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Digital Poker Book a k a Electronic

or E-Book

Written By,
Jason Narog of and

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signed permission from the author.


We make every effort to ensure that we accurately

represent these products and services and their
potential for income. Earning made by our company
and its customers are estimates of what we think
you can possibly earn. There is no guarantee that
you will make these levels of income and you accept
the risk that the earnings and income statements
differ by individual.

As with any game of chance, your results may vary,

and will be based on your individual capacity,
experience, expertise, and level of desire. There
are no guarantees concerning the level of success
you may experience. Each individual’s success
depends on his or her background, dedication,
desire and motivation.

There is no assurance that examples of past

earnings can be duplicated in the future. We cannot
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are unknown risks in poker and on the internet that
we cannot foresee which can reduce results. We are
not responsible for your actions.

I originally wrote all the strategy guides for From Goldfish to Piranha back in
June of 2005 while working on the first ever batch of the Poker Money Clip
which are available for purchase at I was pretty good
at poker at the time but nowhere near where I am at now. From Goldfish to
Piranha was started as a work in progress on my own theories on playing
winning poker and will never be 100% complete as my opinion on how to play
and win the game will continue to change as I progress as a player. Everything
written in this book comes from my own head, its ideas and concepts should
not be thought of as concrete or even as right when it comes to playing poker.
The game of poker can be played and viewed many different ways and people’s
opinions vary greatly. This guide should also not be seen as an answer to
making money-playing poker. I cannot give you a winning strategy to winning
money while playing poker. Bankroll management is the most important
strategy and only playing with what you can afford to lose while in a sober
state of mind are the only ways to ever be a real winner, regardless of if you
win or lose at the table. Always gamble responsibly; never use this strategy
guide as a rule of thumb on playing poker but more as a book of entertaining
thoughts and concepts to think about throughout your day. I do not encourage
you to go out and gamble, if you want to play poker play with your friends,
family, and coworkers with cheap plastic chips for no money at all, just enjoy
the game. I am not responsible if you lose money trying any of the strategies
within the pages of this book. If you employ any strategies found within this
book you are doing so at your own risk. I am not a professional poker player nor
have I ever claimed to be one, I just enjoy playing the game. Please learn your
local laws to stay within the boundaries of the law; the last place you want to
wind up is inside a courtroom.

Table of Contents
Rules of Texas Hold Em Pg. 6

Betting Variations Pg. 8

Hand Rankings Pg. 12

Strategy Introduction Pg. 16

Pre Flop Strategies

Early Position Pg. 19

Middle Position Pg. 23

Late Position Pg. 26

Big and Small Blind Pg. 28

Flop Strategy Pg. 29

Turn Strategy Pg. 32

River Strategy Pg. 35

Betting, Raising, Checking, Calling, and Folding Pg. 37

Bluffing Pg. 41

Starting Hands Chart by Position Pg. 43

The 106 Starting Hands You May (or may not) Want To Play Pg. 47

The Trick To Placing In A Freeroll pg. 49

AA Hand Matchups pg. 51

AK Hand Matchups pg. 55

Outs, Odds Against, and Pot Odds pg. 59

Implied Odds, Bet Odds, Investment Odds, and Best Case / Wose Case Scenario
pg. 61

Odds For The Following Events

Pairs, Trips, Full Boats, and Quads pg. 64

Straight Odds pg. 66

Flush Odds pg. 68

Types of Players pg. 69

How To Beat A Tight Player pg. 78

Strategy For Beating A Loose Player pg. 81

Strategies For Beating A Passive Player pg. 85

Live Tells pg. 87

Online Tells / Betting Patterns pg. 90

Starting A Home Game pg. 92

Finding A Home Game pg. 94

Poker Games and Casino Poker Games pg. 96

Poker And The Law pg. 102


Q and A pg. 103

Math Equations pg. 104

Acknowledgements pg. 106

Rules of Texas Hold Em

The following rules apply to any form of Texas Hold Em regardless of betting
limits. Depending on the betting limit of the game you are playing there may
be caps on the amount you can bet during a specific round. For more on betting
caps check out betting variations.

Before the cards are dealt. Before dealing the first hand of the tournament or
home game each player is dealt 1 card face up. Depending on whether low card
or high card deals was selected either the lowest or highest card will be the
dealer (have the dealer button) in front of them for the first hand. Normally it
is high card is dealer but this may vary in different areas.

Once a dealer is chosen. The player sitting to the direct left of the dealer will
be in the Small Blind. The Small Blind is a forced bet that the player must put
into the pot before receiving any cards. The Small Blind puts half of what the
current minimum bet is into the pot. Directly left of the Small Blind is the Big
Blind. The Big Blind is a forced bet that must be put into the pot before
receiving any cards. The Big Blind puts the current minimum bet into the pot.
The dealer then deals 2-card face down to every player starting with the Small
Blind. Action will start on the player directly left of the Big Blind. They have a
decision of whether to play their cards or fold. Action works its way around the
table in a clockwise fashion until everyone in turn (do not bet or fold if it is not
your turn to act) has called or folded. The first betting round is over when (in
an unraised pot) the Big Blind has checked to see a flop or (in a raised pot)
everyone to the right of the player who made the raise has called the raise or

The Flop. The dealer places three up cards in the center of the table for
everyone to use. It is a good idea to place all three cards up at the same time
as opposed to one by one to avoid any players giving away a "tell" on which one
or more of the cards have helped their hand. The first person to bet or check
on the flop is the person directly to the left of the dealer who still has cards in
front of them (if the Small Blind didn't fold the then the Small Blind is first to
act, if the Small Blind did fold the Big Blind is first to act, and so on). The
round is over when every player has either called the bet or folded.

The Turn. The dealer places one more up card in the center of the table for
everyone to use. The first person to bet is the same person that was first to bet
on the Flop.

The River. The dealer places one final up card in the center of the table for
everyone to use. The first person to bet is still the same person who was first

to bet on the Flop. After everyone has bet each player reveals his or her hole
cards, in order to see who has the best five-card hand. If a player has a better
hand than you and showed it before it was your turn to show you may throw
away your cards without showing them.

The Winner. The winner of the hand is the player with the best hand using any
3, 4, or 5 cards in the center of the table used in combination with their 2
down cards.

Burning Cards - Depending on where you play / who you are playing with you
may burn 1 card before dealing to every player as well as burn 1 card before
placing the flop cards, turn card or river card. For the flop cards you will only
burn 1 card for the 3 cards, not burn one play one, burn two play two.

Betting Variations
H/L (8b)
No Limit
Pot Limit
Spread Limit
Mixed Limit
Bring In
Kill Game
Half Kill Game
Wild Card/Joker

H/L (High/Low) Games

A High/Low game is a split pot game with a low hand qualifier (the typical
qualifier is 8b meaning if you have 5 different cards of 8 or below your hand
has qualified for the low) where the high hand takes half the pot and the low
hand takes the other half. Your hand will not qualify for the low if you do not
have 5 different cards that are low (having 3 2's and 2 3's is not a low hand). A
pair will disqualify your hand from being low. Straights and flushes do not work
against your low hand. The best possible hand to win both the high and the low
is called The Wheel. The Wheel is A5 suited. 26 suited is definitely good enough
to win most high and low pots but would lose the low to anyone with A 2 3 4 5
off suit or A 2 3 4 6 off suit.

No Limit

The most popular form of poker played today. No limit simply means that you
can bet all of your chips at any time during the hand when it is your turn to
act. There is a minimum bet, however, in No Limit. The minimum bet is
whatever the big blind is.


The amount you can bet or raise is determined by the X/Y. In the first rounds
of betting (for Hold Em, Pineapple and Omaha its pre flop and flop) (for any 7
card game its any cards prior to the 5th card if no pair was on board or no one
doubled the bet when the pair was on board) (for any 5 card game its the first
3 cards) (in Lowball is before the draw, Triple Draw its before the draw and the
first draw) the bet/raise is whatever the X is assumed to be (in a 2/4 game the
first rounds of betting would be call 2 raise 2.) There is typically a cap on the
number of raises allowed. The most common is 4 for a cap (1. bet, 2. raise, 3.
reraise 4. cap). Yahoo Poker uses 5 (bet 2 raise 4 reraise 6 reraise 8 cap 10).
When the first rounds of betting are over the limits increase to Y (2/4 betting is
now 4).

Pot Limit

Pot limit is played exactly the same as limit with the minimum bets being
designed by what 'street' you are currently on (every card game mentioned
above besides Lowball refer to the # of cards out as Streets. Example- Hold Em,
Pineapple, Omaha, 5 card, and 7 card all call the 4th card 4th street.) Unlike
Limit, however, you can bet the amount in the pot at any time in the game.

Spread Limit

A spread limit game has a few choices of possible bets during the betting
rounds. For example, if the spread is 2-6 and 4-12 you can bet between 2 and 6
on the first rounds of play and between 4 and 12 on the final rounds of play.
The spread limit may just be 1 spread for the entire game as well (example 4-
12 on all rounds of betting.) If someone bets the maximum limit (say 12) all
following raises must be in increments of that same number (12). Spread Limit
is basically an unknown limit game until someone makes the first bet, then it’s
a structured limit game (unless they bet the minimum then you can increase it
by any increment up to the maximum). The limit is reset after each round of

Mixed Limit

A mixed limit game is a limit game with different limits per betting round. For
example in Hold Em the preflop bet may be 2, flop are 4, turn is 6, and river is
12. The numbers can be mixed up however the dealer chooses.


Antes are chips every player is required to place in the pot to receive cards. All
stud games are typically played with an ante. Tournament games typically
include antes as the levels (the increase in blinds/antes) increase to force the
short stacks (players low in chips) into action or out of the tournament.

Bring In

Typically found in stud games. The Bring In is the bet a player with the lowest
card (or in some cases highest card) showing must place to start off the betting
action. The Bring In is typically half of what the current limit is (exceptions- in
3/6 games the bring in is 1 just like in 2/4 games to avoid decimals) so it is
very similar to a small blind found in Hold Em games. Players following the
Bring In may simply call the Bring In bet or Complete the bet (in 3/6
completing a bet would be betting 3 instead of 1, in 2/4 its 2 instead of 1). All
raises following a complete bet will be at the current level (in 3/6 its 3, 2/4 its
2, etc)

Kill Game

A kill game is set up to try and stop a current winning player from continuing
on his/her winning streak. For a player to be eligible for the 'Partial Kill' aka 1st
Leg of a kill he/she must win a pot without any splits (in H/L must win both the
high and the low, in any game all players must have matched the bet as
opposed to one player winning a side pot because he/she had more or fewer
chips on an all in) and the pot must be greater than 5 times the big blind (in
2/4 the pot has to be 10 or higher). Once the player has the 'Partial Kill Button'
placed in front of them they must win the next pot in the same fashion as the
last one (outright, 5 times the big blind.) If a player succeeds in winning the
'Partial Kill' hand the limits will increase. On the Kill Hand the Small Blind will
still post the small blind amount, the Big Blind will post the big blind amount
but the player with the 'Kill Button' will post double the Big Blind. Everyone
acts in turn but the level is doubled (2/4 is 4/8, 3/6 is 6/12) so for any player
to call the hand they must now place the new X bet into the pot.

Variations: In some areas/games (Lowball) a player may only need
to win the first pot outright with no qualifier to earn the 'Partial
Kill Button'. The qualifier is in play while on the 'Partial Kill
Button.' Also the player on the 'Kill Button' may be last to act if
those are the rules of the house.

Half Kill Game

Operates exactly the same as a Kill Game. The stakes do no increase double
however, rather 1 1/2 times (2/4 games become 3/6, 4/8 become 6/12, etc).

Wild Cards/Jokers

In wild card and games using a joker whatever card (or cards) the dealer stated
to be wild stand for whatever card you want them to be. In some games such as
chase the Queen the Queen is wild and any card immediately following the
Queen becomes wild. The Joker is trademarked to Card Company.

Hand Rankings
The following is the ranking of hands from highest to
lowest for MOST poker games.



4 of a kind

Full House



3 of a kind

2 pair

1 pair

High Card

Rankings of High Card (from Highest To Lowest)

The Ace may be used as a low in a straight for A 2 3 4 5 (or a 5 High Straight,
also known as The Wheel in High/Low games)

Other Points Worth Mentioning

If 2 players have the exact same hand (say both of them have a pair of 7's) look
at their high card. If they both have Ace high, look at the next highest card. If
they both have the same card for their 1st and 2nd highest cards look at their
final card. If all 3 cards are the same you have a split pot.

J Q K A 2 is NOT a straight. (We know you're saying to yourself "Duh!" but

someone has actually claimed this in a game before while we were playing so
it’s worth mentioning.)

There is no such thing as 3 pair. This is another thing we've heard a lot. In
EVERY card game you play your best 5 cards. For example if someone has "3
pair" consisting of a pair of 2's a pair of 3's and a pair of 4's they have 2 pair 4's
and 3's (use the highest 2 pair) with a whatever their 7th card happens to be as
a kicker (because it has to be 5 high or above in this example)

Hand Rankings In OTHER GAMES

Stud (when determining who brings in)

Suits Arranged From Highest To Lowest

A to 5 Lowball aka California Lowball (or the best hand you can
have in a H/L aka 8b game)

Deuce To Seven Lowball aka Kansas City Lowball

Soko (Canadian Stud)

2 Pair

4 Card

4 Card

1 Pair

Everything else is exactly the same from the chart above.

Strategy Introduction
The following strategies apply to how to play specific hands out of specific
positions Pre Flop and how you should continue on betting for each round to
follow. The suggestions found here apply to the cards only rather than the type
of opponent you are facing. We have made suggestions on how to play against
particular players in the opponent types section. At the moment the
suggestions are not very detailed.

The true key to poker lies in playing your opponent based on how your
opponent views you, the cards and chips are used solely as symbols in the game
of player versus player. In lower limit games and against players of lower skill
levels (Level 1), however, your cards will matter and fancy tricks such as
bluffing, pot odds, and raising the pot to force draws out of hands will not
work. These lower level players have no real concept of card value or position
and will try to catch their 4 out straight draw regardless of the bet simply
because they know if they do indeed catch their card they can win the pot.
Bluffs will not work against lower level players because they will call you to
either A) make sure you weren't bluffing or B) because they made bottom or
middle pair and believe they have a shot at winning the pot regardless of if
they make a better hand or not. A lot of lower level poker players will typically
fall into 1 of 3 categories - 1) the tight non aggressive player 2) the overly
aggressive player with no concept of what hand beats what so they may fold
flushes and straights yet hold onto face cards with weak kickers or 3) the
calling station/fisherman. The only difference between a calling station and
the fisherman is fishermen will fold to bets on the river if they did not catch
the card(s) they were fishing for whereas calling stations typically will not. This
first type of player is typically the easiest to beat because you can avoid all the
pots they play in. Type ones may and can win in games that have quite a few
calling stations in them. Type two players are the hardest of the three to beat
because they are impossible to place on a hand, especially if you are playing a
type two player who doesn't even know what hand beats what. We have played
in games with type two players who will go all in with pocket tens against a
board holding both an ace and a king yet seen the same player fold flushes and
straights because he had no concept of what a straight or flush was. Type three
players will lose in the long run but may wind up winning a home game or two
on luck alone. Their ability to call large bets regardless of cards almost places
them into the Level 2 style of playing against your opponents and not playing
with the cards, but not quite. The reason calling stations do not qualify for
Level 2 is because they aren't calling all your bets because of the way you are
playing, they are calling all of your bets because that is their style of play.
Calling stations can't shift gears depending on who they are facing, they will
always call bets (unless they don't hold cards they like in which case they'll

Our strategies can be used against a good portion of Level 1 and Level 2
players. Level 2 players understand the concept of poker and can shift gears
depending on what type of opponent they are facing. The Level 2 player
understands that the value of their cards can shift dramatically from player to
player. For example, a Level 2 player may make a raise, regardless of their
cards, when they see tight players in the blinds in an attempt to steal the
blinds from the tight players. At the same time a Level 2 player may only play
the best 24 hands in poker (face card hands mostly) against an aggressive
player to give them the edge needed to beat the aggressive player a better
percentage of the time. Trying to throw an aggressive player's game back in
their face tends to backfire as they are more accustomed to playing with any
two cards whereas, you the Level 2 non overly aggressive play any two cards,
may not be able to raise or call large bets with the 9 5 off suit.

As for the Level 3 player, their game is played based on how they believe their
opponents view them. This is where the concept of mind games in poker comes
from. A skilled level 3 player may be able to fool their opposition into believing
that the only pots the skilled player enters into are quality hands when in
reality the skilled player is really playing the hands they enjoy seeing flops
with. Or the skilled level 3 player may play completely overly aggressive (Gus
Hansen did this in Poker Superstars 1) raising with any two cards to fool
opponents into believing that their raise is weak when in actuality the skilled
player holds a monster and is waiting for its opposition to make a move on the
pot. Level 3 players may even play as calling stations to fool opposition into
believing that the skilled player is a terrible card player in an attempt to win
later rounds, causing its opposition to believe the hands were won on 'luck.'

Being able to shift gears is a must in Poker and is very similar to concepts found
in The Art Of War. For those of you who haven't read The Art Of War (you can
find it in our poker books section) the book covers military strategies for
warfare based on size of army and location of battle. The main point the book
drives home is that you can have no fear of death in battle. Generals of the
invading army are told to burn their ships or line up troops to kill their own
soldiers trying to retreat from battle in areas with only one way in and one way
out. You must use this no fear tactic in poker if you ever wish to elevate your
game to its highest level. The best quote to drive home this no fear concept
comes from Patrick Swayzee in Point Break - "Hesitation causes fear. And fear
will cause your worse fears to happen." You are the general, your chips are
your army, and the table is your battlefield. If you intend on playing a hand
direct your troops properly. If the cards shift in your opponents direction
surrender the battle by folding your cards and taking your casualties then come
back to win the war. There is no sense in continuing on in a battle you can't
win, it takes away your ability to win the overall war.

Another concept in life that also applies to poker comes from how winners play
the game versus how losers play the game. An overall winner is always playing

the game to win. They aren't playing to break even, they aren't playing for
second best, and they’re playing to win. It's all or nothing. The mentality of a
losing player however is completely different. The losing player is playing the
game to 'not lose.' The losing player wants to win but doesn't hold the
necessary drive or wiring to see the situation as all or nothing. Breaking even is
totally acceptable for the losing player as they view this as a victory, even
though all they did was waste their time. Don't get us wrong breaking even is
much better than losing but no one who plays poker should want to just break
even. There is an exception to this, however. A winning player on a current
losing streak is playing to break even. The 'break even' concept is different for
the winning player as opposed to the losing player in that the winning player is
playing that particular game to win and win only, the breaking even part is
breaking even from past losses and therefore is an overall concept as opposed
to one specific game.

Pre Flop Strategies by Position
Early Position
You are in early position if you are next to the big blind, or next to the person
next to the big blind, or the person next to that person. The earliest of position
is required to act first preflop and (at best) will be required to bet third on the
flop. Being in early position leaves you at a major disadvantage because you
have no idea who at the table holds a weak hand, monster hand, etc. so you
have to choose your starting hands sparingly to avoid wasting chips. The reason
you only want to select quality hands in Early Position is because the likelihood
of someone at your table raising pre flop is good and you don't want to be
throwing away chips every time you're in early position trying to limp in and
see a cheap flop. Examine our starting hands chart for Early Position. You will
notice that every single hand on that list adds up to 20 in blackjack (except AA
which would be 12 in blackjack but this is poker) and the only 3 cards we put
on the unsuited side were AK, AQ, and KQ. Even though having suited cards
doesn't make you a shoe in for the victory having suited cards is a major plus
when entering a hand because it leaves you with more outs. You will also
notice that every hand on the list is either connected or contains a 1, 2 or 3
card gap (the only 3 card gap hand on there is AT suited). The reason behind
this is because connected cards leave you with more outs as well.
Unfortunately by nature you are not going to have many open ended straight
draws with these cards (except JT) but with the proper flop you could have 12
outs just for completing your straight or flush draw.

Betting Strategies for playing out of early position: Unless your table has a lot
of overly aggressive pre flop raisers do not simply limp in with hands like AK,
AQ, or KQ suited. You must raise with strong hands in early position even
though it will chase out the majority of the players in the hand from calling.
That's just one of the downfalls of acting first. But, if you do not raise with
your quality hands then players in Middle and Late Position will be able to limp
in with weak hands and possibly bust you out of your entire stack.
Never, ever, under any circumstances limp in with AK, AA, or KK. QQ
and JJ are other cards you should never limp in with but too large of a raise
may turn your great starting hand into your coffin due to the fact you've
become pot committed and there's an ace and a king on the board.
Limping in with AA, KK, and AK is simply a recipe for disaster, especially
considering how difficult it is to lay down AA, KK, and AK. The biggest reason
you should never limp in with any of these big hands is because they simply do
not do well against multiple opponents. Letting a player limp in with 9 3 off
suit could spell trouble if they flop trip 3's on the flop. Your larger hands only
do well in pots against opponents holding similar large hands. Even if the board
is low AK will be a huge favorite over AQ, KQ, or QJ. You can, after all, win a

pot with Ace high..
As for your suited connector drawing hands its best just to call out of Early
Position then, if someone does bet, determine either the pot odds or the
investment odds (whichever you prefer playing by) and go from there. Drawing
hands do best against a full table where there is enough money in the pot to
justify calling bets in hopes of catching your straight or flush card.

Advantages of being in Early Position: If you are seen as a tight player (this
will most likely not work for a loose player) a Preflop raise may pick you up the
blinds because most players won't raise out of early position without a strong
The disadvantage to this is a player in late position may be holding a monster
and reraise you (or slow play and call) putting you, once again, at a
disadvantage on the flop by having to act first. Opponents in late position may
call your large bet simply to try and steal the pot from you in the later rounds
of action. For the most part it is a good idea to only call with hands that total
20 or better in Blackjack and stick to mostly suited cards (except for the 3
mentioned above.) Even KQ can get you into trouble if you are up against AA,
AK, AQ, KK or QQ. The hand that gets most players into trouble, however, is AQ
off suit. Calling an all in with AQ off suit is risky because your opponent may be
holding a pocket pair or even worse AK, leaving you with 3 outs in the deck to
pick up the victory (unless you get a lucky flop and wind up with an inside
straight draw.) Folding AQ off suit to an all in bet can be the right move to
make. Against any pocket pair AQ is about 32% to hit on the flop, then goes
downhill from there (you have 6 outs unless you pick up a lucky flop.) Take full
advantage of our possible flop odds charts to get a feel for what constitutes a
good hand and what the probabilities are of picking up certain hands on the
flop before going crazy and calling all ins left and right.

Playing Out of Early Position using Investment Odds: Investment odds will
allow you to add a few (or few dozen) hands to the early position playbook. If
you are holding say a medium sized pocket pair or T 9 suited and have decided
the investment odds are in your favor to play this particular hand then you can
ignore all suggestions of what hands to play out of early position and go right
ahead and play your hand. Using investment odds can allow you to play looser
than the typical Hold Em player and will allow you more freedom over starting
hand choices. The trick to investment odds is knowing your opponents. If you
do not know how your opponents think and play (and what they think of you
and how you think and play) then investment odds are going to be totally
useless and you are going to throw away a lot of money on bad calls. But if you
do know how your opponents behave, say you know player X likes to raise only
with AT and above, and you've figured out that he thinks you are a tight player
who won't call his weak double the blind raise with weak cards, then your
investment odds will be much greater because player X's raise and your call will
signal to him that you have a good hand thus making him more likely to call

your bets when the flop comes 8 7 6 because he has put you on over cards
while he holds over cards.

If you are just learning how to play Hold Em we would suggest not playing with
investment odds and sticking to the Early Position playbook to keep your losses
to a minimum. As you become a stronger player you can start incorporating
Investment Odds and other tricks to your game to increase your winning
percentage. There is a major advantage to being a beginner at Hold Em as
well. Look at Chris Moneymaker. We suggest not playing like he did, however,
(going all in over and over with the worst of it and magically getting lucky time
after time) because in the long run you will lose all your money (look at
Moneymaker today, he’s in Dead Last on the Poker Superstars Invitational
Tournament). Good players tend to overlook the new player and will not give
them credit for a good hand. Thus, sticking to the starting hands list will rake
in pot after pot for you while at the same time allowing you to avoid costly
rookie mistakes of playing way too many hands and losing all your chips

Strong Raises versus Weak Raises: Strong raises are 4x the Big Blind and
above. This type of raise will (typically) force players with weaker starting
hands to fold. The point of raising is to force opponents out of the pot so your
hand has a better chance at winning. Weak raises serve absolutely no purpose
and will (likely) not force anyone to fold, or at least not anyone important
(exception: players in the Big or Small Blinds may fold to a weak raise because
they were dealt a garbage hand like 4 2 off suit and had no intention of playing
the hand anyway after checking pre flop to see a flop). Weak raises should only
be used when holding a drawing hand and you want to increase the pot size.
The reason you would use a weak raise in this scenario is because you've
determined the Bet Odds to be great and know that no one, maybe one or two,
players will not call and in the future you will have reasonable pot odds to call
larger sized bets when drawing to your straight or flush draw.

Other Suggestions for playing out of Early Position: If you see 2 unsuited face
cards that are QJ or below, fold them. You do not have a great shot at picking
up the pot, or at least not enough information to know whether or not you have
a good shot at picking up the pot. Also note that players on the button (the
player with the dealer button in front of them) and the player in the Big Blind
are likely to make a raise to the pot. This is known as a Position Raise. It is
used to make Early Position / Middle Position limpers fold their less than great
hands. If you are holding any of the cards on the Early Position starting hands
list you may want to call this raise. The only reason(s) you wouldn't want to are
A) You have a good read on your opponent making the raise and know they
actually have a great starting hand or B) The player making the raise made it
large enough to not warrant a call.

AJ is a starting hand that will typically land you in a world of hurt. You should
definitely raise with AJ suited but not enough to make yourself pot committed.
Your best-case scenario is catching a Jack on the flop and (hopefully) no one
made 2 pair Jacks and whatever. Depending on the skill level / looseness of
your opponents a pair of aces may be the best hand but could be the 3rd worse
hand behind AK and AQ. Do not call an all in with AJ. We told you above that
it’s most likely a bad idea to call an all in with AQ so it’s definitely a bad idea
to call an all in with AJ. Being the aggressor with AJ is one thing, but risking all
your chips on a hand that only has 3 outs against AK, AQ, KK, QQ, and JJ is a
terrible idea. And if you're up against AA you better pray the board goes runner
runner Jacks or you catch a straight / flush draw on the flop.

Tournament Suggestions: If you are playing in a tournament and are on the

short stack, however, you should definitely make a strong raise (possibly all in
if you don't have enough chips to play the flop and survive), especially if you
haven't seen any better hands lately. A bad play would be making a small raise
or calling with a hand like AK then going all in after your opponent has seen the
flop. If you hold something strong like AK before the flop and are short stacked
its best just to go all in and wait for the call. The likelihood of being called is
good (unless you've been folding for the past half hour and your opponents have
picked up on this or there is no one at your table holding a pair of 2s or better
who was just waiting for you to go all in so they could take you out of the
tournament) but then again you really don't mind being called when holding
face cards and on the short stack because you may double up and be a threat
at the table again.

Middle Position
There you are smack dab in the middle of the table in spot number 4, 5 or 6
waiting for the Early Position limpers to call so you can take the pot up another
notch and watch them fold away their QJ suited while you hold something ugly
like 8 7 off suit (we definitely wouldn't suggest this move out of middle position
but it made for a good opening.) You've seen what a few players have done,
now it’s your turn to act. What cards should you play, you ask? Well, anything
from the Early Position playbook as well as a good number of hands you would
have quickly mucked had you been in Early Position. Your playable hands now
include pocket pairs from AA-66, Ax suited (except A7 and A6 because they
have weaker straight draws and make lower pairs), and a couple others that
you can check out at our play list chart.
You are still at a disadvantage in the hand but you aren't as bad off as the
players in Early Position. Come flop time you will be somewhere around the 6th
to 8th person to act, leaving you in great, but not the best position to act. The
majority of hands on the play list now consist of drawing hands so you are more
of an implied winner than a real winner. Depending on which hand you are
currently holding will determine whether or not you should raise.
Raise with AK-AT suited or off suit, KQ suited or off suit, Pocket Pairs down to
JJ, and if you really want to QJ suited. Depending on which of these hands you
hold you'll want to raise varying amounts with the pocket pairs, AK, AQ, and KQ
being the larger raises. As for the rest of your drawing hands and middle pairs
it’s probably best to call and hope no one raises (or at least doesn't raise too
much to take away your pot odds.) Kickers will definitely come into play when
the king flops and you start betting wildly with KT off suit against an opponent
holding KJ off suit. Raising pre flop won't rid you of players holding the KJ
either. Your best-case scenario with the KT is to either catch a straight draw or
catch two pair. Flopping two pair could spell disaster though as well if someone
is on a straight draw or worse, caught the straight on the flop.

Raising from Middle Position is also dependant on how other players view you at
the table. A loose aggressive player is much more likely to be called pre flop
than a tight player. The great thing about being in Middle Position, however, is
that a lot of players know that Middle Position is where you are supposed to
start playing those middle pairs so a small pre flop raise from Middle Position
(3x the big blind) will tell everyone at the table you hold a middle pair and set
you up for a bluff known as "Representing The Flop" come flop time.
Representing The Flop means making a large raise on the flop when something
along the lines of a 7, 8 or 9 shows up and you act like you've made trips. Don't
do this too often though because opponents are sure to catch on to your rouse
and start catching you on your bluffs.

A good percentage of the hands you'd call with from Middle Position you'd never
call a raise with. Basically every hand that is a drawing hand you should fold

unless the pot odds or investment odds tell you to do otherwise. The trick to
playing drawing hands successfully is being able to see cheap flops and folding
them when you do not flop an 8 out straight draw or better. Don't throw away
unnecessary chips preflop hoping to get lucky and bust out your opponent. It
might happen occasionally but in the long run you're going to be down money
and upset with the world. Also calling large raises with hands like Q T and K J
will cost you more chips than it'll win. You have a semi-strong kicker and your
opponent doing the raising most likely has a better kicker with the high card as

Playing 1 card gapped straight cards aren't as great as they sound either. Check
out our straight odds to see for yourself. The problem with the 1-card gappers
is they will typically flop more 4 card straight draws than 8 out straight draws.
4 card straight draws are typically costly and don't reap the reward the player
was seeking. You should (most likely) muck your 1-card gappers to any raiser,
unless it’s an aggressive player. Even then, the play is most likely a fold
because you should never call a raise with cards you wouldn't raise with

We would suggest breaking the Middle Position playing list into 3 parts then
playing 1, 2 or all 3 parts depending on where you are in Middle Position. If you
are the 4th to act in the hand (1st person in Middle Position) play 99-88, A9-A8
suited, T9 suited, AJ and AT off suit, KJ, QJ, and JT off suit. If you are the 2nd
person in Middle Position add 77, J9 suited, 98 suited, and KT off suit to the
list. If you are the 3rd person in Middle Position play the entire list. The reason
for this is because as each player acts your cards become stronger starting
cards. Still stick to not raising with anything below AT, KJ, or QJ. Avoid calling
large raises as well. Small raises are fine and are actually welcome as this will
make your drawing hands more powerful when it comes to pot odds.

Do not rely too strongly on pot odds however. Just because you have the
correct pot odds to make a call does not mean you should chase every straight
and flush draw you have. Each event is independent from the previous event
just like in Roulette. If the Roulette wheel is black 25 times in a row that
doesn't mean it has a better chance of being red the next time just as your
straight and flush draws will not improve to straights and flushes based on the
number of times you have missed them. The easiest way for a player to go
broke in poker is by drawing to every straight, flush, and 3 of a kind when they
hold a pocket pair. The odds against these events happening are there and
should be seen as a warning to those who wish to chase their money away.

The other reason you should not constantly chase is because your opponents
will label you as a 'Fisherman.' If they know you always fish after straight and
flush draws they will alter their betting patterns to A) give you better pot odds
to increase the amount of money in the pot when they hold a favorable hand or
B) give you worse pot odds to pick up pots right off the bat. Your opponents

may also make a bet favorable for you pot odds wise on the flop, then if
nothing hits, raise an insane amount at you to destroy your pot odds and take
your chips from you 1 turn card at a time. Of course you can use the exact
same strategy against an opponent that you have determined to be a

Late Position
This is the favorable position to be in, especially if you are on the button. The
button is the dealer button and indicates who was 'dealing the hand' at the
time. The dealer button is used in casinos or other establishments where there
is a designated dealer. You are assumed to be in Late Position if you are the
7th or 8th person to act Pre Flop. You will also be the 9th and 10th to act on
the flop, allowing you to determine how each player is going to play their hand
before making any decisions as to what you want to do. If you are not on the
button there are only 3 out of 9 other players (33%) who can raise up the pot
on you if the pot has not been raised prior. If you are on the button the only 2
players who can ruin your chance at limping in for a cheap flop are the blinds

The reason you want to be in Late Position is because you now have a good
idea of who is in the hand and based on past expieriences / understanding what
cards any said player is liable to play out of a specific position, you can better
determine your course of action. Typically the play from Late Position is to
either raise (regardless of what cards you hold, known as a Position Raise) or
call in hopes of catching a lucky flop. Raising is usually the favorable play if
there are a lot of players in the hand already and you know by betting (Bet
Odds) a good portion of them will fold to a strong raise. The others who stay in
the hand will have to act before you on the flop so you will know whether or
not to drop your hand or bet strong at the pot again. Raising with any 2 cards is
definitely the wrong move over time, however. Any cards that's face value
totals 19 or higher justify a decent sized raise (3x the big blind) but nothing too
wild. As with Middle Position a medium sized raise will remove limpers and put
the thought of small or medium sized pockets in the minds of your opponents
allowing you to Represent the Flop when you are last to act on the flop.

Drawing hands are also more powerful in late position because you know
whether or not you can limp in cheaply. The players in Early Position have to
worry about up to 9 possible opponents raising Pre Flop whereas Late Position
players only have to worry about 2 to 3. This means you know 66% more about
your opponent’s hands than the person in Early Position.

Areas where you may land yourself in trouble by raising pre flop from Late
Position: A) Opponents who typically limp in with large hands in hopes of an
opponent raising for them (a wolf in sheep's clothing.) B) Opponents who
protect their blinds (Phil Ivey is an example of this kind of player, he will
typically call raises when he is in the blind to take the pot away from you on
the flop even though he's first to act) C) Opponents who love to reraise every
raise. Your raises from the Button will be tested from time to time so beware if
you plan on making a habit out of Position Raising. Getting caught once may be

to your advantage, however, as your opponents may believe you are making
the exact same play when you really hold a monster.

There are a good number of hands for you to play in Late Position, over 80 on
our chart. You do not want to play all 80 hands when you are in Late Position.
Sometimes the play will be to limp in with 65 suited in hopes of catching a
lucky flop, other times the correct play is to fold. It all depends on the types of
hands and styles your opponents are using AND what they think about you. If
you are playing at a very tight table where opponents fold to almost every bet
than it’s a good idea to limp in with 65 and buy a cheap pot. If your opponents
are raising wildly with any two cards then it is a terrible idea to start playing
weak hands against maniac opponents. They will take your money quickly
because they are good at throwing large sums of money into a pot, losing big,
winning big, and then losing all over again (or winning even bigger.) You do not
want to be throwing your money towards a maniac with weak drawing starting
cards. Maniacs most likely have some sort of face card with a weak kicker and
are raising because they saw a picture card (picture card=good.) Now if your
opponents believe you to be one of these maniacs raising on the button with 65
suited or limping in with any 2 cards you can then betting away at the flop you
are much more likely to be called than if they believe you to be a tight player.
Tricking your opponents into believing you are a tight player when you are
actually a loose player is the key to playing weak drawing hands well.

With K8-2 suited you are mostly hoping to catch a flush or flush draw rather
than make top pair to take the pot. If you flop a pair of kings that's alright but
don't go drop your son's tuition money on it. K8-2 do best when they flop, or
turn, two pair. Most opponents will not put you on two pair Kings and 3's so you
have a better chance of busting out the guy holding K9 or KT. The same applies
for the Q's and J's although you can make a straight with all the Q and J
combinations listed with the exception of Q7. 3 card gappers are not very
powerful and the amount of flops that will give you an 8 out straight draw are
just as small.

Beware of opponents who hold the Ace or King of the suit you are fishing for on
the flush draw. Sure you may make a Queen high flush but whose to say your
opponent doesn't have a King high flush? Q high and J high flushes are best
when there is already an ace and a king of that suit on the board so you know
your opponents don't hold any cards that can beat you.

As for playing the Tens and below suited and connected cards you should only
limp in with them, never raise unless you know your opponents think of you as
a tight player. Tight players get away with buying pots unchallenged. Loose
players do not. If you do not flop at least 4 to a flush, a straight draw, or top
pair you should drop your weak drawing hands immediately because they are
no longer drawing hands, they're dead hands.

Small Blind
Being on the small blind is a terrible place to be. You've already invested
money into the pot regardless of what your hole cards are and you are going to
be first to act on the flop. Because you already have half the blind put into the
pot we've added pretty much every single hand that has up to 3 gaps for a
straight to the playable hands list out of the small blind. Is it a favorable call?
Not really but because you already have money invested in the pot you might
as well pay the other half and see if you get lucky. In the long run this will be a
losing strategy but when the blinds are relatively small compared to your chip
size this style can produce some pretty interesting wins with hands you would
never have played otherwise. If you're short on chips or simply don't like the 3
gap straight card you are holding then fold it. Also fold to any incoming raises
as they will act after you regardless of their position at the table.

Big Blind
Being in the big blind is another terrible place to be because you've already
called to see a flop regardless of your hole cards. And to make matters worse
there are 9 players at the table raising in an attempt to take away your already
purchased right at the flop. If the table goes fold, call, with no raise being in
the big blind is a powerful position because you can raise the pot (another
Position Raise) and force some of those limpers out. Of course if you plan on
raising you should hold cards that justify such an action because 1 or more
players may call you on the simple fact that your raise is a common one out of
the Big Blind.

Do not fall victim to the 'Protect Your Blind' by calling large bets syndrome with
any two cards. The money you invested as the Big Blind is already lost to you,
its no longer your money so there is 0 reason to try and protect it with 4 2 off
suit. On the flip side to that do not surrender your blinds too easily either or
players will raise the pot every time you are in the blinds simply because they
see you as an easy target to take money from. If a player raises the blind on
you and you have a playable hand either call the bet or reraise the bet. If you
don't have a hand worth playing then muck it. Just to throw your opponent who
keeps raising every time you're in the blind throw a reraise back at them
regardless of what cards you hold, if you can afford it, and see what happens.
Your opposition may be even weaker than you and won't be able to make a play
back at you. The point of reraising your opponent is to show them that you
won't be bullied out of your blinds and cause them to change their behavior.
Even if you lose that particular pot the message is still sent.

Also players who win with cards they typically would not play otherwise refer
to their win as the "Big Blind Special."

Flop Strategy
So you've made it to the flop, eh? Did it help you? If not this is the time to fold.
You have already seen 5 out of the 7 cards that will make your hand. That's
over 70% of all the cards used to make your hand. Sure you might wind up lucky
and go runner runner to catch your miracle cards but that doesn't happen very
often. Don't believe us? An open ended (8 out) runner runner will only happen
about 3% of the time (we round the number up) and a gut shot runner runner
will only happen 1.5% (we round that up as well). As for making a backdoor
flush you only have about a 4% shot (real number is 4.17%). Those are terrible
odds to play if you want to be a winning poker player. Only 1 out of every 25
hands will your backdoor flush hit.

What cards should you hold onto if you don't catch on the flop? High cards if
the flop comes low (unless you are playing against an extremely loose opponent
who may have already made two pair on the flop) or any hand that has 4 outs
or better. It's usually best to drop your gut shot straight draws though (4 outs)
unless you are getting great Pot Odds or Investment Odds. Keep in mind that
Investment Odds are Implied Odds so those chances should only be taken when
you have enough chips to take chances and are sure you know what your
opponent has.

Occasionally Investment Odds won't pay off, for example, you are trying to
catch three of a kind when you flopped middle pair. In some cases the
opponent betting at you may also be betting with middle pair and is trying to
catch the exact same three of a kind only they hold a better kicker than you.
Hands like this can be costly, especially if you do not reraise them out of the
pot on the flop. Betting and raising should typically be your strategy, never
calling. The only times you want to call an opponent's bet rather than raise it
are A) You know reraising will put your opponent all in and you want to see the
next cards B) You are setting your opponent up, i.e. slow playing your hand or
C) You are unsure whether or not your hand is the best so you call (this does
not apply to the flop.)

Let's start with A. A typically happens against opponents who hold high cards
like AK and refuse to lay them down no matter what. This is a scenario where
reraising with a straight or flush draw is going to test all of your chips, thus
taking away your Pot Odds and ruining your Investment Odds. Your chances by
the river may be 30% by the river but as each card comes your chances divide
in half. A 17% shot (about 1 in 5) is not a great risk to be taking on the chance
that you may bust out your opponent if the right card(s) come. Your opponent
can win with ace high after all and you've just taken a huge loss to your chip
stack. The type of opponent we are talking about will typically bet small on the
flop, turn, and river anyway giving you cheap calls the entire way through
making it a worth while Pot Odds investment. Or (this is the second type of

opponent, there's only 3 types) your opponent will bet large on the flop to try
and scare out all its potential opposition even though they did not hit their
hand. This type of player will usually check the turn in fear of being beaten by
a smaller or larger pocket pair giving you a free look at the river (or an
opportunity to bluff them out of the pot.) They are great for playing with
Investment Odds because you know they are tied to their hand yet know
enough about cards to possibly fear the opposition. Check, check on the turn
will typically cause them to bet large again on the river, even after you have
already made your winning hand. The final type of opponent will bet large at
you on the flop, turn, and river regardless of if they made their hand or not.
This type of player takes away your Pot Odds as well as your Investment Odds.
You typically have to be a gambling style player to call on draws against them
but, for the most part, only want to call along if you've made a pair or better.

As for B, the slow playing technique, you only want to use this if there are no
cards on the board that may hurt your hand. Terrible times to slow play include
flops that contain 3 cards in order (4 5 6) showing an obvious straight, 3 cards
of the same suit when you've made 3 of a kind (because a player may have a
high card of that suit in hand and is hoping to catch another suit for the nut
flush), or 2 cards of the same suit / in order (4 5, 4 6, 3 6, even 2 6) because
your opposition may be on a draw and is trying to see a cheap turn card. When
there are 3 cards on the flop that may possibly beat you it's best to represent
the Flop as though you've made your hand even if you only hold two pair or
three of a kind. The reason for this is to eliminate players who are on draws
and show you (by their reraise) any opposition that may have already made
their hand. In some cases the reraise will signal that they are on a draw. An
opponent who bets out at you without even taking a second to decide how
much to bet is typically on the draw. An opponent who takes a second or longer
to decide whether or not to reraise typically has the hand and you should fold
(with 2 pair you have an 8.5% chance of hitting on the turn and basically the
same percent chance to hit on the river, as for 3 of a kind you have a maximum
of 10 outs on the river to make a full house or four of a kind to beat their

If there aren't any scare cards on the board you can continue on with your slow
play but in the long run may not wind up with as many chips as you would have
had you just bet from the start. Slow playing is incredibly useful when you flop
something like the nut full boat or four or a kind and are waiting for an
opponent to catch a hand so you can extract chips from them. Or catching the
nut flush on the flop (if you don't hold the ace of that suit, you do not hold the
nuts and should not slow play your hand. An opponent with the ace of that suit
may be trying to see a cheap turn or river card to win with the nut flush.)
Straights on the flop are a hard thing to slow play as well. Typically if you
check a straight and someone bets at you they've made two pair or three of a
kind and simply don't believe someone flopped a straight because it only
happens about 1% of the time.

When playing top pair on the flop you should always lead out with a good
strong bet to protect your hand from opponents drawing to a better hand. No
minimum raises either. Minimum raises will always get you into trouble when
opponents hit something better in the later rounds. You don't always have to
bet the pot but you should still always make large raises into any pots you
intend on playing. The reason for this is because you want to make hands costly
for opponents to draw against you so they will at least have to second guess
their decision on whether or not they want to call for the next card. Do not use
this betting strategy against calling stations and fishermen as it can backfire on
you if they do catch their miracle cards. The best way to deal with calling
stations and fishermen is to take their chips from them 1 card at a time. If you
are in a pot ONLY with a calling station/fisherman bet strong but not as strong
as you would against a real opponent. As you see more cards and determine
their chances of winning the pot start increasing your bets until you finally
bankrupt them on the river. Fishermen will be harder to bankrupt on the river,
however, seeing that they will only call bets up to the river then fold. For
fishermen make a larger bet on the turn than you would against the Calling
Station to make up for this potential loss of profit.

Turn Strategy
Or Better Known As 4th Street Strategy
If you've made it to the turn then you have to fall into one of the following
categories: A) You made a pair (or better) on the flop / are holding a pocket
pair B) You hold two over cards to a low board C) Are on a draw D) Plan on
pulling a bluff to steal the pot away from 1 or more players E) are sitting at a
table where everyone checked.

We'll start with A, you've hold a pair or better and are now looking at the turn
card. If you are holding top pair now would definitely be the best time to force
out any players who called your flop bet on a draw because their odds were
just cut in half. A good portion of poker players use the "By the River"
percentages when deciding whether or not to call on the flop so they believe
their odds of catching their card was a lot greater than it truly is. By the River
means they have two different cards in which their draw may hit, but now that
we're on the turn (and they didn't hit) their odds are much worse and your odds
are much greater. Before making any large bets with your top pair examine the
board. Make sure there aren't three cards that would give someone a straight
or flush. When we say any three we mean any. Some players like to play with
two gapped cards because they make less obvious straights. A board with 4 5 7
is just as likely to have someone holding a straight as 4 5 6. Of course if you do
not see any straight or flush possibilities out there make your bet, and make it
large enough to force out the draws. An opponent on a flush draw or straight
draw wants about 4 to 1 (5 to 1 for an 8 out straight) return on their money so
keep that in mind when determining how large of a bet to make. If you're
holding two pair, three of a kind, a full boat, or even four of a kind you can
and should make a much larger bet at the pot than the player with one pair is
able to do. Bet the pot if you hold the nut three of a kind or better. This will
remove all the draws from calling, or at least leave them at an unprofitable
disadvantage. If you hold three of a kind or two pair and don't hold the nuts
throw out a large bet anyway just not as large as the nut three of a kind would.
When you aren't holding the best possible hand you should still bet big, but not
big enough where you will become pot committed (can't lay down your hand.)
Your bet is to find out if any opponents do indeed hold a better hand than you.
The size of your bet should still force out draws just in case the opponent
calling you doesn't hold a better hand but rather a hand they are drawing with.

In the event that a card to finish a straight or a flush pops up on the turn your
bets with top pair, three of a kind, etc are likely to be met with a reraise.
Players on draws will call pre flop, call on the flop, then either check the turn
and reraise or lead straight out with a bet. A few may slow play until the river
at which point their betting pattern would go call, call, check call, check raise

or simply bet on the river but it should still be easy to see which of your
opponents have indeed hit their draw. The check on the turn is used in an
attempt to slow play or 'be sneaky' by hiding that they have in fact made their
hand but their bet later on is a dead give away as to what hand they really

If you fall into the B category (holding two over cards) you've either just paired
or you haven't. If you haven't you're now down to catching a pair one out of
every eight times. Those are terrible odds especially if someone has already
made a pair or worse yet has made a pair and holds one of your over cards as
their kicker. Unless you are convinced that none of your opponents hold a pair
or hold bottom pair and will fold to your bet (putting you in category D) you
should fold your hand.

As for category C (the draws) we'd hate to tell you this but the odds aren't
really in your favor anymore. Being that you already know 86% of your hand the
other 14% may not help you much, especially if you're on a gut shot (4 out)
straight draw or are hoping the fourth suited card falls on the river because you
hold the ace (or King if there's an ace on board, Queen if there’s an ace and
king on board). The 4 card flush draws (excluding holding just 1 of that suit)
will lose 4 out of 5 tries, the 8 out straights / 4 card flushes (holding 1 of suit)
5 in 6, and the gut shots about 11 out of 12. Hopefully the other players at the
table will let you check to a free river card or at least make it profitable pot
odd / investment odd wise to justify calling the bet. Better yet they might let
you fall into the D category and pick up the pot without even having to worry
about making your hand.

Good ole category D, the skilled bluffers. Hopefully you set up this maneuver
from the start (pre flop or flop) otherwise it doesn't have that great of a
chance at working, unless a scare card pops up. Set ups for this would include
raising pre flop from Middle or Late Position to represent two over cards or a
small / medium sized pair and thus by betting on the turn you are Representing
the Turn as though you've just made top pair / trips. If you are using the scare
card tactic the best cards to hit would be an over card larger than anything
else on the board (you may run into opposition from Category B) or a card that
completes a straight / flush (which may run into opposition from Category C).
The main trick to pulling off a successful bluff is being able to put your
opponent on a hand and knowing how committed they are to holding onto that
particular hand. Some opponents may fold top pair with a weak kicker whereas
others may continue on with their pocket threes all the way to the river in
hopes of making trips. Keep in mind that it is much more difficult (if not
impossible) to bluff Level 1 (weak) players out of pots than Level 2 and 3
players (good) and is a complete waste of chips if your opponents already view
you as a bluffer, unless this is part of your grand scheme to lose this particular
pot as a way to set up huge winnings when you really make trips on the turn
and pull the exact same maneuver. Also you should not try to pull a bluff in a

pot with multiple opponents, especially if two or more of them have already
been betting at each other. Even with one player driving the betting it may be
difficult to bluff that particular player out, but then again you won't know until
you try.

Finally category E, a bunch of players checked to see a turn card. Sometimes

this can be the most disasterous scenario to be in. One or more of your
opponents has (most likely) made a hand by now or made their weak pocket
pair turn into a very powerful three of a kind. You probably should have bet on
the flop if you had any intention of winning this pot because your opponents
hands are completely unknown at this point and the likelihood of someone slow
playing a monster or just now making a monster are great. Unless you were the
one slow playing, just made a monster, or just made top pair with a strong
kicker it’s probably best just to fold to any incoming bets.

River Strategy
Were you Rivered?
If you're going to bet on the river you'd better be prepared for at least one
opponent if not more to call you, otherwise you're just throwing your
money away.

Before we get into any scenarios we should start by repeating what poker pros
have been saying for years. If you think you have the best hand on the river you
need to throw out a bet. Opponents who didn't make their hand or believe
their hand to be weak will fold and opponents who do think they have a
winning hand will either call or raise you. Checking the river because you are
unsure of the quality of your hand leaves your opponents with extra chips in
their stack that should be in your stack. Also you should know by now the
quality of your hand and have made up your mind as whether or not to bet or
fold, not check. If you are on the other side of the coin and think you have a
winning hand but aren't sure and an opponent has bet at you the correct play is
to call rather than raise, unless you smell a bluff / weakness. If you smell
weakness you should probably raise. We say probably because some opponents
may be wolves in sheep's clothing, displaying weakness when they're strong.
Depending on how good of a read you have on your opponent's style of play will
tell you if you should just call or raise.

Now that you're at the river card its best to make sure that the board hasn't
completed any flush or straight draws before you bet with your top pair or
better. If you don't see any then go right ahead and bet. If you do see any bet a
little smaller than you would if you hadn't as a feeler bet to see if any
opponents have the intention of reraising you. Depending on the size of the
raise, the speed of the raise, and any other possible tells the player gives away
as well as your read on how your opponent plays will tell you whether or not
their reraise is legit or if its just a bluff to pick up the pot on the river.

The problem with the river card is that some players may have just made two
pair to your one pair. Checking your top pair won't help you find out which of
these players has made such a hand, however. They'll bet at you and you'll still
call losing to their two pair. This is why you should always bet the river. If an
opponent has made their two pair then they will either raise you or call you.

If you were on a draw and it didn't hit its probably best just to fold unless
you've been driving the betting on every previous round then the correct play
would be to bet again, unless you want to cut your losses short and surrender
over the pot.

Bluffing on the river may win you a pot here or there but can be costly as well.
As with pulling off bluffs at any other point in the hand this all depends on your
opponents and their opinion of you. Opponents that you could / should be able
to bluff out of the pot include: anyone on a draw that did not catch their
card(s); opponents with middle or bottom pair who were hoping to make three
of a kind or two pair; and opponents holding top pair with a weak kicker. The
size of your bet and effectiveness will vary depending on which opponent we
are talking about. Opponents in the draw category will fold to any sized bet
whereas opponents in the other categories may or may not be tied to their

What else can we say? There's not a lot to say about the river being that
everyone has either made their hand or hasn't and there's no need to make
protection bets so opponents can't draw to better hands.

Betting, Raising, Calling, Checking,
and Folding
Betting. When Should You Bet? You should bet whenever you have a hand or a
draw. Slow playing can lead to disaster unless you've flopped the nuts and have
no possible way of being beaten. The second a card pops up that shows a
possible disaster scenario for your hand you need to bet and bet enough to
either scare your opponent off their newly found draw or to make it costly
enough for them that if they do call and don't hit they've lost a huge stack of
chips. Minimum bets do nothing for you unless it’s a feeler bet. When you have
middle or bottom pair with no draws on the board and you simply want to test
the waters to see if your opponents are going to reraise you then a minimum
bet may do the trick. If there is a draw on board and you want to at least get
rid of the draws (as well as top pair with a weak kicker) then you have to bet
enough to force out the draws. Minimum bets and twice the blinds are not
enough. (Internet players tend to whine about how their AK suited lost to 52o
when they only bet the minimum or something relatively small in relation to
the size of the stack of their opponent.)

The reason you should always bet is because it forces opponents to do 1 of 3


1. Reraise you costing them additional chips above and beyond your already
made bet
2. Simply call and risk having to call again and again risking chips.
3. 3. Fold.

Betting. When Should You NOT Bet? You should not bet against a calling
station when you do not have a pair. They will keep calling you and possibly
win with a pair of 2's or 3's. You should not bet with bottom pair against a tight
player when the board has an ace and a king on board and you have a pair of
7's. You should not bet when your hand is solely 2 live cards and a loose
aggressive player is in the hand with you for they, much like the calling station,
may have a pair or two.

Raising. When Should You Raise? By Raise we mean preflop and beyond that it
means ReRaise being that Bet and Raise mean exactly the same thing. When it
comes to raising preflop you should always raise with good cards to avoid
limpers coming in and flopping 3 of a kind 2's (happened to one of our editors
at his first casino tournament when he failed to raise with AT as the big blind,
flop came A 2 2, opponent had limped in with Q2 off suit.) You can also raise in
late position or as the big blind to at least narrow down the field of possible
competition in the hand on the flop. Raising in Early Position usually signals to
the table that you have a very strong hand and will most likely not be called by

anyone unless they have AA, KK, QQ, AK, etc. Raising in Middle Position is risky
unless you have the cards to back it up. Some players like to protect their
blinds and will call then raise you on the flop or will reraise you preflop just to
test you and your commitment to your hand. As for flop,turn, river reraising
you should reraise an opponent if you are on a flush or straight draw to take
control of the hand. If all your opponent had was top pair they are much more
likely to go into check mode in the later rounds of betting. Also reraise
opponents who do exactly what we just told you to do above if you have 2 pair
or trips and there is not a straight/flush on the board. If there is a straight or
flush on the board and you bet with 2 pair/trips and were reraised you should
most likely fold your hand. As for 2 pair vs. trips if you are the one holding 2
pair and bet, then are reraised and you reraise again your opponent will either
fold or reraise again. Most people when they make trips won't settle unless
they double up on the hand. By you reraising them you can test their
commitment to the hand. We never said reraise all in, we just said reraise.
Don't put all your chips on the line when you are simply trying to feel out your
opponent. If you've been paying attention to how they play you will also have a
better idea on whether or not they have the trips or are simply on a steal bet
with their reraise and play accordingly.

Raising. When Should You NOT Raise? When you have weak cards and are
playing against a loose player, a calling station or have a tight player in the
hand against you. You should also not raise when you know your hand is

Calling. When Should You Call? When you want to limp in from middle or late
position with a powerful drawing hand or if you are slow playing an opponent
and know your hand cannot be beaten. (note. 4 of a kind is not unbeatable. we
have a friend who was at a casino in may of 05. he had AK hearts his opponent
had pocket jacks. flop came jack of hearts ten of hearts and some other card.
the opponent bet and our friend called. turn came the remaining jack in the
deck. both players checked. river was the queen of hearts and the guy with 4
jacks went all in, was called and lost to a royal flush.) Make sure you know how
to read a board WELL if you plan on slow playing. A bad read of a board (for
instance not noticing the inside straight draw or assuming your opponent would
never be going for an inside straight draw) can cost you all of your chips.

You may also want to consider calling when you know you're beat on the flop
but have a lot of chips and feel like taking a stupid risk that may or may not
pay off. In this situation raising would be the wrong thing to do. Let's say you
have 76 suited hearts and are up against AK suited diamonds. The opponent
with AK suited is weak so they only made a minimum pre flop bet (which told
you he had either AA, KK, AK etc.) and you called to see the flop. Flop comes
Ah 7c 5h. You know he has an ace but feel like testing your luck to see if you
can catch your flush. Reraising the weak player here would be the wrong move
because they would simply move all in on you and you don't want to risk that

many chips on a 30 something percent flush draw and middle pair. (weak
players tend to bet small until they feel intimidated and will then go all in with
their AK, AQ, etc regardless of if they have a pair or not.) So you call their
small bet that they for some reason believe removed all the necessary
competition to leave them up against someone with AJ or AT. Turn card comes
8s. Now you're 4 to the flush, 4 to the straight, and have middle pair. All your
opponent has is an ace. 9 outs for your flush, 6 outs for your straight (yes we
know it should say 8. 2 of your straight cards are already included in the flush),
2 cards to make trips, and 3 cards to make 2 pair. Wow, that’s 20 outs. At this
point you could reraise your opponent being that there aren't too many cards in
the deck that can hurt you (20/46 will help you, 26/46 will hurt you) but being
that your chip commitment is still relatively low in the hand it's safer just to
call based on IMPLIED ODDS. Implied odds simply means that you know your
opponent will go all in on the river after you make your hand because to this
kind of player AK is unbeatable except by AA. So you catch your river card and
the AK bets into you with top pair and you reraise them all in taking a huge
chip stack by calling. Of course if you didn't catch your river card you could
have just folded and lost a small pot rather than risking all your chips on the
draw. Knowing how your opponent plays told you in this example to call rather
than raise.

Calling. When Should You NOT Call? Any time you have a hand and want to
have a chance of winning. By simply calling along the whole time you have no
idea if your top pair aces with a 6 kicker is good or not. You're risking chips
with absolutely no information about your opponent’s hands. They could be on
a flush or straight draw and simply betting to try to get rid of you. Or they
might even be bluffing. If you're just calling you will also never have any
control over the hand. Keep calling along on straight and flush draws and watch
your stack drop to nothing when you don't catch. Professionals always say the
difference between a pro and an amateur is an amateur always calls, a pro
bets or folds.

Checking. When Should You Check? When you're the big blind and have
horrible cards and don't want to throw any more away trying to pull off a stone
cold bluff. You also want to check when you didn't catch anything on the flop
or are slow playing trips on the flop, turn, or river into an aggressive opponent
that you know will bet AND there are no draws, straights, flushes or anything
similar that could beat your hand. Checking to try and get a free look at the
turn or river to finish your straight or flush works as well but if someone bets
you need to reraise them or fold, not call.

Checking. When Should You NOT Check? If you flop trips but there is a
possible straight/flush draw out there DO NOT CHECK. You are giving your
opponents a free look at the next card to beat you and take all your money.
Never check with top pair, two pair, flopped straights or flushes, etc because it
gives your opponent a chance to beat you. Checking a flopped nut boat or four

of a kind is totally acceptable but checking a hand that is not the nuts is a
surefire way to throw away chips in later rounds of betting if you know you're
not going to fold.

Folding. When Should You Fold? When you have low pairs, small draws, or
anything else you wouldn't raise with in Early Position; when you have weak
cards in Middle Position; when you have extremely weak cards in Late Position;
when you have weak cards in the blinds and someone raised the pot and you
aren't a blinds protector kind of player. You should fold any time you think you
are beat and don't want to raise the pot (unless of course you're playing against
the type of player we suggested calling against). Most of the time its either
fold or raise.

Folding. When Should You Not Fold? Cheap limp ins, inexpensive draws,
checking to the river, etc. Do not fold when there are no bets coming to you
unless you were in the big blind and know your 7 high won't win the showdown
at the river.

Should You Use Bluffing In Your Game? Absolutely. If you never bluff then
your opponents (if they are paying attention) will be able to put you on a hand
every time you bet.

Types of Bluffs:

Stone Cold Bluff - You have rags and start betting knowing you have 0
chance of winning the hand
Semi Bluff - Betting on straight draws, flush draws, with middle pair or
any other hand that may or may not improve by the river. You have a
chance at winning the hand you just haven't clenched it yet.
Representing The Flop - You throw out a big bet on the flop when
there's a high card, 3 to a flush, an obvious straight, etc. Your bet makes
your opponents think you flopped something better than their hand. This
style of bluff is usually executed with a pre flop raise followed by a bet
on the flop.
This can also work on the turn and would have the same title only the
word flop is replaced by turn. Again you would want to throw out a
pre flop raise (medium sized raise to cause opponents to think you
have a medium sized pocket pair), check the flop then raise the turn.

When Should You Bluff? Execute Stone Cold Bluffs when you are in Late
Position and no real betting has taken place. Or try executing a Stone
Cold Bluff when a "scare card" comes. Examples of scare cards would
include a card that is larger than everything previously on the board, an
obvious straight draw or a flush draw. Inside/Gut shot straight draws are
harder to represent because a good deal of opponents won't even see
the straight draw and will discredit your raise. Throwing out a large bet
in Early Position is likely to get you into trouble unless you've been seen
as a tight player, then opponents will most likely (unless they're bad,
have a really good hand, or have a read on you) fold to you.

As for Semi Bluffing do that when it’s your turn to act OR check then
reraise an opponent who throws out a bet.

Representing the flop or turn should also be done in Late Position that
way you know all of your opposition is weak and will (most likely) fold to
your bet. Trying to represent the flop in Early Position may land you in a
stand off with someone who really has cards on the flop, or they may
give your pre flop and flop raise credit and drop the hand.

When Should You NOT Bluff? You should NEVER under any
circumstances try to bluff a bad player. The reason being is that bad

players don't know you are trying to make a move on them and will call
regardless. You should also not bluff a calling station and wait to
execute bluffs on the river against Fishermen. Fishermen seem to call
every bet regardless of size until they failed to make their draw on the
river, at which point you can take the pot from them. You should also
never try to bluff a tight player who is in the hand and is BETTING.
Bluffing loose players may land you in a world of hurt as well being that
they can operate similar to a calling station. You also do not want to
bluff desperate players during a tournament. A desperate player is on
the short stack and is more likely to take chances to double up than
anyone else at the table. If the short stack is in the blinds, however, you
may have a much better chance at getting him to lay down the hand
depending on the player and their attitude toward any 2 live cards can
win a pot.

How Do You Keep From Constantly Getting Caught On Bluffs? First you
have to bet big enough to scare people out of the pot. This new
minimum raise frenzy sweeping the nation will not cut it when it comes
to bluffing. You also cannot have the exact same betting
pattern/number of chips you throw out every time you are pulling a
move. Raising every time you have a straight or flush draw is another
way to get yourself into trouble. Sometimes you have to lay down the
draws. Variation is the key to winning pots. If your opponents label you
as a bluffer they are much more likely to call you in the future.

NOTE - None of these techniques should be executed with an 'all in' maneuver
unless you have a great read on your opponent and know he will not call you. Going
all in puts ALL your chips on the line and can be a costly gamble. Just because Chris
Moneymaker did it in 2003 doesn't make it a good play. Most people agree if Sammy
Farha had caught on to Moneymaker's tell (He was STARING right at Farha)
Moneymaker would have been busted out.

Starting Hands Chart Grouped By
In Texas Hold Em there are 169 possible starting hands if you exclude
classifying by Spade, Heart, Diamond, and Club. Depending on your Position
at the table you will want to play your hands differently. The value of your
cards is also determined by how many chips you have versus how large the
blinds are in a tournament format. If you are the short stack you may not
want to enter late in position with certain hands but would raise in early
position with face cards in hopes of doubling up. Phil 'The Unibomber' Laak
suggests short stacks go all in with cards that's total face value is 18 or
greater (quoted from E's Hollywood Hold Em where The Unibomber served
as the dealer.) Anyone who has ever played blackjack should know what
cards total up to 18 or higher (exception: in Blackjack AA is only worth 12
and you would always split. In poker if you are on the short stack you should
definitely know the move to make.)


Red means raise in that position

Early Position Hands

AA , KK , QQ , JJ , TT , AK , AQ , AJ , AT , KQ , KJ , KT , QJ , QT , JT
Off suit AK , AQ , KQ

Middle Position Hands

/ 99 , 88 , 77 , 66 , A9 , A8 , A5 , A4 , A3 , A2 , K9 , Q9 , J9 , J8 , T9 ,
Pocket T8 , 98
Off suit AJ , AT , A9 , KJ , KT , QJ , QT , JT

Other Notes: Raise with every hand from the Early Position Chart
aside from KT, QT, and JT suited. Also reraise with QQ and JJ
because someone from Early Position may be trying to make a

play at the pot (players usually don't raise from early position
unless they're strong or are trying to make a play. Test them on it
to determine which of the 2 categories they fall into. Every hand
on the list aside from the pocket pairs and A9, A8 have a chance
at making a straight. They are either connected or have a 1, 2 or
3 card gap. K9 and AT are the only 2 hands on this list that have a
3 card gap.

Late Position Hands

/ 55 , 44 , 33 , 22 , A7 , A6 , K8 , K7 , K6 , K5 , K4 , K3 , K2 , Q8 , Q7 ,
Pocket J7 , T7 , T6 , 97 , 96 , 87 , 86 , 76 , 75 , 65 , 54 , 43
Off suit A8 , A5 , A4 , A3 , A2 , K9 , Q9 , J9 , T9 , T8 , T7 , 98 , 87 , 76 , 65

Other Notes: When you are in late position you can raise with
pretty much any hand from the Early Position and Middle Position
charts. T9 and below suited are questionable at best for a raise
but if you raise with face cards you should be in decent shape
unless someone was playing Big Slick or AA in early position
praying for someone to raise the pot. The main reason you want
to raise with a lot more hands in Late Position is to A) remove any
Limpers with weak hands from seeing flops B) remove any tight
players from seeing flops C) remove players who feel they don't
want to risk the extra chips due to chip stack size. Also, because
the blinds are forced bets those players may have been dealt 3 2
off suit and have no intention of playing. Or they may have pocket
rockets in which case they'll (most likely) reraise you at which
point you can fold and save yourself some chips. Aside from the
pocket pairs A8, A7, A6, Kx suited, and Q7 all the hands
mentioned above can make a straight with the proper flop.

Small Blind

Suited Q6 , Q5 , Q4 , Q3 , Q2 , J6 , T2 , 95 , 85 , 84 , 74 , 73 , 72 , 64 , 63
Cards , 53 , 42 , 32
A7 , A6 , K8 , K7 , K6 , K5 , Q8 , Q7 , Q6 , J8 , J7 , T6 , T2 , 97 , 96 ,
Off suit
95 , 86 , 85 , 84 , 75 , 74 , 73 , 72 , 64 , 63 , 54 , 43 , 32

You've already partly paid to see a flop, why not pay the whole way? If you can
afford it, that is. All the hands on the small blind chart have the possibility to
make a straight (except for 72 and T2, those are just fun to win with because
everyone can have a good laugh about it, or start a fist fight). Keep in mind
that you will be first to act on the flop so if you don't hit anything you have
absolutely no information about the other players hands and will most likely be
forced to check and fold. If you aren't willing to take a gamble do not call with
any of these hands. A good portion of the hands on the small blind chart are
controversial at best and don't have a very good chance of winning.
Nevertheless, if you do manage to catch something you'll be glad that you
didn't fold the small blind. As we said before, only call out of the small blind
with these hands IF YOU CAN AFFORD TO. If you're on the short stack in the
small blind and have any of the above hands its probably a good idea to fold (or
if there aren't many players in the pot possibly an all in stone cold bluff to pick
up your chips as well as the big blinds and anyone else who was in then folded).
After all, you do have 2 live cards. This will backfire on you if anyone is playing
tournament style call the short stack with any two cards system. Know your
opponents before trying to pull any sort of bluff.

Big Blind

Winning with a garbage hand you normally wouldn't play with is known as the
'Big Blind Special.' As the Big Blind you have wonderful position Pre Flop but
terrible position on the Flop. You will either be second (if the small blind calls)
or first (if the small blind folds) to act on the flop. With weaker starting hands
probably safer to check. With a strong starting hand it's definitely better to
raise. There are 2 reasons for this: 1) You will remove any limpers who may
have caught something lucky on the flop and 2) Players may put you on a
Position bet (players who bet on the Dealer Button or the Big Blind are typically
assumed to be making Position bets to buy the pot) and if/when your strong
hand hits you may end up winning a larger pot due to the assumptions of the
other players at the table.

Types of Hands and the type of action you are looking for

Large Pairs - Best against as few opponents as possible to avoid the risk
of being outdrawn
Medium Sized Pairs - Best against many opponents to justify making a
Small Sized Pairs - Best against as many opponents as you can get to
justify making a call
Drawing Hands - Best against many opponents to justify making a call

Other Notes

Please send us as much hate mail as you'd like for including 73, 72, and T2 on
the list of playable starting hands out of the small blind.

There are many different strategies on what hands should/should not be played
in a certain position. This is just an idea of what you could do, not what you
should do. No 2 hands are alike, sometimes your terrible cards in the blind
might flop a boat other times your AK suited might not even pair up and lose to
some incredibly loose calling station who (because he's a calling station) called
your all in bet with 85 off suit.

Starting Hands List For A Tight Player (note: do not rely on this list entirely
when playing against a tight player. this is a list of the hands a tight player will
most likely play. There are a few on here a Tight Player might not even
consider playing as well.) This Chart does NOT cover position, only the starting
hands a tight player might play (it doesn't really need to cover position, these
are the stronger hands in Texas Hold Em)

AA , KK , QQ , JJ , TT , 99 , 88 , 77 , AK , AQ , AJ , AT , A9 , A8 , A7
Pair /
, A6 , A5 , A4 , A3 , A2 , KQ , KJ , KT , K9 , K8 , QJ , QT , Q9 , Q8 ,
JT , J9 , J8 , T9 , 98
AK , AQ , AJ , AT , A9 , A8 , KQ , KJ , KT , K9 , QJ , QT , Q9 , JT , J9
Off suit
, T9

The 106 Starting Hands You May (or
may not) Want To Play
AAp , KKp , QQp , JJp , AKs , TTp , AQs , AKo , 99p , KQs , AQo , AJs
7 Votes
, ATs , 88p , KQo , A9s , A8s , A7s , A6s , A5s
77p , 66p , A4s , A3s , A2s , KJs , QJs , KTs , AJo , QTs , JTs , T9s ,
6 Votes
K9s , Q9s , J9s , J8s , T8s , JTo , QJo , KJo , QTo
5 Votes 55p , 44p , KTo , ATo , T9o , 98s , 87s , 97s , K8s , K7s
Q8s , K6s , 76s , A9o , 86s , 65s , 33p , 22p , K5s , K4s , K3s , K2s ,
4 Votes
T7s , J9o
3 Votes T8o , 96s , 54s , 75s , 85s , J7s , K9o , Q9o
2 or Q7s , Q6s , Q5s , Q4s , Q3s , J6s , J5s , T6s , 98o , 87o , 76o , J8o ,
Less 64s , 53s , 43s , Q2s , 74s , 42s , 32s , 65o , 54o , 43o , A8o , A7o ,
Votes A6o , A5o , A4o , A3o , A2o , K8o , K7o , K6o , Q8o

How should you use this chart you ask? If the hand appears in the 7 votes box
then that means all 7 of our celebrity judges like the hand and its odds of
winning. If the hand appears in the 6 votes box then its still most likely a very
good hand. 6 out of 7 is 86%. If it’s in the 5 its probably still a good hand, 4 its
turning into a mediocre hand, 3 is worse than 4 and 2 or less are more
preference hands than anything.

How did you compile the information for this chart? We took 7 already designed
playing systems that tell you what to fold in LATE POSITION then threw every
hand that wasn't a fold in late position on a giant list and went hand by hand
determining how many 'votes' each hand received. Our judges systems ranged
from incredibly tight (a whole 29 hands to work with) all the way up to 86
hands. Here's the breakdown: 29; 42; 50; 68; 84; 84; 86. Now these hands don't
come with an instruction manual so play them at your own risk. Just because 7
poker systems included the hand doesn't mean it’s the best hand in the world.
A5 suited for example was on everyone's list simply because you can make a
straight or a flush with it (if you get lucky enough to catch that kind of flop).
There is no real order to the list other than how many votes each hand
received and was placed on the table randomly solely because we placed each
hand according to when we ran across it on our cross out sheet.

Keep in mind there are 169 different starting hands in Texas hold em and our
list has 106 of them. Pick and choose from the list above and create your own
favorite hands list. Study the 106 hands above as well. If your opponent is a
statistics player he will most likely be playing with a good portion of the hands
above and nothing else. Statistics players usually don't stray into 72 off suit
territory making huge raises like some aggressive players do. One of our editors
is famous for making huge raises (as well as making incredible straight flushes

and such) with 73 in fake money games online. Granted it is fake money but its
still funny.

The trick to placing in a free roll
The easiest way to place in a free roll is to avoid playing a lot of pots in the
beginning regardless of what cards you have. Making a huge pre flop raise when
you hold AK suited will only scare out the few dozen people (maybe hundred)
who either care about playing good poker or know what good poker is. Your
huge raise will not chase out the guy holding A7 off suit or K3 off suit for that
matter. We know most players will disagree with us for saying this but you
should limp in with big hands in the early rounds unless its AA or KK. Even QQ
and JJ have the potential for huge losses when your opponent decides its time
for him to go all in with his K5 off suit. Limping in with AA and KK though is a
terrible idea. If you let them limp in they may catch 2 pair and you'll wind up
broke. We've seen it happen more times than we can count. As your opponents
begin to drop out of the tournament and the blinds increase your chances of
winning increase exponentially. Even with a stack of 600 chips in a 1000-
starting chip tournament (because you were eaten away by the blinds) you still
have an extremely good shot at placing. The reason behind this is that a good
portion of the players with large chip stacks at this point in the tournament
either A) acquired them through a series of questionable calls or B) acquired
them by having AA,KK,etc early on when anyone and everyone at the table
were going all in. Of course option C is they are actually a good card player and
you should be able to tell the difference right away. If the large stack is either
A or B , however, your all in of 600 chips when you finally catch AA will, more
often then not, be called and you'll immediately double up (if not triple up)as
well as pick up all the blinds and antes that were in the pot. Let the fish kill off
the other fish at the beginning. A shark doesn't want to feed on a bunch of
little fish. He wants to feed on 1 (or a couple) large, plump fish.

In real tournaments with players who have some sort of idea of what they're
doing stealing blinds and bluffing are useful tools. These tools can be used later
on in the free roll tournament but should be avoided early. Keep in mind that
the worst player to try and bluff is the bad player because he doesn't know
what you're trying to do. A good player is more likely to fold his bottom pair 3's
than a bad one. Remember that the key to winning in poker is understanding
how your opponents think. Even pros have trouble playing against the amateurs
(this is why Moneymaker and Raymer won, although Raymer's victory is much
less questionable to us than Moneymaker's after seeing Moneymaker win pot
after pot with terrible calls.) In free rolls bad players know they're going to lose
so their game follows that mentality. Questionable calls to them are not
questionable in their minds. If you plan on playing any pots in the early rounds
stick to mostly speculative hands or large suited connectors/face cards. Beware
of opponents who have the same strategy as we've mentioned (limping in with
quality hands) as well. We've all lost a lot of pots with KQ suited when a King
hit on the flop because our opponent was slow playing AK suited by not making
a preflop raise. Which is another reason why we don't suggest playing a lot of

hands in the early rounds. You have to watch out for the lucky guys, the slow
players, and the bad players making huge illogical bets all at the same time.
The slow player who ends up involved in too many hands early on with premium
hands preflop is likely to wind up losing to an early limper with 9 3 off suit who
caught 2 pair on the flop when the slow player caught top pair aces.

Basically you're damned if you raise and don't catch and your damned if you
don't raise and only catch a pair in the early rounds. Free rolls are like war
zones in the beginning. Let the bad players destroy the other bad players and
pick your spots with care. KQ suited is a great hand against good players but
can be a terrible hand against a bad one. As the field thins your great hands
will once again be great hands and you'll be able to play quality poker against
better players but in the early rounds its best just to avoid battles altogether.

AA Hand Matchups
% You Will Make By River
in 100,000 Games

Royal Flush - 0.007%

Straight Flush - 0.09%
4 of a Kind - 0.84%
Full House - 8.84%
Flush - 1.98%
Straight - 3.47%
Three of a Kind - 21.39%
Two Pair - 49.16%

Pocket Pairs
Cards Winner Loser Tie %
% %
KK of both matching suits 82.36 17.09 0.54
KK with 1 suit matching 81.71 17.82 0.46
KK with no matched suits 81.06 18.55 0.38
QQ of both matching suits 81.97 17.51 0.52
QQ with 1 suit matching 81.33 18.24 0.43
QQ with no matched suits 80.69 18.96 0.35
JJ with both cards matching suits 81.58 17.93 0.49
JJ with 1 suit matching 80.94 18.65 0.41
JJ with no matched suits 80.31 19.36 0.33
TT with both cards matching suits 81.19 18.36 0.46
TT with 1 suit matching 80.56 19.06 0.38
TT with no suit matching 79.93 19.77 0.30
99 with both cards matching suits 81.31 18.25 0.44
99 with 1 suit matching 80.68 18.96 0.36
99 with no suit matching 80.05 19.66 0.28
88-33 look about the same as the rest 80-81%
22 with both matching suits 82.60 16.83 0.57
22 with 1 suit matching 81.95 17.51 0.54
22 with no suit matching 81.30 18.20 0.50

From the top 24 starting hands (AK, AQ, AJ, etc)

Cards Winner Loser Tie %
% %
AK Suited 87.23 11.51 1.26
AK off suit (K not matching either of the AA) 91.95 6.80 1.25
AK off suit (K matches one of the suits in AA) 92.80 5.86 1.35
AQ Suited 86.84 11.92 1.24
AQ off suit (Q not matching either of the AA) 91.93 7.24 1.24
AQ off suit (Q matches one of the suits in AA) 92.37 6.30 1.33
AJ Suited 86.45 12.32 1.23
AJ offsuit (J not matching either of the AA) 91.10 7.67 1.22
AJ off suit (J matches one of the suits in AA) 91.93 6.75 1.32
AT Suited 86.05 12.72 1.22
AT off suit (T not matching either of the AA) 90.68 8.11 1.21
AT off suit (T matches one of the suits in AA) 91.50 7.19 1.31
KQ Suited (not matching suit in AA) 82.13 17.50 0.38
KQ Suited (matching suit in AA) 83.33 16.21 0.46
KQ off suit (K or Q matching suit in A) 86.92 12.68 0.41
KQ off suit (K and Q matching suit in A) 87.65 11.86 0.49
KQ off suit (neither matching suit in A) 86.18 13.49 0.33
QJ Suited (not matching suit in A) 80.12 19.52 0.36
QJ Suited (matching suit in A) 81.26 18.30 0.44
QJ off suit (Q or J matching suit in A) 84.74 14.88 0.38
QJ off suit (Q and J matching suit in A) 85.43 14.10 0.46
QJ off suit ( neither matching suit in AA) 84.04 15.66 0.30
JT Suited (not matching suit in A) 78.12 21.55 0.34
JT Suited (matching suit in A) 79.19 20.39 0.42
JT off suit (J or T matching suit in A) 82.56 17.08 0.36
JT off suit (J and T matching suit in A) 83.22 16.34 0.44
JT off suit ( neither matching suit in AA) 81.90 17.82 0.28
KJ Suited (not matching suit in A) 81.73 17.90 0.37
KJ Suited (matching suit in A) 82.92 16.63 0.45
KJ off suit (K or J matching suit in A) 86.49 13.12 0.39
KJ off suit (K and J matching suit in A) 87.21 12.32 0.47
KJ off suit (neither matching suit in AA) 85.76 13.92 0.31
QT Suited (not matching suit in A) 79.73 19.93 0.35
QT Suited (matching suit in A) 80.85 18.72 0.43
QT off suit (Q or T matching suit in A) 84.30 15.33 0.37
QT off suit (Q and T matching suit in A) 85.00 14.56 0.45
QT off suit (neither matching suit in AA) 83.62 16.09 0.29
J9 Suited (not matching suit in A) 78.69 20.98 0.33
J9 Suited ( matching suit in A) 79.82 19.77 0.41

J9 off suit (J or 9 matching suit in A) 83.19 16.46 0.35
J9 off suit (J and 9 matching suit in A) 83.87 15.70 0.43
J9 off suit (neither matching suit in AA) 82.51 17.22 0.27

Random Hands We Picked To Go Heads Up

Cards Winner Loser Tie %
% %
72 suited (not matching suit in A) 83.12 16.51 0.38
72 off suit (neither matching suit in AA) 87.24 12.40 0.36
T2 suited (not matching suit in A) 82.93 16.69 0.38
T2 off suit (neither matching suit in AA) 87.03 12.60 0.37
T9 suited (not matching suit in A) 77.07 22.61 0.32
T9 off suit (neither matching suit in A) 80.79 18.95 0.26
98 suited (not matching suit in A) 77.22 22.47 0.30
98 off suit (neither matching suit in AA) 80.97 18.79 0.24
87 suited (not matching suit in A) 76.83 22.87 0.29
87 off suit (neither matching suit in AA) 80.55 19.22 0.23
76 suited (not matching suit in A) 76.81 22.87 0.32
76 off suit (neither matching suit in AA) 80.52 19.22 0.26
65 suited (not matching suit in A) 76.76 22.87 0.37
65 off suit (neither matching suit in AA) 80.47 19.21 0.32

This is the reason to raise preflop with AA

6 Handed Game

AA 98o Qjo 55 63s T2o TIE

35.47 13.82 17.38 12.82 12.76 7.66 0.09

80% to 35% huh? Still want to avoid raising pre flop with AA? QJ off suit now has
a 3% higher chance to win the pot than when it was only heads up with the AA.

10 Handed Game

AA KK QQ JJ TT 99 88 77 66 55 TIE
25.07 19.29 13.65 10.36 7.89 5.82 4.57 4.17 4.40 4.76 0.02
AA A2o KQo 98o 56o 43o T7o T2o 72o K5o TIE
26.76 1.61 14.03 15.79 10.81 11.21 5.78 1.15 1.23 3.21 Varies

Its winning percentage went from averaging a little better than 80% all the way
down to 25% in a 10-player game.

Also look at the drawing power of the connected cards that aren't even suited.
98 has a great chance to win this pot, its only 10% the AA!
If the 98 off suit flops an 8 out straight it actually becomes favored over the
AA. Ironically a flop containing both a T and a 7 (giving the T7 two pair) places
T7 at a disadvantage against the 8 out 98 straight draw.

When we change 1 event preflop(98 off suit to 98 suited) everyone else loses
half a percent or so and 98 moves from a 15.79% shot to pick up the pot all the
way up to 19.48%, now less than 10% away from the AA preflop.

AK suited and off suit Hand Matchups
% You Will Make By River % You Will Make By River
in 100,000 Games in 100,000 Games

Royal Flush - 0.07% Royal Flush - 0.03%

Straight Flush - 0.32% Straight Flush - 0.12%
4 of a Kind - 0.13% 4 of a Kind - 0.14%
Full House - 2.27% Full House - 2.29%
Flush - 6.57% Flush - 1.92%
Straight - 5.61% Straight - 5.57%
Three of a Kind - 6.82% Three of a Kind - 6.90%
Two Pair - 25.42% Two Pair - 25.31%
One Pair - 77.64% One Pair - 77.50%

Pocket Pairs
Cards AKs % Other Tie % AKo % Other Tie %
% %
KK 33.69 65.48 0.82 29.60 69.61 0.79
QQ with 1 suit matching 45.65 53.88 0.47 43.03 56.55 0.42
QQ with no matched suits 46.02 53.59 0.39 42.66 56.99 0.34
JJ with 1 suit matching 45.56 53.98 0.46 42.95 56.65 0.41
JJ with no matched suits 45.94 53.68 0.38 42.58 57.09 0.33
TT with 1 suit matching 45.54 54.01 0.45 42.93 56.68 0.39
TT with no suit matching 45.92 53.71 0.36 42.57 57.12 0.31
99 with 1 suit matching 47.01 52.54 0.45 44.53 55.08 0.39
99 with no suit matching 47.43 52.21 0.37 44.16 55.53 0.31
88-55 47.5 – 52.5 - NA 44.3- 55.4- NA
48 51.5 44.8 54.8
44 with 1 suit matching 48.12 51.32 0.56 45.72 53.78 0.50
44 with no suit matching 48.53 50.98 0.49 45.35 54.21 0.44
33 with 1 suit matching 48.71 50.68 0.61 46.35 53.10 0.56
33 with no suit matching 49.12 50.33 0.55 45.98 53.52 0.50
22 with 1 suit matching 49.37 49.96 0.67 47.04 52.34 0.62
22 with no suit matching 49.77 49.60 0.63 46.67 52.75 0.58

From the top 24 starting hands (AK, AQ, AJ, etc)
Cards AK s% Other Tie % AK o % Other Tie %
% %
AK suited (not matching suits) 7.16 7.16 85.69 2.17 7.16 90.67
AK off suit 7.16 2.17 90.67 2.17 2.17 95.65
AQ suited (not matching suits) 69.16 26.61 4.23 67.53 28.06 4.41
AQ off suit (Q not matching suit 73.35 22.24 4.41 71.72 23.69 4.59
of A)
AQ off suit (Q matches suit of 72.96 22.52 4.51 72.41 22.91 4.68
AJ suited (not matching suits) 68.90 26.88 4.22 67.24 28.36 4.40
AJ off suit (J not matching suit 73.06 22.54 4.40 71.41 24.02 4.58
of A)
AJ off suit (J matches suit in A) 72.67 22.83 4.50 72.09 23.24 4.67
AT suited (not matching suits) 68.64 27.15 4.21 66.95 28.65 4.39
AT off suit (T not matching A) 72.77 22.84 4.39 71.09 24.34 4.57
AT off suit (T matches A suit) 72.37 23.13 4.50 71.76 23.58 4.66
KQ Suited (not matching suit in 70.85 27.99 1.16 69.33 29.55 1.12
KQ Suited (matching suit in A) 70.89 27.89 1.22
KQ off suit (Q matching suit in 74.74 24.04 1.22 74.24 24.60 1.16
KQ off suit (not matching suits) 75.15 23.73 1.12 73.63 25.29 1.08
QJ Suited (not matching suit in 65.65 33.74 0.60 60.15 39.40 0.44
QJ Suited (matching suit in A) 62.47 37.03 0.50 61.53 37.94 0.52
QJ off suit (Q or J matching 65.99 33.49 0.52 64.60 34.94 0.47
suit in A)
QJ off suit ( neither matching 66.42 33.14 0.44 64.10 35.51 0.39
suit in A)
JT Suited (not matching suit in 61.02 38.50 0.48 58.61 40.97 0.42
JT Suited (matching suit in A) 63.96 35.45 0.58 59.93 39.57 0.50
JT off suit (J or T matching suit 64.38 35.12 0.50 62.90 36.66 0.44
in A)
JT off suit ( neither matching 64.84 34.74 0.42 62.43 37.21 0.37
suit in A)
KJ Suited (not matching suit in 70.59 28.26 1.15 69.04 29.85 1.11
KJ Suited (matching suit in A) 70.59 28.20 1.21
KJ off suit (J matching suit in 74.45 24.34 1.21 73.92 24.93 1.15

KJ off suit (not matching suits) 74.86 24.03 1.11 73.31 25.62 1.07
QT Suited (not matching suit in 62.18 37.33 0.49 59.84 39.73 0.43
QT Suited (matching suit in A) 65.32 34.08 0.59 61.21 38.28 0.51
QT off suit (Q or T matching 65.67 33.82 0.51 64.25 35.30 0.45
suit in A)
QT off suit (neither matching 66.10 33.47 0.43 63.76 35.86 0.38
suit in A)
J9 Suited (not matching suit in 62.21 37.32 0.48 59.82 39.76 0.42
J9 Suited ( matching suit in A) 65.31 34.11 0.58 61.22 38.28 0.50
J9 off suit (J or 9 matching suit 65.64 33.86 0.50 64.23 35.33 0.44
in A)
J9 off suit (neither matching 66.13 33.46 0.42 63.74 35.90 0.36
suit in A)

Random Hands We Picked To Go Heads Up

Cards AKs % Other Tie % AKo % Other Tie %
% %
72 suited (not matching suit in 64.88 34.61 0.51 62.61 36.94 0.45
72 off suit (not matching suit in 69.06 30.45 0.49 66.79 32.78 0.43
T2 suited (not matching suit in 65.38 34.11 0.52 63.18 36.35 0.47
T2 off suit (not matching suit in 69.54 29.95 0.50 67.35 32.20 0.45
T9 suited (not matching suit in 61.05 38.49 0.47 58.59 41.00 0.41
T9 off suit (not matching suit in 64.87 34.73 0.41 62.41 37.24 0.35
98 suited (not matching suit in 61.89 37.66 0.45 59.42 40.19 0.40
98 off suit (not matching suit in 65.84 33.77 0.39 63.37 36.30 0.33
87 suited (not matching suit in 60.47 39.09 0.44 57.91 41.71 0.38
87 off suit (not matching suit in 64.29 35.34 0.37 61.73 37.96 0.31
76 suited (not matching suit in 60.14 39.42 0.44 57.55 42.06 0.38

76 off suit (not matching suit in 63.93 35.69 0.37 61.35 38.34 0.31
65 suited (not matching suit in 60.15 39.36 0.49 57.57 42.00 0.44
65 off suit (not matching suit in 63.94 35.63 0.43 61.35 38.27 0.38

This is the reason to raise preflop with AK

6 Handed Game

AKs 76o T9o QJo T2s 55 TIE

31.31 10.95 11.35 17.64 10.24 16.72 0.07 / 1.79
(the T's)

Well it does better in multiple way pots than AA that’s for sure. Still dropping
from a 60% favorite in the hand all the way down to a 30% favorite isn't good.
That's winning half as many pots and therefore only putting half as much (if not
less) money in your pocket.

10 Handed Game

AKs 76o QJo T6o 72s 88 Q4o 94s 33 A2o TIE

17.40 3.52 10.93 7.79 7.28 16.98 2.76 10.44 15.08 2.83 Varies

(note about the 10 handed chart above. There are 5 cards from each suit out to make
things fair to all suits. this is the only chart we have done this with.)

At least we took the lead from the 88 and 33, but not by much from the 88.
Watch what happens though when we wind up with a flop lacking both an ace
and a king. (flop 2 5 T, three different suits, one of them same suit as AKs,
one same suit as 94s, other not same suit as 72s)

AKs 76o QJo T6o 72s 88 Q4o 94s 33 A2o TIE

14.29 1.97 13.79 23.40 6.65 9.36 1.23 6.16 10.84 9.61 0.74 2's /
1.97 4's

There went the lead. Second best isn't bad but it also won't win us any money

Outs, Odds Against, and Pot Odds

Outs Turn % Odds Against River % Odds Against Turn and River %
1 2.13% 46 to 1 2.17% 45 to 1 4.26%
2 4.26% 22.5 to 1 4.35% 22 to 1 8.42%
3 6.38% 14.67 to 1 6.52% 14.33 to 1 12.49%
4 8.51% 10.75 to 1 8.70% 10.5 to 1 16.47%
5 10.64% 8.4 to 1 10.87% 8.2 to 1 20.35%
6 12.77% 6.83 to 1 13.04% 6.67 to 1 24.14%
7 14.89% 5.71 to 1 15.22% 5.57 to 1 27.84%
8 17.02% 4.88 to 1 17.39% 4.75 to 1 31.45%
9 19.15% 4.22 to 1 19.57% 4.11 to 1 34.97%
10 21.28% 3.7 to 1 21.74% 3.6 to 1 38.39%
11 23.40% 3.27 to 1 23.91% 3.18 to 1 41.72%
12 25.53% 2.92 to 1 26.09% 2.83 to 1 44.96%
13 27.66% 2.62 to 1 28.26% 2.54 to 1 48.10%
14 29.79% 2.36 to 1 30.43% 2.29 to 1 51.16%
15 31.91% 2.13 to 1 32.61% 2.07 to 1 54.12%

2 outs would be for anyone trying to turn their pocket pair into 3 of a kind, 3
outs if you already have a pair and are trying to make 2 pair (using ONLY your
hole cards), 4 is an inside straight draw or their 2 pair into a full house, 8 is an
open ended straight draw, 9 is for a flush draw, 12 would be for an inside
straight draw completing to EITHER a straight or flush, 15 is an open ended
straight flush draw completing to EITHER a straight or a flush.

All odds against are to 1. For example if you have 1 out in the hand and are
trying to figure out your odds against all the way to the river you are 22.5 to 1.
In other words you are going to have to play this exact same hand 23.5 times
for you to win once.

Odds against are used to figure out Pot Odds. Pot Odds are the ratio of
potential winnings compared to the cost of your call. Use this mathematical
formula. Money in Pot divided by Cost To Make The Call. Let's say there is 500
in the pot and the cost for you to call is 200. 500/200=2.5. You would only
want to call this bet if you had 14 or more outs because the Odds against those
hands are less than 2.5. Fold anything with greater odds against than the
number you determined by using this formula.

Are you a fan of percentages as opposed to a fan of x to 1 odds? Use this

formula instead. Cost To Call divided by (Money In Pot + Cost To Call)

multiplied by 100 equals the percent chance your hand has to win to give you
the proper pot odds to call. 200/(500+200)=0.285*100 and we have 28.57%.
Fold any % that is less than the percentage you determine with this

You should figure pot odds only for the incoming card. Pot odds must be
redetermined on every incoming card. Never try to figure out pot odds for both
turn and river percentages because your opponent will have the opportunity to
make the hand more expensive for you to call the river on the turn. Your draw
may be affordable to see a turn but not the river.

Implied Odds, Bet Odds, Investment
Odds, and Best Case/Worse Case
Implied Odds
Your implied odds in the hand are 'how much money will my opponent continue
you throw into the pot after they see the next cards.' If you are going for an
obvious flush, for example, and put your opponent on a large pair your implied
odds will be lower based on the simple fact that your opponent will stop
betting once the flush card pops up UNLESS you have played the hand in such a
way that the flush card will not scare your opponent away from betting and or
calling. The implied odds are greater on straight draws than on flush draws
because your opponent may be paying less attention to any straights on board
ESPECIALLY if you have an open ended straight with 6 7 as your hole cards and
the board contains 5 8 K. Your implied odds on the straight would be lower if
you held 6 7 and the board contained 8 9 K because the straight is much more
obvious to an opponent. Knowing what cards your opponent has and how they
typically bet their hands is the key to playing with Implied Odds. If you have no
idea what cards your opponent is liable to play nor have any idea how much
they will typically bet versus the kind of hand you are currently going for will
make Implied Odds completely useless to you. Your Implied Odds are much
greater against an opponent who bets regardless of if a flush draw is on board
when you hold a flush than against an opponent who folds the second they see
a flush card pop up on the board.

Your Implied Odds in a hand are typically much higher when you flop trips with
a low pocket pair OR a high pocket pair against an opponent who holds the
same over card than any other hand with the exception of straight draws that
are not obvious to an opponent. Your Implied Odds are also very high when you
hold something along the lines of Big Slick versus an opponent holding KQ when
there is a pair of Kings on board and neither one of you made 2 pair.

Bet Odds
Determining how many players will stay in the hand after you have made your
bet. You use Bet Odds to increase pot sizes to make future plays favorable
based on pot odds. Its basically a way of increasing the size of a pot by knowing
how many players in advance will call a predetermined sized bet. For example
if you had an 8 out straight draw and the pot was 500 in a 50/100 game you
would make a 100 bet and if you believed 6 out of the other 9 players at the
table would call your bet the pot size has now grown to 1200 (500 + 600 from

callers + your 100 bet). Because you have increased the pot size the pot odds
will now be much more in your favor if another opponent bets at you on the
turn. Lets say your opponent bets 200 at you on the turn. 1200/200=6 (your pot
odds.) Your odds against are about 5 to 1 so this is now a favorable call. Had
the flop betting gone check, check there would only be 500 in the pot and
500/200 is 2.5 making it a horrible play for you to call.

Investment Odds
Investment odds are basically the same as pot odds but are based on numbers
you make up in your head before betting. This is why they are on the same
page as implied odds. You determine how large of a pot you believe you will
win multiply it by your percent chance to win then divide that number by the
amount of money you plan on investing in the pot (Total Pot Size*% chance of
winning / Your Total Bets = Investment Odds). You are making the correct play
if your Investment Odds are greater than 1. Let's say you believe the pot is
going to be 1000 and you have a 20% shot at winning. That is 200. Now lets say
you are going to throw 250 into the pot. 200/250 is 0.8. You do not have good
investment odds and are in for a long night of losing. If you were going after
the same 1000 pot with the same odds and planned on only throwing in 200 or
less your Investment Odds would be good and are looking forward to a long
night of winning (unless someone gets lucky and you continually get rivered.)
Investment Odds are used to determine a correct/incorrect play that playing by
normal odds/outs would normally tell you differently (for example drawing to
an inside straight that the outs and current pot odds tell you to fold but the
implied odds of the pot tell you to call.)

Best Case/Worse Case Scenario

When figuring out the odds you have to figure out what will happen if the best-
case scenario for your hand occurs. This is very important when chasing after
straight and flush draws that will not make 'the nuts.' Let's say you hold 4 5 and
the board is 6 7 A. You are hoping to make your open ended straight. If a 3
comes off you have made your straight and there are currently no cards that
can beat you. An opponent who also has made their straight with this hand
would have been 2 5. The player with 2 5 will now think they have the best
hand after completing their inside straight and may begin betting into you.
Now the player holding 2 5 should have figured out the worse case scenario on
the flop and folded immediately. The worse case scenario for the 2 5 would be
'If I make my straight will anyone else have made a higher straight than me?'
You always must think to yourself 'What will happen IF I do make my hand?'
because your hand may be second best. 2 5's best scenario was making the
straight to beat anyone who wasn't also going for the exact same card. Their
worse case scenario was making the 3 and being up against someone who
needed the exact same card. Knowing the worse case scenario for your hand

can allow you to throw away hands that you know are good but not the best to
win that specific hand. The 2 5 is doing the right thing by throwing out a feeler
bet but if reraised should place their opponent on a hand then, if they decide
their opponent was indeed playing 4 5, should fold to avoid further losses. As
for you holding 4 5 there is still a chance your hand can be beat. Worse Case
Scenario for the river card is your opponent completes their open ended
straight with either a 5 or 10 coming up on the river if they hold 8 9. Best
Case/Worse Case scenario is all about being able to read a board, put your
opponent on a hand, and limiting losses in a hand regardless of if you made the
hand you were going for. Being able to throw away a good hand because your
opponent made a better hand is the key to poker as well as the hardest lesson
to learn.

Odds For The Following Events
Being Dealt
Event Odds Against %
AA 220 to 1 0.45%
AK suited 331 to 1 0.30%
AK off suit 110 to 1 0.90%
Ax off suit 5.25 to 1 16%

After Being Dealt A Pocket Pair

Flopping Trips or better 7.5 to 1 11.76%
Flopping Trips 8.3 to 1 10.75%
Flopping A Full House (Boat) 136 to 1 0.73%
Flopping 4 of a kind 407 to 1 0.24 %
Trips or better by the river 4.2 to 1 19.23%

Please note that trips or better by the river includes other opponents beating
you with a better hand. You may make trips on the river but they may make 4
of a kind. Flopping a full house doesn't put you in winning shape either. Your
opponent may have flopped a better full house (example. you hold 77 flop
comes 7AA. Your opponent holds A7. Best example of this would be the opening
scene in Rounders.) Flopping 4 of a kind is the only hand on the list that
ALMOST guarantees victory but could lose to a straight flush if you play too
slow and allow your opponent to beat you (4 Jacks lost to one of our editors'
Royal Flush on the river)

Big Slick
Catching either A or K on 2.08 to 1 32.47%

Holding 2 Unsuited Non Paired Cards You Will Flop

(using 1 or more hole cards)
At least a pair 2.1 to 1 32.47%
A pair 2.5 to 1 28.57%
2 pair (both hole cards) 49 to 1 2%
2 pair (1 hole card) 24 to 1 4%

Trips 73 to 1 1.35%
Boat 1087 to 1 0.09%
4 of a kind 9799 to 1 0.01%

Odds of Flop Being

Trips 424 to 1 0.24%
1 Pair 5 to 1 16.67%

% Your Opponents Do Not Have An Ace Preflop

Opposition You No Ace You 1 Ace
2 72% 88%
3 60% 77%
4 50% 68%
5 40% 59%
6 34% 50%
7 27% 43%
8 22% 36%
9 17% 31%
10 13% 25%

Straight Odds
Being Dealt
Event Odds Against %
Connected Cards 6.4 to 1 13.5%
Suited Connectors 26.6 to 1 3.62%

On The Flop
Connected Cards
AK / A2 Straight 303 to 1 0.33%
KQ / 32 Straight 151.52 to 1 0.66%
KQ / 32 - 8 Out Draw 30.6 to 1 3.27%
QJ / 43 Straight 102 to 1 0.98%
QJ / 43 - 8 Out Draw 15.4 to 1 6.5%
JT - 54 Straight Flush 4899 to 1 0.02%
JT-54 Straight 76.35 to 1 1.31%
JT-54 8 Out Draw 9.6 to 1 10.45%

1 Card Gap
AQ Straight 303 to 1 0.33%
KJ / 42 Straight 151.52 to 1 0.66%
KJ / 42 - 8 Out Draw 25.6 to 1 3.9%
QT / 53 Straight 102 to 1 0.98%
QT / 53 - 8 Out Draw 12.9 to 1 7.76%
J9 - 64 Straight Flush 6532 to 1 0.015%
J9 – 64 Straight 102 to 1 0.98%
J9 - 64 8 Out Draw 12.4 to 1 8.08%

2 Card Gap
KT / 52 Straight 303 to 1 0.33%
KT / 52 - 8 Out Draw 20.41 to 1 4.90%
Q9 - 63 Straight Flush 9799 to 1 0.01%
Q9-63 Straight 151.52 to 1 0.66%
Q9-63 – 8 Out Draw 19.16 to 1 5.22%

3 Card Gap
AT / 5A Straight 303 to 1 0.33%
AT / 5A - 8 Out Draw 144.93 to 1 0.69%
K9 / 62 Straight 303 to 1 0.33%
K9 / 62 - 8 Out Draw 56.5 to 1 1.77%
Q8 / 73 Straight 303 to 1 0.33%
Q8 / 73 - 8 Out Draw 41.5 to 1 2.41%
J7 - 84 Straight Flush 19599 to 1 0.005%
J7 – 84 Straight 303 to 1 0.33%
J7 - 84 - 8 Out Draw 38.31 to 1 2.61%

Long Shot Straight Draws Completing

Open Ended Runner Runner 37 to 1 2.63%
Gut shot Runner Runner 70 to 1 1.41%

Flush Odds
Being Dealt
Event Odds Against %
Suited Cards 3.3 to 1 23.26%
AK suited 331 to 1 0.30%

Holding 2 Suited Cards

Flopping a Flush 118 to 1 0.84%
Flopping At Least 4 Flush 7.5 to 1 11.76%
Flopping 4 to a Flush 8.1 to 1 10.99%
Flopping a Backdoor Flush 1.4 to 1 41.67%
Making Backdoor Flush by 23 to 1 4.17%

Holding 2 Unsuited Cards Non Paired Cards

Flopping 4 to a Flush 88 to 1 1.12%
Flopping a Backdoor Flush 6.8 to 1 12.82%
Making Flush by River 53 to 1 1.85%

Tight - The tight player refuses to play anything but premium hands. Now
depending on what system they use those premium hands could be different
(see why you should learn about many different styles of play.) If the tight
player comes in for a raise you should definitely fold unless you have something
incredibly good ex. AA, KK, AK suited (maybe). Why do we say maybe to AK
suited? Because the tight player most likely has AA or KK and the hand could be
costly. tight players will fold to most bets unless they have an incredibly strong
hand. Feeler bets (small/medium sized raises to test how strong your hand is)
are very useful against a tight player if they are in the hand with you to test
the quality of your hand.

You may want to gain a reputation for being a tight player if you are playing
something other than 2 4 no fold em hold em (most people will call raises for
no reason) because it will allow you to steal blinds quite easily. A great
example of this is Dan Harrington in the 2004 World Series of Poker. He raised
with weak cards and stole the blinds because everyone thinks Harrington only
plays premium hands.

Advantages - Greater % chance of winning the hands you are in, possible bluff

Disadvantages - Impossible to play in 2 4 or any other similar no fold em hold

em game due to multiple callers. Opponents know what hands you are playing
so pots will be small. Blinds will eat you away in tournaments.

Tilt Factor - Very high when outdrawn IF the tight player tilts after losing

Secret to Playing Against - Don't call when they raise. Raise the blinds from
late position if tight player is in small or big blind to either knock them out of
the hand or determine the strength of their hand.

Loose Player - Depending on the skill level and choice of playable cards of the
loose player they could be playing anywhere from 52 different hands to all 169
of them. They tend to believe that any two cards can win a pot and will play a
game that follows that credo. Putting a loose player on a hand is rather
difficult unless you recognize tells or betting patterns. They may catch bottom
pair against your two over cards and be in total control of the hand at that
point. Raises may or may not phase a loose player depending on their skill

level. Some may simply be trying to outdraw you whereas others simply don't
know they're beat.

You may want to be seen as a loose player to bust out opponents when you
finally do catch great cards. The best example we have of this is Gus Hansen in
the Poker Superstars event on Fox Sports. He raised every pot so opponents
could never put him on a hand. When he had great cards opponents would go
all in against him and he'd bust them out. Also loose players may be able to put
their opponents on tilt, causing them to throw away hands that typically they
would play.

Advantages - Opponents have difficulty putting you on a hand. Opponents will

change the size of their bets due to fear of what you may have flopped.

Disadvantages - May flop 2 pair but its low 2 pair. Or your flush is weak. May
be costly playing a lot of flops.

Tilt Factor - Losing a large pot may turn a loose player into a tight player.

Secret to Playing Against - Play your regular game. When you hit an ace high
flush or top 2 pair or 3 of a kind or whatever the nuts happen to be try to
extract as many chips as possible from them. Avoid playing their loose game if
you typically don't play loose.

Calling Station - The name says it all, they call every bet. You can't bluff a
calling station because they refuse to fold for some reason. You may think
having a calling station at the table is good, but think again. Raising with
premium hands against a calling station can be costly if you don't hit anything
(ex. You raise with AK suited and don't get an ace, a king, a straight draw or
even your suit on the flop so you bet again. The calling station may have made
a low pair and is no unfortunately ahead in the hand). The best way to deal
with calling stations is raise large enough to knock out other potential threats
at the table then if you don't hit your hand make either small bets or simply
check to avoid throwing away mounds of chips to the calling station. Phil
Hellmuth has said on his video that calling stations cannot win tournaments but
I disagree. Look at Colin Quinn on Celebrity Poker Showdown. He ended up
winning his heat to make it to the finals. The best way to beat a calling station
is to wait until you make a flush or straight or even two pair then keep betting
large so you can steal their entire stack.

You may wish to be viewed as a calling station in some games to gain mounds
of chips from unsuspecting opponents. If they label you as a calling station they

may bet away their entire stack to you when they have nothing better than
middle pair and have labeled you as an idiot so they don't believe you to be a

Advantages - You win a pot that other players would have folded on the flop or
the turn. Bluffers will throw away chips to you.

Disadvantages - Major loss of chips when you lose a pot.

Tilt Factor - Low. A calling station by nature simply calls all your bets so win or
lose a pot they don't really change much.

Secret To Playing Against - Don't bluff. Don't bet unless you have at least a
pair. Avoid large raises that could be costly if you do not hit your hand.

Passive player - The passive player may be playing properly but is easily
bullied out of pots, similar to the tight player. Unlike the tight player, the
passive player will play more hands, possibly top 42 or 51 or even their own
creation of playable hands. Lack of aggression and fear of other players having
a better hand creates a passive player. The passive player usually has most of
the basic knowledge of how to play poker well ,however, he/she simply can't
pull the trigger with a great hand. Passive players can win pots, don't get us
wrong, but the pots will usually not be as large as they would have been if the
player was more committed to his hands and gut feeling. As with the tight
player you can determine the strength of a passive player's hand with a feeler
bet. Keep in mind that the passive player will be incredibly difficult to trap due
to the simple fact that they know how to play cards they just don't know how
to bet large. Passive players will most likely call rather than raise when they
have a great hand and you may be able to outdraw them even if they flop a
straight or flush. (Ex. One of our editors was playing a game where his
opponent flopped a flush. The opponent was a passive player so he checked the
flop. Our editor had 2 pair. Turn card left him with the same 2 pair and the
passive player bet small. The editor called and rivered a full house. The passive
player then made a large bet to try and cash in on the flopped flush and lost
the hand.)

You may wish to be viewed as a passive player if you wish to set your
opponents up for huge losses later in the game. If they view you as passive then
they will most likely bet large against you in the future to try and scare you off
hands in which you can reraise them and take their stacks. Also playing as a
passive player will keep you in chips until a winning hand does come around
being that you never put too many chips at risk in any previous hands.

Advantages - Smaller losses. Raises may be respected.

Disadvantages - Smaller gains or loss of pots that you would have otherwise
won. Raises may be disrespected and you will be reraised.

Tilt Factor - A few large losses may send a passive player on a 180 tilt causing
them to play overaggressive or loose.

Secret To Playing Against - Avoid setting traps. If you flop top pair with a
weak kicker and the passive player bet try reraising to test his commitment to
the hand. Avoid calling the passive player without at least middle pair (that
you are trying to outdraw for trips. Yes that is a gamble, if you don't want to
gamble then reraise and see what happens).

Aggressive Player - The aggressive player loves to bet at hands. Pre flop, flop,
turn or river the aggressive player loves to bet. If he/she thinks their hand is
best then there will be a bet. Aggressive players also like to bluff. They know
that their aggressive nature can scare off opponents if they throw out large
bets so they may bet with 72 off suit or something of the sort. There are two
things to consider when playing against an aggressive player. The first is the
skill level of the aggressive player. If you are up against an aggressive player
who doesn't know how to play cards well (or is an insecure individual and is
trying to act big) then you'll have a better chance of beating the aggressive
player when you catch a good flop or finally get AA or KK. If the aggressive
player is a skilled poker player, however, he will be much more difficult to
beat when you catch a good flop or great hole cards. The second thing to
consider with the aggressive player is how tight or loose have they been
playing. A tight aggressive player has been playing great cards the majority of
the time a raise has been placed (we say majority because if there isn't a bluff
here or there then the tight aggressive player will be easy to figure out and is
simply a tight aggressive player). A loose aggressive player, however, could be
and most likely is raising with any two cards they like. The loose aggressive
player will be harder to put on a hand but may be easier to bust out of the
game when you have the cards.

You may want to be seen as an aggressive player to steal small pots and build
up your chip stack. Another reason to play aggressively is to tilt your opponents
into dropping their chip stacks to you when you have a great hand because they
simply see you as an opponent who raises with nothing.

Advantages - Intimidation factor. Gain of large pots in won hands. Bluff factor.

Disadvantages - Large fluxuations in chip stack. Players may call your bluffs
based on the fact that you're aggressive.

Tilt Factor - Large losses may turn the aggressive player into a tight player. Or
his raises and attacks on pots will increase to recoup losses.

Secret to Playing Against - Play your game. Don't start calling with garbage
just because you want to beat the aggressive player. By simply playing your
winning game you can take the chips from the aggressive player when he starts
trying to bet you out of a pot with his middle pair against your top pair trips.

'Professional' Player - We're not referring to a real professional poker player

here. The chances of running across a REAL pro in a home game or low stakes
tournament/table game is very small. The 'professional' tries to play his game
the way he believes a professional would play. The 'professional' has most likely
read a book or two and will play the game the way they were told. (Again, read
books so you can identify the professional's style. Your opponent may play like
Hellmuth, Sklansky, Hansen, or whoever their favorite is). Professional's may
tilt if you beat them with cards that they never read about playing in their
book. They may also not be playing for the fun of the game but rather the
money giving them another excuse to tilt if they lose a big pot.

You may want to be viewed as a 'professional' so opponents fear you. (Or laugh
at you behind your back if you constantly lose yet think you play like so and
so.) Being able to talk the talk may give you an advantage over your opponents
but a good 'professional' will be able to walk the walk as well.

Advantages - Players view you as educated.

Disadvantages - Players view you as a 'poser' or otherwise doubt your 'street


Tilt Factor - Very high if you beat them with cards they read you should never
play with. Revenge tilt may take place.

Secret to Playing Against - Trust your gut. Play your game and avoid getting
into mind games with them over what cards you should have or have not called
with. And also learn as much as you can about their favorite player so you can
match their play to their favorite's play and work up a game plan from there.

Casual Player - This player is simply playing for fun or to get together with
friends. The skill level will vary and some casual players may be incredibly
difficult to play against due to their feeling of 'its only x amount of dollars.'
Winning and losing are usually not the concern of a casual player but rather
they are there simply to have a good time and good conversation.

You may want to be viewed as a casual player to put your opponents at ease. