¨calling¨ rleoiy on lov ro µlay small µaiis
_-_, _-_, _-_, _-_
7 3 Limit Hold’em: Intermediate Strategy
z 1le ¨ieiaising¨ rleoiy on lov ro µlay small µaiis
z Hov ro µlay K-Q
z Hov ro ¨riaµ¨ µlayeis (¨slov µlaying¨ anu ¨smoorl
calling¨)
1le inreimeuiare-level majoiiry-µlay-lanus sriaregy vill Le
moie ¨svingy¨ rlan rle roµ-ren-lanus sriaregy. By svingy, I
mean rlar you`ll hnu rlar youi cliµ srack goes uµ anu uovn
Lorl moie íiequenrly anu íoi liglei amounrs vlen you use rlis
inreimeuiare-µlay sriaregy along virl rle roµ-ren-lanus sriaregy.
Ioi examµle, you may nov lose a small µor oi vin a Lig µor
vlen you µlay againsr youi oµµonenr`s A-Q (mosr oí rle
rime you`ll lose). Using jusr rle roµ-ren-lanus sriaregy, you
voulu nevei lave gorren involveu in rlis lanu, so youi cliµ
srack voulun`r lave lau ro enuuie rle svings uµ oi uovn rlar
rlis coníionrarion can cieare.
Similaily, you vill lose many small µors vlen you µlay
lanus like 2-2 oi 3-3, Lur you vill also vin some ieally Lig
ones vlen you þcj a set, rle µokei slang reim íoi rliee oí a
kinu. Oí couise, you`ie nor guaianreeu ro vin vlen you loµ a
ser, Lur I like youi clances! 1le µioLlem is rlar you vill loµ
a ser only one rime our oí eveiy ¯
1
´2 arremµrs. 1lar`s vly µlay-
ing rlis lanu vill cause you ro lose a lor oí small µors: mosr oí
rle rime you`ll miss rle loµ, Lur you`ll Le smair enougl ro íolu
vlen you uo, anu vlen you uo lir rle loµ, you`ll µioLaLly
scoie vell.
_-_
7 4 Play Poker Like the Pros
Stealing the Blinds
We`ll ger inro rle µlay oí rlese majoiiry µlay lanus soon, Lur hisr
I neeu ro inriouuce a sriaregy calleu ¨srealing rle Llinus,¨ one
rlar can yielu a íev cliµs in ceirain ciicumsrances, even virl a
voirlless lanu, anu ar minimal iisk. In mosr rougl games, you`ll
see a lor oí íoluing Leíoie rle loµ. Wlen eveiyone íolus uµ ro rle
µlayei on rle Lurron, rlen rlar µlayei vill usually iaise in rle
loµe rlar rle small Llinu anu Lig Llinu vill íolu rleii lanus roo.
Ií rley uo, rlen rle Lurron µlayei gers ro keeµ rle Llinu money.
Lven ií rle µlayei on rle Lurron las somerling like 5-S, le vill
oíren iaise in rlis siruarion in oiuei ro riy ro sreal rle Llinus.
Lxµeiienceu oµµonenrs vill knov rlar rle Lurron µlayei vlo
iaises ar rlis µoinr miglr Le arremµring ro sreal, Lur ií rleii lanus
aie jusr as Lau, rley`ll íolu iarlei rlan ger involveu virl a Lau
lanu in Lau µosirion. You can see lov rle reim ¨srealing¨ voulu
lave aiisen vlen µlayeis µur in a iaise virl a lanu rlis veak!
1le µovei oí rle Llinu sreal is ielareu ro rle íacr rlar rle
Lurron µlayei las rle Lesr µosirion. Being on rle Lurron gives a
µlayei rle auvanrage oí µosirion, in rlar le vill acr lasr uuiing
rle vlole lanu. In Holu`em acring lasr (laving µosirion) is a
luge euge. Ií you`ie µoveiíul, veak, oi somevleie in Lerveen,
you can sir Lack anu vair íoi all rle orlei µlayeis ro ieveal rleii
sriengrl oi veakness Leíoie you acr on youi lanu. 1vo goou
ieasons íoi you ro íolu a maiginal lanu in rle Llinus vlen rle
Lurron iaises aie rlar you`ie in Lau µosirion anu rlar rle Lurron
may acrually lave a ieal lanu insreau oí a veak lanu.
7 5 Limit Hold’em: Intermediate Strategy
Weird Things Can Happen When You’re
Stealing the Blinds
I srill iememLei a lanu rlar came uµ virl 11 µlayeis leír
(hve ar one raLle anu six ar my raLle) in a limir Holu`em evenr ar
Caesai`s Palace in 1991. Wirl rle limirs ar $1,000÷$2,000 I
ueciueu ro iaise in lare µosirion virl . 1le µokei legenu
Hans ¨1una¨ Lunu (rvice a hnal-raLle hnislei ar rle Woilu
Seiies oí Pokei!) ueciueu ro call me virl 10-] in rle Lig Llinu,
Lecause le rlouglr rlar I vas jusr riying ro sreal lis Llinu.
1le loµ came uµ Q-10-¯, vlicl gave me a veiy µoveiíul
rvo µaii, anu 1una cleckeu anu rlen calleu my $1,000 Ler.
Wlen a jack came oíí on íouirl srieer, giving lim rvo µaii (rens
anu jacks), le Ler our $2,000 anu I iaiseu lim ro $4,000. He
rlen ieiaiseu me, anu I jusr calleu lis rliee Lers ($6,000), rlink-
ing rlar le µioLaLly lau me Lear. 1una rlen Ler our $2,000 on
rle enu, anu I calleu. He rlen srareu, ¨1vo µaii, jacks uµ,¨ anu I
iesµonueu, ¨Þo goou, I lave queens uµ.¨ 1una ieµlieu, ¨You
lucky µuµµy, I knev you veie jusr riying ro sreal rle Llinus!¨
Ir vas inueeu a veiy lucky lanu ro lave come uµ virl, vlen
11 µlayeis veie leír in rle rouinamenr anu rle limirs veie as ligl
as rley veie. I von a $22,500 µor all Lecause I vas riying ro sreal
rle Llinus! Oí couise, alrlougl an arremµr ro sreal may leau ro
eirlei a successíul sreal virl norling oi a Lig vin like rle one I
gor againsr 1una, you can also enu uµ losing a Lig µor ií you loµ
somerling goou in rlar enueavoi anu ir loses ro somerling Lerrei.
In anorlei rouinamenr, rlis one ar rle U.S. Pokei Oµen ar
rle 1aj ^alal in Arlanric Ciry in 199¯, I keµr riying ro sreal rle
Llinus, anu I keµr gerring ciusleu! I voulu sreal íiom a µosirion
one oíí rle Lurron (you vill oLseive rlar a sreal arremµr looks less
_-_
7 6 Play Poker Like the Pros
like a sreal arremµr rle íairlei you aie íiom rle Lurron) virl 9-
10, anu I`u ger calleu virl K-10. 1len rle olu 10-4-2 loµ voulu
lir anu I voulu lose rle maximum. Oi I voulu iaise virl
srealing on rle Lurron anu Le calleu virl Q-]. Wirl a loµ oí ]-10-
2, I rlen lau ro µlay my oµen-enueu sriaiglr uiav all rle vay.
Anu Loom÷an eiglr voulu come uµ on rle lasr caiu anu I voulu
call rlar Ler roo! Aírei ieµeareuly gerring ciusleu srealing rle
Llinus rlar uay, I ueciueu ro Le moie caieíul in rle íuruie, Lorl in
using rlar µlay anu in lov aggiessively I voulu conrinue on aírei
I gor calleu, anu so sloulu you. So again, Llinu-srealing can cur
Lorl vays. (Ir vill cioµ uµ in vaiious examµles in rlis claµrei,
anu you sloulu alieauy unueisranu rle sriaregy vlen ir uoes.)
Playing the Majority Play Hands before
the Flop
Þov ir`s rime ro examine rle µlay oí rle majoiiry µlay lanus oí 6-
6, 5-5, 4-4, 3-3, 2-2, A-x suireu, anu K-Q Leíoie rle loµ, all oí
rlem veakei rlan rle ¨roµ ren¨ lanus in Claµrei 3. Common
sense anu ueceµrion aie rvo imµoiranr conceµrs in rle µlay oí rlese
lanus. I viev rle µaiis 2-2 rliougl 6-6 as Lasically Leing oí rle
same value Leíoie rle loµ in limir Holu`em. A-x suireu is sliglrly
Lelov rle value rlar I assign rlese µaiis, anu K-Q is rle veakesr.
Calling with Small Pairs
^osr rleoiies agiee rlar you sloulu Le rle hisr iaisei virl
a µaii Leíoie rle loµ, rlar is, rlar virl youi small µaii you
sloulu usually make ir rvo Lers ro go. Bur vlen ir is alieauy rvo
_-_
7 7 Limit Hold’em: Intermediate Strategy
Lers ro you, a µoµulai rleoiy says you can eirlei call rle rvo Lers
oi íolu. Some roµ µios vanr you ro call rvo Lers virl rlese µaiis
in oiuei ro luie orlei µlayeis inro calling anu rleieíoie ¨Luilu
rle µor¨ Leíoie rle loµ in rle loµe rlar you`ll loµ a ser. So
rley`ll lave you µassively call someone else`s iaise Leíoie rle
loµ, leaving you loµing rlar orleis vill call rvo Lers Leíoie rle
loµ as vell.
Alrlougl rlis sounus goou on µaµei, keeµ in minu rlar
you`ll loµ a ser iouglly once in eveiy eiglr riies. Þov vlar uo
you uo virl youi 3-3 vlen rle loµ comes uovn ]-10-2. You`ie
íoiceu ro íolu, Lecause you`ve ler orlei µeoµle inro rle µor, some
oí vlom µioLaLly lave you Learen ar rlis µoinr. (Ií you`u
ieiaiseu, rley voulu µioLaLly lave íolueu.) One auvanrage
¨calling ro Luilu a µor¨ uoes lave going íoi ir is rlar ií you miss
rle loµ, you can geneially jusr íolu youi lanu anu Le uone virl
ir. In orlei voius, no rlinking is iequiieu. Ií you loµ youi ser,
rlen you jam ir, Lur ií you lave a Lau loµ, rlen you jusr íolu
youi lanu iiglr avay. Geneially, rlis is a ielarively easy vay, anu
nor a Lau vay, ro µlay limir Holu`em.
Reraising with Small Pairs, before the Flop
I lave a uiííeienr µieíeience. I like ro ieiaise virl a small
µaii Leíoie rle loµ anu rlen ¨ieµiesenr¨ vlarevei lirs rle loµ
(ro youi oµµonenrs, you seen ro lave sraireu virl somerling
Leíoie rle loµ, anu ro lave lir ir on rle loµ). 1lis is a moie
ueceµrive aµµioacl, alloving a clance ro vin eveiy µor you µlay.
Imagine laving maue ir rliee Lers virl 4-4 ovei rle roµ oí youi
oµµonenr, anu nov rle loµ comes uovn A-S-2. Youi oµµonenr
clecks ro you, anu rlen you Ler our virl youi 4-4, jusr as ií you
7 8 Play Poker Like the Pros
lave A-K. Youi oµµonenr nov íolus lis K-Q, anu you lave von
rlis µor íaiily easily.
Bur ler`s suµµose you µlay rlis lanu accoiuing ro rle main-
srieam ¨calling¨ rleoiy. You call rle rvo Lers virl 4-4, anu one
orlei µlayei anu rle Lig Llinu also call. 1le loµ comes uovn A-
S-2, anu nov rle Lig Llinu clecks. Þov rle oiiginal iaisei Lers
our virl lis K-Q, loµing rlar no one calls lim. By jusr calling
rle µieloµ iaise, you`ve given rle K-Q rle clance ro use ueceµ-
rion. 1le K-Q is nov ieµiesenring an ace! You lave ro íolu
youi lanu iiglr leie. You can`r call rle hisr Ler, Lecause you
lave ro íeai rlar someone las an ace, oi mayLe rle Lig Llinu
las an eiglr. You lave gone íiom a µosirion oí µovei ro a µosi-
rion oí veakness simµly Ly nor ieiaising Leíoie rle loµ÷quire
a uiííeience.
By ieiaising, you`ll vin moie µors, Lur you`ll also ger youi-
selí inro riouLle moie oíren. Consiuei rle íolloving scenaiio.
You lave rliee Lers in virl 4-4, Lur rle oiiginal iaisei las K-K.
He ueciues jusr ro call youi iaise anu rlen µlay lis lanu laiu on
rle loµ ií an ace uoesn`r come. 1lis is a common sriaregy íoi
µeoµle vlo lolu aces oi kings. 1le loµ comes uovn .
1lis aµµeais ro Le a goou loµ íoi you. Aírei all, ir`s unlikely rlar
rle oiiginal iaisei las a seven oi an eiglr in lis lanu, so unless
you`ie uµ againsr a Lig µaii insreau oí rle moie likely rvo Lig
caius, you`ie vinning ar rlis µoinr. 1le K-K Lers our anu you
iaise lim, anu nov le ieiaises (rliee-Lers) you.
You lave a íaii amounr oí money alieauy invesreu in rlis
µor. Ií you lau knovn youi oµµonenr lau kings, you voulu
lave rliovn youi lanu avay, Lur ir`s also µossiLle rlar le coulu
lave Leen µlaying a Lig lusl uiav rlis vay. You enu uµ calling
lim all rle vay uovn, only ro lave lim slov you K-K. You lave
_-_-_
7 9 Limit Hold’em: Intermediate Strategy
jusr losr a íoirune using my ieiaising aµµioacl! Lveiy aµµioacl
oííeis irs ovn iisks anu irs ovn µossiLiliries.
Þov ler`s look ar rle µlay oí rle lanu using rle mainsrieam
calling aµµioacl. You jusr call rvo Lers virl 4-4 Leíoie rle loµ,
anu nov Lorl Llinus call. 1le loµ is , anu rle Lig Llinu
(vlo voulun`r lave Leen in rle lanu using my aµµioacl,
Lecause rle ieiaise voulu lave µusleu lim our) Lers our, anu
nov rle K-K iaises ro µiorecr vlar le coiiecrly íeels is cuiienrly
rle Lesr lanu. You nov íolu, laving losr only rliee small Lers.
Cleaily rle mainsrieam aµµioacl las uone vell in rlis siruarion.
Bur ií rle oiiginal iaisei lau A-K iarlei rlan K-K, rlen my
ieiaising aµµioacl voulu yielu Lerrei iesulrs leie. I like my
aµµioacl Lecause ir is marlemarically moie likely rlar rle hisr
iaisei las rvo Lig caius rlan rlar le las a Lig µaii. Bur iemem-
Lei, my aggiessive aµµioacl uoes leau ro moie lucruarion in rle
size oí youi srack acioss rime, anu ií you uon`r lave mucl oí a
Lankioll, µuisuing ir may µur you in an avkvaiu sµor.
Þov ler`s look ar a íev orlei examµles rlar comµaie rle
rvo aµµioacles ro µlaying small µaiis, using my ¨rliee Ler¨ rle-
oiy virl rle mainsrieam rleoiy oí calling ro Luilu a µor.
Examples
Make It Two Bets with No Callers
You lave 4-4 anu rle rvo µeoµle lave íolueu in íionr oí
you. Accoiuing ro Lorl rleoiies you make ir rvo Lers ro go, so
rlar you lave a clance ro vin rle Llinus Leíoie rle loµ. Þo
neeu, rlen, ro uiscuss rlis case íuirlei.
_-_-_
8 0 Play Poker Like the Pros
Making It Two Bets with Callers
You lave 2-2, anu rvo µeoµle lave ¨limµeu in¨ (simµly
calleu rle Ler Leíoie rle loµ). ^y rleoiy says you sloulu iaise
leie. 1le mainsrieam rleoiy÷¨call ro Luilu a µor¨÷can go
eirlei vay leie, Lur ir leans moie rovaiu jusr calling, since rvo
orlei µlayeis lave alieauy calleu aleau oí you. 1le ¨call¨ rle-
oiy is rlinking: ler`s ger Ly íoi one Ler Leíoie rle loµ, rlen ve
can íolu ií ve uon`r loµ a ser. Þor Lau rlinking, Lur vly nor
µur in one iaise anu ieµiesenr somerling sriong virl a Ler aírei
rle loµ. Ioi one moie Ler Leíoie rle loµ anu one moie aírei
rle loµ, you may vin rle vlole µor on rle loµ. Anu iaising
uoes accoiu nicely virl rle ¨Luiluing a µor¨ µair oí rle ¨call-
ing¨ rleoiy.
Small Pairs When the Mouse Has Come in
Raising
You lave 3-3 in lare µosirion, anu a mouse las iaiseu in
íionr oí you (ryµes oí µlayeis aie uiscusseu in Claµrei 3, µage
33). A mouse iaising, as you vill iecall, is a scaiy rlouglr
inueeu! Borl rleoiies aie nov in agieemenr: rle mouse µioLaLly
las youi 3-3 Lear virl a liglei µaii. So vlar ro uo. ^y ieiaising
aµµioacl uoesn`r auvocare ieiaising vlen you`ie almosr ceirain
rlar you`ie Lear. Ioluing youi lanu ar rlis µoinr is cleaily rle
Lesr iuea. Wly µur in youi money as a 4
1
´2-ro-1 unueiuog ro rle
mouse`s liglei µaii, vlicl le µioLaLly las. You can rliov
avay a lor oí ¨majoiiry µlay lanus¨ anu some ¨roµ ren lanus¨
vlen rle mouse comes in iaising!
Bur ií you íeel rlar orleis vill call rle mouse`s iaise Lelinu
8 1 Limit Hold’em: Intermediate Strategy
you (somerling µossiLle ro µioLaLle in a lov-srakes game vleie
rle orlei µlayeis laven`r even noriceu rlar rle mouse is someone
vlo uoesn`r iaise veiy oíren), rlen calling is OK. Ií you uo loµ a
ser, rlen you`ll µioLaLly vin a Lig µor. Iiankly, I voulu µioLa-
Lly call rle mouse`s iaise, rlinking rlar rle mosr I coulu lose
voulu Le rvo small Lers, Lur rle mosr I coulu vin voulu Le a lor
oí Lers. In rlis calling scenaiio, I`m looking ro collecr íiom rle
orlei µlayeis moie rlan íiom rle mouse. In orlei voius, I voulu
Le rlinking rlar ií I loµ a rliee, I vin Lig, Lur ií I uon`r, rlen I`ll
jusr íolu my lanu, laving losr lirrle.
Raise and “Isolate” the Jackal
You lave 3-3 in rle íouirl µosirion anu a jackal (see µage
33) las iaiseu in rle seconu µosirion. ^y rleoiy says ieiaise
(rliee-Ler) anu ¨isolare¨ rle jackal (µlay rle ciazy µlayei one on
one) virl youi 3-3. 1le ¨call ro Luilu a µor¨ rleoiy says jusr call
rle Ler. Bur even ií you suLsciiLe ro ir, rlar rleoiy anu rle norion
oí isolaring rle jackal aien`r murually exclusive. Þonerleless,
µeoµle vlo like ro call anu Luilu laige µors renu nor ro use rle
moie aggiessive isolarion µlay.
Small Pairs—Don’t Call Three Bets!
You lave 5-5, anu ir las Leen rvo Ler anu rlen rliee Ler in
íionr oí you. Ioi rle ¨majoiiry µlay lanus,¨ as oµµoseu ro rle
¨roµ ren lanus,¨ calling rliee Lers is a Lau iuea. ]usr íolu youi 5-
5 anu live ro hglr anorlei uay. Srill, ií neaily eveiy lanu in youi
game is Leing rliee-Ler, rlen Ly all means call rle rliee Lers! (In
a ciazy game like rlar÷vlicl Ly rle vay, I love ro µlay in÷sers
8 2 Play Poker Like the Pros
renu ro µlay vell anu vin luge µors.) Lven ar lov srakes ir is
unusual ro µlay in a game vleie eveiy µor is rliee-Ler, so íoluing
small µaiis íoi rliee Lers is rle noim. In geneial, rlen, íolu all
small µaiis íoi rliee Lers unless you knov rliee rlings: rlar moie
oi less eveiy lanu in youi game gers rliee-Ler oi íoui-Ler, rlar
youi Lankioll can lanule rle vilu svings rlis is almosr ceirainly
going ro cieare, anu rlar youi emorions can lanule rlings like
loµµing sers anu losing ro µeoµle vlo make sriaiglrs virl lanus
like 2-3 oíí-suir (rlis can Le rougl ro svallov!).
How to Play A-x Suited before the Flop
Once you auu A-x suireu ro rle aisenal oí lanus you µlay,
you neeu ro µuisue rlis lanu virlin ceirain consriainrs:
 A-x suireu is nor a lanu you voulu evei vanr ro call
rliee Lers virl Leíoie rle loµ. Peilaµs ií youi lanu is
A-10 oi A-] suireu, anu you`ie in rle Lig Llinu, rlen ir`s
OK (iecall rlar ve coveieu A-Q anu A-K in Claµrei 3).
Bur virl only a veiy íev exceµrions, you uon`r evei
vanr ro call rliee Lers virl A-x suireu.
 Wlen no one else las enreieu rle µor in íionr oí you,
you sloulu usually make ir rvo Lers virl rlis lanu.
1lis vay youi iaise seems ro Le ieµiesenring a sriong
lanu, anu you may jusr enu uµ vinning rle Llinus ií no
one calls youi iaise. Wirl rlese ryµes oí veak lanus,
µicking uµ rle Llinus is a goou iesulr.
 Wlen anyone else las alieauy limµeu inro rle µor in
íionr oí you (jusr calleu one Ler), you sloulu call rlar
8 3 Limit Hold’em: Intermediate Strategy
one Ler. Ioi rle inreimeuiare-level µlayei, rlis µlay is
sliglrly Lerrei rlan making ir rvo Lers. Ií you rlen lir rle
loµ, you can µlay youi lanu laiu, Lur ií you miss rle
loµ, you can íolu youi lanu, laving losr only one Ler.
 Ií someone iaises in íionr oí you, rlen jusr call rle rvo
Lers. 1le one exceµrion is rlar you coulu rliee-Ler a
jackal virl A-10 oi A-] suireu.
I uon`r rlink giving you any moie examµles oí vlar ro uo
Leíoie rle loµ virl A-x suireu voulu lelµ veiy mucl ar rlis
µoinr. You nov lave rle Lasic µiinciµles. (I loµe, Ly rle vay,
rlar I`m nor uiiving you ciazy virl all rlese iules íolloveu so
closely Ly all rlese exceµrions! 1lar`s jusr rle vay µokei is. Pei-
sonaliry anu ielarive lanu sriengrl aie alvays íacrois.)
Playing K-Q before the Flop
I rlink ve can saíely move on nov ro rle µlay oí K-Q Leíoie
rle loµ. Wlen you`ie consiueiing calling a iaise virl K-Q, µause
anu consiuei some moie, Lecause mosr oí rle rime youi lanu is
Learen! In íacr, ií a mouse veie ro iaise, I voulu jusr rliov rlis
lanu avay Leíoie rle loµ. A ceirain small µeicenrage oí rle rime,
rle hisr iaisei vill lave A-K oi A-Q, in vlicl case you`ie in µai-
riculaily Lau slaµe! Ler`s look ar a quick lisr oí iules íoi K-Q:
 Þevei call rliee Lers virl K-Q. You jusr uon`r vanr ro
ger youiselí in roo ueeµ virl rlis lanu Leíoie rle loµ.
Ií ir`s rliee Lers ro you ro go, rlen you can Le almosr
ceirain rlar youi lanu is Learen, anu µioLaLly in Lau
8 4 Play Poker Like the Pros
slaµe.
 Alvays iaise ir ro rvo Lers virl K-Q Leíoie rle loµ.
Wlerlei someone else las limµeu in íionr oí you oi
nor, make ir rvo Lers ro go. Reµiesenring lanus in
Holu`em is a sriong vay ro µlay µokei.
 Ií ir`s rvo Lers ro go ro you, rlen use youi Lesr juug-
menr iegaiuing vlerlei you sloulu call rle rvo Lers,
iaise ir ro rliee Lers, oi íolu. Ií a mouse maue ir rvo
Lers, rlen íolu youi lanu, ií anyone else maue ir rvo
Lers, rlen call, ií a jackal maue ir rvo Lers, rlen some-
rimes you miglr make ir rliee Lers ro go (rlis is moie oí
an auvanceu µlay). Bur vlar ií an eleµlanr maue ir rvo
Lers ro go anu rlen a mouse calleu rle rvo Lers. Heie,
roo, use youi Lesr juugmenr. Calling anu íoluing aie
Lorl OK, Lur vlen you`ie on rle íence, uon`r íoiger ro
rake µosirion inro accounr (ir`s a mucl easiei call on oi
neai rle Lurron).
1le µlay oí K-Q Leíoie rle loµ is rlus ielarively simµle.
Þorice rlar ir is almosr exacrly like µlaying A-x suireu Leíoie rle
loµ. 1le only uiííeience is rlar virl A-x suireu you sloulu call
jusr one Ler vlen rleie aie limµeis Leíoie rle loµ, vleieas virl
K-Q you sloulu make ir rvo Lers virl orlei limµeis. (Wlen you
lave A-x suireu you`ie loµing íoi moie oµµonenrs.)
Playing Leíoie rle loµ is rle easiesr µair oí rle ¨majoiiry
µlay lanus¨ aµµioacl. Þov ir`s rime ro move on ro rle mosr uií-
hculr µair oí µlaying rlese lanus: lov ro µlay on rle loµ.
8 5 Limit Hold’em: Intermediate Strategy
Playing the Majority Play Hands on the
Flop
Alrlougl you can srill use ¨iaise ro hnu our vleie you aie¨ as a
sriaregy virl ¨majoiiry µlay¨ lanus, ir`s nor as µoveiíul a move
as ir vas in µlaying rle roµ ren lanus. Þov rlar ve`ie µlaying
rle majoiiry µlay lanus as vell, rvo rlings vill clange uiamari-
cally. 1le hisr is youi raLle image, rle seconu is rle µovei oí rle
lanus you`ie µlaying.
Youi table inage is rle vay rle orlei µlayeis in rle game
aie likely ro Le vieving you. Wlen you`ie µlaying rle roµ ren
lanus only, µeoµle vill íeai youi lanus vlen you iaise rle µors,
Lecause you`ie µlaying only veiy µoveiíul lanus÷ií rley`ve
Leen µaying arrenrion (Lur iememLei, some µeoµle von`r µay
arrenrion, no marrei lov consisrenrly you µlay). Þov rlar
you`ie µlaying some veakei lanus roo, youi oµµonenrs vill íeai
youi iaises less anu rleieíoie call (oi iaise) you moie.
Wlen you auu rle ¨majoiiry µlay lanus¨ ro youi acceµr-
aLle srairing-lanu lisr, you`ll hnu youiselí µlaying vell ovei
rvice as many lanus as Leíoie. 1leieíoie rle µovei oí rle avei-
age lanu rlar you`ie µlaying vill go vay uovn, anu in rime youi
moie asrure oµµonenrs vill Legin ro µeiceive rlar as vell (youi
raLle image is nov alreieu). Borl oí rlese clanges vill lave a
uiiecr imµacr on rle vay you sloulu µlay youi lanus on rle loµ.
You sloulu conrinue ro iaise ro hnu our vleie you aie in some
lanus, Lur nov uiscierion anu ueceµrion Lecome veiy imµoiranr.
Slakesµeaie, as ve knov, viore rlar uiscierion is rle Lerrei
µair oí valoi. In µokei, valoi (couiage) anu aggiessiveness aie
vinning riairs. You vill vin many moie µors Ly µlaying youi
8 6 Play Poker Like the Pros
lanus aggiessively, Lur ir rakes a lor oí valoi ro iaise someone on
a loµ oí Q-]-2 vlen you`ie loluing µocker rens! Slakesµeaie
nevei µlayeu µokei, Lur in Holu`em rleie aie inueeu rimes vlen
uiscierion is rle Lerrei µair oí valoi. 1leie is a rime ro rliov
youi lanu avay aírei rle loµ, iarlei rlan µurring uµ a hglr.
Somerimes, ¨saving Lers¨ is rle name oí rle game in Holu`em,
anu rle only vay you can save rlem is Ly íoluing youi lanu in a
rimely mannei.
Ioi examµle, ií you rliee-Ler virl 4-4 anu rliee oµµonenrs
rake a loµ, anu rlen rle loµ comes uovn Q-9-2, you`ie Lerrei
oíí nor calling any Lers oi making any iaises. Ioluing is a µierry
goou cloice ar rlis µoinr. Lven ií somelov youi 4-4 vas rle Lesr
lanu µieloµ, vlen you`ie íacing rliee oµµonenrs vlo lave
lung in ro µlay íoi rliee Lers, anu you see rvo ligl caius on rle
loµ, rleie`s a µierry goou clance rlar youi lirrle µaii is nov los-
ing. Yes, you coulu Le uµ againsr A-K, ¯-6 suireu, anu ]-10
suireu, vlicl voulu reclnically mean you`ie srill vinning.
Þorice, rlougl, rlar even ií rlar iarlei unlikely ¨Lesr-case sce-
naiio¨ vas in íacr vlar you lau vanueieu inro, you vill lose ií
any A, K, ], 10, S, oi 6 lirs on rle ruin oi rle iivei. Save youi
valoi íoi anorlei lanu.
Examples
1o give you a giearei sense oí vlar you neeu ro uo on rle loµ
vlile µlaying rle ¨majoiiry µlay lanus,¨ I`ll leau you rliougl
seveial examµles.
8 7 Limit Hold’em: Intermediate Strategy
Playing Small Pairs (2-2 through 6-6) on
the Flop: Pump It or Dump It
In geneial, ií rleie aie íoui µeoµle in rle µor vlen rle loµ
comes uovn anu you lave a small µaii, you neeu ro loµ a ser in
oiuei ro conrinue µlaying youi lanu. Oí couise, ií you lave 6-6,
anu rle loµ comes uovn 3-4-5, rlis roo is a goou loµ, alrlougl
ceirainly nor as sriong as loµµing rle ser. Wlen you lave rlis
kinu oí loµ, you vanr ro iaise ro µiorecr youi lanu, Lecause
alrlougl rleie`s a ieasonaLle clance rlar you lave rle Lesr lanu
ar rle momenr, all you lave ar rlis µoinr is a µaii oí sixes, a lanu
cleaily vulneiaLle ro oveicaius rlar coulu give someone else a
liglei µaii. Oí couise, ií you ger calleis anu rlen make youi
sriaiglr (µieíeiaLly virl rle ueuce, Lecause rlen you`ll ger a lor
oí acrion íiom anyone loluing an ace), you`ll vanr ro conrinue
iaising÷íoi rle same ieason you vanr ro iaise vlen you loµ a
ser: you lave rle Lesr lanu anu vanr ro ¨µumµ ir.¨
Wlen rle loµ comes uovn ]-Q-2 ro youi 6-6 virl íoui
µlayeis in rle µor, rlen use some uiscierion anu (in mosr cases)
íolu youi lanu: ¨uumµ ir.¨ 1le ¨µumµ ir¨ racric is useu eirlei ro
µiorecr youi lanu, Ly iaising ro eliminare youi oµµonenrs on rle
loµ, oi ro ger moie money inro rle µor vlen you lave a sriong
loµ. ¨Dumµ ir¨ is useu ro save Lers, Ly using youi Lesr uiscie-
rion ro íolu youi lanu on rle loµ, rlus losing no moie Lers.
Playing Small Pairs on the Flop
You lave 4-4 in rle íouirl µosirion, anu rle µlayei in rle
seconu µosirion (rvo sears ro rle leír oí rle Lig Llinu) makes ir
rvo Lers ro go. You`ie µlaying my rleoiy÷¨rliee-Ler virl small
8 8 Play Poker Like the Pros
µaiis¨÷Leíoie rle loµ, so you make ir rliee Lers. Þo one else
calls, anu rle loµ is Q-10-3. 1le µlayei in rle seconu µosirion
rlen Lers our inro you anu you iaise lim, rlus ¨ieµiesenring¨ a
queen (oi µeilaµs K-K oi A-A) Lur also gaining iníoimarion. Ií
youi oµµonenr ieiaises you, rlen eirlei you`ie alieauy Learen
(rlis is moie likely) oi youi oµµonenr las a sriaiglr uiav, anu ir`s
rime íoi a uecision. Ií you íeel you lave lim Lear ar rlis µoinr,
rlen you may vanr ro ieiaise lim. Oi you miglr ueciue rlar youi
oµµonenr las you Learen anu íolu youi lanu on rle loµ. You
miglr ueciue simµly ro call lis ieiaise on rle loµ anu ueíei a
uecision ro call oi íolu vlen you see vlar uioµs on íouirl srieer.
I voulu call one moie Ler anu make a uecision on íouirl srieer
leavily veiglreu rovaiu íoluing, Lur riusr youi insrincrs leie.
Ií youi oµµonenr jusr calls youi iaise, rlen le may srill lave
you Learen, virl somerling like A-10 oi Q-]. Bur ií le uoesn`r
lave you Learen, rlen le mosr likely las some soir oí sriaiglr
uiav like K-], A-], oi A-K. 1leieíoie, any 9, ], K, oi A voulu Le
a reiiiLle caiu íoi you on íouirl srieer.
Ler`s look ar rle vay rlis lanu voulu Le µlayeu on rle loµ
ií you lau jusr calleu rle rvo Lers virl youi 4-4 Leíoie rle loµ.
In rlis case, ir`s likely rlar ar leasr one orlei µlayei vill lave
calleu rle rvo Lers Leíoie rle loµ. Suµµose one oí rlem vas rle
Lig Llinu, since ir cosrs lim only one moie Ler. Þov rle Lig Llinu
clecks aírei rle Q-10-3 loµ, anu rle µieloµ iaisei Lers our. You
lave ro use a Lir moie uiscierion leie Lecause you also lave ro
voiiy aLour rle Lig Llinu Lelinu you. I voulu µioLaLly jusr call
rle Ler in rlis case anu see vlar rle Lig Llinu uoes. Ií rle Lig
Llinu veie ro íolu, rlen I voulu make a uecision aLour rlis lanu
larei, on íouirl srieer. (In rlis case, ir`s all aLour lov you ieau
8 9 Limit Hold’em: Intermediate Strategy
youi oµµonenr on íouirl srieer.) Bur ií rle Lig Llinu veie ro iaise
rle Ler on rle loµ, rlen I voulu jusr íolu my lanu iiglr rleie.
Anu ií rle Lig Llinu veie ro call rle Ler, rlen I voulu assume rlar
le las some soir oí sriaiglr uiav, oi mayLe a meuiocie µiece oí
rle loµ virl somerling like 10-S oi 3-A.
Suµµose nov rlar rle Lurron µlayei anu rle Lig Llinu Lorl
call rle rvo Lers Leíoie rle loµ. So ve lave rle seconu µosirion
making ir rvo Lers, you calling rle rvo Lers virl 4-4 in rle íouirl
µosirion, anu nov rle Lurron anu rle Lig Llinu calling rle rvo
Lers as vell. 1le loµ comes uovn Q-10-3. Þov rle Lig Llinu
clecks anu rle oiiginal iaisei Lers our on rle loµ. Wlar uo you
uo. Wirl rliee orlei oµµonenrs srill in rlis lanu anu rvo ovei-
caius on rle Loaiu (Q-10), íoluing is rle µioµei µlay. ^oieovei,
rle íacr rlar rle seconu-µosirion oiiginal iaisei las Ler our inro
you, anu rleie aie rvo orlei µeoµle Lelinu you yer ro acr, is a lir-
rle Lir scaiy in rlis scenaiio. You jusr lave ro give uµ anu íolu.
Playing Small Pairs: Flopping a Set
You lave 2-2 on rle Lurron, rle seconu µosirion iaises, anu
rlen rle íouirl µosirion calls rle rvo Lers. You µlay in my sryle
anu make ir rliee Lers ro go, eveiyone calls, anu rle loµ comes
uovn 2-4-]. You lave loµµeu a ser! You sloulu µur in as many
iaises as you can, Lorl ro Luilu rle µor anu ro µiorecr youi lanu.
Ií you`ve useu rle orlei aµµioacl anu jusr calleu Leíoie rle
loµ virl youi 2-2, anu rlen ger youi 2-4-] loµ, norling clanges
in youi µosrloµ aµµioacl. You srill µur in as many Lers anu iaises
as you can in oiuei ro Luilu a µor anu µiorecr youi lanu. Þo mar-
rei lov you µlay youi small µaii Leíoie rle loµ, vlen you lir a
9 0 Play Poker Like the Pros
ser ir`s rime ro ¨iam anu jam¨ (iaise anu ieiaise). Sers usually vin
oi lose (a majoiiry oí rle rime sers vin) µierry goou-size µors.
Playing Small Pairs: Good Flops,
Protecting Your Hand
Assume rlar you lave 6-6 in rle small Llinu, rle rliiu µosi-
rion las iaiseu Leíoie rle loµ, rle hírl µosirion las calleu rle
iaise, anu nov rle loµ comes uovn 2-4-5.
Þov ir`s youi ruin ro acr. You Ler our, anu rle rliiu µosirion
calls rle Ler. Þov rle hírl µosirion makes ir rvo Lers, so you
ieiaise (making ir rliee Lers) in oiuei ro µiorecr youi lanu. 1lis
is a giear loµ íoi youi lanu, anu you neeu ro ieiaise in oiuei ro
ger iiu oí rle oiiginal iaisei. Ar rlis µoinr, rle only lanus rlar can
Lear you aie oveiµaiis, anu in any case, you lave a sriaiglr uiav
ro go virl youi lanu. ^ayLe rle oiiginal iaisei las K-Q anu
youi ieiaise íoices lim ro íolu lis lanu. Ií you uon`r uiive lim
our, you may lose rle µor ro lim Ly alloving lim ro call jusr one
moie Ler in rle loµe oí carcling a king oi a queen.
Suµµose you`ie raking rle aµµioacl vleie you jusr call rle
rvo Lers Leíoie rle loµ, anu rle Lig Llinu calls. Þov ir`s youi
ruin ro acr. Because you laven`r slovn roo mucl sriengrl Leíoie
rle loµ, you miglr vanr ro riy clecking virl youi nov µoveiíul
lanu, anu rlen iaising vlen someone else Lers our inro you.
Somerimes rle ¨cleck-iaise¨ µlays can lelµ you eliminare youi
oµµonenrs anu rleieíoie lelµ you µiorecr youi lanu. Bur Lerring
our inro rle loµ voiks vell also. In eirlei case, you vanr ro
¨iam anu jam¨ (iaise anu ieiaise) youi lanu virl rlis loµ in
oiuei ro µiorecr ir.
9 1 Limit Hold’em: Intermediate Strategy
Playing Small Pairs: Terrible Flops
Some loµs aie so Lau íoi small µaiis rlar you sloulu jusr
iun íoi covei, no marrei vlerlei you`ve jusr calleu rvo Lers
Leíoie rle loµ oi maue ir rliee Lers. Ií rle loµ comes uovn Q-
K-A, ir`s rime ro íolu as soon as µossiLle! Oí couise, ií I lau Leen
using my rliee-Ler aµµioacl I voulu Ler on rle loµ vlen ir vas
my ruin, on rle oíí clance rlar all my oµµonenrs miglr íolu rleii
lanus, giving me rle µor iiglr rleie. Ir coulu also laµµen rlar I
ger calleu on rle loµ anu rlen lir my ser caiu on eirlei íouirl
srieer oi rle iivei. Sucl rlings aie µossiLle. Bur I voulu nor call a
Ler on rlis loµ, I voulu nor call a Ler on rle ruin, I voulu nor
call a Ler on rle iivei, I voulu nor Ler on eirlei íouirl srieer oi
rle iivei. All I voulu uo in rlis case is make rlar one Ler on rle
loµ vlen ir`s my ruin ro Ler.
Playing Small Pairs: Good Flops
Wlen you lave 4-4 in a µor, loµs like ]-]-3 oi 10-10-2 oi 9-
9-3 aie goou íoi youi lanu, rleie is in íacr an excellenr clance
rlar youi rvo µaii aie rle Lesr lanu ar rle raLle ar rlis µoinr. So
µur in some Lers anu iaises, íoi rvo ieasons: hisr, ro hnu our ií
you uo lave rle Lesr lanu, seconu, ro µiorecr youi lanu. Wlen
you íace mixeu oveicaius like ]-10-3, you`ie in riouLle, Lur vlen
a Lig µaii lanus on rle loµ, ir`s mucl less likely rlar someone
alieauy lolus rle key caiu. Ioi examµle, in rle ]-]-3 loµ, rleie
aie only rvo jacks leír in rle ueck, lau rle loµ come ]-10-3,
rleie aie six caius÷rliee jacks anu rliee rens÷in rle ueck rlar
voulu Lear you. So virl rle ]-]-3 loµ, youi µocker íouis aie rle
9 2 Play Poker Like the Pros
Lesr lanu unless someone las a liglei µaii oi one oí rle rvo
iemaining jacks (Lorl aie unlikely).
Reraising before the Flop Leads to
Betting on the Flop
Wlen you`ie µlaying rle small µaiis rle vay I suggesr
(ieiaising virl rlem Leíoie rle loµ), a lor oí rimes you`ll enu uµ
µlaying rliee-Ler µors againsr only one oi rvo oµµonenrs. Wlen
rlis laµµens, Le suie you Ler rle loµ aggiessively, so as ro gain
iníoimarion aLour vlar youi oµµonenrs may lave. Suµµose íoi
examµle rlar you`ve maue ir rliee Lers Leíoie rle loµ virl 3-3,
anu rlen rle loµ comes uovn A-K-9. Ií youi lone iemaining
oµµonenr clecks, rlen go aleau anu Ler once. You nevei
knov÷le may jusr íolu íoi rle one Ler. Peilaµs le roo las a
small µaii, oi le lolus 10-S suireu oi somerling oí rlar soir.
Playing A-x Suited on the Flop:
Hit It or Fold It
In rle uiscussion oí µieloµ siruarions, I saiu rlar ií no one
else las iaiseu rle µor Leíoie rle loµ, anu you lave A-x suireu,
rlen you sloulu make ir rvo Lers ro go. In geneial, ií you`ve uone
rlar Lur misseu rle loµ, you sloulu Ler our once anyvay, rlus
ieµiesenring rlar you`ve lir ir. Ií an oµµonenr calls youi Ler on
rle loµ vlen you`ve misseu rle loµ, µieµaie ro íolu youi lanu
soon. 1leie is no neeu ro ger roo involveu virl A-x suireu ií you
miss rle loµ, anu no vaiianr íoi Lluíhng oíí roo mucl money
virl rlis lanu. Ií you`ie rle iaisei Leíoie rle loµ, rlen rake one
¨slor¨ (Lluíí) ar rle µor anu give uµ ií you ger calleu.
9 3 Limit Hold’em: Intermediate Strategy
Wleie someone else las iaiseu rle µor Leíoie rle loµ, I`ve
Leen iecommenuing rlar you jusr call lis rvo Lers. In geneial, ií
you`ve uone rlar Lur rlen misseu rle loµ, rlen you sloulu íolu
youi lanu. Again, rleie`s no neeu íoi you ro ger involveu in sucl
a µor Ly calling oi iaising. ]usr rliov youi lanu avay, save some
cliµs, anu íoiger aLour ir.
So rleie aie a lor oí vays ro lir A-x suireu, some oí rlem
goou anu orleis Lau. 1le inreiesring rling is rlar you may vin
youi Liggesr µor virl rle ¯-5-2 loµ! Wly. On rlose rvo ¨uieam
loµs¨ I jusr menrioneu, lov mucl acrion can you exµecr ro ger
íiom orlei µlayeis. You alieauy lave mosr oí rle caius rlar
voulu ger someone inreiesreu in µlaying. Bur on rle ¯-5-2 loµ,
µeoµle may sense a Lluíí anu riy vlar rley rlink is a resteal (rley
iaise on a Lluíí Lecause rley Lelieve you`ie riying ro sreal rle
µor). In µokei, you nevei knov vlicl lanus oi loµs vill vin
you rle Liggesr µor oí rle niglr. ]usr Le µieµaieu ro µlay youi
lanu as vell as you can.
I`ll nevei íoiger a µor I once µlayeu loluing A-¯ ar rle
Woilu Seiies oí Pokei. 1le yeai vas 1994, anu ve veie uovn ro
Wirl A-x suireu you`ll see a lor oí uiííeienr loµs rlar lir
µair oi all oí youi lanu. You may lave _-_ vlen rle loµ
comes uovn ]-10-¯, rlis one is riouLle íoi you (Lecause you lir
jusr enougl oí rle loµ rlar you may ueciue ro µlay on unril rle
enu anu lose a Luncl oí cliµs). You may lave _-_ vlen rle
loµ comes uovn A-¯-4, a reiiihc loµ íoi you. You may lave _-
_ vlen rle loµ comes uovn S-¯-2, a ieasonaLly goou loµ íoi
you. You may lave _-_ vlen rle loµ comes uovn ¯-5-2, a
sriong loµ íoi you (roµ µaii virl roµ kickei). Iinally, rleie aie
uieam loµs íoi _-_ like _-_-_ (ace-ligl-lusl) anu A-A-¯
(roµ íull louse).
9 4 Play Poker Like the Pros
aLour 40 µlayeis leír in a no-limir Holu`em evenr. Iiisr µlace vas
$220,000, anu as virl any WSOP evenr, Lorl money anu lisroiy
veie ar srake.
1vo µlayeis ro my iiglr vas a jackal íiom Luioµe vlo vas
ieiaising eveiyone vlile loluing any kinu oí lanu. He vas a ieal
nuisance ro me, Lecause le keµr ieiaising me anu srealing all rle
µors rlar le anu I veie going aírei. In íacr, le vas ieiaising
eveiyone ar rle raLle anu ourµlaying us all aírei rle loµ virl lis
Lig Lluíís. He lau µlayeu rlis veiy uangeious sryle ro neai µei-
íecrion, µailaying lis cliµs ro ovei $65,000. I also lau aLour
$65,000 in íionr oí me, vlicl is a ron oí cliµs. 1lis jackal anu I
veie rle cliµ leaueis ar a rime vlen rle aveiage cliµ srack in rle
rouinamenr vas less rlan $15,000. Convenrional visuom ar rlis
µoinr voulu suggesr rlar neirlei one oí us sloulu µlay a Lig µor
againsr rle orlei. Wly iisk a Loarloau oí cliµs in a single lanu,
vlen ve coulu Lorl jusr coasr in ro rle hnal raLle virl oui luge
sracks oí cliµs. A caiuinal sin ar rlis µoinr voulu Le ro ger
involveu in a Lig µor virl eacl oí us loluing ieally veak lanus.
So mucl íoi convenrional visuom anu caiuinal sins! I soon
íounu myselí iaising ir ro $2,000 ro go Leíoie rle loµ virl
my A-¯. 1le jackal vas sirring in rle Lig Llinu rlis lanu, anu
le ueciueu ro ieiaise me Ly making ir $S,000 ro go. Peilaµs le
smelleu my veakness anu vas jusr riying ro íoice me our oí rle
µor virl lis veak lanu. He vas iiglr÷I vas veak÷Lur le uiun`r
counr on rle íacr rlar I lau smelleu rle veakness in lis ieiaise.
So I ieiaiseu ir again ro $20,000 ro go Leíoie rle loµ. Again, I
rlink rle jackal smelleu some veakness in me, anu in any case le
ueciueu ro call my $20,000 Ler. Þov rle loµ came uovn
, anu le Ler our $15,000. I ueciueu rlar roµ µaii vas enougl ro
allov me ro move all-in againsr lim Lecause I rlouglr I lau rle
_-_
-
_
9 5 Limit Hold’em: Intermediate Strategy
Lesr lanu. Iiankly, I vasn`r loµing íoi a call. So I moveu all-in
íoi $45,000. (I iaiseu lim $30,000!)
I vas rlinking, ¨]usr slov me youi lanu, anu I`ll leave rlis
rouinamenr íeeling sick aLour my avíul µlay.¨ Wirl $130,000 in
rle µor in a rouinamenr vleie no one else lau even $30,000, rle
vinnei oí rlis one µor voulu lave an excellenr clance oí vin-
ning rle rouinamenr. Iinally, le liµµeu uµ lis lanu anu saiu,
¨One µaii.¨ I sraieu in amazemenr ar lis lanu: ¯-9 oíí suir,
vlicl gave lim a µaii oí sevens virl a nine kickei! I lau a µaii
oí sevens virl an ace kickei, anu rle µor vas mine! ^y goou
ieau oí rlis jackal µaiu oíí, anu íiom rleie I ciuiseu easily uovn
ro rle hnal rliee µlayeis. ^y arriruue quickly clangeu íiom,
¨Plil, you iuior, lov uiu you ler youiselí ger $65,000 inro rlis
µor virl rlis lanu.¨ ro, ¨Plil, LaLy, giear µlay, giear ieau, vell
uone!¨ Lvenrually, I hnisleu in seconu µlace anu collecreu
$110,000. Heie vas a sroiy illusriaring lov an A-¯ can µay oíí
Lig vlen you meiely lir a goou loµ virl ir. Bur µlease uon`r riy
rlis ar lome.
1le jackal rlen calleu me quickly, anu rle nexr rvo caius ro
lir rle Loaiu veie rle rvo voisr caius I coulu rlink oí! Iiisr rle
_ came oíí rle ueck anu rlen rle _ (_-_-_-_-_), so rlar
rle lusl uiav anu a sriaiglr uiav lau Lorl lir rle Loaiu! I
sraieu in uisLelieí ar rle Loaiu. Wlar lau I uone. I lau jusr µur
in $65,000 virl an incieuiLly veak lanu! I coulu lave vaireu
µarienrly íoi some sriong lanus anu maue rle hnal raLle íaiily
easily. I coulun`r Lear anyrling anymoie. 1le lusl uiav Lear me,
some sriaiglr uiavs Lear me, a ser Lear me, anu an oveiµaii Lear
me! Bur le vas rle hisr guy ro liµ lis lanu íaceuµ, anu le vas
raking a long rime ro uo ir.
9 6 Play Poker Like the Pros
Examples
Þov ir`s rime ro move on anu give you some examµles oí lov
you sloulu µlay A-x suireu on rle loµ. In geneial, virl A-x
suireu, ve ¨lir ir oi íolu ir.¨
Playing A-x Suited on the Flop: Flush Draw
1lis is a ieasonaLly sriong loµ íoi youi lanu. Wirl rlis
sriong uiav, you`ll make rle lusl aLour one-rliiu oí rle rime,
anu occasionally you may vin simµly Ly lirring youi ace, so you
musr eirlei call rle rvo Lers oi iaise ir ro rliee Lers ro go. ^y
insrincr in rlis case voulu Le ro iaise. Wlo knovs vlar rle
jackal las in rlis lanu. He may lave a lusl uiav oi a sriaiglr
uiav, in vlicl case you lave lim Lear virl youi ace ligl ar rlis
µoinr. Youi iaise may eliminare rle eleµlanr (vlo may lave rle
Lesr lanu!) anu ger you one on one virl rle jackal, vlom you
may lave Learen. 1le voisr-case scenaiio íoi you, ií you make ir
rliee Lers ro go, is rlar rle eleµlanr makes ir íoui Lers ro go anu
you enu uµ laving ro call one moie Ler.
In geneial, I iecommenu µlaying a nur-lusl uiav veiy
Suµµose rlar an eleµlanr las maue ir rvo Lers in rle seconu
µosirion Leíoie rle loµ anu rlen a jackal in rle íouirl µosirion
las calleu rle rvo Lers. Þov you call on rle Lurron virl _-_,
anu rle Lig Llinu calls as vell. 1le loµ is _-_-_, anu rle Lig
Llinu clecks. 1le eleµlanr Lers anu rle jackal iaises. Wlar uo
you uo. You lave loµµeu rle ¨nur¨ (Lesr) lusl uiav. Ií anorlei
leair comes oíí rle ueck, rlen you lave maue an ace-ligl lusl.
9 7 Limit Hold’em: Intermediate Strategy
aggiessively on rle loµ, esµecially vlen you lave µosirion, as
you uo in rlis examµle. 1lis lanu all Lur iequiies rlar you call a
Ler virl ir on íouirl srieer, anu ií ir veie mine I voulu vanr ro
µur in a lor oí Lers on rle loµ anu rlen Lluíí ar rle µor on íouirl
srieer even ií a Lau caiu comes oíí. Alreinarively, I`u µur in a lor
oí Lers on rle loµ anu call uovn one oµµonenr on rle enu virl
my measly ace ligl ií rleie`s any clance rlar rlis oµµonenr vas
uiaving ro somerling as vell. Somerimes rle size oí rle µor rlar
you cieare Ly µlaying rle nur-lusl uiav aggiessively vill neces-
sirare youi calling on rle iivei virl meiely ace ligl, Lecause rle
size oí rle µor may remµr orlei µlayeis vlo aie on iníeiioi
uiavs ro make uesµeiarion Lluíís ar you. You vin rlese oíren
enougl, virl youi ace-ligl iivei call, ro jusriíy rlis µlay.
Playing A-x Suited: Bad Flop
Suµµose nov rlar a jackal las calleu one Ler Leíoie rle
loµ, anu you`ve iaiseu ir virl youi . 1len rle Lig Llinu
anu rle jackal Lorl call anu rle loµ comes uovn . Ií
rley Lorl cleck ro you on rle loµ, rlen go aleau anu Ler once
on rle loµ. 1ley may Lorl íolu ar rlis µoinr. Ií one oí rlem uoes
Ler inro you, jusr íolu youi lanu. Orlei rlan raking one slor ar
Suµµose rlar a jackal las iaiseu Leíoie rle loµ, anu you
lave calleu lis iaise virl _-_, anu rlen rle Lig Llinu calls as
vell. Ií rle loµ comes uovn _-_-_ anu rle Lig Llinu clecks
anu rle jackal Lers, íolu youi lanu. You lave misseu rle loµ
(you uon`r lave eirlei a µaii, a sriaiglr uiav, oi a lusl uiav),
you lave only rvo Lers in rle µor ar rlis µoinr, anu you veie rle
callei Leíoie rle loµ, nor rle iaisei. 1leie is no vaiianr íoi ger-
ring íuirlei involveu in rlis lanu.
_-_
_-_-_
9 8 Play Poker Like the Pros
rle µor on rle loµ vlen you veie rle µieloµ iaisei virl A-x
suireu, vlar you ieally vanr ro uo vlen you miss rle loµ is íolu
youi lanu.
Playing A-x Suited: Hitting Second
Board Pair
Ler`s riy rle same siruarion, Lur ler`s say rlar rle Lig Llinu
Lers our rlis rime anu rlen rle jackal iaises on rle loµ. Wlar uo
you uo. Ir`s rime ro use rlar nevly ueveloµeu ieauing µovei
you`ve Leen voiking on. 1leie aie rvo µossiLiliries leie: you
lave rle Lesr lanu oi nor. Wirl rlis loµ ( ), ir`s µossiLle
rlar you srill lave rle Lesr lanu virl youi . Peilaµs one
oí youi oµµonenrs las ]-9, anu rle orlei las rle ]-Q íoi an oµen-
enueu sriaiglr uiav. ^ayLe one oí youi oµµonenrs las a sriaiglr
uiav anu rle orlei las a lusl uiav. Bur you may also Le in a lor
oí riouLle virl rle vay rlar rle acrion came uovn on rlis loµ.
Peilaµs one oí youi oµµonenrs las a ren (íoi a µaii oí rens) anu
rle orlei las a lusl uiav. Ií rlis is rle case, rlen you neeu ro lir
one oí rvo aces leír in rle ueck (rle makes a lusl), one oí rvo
nines leír, oi consecurive sµaues (calleu ¨iunnei-iunnei,¨ nor
somerling you vanr ro ueµenu on!) íoi a Lackuooi lusl. So ií
one oí youi oµµonenrs las you Learen, rlen you`ie ieally an
A jackal in rle seconu µosirion iaises Leíoie rle loµ, anu
you call virl _-_ in hírl µosirion. 1le Lurron anu rle Lig
Llinu call as vell. 1le loµ is _-_-_, anu rle jackal Lers our
inro you. 1lis siruarion seems ro Le a goou rime íoi a iaise. 1o
lave you Learen iiglr nov, someone las ro lave a ren in lis lanu
oi an oveiµaii (a ser oi rvo µaii aie also µossiLle). You also knov
rlar rle jackal coulu lave anyrling ar rlis µoinr in rle lanu.
_-_-_
_-_
_
9 9 Limit Hold’em: Intermediate Strategy
unueiuog ro vin rlis µor. Wlerlei you call rvo Lers oi íolu in
rlis case ueµenus on lov you ieau youi oµµonenrs.
Playing A-x Suited: OK Flop
Suµµose you`ve calleu an eleµlanr`s eaily µosirion iaise
virl on rle Lurron. 1le Lig Llinu calls rle iaise as vell,
anu rle loµ comes uovn . Þov rle Lig Llinu Lers our
anu rle jackal iaises. Wlar uo you uo. Reau, ieau, anu ieau
youi oµµonenrs. Ií ir veie my lanu anu ií I uiun`r lave a ieau on
my oµµonenrs, I voulu ieiaise (make ir rliee Lers) ro hnu our
vleie I am, esµecially given rlar rle iaisei vas a jackal. Youi
oµµonenrs neeu ro lave an oveiµaii oi rliee jacks ro lave youi
rvo µaii Learen ar rlis µoinr in rle lanu. 1ley may lave rle
rliee jacks, oi rley may lave 6-¯ oi K-6 oi a smallei µaii oi a
lusl uiav. Raise ir in rlis sµor, unless you lave a sriong íeeling
rlar you`ie Learen, in vlicl case íolu.
Playing A-x Suited: Marginal Flop
Suµµose you`ve calleu an eleµlanr`s eaily-µosirion iaise
virl anu rlen rliee orlei µlayeis call, incluuing rle Lig
Llinu. 1le loµ comes uovn , anu rle Lig Llinu Lers
our anu rle eleµlanr calls. Wlar uo you rlink, anu vlar uo you
uo. I voulun`r iaise, Lecause I hguie rlar rleie is an excellenr
clance rlar rle Lig Llinu las me Learen, anu virl hve µlayeis in
rle µor, vlar aie rle clances rlar I lave rle Lesr lanu. Bur call-
ing anu íoluing aie ieasonaLle oµrions. I voulu lean rovaiu call-
ing, Lur virl rvo orlei µeoµle Lelinu you anu rle Lig Llinu
leauing our, I coulu also make a µierry ieasonaLle case íoi íolu-
_-_
_-_-_
_-_
_-_-_
1 0 0 Play Poker Like the Pros
ing youi lanu iiglr rleie. Wlar uiu rle eleµlanr, rle oiiginal
iaisei, call rle one Ler virl on rlis loµ. Ir seems µierry likely
rlar le las A-Q, A-K, oi K-Q, all oí vlicl voulu give lim a
sriaiglr uiav. 1le ieasons vly I lean rovaiu calling a Ler on rle
loµ in rlis siruarion aie rlese:
 You may lave rle Lesr lanu.
 1leie aie alieauy six Lig Lers in rlis µor.
 Calling vill cosr only one moie small Ler, anu µeilaµs
Lorl oµµonenrs Lelinu you vill íolu rleii lanus.
 You may lir an ace oi a ren on íouirl srieer anu vinu
uµ vinning rlis µor Lecause you calleu rlar one Ler on
rle loµ.
 Ir`s µossiLle rlar eveiyone vill cleck rle iesr oí rle vay
(no one vill Ler on íouirl srieer oi rle iivei) anu rlar
you vin rle µor Lecause you calleu one small Ler on
rle loµ. (Don`r lolu youi Liearl loµing íoi rlis ro
laµµen!)
Playing A-x Suited: Flopping a Draw
Suµµose rlar a mouse in seconu µosirion las iaiseu ir uµ
Leíoie rle loµ anu rle jackal on rle Lurron las calleu. You rlen
calleu as vell in rle Lig Llinu virl _-_, anu rle loµ is _-_-
_. Geneially, vlen you loµ an oµen-enueu sriaiglr uiav (you
neeu a íoui oi a nine ro make youi lanu) in Holu`em, esµecially
vlen you`ie uiaving ro rle Lig siue (in rlis case a nine-ligl
sriaiglr as oµµoseu ro laving A-4 anu uiaving ro rle small siue
oi eiglr-ligl sriaiglr), you`ie vell auviseu ro µlay rlis lanu all
rle vay ro riy anu lir ir. Wlar uo you uo nov.
1 0 1 Limit Hold’em: Intermediate Strategy
You knov rlar you aie going ro lave ro call on rle loµ, anu
on rle ruin as vell, ií you miss making rle lanu on íouirl srieer.
You also knov rlar rle mouse las a sriong lanu anu rlar rle
jackal coulu lave anyrling. I voulu Le rlinking, ¨I loµe rle
mouse las A-K so rlar I can Lluíí lim our oí rlis µor.¨ (We all
knov lov riglrly rle mouse µlays!) I voulu also Le loµing rlar
rle jackal las a lanu rlar I can Lear, Lur rlar le can Ler virl, íoi
examµle A-4 oi K-S oi ]-S oi some orlei sriaiglr uiav. Peilaµs
I voulu cleck virl my lanu, loµing rlar rle mouse clecks anu
rle jackal Lers. 1len I coulu cleck-iaise, making ir rvo Lers ro
rle mouse anu rleieíoie íoicing lim ro íolu lis A-K oi A-Q. Oí
couise, vlar I ieally vanr ro uo is comµlere my sriaiglr on rle
ruin oi rle iivei.
You coulu also ueciue ro Ler iiglr our inro rle mouse on rle
loµ, ro see vlar le uoes. 1le mouse voulu eirlei call you oi
iaise you, ir`s laiu ro imagine lim íoluing rlis loµ, jusr Lecause
le`s a mouse, vlicl means le lau a µierry sriong lanu Leíoie
rle loµ. Ií le veie ro call me, I voulu riy ro Lluíí lim our on rle
nexr rvo iounus oí Lerring, rlinking le coulun`r call me uovn
virl A-K÷Lecause le`s a mouse! Ií le veie ro iaise me on rle
loµ, rlen I voulu call lim anu cleck ro lim on rle nexr rvo
iounus oí Lerring (unless I veie ro make my sriaiglr). I`m assum-
ing rlar rle mouse voulu jusr call on rle loµ virl A-K anu iaise
me virl any oveiµaii.
Playing A-x Suited: Second Pair
with Mouse
Suµµose rlar a mouse las iaiseu in rle rliiu µosirion anu an
eleµlanr las calleu on rle Lurron, Leíoie rle loµ. You call virl
1 0 2 Play Poker Like the Pros
in rle Lig Llinu Lecause ir`s only one moie Ler ro you in
rle Lig Llinu. Þoimally you voulun`r call rle mouse`s iaise virl
rlis lanu, Lur you`ie gerring a uiscounr! 1le loµ comes uovn 9-
S-3. Wlar uo you uo leie. I`u vanr ro Ler our leie ro see vlar
rle mouse uoes. Ií rle mouse veie ro iaise me, rlen I`u µioLaLly
call rle Ler, Lur I`u íolu my lanu ií rle mouse Ler on íouirl srieer
(unless I`u cauglr an A oi an S). Ií rle mouse jusr calleu me on
rle loµ, rlen I`u hguie rlar I lave lim Lear (I`u µur rle mouse on
A-K oi A-Q) anu I`u conrinue ro Ler virl my lanu all rle vay.
Ií rle eleµlanr veie ro µur in a iaise on rle loµ, rlen you`u
lave ro ieau lim rle Lesr rlar you coulu. You`u vanr ro call lis
iaise on rle loµ anu see vlar caiu comes uµ on íouirl srieer anu
vlerlei rle eleµlanr Lers on íouirl srieer oi nor.
Playing A-x Suited: Strong Flops, Slow
Play
Wlen you lir a ieally sriong loµ íoi youi A-x suireu lanu,
you lave ro ueciue lov ro collecr rle maximum numLei oí Lers.
Usually, you can vin rle maximum Ly jamming rle µor (µurring in
as many Lers anu iaises as you can) aírei rle loµ. Bur somerimes,
in oiuei ro give rle imµiession rlar you`ie veak, you neeu ro slcu-
jlay youi lanu÷µur no Lers oi iaises in on rle loµ. Ií you`ve jusr
loµµeu a ¨monsrei¨ (a luge lanu) anu someone Lers our inro you
on rle loµ, you miglr vanr ro jusr call one Ler in oiuei ro uiav
youi orlei oµµonenrs inro rle µor. Wly iaise eveiyone our oí rle
µor vlen you loµ a Lig lanu. Ií youi raLle image is veak oi vilu,
you can iaise on rle loµ Lecause no one rlinks you lave anyrling
_-_
1 0 3 Limit Hold’em: Intermediate Strategy
anyvay. Ií youi raLle image is sriong oi riglr, you`ie Lerrei oíí ler-
ring someone else Ler youi lanu íoi you, even ar rle cosr oí miss-
ing some Lers on rle loµ, in oiuei ro inciease rle clance rlar you
can collecr lors oí Lers on rle lasr rvo iounus, vlen rle limirs aie
uouLleu. Ler`s look ar some moie examµles.
Playing A-x Suited: Strong Flop, Slow Play
or Not
Ií you ieiaise anu make ir rliee Lers ro go on rle loµ, you
miglr uiive our rle hírl-µosirion µlayei anu Lorl Llinus, anu
rlar`s nor vlar you vanr. You`ie nor going ro uiive our anyone
vlo loµµeu a ser (rlar is, anyone vlo las a ieasonaLle clance
ro Lear you), you`ie going ro uiive our only µeoµle vlo neeu a
miiacle ro Lear you. 1lis is rle rime vlen you sloulu jusr call
rle rvo Lers anu loµe rlar eveiyone else calls as vell. Oi Lerrei
yer, jusr call, loµing rlar eveiyone else calls, anu loµe rlar rle
Lig Llinu ieiaises ir. 1lis is a rime ro keeµ as many µlayeis in rle
µor as you can on rle loµ, Lecause in rle nexr rvo iounus oí Ler-
ring rle limirs aie uouLleu.
Suµµose rlar a jackal in rle hisr µosirion iaises anu you call
virl _-_ in rle rliiu µosirion (even in rlis eaily µosirion, rlis
is a µierry easy call againsr a jackal). Þov rle hírl µosirion anu
Lorl Llinus call rle iaise as vell. 1le loµ comes uovn _-_-
_, anu nov rle Lig Llinu Lers our anu rle jackal iaises. Wlar uo
you uo nov. You lave loµµeu rle nur lusl! 1le orleis can`r
Lear you unless rley loµµeu a ser anu rle Loaiu gives rlem a
µaii, oi unless rley carcl µeiíecrly on Lorl oí rle nexr rvo srieers
(you can`r live in íeai oí iunnei-iunnei).
1 0 4 Play Poker Like the Pros
Ií eveiyone clecks ro you on rle loµ, rlen you sloulu Ler
our one Ler iarlei rlan clecking. Aírei all, you lave ro give rle
orlei µlayeis a clance ro cleck-iaise you on rle loµ! You lave
ro srair Luiluing a µor somerime, anu rle loµ is rle µlace ro
make suie rlar you ger ar leasr one Ler in rle µor. ^aking rle µor
laigei nov may encouiage µeoµle vlose lanus aie srill riailing
Lauly ro call íoi rle size oí rle µor larei (rley may call Lers larei
Lecause rley vanr ro riy ro vin rle Lig µor our rleie), vlen rley
(alrlougl rley von`r knov ir) lave lirrle oi no clance ro vin.
1iying ro luie in rle maximum numLei oí Lers in a lanu is
a nice µioLlem ro lave, Lur uoing ir vell eveiy rime can Le riicky.
^osr oí rle rime, in mosr µors, no one gers rle maximum any-
vay vlen µlaying virl a monsrei lanu. Aírei all, ve can`r see
eveiyone else`s lole caius. So jusr sriive ro ger as close ro rle
maximum as you can.
Playing A-x Suited: Strong Flops, Slow
Play?
Wlen you lave , anu rle loµ is , you vanr
oµµonenrs in rle µor, Lur you vanr ro make suie rlar you µio-
recr youi lanu as vell. In orlei ciicles, rlis voulu Le knovn as
vanring ro ear youi cake anu lave ir roo. Suµµose rlar íoui µeo-
µle aie in rle µor, anu rle µlayei in íionr oí you Lers our. Wlar
uo you uo. You coulu jusr call anu ler µeoµle in íoi one Ler, Lur
you miglr rlen ler in rle µor íoi one Ler anu rlen lose rle
µor ro rle vlen an eiglr comes oíí (in rlis case you`u lose
a lor oí cliµs as vell!) oi lose ir ro a leair-leair hnisl. I voulu
iaise on rle loµ ro µiorecr my lanu anu Luilu rlar Lig µor iiglr
_-_ _-_-_
_-_
_-_
1 0 5 Limit Hold’em: Intermediate Strategy
rleie anu rlen. ^ayLe youi suiviving oµµonenr las , anu
mayLe le`ll ieiaise you on rle loµ.
Wlen you loµ rle nur lusl oi a íull louse virl youi A-x
suireu, ir`s rime ro riy ro exriacr íiom youi oµµonenrs all rle Lers
you can. 1lis may vell incluue slov-µlaying youi lanu on rle
loµ. Wlen you loµ rvo µaii virl youi A-x suireu, rlen ir`s rime
ro µiorecr youi lanu Ly jamming rle loµ as mucl as µossiLle.
You`ve loµµeu a sriong lanu, Lur ir`s srill mucl roo vulneiaLle
íoi slov-µlaying. Ií you loµ riiµs (rliee oí a kinu) vlen ir comes
¯-¯-] anu you lave A-¯, rlen ir`s rime ro examine rle siruarion
moie closely. Sloulu you slov-µlay oi nor. Hov many oµµo-
nenrs aie rleie in rle lanu. Aie rleie rvo ro a suir on rle Loaiu
on rle loµ. Geneially, I vill jam ir virl my riiµs in oiuei ro µio-
recr my lanu. ^osr µeoµle slov-µlay roo mucl, anu rley iisk ler-
ring oµµonenrs Lack inro µosirions vleie rley can Lear rle slov
µlayei. Þor only is rlis a Lig hnancial serLack, ir`s rle kinu oí
ueíear rlar can µur a µlayei on rilr. (You vill leai rle voiu ¨rilr¨
eveiy rime you µlay µokei in a casino. Ir is a veiy common µokei
voiu rlar means Leing roo riouLleu ro µlay youi usual game.)
We coulu ralk all uay aLour lov ro µlay youi A-x suireu
aírei a maiginal loµ. Wlar ir ieally comes uovn ro, rlougl, is
rlis: vlen you lave a maiginal loµ virl A-x suireu, riy ro ieau
youi oµµonenrs ro ueciue vlar ro uo virl youi lanu. Ií you íeel
rlar rley aie veak, iaise. Ií you íeel rlar rley aie sriong, íolu.
Don`r íoiger ro iaise ro hnu our vleie you aie ar ií you aien`r
quire suie. 1lis µlay is a giear vay ro soir rlings our in youi minu.
Playing K-Q on the Flop: Hit It or Fold It
_-_
1 0 6 Play Poker Like the Pros
I consiuei K-Q rle veakesr oí my ¨majoiiry µlay lanus.¨
Some µios may consiuei A-6 suireu rle veakesr, Lecause one
miglr make a sriaiglr virl A-2 suireu. Orleis may consiuei 2-2
rle veakesr. A goou aigumenr can Le maue íoi any oí rlese lanus
Leing rle veakesr oí rle majoiiry µlay lanus. Be rlar as ir may, K-
Q gers my vore íoi rle veakesr lanu oí rle lor. 1lis is a lanu you
neeu ro lir on rle loµ ií you aie going ro conrinue µlaying ir.
Oí couise, vlen rle loµ is 4-10-], anu you lolu K-Q, rlen
you lave an oµen-enueu sriaiglr uiav. In rlis case, you neeu ro
µlay rle lanu all rle vay ro rle enu, in rle loµe oí lirring youi
sriaiglr. 1le riouLle loµs íoi K-Q aie somerling like A-Q-2 oi
A-K-5. You lave loµµeu seconu µaii (rle kings oi queens) virl
roµ kickei, anu rlis lanu is jusr sriong enougl ro ger you inro
riouLle. You can`r Lear any ace, Lur you can Lear almosr eveiy
orlei lanu. Oí couise, ir`s alvays nice ro see K-Q-4 (roµ rvo
µaii) oi 10-]-A (nur sriaiglr) vlen you lave K-Q! (Anuy Glazei
jusr elLoveu me in rle siue anu rolu me rlar rle hisr rime le evei
µlayeu no-limir in a live game, le lau K-Q anu rle loµ came K-
Q-4. His oµµonenr lau Leen loluing µocker íouis, anu you can
µioLaLly envision rle ensuing cainage. Þorvirlsranuing Anuy`s
riaumaric inriouucrion ro no-limir, ií you loµ roµ rvo µaii in
limir µokei, you sloulu µusl µierry laiu.)
Wlen you uo lir K-Q, ir is imµoiranr ro µiorecr youi lanu
Ly jamming rle loµ. K-9-2 anu K-]-4 aie µierry sriong loµs
vlen you lave K-Q. Wirlour going inro any íuirlei examµles,
suíhce ro say rlar K-Q is rle kinu oí lanu rlar you íolu ií you
miss rle loµ, Lur jam virl ií you lir rle loµ, µeiiou.
1 0 7 Limit Hold’em: Intermediate Strategy
Ií you lave maue ir ro íouirl srieer virl any oí rlese lanus, rlen
µiesumaLly you`ve lir somerling on rle loµ. Iouirl srieer is rle
rime ro uumµ rlose lanus rlar you ueciueu veie no goou on rle
loµ, nov rlar rle Lers lave uouLleu in size. 1lis uiscussion vill
Le iarlei sloir, since juugmenr is nov rle key ro vlerlei oi nor
you conrinue ro Ler, call, oi iaise virl youi lanu. OLviously, ií
you`ve lir a sriong lanu oi a goou uiaving lanu on rle loµ,
rlen you`ll conrinue ro µlay rle lanu in some mannei. Ií you
loµµeu a ser, rvo µaii, a sriaiglr, oi a lusl, rlen you`ll Le uoing
a lor oí Lerring anu iaising (jamming rle µor) on íouirl srieer. Ií
you lave loµµeu a sriong uiav, rlen you`ll eirlei Le in rle leau
in rle Lerring oi jusr calling orlei µeoµle`s Lers ar rlis µoinr in
rle lanu, ueµenuing on lov you µlayeu youi uiav on rle loµ.
Iouirl srieer is also rle rime ro evaluare vlerlei oi nor
youi oµµonenr las lir lis uiav. Somerimes ir`s oLvious rlar le`s
lir lis lanu, le`ll ieveal rlar Ly Leing easy ro ieau. Peilaµs le`ll
all Lur jumµ our oí lis sear vlen rle caiu comes oíí rle ueck! Ar
orlei rimes, rle caiu rlar comes oíí rle ueck is rle one you knev
voulu Le rle voisr µossiLle caiu íoi you, anu nov you`ie almosr
ceirain you`ie Learen.
Somerimes, oí couise, you`ie rle one vlo lirs rle uiav on
íouirl srieer, anu nov you lave ro ueciue lov ro vin rle mosr
íiom youi lanu, íiom leie on our. Oí couise, rlis is a nice µioL-
lem ro lave! ^ayLe you neeu ro jam rle µor, oi µeilaµs you
neeu ro ¨smoorl-call¨ someone else`s Ler÷meiely call vlen you
lave a iaising lanu÷in oiuei ro luie orlei µlayeis inro rle µor ar
on Fourth Street
How to Play the Majority Play Hands
1 0 8 Play Poker Like the Pros
rlis µoinr.
Examples
1le íolloving aie examµles oí smoorl-calling, jamming rle µor,
iaising ro µiorecr youi lanu, anu íoluing.
Smooth-Calling
Wlen you lave A-x suireu anu you lir youi nur lusl uiav
on íouirl srieer, you may vanr ro smoorl-call someone else`s Ler
in oiuei ro vin rle maximum virl youi lanu. Ler`s say rleie aie
íoui oµµonenrs in rle lanu againsr you. 1le hisr oµµonenr Lers
our inro you, anu you ueciue ro iaise lim in oiuei ro Luilu rle
µor. Þov rle nexr rvo oµµonenrs íolu, anu rle oiiginal Lerroi
looks you in rle eye anu says, ¨I knov you voulun`r iaise me
leie unless you lau a lusl, so I íolu.¨ Hov mucl money lave
you maue aírei lirring youi nur lusl. One Lig Ler! Wly uiu you
iaise our rle rvo oµµonenrs Lelinu you.
Ií you veie rle lasr µeison ro acr anu someone Ler our inro
you, rlen I can unueisranu rle iaise, Lecause you voulu alieauy
lave seveial µeoµle in íoi one Ler, anu µeoµle vlo lave calleu
one Ler iaiely uioµ our íoi one moie. Þov suµµose rlar insreau
oí iaising, you smoorl-call youi oµµonenrs` Lers. Þov one oí rle
rvo orlei oµµonenrs Lelinu you calls rle Ler as vell. On rle
enu, rle hisr oµµonenr Lers inro you again, Lur rlis rime you
iaise (smoorl-calling rle iivei Ler is iaiely ií evei a goou move),
anu you ger calleu Ly Lorl oí youi iemaining rvo oµµonenrs.
Hov many Lers lave you von rlis rime. Six Lig Lers! All
1 0 9 Limit Hold’em: Intermediate Strategy
Lecause you smoorl-calleu rle Ler on íouirl srieer, anu, µiesum-
aLly, alloveu youi oµµonenrs ro lir goou caius íoi rleii lanus
on rle lasr caiu. (Oí couise, ir`s acrually a Lau caiu íoi rlem,
Lecause ir uiun`r imµiove rlem enougl ro vin, only enougl ro
lose moie money!)
In 2001, in rle $¯,500 Luy-in no-limir Holu`em clamµi-
onsliµ evenr ar rle U.S. Pokei Clamµionsliµs ar rle 1aj ^alal
in Arlanric Ciry, a smoorl call voikeu íoi me ro µeiíecrion. I
calleu a $200 Ler virl A-A in rle hisr µosirion Leíoie rle loµ.
Þov ^en ¨1le ^asrei¨ Þguyen, in rle small Llinu, calleu virl
5-6 oíí suir, anu rle Lig Llinu cleckeu. 1le loµ vas A-¯-3, anu
ve all cleckeu again, rlis vas rle seconu rime rlis lanu rlar I
cleckeu virl rle Lesr µossiLle lanu in oiuei ro ¨riaµ¨ my oµµo-
nenrs. 1le nexr caiu vas a ¯ íoi A-¯-3-¯, anu I lau maue roµ íull
louse (aces íull oí sevens).
^y oµµonenrs Lorl cleckeu ro me again, anu nov I Ler our
$200 inro rle $600 µor. ^en calleu rle $200, riying ro lir a íoui
íoi a sriaiglr, vlicl voulu lave cosr lim rlousanus oí uollais
moie ií le lau lir ir, since I alieauy lau a íull louse. 1le Lig
Llinu nov iaiseu me $500 (rlis lanu vas ueveloµing Leauriíully
íoi me). I ueciueu rlar I neeueu ro ieiaise iiglr leie in oiuei ro
give rle Lig Llinu rle clance ro give me all lis cliµs (in case le
lau a seven in lis lanu), Lur I uiun`r vanr ro ieiaise roo mucl
anu lose lim eirlei. So I ieiaiseu $1,000 moie, ^en íolueu, anu
rle Lig Llinu calleu me.
On rle enu, a laimless caiu came oíí rle ueck anu my
iemaining oµµonenr cleckeu ro me. I venr aleau anu Ler
$2,000, loµing íoi a call, anu my oµµonenr calleu me veiy
quickly. So I von rle lanu, anu ir`s veiy unlikely rlar I coulu
lave exriacreu anorlei $3,000 íiom rlis oµµonenr ií I lau Ler
1 1 0 Play Poker Like the Pros
aggiessively íiom rle Leginning. In íacr, ií I lau iaiseu Leíoie rle
loµ in rlis lanu, all my oµµonenrs voulu lave íolueu rleii
lanus rlen anu rleie.
1iicky µlays like smoorl-calling anu slov-µlaying geneially
oííei Liggei µayoíís in µor-limir oi no-limir rlan rley uo in limir,
vleie you can`r giaL one gianr Ler íiom someone on rle enu, Lur
even in limir rlese µlays aie an imµoiranr µair oí rle goou
µlayei`s aisenal.
Jamming the Pot
1lis is rle counreiµair oí rle examµle oí slov-µlaying given
aLove. Somerimes, vlen you lolu rle nur lanu, you jusr neeu ro
jam rle µor on íouirl srieer, in oiuei ro make rle µor as Lig as ir
µossiLly can Le. Bur ir`s laiu ro knov rle iiglr rime ro jam rle
µor, iarlei rlan smoorl-calling someone else`s Ler. Geneially, ir
ueµenus on vlerlei someone las Ler iiglr in íionr oí you oi nor.
Ií someone las, rlen you usually vanr ro smoorl-call rle Ler.
Bur ií someone las Ler anu seveial orleis lave alieauy calleu
rlar Ler, rlen ir`s rime ro go aleau anu iaise ir uµ.
Protecting Your Hand with a Raise
1le µiinciµle oí µiorecring youi lanu Ly vay oí a iaise is
also veiy imµoiranr in Holu`em. (¨Piorecring youi lanu¨ is all
aLour making iaises vlen you lave a sriong lanu, so rlar you
can eliminare µlayeis, rlus giving youiselí a Lerrei clance ro vin
rlar lanu.) Ir can mean rle uiííeience Lerveen vinning anu los-
ing a µor. Suµµose rlar you lave (A-x suireu), anu gainei
rvo µaii virl on rle loµ. Þov on íouirl srieer
_-_
_-_-_
_
1 1 1 Limit Hold’em: Intermediate Strategy
comes oíí rle ueck íoi . Someone nov Lers inro you,
anu you jusr call rle Ler. Bur Lecause you jusr calleu rle Ler, you
ler a jackal in virl K-Q, anu le lir a ] on rle enu ro make a
sriaiglr. Cleaily, even rle jackal voulu lave íolueu lis ¨Lelly
Lusrei¨ (insiue-sriaiglr uiav) íoi tuc Lig Lers, Lur íoi jusr one,
le vas aLle ro uieam aLour a jack anu convince limselí rlar lir-
ring a king oi queen miglr vin also. Because you uiun`r µiorecr
youi lanu leie Ly iaising, you vounu uµ µaying rle ulrimare
µiice in µokei, you losr a µor rlar you sloulu lave von.
Folding Your Hand
-
Wlen you íace a siruarion like rlis, ask youiselí, ¨Wlar aie
rley loluing rlar`s uiiving rlem ro µur all rlis money inro rle µor
on rle loµ.¨ PioLaLly sriaiglr uiavs, lusl uiavs, µaiis, anu
ace ligl. Ioluing youi lanu on íouirl srieer visely vlen rle
uiavs aµµeai ro lave Leen lir is consiueieu an air íoim.
_-_-_-_
Wlen you`ie involveu in a Lig mulrivay µor anu rleie`s Leen
a lor oí iaising on rle loµ, varcl our íoi inuicarions rlar rle
uiaving lanus lave lir on íouirl srieer. Suµµose you lave 6-6
anu rle loµ came uovn _-_-_. On rle loµ you lave rliee
oµµonenrs all µurring in some Lers. Srill, you`ie µierry suie rlar
youi lanu is rle Lesr lanu on rle loµ. Bur vlar ií rle voisr µos-
siLle caiu íoi you comes oíí on íouirl srieer. 1len vlar uo you
uo. 1o me rle voisr µossiLle caiu leie is _. Ií _ comes oíí rle
ueck, rlen rle sriaiglr uiav (any hve in youi oµµonenr`s lanu),
rle lusl uiav (rvo uiamonus in an oµµonenr`s lanu), anu any ace
(like A-K oi A-4) all ger rleie anu Lear you. Ií rlis caiu comes oíí
oí rle ueck, rlen you`u Lerrei look ro exir srage leír immeuiarely.
1 1 2 Play Poker Like the Pros
Playing the Marginal Play Hands on the
River
In rle uiscussion oí Leginneis` sriaregy íoi rle roµ ren lanus on
rle iivei (Claµrei 3), I auvocareu making a lor oí calls on rle
iivei, Lecause oí rle laige size oí rle µors virl rle roµ ren
lanus. In orlei voius, rle ¨µor ouus¨ aie rleie íoi you ro call
on rle enu virl a roµ ren lanu. 1lis rlinking is srill somevlar
aµµlicaLle leie, Lur nov ve`ie uealing virl some veakei
lanus. Oíren, in my auvice ro Leginneis, my examµles voulu
lave you in rle leau virl a sriong lanu (you`ie rle Lerroi), anu
ir voulu Le youi oµµonenrs vlo veie calling ycu uovn. Þov,
virl rle veakei maiginal-µlay lanus, you vill oíren Le calling
youi oµµonenrs` Lers.
Somerimes, siruarions vill come uµ vleie you`ie calling
someone uovn virl youi A-3 (calling all rle vay ro rle enu) anu
a Loaiu oí , anu rlen rle lasr caiu is anu someone
else Lers inro you as vell. In rlis case you veie calling jusr one
oµµonenr, vlose lanu µioLaLly lau youi µaii oí aces virl a
veak kickei Learen. Þov, vlen a rliiu µairy Lers our inro Lorl
oí you vlen rle lusl caiu lirs, íoluing youi lanu voulu seem ro
Le rle vise move.
Bur you may also enu uµ virl A-10 anu a Loaiu oí
, anu rlen see rle iivei µiouuce . Þov vlar uo you uo. Ií
rleie lau Leen a lor oí acrion on rle loµ leie, rlen you veie
µioLaLly µlaying againsr eirlei a sµaue lusl uiav, a sriaiglr
uiav, a µaii oí jacks, oi an oveiµaii. Wirl on rle iivei, you can
nov Lear only rle lusl uiav, assuming rlar rle lusl uiav
uiun`r lave a Q virl ir. 1le µoinr is rlar you may lave alieauy
Leen in riouLle virl rle A-10, Lur virl rlis lasr caiu anu rvo
_-_-_-_
_
_-_-
-_
_
_
_
1 1 3 Limit Hold’em: Intermediate Strategy
orlei oµµonenrs srill in rle acrion, you sloulun`r even rlink
aLour calling on rle iivei. Again, µlaying rle maiginal µlay
lanus, as oµµoseu ro rle roµ ren lanus, may µur you inro some
Lau siruarions vlen ir`s rime ro µonuei calling on rle iivei.
You`ie srill gerring µor ouus ro call someone on rle iivei÷
rle µayoíí coulu Le luge÷Lur ií you can make íoui oi hve µiu-
uenr anu vell-rimeu íolus a niglr, rlar vill auu uµ ro some
seiious money Ly rle enu oí rle yeai! Leaining vlen ro call virl
youi maiginal-µlay lanus on rle iivei, oi íolu rlem, vill Lecome
cleaiei as you gain exµeiience.
Wlerlei oi nor you make a call on rle iivei ueµenus
enriiely on lov you ieau rle siruarion. Reaus, ieaus, ieaus, anu
a lirrle ¨µor ouus¨ marl sloulu Le youi guiue. (I sloveu you
lov ro calculare rle µor ouus eailiei, on µages 62÷63.) Only
rliougl µiacrice vill you Le aLle ro make goou uecisions on rle
enu. Pay arrenrion ro lov oíren you`ie iiglr anu lov oíren
you`ie viong virl youi calls on rle iivei. Was rleie a goou iea-
son rlar you calleu. Diu you ieau youi oµµonenrs vell. Keeµ in
minu rlar rle iuea is ro consranrly imµiove youi ieauing skills
along rle vay.
C h a p t e r 5
Limit Hold’em:
Advanced Strategy
1ake nore: Lecause rle conceµrs µiesenreu in rlis claµrei aie
Lorl suLrle anu comµlex, rle Leginning oi inreimeuiare µlayei
ieally sloulun`r iace iiglr our ro riy rlem in seiious games. Suc-
cessíul aµµlicarion oí rlese conceµrs involves nor meiely knov-
ing anu unueisranuing rlem Lur µossessing rle juugmenr ro
knov lov anu vlen ro aµµly rlem.
Youi ryµical megalomaniac µlayei (a jackal ryµe) may vell
aµµieciare auvanceu limir Holu`em rleoiy moie rlan mosr oí rle
iesr oí us. Wlicl is ro say, vlen using auvanceu limir Holu`em
rleoiy, you can oíren hnu youiselí skaring on veiy rlin ice. Pui-
suing µlay in rlis íaslion is oíren rliilling anu uangeious, Lorl
ro rle usei`s oµµonenrs anu ro rle usei limselí!
In rlis claµrei I`ll slov you lov ro ieiaise oµµonenrs vlo
aie srealing Llinus. Lssenrially, I`ll reacl you ro sreal íiom rle
srealeis! You von`r quire Le RoLin Hoou, Lecause vlile you`ll Le
1 1 5 Limit Hold’em: Advanced Strategy
srealing íiom rle iicl, you von`r Le giving rle µlunuei ro rle
µooi: you`ll Le auuing ir ro youi ovn srack.
We vill also ralk aLour auuing ¨suireu connecrois¨ like
, anu ro rle mix oí lanus rlar you can µlay Leíoie
rle loµ. We`ll ralk aLour ieiaising µeoµle virl norling, in oiuei
ro Lluíí rlem our. We`ll ralk aLour riaµµing anu cleck-iaising
oµµonenrs, anu moie.
In rlis claµrei you vill leain:
z Hov ro µlay suireu connecrois.
z Hov ro use suireu connecrois ro ¨auveirise.¨
z 1le ¨hie uµ rle raLle¨ sriaregy aµµlieu Ly Sµencei Ouien.
z Hov ro sreal íiom rle Llinu srealeis.
z Hov ro riaµ virl Lig lanus: rle ]oln Bonerri sroiy.
z Hov ro µlay auvanceu Holu`em on rle loµ: anyrling
goes!
z Having µosirion is alvays goou.
All rlese auvanceu conceµrs sloulu Le useu virl giear cau-
rion. ^osr oí rlem sloulun`r Le useu Ly anyone orlei rlan rle
roµ µios, Lecause mosr oí rlem aie liglly ¨ieau-ueµenuenr.¨
In orlei voius, vlen you`ve auvanceu ro rle srage oí youi
µokei caieei vlen you`ie aLle ro ieau youi oµµonenrs vell,
rlen youi clances oí using rlese conceµrs successíully vill Le
giearei.
_-
_, _-_ _-_
1 1 6 Play Poker Like the Pros
Playing Suited Connectors
Þov rlar ve`ie conremµlaring auvanceu µlay, ve`ll auu suireu
connecrois ro rle mix oí lanus rlar you`ll somerimes µlay Leíoie
rle loµ. Þorice rlar I saiu ¨somerimes.¨ 1leie is veiy lirrle
auvice in rle vay oí ¨alvays¨ oi ¨nevei¨ vlen one ieacles rle
auvanceu sriaregy conceµrs in Holu`em.
Geneially, in oiuei ro µlay suireu connecrois, you neeu ro
lave mulrivay acrion (ar leasr rliee µlayeis in rle µor). Genei-
ally, you uon`r vanr ro call rliee Lers virl rlese ryµes oí lanus.
Þoi uo you vanr ro µlay rlese kinus oí lanus roo oíren. 1le Lesr
rime ro consiuei µlaying suireu connecrois is vlen you ueciue ro
ieiaise (rliee-Ler) someone you íeel is veak, Leíoie rle loµ, in
rle loµe rlar you`ll Le raking rle µor avay íiom rlis µlayei larei
in rle lanu. Srealing rle µor virl rlese suireu connecrois is quire
similai ro rle conceµr oí srealing íiom rle Llinu srealeis.
1le µioLlem virl µlaying suireu connecrois is rlar rley
uon`r vin rle µor veiy oíren. You miglr, íoi examµle, µlay _-_
oi _-_ anu lir a lanu rlar vill jusr ger you inro a lor oí riou-
Lle. You miglr make roµ µaii oi seconu µaii oi even a lusl anu
srill lose a Lig µor. So rle Lesr vay ro µlay rlese kinus oí lanus is
veiy caieíully! Ií you`ie an auvanceu µlayei, you unueisranu rlar
ir`s veiy uiíhculr ro íolu rle _-_ vlen rle loµ comes uovn 2-
6-¯. Ií you`ie riying ro µlay suireu connecrois, you lave ro leain
lov ro íolu rlem ar rle iiglr rime. 1lis rakes hnesse, skill, anu,
aLove all, ieauing aLiliry.
1 1 7 Limit Hold’em: Advanced Strategy
Three Limit Hold’em Situations
Appropriate for Playing Suited Connectors
Siruarion 1: One siruarion conuucive ro µlaying rlese lanus
is vlen someone las iaiseu anu rvo oi rliee µlayeis lave
alieauy calleu in íionr oí me. Heie I`m invesring rvo Lers virl ar
leasr rliee orlei oµµonenrs. In rlis siruarion, I like ro lave ar
leasr 5-6 suireu oi liglei. I uon`r see mucl value in 2-3, 3-4, oi 4-
5 suireu: rle µaiis, sriaiglrs, anu lusles rlese lanus miglr make
aie all roo lov. 1o slov you vlar I mean, ií I`m µlaying a lanu
like 3-4 suireu, I`m loµing ro make a sriaiglr. Ir`s nor rlar I
oLjecr ro making a lusl, Lur mine voulu Le rle voisr µossiLle
lusl, anu I coulu easily lose ro a liglei lusl. So I`u iarlei make
a sriaiglr, Lur unless I lir rle lanu aLsolurely µeiíecrly virl A-2-
5, my sriaiglr is µioLaLly going ro Le on rle lov siue oí vlar`s
availaLle.
Ioi examµle, ií rle loµ comes 5-6-¯, I lave inueeu maue
my sriaiglr, Lur I`m vulneiaLle ro µeoµle vlo aie µlaying liglei
suireu connecrois: S-9 jusr Luiies me, ¯-S gives my oµµonenr roµ
µaii virl an oµen-enueu sriaiglr uiav rlar can easily Lear me,
anu Lorl 5-6 anu 6-¯ leave me vulneiaLle ro losing ro a íull
louse. Someone virl µocker eiglrs vill Le riouLle, roo. Bur ií my
suireu connecrois aie a lirrle liglei, I`m nor quire as vulneiaLle ro
losing a Lig µor. I`m nor going ro lir a suireu connecroi lanu roo
oíren anyvay, anu vlen I uo lir ir, I vanr ro Le ieasonaLly suie
I`m going ro vin virl ir.
Playing suireu connecrois, I`m loµing ro lir rle loµ µierry
soliuly, ií I uon`r, I jusr suiienuei my rvo µievious Lers on rle
loµ anu íolu rle lanu. I`m also µieµaieu ro jam rle loµ ií I rlink
I`ve loµµeu rle Lesr lanu, in oiuei ro µiorecr ir.
1 1 8 Play Poker Like the Pros
Siruarion 2: 1le seconu íavoiaLle siruarion aiises vlen I
lave suireu connecrois in rle Llinus, Lecause I ger in íoi a uis-
counr. In orlei voius, calling rvo Lers in rle Lig Llinu amounrs
ro calling jusr one Ler, since ir vas I vlo µosreu rle hisr Ler in
rle Llinu.
Siruarion 3: 1le rliiu siruarion involves messing virl orlei
µlayeis` leaus anu making myselí moie unµieuicraLle in orlei
µlayeis` eyes. In rlis siruarion, I`ll make ir rliee Lers ovei rle roµ
oí someone vlo I rlink is iaising rle µor virl a veak lanu in
íionr oí me. I may rliee-Ler (ieiaise) a jackal vlen I`m on rle
Lurron virl in oiuei ro riy ro sreal rle µor íiom lim.
Ií I an aLle ro rake rle µor avay, Ly íoicing eveiyone ro
íolu, rlen I`ll jusr µlace my vinning lanu íaceuovn. Bur ií I ger
cauglr Lluíhng, rlen I`m moie rlan laµµy ro slov rle vlole
raLle my lanu anu say, ¨Six ligl.¨ Wlen rle orlei µlayeis ieal-
ize rlar I ieiaiseu virl Leíoie rle loµ, rlen I can exµecr ro
ieceive a lor oí exria acrion íoi a vlile! Aírei I`ve slovn uovn
six ligl once oi rvice, rlen ir`s rime ro µlay rle roµ ren lanus
only, íoi a vlile, anu vair íoi rle µlayeis ro give me rleii cliµs.
1ley`ll srill Le rlinking rlar I lave norling (six ligl!), Lur I`ll Le
sloving rlem some ieal lanus íoi a vlile. 1lis µarrein renus ro
keeµ many µlayeis oíí Lalance, anu evenrually rley may ueciue
rley uon`r vanr ro mess virl me.
Calling with Suited Connectors
1le iuea Lelinu calling rvo Lers virl suireu connecrois is
ro riy ro vin a Lig µor. So I`m looking íoi a lor oí oµµonenrs
vlen I consiuei calling rvo Lers virl rlis lanu. Ir uoesn`r make
sense ro me ro call rvo Lers virl vlen no one else las
_-_
_-_
_-_
1 1 9 Limit Hold’em: Advanced Strategy
calleu Leíoie rle loµ. In orlei voius, I`m looking íoi goou µor
ouus íoi rlis ryµe oí uiaving lanu. An occasional Lig µor µays
íoi a lor oí íaileu arremµrs.
Calling with Suited Connectors in
the Blinds
Usually, I vill call rvo Lers in rle Lig Llinu virl any suireu
connecrois, even rle veak ones like 2-3. Aírei all, in rle Lig
Llinu ir vill cosr me only one moie Ler ro call, since I lave µosreu
one Ler alieauy. In rle small Llinu, roo, I vill ueíenu virl mosr
suireu connecrois, Lur I`ll usually uiav rle line ar 4-5 suireu
Lecause ir vill µioLaLly cosr me 1
1
´2 Lers moie ro call rle rvo
Lers in rle small Llinu. Wirl 10-] oi ]-Q suireu, I`m usually vill-
Suµµose rlar someone iaises Leíoie rle loµ in eaily µosi-
rion anu nov rvo orlei µeoµle call rle iaise in íionr oí me. I`m
on rle Lurron virl _-_. I simµly íolu rlis lanu, Lecause 4-5 is
Lelov rle suireu connecroi line rlar I like ro mainrain. In rlis
same siruarion, ií I lave ¯-S suireu, rlen I`ll go aleau anu call rle
iaise, riying ro ger lucky on rle loµ oi larei.
Suµµose rlar a mouse in eaily µosirion makes ir rvo Lers ro
go anu nov rvo orlei µlayeis call rle rvo Lers in íionr oí me.
I`m on rle Lurron virl _-_. In rlis case, alrlougl rvo orlei
µlayeis lave alieauy calleu rle iaise, I`ll µioLaLly íolu my lanu
Lecause rle oiiginal iaisei is a mouse. (Wlen a mouse iaises in
eaily µosirion, I`m alvays looking íoi an excuse ro íolu as soon
as µossiLle!) Oí couise, ií rle oiiginal iaisei isn`r a mouse, I
voulu call virl my _-_. ^y iule íoi µlaying suireu connecrois
is rlis: ií rvo orlei µeoµle lave calleu rvo Lers (a iaise), rlen I`ll
call virl my lanu (assuming rlar ir`s aLove rle 4-5 line).
1 2 0 Play Poker Like the Pros
ing ro call rliee Lers in rle Llinus.
Ií I lave 6-¯ suireu in rle Lig Llinu anu a mouse las maue ir
rvo Lers ro go, rlen I vill call ií ar leasr one orlei oµµonenr calls,
anu I may call ií I`m rle only one leír in rle µor. Alrlougl I uon`r
like ro mess virl a mouse`s iaise, rle 6-¯ suireu in rle Lig Llinu
may Liing a Lig ievaiu íoi me ií I lir rle loµ, anu oí couise ir
vill cosr me only one moie Ler ro see ií I lir ir. ^oieovei, a
mouse is geneially easy ro ieau: le µioLaLly las a Lig µaii oi A-
K ligl vlen le iaises Leíoie rle loµ.
By iisking one moie Ler ro call Leíoie rle loµ, I may vin a
lor oí Lers íiom rle mouse. Anu ií I iun inro a riouLlesome loµ
like 10-6-4, rlen I can usually hguie our íaiily easily vlerlei rle
mouse las me Learen oi nor. Again, in geneial I uon`r like ro mess
virl a mouse`s µieloµ iaise, Lur Leing in rle Lig Llinu (a uis-
counr) virl suireu connecreu caius is rle rime anu µlace ro uo ir.
Ií I lave any suireu connecreu lanu in rle Lig Llinu Leíoie
rle loµ, rlen I`ll call someone`s iaise (rvo-Ler), µeiiou.
Ií I lave ]-Q oi 10-] suireu (rley`ie Lorl voirl aLour rle
same Leíoie rle loµ) in rle Llinus, rlen I vill in geneial call rliee
Lers (a ieiaise) Leíoie rle loµ. Oí couise rleie aie exceµrions: a
mouse`s rliee Lers vill íoice me ro lay uovn my lanu íoi suie! I
lave leaineu rlar ir`s veiy laiu ro Lear Q-Q, K-K, A-A, oi A-K
virl Q-] oi 10-] suireu! Use youi ovn uiscierion vlen you`ie
ueciuing ro call rliee Lers virl ]-Q oi 10-] suireu in rle small
Llinu. Ií you lave a Lau íeeling rlar rle rliee-Lerroi las a Lig µaii,
rlen jusr rliov youi lanu avay Leíoie rle loµ. RememLei,
you`ie gerring only a lalí-Ler uiscounr, nor mucl comµaieu virl
rle 2
1
´2 Lers you voulu neeu ro auu, anu you`ll Le µlaying rle lanu
our oí µosirion íoi eveiy Lerring iounu. 1le same rling aµµlies ro
Q-] oi 10-] suireu in rle Lig Llinu, alrlougl calling isn`r evei a rei-
1 2 1 Limit Hold’em: Advanced Strategy
iiLle µlay unless ir`s againsr someone vlo is a consisrenr mouse.
Three-Betting with Suited Connectors:
Messing with the Other Players’ Heads
Ir`s rime nov ro ralk aLour auveirising÷a vay oí messing
virl µlayeis` leaus in oiuei ro coníuse rlem anu inuuce acrion
larei on: rliee-Lerring someone virl a suireu connecreu lanu like
6-¯ suireu. Wly suireu connecrois. A suireu connecroi is rle
kinu oí lanu rlar you miglr lir easily vlen you`ie our rleie
making a µlay. Ir`s saiu rlar riming is eveiyrling in liíe, so lov
uo you rime rlis ciazy move.
Beíoie I go any íuirlei, I vanr ro sriess rlar ir is a µlay you
sloulun`r use roo oíren, anu, íuirlei, rlar ir`s imµoiranr ro use
rlis µlay againsr rle iiglr µeoµle. I voulu nevei use ir on a
mouse, íoi rvo ieasons. Iiisr, rle mouse is ser in lis vays anu
von`r give you any exria acrion no marrei vlar you uo. Seconu,
vly rake 6-¯ suireu againsr a Lig µaii (vlicl is µioLaLly vlar le
las), vlen ir`s so laiu ro vin rlar µor. Laily in rle evening is rle
µeiíecr rime anu siruarion ro use rlis µlay, Lecause rlen you may
ger exria acrion all niglr long! Wly use ir vlen only a íev moie
lanus aie ro Le µlayeu, vlen you von`r gain rle Lenehr oí exria
acrion.
In geneial, rliee-Lerring an oµµonenr virl suireu connec-
rois is a losing µlay íoi rlar one lanu, Lur you make rle µlay
occasionally anyvay Lecause ir vill Liing you exria acrion íoi
anorlei loui oi rvo. 1lis exria acrion vill ulrimarely Liing you
moie money, Lur ir may also cause you ro lose some µors rlar
you oiuinaiily voulu lave von vlen someone vlo nov rlinks
you miglr Le in rleie virl any µiece oí junk iuns you uovn virl
1 2 2 Play Poker Like the Pros
a ieally veak lanu. Srill, ieiaising virl rlis ryµe oí lanu vill
mess uµ rle orlei µlayeis` arremµrs ro ieau you. In rle íuruie
vlen you rliee-Ler µieloµ, rley vill Legin ro vonuei vlerlei
you lave 6-¯ suireu.
Ií you vin one oí rlese µors virlour laving ro slov uovn
youi lanu, rlen I iecommenu íoluing youi lanu íaceuovn anu
riying rle same µlay again soon. As long as rle µlay keeµs voik-
ing anu you uon`r lave ro slov youi lanu, conrinue ro use ir.
Bur vlen you`ve Leen cauglr Lluíhng virl one oí rlese lanus on
rle enu, rlen liµ ir íaceuµ anu say, ¨I lave norling.¨ Lven Lerrei
is vlen you uo lir youi lanu anu liµ ir uµ ar rle enu oí rle lanu
anu say, ¨I lave a sriaiglr!¨ Ir`s µierry íunny ro varcl rle µlay-
eis ar rle raLle sruuy youi lanu anu iealize rlar you rliee-Ler
Leíoie rle loµ virl youi S-9 suireu! Wlen you slov uovn veak
suireu connecrois rlar you rliee-Ler virl µieloµ, make suie rlar
you`ie ieauy ro µlay ieally riglr íoi a vlile, since you vill ger
exria acrion íoi a rime aíreivaiu. ]usr make suie rlar you lave a
sriong lanu vlen rley uo call you uovn larei.
Suµµose rlar you`ie aLour one loui inro a µokei game rlar
hguies ro lasr six louis oi so. You lave in lare µosirion anu
a jackal las jusr maue ir rvo Lers in íionr oí you. You nov ueciue
ro make ir rliee Lers, anu eveiyone íolus exceµr rle jackal. 1le
loµ comes uovn , anu rle jackal Lers our inro you. Oí
couise, you nov go aleau anu iaise rle jackal on rle loµ,
arremµring ro rake rle µor avay íiom lim iiglr rlen anu rleie. Ií
rle jackal íolus, jusr rliov youi lanu avay íaceuovn. Bur ií le
calls, make suie rlar you riy ro Lluíí lim on íouirl srieer anu rle
iivei. Ií le calls you uovn, rlen say, ¨Þine ligl¨ anu liµ youi
lanu íaceuµ. ]usr rle look oí rle orlei µlayeis ar rle raLle vill Le
_-_
_-_-_,
1 2 3 Limit Hold’em: Advanced Strategy
voirl rle money rlar you losr on rlis lanu! Well, mayLe nor jusr
rle look, Lur rle look comLineu virl rle auveirising is velcome!
Ií rle jackal íolus lis lanu ar some µoinr, rlen íolu youi ovn
lanu íaceuovn anu riy rle same µlay again soon.
Spencer’s Approach: “Fire Up the
Game”
Some yeais ago ar rle Bicycle CluL Casino in Los Angeles, rleie
vas a iegulai nameu Sµencei Ouien (le vas veiy vell likeu).
Sµencei vas aLour my age anu vas on lis vay ro Lecoming a
µokei legenu Leíoie lis unrimely uearl in 1992. Sµencei voulu
sir uovn ar rle $S0÷$160-limir Holu`em raLle anu iaise eveiy
lanu in tle Jarl ro rle maximum Leíoie rle loµ (le voulun`r
even look ar lis lole caius!) íoi one iounu. He uiu rlis eveiy sin-
Suµµose rlar rle jackal calls µieloµ anu rle loµ is _-_-
_ (assume rlar you`ve rliee-Ler lim µieloµ virl _-_). 1lis
is a giear loµ íoi you Lecause ií you lir a hve oi a ren you make
a sriaiglr, anu ií you lir an eiglr oi a nine you`ve maue a µaii oí
eiglrs oi nines, vlicl voulu Le roµ µaii on rle Loaiu. Oí couise
you neeu ro µlay rlis lanu aggiessively (iam anu jam), anu
vlerlei you lir rle vinning lanu oi miss youi lanu, jusr liµ ir
íaceuµ on rle enu vlen rle jackal calls you uovn. OLviously, ir
voiks our µierry vell íoi you vlen you uo vin rle µor vlile
making youi ¨suireu-connecrois rliee-Ler auveirising µlay.¨ ]usr
iememLei rlar auveirising is usually µierry exµensive, so make
suie ro look íoi vays ro make ir µay Lig uiviuenus. Anu uon`r
auveirise roo oíren.
1 2 4 Play Poker Like the Pros
gle rime le sar uovn in a ligl-limir game.
Playeis Legan ro exµecr rlis seemingly suiciual move, anu
some oí rlem voulu ueciue ro ieiaise Sµencei virl a veakei
lanu rlan rley voulu usually µlay. Orleis, iealizing vlar vas
laµµening, voulu rlen call rliee Lers virl veakei lanus rlan
tley voulu noimally µlay. Beíoie long, all rlose in rle game
veie cauglr uµ in µlaying lanus rlar rley uiun`r noimally µlay.
Sµencei voulu rleieLy oµen uµ rle game eveiy rime le sar uovn
ro µlay in ir! Imagine vlar voulu laµµen. Oíren, rle game miglr
nor lave even Leen voirl µlaying in Leíoie Sµencei sar uovn,
Lecause eveiyone vas µlaying riglr (like a mouse). 1len our oí
novleie, Sµencei sirs uovn anu all rlis ciaziness Legins!
1le µlayeis ar rle raLle voulu Le µlaying lanus rlar rley
uiun`r noimally µlay íoi laige amounrs oí money µieloµ. Invaii-
aLly, some µlayeis voulu lose Lig µors virl Lig µocker µaiis like
Q-Q, K-K, oi A-A. Some oí rlese µlayeis voulu rlen ¨go on rilr¨
anu Legin ro µlay oursiue rleii noimal, moie successíul sryle oí
µlay. Sµencei vas veiy goou ar slaking uµ a game Ly giving
eveiyone a lor oí acrion in rle hisr iounu oí µlay.
Usually, µlaying rlis vay is a losing µioµosirion, Lur
Lecause eveiyone knev vlar vas coming (anu rlen Legan ro
µlay our oí claiacrei), ií Sµencei coulu vin jusr one µor, le sroou
a goou clance oí losing only a lirrle Lir íoi rle vlole iounu.
Aírei all, rlese veie µierry luge µors íoi rle hisr iounu oí ueals
le sar in! Ií le von jusr rvo µors, rlen le`u vin (oi Lieak even)
íoi rle iounu. In any case, Sµencei voulu rlen serrle uovn aírei
lis ¨caµ ir in rle uaik¨ iounu anu µlay suµeiriglr íoi a couµle oí
louis aíreivaiu.
InvaiiaLly, rle orlei µlayeis voulu conrinue ro give Sµencei
roo mucl acrion, anu le vas veiy successíul Lecause oí rlis. His
1 2 5 Limit Hold’em: Advanced Strategy
unique Lianu oí hiing uµ rle raLle÷rlus messing virl rle orlei
µlayeis` leaus÷Ly giving rlem a ron oí acrion íoi one iounu is
somerling voirl looking inro íoi even rle giearesr µlayeis in rle
voilu rouay. Somerimes, ir voulu Le a µierry exµensive iounu
íoi Sµencei, Lur le voulu calmly sir Lack anu rake lis $3,500
¨srair-uµ cosr¨ loss, knoving rlar eveiyone vas nov µeiíecrly
ser uµ ro Le ciusleu íoi a couµle oí louis.
Sµencei vas rlus a ieal masrei ar ¨auveirising¨ rlar le
µlayeu veak lanus. Usually, auveirising cosrs money, Lur eveiy
maikering ueµairmenr in rle voilu vill rell you rlar vell-µlaceu
auveirising evenrually µays Lig uiviuenus!
Stealing from the Blind Stealers
Srealing íiom rle Llinu srealeis is a veiy auvanceu Holu`em µlay.
I`m nor suie rlar ir`s a vinning µlay, Lur ir uehnirely íalls inro rle
iealm oí auvanceu Holu`em µlay. Peisonally, I like ieiaising µlay-
eis vlom I susµecr oí srealing rle Llinus virl a lanu like any
rvo caius ren anu aLove (calleu ¨20¨ in lonoi oí irs value in
Llackjack), sucl as 10-K oi 10-Q. I also like ieiaising virl any
ace. 1lis µlay is a lor moie eííecrive ií you ieiaise in a Lerrei µosi-
rion rlan rle oiiginal iaisei. (Ií rle iaisei is rvo oi rliee oíí rle
Lurron, rlen Leing on rle Lurron÷anu acring Lelinu rle iaisei÷
gives you an euge, Lecause you acr lasr.)
Reiaising virl 20 is a lor moie soliu rlan jusr ieiaising virl
5-¯ oíí suir, Lecause you lave a µlayaLle lanu vlen you ger
calleu (anu eveiyone vill call one moie Ler vlen le`s alieauy
maue ir rvo Lers). Þonerleless, ir is imµoiranr ro ralk aLour
srealing íiom rle Llinu srealeis virl a ieally veak lanu. I knov
1 2 6 Play Poker Like the Pros
oí a couµle oí voilu-class limir Holu`em µlayeis vlo aLsolurely
love ro ieiaise rle ¨live¨ (veak) µlayei in rle game virl norling
ar all in rleii lanu, in oiuei ro sreal rle µor íiom lim oi ourµlay
lim larei on in rle lanu. 1lis ieiaise oí rle live µlayei in rle
game also causes rlem ro isolare rlemselves againsr rle live
µlayei Lecause rle ieiaise usually uiives rle orlei µlayeis our oí
rle µor. So rle ieiaise (rliee Ler) oí rle live µlayei isolares rlar
µlayei anu gives rle Lerrei µlayei a clance ro ourµlay lim larei
on in rle lanu. Anu vlen you give rlis kinu oí exria acrion ro
rle live µlayei, le also gives you exria acrion, anu Lelieve me, le`s
rle íellov you vanr exria acrion íiom!
A lor oí goou rlings can laµµen vlen you ieiaise rle Llinu
srealeis µieloµ. Ií rle Llinu srealei misses lis lanu (anu iemem-
Lei, ir`s laiu ro lir a lanu in Holu`em÷you miss many moie
loµs rlan you lir), rlen le`ll oíren lave ro suiienuei lis lanu on
rle loµ. You can also ger lucky anu vin a Lig µor vlen you lir
youi ovn lanu iesrealing.
On rle orlei siue oí rle leugei, you can ger youiselí in a
leaµ oí riouLle making a rliee-Ler iesreal virl a veak lanu. Ií
rle allegeu rlieí las youi lanu Lear, you`ve alieauy µur in rliee
Lers ro lirrle µuiµose vlen you veie losing, anu le srill las Lorl
µosirion (vlen you ieiaise our oí rle Llinus) anu las jusr as goou
a clance as you uo ro lir somerling on rle loµ. Ir jusr seems
counreiinruirive rlar you sloulu Le µurring in rliee Lers virl 5-¯
jusr Lecause you susµecr rlar someone is making a Llinu sreal.
Wly nor vair íoi a uecenr lanu, one rlar is µioLaLly rle Lesr
lanu ar rle raLle µieloµ, Leíoie you rliee-Ler ir. 1lis µlay may
voik Lesr oí all lare in a Holu`em rouinamenr vlen youi oµµo-
nenr is moie likely ro rliov lis lanu avay on rle loµ, iarlei
1 2 7 Limit Hold’em: Advanced Strategy
rlan iisk going Lioke virl a veak lanu on rle loµ. (Ií I seem ro
Le senuing mixeu signals, rlar`s jusr µokei, some auvice is ieli-
aLle, some is a ciaµsloor.)
Trapping with Big Hands before the
Flop
We lave alieauy ralkeu aLour riaµµing µlayeis on rle loµ. I`ve
seen my goou íiienu ]oln Bonerri, a voilu-class µokei µlayei ar
rle age oí ¯3, riaµ µlayeis befcre rle loµ Leauriíully! In 1996, in
one memoiaLle lanu in rle Woilu Seiies oí Pokei clamµionsliµ
evenr, ]oln ueciueu ro riy ro riaµ rle ueíenuing voilu clamµion,
Dan Haiiingron, vlen rleie veie srill aLour 25 µlayeis leír.
1len ]oln lookeu uµ ar me anu vinkeu. I vas varcling rle
acrion íiom aLour 20 íeer avay íiom rle raLle anu I lau 50 µei-
cenr oí ]oln rlar yeai (I lau µuiclaseu 50 µeicenr oí lis acrion).
Dan oµeneu rle µor íoi $6,000 virl _-_, anu ]oln
smoorl-calleu rle $6,000 Ler virl A-A. 1le loµ vas 6-9-10, anu
Dan Ler our $25,000 inro ]oln. ]oln again jusr smoorl-calleu rle
$25,000 Ler. I`ve gor ro rell you, I voulu lave lau ro iaise Dan`s
lasr $100,000 iiglr rleie. I mean, I unueisranu rle smoorl call
Leíoie rle loµ, rlougl I iaiely uo rlar myselí, Lur no vay voulu
I lave jusr calleu rle $25,000 Ler on rle loµ! I voulu lave Leen
roo scaieu rlar Dan lau a µocker µaii anu voulu lir ir íoi a ser,
jusr Lecause I smoorl-calleu lis $25,000 Ler insreau oí moving
lim all-in iiglr rleie anu rlen. 1le nexr caiu vas an A, íoi 6-9-
10-A, anu nov Dan moveu all-in íoi lis lasr $100,000. ]oln
calleu Dan`s $100,000 Ler so quickly ir gave me clills!
1 2 8 Play Poker Like the Pros
Having a µiece oí a µlayei (slaiing lis vins anu lis losses) is oíren
moie Liural rlan Leing rleie ar rle raLle youiselí, Lecause you
lave no conriol ovei vlar`s laµµening. Woise, hisr µlace vas $1
million, vlicl means I coulu lave von $500,000 íoi my lalí! Bur
I knev ir vas OK vlen ]oln lookeu uµ anu vinkeu ar me, anu I
vanueieu ovei ro rle raLle ro see rle uµruineu lanus. 1liee aces
íoi ]oln anu one µaii oí rens íoi Dan. ]oln lau lau lim uiaving
ueau! Þo marrei vlar rle lasr caiu vas, ]oln voulu vin rle µor!
In rlis case, ]oln lau riaµµeu Dan ar jusr rle iiglr rime.
Somerimes riaµs riaµ rle usei, oí couise, Lur rlis one voikeu our
µeiíecrly. By rle vay, ]oln venr on ro hnisl rliiu rlar yeai, vlen
rle young anu ralenreu Huck Seeu rook hisr µlace. Having my rvo
Lesr íiienus ar rle rime hnisl hisr anu rliiu vas avíully cool. Wirl
]oln`s seconu-µlace hnisl in rle seconu ro lasr evenr (íoi $140,000)
anu lis rliiu-µlace rake in rle main evenr ($6S0,000), ve valkeu
avay virl ovei $400,000 eacl! I alvays rell my µokei íiienus
vlen rley visir my louse, ¨1lis is rle louse rlar Bonerri Louglr!¨
A goou rime ro riaµ is vlen you aie sirring in lare µosirion
virl A-A oi K-K anu you susµecr rlar Lorl Llinus vill íolu ií you
make ir rvo Lers ro go. By jusr calling rle one Ler, you allov rle
µlayeis Lelinu you ro call Leíoie rle loµ. By slov-µlaying virl
A-A oi K-K anu looking íoi acrion, you`ll oíren ger ir. Some-
rimes, you neeu ro Le caieíul vlar you ask íoi! You may ler rle
Lig Llinu µlay lis 2-6 oíí-suir lanu íiee Ly nor iaising Leíoie rle
loµ, anu rlen rle loµ may come 2-2-] anu you aie sruck in rleie
losing a lor oí Lers Lecause you riaµµeu youiselí. Srill, somerimes
I like ro riaµ in rlis siruarion, anu ir usually voiks our µierry vell
íoi me (ir`s µierry rougl ro Lear µocker aces oi kings).
1 2 9 Limit Hold’em: Advanced Strategy
Advanced Hold’em on the Flop
Auvanceu Holu`em on rle loµ is ieally all aLour ieauing orlei
µlayeis. Ií you ieau youi oµµonenr as veak anu rlink you miglr
Le aLle ro rake rle µor avay íiom lim, rlen uo ir! Ií you lave
loµµeu a Lig lanu anu you íeel rlar Lerring vill uiive our youi
oµµonenr vlen vlar you vanr ro uo is keeµ lim in rle µor,
rlen go aleau anu riaµ youi oµµonenr Ly clecking on rle loµ.
Use youi ieauing aLiliry on rle loµ ro uereimine vlar you can
anu cannor uo. You may lave loµµeu roµ µaii, Lur ií you ieau
rlar youi oµµonenr las you Lear, jusr íolu youi lanu, laving
losr rle minimum numLei oí Lers. Ií you ieau youi oµµonenr as
Leing veak Leíoie rle loµ anu you aie making a sreal on lim,
rlen make suie rlar you íollov rliougl on youi sreal arremµr,
unless you rlen lave a sriong ieau rlar le las lir rle loµ vell.
Again, auvanceu Holu`em on rle loµ is all aLour ieauing youi
oµµonenrs.
I knov I keeµ menrioning ieauing rle oµµosirion, anu I can`r
reacl you lov ro Le inruirive. I can, lovevei, rell you rlar a lor oí
rle iníoimarion going inro my ieaus comes íiom voiking laiu ar
sruuying my oµµonenrs, Lorl vlen I`m in a lanu virl rlem anu
vlen I`m our. Inruirion sµiings íiom a comLinarion oí marreis
rlar you can unueisranu anu exµlain, anu orleis rlar you can`r.
In rle uiscussion oí no-limir anu µor-limir Holu`em (Claµrei 6) I
ralk aLour a game I µlay vlile I`m ar rle µokei raLle. 1le oLjecr
is ro riy ro uereimine someone`s exacr rvo lole caius in a lanu.
1liougl µiacricing guessing ar vlar my oµµonenr`s caius aie,
even vlen I`m our oí a lanu, I inciease my ovn ieauing aLiliries.
(Iliµ on ovei ro rle mareiial on no-limir íoi moie uerails.)
1 3 0 Play Poker Like the Pros
Suµµose rlar you lave K-K Leíoie rle loµ anu rvo oµµo-
nenrs aie also in rle µor. Ií rle loµ comes uovn A-¯-2, rle
auvanceu µlayei makes lis money Ly knoving vlar ro uo, on
rle sriengrl oí lis ieau oí lis oµµonenrs. Does eirlei oí youi
oµµonenrs, oi uo Lorl oí rlem, lolu an ace, a ser oí sevens, oi a
ser oí rvos. Hov uoes rle Lerring on rle loµ come uovn. Aie
youi oµµonenrs caµaLle oí iaising on rle loµ virl jusr a µaii oí
sevens oi voise. Ií ir uoes come Ler anu iaiseu ro you in rlis
sµor, vill you rliee-Ler ir oi íolu. Ouus aie rlar you µioLaLly
lave ro íolu in rlis case, Lur vlar uoes inruirion rell you ro uo.
I lave µlayeu virl auvanceu µlayeis vlo lave Ler our S-S on
rle enu virl a Loaiu oí A-Q-¯-5-3, simµly Lecause rley rlouglr
rley lau rle Lesr lanu, anu rley µioveu ro Le iiglr! In íacr, rleii
Ler vas calleu on rle enu Ly someone vlo coulun`r Lear rle S-S!
Hov uiu rley knov rlar rle S-S vas rle Lesr lanu. Hov coulu
rley µossiLly lave value-Ler rleii lanu in rlis case. Peilaµs rley
knev rlar rleii oµµonenr voulu nevei cleck a Q oi an A ro rlem.
In auvanceu Holu`em µlay on rle loµ, anyrling goes! As you riy
uiííeienr rlings, you vill hnu rlar rle Lasic roµ ren sriaregy is a
µierry goou vay ro µlay Holu`em, virl a rvisr÷some vell-rimeu
inreimeuiare anu auvanceu moves along rle vay. 1le jackal lives
in rle auvanceu, vilu, uangeious iealm all rle rime, anu ir`s veiy
uiíhculr ro vin vlen you µlay rlis vay rime in anu rime our.
Dangers of Resteals and
Suited Connectors
I`m nor going ro sµenu any moie rime in rle iealm oí iesrealing
anu suireu connecrois in Holu`em, Lecause ir ieally is íoi exµeir
µlayeis only, anu ir isn`r ro Le uaLLleu in liglrly! I voulu iecom-
menu rlar all Leginneis sray avay íiom rlis auvanceu sriaregy,
since rley vill hnu ir veiy lazaiuous ro rleii Lank Lalances, virl
1 3 1 Limit Hold’em: Advanced Strategy
one exceµrion: rle suireu-connecroi ieiaise (auveirising) Leíoie
rle loµ once oi rvice a niglr. I rlink rlis µlay is goou íoi a
Leginnei, Lecause ir makes lim moie uiíhculr íoi rle iesr oí rle
raLle ro ieau.
1le ieal µioLlem virl auvanceu µlay÷íoi all oí us, vlerlei
ve aie voilu-class oi Leginneis÷is rlar ir causes us ro µlay roo
many lanus. Wlen ve Legin ro vin µors virl (oi see
orlei µlayeis vin virl rlis lanu), rlen ve srair ro µlay ¯-S
suireu íai roo oíren Leíoie rle loµ. Pierry soon, 6-S suireu looks
goou as vell. Playing suireu connecrois is like earing µoraro
cliµs: once you ear one cliµ, you can`r lelµ earing many moie!
Once you srair ro vin virl suireu connecrois, you Legin ro µlay
rlem all rle rime. I`ve seen µeoµle rlink rlis vay many rimes in
rle µasr, ¨1liee Lers ro me vlen I lave , suie I`ll call.
Wly nor, vlen I`ve Leen vinning virl rlese ryµes oí lanus all
niglr.¨ Bevaie oí oveiµlaying suireu connecrois. Ií you`ie nor
caieíul, Leíoie long you`ll rell someone, ¨^an, vas I unlucky
virl rouay. I calleu rliee Lers anu rle loµ vas S-9-10, anu
rlen . . .¨ Buuuy, ií you calleu rliee Lers virl , rlen you gor
vlar you ueseiveu!
Position in Advanced Play
Þore rlar mosr oí rle µlays I lave ralkeu aLour involve laving
rle auvanrage oí µosirion. Being aLle ro acr lasr is a luge auvan-
rage in all íoims oí Holu`em. Imagine, you can jusr sir Lack anu
vair íoi all youi oµµonenrs ro acr in íionr oí you. ¨]usr sir Lack
anu all vill Le ievealeu ro you¨ isn`r exacrly rle case, Lur ir is
nice ro knov vleie rle orlei µlayeis sranu. Ií rle orleis cleck,
_-_
_-_
_-_
_-_
rlen rley`ie geneially veak. Ií you lave a µoveiíul lanu, rlen
you can iaise ir vlen rley Ler. Ií you lave a veak lanu, rlen you
can cleck Lelinu rlem vlen rley cleck. Having µosirion in
Holu`em is alvays goou.
C h a p t e r 6
No-Limit and Pot-Limit
Hold’em Strategy
Ir`s rime nov ro ralk aLour rle Cauillac oí all µokei games, no-
limir Holu`em (ÞLH), anu irs Liorlei, µor-limir Holu`em (PLH).
In ÞLH you can Ler any amounr oí rle money in íionr oí you on
rle raLle ar any rime! Imagine rlis conceµr: any amounr ar any
rime. Ií you sense veakness in youi oµµonenr, rlen go aleau anu
Ler $100,000 on a µuie Lluíí. Oí couise, ií you Lluíí $100,000 ar
someone vlo las only $50,000 leír in íionr oí lim on rle raLle,
rlen le is alloveu ro call íoi lis $50,000, making youi Ler eííec-
rively $50,000. Ií ve uiun`r lave rlar µiorecrion in µlace, vleie-
Ly you can only Ler as mucl as youi oµµonenrs lave in íionr oí
rlem (calleu ¨raLle srakes¨), rlen Bill Gares voulu vin eveiy
µor! Bluíhng is a mucl Liggei µair oí ÞLH anu PLH rlan ir is in
limir Holu`em. 1le giear Lluíís, rle giear ¨ieaus,¨ anu rle mas-
sive amounr oí sriaregy involveu in ÞLH make ir rle mosr inrei-
esring anu mosr sriaregic game rlar ve lave in µokei.
PLH is similai ro ÞLH aírei rle loµ µlay, Lecause Ly rlar
1 3 3 No-Limit and Pot-Limit Hold’em Strategy
µoinr rle µor in a PLH game las usually giovn laige enougl ro
make luge Lers µossiLle. Beíoie rle loµ, rleie aie a íaii numLei
oí sriaregic uiííeiences Lerveen rle rvo games, Lecause Lig Lers
aien`r µossiLle immeuiarely in PLH. Bur in mosr iesµecrs PLH
anu ÞLH aie iouglly rle same game.
In rlis claµrei you vill leain:
z 1le uiííeience Lerveen no-limir Holu`em (ÞLH) anu µor-
limir Holu`em (PLH).
z Hov ro inriouuce ÞLH inro youi game÷¨casl uovns.¨
z Plil`s ¨ÞLH híreen.¨
z Hov ro riaµ virl A-A anu K-K.
z 1liee rleoiies on lov ro µlay µocker 2-2 ro S-S, anu A-Q.
z Plil`s game÷¨Guess youi oµµonenr`s exacr rvo lole
caius.¨
z Plil`s ÞLH rleoiy.
z 1le ¨Ler ir all¨ ÞLH sriaregy÷yuck!
z 1le ¨suireu connecroi¨ ÞLH rleoiy rlar Huck Seeu uses.
z 1le suµeiauvanceu ¨Calling virl norling¨ ÞLH rleoiy.
z Dave ¨Devilhsl¨ Ulliorr`s ÞLH rleoiy.
Pot-Limit Hold’em (PLH)
In PLH you`ll oíren Le aLle ro look ar a loµ, Lecause rle µieloµ
iaises aie limireu ro rle size oí rle µor. In íacr, all Lers aie limireu
ro rle size oí rle µor. So, ií rle Llinus aie $1÷$2, rlen rle hisr
iaisei can only make ir $¯ ro go: $1SB + $2BB + $2 call = $5
iaise, so $2 call + $5 iaise = $¯ ro go. (SB is small Llinu, BB is Lig
Llinu.) Ií you`ve gor $200 in íionr oí you, voulun`r you like ro
1 3 4 Play Poker Like the Pros
rake a $¯ loµ virl a µocker µaii. Ií you lir a ser, rlen you may
ger rle orlei $193 inro rle µor vlen you`ie a luge íavoiire. Ler`s
rake rlis examµle íuirlei anu suµµose rlar someone uiu oµen íoi
$¯ anu rvo µlayeis calleu rle $¯, one oí rlem rle Lig Llinu. Hov
mucl can rlen Le Ler on rle loµ. Well, $¯ íiom rle iaisei + $¯
callei + $1SB + $¯BB (callei) = $22. Suµµose rlar rle Lig Llinu
Lers our rle maximum $22. Hov mucl can rle oiiginal iaisei
make ir. Well, $22 in rle µor + $22BB µor-size Ler + $22 µor-size
call íiom rle iaisei (le las ro counr lis ovn $22 call Leíoie le
makes a iaise) = $66. So rle oiiginal iaisei can call $22 anu iaise
$66, making ir a roral oí $SS ro go. 1le Lerring can escalare
quickly in PLH.
Some voilu-class µlayeis Lelieve rlar rleie is moie skill in
PLH rlan in ÞLH Lecause rleie is moie µlay on rle loµ in PLH.
I Lelieve rlar ir is veiy close, Lur I vill say rlar µlaying loµs rakes
a ron oí skill. 1le vay some µlayeis µlay ÞLH rouay, íoluing oi
Lerring ir all Leíoie rle loµ÷virlour evei raking a loµ÷uoes
rake some euge avay íiom rle moie skilleu Holu`em µlayeis.
The Biggest and Most Prestigious
Poker Game: No-Limit Hold’em (NLH)
Oí rle 10 mosr µiesrigious µokei rouinamenrs rouay, six aie
ÞLH. 1leie is a lisr oí rle 50 mosr µiesrigious evenrs in µokei
in Aµµenuix 3. 1le Liggesr rvo÷rle Woilu Seiies oí Pokei
(WSOP) anu rle Pokei ^illion÷eacl µay iouglly $1.5 million
íoi hisr µlace!
Imagine rle scene in 2001 ar rle Woilu Seiies oí Pokei
1 3 5 No-Limit and Pot-Limit Hold’em Strategy
vlen ve veie uovn ro six µlayeis leír in rle rouinamenr. I vas
srill µlaying. 1le 1iavel Clannel lau a Larreiy oí cameias covei-
ing rle raLle anu rle suiiounuing sranuing-ioom-only ciovu.
(^osr oí rle ciovu lau ro varcl rle acrion on relevision moni-
rois ser uµ rliouglour rle ioom.) 1vo live Inreiner Lioaucasrs
veie going on, one ar my sire (µlillellmurl.com) anu one ar
^aik anu 1ina Þaµolirano`s sire (PokeiPages.com). Wirl a hisr-
µlace µiize oí $1.5 million anu $6,130,000 in rouinamenr cliµs
lying on rle raLle, ve engageu in some µierry sµecraculai clasles
rlar uay.
Uníoirunarely íoi me, rle loµ vas 6-S-K, anu lis rliee
sixes vounu uµ vinning rle µor. Ií I lau von rlis µor, rlen I
voulu lave lau ar leasr $1.6 million in cliµs anu µeilaµs voulu
lave von my seconu ¨Lig one.¨ ^y íiienu Anuy, ieauing rlis
Look in uiaír, iemaikeu rlar rleie`s veiy lirrle ¨µeilaµs¨ ro ir,
alrlougl le vas exriaoiuinaiily imµiesseu virl Devey 1omko`s
µlay ar rle hnal raLle (1omko hnisleu seconu). Ol, vell, eirlei
vay, ir vas an exciring lanu ro Le a µair oí! 1le rvo Llack nines
losr rle $1.1 million µor, Lur in 19S9 rley lau lelu uµ íoi a $1.2
million µor anu given me rle WSOP rirle. So, is srill my
In one lanu, I oµeneu rle µor íoi $90,000 on rle Lurron
virl _-_ (exacrly rle same rvo caius rlar I von rle WSOP
virl in 19S9!) anu Plil Goiuon moveu all-in in rle Lig Llinu íoi
aLour $550,000 roral. I calleu lis $450,000 iaise so quickly rlar
I íieakeu our eveiyone ar rle raLle! I jusr knev rlar le vas going
ro move all-in virl a veak lanu, anu I vas ieauy íoi lim. Ir
ruineu our rlar le lau 6-6, vlicl maue me a 4
1
´2-ro-1 íavoiire ro
vin rle $1.1 million µor anu Lusr lim (I srill lau $500,000 in
cliµs leír ií le von).
_-_
1 3 6 Play Poker Like the Pros
íavoiire lanu, anu I`u lau a ieally goou clance ro immoiralize ir
rlar uay. Winning rle mosr µiesrigious ÞLH evenr in rle voilu
is rle Lesr vay ro aclieve µokei immoiraliry!
Introducing No-Limit Hold’em to Your
H o m e Game
Þov is rle rime ro rell you rlar ií you inriouuce ÞLH ro youi
ovn lome µokei game, varcl our! 1le money von anu losr can
escalare µierry quickly. Beíoie long, rle size oí rle µors vill Le
moie rlan you Laigaineu íoi. As a Liake againsr rlis renuency I
iecommenu rlar you inriouuce ÞLH in a ¨casl-uovn¨ íoimar,
vlicl allovs µeoµle ro rake a µoirion oí rleii cliµs oíí rle raLle
ar a ceirain µieuereimineu cliµ roral.
Ioi examµle, you coulu iequiie eveiyone ro keeµ ar leasr
$50 in cliµs in µlay (making rlar rle maximum rley coulu lose
in one µor), Lur allov rlem ro rake oíí rle money aLove rlar
amounr. Ií someone vins a $110 µor, le can iemove $60 in cliµs
anu µur ir in lis µocker vlile keeµing $50 in µlay in íionr oí lim-
selí. In rlis vay, rle srakes von`r go uµ anu uµ anu uµ aírei a íev
louis oí ÞLH µlay, as rley usually uo.
1lis sysrem also allovs rle µlayeis ro µlay an amounr rley
íeel comíoiraLle virl. You miglr lave rvo Lusiness ovneis
keeµing $2,000 aµiece in íionr oí rlemselves, anu a couµle oí
orlei µlayeis virl only $¯0 eacl in íionr oí rlemselves. Ir`s also
µossiLle rlar one µlayei las a meie $1¯ leír, Lecause le sraireu
virl $50 Lur losr uovn ro rlis µoinr. Hov uoes rle µor voik ií
rle rvo $2,000 µlayeis move all-in along virl rle $1¯ µlayei
on rle same lanu. 1le µlayei virl $1¯ is enrirleu ro $1¯ eacl
1 3 7 No-Limit and Pot-Limit Hold’em Strategy
íiom rle Lig sracks ií le vins rle µor. His money is marcleu Ly
Lorl oµµonenrs. In íacr, rle $1¯ µlayei may vell make a sriaiglr
lusl anu lamenr rle íacr rlar le von only a $51 µor! ^ean-
vlile, rle neaily $4,000 siue µor may Le von Ly a µlayei lolu-
ing meiely roµ µaii! Iionically, rle sriaiglr lusl vins $51, Lur
one µaii vins a $3,949 siue µor on rle same lanu.
Ií someone srairs virl $50, anu loses $20 in one lanu, rlen
le can µlay rle $30 unril le goes Lioke. Again, rle casl-uovn
íoimar also allovs some oí youi iiclei íiienus (¨Lig uogs¨) ro
leave a lor moie money in íionr oí rlem. So rvo oí rle Lig uogs
coulu µlay as Lig a µor as rley vanr ro Lerveen rlemselves, vlile
rle lirrle uogs lave all-in µiorecrion íoi rleii money. All-in jrc-
tecticn simµly means rlar ií you lave $3S in íionr oí you, rlen
you can vin all rle money in íionr oí eacl oµµonenr uµ ro $3S
eacl (eacl oµµonenr marcles youi $3S). Þo marrei vlar you
sav in rle enreiraining Lur exriemely inaccuiare movie ßig HanJ
fcr tle Iittle IaJy, in any µokei game you can`r Le íoiceu our oí
a µor Lecause someone else las moie money on rle raLle rlan
you uo.
I Lelieve rlar ií you inriouuce ÞLH ro youi lome game, rle
orlei µlayeis vill love ir, esµecially virl rle casl-uovn íearuie
rlar keeµs ir unuei conriol. ÞLH is tle gane in rle µokei voilu
iiglr nov. One ieason is rlar ir oµens uµ µokei anu oííeis rle
µossiLiliry oí making moie clallenging ¨moves.¨ You can nov
make Lluíís rlar lave reerl. Ií you smell veakness in someone,
you can iaise lim iiglr our oí rle µor even ií you`ie veak. You
can nov Ler so mucl money on youi uiaving lanu rlar you vill
íoice youi oµµonenr ro íolu! ÞLH is µokei ar irs Lesr, Lecause
you uon`r necessaiily lave ro lolu oi make a lor oí goou lanus
ro come our a vinnei. You can vin µors virl youi ieaus anu
1 3 8 Play Poker Like the Pros
unueisranuing oí youi oµµonenrs. Ir`s a Lir like µlaying cless
virl a sleugelammei!
1le hisr rling rlar I`m going ro give you in vlar íollovs is
a Lase oí lanus rlar you can use vlen you µlay ÞLH. 1lis srair-
ing Lase vill incluue rle roµ ren lanus anu rle orlei µaiis. 1len
I vill exµanu rlis Lase somevlar ro incluue A-x suireu lanus.
Along rle vay I vill ralk aLour lov some orlei roµ µios µlay
rlese kinu oí lanus Leíoie rle loµ.
Beginners’ Strategy for NLH and PLH
Lven rlougl rleie aie some uiííeiences, I`m going ro riear ÞLH
anu PLH as ií rley veie rle same game, íoi rle uuiarion oí rlis
uiscussion. As is alvays rle case in Holu`em, suµeiriglr is iiglr
íoi Leginning µlayeis vlile rley leain ro ger rleii íeer ver!
1leieíoie I iecommenu rlar you iesriicr youiselí ro rle ¨roµ ren
lanus¨ anu µaiis only vlile you leain rle game. In orlei voius,
µlay only rle 13 µaiis (aces uovn rliougl ueuces), µlus A-K anu
A-Q Leíoie rle loµ in ÞLH. Alrlougl my roµ ren lanus íoi
limir Holu`em uo nor incluue rle small µaiis (2-2, 3-3, 4-4, 5-5,
oi 6-6), rlese µaiis can vin you íai, íai giearei µors in ÞLH
vlen you ¨loµ a ser¨ (lir rliee oí a kinu virl rlem on rle
loµ)÷mucl moie rlan you can vin in limir µokei. So my ¨ÞLH
híreen¨ aie all rle µaiis, µlus A-K anu A-Q.
1le iuea Lelinu µlaying only rle ÞLH híreen lanus is rlar
you vill Le µlaying lanus rlar vill vin you Lig µors. 1lese aie
rle lanus rlar you`ll mosr oíren Jcuble uj virl: µur youi $210
inro rle µor anu vin a µor oí $420+). 1le ÞLH híreen sriaregy is
1 3 9 No-Limit and Pot-Limit Hold’em Strategy
veiy conseivarive Lur veiy eííecrive againsr orlei Leginneis. 1o
vin ÞLH rouinamenrs oi laigei ÞLH siue games, you voulu
neeu ro µlay moie ryµes oí lanus, Lur leie I`m auuiessing Legin-
neis` µlay.
1le ¨ÞLH híreen¨ sriaregy is simµle. Wirl rlese lanus,
you`ll µur youiselí in some veiy goou siruarions. You can ¨uou-
Lle uµ¨ vlen you loµ a ser. You can uouLle uµ Ly gerring youi
money inro rle µor virl A-A, K-K, Q-Q, oi A-K Leíoie rle loµ.
You can even uouLle uµ virl 9-9, 10-10, oi ]-], aírei rle iiglr
kinu oí loµ. 1le Lesr rling aLour sricking ro rlis sriaregy, ar
leasr in rle neai reim, is rlar rle game Lecomes easiei vlen you
µlay µokei rlis riglr.
Beginners: If You Hold A-A, K-K, Q-Q, or
A-K before the Flop, Bet It All
Wlen you lave one oí rlese roµ íoui lanus in ÞLH, you
can almosr alvays jusriíy sloving all youi cliµs our rleie Leíoie
rle loµ. 1leie aie veiy íev exceµrions ro rlis auvice, anu viiru-
ally no exceµrions íoi rle Leginning ÞLH µlayei. Ioi rle moie
soµlisricareu µlayei, you vill, once in a Llue moon, Le vise ro
íolu Q-Q oi A-K Leíoie rle loµ. Ií you`ie ro uo rlis, lovevei,
you sloulu lave some veiy sriong eviuence rlar youi oµµonenr
lolus K-K oi A-A. 1le eviuence miglr Le rlar someone las maue
a Lig iaise anu rlen a mouse las moveu all-in íoi a mounrain
oí cliµs (íoi claiacreiizarions oí my animal ryµes÷rle mouse,
eleµlanr, lion, jackal, anu eagle÷see µage 33 in Claµrei 3). A
mouse ieiaising someone virl all lis cliµs sloulu ser oíí an
alaim oi rvo in youi leau!
1 4 0 Play Poker Like the Pros
Beginners: Trapping with the Top
Four Hands
1le riaµµing rleoiy íoi ÞLH aµµlies mosrly vlen you lave
A-A oi K-K. Some µlayeis like ro jusr call someone else`s iaise oi
ieiaise Leíoie rle loµ vlen loluing A-A oi K-K, in rle loµe rlar
rle move vill riaµ someone inro giving rlem all lis cliµs aírei
rle loµ. 1lis is a uangeious rleoiy virl a iisk-ievaiu lazaiu
rlar any exµeir in game rleoiy voulu love ro look ar! ^osr oí
rle rime you sloulu jusr go aleau anu ieiaise virl A-A oi K-K
anu loµe rlar youi oµµonenr eirlei moves all-in iiglr rleie virl
a lanu like ]-] oi Q-Q (vlicl makes you a 4
1
´2-ro-1 íavoiire) oi
íolus lis lanu. Reiaising is rle saíe vay ro µlay A-A anu K-K, ir
µievenrs you íiom losing all youi cliµs in some siruarions. You`ll
lose rlem all less oíren vlen you ieiaise virl A-A oi K-K, Lur
you`ll also usually ger less acrion on rlese lanus. Wlen riaµµing
voiks our, you look Liillianr, Lur vlen you Lusr youiselí riaµ-
µing someone, you look like an iuior!
Youi riaµ coulu ger ugliei srill ií rle iaisei las , anu
nov rle loµ is 5-6-¯! In Lorl rlese scenaiios oí riaµ gone Lau,
you voulu lave von rle µor lau you ieiaiseu Leíoie rle loµ,
1le riaµ voiks like a claim vlen you lave A-A oi K-K
anu youi oµµonenr las a lanu like A-], anu rle loµ is _-_-_.
You may íoice youi oµµonenr virl A-] inro losing all lis cliµs in
rlis scenaiio Lecause le may rlink you lave K-] oi a lusl uiav.
1iaµµing virl aces can go Lauly íoi you, lovevei, vlen
youi oµµonenr lirs lis loµ ieally vell, as vlen le iaises virl
_-_ anu you jusr call anu rle loµ is K-Q-4: nov you can kiss
youi cliµs goou-Lye. (Hovevei, rlink oí rle cliµs you`ll vin
riaµµing virl K-K on rlar same loµ.)
_-_
1 4 1 No-Limit and Pot-Limit Hold’em Strategy
Lur insreau oí vinning rle µor Leíoie rle loµ you lave riaµµeu
youiselí inro losing all youi cliµs! I iaiely riaµ virl any Lig
lanu, Lur some ciicumsrances encouiage me ro riy ir. 1iaµµing
virl aces is oLviously saíei rlan riaµµing virl kings.
Beginners: Reraising J-J, 10-10, or 9-9
before the Flop
]-], 10-10, anu 9-9 aie sriong ÞLH lanus, anu you sloulu
ieiaise virl rlem vlen someone iaises Leíoie rle loµ. Wirl rlese
rliee lanus you ieally vanr ro use rle ieiaise ro vin rle µor
Leíoie rle loµ, Lecause you`ie µioLaLly vinning ar rlar µoinr
anu Lecause rlese lanus aie veiy vulneiaLle ro oveicaius on rle
loµ. Somerimes, vlen you smell veakness in youi oµµonenrs,
you can make a sranu virl one oí rlese rliee lanus anu µur in all
youi cliµs. In geneial, rlougl, you vanr ro ieiaise someone else
Leíoie rle loµ, anu ií le oi someone else µurs in anorlei iaise (a
rliiu iaise) ovei rle roµ oí you, you sloulu jusr rliov youi lanu
avay. 1lese rliee lanus aie usually in a lor oí riouLle vlen an
oµµonenr µurs in rle uieaueu rliiu iaise! You`ie iouglly a 4
1
´2-ro-
1 unueiuog virl an unueiµaii againsr an oveiµaii in Holu`em.
(1le exacr ouus ueµenu on vlicl rvo µaiis you`ie comµaiing,
Lur 4
1
´2 ro 1 is close enougl íoi mosr raLle esrimarions.)
Beginners: Pairs 8-8 and under and A-Q—
Three Different Theories
Ler`s examine rliee vays rlese eiglr lanus (S-S, ¯-¯, 6-6, 5-
5, 4-4, 3-3, 2-2, anu A-Q) miglr Le µlayeu in ÞLH. In my viev,
rlese small µaiis anu A-Q aie rle kinus oí lanus rlar you vanr
1 4 2 Play Poker Like the Pros
ro rake a loµ virl, rlus rley aie lanus voirl one iaise Leíoie
rle loµ, oi even voirl making rle hisr iaise youiselí. Ií you`ie
iaising virl one oí rlese lanus, rlen iaise aLour rle size oí rle
µor (rlis is uiscusseu aLove in PLH). So you can jusr make rle
hisr iaise virl one oí rlese lanus anu, loµeíully, vin rle µor
vlen eveiyone íolus Leíoie rle loµ. Bur you uon`r vanr ro µur in
veiy mucl money virl rlese kinus oí lanus Leíoie rle loµ. Iue-
ally, you vanr ro call a small iaise (oi rle inirial Llinu Ler) oi
make a µor-size iaise youiselí Leíoie rle loµ, anu rlen lir youi
lanu on rle loµ (a ser is a giear lanu) anu vin a luge µor!
Again, my rleoiy is rlar you vanr ro call a small iaise Leíoie rle
loµ oi make a µor-size iaise Leíoie rle loµ ro riy ro vin rle µor
Leíoie rle loµ.
Iiank Henueison`s rleoiy aLour rlis ryµe oí lanu (Henuei-
son is a noreu µlayei on rle µokei ciicuir) is ro call one iaise
Leíoie rle loµ (on rlis mucl ve agiee). Bur Iiank uoesn`r like ro
riy ro vin rle µor Leíoie rle loµ virl rlese kinus oí lanus Ly
iaising rle µor Leíoie rle loµ. Rarlei, le likes ro jusr call Leíoie
rle loµ anu loµe ro vin a Lig µor vlen le loµs lis ser. So Iiank
vanrs ro riy ro lose small virl rlese lanus vlen le misses rlem
anu vin Lig ií le lirs rlem, Ly keeµing orlei µlayeis in rle µor
Leíoie rle loµ. Acrually, rlis rleoiy sounus µierry goou ro me!
1le only uovnsiue is rlar le uoesn`r vin as many µors Leíoie rle
loµ. ^ayLe rlis is OK, Lecause rle µors you vin virl a iaise
Leíoie rle loµ renu ro Le µierry small anyvay.
1le megalomaniac rleoiy oí µlaying rlese ryµes oí lanus is
alvays ro iaise oi ieiaise Leíoie rle loµ. Don`r uiscounr rlis
¨megalo¨ rleoiy our oí lanu, Lecause ir voiks veiy vell íoi a lor
oí µlayeis. 1lese megalo µlayeis aie suµeiaggiessive anu vill riy
ro vin eveiy µor rley µlay Leíoie rle loµ. Ií a megalo gers lolu
1 4 3 No-Limit and Pot-Limit Hold’em Strategy
oí some cliµs, le can make rle orlei µlayeis ar lis raLle misei-
aLle virl lis consranr iaising anu ieiaising. I voulu iarlei Lack
a megalo µlayei rlan a suµeiriglr µlayei any uay in an ÞLH
rouinamenr. 1le megalos renu ro uo vell in ÞLH rouinamenrs
Lecause rley`ie alvays µicking uµ cliµs, Lur in rle siue games
rley renu ro ger ciusleu, as rle moie µarienr µios sir Lack anu
vair íoi rle megalos ro oveiµlay rleii lanus againsr rlem. 1le
ieason vly megalos uo Lerrei in ÞLH rouinamenrs rlan in rle
siue games is rlar rley sreal a ron oí anres in ÞLH rouineys.
So ve lave rliee uiííeienr ÞLH rleoiies as íai as µlaying
small µaiis anu A-Q aie conceineu. I iaiely µlay rle megalo rle-
oiy, Lecause my oµµonenrs exµecr me ro µlay rlar vay (some-
rimes you neeu ro µlay rlar vay ií you aie ar a raLle íull oí mice).
Rarlei, I µlay rle rleoiy I`ve laiu our aLove, anu I somerimes use
Iiank Henueison`s rleoiy as vell. In orlei voius, mosr oí rle
rime I vill µur in rle hisr iaise virl rlese ryµes oí lanus, Lur
somerimes I`ll jusr call virl rlem Leíoie rle loµ.
Intermediate NLH theory: Adding A-x
Suited
Þov ve`ll simµly auu A-x suireu ro rle mix oí lanus rlar you
µlay. 1le iamihcarions oí auuing rlese lanus aie rvo: you can
ger youiselí inro riouLle vlen you lir an ace oi rle x virl an A-
x suireu lanu, anu you vill occasionally make an ace-ligl lusl.
1iy nor ro lose roo mucl money vlen you lir an ace virl
youi A-x suireu lanu. In ÞLH mosr oí rle value oí A-x suireu
comes vlen you lir rle lanu laiu, as vlen you make a lusl,
rvo µaii, oi riiµs (vlen you make riiµs virl rle x caiu, ir`s laiu
1 4 4 Play Poker Like the Pros
íoi anyone ro norice). Wlen you lir rle ace only, as virl
anu a loµ oí A-K-2, rlen varcl our! Don`r ger oveiinvolveu in
rlis siruarion, Lecause anyone µurring in Lig Lers againsr you vill
almosr ceirainly lave you Lear, unless le`s Lluíhng. In limir
Holu`em you can jusr call someone uovn in a siruarion like rlis,
virlour uoing roo mucl uamage ro youi cliµs, Lur in no-limir
uoing rlar coulu cosr you a Lig clunk oí youi cliµs.
Guessing an Opponent’s Exact Two
Hole Cards
Lvei since I sraireu µlaying ÞLH I lave incoiµoiareu a lirrle
game in vlicl I riy ro guess exacrly vlar rvo caius my oµµo-
nenr las in rle lole. I can usually naiiov ir uovn ro a veiy íev
_-_
Wlen you uo lir youi lanu laiu, rlen you neeu ro hguie
our lov ro vin rle maximum numLei oí cliµs virl ir. You
sloulu also Le rlinking aLour µiorecring youi lanu, esµecially
vlen you uiav a loµ oí _-_-_ anu you lave _-_. In rlis
case, youi oµµonenrs coulu Le uiaving ro a sriaiglr oi a lusl.
Keeµ rlis in minu vlen you rlink aLour Lerring a small amounr
ro luie youi oµµonenrs inro rle µor. 1le íunny rling is rlar you
vanr acrion virl rlis lanu anu rlis loµ, Lur you can`r jusr ler
someone Lear you íoi íiee. Ií you knev rlar youi oµµonenrs
uiun`r lave a sriaiglr oi a lusl uiav, rlen you coulu cleck on
rle loµ, loµing íoi a lor oí acrion on rle nexr rvo iounus oí Ler-
ring. Berring our virl a lanu like rlis may cause someone virl a
uiaving lanu ro iaise you, anu nov you can ieiaise anu vin rle
µor iiglr rlen anu rleie.
1 4 5 No-Limit and Pot-Limit Hold’em Strategy
µossiLiliries, anu on occasion I lave venruieu a guess our louu
vlen I íeel conhuenr aLour ir. Boy, uiu I íieak rle orlei µlayeis
our vlen I voulu guess my main oµµonenr`s Q-Q anu le voulu
rlen liµ lis Q-Q íaceuµ anu say, ¨Hov in rle voilu uoes le uo
rlar.¨
Hov in rle voilu Jc I uo ir. I`m aLle ro uo ir Lecause I
µiacrice oLseivarion, logic, anu ueuucrive ieasoning vlile I µlay
in rle game. By rle rime someone las acreu on lis lanu rliee oi
íoui rimes, a lor oí iníoimarion las Leen maue availaLle. Hov
uiu le Ler ir Leíoie rle loµ. Hov mucl uiu le Ler, anu vlar uiu
le seem ro vanr lis oµµonenr ro uo in rlis lanu. Diu le look
veak oi sriong. Lxacrly lov veak oi sriong uiu le aµµeai.
Wlar uiu le lave rle lasr rime le acreu rlis vay. Hov uiu rle
loµ alrei lis uemeanoi. Was le uoing any acring rlar I coulu see
iiglr rliougl. Anu oí couise rle caius on rle Loaiu hguie leav-
ily in my assessmenrs.
Usually, all rle iníoimarion I garlei in rlis vay lelµs me
íoim a menral µicruie oí my oµµonenr`s lanu. I`m Llesseu virl
an excellenr µokei memoiy as vell (I srill iememLei lanus rlar I
µlayeu 1¯ yeais ago, anu all rle uerails÷nor jusr lanus oí rouay
oi yesreiuay), anu all rlar lelµs rle µiocess roo. So I coulu nai-
iov ir uovn ro, say, a µaii oí rens, jacks, oi queens. 1len I
voulu rlink íoi anorlei íev seconus anu iehne my guess on rle
Lasis oí rle vay my oµµonenr lau acreu in rle µasr uuiing a
lanu rlar I virnesseu. Iinally, I voulu rliov our my guess, ¨You
lave µocker queens in rle lole, uon`r you.¨ I Lecame so goou ar
rlis lirrle riick rlar íoi a long rime rle orlei µlayeis sroµµeu riy-
ing ro Lluíí me. (1lis vas avíully nice íoi me, Lur on rle orlei
lanu I vasn`r µicking oíí anyone else`s Lluíís eirlei!)
1 4 6 Play Poker Like the Pros
1iying ro uereimine rle caius youi oµµonenr lolus is a
giear game vlen you µlay µokei, anu ir vill lelµ youi ieauing
skills immeasuiaLly. Ií you`ie Lau ar ir ar hisr, uon`r voiiy÷
youi ieaus vill ger Lerrei anu Lerrei. Piacrice makes µeiíecr!
Daniel Goleman claims in lis Look í_: íncticnal Intelligence
rlar ¨ceirain 'srai qualiries` aie leainaLle.¨ (Goleman Lelieves
rlar many oí rle claiacreiisrics rlar lave maue some µeoµle veiy
successíul can Le sruuieu anu leaineu.) I Lelieve rlar ieauing µeo-
µle is a leainaLle ¨srai qualiry¨ (claiacreiisric), alrlougl I con-
ceue rlar some µeoµle can rake ir íuirlei rlan orleis. In any
case, you`ll imµiove youi ieauing skills a lor virl µiacrice. Anu
vlen you`ie vay oíí on a guess, you`ll Legin ro see vly. (¨Ol
yeal, I íoigor rlar le ieiaiseu Leíoie rle loµ virl rlar lanu.¨)
Judgment is Everything in NLH
In ÞLH all mannei oí µlays aie µossiLle. You can íolu K-K
Leíoie rle loµ oi move all-in virl 2-¯ oíí suir, Lluíhng Leíoie
rle loµ, ií youi juugmenr is goou enougl. By rle vay, I`ve íolueu
K-K Leíoie rle loµ only a íev rimes in my liíe, anu eveiy rime I
uiu, I vas iiglr, Lecause my oµµonenr uiu inueeu lave A-A! One
rling you`ll leain as you µlay moie µokei is rlar vlen someone
las rle Lesr µossiLle lanu, le is oíren easily ieauaLle.
Quiz slov losrs like ro say, vlen rle µauses aie roo µio-
riacreu, ¨Go virl youi hisr gur insrincr. 1lar hisr insrincr is
alvays iiglr.¨ You`ll hnu youiselí in a lor oí inreiesring sirua-
rions in ÞLH vleie youi juugmenr anu youi gurs vill Le
seveiely resreu. Wlerlei oi nor you make rle iiglr uecisions vill
1 4 7 No-Limit and Pot-Limit Hold’em Strategy
go íai rovaiu uereimining vlerlei oi nor you`ll vin íoi rle uay
(ir lelµs ro lave goou caius roo). You rlink rlar you`ie unuei
µiessuie ar voik. I`ve seen µlayeis vlo lave all rleii money in
rle voilu on rle raLle call orlei µlayeis` Lluíís íoi all tleir
money. In orlei voius, ií rley`ie viong, rlen rley`ie Lusreu!
One excellenr iule íoi ÞLH is rlis: ií you can`r allov youi-
selí ro íolu rle Lesr lanu, rlen you can`r vin. In many oí rle
rouinamenrs rlar I`ve von I`ve lau occasion ro íolu rle vinning
lanu. In rle Woilu Clamµionsliµs in 19S9, vlen jusr íoui µlay-
eis veie leír, I íolueu µocker rens Leíoie rle loµ againsr ]olnny
Clan`s µocker nines in a Lig µor, Lur I srill venr on ro vin rle
rouinamenr! Ir`s nor vlo vins rle Larrle, ir`s vlo vins rle vai.
Don`r Le aíiaiu ro íolu youi lanu in ÞLH ií you rlink rlar ir`s
Learen. Ií ir vas rle vinnei, so vlar. You maue youi uecision,
anu you`ie srill ar rle raLle virl cliµs. Sray íocuseu on vinning,
nor on looking Lack ar youi unrimely íolu.
Phil’s NLH Strategy
I like ro rake µieces oí eveiy uiííeienr sriaregy I`ll Le laying our
Lelov anu keeµ rlem in my aisenal íoi evenrual use. I like ro
srick ro a veiy riglr Leginnei-ryµe oveiall sriaregy, one involving
µlaying veiy íev lanus íoi rle mosr µair. In rlis vay, rleie isn`r
roo mucl µiessuie on me ro make rougl uecisions all rle rime.
So mosr oí rle rime in ÞLH I like ro µlay only rle ¨ÞLH híreen¨
lanus.
Wlen someone Lelinu me is µlaying roo riglrly, in ÞLH, I
like ro iaise rle µor ro riy ro sreal rle Llinus íiom lim, vlenevei
1 4 8 Play Poker Like the Pros
ir`s lis Lig Llinu.
I riusr my insrincrs vlen I`m ueciuing vlerlei oi nor a
µlayei is Lluíhng. ^y µokei insrincrs lave Leen veiy, veiy goou
ro me. I lone rlese insrincrs Ly µiacricing ieauing my oµµonenrs
vlen I`m our oí rle lanu Leing µlayeu, ro riy ro ger a Lerrei ieau
on rlem íoi vlen I neeu ir larei. (In menrioning my ovn µlay I`m
riying only ro slov you vlar`s µossiLle ií you µiacrice anu
ueveloµ youi insrincrs.)
Ií someone las iaiseu in íionr oí me anu I íeel rlar le is
veak, I usually íolu anyvay. Bur ar rle enu oí rle lanu I`ll varcl
ro see ií le exµoses lis lole caius, so rlar I can conhim rlar le
vas veak oi see rlar I vas viong. Ií I lave conhimarion rlar I
vas iiglr, rlen I vair íoi lim ro uo ir again. Anyone vlo makes
one veak iaise can Le exµecreu ro make moie rlan one. Wlen
rlar µlayei makes anorlei iaise anu I íeel ir is veak, I go aleau
anu ieiaise lim, ro íoice lim ro íolu lis veak lanu. 1lis ieiaise
vins many moie cliµs rlan a meie Llinu sreal voulu vin, Lur
you`ie also iisking a lor moie cliµs ro vin rle µor vlen you
ieiaise on a Lluíí.
Phil’s Strategy: Reraise with Nothing
Wlen I reacl ÞLH rleoiy in seminais, I like ro use an
examµle íiom rle Woilu Seiies oí Pokei (WSOP) in 2001. I lau
Leen varcling Daniel Þegieanu veiy closely uuiing rle clamµi-
onsliµ evenr on uay rliee. In rlis µairiculai lanu Daniel oµeneu
rle µor íoi $10,000. I knev le lau norling, anu vlen ir vas my
ruin ro acr I maue ir $30,000 ro go virl (Lluíhng). Þov
]oln ¨Woilu¨ Hennigan ueciueu ro move all-in íoi $30,100, anu
Daniel quickly íolueu lis lanu. I calleu rle $100 moie, Lur I
_-_
1 4 9 No-Limit and Pot-Limit Hold’em Strategy
voulu lave calleu anorlei $10,000 Lecause oí rle size oí rle µor
(I lau aLour $210,000 in íionr oí me ar rle rime). Aírei all, I
alieauy lau $30,000 in rle µor µlus ]oln`s $30,100 anu Daniel`s
$10,000. ^ucl ro my emLaiiassmenr, rle rouinamenr uiiecroi
iequiieu us ro liµ oui caius íaceuµ Leíoie rle loµ. He vasn`r
µicking on us, rlar`s rle iule ar WSOP vlen one µlayei is all-in.
1lis is a nev, conrioveisial inuusriyviue iule in µokei in 2002,
anu rle ieason rlar ir exisrs is ro µievenr collusion. ^any oí rle
roµ µlayeis lare rlis iule Lecause ir íoices rlem ro slov rleii
lanus anu rleieíoie exµoses rleii sryle oí µlay. Þov µlayeis ger
ro see, íiee, vlar rle giear µlayeis aie uoing. (¨He Ler all lis
cliµs virl rlar lanu.¨)
Wlen rle lanus veie announceu, a lor oí snickeiing vas
leaiu íiom rle ciovu (lov uiu Plil ger $30,000 in Leíoie rle
loµ virl 10-2.), anu mosr oí rle µlayeis leír in rle rouinamenr
came ovei ro varcl rlis µor. ]oln lau 9-9 anu I lau 10-2! Basi-
cally, I neeueu a 10 ro vin. Anyvay, rle loµ anu rle ruin came
¯-S-3-K, anu rlen a 10 lir on rle lasr caiu! Wlar a lucky caiu íoi
me! I uon`r knov vlar ]oln vas uoing µurring lis lasr $30,000
inro a µor vlen ir vas iaiseu anu ieiaiseu in íionr oí lim Leíoie
rle loµ, anu I uiun`r like lis µlay ar all. I laun`r Leen making any
µlays rlar uay, anu even ií le susµecreu rlar I vas making a µlay,
µocker nines isn`r a veiy goou lanu ro make a sranu virl, esµe-
cially given rlar le coulun`r even iaise me our oí rle µor. Also,
]oln lau ro voiiy rlar Daniel voulu ger involveu in rlis µor,
alrlougl Daniel vas µioLaLly going ro rliov lis lanu avay,
íacing Lorl my iaise anu ]oln`s call. Srill, rleie vas some clance
le vas going ro Le íacing rvo oµµonenrs, vlicl meanr rlar lis
9-9 vas jusr roo vulneiaLle. ^oie ro rle µoinr, rlougl, ]oln lau
ro hguie le vas going ro Le leaus-uµ virl me, anu my ieiaise
1 5 0 Play Poker Like the Pros
againsr Daniel sloulu lave meanr sriengrl ro lim.
Be rlar as ir may, ]oln`s insrincr vas iiglr, so I lave ro give
lim cieuir íoi lis call, anu µeilaµs íoi hguiing our rlar Daniel
anu I veie Lorl Lluíhng! Anyvay, leie is an examµle oí a µor
rlar vas von vlile someone vas making a move. Daniel larei
aumirreu laving six ligl in rlis lanu (le íolueu lis lanu íace-
uovn Lecause le uiun`r call rle $30,100 Ler).
Ií someone iaises a veiy small amounr Leíoie rle loµ (less
rlan 5 µeicenr oí my cliµs), I vill oíren call virl suireu connec-
rois anu rake rle loµ. Wlen I uo rlis, I`m µurring a lor oí µies-
suie on myselí ro ieau my oµµonenrs vell. Somerimes ir voiks
our Leauriíully anu I lave a luge loµ anu vin a Lig µor. Some-
rimes I lave ro sciamLle anu make a giear íolu in oiuei ro save
cliµs. Somerimes I Lusr myselí Lecause I can`r ger avay íiom
(can`r íolu) my lanu aírei rle loµ.
I`m caµaLle oí riaµµing virl Lig lanus like a µaii oí rens,
jacks, queens, kings, oi aces, Lur I`m veiy caieíul rlar I uon`r riaµ
myselí virl rlese lanus! I iaiely use rlis µlay, Lecause ir can Le
veiy uangeious in ÞLH.
I aLsolurely lare gerring all my cliµs in virl any lanu. Wlen
you aie all-in you can go Lioke! Oí couise, ií I lave rle Lesr µossi-
Lle lanu on rle lasr iounu oí Lerring, rlen I love ro ger all my cliµs
in. I riy ro avoiu gerring all-in in ÞLH unless ir can`r Le lelµeu.
^oie oíren rlan I µioLaLly sloulu, I vill rliov avay rle
Lesr lanu vlen I µlay ÞLH. I vill rliov avay veiy sriong lanus
ií I Lelieve rlar rley`ie Learen, no marrei lov mucl money is
alieauy in rle µor. Wlen you can uo rlis, you can escaµe losing
siruarions anu even consiuei rlar you`ve gaineu an emorional
vin. I íolueu µocker kings Leíoie rle loµ ar rle Woilu Clamµi-
1 5 1 No-Limit and Pot-Limit Hold’em Strategy
onsliµs in 2001 vlen my oµµonenr oµeneu íoi $1,200, I ieiaiseu
lim ro $3,S00, anu le rlen moveu my lasr $12,000 all-in. I
rlouglr le lau µocker aces, so I íolueu my lanu, iarlei rlan iisk
my lasr $12,000. As le vas rlioving avay lis lanu íaceuovn, I
saiu, ¨Slov me µocker aces!¨ Amazingly, le uiu slov rlem.
I oíren µiorecr my lanus virl luge Lers anu iaises. Ar rle
µieliminaiy ÞLH evenr ar rle WSOP rlar I von in 2001, I
moveu all-in virl A-A aírei I vas cleck-iaiseu on a loµ oí
. Lven rlougl I lau rle Lesr µossiLle lanu anu lau goou
ieason ro susµecr rlar rle oµµonenr vlo lau cleck-iaiseu me on
rle loµ vas uiaving ueau (lau no vins!), I ueciueu rlar I uiun`r
vanr ro rake a clance rlar my oµµonenr miglr carcl rvo µeiíecr
caius. 1lis vas rle classic slov-µlay siruarion Lecause ve veie
rle rvo cliµ leaueis ar rle rime. Insreau oí smoorl-calling my
oµµonenr`s $15,000 cleck-iaise on rle loµ (as 9S µeicenr oí rle
µios in rle voilu voulu uo), I venr aleau anu iaiseu lim lis lasr
$50,000, anu le rliev lis lanu avay. (Diu I menrion rlar I venr
on ro vin rle rouinamenr.) Peilaµs ií I lau slov-µlayeu my
lanu, my oµµonenr voulu lave cauglr an eiglr anu a nine ro
make a ren-ligl sriaiglr virl lis A-10 anu a Loaiu oí A-6-¯-S-9.
1le nexr uay I íolueu my A-6 lanu aírei a lor oí money
venr in Leíoie rle loµ anu rle loµ came uovn _-_-_. ^y
oµµonenr coulu lave lau _-_ oi _-_, vlicl voulu lave
given lim a lusl uiav anu roµ µaii, Lur rlar voulu lave maue
me anu my rvo µaii rle vinnei. He rolu me larei rlar le lau _-
_, íoi rvo Lerrei µaii rlan mine! 1vo uays larei I lau moie
rlan $1 million in cliµs in íionr oí me, anu yer I voulu lave Leen
Lioke ií I laun`r rliovn avay Lorl rlose sriong lanus! 1le aLil-
iry ro rliov avay sriong lanus is a maik oí an ÞLH clamµion.
_-
_-_
1 5 2 Play Poker Like the Pros
In rle Woilu Clamµionsliµ evenr in 2001, íaceu virl an
$1S,000 oµening Ler anu a $¯0,000 iaise ro go, I moveu all-in
íoi moie rlan $550,000 virl my A-A, ro senu a message rlar I
lau A-A! A lor oí µlayeis voulu lave iaiseu less, ro luie rleii
oµµonenr in Leíoie rle loµ. By rle vay, I larei uiu vlar`s calleu
rabbit lunting÷looking ar rle ueck aírei rle lanu is ovei, ro see
vlar voulu lave laµµeneu lau auuirional caius Leen uealr
our÷anu uiscoveieu rlar rle loµ voulu lave Leen K-2-3 lau
my oµµonenr nor íolueu lis µocker K-K lanu! I voulu lave lau
one moie baJ beat (Lau-luck) sroiy ro rell ií I lau only ieiaiseu a
lirrle Lir oi smoorl-calleu lis $¯0,000 Ler. Oí couise, my oµµo-
nenr keµr iaLLir lunring, anu le claims an ace vas coming on
rle lasr caiu. (I uiun`r look Leyonu rle loµ!)
I vill call someone on rle enu virl ace ligl oi voise ií I
rlink I lave rle Lesr lanu. I iecenrly calleu a $30,000 Ler íiom
Cailos ^oirensen (rle WSOP clamµion in 2001) virl K-Q
ligl, anu le lau me Learen virl a small µaii.
I like ro µlay conseivarively anu lang aiounu in an ÞLH
game oi rouinamenr unril I smell Lloou oi lave a goou siruarion
come uµ íoi me. I vair íoi rle cliµs ro come ro me. Lvenrually,
my oµµonenrs srair ro make misrakes rlar I can rake auvanrage
oí. Wlen I íeel rle rime is iiglr, I vill make some moves. I miglr
call someone virl a veak lanu vlen le`s Lluíhng, oi I miglr
Lluíí someone vlen I smell veakness. I may even riy ro riaµ
someone ií I make rle nurs, Lur geneially I Ler rle nurs ro give
someone a clance ro Lieak limselí againsr me in a µor. In rle
lanu I menrioneu aLove, vleie I loµµeu a ser oí aces, I acrually
Ler Lig on rle loµ Leíoie I vas cleck-iaiseu! ^osr µlayeis
voulun`r uieam oí Lerring vlen rley`ie leaus uµ virl a ser oí
1 5 3 No-Limit and Pot-Limit Hold’em Strategy
aces Lur no uiav is on rle Loaiu. Ií my oµµonenrs aie µlaying
roo riglrly, I`ll srair ro iaise eveiy µor ro sreal some cliµs, esµe-
cially vlen rleie aie anres ro sreal as vell as Llinus. (Anres aien`r
usually useu in Holu`em, Lur rley aie auueu ro Holu`em rouina-
menrs in larei iounus anu somerimes ro ligl-limir siue games.)
I µlay ÞLH Ly íeel, virl some uisciµline, ro make suie I
sray aiounu íoi a vlile. Anu I riusr my ieauing µoveis imµlic-
irly. Ií rley µuncl, rlen I counreiµuncl. Ií rley lovei rleii guaiu,
rlen I sriike. I sir Lack anu varcl vlar orleis aie uoing, anu
rlen I make aujusrmenrs ro my µlay. Somerimes I µlay my sryle,
anu orlei rimes I µlay a sryle Laseu enriiely on my oµµonenrs`
sryles.
The “Bet It All” Strategy for NLH—Yuck!
In rle ¨Ler ir all¨ sriaregy you iaise all youi cliµs ro oµen a
µor oi ro ieiaise in a µor. So ií rle Llinus aie $10÷$20 anu ir`s youi
ruin ro acr íiom lare µosirion in a lanu, rlen you jusr go aleau
anu oµen íoi rle vlole $1,000 you lave in íionr oí you. You vill
vin rlar $30 in Llinus quire oíren vlen you Ler $1,000, Lur
you`ie iisking $1,000 in oiuei ro vin $30! You uo rle marl! Acru-
ally, a lor oí µokei µlayeis use rlis ciazy sriaregy rlese uays. 1le
uovnsiue is rlar you`ie iisking all youi cliµs, anu ií youi oµµo-
nenr µicks uµ a sriong lanu you`ll lose rle vlole $1,000, anu íoi
vlar: $30 in Llinus. Ií someone else oµens a µor íoi $60, anu rle
sliJer (le likes ro sliue all lis cliµs in!) ueciues ro µlay lis lanu,
rlen le jusr Lers ir all. (¨Youi $60 anu $940 moie.¨) I rlink rle
main ieason rlese µlayeis uo rlis is rlar rley`ie aíiaiu ro µlay rleii
lanus after rle loµ, alrlougl some oí rlem jusr íail ro unueisranu
1 5 4 Play Poker Like the Pros
rle long-reim imµlicarions oí Lerring a lor in oiuei ro vin a lirrle.
1le goou siue oí Lerring ir all is rlar ir µievenrs someone
virl a maiginal lanu íiom iaising oi ieiaising you Leíoie rle
loµ. Suµµose rlar I lave A-] on rle Lurron anu nov you iaise ir
ro $60 ro go in lare µosirion. I may ieiaise you, rlinking rlar
you`ie veak Lecause you iaiseu rle µor in lare µosirion (¨He`s
jusr srealing rle anres¨), anu rleieíoie I rlink you`ie jusr riying
ro sreal rle Llinus. Ií you lave 10-10 anu ueciue ro ieiaise me as
vell, I may lave ro call you ií I uon`r lave a lor oí cliµs leír. Þov
ve`ie going ro µlay an even-money µor (acrually, nor quire even
money, Lecause rle 10-10 is aLour a 13-ro-10 íavoiire ovei rle
A-]), vlicl rle clamµion µlayeis like ro avoiu. Ir`s uiíhculr ro
vin consisrenrly vlen you µlay a lor oí coin-liµ lanus in a roui-
namenr! Wlen you uo Ler ir all Leíoie rle loµ, my only oµrion
leír is ro íolu my maiginal A-].
Ioi a vlile in rle 1990s a lor oí sliueis ieacleu rle hnal
raLles ar ÞLH evenrs. Sliuing all one`s cliµs in is µioLaLly a goou
sriaregy íoi a veakei, inexµeiienceu µlayei. 1lis vay le vill ger
lucky íoi a Lig µor oi le vill Le eliminareu, Lur ar leasr rle giear
µlayeis von`r Le aLle ro slovly µick lim aµair. Srill, íoi a goou
oi giear µlayei, oi someone asµiiing ro Le a goou oi giear µlayei,
anyrling rlar rakes avay youi oµrions in ÞLH is Lau. Sliuing a
mounrain all-in ro riy ro vin a molelill rakes avay all youi
oµrions anu is a veiy iisky µlay as vell. One Lau move like rlis,
anu you hnu youiselí our oí oµrions vlen rle µlayei Lelinu you
jumµs uµ íiom lis sear Lecause le las µocker aces. Ir`s roo lare
1 5 5 No-Limit and Pot-Limit Hold’em Strategy
nov ro rake auvanrage oí rlis nev iníoimarion, Lecause you`ve
alieauy maue youi Lig move all-in!
Huck Seed’s Advanced Theory of
Suited Connectors for NLH
1lis suireu-connecrois rleoiy is veiy auvanceu anu coulu Le
uangeious ro youi Lankioll`s lealrl. I call ir ¨Huck Seeu`s¨ rle-
oiy, Lur in íacr I`ve useu ir myselí in uays µasr. Anu Lesiues, ro
µigeonlole Huck Seeu`s giear ÞLH µlay inro rlis one rleoiy
voulu Le uníaii ro Huck. Huck can µlay many uiííeienr vays ar
uiííeienr srages oí a rouinamenr oi siue game. Be rlar as ir may,
le oíren uoes µlay rlis rleoiy successíully, as uoes rle ralenreu,
young, uµ-anu-coming Daniel Þegieanu.
Suited Connectors
Heie is an acrual lanu rlar I sav, Lerveen Daniel Þegieanu
anu a rvo-rime voilu clamµion, ]olnny Clan, ar rle 1aj ^alal
in Arlanric Ciry in rle $¯,500 Luy-in clamµionsliµ evenr in
1lis is rle rleoiy oí calling orlei µlayeis` iaises virl suireu
connecrois, sucl as _-_ oi _-_ oi even _-_. 1lese aie
excellenr uiaving lanus in ÞLH. Iueally, you vanr ro call an
oµµonenr`s $400 Ler virl a lanu like _-_ vlen le las
anorlei $10,000 ro $20,000 leír in íionr oí lim. 1lis vay, ií you
lir youi lanu, you may vin rlar orlei $10,000 ro $20,000. So
rle iuea is ro call a small Ler íiom youi oµµonenr anu vin a laige
srack oí cliµs vlen you lir youi lanu.
1 5 6 Play Poker Like the Pros
1999. Wirl rle Llinus ar $400÷$S00 anu moie rlan $12,000 in
íionr oí lim, ]olnny oµeneu rle µor íoi $2,600 virl A-K. Daniel
calleu rle $2,600 virl , anu rle loµ came uovn
(Daniel loµµeu riiµ sevens!) ]olnny Ler our small ($2,000) on
rle loµ, anu Daniel iaiseu small ($3,000). Aírei sruuying rlings
íoi a vlile, ]olnny moveu all-in anu Daniel quickly saiu, ¨I
call.¨ Daniel vounu uµ Lusring ]olnny our on rlis lanu, anu
]olnny, slockeu, saiu ro me a íev minures larei vlen I
aµµioacleu ro oííei symµarly, ¨Can you Lelieve rlis kiu.¨ Heie
is a case vleie Daniel invesreu $2,600 ro vin moie rlan
$12,000 ií le lir. 1le suireu connecrois voikeu like a claim.
You can rlus exµecr ro lave some seveie cliµ svings vlen
you µlay µokei like rlis. Wlen I varcleu Daniel use rlis
aµµioacl in rle voilu clamµionsliµ evenr in 2001, lis cliµs
veie uµ ro $450,000 (anu rle cliµ leau) anu rlen uovn ro
$¯0,000 anu rlen uµ ro $¯00,000 (anu rle cliµ leau again!) anu
rlen uovn ro $1¯0,000! Uµ anu uovn, uµ anu uovn, so ir venr
virl Daniel ar rlis WSOP. He is a giear ÞLH µlayei, Lur rlese
kinus oí svings jusr can`r Le goou.
Ler`s ieruin ro rle examµle aLove íoi a momenr. Wly vas
]olnny slockeu Ly Daniel`s µlay in rlis examµle lanu. Because
Daniel iiskeu almosr 20 µeicenr oí lis ovn cliµs Leíoie rle loµ
_-_ _-_- _
1le uovnsiue oí µlaying like rlis, oí couise, is rlar you vill
µur youiselí in a lor oí unrenaLle siruarions. Wlar aie you going
ro uo vlen rle loµ comes uovn 2-3-S anu you lave _-_. You
lave loµµeu roµ µaii, vlicl is íaiily µoveiíul, Lur vlar laµµens
vlen youi oµµonenr las ]-] in rle lole. Ansvei: you may lose a
lor oí cliµs! In íacr, ií you`ie nor caieíul, you can lose all youi
cliµs in rlis siruarion.
virl _-_. 1lis vas jusr roo ligl a µeicenrage oí lis cliµs ro
1 5 7 No-Limit and Pot-Limit Hold’em Strategy
iisk virl rlis lanu. Ií you vanr ro µlay rlis vay, riy nor ro iisk
moie rlan ¯ µeicenr oí youi cliµs Leíoie rle loµ virl rlese
suireu connecroi lanus.
Playing rle suireu connecrois iequiies an excellenr ieau oí
youi oµµonenrs, so rlar you uon`r ger youiselí inro riouLle vlen
you lir some oí rlese lanus lalívay. Beíoie you riy rlis
aµµioacl, make suie rlar you`ie ieauing youi oµµonenrs almosr
µeiíecrly. I voulu nevei iecommenu rlis rleoiy ro any novice oi
inreimeuiare-level µlayei!
When Suited Connectors Don’t Work
^eanvlile, Daniel lau also ruineu a sriaiglr anu a lusl
uiav. Any uiamonu maue lim a lusl, anu an eiglr maue lim a
sriaiglr. Lirrle uiu le knov rlar rle uiamonu maue me a liglei
lusl anu rle eiglr maue me a liglei sriaiglr! Anyvay, le calleu
rle $10,000 Ler, nor knoving rlar le ieally uiun`r vanr ro lir lis
lanu, Lecause ir voulu cosr lim anorlei $20,000 ií le uiu! 1le
lasr caiu vas a ¨Llank¨ , anu nov I cleckeu anu Daniel
cleckeu also, rlinking rlar I vas sriong. I saiu, ¨You vin ir, I
misseu.¨ He saiu, ¨Þo, you gor ir.¨ Ar rlar µoinr, I knev rlar my
king ligl vas goou, anu I liµµeu ir íaceuµ anu collecreu rle µor.
In rle main evenr ar rle WSOP oí 2001, I maue a iaise oí
$3,000 virl _-_ anu Daniel calleu me virl _-_. 1le loµ
vas _-_-_, anu I cleckeu anu rlen Daniel cleckeu. 1le nexr
caiu oíí vas _, íoi _-_-_-_, so rlar I nov lau a sriaiglr
anu a lusl uiav. Any uiamonu voulu make me a lusl, anu any
queen oi eiglr voulu make me a sriaiglr. I ueciueu rlar I neeueu
ro make a Lig Ler virl rlis uiav, since Daniel lau cleckeu rle
loµ anu I rlouglr le vas veak, so I Ler our $10,000.
_
1 5 8 Play Poker Like the Pros
Daniel saiu, ¨Wlev, ir`s a goou rling I misseu my lanu!¨ as le
sloveu me lis lole caius.
Wly uiun`r I riy ro Lluíí Daniel on rle enu. Ioi rle same
ieason rlar le uiun`r riy ro Lluíí me on rle enu: ve usually call
eacl orlei vlen ve lave anyrling! Anu ií le lau riieu ro Lluíí
me on rle lasr iounu oí Lerring, I miglr lave jusr iaiseu lim ií I
noriceu any veakness ar all in lis Ler on rle enu.
1lis examµle illusriares anorlei µioLlem virl suireu con-
necrois. You miglr jusr enu uµ uiaving ro rle lovei sriaiglr oi
lusl anu vinu uµ losing all youi cliµs vlen you lir ir!
Superadvanced “Megalomaniac” NLH
Theory: Playing with Nothing
Some giear ÞLH µlayeis like ro call an oµµonenr`s iaise virl any
rvo caius, Lecause rley rlink rley can ourµlay rle iaisei larei on
in rle lanu. Again, I`ll single our Daniel Þegieanu as a µlayei
vlo uses rlis sriaregy. (Soiiy, Danny.) In many ÞLH rouina-
menrs I`ve varcleu Daniel aµµly rlis sriaregy, knoving íull vell
vlar le vas uoing! 1le key ro rle sriaregy lies in iecognizing
vlo rle µieloµ iaisei is. Ií rle µieloµ iaisei is a veak µlayei (ií
you`ie nev ro rle game, ir`s moie íaii ro call you ¨inexµeii-
enceu¨ rlan ¨veak¨), look our íoi Daniel, Lecause le`ll Le com-
ing ar you!
^any veakei oi inexµeiienceu µlayeis uon`r knov lov ro
Ler oi lov ro uisguise rleii acrions vlen rley lir oi miss rle
loµ. 1ley may, íoi examµle, jumµ our oí rleii sears oi Ler in a
veiy conhuenr mannei vlen rley lir a loµ. Conveisely, rley
may relegiaµl rleii acrions vlen rley miss rle loµ, Ly Lerring
1 5 9 No-Limit and Pot-Limit Hold’em Strategy
virl uouLr oi unceirainry viirren all ovei rleii íaces. Ií rley uo
lir, rlen Daniel íolus (unless one oí rlose ¨gooíLall¨ 6-S oíí-suir
lanus oí lis acrually lirs). Ií rley miss rleii lanu, rlen Daniel
Lluíís rlem our anu vins rle µor. Oí couise, Daniel occasionally
luirs lis oµµonenrs oi limselí in a Lig µor vlen Lorl le anu lis
oµµonenr lir rle loµ.
I give Daniel Þegieanu anu Huck Seeu a lor oí cieuir íoi
Leing aLle ro use rlis sriaregy successíully. Oí couise, ií you evei
riavel rle µokei-rouinamenr riails, you vill see orlei roµ µlayeis,
sucl as Layne Ilack, 1eu Ioiiesr, ^en Þguyen, anu Amii
Valeui, using rlis uangeious sriaregy ro goou eííecr. Bur ir is a
Lir roo iisky íoi my rasre, I jusr uon`r like ro Le alvays µurring a
lor oí µiessuie on myselí ro ¨ieau¨ my oµµonenrs anu rlen íolu
my lanus aírei I lir rlem on rle loµ. (Hirring a loµ anu rlen
íoluing youi lanu Lecause you ieau youi oµµonenr as Leing
sriong is a laiu rling ro uo.) Bur someone vlo uses rlis rleoiy
vell can accumulare a lor oí cliµs veiy quickly!
Dave “Devilfish” Ulliott’s Theory of
NLH
1le Devilhsl is a giear PLH anu ÞLH µlayei íiom Hull, in rle
Unireu Kinguom. He las von PLH anu ÞLH rirles in rle Unireu
Srares anu Luioµe. Devilhsl rliives on coming inro a µor iaising
virl almosr anyrling Leíoie rle loµ. He may iaise virl 4-¯ oíí
suir oi 2-5 oíí suir. He vill almosr alvays Ler our ar you on rle
loµ, vlerlei le misses rle loµ oi lirs ir. 1lis gives all rle orleis
a clance ro íolu rleii lanus anu gives Devilhsl lis seconu
clance ro vin rle µor virl a Ler oi iaise. (His hisr clance vas
1 6 0 Play Poker Like the Pros
Leíoie rle loµ virl a iaise.) He is veiy goou ar ieauing µlayeis,
anu rlar`s one rling rlar all rougl ÞLH sriaregies lave in com-
mon. 1ley all consiuei ieauing rle orlei µlayeis vell an essenrial
ingieuienr.
Ií you uo lir somerling anu call Devilhsl on rle loµ, rlen
rle µor las only jusr Legun. Ií le rlinks you`ll íolu youi lanu
Leíoie iisking a Lig Ler on íouirl srieer, rlen le`ll Ler Lig on
íouirl srieer, riying ro Lluíí you. Ií le íeels you`ll íolu youi lanu
íoi an all-in Ler, rlen le`ll iisk lis vlole rouinamenr anu Ler ir
all. Likevise, le`ll Ler all youi cliµs vlen le íeels le las rle Lesr
lanu. 1lis consranr µovei-µlay µiessuie is also useu Ly ^en
¨1le ^asrei¨ Þguyen, Liik Seiuel, Layne Ilack, ]oln Bonerri,
anu many orlei successíul ÞLH rouinamenr µlayeis. I useu ro
use rlis aµµioacl myselí, Lur once my oµµonenrs rook ro calling
me uovn consisrenrly, I Legan sloving rlem only Lig lanus. Ií
rley`ie going ro call you, Le ieauy ro Lusr rlem.
Ií Devilhsl vins a íev µors Leíoie rle loµ, a íev µors on
rle loµ, anu a íev µors on rle enu virl a Lluíí, le`ll Le vay
aleau oí rle game. 1lis is a goou rleoiy oí ÞLH µlay, Lur ií
useu viongly ir can Le uisasrious íoi rle µlayei vlo is aµµlying
ir. You can Lluíí ar rle viong rimes anu lose a lor oí cliµs veiy
quickly. As virl all goou ÞLH rleoiies, ií you use rlis one vell
you`ll accumulare a lor oí cliµs quickly, Lur ií you use ir Lauly
you`ll cougl rlem uµ jusr as quickly.
Develop Your Own Style
Wlar racrics sloulu ycu auoµr. ^y auvice is ro rake a lirrle Lir
íiom leie anu a lirrle Lir íiom rleie, anu concocr youi ovn sryle
1 6 1 No-Limit and Pot-Limit Hold’em Strategy
oí ÞLH µlay. Some µeoµle riy ro µlay like me oi Huck Seeu oi
orlei giear ÞLH µlayeis, sucl as 1. ]. Clouriei. 1lis is usually a
misrake, Lecause rlose vlo arremµr ir aie gerring avay íiom
rleii ovn sriengrls, anu rley aien`r íai enougl along in rleii
ovn µokei ueveloµmenr ro uo all rle rlings÷simulraneously÷
rlar rle giear ÞLH µlayeis uo. As you conrinue ro ueveloµ youi
ovn sryle, ger iiu oí rle renuencies rlar uon`r voik anu auu some
oí rle riairs rlar you see in rle giear µlayeis oi ieau aLour leie,
Lur uo ir slovly! ^ake suie rlar a clange in a move oi a sryle
voiks íoi you Leíoie you commir youiselí ro ir íoi an exrenueu
µeiiou. ALove all else, make suie rlar you`ie enjoying youiselí
vlen you µlay ÞLH. Orleivise, vlar`s rle µoinr. Only a íev
µlayeis can counr on making money ovei rle long laul in rlis
game, so you lau Lerrei enjoy rle jouiney!
1o leain moie aLour vleie anu vlen rle majoi ÞLH anu PLH
rouinamenrs aie µlayeu, go ro µlillellmurl.com oi any one oí
rlese orlei sires: CaiuPlayei.com, PokeiPages.com, anu LiveAcrion
Pokei.com.
C h a p t e r 7
Limit Hold’e m
Tournament Strategy
I srill love µokei rouinamenrs, even aírei µlaying in moie rlan
900 oí rlem in rle 1990s alone, I enjoy eveiy one rlar I µlay in.
1le evenr rlar ieally hies me uµ, rlougl, is rle Woilu Seiies oí
Pokei (WSOP). 1le WSOP is vleie legenus anu clamµions aie
maue, ir is rle µokei voilu`s voilu clamµionsliµ. (Aµµenuix 2
ralks aLour µlaying in a WSOP rouinamenr.)
In golí rleie aie íoui majoi rouinamenrs, Lur in µokei rle
seiies oí evenrs consriruring rle WSOP caiiies so mucl µiesrige
rlar ir is in eííecr rle U.S. Oµen, rle ^asreis, rle Biirisl Oµen,
anu rle PGA all iolleu inro one!
Wirl 643 µlayeis µurring uµ $10,000 eacl íoi rle WSOP
clamµionsliµ evenr oí 2002, ciearing a µiize µool oí $6.43 mil-
lion, rle money alone almosr marcles rle µiesrige oí vinning rle
evenr. 1le invesrmenr Lankei RoLeir Vaikonyi rook lome rle
hisr µiize oí $2 million, rle seconu-µlace hnislei, ]ulian Gai-
uenei, lau ro serrle íoi only $1 million! Ioi a lor oí µlayeis, rlis
1 6 3 Limit Hold’em Tournament Strategy
is liíe-clanging money, anu so ir isn`r suiµiising rlar a lor oí
µokei µlayeis cover rle money moie rlan rle rirle. I`m nor one oí
rlem: I love rle rirle moie rlan rle money! 1le rirle Liings virl
ir a liíerime oí iecognirion anu µiesrige. 1le vinnei is íoievei
calleu a voilu clamµion oí µokei, anu lis oi lei µicruie vill go
uµ on rle Wall oí Clamµions íoievei (ar Lorl oí rle Hoisesloe
Casinos in Las Vegas anu 1unica, ^ississiµµi). You can see rle
Wall oí Clamµions ar PokeiPages.com.
In 19¯0 Las Vegas Benny Binion sraireu rle WSOP, ar lis
Hoisesloe Casino, anu calleu ir µokei`s voilu clamµionsliµs. Ir
las Leen µokei`s voilu clamµionsliµ evei since, anu ir las
giovn in sraruie anu µoµulaiiry eacl yeai.
Wlen you vin rle WSOP, you aie no longei jusr a µokei
µlayei Lur iarlei a voilu clamµion. 1lis uisrincrion is nice, as
my viíe íounu our vlen sle seaicleu íoi iesiuency µiogiams
Lack in rle eaily 1990s. Wlen askeu aLour lei lusLanu`s occuµa-
rion, sle voulu say, ¨He`s a voilu clamµion oí µokei.¨ I`m suie
rlar rlis sounueu moie inreiesring anu µiesrigious rlan, ¨He`s a
µioíessional µokei µlayei¨ oi ¨He µlays µokei íoi a living!¨
Lveiy yeai in lare Aµiil, rle Lesr µokei µlayeis in rle voilu
(anu a lor oí vannaLes) garlei ar rle Hoisesloe Casino in Las
Vegas íoi iouglly 25 ro 33 WSOP evenrs (rle µiecise numLei
clanges íiom yeai ro yeai), culminaring in rle ¨Lig one.¨ 1le
¨Lig one¨ is rle $10,000 Luy-in Clamµionsliµ Lvenr rlar LSPÞ,
rle Discoveiy Clannel, rle 1iavel Clannel, anu orlei relevision
nervoiks slov uµ ro covei eveiy yeai. 1le lovesr Luy-in evenr ar
rle WSOP cuiienrly is ser ar $1,500. Ií you µlan ro arrenu rle
WSOP anu µlay eveiy evenr, make suie rlar you Liing $100,000
virl you! 1lese 30 uays (rle ¨Lig one¨ alone is hve uays long)
aie unuouLreuly rle mosr exciring in µokei, eveiy yeai, anu Ly
1 6 4 Play Poker Like the Pros
íai rle mosr luciarive. Ioi moie aLour rle WSOP anu orlei µies-
rigious µokei evenrs, go ro Aµµenuix 3.
All clamµion µokei µlayeis lave ro srair somevleie,
rlougl. Leaining ro vin limir Holu`em µokei rouinamenrs vas
veiy uiíhculr íoi me. Lven rlougl I vas alieauy a voilu clam-
µion oí µokei anu lau von many Lig no-limir Holu`em evenrs Ly
rle rime I vas 26 yeais olu, I srill laun`r even maue my hisr hnal
raLle (vlicl is usually rle hnal nine µlayeis) in a limir Holu`em
rouinamenr.
Ií you veie a µio anu I rolu you rlis, you voulu rlink ir
vas ieally ouu. Hov coulu I vin so many no-limir Holu`em
evenrs Lur consisrenrly lave riouLle making rle hnal nine in limir
Holu`em evenrs. Aírei a vlile, I Legan ro iealize rlar rle vay I
vas µlaying my lanus vas loluing me Lack, so I uiu vlar I lau
nevei uone Leíoie in µokei: I sruuieu a couµle oí orlei µlayeis ro
see vlar rley veie uoing uiííeienrly íiom me. RememLei rlis rle
nexr rime you srair ro Llame youi lack oí success on Lau luck:
even a voilu clamµion vas villing ro aumir le lau rlings leír ro
leain.
Wirl no-limir, I coulu see vlar eveiyone else vas uoing
viong in rle lare 19S0s. Ioi some ieason, rle iiglr vay ro µlay
no-limir jusr seemeu oLvious anu easy ro me. Oí couise, I also
uiu my íaii slaie oí µlaying no-limir Holu`em Lauly, Lur ar leasr
I knev vlen I vas µlaying Lauly. (^oieovei, rlar lau ro uo virl
emorional issues, vlicl I uiscuss elsevleie in rle Look.)
In rlis claµrei you vill leain:
z Aggiessive µlay is iiglr in limir Holu`em rouinamenrs.
z 1iglr µlay is iiglr in limir Holu`em rouinamenrs.
1 6 5 Limit Hold’em Tournament Strategy
z Srealing Llinus lelµs you suivive late in limir Holu`em evenrs.
z 1o vin, sreal moie Llinus ar rle money-curoíí line.
z Suivive anu rliive.
z Biing youi Lig guns ro a vai!
z Hov ro riaµ in limir Holu`em rouineys.
z Playing sarellires imµioves youi game.
Aggressive Play Helps in Limit Hold’em
Events
One uay aírei I vas eliminareu íiom a limir Holu`em evenr, I
souglr our ]ack Kellei, vlo ar rle rime vas ieally lor in limir
Holu`em rouinamenrs, anu varcleu lim µlay íoi a couµle oí
louis. Ir vas oLvious ro me rlar ]ack vas uoing a numLei oí
rlings I laun`r Leen uoing. He simµly riieu ro vin eveiy µor rlar
le µlayeu. ]ack nevei jusr calleu someone else`s iaise Leíoie rle
loµ: le alvays eirlei rliev lis lanu avay oi rliee-Ler ir.
1lis vas quire uiííeienr íiom my olu sriaregy. I useu ro jusr
call vlen I lau a small µaii, loµing rlar orleis voulu call as
vell, anu rlar I voulu vin a Lig µor vlen I hnally lir my ser.
]ack, lovevei, alvays rliee-Ler Leíoie rle loµ, even virl only a
small µaii, anu conrinueu ro µlay lis lanu aggiessively íiom rlar
µoinr on in rle lanu. 1le µeicenrage oí µors rlar le von vas
mucl liglei rlan rle µeicenrage oí µors rlar I lau von, íoi
rliee ieasons.
Iiisr, ]ack`s consranr rliee-Lerring Leíoie rle loµ lelµeu
lim vin moie µors Ly eliminaring moie oµµonenrs µieloµ.
Wlen you srair virl íevei oµµonenrs Leíoie rle loµ, you`ll vin
1 6 6 Play Poker Like the Pros
moie µors.
Seconu, ]ack voulu µlay lis lanu µierry laiu on rle loµ
anu vin a lor oí µors ií lis oµµonenrs lau, say, king-ligl vlen
an ace lir rle Loaiu.
1liiu, ]ack voulu jusr µlain riy ro Lluíí you our ií le
rlouglr le coulu.
1lis aggiessive µlay oí Holu`em lanus is somerling I`ve
alieauy µieacleu ro you in eailiei claµreis oí rlis Look. Once I
Legan using rlis sysrem, I coulun`r Lelieve rle iesulrs I aclieveu.
I maue hve hnal raLles in a iov µlaying limir Holu`em rlis vay,
anu evenrually, in rle 1990s, I von rvo voilu clamµionsliµs in
limir Holu`em.
Tight Play Helps in Limit Hold’em
Events, Especially Early
1iglr µlay is also an imµoiranr íacroi in success ar rouinamenrs.
1le ieally riglr µlayeis renu ro Le aiounu en masse íaiily lare in
limir Holu`em evenrs. 1lese µlayeis renu ro µlay almosr as riglr
as rle ¨roµ ren only¨ sriaregy (vlicl I uiscuss in Claµrei 3).
Þorice rlar I saiu rlese µlayeis veie aiounu, anu nor rlar rley
veie vinning rle evenrs. Alrlougl rleie aie usually a ron oí
suµeiriglr µlayeis leír lare in a limir Holu`em evenr, rley usually
uon`r vin rle evenr oi even make rle hnal raLle. I Lelieve rlar
suµeiriglr µlay lelµs you lasr in limir Holu`em evenrs, Lur you
neeu ro Le aLle ro clange sµeeus ar rle iiglr rime ií you`ie going
ro vin some oí rlem.
1le iiglr sriaregy againsr a giouµ oí suµeiriglr µlayeis uií-
íeis íiom rle iiglr sriaregy againsr a giouµ oí aveiage µlayeis. In
1 6 7 Limit Hold’em Tournament Strategy
íacr, ]ack Kellei`s rliee-Lerring µieloµ virl eveiy lanu rlar le
µlays is moie successíul againsr a suµeiriglr µlayei vlo vill íolu
lis lanu iiglr avay ií le misses ir. Wlicl riglr µlayei is going ro
vin rle µor vlen ]ack rliee-Lers lis 5-5 inro lis ¯-¯. Ioi exam-
µle, vlen rle loµ comes A-]-2, rlen ]ack can vin µierry easily
virl a Ler on rle loµ. Alrlougl suµeiriglr µlay vill lelµ you
lasr, you vill neeu ro clange youi racrics ar some µoinr in oiuei
ro vin.
1leieíoie, I iecommenu µlaying rle ¨roµ ren only¨ sriaregy
íoi rle hisr hve oi six louis oí any Holu`em evenr vlile rle
veakei µlayeis aie veeueu our. Aírei rle hisr íev louis oí µlay-
ing rlis sriaregy, ir is rime ro svircl racrics a Lir.
Stealing the Blinds Helps You Survive
Late in Limit Hold’em Events
Ar some µoinr aírei rle hisr hve oi six louis, ir`s rime ro srair
srealing rle Llinus íiom rle suµeiriglr µlayeis vlo aie srill alive
in rle rouinamenr. Bur Le vaiy oí srealing rle Llinus íiom rle
loosei µlayeis oi rle clamµion µlayeis, Lecause rley vill µioLa-
Lly ueíenu virl skill. Sray avaie also oí rle µeison vlo keeµs
srealing youi Llinus, Lecause ar some µoinr you vill lave ro
make a sranu againsr rlar µlayei.
Ií you rake a close look aiounu youi raLle aLour six louis
inro rle evenr, eveiy rime you enrei one oí rlese evenrs, aírei a
vlile you vill ueveloµ rle aLiliry ro see inro rle íuruie a lirrle Lir.
Ioi examµle, rleie vill µioLaLly Le someone ar youi raLle vlo
is µlaying vay roo loose Lur nonerleless is srill alive. You may
voiiy rlar rlis µlayei may conrinue ro Le lucky, Lur clances aie
1 6 8 Play Poker Like the Pros
rlar le vill Lusr limselí our soonei iarlei rlan larei, Lecause oí
lis ieckless µlay. 1leie vill also Le a µlayei ar youi raLle vlom
you vill iecognize as Leing veiy riglr, anu you can hguie rlar le
oi sle vill µioLaLly Le aiounu veiy lare in rle rouinamenr,
alrlougl µioLaLly lov on cliµs.
You may even Le aLle ro see rlar rle loose µlayei is rle one
vlo may Le youi ricker ro lasring anorlei íev louis youiselí. Six
oi so louis inro rle evenr, virl youi Llinu-srealing voiking vell,
you neeu ro make suie rlar you`ie srill in a veiy riglr moue oí
µlay. Suiviving ar rlis µoinr in rle rouinamenr is rle name oí rle
game. Bur make suie rlar you`ie srealing Llinus íiom rle suµei-
riglr µlayeis. (Don`r voiiy, you vill knov vlo rley aie.)
Steal Blinds at the Money-Cutoff Line
Wlen you srair ro ieacl rle money-curoíí srage (vlen, say, rleie
aie 19 µlayeis leír, anu rle rouinamenr µays only 1S sµors),
make suie rlar you lave youi µiioiiries sriaiglr. As rle orlei
µlayeis Legin ro µlay even riglrei, in oiuei ro lasr unril rle hnal
2¯ oi 1S µlayeis, you neeu ro unueisranu rlar making rle money
isn`r youi oLjecrive ar rlis µoinr. You aie leie ro hnisl in rle roµ
rliee anu make rle Lig money.
One µlenomenon you vill oLseive is rlar vlen rleie aie
2S µlayeis leír in an evenr µaying 2¯ µlaces, rle µlayeis vill all
µlay even riglrei, in oiuei ro Le suie rley ¨make rle money.¨
1lis is rle rime ro Le suie you`ie srealing eveiy Llinu you can
sreal! Ií no one is going ro µur uµ a hglr, rlen make suie you
giaL all rlis ¨íiee money¨! So vlar ií you aie eliminareu in rle
¨srink lole¨ (oíren calleu rle ¨LuLLle¨). In orlei voius, so
1 6 9 Limit Hold’em Tournament Strategy
vlar ií you hnisl rvenry-eiglrl vlen rle evenr is µaying only 2¯
sµors! Does rvenry-sevenrl µlace clange youi liíe ar all. Ií ir
uoes, rlen jusr uo vlar eveiyone uoes anu µlay suµeiriglr. ]usr
Le vaineu rlar I vill Le rleie µicking uµ youi Llinus eveiy
iounu.
1lis sriaregy÷¨sreal vlile rley`ie in suivival moue¨÷las
lelµeu me (anu many orlei µlayeis) accumulare cliµs rlar
Lecome imµoiranr vlen I`m larei riying ro auvance inro rle hnal
iounus anu vin rle rouinamenr. Bur you lave ro Le a lirrle caie-
íul virl ir. Lnougl µlayeis lave leaineu aLour rle sriaregy ro
ueíenu rle Llinus virl aggiession oí rleii ovn. Þor eveiyone
vill go inro a slell. You lave ro knov youi µlayeis anu µick youi
sµors.
Survive and Thrive
Once you`ie in rle money, rlings anu µeoµle clange. Ir`s imµoi-
ranr rlar you rake nore oí jusr vlar rlese clanges aie. Ií youi
oµµonenrs aie µlaying roo riglr, sreal rleii Llinus. Ií rley`ie µlay-
ing roo loose, you µlay a lirrle Lir riglrei.
Wlen you`ie in rle money, you sloulu srill Le vairing íoi
some ieally ligl-qualiry lanus Leíoie you ger roo involveu in
any µor. RememLei rlar rle limirs aie ligl, anu you sloulu Le
rlinking aLour µlaying veiy riglr, Lecause ar ligl limirs losing
one Lig µor can Le uevasraring. Ií you can ger avay virl srealing
some Llinus, uo ir, Lur virl rle limirs vay uµ rleie, eveiy lanu
vill cause a majoi sving in youi cliµ counr. So ir`s Lerrei jusr ro
sir Lack anu varcl rle acrion anu conrinue ro suivive. Anu vlen
you uo µick uµ a roµ ren lanu, you`ll Le raking youi slor ar rle
1 7 0 Play Poker Like the Pros
µor virl some µovei.
Somerimes I jusr vair íoi a Lig lanu in a limir Holu`em
rouiney anu ler rle caius ueciue lov long I`ll Le aiounu íoi rlar
uay. Ií I carcl goou caius anu vin, rlen I miglr vin rle vlole
enclilaua. Ií I carcl goou caius anu lose, rlen ar leasr I`m laµµy
rlar I venr our virl some roµ ren lanus. Ií I uon`r carcl anyrling
uecenr anu anre myselí our oí rle rouiney, rlar`s OK roo. Bur ií I
srair µlaying lanus rlar I`m nor suµµoseu ro µlay, rlar`s rle
voisr oí all, Lecause I sloor myselí in rle íoor!
Bring Your Big Guns to a War!
Wlen you lave a Loiuei skiimisl virl someone, you uon`r neeu
ro Liing our rle leavy airilleiy, Lur vlen a vai Lieaks our, you`u
Lerrei Liing youi Lig guns! 1le same rling can Le saiu aLour
µlaying µors lare in a µokei rouinamenr. You ieally uon`r neeu ro
lave roo mucl in youi lanu in oiuei ro riy ro sreal rle Llinus
íiom a mouse (a veiy caurious µlayei). You µioLaLly von`r neeu
roo mucl ro ueíenu youi Llinus againsr a jackal (a viluly aggies-
sive µlayei) eirlei.
Bur vlen you ueciue ro µlay a luge µor, rlen you`u Lerrei
lave a luge lanu. I`m alvays looking íoi A-A, K-K, Q-Q, ]-],
10-10, oi A-K Leíoie I ger involveu in a Lig µor. In íacr, I nevei
íeel roo Lau aírei I`ve Leen eliminareu lare in a limir Holu`em
evenr ií I knov rlar I losr some Lig µors virl some Lig lanus.
Lven rlougl I lare losing a Lig µor lare in one oí rlese evenrs
virl A-A, vlar moie coulu I lave askeu rlan rle clance ro µlay
a Lig µor virl A-A. Ulrimarely, I íeel µierry goou knoving rlar
an oµµonenr lau ro µur a lor oí money inro rle µor virl lis Q-K
1 7 1 Limit Hold’em Tournament Strategy
oi vlarevei againsr my A-A.
How to Trap with a Big Hand
I`ve alieauy rolu rvo sroiies in Claµrei 6 (]oln Bonerri is íea-
ruieu riaµµing Dan Haiiingron in one sroiy, on µage 12¯) aLour
lov one µlayei riaµµeu anorlei virl A-A in rle lole. In Lorl
sroiies, rle µlayei vlo vas uoing rle riaµµing came our smelling
like a iose. Bur riaµµing virl µocker aces oi µocker kings (esµe-
cially kings, Lecause rley`ie vulneiaLle ro a lone ace íalling on
rle loµ) can Le exriemely uangeious. By ¨riaµµing¨ virl rlese
lanus, I mean jusr calling one oi rvo Lers Leíoie rle loµ, iarlei
rlan iaising oi ieiaising virl youi lanu. By jusr calling µieloµ
anu riaµµing orlei µlayeis inro µlaying rleii lanus vlen rley
oiuinaiily voulun`r lave uone rlis, you`ie ciearing a Liggei µor,
vlicl means you`ie also iisking losing a Lig µor.
Bur Lecause you ueciueu ro riaµ orlei µlayeis inro rle µor
Ioi examµle, suµµose rlar someone in íionr oí you las
iaiseu virl Q-Q, anu rlen you ueciue ro jusr call (smoorl-call)
virl youi K-K Leíoie rle loµ. Þov someone virl _-_
ueciues ro call rvo Lers virl lis lanu, anu rlen rle Loaiu comes
oíí _-_-_-_-_. In rlis case, you voulu lave von a luge
µor íiom rle oµµonenr vlo lau Q-Q ií you lau rliee-Ler virl
youi lanu insreau oí calling rvo Lers Leíoie rle loµ, Lecause rle
_-_ voulu lave íolueu Leíoie rle loµ anu nor lung aiounu in
loµes oí carcling a sµaue uiav on rle loµ anu rle (íoi you)
uieaueu ace on rle iivei. Imagine rle numLei oí Lers rlar you
voulu lave von íiom rle Q-Q in rlis scenaiio.
1 7 2 Play Poker Like the Pros
Leíoie rle loµ, you losr a Lig µor. Because rle loµµeu rle
nur lusl uiav, le vas íoiceu ro µlay lis lanu all rle vay, anu
rlen le lir an ace on rle enu ro Lear you.
Desµire rle giim scenaiio rlar I`ve jusr µiesenreu, riaµµing
las irs µlace in rouinamenr µokei, lesr you Lecome roo µie-
uicraLle. Bur even I can`r rell you exacrly vleie rlar µlace is. One
goou rime ro riaµ is vlen you`ie in lare µosirion anu no one else
las enreieu rle µor yer. 1lis is a goou µlace ro jusr call one Ler,
ro see ií anyone else enreis rle µor Lelinu you. In rlis scenaiio, ií
you make ir rvo Lers ro go, rlen you`ll µioLaLly jusr vin rle
Llinus. Bur Ly smoorl-calling, you vill ar a minimum íoice rle
Lig Llinu ro rake a íiee loµ. ]usr iememLei rlar in rlis case
you`ie asking íoi acrion vlen you lave a Lig lanu. We all knov
rlar you sloulu Le veiy caieíul vlar you ask íoi, Lecause you
may ger ir!
Anorlei rime vlen I may smoorl-call virl A-A oi K-K is
vlen I`m in rle Lig Llinu anu someone else las iaiseu, anu ir`s
jusr myselí anu one orlei oµµonenr in rle µor. I smoorl-call in
oiuei ro riick my oµµonenr inro rlinking I`m veak (rlar is,
meiely ueíenuing my meuiocie Llinu lanu), so rlar le vill give
me a lor oí acrion rle iesr oí rle lanu. ]usr iememLei rlar
smoorl-calling in limir Holu`em virl Lig lanus can voik our
veiy Lauly oi µeiíecrly, ueµenuing on rle vay rle caius íall.
Wlen you smoorl-call virl a Lig lanu, you ieally aie gamLling.
Play Satellites in Order to Improve
Your Hold’em Game
_-_
1 7 3 Limit Hold’em Tournament Strategy
Ií you vanr ro uin µokei rouinamenrs anu nor meiely Le saris-
heu virl aµµeaiances ar rle hnal raLle, I sriongly suggesr rlar
you µlay in sarellires so rlar you Lecome useu ro ¨enugame¨
µokei µlay, rlar is, vlen rle raLle is sloirlanueu virl Lig sracks
anu Lig Llinus. Sarellires aie ren-lanueu minirouinamenrs vleie
µlayeis µur uµ one-renrl oí rle Luy-in ro a µokei rouinamenr
anu rle lasr µlayei sranuing (acrually, rle lasr µeison sirring!)
vins a sear in rle main evenr.
Ioi examµle, ro µlay a sarellire íoi rle WSOP`s hisr $2,000
Luy-in limir Holu`em evenr (vleie seveial lunuieu µlayeis aie
exµecreu eacl yeai), 10 µeoµle µur uµ $220 eacl, anu rle vinnei
gers a sear in rle $2,000 Luy-in evenr. 1le sear allovs rle sarel-
lire vinnei ro conrenu in an evenr rlar vill µay moie rlan
$400,000 íoi hisr µlace! In rlis rvo-sreµ µiocess, you can iun
$220 inro ovei $400,000 in rvo uays!
Playing sarellires simulares vlar ir`s like ar rle hnal raLle oí
a µokei rouinamenr. In oiuei ro vin a sarellire, you srair our
µlaying 10- oi nine-lanueu anu conrinue eliminaring µlayeis
unril you`ie µlaying rvo-lanueu (leaus uµ) íoi rle sear in rle
rouinamenr.
Playing in mulriµle sarellires also imµioves youi sloir-
lanueu limir Holu`em nonrouinamenr game (in rle siue games).
Wlen you µlay nonrouiney Holu`em, you`ll oíren hnu rlar rle
game vill eirlei enu uµ sloirlanueu (hve µlayeis oi less) oi
Lecome sloirlanueu íoi a rime vlile you`ie vairing íoi nev
µlayeis ro join uµ. Ií you lave no exµeiience in rlese sloir-
lanueu game siruarions, eirlei you`ll lave ro leave a µorenrially
µiohraLle game (vlen ir hlls uµ again) oi you`ll µioLaLly lose
money, Lecause sloirlanueu µlay is quire uiííeienr íiom nine-
lanueu µlay. Sarellires ler you µiacrice anu imµiove youi sloir-
1 7 4 Play Poker Like the Pros
lanueu game, Lecause you skiµ all rle eííoir oí gerring ro rle
¨hnal raLle.¨ You`ie alieauy rleie, anu as µlayeis srair gerring
knockeu our, you`ll Legin gaining exµeiience rlar vill lelµ
imµiove youi sloirlanueu game.
Psychological Advantages in
Poker Tournaments
^aking suie you`ie consisrenrly íiienuly ro rle orlei µlayeis ar
rle raLle is a vise µolicy. Ií µlayeis íeel rlar you`ie a ¨goou guy¨
oi a íiienu, you inciease rle clance (ar leasr maiginally) rlar rley
von`r call you in maiginal siruarions vleie rley coulu ieally
luir you, siruarions vleie rley miglr vell call someone rley
voulu love ro Lusr.
Be caieíul virl rle giear µlayeis ar rle raLle. I`m nor saying
rlar you sloulu ioll ovei anu µlay ueau, I`m jusr saying rlar ir`s
µioLaLly nor a goou iuea ro sreal rleii Llinus, Lecause rley`ll
norice rlar. RememLei rlar giear µlayeis usually jusr vanr ro
lasr, so ií you give rlem iesµecr, rley`ll µioLaLly give you
iesµecr. Ií you srair ro ¨mess virl rlem,¨ rlougl, rley vill mess
virl you, Lecause rley can. Believe me, you ieally uon`r vanr rle
giear µlayeis messing virl you! 1iy ro Le nice ro eveiyone
(ieally, I uo riy), anu make suie rlar you give rle giear µlayeis
iesµecr. Only Ly giving iesµecr vill you ger iesµecr.
Limit Hold’em Tournaments: Summation
Wlen you come ro a limir Holu`em rouinamenr, Le µie-
1 7 5 Limit Hold’em Tournament Strategy
µaieu ro sir uovn anu µlay ¨roµ ren lanus only¨ íoi rle hisr hve
oi six louis. Ií you`ie srill in acrion hve oi six louis larei, ir`s
rime ro make suie rlar you aie raking auvanrage oí rle mouse
µlayeis ar youi raLle Ly srealing rleii Llinus vlen you`ie in lare
µosirion.
Ar rlis µoinr in rle rouinamenr, you sloulu srill Le riying ro
suivive. You uon`r vanr ro µlay a luge µor virl a veak lanu,
save rlis soir oí íancy µlaying unril you aie mucl íairlei along
rle exµeiience cuive. Rarlei, you vanr ro µlay luge µors virl
roµ ren lanus only.
Ií rle µlayeis ar youi raLle aie roo loose, rlen µlay riglr anu
jusr riy ro suivive. Ií you laµµen ro µick uµ a íev caius (anu ro
vin a limir Holu`em rouinamenr, you aie going ro lave ro µick
uµ a íev caius), you may vin a couµle oí Lig µors íiom rle loose
µlayeis ar rle raLle. Ií rle µlayeis ar youi raLle aie roo riglr, rlen
make suie rlar you`ie srealing a íev Llinus. Ií you`ie íoirunare
enougl ro make rle hnal raLle, rlen uiav on rle exµeiience you
lave gaineu µlaying all rlose sarellires anu íocus on voiking
youi vay inro rle hnal rliee sµors, vleie mosr oí rle money is.
Goou luck ro you vlen you µlay in a limir Holu`em rouinamenr.
^ake suie rlar you leain somerling, anu lave a goou rime!
C h a p t e r 8
Omaha:
Setup and Basic Play
1le sriucruie anu inirial seruµ aie almosr exacrly rle same in
Omala as in 1exas Holu`em (rle sriaregy, as you vill see, is veiy,
veiy uiííeienr). 1le uiííeiences aie ourlineu Lelov. Ií you`ie skiµ-
µing aiounu among rle claµreis anu aie nev ro µokei, I sriongly
suggesr rlar you ieau Claµrei 2 Leíoie ieauing rlis one, oi else
some oí rle commenraiy leie von`r make sense.
Omaha and Hold’em
1le rvo Lig uiííeiences Lerveen Holu`em anu Omala aie, hisr,
rlar in Omala you ieceive íoui íaceuovn (oi ¨lole¨) caius,
insreau oí rvo anu, seconu, rlar in Omala you musr use rvo anu
exacrly rvo oí rle íoui caius in youi lanu, along virl rliee anu
exacrly rliee oí rle hve Loaiu (communiry) caius. 1lis uisrincrion
makes svircling íiom Holu`em ro Omala veiy uiíhculr íoi some
1 7 7 Omaha: Setup and Basic Play
µlayeis, Lecause in Holu`em you`ie alloveu ro use one, Lorl, oi
neirlei oí youi lole caius in µurring rogerlei youi hnal lanu.
Bur in Omala, rlar ¯-S-9-10-] Loaiu uoes nor give you a
sriaiglr unless rvo oí rle íoui caius in youi lanu allov you ro
comµlere a sriaiglr. Ioi examµle, ií youi lanu is A-A-9-10, rle
9-10 rlar lookeu so insignihcanr ro you vlen you sraireu rle lanu,
comµaieu virl youi hne µaii oí aces, nov gives you rle sriaiglr.
Similaily, you can µlay rle jack-ligl sriaiglr ií you lolu ¯-]-X-
X (¯-] íiom youi lanu anu S-9-10 íiom rle Loaiu) oi S-]-X-X
(S-] íiom youi lanu anu ¯-9-10 íiom rle Loaiu) oi any orlei
comLinarion oí ¯ rliougl ] in youi lanu. Wirl a Loaiu oí ¯-S-
9-10-], you voulu lave a queen-ligl sriaiglr virl S-Q (S-Q
íiom youi lanu anu 9-10-] íiom rle Loaiu) oi 9-Q oi 10-Q oi
]-Q as µair oí youi íoui srairing (¨lole¨) caius. You voulu neeu
exacrly a Q-K as µair oí youi íoui-caiu lanu ro make a king-
ligl sriaiglr.
Ioi examµle, in Holu`em, ií rleie is a lusl oi a sriaiglr on
rle Loaiu, youi lanu is a lusl oi a sriaiglr, even ií youi lole
caius uon`r conriiLure ro ir in any vay. Oí couise, ir`s µossiLle íoi
youi lole caius ro imµiove a lusl oi sriaiglr rlar is on rle
Loaiu: ií rle Loaiu slovs ¯-S-9-10-], anu you lave a queen in
youi lanu, rlen you lave a queen-ligl sriaiglr. Oi µeilaµs rle
Loaiu vill Le _-_-_-_-_, anu rle _ in youi lanu makes
you rle Lesr µossiLle lanu. Oíren a Holu`em Loaiu vill come
uovn ¯-S-9-10-], anu all rle acrive µlayeis in rle lanu enu uµ
sµlirring rle µor Lecause rley all enu uµ µlaying rle Loaiu (no
acrive µlayei las a queen).
1 7 8 Play Poker Like the Pros
A Quick Run-Through of the Betting
and Dealing Action (Minus Some
Important Elements)
In limir Omala, rleie aie íoui iounus oí Lerring. Duiing rle hisr
anu seconu iounus, you can Ler $1X, anu íoi rle rliiu anu
íouirl iounus you may Ler $2X. (In rlese µairiculais, rle game is
iuenrical ro Holu`em.) 1o slov you vlar I mean Ly ¨$1X¨ anu
¨$2X,¨ ií you veie µlaying $400- $S00-limir Omala (you`u Ler-
rei Liing $50,000 ro rlar game!) all Lers anu iaises voulu Le
maue in $400 inciemenrs uuiing rle hisr rvo iounus, anu in
$S00 inciemenrs uuiing rle lasr rvo iounus. In a game like rlar
you can easily lose $4,000 in one lanu.
As in Holu`em, a Lurron anu rvo Llinus (small anu Lig)
aie useu (ií rlese conceµrs aie uníamiliai ro you, you skiµµeu
Claµrei 2), anu aírei rle Llinus aie µosreu, you aie eacl uealr
íoui caius íaceuovn. Aírei you`ve all lookeu ar youi caius, rle
hisr iounu oí Lerring Legins. Wlen rlar iounu oí Lerring is
comµlere, rle uealei ruins rliee caius íaceuµ in rle miuule oí
rle raLle. 1lese rliee íaceuµ caius aie communiry caius, avail-
aLle íoi use Ly eveiyone. As in Holu`em, rlese caius aie com-
monly calleu rle loµ. Aírei rle loµ, rleie is a seconu iounu oí
Lerring, srill ar $1X, anu vlen ir is comµlere, rle uealei ruins
uµ a íouirl communiry caiu, commonly calleu íouirl srieer oi
rle ruin caiu.
Þov rle rliiu iounu oí Lerring Legins. RememLei: rlis is
vlen rle srakes uouLle. Aírei rlis iounu oí Lerring is comµlere,
rle uealei ruins uµ rle hírl anu lasr communiry caiu, rlis one is
commonly calleu rle iivei. Þov rle lasr iounu oí Lerring µio-
Omaha: Setup and Basic Play 1 7 9
Omaha Flop
ceeus, anu alrlougl rle uealei is uone uealing caius íoi rlis
lanu, lis joL is íai íiom ovei.
Aírei rle lasr iounu oí Lerring is comµlere (seveial µlayeis
lave no uouLr íolueu Ly rlis rime), rle uealei lelµs uereimine
vlo von rle µor, Lecause in Omala, uereimining vlo von is a
Lir moie comµlicareu rlan ir is in Holu`em. Since eacl µlayei musr
use exacrly rvo caius our oí lis lanu, Leginneis (anu oíren even
exµeiienceu µlayeis) somerimes misieau rleii lanus. 1lar`s vly I
say rle uealei`s joL is íai íiom ovei vlen le las hnisleu uealing
rle caius in Omala (oí couise, oíren rle uealei is viong roo).
1lis is also vly ir`s a goou iuea íoi Leginneis anu inreime-
uiares ro lay rleii caius íaceuµ on rle raLle, all oí rlem visiLle, ar
rle enu oí eacl lanu, even ií rley rlink rley`ve losr. Ií you
exµose youi caius ar rle µioµei rime, rle uealei may norice rlar
you lave a Lerrei lanu rlan you rlouglr, one you may lave
1 8 0 Play Poker Like the Pros
oveilookeu. Don`r Le lazy, rlougl, uon`r ueµenu on rle uealei ro
ieau youi lanu íoi you. Aírei all, you`ve Leen clecking, Lerring,
calling, oi iaising on rle Lasis oí youi ovn aLiliry ro ieau youi
lanu, all rle vay rliougl rle lanu. Laying youi lanu uovn ar
rle enu is jusr a íail-saíe move ro make suie you uon`r acciuen-
rally oveilook a vinning comLinarion.
A Quick Refresher: The Button, Blinds,
Betting Order, and Betting Options
In mosr lome µokei games, rle ueal is µasseu clockvise (iiglr ro
leír), íiom µeison ro µeison aírei eacl lanu. Casinos íuinisl a
µioíessional uealei vlo ueals eveiy lanu íoi you. Bur Lecause
Lerring µosirion is imµoiranr in eveiy lanu, ve use rle small
µlasric µuck calleu rle Lurron in oiuei ro keeµ riack oí vlose
ueal ir voulu Le ií rle µlayeis veie µassing rle ueck anu uealing
rle lanus rlemselves. 1le µeison vlo ovns rle Lurron in any
given lanu las rle signihcanr auvanrage oí Leing rle lasr one ro
acr in eacl iounu oí Lerring, anu so rle uealei moves rle Lurron
one sµor clockvise aírei rle enu oí eacl lanu.
Beíoie rle lanu Legins, rle µlayei sirring uiiecrly ro rle leír
oí rle Lurron µosrs rle small Llinu (a Ler vlicl is usually lalí rle
size oí rle Lig Llinu, Lur vlicl in some games may Le as small as
one-rliiu oí rle Lig Llinu anu in orleis as laige as rvo-rliius oí
rle Lig Llinu). 1le µlayei ro rle immeuiare leír oí rle small Llinu
µosrs rle Lig Llinu. 1le hisr caiu is rlen uealr ro rle µlayei vlo
µosreu rle small Llinu, anu rle ueal µioceeus unril eacl µlayei
las lis íoui lole caius. 1le µlayei ro rle leír oí rle Lig Llinu is
rle hisr ro rake acrion, as in Holu`em, lis oµrions íoi rle hisr
Omaha: Setup and Basic Play 1 8 1
Omaha River
iounu aie limireu ro calling (marcling rle Lig Llinu), iaising, anu
íoluing.
A Sample Hand of Omaha
Ler`s nov rake a look ar lov a samµle lanu oí Omala miglr
µioceeu. Lven rlougl a Leginnei sloulu nor µlay in a ligl-srakes
game, ler`s make rle examµle moie íun Ly assuming ve`ie µlay-
ing $30- $60-limir Omala: eiglr µeoµle aie ar rle raLle, lisreu
leie in clockvise oiuei:
Anuy is sirring ro rle leír oí rle Lurron anu rlus musr µosr
rle $15 small Llinu.
BoL is sirring on Anuy`s leír, so le µosrs rle $30 Lig Llinu.
1 8 2 Play Poker Like the Pros
Cluck, Dave, Lu, Iiank, anu Geoige come nexr anu vill
acr in rlar oiuei.
Hal is rle hnal µlayei ar rle raLle, anu le lolus rle Lurron
íoi rlis lanu.
Dave, Lu, Iiank, anu Geoige all ueciue ro íolu, Lur Hal,
vlo las , ueciues ro call rle $60 on rle Lurron. (Call-
ing a iaiseu µor, virlour laving yer maue any invesrmenr in ir, is
oíren ieíeiieu ro as ¨calling rvo Lers colu.¨) Anuy, vlo alieauy
las $15 in rle µor Lecause le µosreu rle small Llinu, lolus
anu µurs in $45 moie ro call rle $60. BoL, vlo las
alieauy invesreu $30 in rle Lig Llinu, anu lolus , also
calls rle $60 Ly µurring in $30 moie. (By rle vay, I`m going ro
virllolu, unril rle claµrei on sriaregy, all commenr aLour
vlerlei oi nor rlese iaising anu calling uecisions, as vell as rle
ones rlar íollov, aie goou uecisions.)
Anuy: . His µaii oí kings, vlicl veie nevei
mucl oí a rliear ro vin a íoui-vay µor virlour imµioving, aie
nov almosr ceirainly losing ro someone vlo las an ace in lis
lanu, alrlougl Lecause Anuy can`r see rle orlei µlayei`s caius,
Ioui caius aie uealr our ro eacl oí rle eiglr µlayeis, rle hisr
caiu going ro Anuy in rle small Llinu, rle lasr caiu uealr ro Hal
on rle Lurron (rle caius aie uealr one ar a rime). Cluck, rle hisr
ro rake acrion, looks ar lis caius, sees rlar le las a sriong srair-
ing lanu, _-_-_-_, anu ueciues ro iaise rle exisring Ler
($30) ro $60. (In µokei slang rlis voulu oíren Le calleu ¨making
ir $60 ro go.¨)
_-_-_-_
_-_
-_-_
_-_-_-_
Wirl íoui µlayeis srill in rle lanu, rle uealei ruins uµ a loµ
oí _-_-_. Ler`s rake anorlei look ar rle µlayeis` lanus anu
see lov rley hr rlis loµ.
_-_-_-_
1 8 3 Omaha: Setup and Basic Play
le can`r Le suie aLour rlis. Srill, Anuy ierains some inreiesr in rle
lanu, Lecause le las rle anu in lis lanu anu rvo uia-
monus lave loµµeu. 1lis gives lim a clance ro make rle
seconu-Lesr µossiLle lusl (calleu rle ¨seconu-nur¨ lusl).
BoL: . BoL likes rlis loµ a lor, Lecause le las
rle ¨nur¨ (Lesr µossiLle) lusl uiav. Ií anorlei uiamonu comes
uµ on rle ruin oi rle iivei, le vill make a sriong lanu, anu,
rlougl le can`r knov ir, le is likely ro collecr a numLei oí Lers
íiom Anuy, vlose seconu-nur lusl voulu vinu uµ cosring lim a
lor oí money. Bur rlar`s nor all. BoL also las a µaii oí aces anu an
insiue sriaiglr uiav (oíren calleu a ¨gurslor¨ sriaiglr uiav), ií a
jack lirs rle Loaiu, BoL`s queen anu ren vill give lim an S-9-10-
]-Q sriaiglr.
Cluck: . 1lis vas a µierry nice srairing
lanu, virl íoui connecreu ligl caius anu rvo µossiLiliries íoi a
lusl, anu Cluck las lir a ncnster uiav: lis gives lim
nor meiely a lusl uiav Lur also an oµen-enueu sriaiglr-lusl
uiav: ií eirlei oi lirs rle Loaiu, Cluck is going ro make a
lor oí money, esµecially íiom BoL, vlo is going ro rlink lis ace-
ligl lusl is ¨rle nurs¨ unril iouglly rle momenr vlen Cluck
ieiaises lim íoi rle rliiu rime. Cluck also las an oµen-enueu
sriaiglr uiav÷any queen oi seven vill give lim a sriaiglr.
(Unless le can make rle sriaiglr lusl, le`ll Le mucl Lerrei oíí
making a sriaiglr rlan a lusl, Lecause lis jack-ligl lusl voulu
lose ro rvo orlei µlayeis.) Cluck also las a µaii oí aces virl a
king kickei, vlicl ar rle momenr is rle Lesr lanu, Lur rleie is a
lov µioLaLiliry rlar rlis vill vin rle lanu, Lecause, ií le makes
rvo µaiis÷aces uµ÷rlen someone else vill make a sriongei
lanu. Ií (rle only king leír) lirs rle Loaiu, Cluck vill lave aces
anu kings, Lur rle same king vill give Anuy rliee kings. Ií a jack
_ _
_-_-_-_
_-_-_-_
_-_
_ _
_
1 8 4 Play Poker Like the Pros
lirs rle Loaiu, BoL makes a sriaiglr. Ií a ren lirs rle Loaiu, Hal
makes a sriaiglr. Cluck voulu neeu rvo µeiíecr caius in a iov
íoi lis ace ro Le useíul: rle lasr rvo aces in rle ueck voulu give
Cluck rliee aces, vlicl voulu vin if no one makes a sriaiglr oi
a lusl. So le las µlenry ro rlink aLour, anu le uoesn`r knov
vlar`s our rleie íacing lim.
Hal: . Hal las ¨lir rle loµ¨ jusr vell enougl ro
ger inro riouLle. He las a µaii oí nines, Lur÷moie imµoiranr÷
le las an oµen-enueu sriaiglr uiav Ly using lis ren, jack, anu
queen. A seven, a ren, a jack, oi a queen vill give Hal a sriaiglr.
Ií ir seems as rlougl rleie aie a lor oí µossiLle vays íoi
eacl µlayei ro vin (oi lose) our rleie, you`ie iiglr. Welcome ro
Omala.
Because eveiyone srill in rle lanu las a ¨µiece¨ oí rlis loµ
(meaning ir las eirlei imµioveu all íoui oí rlem oi given rlem
all ar leasr some ieasonaLle uiaving µossiLiliry oi orlei), even
rlougl rlose µieces aie all uiavs iarlei rlan maue lanus, rle
Lerring acrion is likely ro Le anyvleie íiom veiy caurious ro
veiy aggiessive, ueµenuing on rle µlaying sryles oí rle µeoµle in
rle game.
Anuy nov las rle hisr Lerring oµrion (le ¨acreu¨ hisr as
vell in rle hisr iounu Ly µosring rle small Llinu), anu Lecause
lis lusl uiav is nor a nur-lusl uiav, le clecks. BoL, vlo uoes
lave rle nur-lusl uiav, ueciues ro Ler $30. Cluck, vlo neaily
jumµeu our oí lis sear vlen le sav rle µossiLiliry oí an oµen-
enueu sriaiglr-lusl uiav, µauses ro rlink. He las a sriong uiav,
Lur ir is only a uiav ar rlis µoinr, anu le`u like ro collecr lors oí
Lers íiom eveiyone ií le lirs lis miiacle sriaiglr lusl, so le jusr
calls. Hal anu Anuy also call, meaning rlar rle µor is nov $360
_-_-_-_
1 8 5 Omaha: Setup and Basic Play
($60 eacl Leíoie rle loµ anu $30 eacl on rle loµ).
1le ruin caiu µioves ro Le rle , giving lusles ro Anuy,
BoL, anu Cluck. Anuy, virl a king-ligl lusl, ueciues ro Ler $60
(iememLei, rle srakes lave nov uouLleu). BoL, vlo knovs le
las rle Lesr lanu ar rle momenr anu voulu like ro eirlei uiive
our anyone vlo miglr lave rliee oí a kinu oi ar leasr make ir
exµensive íoi sucl a µlayei ro uiav, iaises ir ro $120.
Cluck las a jack-ligl lusl, Lur rle Ler anu rlen rle iaise
lave lim conceineu. Srill, rle clance rlar lis jack-ligl lusl
miglr Le rle vinnei, comLineu virl rle loµe rlar le miglr lir a
miiacle caiu íoi lis sriaiglr lusl, enrices lim ro call rle $120.
Hal`s oµen-enueu sriaiglr uiav las nor imµioveu, anu
eveiyone else seems veiy laµµy ro see a rliiu uiamonu on rle
Loaiu. Hal ueciues rlar le miglr Le ¨uiaving ueau¨÷rlar is, le
coulu lir lis iueal caiu anu srill lose÷so le íolus.
Anuy consiueis a ieiaise Lur iememLeis rle olu saying rlar
¨ií ir`s µossiLle in Omala, ir vill µioLaLly laµµen,¨ so le
ueciues jusr ro call. Wirl anorlei $360 going inro rle µor on rle
ruin, rle µor nov rorals $¯20.
1le iivei µiouuces rle , µurring a µaii on rle Loaiu anu
rlus making lusles vulneiaLle ro íull louses (oi even íoui oí a
kinu). Anuy clecks, BoL Lers $60, anu Cluck ueciues rlar lis
jack-ligl lusl is µioLaLly no goou. (Beíoie rle lasr caiu, Cluck
vasn`r suie rlar lis lusl vas goou, Lur nov, virl a íull louse
µossiLle, le is ieally convinceu rlar le is Lear.) Ií le íelr le coulu
conresr rle µor íoi jusr $60, le miglr call, Lur le hguies rleie`s a
clance Anuy coulu Le rlinking aLour cleck-iaising. Cluck
íolus.
Anuy isn`r rliilleu virl lis lanu, Lur rleie is nov $¯S0 in
_
_
1 8 6 Play Poker Like the Pros
rle µor, anu le uoesn`r lave rle µioLlem Cluck lau÷neeuing ro
voiiy rlar le miglr lave ro invesr srill moie money ro hnu our ií
lis lanu is rle vinnei. So Anuy calls (le calls $60 ro riy ro vin
$¯S0).
BoL`s ace-ligl lusl vins rle µor, a suiµiise enuing ro mosr
Omala µlayeis vlo lolu a lusl on rle ruin anu rlen see rle
Loaiu µaii on rle iivei. BoL iakes in rle $S40 µor anu Liearles
a sigl oí ielieí. Cluck silenrly cuises lis ¨Lau luck¨ in laving
íaileu ro make lis sriaiglr lusl Lur simulraneously congiaru-
lares limselí íoi saving $60 on rle enu virl lis losing lanu.
Anuy ieminus limselí íoi rle rliiry-sevenrl rime rlis monrl
aLour rle uangei oí uiaving ro non-nur lusles in limir Omala,
anu rle uealei sliues rle Lurron ovei ro Anuy, vlo vill ger ro acr
lasr on rle nexr lanu.
You`ve nov lau a Liieí inriouucrion ro lov anu vlen caius ger
uealr in Omala, anu you lave a sense oí lov a lanu µioceeus.
1le mucl moie uiíhculr µair÷uly you sloulu cleck, Ler, call,
iaise, oi íolu ar eacl juncruie÷vill Le auuiesseu in Claµrei 9.
Omaha Eight or Better: Setup and
Basic Play
1le sriucruie oí Omala eiglr oi Lerrei (OSB) is exacrly like rle
sriucruie oí limir Omala ligl. 1le Lerring is exacrly rle same,
anu rle uealing is exacrly rle same, virl one majoi uisrincrion.
In OSB, somerimes (vlen a lov lanu ¨qualihes¨) rle µor is sµlir
ar rle enu Lerveen rle Lesr ligl lanu anu rle Lesr lov lanu
(moie larei aLour rlis in rle secrion on Omala ligl-lov-sµlir
1 8 7 Omaha: Setup and Basic Play
sriaregy). So hguiing our vlo von vlar (ligl oi lov, ií a lov is
µossiLle) ar rle enu oí rle lanu, virl all rle µlayeis` lanus
íaceuµ, can rake a momenr.
1ouay, OSB is iaµiuly Lecoming one oí rle mosr µoµulai
games in rle voilu. Almosr anyvleie rlar a µokei game is
µlayeu, íiom Ausriia ro Russia ro rle cyLeivoilu, you vill hnu
an OSB game Leing sµieau (uealr). By conriasr, ir is veiy uiíhculr
ro hnu a game oí limir Omala ligl anyvleie. OSB jusr las so
many µossiLiliries. So many lanus aie µlayaLle, anu rle µors can
ger so Lig, rlar µlayeis seem ro enjoy µlaying rlis game. I knov I
love ir! OSB may vell Lecome mosr µoµulai ar youi local game,
ií only you inriouuce ir.
Rarlei rlan rake you rliougl any OSB samµle lanus leie,
I suggesr rlar you ruin ro rle secrion on OSB sriaregy (Claµrei
9), vleie all vill Le maue cleai ro you, evenrually!
Pot-Limit Omaha: Setup and Basic Play
1le sriucruie oí µor-limir Omala (PLO) is exacrly rle same as
rlar oí limir Omala, virl one key uisrincrion. 1le uealing is
exacrly rle same, Lur in PLO you can Ler rle size oí rle µor vlen
ir is youi ruin ro acr. 1lis makes íoi some veiy Lig Lers anu veiy
Lig µors. PLO is rle only game in vlicl you can Ler all youi
cliµs virl rle Lesr µossiLle lanu on rle loµ oi ruin anu Le an
unueiuog ro vin rle µor. I`m going ro rake you rliougl a samµle
lanu in vlicl exacrly rlar laµµeneu ro me.
1 8 8 Play Poker Like the Pros
Pot-Limit Omaha: Sample Hand
Wlile I vas µlaying in a PLO game in 1unica, ^ississiµµi,
rle íolloving lanu came uµ. 1le Llinus veie $25÷$50, anu I
calleu $50 virl K-K-¯-4 in P1. P2 calleu, anu rlen P3 iaiseu rle
size oí rle µor ($25SB + $50BB + $50me + $50P2 + $50P3 =
$225), making ir $2¯5 ro go. (SB is rle small Llinu, BB rle Lig
Llinu.) 1le Lurron, small Llinu, Lig Llinu, I (P1), anu P2 all calleu
rle $2¯5. Wirl six µlayeis µurring in $2¯5 eacl, rle µor lau
$1,650 in ir alieauy, anu ve laun`r even seen rle loµ yer. Wirl a
loµ oí , I vas a veiy laµµy camµei. I lau loµµeu rle
Lesr µossiLle lanu! Þov BB Ler our $1,650, anu I saiu, ¨Raise ir
rle µor.¨ 1le marl is easy Lecause aírei calling rle BB`s $1,650
Ler, I coulu iaise 3 × $1,650 moie. So I calleu $1,650 anu iaiseu
ir $4,950, making ir $6,600 ro call me. By Lerring rle maximum
leie, I vas riying ro µiorecr my veiy sriong lanu virl a veiy
sriong Ler.
Þov P2 saiu, ¨I`m all-in íoi $12,000.¨ I rlouglr, ¨Ianras-
ric! He las rliee rens, anu I lave lim in Lau slaµe rlis lanu.¨
1le acrion gor Lack ro rle BB Lerroi, anu le Legan ro sruuy íoi
quire some rime. Þov ir seemeu ro me rlar rle BB µlayei lau rle
rliee rens. Wlar rle leck vas going on leie. Iinally, rle BB
íolueu lis lanu, anu rlen I quickly calleu rle $12,000 Ler. I
µiouuly liµµeu my lanu uµ, saying, ¨I lave rle Lesr µossiLle
lanu.¨ P2 iesµonueu, ¨OK, Lur you`ie an unueiuog ro vin rle
µor.¨ Wlar. Hov coulu rlis Le so. He rlen µioceeueu ro liµ uµ
lis lanu, . He lau loµµeu rle Lesr µossiLle lusl
uiav anu neeueu a nine, jack, queen, oi ace ro make a sriaiglr.
Inueeu le vas rle íavoiire ro vin rlis lanu, Lur ir vas µierry
close. Ií rle Loaiu µaiieu, rlen le coulun`r vin Lecause I voulu
_-_-_
_-_-_-_
1 8 9 Omaha: Setup and Basic Play
make a íull louse oi íoui kings. Bur ií rle Loaiu uiun`r µaii, anu
a uiamonu, a nine, jack, queen, oi ace came, rlen I voulu lose
rle µor.
I saiu, ¨Do you vanr ro jusr ueal rle caius, oi make a save
so rlar ve uon`r leave $26,000 ro clance.¨ He saiu, ¨I`ll sµlir rle
µor virl you.¨ I saiu, ¨Ler`s jusr ueal one caiu anu rlen ve`ll
ralk¨ Lecause I vas rlinking oi loµing rlar rle Loaiu voulu µaii
iiglr avay. He saiu, ¨Sµlir rle µor oi ueal Lorl caius, hnal
oííei.¨ I saiu, ¨OK, ve`ll sµlir ir, rlen.¨ 1ley uiu ueal our rle
caius íoi µosreiiry, anu rle hisr caiu vas rle laimless , Lur rle
lasr caiu vas , vlicl voulu lave maue P2 rle Lesr µossiLle
lanu (rle ace ligl lusl). Goou sµlir, Plil, you jusr saveu $13K!
Omala, in all irs vaiiarions, is a game oí giear skill. I vill reacl
you Lasic, inreimeuiare, anu some auvanceu sriaregies íoi Lorl
PLO anu OSB in Claµreis 9 anu 10.
_
_
C h a p t e r 9
Omaha Eight or Better
(High-Low Split) Strategy
Omala eiglr oi Lerrei (OSB) is rle voilu`s seconu mosr µoµulai
µokei game iiglr nov. Ií you valk inro any caiu ioom on rle
Wesr Coasr oí rle Unireu Srares, you vill hnu µeoµle µlaying
OSB. Cleck our any caiu ioom in Los Angeles (like rle Com-
meice Casino) oi in Las Vegas (like rle Bellagio), anu you`ll hnu
many uiííeienr OSB limirs Leing µlayeu. One ieason íoi rle µoµ-
ulaiiry oí OSB is rlar you aie inirially uealr íoui lole caius
insreau oí rvo, rleieíoie µlayeis hnu a lor moie lanus ro µlay
rlan one hnus in Holu`em. 1le game rlus geneiares a lor moie
acrion anu µlays a lor Liggei rlan limir Holu`em. OSB, rlen, is a
lirrle Lir moie like rle games µeoµle µlay ar lome virl rleii
íiienus. Anu even rlougl rleie aie no vilu caius in OSB, ir
seems ro lave rle íeel oí vilu caius anu lors oí acrion. Lors oí
acrion equals Lig µors.
OSB is a ligl-lov-sµlir game. Wlen you srair ro scooµ µors
(vin Lorl ligl anu lov), rle money comes in quickly anu in
Omaha Eight or Better (High-Low Split) Strategy
laige quanriries. In orlei voius, rlis is rle Lesr µokei game ro ger
lucky in íoi a lirrle vlile. Anorlei ieason vly µeoµle love rlis
game is rlar nor even rle exµeirs seem ro lave a µeiíecr unuei-
sranuing oí a µioµei µlaying sriaregy íoi ir. In íacr, OSB sriaregy
is srill ueLareu among rle voilu`s Lesr µokei µlayeis, anu eveiy-
one seems ro lave a uiííeienr oµinion aLour vlicl lanus aie
µlayaLle Leíoie rle loµ! In no orlei µokei game uo rle roµ µios
uisagiee so viuely on sriaregy.
Wlar uoes ¨ligl-lov-sµlir game¨ mean. Ir means rlar lalí
oí eacl µor is avaiueu ro rle Lesr ligl lanu, anu lalí oí rle µor
is avaiueu ro rle Lesr lov lanu, ií rleie is a qualiíying lov (anu
as rle name imµlies, youi lov musr Le ar leasr an eiglr lov ro
qualiíy). Ií rleie is no qualiíying lov, rle vlole µor goes ro rle
ligl lanu.
In rlis claµrei you vill leain:
z Hov ro qualiíy a lov lanu in OSB.
z 1le imµoirance oí laving A-2 as µair oí youi íoui-caiu
srairing lanu in OSB.
z A lisr oí rle Lesr srairing lanus in OSB.
z Pieloµ rleoiy íoi Leginneis.
z Iouirl srieer rleoiy íoi Leginneis.
z Rivei rleoiy íoi Leginneis.
z ¨^iami¨ ]oln Ceinuro`s ¨rliee-vleel-caiu¨ rleoiy.
z Scorry Þguyen`s ¨A-2 oi íolu¨ rleoiy.
z 1eu Ioiiesr`s OSB exµeiimenr.
z Plil`s unsuccessíul OSB rleoiy.
Ler`s ger ro lov you µlay rlis game. Be íoievaineu rlar ir is
a veiy uiíhculr game ro leain, Lur leaining ir is uehnirely voirl
1 9 2 Play Poker Like the Pros
rle rime neeueu ro voik youi vay rliougl rlis claµrei. (Ir may
lelµ you ro ieieau Claµrei S.)
Qualifying a Low Hand in O8B
Reíei ro rle Sruu S/L clair on µage 316. 1lese vill Le rle same
qualiíying lov lanus íoi OSB. You neeu ro lave ar leasr an
eiglr lov (no caiu liglei rlan an eiglr) in oiuei ro lave a
clance ar rle lov lalí oí rle µor, rlar`s rle Lau nevs. 1le goou
nevs is rlar sriaiglrs anu lusles uo nor counr againsr you íoi
lov. An eiglr lov means you lave hve lov caius, rle liglesr oí
rlem an eiglr, anu no rvo oí rlose hve caius µaiieu. A seven
lov means hve lov caius seven oi less. A six lov means hve
caius six oi less. A hve lov, calleu a ¨vleel,¨ is 5-4-3-2-A. 1lis
is rle Lesr µossiLle lov, anu ar rle same rime ir counrs as a
sriaiglr íoi ligl. (Aces sving in rlis game, meaning rlar an ace
is Lorl rle lovesr µossiLle caiu anu rle liglesr µossiLle caiu.) A
vleel is one oí rle mosr uesiiaLle lanus you can make vlen
you µlay OSB.
Ioi íuirlei unueisranuing oí a qualiheu lov lanu, ler`s look
ar all rle µossiLle ¨qualiheu¨ lovs (rlose you miglr vanr ro Ler
on), íiom rle voisr µossiLle eiglr lov (S-¯-6-5-4) ro rle Lesr
µossiLle lov (A-2-3-4-5).
All rlis qualiíying lov sruíí sounus a lor moie comµlicareu
rlan ir ieally is. You von`r lave ro memoiize rlis in oiuei ro
unueisranu vlerlei you lave a qualiheu lov oi nor. Rarlei, ií
rliee unµaiieu caius eiglr oi unuei aie on rle Loaiu, rlen rle
Lesr µossiLle lov is easy ro hguie our. Say rlar rle Loaiu slovs
Omaha Eight or Better (High-Low Split) Strategy
K-S-6-Q-¯ (rle lasr communiry caiu las Leen uealr), vlar is rle
Lesr µossiLle lov lanu. ]usr hguie our vlar voulu Le rle lovesr
rvo nonµaiieu lov caius someone coulu lave in lis lanu (ro Le
auueu ro rle rliee caius on Loaiu), anu you lave rle Lesr µossi-
Lle lov. (See µages 290÷291 in rle Razz secrion íoi a moie
ueraileu exµlanarion oí lov ro uereimine rle lov.) In rlis case an
ace anu a ueuce aie rle lovesr µossiLle nonµaiieu caius ro rle S-
¯-6 on Loaiu (hisr rake rle rliee lovesr caius íiom rle Loaiu),
so rle S-¯-6-2-A is rle Lesr µossiLle lov lanu anu rle S-¯-6-3-A
is rle nexr-Lesr µossiLle lov lanu. You jusr rake rle lovesr rliee
caius on rle Loaiu anu auu rle nexr rvo Lesr lov caius (vlerlei
in youi lanu oi in someone else`s) ro come uµ virl rle Lesr µos-
siLle lov lanu. Ioi a Loaiu oí 2-5-¯-Q-K, jusr rliov in A-3 íoi
rle Lesr µossiLle lov lanu (A-2-3-5-¯) anu A-4 íoi rle seconu-
Lesr µossiLle lov lanu (A-2-4-5-¯).
I loµe I`m nor scaiing you avay íiom OSB Ly making rle
uereiminarion oí rle Lesr lov lanu seem roo comµlicareu! Ir
ieally isn`r. 1le hve lovesr caius vin. Ir is ieally rlar simµle. 1le
only comµlicareu µair is hguiing our vlar rlose aie, unuei rle
sriucruie oí raking exacrly rvo caius íiom youi lanu anu rliee
íiom rle Loaiu. So an S-¯-3-2-A is a voise lov rlan an S-6-5-4-
3, vlicl is voise rlan an S-6-5-4-A, anu so on. Ií you vanr ro Le
scaieu avay íiom rlis game, rleie aie a lor Lerrei ieasons rlan
rlis one! Once you unueisranu lov ro hguie our vlicl lov
lanu Lears vlicl, you vill uiscovei rlar ir ieally is easiei rlan
my exµlanarion makes ir seem.
By rle vay, rlis is a íanrasric game íoi you ro inriouuce inro
youi lome µokei game. Aírei rle µlayeis in youi µiivare game
ger ovei rle comµlexiry oí uereimining vlar lanu vins rle µor,
1 9 4 Play Poker Like the Pros
rley`ll lave a lor oí íun µlaying rlis game. OSB µiomores acrion
anu Lig µors, anu all soirs oí uiííeienr lanus can vin a µor oi
rvo in rlis game.
When No Low Hand Is Possible; and When
Two Players Share the Same Low
RememLei rlar rle lov lanu gers only lalí oí rle µor (ií ir
qualihes). 1lis means rlar ií no one in rle µor makes a lov, rle
enriie µor is avaiueu ro rle Lesr ligl lanu. Anu ií rle Loaiu is
sucl rlar rleie is no µossiLle lov, rle µor vill Le avaiueu ro rle
ligl only. Ioi examµle, ií rle Loaiu is 6-6-¯-¯-9, rlen no lov is
µossiLle. 1lis ourcome aiises Lecause rleie aie nor rliee
unµaiieu caius eiglr oi unuei on rle Loaiu. Likevise, ií rle
Loaiu is 4-4-5-5-4 no lov is µossiLle. Lven rlougl rleie aie hve
lov caius on rle Loaiu, only rvo oí rlem aie unµaiieu, jusr one
oí rle íouis anu one oí rle hves. Coníuseu. Don`r íeel Lau aLour
ir: lors oí exµeiienceu Omala µlayeis ger coníuseu in rlis sirua-
rion roo. Ir`s easy ro see rlar no lov is µossiLle vlen rle Loaiu
looks like 9-10-]-Q-K, ir`s vlen rle Loaiu is íull oí lov caius
rlar ir`s easy ro ger coníuseu vlen you`ie nev ar rlis.
1o avoiu coníusion, look ar ir rlis vay: you can use only
rvo caius íiom youi lanu, so ií rle Loaiu is rle 4-4-5-5-4, vlicl
rliee allov you ro make a lov. 1le 4-4-5. 1le 4-5-5. 1le
4-4-4. Þone oí rlese comLinarions vill voik ro make a lov.
So a Loaiu oí 2-3-5-9-] oi A-6-K-Q-4 oi 3-2-Q-Q-A all µoren-
rially qualiíy vlile Loaius like 3-3-4-4-3 oi Q-K-A-5-] oi
2-3-2-Q-K oi S-S-¯-¯-Q uon`r qualiíy, no marrei vlar youi lanu
lolus.
Omaha Eight or Better (High-Low Split) Strategy
Back to the More Usual Low Hands
Ler`s rake a look ar some Lesr µossiLle lov lanus, on rle
Lasis oí a íev samµle Loaius. Wly uo ve neeu ro hguie our vlar
rle Lesr µossiLle lov lanus aie in OSB. Because vlen ve con-
cluue rlar ve lolu rle Lesr µossiLle lov lanu, rlen ve sloulu Le
µurring in as many iaises as ve can. Wlen ve lave rle Lesr µos-
siLle lov lanu, rlen oí couise ve vill usually vin ar leasr lalí oí
rle µor, anu ve vanr oui lalí ro Le as Lig as µossiLle.
1leie aie some siruarions in vlicl you may vanr ro sroµ
iaising on rle enu vlen you lave rle Lesr µossiLle lov, µiimaiily
vlen rleie aie only rliee µlayeis leír, you lave only a lov, anu
rle Lerring inuicares rlar you`ie µioLaLly uµ againsr ar leasr one
orlei µlayei virl rle same lov. Ií rlar ruins our ro Le rle case,
you`ll vin only one-quairei oí rle µor (rlis is calleu ¨gerring
quaireieu¨), anu rlus you`ll lose a small µeicenrage oí youi ovn
lasr Lers anu iaises, Lur uon`r voiiy roo mucl aLour rlis uncom-
mon ourcome yer.
Adding Two Cards from a Hand to Make
the Four Best Possible Low Hands
Wirl a Loaiu oí 2-3-5-6-S, vlar is rle Lesr µossiLle lov
lanu. Hov aLour auuing an A-4 ro rlar Loaiu. Ií you uo, you
make a vleel, rle Lesr µossiLle lov lanu in rle game, 5-4-3-2-A.
Wlar is rle seconu-Lesr µossiLle lov lanu virl rlar Loaiu. By
using an A-2, A-3, A-5, oi A-6 íiom youi lanu, you`ll make a 6-
5-3-2-A lov. RememLei rlar you musr use rvo caius íiom youi
lanu anu rliee íiom rle Loaiu. So auu rle A-2 íiom youi lanu
1 9 6 Play Poker Like the Pros
ro rle 6-5-3 íiom rle Loaiu, virl rle A-3 íiom youi lanu, auu
rle 2-5-6 íiom rle Loaiu, virl rle A-5 íiom youi lanu, use rle
2-3-6 íiom rle Loaiu, virl rle A-6 íiom youi lanu, use rle 2-3-
5 íiom rle Loaiu. Þore rlar in rlis case rle A-2, A-3, A-5, anu
A-6 all comLine virl rle Loaiu caius ro make rle same 6-5-3-2-
A lov. ^ake suie rlar you see rlis iemaikaLle ourcome cleaily
Leíoie you move on ro rle nexr µaiagiaµl.
Wlar is rle rliiu-Lesr µossiLle lov lanu virl rlis Loaiu.
1le 6-5-4-3-2 lov is µossiLle (a ¨sriaiglr six¨). You can make a
sriaiglr six Ly using a 2-4, 3-4, 4-5, oi 4-6 íiom youi lanu.
Wlar is rle íouirl-Lesr µossiLle lov lanu virl rlis Loaiu. 1le
¯-5-3-2-A lov is µossiLle, vlen you use an A-¯ íiom youi lanu.
1o make rle hírl-Lesr lov, auu a ¯-4 íiom youi lanu ro make a
¯-5-4-3-2 lov.
Aie you gerring rle lang oí rlis sruíí aLour qualiheu lovs
yer. Ler`s riy rliee moie examµles.
No Low Is Possible
Wirl a Loaiu oí K-Q-]-4-3, vlar is rle Lesr µossiLle lov
lanu. Þo qualiheu lov lanu is µossiLle virl rlis Loaiu.
A Lot of Times You Can Just Add A-2 to
the Three Lowest Cards on the Board
Wirl a Loaiu oí K-4-Q-6-¯, vlar is rle Lesr µossiLle lov
lanu. Auu A-2 anu you lave ¯-6-4-2-A. Auu A-3 anu you lave
rle nexr-Lesr µossiLle lov, ¯-6-4-3-A. Auu 2-3 anu you lave rle
rliiu-Lesr µossiLle lov, ¯-6-4-3-2. Auu A-5 anu you lave rle
íouirl-Lesr µossiLle lov, ¯-6-5-4-A.
Omaha Eight or Better (High-Low Split) Strategy
Adding A-2 Works Again
Wirl a Loaiu oí 3-5-Q-S-¯, vlar is rle Lesr µossiLle lov
lanu. Auu A-2 íoi ¯-5-3-2-A. Auu A-4 íoi rle seconu-Lesr µossi-
Lle lov lanu, ¯-5-4-3-A. Auu 2-4 íoi rle rliiu-Lesr µossiLle lov,
¯-5-4-3-2. Auu A-6 íoi rle íouirl-Lesr-µossiLle lov, ¯-6-5-3-A.
OK, I loµe you`ie nov Leginning ro see rle liglr. Iiisr, you
neeu rle rliee lovesr caius eiglr oi lovei on rle Loaiu, anu rlen
you jusr hguie our vlar rvo caius íiom youi lanu you neeu ro
auu in oiuei ro make rle Lesr µossiLle lov lanu.
Remember: You Have to Use Exactly Two
Cards from Your Hand
RememLei rlar you may use rvo caius íoi ligl anu rvo
uiííeienr uovn caius íoi lov in rle same lanu. Oí couise, you
may also use rle same rvo caius íoi ligl anJ lov ií you
cloose.
Ir is ciucial rlar you iememLei rlis iule. I lave oíren seen
µeoµle misieau rleii lanus Lecause rley`ve íoigorren ir. 1ley
miglr rlink, íoi examµle, rlar ií rle Loaiu ieaus _-_-_-_-
_ anu rley lave _-_-_-_ in rleii lanu, rlen rley lave a
vleel. 1ley somerimes misieau rleii lanus, rlinking rley can
use rle 2-3-4-5 íiom rle Loaiu comLineu virl rle ace íiom rle
lanu íoi a hve lov. In iealiry, rley lave a seven lov÷rle A-¯
íiom rle lanu comLineu virl rle 2-3-4 íiom rle Loaiu (¯-4-3-2-
A). Holu`em µlayeis vlo aie svircling ovei ro Omala oíren
make rlis soir oí miscalcularion.
1 9 8 Play Poker Like the Pros
Using Two Down Cards for High and the
Other Two for Low
Ií you lave A-2-]-Q in youi lanu (rlis is a µierry goou srair-
ing lanu) anu a Loaiu oí 4-5-S-]-Q, youi lov lanu vill Le S-5-4-
2-A, oi rle Lesr µossiLle lov lanu in rlis case. Ioi lov, you use
rle A-2 íiom youi lanu anu rle S-5-4 íiom rle Loaiu. Youi ligl
lanu vill Le Q-Q-]-]-S, oi roµ rvo µaii oí queens anu jacks,
using rle Q-] íiom youi lanu anu rle Q-]-S íiom rle Loaiu. In
rlis examµle you`ie using A-2 íoi lov anu Q-] íoi ligl.
Using the Same Two Down Cards for Both
High and Low
Using One Card Twice: Once for High and
Once for Low
Ií you lave a lanu oí , anu rle Loaiu slovs
, rlen you voulu use rle A-4 íiom youi lanu íoi rle
Ií you lave a lanu oí _-_-_-_ anu a Loaiu oí _-_-
_-_-_, rlen you use _-_ íoi rle seconu-Lesr µossiLle lov
lanu oí S-6-5-3-A. (A-2 voulu make rle Lesr µossiLle lov in rlis
case.) Ioi ligl you voulu also use _-_, íoi _-_-_-_-_,
rle nur (Lesr µossiLle) lusl. As you can see íiom rlis examµle,
ir`s µossiLle ro use rle same rvo caius íiom youi lanu íoi Lorl
ligl anu lov. Having rle Lesr µossiLle ligl lanu anu rle
seconu-Lesr µossiLle lov lanu in rle same lanu is a srunning
sensarion. You may vell scooµ Lorl rle ligl anu rle lov lalves
oí rle µor virl rlis lanu.
_-_-_-_
_-_-_
_-_-
Omaha Eight or Better (High-Low Split) Strategy
seconu-Lesr µossiLle lov lanu oí ¯-5-4-2-A. You voulu use rle
A-¯ µoirion oí youi lanu íoi a ligl lanu oí A-¯-¯-Q-K, oi jusr a
µaii oí sevens virl A-K-Q kickeis. 1lis lanu is a lor veakei
rlan rle µievious examµle, virl one µaii oí sevens seiving as
youi ligl lanu anu rle seconu-Lesr lov voiking as youi lov
lanu. Bur ir`s nor Lau: an excellenr slor ar lov anu an oursiue
slor ar ligl.
When Only a High Hand Is Available
The Importance of A-2 in Your
Starting Hand
Þov rlar ve`ve coveieu lov ro qualiíy a lov, íiom comLinarions
oí Loaiu anu lanu, anu vlar rle Lesr µossiLle lov lanus aie,
given ceirain Loaius, ler`s move on ro a moie comµlere µicruie oí
OSB. We`ll ruin nov ro rle µioLlem oí assessing srairing lanus.
A íev µokei µioíessionals Lelieve rleie is only one rvo-caiu
comLinarion you coulu lave in youi lanu rlar is so µiomising
Wirl a Loaiu sloving _-_-_-_-_, rle Lesr µossiLle
ligl lanu is A-10, vlicl makes 10-]-Q-K-A (an ace ligl
sriaiglr). 1leie aie no µaiis on Loaiu, rlus rleie aie no íouis oí
a kinu oi íull louses. 1leie isn`r rliee ro a suir on rle Loaiu,
rlus rleie aie no lusles. So a sriaiglr is rle Lesr µossiLle ligl
lanu, virl A-10 Leing Lesr anu 9-10 Leing seconu-Lesr. 1le
rliiu-Lesr µossiLle ligl lanu is rliee kings, íolloveu Ly all rle
rliee-oí-a-kinu lanus. Þexr ve lave roµ rvo µaii, maue virl
K-Q our oí rle lanu. Anyvay, you ger rle iuea.
2 0 0 Play Poker Like the Pros
you voulu nor lave ro look ar youi orlei rvo lole caius Leíoie
ueciuing ro µlay. 1lis comLinarion is A-2. In orlei voius, a lor
oí roµ µlayeis Lelieve rlar any lanu conraining A-2 is µlayaLle,
iegaiuless oí vlar rle orlei rvo caius in rle lanu aie. Oí
couise, I voulu nevei iecommenu nor looking ar rle orlei rvo
caius (alrlougl I somerimes uon`r look). In µokei, ir`s alvays a
goou iuea ro knov vlar youi vlole lanu is!
1le imµoirance oí srairing virl an A-2 among rle íoui
caius in youi lanu cannor Le unueiesrimareu. Some µioíession-
als consiuei ir moie imµoiranr rlan srairing virl A-A! Oíren rle
Loaiu vill come uovn virl a comLinarion oí rliee lov caius oí
rliee rliougl eiglr (like 3-4-5, 4-6-S, 4-5-¯, oi 3-¯-S). Wlen any
oí rlese comLinarions oí rliee rliougl eiglr lir rle Loaiu, rle
Lesr µossiLle lov lanu is maue virl rle A-2 in youi lanu. 1le
majoiiry oí lov Loaius iequiie rlar you lave an A-2 in youi
lanu ro make rle nur (Lesr µossiLle) lov. 1lar is, mosr oí rle
rime vlen rleie is a lov-qualiheu Loaiu, A-2 íiom someone`s
lanu vill make rle Lesr µossiLle lov. 1lis is vly mosr µiemium
OSB lanus conrain A-2. Oí couise, virl a Loaiu oí 2-4-¯-]-], A-
3 is rle Lesr µossiLle lov.
Wlen you lave A-2 in youi lanu, you`ie loµing ro guaian-
ree youiselí lalí rle µor Ly vinning rle lov siue anu ro ger lucky
somelov, some vay, anu vin rle ligl lalí as vell. Peilaµs you
vill vin rle ligl lalí virl a íull louse, a lusl, a sriaiglr, riiµs,
rvo µaii, one µaii, oi even ace ligl! In 2001, in rle Woilu Clam-
µionsliµs oí Omala (rle $5,000 Luy-in OSB rouinamenr ar rle
WSOP), I Lusreu our rle µokei legenu 1. ]. Clouriei ar rle hnal
raLle vlen my A-] ligl Lear lis A-6 ligl! 1. ]. sraireu virl A-2-
5-6, anu I sraireu virl A-2-5-]. 1le Loaiu Liouglr 3-¯-3-3-K,
Omaha Eight or Better (High-Low Split) Strategy
anu I von rle µor virl my A-] anu rle Loaiu oí 3-3-3. He lau A-
6-3-3-3 íoi ligl, anu rleie vas no lov on rle Loaiu! I venr on
ro hnisl seconu ro anorlei voilu clamµion, Scorry Þguyen,
even rlougl I lau Scorry $490,000 ro $60,000 in cliµs ar one
µoinr. I simµly ian inro a ieally unlucky sriercl oí caius ar rlar
µoinr, alrlougl Scorry is consiueieu Ly many ro Le one oí rle
Lesr OSB µlayeis in rle voilu rouay. Don`r íeel roo Lau íoi me,
rlougl, Lecause seconu µlace uiu µay moie rlan $100,000.
The Rank of Starting Hands in O8B
1le nexr-Lesr µossiLle srairing lanu in my Look is A-A-2-4,
íolloveu Ly A-A-2-5, anu so on, all rle vay uovn ro A-A-2-K.
1le ieason vly A-A-2-x is sucl a Lig lanu is rlar you vill oíren
1le Lesr µossiLle srairing lanu in OSB is A-A-2-3, virl rle A-2
anu rle A-3 µaiis eacl oí rle same suir. So _-_-_-_ is as
goou as ir gers in OSB íoi a srairing lanu. Any A-A-2-3 virl jusr
one suireu µaii is rle nexr-Lesr µossiLle lanu, íolloveu Ly A-A-2-
3 virl no suirs. Wly is rlis lanu so sriong. Iiisr, you`ie srairing
virl rle Lesr µossiLle µaii (A-A), seconu, you lave rle nur-lusl
µossiLiliry vlen you`ie suireu ro rle ace, anu, rliiu, you alieauy
lave rliee vleel caius rlar oííei rle Lesr µossiLle lov comLina-
rion (A-2), rle seconu-Lesr µossiLle lov comLinarion (A-3), anu
rle rliiu-Lesr µossiLle lov comLinarion (2-3). So rlis is an incieu-
iLly µoveiíul lanu, Lecause you lave so many giear lov µossiLil-
iries anu ligl µossiLiliries ar rle same rime. 1lis is a lanu rlar`s
easy ro scooµ rle µor virl, anu lanus rlar lave sriong scooµing
µorenrial aie liglly µiizeu in ligl-lov-sµlir games.
2 0 2 Play Poker Like the Pros
make rle Lesr µossiLle lov lanu virl ir, anu rle A-A can lolu uµ
íoi ligl as vell, esµecially vlen rleie is anorlei µaii on rle
Loaiu, like 10-4-5-¯-¯. Aírei A-A-2-x, I µieíei A-A-3-x, Lur
some orlei µios like A-2-3-4. 1le aigumenr íoi A-A-3-x is rlar
you lave rle Lesr µossiLle µaii, rle seconu-Lesr µossiLle lov caiu
comLinarion, anu, ií you`ie suireu, rle Lesr µossiLle lusl uiav.
1le aigumenr íoi rle A-2-3-4 is rlar you lave all rle lov uiavs
coveieu. In mosr cases vleie rle Loaiu qualihes íoi lov, you vill
lave rle nur lov. Wlar you rlink is moie imµoiranr÷laving all
rle lovs coveieu oi laving ligl íearuies÷vill uereimine vlicl
oí rlese lanus you like Lerrei. Bur rleie aie goou aigumenrs
eirlei vay. In any case, rley aie Lorl veiy µoveiíul srairing
lanus in OSB.
Aírei A-A-3-x anu A-2-3-4 comes A-2-3-x. Wirl A-2-3-x
you vill vin a µiece oí rle µor moie rlan 40 µeicenr oí rle rime.
^any roµ µios ieally vanr ro lave íoui vleel caius in a lanu,
even vlen rlar lanu uoesn`r conrain Lorl an ace anu ueuce, like
A-3-4-5 oi 2-3-4-5.
Heie is my lisr oí OSB lanus (rle hisr 10 on rle lisr aie ¨µie-
mium,¨ anu rle nexr eiglr I`ll call ¨sriong¨), in oiuei íiom Lesr
µlayaLle lanu ro voisr µlayaLle lanu. Again, rlis is rle lisr oí rle
µlayaLle lanus. Suireu lanus aie Lerrei rlan unsuireu lanus.
1lis is my lisr oí rle mosr µoveiíul µlayaLle lanus in OSB.
Hanus like aie iiglr on rle euge oí Leing µlayaLle
(I`m µlaying rlem). I vill almosr alvays µlay rvo Lig µaiis
uouLle-suireu. Bur I`m nor inreiesreu in lanus like ,
since rle µaiis aien`r ligl enougl ro vin on rleii ovn meiir.
^oieovei, vlen you uo loµ a ser virl a lanu like rlis, youi ser
vill almosr nevei Le rle liglesr availaLle rliee oí a kinu on rle
Loaiu. Geneially, vlen rleie is an eiglr oi a nine on rle Loaiu
_-_-_-_
_-_-_-_,
Omaha Eight or Better (High-Low Split) Strategy
Premium and Strong O8B hands
2 0 4 Play Poker Like the Pros
rleie vill Le oveicaius our rleie also. In Omala, vlenevei rleie
aie oveicaius rleie is a goou µossiLiliry oí an oveiser, so you
vanr ro sray avay íiom lanus like rlis. Bur rlese uiavLacks uo
nor aµµly ro A-A, K-K, oi Q-Q.
Preflop Theory for O8B Beginners
Tight Play
As is my usual µiacrice in auvising Leginneis in a µokei
game, I encouiage riglr µlay Leíoie rle loµ. 1lar means µlaying
only rle ¨µiemium lanus¨ on rle lisr aLove Leíoie rle loµ. 1lis
vay you`ll alvays Le µlaying íiom a µosirion oí sriengrl as you
leain rle nuances oí OSB.
Raising before the Flop
1le Liggesr µieloµ uecision you neeu ro make, aírei vlerlei
oi nor ro µlay youi lanu ar all, is vlerlei ro limµ inro rle Lerring
oi iaise. 1lis uecision ueµenus nor only on rle sriengrl oí youi
lanu Lur also on vlar rle level oí youi oµµonenrs` µlay is anu
lov many oµµonenrs you`ie likely ro íace.
Ií you`ie µlaying ar lome virl ielarively inexµeiienceu µeo-
µle, rlen ir`s OK ro go aleau anu iaise virl rlese ryµes oí lanus
eveiy rime, virlour arremµring any ueceµrion. Ií you`ie µlaying in
a casino virl exµeiienceu µeoµle, you neeu ro use ueceµrion ro
lelµ slaµe rle vay youi oµµonenrs acr Leíoie rle loµ. OLviously,
ií you iaise in eaily µosirion, rleie vill Le íevei exµeiienceu oµµo-
nenrs iemaining in rle µor ro rake rle loµ virl you. Ií you jusr call
Omaha Eight or Better (High-Low Split) Strategy
Leíoie rle loµ, rlen you can exµecr moie µlayeis ro call one Ler
anu rake rle loµ virl you. 1lis is a key µoinr, Lecause vlen you
lave one oí rle roµ ren lanus íiom my lisr (rle µiemium lanus),
rlen you vanr a lor oí oµµonenrs raking rle loµ along virl you,
so rlar you can vin a Lig µor vlen you lir youi lanu.
Ioi examµle, ií you`ie in eaily ro miuule µosirion virl a µie-
mium lanu rlar conrains A-2, a useíul µlay is ro jusr call Leíoie
rle loµ. (Don`r iaise yer!) 1lis accomµlisles rvo rlings:
ir allovs youi oµµonenrs ro limµ inro rle µor íoi jusr one Ler
Lelinu you virl rleii veakei lov lanus (A-3 anu voise),
vlile ar rle same rime concealing rle sriengrl oí youi lanu (con-
cealing rle µossiLiliry rlar ir conrains A-2). Once youi oµµonenrs
loµ virl rle seconu- anu rliiu-Lesr lov uiavs oi lanus, rley vill
usually conrinue ro µlay íoi rle Lig-money srieers, vlen you vill
lave rlem ciusleu virl rle Lesr µossiLle lov lanu! Again, jusr
call virl rlese µiemium lanus, so as ro riaµ youi oµµonenrs anu
Luilu a Lig µor íoi youiselí vlen you make youi lanu.
By jusr calling anu keeµing rle µor small, you vill also limir
youi losses vlen you miss rle Loaiu comµlerely, as laµµens
vlen all ligl caius lir rle Loaiu oi vlen rle viong lov caius
lir anu counreiíeir (iuin) youi lov lanu. Wlen you limµ inro rle
Lerring virl a lanu like A-2-3-S anu rle loµ is 6-¯-S, you can
vin moie money Ly laving riaµµeu all rle A-3 anu voise lanus
inro µlaying virl you. Anu vlen rle loµ is 10-10-], you can ger
oíí youi lanu cleaµly.
Ií you lave one oí rlese µiemium lanus on rle Lurron oi in
rle Llinus, rlen rlings aie uiííeienr. In rlis case, ir`s OK ro go
aleau anu make ir rvo Lers ro go (iaise), Lecause you von`r Le
uiiving anyone our oí rle µor. (Þo one vlo alieauy calleu one
Ler vill nov íolu lis lanu íoi one moie Ler.)
2 0 6 Play Poker Like the Pros
Iueally, vlen you lave one oí rlese µiemium lanus, you
vanr ro Luilu a luge µor Leíoie rle loµ anu keeµ all youi oµµo-
nenrs in Leíoie rle loµ. Hovevei, rlis is veiy rougl ro uo. So in
eaily anu miuule µosirion, jusr call virl rle µiemium lanus, ro
keeµ moie µlayeis in rle µor. In lare µosirion oi in rle Llinus,
iaise ir, ro ger moie money inro rle µor.
Wirl lanus numLeis 11 rliougl 1S on rle lisr (sriong
lanus) you aien`r looking ro Luilu any luge µors, Lecause rlese
lanus aien`r ieally oí rle same caliLei as rle roµ ren lanus. Wirl
rlese sriong lanus you vanr ro rake a loµ anu loµe rlar you lir
rle loµ vell. Wirl rle µiemium lanus (numLeis 1 rliougl 10)
ir`s veiy easy ro loµ a vinning lanu, Lur virl rle sriong lanus
rlis von`r laµµen as oíren. 1leieíoie, alrlougl you neeu ro see
a loµ virl rlese lanus, you uon`r neeu ro Luilu a µor virl rlem
Leíoie rle loµ.
Beginners’ Theory for Strong Flops and
Weak Flops
Wlile you`ie µlaying rle µiemium lanus (roµ ren) anu sriong
lanus (11÷1S), you`ll lir giear loµs anu reiiiLle loµs anu
somevleie-in-Lerveen loµs. Iiisr, ler`s rake a look ar a Luncl oí
examµles oí vlar ro uo virl goou ro giear loµs. Seconu, ve`ll
look ar vlar you sloulu uo virl rle maiginal ro reiiiLle loµs.
Great Flops
Wlen you lave rle luxuiy oí a giear loµ, youi only ueci-
sion is vlerlei oi nor you sloulu iam anu jam rle loµ (µur in as
Omaha Eight or Better (High-Low Split) Strategy
many iaises as you can) oi slov-µlay rle loµ (ler orlei µlayeis
inro rle µor Ly acring veak anu rleieíoie caµruiing auuirional
money íiom many uiííeienr µlayeis).
1le aigumenr íoi iaising nov is rlar you vanr ro uiive our
ligl lanus like rvo µaii oi riiµs so rlar youi µaii oí eiglrs miglr
vin rle ligl siue oí rle µor vlile youi A-2 vins rle lov lalí. 1le
mucl sriongei aigumenr leie is íoi jusr calling virl rlis lanu on
rle loµ. Aírei all, you lave rle lov lalí oí rle µor ¨lockeu uµ¨
unless someone else also las A-2, in vlicl case you voulu ger
one-quairei oí rle vlole µor (one-lalí oí rle lov lalí, somerimes
rle lov can even Le sµlir inro rliee, in vlicl case youi rake
voulu amounr ro one-sixrl oí rle µor). Anu you lave a giear
clance ro vin rle ligl siue ií a uiamonu (lusl) oi an ace, ueuce,
rliee, oi six comes uµ ro make you a sriaiglr. ^y vore is rlar you
slov-µlay rlis lanu on rle loµ anu riy ro keeµ as many µlayeis in
rle µor as µossiLle. Someone virl a voise lusl uiav vill call
one Ler as vell, vlicl is giear íoi you ií rle lusl uoes come.
Suµµose rlar you lave A-3-K-K anu rle loµ is K-4-4. You
Suµµose you lave _-_-_-_ anu rle loµ is _-_-_.
In rlis siruarion you lave loµµeu rle Lesr µossiLle lov, anu ir is
uncounreiíeiraLle, meaning rlar ir cannor lose rle lov µor no
marrei vlicl orlei lov caius come uµ on rle nexr rvo Loaiu
caius. Lven ií rle lasr rvo caius µaii rle ace, ueuce, oi rliee, you
vill srill make rle Lesr µossiLle lov Ly using youi Lackuµ caius.
You lave also loµµeu a µoveiíul viaµ sriaiglr uiav (4-5 íiom
rle Loaiu viaµµeu virl an A, 2, 3, oi 6 on one oí rle nexr rvo
caius vill make you a sriaiglr), rle ace-ligl lusl uiav, anu a
µaii oí eiglrs! Wov, vlar a loµ íoi youi lanu! Þov vlar uo
you uo. Do you srair Lerring, iaising, anu ieiaising iiglr nov, oi
uo you jusr call ro luie in youi oµµonenrs.
2 0 8 Play Poker Like the Pros
lave loµµeu kings íull oí íouis. Þoimally, vlen you loµ rle roµ
íull louse you voulu geneially vanr ro µlay ir íasr (Ler anu iaise
eveiy µossiLle rime) ro µievenr someone íiom lirring rle ¨Lack-
uooi¨ lov, carcling rvo µeiíecr caius on íouirl srieer anu rle
iivei, sucl as 6-¯. Wlen rlis laµµens you enu uµ giving uµ lalí oí
rle µor unnecessaiily. In rle case oí A-3-K-K, lovevei, you lave
a sriong lov lanu as vell as rle roµ íull louse. Ií you slov-µlay
ir, someone vlo srays in may lir a caiu rlar keeµs lim in rle µor,
nor knoving rlar le las no loµe oí vinning rle lov siue (le is
uiaving ueau). On rle orlei lanu, ií an oµµonenr las exacrly one
íoui in lis lanu, rlen youi µlaying rle lanu íasr may µiove ro Le
Lesr, Lecause virl riiµs le miglr Le villing ro µur in seveial Lers
on rle loµ Lur only a íev on rle ruin. In rlar case you voulu Le
cosring youiselí money Ly slov-µlaying. Bur given rlar you ieally
cosr youiselí money only vlen youi oµµonenr las exacrly a íoui,
slov-µlaying rle lanu las ro Le consiueieu rle µieíeiieu cloice,
so as ro squeeze moie money our oí a giear siruarion.
Good Flops: Protecting Your Hand
Wlen you lave a goou loµ iarlei rlan one oí rle monsrei
loµs ve`ve jusr uiscusseu, you vill mosr oíren vanr ro iam anu
jam youi lanu on rle loµ, in oiuei ro Luilu rle µor÷Lorl in
case you vin Lorl vays anu also ro uiive our some oµµonenrs
vlo miglr orleivise uiav ro a Lerrei lanu. Wlen you uiive our
lanus rlar miglr orleivise uiav ro a Lerrei ligl oi lov rlan
you, rlar`s calleu µiorecring youi lanu.
Suµµose you lave a lanu oí anu rle loµ is
. In rlis case you lave loµµeu rle Lesr µossiLle lov lanu
(A-2), a sriaiglr uiav, anu a µaii oí sixes. 1lis is a veiy goou loµ
_-_-_-_
_-_-_
Omaha Eight or Better (High-Low Split) Strategy
íoi you. Wirl rlis loµ you sloulu Le rlinking, ¨OK, nice loµ. I
neeu ro iam anu jam ir anu riy ro uiive our any A-3 in case a rvo
comes oíí anu rle A-3 Lears my lov lanu. I also neeu ro iam anu
jam ir in case someone else las A-2 anu my µaii oí sixes is Lerrei
rlan lis ligl lanu¨ (in vlicl case you voulu vin rle ligl siue
virl youi µaii oí sixes anu one-lalí oí rle lov siue virl youi A-2,
vlicl voulu yielu you ¨rliee quaireis¨). By iamming anu jam-
ming you miglr make a liglei µaii íolu, rlus making suie you ger
rliee quaireis againsr anorlei A-2. You also vanr ro iam anu jam
ir in case an eiglr comes oíí rle ueck larei (vlicl voulu give you
an eiglr-ligl sriaiglr), ro µiorecr youi sriaiglr uiav, youi iaise
laving uiiven our liglei sriaiglr uiavs like rle 9-10 oi 9-6. Oí
couise, you voulu love ro see a rliee come oíí rle ueck anu make
you a sriaiglr, oi a six ro make you rliee sixes.
1le veiuicr leie, rlen, is rlar you iam anu jam, íoi a lor oí
uiííeienr ieasons, incluuing rle µossiLiliry oí making youi µaii oí
sixes goou (ií you can iaise eveiyone else our anu rle orlei A-2
can`r Lear youi sixes), cleaiing our a liglei sriaiglr uiav in case
an eiglr comes, cleaiing our an A-3, vlicl coulu Lear you ií a
ueuce came oíí, anu jusr Luiluing a Lig µor in case you vin lalí
oi all oí ir.
Good Flops: Keep ’Em In
Suµµose youi lanu is anu rle loµ is
. In rlis case you lave loµµeu rle Lesr lov uiav (A-2) anu rle
Lesr ligl uiav (an ace-ligl-lusl uiav), anu a rliee makes you a
sriaiglr. Ií you lave rlis lanu, you`ie rlinking, ¨Anorlei giear
loµ íoi me. I vanr ro keeµ rle orlei lanus in, Lur I also vanr ro
Luilu a Lig µor.¨ 1leieíoie, you`ll µioLaLly Ler ií you`ie rle hisr
_-_-_-_ _-_-
_
2 1 0 Play Poker Like the Pros
ro acr, anu rlen jusr call ií someone iaises you, as oµµoseu ro
cleck-iaising anu rlus making ir rvo Lers íoi youi oµµonenrs ro
call. Alrlougl ir`s riue rlar you voulu like ro ger iiu oí any A-3
lanu in case a ueuce íalls on one oí rle nexr rvo caius (vleie an
A-3 voulu Lear youi seconu-Lesr A-5), ir`s also riue rlar you
uon`r lave a ligl lanu iiglr nov, jusr a ligl uiav. 1leieíoie,
you vanr ro keeµ rle µlayeis in rle µor Ly Lerring inro rlem Lur
riying ro make suie rlar ir`s alvays jusr one Ler ro rlem.
Wlen you lave a maiginal loµ, you usually eirlei µumµ ir
oi uumµ ir, ueµenuing on vlerlei oi nor you rlink you lave a
clance ro vin Lorl rle ligl anu rle lov.
Pumµ ir oi uumµ ir simµly means rlar you vill iaise oi íolu
on rle loµ. Ií you rlink rlar youi maiginal lanu is rle Lesr lanu,
rlen you sloulu µumµ ir. Ií you rlink ir`s rle seconu-Lesr lanu,
uumµ ir.
Marginal Flops: Pump It or Dump It
Ií someone Lers anu eveiyone else íolus, rlen I`ll µioLaLly
íolu my lanu iiglr rleie, roo. Somerimes I`ll call in rlis µosirion
ro see ií a lov caiu (ro give me a lov uiav), a leair (ro give me
Suµµose you lave _-_-_-_ anu rle loµ is _-_-_.
1lis is rle kinu oí loµ rlar I like ro Ler our inro anu rlen ueciue
vlar I ieally vanr ro uo larei, on rle Lasis oí my oµµonenr`s
Lerring anu emorional iesµonse. Somerimes, rlar one Ler vill vin
rle vlole µor íoi me, ar orlei rimes ir vill ger iaiseu anu ieiaiseu
anu I`ll Le íoiceu ro íolu my lanu. Ií someone else Lers our anu
rleie aie µlayeis Lelinu me yer ro acr, I`ll íolu my lanu iiglr
rleie. Aírei all, rlis is a µierry veak loµ íoi me. I lave only sec-
onu µaii.
Omaha Eight or Better (High-Low Split) Strategy
a lusl uiav), an ace (ro give me rvo µaii aces uµ), oi a queen
(ro give me rliee queens) comes uµ. A rliee oi a íoui voulu
make me rvo µaii anu a lov uiav, Lur rlose caius may ger me
inro riouLle, Lecause nov I lave ro call all rle vay virl my rvo
µaii! ^y rlouglr µiocess virl rlis loµ is, ¨^osr oí rle rime I
vanr ro vin ir virl one Ler, anu I`ll íolu my lanu ií someone
else Lers.¨
When a Pair Hits the Board
Suµµose you lave 9-10-]-K anu rle loµ is Q-Q-]. 1lis is a
siruarion in vlicl you`ie looking ro vin rle µor virl one Ler on
rle loµ. Wirl a µaii on rle Loaiu in OSB I`m nor looking ro
invesr any money uiaving ro a sriaiglr vlen my oµµonenr may
vell lave a íull louse alieauy! Ir`s mucl moie likely in Omala
rlan in a rvo-caiu game like Holu`em rlar someone las ar leasr
riiµ queens anu is uiaving ro a íull louse. Woise yer÷anu leie
rle lanu illusriares an imµoiranr vay íoi you ro srair looking ar
rle game anu seeing lov you can ieau youi oµµonenrs÷rle
caius rlar you neeu íoi youi sriaiglr (ace, king, ren, nine) aie
caius rlar someone voulu µioLaLly Le loluing in lis lanu ií lis
lanu conraineu a queen. So even vlen le las only riiµs, vlen
you make youi sriaiglr you aie in giave uangei oí lis hlling uµ
(making a íull louse) ar rle same rime. Wlen youi oµµonenrs all
lolu íoui caius insreau oí jusr rvo, µaiis on rle Loaiu Lecome
mucl moie uangeious.
Wlen rle loµ is Lau íoi youi lanu, mosr oí rle rime you
vill neeu ro íolu youi lanu iiglr avay. 1lis can Le a Lir íiusriar-
ing vlen, íoi examµle, you hnally µick uµ A-2-3-10 anu rle loµ
comes uovn Q-Q-K! You`ve Leen vairing anu varcling eveiy-
2 1 2 Play Poker Like the Pros
one else vin Lig µors virl A-2-3-x, anu nov you lose virl youi
A-2-3-x. ]usr iememLei rlar µlaying µokei vell incluues íoluing
youi sriong µieloµ lanus vlen rley miss. Don`r clase aírei Lau
Loaius jusr Lecause youi srairing lanu vas sriong!
Bad Flops—Fold
Ií you lave A-2-3-9 vlen rle loµ comes uovn K-Q-10, ir`s
rime ro íolu, µeiiou. You lave no µaii anu no uiav.
Playing O8B Hands on Fourth Street
for Beginners
Playing OSB lanus on íouirl srieer can Le riicky. Ií you lave rle
Lesr µossiLle lanu one vay (vlerlei lov oi ligl) on íouirl
srieer, rlen you usually vanr ro iaise ar rlar µoinr, on rle clance
Suµµose you lave _-_-_-_ anu rle loµ is _-_-_.
Wirl rlis loµ, ir vill Le laiu íoi you ro vin rle ligl siue oí rle
µor unless you lir rvo iunning uiamonus. Accoiuingly, ir`s Lesr
ro íolu youi lanu on rle loµ ií someone Lers inro you anu you
srill lave oµµonenrs Lelinu you. You coulu call one Ler virl rlis
lanu ií you`ie rle lasr µeison ro call rlar Ler on rle loµ anu rle
µor is veiy laige. 1lis is so only Lecause vlen you µick uµ rle
Lackuooi lov uiav (a lov uiav rlar you neeu rvo lov caius in
a iov ro make) oi rle lusl uiav on rle ruin, you vill usually
lave rle uncounreiíeiraLle nur-lov uiav oi rle nur-lusl uiav.
Bur nevei call a Ler on rle loµ íoi a Lackuooi uiav unless ir`s
rle nur Lackuooi uiav anu rle µor is alieauy veiy laige.
Omaha Eight or Better (High-Low Split) Strategy
rlar you can uiive íiom rle µor someone vlo las you Lear íoi
rle orlei uiiecrion oi is uiaving ro make a lanu rlar can Lear
you in eirlei uiiecrion. So iam anu jam vlen you lave rle Lesr
µossiLle lanu in one uiiecrion on íouirl srieer. Ií you`ie uiaving
lov anu lave no clance ro vin rle ligl siue oí rle µor, you may
lave ro íolu youi lanu, ueµenuing on rle acrion anu youi uiav.
Similaily, ií you`ie uiaving ro rle ligl siue oí rle µor anu rleie
is alieauy a lov lanu µossiLle on rle Loaiu, you`ll somerimes
lave ro íolu youi lanu in rlis siruarion as vell. In OSB rle game
is ro vin rle vlole µor!
Drawing Low on Fourth Street, with No
High Draw
Suµµose you lave A-2-4-] anu rle Loaiu is Q-¯-S-Q. Ií ir`s
rvo Lig Lers ro you ro go, rlen in mosr cases you sloulu íolu
youi lanu, unless rle µor is luge as a iesulr oí all rle iaising
Leíoie rle loµ anu on rle loµ. Wly µay rvo Lers ro riy ro vin
lalí oí rle µor. Oí couise, you can almosr alvays call one Ler ií
you lave rle Lesr lov uiav on íouirl srieer.
Drawing to a High Hand on Fourth Street
with a Low Possible
Suµµose you lave anu rle Loaiu is
Lven rlougl you lave an ace-ligl uiamonu lusl uiav, I voulun`r
call even one Ler on íouirl srieer, Lecause you hguie ro Le uiaving
ro jusr lalí oí rle µor. I miglr call one Ler ií no one vas Lelinu me
vlo coulu iaise rle µor, Lur exceµr íoi rlis one case, I`m looking
_-_-_-_
_-_-_-
_
2 1 4 Play Poker Like the Pros
ro íolu my lanu on íouirl srieer íoi one Ler. 1lis illusriares an
imµoiranr µlilosoµlical aµµioacl ro µokei. Look ar my language
leie÷I`m ¨looking ro íolu.¨ ^osr Leginning µlayeis aie looking
íoi an excuse ro sray in rle µor, any µor. ^oie seasoneu µlayeis
aie oíren looking íoi a ieason ro ger our oí rle µor.
Jamming with the Best High Hand on
Fourth Street
Jamming with the Best Low Hand on
Fourth Street
Suµµose you lave A-3-4-9 anu rle Loaiu is 2-¯-S-9. In rlis
case you lave rle Lesr µossiLle lov lanu anu rle roµ µaii on rle
Loaiu virl nines. You vanr ro jam virl rlis lanu, ro eliminare
any ligl lanus rlar miglr Lear a µaii oí nines. By uoing rlis you
coulu enu uµ vinning rle vlole µor vlen, say, A-4-5-S calls you
uovn. You coulu scooµ rle ligl siue as vell vlen an ace, rliee,
íoui, oi nine lirs on rle lasr caiu ií you can ger iiu oí a lanu like
Suµµose you lave _-_-_-_ anu rle Loaiu is _-_-
_-_. In rlis case you lave rle Lesr µossiLle ligl lanu anu you
sloulu jam rle µor, íoi rvo ieasons. 1le hisr ieason is ro µiorecr
youi lanu Ly iaising our µeoµle vlo lave rvo µaii anu coulu
make a íull louse. 1le seconu ieason is rlar you vanr ro riy ro
Lluíí our rle lov lanus anu ger one-on-one virl anorlei ligl
lanu, so rlar you can vin rle vlole µor.
Omaha Eight or Better (High-Low Split) Strategy
roµ rvo µaii oí nines anu eiglrs. 1le µlayei loluing nines anu
eiglrs voulu lave a rougl call ií I iaiseu rlis lanu on íouirl
srieer.
Jamming with the Best Possible Hand
Both Ways on Fourth Street
Smooth-Calling with the Best Possible
Low Hand
Suµµose you lave A-3-4-10 anu rle Loaiu is 2-¯-]-S. You
nov lave rle Lesr µossiLle lov lanu, Lur no ligl lanu ar all.
1le íacr rlar you cannor lose rle lov siue oí rle µor no marrei
vlar caiu comes oíí, anu rlar you lave no ligl lanu, makes
smoorl-calling virl rlis lanu essenrial. Since you can`r lose rle
lov lanu oi vin rle ligl lanu (even an ace µioLaLly von`r vin
ligl íoi you on rle lasr caiu), ir`s rime ro Luilu uµ youi lalí oí
rle µor Ly keeµing as many orlei µlayeis in rle lanu as µossiLle.
Suµµose youi lanu is _-_-_-_ anu rle Loaiu is _-
_-_-_. You nov lave rle Lesr ligl lanu virl youi ace-ligl
lusl anu also rle Lesr lov lanu. Ar rlis µoinr ir`s remµring ro
jusr call someone else`s Ler ií le Lers inro you in oiuei ro riaµ
orlei µlayeis inro calling you uovn. Bur ií you call jusr one Ler,
someone may call virl rvo µaii oi a ser anu you may enu uµ los-
ing lalí oí rle µor ií rle Loaiu µaiis. 1link aLour ir: on íouirl
srieer you lave rle vlole µor von! (OK, someone else may lave
youi lov lanu rieu.) Wly voulun`r you vanr ro µiorecr youi
ligl lanu Ly iaising rle µor ar rlis µoinr.
2 1 6 Play Poker Like the Pros
Get Rid of the Low Draws
Suµµose you lave A-3-4-K anu rle Loaiu is A-A-5-K. You
lave rle Lesr µossiLle ligl lanu, aces íull oí kings. Þo lov lanu
is µossiLle yer, anu you`ie vinning rle vlole µor. You neeu ro
jam virl rlis lanu in oiuei ro eliminare any µossiLle lov uiav
rlar eirlei ries you oi Lears you (3-4, 2-4, oi 2-3), so rlar you
can vin rle vlole µor.
Beginners’ Strategy for Playing on
the River
Ií you lave rle Lesr µossiLle lanu in one uiiecrion anu a
clance ro vin in rle orlei uiiecrion as vell, rlen jam on rle enu
in oiuei ro eliminare µlayeis, so rlar you lave a Lerrei clance ro
vin rle vlole µor. Ií you lave rle luxuiy oí laving rle Lesr µos-
siLle ligl anu lov lanus ar rle same rime, you neeu ro hguie our
ií calling someone else`s Ler vill vin moie money íoi you rlan
iaising voulu. Ií calling vill allov rvo orlei µlayeis ro enrei rle
µor, vleieas iaising voulu eliminare rlem, rlen ir`s coiiecr ro
call insreau oí iaise. Ií only one orlei µlayei is yer ro acr Lelinu
you, rlen ir`s alvays iiglr ro iaise, Lecause even ií rlar oµµonenr
íolus you vill srill ger an exria Ler íiom rle oiiginal Lerroi. Anu
rle µlayei Lelinu you miglr call anyvay. Bur ií you lave rle
seconu- oi rliiu-Lesr lanu in one uiiecrion, you may lave ro íolu
ir on rle lasr iounu oí Lerring.
Jamming with the Best Hand with a
Chance for It All
Omaha Eight or Better (High-Low Split) Strategy
Suµµose youi lanu is anu rle Loaiu is
. In rlis case you lave rle Lesr µossiLle lov lanu anu a µaii
oí queens íoi youi ligl lanu. In rlis siruarion, you voulu vanr
ro jam rle µor ro riy ro Lluíí our rle ligl siue anu vin Lorl rle
lov siue (virl A-2-3-6-¯) anu rle ligl siue (virl A-K-Q-Q-¯).
1lis vill voik somerimes vlen anorlei µlayei virl a sriong lov
(µeilaµs le even las you rieu íoi lov) Lers our on rle enu anu
you iaise anu eliminare rle µlayei vlo lau kings oi Lerrei íoi
ligl. Since you vill vin ar leasr lalí oí rle µor, ir`s voirl a slor.
To Raise on the River with the Best
Possible Hand?
Folding the Second-Best Low on the End
_-_-_-_
_-_-
_
-_-_
Suµµose you lave _-_-_-_ anu rle Loaiu is _-_
_-_-_. In rlis case, you lave Lorl rle Lesr µossiLle ligl
lanu (virl rle nur uiamonu lusl) anu rle Lesr µossiLle lov
lanu (virl A-2-3-5-¯). Wlar uo you uo nov. I alvays Ler our
one Ler virl rlis lanu vlen ir`s my ruin ro acr, ro riy ro vin one
Ler íiom eacl oí my oµµonenrs. Wlen someone else Lers inro
me on rle enu, I riy ro hguie our vlerlei iaising rlis µlayei
makes any sense. Ií someone Lers inro me anu rleie aie íoui
µlayeis Lelinu me, I`ll µioLaLly jusr call, ro riy ro ger orlei
calleis íiom Lelinu. Ií someone Lers our inro me anu rleie is
only one µlayei Lelinu me, I`ll alvays iaise ro riy ro ger rle Ler-
roi ro call me. (Ií rle orlei µlayei Lelinu me calls rvo Lers, rlar`
a nice unexµecreu Lonus.)
2 1 8 Play Poker Like the Pros
Suµµose nov rlar you lave A-3-5-] anu rle Loaiu is 4-¯-S-
Q-K. You nov lave rle seconu-Lesr µossiLle lov lanu anu nexr
ro norling íoi youi ligl lanu. Wlar uo you uo vlen ir`s rvo
Lers ro you ro call on rle enu. You can loµe rleie vill Le some
inuicarion rlar one µlayei las A-2, oi uoes nor (Ly rle vay le
µlayeu lis lanu eailiei), anu you can rlen ueciue on rle Lasis oí
rlar suimise. Keeµ in minu, lovevei, rlar you`ie consiueiing
calling rvo Lig Lers in oiuei ro vin lalí oí rle µor. Ioluing youi
lanu nov isn`r a Lau iuea ar all íoi rvo Lers.
Folding a Strong High Hand on the End
Suµµose you lave A-3-Q-Q anu rle Loaiu is _-_-_-_-
_. Ií rleie vas a ron oí Lerring anu iaising laµµening on rle
loµ, ir vill Le veiy laiu íoi you ro call one Ler on rle enu. I leai
you saying, ¨Bur, Plil, rleie`s a lor oí money in rlis µor! Oí
couise I neeu ro call one Ler on rle enu. I lave roµ ser.¨ 1o vlicl
I iesµonu, ¨Wlar uo you rlink rley veie jamming ir virl on rle
loµ. 1leie vas no lusl uiav, anu you veie rle one virl rle
rliee queens. Ií rley µur in a lor oí acrion, on rle loµ, in rlis
lanu, almosr ceirainly ar leasr one µlayei las A-2 in lis lanu. Ií
one oí rlem uoes lave rlar in lis lanu, rlen le jusr maue a
vleel on rle iivei!¨ In íacr, rlar vas rle only caiu you ieally
uiun`r vanr ro see on rle enu, iiglr. Ií you call one Ler leie, you
may nor even lose ro an A-2, you miglr lose ro anorlei sriaiglr,
rle 2-6 oi rle 6-¯. Alrlougl calling one Ler leie isn`r a reiiiLle
µlay, Lecause rle µor ouus aie Lig, you vill almosr ceirainly uo
Lerrei in rle long iun Ly íoluing youi lanu in rlis siruarion. Ir is
nevei viong íoi you ro íolu vlen you can`r even imagine a lanu
rlar youi oµµonenr coulu lave rlar uoesn`r Lear you.
Omaha Eight or Better (High-Low Split) Strategy
Miami John Cernuto’s
“Three-Wheel-Card” Theory
In 199¯, vlile I vas voiking on imµioving my OSB game, I
ueciueu rlar I lau Lerrei ask someone vlom I iesµecreu íoi some
auvice on lov ro µlay rle game. So I souglr our ¨^iami¨ ]oln
Ceinuro Lecause I ieally lau a lor oí iesµecr íoi lis OSB game. I
askeu ]oln íoi some auvice on OSB, anu rlis is vlar le rolu me:
¨Plil, you give me some auvice on no-limir Holu`em, anu I`ll give
you some auvice on OSB.¨ I saiu÷anu rlis is a riue sroiy÷
¨]oln, I`ll give you $500 íoi rvenry minures oí auvice.¨ He saiu,
¨Deal.¨ Anu rlen le µioceeueu ro rell me rle rleoiy oí ¨rliee
vleel caius¨ in youi srairing íoui-caiu lanu in OSB. Since I uiu
µay ]oln $500 íoi rlis rleoiy, I µiesenr ir leie ro you!
Wlen ve Legin ro auu veakei lanus ro rle mix oí lanus
rlar you sloulu µlay Leíoie rle loµ, ve neeu ro µoinr our rlar
moie skillíul ieauing is neeueu. Playing rlese ryµes oí lanus can
µur you in laim`s vay ií you`ie nor caieíul.
1le , íoi examµle, can Le in a lor oí riouLle
vlen rle loµ comes uovn . In rlis case, you lave a
ieally Lau lov uiav virl youi 2-4, roµ µaii oí kings virl no
kickei (one µaii oí kings virl a hve kickei), anu an oµen-enueu
1lis rleoiy involves µlaying any srairing lanu rlar incluues
some comLinarion oí rliee caius íiom among A-2-3-4-5. Hanus
like 2-4-5-x oi A-4-5-x oi 2-3-4-x aie nov all µlayaLle íoi one
Ler Leíoie rle loµ. I lave aµµlieu rlis rleoiy virl mosrly goou
iesulrs íoi moie rlan íoui yeais nov. As long as I useu some uis-
cierion, ir geneially von me a lor oí money. Bur vlen I calleu
rliee Lers Leíoie rle loµ virl _-_-_-_ (rle voisr oí rle
rliee-vleel-caiu lanus), I uiun`r uo so vell!
_-_-_-_
_-_-_
2 2 0 Play Poker Like the Pros
sriaiglr uiav (4-5-6-¯) rlar is uiaving ro rle lov enu oí rle
sriaiglr ií an eiglr lirs (srill, an eiglr is a goou caiu). Alrlougl
rlis lanu is veiy veak, ir is jusr enougl oí a lanu ro vaiianr
youi calling one Ler, Lecause oí irs rvo-vay µorenrial. Bur ir`s
imµoiranr ro iealize rlar ir`s a riouLle lanu unless you make rle
nur sriaiglr (anu even rlar miglr lose ro a lusl). Ií rleie is a lor
oí Lerring anu iaising on rlis loµ, rlen you`ie µioLaLly uµ
againsr a Lerrei lov uiav, a Lerrei ligl lanu, anu a Lerrei ligl
uiav (a lusl uiav). So some ieauing aLiliry is iequiieu, vlicl
means ve`ie inro rle uiscussion oí inreimeuiare µlay.
In geneial, you can call one Ler Leíoie rle loµ virl any
rliee-vleel lanu, Lur Le µieµaieu ro rliov youi lanu avay
even vlen you lave a uecenr loµ, in some cases. Keeµ in minu
rlar youi oµµonenrs vill oíren lave lanus rlar incluue A-2, A-3,
oi 2-3. So use some uiscierion vlen µlaying rlese kinus oí lanus
on rle loµ. Ask youiselí, ¨Is my lov uiav goou enougl ro con-
rinue on in rlis lanu oi nor. Can I vin rle ligl siue anJ rle lov
siue oí rle µor virl rlis loµ.¨
Folding a Three-Wheel Hand on the Flop
Heie`s an examµle. Suµµose you lave . Say rlar
you lave calleu along virl rvo orlei µlayeis Leíoie rle loµ, anu
rle loµ is . You lave loµµeu a veak lov, a µaii oí
íouis, anu a Lau sriaiglr uiav (you srill neeu a riey oi an eiglr,
neirlei oí vlicl voulu give you rle nurs). 1lis is a uecenr loµ
íoi you, Lur ií ir`s Ler anu iaiseu inro you ar rlis µoinr, you neeu
ro íolu youi lanu. Youi clances oí vinning rle vlole µor aie
_-_-_-_
_-_-_
Omaha Eight or Better (High-Low Split) Strategy
minimal, vlile youi clances oí losing Lorl siues oí rle µor aie
excellenr. Lven someone virl a veak lanu like A-5-¯-K las you
scooµeu virl a veak lov anu a µaii oí sevens íoi ligl. He even
las a Lerrei sriaiglr uiav rlan you uo!
Hitting the Flop
Suµµose you lave 2-3-4-¯ anu rle loµ is A-5-6. You lave
loµµeu rle Lesr µossiLle lov anu a viaµ sriaiglr uiav! You can-
nor lose rle lov no marrei vlar comes uµ on rle nexr rvo caius
(you lave an ¨uncounreiíeiraLle lov¨). 1lis is a luge loµ íoi
youi lanu. Any ueuce, rliee, íoui, seven, oi eiglr makes you a
sriaiglr, vlicl vill µioLaLly allov you ro scooµ rle µor (vin
ligl anu lov). A ueuce is µairiculaily goou, Lecause ir makes
you a vleel vlile ar rle same rime counreiíeiring any orlei 2-3
rlar miglr Le our rleie. Ar rlis µoinr you sloulu Le iamming
anu jamming rle µor, Lorl ro Luilu a Lig µor anu ro uiive our
anyone virl rvo µaii, in case you lir youi sriaiglr (you uon`r
vanr lim making a íull louse).
Calling a iaise virl one oí rle veakei rliee-vleel-caiu
lanus, sucl as 3-4-5-10, jusr isn`r a vinning µlay unless you`ie in
rle Lig Llinu. I`ll iaise ir uµ myselí vlen I`m in sreal µosirion
virl a veakei lanu like rlis one, vlen no one else las enreieu
rle µor yer, Lecause rlen I lave a clance ro vin rle Llinus ií
eveiyone else íolus.
^y hnal caurion: Le caieíul vlen you µlay rlese lanus. Use
uiscierion vlen you ueciue lov mucl you µlay rlem íoi anu
vlom you µlay rlem againsr. Don`r ger youiselí riaµµeu ¨suck-
ing vinu,¨ riying ro make a Lau lov oi uiaving ro lalí oí rle
µor virl a veak uiav.
2 2 2 Play Poker Like the Pros
Never Leave Home without an Ace!
In uisagieemenr virl ^iami ]oln Ceinuro`s rleoiy (iemem-
Lei, I saiu µios ieally uisagiee aLour rlis game), anorlei olu íiienu
oí mine, ¨Big Al¨ Lmeison, once rolu me, ¨In OSB nevei leave
lome virlour an ace.¨ Al gave me rlis gem oí auvice iiglr Leíoie
an OSB rouinamenr ar rle Bicycle CluL in Los Angeles. I venr on
ro vin rle evenr anu rle $50,000 hisr µiize rlar uay.
Wleieas ^iami ]oln auvocares µlaying any rliee vleel
caius, even ií rley uon`r incluue an ace, Big Al suggesrs quire rle
oµµosire. In conriasr ro ^iami ]oln`s iarlei loose auvice, Big Al
is saying, ¨Play riglr!¨ Ií you alvays µlay only lanus rlar con-
rain an ace, rlen you vill almosr nevei Le sucking vinu virl rle
seconu- oi rliiu-Lesr lov uiav. 1le Lesr µossiLle lov almosr
alvays iequiies an ace our oí youi lanu, unless you`ie lucky
enougl ro lave an ace lir rle loµ. So laving an ace in youi lanu
can Le a goou íounuarion.
I coníess ro using rle voius ¨alvays¨ anu ¨nevei¨ myselí,
Lur in geneial, auvice rlar uses one oí rlose rvo voius is roo
inlexiLle. Usually, rleie aie exceµrions ro any iule. Ií I use rle
voius ¨alvays¨ oi ¨nevei¨ virl you, ir`s Lecause I`m riying ro
Ií you veie ro µlay all rliee-vleel-caiu lanus you voulu Le
gerring inro a lor oí riouLle virl lanus like 3-4-5-x. Likevise, ií
you veie ro íolu all lanus rlar uon`r conrain an ace, you voulu
Le íoluing lanus like _-_-_-_ anu _-_-_-_, vlicl
aie µierry goou lanus ro µlay. You`u also enu uµ íoluing youi
sriong rliee-vleel-caiu lanus our oí rle Llinus, vlicl voulu Le
anorlei losing sriaregy.
Omaha Eight or Better (High-Low Split) Strategy
keeµ rlings simµle, anu I`m aíiaiu oí coníusing you Ly giving you
roo mucl iníoimarion ar once.
Scotty Nguyen Told Me to Play Only A-
2 in O8B
In a voilu clamµionsliµ OSB evenr ar rle Woilu Seiies oí
Pokei in 1996, I askeu Scorry Þguyen íoi some auvice on lov
ro µlay OSB. He suggesreu a veiy iesriicrive sriaregy: ¨Bio,¨
le saiu, ¨only µlay lanus rlar incluue A-2 anu you`ll Le all
iiglr.¨ I saiu, ¨Aie you seiious. Wlar aLour A-A oi íoui ligl
caius in a iov, like 9-10-]-Q.¨ Scorry saiu, ¨1iusr me, Lio.¨ I
uiu riusr lim, anu rlar uay I maue ir all rle vay ro rle hnal
raLle anu evenrually vounu uµ hnisling in íouirl µlace µlaying
only A-2!
Þov rlar I knov vlar I knov aLour OSB, I voulu nevei
use rlar sriaregy again, Lur rle íacr rlar ir voikeu all rlar uay
vas µierry iemaikaLle. 1o me, ir slovs rle µovei oí rle A-2.
Cleaily, I lau some goou luck along rle vay rlar uay. Playing
only A-2 is jusr roo riglr anu µieuicraLle a vay ro µlay OSB in a
rouinamenr oi a siue game, Lur ir can Le a viaLle sriaregy occa-
sionally. Þov I alvays µlay A-A anu íoui ligl caius in a iov
aLove an eiglr, in Lorl rouinamenrs anu siue games, anu so uoes
Scorry.
Ted Forrest’s Loose O8B Experiment
2 2 4 Play Poker Like the Pros
1eu Ioiiesr is viuely iegaiueu as one oí rle Lesr µokei µlayeis in
rle voilu rouay. A íev yeais ago, 1eu riieu a lirrle exµeiimenr
virl OSB rlar lau lim µlaying eiery lanJ Leíoie rle loµ, ro see
ií le coulu srill enu uµ vinning money. OLviously, le vas riying
our rle loosesr sriaregy oí all. 1eu riieu rlis exµeiimenr in some
oí rle Liggesr µokei games in rle voilu, in Lorl Los Angeles anu
Las Vegas. In orlei voius, le riieu ir againsr some rougl comµe-
ririon. So íoi moie rlan one monrl 1eu µlayeu eveiy lanu oí
OSB, exceµr rlose rlar incluueu rliee oí a kinu (6-6-6-]). Amaz-
ingly, le acrually manageu ro make money µlaying almosr eveiy
lanu Leíoie rle loµ.
Oí couise, 1eu is a suµeisrai µokei µlayei, Lur srill, ro enu
uµ vinning money vlile µlaying eveiy lanu Leíoie rle loµ íoi a
monrl seems unLelievaLle ro me! Since I knev rlar 1eu lau riieu
rlis exµeiimenr, I askeu lim aLour ir larei, anu le ieµlieu, ¨Play-
ing eveiy lanu Leíoie rle loµ ceirainly isn`r rle Lesr vay ro µlay
rle game. 1o vin rle mosr money µossiLle, you neeu ro µlay a lor
íevei lanus.¨ I rlink rle íacr rlar 1eu coulu µlay eveiy lanu
Leíoie rle loµ, íoi one monrl, slovs us lov mucl luck rleie is
in rlis game÷anu vlar a giear µlayei 1eu is. Wlar ir ieally rells
me is rlar le musr lave µlayeu all rlese lanus exriemely vell on
rle orlei rliee Lerring iounus.
So leie ve lave 1eu Ioiiesr`s exµeiimenr, vlicl sranus in
sraik conriasr ro rle rleoiy ¨µlay rle A-2 lanus only.¨ 1le
suµeiriglr ¨A-2 only¨ rleoiy voikeu íoi me íoi a uay in a voilu
clamµionsliµ evenr (anu las voikeu vell íoi me ar orlei rimes
as vell), anu yer 1eu manageu ro µlay rle suµeiloose rleoiy anu
vin money. Playing eveiy lanu anu µlaying only a veiy íev
lanus can Lorl vin money.
Omaha Eight or Better (High-Low Split) Strategy
Well, rlen, uo I guess rlar no marrei lov many lanus you
µlay Leíoie rle loµ, you`ll vin money. Þor exacrly÷keeµ in
minu rlar you aien`r 1eu Ioiiesr oi Plil Hellmurl. Beai in minu,
also, rlar OSB is a íaiily nev game, anu I susµecr rlar 1eu
coulun`r vin money vlile µlaying eveiy lanu íoi even rvo veeks
in rouay`s ligl-limir games. 1le µoinr oí all oí rlis is rlar uií-
íeienr sryles can voik in OSB, Lur ií you µlay any sryle rlar las
you µlaying close ro lalí oí all rle lanus, I`ll Ler you von`r enu
uµ vinning any money÷ar leasr Leyonu a íev veiy lucky veek-
enus.
My (Unsuccessful) Theory of O8B
In 199S, I riieu an exµeiimenr in OSB rlar enueu uµ loµµing
µierry Lauly. Ioi one yeai I µlayeu all lanus rlar incluueu rliee
caius Lerveen a nine anu an ace Leíoie rle loµ. Hanus like
9-10-]-x, 10-K-A-x, 9-Q-A-x, anu ]-Q-K-x veie all µlayaLle íoi
me rlar yeai. 1le rleoiy Lelinu µlaying rlese ligl-µor lanus
vas rlar vlen I von, I renueu ro vin rle vlole µor. I uiun`r µlay
ligl µaiis in my lanu like Q-Q-5-¯ oi K-K-9-4, Lecause ir vas
roo laiu ro loµ riiµs. Oí couise, I also µlayeu all rle µoveiíul
lanus on rle lisr aLove. Using rlis rleoiy, I immeuiarely sraireu
vinning a lor oí money µlaying OSB. Ioi rle hisr monrl, I vas
moie rlan $40,000 aleau µlaying rlis vay, Lur ovei rle nexr
eleven monrls I losr moie rlan $140,000. ALour rlen, I iealizeu
rlar rlis rleoiy uehnirely isn`r a vinning one.
I loµe I lave rauglr you rlis mucl ar leasr: many uiííeienr sriare-
2 2 6 Play Poker Like the Pros
gies can voik in OSB! Somevleie Lerveen Scorry`s suµeiriglr
¨A-2 only¨ rleoiy anu 1eu Ioiiesr`s ciazy ¨µlay eveiy lanu¨
exµeiimenr rleie is a µeiíecrly Lalanceu sryle rlar no one las yer
uiscoveieu. Lven one oí my rvo euirois íoi rlis claµrei, Annie
Duke, anu I uisagiee aLour rle oiuei oí rle mosr µoveiíul lanus
in OSB. (Sle`s µioLaLly iiglr as íai as siue games go, anu I`m
µioLaLly iiglr as íai as rouinamenrs go.) ^ayLe rleie`s someone
our rleie vlo`s leaineu lov ro µlay OSB µeiíecrly, Lur I uouLr
rlar le oi sle coulu µiove ir!
C h a p t e r 1 0
Pot-Limit Omaha: Beginners’
and Intermediate Strategy
Por-limir Omala (PLO) is rle numLei one game in Luioµe iiglr
nov. Ir`s µlayeu in Paiis ar rle Aviarion CluL ue Iiance on rle
Clamµs-Llysees. Ir`s µlayeu in Vienna ar rle Concoiue Caiu
Casino anu rle Casinos Ausriia. Ir`s µlayeu in Amsreiuam ar rle
Casinos Hollanu÷Amsreiuam. Ir`s µlayeu in Lonuon, in Iielanu,
anu all ovei rle Unireu Kinguom. In íacr, ar eveiy sroµ along rle
Luioµean µokei roui, incluuing Russia, Iinlanu, Slovenia, Sµain,
anu Geimany, PLO is rle numLei one siue game. PLO is a game
oí giear skill, Lluíhng, marlemarics, anu leair. In PLO, one oi
rvo goou ¨ieaus¨ vill oíren make rle uiííeience Lerveen vin-
ning anu losing íoi any given session. Ií you make one goou call
againsr someone arremµring ro Lluíí, oi one successíul Lluíí
youiselí, ir can make a luge uiííeience in youi iesulrs. Do you
lave rle gurs ro make a luge Ler on rle enu virl norling. Do
you lave rle gurs ro call a luge Ler on rle enu virl a veak
lanu. Ií you uo, rlen PLO is rle game íoi you!
2 2 8 Play Poker Like the Pros
PLO is uealr jusr like limir Omala, virl eveiyone ieceiving
íoui caius íaceuovn ro srair oíí rle acrion. Recall also rlar in
Omala, youi hnal lanu musr Le Luilr íiom exacrly rvo caius
íiom youi lole caius anu exacrly rliee íiom rle Loaiu`s uµ
caius. Bur in PLO, you can Ler rle size oí rle µor on any oí rle
íoui iounus oí Lerring. 1lis makes íoi some µierry Lig µors! In
íacr, one µor can make oi Lieak youi vlole niglr. In PLO you
musr µiorecr youi lanu Ly making µor-size Lers anu íoicing youi
oµµonenrs ro íolu vlen you lave rle Lesr lanu (oi so you`ve
µeisuaueu rlem). In any µor-limir game, rle iuea is ro µur all
youi money inro rle µor (uµ ro rle roral alieauy in rle µor) vlen
you aie a luge íavoiire ro vin rle µor. (¨All¨ is mucl moie µos-
siLle in µor-limir rlan in limir.) Iueally, in µor-limir µokei, you
µur in a small amounr oí money virl rle voisr lanu anu a ¨Lig
ol` ¨ µile oí money vlen you lave rle Lesr lanu! Ioi examµle,
you coulu call a small µieloµ iaise virl , lave a
giear loµ like (vleie you lave loµµeu rle Lesr µossiLle
lanu), anu rlen µur a luge amounr oí money inro rle µor virl
youi rliee queens.
In rlis claµrei you vill leain:
z Wlar you`ie looking ro make in PLO÷rle Lesr µossiLle
lanu.
z 1le Lesr Leginneis` sriaregy íoi PLO.
z 1le Lesr srairing lanus íoi PLO.
z Wlar lanus ro avoiu in PLO.
z Hov ro µlay A-A-x-x in PLO.
z Hov ro µlay sriong lanus in PLO.
z ^arlemarics íoi PLO on íouirl srieer.
z Hov ro Ler rle size oí rle µor ro µiorecr youi lanu.
_-_-_-_
_-_-_
Pot-Limit Omaha: Beginners’ and Intermediate
z Hov ro Ler rle µor vlen you`ie Lluíhng.
z Hov ro µlay rle lasr iounu oí Lerring in PLO.
In PLO, You’re Looking to Make the
Best Possible Hand
Wlen rle Lig money lies inro a PLO µor, exµecr ro see rle Lesr
µossiLle lanu íiom youi oµµonenr. Wlen you make a sriaiglr
virl ¯-S as µair oí youi lanu anu a Loaiu oí , you`ll
µioLaLly lave ro íolu youi lanu! I can leai you our rleie iiglr
nov as you ieau rlis, saying, ¨Wlar, rliov avay a maue
sriaiglr. Ir`s rle rliiu-Lesr µossiLle lanu íoi rlis loµ. Hov can I
íolu ir.¨ Wlen rle Lig money goes in ar rlis µoinr, youi jack-
ligl sriaiglr is voirl aLour as mucl as rlar sriarosµleie srock in
a comµany rlar venr Lankiuµr in 199S! In íacr, ir`s voirl even
less, Lecause ar leasr you can use youi srock ceirihcares ro µaµei
rle valls! In Holu`em, I voulu µur in a lor oí money virl rlis
lanu, Lur rlis is Omala, anu ir`s íai roo easy íoi youi oµµonenr
ro lave Q-K oi S-Q in lis lanu íoi a liglei sriaiglr.
In íacr, vlen rle Lig money clarreis inro a PLO µor, Laiiing
unusual ciicumsrances you vill lave ro íolu youi seconu-nur
lusl as vell. King-ligl lusles lave cosr veak µlayeis rleii
enriie Lankiolls moie rimes rlan you voulu Lelieve µossiLle. I
µlayeu a PLO µor againsr a µlayei nameu Blaii Rouman in (I
rlink) 1992 rlar illusriares jusr lov easy ir is ro íolu a sriong
PLO lanu íoi a Lig Ler on rle lasr iounu oí Lerring.
Wirl a loµ oí
, Blaii anu I sraireu Luiluing a small
µor. I lau , anu Blaii lau ar leasr in lis lanu
(le sloveu rlem ro me on rle enu vlen le íolueu lis lanu). I
_-_-_
_-_-_
_-_-_-_
_-_
2 3 0 Play Poker Like the Pros
rlen loµµeu an insiue-sriaiglr-lusl uiav ( ), anu
Blaii lau ar leasr an ace-ligl lusl uiav. 1le íouirl caiu vas
anu rle lasr caiu vas , so rlar rle hnal Loaiu vas
. 1le miiacle lau lir. I lau cauglr anu maue
a sriaiglr lusl! Lven Lerrei, Blaii nov Ler our rle size oí rle µor
inro me.
Yiµµee÷nov ir vas rime ro iaise jusr enougl ro keeµ Blaii
in rle µor virl me. I knev virl ceirainry rlar le voulu call me ií
le lau rle ace-ligl uiamonu lusl. He Ler our $150, anu nov I
iaiseu $325. Wirlour even rlinking rvice aLour ir, Blaii rliev
lis lanu avay anu saiu, ¨Wlar uo you rake me íoi. I knov lov
ro rliov avay a Lig lanu.¨ 1len le sloveu me , vlicl
vas rle ace-ligl lusl.
Alrlougl Blaii uiu make a giear íolu ar rlis µoinr, vlar
lanu coulu I µossiLly Le iaising lim virl iiglr leie. I ceirainly
voulun`r iaise lim in PLO virl a king-ligl lusl aírei le Ler rle
size oí rle µor inro me. He lau in lis lanu, so le knev rlar I
lau eirlei a sriaiglr lusl oi a Lluíí. Ir seemeu unlikely rlar I
voulu iaise lim on a µuie Lluíí, so le ueciueu rlar I lau rle
sriaiglr lusl, anu le vas iiglr.
Wlen you`ie µlaying PLO, look ro lave rle Lesr µossiLle
lanu Leíoie you µur in rle Lig money. Oí couise, somerimes
someone vill riy ro Lluíí you on rle enu, anu many, µeilaµs
mosr, giear µlayeis voulu lave calleu rlar $325 iaise (Lecause ir
rook a sriaiglr lusl ro Lear Blaii`s lanu), Lur in geneial you
sloulu Le ieauy ro íolu a lor oí seconu-Lesr µossiLle lanus in
PLO. You vill lave µur a lor oí money inro rle µor÷anu Le
remµreu ro go once moie inro rle Lieacl÷Lur rlar lasr Ler is
_-_-_-_
_
_
_-_-_-_-_
_
_-_
_
Pot-Limit Omaha: Beginners’ and Intermediate
likely ro exceeu all rle µieceuing Lers.
Investing a Toothpick to Win
a Lumberyard
An olu µiinciµle in µokei is ¨Invesr a roorlµick ro vin a lumLei-
yaiu.¨ In orlei voius, you can iisk $1,000 in a µor-limir game
anu vin µeilaµs $50,000 oi moie. In µor-limir µokei rlis µio-
giession can Le iealizeu veiy quickly. Ioi examµle, ií you µur
$1,000 inro a rliee-vay-acrion µor anu vin ir, you lave $3,000.
Pur rle $3,000 inro a íoui-vay-acrion µor anu vin, anu nov you
lave $12,000. Pur rle $12,000 inro a single-oµµonenr µor anu
vin, anu nov you lave $24,000. You miglr rlen Lusr someone
vlo las only $10,000 in cliµs in íionr oí lim, anu nov you
lave $34,000. One moie uouLle uµ anu you lave $6S,000! In
µor-limir µokei, a $1,000 invesrmenr is only hve µors avay íiom
iealizing $6S,000 (oi mucl moie÷aírei all, in rlis examµle, I
sloveu uovn rle acrion consiueiaLly aírei ieacling $24,000).
I lau a iun like rlis, a µlenomenal comeLack, in 2001 ar
rle Woilu Seiies oí Pokei (WSOP) in rle $10,000-Luy-in voilu
clamµionsliµ evenr. On rle hisr uay my $10,000 lau Leen
uiiven uovn ro aiounu $¯00, Lur Ly rle enu oí rle íouirl uay I
lau iouglly $1,050,000 in íionr oí me! I lau ruineu $¯00 inro
moie rlan $1 million in rliee uays! Uníoirunarely íoi me, rle
lasr uay vas rle mosr uisaµµoinring µokei uay oí my liíe, anu I
vounu uµ in hírl µlace ar rle hnisl. ^y consolarion vas
$305,000 íoi hírl µlace, vlicl lelµeu me manage my suííeiing.
Anuy Glazei sav a µlayei ar rle WSOP oí 2000 ruin a sin-
2 3 2 Play Poker Like the Pros
gle $100 rouinamenr cliµ inro $S0,000 in rouinamenr cliµs
Leíoie le gor cauglr uµ in rle seeming invinciLiliry oí lis come-
Lack anu íell Lack. Ir laµµens.
1le roorlµick µiinciµle can also Le aµµlieu ro rle inuiviu-
ual µors rlar you µlay. Ií you call someone`s $¯0 iaise Leíoie rle
loµ, rlen you lave a clance ro vin all rle iesr oí rle cliµs in
íionr oí rlar µlayei ií you vin rle µor. Oí couise, you can also
Lusr youiselí, a lirrle Lir ar a rime, Ly µlaying veak lanus Leíoie
rle loµ. So you neeu ro valk a hne line in oiuei ro Le a success-
íul PLO µlayei.
Sroiies aLour sriiiing comeLacks anu srairling PLO µors
coulu hll a Look, Lur iiglr nov ve`ie jusr riying ro ger you
sraireu on rle game, so nov is rle rime ro ralk aLour rle sriengrl
oí srairing lanus in PLO. I`ll lisr rle lanus in oiuei oí µovei
íiom liglesr ro lovesr. 1len I`ll ralk aLour eacl lanu on rle lisr
anu vlar makes ir a sriong lanu. Bur hisr, a ieíieslei on rle
voikings oí rle µor.
What It Means to Bet the Pot
]usr as in Holu`em anu Lasic Omala, rleie aie small anu Lig
Llinus ro Le arrenueu ro, Leíoie rle hisr caius aie uealr, rley miglr
Le $5 anu $10, vlicl means rle µor lolus $15 Leíoie rle hisr-
iounu Lerring Legins. Ií rle hisr µlayei ro acr Lers $10, marcling
rle Llinu, lis Ler is consiueieu a call, anu succeeuing µlayeis can
conrinue ro call $10. Ií a µlayei vanrs ro iaise, lis iaise can Le
anyrling Lerveen rle minimum iaise (a $10 iaise, uouLle rle size
oí rle Lig Llinu, is µeimirreu) anu rle amounr alieauy in rle µor.
1o uo rle larrei, rle µlayei announces, ¨I iaise rle size oí rle µor.¨
Pot-Limit Omaha: Beginners’ and Intermediate
He announces rlis so rlar rle uealei (oi limselí, oi anorlei
µlayei) vill counr rle µor anu rell lim lov mucl le can iaise ir.
Ioi examµle, suµµose rlar rliee µlayeis veie ro call $10,
anu anorlei µlayei on rle Lurron announces, ¨Raise rle size oí
rle µor.¨ He can make ir $65 roral: $15 (rle Llinus) + $30 (rliee
calls) + $10 (rle iaisei`s call) = $55, so le can make ir $55 (µor-
size iaise) + $10 (rle iaisei`s call) = $65.
Ií rvo oí rle µlayeis vlo calleu Leíoie rle loµ call rle
iaise, lov mucl is in rle µor Leíoie rle loµ. Well, rle orlei rvo
µlayeis vill lave ro call a $55 iaise (rley alieauy lave $10 in
rleie), so rlar`s rliee µlayeis virl $65 in rle µor ($195) + $15
(in Llinus) + $10 (íiom rle µlayei vlo calleu $10, Lur nor rle
$55 iaise) = $220 (in rle µor). Wirl a $220 µor, someone can Ler
$220 on rle loµ.
You can see lov a µor can escalare veiy quickly in PLO. A
veiy mouesr $5÷$10 Llinu sriucruie can Le veiy ueceµrive. (Ir
voulu Le a goou iuea íoi you ro ieieau Claµrei S, on rle seruµ
anu Lasic µlay in Omala.)
The Best Beginners’ Strategy for PLO
Uníoirunarely, rleie is no quick anu easy vay íoi me ro uesciiLe
lov Lesr ro µlay PLO. Ir`s íull oí nuances, anu I iecommenu rlar
you riy ro aLsoiL rlis vlole claµrei Leíoie imagining rlar you
unueisranu rle game. Having saiu rlar, I vill nonerleless
arremµr ro lay our a Leginneis` sriaregy íoi PLO.
As íoi srairing lanus, I iecommenu rlar you µlay only rliee
oí rle µossiLle µaiis Leíoie rle loµ: aces, kings, anu queens. 1lis
vay, vlen you loµ a ser (make rliee oí a kinu) on rle loµ,
2 3 4 Play Poker Like the Pros
you`ll usually lave rle liglesr ser. Somerimes, you`ll carcl some-
one virl a lovei rliee oí a kinu anu vin all lis cliµs. You
sloulu also orleivise srick ro rle srairing lanus on rle roµ oí my
lisr (my lisr oí rle mosr µoveiíul lanus in PLO is on µage 236).
Higl anu meuium ¨viaµs¨ (íoui caius in a iov) voik exriemely
vell in PLO. So Le veiy selecrive virl youi srairing lanus.
^ake µor-sizeu Lers in PLO vlen you uo lave a sriong
loµ. 1o Ler less rlan rle size oí rle µor is a misrake, unless you
lave a lanu rlar can`r Le ouruiavn, anu rleie aien`r many oí
rlose! Claige youi oµµonenrs rle maximum ií rley vanr ro riy
ro ouruiav you in a Lig µor.
Reau rle secrions Lelov on lov ro µlay A-A-x-x in PLO.
1lis is a veiy imµoiranr lanu, since A-A-x-x can iange íiom
Leing rle Lesr µossiLle srairing lanu in PLO ro Leing a somevlar
veakei one. Bur I vill Ler all my money Leíoie rle loµ virl A-
A-x-x even ií rle siue caius aie veak! (I uiu say I voulu µur in all
my money befcre tle þcj virl rlis lanu, anu iisk my vlole
rouinamenr oi siue game srake virl ir, Lecause rlis lanu is a
marlemarical íavoiire ovei any orlei.)
Leain ro counr rle numLei oí µossiLle vinning caius rlar
you lave vlen you`ie uiaving (eirlei on rle loµ oi on íouirl
srieer). ^arl is imµoiranr in rlis game! Ií rleie aie 13 oi moie
vinning caius (¨ours¨ oi ¨vins¨) íoi you our rleie, you can call
a µor-size Ler, even on íouirl srieer. (I lave viirren a lor moie on
rle 13-vins µiinciµle anu lov ro counr rlem uµ aleau in rle uis-
cussion oí Plil`s lav.)
So rle Lesr sriaregy once again is ro µlay riglrly anu veiy
aggiessively. Haven`r ve leaiu rlar Leíoie somevleie. Peilaµs
in uiscussions oí jusr aLour any íoim oí µokei in exisrence. 1le
auueu kickeis µeculiai ro PLO aie rlar you lave ro make some
Pot-Limit Omaha: Beginners’ and Intermediate
rougl íolus, you lave ro unueisranu anu use some Lasic marle-
marics, anu once you auvance ro rle exµeir level you uon`r lave
ro µlay quire so riglrly Leíoie rle loµ. Don`r voiiy roo mucl
aLour rle marl, rlougl. ^y hírl-giauei is uoing rle same marl
rlar you`ll neeu ro uo ar rle raLle, alrlougl lis reaclei uoes ler
lim use µencil anu µaµei.
The Best Starting Hands for PLO
1le Lesr µossiLle srairing lanu is A-A-K-K uouLle-suireu (like
). 1lis lanu can loµ rliee aces (riiµ aces) oi rliee
kings, rvo uiííeienr ace-ligl lusles, a sriaiglr, oi some comLi-
narion oí rlose. 1le nexr-Lesr µossiLle srairing lanu is A-A-]-10
uouLle-suireu. In íacr, no less a µlayei rlan 1. ]. Clouriei consiu-
eis ir rle Lesr PLO srairing lanu. He íeels rle µossiLle exria
sriaiglrs ir allovs aie voirl giving uµ rle exria riiµs (rliee oí a
kinu) anu exria íull-louse µossiLiliries.
Bur I voulun`r ger cauglr uµ in riying ro ueciue vlicl oí
rlese srairing lanus is rle Lesr. You`ie going ro µlay all oí rlem
aLour rle same Leíoie rle loµ, anu aírei rle loµ you`ll knov
vlerlei you lave somerling you can µusl oi nor.
In any case, rle roµ oí rle lisr oí Lesr lanus in PLO is uom-
inareu Ly lanus rlar incluue A-A as rvo oí rle íoui srairing
caius. In íacr, you vill alvays vanr ro µur all youi money in
Leíoie rle loµ (ií µossiLle) virl any kinu oí A-A-x-x lanu.
Wlen you lave A-A-x-x in PLO, you`ie alvays a íavoiire againsr
any orlei oµening lanu, unless some oµµonenr also las A-A-x-x.
In mulrivay µors, you voulu like rle x-x ro lave a lirrle oomµl
in ir vlen you`ie µurring all youi money in µieloµ, Lecause even
_-_-_-_
Play Poker Like the Pros 2 3 6
Best Starting Hands in Pot-Limit Omaha
rlougl ¨uiy aces¨ (µokei slang íoi a lanu like ) aie
a íavoiire ovei any inuiviuual lanu, exceµr a Lerrei A-A-x-x
lanu, rley can easily Le a collecrive unueiuog againsr mulriµle
oµµonenrs. (Wlerlei oi nor ir las rle oomµl, I`m µurring all my
money in virl ir Leíoie rle loµ.)
Aírei any oí rle A-A-x-x lanus, rle mosr µoveiíul srair-
ing lanu is S-9-10-] uouLle-suireu. 1lis seemingly mouesr lanu
vins an unLelievaLle numLei oí µors! You can make a lor oí
sriaiglrs virl rlis kinu oí lanu, anu you`u geneially µieíei ro
make rle sriaiglrs, vlicl can Le nur lanus, iarlei rlan rle
lusles, vlicl von`r Le. Wlen you make a lusl virl a lanu
like rlis, ir is a µierry aveiage lusl, anu as I`ve ieµeareuly saiu,
_-_-_-_
Pot-Limit Omaha: Beginners’ and Intermediate
you vanr ro make rle Lesr µossiLle lanu in PLO. Wlen you
lave íoui caius in a iov uouLle-suireu anu aLove a six like
oi , you lave a veiy µoveiíul uiaving
lanu.
Oí couise, all rle aLove aie also veiy nice lanus vlen rley
aren´t suireu. Þexr on oui lisr oí lanus is K-K-x-x, vleie rle x-x
is Q-Q, ]-], 10-10, A-Q, A-], A-10, Q-], Q-10, oi ]-10 (µieíeiaLly
suireu). Þexr on oui lisr comes Q-Q-x-x, vleie rle x-x is ]-], 10-
10, A-K, A-], A-10, K-], K-10, ]-10, oi ]-9 (µieíeiaLly suireu).
The Most Dangerous Starting Hands
in PLO
1le lanus rlar I vanr ro examine iiglr nov aie lanus rlar
aµµeai sriong Lur vill ger you inro a lor oí riouLle in PLO. Ioui
caius in a iov uouLle-suireu rlar aie lovei rlan an S can oíren
Le ¨riouLle¨ lanus. 1lese lovei ¨viaµs,¨ like ,
µlay veiy µooily in PLO. Iloµs like 6-¯-S aie reiiiLle íoi rle lovei
viaµs, Lecause rley usually make rle lovei siue oí rle sriaiglr
(in PLO, you vanr ro make rle Lesr µossiLle lanu, oi rle ligl
siue, nor rle lov siue, oí rle sriaiglr).
Wiaµs like 3-4-5-6 uouLle-suireu ar hisr glance seem sriong,
since you can make a numLei oí sriaiglrs anu lusles virl rlem,
Lur rley`ie ieally uangeious lanus. ^osr rimes rlar you make a
sriaiglr virl rlis lanu, a liglei sriaiglr is µossiLle (you ieally
_-_-_-_
_
___
____
2 3 8 Play Poker Like the Pros
neeu µeiíecr loµ ro make rle ligl siue oí rle sriaiglr virl rlese
lov-viaµ riouLle lanus, a loµ like A-2-3 oi 2-3-4 oi 3-4-¯), anu
eveiy rime rlar you make a lusl virl rlis lanu a liglei lusl is
µossiLle. Playing lanus like rlis Leíoie rle loµ is a naruial seruµ
íoi losing money in Lig clunks.
The Danger of Small Wraps
Suµµose rlar you µlay 4-5-6-¯ anu rle loµ comes uovn S-
2-9. Þov you lave loµµeu a ¨viaµ sriaiglr uiav,¨ virl vlicl
you can lir a hve, a six, a seven, oi a ren ro make youi sriaiglr.
A viaµ sriaiglr uiav is usually a µierry Lig lanu in PLO. Bur in
rlis case, a six, a seven, oi a ren vill also make you rle seconu-
Lesr sriaiglr. Ií an oµµonenr las ¯-S-10-] in lis lanu, rlen
you`ie uiaving ro only a hve ro vin rle µor. Ií youi oµµonenr
las an S-10-]-Q in lis lanu, rlen you can vin only ií you lir a
hve oi a six. So youi viaµ sriaiglr uiav is in Lau slaµe againsr
anyone virl a liglei viaµ. You miglr uo Lerrei ro rlink oí ir as
a ¨vaiµeu¨ sriaiglr uiav. 1le ieally Lau rling aLour rlis exam-
µle is rlar ir vill Le veiy remµring íoi you ro call a lor oí money
ro riy ro lir youi lanu, only ro go Lioke ro a liglei sriaiglr
vlen you uo lir ir!
Small Flush Draws
Suµµose rlar you lave anu rle loµ comes
uovn . In rlis case, you lave loµµeu a six-ligl lusl (I
_-_-_-_
_-_-_
Pot-Limit Omaha: Beginners’ and Intermediate
say six-ligl Lecause you lave rle in youi lanu ro com-
µlere rle lusl). You sloulu Ler our on rle loµ ro
uiscovei ií youi lanu is any goou, Lur you can`r µur veiy mucl
money in rle µor aírei rlar one Ler on rle loµ. Youi lanu is jusr
roo veak.
Beware of Pairs Under Nines
Some orlei uangeious lanus aie µaiis oí nines oi unuei. 1o
an amareui PLO µlayei, ir may seem as ií laving a µaii is a goou
rling, Lur rlese aie µiecisely rle kinus oí lanus rlar Lieak you
moie oíren rlan nor. Wlen you lave a lanu like 4-6-S-S, anu rle
loµ is K-]-S, ir is veiy laiu ro íolu youi lanu. Ií youi oµµonenr
las ]-]-x-x oi K-K-x-x, rlen you can vin only ií you lir rle lasr
eiglr in rle ueck. You`ie uiaving ro one caiu in rle vlole ueck
ro vin rle µor÷ir uoesn`r ger any voise rlan rlar in µokei. Lven
ií you`ie nor uµ againsr a liglei ser, youi lanu is vulneiaLle ro
µlayeis vlo lolu roµ rvo µaii (vlicl can make a liglei íull
louse) oi lave sriaiglr oi lusl uiavs. In íacr, you`ie only a
sliglr íavoiire ovei someone virl a viaµ sriaiglr uiav, loluing,
say, 9-10-Q-A in lis lanu, anu rle Loaiu is K-]-S. So Levaie oí
Lorrom ser in PLO.
As anorlei examµle, suµµose you lave 4-5-5-6 anu rle loµ
is ]-10-5. In rlis case, you lave loµµeu a ser oí hves. 1lis is a
lanu rlar`s veiy laiu íoi even an inreimeuiare µlayei ro íolu. Ií
someone µurs all lis cliµs in againsr you, rle Lesr you can loµe
íoi is rlar le las rvo µaii, jacks anu rens. Ií le las a liglei ser,
you`ie ieally ueau in rlis lanu! Ií le las a ligl viaµ sriaiglr
uiav (say Q-K-A in lis lanu, vlicl means rlar le can make a
_-_
_-_-_-_-_
2 4 0 Play Poker Like the Pros
sriaiglr virl a nine, a queen, a king, oi an ace), you`ie less rlan
a 3-ro-2 íavoiire ro vin rle µor. You miglr even lave rvo oµµo-
nenrs, one virl rvo µaii, jacks anu rens, anu rle orlei virl a
viaµ sriaiglr uiav. Ií rlis is rle case, rlen you`ie an unueiuog ro
vin rle µor.
Recenrly, I vas µunisleu íoi µlaying a small µaii in PLO. I
lau in lare µosirion anu rliee µlayeis lau alieauy
calleu rle oµening Llinu Ler. I µonueieu íoi a momenr vlerlei
oi nor I sloulu call Leíoie rle loµ. I hnally saiu ro myselí, ¨I`ll
call in case I loµ a luge lanu.¨ 1le loµ vas , anu
nov rle Lig Llinu (Sam Giizzle) Ler our rle íull $500 inro rle
$500 µor. I lau loµµeu rle seconu-Lesr µossiLle lanu, so I venr
aleau anu iaiseu ir $1,500 moie. Sam Giizzle nov ieiaiseu me
lis lasr $4,000. I calleu lis all-in Ler quickly, rlinking rlar I lau
rle Lesr lanu, Lur Sam sloveu me rliee jacks.
Yikes÷rlar vas rle only lanu I uiun`r vanr ro see. I vas
loµing rlar le lau a ser oí ueuces, rvo µaii, a viaµ sriaiglr
uiav, a lusl uiav, oi somerling along rlose lines. I vas nov
uiaving ro one caiu in rle ueck, Lur Sam lir a íouirl jack on rle
ruin anu I coulun`r vin no marrei vlar rle lasr caiu vas. 1le
small $100 call (rle Llinus veie $50÷$100) Leíoie rle loµ vas
vlar sealeu my íare in rlis µor. 1lar $100 uecision enueu uµ
cosring me anorlei $6,000. Ií only I lau ieau my ovn auvice anu
íolueu my small µaii Leíoie rle loµ.
Playing A-A-x-x before the Flop in PLO
Wlen you lave A-A-x-x Leíoie rle loµ in PLO, you voulu like
ro µur all youi money in rle µor Leíoie rle loµ vlenevei µossi-
_-_-_-_
_-_-_
Pot-Limit Omaha: Beginners’ and Intermediate
Lle, iueally as a seconu iaise rlar knocks our any ¨lircllikeis¨
anu gers you leaus-uµ. Beíoie rle loµ, any A-A-x-x is a íavoiire
ro vin rle µor ovei any orlei inuiviuual lanu in PLO. So vlen
you lave rle clance, go íoi ir. Bur you vill iaiely Le aLle ro µur
all youi cliµs in Leíoie rle loµ. Unless eveiyone is µlaying virl
sracks rlar aie ielarively small íoi rle Llinu sriucruie, ir usually
rakes a lirrle longei ro Luilu a Lig µor in PLO: rle gianr Lers renu
ro go in aírei rle loµ, vlen rle lanus aie Lerrei-uehneu÷íoi
examµle, somerling like roµ ser againsr a viaµ virl a lusl uiav.
All-in with A-A-x-x before the Flop
Suµµose you lave in rle Lig Llinu, virl rle
Llinus ar $5÷$10. You lave $450 in íionr oí you ro srair rle
lanu, $10 oí ir in rle Lig Llinu alieauy. So rle µor lolus $15 anu
rle hisr rvo µlayeis ro acr call $10 eacl, making ir $35. 1le Lur-
ron rlen calls rle $10 anu iaises rle size oí rle µor÷rle iaisei is
rle rliiu µlayei ro call $10 ($30) anu rle rvo Llinus aie rogerlei
voirl $15, so le can call rle $10 anu iaise ir $45, making ir $55
ro go÷anu rle small Llinu calls rle $55 ro go. Þov you say, ¨I
iaise rle size oí rle µor.¨ You announce rlis our louu (veiLal
ueclaiarions sranu in µokei) µairly so rlar rle uealei oi orlei
µlayeis can rell you lov mucl you can make ir ro go. (1leie is
alvays someone ar rle raLle vlo is ieally slaiµ anu íasr ro say,
¨Iine, you can make ir $x ro go.¨) In rlis case, rvo µlayeis lave
µur in $55 eacl (rle Lurron anu rle small Llinu) anu rle rvo
µiioi µlayeis lau µur in $10 eacl anu you vill lave ro call rle
$55 Leíoie you iaise rle size oí rle µor. So ve lave $55 + $55 +
$55 + $10 + $10, vlicl equals $1S5. So you call rle $55 anu
iaise ir $1S5, making ir $240 ro go. Wlev! 1le marl isn`r all
_-_-_-_
2 4 2 Play Poker Like the Pros
rlar comµlicareu once you ger useu ro ir, anu rle uealei anu
orlei µlayeis aie alvays rleie ro lelµ. Þov rlar you lave
invesreu $240 oí youi cliµs Leíoie rle loµ, ir`s rime ro Ler rle
orlei $210 on rle loµ no marrei vlar caius come uµ, in oiuei ro
µiorecr youi lanu. 1lar`s one oí rle nice rlings aLour srairing
virl A-A-x-x. You can miss rle loµ enriiely anu srill lave a lanu
rlar can vin.
Raising with A-A-x-x before the Flop
Suµµose you lave on rle Lurron, virl rle
Llinus ar $5÷$10. Þov rliee µeoµle call rle $10 in íionr oí you.
You coulu rlen iaise ir ro $65 ro go, a $55 iaise: hve µlayeis
(incluuing youiselí anu rle Lig Llinu) lave $10 eacl in rlis µor
so íai, anu rle small Llinu vas $5. Oi you coulu jusr call rle $10.
Ler`s look ar rvo uiííeienr rleoiies aLour iaising Leíoie rle loµ.
If You Raise before the Flop with A-A-x-x,
Bet the Flop
Ií you iaise youi (I voulu), rlen you`ll also
lave ro Ler aírei mosr loµs. You`ll Ler vlen ir comes K-¯-2, Q-
¯-5, K-10-4, 2-4-9, anu mosr orlei loµs as vell. Oí couise, ií
you iaise ir $50 anu rle loµ comes uovn S-9-10 virl no leair
uiav÷rle kinu oí loµ rlar las µioLaLly lir youi oµµonenrs÷
you can cleck anu rlen íolu ií rley make a Lig Ler. A-A-x-x isn`r
a veiy µoveiíul lanu after rle loµ in PLO. Alrlougl ir`s rle Lesr
µossiLle lanu Leíoie rle loµ, aírei rle loµ ir can easily Le
Learen. Srill, you nevei knov vlar kinus oí lanus youi oµµo-
nenrs lave, so you`ll lave ro Ler our on mosr loµs ro riy ro vin
_-_-_-_
_-_-_-_
Pot-Limit Omaha: Beginners’ and Intermediate
rle µor. Bur Le ieauy ro íolu ií someone iaises you on rle loµ
anu all you lave is one µaii oí aces.
Don’t Raise the Pot with A-A-x-x before
the Flop; Reraise
Some µlayeis uo nor like ro iaise rle µor Leíoie rle loµ
virl A-A-x-x íoi rle íolloving ieasons:
 1ley`ie loµing rlar someone else vill iaise rle µor fcr
rlem anu rlen rley can ieiaise. 1lis gers moie money
inro rle µor Leíoie rle loµ, vlen rley uo lave rle Lesr
µossiLle lanu (anu rle marl is voiking íoi rlem).
 By nor iaising, rley riaµ orlei µlayeis inro rle µor ($10
isn`r mucl ro call), loµing íoi a giear loµ. Ioi exam-
µle, ií rle loµ comes A-]-4, rley may Lusr someone
virl a ser oí jacks oi a ser oí íouis.
 Ií rle loµ uoes come uovn S-9-10, rlen rley lave losr
only rle $10 call Leíoie rle loµ.
 1le hisr iaise oíren isn`r laige enougl ro uiive eveiyone
our. In íacr, veiy oíren rle oµµosire is riue: rle hisr iaise
oíren enrices µlayeis inro rle µor. 1lis leaves you in rle
somevlar uiíhculr µosirion aírei rle loµ, since rle
orlei µlayeis vill knov, iouglly, vleie you aie, Lur
you uon`r lave mucl iníoimarion aLour vleie rley
aie. A ieiaise, lovevei, vill naiiov rle helu anu µio-
recr youi lanu.
2 4 4 Play Poker Like the Pros
Summing uµ, one sriong µoinr oí rlis rleoiy oí ieiaising is
rlar you can µile in a lor oí money vlen you lave rle Lesr µossi-
Lle lanu Leíoie rle loµ. Anorlei sriong µoinr is rlar you lose
rle minimum vlen you lave a Lau loµ íoi A-A-x-x in an
uniaiseu µor ($10 in oui examµle). 1le Lau siue is rlar you
von`r vin as many µors virl youi A-A-x-x lanu.
Playing Big Pocket Pairs in PLO
Wlen you lave a lanu like K-K-x-x oi Q-Q-x-x oi ]-]-x-x oi 10-
10-x-x, you vanr ro rake a cleaµ loµ. 1lese Lig µaiis aie goou
lanus ro call small Lers virl Leíoie rle loµ, in anriciµarion oí
lirring youi Lig ser. 1lar`s aLour all rley`ie goou íoi in PLO.
Wlen you lave one oí rlese lanus, you`ie loµing rlar rle µie-
loµ Lerring vill Le liglr, rlar you`ll loµ rle Lig ser, anu rlar
someone else vill give you all lis money virl a smallei ser.
Playing Strong Hands before the Flop—
Putting in a Small Raise
Wlen you lave a lanu like , one rleoiy says go aleau
anu make a small iaise Leíoie rle loµ in oiuei ro Luilu uµ rle
µor Leíoie rle loµ. Wirl a lanu like rlis you uon`r vanr ro uiive
rle orlei µlayeis our, Lecause you may lave a giear loµ like 4-
10-] (roµ rvo µaii anu a sriaiglr uiav), oi S-9-10 (rle Lesr µos-
siLle lanu virl a uiav ro imµiove ir, a jack oi a queen makes
youi sriaiglr even liglei), oi K-K-2 (rliee kings), oi 2-9-10 (rle
_-_-_-_
Pot-Limit Omaha: Beginners’ and Intermediate
ligl viaµ sriaiglr uiav). You vanr ro keeµ all rle µlayeis in,
Lur you vanr evenrually ro ger moie money in rle µor as vell.
1le Lesr vay ro accomµlisl rlese goals is ro iaise a small amounr
oí money Leíoie rle loµ. Anu ií one oí youi oµµonenrs las rle
A-A-x-x lanu, le von`r Le aLle ro ieiaise you roo mucl Leíoie
rle loµ. (Ií you make a Lig iaise, rle A-A-x-x vill Le aLle ro
make a Lig ieiaise, Lur ií you make a small iaise, rle A-A-x-x
vill Le aLle ro make only a small ieiaise.)
With Strong PLO Flops, Bet Hard to
Protect Your Hand or Bluff
You vill hnu youiselí in moie rlan a íev siruarions vleie
you vill vanr ro µur all youi money in on rle loµ, ií µossiLle.
1le hisr siruarion aiises vlen you loµ rle Lesr µossiLle
lanu. 1lis coulu laµµen vlen you lolu 6-¯-x-x anu rle loµ is
, vlen you lave 10-10-x-x in youi lanu anu rle loµ is
, oi vlen you lave -x-x anu rle loµ is
Ir coulu laµµen vlen rle loµ is 5-4-4 anu you lave 5-5-x-x in
youi lanu (ir`s nor íoui oí a kinu, Lur ir`s goou enougl íoi me ro
Ler ir all). In all rlese cases you vanr ro Ler our rle size oí rle µor
in oiuei ro µiorecr youi lanu. By Lerring cleaµ, you aie giving
someone a cleaµ clance ro ouruiav youi lanu. All rlese lanus
can lose ií you uon`r Ler rlem laiu. Lven rle 5-5-5-4-4 (hves íull)
íull louse lanu can lose ií you ler someone loluing a µaii oí
sixes oi liglei rake a caiu anu lir lis µaii íoi a Liggei íull louse.
Ioi examµle, ií a jack comes oíí anu a µlayei srill in rle lanu
alieauy lau a µaii oí jacks, le nov las ]-]-]-4-4 (jacks íull).
Imagine rlar: you coulu vin rle µor virl a Ler on rle loµ (no
one vas going ro call), Lur Lecause you uiun`r Ler, you`ie nov
_-_-_
_-_-_ _-_
_-_-_
2 4 6 Play Poker Like the Pros
going ro lose all youi cliµs!
1le seconu siruarion in vlicl you vanr ro Ler our Lig anu
move all-in ií µossiLle aiises vlen you loµ a Lig uiaving lanu.
Wlen you lave anu rle loµ is , you lave
loµµeu rle roµ µaii anu rle Lesr viaµ sriaiglr uiav µossiLle
(you make rle Lesr lanu ií a six, a nine, a ren, oi a jack comes oíí
rle ueck), anu no lusl uiav is µossiLle. 1lis is a lanu rlar you
can µlay íoi all youi cliµs on rle loµ. Anorlei lanu rlar you
can µlay íoi a Luncl oí cliµs is one vleie you loµ Lorl a ser
anu a ligl lusl uiav, even ií you rlink rlar youi oµµonenr las
maue a sriaiglr. Wirl a lanu oí anu a loµ oí
1le rliiu siruarion rlar vill allov you ro Ler all youi
money on rle loµ aiises vlen you lave roµ ser anu you susµecr
rlar youi oµµonenr las a veak sriaiglr. Wirl a loµ oí
anu a lanu oí ¯-¯-x-x, you lave roµ ser. Ií youi oµµonenr las 6-
S-x-x in lis lanu, you`ie a 2-ro-1 unueiuog ro µaii rle Loaiu anu
vin rle µor (on rle loµ). Bur ií youi oµµonenr las 3-6-x-x, you
may Le aLle ro make lim íolu lis lanu on rle loµ Ly Lerring
luge amounrs oí money.
1le íouirl siruarion involves Lluíhng virl rle Lesr lusl
uiav. Ií rle loµ is anu you lolu , rlen
you lave loµµeu rle ace-ligl lusl uiav. By Lerring a luge
amounr oí money oi iaising someone a luge amounr oí money
virl rlis lanu on rle loµ, you miglr Le aLle ro Lluíí our some-
_-_ _-_
_-_-_
_-_-_-_
_-
_-_, you lave loµµeu a ser oí nines anu a king-ligl lusl
uiav. You aie a íavoiire againsr an oµµonenr virl ]-Q-x-x (a
maue sriaiglr) in lis lanu. You can make a íull louse oi a lusl
virl rvo caius srill ro come in rlis sµor. Anu vlen you µile in
youi cliµs iaising, you vill µioLaLly Lluíí our an oµµonenr vlo
las rle seconu-Lesr µossiLle sriaiglr.
_-_-_
_-_-_
_-_-_-_
Pot-Limit Omaha: Beginners’ and Intermediate
one vlo lolus rvo µaii. Wlen rle Lluíí voiks, you`ll vin rle
µor iiglr rleie. Wlen rle Lluíí uoesn`r voik, you may srill vin
rle µor ií you lir youi lusl. Ir`s also µossiLle rlar youi oµµonenr
las a viaµ sriaiglr uiav anu a veakei lusl uiav. In rlis case,
you can vin rle µor virl youi A-Q ligl vlen laimless caius
come oíí, oi even virl one µaii ií you lir ir.
In rlese íoui siruarions, you can Ler all oi mosr oí youi
money oi ar leasr rle size oí rle µor on rle loµ, in an arremµr ro
vin rle µor iiglr rleie virl youi sriong uiav oi sriong lanu.
Playing youi sriong uiavs anu youi sriong lanus rle same vay
vill coníuse rle orlei µlayeis, anu rley vill nevei knov ií you`ie
uiaving oi alieauy lave rle maue lanu.
Mathematics in PLO on Fourth Street
Phil’s Flaw
Ioi moie rlan a íev yeais I µlayeu PLO veiy Lauly, in rle
sense rlar I vasn`r seeing one Lasic marlemarical µiinciµle oí rle
game. I can`r Lelieve rlar I misseu ir all rlose yeais, Lur no one
vas coacling me on lov ro µlay rle game (anu I vasn`r smair
enougl ro ieau a Look, as you`ie uoing nov). Aírei µlaying PLO
íoi moie rlan seven yeais, I hnally leaineu somerling vlile
varcling ¨Housron Sammy¨ µlay one uay. Sammy is consiueieu
rle Lesr PLO µlayei in rle voilu, anu one uay in a Lig game in
1unica, ^ississiµµi, I varcleu lim ger involveu in a Lig µor.
Sammy lau 6-S-9-] in lis lanu, norling suireu, anu rle
Loaiu came uovn 5-¯-K. Sammy lau loµµeu rle nur viaµ
sriaiglr uiav (all rle sriaiglr caius rlar le coulu lir voulu make
2 4 8 Play Poker Like the Pros
lim rle Lesr µossiLle lanu). A cai uealei íiom Dallas lau Leen
killing rle Lig PLO game íoi a couµle oí veeks anu lau von
moie rlan $500,000. 1le cai uealei Ler our $2,000 anu Sammy
jusr calleu virl lis viaµ sriaiglr uiav. Þov rle rliiu µlayei in
rle game cleck-iaiseu rle µor ro make ir $S,000 ro go. 1le cai
uealei lesirareu anu rlen calleu rle Ler. Þov Sammy calleu rle
$6,000 iaise as vell. 1le nexr caiu vas a jack, anu rle rliiu
µlayei Ler our $24,000 inro rle µor. 1le cai uealei íolueu lis
lanu, anu Sammy calleu $1S,000 oí rle Ler all-in (Sammy lau a
iiglr ro call $1S,000, ií rlar`s all le lau leír). Larei, I askeu
Sammy vly le laun`r moveu all-in on rle loµ, anu le saiu,
¨Well, Plil, I uiun`r vanr ro lave rle Loaiu µaii on íouirl srieer
anu Le uiaving ueau againsr my oµµonenr`s íull louse. I knev
rlar I voulu lave ro call a µor-size Ler ií rle Loaiu uiun`r µaii,
Lecause I lau a viaµ uiav. Wirl my viaµ uiav I voulu lave ar
leasr 13 vins, vlicl meanr I voulu lave ro call a µor-size Ler on
íouirl srieer.¨
1len ir hnally lir me vly I laun`r Leen uoing Lerrei in PLO
siue games in rle µasr. You see, I nevei unueisroou rlar virl 13
µossiLle vins I lau ro call a µor-size Ler! Ií I lave 13 vins virl
one caiu ro come, rlis means rlar my oµµonenr las iouglly 29
vins. In rle lanu Sammy µlayeu, I say iouglly 29 vins Lecause I
knov rlar 13 caius vill vin íoi lim, íoui moie aie on rle Loaiu,
rvo oí lis oµµonenr`s íoui caius aie µioLaLly µaii caius (like K-
¯ oi K-K oi ¯-¯), anu rleie aie íoui moie in my lanu. 1leieíoie,
ve auu Sammy`s 13 vins ro rle eiglr caius rlar ve can see (lis
lanu anu rle íoui on rle Loaiu) anu rle orlei rvo rlar ve
assume aie in rle oµµonenr`s lanu. 1lis auus uµ ro 23 caius our
oí 52 caius in rle ueck, so rle orlei 29 caius vin íoi rle oµµo-
nenr. Ií you`ie srill coníuseu aLour 29 vins veisus 13 vins, nore
Pot-Limit Omaha: Beginners’ and Intermediate
rlar an examµle is coming iiglr uµ. 1lis means rlar I`m iouglly
a 2
1
´2-ro-1 unueiuog ro vin rle µor. Wlen someone Lers rle size
oí rle µor, rlen I`m gerring laiu exacrly 2-ro-1 on my call (ií rle
Ler is $2,000 inro a $2,000 µor, I can call $2,000 ro vin $4,000).
Anu I`ll ger ro Ler our on rle enu ií I make my lanu anu vin srill
moie money ií I`m calleu. 1le íacr rlar I can Ler our on rle enu
aírei lirring my lanu anu µeilaµs ger calleu Ly my oµµonenr
auus ¨imµlieu ouus¨ in íavoi oí my calling leie. Ir all suuuenly
maue sense ro me, Lur vly laun`r I seen rlis simµle marlemari-
cal µiinciµle eailiei in my caieei. Any µio ieauing rlis is µioLa-
Lly saying, ¨Dul, Plil, lov coulu you nor see rlar iiglr avay.¨
One majoi ieason rlar I lau Leen losing ar PLO vas rlar I uiun`r
unueisranu rle Lasic marl in rle game! I vasn`r making rle calls
I vas suµµoseu ro make.
As íoi vlar laµµeneu ro Sammy in rlis µor, le anu lis
oµµonenr agieeu ro ueal rle lasr caiu rvice. (Somerimes, µlayeis
in Lig PLO µors cloose ro ueal rle hnal caiu rvice÷íoi lalí oí
rle µor eacl rime÷in oiuei ro lovei rle luck íacroi in rle lanu.)
Sammy lir an eiglr íoi rle sriaiglr ro vin on rle hisr caiu, anu
rle orlei µlayei von ir on rle seconu caiu vlen a ren came uµ.
So rley sµlir rle µor.
Calling Because of the Math on
Fourth Street
Suµµose rlar you lave _-_-_-_ in youi lanu anu rle
loµ las come uovn _-_-_. You lave nov loµµeu rle ace-
ligl lusl uiav anu a sriaiglr uiav as vell. You can lir eirlei a
rliee oi a six íoi a sriaiglr, alrlougl rle rliee vill make you rle
seconu-Lesr sriaiglr. On rle loµ, you Ler our $340 anu rvo
2 5 0 Play Poker Like the Pros
oµµonenrs call you. 1le nexr caiu oíí is , íoi a Loaiu oí
. You ueciue ro cleck, anu rlen rle hisr µlayei Lers our rle
size oí rle µor, $1,360 (4 × $340), anu rle seconu µlayei íolus.
Wlar uo you uo.
Well, ler`s counr uµ rle numLei oí caius you can vin virl.
1le , oi voulu make us rle Lesr µossiLle
lanu (an ace-ligl lusl, oi in rle case oí a sriaiglr lusl). We
can also vin virl rle , oi , rley roo voulu make us rle
Lesr µossiLle lanu (an eiglr ligl sriaiglr). We can also µioLaLly
vin virl , oi , vlicl voulu make us a vleel (A-2-3-4-5
sriaiglr) oi rle seconu-Lesr µossiLle lanu. So ve lave 13 µossi-
Lle vinning caius anu rle iesr aie loseis. Ií ve knov oí eiglr
caius÷oui íoui anu rle íoui on rle Loaiu÷anu assume rlar oui
oµµonenr las rvo moie µaii caius in lis lanu, rlen ve knov
rlar rleie aie 42 caius leír in rle ueck.
We vin virl 13 oí rle iemaining 42 anu lose virl rle orlei
29, so ve`ie iouglly a 2
1
´2-ro-1 unueiuog, Lur rle µor is laying us
only 2 ro 1. RememLei rlar youi oµµonenr`s Ler is $1,360, anu
rlar rle µor is $1,360 as vell. So you can call lis $1,360 ro vin
rle $2,¯20 ($1,360 Ler anu $1,360 in rle µor). Bur you also lave
ro íacroi in rle imµlieu ouus rlar you can Ler our ií you lir youi
lanu in rlis sµor anu mayLe also ger calleu. 1le imµlieu ouus aie
enougl ro make rlis call µossiLle íoi you. So you can call leie in
rlis sµor. Congiarularions on jumµing aleau in rle leaining
cuive. Ir rook me six yeais ro leain as mucl!
Math in PLO Forces You to Fold
Suµµose nov rlar you lave anu rle loµ is
_
_-
-_-_
_
_, _, _, _, _, _
_
_
_, _ _
_, _ _
_-_-_-_ _
-
Pot-Limit Omaha: Beginners’ and Intermediate
. You lave loµµeu rle nur lusl uiav anu a Lelly Lusrei
(insiue) sriaiglr uiav (you neeu a hve íoi a sriaiglr). You iaise
an oµµonenr`s Ler on rle loµ anu le calls. Þov comes oíí íoi
, anu youi oµµonenr Lers our rle size oí rle µor. You
counr youi ¨ours¨ anu see rlar , oi voulu
all make you rle nur lusl. In auuirion, you can make rle nur
sriaiglr virl , oi . So you lave 10 ours our oí 44 avail-
aLle caius. (Ií you assume rlar youi oµµonenr las rvo µaii caius
in lis lanu, rlen rleie aie 42 ¨unknovn¨ caius leír. In rlis case
you can`r uo rlar, Lecause le may lave 3-5-x-x, vlicl makes rle
sriaiglr.) 1lus, rleie aie 34 losses ro 10 vins, so rlar you`ie a
3.4-ro-1 unueiuog in rlis case. You also knov rlar rle µor is lay-
ing you 2 ro 1 vlen someone Lers rle íull size oí rle µor. Ií ir lau
Leen close, rle imµlieu ouus voulu lave µur you ovei rle roµ,
Lur ir isn`r rlar close. You nov lave ro íolu youi lanu Lecause
rle marl jusr isn`r rleie íoi you ro call iiglr leie.
Beíoie you consiuei calling a µor-size Ler virl youi uiaving
lanu, counr rle numLei oí vinning caius rlar you can lir. Ií rle
numLei oí µorenrial vinneis is 13 oi moie, you can call. Ií rle
numLei oí vinneis is 12 oi íevei, you sloulu íolu youi lanu.
Make Sure to Bet the Size of the Pot
to Protect Your Hand
Ií you lave rle Lesr µossiLle lanu on íouirl srieer, make suie ro
Ler rle size oí rle µor in oiuei ro µiorecr youi lanu. RememLei
rle secrion on marl rlar you`ve jusr ieau. Don`r ¨µiice¨ someone
else inro a µor virl a small Ler in PLO. ^ake rle Ler rlar le can-
_-_
_
_-_-_-_
_, _,_, _, _,_ _
_, _ _
2 5 2 Play Poker Like the Pros
nor call (oi ar leasr uoesn`r vanr ro call anu sloulu nor call) Ly
Lerring rle size oí rle µor.
Making Big Bets with Hands That Aren’t
the Best Possible
Somerimes in PLO, you jusr neeu ro make a µor-size Ler
even rlougl you uon`r lave rle Lesr µossiLle lanu. Oíren you
vill loµ a ser anu rlen a sriaiglr caiu vill come oíí rlar you vill
neeu ro Ler our inro. Wlerlei oi nor you sloulu Ler our rle size
oí rle µor on íouirl srieer ueµenus on lov mucl acrion rleie
vas on rle loµ, anu on rle uiav rlar lir. Ií someone las iaiseu
you rle size oí rle µor vlen you Ler our on íouirl srieer, rlen
you can assume rlar rle iaisei las lir lis lanu, anu nov you
sloulu auu uµ rle numLei oí caius you can lir in oiuei ro vin
rle µor. Ií you lave riiµs anu aie veiy suie rlar youi oµµonenr
las lir lis sriaiglr oi lusl, rlen you`ll usually lave 10 caius
íiom vlicl ro lir ro make youi lanu (nine íull louse caius anu
one íoui-oí-a-kinu caiu virl rle íoui caius on rle Loaiu vlen
you lave riiµs). Ioi examµle, suµµose rlar you lave K-K-S-4,
anu rle Loaiu is K-Q-5-9. Ií youi oµµonenr las a sriaiglr, rlen
you`ll neeu ro lir a hve (rliee leír), a nine (rliee leír), oi a queen
(rliee leír), ro make a íull louse, oi a king (one leír) ro make íoui
oí a kinu. So you lave 10 µossiLle vinning caius. Wirl 34 losing
caius anu 10 vinning caius, ir`s rime ro íolu youi lanu Lecause
you`ie a 3.4-ro-1 unueiuog. Wlen someone Lers rle µor, you`ie
Leing laiu only 2 ro 1, so ir`s rime ro íolu any lanu rlar is a 3.4-
ro-1 unueiuog.
Betting Out with a Set into a Possible
Pot-Limit Omaha: Beginners’ and Intermediate
Straight
Suµµose you lave 10-10-K-9 anu rle loµ las come uovn
. Þov you Ler our rle size oí rle µor, $400, on rle loµ,
anu rvo µlayeis call youi Ler. 1le nexr caiu oíí is , íoi a Loaiu
oí . Wlar uo you uo nov. Alrlougl rle seven vas a
Lau caiu íoi you, you sloulu Ler our rle size oí rle µor again
($1,600) in oiuei ro µiorecr youi lanu. Ar rlis µoinr, a 3-6 oi 6-
S our oí youi oµµonenr`s lanu vill Lear you, Ly making eirlei a
seven-ligl sriaiglr oi an eiglr-ligl sriaiglr. You make rlis µor-
size Ler in oiuei ro µiorecr youi lanu íiom rle sriaiglr anu lusl
uiavs rlar uiun`r ger rleie on rle ruin Lur aie srill live anu miglr
lave imµioveu vlen rle seven aµµeaieu. Ií an oµµonenr iaises
you rle size oí rle µor (calls youi $1,600 anu iaises you $4,S00
moie), look our, Lecause le vill almosr alvays lave rle sriaiglr!
Ií you lave moie rlan rle $4,S00 iaise leír in íionr oí you, you
neeu ro íolu youi lanu, Lecause you lave only 10 vins÷rliee
íouis, rliee hves, rliee sevens, anu one ren÷oí rle 44 caius leír
in rle ueck: you`ie a 34-ro-10 (3.4-ro-1) unueiuog. 1le µor is
laying you 2 ro 1 in rlis case, rleieíoie, íolu.
Betting Out a Set into a Straight
Because rvo oµµonenrs calleu a µor-size Ler anu iaiseu on
rle loµ, you nov sriongly susµecr rlar unless someone las
sliµµeu somerling inro rle communal cluL soua, one oµµonenr
µioLaLly las rle ace-ligl cluL uiav anu rle orlei oµµonenr
_-_-_
_
_-_-_-_
Suµµose nov rlar you lave Q-Q-9-] anu rle loµ is _-_-
_. On rle loµ someone Lers our inro you anu you iaise rlar µei-
son rle size oí rle µor anu ger calleu in rvo µlaces.
2 5 4 Play Poker Like the Pros
µioLaLly las rle viaµ sriaiglr uiav virl 6-¯-S-x in lis lanu. Ir
is also µossiLle rlar an oµµonenr las a lovei ser rlan you lave.
Hovevei, in rlis case, I voulu Le veiy leeiy oí any 3, 6, ¯, S, oi
cluL coming oíí oí rle ueck. I voulu µioLaLly cleck ií a 6, ¯, oi
S came uµ on íouirl srieer.
Hovevei, ií an ace oi a ueuce came oíí rle ueck, rlen I
voulu Ler our rle size oí rle µor on íouirl srieer even rlougl
Lorl caius make a µossiLle sriaiglr. Wly. Because I uon`r rlink
rlar any soliu µlayei voulu call a µor-size Ler anu iaise virl rle
lov enu oí rle sriaiglr uiav. Ií my oµµonenrs aien`r soliu, oi ií
rle cluL soua may acrually Le laceu virl somerling, I lave ro
consiuei rle sriaiglr a moie iealisric rliear.
Ií a cluL sµikes on íouirl srieer anu an oµµonenr Lers rle
size oí rle µor inro me, rlen I voulu unueisranu rlar I lave only
10 caius (10 caius make a íull louse) I coulu ieuiav virl, anu
rleieíoie I íolu my lanu. I voulu assume rlar rle oµµonenr vlo
Ler our rle size oí rle µor inro me leie voulu lave a lusl,
almosr ceirainly rle ace-ligl lusl.
Knoving vlen ro Ler rle µor in PLO on íouirl srieer virl
a sriong lanu vlen a uiav las lir is an air íoim. 1leie is no
magical íoimula íoi rlis. ]usr use some logic anu riy ro make
youi Lesr guess. Ií you`ie viong, you can jusr íolu vlen you`ie
ieiaiseu. Ií you`ie iiglr, you vill µioLaLly vin rle µor immeui-
arely. So you`ie Lerring $X ro vin $X. Ií you`ie iiglr, you vin $X
(rle µor) virl youi µor-size Ler. Ií you`ie viong, you lose $X
(youi Ler). So you vill vin $X oi lose $X vlen you Ler rle µor
on íouirl srieer. Lven money isn`r a Lau Ler, as long as youi
Lankioll can lanule lucruarions easily.
So somerimes you neeu ro Ler rle µor ro µiorecr youi lanu in
Pot-Limit Omaha: Beginners’ and Intermediate
PLO. Somerimes you vill Le aLle ro ieau youi oµµonenrs as lav-
ing lir rleii lanus, anu rleieíoie avoiu making a µor-size Ler on
íouirl srieer. In any case, Lerring rle µor in PLO virl a sriong
lanu on íouirl srieer aírei a uiav las lir vill soir our vlerlei
you lave rle Lesr lanu oi nor.
Betting or Calling Bets on the River
Calling someone`s Lig Ler on rle enu is all aLour youi ieau oí
rlar µlayei. Wlar uiav lir on rle enu÷sriaiglr, lusl, oi íull
louse. Was ir rle kinu oí uiav rlar youi oµµonenr usually
makes. ^osr oí rle rime, vlen someone makes a µor-size Ler on
rle enu in PLO, ir means rlar le las maue lis lanu. Wlen some-
one vlo nevei Lluíís all oí a suuuen Lers our Lig on rle iivei
vlen a uiav lirs, rlen you can go aleau anu íolu youi lanu!
Bur exceµr íoi some gimme siruarion like rlar, calling someone
on rle enu vlen le Lers Lig is all aLour leair, gurs, anu ieauing
aLiliry. Ir rakes ieauing aLiliry ro see rlar youi oµµonenr is Lluíí-
ing, leair ro knov rlar you`ie iiglr, anu gurs ro µur rle Lig
money inro rle µor ar rle enu calling÷esµecially vlen you knov
rlar usually µlayeis uon`r Lluíí on rle enu in PLO. Ií you veie ro
jusr íolu youi lanu eveiy rime someone maue a µor-size Ler on
rle iivei vlen a uiav lir, you voulu enu uµ vay aleau in rle
long iun.
Ií you make youi lanu on rle enu, Le caieíul nor ro slov
2 5 6 Play Poker Like the Pros
any emorion. ^osr Leginning µlayeis jumµ iiglr our oí rleii
sears oi sµill a glass oí varei vlen rley lir rleii lanu! 1iy ro
look ar rlar lasr caiu calmly, virlour saying oi uoing anyrling,
as ir`s ruineu uµ. 1lis is a goou rling ro µiacrice in íionr oí a mii-
ioi ar lome. Imagine youi Lesr caiu coming oíí rle ueck, anu see
vlar you uo vlile you varcl youiselí in rle miiioi. Ií you riy
any oí rle B-iareu acring rlar occasionally voiks in youi small-
srakes lome game (¨I uon`r knov, mayLe I`ll Ler rlis lanu iiglr
nov . . .¨) againsr clamµions, rley`ll see iiglr rliougl ir! By rle
vay, acring usually uoesn`r voik in youi lome game eirlei, in
PLO. 1le Lesr rling ro uo is ro Le unµieuicraLle, anu rle Lesr
vay ro uo rlar is ro occasionally Lluíí our a Lig Ler on rle enu.
Bluffing on the End Makes Them Call
You—You Have to Do It
Ií you nevei Lluíí, you`ll iaiely ger calleu. Ií you Lluíí roo oíren,
you`ll alvays ger calleu. Somevleie Lerveen nevei Lluíhng anu
alvays Lluíhng is rle iiglr µlace ro Le. Bluíhng is veiy imµoiranr
in µokei. Wlen rle µlayeis knov rlar you`ie caµaLle oí Lluíhng,
you`ll ger calleu moie oíren on rle enu, vlen you uo comµlere
youi lanu. Bur even ií you uo ger calleu vlen you`ie Lluíhng,
anu lose a Lunule, rle Lluíí vill µay some uiviuenus larei on!
Look íoi rimes vlen you knov rlar youi oµµonenr is íaiily
veak: rlese aie µierry goou rimes ro Ler our virl youi Lusreu
uiav. 1leie vill Le rimes vlen you can íeel youi oµµonenr`s
veakness vlen le Lers, anu rlen you lave ro ueciue ií le miglr
Pot-Limit Omaha: Beginners’ and Intermediate
Le roo veak roo call a Lig Lluíí oi nor.
Bluíí ar some µors vlen anorlei uiav lirs, in oiuei ro uis-
guise youi Ler. Ií you lave a lusl uiav, anu rle sriaiglr caiu
comes oíí, rlis is a goou rime ro Lluíí. In rlis case, you aie ¨ieµ-
iesenring¨ a sriaiglr, even rlougl you ieally uo lave a Lusreu
lusl uiav.
Ií you uo ger avay virl youi Lluíí, uo nct slov youi lanu.
]usr iememLei vlom you`ve Lluííeu anu riy ro Lluíí rlar µeison
again somerime soon. Ií you slov youi lanu, rle orlei µlayeis
vill iememLei vlar you lookeu like vlen you Lluííeu rlem, anu
rley vill use rlar againsr you larei on. Wlen you uo ger cauglr
Lluíhng, simµly say, ¨I lave norling¨ anu rliov youi caius inro
rle muck. RememLei rlar vlen you ger cauglr Lluíhng, you`ie
likely ro ger calleu a lor moie íoi a rime aíreivaiu.
PLO: Final Thoughts
Wlen you µlay PLO, iememLei ro srair virl sriong lanus, Ler
rle íull µor size vlen you lave a sriong lanu oi a sriong uiav,
make suie ro use marl ro lelµ ueciue vlerlei you sloulu call
vlen you`ie uiaving, Lluíí some oí rle rime so rlar you`ie nor
roo µieuicraLle, anu Le caurious vlen calling oµµonenrs` Lig
Lers. PLO is a game in vlicl you vanr ro make rle Lesr µossiLle
lanu. Ií you iememLei all rle aLove, rlen I like youi clances in
mosr PLO games.
C h a p t e r 1 1
Seven-Card Stud:
Setup and Basic Play
Seven-Caiu Sruu is µioLaLly Ameiica`s mosr íamiliai veision oí
µokei. Ir somerimes seems as ií eveiyone in Ameiica knovs lov
ro µlay Sruu, Lur ir miglr Le moie accuiare ro say rlar eveiyone
in Ameiica tlinls le oi sle knovs lov ro µlay sruu! 1le Luio-
µeans also µlay a lor oí Seven-Caiu Sruu. In íacr, in rle Liggesr
anu mosr µiesrigious µokei rouinamenr in Luioµe÷rle Luio-
µean µokei clamµionsliµs, lelu in Vienna÷rle game is Seven-
Caiu Sruu. I`m µiouu ro say rlar I vas rle hisr Ameiican evei ro
vin rle Luioµean µokei clamµionsliµs, in OcroLei 2000.
Bet Limits, and an Extra Round
of Betting
In Seven-Caiu Sruu, rleie aie hve iounus oí Lerring, one moie
rlan in Holu`em anu Omala. Bur in laigei liglei-srakes Sruu
2 5 9 Seven-Card Stud: Setup and Basic Play
games, rle Lerring is quire similai ro rlar in Holu`em anu Omala:
in eacl lanu rleie aie rvo Ler sizes, anu rle game is uehneu Ly
rle sizes oí rle Lers esraLlisleu. Ioi examµle, you miglr µlay
$10÷$20 Sruu oi $50÷$100 Sruu. Duiing rle hisr rvo iounus oí
Lerring, in rlese liglei-srakes games, all Lers anu iaises aie in rle
smallei inciemenr ($10 in oui $10÷$20 game). Duiing rle nexr
rliee iounus, all Lers anu iaises aie ar rle liglei inciemenr ($20
in oui $10÷$20 game).
Desµire vlar rle ligl-srakes µlayeis renu ro rlink, rle
Lieau-anu-Lurrei games, rlose rlar µay rle casino`s ienr, aie
lov-srakes games. In lovei-srakes Sruu, ir is veiy common ro iun
inro sµieau limirs vleie rle Lerring oµrions aie Lioauei. PioLa-
Lly rle mosr common íoim oí Sruu uealr in Ameiican caiu iooms
is 1÷5 Sruu, vleie anyone ar almosr any rime can Ler anyvleie
Lerveen $1 anu $5 (in $1 amounrs÷you can`r Ler somerling like
$1.4¯ oi even $1.50). I say ¨almosr¨ any rime Lecause once
someone las oµeneu a lanu íoi, say, $3, you can`r iaise lim $1,
a iaise las ro Le ar leasr as laige as rvice rle µieceuing Ler.
Antes, Not Blinds
Seven-Caiu Sruu is an anre game (see Lelov íoi moie aLour rle
iiglr anre size íoi youi game) anu rleieíoie las no neeu íoi rle
Llinus rlar aie useu in rle orlei rvo games. Beíoie eacl lanu,
eveiyone anres an amounr rlar is geneially ser ar somevleie
Lerveen one-renrl anu one-íouirl oí a íull Ler. ]usr lov Lig rle
anre is vaiies íiom casino ro casino: you coulu easily hnu one
casino uealing $5÷$10 Sruu virl a $0.50 anre, anu rlen valk ro
rle casino nexr uooi anu hnu $5÷$10 Sruu using a $1 anre. As
2 6 0 Play Poker Like the Pros
I`ll uiscuss in Claµrei 12, rle size oí rle anre veigls leavily in
vlar kinu oí srairing lanu you sloulu consiuei µlayaLle. Ií rle
anres aie Lig, you neeu ro Le µieµaieu ro µlay a lor moie lanus
rlan in games vleie rle anres aie small, oi you vill hnu youi
srack oí cliµs uisaµµeaiing jusr íiom rle anres!
How a Hand Proceeds
1le uealei hisr µulls eveiyone`s anre inro rle µor, rlen ueals our
rvo caius ro eacl µlayei íaceuovn anu one caiu ro eacl µlayei
íaceuµ, one ar a rime÷jusr as in Holu`em anu Omala. Lveiyone
rlen srairs our virl rliee caius: rvo lole caius anu one uµ caiu.
On rle hisr iounu, rle µlayei vlo las Leen uealr rle lov-
esr uµ caiu is iequiieu ro srair rle acrion Ly making vlar is
calleu a bring-in Ler. Ií rleie is a rie, suirs aie useu ro Lieak rle
rie. 1le size oí rle Liing-in Ler is usually ser ar aLour a rliiu oí
rle lovei sranuaiu Ler, Lur ir vaiies consiueiaLly íiom one
casino (oi kirclen) ro rle nexr. Ií suirs uo come inro µlay in
uereimining vlo musr make rle Liing-in Ler, rle lovesr suir is
cluLs, íolloveu Ly uiamonus, leairs, anu sµaues, so ií youi uµ
caiu (usually calleu a ¨uooi caiu¨) is , you uon`r lave ro vair
ro see eveiyone else`s uµ caius ro knov you`ll Le making rle
Liing-in Ler.
Ií you lave riouLle iememLeiing vlar suir ieigns ar rlis
juncruie, rleie is a lanuy lirrle mnemonic: rle lerreis c-u-l-s, rle
coiiecr oiuei oí suirs in Lieaking a rie, aie in alµlaLerical oiuei,
lovesr lerrei equaling lovesr caiu. You neeun`r voiiy roo mucl
aLour rlis, rlougl, Lecause exceµr íoi uereimining vlo makes
_
Seven-Card Stud: Setup and Basic Play 2 6 1
Seven-Card Stud Antes
rle Liing-in Ler in Sruu, suirs uon`r marrei in µokei. Ií you lave a
ioyal lusl in sµaues, anu someone else las one in leairs, you
sµlir rle µor.
Wirl rlar issue serrleu, rle µlayei sirring ro rle leír oí rle
Liing-in las rliee oµrions: le can íolu, call, oi iaise. 1lis iaise is
a Lir riicky, rlougl, Lecause alrlougl you`ie incieasing rle size
oí rle Ler, you aien`r uouLling ir. On rlis hisr iounu cnly, rle
veiy hisr ¨iaise¨ meiely incieases rle Liing-in ro a íull-size Ler,
an acrion rlar is calleu ccnjleting tle bet. Bur again, rlis µlayei
neeu nor Le rle one vlo comµleres rle Ler, le may call rle Liing-
2 6 2 Play Poker Like the Pros
in Ler oi íolu.
1le acrion rlen moves on aiounu rle raLle, clockvise,
eacl µlayei laving rle oµrion oí íoluing lis lanu, calling rle
Ler, oi iaising rle Ler. Wlen rlis iounu is comµlere, rle uealei
ueals anorlei uµ caiu (nov ve lave rvo uµ caius anu rvo
uovn caius) ro all rle µlayeis vlo laven`r íolueu rleii lanus.
Þov rle seconu iounu oí Lerring Legins, anu rle acrion µio-
ceeus somevlar uiííeienrly íiom vlar laµµens in rle hisr
iounu.
Duiing rle hisr iounu, rle µlayei loluing rle voisr uooi
caiu vas iequiieu ro make a small Ler, oí µieuereimineu size (rle
Liing-in Ler). On rle seconu iounu, anu íoi all iounus rleieaírei
in rlar lanu, rle µlayei loluing rle best lanu acrs hisr, Lur le
isn`r íoiceu ro Ler: le can srair rle acrion Ly clecking. In
Holu`em anu Omala, rle Lerring µosirion uoesn`r clange
rliouglour a lanu. Bur in sruu, as you can see, rle µlayei vlo
acrs hisr in eacl iounu oí Lerring can anu oíren uoes clange rle
uynamics oí rle lanu, ueµenuing on vleie le sirs anu vlar
caius íare ueciues ro lanu our nexr. (Aírei rle ligl µokei lanu
acrs, oí couise, rle Lerring µioceeus in rle usual clockvise uiiec-
rion, rliougl rle orlei µlayeis leír in rle lanu.)
Þore rlar rle small Liing-in Ler is nov gone: rle smallesr
Ler alloveu in all rle larei iounus oí rle lanu is eirlei $10 (in a
game oí $10÷$20) oi $1 (in smallei games like $1÷$5). Ií, lov-
evei, anyone las maue an oµen µaii in lis hisr rvo uµ caius (íoi
examµle, le is sloving rvo sevens), rlar µlayei las an auuirional
oµrion. He can make rle smallei $10 Ler rlar is alloveu on rle
seconu Lerring iounu, oi le can go sriaiglr ro rle $20 Ler rlar is
noimally ieseiveu íoi rle rliiu Lerring iounu.
Aírei rle orlei µlayeis lave acreu on rleii lanus anu rle
2 6 3 Seven-Card Stud: Setup and Basic Play
acrion oí rle seconu iounu is comµlere, rle uealei ueals anorlei
íaceuµ caiu ro all rle µlayeis vlo aie srill acrive (nov rley eacl
lave rliee íaceuµ anu rvo lole caius). So rle rliiu Lerring
iounu Legins, rle µlayei virl rle Lesr (visiLle) lanu clecking
oi Lerring ar rle liglei limir numLei, $20 in oui $10÷$20
examµle.
Aírei eveiyone las lau a clance ro acr on lis lanu anu rle
Lerring is comµlere, rle uealei ueals srill anorlei íaceuµ caiu (rle
íouirl uµ caiu) ro rle µlayeis vlo aie srill acrive. Acrion on
rle íouirl Lerring iounu is iuenrical ro acrion on rle rliiu.
Wlen rle íouirl iounu oí Lerring is comµlere, rle uealei
ueals rle lasr caiu, rlis rime faceJcun, ro rle µlayeis iemaining
in rle lanu. Again, rle Lesr lanu sloving (vlo is rle same
µlayei as in rle µieceuing iounu, Lecause rle lasr caiu is uealr
íaceuovn) musr eirlei cleck oi Ler.
Aírei rle Lerring is comµlere, rle µor is avaiueu ro rle Lesr
µokei lanu. Usually rle Lerroi vill say, ¨I lave aces uµ¨ oi ¨I
lave norling,¨ anu rlen rle callei oi calleis vill say, ¨I can Lear
ir¨ oi ¨Goou lanu.¨
1le Lasic uiííeiences Lerveen Sruu anu Holu`em aie as
íollovs:
 1leie aie no communiry caius in Sruu.
 1leie is an anre in Sruu.
 1leie aie hve iounus oí Lerring in Sruu, Lur jusr íoui in
Holu`em.
 In Sruu, vlarevei µlayei las rle Lesr Loaiu (lis uµ
caius) Legins rle iounu oí acrion, exceµr íoi rle hisr
iounu oí Lerring, in vlicl case rle lovesr caiu acrs
virl a Liing-in Ler, in Holu`em rle µlayei ro rle leír oí
2 6 4 Play Poker Like the Pros
rle Lurron alvays acrs hisr.
 Sruu is rle mosr µoµulai game on rle Lasr Coasr rouay,
Holu`em is rle mosr µoµulai game eveiyvleie else in
Ameiica.
 1o µlay Sruu vell, you lave ro riy ro iememLei rle
íolueu uµ caius (uiu someone íolu a íoui eailiei rlar
you neeu ro make rliee íouis.). In Holu`em, iecall,
rleie aie no caius ro iememLei, you can alvays look
ar rle caius in youi ovn lanu anu rle caius on rle
Loaiu.
 Casino Sruu games, in vlicl seven caius aie uealr ro
eacl µlayei, aie limireu ro a maximum oí eiglr µlayeis.
In Holu`em, moie caius aie uealr÷nine oi ren, ueµenu-
ing on rle casino.
A Sample Hand of Seven-Card Stud
Ler`s rake a look ar a ligl-srakes lanu oí Seven-Caiu Sruu (Sruu)
ar 1iumµ`s 1aj ^alal Casino in Arlanric Ciry. Ií you µlan on
µlaying in rlis iegulai game in Arlanric Ciry, you`u Lerrei Liing
$50,000 virl you íoi a couµle oí uays` voirl oí µlay.
Annie Duke is in sear one (S1), ro rle leír oí rle uealei.
Beiman (Lyle) is in sear rvo (S2), leír oí Annie.
1len rvo µokei legenus anu memLeis oí rle Pokei Hall oí
Iame÷¨Cliµ¨ Reese (S3) anu Doyle Biunson (S4).
Lu is nexr (S5), rlen Iailau (S6).
Geoige ¨rle Gieek¨ is in S¯.
Hellmurl (Plil÷me) is in SS, on rle iiglr oí rle uealei
Seven-Card Stud: Setup and Basic Play 2 6 5
Seven-Card Stud Setup
.
1le game is $400÷$S00 Sruu, virl a $100 anre anu a
$200 Liing-in Ler. 1le uealei ueals our rvo uovn caius anu
one uµ caiu, srairing virl one caiu uovn ro Annie on rle
uealei`s leír, anu hnisling virl one uµ caiu ro Hellmurl on rle
uealei`s iiglr. Þov rle µlayeis all lave rvo uovn caius anu
one uµ caiu. Lu is uealr anu µurs in rle $200 Liing-in Ler.
Iailau comµleres rle Ler ro $400 ro go virl uµ, anu rlen
Geoige íolus. Hellmurl calls $400 virl as an uµ caiu anu
as lole caius. Annie, Beiman, anu Cliµ íolu rleii lanus.
Doyle iaises ir ro $S00 ro go virl sloving, anu Lu íolus.
Iailau calls $400 moie ($S00 roral) virl lis uµ caiu, anu Hell-
murl calls $400 moie ($S00 roral) virl lis uµ caiu. Wirl Hell-
_
_
_
_
_
_
__
2 6 6 Play Poker Like the Pros
murl`s call, rle acrion is comµlere anu rle uealei µulls rle Lers÷
vlicl aie in rle µor, in íionr oí rle µlayeis÷inro rle miuule oí
rle µor, anu rlen ueals rliee uµ caius ro Doyle, Iailau, anu
Hellmurl.
Þov Doyle carcles , íoi a Loaiu oí . Iailau
carcles , íoi a Loaiu oí . Iailau srill las rle ligl lanu
on rle Loaiu, so ir is uµ ro lim ro make rle hisr acrion, anu le
ueciues ro Ler $S00. Doyle calls rle $S00, anu rle Lers aie
uiaggeu inro rle miuule oí rle raLle. 1le nexr caius aie íoi
Doyle, anu a Loaiu oí , anu íoi Iailau, giving
lim a Loaiu oí . Þov Iailau ueciues ro cleck,
Lecause le las rvo µaii, rens anu sevens (lis lole caius aie ¯÷¯)
anu le íeais rlar Doyle las a liglei rvo µaii, queens anu eiglrs.
Doyle ueciues ro Ler $S00 virl lis lanu Lecause le Lelieves rlar
lis rvo µaii, oí jacks anu eiglrs (jacls uj), aie Lerrei rlan vlar-
evei Iailau las (Doyle`s lole caius aie ]-]). Iailau calls rle
$S00, jusr in case lis tens uj (rvo µaii, rle ligl one Leing rens)
Doyle lirs _, íoi a Loaiu oí _-_. Iailau carcles _
íoi a Loaiu oí _-_ (an oµen µaii). Hellmurl carcles _, íoi
a Loaiu oí _-_. Since Iailau las nov lir an oµen µaii, le
las rle oµrion oí Lerring eirlei $400 oi $S00. (1le only rime
a µlayei may Ler $S00 on rle seconu iounu oí Lerring in a
$400÷$S00 game is vlen le makes an oµen µaii on rle íouirl
caiu.) Iailau clooses ro Ler $S00, anu Hellmurl, vlo las lir
norling, oµrs íoi an eaily exir anu íolus lis lanu. In íacr, rlis
vas an easy íolu íoi Hellmurl, vlo is íacing an $S00 Ler anu an
oµµonenr virl ar leasr a µaii oí rens (anu µioLaLly rvo µaii oi
even rliee rens). Doyle ueciues ro call rle $S00 Ler, anu rlis
comµleres rle seconu iounu oí Lerring, nov rle uealei µulls rle
$S00 Lers inro rle miuule oí rle µor.
_
_-_-_
_
_-_-_
_
_-_-_-_
_
____
Seven-Card Stud: Setup and Basic Play 2 6 7
Seven-Card Stud Board
aie goou oi le carcles a ren oi a seven on rle lasr caiu ro make a
íull louse. On rle enu, Iailau clecls in tle Jarl (le clecks
Leíoie le looks ar lis lasr caiu) anu Doyle says, ¨I bet in tle
Jarl¨ (le Lers virlour looking ar lis lasr caiu). Iailau rlen
looks ar rle lasr caiu, , anu rlinks íoi a momenr. He ueciues
rlar Doyle miglr nor lave lis rens uµ Lear (Lesiues vlicl, le
cauglr one oí rle queens rlar Doyle is ieµiesenring), so le calls
rle $S00 lasr Ler. Doyle rlen says, ¨]acks uµ,¨ anu Iailau says,
¨1lar`s goou.¨ Iailau Liiely insµecrs Doyle`s lanu ro make suie
le las vlar le saiu le lau, anu rlen rliovs lis ovn caius in
íaceuovn. By rle vay, Lecause Iailau rliovs in lis caius íace-
uovn, no one vill evei ieally knov vlar le lau. 1lar`s µierry
sranuaiu vlen you lose a µor÷you rliov avay youi lanu íace-
uovn, anu say, ¨Þice lanu¨ oi ¨You gor ir¨ oi somerling similai.
So rlis is jusr anorlei lanu ar rle 1aj ^alal, vleie you
_
2 6 8 Play Poker Like the Pros
vill hnu ligl-limir Sruu games ($200÷$400 games anu aLove)
Leing sµieau eveiy veekenu.
Two Other Stud Games
1vo orlei íoims oí Seven-Caiu Sruu aie also µoµulai, anu I vill
Le giving you some Lasic sriaregy íoi rlem in Claµreis 13 anu
14. 1lese aie Seven-Caiu Sruu Lov (Razz) anu Seven-Caiu Sruu
Higl-Lov Sµlir (¨Sruu Liglr oi Berrei¨). 1lese games aie uealr
in exacrly rle same vay as Seven-Caiu Sruu. 1le only uiííei-
ences lie in vlo makes rle Liing-in Ler anu vlo Lers hisr uuiing
rle lanu.
Betting Structure for Razz (Seven-Card
Stud Low)
1le Lerring sriucruie in Razz is iuenrical ro rlar in Seven-
Caiu Sruu, virl rvo exceµrions: rle Liing-in Ler is maue Ly rle
µlayei sloving rle liglesr caiu, nor rle lovesr caiu, anu rle
acrion on larei iounus is sraireu Ly rle µlayei vlo slovs rle lov-
esr lanu, nor rle liglesr lanu.
In Razz, you riy ro make rle Lesr lov lanu, rle Lesr lov
lanu µossiLle is 5-4-3-2-A, íolloveu Ly 6-4-3-2-A.
Betting Structure Seven-Card Stud Eight
or Better
Seven-Caiu Sruu Liglr oi Berrei is uealr exacrly like Lasic
2 6 9 Seven-Card Stud: Setup and Basic Play
Seven-Caiu Sruu, virl rle same lov-caiu Liing-in Ler anu rle
ligl Loaiu (rle uµ caius) Lerring hisr eacl rime. 1le Lerring
sriucruie is exacrly rle same, Lur rle sriaregy is uiamarically uií-
íeienr, as ve vill leain in Claµrei 14.
There Is No Positional Advantage in
Dealing Stud or Its Variants
One inreiesring µoinr aLour rlese Seven-Caiu Sruu games is rlar
ir ieally uoesn`r marrei vlo ueals: rleie is no µosirional auvan-
rage. 1le íacr rlar rle lov uµ caiu (oi rle ligl uµ caiu, ueµenu-
ing on rle vaiianr µlayeu) µays rle Liing-in Ler means rlar rleie
is no µieser µosirional auvanrage in uealing rle caius. Wloevei
acrs hisr oi lasr in a Sruu lanu is rorally ueµenuenr on rle luck oí
rle caius.
In Holu`em anu Omala, rleie is an auvanrage ro uealing
Lecause you lave rle clance ro acr lasr, aírei all rle orleis lave
maue rleii sraremenrs. 1lis is vly ve use a Lurron in Holu`em
anu Omala Lur lave no neeu oí sucl a uevice in Sruu.
C h a p t e r 1 2
Seven-Card Stud:
Basic and Intermediate
Strategy
^y µlay in Seven-Caiu Sruu rouinamenrs las imµioveu uiamar-
ically in rle lasr íev yeais, anu rle iesulrs lave incieaseu my love
oí rle game. ^y íascinarion lir a nev ligl vlen I Lecame rle
hisr Ameiican ro vin rle Luioµean µokei clamµionsliµs, in
OcroLei 2000. 1le evenr, calleu rle Pokei L^, is a Seven-Caiu
Sruu rouinamenr lelu in Vienna eveiy OcroLei. 1le Pokei L^ is
rle seconu-laigesr anu mosr µiesrigious µokei evenr lelu in Lu-
ioµe. Only rle Pokei ^illion rirle is moie covereu (rlis is a
$10,000 no-limir Holu`em evenr, lelu in Lonuon, rlar guaian-
rees !1 million÷aLour $1.5 million÷íoi hisr µlace).
Seven-Caiu Sruu is a game oí memoiy, ueceµrion, anu skill.
In rlis claµrei, I`ll give you my sriaregy íoi suivival, rle Lasic
elemenrs rlar you`ll neeu ro leain Leíoie you enrei a caiu ioom
anu µlay Sruu.
Aírei ieauing rlis claµrei, you may hnu rlar you knov
moie aLour Sruu rlan mosr oí youi oµµonenrs ar rle local caiu
Seven-Card Stud: Basic and Intermediate Strategy
cluL. Because many µlayeis lave giovn uµ µlaying Sruu, rley`ve
nevei seen hr ro ieau aLour ir, even rlougl rley may lave
uevouieu Looks anu airicles aLour Holu`em oi Omala. In íacr,
rle lovei rle srakes you µlay, rle moie likely you aie ro lave an
auvanrage ovei rle raLle, meiely Lecause you lave ieau anu
unueisroou rlis claµrei! Oí couise, unueisranuing somerling in
rleoiy anu aµµlying youi rleoierical unueisranuing ro a game
siruarion aie rvo uiííeienr animals. I`ll slov you rle mosr
imµoiranr elemenrs oí sriaregy anu racrics, Lur rlen ir vill Le uµ
ro you ro make use oí rlose elemenrs ro vin a íev lanus anu col-
lecr a íev uollais. (You miglr vanr ro ieieau Claµrei 11 Leíoie
µioceeuing íuirlei leie.)
1le mosr imµoiranr rling rlar anycne in µokei÷Sruu oi
orlei íoims÷can leain is rlar µarience is a viirue. ^oie Lau
µlays aie maue anu moie money is losr in µokei íoi lack oí
µarience rlan íoi any orlei single ieason. I vill reacl you vlicl
rliee-caiu srairing lanus ro µlay, anu vlicl lanus µarience anu
visuom rell you ro íolu. Pioµei selecrion oí srairing lanus is rle
single mosr imµoiranr rling ro leain in Seven-Caiu Sruu.
Wlen you`ie varcling µeoµle vinning Lig µors virl lanus
rlar vise olu leaus say rley sloulun`r lave µlayeu, ir`s iarlei
laiu ro sir Lack anu rliov avay rlose same lanus, jusr Lecause
rle marl suµµoirs rlar uecision. Ií I reacl you nor ro µlay (2-2)
4, anu you see youi µal acioss rle raLle vin a Lig µor virl rle (2-
2) 4, you`ll Le remµreu ro rlink, ¨1lar lanu voiks, so ler me
µlay ir roo.¨ You may even vin a lanu ií you riy ir, Lur uo nor Le
íooleu Ly sloir-reim success. Lvenrually, Lau µlay vill carcl uµ
virl you. Giear µokei µlay is as mucl aLour µarience in vairing
íoi rle iiglr srairing lanu as ir is aLour anyrling else.
OK, vlar`s (2-2) 4. You vill iecall rlar Seven-Caiu Sruu
2 7 2 Play Poker Like the Pros
lanus Legin virl rvo caius uealr íaceuovn (youi lole caius) anu
one íaceuµ. 1o convey rlar íoi µairiculai lanus, I vill use rle
convenrion oí µlacing rle lole caius in µaienrleses. 1lus (2-2) 4
means rlar rlis µlayei las a µaii oí ueuces in rle lole anu lis
hisr uµ caiu is a íoui. 1le hisr uµ caiu las irs ovn sµecial name:
ir is usually calleu a µlayei`s ¨uooi caiu.¨
In rlis claµrei you vill leain:
z Wlar rle mosr µoveiíul srairing lanus aie in Seven-Caiu
Sruu.
z Wly some lanus aie moie µoveiíul srairing lanus rlan
orleis.
z Wlicl lanus you sloulu (anu sloulu nor) Le µlaying in game
siruarions.
z Slov-µlaying youi sriong lanus as an alreinarive ro jamming
rlem on rle hisr iounu oí Lerring.
z Paying arrenrion ro vlar caius aie on rle Loaiu anu lov rlar
can aííecr rle sriengrl oí youi lanu anu youi ieau oí an
oµµonenr.
^y goal leie is ro lelµ you unueisranu vlen you sloulu
µlay ceirain lanus anu vly. I vill nor arremµr ro riear eveiy µos-
siLle siruarion in Seven-Caiu Sruu, rlar voulu rake a íull Look,
µeilaµs moie rlan one. Insreau, I vill riy ro reacl you lov you
can use youi ovn common sense in oiuei ro uereimine vlicl
lanus you sloulu µlay anu vly you sloulu µlay rlem÷anu,
conveisely, vlicl lanus you sloulu íolu anu vly you sloulu
íolu rlem.
Seven-Card Stud: Basic and Intermediate Strategy
Beginners’ Strategy: The Number One
Thing to Know about Stud
In a nurslell, rle key ro vinning money ar Seven-Caiu Sruu is
ro srair virl rle Lesr rliee-caiu srairing lanu. 1lar sounus
µierry simµle, uoesn`r ir. Anu in mosr ciicumsrances ir is µierry
simµle, alrlougl in many orleis an aleir µlayei vill sµor sirua-
rions rlar make eííecrive selecrion oí a srairing lanu nor quire
so Llack-anu-vlire.
Somerimes srairing virl rle Lesr lanu means iealizing rlar
you sloulu rliov avay a µaii oí kings. Ar orlei rimes ir may
mean making ir rliee Lers virl a µaii oí nines! Ií you can alvays
srair virl rle Lesr lanu÷vlarevei`s Lesr íoi rle ciicumsrances
oí rle momenr÷rlen you`ll uo vell ar Seven-Caiu Sruu. Bur
vlar is rle Lesr lanu. Is ir (9-9) 4 oi is ir ( ) . ^osr
exµeirs voulu quickly say rlar rle seconu lanu (rliee ligl caius
in an oµen-enu sriaiglr-lusl uiav) is íai moie uesiiaLle, even
rlougl a µaii oí nines is sriongei ar rle momenr. You neeu ro
keeµ in minu rlar ve aie examining Seven-Caiu Sruu, nor 1liee-
Caiu Sruu. You musr, in analyzing rle sriengrl oí srairing lanus,
consiuei nor meiely rleii sriengrl ar rle srairing gare Lur rleii
µorenrial íoi ueveloµing inro a sriong lanu larei.
So you can`r simµly look ar srairing Sruu lanus in a vac-
uum. You neeu ro rake a look aiounu ar rle orlei caius in siglr
(eacl oí youi oµµonenrs las one íaceuµ), ro gain a Lerrei iuea oí
lov goou oi Lau youi clances oí imµioving aie. (Peilaµs youi
rliee-caiu srairing lusl is veak Lecause a Luncl oí youi lusl
caius aie íaceuµ on Loaiu.) Larei in rle claµrei, ve`ll look ar uií-
íeienr scenaiios vleie, íoi examµle, you`ll íolu youi µaii oí
_-_
_
2 7 4 Play Poker Like the Pros
jacks oi rliee-Ler ir, ueµenuing on vlar rle acrion las Leen in
íionr oí you.
1o Luilu on rle µiinciµle oí rle Lesr srairing lanu, ler`s auu
rle iuea rlar you neeu ro jam virl ir (µur in some iaises) in oiuei
ro give youiselí rle Lesr clance íoi rlis lanu ro vin rle µor. ]am-
ming rle µor virl rle Lesr lanu in Sruu is a rime-lonoieu riaui-
rion! ]amming vill oíren cleai rle helu iiglr avay (Lecause
you`ve maue ir so exµensive ro call), giving you íevei oµµonenrs
anu rleieíoie a Lerrei clance ro vin rle µor.
What Are the Most Powerful Starting
Hands in Stud?
In 1exas Holu`em, you vill iecall, I µiesenreu a lisr oí rle roµ ren
lanus. Bur in Seven-Caiu Sruu, rlings aie uiííeienr. 1le mosr
µoveiíul srairing lanu in Seven-Caiu Sruu is rliee aces, vlicl I
vill Le inuicaring as (A-A) A, íolloveu Ly (K-K) K, (Q-Q) Q, (]-
]) ], anu so on, vlen you srair virl rliee oí a kinu in Sruu, you
aie saiu, in µokei slang, ro Le ¨iolleu-uµ.¨
1le nexr mosr µoveiíul lanu is a µaii oí concealeu aces,
sucl as (A-A) 5, íolloveu Ly one concealeu ace anu one uncon-
cealeu ace, sucl as (A-5) A. 1le ieason rlar rle concealeu aces
(oi inueeu any concealeu µaiis) aie moie µoveiíul rlan rle
unconcealeu aces is rlar rle concealeu µaii is moie ueceµrive: no
one vill rlink you lave a lanu as µoveiíul as aces.
Þexr on my lisr oí µoveiíul lanus is a µaii oí kings÷hisr
concealeu, íolloveu Ly unconcealeu. 1len ve lave a µaii oí
queens, µaii oí jacks, µaii oí rens, anu (A-K) Q suireu (¨suireu¨
means rlar all rliee oí youi caius aie in rle same suir). 1le
Seven-Card Stud: Basic and Intermediate Strategy
µokei legenu ]oln Bonerri ianks (A-K) Q suireu aleau oí (]-])
10. So oui lisr oí µoveiíul srairing lanus Legins virl iolleu-uµ
riiµs (rliee oí a kinu), moves on ro ligl µaiis, anu rlen moves on
ro ligl suireu connecrois like . All rlese aie µiemium
srairing lanus in Seven-Caiu Sruu.
1le µiemium srairing lanus, rlen, aie:
 1liee oí a kinu oi ¨iolleu-uµ¨ riiµs, Leginning virl (A-
A) A, rlen (K-K) K, anu so on.
 Higl µaiis, concealeu oi unconcealeu, srairing virl
aces anu moving uovn ro jacks.
Sriong anu meuium sriengrl srairing lanus aie:
conrains rliee oveicaius aLove rle eiglrs
_-_-_
 Higl suireu connecrois, sucl as (_-_) _ anu (_-
_) _.
 ^euium-iank µaiis like S-S rliougl 10-10 anu
meuium suireu connecrois, sucl as _-_-_.
 Higl suireu semiconnecrois, sucl as _-_-_ oi _-
_-_.
Þov rlar you unueisranu vlar rle mosr µoveiíul Sruu
lanus look like, ler`s move on uovn rle lisr anu comµaie a cou-
µle oí rle moie mouesr lanus ro lelµ you rlink aLour vlicl
lanus aie moie µoveiíul. Wlicl voulu you iarlei lave, (_-_)
_ oi (_-_) _. 1lar`s close, Lur give me (_-_) _. Ií you
unueisranu vly I µieíei rle hisr lanu, you`ll lave come a long
vay rovaiu srairing ro rlink like a goou Seven-Caiu Sruu µlayei,
iarlei rlan iemaining someone vlo las simµly memoiizeu a lisr
oí srairing lanus.
1le lanu (_-_) _
2 7 6 Play Poker Like the Pros
oí rle orlei lanu. 1lis means rlar ií I lir a ren, jack, oi queen
(anu unless I see moie sirring aiounu rle raLle, nine oí rlese aie
srill availaLle: rliee rens, rliee jacks, anu rliee queens), I vill Le
a µierry sriong íavoiire ro vin rlis lanu. By conriasr, rle lanu
las an equal clance ro carcl one oí rle rliee iemain-
ing queens, anu a clance ro carcl one oí rle rvo iemaining
eiglrs ro make riiµs. Bur rake nore rlar I`m comµaiing rlese rvo
lanus ¨in a vacuum,¨ nor raking inro accounr rle visiLle queen
in rle lanu virl rle concealeu eiglrs.
1le conriasr Lerveen rle rvo uoesn`r enu rleie, rlougl.
íiom rle ligl caius rlar can make ligl µaiis, I coulu also carcl
caius rlar coulu make me a lusl oi a sriaiglr oi even a sriaiglr
lusl. Ií I look aiounu rle raLle anu uon`r see many nines oi
kings (rle caius rlar voulu give me an oµen-enu sriaiglr uiav),
rle lanu`s µorenrial giovs sriongei. Ir giovs sriongei srill ií I
uon`r see many eiglrs oi aces (rle caius rlar voulu comµlere rle
sriaiglr ií I cauglr a nine oi king). Bur vlar I`m ieally keeµing
my eyes oµen íoi aie cluLs (a lusl Lears a sriaiglr, aírei all).
1leie aie 10 cluLs leír in rle ueck aírei ve rake my rliee our oí
consiueiarion. Ií no one else las a cluL íoi a uooi caiu, my
clances oí making a lusl lave imµioveu. Bur ií I see íoui orlei
µlayeis vlo slov a cluL, I can consiuei my clance oí making a
lusl iarlei iemore.
All rlis miglr seem reuious oi reclnical, Lur ií you`ie nor
µieµaieu ro analyze lanus ro rlis exrenr, you von`r evei Le seii-
ous aLour Sruu. Besiues, ir vill rake only a uozen seconus ro
assimilare all rlis iníoimarion.
Heie`s anorlei comµaiison íoi you. Wlicl lanu voulu you
µieíei . Ií you`ve µonueieu caregoiies 4
_-_) _
Alrlougl mucl oí rle sriengrl oí rle lanu (_-_) _ uoes come
, (_-_) _
oi (_-_) _
Seven-Card Stud: Basic and Intermediate Strategy
anu 5 aLove, you alieauy lave youi ansvei, Lecause a meuium
µaii like nines makes caregoiy 4, Lur a lov sriaiglr lusl isn`r
sriaiglr lusl caius aie all lovei rlan rle µaii oí nines. ^osr oí
comes íiom rle µorenrial íoi
sriaiglr anu lusl, anu alrlougl ir looks µierry, rle lanu is srill a
long vay íiom making a sriaiglr oi lusl.
Alrlougl you may íeel rlar vlen ir comes ro gerring goou
srairing caius, you`ie moie oi less ar rle meicy oí Lauy Luck,
you sloulu iealize rlar you can make youi srairing lanu seem a
Lir moie µoveiíul rlan ir acrually is rliougl aggiession, oi
veaken ir rliougl µassiviry. 1le lanu rlar`s uoing rle Lerring
alvays las rle euge, Lecause rle orlei lanu may íolu iarlei rlan
conresr irs Ler.
Weaker Seven-Card Stud Starting
Hands
lisreu. I agiee: give me rle µaii oí nines (_-_) _, Lecause rle
rle value in rle lanu (_-_) _
Hov aLour (_-_) _ veisus (2-2) ¯. I`ll rake (_-_) _,
even rlougl ir`s nor suireu, Lecause I coulu make a sriaiglr oi a
µaii oí rens, jacks, oi queens, anu even ií none oí rlar laµµens, I
coulu srill Lear a measly µaii oí rvos virl some ianuom evenr
like lirring a rliee on íouirl srieer anu rlen anorlei rliee on
hírl srieer.
1le veakei Sruu lanus aie rle small µaiis 2-2 rliougl ¯-¯ anu
rliee lov-iank÷oi even meuium-iank÷consecurive caius, like
(_-_) _). 1lese lanus aie usually unµlayaLle, unless you`ie
rle hisr iaisei in rle µor.
2 7 8 Play Poker Like the Pros
Beginning and Intermediate Strategy:
Play It Until the Bets Are Double
We neeu ro ralk nov aLour rle conuirions unuei vlicl you can
µlay some oí rlose veakei lanus. 1le saíesr vay ro µlay Seven-
Caiu Sruu is jusr ro srick ro rle Lesr srairing lanus, Lur ir`s some-
rimes ieasonaLle ro µlay some orlei lanus roo. 1leie aie some
lanus rlar many oí us like ro ¨rake rvo caius oíí¨ virl. In orlei
voius, many roµ Sruu µlayeis vill µlay a sµecularive lanu íoi
rle hisr rvo iounus oí Lerring, anu rlen rliov ir avay ií rley
uon`r imµiove ir Ly rlen. ^any oí us vill call rvo small Lers on
rle hisr anu seconu iounus oí Lerring, anu rlen rliov oui lanu
avay íoi rle Lig Ler on rle rliiu iounu oí Lerring (hírl srieer) ií
ve uon`r imµiove oui srair Ly rlen. Any concealeu µocker µaii
can Le µlayeu rlar vay.
Ioi examµle, I miglr call one Ler in a mulrivay µor virl (6-
6) 9, riying ro lir a six íoi liuuen riiµs. I hguie rlar ir vill cosr
me one Ler on rle hisr iounu oí Lerring anu one Ler on rle sec-
onu iounu oí Lerring, Lur ií I lir my lanu I can vin rliee Lig
Lers, µeilaµs moie, on rle nexr rliee iounus oí Lerring. Wirl (6-
6) 9, I can lir a six íoi rlar veiy vell uisguiseu lanu oí riiµs, oi
µeilaµs I vill lir a seven anu an eiglr, vlicl vill give me a µaii
anu an oµen-enueu sriaiglr uiav. Ií I lolu rle larrei, vlicl
voulu look like (6-6) 9-¯-S, I`m veiy inreiesreu in conrinuing ií
rle caius I neeu aie live (nor all Luineu on orlei µlayeis` uµ
caius). Ií I laven`r seen roo many sixes, hves, oi rens íolueu (oi
srill sirring our rleie in viev), I`m µlaying on, unless someone else
las a Loaiu rlar looks roo sriong. In íacr, I vill µioLaLly jam ir
ar rlis µoinr in rle lanu, in oiuei ro resr my oµµonenrs anu see ií
Seven-Card Stud: Basic and Intermediate Strategy
rley all íolu rleii lanus iiglr nov. You nevei knov vlen a vell-
rimeu iaise vill vin a µor.
Anorlei goou lanu ro rake rvo caius oíí virl is (A-4) 4.
Youi srairing lanu in rlis case is a small µaii virl an ace kickei.
Ií you uo manage ro lir rle ace oi rle íoui, you vill vinu uµ virl
a µoveiíul lanu, eirlei aces uµ oi riiµs. A small µaii virl a
queen oi a king kickei is also µlayaLle, íoi similai ieasons, Lur
make suie rlar youi kickei is laigei rlan youi oµµonenr`s µaii.
Ioi examµle, (5-K) 5 isn`r veiy arriacrive ií you rlink you`ie uµ
againsr aces, anu (3-Q) 3 isn`r aµµealing ií ir aµµeais rlar youi
oµµonenr las a µaii oí kings. In rle case oí a µocker µaii oi a
µaii virl an ace, a king, oi a queen kickei, you neeu lir only one
nice caiu ro µur youiselí in hne slaµe.
Anorlei goou kinu oí sµecularive lanu is somerling like
(_-_) _, alrlougl you neeu ro lir rvo caius ro make sucl a
lanu. Be rlar as ir may, sriaiglr-lusl uiavs aie goou lanus ro
gamLle virl in mulrivay µors as vell. Do as I say, anu nor as I
occasionally uo, anu uon`r µlay lanus like lov sriaiglr-lusl
uiavs virl jusr one oµµonenr! I ger myselí inro a lor oí riouLle
virl rlis lanu. I mean, I lare lirring rle íouirl lusl caiu iiglr
avay anu rlen laving ro call rle nexr rliee Lers srill uiaving. Ir
seems rlar vlen you`ie ¨lusling,¨ eveiyone in rle game knovs
ir, anu eveiyone keeµs Lerring iiglr on inro you, claiging you rle
maximum numLei oí Lers. 1lis is one oí rlose rimes vlen Lauy
Luck ieais lei leau anu ueciues vlerlei you`ll vin some Lig
µors oi lose some Lig µors. Ií you lir youi lusl oi sriaiglr uiavs,
you may vin all rle cliµs. Ií you miss youi uiavs, you`ie in a lor
oí riouLle!
2 8 0 Play Poker Like the Pros
Beginners: What to Do with Your Hand
on the First Round of Betting
Ir`s rime nov íoi us ro rake a look ar lov uiííeienr Lerring sce-
naiios uereimine lov you voulu acr on youi lanu. Suµµose
you`ie µlaying a $4÷$S game, virl rle anre $1 anu rle Liing-in
$2. (I`ve gone ovei rle anres, Liing-ins, anu Lerring sriucruies íoi
Sruu in Claµrei 11.)
Assume rlar rle caius lave Leen uealr our so rlar rle uµ
caius aie 2, ¯, K, 5, S, Q, 9, anu ], anu you aie rle jack, virl a
lanu oí (]-¯) ] (a µaii oí jacks). Þov rle rvo is rle lov caiu, anu
rlar µlayei musr Liing in rle acrion íoi $2.
The Time to Throw Away Your Jacks
1le seven íolus, rle king comµleres rle Ler ro $4, anu rle
hve anu rle eiglr íolu. Þov rle queen iaises rle Ler $4, making
ir $S ro go, anu rle nine íolus. Wlar uo you uo virl youi µaii oí
jacks. You rliov rlem avay (íolu)! 1leie is sriong eviuence rlar
rle queen las in íacr a µaii oí queens, Lecause le iaiseu rle
king`s iaise. 1le king, roo, coulu easily lave a µaii oí kings.
Alrlougl a µaii oí jacks is on my lisr oí µiemium lanus, you
uon`r vanr ro µlay rlem againsr a µaii oí queens, Lecause you`ie
iouglly a 2-ro-1 unueiuog againsr queens. Ií rle king las a µaii
oí kings leie (anu rle queen las queens), rlen you`u Le in ieally
Lau slaµe (a 3.2-ro-1 unueiuog, oi voise) riying ro Lear Lorl a
µaii oí kings anu a µaii oí queens.
Seven-Card Stud: Basic and Intermediate Strategy
The Time to Reraise with Your Pair of
Jacks
1le seven, king, hve, anu eiglr íolu, rlen rle queen com-
µleres rle Ler ro $4 anu rle nine íolus. Wlar uo you uo rlis rime
virl youi µaii oí jacks. You iaise rle Ler, making ir $S ro go.
Since rle queen is rle hisr iaisei rlis rime, rle queen coulu lave
anyrling, ianging íiom a Lluíí (an arremµr ro vin rle anres) ro
rliee suireu caius, rliee sriaiglr caius, a small µocker µaii, a µaii
oí queens, oi even, leaven íoiLiu, iolleu-uµ queens. You iaise
leie ro resr rle queen. Wlar uoes rle queen lave. Is ir BS, ¨rle
goous,¨ oi somerling in Lerveen.
Pay arrenrion ro rle vay rle queen acrs vlen ir is lis ruin ro
acr again. Does le call you ielucranrly. Does le ieiaise you.
Does le call you quickly. 1iy ro uereimine, Ly youi Lesr ieau,
vlerlei le is sriong oi nor. Ií le ieiaises you, rlis isn`r a goou
sign, Lecause le µioLaLly las youi jacks Learen iiglr nov. Ií le
jusr calls, riy ro guess vlar le las. Don`r limir youiselí in youi
guesses oi ieaus: Le villing ro consiuei moie rlan one µossiLiliry.
1le imµoiranr µoinr is vlerlei le las you Learen iiglr nov oi
nor. Ií you rlink le uoes lave you Learen, rlen you sloulu íolu
youi lanu as soon as you íace a uouLle Ler. Usually rlar`s hírl
srieer, Lur iememLei rlar ií someone µaiis lis uooi caiu ir coulu
Le íouirl srieer. Oí couise, ií youi oµµonenrs ueciue ro give you
a íiee caiu Ly clecking, acceµr rle giír giaceíully anu see vlar
rle íiee caiu Liings: uon`r íolu (as I lave seen µlenry oí µlayeis
uo) simµly Lecause you knov you`ie losing, unless someone Lers.
1le iuea is ro µur money in rle µor vlen you`ie a íavoiire,
anu íolu vlen you aie a cleai unueiuog. Anorlei Leauriíul rling
aLour making youi Lesr guess aLour vlar youi oµµonenr las, Ly
2 8 2 Play Poker Like the Pros
ieauing rle vay le acrs, is rlar you vill usually hnu our vlar le
las anyvay, anu rlen you can aujusr youi guess nexr rime. 1le
air oí uereimining vlerlei µeoµle aie Lluíhng oi nor is uehnirely
somerling rlar can Le leaineu.
The Time to Make It Three Bets to Go
with Your Pair of Jacks
1le seven comµleres rle Ler ro $4 anu rle king, hve, eiglr,
anu queen íolu. Þov rle nine iaises rle Ler $4, making ir $S ro
go. Wlar uo you uo virl youi µaii oí jacks. You ieiaise rle Ler
$4, ro make ir $12 ro go. Unless someone las a µaii laigei rlan
youi jacks in rle lole÷íoi examµle, somerling like (K-K) ¯÷oi
riiµs, you lave rle Lesr lanu. (1le visiLle king anu queen íolueu,
iememLei.) You iaise youi oµµonenrs eaily in oiuei ro uereimine
ií you lave rle Lesr lanu oi nor. Ií rle seven las only a µaii oí
sevens, rlen le sloulu íolu lis lanu iiglr rleie, iiglr nov,
Lecause le sloulun`r Le riying ro µlay lis µaii oí sevens againsr
youi µaii oí jacks íoi $S moie. In rle lov-limir games rlar you`ll
µiesumaLly Le µlaying in vlen you`ie srairing our (even aírei
ieauing my Look, you sloulu srair small: nouuing in agieemenr
vlile you`ie ieauing is uiííeienr íiom live µlay), you`ll hnu rlar
rle µaii oí sevens vill nct usually íolu lis lanu in rlis case, anu
rlar`s goou íoi you. Anyvay, Le minuíul oí rle vay youi oµµo-
nenrs acr vlen rley call oi ieiaise you vlen ir Lecomes rleii
ruin ro acr again. Ií rle seven oi nine ieiaises you, rlis is a µierry
goou inuicarion rlar eirlei le`s a riue megalomaniac oi (moie
likely) rlar le las youi µaii oí jacks Learen.
1lis scenaiio las slovn lov you sloulu acr on youi lanu on
Seven-Card Stud: Basic and Intermediate Strategy
rle hisr iounu oí Lerring. Ir also gives you some Lasic unuei-
sranuing oí rle value oí youi lanu anu lov rlar value clanges,
ueµenuing on vlicl orlei lanu is uoing rle iaising anu ieiais-
ing. Þov I vanr ro look ar orlei consiueiarions rlar you neeu ro
rlink aLour on rlis iounu oí Lerring. Riglr nov ler`s examine
slov-µlaying youi lanus in Seven-Caiu Sruu. 1len ve`ll see lov
µaying arrenrion ro rle orlei caius on rle Loaiu vill lelµ you
µlay youi lanu Lerrei.
Slow-Playing Your Hands in
Seven-Card Stud
In 199¯, I venr ro rle 1aj ^alal in Arlanric Ciry ro µlay in U.S.
Pokei Clamµionsliµs. Wlile I vas rleie, I Legan ro µlay a lor oí
$300- ro $600-limir Seven-Caiu Sruu in rle siue games. 1lese
games veie reiiihc anu I vas iunning lor, anu Leíoie long I
íounu myselí aleau moie rlan $250,000, even rlougl rle main
µuiµose oí my riiµ lau Leen ro µlay rle rouinamenr, nor rle siue
games! One rling rlar keµr voiking vell íoi me vas riaµµing rle
oveiaggiessive Sruu µlayeis vlen I lau a Lig lanu. So vlen I
lau A-A in rle µocker, I voulu jusr call rle iaises on rle hisr
iounu oí Lerring anu see vlar laµµeneu. Somerimes I voulun`r
even µur a iaise in unril sixrl srieer, Lur usually I voulu srair ro
µlay my lanu laiu on hírl srieer. 1lis sriaregy voikeu like a
claim íoi me. Imagine÷I voulu srair virl (A-A) ¯, anu rle
queen nexr ro me vas so Lusy iaising rle ren nexr ro lim rlar le
nevei sav me coming! I enueu uµ involveu in a lor oí Lig µors
vleie I lau rle Lesr lanu. Oí couise, I losr a lor oí rlose µors
Lecause I ler orlei oµµonenrs in Ly nor iaising rlem our eaily: I
2 8 4 Play Poker Like the Pros
vas lor, Lur nor unrouclaLle. Srill, I voulu usually cleai mosr oí
my oµµonenrs our oí rle µor vlen I hnally µur a iaise in on hírl
srieer, Lecause nov rle Lers veie uouLle. So I voulu vair in rle
veeus, slov-µlaying my lanu, anu rlen µounce on hírl srieer ro
ger rle µor uovn ro rvo µlayeis, mosr oí rle rime. One ieason
rlis sriaregy voikeu so vell íoi me vas rlar mosr Sruu µlayeis
aie veiy aggiessive. 1ley veie so aggiessive in Arlanric Ciry rlar
rley voulu iaise rle orlei µlayeis ií rley rlouglr rleie vas any
clance rlar rley lau rle Lesr lanu. 1lis voulu leave me leaus-
uµ virl a Lig µor anu rle Lesr lanu! 1lar is rle scenaiio I long
íoi in µokei. One oµµonenr, a Lig µor, anu I lave rle Lerrei lanu!
Alrlougl slov-µlaying is a legirimare sriaregy in Sruu, ir can
also ger you inro riouLle. I rlink I miglr lave oveiuone ir a Lir in
Arlanric Ciry, Lur I vas iunning so lor rlar ir uiun`r marrei÷ar
leasr on rlar riiµ. I almosr nevei slov-µlay my lanus vlen I`m
µlaying in a Sruu rouinamenr. I`ve íounu rlar rlis coníuses rle
orlei µlayeis roo mucl, anu rlen rley µur moie Lau Lears on me
virl rleii orleivise unµlayaLle lanus. In orlei voius, I lose
moie µors vlen I slov-µlay my lanus, anu you can`r aííoiu ro
uo rlar in rouinamenrs. In rle siue games, you can aííoiu ro lose
some µors rliougl slov-µlaying, Lecause rle µors you uo vin aie
usually Liggei.
Watch the Other Players’ Up Cards
for Information
1le Lesr Sruu µlayeis in rle voilu alvays knov vlar all rle uµ
caius aie (oi veie, ií some veie íolueu) uuiing any given lanu.
Ií you lave a µocker µaii oi a lusl uiav anu you`ie rlinking
Seven-Card Stud: Basic and Intermediate Strategy
aLour calling oi iaising virl youi lanu on rle hisr iounu oí Ler-
ring, make suie you sruuy rle orlei µlayeis` uµ caius veiy caie-
íully Leíoie you acr. Ií you lave (¯-¯) 6, anu you`ie rlinking
aLour calling an oµµonenr`s oµening Ler, rlen seeing even one
seven on rle Loaiu sloulu make you íolu youi lanu. Similaily, ií
you`ie consiueiing calling a Ler virl , anu you see rliee
orlei sµaues on rle Loaiu, you sloulu knov rlar ir vill Le µierry
laiu íoi you ro make youi lusl. Wlen I lave a µaii oí kings, I`m
alvays µaying close arrenrion ro vleie rle aces (ií any) aie. I
knov rlar vlen I lave a µaii oí jacks in Sruu, sucl as (9-]) ], my
oµµonenrs aie likely ro riy ro lir rleii small µaiis virl a queen, a
king, oi an ace kickei, so I keeµ a slaiµ eye our íoi rlese ovei-
caius!
Winning the Pot with a Draw
I like ro µlay my uiaving lanus veiy aggiessively in Seven-Caiu
Sruu. Wlen I lave íoui caius ro rle lusl in rle hisr íoui caius, I
like ro srair jamming rle µor in case my oµµonenr las a lanu roo
veak íoi lim ro call me uovn virl. Ar rle hnal raLle oí rle Lu-
ioµean Clamµionsliµs (rle Pokei L^), vlicl I von in 2000, I
µosirion iaiseu rle µor anu I calleu lis iaise, Lecause I vas rle
Liing-in Ler, anu ir uiun`r cosr me a íull Ler ro call. 1le limirs
veie $2,000÷$4,000, anu my nexr caiu vas , íoi a lanu oí
. ^y oµµonenr Ler anorlei $2,000 inro me, anu I
ueciueu rlar I lau Lerrei iaise ir (make ir rvo Lers, oi $4,000, ro
go) in case le lau a veak lanu. Wlen le calleu me, I µaiieu my
six, íoi ( , anu I Ler our anu le íolueu. Wlev! His
(_-_) _
vas rle lov caiu uµ loluing (_-_) _. An oµµonenr in eaily
_
(_-_) _, _
_-_)_, _, _
2 8 6 Play Poker Like the Pros
íolu enaLleu me ro vin rle $14,000 µor iiglr rleie, virlour a
hglr.
Hau I jusr calleu my oµµonenr`s Ler on rle seconu iounu oí
Lerring, voulu le lave íolueu lis lanu vlen I µaiieu my sixes
anu Ler our on rle rliiu iounu oí Lerring. ^ayLe, Lur mayLe
nor, so Ly µlaying rle lanu coiiecrly, I von ir virlour laving ro
lir my lanu. Ií I laun`r iaiseu, anu rlen misseu my lusl anu losr
rle lanu, voulu I lave Leen ¨unlucky¨ ro lave losr, vlen I lau
a nice lanu like a íoui lusl virl a µaii. Þo! I voulu lave cie-
areu my oµµoiruniry ro lose. 1lar`s nor Lau luck, rlar`s Lau µlay.
Goou µlay enaLleu me ro µievail virlour rle neeu íoi luck.
^ake suie rlar you alvays µlay youi lusl uiavs veiy aggies-
sively, Lecause you`ll lave ro µlay rlem unril rle enu anyvay.
Hov uiííeienr is ir ií you`ie Lerring oi calling someone else`s Lers
all rle vay rliougl a lanu virl a lusl uiav. A lor! You`ll vin
rle µor ií youi oµµonenr íolus lis lanu vlen you`ie uoing rle
Lerring.
Throwing Your Hand Away When Your
Opponent Pairs His Door Card
Bevaie oí an oµµonenr µaiiing lis uooi caiu in Seven-Caiu Sruu
(rle uooi caiu is rle hisr Loaiu caiu rlar you srair virl in Sruu).
Oíren, a µlayei srairs a lanu virl a sµlir µaii, anu vlen le µaiis
lis uooi caiu, le`s maue riiµs iiglr avay. Ií le uoes lave riiµs
anu you lave a µaii vlose iank is liglei rlan lis riiµs, you can
vin only ií you lir youi riiµs÷Lur rleie aie only rvo oí youi
caius leír in rle ueck!
In orlei voius, look ro íolu youi lanu iiglr avay vlen
Seven-Card Stud: Basic and Intermediate Strategy
youi oµµonenr µaiis lis uooi caiu. You jusr uon`r vanr ro con-
rinue ro µlay a lanu vlen you íeel you`ie an unueiuog Ly a luge
maigin. Ií my oµµonenr µaiis lis uooi caiu on íouirl oi hírl
srieer, I vill almosr alvays íolu my lanu immeuiarely. Ií le µaiis
lis uooi caiu on sixrl srieer, rlen Leíoie I make my uecision I
cleck ro see ií I lave a sriaiglr uiav oi a lusl uiav oi rvo µaii
(less enricing, Lur srill a µossiLle call ií rle µor is laige enougl). Ií
I lave one oí rlese uiavs, I vill usually call my oµµonenr`s Ler. Ií
I lave only one µaii virlour any uiavs, I vill usually íolu my
lanu, unless I sriongly Lelieve rlar my oµµonenr las a lusl
uiav anu only one µaii.
Throwing Your Hand Away When Your
Opponent Hits an Overpair on the
Board
You`ve sraireu rle lanu virl (K-K) ¯ anu youi oµµonenr las
sraireu lis sloving a nine. 1len le lirs 4-A-A íoi a Loaiu oí 9-
4-A-A, anu Lers inro you. I knov rlar you vanr ro call lim, mosr
amareui µlayeis uo! I knov rlar rle µor is Lig, Lur ií you simµly
lave one µaii oí kings virlour any orlei uiavs, rlen ir`s rime ro
íolu youi lanu! I knov rlar mosr oí you vlo aie ieauing rlis
vanr ro riy ro carcl a king oi even a seconu µaii, Lur ¨rle µiice
is viong¨! 1le oµµonenr virl rle µaii oí aces mosr likely las
rvo µaii (aces uµ), anu in rlis case you can vin rle µor only Ly
carcling a rliiu king! 1le clances oí youi lirring a rliiu king
aie minure, so vlen rle µaii oí aces Lers our inro you, simµly
íolu youi lanu anu acceµr rle loss. Don`r íoiger: even rlougl lis
mosr likely lanu is aces uµ (in vlicl case you coulu vin only ií
2 8 8 Play Poker Like the Pros
you lir a king, anyvay), le coulu lave riiµ aces anu you nor only
coulu Le uiaving ueau Lur coulu lose a íoirune even ií you uo
laµµen ro carcl rle rliiu king.
By rle vay, vlen youi oµµonenr lirs an oµen µaii oí aces ir
is usually a goou rime íoi you ro íolu rvo µaii as vell. 1link
aLour ir: ií you call riying ro make a íull louse, rlen you`ll also
call on rle enu, jusr in case youi oµµonenr las only one µaii. So
ir can cosr you rvo oi rliee Lig Lers ro call youi oµµonenr all rle
vay ro rle enu. Srill, you neeu ro ueciue youi move Ly youi ieau
oí rle siruarion. Peilaµs you rlink youi oµµonenr las a µaii oí
aces anu a lusl uiav againsr youi rvo µaii, anu in rlis case you
can call lim uovn. On rle orlei lanu, le may nor lave any
sriaiglr oi lusl caius sloving vlen le lirs lis oµen aces, anu in
rlis case ir`s easy ro ieau lim íoi rvo µaii. Bur rle marl jusr isn`r
iiglr íoi you ro call virl youi rvo µaii vlen youi oµµonenr las
aces uµ.
Likevise, vlen an oµµonenr lirs a µaii on rle Loaiu rlar
ourianks rle µaii you lave, ir`s almosr alvays iiglr ro íolu youi
lanu. Oí couise, rleie aie exceµrions, sucl as vlen you lave (2-
A) 2-K-Q-¯ (a µaii oí rvos virl rliee Lig caius), anu youi oµµo-
nenr las a Loaiu oí 6-4-9-9. In rlis case (le uiun`r µaii lis uooi
caiu), ir seems likely rlar you`ll vin rle µor ií you lir a ueuce, a
queen, a king, oi an ace. Anorlei exceµrion is vlen you lave a
sriaiglr oi a lusl uiav along virl youi µaii. 1le geneial iule in
rlis case is: íolu youi lanu ií youi oµµonenr lirs a Liggei µaii on
rle Loaiu rlan you lave in youi lanu.
One Final Thought: Don’t Fight the
Math
Seven-Card Stud: Basic and Intermediate Strategy
Wlen you ueciue ro riy ro vin virl rle voisr lanu in µokei, ve
µioíessional µlayeis call rlar ¨clasing.¨ Clasing can Le ueíensi-
Lle ií rle µor is laige comµaieu virl rle amounr you lave ro
invesr in rle clase, anJ ií you lave enougl ¨ours¨ (caius rlar
miglr vin íoi you). Lven rlougl rlar lasr senrence is riue, I
almosr uiun`r vanr ro incluue ir leie, Lecause Leginneis usually
clase íai roo oíren anu virlour neaily enougl ievaiu vairing
íoi rlem (rlar is, rle µor is roo small comµaieu virl rle amounr
rley invesr vlile clasing), anu I uon`r vanr ro give you an excuse
ro make a µooi µlay. Oíren, rle marl jusr isn`r iiglr íoi you ro
arremµr clasing uovn youi oµµonenr. 1iying ro hglr rle marl is
a Lau move in µokei! Save youi cliµs íoi rle lanu vleie you`ie
rle marlemarical íavoiire, anu rlen Ler rlem. Seven-Caiu Sruu
can Le lookeu ar jusr rlar simµly: µlay µors vlen you`ie a marl-
emarical íavoiire, nor vlen you`ie a marlemarical unueiuog. Ií
you can uo rlis, rlen I vill see you someuay ar rle Woilu Seiies
oí Pokei!
C h a p t e r 1 3
Seven-Card Stud
Low (Razz) Strategy
1le oLjecr oí Seven-Caiu Sruu Lov, oi Razz, is ro make rle
voisr lanu µossiLle! Razz is uealr jusr like Lasic Seven-Caiu
Sruu, Lur rle oLjecr, ouuly enougl, is ro make rle lovesr lanu.
In Razz, lusles anu sriaiglrs uon`r counr againsr you (rlar is,
rley lave no value). Bur µaiis anu riiµs aie Lau (Lecause ir is
laiuei ro make a hve-caiu lov lanu virl rlem). Aces aie con-
siueieu lov. In Razz, rle Lesr µossiLle lov lanu is 5-4-3-2-A,
vlicl is calleu a vleel. 1le seconu-Lesr µossiLle lov lanu is a
six µeiíecr, oi 6-4-3-2-A. 1le clair on µage 291 slovs a lisr oí
rle Lesr µossiLle lov lanus in oiuei.
You vill evenrually hguie our rlar ir isn`r rlar laiu ro
uiscein vlicl lov lanu is Lesr in close cases. A seven-hve lov (¯-
5-x-x-x) is lovei rlan a seven-six lov (¯-6-x-x-x). A seven-six-
hve-rliee lov (¯-6-5-3-x) is lovei rlan a seven-six-hve-íoui lov
(¯-6-5-4-x). Iiguiing our rle Lesr lov lanu is jusr a marrei oí
Seven-Card Stud Low (Razz) Strategy 2 9 1
The Best Low Hands
ieauing rle lov lanu íiom rle liglesr caiu ro rle lovesr caiu
anu seeing vlicl lanu goes lovei hisr. I once losr a $15,000 µor
ro rle legenuaiy Seymoui LieLovirz in a lov-Lall evenr ar rle
Woilu Seiies oí Pokei vlen lis 9-¯-5-4-2 Lear my 9-¯-5-4-3 lov.
Ir came uovn ro rle hírl anu hnal caiu in rlis case! We Lorl lau
2 9 2 Play Poker Like the Pros
a 9-¯-5-4 in oui lanus, Lur lis ueuce ¨µiµµeu¨ my rliee (eugeu
ir our Ly one µoinr in value).
Riglr nov Razz is somerling oí a íiinge game in rle µokei
voilu. In íacr, mosr µokei iooms uon`r even sµieau a Razz
game rlese uays. Alrlougl ve lave a Razz Woilu Clamµi-
onsliµ eacl yeai, ir is among rle lovesr-arrenueu evenrs ar rle
WSOP. Srill, Razz is an imµoiranr game rlar is µlayeu íoi ligl
srakes on a uaily Lasis in Los Angeles ar rle Commeice Casino.
Razz is also oíren incluueu in ligl-srakes games ar rle Bellagio
in Las Vegas, somerimes uealr jusr Ly irselí, Lur moie com-
monly uealr as µair oí a iorarion oí games like HORSL
(Holu`em, Omala, Razz, Sruu, anu Sruu Liglr oi Berrei). By
rle vay, somerimes vlile µlaying HORSL, rle µlayeis vill nor
norice rlar rle game las clangeu֒oi insrance, vlen rle game
goes íiom one vaiiarion oí Sruu ro rle nexr÷anu rley lose a
laige µor Lecause oí rlis! Ir laµµens ro eveiyone, incluuing me,
moie rlan once.
Lven rlougl many roµ µioíessional µlayeis íeel rlar Razz
involves moie luck anu iequiies less skill rlan mosr orlei µokei
games, I íeel rlar Razz uemanus a lor oí skill. In Razz, ieauing
youi oµµonenrs vell is ciucial ro Leing a giear µlayei. Ií you`ie
ieauing youi oµµonenrs vell, you can make some calls oi íolus
rlar orlei µlayeis cannor make. 1le ieauing µair comes vlen
youi oµµonenr lirs vlar aµµeais ro Le a µeiíecr lov caiu íoi
lim. Ií you ieau rlar ir vas, inueeu, µeiíecr íoi lim, rlen you`ll
neeu ro íolu youi lanu (ueµenuing on vlar you cauglr). Ií you
ieau rlar rle caiu in íacr µaiieu lim, rlen you`ll Le aLle ro con-
rinue µlaying youi lanu. Ioi examµle le miglr lir a rliee, íoi a
Loaiu oí (x-x) 2-3, Lur rleie is a uecenr clance rlar rle caiu
2 9 3 Seven-Card Stud Low (Razz) Strategy
µaiieu lim, Lecause, µiesumaLly, le is srairing virl all lov
caius in lis lanu.
In Razz ir`s imµoiranr ro µlay riglr, make vell-rimeu
Lluíís, anu sreal rle anres on rle hisr iounu oí Lerring. In orlei
voius, in many vays Razz is a lor like all rle orlei µokei games
in rlis Look.
In rlis claµrei you vill leain:
z 1le Razz srairing lanus rlar you can µlay no marrei vlar rle
cosr.
z 1lar rle uµ caius in Razz uereimine rle sriengrl oí youi
lanu.
z 1lar rle uµ caius in Razz rell you vlen ro make an ¨anre
sreal.¨
z Wly you sloulu jam youi sriong rliee-caiu srairing lanus.
z 1le aigumenr íoi slov-µlaying in Razz.
z Wlicl lanu is íavoieu ro vin aírei hve caius.
z Hov ro ¨ieµiesenr¨ lanus in Razz.
z Wlar ¨Loaiu lock¨ is in Razz.
z Wlen you sloulu íolu youi lanu.
z Wlen ro call a Ler as rle Liing-in Lerroi.
The Best Playable Hands in Razz
A-2-3 is rle Lesr µossiLle srairing lanu in Razz. Any comLina-
rion oí caius Lerveen an ace anu a hve (Lur no µaiis oi riiµs!) is
consiueieu a giear srairing lanu in Razz. 1le 3-4-5 is rle voisr
µossiLle srairing lanu among any oí rle liglly uesiiaLle ace-ro-
2 9 4 Play Poker Like the Pros
hve comLinarions oí caius, Lur rleie ieally isn`r mucl uiííeience
Lerveen 3-4-5 anu A-2-3. Geneially any lanu rlar conrains rliee
caius Lerveen an ace anu a seven is consiueieu µlayaLle íoi any
numLei oí Lers on rle hisr iounu oí Lerring.
1le srairing iequiiemenrs íoi a Razz lanu aie veiy easy ro
iememLei. Basically, you vanr ro µlay all lanus rlar lave rliee
caius Lerveen an ace anu an eiglr, unless rleie`s a lor oí iaising
going on iiglr avay, in vlicl case you vanr ro srair virl a
rliee-caiu seven oi Lerrei. 1liee-caiu eiglrs sloulu Le iourinely
íolueu vlen rley`ie uµ againsr rvo µlayeis vlo aµµeai ro lave
Lerrei lanus. 1le rime ro µlay a rliee-caiu eiglr rlar uoesn`r
aµµeai ro Le rle Lesr lanu voulu Le vlen you`ie leaus uµ (one
on one) in a µor, rlar vay you`ie riying ro ouruiav jusr one
µlayei, insreau oí rvo. 1liee-caiu eiglrs aie goou ¨anre-srealing¨
lanus oi even goou lanus ro ieiaise an oµµonenr virl vlen you
susµecr rlar le`s veak.
The Up Cards Will Determine the
Strength of Your Hand
In Razz, rleie vill Le rimes vlen you`ll íolu youi srairing lanu
oí (2-3) 9. 1leie vill also Le rimes vlen you vill ieiaise some-
one virl (2-¯) 10. Ir all ueµenus on vlar you see among rle
srairing uµ caius÷rle comLinarion oí caius (one eacl) rlar
youi oµµonenrs aie uealr, íaceuµ, ro srair rle lanu. Wlen rle
srairing uµ caius aiounu rle raLle aie K, Q, ], Q, 10, anu 10,
youi lanu siruarion is quire uiííeienr íiom vlen you`ie íacing
uµ caius oí, say, A, 2, 3, 3, A, anu ¯. In rle hisr case, rle Lesr
2 9 5 Seven-Card Stud Low (Razz) Strategy
µossiLle srairing lanu our rleie is (A-2) 10. In rle seconu case,
rle Lesr µossiLle srairing lanu is (A-2) 3, anu þie jlayers coulu
lave srairing lanus consisring oí an ace-ro-hve mix oí caius!
Wirl rle hisr ¨iougl¨ Loaiu aLove, ieiaising virl (2-¯) 10 as a
srairing lanu voulu Le a goou µlay. Wirl rle seconu ¨smoorl¨
Loaiu aLove, you coulun`r µlay even (S-6) ¯ íoi a iaise! So rle
uµ caius, in rlese anu many orlei cases, uereimine youi lanu
sriengrl in Razz.
The Up Cards Sometimes Tell You What
to Do
Ií you lave rle only uµ caiu Lelov a ren ro srair a lanu, rlen in
eííecr you uon`r even neeu ro look ar youi lole caius! 1lis is a
goou auromaric siruarion íoi you ro iaise íiom, anu rlus sreal
rle anres, rlougl I`u iecommenu rlar you uo look ar youi lole
caius. Ií youi oµµonenrs see rlar you laven`r lookeu ar youi
lole caius anu knov rlar rley lave somerling ieasonaLle in
rle lole rlemselves, rley may call a Ler ro vlicl rley orleivise
voulu lave iesµonueu Ly íoluing.
Automatic Steal When You’re the Only
Low Card
Suµµose rlar rle uµ caius aie K (rle ligl caiu iequiieu ro Liing
in rle Ler), ], ¯ (youi ovn uµ caiu), 10, ], anu Q. 1le king Liings
ir in íoi aLour one-íouirl oí rle íull Ler. (We leaineu aLour
2 9 6 Play Poker Like the Pros
Liing-in Lers íoi Sruu in Claµrei 11 on µage 260.) Þov rle jack
íolus. ^ake suie rlar you nov iaise ir, comµlering ir ro rle íull
oµening Ler. 1lis vill µioLaLly íoice eveiyone Lelinu you ro
íolu. You`ie loµing ro vin eveiyone`s anre, anu ir`s veiy unlikely
rlar anyone vill call you in rlis siruarion. Because no one can
call you, you alvays neeu ro make rlis iaise, even ií you lave
K-K in rle lole, in oiuei ro vin rle anres.
Automatic Raise When It’s You versus
the High Bring-In Card
Suµµose rlar rle uµ caius aie K (rle Liing-in Ler), 4, ¯, Q, ], 6
(youi uµ caiu). 1le king once again Liings ir in íoi aLour one-
íouirl oí rle íull Ler size anu eveiyone else íolus ro you, virl
youi six uµ. Ir uoesn`r marrei vlar youi lole caius aie in rlis
case, Lecause you lave ro iaise Ly comµlering rle Ler ro one íull-
size Ler, in oiuei ro vin all rle anre money alieauy in rle µor. In
rlis case rle king is rle only caiu Lelinu you, anu le`ll íolu mosr
oí rle rime, alloving you ro vin rle µor. Lven ií you lave (A-2)
6 as a lanu, you uon`r vanr ro give rle king a íiee caiu leie. 1lis
is jusr an auromaric iaise.
Semiautomatic Raise: Stealing the
Antes
Suµµose nov rlar rle uµ caius aie Q (rle Liing-in Ler), 4, 10, ],
5 (youi uµ caiu), anu 3. 1le queen oµens íoi aLour one-íouirl
oí a íull Ler, anu nov rle íoui, ren, anu jack all íolu ro you. Ií
2 9 7 Seven-Card Stud Low (Razz) Strategy
you iaise (comµlere rle Ler ro one íull-size Ler) virl youi hve uµ,
anu rle rliee anu rle queen íolu, rlen you`ve von all rle anre
money. 1lis is rlus a goou µlace ro iaise in oiuei ro riy ro Lluíí
our rle rliee anu rle queen anu sreal rle anres. You`ie iisking
one Ler in oiuei ro vin aLour rvo Lers. 1le exacr amounr you`ie
riying ro vin vill vaiy virl vlar rle anre sriucruie is, Lur ar
almosr any noimal anre sriucruie rle marl says ro iaise anu sreal
rle Llinus!
Oí couise, ií you sense rlar rle rliee las a sriong lanu anu
you uon`r lave anyrling, rlen you can íolu youi lanu insreau.
(Ir`s amazing lov many rimes µeoµle give avay rle sriengrl oí
rleii lanus in µokei!) 1le voilu`s giearesr Razz µlayei, 1eu Ioi-
iesr (vlo gives us a voilu-class riµ ar rle enu oí rlis claµrei), says
rlar le vill somerimes ler lis lanu ueciue vlerlei oi nor le vill
riy a sreal in rlis siruarion. Ií 1eu las a lanu rlar conrains rliee
lov caius, like (5-¯) 5 oi even (5-5) 5, rlen le`ll riy ro sreal, Lur
ií le las (10-]) 5, le von`r. His iarionale is rlar ií le las some
lov caius, ir`s a lor less likely rlar lis lone oµµonenr vill
lave any.
Starting with the Best Possible Hand
Suµµose rlar rle uµ caius aie Q (rle Liing-in Ler), S, 9, 10, 9,
anu ¯ (you). Wlen you lave a rliee-caiu seven like (4-5) ¯ oi (A-
6) ¯, rlen you lave rle Lesr lanu in rle helu ar rlis µoinr. Youi
oµµonenrs` Lesr µossiLle lanu is (A-2) S, Lecause an eiglr is rle
lovesr caiu on rle Loaiu, orlei rlan youi seven. In rlis case, ir`s
rime ro jam ir uµ anu Luilu a nice-size µor! Wlar`s esµecially nice
leie is rlar alrlougl you lave rle Lesr uµ caiu, youi oµµonenrs
2 9 8 Play Poker Like the Pros
von`r necessaiily give you cieuir íoi laving a sriong lanu, anu
you sranu a goou clance oí gerring acrion on youi iaise.
Anorlei asµecr oí µaying close arrenrion ro vlar rle uµ
caius aie ar rle srair oí a lanu is ro cleck íoi caius rlar µiorecr
youi lanu. Ioi examµle, youi rliee-caiu smoorl eiglr vill Le a
íavoiire ovei someone else`s rliee-caiu seven ií you look aiounu
rle Loaiu anu norice rlar youi rliee srairing caius aµµeai in
aLunuance. (Ií rlese caius rlar voulu µaii you aie alieauy
Luineu as orlei µlayeis` uµ caius, you von`r lir any oí rlem
larei.) Again, Lecause all rlese ¨Lau¨ caius (íoi you) aie no
longei availaLle in rle ueck ro lir youi lanu, youi lanu is mucl
sriongei rlan ir voulu Le orleivise.
Ir`s also imµoiranr ro iememLei all rle exµoseu uµ caius
Lerveen an ace anu a nine, so rlar you`ll lave a goou iuea oí
vlerlei a caiu vas likely ro lave maue youi oµµonenr`s lanu, oi
ro lave µaiieu lim. Ioi examµle, you miglr lave noreu rlar rle
íolueu uµ caius veie 3, K, ¯, 3, S, anu nov you knov rlar a
rliee is a ¨jokei¨ íoi youi oµµonenr (rle Lesr µossiLle caiu íoi
lim ro carcl), Lecause virl rvo rliees our, ir is less likely rlar le
alieauy lau one in rle lole. You miglr even carcl a rliee youi-
selí rlar µaiis you, leaving you, íoi examµle, (3-5) ¯, 2, 3, Lur rle
same exµecrarions miglr nov vin you rle µor virl a Ler,
Lecause youi oµµonenrs vill norice rlar you cauglr a caiu rlar is
unlikely ro lave µaiieu you÷in rlis case, ir is ycu vlo cauglr
vlar aµµeais ro Le a jokei.
Duplicated Cards in Your Hand
Suµµose rlar rle uµ caius aie Q (rle Liing-in Ler), 4, 4, 5, S (youi
2 9 9 Seven-Card Stud Low (Razz) Strategy
caiu), anu ¯. Ií you lave (4-5) S íoi a lanu, rlen you`ie a
íavoiire ro vin rle µor ovei any rliee-caiu seven Lelinu you vlo
uoesn`r lave a íoui in lis lanu. RememLei rlar only one íoui
anu rvo hves aie leír in rle ueck ar rlis µoinr íoi rle seven ro lir,
vlile you laµµily hnu youiselí rle ovnei oí lole caius rlar aie in
sloir suµµly. Pay close arrenrion ro lirrle rlings like rlis vlen
you µlay Razz, anu you`ll soon leain rlar rley aien`r ¨lirrle¨ ar
all. Oí couise, ií rle rliee-caiu seven keeµs iaising you, rlen le
may lave rle lasr (oíren calleu rle ¨case¨) íoui in lis lanu
alieauy.
Why You Should Jam It in Razz with
Your Strong Hands in Three
1le ieason vly you sloulu jam ir (iaise anu ieiaise) in Razz
vlen you lave rle Lesr srairing lanu is so rlar you can call on
rle nexr iounu oí Lerring vlen you carcl a Lau caiu. Ií you`ie
jusr calling in rle eaily iounus anu lerring orlei lanus inro rle
µor iiglr avay, you may µur youiselí in a siruarion vleie you
µierry mucl lave ro íolu on rle veiy nexr iounu oí Lerring.
Jamming Keeps You in the Pot
Suµµose rlar rle uµ caius aie ] (rle Liing-in Ler), 6, ¯, S, 5,
anu 6 (you). 1le jack Liouglr ir in íoi aLour one-íouirl oí one
Ler, anu rle hisr six comµlereu rle Ler (iaiseu ir) ro one íull Ler.
Þov rle seven calls rle Ler anu you lave (A-3) 6. I iecommenu
rlar you iaise ir leie, making ir rvo Lers ro go. 1lar vay you`ie
making suie rlar you ger ro see Lorl rle íouirl anu rle hírl
3 0 0 Play Poker Like the Pros
caius. Ií you jusr call rle Ler anu rlen rle hisr six carcles a íoui,
rle seven carcles a hve, anu you carcl a queen, ir coulu easily
laµµen rlar rle 6-4 Lers our anu rle ¯-5 iaises, leaving you
íoiceu ro íolu youi (A-3) 6-Q lanu. In íacr, íoluing youi lanu is
rle coiiecr µlay leie, Lur, ií you lau ieiaiseu Leíoie rle loµ, you
coulu nov call rvo Lers virl rlar lanu (Laiely). 1le marl is
mucl Lerrei íoi a call larei vlen you lave Luilr rle µor uµ in rle
hisr iounu oí Lerring virl youi sriong srairing lanu. 1le laigei
µor makes ¨clasing¨ ro see ií you ger Lack inro rle uiivei`s sear
on hírl srieer moie sounu. Youi slov oí sriengrl on rle hisr
iounu may also ler you in moie cleaµly on íouirl srieer, even ií
you uo carcl a Lau caiu anu youi oµµonenrs carcl vlar aie
aµµaienrly goou ones. (Youi oµµonenrs nov knov rlar you`ie
commirreu ro rle µor, anu rlus rley may nor claige you rvo
Lers.)
Anorlei ieason ro ieiaise virl a sriong srairing lanu is rlar
youi oµµonenr may lave a µioLlem virl lis lanu. I lave
ieiaiseu my oµµonenrs on rliee caius anu rlen varcleu as rley
rliev rleii lanus avay, alloving me ro vin rle µor unconresreu.
(Peilaµs rley all lau junk like K-K in rle lole!) Oi ir miglr Le
rlar a six iaises anu you lave (3-4) ¯. A ieiaise leie makes rle
µor Liggei anu ensuies rlar you vill see a hírl caiu. ^aniµular-
ing rle size oí rle µor is imµoiranr in Razz.
The Argument for Trapping in Razz
I uon`r mucl like riaµµing in Razz, Lur I uo riaµ somerimes in
oiuei ro rliov rle orlei µlayeis oíí anu inuuce rlem ro uiav
3 0 1 Seven-Card Stud Low (Razz) Strategy
ueau (virl loµeless µiosµecrs). Ií you riaµ virl a lanu like (A-2)
5, you can somerimes ger a lor oí acrion larei on in rle lanu
vlen you make a veiy sriong lanu. By µierenuing rlar you`ie
veak anu jusr calling rle orlei µlayeis` Lers anu iaises on rle
hisr anu seconu iounus oí Lerring, you may hnu youiselí in a
giear siruarion Ly rle enu oí rle lanu. By rle rime you hnally uo
µur in youi iaise, rley uon`r rlink rlar you lave anyrling voirl
voiiying aLour.
One uay I vas µlaying rliee-lanueu $S00÷$1,600 Razz in
Los Angeles ar rle Commeice Casino vlen I sav an oµµoiruniry
ro riaµ. 1le lov caiu (a ren) Liouglr ir in íoi $200 anu rle nine
nexr uooi comµlereu rle Ler ro $S00. I lau (A-3) 6 anu ueciueu
rlar ir voulu look like a riaµ ií I jusr calleu rle $S00. So I iaiseu
rle Ler ro $1,600 ro go. I vas acring jusr as I lau acreu rle lasr
rime I Lluííeu a µor (using rle same manneiisms anu Lerring µar-
rein), anu I coulu rell rlar Lorl oí my oµµonenrs rlouglr I
lookeu veak vlile rley calleu. In íacr, ir lookeu as ií rle nine
vanreu ro ieiaise me anu make ir $2,400 ro go! Anyvay, I
cauglr a íoui íoi (A-3) 6-4, anu Lorl oí my oµµonenrs cauglr
µeiíecr lov caius. I ueciueu rlar clecking voulu Le rle µeiíecr
µlay, since rley Lorl rlouglr I vas veak anu rley lau Lorl
cauglr µeiíecrly. So I cleckeu, rle ren Ler our, anu rle nine calleu
rle Ler. I jusr calleu, rlinking rlar I miglr Le aLle ro riaµ my
oµµonenrs íoi a ieally Lig µor on rle nexr íev iounus oí Lerring.
Ar rlis µoinr I lau one oí rle Lesr µossiLle lanus, Lur I vas srill
suie rley rlouglr I lau norling.
1le nexr caius Liouglr me a queen íoi (A-3) 6-4-Q, anu
Lorl oµµonenrs lir OK caius. I ueciueu rlar Lerring our voulu
coníuse rlem, so I Ler $1,600 anu rle 10-2-S maue ir $3,200.
3 0 2 Play Poker Like the Pros
Þov rle 9-¯-10 calleu rle $3,200! 1le íacr rlar rle 10-9-¯
calleu vas a suiµiise, anu nov I ueciueu ir vas rime ro ler rle car
our oí rle Lag. I ieiaiseu, making ir $4,S00 ro go. 1ley Lorl
quickly calleu (I lau maue ir oLvious rlar I lau a veiy sriong
uiav, Lur ir vas cleai rlar ar leasr íoi rle momenr rle Lesr I
coulu lave lau vas a queen lov). 1le nexr caiu Liouglr me an
eiglr íoi (A-3) 6-4-Q-S. 1leii uµ caius veie nov 10-2-S-¯ anu
9-¯-10-2. I Ler our, anu nov rley Lorl jusr calleu me. I knev
rlar rle hisr oµµonenr lau maue an eiglr lov (Lur rle Lesr sle
coulu lave vas an eiglr-seven lov ro my eiglr-six lov) anu rle
seconu oµµonenr lau maue a nine lov, anu rlar rley veie Lorl
uiaving ro Lear me! 1lis vas uníoirunare, Lecause I coulu jusr
as easily lave cauglr a caiu rlar voulu lave slur rlem Lorl our
anu guaianreeu rlar I voulu vin rle µor (a rvo, hve, oi seven
voulu lave uone ir).
Bur I`ve losr µlenry oí µors in siruarions like rlis one, anu I
knev rle eiglr I cauglr vas a veiy goou caiu íoi me, ar leasr ir
gave me rle Lesr lanu. I coulu lave cauglr anorlei ¨µainr¨
(íace caiu) anu Leen riailing virl one caiu ro go. On rle enu, I
Ler our virlour looking ar my lasr caiu anu rle hisr µlayei acru-
ally íolueu lei eiglr lov! Þov rle seconu µlayei calleu anu I
saiu, ¨Liglr-six lov so íai.¨ He saiu, ¨Seven lov.¨ I saiu,
¨Wlar. Ler me look ar my lasr caiu.¨ I vas srunneu rlar my
oµµonenr lau cauglr rvo µeiíecr caius in a iov ro make a seven
lov! Luckily íoi me, I cauglr a seven on rle lasr caiu ro make a
Lerrei seven lov rlan my oµµonenr lau. I say ¨luckily,¨ anu cei-
rainly ir vas íoirunare rlar I cauglr rle seven, Lur I lau µur
myselí in µosirion ro vin Ly uiaving ro a sriongei lanu rlan my
oµµonenr lau Leen uiaving ro. Wov, vlar a nice $30,000 caiu
3 0 3 Seven-Card Stud Low (Razz) Strategy
rle seven vas!
Ií I lau µlayeu my lanu íasr all rle vay, rle µor voulun`r
lave Leen as Lig as ir vas. ^y riaµ íooleu Lorl oí my oµµonenrs
anu alloveu me ro vin a mucl laigei µor rlan I vas ¨suµµoseu¨
ro vin virl rlis lanu.
A Razz Trap Gone Awry!
I`ve Leen relling you aLour a lanu vleie rle riaµ voikeu
µeiíecrly, Lur nov I neeu ro rell you aLour a rime vlen rle riaµ
cosr me a luge µor! In a íoui-lanueu $600÷$1,200 Razz game,
rle íolloving lanu came uµ Lerveen ]olnny Clan anu me. (In
2002, ]olnny µasseu me anu Lecame rle all-rime leauing money
vinnei in rle lisroiy oí rle Woilu Seiies oí Pokei÷virl moie
rlan $3 million.) I lau sraireu rle lanu virl (A-5) 4 anu I simµly
calleu rle $200 Liing-in Ler÷in oiuei ro riaµ ]olnny, vlo vas
sirring iiglr Lelinu me. He comµlereu rle Ler ro $600 virl vlar
I evenrually leaineu vas (A-A) A, a µuie Lluíí! In orlei voius, I
vas gerring exacrly vlar I vanreu! I lau riaµµeu ]olnny inro
µlaying (A-A) A, one oí rle voisr µossiLle srairing lanus in
Razz! So I jusr calleu lis $400, anu nov I cauglr a six, íoi (A-5)
4-6, anu I cleckeu ro ]olnny, vlo cauglr a seven íoi A-¯ on rle
Loaiu.
I cleckeu again, knoving rlar I lau an exriemely sriong
lanu. ]olnny Ler our inro me virl lis A-¯, anu I smoorl-calleu
lim once again, µierenuing ro Le veak. 1le nexr caiu Liouglr a
hve íoi me anu a lanu oí (A-5) 4-6-5. ]olnny cauglr a hve as
vell, íoi A-¯-5 on rle Loaiu. I cleckeu again, Lur nov I vas
voiiieu rlar le lau a sriong lanu, Lecause I juugeu rlar rle hve
3 0 4 Play Poker Like the Pros
µioLaLly laun`r µaiieu lim. (I uiun`r rlink le lau a hve in rle
lole, as I lau rvo hves myselí.)
I cleckeu again, ]olnny Ler our $1,200, anu I jusr calleu.
I vas no longei rlinking aLour riaµµing ]olnny, I vas con-
ceineu rlar le lau a sriong lanu, anu I vas voiiieu aLour
vlerlei oi nor I coulu vin rle µor! On sixrl srieer I cauglr a
queen, íoi a lanu oí (A-5) 4-6-5-Q, anu ]olnny cauglr a nine
íoi a Loaiu oí A-¯-5-9. ]olnny vas nov lov, so le Ler $1,200
inro me, anu I calleu. Þov I vas suie rlar ]olnny lau ar leasr
one goou caiu ro go virl lis íoui-caiu nine on Loaiu. In orlei
voius, I vas suie rlar le lau ar leasr a nine lov ar rlis µoinr
in rle lanu.
^y lasr (uovn) caiu vas an ugly-looking king, íoi a hnal
lanu oí (A-5) 4-6-5-Q (K), anu ]olnny Ler our $1,200 inro me. I
uiun`r even consiuei calling rle Ler virl my queen lov, so I saiu,
¨Look ar vlar I vas riaµµing you virl. I lau a six-lov uiav
aírei íoui caius! You`ie µierry lucky ro vin rlis µor. All I coulu
make vas a queen lov.¨ ]olnny cluckleu anu sloveu me rlar
le lau sraireu virl rliee aces on a µuie Lluíí, Lur on rle lasr
caiu le lau cauglr a jack anu Lluííeu inro me virl lis jack lov
(A-5-¯-9-] vas lis hve-caiu lov lanu, aírei le uiscaiueu A-A).
As ir ruineu our, I coulun`r lave Learen lis jack lov anyvay virl
my queen lov. (He vas Lluíhng virl rle Lesr lanu, somerling
rlar laµµens moie oíren rlan you miglr rlink vlen you make
vlar you Lelieve is a successíul Lluíí.) Bur ralk aLour oµening rle
uooi íoi someone! Ií I lau jusr oµeneu rle µor íoi $600 in rle
hisr µlace, rlen I voulu almosr suiely lave von ir iiglr rleie on
rle oµening Ler. Ir`s nor oíren rlar (A-A) A can make a Lerrei lov
rlan (A-4) 5. Ir`s also inreiesring rlar I vas riaµµing ]olnny in
rle same lanu rlar le vas riying ro Lluíí me our on. We veie
3 0 5 Seven-Card Stud Low (Razz) Strategy
Lorl µurring moves on eacl orlei. 1lis is a case vleie rle riaµ
cosr me a lor oí money.
Who Is the Favorite after Five Cards?
One oí rle íascinaring íearuies oí Razz is rlar rle Lesr uiaving
lanu aírei hve caius is rle íavoiire ovei an alreaJy naJe nine
lov! 1lis seems counreiinruirive ro mosr oí us. Oíren in µokei,
ve vanr ro lave rle ¨maue lanu,¨ nor rle uiaving lanu. Ií you
lave (A-3) 5-¯-Q anu youi oµµonenr las (A-3) 4-S-9, you aie÷
cuiiously enougl÷a íavoiire ro vin rle µor. I`ve seen µeoµle ger
coníuseu Ly rlis anu µur in a Luncl oí iaises virl a maue nine
virl rvo caius leír ro Le uealr anu rlen Lemoan rleii Lau luck
larei, saying, ¨I lau rle maue lanu, I vas µierry unlucky ro lose
rlar µor.¨ I`ve Leen remµreu ro say, ¨Þor exacrly, µal, you veie
rle unueiuog.¨ Bur I riy nor ro coiiecr µlayeis` µeiceµrions,
Lecause I miglr Le in rle same µosirion againsr rlem rle nexr
rime aiounu. So rake rle Lesr uiaving lanu, nor a maue nine,
virl rvo caius ro come in Razz.
Oí couise, virl jusr cne caiu ro come rle maue nine is a Lig
íavoiire (iouglly 5 ro 3) ovei rle seven uiav. Wirl one caiu ro
come, I love laving rle Lesr lanu in a Lig Razz µor, esµecially ií
ir`s an eiglr lov oi Lerrei.
Representing a Hand in Razz after You
Make a Hidden Pair
3 0 6 Play Poker Like the Pros
In Razz, vlen you make a liuuen µaii (vlen you make a µaii
virl one oí youi uovn caius anu no one can see ir), ir`s imµoi-
ranr rlar you Ler anyvay. I voulun`r suggesr Lerring our inro rvo
orlei oµµonenrs in rlis siruarion ií rley Lorl lir µeiíecr-looking
lov caius, Lur ií you`ie going ro call a Ler anyvay, rlen vly nor
leau our virl a Ler. Ceirainly you sloulu leau our ií you lir a
lov liuuen µaii anu youi oµµonenr carcles a Lau caiu, Lecause
you may vin rle vlole µor iiglr rleie íoi a single Ler. Ler`s look
ar some examµles oí vlar can laµµen in a Razz µor vlen you
leau our virl a liuuen µaii.
Suµµose you lave iaiseu a µor virl (A-S) 5 anu youi oµµo-
nenr las calleu virl a six sloving. Þov you carcl an ace íoi (A-
S) 5-A anu youi oµµonenr carcles a jack. Ií you Ler our leie,
ieµiesenring rlar rle ace vas a goou caiu íoi you, youi oµµo-
nenr may acrually íolu lis lanu iiglr rleie anu ler you vin rle
µor, even rlougl you cauglr a caiu rlar vas in iealiry voise
rlan lis jack.
Bur ler`s suµµose nov rlar youi oµµonenr calls you aírei
you`ve Ler our. Ler`s say rlar you lir anorlei ace anu youi
oµµonenr carcles a íoui, íoi a Loaiu oí 6-]-4, vlile you lave
(A-S) 5-A-A. Wlar uo you uo nov. Iiisr, rleie is a 30 ro 45
µeicenr clance rlar youi oµµonenr las maue a µaii oí liuuen
íouis in rlis case. (I say 30 ro 45 µeicenr Lecause I`m assuming
rlar le las rliee caius ro a seven oi an eiglr in oiuei ro call
youi Ler aírei you lir youi ace on rle íouirl caiu.) So ií lis lole
caius aie some comLinarion oí A (rle only one leír), 2, 3, 4, 5,
¯, anu S, rlen rleie aie iouglly six liuuen µaii caius anu sev-
enreen nonµaii caius íoi lim ro lir. Ií le uoes make a liuuen
µaii, rlen in mosr cases you`ll vin rle µor Ly making a Ler. So I
3 0 7 Seven-Card Stud Low (Razz) Strategy
auvise you ro Ler our Lluíhng, even rlougl you lave riiµ aces in
rlis siruarion!
Anorlei ieason ro Ler is rlar ií you jusr cleck, youi oµµo-
nenr vill knov rlar rleie`s somerling viong virl youi lanu,
anu le may Lluíí you our even rlougl le µaiieu uµ virl lis
lanu! A iouglly 35 µeicenr clance oí vinning rle µor virl a Ler
is goou enougl íoi me ro Ler our! (Ií you lose, so vlar. Ií you
uon`r Ler you`ll lose anyvay.)
Conveisely, ií ycu lave rle 6-]-4 lanu, anu rle íoui uiun`r
µaii you, anu ir`s youi oµµonenr vlo las rle 5-A-A Loaiu, you
sloulu iaise lim ií le Lers, Lecause le may lave a ieally veak
lanu anu youi iaise may vin you rle µor. By iaising rle 5-A-A
Loaiu, you aie slurring lim our íiom carcling rvo µeiíecr
caius in a iov ro Lear you. In orlei voius, ií le uoes lave rle
(A-S) 5-A-A lanu (rliee aces), youi iaise vill íoice lim ro íolu
lis lanu. Anu ií le uoes lave rlar lanu anu you Jcn´t iaise, le
may carcl a goou caiu on rle nexr caiu anu go on ro Lear you
oi even Lluíí you our. Razz is a veiy comµlicareu game in vlicl
a vell-rimeu iaise can go íai rovaiu vinning oi losing any
given µor.
Look for the Old “Board-Lock”
Situation
A lor oí rimes you vill lave youi oµµonenr ¨Loaiu-lockeu.¨ 1lis
means you`ie ceirain rlar (ar leasr ar rle momenr) you lave a
Lerrei lanu rlan le can µossiLly lave, no marrei lov goou lis
lole caius aie. Ií you lave an eiglr lov oi Lerrei anu you lave
3 0 8 Play Poker Like the Pros
youi oµµonenr Loaiu-lockeu, rlen go aleau anu iaise as many
rimes as le vanrs ro iaise you.
Suµµose rlar aírei six caius you lave (A-2) S-5-6-9, anu
youi oµµonenr las a Loaiu oí S-6-]-5. You can cleaily see rlar
rle Lesr lanu le coulu µossiLly lave ar rlis µoinr is S-6-5-2-A
lov. You alieauy lave S-6-5-2-A, so rle Lesr le can Le is rieu
virl you ar rlis µoinr. ^ake suie ro iaise lim as many rimes as
you can! He may nor see rlar you coulu lave lim Loaiu-lockeu,
oi le may rlink rlar lis S-6-5-3-A is Lerrei rlan vlar you lave.
1lese siruarions come uµ in Razz vlen rle lanus aie close, Lur
vlen you uo lave youi oµµonenr Loaiu-lockeu, virl an eiglr oi
Lerrei lov, make suie ro jam uµ rle µor. RememLei, rlougl,
vlar I saiu eailiei aLour rle Lerrei uiav Leing a íavoiire ovei a
maue nine on hírl srieer.
Conveisely, youi oµµonenr may lave you Loaiu-lockeu.
Wlen youi oµµonenr is jamming rle µor againsr you, make
suie rlar le can`r lave you Loaiu-lockeu Leíoie you µur in roo
many Lers.
When It’s Time to Fold Your Hand
in Razz
Wlen I lave an eiglr-lov uiav anu my oµµonenr coulu alieauy
lave a seven-lov maue, I`m going ro íolu my eiglr-lov uiav
mosr oí rle rime. (Again, a goou ieau allovs you ro µlay oursiue
rlis iule.) Ler`s see some examµles.
Don’t Draw Weak against Power on
3 0 9 Seven-Card Stud Low (Razz) Strategy
the Board
Wirl a lanu oí (S-5) 4-2-], anu youi oµµonenr sloving a
µoveiíul Loaiu like A-3-4, you vill almosr alvays vanr ro íolu
youi lanu vlen le Lers inro you. 1le Lesr lanu rlar you coulu
make on rle nexr caiu voulu Le an eiglr lov, vleieas youi
oµµonenr may alieauy lave 5-4-3-2-A, a vleel! Ar minimum,
you lave ro hguie rlar le las a Lerrei lov uiav rlan you lave.
Ioluing youi lanu leie is a µierry goou iuea.
Suµµose you carcl rvo Lau caius in a iov on íouirl anu
hírl srieers anu youi oµµonenr carcles rvo goou ones. Ir
uoesn`r marrei rlar you lave alieauy µur in rliee Lers eacl, jusr
Lov our.
Don’t Try to Hit Two Perfect Cards in
a Row
Don`r riy ro ¨uo rle 1eu Ioiiesr¨÷lir rvo µeiíecr caius in
a iov.
Suµµose rlar you lave (A-3) 4 ro srair, youi oµµonenr las a
six ro srair, anu you ieiaise lim ro srair rle lanu. Þov you carcl
a king, anu le carcles a ueuce. He Lers inro you anu you call.
Þov le carcles an eiglr anu you carcl a queen. Wlen le Lers
lis 6-2-S inro you, ir`s rime ro íolu youi (A-3) 4-K-Q. Yes, ir vas
a µierry srairing lanu, Lur uon`r call a Lig Ler on hírl srieer anu
3 1 0 Play Poker Like the Pros
loµe ro lir a µeiíecr caiu anu rlus µick uµ a uiav rlar miglr oi
miglr nor ger rleie on rle iivei! 1lar`s vay roo many iís. Ir`s
rime ro give uµ anu íolu rlis lanu.
Alreinarively, you lave íoui caius ro a nine oi voise, anu
youi oµµonenrs aie Lerring anu iaising virl smoorl-looking
Loaius. 1iy ro avoiu uiaving ro a lanu like rlis íoi a lor oí Lers
íiom oµµonenrs vlo aie cleaily uiaving ro mucl sriongei lanus
rlan you aie.
Fold a Four-Card Nine for a Lot of Heat
Suµµose you lave calleu rvo Lers virl (A-6) 5 anu nov you
carcl a nine. Þov rle µlayei sloving a Loaiu oí 2-3 Lers our
anu rle µlayei sloving a Loaiu oí 3-5 iaises, so rlar ir`s rvo Lers
ro you ro µlay youi (A-6) 5-9. Ir`s rime ro íolu youi lanu,
Lecause ir looks as ií Lorl oí youi oµµonenrs aie uiaving Lerrei
rlan you aie. 1le µioLlem leie is rlar ií jusr one oí rlem lirs lis
lanu, you`ll neeu ro carcl tuc goou caius in oiuei ro Lear lim!
Anorlei ieason ro íolu is rlar you uon`r knov rlar ir`s going ro
Le only rvo Lers ro see rle hírl caiu. Ií you uo call, you may hnu
rlar you nov lave ro call a ¨caµµeu¨ Ler (maximum numLei oí
iaises alloveu) on íouirl srieer ií rle orlei µlayeis ueciue ro keeµ
iaising virl rleii sriong lanus.
One World-Class Tip from Ted Forrest
1lis exceµrion ro µlaying rliee-caiu sevens is couiresy oí 1eu
Ioiiesr, vlo is rle Lesr Razz µlayei in rle voilu. You can íolu a
rliee-caiu seven vlen:
3 1 1 Seven-Card Stud Low (Razz) Strategy
 Ir is rvo Lers ro you, oi you lave calleu one Ler anu ir`s
nov rvo moie Lers ro call.
 Ir is a ¨iougl¨ rliee-caiu seven like (6-¯) 4 oi (3-6) ¯
oi (6-¯) 2. (Ir`s calleu iougl Lecause ií you make a
seven ir vill Le among rle voisr µossiLle sevens.)
 Some oí rle caius rlar you neeu ro lir aie on rle
Loaiu÷íoi examµle, an ace anu rvo hves aie on rle
Loaiu vlen you lave (¯-4) 6.
 Ir aµµeais rlar rvo oi moie µlayeis lave Lerrei srairing
lanus rlan you.
Defending When Yours Is the High Card
on the Board
Wlen you`ie rle ligl Liing-in caiu, ar rle ourser oí rle lanu,
rleie aie some siruarions in vlicl you sloulu call rle comµle-
rion oí rle Ler. ^ake suie, rlougl, rlar you call rle comµlerion
only ií you lave jusr one oµµonenr in rle µor anu lave rvo vleel
caius in rle µocker (lole).
Suµµose rlar youi lanu is (4-5) K anu youi king is rle ligl
caiu on rle Loaiu. Because youi king is rle ligl caiu on rle
Loaiu, you lave ro µur in rle Liing-in Ler, vlicl is aLour one-
íouirl oí a íull Ler. Suµµose rlar eveiyone else íolus, anu nov
someone loluing a hve comµleres rle Ler anu you`ie rle only
µlayei leír in rle µor. You can call rle orlei rliee-íouirls oí rle
Ler. Oí couise, ií you uon`r carcl a µeiíecr caiu íoi youi lanu
iiglr avay, ir`s rime ro íolu youi lanu.
RememLei rlar ií you uo carcl rvo µeiíecr caius in a iov,
you sloulu µioLaLly iaise ir virl youi uiav, since rle hve coulu
3 1 2 Play Poker Like the Pros
Le liuing a veak lanu. Using a vell-rimeu iaise ro give orlei
µlayeis a clance ro íolu rleii veak lanus is alvays a giear move
in Razz!
Again, Razz is nor a commonly sµieau game, Lur ir`s a goou
game ro Lecome íamiliai virl. 1lis is Lecause mixeu games (in
vlicl µeoµle µlay seveial uiííeienr µokei games in iorarion,
like rle HORSL seiies menrioneu eailiei) aie Lecoming moie
µoµulai, anu Razz is oíren incluueu in rle mix as µlayeis seek ro
µiorecr rlemselves againsr sµecialisrs in Seven-Caiu Sruu anu
Holu`em. Razz is a game rlar µeoµle can leain anu Lecome com-
íoiraLle virl in a íaiily sloir rime, anu ií you íollov rle auvice
in rlis claµrei you sloulu lave a goou leau ovei µlayeis vlo
rlink rlar Razz is as simµle as ABC.
C h a p t e r 1 4
Seven-Card Stud
Eight or Better Strategy
Seven-Caiu Sruu Liglr oi Berrei (vlicl I vill call Sruu S/L) is
uealr jusr like Seven-Caiu Sruu. Sruu S/L is a ligl-lov sµlir game
(somerimes ieíeiieu ro as Seven-Caiu Sruu Higl-Lov Sµlir) virl
an eiglr lov qualihei. Riglr nov Sruu S/L is íiequenrly µlayeu in
ligl-limir µokei games all ovei rle counriy. In Sruu S/L, one lalí
oí rle µor goes ro rle ligl lanu, anu rle orlei lalí goes ro rle
lov lanu, if rle lov lanu is an eiglr lov oi Lerrei (ií ir`s nor, rle
ligl lanu rakes rle vlole µor). In Sruu S/L, you can use any
hve oí rle seven caius rlar you lave íoi ligl anu any hve oí
rle seven caius rlar you lave íoi lov. 1leie is no ¨ueclaie¨ on rle
enu in rlis game: aírei rle lasr iounu oí Lerring, you simµly liµ
all seven oí youi caius ovei anu use rle Lesr hve lov caius íoi
lov anu rle Lesr hve ligl caius íoi ligl. Ioi examµle, ií you
A-3-4-6-S. Ií you like, you can use rle same hve caius íoi youi
lave a lanu oí (_-_) _-_-_-_ (_), rlen youi ligl lanu
voulu Le a lusl _-_-_-_-_ anu youi lov lanu voulu Le
3 1 4 Play Poker Like the Pros
In rlis claµrei you vill leain:
z Hov ro ¨qualiíy¨ a lov lanu.
z 1le µiemium srairing lanus.
z Hov ro µlay youi Lig µaiis on rle hisr iounu oí Lerring.
(]am ir!)
z 1le rime ro rliov avay a Lig µaii.
z Hov ro µlay youi µiemium lov-ryµe lanus on rle hisr
iounu oí Lerring. (1iaµ!)
z Wlen you sloulu rliov avay youi µiemium lov-ryµe lanus.
z Wlerlei oi nor you sloulu riaµ orlei µlayeis virl youi
µiemium lanus.
z An auvanceu vay ro µlay rle lasr iounu oí Lerring.
Scooping the Pot
Wlar rle µios aie riying ro uo vlen rley µlay Sruu S/L is scccj
rle µor÷rlar is, vin rle vlole µor. 1leie aie rliee vays ro scooµ
rle µor. Iiisr, you may scooµ rle µor ií eveiyone else íolus. Sec-
onu, you may scooµ rle µor Ly making rle Lesr ligl lanu vlen
no one las a qualiheu lov lanu. 1liiu, you may scooµ rle µor Ly
making rle Lesr ligl lanu anu rle Lesr qualiheu lov lanu.
ligl lanu anu youi lov lanu. Ioi insrance, you may lave (_-
_) _-_-_-_ (_) íoi a lanu anu use rle 6-5-4-3-2 íoi a six-
lov, anu rle same caius (6-5-4-3-2) íoi a six-ligl sriaiglr ligl
lanu. As in all rle orlei µioíessional games, lusles anu sriaiglrs
uo nor counr againsr you in lov.
3 1 5 Seven-Card Stud Eight or Better Strategy
Qualifying a Low Hand in Stud 8/b
1le iules oí rle game iequiie rlar you neeu ro lave ar leasr an
eiglr lov (hve caius unuei an eiglr, sucl as A-3-4-6-S) in oiuei
ro lave a clance ar rle lov lalí oí rle µor, rlar`s rle Lau nevs.
1le goou nevs is rlar sriaiglrs anu lusles uo nor counr againsr
you íoi lov. An eiglr lov means you lave hve lov caius, rle
liglesr oí rlem an eiglr, anu no rvo oí rlose hve caius aie
µaiieu (3-5-6-¯-S is an eiglr lov, Lur 2-2-4-5-S isn`r). A seven
lov means hve lov caius seven oi less. A six lov means hve
caius six oi less. A hve lov, calleu a ¨vleel,¨ is 5-4-3-2-A. A
vleel is rle Lesr µossiLle lov, anu ar rle same rime ir counrs as a
hve-ligl sriaiglr íoi ligl. (Aces sving in rlis game, meaning
rlar an ace is Lorl rle lovesr µossiLle caiu anu rle liglesr µossi-
Lle caiu.) A vleel is one oí rle mosr uesiiaLle lanus you can
make vlen you µlay Sruu S/L.
Ioi íuirlei unueisranuing oí a qualiheu lov lanu, ler`s look
ar rle clair on µage 316 oí all rle µossiLle ¨qualiheu¨ lovs,
íiom rle Lesr µossiLle lov (A-2-3-4-5, vleel) ro rle voisr µossi-
Lle eiglr lov (S-¯-6-5-4, ¨sriaiglr eiglr¨).
All rlis sruíí aLour qualiíying lov lanus sounus a lor moie
comµlicareu rlan ir ieally is. You von`r lave ro memoiize rlis
clair in oiuei ro unueisranu vlerlei you lave a qualiheu lov oi
nor. Rarlei, ií you lave an eiglr oi Lerrei lov in hve oí youi
seven caius, rlen you lave a qualiheu lov, µeiiou.
I loµe rlar I am nor scaiing eveiyone avay íiom Sruu S/L
Lecause ir seems roo comµlicareu ro hguie our rle Lesr lov lanu!
Ir ieally isn`r. 1le hve lovesr caius vin. Ir is ieally rlar simµle.
So S-¯-3-2-A is a voise lov rlan S-6-5-4-3, vlicl is voise rlan
Play Poker Like the Pros 3 1 6
All the Qualifying Low Hands for Stud 8/b
S-6-5-4-A, anu so on. Pur ir like rlis: a six lov Lears a seven lov,
an eiglr-six lov Lears an eiglr-seven lov, a seven-hve-rliee lov
Lears a seven-hve-íoui lov, a six-hve-íoui-ueuce lov Lears a
six-hve-íoui-rliee lov, anu a seven-six-hve-rliee-ace lov Lears a
seven-six-hve-rliee-ueuce lov. Ií rvo µeoµle lave an eiglr lov,
rlen look ro rle nexr caiu: rle lovesr vins. Ií rley Lorl lave
3 1 7 Seven-Card Stud Eight or Better Strategy
eiglr-six lovs, rlen look ro rle nexr caiu: rle lovesr vins. Anu
so on: rle hisr guy ro go lovei vins. Ií you vanr ro Le scaieu
avay íiom rlis game, rleie aie ieasons a lor Lerrei rlan rlis one!
Once you unueisranu lov ro hguie our vlicl lov lanu Lears
vlicl, you vill uiscovei rlar ir ieally is easiei rlan my exµlana-
rion makes ir seem.
When No Low Hand Is Possible, the
Best High Hand Wins the Whole Pot
RememLei rlar rle lov lanu (ií ir qualihes) gers only lalí rle
µor. 1lis means rlar ií no one in rle µor makes a lov, rle enriie
µor is avaiueu ro rle Lesr ligl lanu.
When Players Tie for High or Low
In Sruu S/L, ir is veiy iaie ro see µlayeis rie íoi ligl oi lov, Lur
rlis laµµens somerimes. Ií rvo µlayeis rie íoi lov, rley sµlir rle
lov lalí oí rle µor virl rle µlayei vlo von ligl. 1lis means
rlar rle uealei vill give lalí rle µor ro rle ligl lanu (rlink ligl
lalí oí rle µor), anu rlen sµlir rle iemaining lalí Lerveen rle
rieu lov µlayeis (rlink lov lalí oí rle µor). In rlis case, rle
µlayei vinning ligl ieceives 50 µeicenr oí rle µor, anu rle µlay-
eis sµlirring lov ieceive 25 µeicenr oí rle µor aµiece.
I sav a lanu in vlicl rvo µlayeis maue rle same six-lov
lanu anu iaiseu all rle ligl lanus our, only ro see one oí rlem
vin rle ligl lalí oí rle µor virl a µaii oí rvos! In rlar case, rle
ligl lalí venr ro rle µaii oí rvos, anu rle lov lalí vas sµlir
3 1 8 Play Poker Like the Pros
Lerveen rle µlayeis, so rlar one ieceiveu rliee-quaireis oí rle
µor anu rle orlei one-quairei.
Go for the Low, Hoping to Luck Out
and Win Both Ways
In geneial, rle µios like ro srair virl rliee lov caius rlar can
uiav ro a sriaiglr oi a lusl íoi ligl vlile making a lov lanu as
vell. Hanus like 3-4-5 oi 2-3-4 oi 2-4-5 aie consiueieu µierry
goou srairing lanus, esµecially vlen rley aie suireu, since rley
can in uue couise vin Lorl ligl anu lov. I love a siruarion in
vlicl I`m íiee-iolling ro vin rle vlole µor! íree-rclling means
rlar you lave one siue oí rle µor alieauy lockeu uµ (usually rle
lov siue) anu some uiavs virl a ieasonaLle clance ro vin rle
orlei lalí oí rle µor.
A lanu like (2-3) 4-A-¯ virl rvo caius ro come againsr a
lanu oí (K-9) K-¯-S is íiee-iolling. 1le hisr lanu alieauy las a
lov lanu rle orlei µlayei can`r Lear (¯-4-3-2-A), anu ir can also
lir a hve íoi a sriaiglr, an ace íoi a µaii oí aces, oi some comLi-
narion oí rvo µaii (3-4) oi riiµ caius (¯-¯) ro vin rle vlole µor
virl rle lasr rvo caius. So rle hisr lanu is íiee-iolling íoi rle
ligl siue oí rle µor, anu rle oµµonenr loluing rle µaii oí kings
can vin only lalí rle µor.
I`ll nexr lisr rle Lesr µossiLle srairing lanus in Sruu S/L anu
exµlain vlar makes rlem µoveiíul. 1len I`ll ralk aLour lov ro
µlay lanus in Sruu S/L on rle hisr iounu oí Lerring, anu vlerlei
oi nor you sloulu riaµ youi oµµonenrs.
3 1 9 Seven-Card Stud Eight or Better Strategy
The Best Starting Hands in Stud 8/b
1le Lesr µossiLle srairing lanu in Sruu S/L is (A-A) A. 1le
nexr-Lesr µossiLle srairing lanu is eirlei (K-K) K oi (S-S) S.
1le (S-S) S is a veiy ueceµrive srairing lanu, since rle orlei
µlayeis can`r Le suie ií you`ie going ligl oi lov. I voulu µieíei
ir ovei rle (K-K) K lanu íoi rlis ieason: virl (S-S) S you can
ieµiesenr rlar you`ie going íoi rle lov lanu, anu rlen íoice
orlei lov uiavs ro íolu ií ir looks as ií you`ve maue youi lov.
Anu oí couise rliee eiglrs aie nor a Lau Ler íoi rle ligl lanu
as vell.
Some µlayeis Lelieve rlar (5-5) 5 is a Lerrei srairing lanu
rlan (S-S) S, íoi a veiy logical ieason: a lanu rlar lolus neirlei
a hve noi a ren can`r make a sriaiglr, vlicl means rlar a µlayei
vlo srairs virl rliee oí rle hves las nor only a sriong ligl lanu
Lur also a nice ueíense againsr vlar voulu orleivise Le one oí
rle mosr likely lanus ro Le our rleie againsr lis riiµs (Lecause
only one hve iemains íoi rle lov lanus ro hll a sriaiglr virl).
Also, vlen you srair virl a uooi-caiu hve, ir is easiei íoi rle
orlei µlayeis ro íeai youi lov lanu, anu rley may Le inuuceu ro
íolu rleii ovn lov uiavs. Bur youi oµµonenrs aie likely ro make
lov riiµs, anu riiµ eiglrs (rle lanu rlar I rlink is equal ro riiµ
hves) vill Lear riiµs sixes oi sevens (vleieas riiµ hves von`r)!
Aírei all rle rclleJ-uj srairing lanus (µokei slang in Sruu
íoi srairing virl rliee oí a kinu), ve move on ro (A-A) x (µieíei-
aLly, rle x is anyrling Lerveen a rvo anu an eiglr). Wirl a µaii
oí aces anu a lov caiu ro srair a lanu, youi µiosµecrs íoi scooµ-
ing rle µor aie goou. You may scooµ ir virl rvo µaii oí aces uµ,
aces anu a lov, like (A-A) 3-4-¯-]-(6) íoi a ¯-6-4-3-A lov anu a
3 2 0 Play Poker Like the Pros
µaii oí aces íoi ligl, oi virl aces uµ anu a lov, like (A-A) 2-4-6-
6 (3) íoi aces anu sixes as a ligl anu a 6-4-3-2-A íoi lov), oi
even virl jusr one µaii oí aces. 1le nexr Lesr srairing lanu is (A-
2) 3 suireu. Wirl rlis lanu you can make a sriong lov lanu, a
lusl, a sriaiglr, aces uµ, aces anu a lov, oi jusr aces.
Þexr on oui lisr oí roµ lanus aie (2-3) 4 suireu anu all rle
orlei lov suireu connecrois lanus, sucl as (3-4) 5 oi (6-¯) S oi
(5-6) ¯, incluuing (A-x) x suireu, vleie rle x in Lorl cases is a
caiu Lelov an eiglr. I voulu iarlei srair virl (A-x) x suireu rlan
rle lov suireu connecreu caius menrioneu aLove. Bur I rlink rlar
ir is µierry close Lerveen rlese rvo ryµes oí lanus. In íacr, ro me,
rle µovei oí laving an ace in youi suireu lov caius ourveigls
rle µovei oí laving rlem connecreu.
In any case, nexr on rle lisr is (A-A) x (vleie x is a nine oi
liglei). One µaii oí aces vins a lor oí µors in Sruu S/L!
Þexr ve lave any rliee unsuireu vleel caius (hve oi
lovei), one oí rlem an ace, sucl as (_-_) _. 1len ve lave
rliee unsuireu vleel caius virlour an ace, sucl as (2-4) 5.
I voulu iarlei srair virl rliee lusl caius rlar incluue an
ace anu anorlei vleel caiu (esµecially ií rle ligl caiu is on rle
Loaiu) rlan virl rliee nonvleel non-ace sriaiglr caius (6-¯) S.
I`m ralking aLour lanus like (_-_) _ oi (_-_) _ ovei
unsuireu lanus like (4-5) 6 oi (5-6) ¯ oi (6-¯) S. An ace is almosr
like laving an exria caiu in rlis game, Lecause ir`s rle lovesr lov
caiu anu can also make rle liglesr µaii. Aces aie µoveiíul caius
in Sruu S/L!
Þexr on rle lisr aie eirlei rliee unsuireu caius in a iov (_-
_) _ oi rliee lov caius eiglr oi Lelov virl an ace among rlem,
sucl as (A-5) 6. Wirl all oí rlese rliee-in-a-iov-lov lanus ve`ie
loµing ro make Lorl a sriaiglr anu a lov, anu scooµ rle µor. Wirl
Seven-Card Stud Eight or Better Strategy 3 2 1
Premium Starting Hands in Stud 8/b
rle rliee-lov-caius-virl-an-ace-among-rlem lanus ve`ie loµing
ro make Lorl a µaii oí aces anu a lov, anu scooµ rle µor.
I voulu consiuei all rle lanus rlar ve`ve ralkeu aLour uµ ro
rlis µoinr µiemium lanus.
Þov ler`s ralk aLour some oí rle orlei srairing lanus in
Sruu S/L on oui lisr, in oiuei oí µoveiíul ro veak. Ií µiesseu, I
musr say rlar I sliglrly µieíei (6-¯) S ovei (K-K) 6, alrlougl íoi
µuiµoses oí ueceµrion I love rle íacr rlar rle kings oí rle larrei
aie concealeu (in rle lole) in rlis case. Wirl (K-K) 6 you`ie loµ-
ing rlar youi µaii oí kings oi rvo µaii oí kings uµ scooµs rle µor
vlen no one makes a qualiheu lov lanu.
Þexr on oui lisr is a µaii oí kings, íolloveu Ly rliee lov caius
3 2 2 Play Poker Like the Pros
all unuei a nine, virl a one-caiu gaµ Lerveen rvo oí rlem, sucl as
(4-5) ¯ oi (4-6) ¯ oi (5-¯) S. Sloulu rlese lanus Le iareu aLove
K-K on rle lisr. We`ve alieauy coveieu rliee vleel caius in any
oiuei, anu I voulu say rlar rle iemaining comLinarions oí rliee
lov caius unuei an eiglr virl one gaµ sloulun`r Le lisreu aLove a
µaii oí kings in value (Lecause ir`s roo laiu ro make a sriaiglr anu
vin rle ligl siue oí rle µor virl one oí rlese lanus). 1le lasr íoui
lanus rlar I lave ralkeu aLour on oui lisr aie all veiy close in value.
Þexr, I suµµose rlar I like a µaii oí queens oi rliee lusl
caius virl rvo oí rlem vleel caius.
Iinally, ve lave small µaiis virl small kickeis, sucl as (5-6)
5 oi (3-3) A oi (S-S) 2, anu rle like. 1lese aie veiy uangeious
lanus in Sruu S/L. Yes, you can make a lov lanu virl rlese
kinus oí lanus, Lur Levaie÷rley can ger you inro a lor oí riou-
Lle. You miglr hnu youiselí uµ againsr rvo oµµonenrs, one vlo
las a Lerrei lov uiav rlan you uo anu one vlo las a Lerrei ligl
uiav rlan you uo. I uo see some value in a µaii oí eiglrs anu
anorlei lov caiu, esµecially vlen you`ie uµ againsr a rliee-caiu-
lov lanu. 1le rliee-caiu-lov lanu vill neeu rvo µeiíecr ligl
caius ro Lear youi µaii oí eiglrs.
Þov ler`s move on ro ralk aLour lov you sloulu µlay youi
rliee-caiu lanu on rle hisr iounu oí Lerring.
A Solid, Safe Strategy for Beginners in
Stud 8/b
1le Lesr vay ro µlay Sruu S/L as a Leginnei is ro µlay only rle
µiemium lanus lisreu in rle clair on µage 321, µlus Lig µaiis like
queens anu kings, anu only rle larrei vlile making a íev anre
3 2 3 Seven-Card Stud Eight or Better Strategy
sreals along rle vay. By sricking ro rlese lanus, you`ll Le a
íavoiire in mosr oí rle lanus rlar you`ie involveu in. 1lis µarienr
sriaregy is veiy eííecrive. Wly nor vin money oi ar leasr lolu
youi ovn vlile you`ie leaining rle nuances oí a nev game.
Beginners’ Strategy after Three Cards:
Trap or Not?
1o riaµ oi nor ro riaµ÷rlar is rle ereinal quesrion in µokei! By
riaµµing, I mean rlar you jusr call youi clieí oµµonenr`s Lers anu
iaises virl a µoveiíul srairing lanu in oiuei ro inuuce youi
orlei oµµonenrs ro conrinue µlaying rleii veakei lanus. Larely,
rlougl, I seem ro lave gorren avay íiom riaµµing in Sruu S/L.
I`ve Leen µlaying my µoveiíul srairing lanus íasr (iaising anu
ieiaising) in oiuei ro riy ro vin rle anres virl rlem iiglr avay.
By uoing rlis I`m µurring in a lor oí money iiglr avay in oiuei ro
riy ro scale uovn rle helu anu give myselí a Lerrei clance oí
scooµing rle vlole µor.
Bur rlis sriaregy lasn`r Leen voiking roo vell íoi me. ]am-
ming virl 3-4-5 againsr µocker kings anu cleaiing our rle helu
las maue ir easiei íoi rle kings ro call me uovn, anu ir`s laiu ro
scooµ kings virl 3-4-5! Anu jamming virl 3-4-5 againsr A-5-6
lasn`r Leen voiking roo vell eirlei. Bur Ly µlaying youi sriong
srairing lanus aggiessively ar rle Leginning oí rle lanu, you uo
inciease youi clances oí vinning rle µor. Is jamming rle µor on
rle hisr iounu oí Lerring rle iiglr vay ro uo ir. Alrlougl I rlink
rlis is rle iiglr vay ro uo ir ií you lave a ligl srairing lanu, ir
may Le Lerrei ro riaµ virl youi µoveiíul lov lanus. By riaµµing
in Sruu S/L virl a lov lanu, I`m µurring in less money iiglr
3 2 4 Play Poker Like the Pros
avay virl my µoveiíul lanu anu alloving some orlei, veakei
lanus inro rle µor. Wirl a srairing lanu oí (3-4) 5, sloulu I sim-
µly riy ro vin rle anres iiglr avay. Well, you slculJ comµlere
rle Ler (make ir one íull Ler ro go, iarlei rlan jusr call rle one-
quairei-size Liing-in Ler), Lur uo nor ieiaise ií someone else com-
µleres rle Ler roo. Wly nor iisk a small amounr oí money, so rlar
ií you uo carcl rvo Lau caius you uon`r lose veiy mucl. Anu ií
you uo lir some nice caius, you`ll lave a lor oí µlayeis in rleie
µaying you oíí vlen you make youi six-ligl sriaiglr (vlicl vill
mosr likely vin rle lov lalí anJ rle ligl lalí oí rle µor)!
Ir Loils uovn ro rlis: riaµµing virl µoveiíul lov lanus vill
allov you ro lose less vlen you carcl Lau caius anu vin moie
vlen you lir goou ones. 1le uovnsiue is rlar you`ll vin feuer
µors iiglr avay, in rle hisr iounu oí Lerring. I`ve Leen mosr suc-
cessíul vlen riaµµing virl my lov lanus anu µlaying my ligl
lanus íasr.
Beginners’ Strategy: Trap with the
Low, Jam with the High
Wlen you lave a goou ligl-ryµe lanu like (K-K) x, you sloulu
jam ir, in oiuei ro cleai our rle helu anu allov youiselí rle Lesr
clance ro vin rle µor. Wirl ligl lanus, you jusr vanr ro vin rle
µor, µeiiou. Ií you lave (K-¯) K anu seveial µlayeis lave alieauy
calleu rle Liing-in Ler (rle Liing-in Ler is uiscusseu in Claµrei
11) oi a comµlerion oí rle Liing-in Ler (ro one íull Ler), rlen
uon`r Lorlei jamming rle µor, Lecause you may hnu youiselí
íoluing youi lanu on hírl srieer ro rvo lov lanus. ]am virl
3 2 5 Seven-Card Stud Eight or Better Strategy
youi kings in rvo- oi rliee-lanueu µors, Lur againsr rliee oi
moie oµµonenrs, vair ro jam ir unril eirlei rley carcl Lau oi you
carcl goou.
Wirl µoveiíul lov lanus like (A-2) 5, jusr call someone
else`s Ler (oi iaise) anu keeµ rle µor small anu rle helu Lig. 1lar
vay, ií you lir somerling like ], Q ro youi lanu, you lose rle
minimum. Conveisely, ií you lir 3, 4 ro youi lanu (anu make a
vleel), you`ll vin rle maximum, since you`ll lave a lor oí oµµo-
nenrs in rle µor ro µay you oíí on rle lasr rliee Lig-Ler iounus oí
Lerring. (^osr oí rle rime youi vleel vill vin rle ligl siue oí
rle µor as vell.)
I iecommenu smoorl-calling virl µiemium lov lanus,
unless a couµle oí µlayeis lave alieauy enreieu rle µor, in vlicl
case you vanr ro jam rle µor iiglr avay. Wirl rlis eaily iaise,
you`ll ueµiive youi lanu oí some oí irs ueceµrion value, Lur you`ll
srill Luilu a Lig µor. Wlen I consiuei jamming a µor virl a couµle
oí calleis alieauy in rle µor, I`m looking íoi a µiemium lov lanu
on rle uµµei lalí oí rle lisr, nor meiely a (6-¯) S oíí suir.
Iueally, vlen you lave one oí rle roµ µiemium srairing
lanus in Sruu S/L, you vanr many oµµonenrs anu many iaises on
rle hisr iounu oí Lerring! Bur you vanr moie oµµonenrs moie
rlan you vanr a Liggei µor, on rle hisr iounu oí Lerring.
Beginners’ Strategy: The Time to Fold
Your Premium Low Hands
Ir`s rime nov ro ralk aLour vlar you sloulu uo vlen you carcl a
Lau caiu on rle íouirl caiu oí a lanu in Sruu S/L. Ií you`ve
3 2 6 Play Poker Like the Pros
sraireu virl a µiemium lov lanu (rle lisr oí µiemiums is on µage
321) anu lave nov cauglr a Lau caiu, rlen in geneial you ¨Luy¨
one moie caiu. (Playeis oíren call rlis ¨raking one caiu oíí,¨
meaning rlar you`ie sraying in íoi a look ar one moie caiu, anu
ií youi lanu uoesn`r imµiove signihcanrly on rle hírl caiu,
you`ie our oí rleie.)
Buying One More Card, but Not Two
Suµµose you`ve sraireu rle lanu virl (A-4) 5, anu nov
you`ve cauglr a queen. Do you call one Ler in rlis case. Yes, you
voulu call one Ler, Lur calling rvo Lers is quesrionaLle in rlis
sµor. I rlink ir is OK ro call rvo Lers in rlis sµor, esµecially ií no
one las an ace uµ. Aírei all, you can lir an ace oi queen íoi a Lig
µaii, a rvo oi a rliee ro give you a vleel uiav, oi a 6, ¯, oi S ro
give you a lov uiav. On rle nexr iounu oí Lerring, you voulu
íolu youi lanu ií you carcl a 9, 10, ], oi K. Ir also ueµenus on
lov many Lers you`ve calleu on rle oµening iounu anu vlar
youi oµµonenrs` Loaius suggesr ro you. Ií you susµecr rlar some-
one las a µaii oí aces, oi rlar rvo orlei µlayeis lave Lioken inro
sriong lov uiavs, ir`s rime ro íolu íoi rle rvo Lers.
Catching a Bad Card to Your Weak
Premium Low Hand
Suµµose you`ve sraireu virl (5-6) ¯, anu nov you`ve cauglr
a queen ro youi lanu. I`ve alieauy µoinreu our rlar you can
¨rake oíí one caiu¨ íoi one Ler in rlis case. Wlar uo you uo
vlen ir`s rvo Lers ro you. 1le (5-6) ¯ is one oí rle veakesr µie-
mium lov lanus on rle lisr, Lecause ií you uo make a lov, ir`s
3 2 7 Seven-Card Stud Eight or Better Strategy
likely ro Le a ¨iougl¨ one. (A veak lov lanu is oíren calleu a
¨iougl¨ lov lanu.) 1leieíoie, you µioLaLly vill lave ro íolu
youi lanu, ueµenuing on vlar youi oµµonenrs` uµ caius aie.
Ií youi oµµonenrs all lave ligl uµ caius, aLove a nine, you
coulu call rvo Lers, hguiing rlar you lave rle only lov uiav anu
rlar youi lov caius aie veiy live, since rle orlei µlayeis seem ro
Le voiking íiom ligl µaiis in rleii lanus.
Ií one oí youi oµµonenrs seems ro Le going lov anu las
rvo caius unuei an eiglr, rlen you sloulu íolu youi lanu íoi
rvo Lers.
Calling with Your Strong Premium Hand
1. Iiisr, I voulu Le looking ro see ií one oí my oµµonenrs
las a µaii oí aces.
2. Seconu, I`u Le raking nore oí all rle orlei lov uµ caius.
3. 1liiu, I`u look ro see lov many cluLs miglr Le leír in
rle ueck, since I lave a cluL lusl uiav virl my lanu.
Ií all rliee oí rle aLove hnuings lookeu Lau íoi me, esµe-
cially ií I rlouglr rlar someone alieauy lau a µaii oí aces oi
riiµs, rlen I`u íolu my lanu ar rlis µoinr. Bur Lecause my srairing
lanu vas so sriong, I`u Le looking íoi excuses ro call! Ií I lir a 9,
10, ], oi K rlar vasn`r a cluL on rle nexr caiu, I`u µioLaLly íolu
Suµµose you`ve sraireu virl (_-_) _, anu nov you`ve
cauglr rle _ ro youi lanu. Wlar uo you uo vlen ir`s rvo Lers
ro you ro call. You call quickly! Wlar uo you uo ií ir`s rliee Lers
ro you ro call. You`u Le remµreu ro call rliee Lers virlour rlink-
ing aLour ir, Lur you sloulu rake a close look ar rle Loaiu hisr.
3 2 8 Play Poker Like the Pros
my lanu. Oí couise, ií I lau alieauy calleu rliee Lers virl my
lanu on rle iounu Leíoie, I miglr ueciue ro call one Lig Ler ar
rlis µoinr in rle lanu ií I`m íaiily suie rlar ir von`r Le iaiseu.
Wlen rle µor gers ieally Lig, you can jusriíy making some calls
rlar you voulun`r oiuinaiily Le aLle ro make.
In geneial, rle rime íoi íoluing virl youi µiemium lov
lanus is aírei rle hírl caiu, vlen rle Lers aie nov uouLleu. In
orlei voius, ií you carcl rvo Lau caius ro youi lov srairing
lanu, rlen ir`s rime ro íolu ir.
Beginners’ Strategy: The Time to
Throw Away Your Big Pairs
1leie is a ceirain air in knoving vlen ro rliov avay youi ligl
µaiis in Sruu S/L. Heie, I`ll Le ralking aLour vlen ir is iiglr ro
íolu youi ligl µaii oí nines rliougl kings. Alrlougl ir`s veiy
laiu ro rliov avay a µaii oí aces, rleie aie rimes vlen you neeu
ro uo rlar as vell. RememLei rlar vlen you`ie µlaying a Lig µaii
(nines rliougl kings) in Sruu S/L, you`ie almosr alvays lockeu
inro µlaying íoi jusr lalí oí rle µor. Ir`s µossiLle, oí couise, íoi
you ro scooµ rle µor, Lur you`ll almosr nevei vin rle lov lalí oí
rle µor virl a ligl µaii (unless youi orlei hve caius make an
eiglr lov oi Lerrei).
Ioi rlese ieasons, mosr Lig µaiis uon`r aµµeai on rle lisr oí
µiemium lanus. Be rlar as ir may, leaining vlen ro íolu youi Lig
µaiis is somerling ve neeu ro examine. A uangeious rime ro Le
loluing a Lig µaii is vlen you`ie uµ againsr rliee oµµonenrs
vlo aµµeai ro Le going lov anu rley all lir lov caius on rle
3 2 9 Seven-Card Stud Eight or Better Strategy
íouirl caiu. Lven voise, ií all rliee oµµonenrs carcl lov caius
again on rle nexr caiu, you`ll lave ro rliov youi Lig µaii avay.
(Wlen youi oµµonenrs make lov lanus, rley vill Le uiaving íoi
Lorl siues oí rle µor, vleieas you can vin only rle lov lalí.
Also, rleie`s likely ro Le a lor oí Lerring anu iaising going on, so
rlar you`ll lave ro µur in a lor oí Lig Lers, loµing ro vin only
lalí rle µor.)
Ir`s also a uangeious rime íoi a Lig µaii vlen one oí youi
oµµonenrs lirs a iunning small µaii on you, as vlen lis uµ caius
come 5-4-4. Somerimes, le`ll lave maue liuuen riiµs oi rvo µaii.
Anorlei íoluing siruarion íoi you is vlen youi oµµonenr lirs
íoui lov caius in a iov on you, sucl as 3-4-5-6. You`ll also lave
ro íolu youi Lig µaii vlen rvo oµµonenrs lir rliee vleel caius
eacl on you. Srill anorlei scaiy siruarion íoi a Lig µaii aiises
vlen an oµµonenr vlo las Leen jamming rle µor lirs an ace÷
íoi insrance, vlen rle uµ caius come 5-6-A. 1lis is esµecially
uangeious vlen rleie aie no orlei aces in siglr! Ler`s rake a look
ar some examµles.
Folding a Big Pair to Two Opponents Who
Have Three Low Cards Each Up
Suµµose rlar you lave (K-S) K anu youi rvo oµµonenrs
lave a Loaiu oí a six anu a Loaiu oí a hve. Oí couise, you`ve
ieau my Look, so you jam ir virl youi µaii oí kings iiglr avay in
rlis lanu. Ler`s suµµose rlar rle hve iaiseu ir in ¨rliee¨ (rle hisr
iounu oí Lerring) anu you ieiaiseu ir in rliee anu nov rle six
calls rvo Lers. In rlis case you lave ro vonuei vlar rle six
calleu rvo Lers virl. ^y guess, knoving norling aLour rle
3 3 0 Play Poker Like the Pros
µlayei, voulu Le rlar rle six las an ace in rle lole. So ií rle six
lirs an ace ar any µoinr in rlis lanu, I`u µur my iauai uµ anu see
lov le`s acring.
1le nexr caius come uovn a jack íoi you, ro give you (K-S)
K-], a íoui íoi rle hve íoi 5-4, anu a hve íoi rle six, íoi 6-5. Þov
you neeu ro cleck, since Lorl lov lanus lave lir lov caius. (I`m
srill assuming rlar rley Lorl lave lov lanus ar rlis µoinr.) Youi
lanu is signihcanrly veakei nov rlar rley`ve Lorl lir lov caius.
Ií rley Lorl lir ligl caius nine anu aLove, rlen you coulu Ler our
virl youi lanu. Bur nov rle caius come uovn a rvo íoi you, ro
make (K-S) K-]-2, a rliee ro make a 5-4-3, anu a íoui ro make 6-
5-4. Þov you`ie µierry mucl uone virl youi lanu. Ií one oí
youi oµµonenrs makes a lov lanu, you`ie uiaving ro only lalí
oí rle µor anyvay. Ar rlis µoinr in rle lanu, eirlei oµµonenr
coulu lave rvo µaii, a sriaiglr, a maue lov, oi a maue lov virl
a sriaiglr uiav. 1leieíoie, you sloulun`r call even one Ler virl
youi lanu. Ir`s rime ro give uµ anu íolu. 1le goou nevs is rlar
you`ve losr only rliee small Lers virl rlis lanu.
Folding a Big Pair to One Opponent with
Four Low Straight Cards
Suµµose rlar you`ve sraireu virl (Q-¯) Q anu youi one
oµµonenr las sraireu virl a hve. You iaise on rle hisr iounu oí
Lerring anu rle hve calls you. Þov rle hve carcles a six íoi 5-6
anu you carcl a íoui íoi (Q-¯) Q-4. You cleck ro rle 5-6, Lecause
le nov las rvo lov caius sloving. Ií rle hve lau cauglr a nine
oi liglei, rlen you voulu lave Ler insreau oí clecking.
On rle nexr caius you cauglr an eiglr íoi (Q-¯) Q-4-S anu
rle hve carcles a rliee íoi a 5-6-3 Loaiu. You cleck, anu rlen rle
3 3 1 Seven-Card Stud Eight or Better Strategy
5-6-3 Lers our inro you. You coulu íolu youi lanu iiglr leie,
iiglr nov, hguiing rlar youi oµµonenr ar a minimum las a uiav
ro vin rle vlole µor íiom you. Aírei all, le musr lave sraireu
virl somerling! Srill, I voulu µioLaLly call lim iiglr nov, rlink-
ing rlar I coulu srill vin rle vlole µor ií le las a µaii anu a lov
uiav. Ií my oµµonenr nov carcles A, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, oi ¯, on rle
íouirl uµ caiu, you`ll vanr ro íolu youi lanu unless you make
rvo µaii oi rliee queens. Ií youi oµµonenr carcles an eiglr oi
liglei, rlen you`ll call lim again (anu on rle enu). In íacr, ií you
make rvo µaii anu le lirs a Lau caiu, you`ll µioLaLly vanr ro Ler
our inro lim, ueµenuing on lov you ieau lim ar rlis µoinr.
Folding a Big Pair to the Ace Up Card
Suµµose you lave (K-K) 10 anu youi rvo oµµonenrs lave
an ace anu a six uµ. 1le six iaises anu rlen rle ace ieiaises on
rle hisr iounu oí Lerring. Wlar uo you uo. Ií rleie is no orlei
ace on rle Loaiu, you simµly íolu youi lanu! You hguie rlar rle
ace las a µaii oí aces, anu even ií le uoesn`r, le las a sriong lov
lanu anu an ace uiav virl ir. Ií rleie is one orlei ace on rle
Loaiu, I voulu srill lean rovaiu jusr íoluing my lanu, íoi rle
same ieasons rlar I menrioneu aLove. Ií rleie aie rvo orlei aces
on rle Loaiu, I voulu make ir rliee Lers ro go, ro riy ro ger one-
on-one virl rle ace anu cleai our any orlei lov uiavs.
Folding a Big Pair: Beware of an Ace!
Suµµose you lave (K-K) 10 anu a íoui las iaiseu ir anu you
ieiaise anu a hve Lelinu you calls rle rvo Lers. You lave ro von-
uei vlar rle hve calleu rvo Lers virl, anu ií rle hve rlen lirs an
3 3 2 Play Poker Like the Pros
ace, you neeu ro riy ro ieau lim anu ueciue vlerlei oi nor you
sloulu íolu. 1le hve coulu Le loluing a ligl µaii, like jacks oi
queens (rle hve is rlinking you lave rens, nor kings, Lecause you
lave a ren uµ), anu ií rlis is rle case, rlen you`u Le laµµy. Srill,
ií rle hve lirs an ace anu rle íoui lirs a lov caiu, you`ll call one
Ler, Lur nor rvo Lers. Ií rle hve lirs an ace anu rle íoui lirs a
ligl caiu, you`ll call virl youi iauai uµ.
1le µoinr oí rlis examµle is rlar an ace is a scaiy caiu (íoi
ycur lanu) íoi rle hve ro lir, anu ií rle hve uoes lir an ace,
you`ie looking íoi an excuse ro íolu youi lanu. 1le µeiíecr
excuse íoi you ro íolu vlen rle hve lirs an ace is rlar rle íoui
(rle rliiu µlayei) Lieaks our inro rvo moie lov caius. So you`ll
íolu vlen rle íoui Lieaks our inro 4-S-2 anu rle hve Lieaks our
inro 5-A-9.
As you can see íiom all rlese siruarions, µlaying Lig µaiis in
Sruu S/L can ger you inro a lor oí riouLle! Ií you`ie going ro µlay
Lig µaiis, Le suie rlar you íolu rlem vlen you sloulu Le íolu-
ing rlem.
Short-Handed Stud 8/b (Four Players
or Fewer)
One ieason I`ve gone ovei lov ro µlay Lig µaiis in Sruu S/L is
rlar Lig µaiis go uµ in µovei as rle numLei oí µlayeis goes
uovn. So a srairing lanu virl a µaii oí jacks is µierry veak in an
eiglr-lanueu game eaily in rle uay, Lur a lor moie µoveiíul in a
rliee-lanueu game. As rle µlayeis rlin our uuiing a game oí
Sruu S/L, rle game Lecomes a lor moie like Seven-Caiu Sruu
3 3 3 Seven-Card Stud Eight or Better Strategy
ligl, vleie rle Lesr srairing µaii is rle íavoiire in eacl lanu. Ir`s
a µierry inreiesring µlenomenon rlar Sruu S/L Legins ro µlay a
lor moie like Lasic Sruu as you lose µlayeis anu ger uovn ro íoui
µlayeis oi íevei.
Wlen I`m in a íoui-lanueu game oí Sruu S/L, I sroµ riying
ro riaµ rle orlei µlayeis virl µiemium lov lanus. I jusr jam rle
µor, riying ro vin ir as eaily as µossiLle.
Making a Big Hand: Trap or Jam?
Wlen you make a sriong hve-caiu lanu in Sruu S/L, you lave ro
ueciue vlerlei oi nor you vanr ro jam ir in oiuei ro eliminare
µlayeis, oi slov-µlay ir in oiuei ro keeµ moie µlayeis in rle µor.
Oíren, rle naruie oí youi lanu anu rle naruie oí rle Loaiu vill
rell you vlar you sloulu uo.
Ií you make a vleel (A-2-3-4-5) anu youi oµµonenrs aie
uiaving ro make lov lanus, you uon`r vanr ro uiive rlem our.
Wly nor ler rlem uiav ar lov vlen you lave rle µeiíecr lanu
anu rley can`r Lear you anyvay. So a vleel is an excellenr riaµ-
µing lanu.
Ií you make a seven-ligl sriaiglr (3-4-5-6-¯), you`ll riy ro
iaise all rle lov uiavs iiglr our oí rle µor, so rlar youi seven
lov lolus uµ íoi rle lov lalí oí rle µor. Wlen I lave a seven-
ligl sriaiglr anu rle accomµanying iougl seven lov, I`ll jam rle
µor in oiuei ro µiorecr my lanu.
Wlen you make a íull louse in Sruu S/L, you vanr ro jam
rle µor in oiuei ro veeu our rle lov uiavs, so rlar you can
scooµ rle µor.
1le conceµr oí vlen ro µiorecr youi lanu anu vlen ro riaµ
3 3 4 Play Poker Like the Pros
virl youi lanu seems ro íall along rle lines oí riaµµing vlen
you make a sriong rvo-vay lanu anu µiorecring vlen you make
a sriong ligl lanu. ^osr oí rle rime, rlougl, you vanr ro jam
rle µor, Lorl ro µiorecr youi lanu anu µossiLly ro Luilu a Liggei
µor íoi you ro scooµ!
World-Class Play on the Last Round
of Betting
Heie is an auvanceu conceµr in Sruu S/L, one rlar a lor oí µlayeis
uon`r even knov exisrs. Ir is somerling ro rlink aLour in rle lasr
iounu oí Lerring. 1le conceµr involves making rle Lluíí iaise
virl a ligl lanu on rle enu. 1lis is a µlay rlar voiks only on
voilu-class µlayeis vlo aie caµaLle oí íoluing rleii lanus on rle
enu ro save one iaise.
Wlen you`ie oLviously on a ligl lanu in Sruu S/L anu youi
oµµonenr, vlo you susµecr is going lov, lirs a small rvo µaii
insreau oí a lov, rlen you can go aleau anu iaise on rle enu virl
youi one-ligl-µaii lanu, Lecause youi oµµonenr vill susµecr
rlar you lave a ligl lanu vlicl Lears lis ligl lanu. 1eu Ioiiesr
vas aLle ro use rlis µlay successíully íoi yeais, unril some oí rle
orlei ligl-limir µlayeis hnally hguieu our vlar le vas uoing.
(1eu viore an amazing Hanu oí rle Week íoi me uesciiLing rlar
veiy µlay, you can ieau ir ar µlillellmurl.com.) 1le µioLlem
virl rlis µlay is rlar mosr µlayeis ucn´t íolu rleii lanus on rle
enu virl rvo small µaii in lov- oi miu-limir games. 1leieíoie,
3 3 5 Seven-Card Stud Eight or Better Strategy
rlis µlay is ro Le saveu íoi occasional use in rle ligl-limir games
ar rle Bellagio oi Commeice Casino.
Literally the Biggest Pot I Ever Saw
in Stud 8/b
I iememLei one Leauriíul µor in vlicl a vell-knovn ligl-limir
µlayei nameu Don (¨Zulu¨) Zevin von a $50,000 µor in a
$400÷$S00 game ($50K µors aie unleaiu oí ar rlis limir). Don
lau a lanu oí (2-3) 6-5-S-4 (¯). 1liee oí lis oµµonenrs lau ligl
lanus (aces uµ, riiµs, anu a lusl uiav), anu rle orlei oµµonenr
lau a seven-ligl sriaiglr maue aírei hve caius. 1le Lerring anu
iaising going in rlis lanu veie incieuiLle! One µlayei lau
sraireu virl aces, one virl riiµs, anu so on. Wlen Don vas
sloving uovn lis lanu on rle enu, le saiu, ¨Six-ligl sriaiglr.¨
1le ligl lanus all rliev rleii lanus avay, anu nov rle seven-
ligl sriaiglr saiu, ¨Seven-ligl sriaiglr,¨ anu sraireu ro ieacl íoi
lis lalí oí rle µor. Don aLsenrminueuly liµµeu uµ lis lasr caiu÷
ir vas a seven÷vlen le suuuenly iealizeu rlar le lau maue an
eiglr-ligl sriaiglr. Don saiu, ¨Soiiy, I oveilookeu my lanu. I
lave an eiglr ligl sriaiglr!¨ 1le uealei, vlo vas Lusy sracking
rlis enoimous µor ro uiviue ir uµ, anu voulu lave Leen sracking
ar leasr anorlei rvo minures, jusr µusleu ir all ro Don in aLour
íoui uiííeienr sriokes. All rlose vlire lunuieu-uollai cliµs,
gieen rlousanu-uollai cliµs, anu sracks oí lunuieu-uollai Lills
in one enoimous µor! Ir rook Zulu moie rlan hve minures ro
counr all rle casl anu cliµs anu uereimine rlar rle µor lau
$54,400 in ir.
C h a p t e r 1 5
Poker on the Internet
and Cyber Hold’em Strategy
Ioi cenruiies, µokei lau µierry mucl exacrly rle same íoim.
Suie, rleie veie suLrle clanges in iules anu even in rle caiu
iooms vleie rle game is µlayeu. Bur oveiall ir iemaineu íaiily
unclangeu÷rlar is, unril rle lasr yeai oí rle rvenrierl cenruiy.
1len, jusr as virl rle iesr oí rle Lusiness voilu, rle Inreiner cie-
areu enoimous clanges íoi µokei.
Þov you can leain aLour µokei, ieau aLour µokei, clar
virl µeoµle aLour µokei, anu, yes, even jlay µokei anyrime,
íiom rle comíoir oí youi ovn lome. 1le Inreiner las cieareu an
enriiely nev maiker íoi µokei iníoimarion anu acriviries, anu ir
is lelµing ro cieare rle íasresr exµansion in nev µlayeis rlar
ve`ve evei seen.
Peoµle vlo veie inrimiuareu Ly íoimal µokei iooms in rle
µasr nov can leain rle Lasics anu iisk veiy lirrle money ro µlay,
virl no loss oí íace vlen rley make a uumL call oi simµly make
Poker on the Internet and Cyber Hold’em Strategy
an eiioi. 1ley can leain rle game ar rleii ovn µace, anu iisk vii-
rually norling ro ger some exµeiience unuei rleii Lelr. (1le eco-
nomics oí Inreiner games las maue ir µossiLle ro sµieau games
rlar aie mucl smallei rlan can Le µiohraLly sµieau in a casino,
as small as a uime oi quairei oi even íiee!) Anu rley lave a
clance ro µlay anu clar virl µeoµle all ovei rle voilu.
Jumping on the Wave
In 199S I íelr rlar I sloulu lave a veLsire ro geneiare some µokei
riaíhc÷esµecially since I vas living in rle miuule oí veL lysreiia
in Silicon Valley, a µlace vleie you simµly riieu ro geneiare riaí-
hc anu rlen riieu ro hguie our lov ro make money. In íacr, ií
youi veLsire lau enougl lirs, ir vas almosr guaianreeu ro Le
voirl some money, esµecially in rle gioving anu luciarive gam-
ing maiker.
1le name vas rle easy µair ro ueciue on, anu so
µlillellmurl.com vas Loin. IneviraLly, rlougl, I lau ro ueciue
on some goals anu conrenr íoi my sire. Lvenrually I came uµ virl
rvo ¨ieµoirs¨ rlar I voulu µosr on µlillellmurl.com, I calleu
rlem ¨Hanu oí rle Week¨ (HOW) anu ¨Higl Limir Resulrs¨
(HLR).
HOW voulu ralk aLour some oí rle giear µokei µors rlar I
lave µlayeu, anu virnesseu, incluuing key µors in eacl yeai`s
voilu clamµionsliµs anu orlei majoi evenrs. I µircleu HOW ro
CarJ ílayer Magazine (rle inuusriy`s leauing µuLlicarion), anu
rle euirois loveu ir. I voulu viire rle HOW airicles íoi rle mag-
azine anu rlen aiclive rlem on my veLsire. 1lis launcleu my
3 3 8 Play Poker Like the Pros
viiring caieei, anu rle oveivlelmingly µosirive íeeuLack I
ieceiveu íiom ieaueis maue me rlink rlar I miglr lave some-
rling voirl oííeiing.
1le HLR airicles aie all viirren sµecihcally íoi my sire.
1ley µioviue some insiglr inro rle Liggesr µokei games in rle
voilu rouay. In HLR I viire aLour rle games µlayeu Ly ligl-
limir µokei µlayeis, anu rle $50,000-µlus svings rlar ve rake in
jusr a couµle oí louis! I viire aLour rle game ve veie µlaying
in, vlo vas in ir, anu vleie ir vas lelu. Ií you`ie inreiesreu, jusr
go ro µlillellmurl.com anu click on ¨1vo Þines Room.¨
philhellmuth.com “Live” and Archived
Audio Broadcasts
In an eííoir ro uiive riaíhc ro µlillellmurl.com, I uieameu oí
oííeiing millions oí µeoµle rle clance ro lisren ro rle hnal raLle
oí rle Woilu Seiies oí Pokei (WSOP), rle µokei voilu`s equivalenr
oí a voilu clamµionsliµ, uuiing a live Inreiner auuio Lioaucasr.
A Lusinessman íiienu oí mine nameu ]eíí Pulvei (µulvei.com) ser
uµ rle sire, anu rle hisr live auuio Lioaucasr oí WSOP in 1999.
We uiu ir Ly ¨making ir uµ as ve venr,¨ lanuing Anuy Glazei`s
olu clunkei oí a cell µlone Lack anu íoirl ro uiííeienr µlayeis íoi
analysis.
In 1999, ve lau only 1,000 lirs, Lur in 2000 ve lau rens oí
rlousanus oí lirs íoi oui seconu WSOP Lioaucasr. 1len, as µeo-
µle Lecame avaie rlar ve veie uoing rle Lioaucasrs, rle numLei
oí lirs sraireu sµiking uµ eacl yeai rleieaírei. 1le Lioaucasrs
íiom 1999, 2000, anu 2001 aie aicliveu ar my sire anu ar
UlrimareBer.com (UB), rlougl I lave ro aumir rlar I lave nevei
Poker on the Internet and Cyber Hold’em Strategy
lisreneu ro rle Lioaucasr íiom rle yeai 2001, as ir vas Ly íai rle
mosr uisaµµoinring µokei uay oí my liíe! In 2001, I hnisleu in
hírl µlace in WSOP, vlicl vas voirl $305,000, Lur hisr µlace
lau Leen voirl $1.5 million anu÷moie imµoiranrly ro me÷a
lor oí lisroiy.
The Next Step—UltimateBet.com (UB)
Þov rlar I lau a nice-looking veLsire uµ (µlillellmurl.com), I
íelr I sloulu look inro some orlei veL-ielareu µiojecrs. A goou
íiienu oí mine nameu Daviu (¨Poikcloµ¨) Wiglr lau sroµµeu
µlaying µokei µioíessionally in oiuei ro iun a Lusiness calleu
Slov Geai Piouucrions. One uay Daviu rolu me rlar ií I vanreu
ro make money, I vas in rle viong Lusiness÷rle Inreiner vas
rle µlace ro Le. Iinuing a sreauy souice oí income sounueu µierry
goou ro me, since I knev rlar I coulu µorenrially lose all my
money on any given uay. 1le svings can uiive a µeison rovaiu
insaniry! As rle olu µios say, ¨Pokei is a rougl vay ro make an
easy living.¨
Daviu anu I ueciueu ro look inro srairing an online µokei
ioom rogerlei, Lur aírei a íev monrls le close ro uevore all lis
rime ro lis alieauy rliiving Lusiness, anu I enueu uµ consulring
anu µiomoring íoi UlrimareBer.com, a Leauriíul online µokei
ioom vlicl I Lelieve 100 µeicenr in anu am íully commirreu ro. I
lelµeu rle soírvaie ream rlar Luilr UB virl rle µokei iules, anu I
vas also aLle ro lave some inµur in rle conceµr siue oí rle µiojecr.
Ioi insrance, rle ream imµlemenreu my iuea oí laving hve-
lanueu raLles availaLle ar rle sire. 1lese ¨sloirlanueu¨ raLles
allov you ro µlay a lor moie µors, Lecause rle lanu values aie
3 4 0 Play Poker Like the Pros
lovei, so I iecommenu rlem ro anyone vlo renus ro Le imµa-
rienr oi likes ro Le involveu in a lor oí µors.
1le Lorrom line íoi online µokei: you can µlay íiom rle
comíoir oí youi lome, oíhce, oi lorel ioom anu ger in moie rlan
rvice as many lanus µei loui. Ar UB, you can even µlay íiee.
Anu vlile ir`s nor rle same as µlaying íace ro íace, somerimes I
like ir even Lerrei! I iecommenu rlar you give online µokei a riy
Leíoie you sµenu any seiious rime in a ¨Liick anu moirai¨ caiu
ioom. You can oíren hnu me µlaying small-srakes online µokei ar
UB. Look íoi raLle ¨Plil Hellmurl.¨ Bur µay arrenrion ro some
oí my linrs in rlis claµrei, Lecause you`ll neeu ro alrei youi
sriaregy a lirrle vlen you make rle riansirion.
In rlis claµrei you vill leain:
z Deceµrion anu ieauing in CyLei Holu`em.
z 1en-lanueu CyLei sriaregy.
z Iive-lanueu CyLei sriaregy.
z Limir Holu`em rvo-lanueu (leaus-uµ) rleoiy.
z Limir Holu`em leaus-uµ: Hovaiu Leueiei`s rleoiy.
z ALour iec.gamLling.µokei.com (RGP), rle online
¨nevsgiouµ¨ íoi µokei.
z ALour UlrimareBer.com, an online µokei ioom.
z ALour µlillellmurl.com, my veLsire virl my ¨Hanu oí rle
Week,¨ live Inreiner Lioaucasrs, µicruies, anu moie.
z ALour CaiuPlayei.com, rle iníoimarion veLsire íoi rle
inuusriy-leauing CarJ ílayer Magazine, virl rouinamenr
iesulrs anu moie.
z ALour PokeiPages.com, rle veLsire virl rons oí iníoimarion
aLour µokei, rouinamenrs, anu mucl moie.
Poker on the Internet and Cyber Hold’em Strategy
Online Poker Strategy
Þov ir is rime ro move on ro rle sriaregy µair oí rlis sriaregy
secrion! Iiisr, I`ll ralk aLour µlaying 10-lanueu 1exas Holu`em÷
Ly íai rle mosr µoµulai game on rle Inreiner (esµecially limir
Holu`em). Seconu, I vill covei rle Lesr sriaregy íoi hve-lanueu
games. Iinally, I vill ralk aLour lov ro µlay rvo-lanueu
(¨leaus-uµ¨) Holu`em games. ^osr oí rle iníoimarion rlar I
uole our leie vill ieíei you Lack ro ceirain secrions rlar you lave
alieauy ieau eailiei in rlis Look. Ioi examµle, my secrion on
íull-game limir Holu`em íoi rle Inreiner vill ieíei you ro Claµrei
3 oí rlis Look anu rle ¨roµ ren only¨ sriaregy rlar I ralk aLour
rleie. 1le nev iníoimarion aLour sriaregy rlar you vill ieau in
rlis secrion vill lave ro uo virl µlaying hve-lanueu games anu
rvo-lanueu games.
Ií you voulu like online sriaregy íoi all rle orlei µokei
games rlar I covei in rlis Look, I iecommenu rlar you simµly
íollov my secrions on Leginneis` sriaregy íoi eacl game. Again, I
voulu µiogiam a comµurei exacrly like rlis so rlar ir coulu rake
auvanrage oí online µlayeis` µiimaiy veakness÷rley µlay roo
many lanus Leíoie rle loµ. In orlei voius, rley lave no
µarience! One rling is viirually ceirain: my secrions íoi Leginneis
aie all hlleu virl µlenry oí µarience. Þov you jusr neeu ro use
rlese µarienr sriaregies ro ciusl youi online oµµonenrs in rle
small-srakes games!
3 4 2 Play Poker Like the Pros
Limit Hold’em on the Internet—
Deception and Reading
Limir Holu`em is a íasr-moving game íoi a íasr-moving sociery,
anu I lave noriceu rlar online µlayeis seem ro move inro anu our
oí games moie quickly. Online µlayeis aie oíren µlaying on rleii
luncl Lieak ar rle oíhce, oi rley jusr lave an loui ro kill Leíoie
uinnei oi Leíoie going our ar niglr. In any case, rle lineuµs
clange quickly, anu so you uon`r lave a lor oí rime ro hguie our
vlar rle orlei µlayeis aie uoing. 1leieíoie, you neeu ro norice
vlicl µlayeis aie uoing vlar in oiuei ro uereimine vlar ryµe oí
µlayeis rley aie. Pay µairiculaily close arrenrion ro rle lanus
rlar rley slov ar rle enu oí a µor. Ií a µlayei las iaiseu a µor
anu rlen Ler all rle vay uovn ro rle enu anu slovs , you
knov rlar le is a jackal ryµe. (^y animal ryµes aie uiscusseu in
Claµrei 3, µage 33.)
You`ll Le aLle ro uereimine vlar kinu oí µlayeis youi oµµo-
nenrs aie Ly rle numLei oí µors rley µlay anu rle ryµe oí lanus
rley slov uovn. Ií you norice rlar a µlayei lasn`r µlayeu a µor
in a vlile, rle eaily eviuence suggesrs rlar le may Le a mouse
ryµe. Oí couise, ií you µlay ar rle same online ioom ovei anu
ovei again, you vill srair ro unueisranu íiom µasr exµeiience
vlar ryµe oí µlayeis rle orleis aie.
RememLei, rlougl, rlar rle svoiu curs Lorl vays in online
µokei. 1le orlei µlayeis von`r knov anyrling aLour you exceµr
vlar you ler rlem see. Ií you aie iaising a lor oí µors, rle orlei
µlayeis vill rlink rlar you aie a jackal, esµecially ií you slov
uovn some veakei lanus. You may slov some oí youi veakei
lanus ar rle enu oí rle lanu even ií you uon`r vin rle µor, in
_-_
Poker on the Internet and Cyber Hold’em Strategy
oiuei ro convey rle illusion rlar you aie a jackal. Oi you can
slov youi sriong lanus íaceuµ ar rle enu oí a lanu in oiuei ro
give µeoµle rle imµiession rlar you aie a mouse. In geneial, I like
ro slov my sriong srairing lanus íaceuµ, ro make µeoµle rlink I
am a mouse. 1len I vill Le aLle ro Lluíí moie µors in rle íuruie,
Lecause rley rlink I alvays lave a Lig lanu. (In lovei-limir
games, lovevei, ir is µierry laiu ro Lluíí someone our on rle
enu!) Lven rlougl you can`r ieau orlei µeoµle`s íacial exµies-
sions, rleie is srill µlenry oí iníoimarion availaLle aLour rle vay
rley µlay Holu`em. You can also coníuse rle orlei µlayeis Ly
sloving uovn veak oi sriong lanus in oiuei ro give rlem rle
viong imµiession aLour rle vay you µlay Holu`em.
Orlei rlings ro varcl incluue rle amounr oí rime a µlayei
rakes ro make a uecision, anu rle numLei oí orlei games a
µlayei is in. Ií µlayeis aie in anorlei game, rley aie likely ro lose
concenriarion, anu you may Le aLle ro rake auvanrage oí rlis
veakness Ly µlaying moie aggiessively againsr rlem. A goou
online ¨rell¨ is vlerlei oi nor a µlayei Lers lis lanu iiglr avay.
Somerimes you can hguie our ií a quick Ler means a lanu oi a
Lluíí. A quick Ler is usually a sign oí veakness, anu a slov Ler is
usually a sign oí sriengrl. Lveiyone in µokei is an acroi, anu
vlen µeoµle Ler slovly rley aie usually riying ro say ro you, ¨I
uon`r knov ií I sloulu Ler rlis lanu oi nor. Ler me rlink. I`m
µierry veak iiglr nov.¨ Ar leasr rlar`s vlar rley vanr you ro
rlink vlen rley Ler slovly on rle enu. By conriasr, a quick Ler is
meanr ro convey an imµiession oí sriengrl, rley`ie saying, ¨I
lave a luge lanu, anu I`m going ro Ler Lecause oí rlis.¨ You
miglr nor vanr ro Lelieve ir, rlougl!
3 4 4 Play Poker Like the Pros
Limit Hold’em Strategy—10-Handed
Games
I am iecommenuing rlar you use rle ¨roµ ren only¨ sriaregy
vlen you µlay online µokei ar a 10-lanueu raLle. 1le sriaregy
oí rle ¨roµ ren¨ lanus is laiu our in Claµrei 3 oí rlis Look. 1lis
sriaregy is simµle, saíe, anu veiy eííecrive. Using rlis sriaregy
sloulu allov you ro Luilu uµ some µiohrs vlile you µlay online
µokei. Ií I coulu uesign a comµurei µiogiam ro µlay my money
online, rlis is rle vay I voulu µiogiam ir.
1le ieason I iecommenu rlis slov sriaregy is rlar rle online
µlayeis in small-srakes µokei games µlay so Lauly rlar rle ¨roµ
ren¨ sriaregy vill Le a Lig vinnei in rle long laul. 1leie is no
neeu ro ger íancy anu rake Lig svings uµ anu uovn virl youi
money online: rle µarienr ioure vill smoorl our rle svings anu
µiouuce rle uesiieu vins. ^ake suie rlar you µlay in games oí
an aµµioµiiare size íoi youi Lankioll. Ií you inrenu ro iisk $100
online, make suie rlar you µlay no liglei rlan $1÷$2 limir. 1lis
vay you vill lave 50 Lig Lers ro µlay virl, anu you vill give rle
¨roµ ren¨ sriaregy a clance ro succeeu íoi you. Wirl 50 Lig Lers,
you vill lave a uecenr slor ar ruining $100 inro a lor moie
money ovei 40 louis oí µlay using my online sriaregy.
Hovevei, 50 Lig Lers aie srill nor mucl money in a µokei
game, anu 100 Lig Lers aie a mucl saíei amounr ro srair virl.
Please uo nor Le uiscouiageu ií you lose youi inirial $100 µlaying
rle ¨roµ ren¨ sriaregy. Luck is a Lig µair oí µokei, anu alrlougl
rlis sriaregy is a íavoiire in any online $1÷$2 game, somerimes
you can jusr ger unlucky!
Poker on the Internet and Cyber Hold’em Strategy
Limit Hold’em Strategy—Five-Handed
Games
Holu`em is a veiy uiííeienr game vlen you aie µlaying ir ar a
raLle vleie rle maximum is hve µlayeis. You vill hnu rlar rle
svings you rake in a hve-lanueu game vill renu ro Le mucl Lig-
gei rlan rle svings you rake ar a ren-lanueu raLle. Bevaie oí
rlis anu unueisranu rlar ir is jusr rle naruie oí rle Leasr! Iive-
lanu-maximum raLles uon`r exisr iiglr nov in rle ¨ieal voilu,¨
µioLaLly Lecause rle casinos hguie rley lave a limireu amounr
oí sµace anu neeu ro use ir íoi íull-size raLles. Online casinos, oí
couise, íace no sucl limirarion.
So rlis sriaregy can Le useu only online oi anyrime rlar
rle online game you`ie µlaying in gers uovn ro hve lanus. Ar a
hve-lanu-maximum raLle, ve can nov auu all µaiis, any A-x,
anu ¨20¨ (rvo caius rlar auu uµ ro 20 oi moie) ro rle mix oí
lanus ve can µlay Leíoie rle loµ. Oí couise, I`m nor saying
rlar you can µlay rlese auuirional lanus all rle rime. Ioi
examµle, I voulun`r µlay 10-] íoi rliee Lers Leíoie rle loµ.
Hovevei, you can nov call rvo Lers virl rlese ryµes oí lanus
oi make ir rvo Lers youiselí virl rlem. Because you aie µlay-
ing moie rlan rliee rimes as many lanus Leíoie rle loµ in a
hve-lanueu game rlan in a 10-lanueu game, you may also hnu
hve-lanueu raLles a lor moie íun, anu µorenrially a lor moie
µiohraLle.
Wlen you µlay hve-lanueu µokei ir is moie imµoiranr ro
hnu our vleie you`ie ar in a lanu on rle loµ. I covei rlis con-
ceµr veiy rloiouglly in Claµrei 3. Also, ií you lave a lanu like
3 4 6 Play Poker Like the Pros
A-K oi A-Q you vill enu uµ calling youi oµµonenrs uovn a lor
moie oíren vlen you uon`r lir youi lanu, so you vill naruially
Le exµosing youiselí ro moie iisk.
Limit Hold’em Two-Handed (Heads-Up)
Theory
Heaus-uµ µokei is sriaregically mucl uiííeienr íiom a íull game.
Inreiesringly, some µlayeis vlo aie jackals in a íull game renu ro
uo veiy vell in a leaus-uµ game. Peilaµs rle ieason is rlar rley
aie alieauy useu ro µlaying many lanus aggiessively. Being a
rougl µlayei in a nine-lanueu Holu`em game iequiies µarience,
uisciµline, anu aggiessive µlay. Hovevei, Leing a rougl µlayei in
a leaus-uµ Holu`em game iequiies suµeiaggiessive µlay, goou
ieaus in almosr eveiy lanu, anu rle aLiliry ro µlay Lau lanus
vell (so ro sµeak). Þorice rlar I uiun`r menrion µarience as an
imµoiranr riair in a rougl leaus-uµ µlayei. 1lis is Lecause
µarienr µlayeis usually uon`r leain lov ro µlay Lau lanus vell.
Knoving vlen ro Ler virl Lorrom µaii on rle enu Lecause
you aie ceirain rlar youi oµµonenr las ace ligl is an imµoiranr
aLiliry in a leaus-uµ marcl. In orlei voius, knoving ií anu
vlen you lave rle Lesr lanu is exriemely imµoiranr in leaus-uµ
µlay. Wlile rlis may Le imµoiranr in any game oí µokei, you`ll
lave ro uo ir íai moie oíren in leaus-uµ µlay.
Wlen you`ie µlaying againsr a µlayei vlo Lluíís our againsr
you all rle rime leaus-uµ, I iecommenu rlar you smoorl-call
Poker on the Internet and Cyber Hold’em Strategy
virl a lor oí lanus on rle loµ anu on íouirl srieer, anu rlen
iaise on rle iivei.
Slow-Playing against a Superaggressive
Player
Oíren, you vill hnu youiselí µlaying leaus-uµ virl a suµei-
aggiessive µlayei. Wlen rlis is rle case, I like ro slov-µlay my
lanus. Suµµose rlar I lave Q-Q in rle µocker anu rle aggiessive
µlayei las iaiseu on rle Lurron. ^osr oí rle rime in rlis sirua-
rion, I vill jusr call lim Leíoie rle loµ ro riaµ lim larei on. Suµ-
µose rlar rle loµ is ]-S-5. Þov I like ro cleck anu jusr call again!
Give lim a lirrle ioµe. Ler`s say rlar rle nexr caiu oíí is a ueuce
íoi ]-S-5-2. Þov I cleck again, anu ií my oµµonenr Lers, nov I
hnally iaise! Ií I riaµ my oµµonenr leie, le vill Le less likely ro
riy ro Lluíí on eveiy lanu, Lecause le knovs rlar I am caµaLle oí
riaµµing lim again soon!
Limit Hold’em Heads-Up—Howard
Lederer’s Theory
Limir Holu`em is a veiy uiííeienr game leaus-uµ. I knov oí
one giear µlayei, Hovaiu Leueiei (Annie Duke`s oluei Liorlei),
vlo vill iaise eveiy rime rlar le las rle Lurron in leaus-uµ
Holu`em, anu ir seems ro voik vell íoi lim! Raising eveiy lanu
vlen you lave rle Lurron is a ieally goou sriaregy ro use againsr
a novice. 1le iuea is ro iaise eveiy lanu on rle Lurron anu rlen
Ler eveiy loµ. Wlen you uo rlis, you`ie giving youi oµµonenr a
clance ro íolu lis lanu eveiy rime you make a Ler. You`ie µur-
ring µiessuie on lim consranrly anu íoicing lim ro call you
3 4 8 Play Poker Like the Pros
uovn virl some ieally veak lanus. 1lis is ieally laiu íoi any-
one ro lanule÷esµecially since a ligl µeicenrage oí rle rime in
Holu`em you uon`r even loµ a µaii! Hovevei, ií you`ie uµ
againsr a rougl µlayei, you`ie in riouLle vlen you µlay like rlis.
^y counreisriaregy íoi rlis is simµly ro ieiaise eveiy rime I lave
ace ligl, king ligl, rvo caius aLove a nine, oi a µaii. Anu rlen I
Ler our ar rlem eveiy loµ!
More Information:
Rec.gambling.poker.com is the Online
“Newsgroup” for Poker
Ií you aie inreiesreu, an online µokei nevsgiouµ is locareu ar
iec.gamLling.µokei.com (RGP). RGP las a Lig voice in rle µokei
voilu rouay, anu rle RGP giouµ meers eveiy yeai ro µlay µokei
ar rle Big Augusr Reciearional GamLling Lxcuision (BARGL) in
Las Vegas. I vas rle keynore sµeakei íoi BARGL in 2001, anu I
lau a giear rime langing our virl rle RGP iegulais. 1leii enrlu-
siasm íoi µokei is veiy ieíiesling anu conragious! Imagine µokei
games sµonraneously Lieaking our on rle looi oí a ioom rlar
RGP vas ienring oi µokei rouinamenrs virl reams oí íoui µlay-
eis eacl!
Oíren, µeoµle vill srair rlieaus involving µokei sriaregy rlar
aie Lorl illuminaring anu inreiesring ro ieau, anu ir is alvays
inreiesring ro me lov orleis rlink µokei lanus ouglr ro Le
µlayeu. Orlei rlieaus ralk aLour rle laresr iumois conceining
µlayeis anu µokei rouinamenrs. (Lveiyone las a voice on RGP,
anu uníoirunarely some voices aie a lirrle Lir roo louu anu nega-
rive íoi my rasre.) One µairiculaily useíul rling you can leain íiom
Poker on the Internet and Cyber Hold’em Strategy
RGP is vleie rle local µokei game in youi aiea is µlayeu anu
vlar rle srakes aie. ]usr ask! By rle vay, you`ll hnu rlar ¨nev-
Lies¨ aie alvays velcome ar RGP.
One rling I sloulu µoinr our ií you aie going ro visir RGP:
nor eveiyone vlo oííeis auvice ieally knovs vlar le is ralking
aLour, alrlougl µeoµle riy ro make ir sounu as ií rley knov a
lor. Be caurious aLour raking auvice on RGP as gosµel, ar leasr
unril you hguie our vlo rle moie riusrvoirly µosreis aie.
Resources
Love ir oi lare ir, rle Inreiner las maue an inueliLle maik on rle
µokei lanuscaµe. ^oie µeoµle aie leaining aLour µokei anu
µlaying ir Lecause oí rle ease oí access ro leaining rools anu íiee
oi lov-srakes games online. Anu rleie uoesn`r aµµeai ro Le any
ruining Lack . . . rle Inreiner is leie ro sray. I uon`r rlink ir`s a
coinciuence rlar rouinamenrs anu caiu iooms aiounu rle voilu
aie seeing iecoiu arrenuance, µeoµle vlo leain online aie eagei
ro riy vlar rley leain íace ro íace!
You can also Ler rlar rleie vill Le moie anu moie oµµoiru-
niries ro ger inro µiohraLle games online. 1le µlay renus ro Le
loose anu íasr, anu soliu µlayeis virl excellenr íunuamenrals
sloulu Le aLle ro make rle games µay oíí. 1le oµµoiruniries aie
even Lerrei vlen you íacroi in rle clance ro µlay ar mulriµle
raLles ar rle same rime, anu ro uo so in youi íavoiire easy claii!
3 5 0 Play Poker Like the Pros
Wirl rle Inreiner`s ease oí access anu irs aLiliry ro giov
quickly, I rlink ir`s only a marrei oí rime Leíoie ve see 10,000
µeoµle in an online rouinamenr. I uon`r knov aLour you, Lur I`m
likely ro Le one oí rlem!
Heie aie some iesouices rlar you miglr hnu lelµíul:
To Practice and Play Online
UlrimareBer.com
1lis is rle only sire rlar I cuiienrly iecommenu. Ir`s
iegulareu Ly rle Kalnavake Gaming Commission anu is
lonesr anu µioíessional. I also laµµen ro rlink rlar UB`s
game is rle only one rlar vill ieally ler you concenriare.
Ir`s rle only µlace rlar I`u µlay. Peiiou.
Poker Articles and Information
µlillellmurl.com (see µage 33S)
CaiuPlayei.com: A giear sire rlar oííeis many oí rle same
iesouices as rle magazine, Lur in an elecrionic íoimar. You
can hnu many giear airicles viirren Ly some oí rle Lesr
µokei viireis in rle Lusiness, incluuing Glazei anu myselí.
1leie is also iníoimarion aLour vleie anu vlen uµcoming
µokei rouinamenrs aie Leing lelu anu iesulrs íiom µasr
rouinamenrs. Baiiy anu ]eíí Slulman lave uone a giear
joL virl rlis sire anu also virl CarJ ílayer Magazine.
PokeiPages.com: ^oie iníoimarion rlan you can Lelieve
Poker on the Internet and Cyber Hold’em Strategy
on rle game oí µokei. Ií ir`s our rleie, I can usually hnu ir
ar PokeiPages, incluuing rouinamenr iesulrs, scleuules,
online airicles, links, anu a slaiµ ¨Online Pokei Sclool.¨
1ina anu ^aik Þaµolirano lave uone a vonueiíul joL
virl rlis sire anu rley also manageu ro Liing ^ike ¨rle
^au Genius¨ Caio on ro lelµ.
Last Notes on Playing Online
1le legal lanuscaµe suiiounuing rle online gaming inuusriy is
consranrly sliíring anu Leing ieviseu as lavmakeis viesrle virl
some oí rle legal clallenges rlar online gaming µoses. Wlile
many oí rle legal issues seem ro Le unueciueu, you sloulu cleck
youi local lavs Leíoie µlaying µokei online íoi money. Ir may
nor Le alloveu in youi aiea.
A p p e n d i x 1
Rank of Hands
in Poker
1le Lesr µossiLle lanu in µokei (Holu`em is a µokei game!) is rle
ioyal lusl. I lave maue only rvo in my caieei so íai! Heie is rle
iank oí lanus in oiuei íiom sriongesr ro veakesr. 1leie aie íoui
suirs in µokei÷cluLs, uiamonus, leairs, anu sµaues.
1. Royal lusl (_-_-_-_-_)÷rle ren rliougl rle ace,
all oí rle same suir.
2. Sriaiglr lusl÷hve caius in a iov (sriaiglr), all in rle
same suir. A ioyal lusl is simµly an ace-ligl sriaiglr
lusl. 1le _-_-_-_-_ (six-ligl sriaiglr lusl)
anu _-_-_-_-_ (jack-ligl sriaiglr lusl) aie
sriaiglr lusles.
3. Ioui oí a kinu (quaus)÷laving all íoui oí a caiu like
_-_-_-_ (íoui sixes) oi _-_-_-_ (íoui
eiglrs) qualihes as íoui oí a kinu.
3 5 4 Appendix 1
4. Iull louse (íull Loar oi Loar)÷rliee oí a kinu anu rvo
Don`r Le µur oíí Ly rlese seemingly comµlicareu iankings!
^osr Lig µokei µors aie von Ly one µaii oi rvo µaii oi rliee oí
a kinu (riiµs). 1lis ianking sruíí comes veiy easily once you
Legin ro µlay µokei.
oí a kinu in one lanu. Ioi examµle, _-_-_-_-_
(hves íull oí kings) oi _-_-_-_-_ (jacks íull oí
rvos) oi _-_-_-_-_ (nines íull oí sevens).
5. Ilusl÷laving hve oí a suir voulu qualiíy as a lusl.
Ioi examµle, _-_-_-_-_ (king-ligl lusl) oi _-
_-_-_-_ (ace-ligl lusl) oi any comLinarion oí
hve ro a suir voulu make a lusl.
6. Sriaiglr÷hve caius in a iov. 1vo examµles aie _-_-
_-_-_ (seven-ligl sriaiglr) anu _-_-_-_-_
(king-ligl sriaiglr).
7. 1liee oí a kinu (riiµs oi a ser)÷laving rliee oí a caiu,
sucl as _-_-_ (riiµ íouis oi ¨ser oí íouis¨) oi _-
_-_ (riiµ jacks oi ¨ser oí jacks¨).
S. 1vo µaii÷rvo oí a kinu rvice in one lanu. Lxamµles
aie _-_-_-_-_ (aces uµ) oi _-_-_-_-_
(jacks uµ) anu _-_-_-_-_ (sevens uµ).
9. One µaii÷rvo oí a kinu. Lxamµles aie _-_-_-_-
_ (aces) anu _-_-_-_-_ (eiglrs).
10. Higl caius÷liglesr hve caius íiom rle roµ uovn.
Lxamµles aie _-_-_-_-_ (ace-queen ligl), _-
_-_-_-_ (ace-jack ligl), anu _-_-_-_-_
(king-jack ligl).
A p p e n d i x 2
Champion of the
Year Award
In lare 2001, I ueciueu ro cieare a nev avaiu in µokei, rle
¨Clamµion oí rle Yeai¨ avaiu. 1o lelµ me esraLlisl a qualiíy-
ing lisr oí evenrs, I µolleu rle roµ 15 µokei µlayeis. Playeis like
1. ]. Clouriei, rle voilu clamµion ]olnny Clan, ]oln Bonerri,
rle voilu clamµion Huck Seeu, 1eu Ioiiesr, rle voilu clam-
µion Cliis Ieiguson, Annie Duke, Liik Seiuel, 1ony ^a, Daniel
Þegieanu, ^en Þguyen, Layne Ilack, anu a íev orleis hlleu our
a lisr oí vlar rley consiueieu rle mosr µiesrigious µokei rouina-
menrs. I rook rle aveiage anu came uµ virl a lisr (Aµµenuix 3)
oí rle mosr µiesrigious µokei rouinamenrs. Iiom rlis lisr, I
uesigneu rle ¨Clamµion oí rle Yeai¨ avaiu, vlicl is uiííeienr
íiom rle ¨Playei oí rle Yeai¨ avaiu esraLlisleu a couµle oí
yeais eailiei Ly CarJ ílayer Magazine.
I lau íelr rlar rle ¨Playei oí rle Yeai¨ avaiu vas Laseu on
roo many rouinamenrs, anu rlar someone vlo µlayeu 300
evenrs annually voulu lave a luge euge ovei rle µokei clamµi-
3 5 6 Appendix 2
ons vlo µlay only 50 ro ¯0 evenrs a yeai. 1le rvo-rime voilu
clamµion ]olnny Clan uoesn`r lave rime ro µlay in moie rlan
50 rouinamenrs eacl yeai. Anu many orlei roµ µlayeis÷like
Cliis Ieiguson, 1eu Ioiiesr, Annie Duke, Huck Seeu, Liik Sei-
uel, ]oln Bonerri, anu I÷can`r µlay in moie rlan ¯0 evenrs eacl
yeai. Some oí us lave íamilies (Annie, Liik, anu I), some oí us
riaue srocks íull-rime (Cliis), some oí us µlay $2,000-$4,000-
limir µokei íoui rimes a veek (1eu anu ]olnny), anu orleis jusr
lave roo mucl going on in rleii lives ro µlay in 300 µokei roui-
namenrs eacl yeai. In oiuei ro give all rle giear µokei µlayeis in
rle voilu a clance ro vin a majoi avaiu, ve nov lave rle
¨Clamµion oí rle Yeai¨ avaiu. You can riack rle ¨Clamµion
oí rle Yeai¨ avaiu ar µlillellmurl.com oi in rle Lack oí CarJ
ílayer Magazine.
1le sysrem I esraLlisleu ro gianr µoinrs ro rouinamenr vin-
neis is veiy Lasic. Playeis ieceive µoinrs only ií rley make rle
hnal raLle, anu mosr oí rle µoinrs aie given ro rle roµ rliee hn-
isleis. Cleck our µlillellmurl.com íoi íull uerails aLour rle
annual µoinr uisriiLurions, anu rle cuiienr sranuings. A riaveling
¨Clamµion oí rle Yeai¨ cuµ is avaiueu ro rle Clamµion oí rle
Yeai, soir oí like rle Sranley Cuµ. (I imagine rle µlayeis may
uiink clamµagne our oí rlis cuµ as vell!)
You vill unuouLreuly norice rlar rle Woilu Seiies oí Pokei
(WSOP) uominares rle lisr. 1lis is Lecause WSOP is vleie ¨mil-
lions aie µaiu anu legenus aie maue.¨ WSOP is ro µokei vlar
rle íoui majois aie ro rle PGA 1oui: ir is rle ^asreis, rle U.S.
Oµen, rle Biirisl Oµen, anu rle PGA Clamµionsliµ all iolleu
inro one! In Aµµenuix 4, I slov you vlar ir is like ro valk in anu
µlay in a WSOP evenr.
A p p e n d i x 3
The Most Prestigious
Poker Tournaments
I lave incluueu Lelov a lisring oí vlar I consiuei rle 1oµ 50
µokei rouinamenrs in rle voilu. 1le evenrs rlar aie maikeu
virl an asreiisk aie also µair oí rle Woilu Pokei 1oui (WP1).
Wirl rle auvenr oí rle WP1 in 2002, µokei rouinamenrs aie
Leing raken inro rle Ameiican µuLlic`s living iooms. Playeis vlo
make rle hnal six in any oí rlese evenrs also make rle 1V cur.
1le lole caius aie iecoiueu anu maue inro a µiogiam rlar µlays
on rle 1iavel clannel anu orlei majoi nervoiks. 1le relevision
exµosuie is nice, Lur rle luge WP1 hisr-µlace µiizes make rlis
one oí rle mosr µiesrigious evenrs evei. Alrlougl rle Woilu
Seiies oí Pokei (WSOP) is srill rle Holy Giail ro us µlayeis, rle
WP1 evenrs (rle WSOP isn`r one oí rlem, yer) aie gaining. Look
íoi rle WP1 in youi lome soon!
3 5 8 Appendix 3
Phil’s Top 50 Tournaments
(not listed by ranking)
Binion’s World Series of Poker (WSOP)
Events
1. $2,000 Limir Holu`em
2. $1,500 Omala Hi/Lo Sµlir
3. $2,000 Þo-Limir Holu`em
4. $1,500 ¯-Caiu Sruu
5. $1,500 Limir Omala
6. $1,500 ¯-Caiu Sruu Hi/Lo Sµlir
7. $1,500 Por-Limir Omala
S. $2,500 Golu Biaceler Heaus-Uµ ^arcl Play÷Þo-
Limir Holu`em
9. $1,500 Por-Limir OSB
10. $2,000 HORSL (Holu`em, OSB, Razz, Sruu, anu Sruu
S oi Berrei)
11. $2,000 Por-Limir Holu`em
12. $2,500 ¯-Caiu Sruu
13. $3,000 Limir Holu`em
14. $1,500 Razz
15. $2,500 Por-Limir Omala
16. $2,500 ¯-Caiu Sruu Hi/Lo Sµlir
17. $3,000 Por-Limir Holu`em
1S. $1,500 Ace ro Iive Diav LovLall
19. $1,500 Þo-Limir Holu`em
20. $2,500 Omala Hi/Lo Sµlir
3 5 9 Appendix 3
21. $1,500 Por-Limir Holu`em
22. $5,000 ¯-Caiu Sruu
23. $2,000 S.H.O.L (Sruu, Holu`em, OSB, Sruu S oi Berrei)
24. $5,000 Limir Holu`em
25. $1,500 Limir Holu`em Sloorour
26. $5,000 Por-Limir Omala
27. $1,500 Limir Holu`em
2S. $5,000 Omala Hi/Lo Sµlir
29. $3,000 Þo-Limir Holu`em
30. $2,000 1/2 Holu`em + 1/2 Sruu
31. $5,000 Þo-Limir Deuce ro Seven
32. $1,500 1iiµle Diav LovLall Ace ro Iive
33. $10,000 WSOP Þo-Limir Holu`em ^ain Lvenr
World Poker Tour (WPT) Championship
34. $25,000 Þo-Limir Holu`em `
World Poker Open Events
35. $2,000 Þo-Limir Holu`em
36. $10,000 Clamµionsliµ Lvenr `
World Poker Challenge
37. $5,000 Clamµionsliµ Lvenr `
LA Poker Classic Events
3S. $1,5¯0 Limir Holu`em virl ReLuys ($1million guaianree!)
39. $10,000 Þo-Limir Holu`em `
3 6 0 Appendix 3
Legends of Poker
40. $5,000 Clamµionsliµ Lvenr `
World Poker Final Events
41. $2,500 ¯-Caiu Sruu
42. $10,000 Þo-Limir Holu`em `
U.S. Poker Championship
43. $4,000 ¯-Caiu Sruu
44. $¯,500 Þo-Limir Holu`em
Bellagio Tournaments
45. $10,000 Bellagio 1ouiney `
46. $3,000 Limir Holu`em
Ultimate Poker Classic
47. $5,000 Þo-Limir Holu`em 1ouiney `
Lucky Chances Casino Gold Rush
4S. $3,000 Limir Holu`em 1ouiney `
The Poker EM (Vienna)
49. $3,000 Luioµean ¯-Caiu Sruu Clamµionsliµ
Euro Finals of Poker (Paris)
50. $10,000 Luioµean 1exas Holu`em Clamµionsliµ
A p p e n d i x 4
Playing in a World Series of
Poker (WSOP) Tournament
All rle WSOP rouinamenrs aie lelu ar rle Hoisesloe Horel anu
Casino (Hoisesloe) in uovnrovn Las Vegas, Þevaua, ar ligl
noon. 1o iegisrei íoi a WSOP rouinamenr, you hisr ger a caiu
virl a iegisriarion numLei on ir íiom one oí rle cages. 1lis caiu
is goou íoi all rle WSOP evenrs rlar yeai. 1len, rake casl íoi rle
Luy-in anu íees oí rle rouinamenr you visl ro enrei ro rle main
cage in rle rouinamenr aiea. 1leie youi money vill Le ex-
clangeu íoi cliµs, vlicl you rlen rake ro rle iegisriarion uesk.
You lanu ovei youi caiu anu cliµs, ieceive a raLle anu sear
assignmenr (ianuomly uiavn Ly a comµurei), anu vair íoi youi
evenr ro Legin. Ir is Lesr ro Le in youi sear Ly noon, as rle roui-
namenr vill srair vlen rle uiiecroi announces, ¨Sluíle uµ anu
ueal¨ (rle íoimei WSOP rouinamenr uiiecroi ]ack ^cClellanu`s
olu line). 1leie vill Le a relevision moniroi close ro youi raLle
sloving you rle numLei oí µlayeis enreieu in rle evenr, rle
3 6 2 Appendix 4
numLei oí µlayeis leír in rle rouinamenr ar rlar momenr, rle
amounr oí rime leír in rle cuiienr level, anu lov mucl money
rle hisr-µlace hnislei vill vin.
As µlayeis aie eliminareu, rle raLles aie comLineu. Wlen
nine µlayeis lave Leen eliminareu, one raLle is raken our oí use.
Ioi examµle, ií 450 µlayeis enreieu a Holu`em rouinamenr, 50
raLles voulu Le ser uµ íoi rle Leginning oí rle evenr. Wlen 90
µlayeis iemaineu, only 10 raLles voulu Le leír. 1lis consoliua-
rion conrinues unril only rle hnal raLle iemains.
Ií you rake a look aiounu rle rouinamenr ioom, you`ll see
all mannei oí µokei µlayeis. You`ll see Llack men anu vomen,
vlire men anu vomen, Asian men anu vomen, ]evs, Carlolics,
Buuulisrs, arleisrs, agnosrics, iicl, µooi, casino ovneis, rle Los
Angeles Lakeis` ovneis (]eiiy anu Iiank), acrois, anu rle Liggesr
collecrion oí clamµion µokei µlayeis anyvleie. Since rlis evenr
is lelu íiom lare Aµiil rliougl ^ay, you`ll also see µlayeis
varcling rle ÞBA µlayoíís on relevision. On rle loui, eveiy
loui, rle limirs vill iise, so rle µors ger Liggei anu Liggei anu rle
cliµ sracks ger Liggei, unril you lir rle hnal raLle eaily rle nexr
moining.
1leie vill Le Lieaks along rle vay. Ar 2:00 . you ger a
lalí-loui luncl Lieak. 1vo louis larei you`ll ger a híreen-minure
Lieak. 1vo louis aírei rlar you`ll ger a one-loui uinnei Lieak.
Anu rlen eveiy rvo louis unril rle enu oí rle uay, you`ll ger a
híreen-minure Lieak.
Once rle hnal raLle is esraLlisleu (nine íoi Holu`em),
you`ie uone íoi rle uay. 1le nexr uay you ger ro come Lack anu
µlay ar 2:00 ., unuei rle liglrs anu cameias, íoi all rle money!
1le hnal raLle is Lioaucasr aiounu rle casino on relevision mon-
irois, anu key lanus aie announceu ovei a louusµeakei so rlar
3 6 3 Appendix 4
rlose µlaying in rle nexr uay`s evenr can lisren ro rle acrion.
1leie aie also Lleacleis ser uµ aiounu rle hnal raLle íoi sµecra-
rois anu rle meuia. ^aking a hnal raLle ar WSOP is ieally quire
a memoiaLle evenr.
1le goal is ro Lecome one oí rle hnal rliee µlayeis, vleie
some kinu oí rliee-vay ueal can Le maue. 1le uiííeience in µiize
money among hisr, seconu, anu rliiu µlace is íiequenrly so Lig÷
say, $200,000 íoi hisr, $100,000 íoi seconu, anu $50,000 íoi
rliiu÷rlar rle µlayeis like ro make a save. (Someone miglr sug-
gesr, íoi insrance, rlar rley rake $100,000 aµiece anu µlay íoi
$50,000 íoi hisr µlace.) Because oí rle luge uiííeience in µiize
money Lerveen hisr µlace anu rliiu µlace, ueals seem ro come uµ
a lor in µokei rlese uays. Ií you`ie íoirunare enougl ro vin, rlen
niivana! You ger a covereu golu Liaceler, a ron oí µicruies, con-
giarularions, a sroiy viirren aLour rle evenr virl youi name ar
rle roµ oí rle lisr, anu usually ar leasr $150,000 in casl! Sounus
µierry goou, lul.
Final Thoughts about WSOP
You µioLaLly noriceu rlar eveiy WSOP rouinamenr is on rle lisr
oí rle mosr µiesrigious µokei rouinamenrs. 1lar`s Lecause rle
WSOP sranus alone as rle single mosr imµoiranr evenr in µokei.
Having jusr one Liaceler íiom rle WSOP is a Lig ueal, anu nor
veiy many µlayeis lave rvo. Ií you vanr ro make lisroiy as a
µokei µlayei, rlen rle WSOP is rle µlace ro uo ir. In íacr, rle slo-
gan oí WSOP is, ¨Wleie millions aie µaiu anu legenus aie maue.¨
Along virl incieaseu arrenuance anu rle incieaseu sraruie
oí rle WSOP eacl yeai, rleie lave Leen rliee orlei noraLle
3 6 4 Appendix 4
clanges. As oí 2002, rle WSOP is nov a nonsmoking evenr÷no
cigaierres aie alloveu in rle rouinamenr ioom. Smokeis aie,
lovevei, only 50 yaius avay íiom a µlace vleie rley can liglr
uµ. 1le seconu clange is rlar cell µlones lave Leen Lanneu íiom
rle rouinamenr ioom. (¨Hello. Can you lolu on a seconu. I jusr
µur in my lasr $100,000 on a Lluíí!¨) 1le rliiu clange is rlar
CD µlayeis lave Leen Lanneu íiom rle rouinamenr ioom. ^y
CD µlayei vas one oí my riauemaiks! Ií you varcl any viueo
rlar I aµµeai in ar rle WSOP, coveiing 19SS÷2000, you vill see
me virl my leauµlones on, µioLaLly lisrening ro Peail ]am,
Hoorie anu rle Blovhsl, Alanis ^oiisserre, Snooµ Doggy Dogg,
rle Rolling Srones, oi some giouµ oí rle 19S0s.
Ií you`ie lucky enougl ro µlay in a WSOP evenr, enjoy
youiselí, you`ll Le µlaying virl rle Lesr µokei µlayeis in rle
voilu!
Phil’s Glossary
A-X SUIJLD~(N.) Holu`em reim íoi an ace anu an unuei-
caiu oí rle same suir, like
ACJION~(N.) GamLling oi loose Lerring: ¨1le acrion vas
riemenuous.¨ ¨I vanr some oí rlar acrion.¨ ¨Give me some
acrion.¨
ADVLRJISL~(V.) 1o make a loose µlay virl rle inrenr oí
looking like a loose µlayei, rlus inuucing exria acrion íiom youi
oµµonenrs larei.
ALL-IN~(ADV.) Wlen all youi cliµs aie in rle µor: ¨]eíí jusr
moveu all-in íoi $95,000!¨
ALL-IN PROJLCJION~(N.) ¨Anri-Lillionaiie¨ iule, rle con-
ceµr rlar you cannor Le ¨Ler our oí,¨ oi Le eliminareu íiom, a
µor jusr Lecause you iun our oí money on rle raLle. Ioi examµle,
ií rle µor las $165 in ir anu you lave only $¯9 leír, you may call
rlar µoirion oí youi oµµonenr`s $200 Ler Ly µurring all $¯9 oí
_-_ oi _-_.
3 6 6 Phil’s Glossary
youi cliµs in rle µor. Ií you vin rle µor, you can vin rle vlole
$165 main µor anu $¯9 oí lis $200.
AMLRICAN AIRLINLS~(N.) Pocker aces, A-A, in Holu`em.
ANJL~(N.) Amounr oí money oi cliµs rlar eacl µlayei
µurs inro rle µor Leíoie rle caius aie uealr.
BACKDOOR~(N., AD].) Carcling rvo caius in a iov ro
make a µairiculai lanu. ¨I maue rle Lackuooi lusl anu von a
luge µor.¨
BAD BLAJ~(N.) Unlucky ruin oí evenrs rlar causes you ro
lose a lanu. ¨Oucl, rlar vas a ieally Lau Lear!¨
BANKLR~(N.) Playei ar a raLle vlo is iesµonsiLle íoi µass-
ing our rle cliµs anu keeµing riack oí rle money anu cieuir.
BANKROLL (BR)~(N.) Amounr oí money you lave rlar you
vill iisk on µokei oi any orlei enueavoi. ¨Riglr nov le las a
$2,500 Lankioll ro voik virl.¨
BLLLY BUSJLR~(N., AD].) Sriaiglr uiav in vlicl only one
caiu vill comµlere youi lanu, orleivise knovn as an ¨insiue
sriaiglr uiav.¨ Ioi examµle, you comµlere a Lelly Lusrei sriaiglr
vlen an eiglr is uealr ro comµlere a ¯-S-9-10-] sriaiglr.
BLJ~(V.) 1o iniriare rle Lerring aírei a nev caiu is uealr.
Wlen no one las Ler in íionr oí you, anu ir is youi ruin ro acr,
you may Ler oi cleck.
BLJJING OUJ, BLJJING INJO~(V.) See Ler.
BLJJING ROUND~(N.) Berring rlar occuis íiom rle rime a
nev caiu is uealr unril rle acrion is comµlere. ¨I von rle µor on
rle lasr Lerring iounu virl a Lluíí!¨
BLJJOR~(N.) Playei vlo hisr volunraiily µurs money inro
rle µor.
BIG BLIND~(N.) Blinu rlar is rvo ro rle leír oí rle Lurron.
1le Lig Llinu alvays cosrs one Lerring unir. See also Llinu,
3 6 7 Phil’s Glossary
small Llinu. ¨I íolueu in rle Lig Llinu, Lur I voulu lave von a
Lig µor.¨
BIG MONLY SJRLLJS~(N.) In limir µokei, rle Lerring iounus
in vlicl rle Lers aie uouLleu. Ioi examµle, in a $10÷$20-limir
game rle Lig money srieers aie rle iounus vlen you Ler $20.
BLANK~(N.) Caiu rlar uoesn`r lelµ youi lanu. ¨1leie
veie a ron oí caius rlar maue my lanu, so I vas uisaµµoinreu ro
see rvo Llanks.¨
BLIND~(N.) ^oney µosreu uiiecrly ro rle leír oí rle Lurron,
Leíoie rle caius aie uealr. 1leie aie rvo Llinus, anu rle small
Llinu is geneially lalí rle size oí rle Lig Llinu.
BLUII~(N.) Ber rlar conveys ro orleis rlar you lave a
sriongei lanu rlan you acrually lave.
BOARD~(N.) Iaceuµ caius in Holu`em, Omala, oi Sruu.
BOARD-LOCKLD~(AD].) Siruarion in Sruu games in vlicl
one µlayei, iegaiuless oí rle caius le lolus in rle lole, cannor
Lear anorlei.
BOAJ~(N.) Iull louse. Somerimes ieíeiieu ro as a ¨íull Loar.¨
BRING-IN BLJ~(N.) Ioiceu Ler in Sruu games, rle Ler rlar
srairs rle acrion. 1le Liing-in Ler is usually aLour 25 µeicenr oí
a íull Ler, anu ir is maue, on rle hisr iounu oí Lerring, Ly rle
liglesr Loaiu caiu oi rle lovesr Loaiu caiu, ueµenuing on rle
Sruu vaiiarion.
BROADWAY~(N., AD].) Ace-ligl sriaiglr (10-]-Q-K-A).
BROKL~(AD].) See Lusreu.
BUBBLL~(N.) Lasr nonµaying sµor in a µokei rouinamenr.
Ioi examµle, ninereenrl µlace in a rouinamenr rlar µays eiglr-
een µlayeis.
BUILDING A POJ~(N.) Raising in oiuei ro inciease rle
amounr oí money in rle µor.
3 6 8 Phil’s Glossary
BUSJLD~(AD]., V.) 1o Le our oí money, ro iun our oí cliµs
in a µokei rouinamenr. ¨Pooi Al, le`s Lusreu again.¨ ¨I jusr
Lusreu our oí rle rouinamenr.¨
BUJJON~(N.) Plysical anu symLolic uesignarion oí rle µei-
son vlo is ¨uealing¨ anu rleieíoie lasr ro acr in rle Lerring iounus.
BUY ANOJHLR CARD~(V.) Call a Ler ro see rle nexr caiu uealr.
BUY-IN~(N.) Amounr oí money you srair µlaying virl in a
game, oi rle amounr ir cosrs ro enrei a µokei rouinamenr.
CALL~(V.) 1o marcl anorlei µlayei`s Ler. Wlen someone
Lers, you may íolu, call, oi iaise.
CALLING SOMLONL DOWN~(V.) Calling all oí anorlei
µlayei`s Lers, Lecause you Lelieve rlar you lave a Lerrei lanu.
CALLING SJAJION~(N.) Someone vlo calls orlei µlayeis
roo oíren.
CAPPLD~(V., AD].) Useu ro uesciiLe a µor virl rle maxi-
mum numLei oí Lers alloveu in a limir µokei game on any given
Lerring iounu. A caµµeu µor in Las Vegas las hve Lers, a caµµeu
µor in Los Angeles las íoui Lers.
CASHLD~(AD].) Placeu in rle money (µaying sµors) in a
µokei rouinamenr.
CAJCHING A CARD~(V.) Having a caiu come rlar vas one oí
rle caius neeueu ro vin a µor. Ioi examµle, rle insrance vleie
someone neeus a lusl caiu anu ir comes. ¨I cauglr rle µeiíecr
caiu on rle lasr caiu.¨
CHASING~(V.) 1iying conrinually ro lir long slors.
CHLCK~(V.) 1o nor Ler. Wlen no one las Ler yer, you also
lave rle oµrion nor ro Ler, virlour íoluing youi lanu.
CHLCK-RAISL~(V.) 1o cleck anu rlen iaise virlin one Ler-
ring iounu. You may cleck inirially anu rlen, vlen ir is youi
ruin ro acr again, iaise someone else`s Ler.
3 6 9 Phil’s Glossary
CHIP AND A CHAIR~(N.) Pliase useu vlen someone las
only a couµle oí cliµs leír in a rouinamenr.
COLD~(AD].) Useu ro uesciiLe a siruarion in vlicl rle
game seems ro Le going µooily anu you laven`r Leen vinning
many µors ovei a µeiiou oí ar leasr an loui. ¨]oln suie vas colu
ar rle enu oí rlar rouinamenr.¨
COLD CALL~(N.) Calling rliee oi íoui Lers virlour laving
invesreu any money µieviously in rle µor. ¨Can you Lelieve rlar
le calleu rliee Lers colu virl rlar gaiLage.¨
COMMUNIJY CARD~(N.) Caiu rlar may Le useu Ly eacl
µlayei ar rle raLle.
COMPLLJING JHL BLJ~(V.) In Sruu vaiiarions, iaising rle
Liing-in Ler ro one vlole Ler.
COWBOYS~(N.) Paii oí kings, K-K, in Holu`em.
DLAD~(AD].) See uiaving ueau.
DLAL~(V.) Giving our rle caius ro rle µlayeis anu Loaiu,
rliouglour an enriie lanu.
DLALLR`S CHOICL~(N.) Game in vlicl rle uealei las rle
oµrion oí cloosing rle game.
DLCLARL~(V.) Srare vlerlei you aie µuisuing a ligl oi
lov lanu.
DOOR CARD~(N.) Iiisr íaceuµ caiu in Sruu games.
DOUBLL-SUIJLD~(AD].) Useu ro uesciiLe a siruarion in vlicl
DOUBLL UP~(V.) Inciease youi cliµ srack 100 µeicenr.
DOWN CARDS~(N.) Playei`s µiivare lole caius, vlicl aie
uealr íaceuovn anu vlicl only le can see. See also íaceuovn,
lole caius.
DRAW~(N.) Siruarion in vlicl a µlayei neeus one caiu ro
comµlere a µokei lanu.
youi íoui lole caius conrain rvo suirs. Lxamµle: _-_-_-_.
3 7 0 Phil’s Glossary
DRAWING DLAD~(N.) Useu ro uesciiLe a siruarion in vlicl a
µlayei cannor vin rle lanu, iegaiuless oí vlar caius come uµ. ¨I
lau lim uiaving ueau rlar lanu.¨
DRAWING HAND~(N.) See uiav.
DRY ACLS~(N.) Paii oí aces virl no orlei uiavs.
DUCKS~(N.) Pocker ueuces, 2-2, in Holu`em.
DUMP~(V.) Iolu.
LAGLL~(N.) Woilu-class µokei µlayei. One oí rle ¨animal
µeisonaliries¨ rlar I use ro reacl you sriaregy.
LARLY POSIJION~(N.) One oí rle rliee µosirions ro rle
immeuiare leír oí rle Lig Llinu, in a Holu`em oi Omala lanu.
LLLPHANJ~(N.) Playei vlo µlays roo many lanus anu calls
roo many Lers. One oí rle ¨animal µeisonaliries¨ rlar I use ro
reacl you µokei sriaregy.
LNDGAML~(N.) Sriaregy µeiraining ro rle lasr hve µlayeis
oi íevei leír in a µokei rouinamenr.
LVLN-MONLY POJ~(N.) Useu ro uesciiLe a siruarion in
vlicl a µlayei`s clance oí vinning rle µor is iouglly 50 µeicenr.
IAMILY POKLR GAML (HOML-SJYLL POKLR)~(N.) Kinu oí
µokei game rlar you miglr µlay virl youi close íiienus, covoik-
eis, oi íamily, usually involving lov srakes anu vilu caius.
IASJ~(AD].) Useu ro uesciiLe a loose, aggiessive sryle oí
µlay, incluuing lors oí Lerring anu iaising. 1lis sryle involves
µlaying a lor oí lanus. ¨He`s rle íasresr µlayei in rle game.¨
IIIJH SJRLLJ~(N.) In Holu`em anu Omala, rle hnal íaceuµ
caiu uealr anu rle lasr iounu oí Lerring, in Sruu games, rle hírl
caiu uealr (rle rliiu one uealr íaceuµ).
IINAL JABLL~(N.) Iinal nine µlayeis iemaining in a Holu`em
rouinamenr, hnal eiglr µlayeis iemaining in a Sruu rouinamenr.
3 7 1 Phil’s Glossary
ILAJ CALL~(N.) Insrance in vlicl a µlayei virl a veiy µov-
eiíul lanu calls insreau oí iaising.
ILOP~(N.) Iiisr rliee caius uealr íaceuµ in Holu`em. All
rliee caius aie liµµeu uµ ar once, anu rley aie communiry caius
(all µlayeis use rlem). ¨1lar vas a Leauriíul loµ íoi my lanu.¨
ILOP~(V.) ^ake a lanu on rle loµ. ¨I loµµeu rle sriaiglr
anu von a luge µor.¨
ILUSH~(N.) Iive caius oí rle same suir, sucl as
ILUSH DRAW~(N.) Siruarion in vlicl a µlayei las íoui
caius oí rle same suir, rlus neeuing only one moie oí rlar suir ro
make a lusl lanu.
IOLD~(V., N.) Conceue rle µor eirlei Ly rlioving youi
lanu avay oi Ly a veiLal ueclaiarion (¨I íolu¨).
IOUR OI A KIND~(N.) Ioui caius oí rle same iank, sucl as
IOURJH SJRLLJ~(N.) In Holu`em anu Omala, rle uealing
oí rle íouirl communiry caiu anu rle ensuing iounu oí Lerring.
¨On íouirl srieer, rle hve oí uiamonus came anu I maue a lusl.¨
IRLL CARD~(N.) Useu ro uesciiLe a siruarion in vlicl no
Lers aie maue on any given iounu oí Lerring.
IRLL ROLL~(N.) DesciiLing a siruarion in vlicl you aie
suie ro vin Lur also lave an oµµoiruniry ro vin a íuirlei
amounr. Ioi examµle, in a ligl-lov sµlir game, Leing assuieu oí
vinning one siue oí rle µor alieauy (usually rle lov siue), Lur
also laving a clance ro vin rle orlei lalí oí rle µor.
IULL RING PLAY~(N.) Playing virl rle maximum numLei oí
µlayeis alloveu in a siue (nonrouinamenr) game. Þine is usually
rle maximum in a Holu`em siue game.
_-_-_-
_-_.
_-_-_-_.
3 7 2 Phil’s Glossary
GAML JHLORY~(N.) 1acrics íoi a µairiculai game.
GARBAGL~(N.) Weak lanu. ¨Wly uo you alvays µlay rlar
gaiLage.¨
GLJ QUARJLRLD~(V.) Receive only 25 µeicenr oí a µor, usu-
ally in ligl-lov games.
GOOD SHAPL~(N.) Useu ro uesciiLe a siruarion in vlicl a
µlayei las a ligl µioLaLiliry oí vinning rle µor. ¨I vas in ieally
goou slaµe vlen ve µur all rle money in rle µor.¨
GUJSHOJ~(N.) See insiue sriaiglr uiav.
HAND~(N.) Reíeis ro youi caius, oi ro rle µiocess oí ueal-
ing rle caius unril rle vinning oí rle µor. ¨Boy, rlar lanu rook
avlile.¨
HLADS-UP~(N., ADV.) Useu ro uesciiLe a siruarion in vlicl
µokei is µlayeu one-on-one, mano a mano. Some µeoµle like
leaus-uµ Lerrei rlan a íull raLle. ¨I µlayeu Iieuuy Bonyaui
leaus-uµ anu losr $¯5,000!¨
HIGH-SOCILJY CHIP~(N.) Pokei cliµ voirl $100. In rle
movie BcunJers, ^arr Damon says, ¨Give me rliee iacks oí
ligl-sociery cliµs.¨ A iack las 100 cliµs in ir, so ^arr oiueieu
$30,000 voirl oí cliµs!
HIGH HAND~(N.) Hanu rlar is comµering íoi rle ligl siue
oí rle µor. See also lov lanu.
HIGH SJAKLS~(N., AD].) Usually ieíeis ro µokei games
$¯5÷$150 anu liglei.
HIJ A CARD~(V.) Carcl a goou caiu oi a caiu rlar vins rle
µor íoi you.
HOLD`LM~(N., AD].) Woilu`s mosr µoµulai µokei game.
Lacl µlayei las rvo caius íaceuovn, anu rle µlayeis slaie rle
hve communiry caius íaceuµ in rle miuule oí rle raLle. 1le Lesr
hve-caiu lanu vins.
3 7 3 Phil’s Glossary
HOLL~(N.) See µosirion.
HOLL CARDS~(N.) Playei`s µiivare íaceuovn caius rlar only
le can see.
HOML-SJYLL POKLR~(N.) See íamily µokei game.
HORSL (HORSL)~(N.) Game in vlicl you µlay equal num-
Leis oí lanus (oi equal lengrls oí rime) in hve uiííeienr games.
1le games aie Holu`em, Omala Liglr oi Berrei (Higl-Lov
Sµlir), Razz (Seven-Caiu Lov), Seven-Caiu Sruu, anu Seven-
Caiu Sruu Higl-Lov Sµlir (L = eiglr oi Lerrei). HORSL is veiy
µoµulai in rle µokei communiry iiglr nov.
HOJ~(AD].) Useu ro uesciiLe a µlayei vlo is vinning
moie rlan lis slaie oí µors. ¨Wayne 1ylei suie vas iunning lor
rouay.¨
IMPLILD ODDS~(N.) Ouus a µlayei íacrois inro lis calcularion
oí µor ouus ro accounr íoi Leing calleu ií you comµlere youi lanu.
INSIDL SJRAIGHJ~(N.) See Lelly Lusrei.
IN JHL DARK~(ADV.) Wirlour looking ar rle íaceuovn lole
caius. ¨Sruair Skoiman Ler $S0 in rle uaik.¨
IN JHL MONLY~(ADV.) In rle µaying µosirions in a µokei
rouinamenr.
ISOLAJION~(N.) 1eclnique in vlicl a µlayei ieiaises a
veakei µlayei`s Ler, riying ro µlay lim leaus-uµ (one on one) Ly
making ir exµensive íoi any orlei µlayeis ro call.
]ACKAL~(N.) Ciazy, seemingly illogical µlayei vlo makes a
lor oí Lers anu iaises. One oí rle ¨animal µeisonaliries¨ useu ro
uemonsriare examµles in rlis Look.
]AM~(V.) Ber anu iaise as many rimes as you can in a µairic-
ulai lanu oi iounu oí Lerring.
]OKLR~(N.) In µokei µailance, ieíeis ro rle µeiíecr caiu.
¨Bonerri lir rle jokei again.¨
3 7 4 Phil’s Glossary
]UDGMLNJ IOLD~(N.) Ioluing a lanu on rle Lasis oí youi
ieau oí all rle íacrois.
KICKLR~(N.) Higlesr caiu virl youi µaii.
LADILS~(N.) Paii oí queens.
LAJL POSIJION~(N.) In Holu`em anu Omala, ieíeis ro rle
µlayei on rle Lurron, anu rle rvo µlayeis ro rle iiglr oí rle
Lurron.
LAY DOWN~(N.) Iolu. ¨He jusr maue a giear lay uovn!¨
LIMIJ POKLR~(N.) Vaiiarions oí µokei in vlicl rle
amounrs oí rle Lers aie µieser, in conriasr ro no-limir µokei,
vleie you can Ler any amounr ar any rime.
LIMP IN~(V.) In Holu`em anu Omala, ro call rle Lig Llinu
Ler Leíoie rle loµ.
LION~(N.) Veiy rougl, consisrenrly vinning µokei µlayei.
One oí my ¨animal µeisonaliries.¨
LIVL HAND~(N.) Hanu rlar lasn`r Leen íolueu oi ueclaieu
íolueu.
LOCK UP~(V.) 1o Le vinning, virl no clance oí losing.
LOOSL~(AD].) Sryle oí µlay in vlicl you µlay a lor oí
lanus. ¨Heie comes 1eu. ^an, can le µlay loose somerimes!¨
LOW HAND~(N.) Hanu rlar is comµering íoi rle lov siue oí
rle µor.
LOW-SJAKLS~(N.) Usually ieíeis ro limir µokei games $1÷
$2 anu smallei.
MADL HAND~(N.) Comµlere lanu rlar is a sriaiglr oi Lerrei.
MA]ORIJY PLAY~(N.) 1eim useu in rlis Look ro ieíei ro cei-
rain Holu`em lanus, incluuing all µaiis, A-x suireu, anu K-Q.
MANIAC~(N.) Loose, aggiessive µlayei vlo likes ro iaise a
lor oí µors. See also jackal.
3 7 5 Phil’s Glossary
MARGINAL-PLAY HAND~(N.) Somevlar veak lanu rlar
sloulu nor Le µlayeu accoiuing ro rle ouus.
MLSS WIJH (ANOJHLR PLAYLR)~(V.) Raise an oµµonenr virl
a veak lanu in oiuei ro give rle imµiession rlar you aie a vilu,
loose µlayei.
MISS~(V.) Iail ro comµlere youi lanu. ¨I can`r Lelieve rlar I
misseu my uiav again!¨
MONLY GAML~(N.) Þonrouinamenr game, oi siue game.
Pairiciµanrs in a money game µlay íoi casl.
MONLY CUJOII LINL~(N.) Poinr in a µokei rouinamenr ar
vlicl a µlayei makes money ií le suivives rlar µoinr. In orlei
voius, rvenrierl µlace ií rle rouinamenr µays rvenry µlayeis ueeµ.
MOVL ALL-IN~(V.) Pur all youi cliµs inro any given µor.
MOUSL~(N.) Suµeiriglr µlayei vlo alvays las a sriong
lanu vlen le Lers. One oí rle ¨animal µeisonaliries¨ rlar I use
ro reacl you racrics.
MULJIWAY POJ~(N.) Hanu in vlicl moie rlan one oµµo-
nenr is involveu.
NLH~(N.) Þo-limir Holu`em.
NO-LIMIJ~(AD].) Vaiiarion oí µokei games in vlicl µlayeis
may Ler as mucl as rley vanr, as oµµoseu ro limir µokei, vleie
rleie is an esraLlisleu Lerring sriucruie.
NO-LIMIJ HOLD`LM~(N.) Oíren ieíeiieu ro as rle Cauillac
oí µokei. Playeis may Ler any amounr ar any rime.
NOSLBLLLD~(AD].) ^eraµloi useu ro uesciiLe ligl-srakes
µokei in vlicl µlayeis can lose laige amounrs oí money veiy
quickly. ¨Cliµ Reese is µlaying in rle noseLleeu games.¨
NUJS~(N.) In Holu`em anu Omala, rle Lesr µossiLle lanu
given rle íaceuµ caius.
3 7 6 Phil’s Glossary
ODDS~(N.) Peicenrage clance rlar a µlayei vill vin a µor.
OII SUIJ~(AD].) In Holu`em anu Omala, useu ro uesciiLe
caius oí uiííeienr suirs, like
ON JHL LND~(AD].) On rle lasr caiu oi lasr iounu oí Lerring.
OMAHA~(N.) Vaiiarion oí µokei in vlicl eacl µlayei is
uealr íoui íaceuovn caius anu µlayeis slaie hve communiry
íaceuµ caius. Playeis musr use exacrly rvo íiom rleii lanus
anu rliee íiom rle íaceuµ caius ro make rle Lesr hve-caiu
lanu.
OMAHA LIGHJ OR BLJJLR (OSB)~(N.) Omala ligl-lov
sµlir. See Omala.
ONLINL POKLR~(N.) Pokei µlayeu on rle Inreiner.
OPLN A HAND~(V.) Be rle hisr Lerroi.
OPLN-LNDLD SJRAIGHJ DRAW~(N.) Diav in vlicl a µlayei
can lir rvo uiííeienr caius ro comµlere a sriaiglr. Ioi examµle, a
µlayei virl S-9-10-] las an oµen-enueu sriaiglr uiav Lecause le
vill lir rle sriaiglr ií eirlei a seven oi a queen comes.
OUJ, OUJLR~(N.) ÞumLei oí caius iequiieu ro make a
OVLRCARD~(N.) Caiu on rle Loaiu liglei rlan rle µaii
you lave.
OVLRPAIR~(N.) Pocker µaii aLove rle common caius in rle
miuule. Ií rle Loaiu is ]-6-2, rlen Q-Q vill Le an oveiµaii. ¨I
sveai Layne Ilack alvays las an oveiµaii!¨
OVLR JHL JOP~(ADV.) Reíeis ro siruarions in vlicl a µlayei
ieiaises an oµµonenr. 1lis reim is usually useu in no-limir
Holu`em. ¨I came ovei rle roµ oí lim íoi all my cliµs.¨
PAINJ~(N.) Iace caiu, i.e., ]-Q-K-A.
_-_.
lanu. Ií any ace is neeueu ro vin, rlen you lave íoui ours (_-
_-_-_). Ií a seven is neeueu ro vin, Lur you alieauy lave _
in youi lanu, rlen ir is a rliee-ourei (_-_-_).
3 7 7 Phil’s Glossary
PAIR~(N.) 1vo oí a kinu, sucl as
PHIL`S HAND~(N.) Paii oí Llack nines, knovn as my lanu
Lecause I von rle WSOP virl rlem.
PIP~(V.) Lose a µor in a veiy close lanu.
POCKLJ PAIR~(N.) Paii in a µlayei`s íaceuovn caius, sucl
as
POCKLJ ROCKLJS~(N.) Paii oí aces among a µlayei`s íace-
uovn caius.
POSIJION~(N.) Reíeis ro vleie a µlayei is seareu ielarive ro
rle Lurron. 1le names oí rle µosirions aie, íiom leír ro iiglr:
Lurron, small Llinu, Lig Llinu, 1 lole, 2 lole, 3 lole, 4 lole, 5
lole, 6 lole.
POSIJIONAL ADVANJAGL~(N.) Reíeis ro a siruarion in vlicl
a µlayei sirs Lelinu an oµµonenr in a lanu, rlus acring aírei rle
oµµonenr.
POSJ~(V.) Pur uµ an anre.
POJ~(N.) ^oney garleieu in rle miuule oí rle raLle uuiing
a lanu.
POJ-LIMIJ~(AD].) Vaiiarion oí µokei games in vlicl rle
maximum Ler a µlayei may make is rle size oí rle µor ar rle rime
rle Ler is maue.
POJ-LIMIJ OMAHA (PLO)~(N.) Vaiiarion oí Omala in
vlicl rle maximum Ler a µlayei can make is rle size oí rle
µor ar rle rime rle µlayei acrs. Luioµe`s numLei one µokei
game.
POJ ODDS~(N.) Calcularion oí ouus: rle size oí rle µor
uiviueu Ly rle cosr oí calling a Ler.
POJ-LIMIJ HOLD`LM~(N.) In rlis game, a µlayei can Ler rle
size oí rle µor ar any rime. ¨1leie is a giear µor-limir Holu`em
game ar Airicloke ]oe`s Casino on Iiiuay niglrs.¨
_-_.
_-_.
3 7 8 Phil’s Glossary
PRLSJO~(N.) Paii oí hves among a µlayei`s íaceuovn caius.
1le name vas coineu Ly an online nevsgiouµ, iec.gamLling.
µokei.com (RGP).
PROJLCJ YOUR HAND~(V.) Raise oi Ler ro eliminare oµµo-
nenrs anu inciease clances oí vinning virl a sriong lanu.
¨]olnny Clan knovs lov ro µiorecr lis lanus.¨
PUCK~(N.) Burron.
PUJ IN A BLJ~(V.) ^ake a Ler.
QUALIIY LOW~(V.) ^ake a lov lanu rlar is enrirleu ro vin
lalí rle µor in a ligl-lov sµlir game. Usually an eiglr-lov is a
qualiíying lov.
RABBIJ HUNJING~(N.) Looking ar vlar caius voulu
lave come uµ, aírei all µlayeis lave íolueu rleii lanus. 1lis is
consiueieu Lau eriquerre in µokei, Lecause ir slovs rle game
uovn.
RACK (OI CHIPS)~(N.) Conrainei rlar lolus 100 cliµs.
Somerimes µlayeis use ¨iack¨ ro uesciiLe rle amounr von oi
losr. ¨Lasr niglr Daniel Þegieanu von rvo iacks.¨
RAG~(N.) Weak oi unµlayaLle caiu. Small communiry
caius can Le ieíeiieu ro virl rlis reim. ¨1le loµ vas all iags.¨
RAISL~(V.) Auu a Ler ro an oµµonenr`s Ler.
RAM AND ]AM~(V.) Raise anu ieiaise as mucl as you can.
¨Plil Ivey suie uiu iam anu jam rlar lanu.¨
RAZZ~(N.) Anorlei name íoi Seven-Caiu Lov.
RLAD (AN OPPONLNJ)~(V.) ^ake youi Lesr guess ar vlar
youi oµµonenr`s lanu is, riy ro uereimine vlerlei youi oµµo-
nenr`s lanu is veak oi sriong.
RLPRLSLNJ~(V.) Pierenu rlar anu µlay as ií you lave a
sriong lanu. ¨Huck Seeu Ler all lis cliµs ieµiesenring a lusl.¨
3 7 9 Phil’s Glossary
RLRAISL~(V.) Raise someone vlo las iaiseu. ¨I ieiaiseu
Sreve anu le íolueu lis lanu!¨
RLSJLALING~(V.) Reiaising a µlayei vlo you Lelieve is
making a sreal (le`s veak), ro riy ro Lluíí lim our oí a lanu.
RLSPLCJ~(N.) Believing rlar youi oµµonenr las a goou
lanu anu acring accoiuingly. ¨I give Doyle Biunson a lor oí
iesµecr vlen I µlay a lanu againsr lim.¨
RIVLR~(N.) Rounu oí Lerring rlar occuis aírei rle lasr caiu
is liµµeu uµ in rle miuule. Also, rle lasr caiu liµµeu uµ. ¨Ama-
iillo Slim is so uain lucky rlar le carcles vlarevei le neeus on
rle iivei.¨
RGP~(N.) Online µokei nevsgiouµ, iec.gamLling.µokei.com.
RIVLRLD IJ~(V.) ^aue youi lanu on rle iivei (lasr caiu).
¨]oln ]uanua iiveieu rle ace-ligl lusl.¨
ROLLLD-UP~(V.) Sraireu a Sruu lanu virl rliee oí a kinu
ROUGH~(N.) Lov lanu rlar ianks among rle voisr µossi-
Lle lov lanus. Ioi examµle, S-¯-6-5-2 is consiueieu a iougl
eiglr lov.
ROYAL ILUSH~(N.) A-K-Q-]-10 (ace-ligl sriaiglr) oí rle
same suir.
RUSH~(V.) 1eim useu vlen someone is vinning µor aírei
µor. ¨Alan Cunninglam vas on a nice iusl rle orlei uay.¨
SAJLLLIJLS~(N.) 1en-lanueu minirouinamenrs in vlicl
µlayeis µur uµ one-renrl oí rle Luy-in ro a µokei rouinamenr
anu rle lasr µlayei sranuing (acrually, rle lasr µeison sirring!)
vins a sear in rle main evenr.
SCOOPING~(V.) Winning a vlole µor in a ligl-lov sµlir
game.
(riiµs), sucl as _-_-_.
3 8 0 Phil’s Glossary
SLCOND NUJS~(N.) Seconu-Lesr µossiLle lanu.
SLJ~(N.) 1liee oí a kinu. 1lis is a veiy µoµulai voiu in
µokeiese. ¨Ar rle 1999 voilu clamµionsliµs, Huck Seeu loµµeu
a ser anu von a $¯00,000 µor.¨
SLJ A JRAP~(V.) See riaµµeu.
SLVLN-CARD SJUD (SJUD)~(N.) Classic Ameiican µokei
game, in vlicl eacl µlayei is uealr rliee caius ro Legin rle lanu
(rvo uovn anu one uµ). Ií rle µlayeis sray in rle lanu long
enougl, rley vill lave seven caius aµiece, anu rle Lesr µokei
lanu vill Le avaiueu rle µor.
SLVLN-CARD SJUD LIGHJ OR BLJJLR (SJUD S/B)~(N.) Dealr
like Sruu, Lur in rlis game lalí rle µor is avaiueu ro rle ligl
lanu anu lalí rle µor is avaiueu ro rle lov lanu (ií rlar lanu is
an eiglr lov oi Lerrei).
SLVLN-CARD SJUD HIGH-LOW SPLIJ~(N.) See Seven-Caiu
Sruu Liglr oi Berrei.
SLVLN-CARD SJUD LOW (RAZZ)~(N.) Sruu game in vlicl
rle Lesr lov lanu vins rle µor (aces aie consiueieu lov).
SHLRIII~(N.) Playei vlo calls oµµonenrs uovn ro make
suie rley aien`r Lluíhng.
SHORJHANDLD~(AD].) Reíeis ro a game virl íoui oi íevei
µlayeis in ir.
SHOWING DOWN~(V.) Iliµµing rle lanus íaceuµ aírei all rle
Lerring is comµlere.
SIDL GAML~(N.) Þonrouinamenr µokei game. ¨Daviu 'Cliµ`
Reese is one oí rle giearesr siue-game µlayeis in rle voilu.¨
SIX PLRILCJ~(N.) Reíeis ro a 6-4-3-2-A lov lanu÷rle Lesr
µossiLle six-lov lanu.
SIXJH SJRLLJ~(N.) Reíeis ro rle sixrl caiu uealr in Sruu
games, anu rle ensuing iounu oí Lerring.
3 8 1 Phil’s Glossary
SLIDLR~(N.) Someone vlo moves all lis cliµs inro a µor
íiequenrly in no-limir Holu`em.
SLOJ JOURNAMLNJ~(N.) 1ouinamenr in vlicl rle oLjecr is
ro iun uµ youi Lalance in a slor macline÷imµlies rlar no skill is
iequiieu, since slor maclines involve only luck.
SLOW-PLAYING~(V.) UnueiLerring a sriong lanu, in oiuei ro
luie orlei µlayeis inro calling.
SLOW-ROLLING~(V.) Iliµµing rle vinning lanu íaceuµ, lare,
aírei someone else Lelieves le las von rle µor. Slov-iolling is
consiueieu Lau eriquerre in µokei.
SMALL BLIND~(N.) 1le µlysical locarion íoi rle small Llinu
is jusr leír oí rle Lurron. Ir is usually lalí rle size oí rle Lig
Llinu. ¨Devy Weum ieiaiseu lim íiom rle small Llinu anu von
a luge µor.¨
SMOOJH-CALLING~(V.) ]usr calling someone else`s Ler vlen
you lave a sriong lanu, in oiuei ro luie youi orlei oµµonenrs
inro rle µor.
SMOOJH HAND~(N.) Lov lanu rlar is one oí rle Lesr oí irs
iank. Ioi examµle, a smoorl seven lov voulu Le in seven-hve-
lov, sucl as ¯-5-4-3-A oi ¯-5-3-2-A.
SOLID~(AD].) Sriaregy in vlicl you µlay veiy íev lanus.
Has connorarions oí emorional conriol anu soununess oí µlay.
¨Don`r µlay any lanus againsr Daviu Giay, le`s as soliu as a
iock.¨
SPLIJ POJ~(N.) Por uiviueu in lalí in ligl-lov sµlir games.
SJAKLS~(N.) Amounr oí money Leing µlayeu íoi. ¨Lyle
Beiman µlays ligl-srakes µokei.¨
SJAND~(V.) 1o sroµ lerring someone Lluíí you our, Lecause
you`ie sick oí ir. ¨Russ Hamilron calleu lim, íeeling ir vas rime
ro make a sranu!¨
3 8 2 Phil’s Glossary
SJRLLJ~(N.) Reíeis ro one comµlere iounu oí Lerring,
incluuing rle caiu rlar vas uealr µieceuing rle Lerring. ¨^on-
sieui ^arlouLi µlays hírl srieer ieally vell.¨
SJLAL JHL BLINDS~(V.) In Holu`em on rle hisr iounu oí Ler-
ring, ro make a iaise riying ro make rle Llinu lanus íolu, rlus
vinning rle µor immeuiarely. ¨^en 'rle ^asrei` Þguyen keµr
srealing my Llinus rouay.¨
SJRAIGHJ~(N.) Iive caius in a iov, sucl as A-2-3-4-5 oi
¯-S-9-10-].
SJRAIGHJ DRAW~(N.) Reíeis ro a siruarion in vlicl you
neeu rvo uiííeienr caius rlar vill make you a sriaiglr. Ioi exam-
µle, ií you lave 4-5-6-¯, rlen you neeu an eiglr oi a rliee ro
comµlere a sriaiglr.
SJRAIGHJ ILUSH~(N.) Iive caius in a iov all oí rle same
suir, sucl as
SJONL-COLD BLUII~(V.) 1o Lluíí laving a veiy veak lanu
anu no uiav ar all. ¨I can`r Lelieve rlar ^eng La vas on a srone-
colu Lluíí again.¨
SJUD~(N.) Poµulai reim íoi Seven-Caiu Sruu.
SUCKING WIND~(V.) Reíeis ro rimes vlen someone is jusr
µlain unlucky. You seem ro miss youi uiaving lanus, anu youi
oµµonenrs seem ro lir rleiis.
SUIJ~(N.) SymLol aµµeaiing nexr ro rle numLei on eacl
caiu. 1le lovesr suir is cluLs, íolloveu Ly uiamonus, leairs, anu
sµaues. 1le lerreis c-u-l-s, rle coiiecr oiuei oí suirs in Lieaking a
rie, aie in alµlaLerical oiuei, lovesr lerrei equaling lovesr caiu.
SUIJLD~(AD].) In Holu`em, reim useu vlen youi rvo lole
caius aie oí rle same suir, sucl as . In Sruu, reim useu vlen
youi rliee srairing caius aie all oí rle same suir, sucl as ( )
_-_-_-_-_ oi _-_-_-_-_.
_- _
_-_
3 8 3 Phil’s Glossary
. In Omala, reim useu vlen rvo oí youi íoui caius aie oí rle
same suir, sucl as
SUIJLD CONNLCJORS~(N.) 1eim useu íoi a suireu lanu rlar
SUPLRJIGHJ~(ADV.) 1eim useu vlen you µlay only a íev
selecr lanus. Ioi examµle, in Holu`em you may ueciue ro µlay
only my ¨roµ ren¨ lanus.
SWING~(N.) Rollei-coasrei iiue rlar youi cliµs may rake on
any given uay vlen you µlay µokei. ¨I varcleu BoLLy Baluvin
rake a $450,000 sving yesreiuay. He venr íiom $100,000 losei
ro $350,000 vinnei.¨
JABLL IMAGL~(AD].) Reíeis ro rle vay rle orlei µlayeis ar
rle raLle viev you. ¨Dave 'Devilhsl` Ulliorr lau a ieally íasr anu
loose raLle image rouay.¨
JAKING ONL CARD OII~(V.) Calling a Ler oi Lers in oiuei ro
see one moie caiu÷ir`s imµlieu rlar ií rle nexr caiu uoesn`r lelµ
you, you`ll íolu.
JAKING JWO CARDS OII~(V.) Calling a Ler oi Lers virl rle
inrenr oí seeing rvo moie caius.
JLXAS HOLD`LM~(N.) See Holu`em.
JHRLL-BLJJING~(V.) ^aking ir rliee Lers ro go÷iaising
vlen ir`s alieauy rvo Lers ro go. ¨Hans '1una` Lunu keµr rliee-
Lerring me all uay long.¨
JHRLL-CARD WHLLL~(N.) Having rliee vleel caius (A-2-3-
4-5) in youi lanu.
JHRLL OI A KIND~(N.) 1liee caius oí rle same iank, sucl
JIGHJ~(ADV.) Pokei sriaregy in vlicl you aie veiy selec-
rive in cloosing lanus ro µlay, rlis causes you ro µlay veiy íev
_
_-_-_ _.
also iuns in sequence, sucl as (_-_) _, _-_, oi _-_-_-_.
as _-_-_ oi _-_-_. Commonly ieíeiieu ro as ¨riiµs.¨
3 8 4 Phil’s Glossary
lanus. ¨]oln Inaslima µlays so riglr rlar I knev le lau my
lanu Lear.¨
JILJ~(V.) 1eim useu vlen someone is µlaying íai roo many
lanus Lecause le`s emorionally unLalanceu. ¨In rle 1993 Woilu
Clamµionsliµs, I rilreu oíí my lasr $100,000.¨
JOOJHPICK PRINCIPLL~(N.) Iuea rlar you can srair virl a
riny amounr oí money in a µokei game anu enu uµ virl a small
íoirune. ¨Suiiinuai Sunai sraireu virl a roorlµick anu enueu uµ
virl a lumLeiyaiu!¨
JOP KICKLR~(N.) Besr µossiLle ligl caiu rlar goes virl
youi µaii. Ioi examµle, virl a Loaiu oí 5-6-A, laving A-K in rle
lole voulu yielu roµ µaii (aces) anu roµ kickei (rle king).
JOP PAIR~(N.) Paii oí rle liglesr communiry caius on rle
Loaiu. Ií rle Loaiu is ]-6-2, a µaii oí jacks voulu Le roµ µaii. ¨I
lau roµ µaii, Lur I losr ro Sru Ungai, vlo lau roµ µaii virl an
ace kickei.¨
¨JOP JLN" HANDS~(N.) ^y roµ ren Holu`em lanus: A-A,
K-K, Q-Q, A-K, ]-], 10-10, 9-9, S-S, ¯-¯, anu A-Q.
JRAP (SLJ A JRAP)~(V.) 1o riy ro riick an oµµonenr inro
rlinking you lave a veak lanu vlen in íacr you lave a µovei-
íul lanu. 1o cleveily uisguise youi lanu, causing youi oµµonenr
ro call you. ¨]oln Bonerri ieally riaµµeu lim on rlar lanu.¨
JRLYS~(N.) Pocker rliees.
JRICKY~(AD].) Playing lanus in unoirlouox vays ro con-
íuse youi oµµonenrs. ¨1oro Leoniuas is so riicky rlar I nevei
knov vlar le las!¨
JRIPS~(N.) Common reim íoi rliee oí a kinu.
JURN (JHL JURN)~(N., V.) In Holu`em anu Omala, rle
íouirl caiu anu rle acrion aírei rle íouirl caiu is ruineu uµ.
3 8 5 Phil’s Glossary
¨Simon 'Aces` 1iumµei alvays seems ro carcl rle µeiíecr caiu
on rle ruin againsr me!¨ ¨I Ler on rle ruin eveiy µor, Lur no one
evei calleu me.¨
JURNLD IJ~(V.) ^aue a lanu on rle íouirl caiu. ¨1ony
Dee ruineu a íull louse anu von a Lig µor.¨
UNDLRPAIR~(N.) Paii unueinearl rle Loaiu. Ioi examµle,
you lave 5-5 in youi lanu anu rle Loaiu is ]-S-¯.
UNDLR JHL GUN~(N.) Posirion oí rle µlayei uiiecrly ro rle
leír oí rle Lig Llinu.
UP CARD~(N.) In Sruu games, caiu rlar you`ie uealr íaceuµ.
VALUL BLJJING~(V.) ^aking a Ler in rle Lelieí rlar you`ll
vin money virl sliglrly moie rlan you`ll lose money virl. A
Ler rlar you may vell lose, Lur you Lelieve rle clances aie you
vill vin.
WHLLL~(N.) Common reim íoi rle Lesr µossiLle lov lanu,
5-4-3-2-A.
WILD CARD~(N.) Caiu rlar you may clange ro any orlei
caiu in rle ueck.
WORLD SLRILS OI POKLR (WSOP)~(N.) Rouglly 33 µokei
rouinamenrs, rle lasr oí vlicl is a $10,000 Luy-in evenr calleu
rle Woilu Clamµionsliµs oí Pokei. 1le WSOP is rle Liggesr
anu mosr µiesrigious seiies oí µokei rouinamenrs in rle voilu.
WRAP~(N.) In Omala, íoui consecurive caius in youi srair-
ing lanu, sucl as 10-]-Q-K. In Omala, a viaµ sriaiglr uiav.
WRAP SJRAIGHJ DRAW~(N.) Sriaiglr uiav in vlicl ar leasr
rliee uiííeienr caius make youi sriaiglr. Ioi examµle, virl a
lanu oí S-10-]-K anu a loµ oí ¯-9-Q, you voulu Le aLle ro make
a sriaiglr ií a six, eiglr, ren, jack, oi king came uµ÷rlis examµle
slovs one oí rle Liggesr viaµ sriaiglr uiavs µossiLle.
3 8 6 Phil’s Glossary
WSOP~(N.) Woilu Seiies oí Pokei.
ZONL~(N.) Almosr myrlical µlace vleie you`ie ieauing
µlayeis µeiíecrly anu making all rle iiglr moves. ¨Plil vas in rle
zone vlen le von ar rle Woilu Seiies oí Pokei.¨
ItalicizeJ jage nunbers refer tc illustraticns.
aces:
uiy, 235÷36, 3¯0
in OSB, 192
in Razz, 290
in Seven- Caiu Sruu Liglr oi Berrei, 315, 320,
331÷32
auveirising, 115, 365
uangeis oí, 130÷31
hie-uµ-rle-game aµµioacl ro, 123÷25
virl suireu connecrois, 121÷23
all-in µior ecrion, 13¯, 365÷66
anres, 152÷53, 324, 366
in Seven- Caiu Sruu, 259÷60, 261
srealing, 295÷9¯
Aviarion CluL ue Iiance, 5, 22¯
A-x suireu lanus, ¯2, ¯6, 365
Lau loµs íoi, 9¯÷9S
Leíoie loµ, S2÷S3, S4
Lluíhng virl, 92
calling virl, 99÷100, 103÷4
uieam loµs íoi, 93
loµµing a uiav virl, 100÷101
lusl uiav virl, 96÷9¯
íoluing virl, 93, 9¯÷9S, 99
in majoiiry µlay lanus, S2÷S3, 92÷105
maiginal loµs íoi, 99÷100
in ÞLH, 143÷44
ok loµs íoi, 99
on rle loµ, 92÷93
seconu Loaiu µaii virl, 9S
slov µlay anu, 102÷5
smoorl-calling anu, 10S
sriong loµs anu, 102÷5
vs. jackal, 100÷101
vs. mouse, 100÷102
Lackuooi lov, 20S
Baluvin, BoLLy, 3S3
Lankei, 2¯, 366
Bellagio Casino, 5, ¯2, 190, 292, 334
rouinamenrs lelu ar, 360
Lelly Lusrei, 110, 366
Beiman, Lyle, 264÷65, 3S1
Bicycle CluL Casino, 123, 222
Big Augusr Reciearional GamLling Lxcuision
(BARGL), 34S÷49
Lig Llinu, 11, 1S0, 366÷6¯
ßig HanJ fcr tle Iittle IaJy, A (hlm), 13¯
Binion, Benny, 163
Llank caiu, 46, 15¯, 36¯
Llinus, 1¯S, 36¯
Lig, 11, 1S0, 366÷6¯
small, 11, 36÷3¯, 1S0, 3S1
srealing, see srealing-rle-Llinus sriaregy
suireu connecrois in, 11S, 119÷20
Lluíhng, 2, 3, 69, 115, 150, 36¯
virl A-x suireu, 92
inruirion anu, 46
in PLH, 245÷46, 256
ieauing oµµonenrs anu, 14¯÷5S, 255
: e ar c hal l e 1 er ns
Lluíhng (ccntinueJ)
iesrealing anu, 93
in Seven-Caiu Sruu Liglr oi Berrei,
334
srone-colu, 3S2
virl suireu connecrois, 11S, 121
see alsc communiry caius
Loaiu-lock siruarion, 30¯÷S, 36¯
Loaiu µaii, 9S
Bonerr i, ]oln, 115, 12¯÷2S, 160, 1¯1, 2¯5, 355,
356, 3¯3
Bonyaui, Iieuuy, 3¯2
Liing-in Ler, 260, 262, 26S, 311, 36¯
Biunson, Doyle ¨1exas Dolly,¨ 6, ¯2, 264÷

LuLLle (srink lole), 16S÷69, 36¯
Luiluing a µor, ¯¯, S0, S1, 36¯
Lurron, 10, 1¯S, 1S0, 269, 36S
Caesai`s Palace, ¯5
calling, 13, 14, 59, 62÷63, 1S1, 205, 20¯,
36S
virl A-x suireu, 99÷100, 103÷4
ro Luilu a µor, ¯¯, S0, S1
on íouirl srieer, 249÷50
in PLH, 249÷50, 254÷55
on iivei, 65÷6¯, 112÷13, 254÷55
in Seven-Caiu Sruu Liglr oi Berrei,
32¯÷2S
virl small µaiis, ¯2, ¯6÷¯9
virl suireu connecrois, 11S÷19, 155÷5¯
¨rvo Lers colu,¨ 1S2
calling srarion, 34, 62÷63, 36S
caµ ir in rle uaik iounu, 124
¨caµµeu¨ Ler, 310, 36S
CaiuPlayei.com, 161, 350
CarJ ílayer Magazine, 33¯, 350, 355÷56
Caio, ^ike ¨rle ^au Genius,¨ 350
case caiu, 299
casl-uovn íoimar, 136÷3¯
Casinos Ausriia, 22¯
Casinos Hollanu-Amsreiuam, 22¯
Ceinuro, ¨^iami¨ ]oln, 21S÷19
Clamµion oí rle Yeai Avaiu, 355÷56
Clan, ]olnny ¨1le Oiienral Lxµiess,¨ 6÷¯, ¯2,
14¯, 155÷56, 303÷4, 355, 356
clasing, 2SS÷S9, 36S
in Razz, 300
in Seven-Caiu Sruu, 2SS÷S9
clecking (µassing), 14, 15, 129, 36S
¨in rle uaik,¨ 266
cleck-iaise µlays, 90, 115, 36S
cliµ anu a claii, 369
Clouriei, 1. ]., ¯, 160, 200, 235, 355
Commeice Casino, 5, 190, 292, 301, 334
communiry caius, 12, 15÷1¯, 369
in Omala, 1¯6÷¯¯, 1¯S
see alsc loµ
Concoiue Caiu Casino, 5, 22¯
uealei`s cloice games, 1, 369
Dee, 1ony, 3S5
Discoveiy Clannel, 163
uooi caiu (uµ caiu), 369
µaiieu, 2S6÷S¯
in Seven-Caiu Sruu, 260, 262, 2¯2
uovn caius, see lole caius
uiaving ueau, 1S5, 3¯0
uiy aces, 235÷36, 3¯0
Duke, Annie, 225÷26, 264÷65, 34¯, 355, 356
eagle µeisonaliry r yµe, 29, 33, 34÷35, 3¯0
Lu (µokei µlayei), 264÷65
eleµlanr µeisonaliry ryµe, 29, 33, 34, S4, 3¯0
Lmeison, ¨Big Al,¨ 221÷22
í_: íncticnal Intelligence (Goleman), 146
LSPÞ, 163
íaceuovn, 263
íamily µokei game, see lome-sryle games
Iailau (µokei µlayei), 264÷6¯
Ieiguson, Cliis, 355, 356
hírl srieer, see iivei
hie uµ rle raLle sriaregy, 115, 123÷25
Ilack, Layne, 159, 160, 355
loµ:
auvanceu sriaregy on, 12S÷30
A-K siruarion anu, 29, 50÷55
examµles oí µlay aírei, 44÷50
iaising anu, 40÷43
see alsc communiry caius
loµ a ser, ¯3, ¯¯, 13S, 233
virl A-x suireu, 100÷101, 103
virl small µaiis, S9÷90
lusl, 354, 3¯1
lusl uiav, 96÷9¯, 3¯1
Ilynr , Laiiy, 5÷6
íoluing, 13, 14, 15, 1S1, 3¯1
virl A-A, 6S
againsr rliee Lers, S1÷S2, S3
virl A-x suireu, 93, 9¯÷9S, 99
on íouirl srieer, 5S÷60, 111
virl K-Q, 105÷6
virl maiginal lanu in rle Llinus, ¯4
in OSB, 212
our oí ruin, 20÷21
oveicaius anu, 46÷4¯
in PLH, 250÷51
in Razz, 30S÷10
ieauing oµµonenrs aírei, 46÷4¯
l ¦¦ :e ar ch all e 1e r ns
on rle iivei, 64÷¯0, 112, 21¯÷1S
in Seven- Caiu Sruu, 2S0, 2S6÷SS
in Seven- Caiu Sruu Liglr oi Berrei, 325÷26,
32S÷32
sriong lanus, 150÷51
rimeliness oí, S5÷S6
virl 1oµ 1en Hanu, 46÷4S, 5S÷59, 60, 6S÷¯0
Ioiiesr, 1eu, 159, 223÷25, 29¯, 310, 334, 355,
356
íoui oí a kinu, 353, 3¯1
íouirl srieer (ruin), 16, 30, 46, 106÷11, 3¯1
calling on, 249÷50
uiaving ro, 213÷14
íoluing on, 5S÷60, 111
jamming on, 110, 214÷16
lov uiavs on, 215÷16
majoiiry µlay lanus anu, 106÷11
marlemarical calcularion on, 24¯÷51
OSB on, 212÷14
in PLH, 24¯÷54
anu µiorecring one`s lanu, 110, 214
smoorl-calling on, 10S÷9, 215
1oµ 1en Hanus anu, 59÷62
Ioxvoous Casino, 42
íiee-iolling, 31S
íull louse, 354
Gaiuenei, ]ulian, 162
Geoige ¨rle Gieek,¨ 264÷65
gerring quaireieu, 195, 3¯2
Glazei, Anuiev Þ. S., ix÷xviii, 43, 106, 135,
231, 33S, 350
Goleman, Daniel, 146
Goiuon, Plil, 135
Giay, Daviu, 3S1
Giizzle, Sam, 240
Giosvenoi Vicroiia, 5
¨gurslor¨ sriaiglr uiav, 1S3, 3¯2
Hanu oí rle Week (HOW), 334, 33¯
Haiomy, 1uli, 2¯÷2S
Haiiingron, Dan, 12¯÷2S, 1¯1
Heaus-uµ (1vo-Hanueu) 1leoiy, 346÷4S
Henueison, Iiank, 142÷43
Hennigan, ]oln ¨Woilu,¨ 14S÷49
ligl limir iesulrs (HLR), 33¯÷3S
Holu`em:
auvanrage oí µosirion in, 23
Lasic µlay oí, 12÷1S
Lurron in, 10
hisr iounu oí µlay in, 13÷14, 1S
íouirl iounu oí µlay in, 16÷1¯, 1S
limir, see limir Holu`em
maximum numLei oí Lers in, 11
no-limir, see no-limir Holu`em
numLei oí µlayeis in, 264
Omala comµaieu vir l, 1¯6÷¯¯
online, see online µokei
µor-limir, see µor-limir Holu`em
iole oí Lig Llinu in, 11
iole oí uealei in, 9, 10, 12
iole oí small Llinu in, 11
seconu iounu oí µlay in, 15, 1S
seruµ íoi, S÷11
Seven-Caiu Sruu comµaieu virl, 263÷64
srakes in, 16
rliiu iounu oí µlay in, 16, 1S
lole caius, 12, 1¯, 3¯3
guessing oí, 144÷46
in OSB, 19¯÷99
in Omala, 1¯6÷¯¯
in Seven-Caiu Sruu, 260
lome-sryle games, xiv, 22÷23, ¯1, S0÷S2, 3¯0,
3¯3
ÞLH in, 136÷3S
OSB in, 193÷94
HORSL, 292, 311, 3¯3
Hoisesloe Casinos, 163, 361
Housron Sammy, 24¯÷4S
Husrlei CluL Casino, 5
imµlieu ouus, 24S, 251, 3¯3
Inaslima, ]oln, 3S4
Inreiner , 135, 336÷51
in rle uaik, 266÷6¯, 3¯3
inruirion, 129÷30
jackal µeisonaliry ryµe, 29, 33, 34
aurloi`s WSOP µlay againsr, 94÷95
A-x suireu vs., 100÷101
in leaus-uµ game, 346, 34S
isolaring, S1
majoiiry µlaylanus vs. S1, S3÷S4
in online µokei, 342÷43
µlaying A-x suireu againsr, 100÷101
µlaying 1oµ 1en Hanu againsr, 3¯÷3S
rliee-Ler auveirising µlay anu, 123
jamming rle loµ, 104, 106, 110, 3¯3
]uanua, ]oln, 3¯9
Kalnavake Gaming Commission, 350
Kellei, ]ack, 165÷6¯
K-Q lanu, ¯3
loµ anu, 29, 50÷55, S3÷S4, 105÷6
íoluing virl, 105÷6
LA Pokei Classic, 359
Leueiei, Hovaiu, 34¯
Legenus oí Pokei, 360
LieLovir z, Seymoui, 291
l ¦,
: ea rc ha ll e 1er n s
limir Holu`em, 1S÷20, 26÷131, 3¯4
acring in ruin in, 20÷21
auvanceu sriaregy íoi, 114÷31
auvanrage oí µosirion in, 23
aggiessive µlay in, 165÷66
A-K µlay in, 29
online, see online µokei
µeisonaliry ryµes anu, 33÷35
in µiivare games, 22÷23
samµle lanu oí, 1S÷20
sloir-lanueu, 1¯3
srairing iequiiemenrs íoi, 32
sriongesr lanus in, see 1oµ 1en Hanus
suireu connecroi siruarions in, 11¯÷1S
rouinamenr sriaregy íoi, see rouinamenr
sriaregy
limµei (callei), 5S÷59
lion µeisonaliry ryµe, 29, 33÷34, 3¯4
LiveAcrionPokei.com, 161
Lucky Clances Casino, 5
Golu Rusl evenr ar , 360
Lunu, Hans ¨1una,¨ ¯5, 3S3
^a, 1ony, 355
^cClellanu, ]ack, 361
majoiiry µlay lanus, ¯2÷S4, 3¯4
A-x suireu in, S2÷S3, 92÷105
Leíoie loµ, ¯6÷S4, 92
calling virl, 112÷13
examµles, ¯9÷S2, S6÷92, 96÷113
jackal in, S1, S3÷S4
K-Q in, S3÷S4, 105÷6
mouse iaises againsr, S0÷S1
on rle loµ, S5÷113
on íouirl srieer, 106÷11
on rle iivei, 111÷13
small µaiis anu, ¯6÷¯9, S¯÷92
smoorl-calling anu, 10¯, 10S÷9
srealing rle Llinus sriaregy virl, ¯2, ¯4÷¯6
maniac, 3¯4
megalomaniac rleoiy, 142÷43
suµeiauvanceu, 15S÷59
minir ouinamenrs, 1¯2÷¯3
money-curoíí line, 16S÷69, 3¯5
monsrei lanu, 102÷3
^oir enson, Cailos, 24, 152
mouse µeisonaliry ryµe, 29, 33, 1¯0, 3¯5
A-x suireu vs., 100÷102
in online µokei, 342÷43
µlaying A-x suireu againsr, 100÷102
µlaying 1oµ 1en Hanu againsr, 3S
iaises Ly, S0÷S1, S3, 119, 120, 139
Þaµolirano, ^aik, 135, 350
Þaµolirano, 1ina, 135, 350
Þegieanu, Daniel, 14S÷50, 155÷56, 15¯,
15S÷59, 355, 3¯S
Þguyen, ^en ¨1le ^asrei,¨ 109, 159, 160,
355, 3S2
Þguyen, Scorry, 201, 223, 225
no-limir Holu`em (ÞLH), 23÷24, 25, 51, 109,
132÷61, 3¯5
all-in µiorecrion in, 13¯
A-x suireu lanus in, 143÷44
Leginnei`s sriaregy íoi, 13S÷43
Ler ir all sriaregy in, 153÷54
casl uovn íoimar in, 136÷3¯
ueveloµing one`s sryle oí, 160÷61
hír een lanus sr iaregy íoi, 13S÷39, 14¯
guessing lole caius in, 144÷46
in lome game, 136÷3S
juugmenr in, 146÷4¯
megalomaniac r leoiy oí, 142÷43, 15S÷59
µor -limir Holu`em`s similaiiry ro, 132÷33
µovei-µlay µiessuie in, 159÷60
ieiaising Leíoie rle loµ in, 141
Seeu`s rleoiy oí suireu connecr ois íoi, 155÷5¯
small µaiis in, 141÷43
1oµ 1en Hanus in, 13S, 140÷41
riaµµing rleoiy íoi, 140÷41
Ulliorr`s rleoiy oí, 159÷60
noseLleeu, 5, 3¯5
nur-lusl uiav, 96÷9¯, 103, 104, 10S, 1S3
Omala Liglr oi Berrei (OSB), 1S6, 190÷226,
3¯6
aces in, 192
aurloi`s rleoiy oí, 225÷26
A-x in srairing lanu in, 195, 196÷9¯,
199÷201, 223÷24, 225
Lau loµs in, 212
Lesr lov lanus in, 195÷96
Lesr srairing lanus in, 201÷4, 203
íoluing in, 212
Ioiiesr`s exµeiimenr in, 223÷25
gerring quaireieu in, 195
goou loµs in, 20S÷10
lirring rle loµ in, 221
in lome game, 193÷94
jamming in, 214÷1¯
lov uiavs in, 215÷16
maiginal loµs in, 210÷11
misieauing lanus in, 19¯
no lov lanu in, 194, 196, 199
on íouirl srieer, 212÷14
on rle iivei, 216÷1S
µaii on rle Loaiu in, 211÷12
µiorecring one`s lanu in, 20S÷9
qualiíying lov lanu in, 192÷94
iaising Leíoie r le loµ in, 204÷6
l , c :e ar ch al l e 1e r ns
iaising in, 204÷6
seruµ anu Lasic µlay oí, 1S6÷S¯
slaiing lov in, 194
slov µlay in, 206÷S
smoorl-calling in, 215
sriong loµs in, 206÷¯
rliee-vleel-caiu rleoiy oí, 21S÷20, 222
riglr µlay in, 204
using lole caius in, 19¯÷99
vleel in, 192, 195÷96
Omala µokei, xvii÷xviii, 1¯6÷S9, 3¯6
Lerring in, 1¯S÷S0
communiry (Loaiu) caius in, 1¯6÷¯¯, 1¯S
uealing in, 1¯S÷S0
uereimining vinneis in, 1¯9÷S0
Liglr oi Berrei, see Omala Liglr oi Berrei
Holu`em comµaieu virl, 1¯6÷¯¯
lole caius in, 1¯6÷¯¯
µor-limir Omala, see µor-limir Omala
samµle lanu oí, 1S1÷S6
1÷5 Sruu µokei, 259
online µokei, 341÷51, 3¯6
hve-lanueu games in, 345÷46
leaus-uµ µokei in, 346÷4S
iníoimarion aLour, 34S÷49
jackal in, 342÷43
Leueiei`s rleoiy oí, 34¯÷4S
legal clallenges ro, 351
mouse in, 342÷43
ieauing µlayeis in, 342÷43
iesouices íoi, 349÷50
slov-µlaying in, 34¯
ren-lanueu game in, 344
1oµ 1en only sriaregy in, 344
Ouien, Sµencei, 115, 123÷25
ours, 19, 54, 2S9, 3¯6
oveicaius, 19, 44÷45, S¯, 202÷3, 2S5, 3¯6
íoluing anu, 46÷4¯
¨µainr¨ caiu, 302, 3¯6
µaii, 354, 3¯¯
µassing, see clecking
PlilHellmurl.com, 135, 161, 33¯, 350
aicliveu auuio Lioaucasrs on, 33S÷39
Hanu oí rle Week íearuie on, 334, 33¯
Higl Limir Resulrs (HLR) íearuie oí, 33¯÷3S
Playei oí rle Yeai Avaiu, 355÷56
µokei:
ueveloµing one`s ovn sr yle oí, 160÷61
eriquerre in, 20÷21
ligl-srakes games oí, 4÷5
lov-srakes games in, xiv, ¯1, S0÷S2
moving uµ ro inreimeuiare level in, ¯1÷¯2
online, see online µokei
µeisonaliry ryµes in, 33÷35
µoµulaiiry oí, 22¯
iank oí lanus in, 353÷54
Pokei L^ (Luioµean µokei clamµionsliµs),
25S, 2¯0, 2S5
Pokei ^illion, 134, 2¯0
PokeiPages.com, 135, 161, 163, 350
µosirion, 115, 3¯¯
auvanrage oí, 23, 1S0, 269, 3¯¯
Lurron anu, 10, ¯4, 1¯S, 1S0
in Seven-Caiu Sruu, 262, 269
vlen ueciuing ro call oi íolu, S4
µor-limir Holu`em (PLH), 24÷25, 109, 22¯÷5¯,
3¯¯
A-A-x-x lanu in, 234, 235÷36, 240÷43
Leginnei`s sriaregy íoi, 13S÷43, 233÷35
Lesr srairing lanus in, 235÷3¯, 236
Lerring all one`s money in, 245÷46
Lerring sriucruie oí, 133÷34
Lerring r le µor in, 232÷33, 251÷54
Lig µocker µaiis in, 244
Lluíhng in, 245÷46, 256
calling in, 249÷50, 254÷55
uealing in, 22S
íoluing in, 250÷51
looking íoi Lesr lanu in, 229÷30
lov µaiis in, 239÷40
marlemarical calcularion in, 234, 24¯÷51
mosr uangeious srairing lanus in, 23¯
no limir Holu`em`s similaiiry ro, 132÷33
on íouirl srieer in, 24¯÷54
on rle iivei in, 254÷55
µlay Leíoie rle loµ in, 240÷45
µlaying sriong lanus in, 244÷4¯
µoµulaiiry oí, 22¯
µiorecr ing one`s lanu in, 245÷46, 251÷54
ieiaising in, 242÷43
small lusl uiavs in, 23S
small viaµs in, 23S
sriong loµs in, 245÷4¯
roorlµick µiinciµle in, 231÷32
1oµ 1en Hanus in, 13S
µor-limir Omala, 3¯¯
samµle lanu oí, 1SS÷S9
seruµ anu Lasic µlay oí, 1S¯
µor ouus, 62÷63, 66, 111, 112÷13, 119, 3¯¯
calcularing oí, 62÷63
Piesron, ¨Amaiillo Slim,¨ 6
µiorecr ing youi lanu, 3¯S
on íouirl srieer, 110, 214÷16
in OSB, 20S÷9
in PLH, 245÷46, 251÷54
iaising anu, 45, 5¯÷5S, 61÷62, S¯, S9, 110
in Razz, 29S
small µaiis anu, 90
1oµ 1en anu, 56÷5S, 61÷62
l , . : ea rc ha ll e 1er n s
µuck, see Lurron
Pulvei, ]eíí, 33S
Pulvei.com, 33S
µumµ ir oi uumµ ir, 210÷11
iaLLir lunring, 152, 3¯S
iaising, 13, 29, 1S1, 195, 3¯S
virl A-A-x-x lanu, 242÷43
ro Luilu µor, S9
loµ anu, 40÷43
ro gain iníoimarion, SS
virl K-Q, S4
Ly mouse, S0÷S1, S3, 119, 120, 139
in OSB Leíoie loµ, 204÷6
on íouirl srieer, 110
on rle iivei, 21¯
µlaying rle loµ anu, 40÷43
in µor-limir Holu`em, 24÷25, 242÷43
anu µiorecring youi lanu, 45, 5¯÷5S, 61÷62,
S¯, S9, 110
µumµ ir racric anu, S¯
in Razz, 296÷9¯, 299÷300
ieauing oµµonenrs anu, 41÷42
in Seven-Caiu Sruu, 2S1÷S2
virl small µaiis, ¯¯÷¯9
anu srealing íiom rle Llinu srealeis, 125÷26
rliee Ler rleoiy oí, ¯¯÷¯9
virl 1oµ 1en Hanu, 35÷36
iam anu jam, 41, S9÷90, 20S÷9, 221, 3¯S
iank oí lanus, 353÷54
Razz (Seven-Caiu Sruu Lov), 290÷312, 3¯S,
3S0
aces in, 290
auromaric sreal in, 295÷96
Lesr lanu aírei hve caius in, 305
Lesr lanus in, 291, 293÷94
Lerring sriucruie oí, 26S
Loaiu-lock siruarion in, 30¯÷S
Liing-in Ler in, 26S
clasing in, 300
ueíenuing virl ligl caiu in, 311÷12
uuµlicareu caius in, 29S÷99
íoluing in, 30S÷10
Ioiiesr `s riµ íoi, 310
liuuen µaii in, 305÷¯
oLjecr oí, 290
µiorecr ing one`s lanu in, 29S
iaising in, 296÷9¯, 299÷300
ieauing oµµonenrs in, 292
srairing iequiiemenrs in, 293÷94
srairing virl Lesr µossiLle lanu in, 29¯÷9S
srealing anres in, 295÷9¯
riaµµing in, 300÷304
uµ caius in, 294÷95, 296, 29S
Razz Woilu Clamµionsliµ, 292
ieauing oµµonenrs, 2, 3÷4, 2S, 62, 9S, 10¯,
115, 159, 3¯S
Lluíhng anu, 14¯÷4S, 255
aírei íoluing, 46÷4¯
anu guessing lolu caius, 144÷46
inruirion anu, 14¯÷4S
in online µokei, 342÷43
anu µlaying suireu connecrois, 156÷5¯
iaising anu, 41÷42
in Razz, 292
in Seven-Caiu Sruu, 2S1÷S2, 2SS
as srai qualiry, 146
raLle image anu, S5
rliee-Lerring anu, 121÷22
iec.gamLling.µokei.com (RGP), 34S, 3¯9
Reese, Cliµ, 264÷65, 3¯5, 3S0
ieiaising, 3¯9
in Seven-Caiu Sruu, 2S1÷S2
virl small µaiis, ¯2, ¯¯÷¯9
anu srealing íiom rle Llinu srealeis, 125÷26
iesreal, 93, 3¯9
iivei (hírl srieer), 1¯, 30, 62÷63, 3¯0, 3¯9
calling on, 65÷6¯, 112÷13, 254÷55
íoluing on, 64÷¯0, 112, 21¯÷1S
jamming on, 216÷1¯
majoiiry µlay lanus anu, 111÷13
OSB on, 216÷1S
in PLH, 254÷55
µor ouus anu, 112÷13
1oµ 1en Hanu anu, 62÷¯0
Rouman, Blaii, 229÷30
iolleu-uµ, 2¯4, 3¯9
iolleu-uµ lanu, 319
ioyal lusl, 353, 3¯9
iunnei-iunnei, 9S, 103
iusl, 3¯9
sarellire rouinamenrs, 1¯2÷¯3, 3¯9
saving Lers, S6
seconu Loaiu µaii, 9S
seconu-nur lusl, 1S3
Seeu, Huck, 12S, 159, 160, 355, 356, 3¯S
suireu connecrois rleoiy oí, 155÷5¯
Seiuel, Liik, 160, 355, 356
ser, 5S, 3S0
ser a r iaµ, see riaµµing
Seven-Caiu Sruu, xvii÷xviii, 25S÷59, 3S0
anres in, 259÷60, 261
Lasic µlay in, 260÷64
Lesr srairing lanus in, 2¯4÷¯¯
Ler limirs in, 25S÷59
Lerring iounus in, 25S÷59
Liing-in Ler in, 260, 262, 26S
clasing in, 2SS÷S9
comµlering rle Ler in, 261
l , . :e a rc ha ll e 1er n s
uooi caiu in, 260, 262, 2¯2
íaceuovn in, 263
hisr iounu oí Lerring in, 2S0÷S3
íoluing in, 2S0, 2S6÷SS
Holu`em comµaieu virl, 263÷64
lole caius in, 260
Lov, see Razz
marlemarics in, 2SS÷S9
meuium srairing lanus in, 2¯5÷¯¯
numLei oí µlayeis in, 264
orlei µlayeis` uµcaius in, 2S4÷S5
oveiµaii on Loaiu in, 2S¯÷SS
µaiieu uooi caius in, 2S6÷S¯
µarience in, 2¯1
µosirion in, 262, 269
µiinciµle oí Lesr srairing lanu in, 2¯3÷¯4
iaising in, 2S1÷S2
iank oí suirs in, 260
ieauing oµµonenrs in, 2S1÷S2, 2SS
ieiaising in, 2S1÷S2
samµle lanu oí, 264÷65
slov-µlaying in, 2S3÷S4
sµecularive µlay in, 2¯S÷¯9
sriong srairing lanus in, 2¯5÷¯¯
rliee Lers ro go in, 2S2÷S3
vaiianrs oí, see Razz (Seven-Caiu Sruu lov),
Seven-Caiu Sruu Liglr oi Berrei
veakei sr airing lanus in, 2¯¯, 2¯S
vinning virl a uiav in, 2S5÷S6
Seven-Caiu Sruu Liglr oi Berrei, 313÷35, 3S0
aces in, 315, 320, 331÷32
aírei rliee caius in, 323÷24
Leginnei`s sriaregy íoi, 322÷26
Lesr srairing lanus in, 319÷22, 321
Lerring sriucruie oí, 26S
Lig µaiis in, 32S÷32
Lluíhng in, 334
Luying one moie caiu in, 326
calling in, 32¯÷2S
carcling Lau caiu in, 326÷2¯
ueal in, 313
uereimining vinnei in, 313÷14
íoluing in, 325÷26, 32S÷32
íiee-iolling in, 31S
going íoi lov in, 31S
lasr iounu oí Lerring in, 334
making a Lig lanu in, 333÷34
qualiíying lov lanu in, 315÷1¯, 316
iolleu-uµ srairing lanu in, 319
scooµing rle µor in, 314
sloir-lanueu, 332÷33
smoorl-calling in, 324÷25
ries íoi ligl oi lov in, 31¯÷1S
riaµµing in, 323÷25, 333
vlen no lov is µossiLle in, 31¯
Slov Geai Piouucrions, 339
Slulman, Baiiy, 350
Slulman, ]eíí, 350
sliuei, 153÷54, 3S1
slov µlaying, 12S, 151, 333, 3S1
virl A-x µaiieu, 102÷5
in OSB, 206÷S
in online µokei, 34¯
in Seven-Caiu Sruu, 2S3÷S4
slov iolling, 20, 3S1
small Llinu, 11, 1S0, 3S1
1oµ 1en Hanu in, 36÷3¯
small µaiis:
calling virl, ¯2, ¯6÷¯9
loµµing a ser virl, S9÷90
goou loµs íoi, 90, 91÷92
in majoiiry µlay lanus, ¯¯÷¯9, S¯÷92
in no limir Holu`em, 141÷43
on rle loµ, S¯÷SS
µooi loµs íoi, 91
as µiorecring youi lanu, 90
ieiaising virl, ¯2, ¯¯÷¯9
¨Smirl Bainey¨ µor, 43
smoorl-calling, 10¯, 10S÷9, 12¯, 151, 3S1
virl A-x suireu, 10S
on íouirl srieer, 10S÷9, 215
in majoiiry µlay lanus, 10¯, 10S÷9
in OSB, 215
in Seven-Caiu Sruu Liglr oi Berrei,
324÷25
in rouinamenr µlay, 1¯1÷¯2
srakes, xiv, 16, 22÷23, 3S1
¨srai qualiry,¨ 146
srealing- rle-Llinus sr iaregy, ¯2, ¯4÷¯6, 115,
3S2
anu srealing íiom rle srealeis, 125÷26
in rouinamenr µlay, 16¯÷69, 1¯4
srink lole (LuLLle), 16S÷69, 36¯
srone-colu Lluíí, 3S2
sriaiglr, 354, 3S2
sriaiglr lusl, 353, 3S2
suireu connecrois, 115, 116÷23, 150, 3S3
auveirising virl, 121÷23
in Llinus, 11S, 119÷20
Lluíhng virl, 11S, 122
calling virl, 11S÷20, 155÷5¯
uangei oí, 130÷31
íailuie oí, 15¯÷5S
limir Holu`em siruarions anu, 11¯÷1S
oveiµlaying oí, 130÷31
ieauing oµµonenrs anu, 156÷5¯
Seeu`s rleoiy oí, 155÷5¯
rliee Lerring virl, 121÷23
suµeiriglr, 2S÷29, 3S3
symµarly slov, 1¯
l, l
:e ar ch all e 1e r ns
raLle image, S5, 102, 3S3
raLle srakes, 132
1aj ^alal (Arlanric Ciry), 5, ¯5, 10S÷9, 155,
264, 26¯, 2S3
¨raking one caiu oíí,¨ 326
1exas Holu`em, see Holu`em
rliee Ler rleoiy, ¯¯÷¯9, S1÷S2, S¯÷SS, 3S3
rliee-vleel-caiu rleoiy, 21S÷20, 3S3
riglr, 2S, 3S3÷S4
rilr, 4S, 105, 124, 3S4
1omko, Devey, 135
roorlµick µiinciµle, 231÷32, 3S4
1oµ 1en Hanus, 29, 30÷32, 31, 46÷4S,
3S4
A-K siruarion in, 50÷55
Lasic µiemise in µlaying, 35
examµles, 44÷55, 60÷64
exrenuing µlay Leyonu, ¯2÷¯3
íoluing anu, 46÷4S, 5S÷59, 60, 6S÷¯0
in íouirl srieer, 56÷62
in ÞLH, 13S, 140÷41
in online µokei, 344
anu µlaying rle loµ, 40÷43
µocker aces in, 3S÷39
µocker jacks in, 39÷40
µor ouus anu, 62÷63
µiorecr ing youi lanu anu, 56÷5S, 61÷62
iaising virl, 35÷36
iivei anu, 62÷¯0
in small Llinu, 36÷3¯
in rouinamenr µlay, 16¯, 1¯4÷¯5
vs. jackal, 3¯÷3S
vs. mouse, 3S
rouinamenr sriaregy, 162÷¯5
aggiessive µlay, 165÷66
money-curoíí line in, 16S÷69
µsyclological auvanrage in, 1¯4
sarellir e evenrs anu, 1¯2÷¯3
smoorl-calling, 1¯1÷¯2
srealing rle Llinus in, 16¯÷69, 1¯4
suiviving anu, 169÷¯0, 1¯4÷¯5
riglr µlay, 166÷6¯
1oµ 1en Hanus only, 16¯, 1¯4÷¯5
riaµµing in, 1¯1÷¯2
WSOP anu, 163÷64
riaµµing, ¯3, 115, 150, 205, 3S4
Leíoie rle loµ, 12¯÷2S
on rle loµ, 129
in ÞLH, 140÷41
in Razz, 300÷304
in Seven-Caiu Sruu Liglr oi Berrei, 323÷24,
333
in rouinamenr µlay, 1¯1÷¯2
1iavel Clannel, 135, 163, 35¯
riiµs ( rliee oí a kinu), 6S, 105, 2S6, 354, 3S4
1iumµei, Simon ¨Aces,¨ 3S5
ruin, 16, 3S4÷S5
see alsc íouirl srieer
rvo- lanueu (leaus-uµ), rleoiy, 346÷4S
rvo µaii, 354
1ylei, Wayne, 3¯3
Ulliorr , Dave ¨Devilhsl,¨ 159÷60, 3S3
UlrimareBer.com (UB), 3¯, 44, 33S, 339÷40, 350
Ulrimare Pokei Classic, 360
uµ caiu, 260, 269, 2S4÷S5, 3S5
in Razz, 294÷95, 296, 29S
see alsc uooi caiu
U.S. Pokei Clamµionsliµs, 360
oí 199¯, 2S3÷S4
oí 2001, 10S÷9
U.S. Pokei Oµen oí, 199¯, ¯5÷¯6
Valeui, Amii, 159
value Ler, 66, 130, 3S5
Vaikonyi, RoLeir, 162
Wall oí Clamµions, 163
vleel, 192, 290, 315, 333, 3S5
Wiglr, Daviu ¨Poikcloµ,¨ 339
Wisconsin, Univeisiry oí, 26÷2S
Woilu Clamµionsliµs oí 2001, 24, 200
Woilu Pokei Iinals, 42, 360
Woilu Pokei Oµen Lvenrs, 359
Woilu Pokei 1oui (WP1), 35¯, 359
Woilu Seiies oí Pokei (WSOP), ix, 6÷¯, 51,
291÷92, 356, 35¯, 361÷64, 3S5, 3S6
oí 19S9, 135, 14¯
oí 1991, ¯5, 1¯3
oí 1994, 93÷95
oí 1996, 12¯÷2S, 223
oí 1999, 33S
oí 2000, 231, 33S
oí 2001, 134÷35, 14S÷52, 156÷5¯, 200, 231,
33S÷39
oí 2002, 162÷63, 303
evenrs in, 35S÷59
hnal raLle in, 363
live Inreiner Lioaucasrs oí, 33S
oiigins oí, 163÷64
µlaying in, 361÷63
slogan oí, 363
rouinamenr sriaregy íoi, 163÷64
viaµ sriaiglr uiav, 23S, 3S5
Zevin, Don ¨Zulu,¨ 335
l ,¡ :ea r ch all e 1e rn s
/ckne«lec,nent s
1lanks ro my amazing viíe, Karly, íoi suµµoiring me as I riavel
aiounu rle voilu µlaying µokei íoi a living. 1lanks ro my clil-
uien, Plilliµ III anu Þick, íoi µurring uµ virl Dauuy`s line,
¨Don`r ralk ro me vlile I viire my Look.¨ 1lanks ro Anuy Glazei,
vlo vas rle single Liggesr lelµ ro me in viiring anu euiring rlis
Look. Anuy gave me rvo veeks oí íull-rime lelµ virl rlis Look
anu maue ir mucl Lerrei÷anu mucl moie ieauaLle. In íacr,
Anuy`s hngeiµiinrs aie all ovei rlis Look. 1lanks ro ]ason Kail
íoi rle illusriarions anu clairs rlar le cieareu. 1lanks ro Annie
Duke íoi ieauing anu euiring Claµrei 14. 1lanks ro ]on Kail íoi
smoorling our Claµrei 15. 1lanks ro Univeisiry Coííee Caíe in
Palo Alro íoi µurring uµ virl me vlile I viore íoi six louis a
uay íoi rvo monrls. A sµecial rlanks ro my agenr Slaiee Bykoí-
sky anu my euiroi ^arrlev Benjamin íoi unueisranuing lov
giear a Look rlis coulu Le.
About the Author
Phil Hellmuth, 1r. is a nine-time World Series oI Poker Champion and the
all-time leading money winner at the World Series oI Poker. In addition to
appearances on the Travel Channel, ESPN, Fox, and Sky Sports, he has been
Ieatured in the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, and USA Today. Phil also
contributes to Gambling Times Maga:ine and writes Ior many poker
Websites. He lives with his Iamily in Palo Alto, CA. Please visit
www.philhellmuth.com.
Don`t miss the next book by your Iavorite author! Sign up now Ior
AuthorTracker by visiting www.authortracker.com.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful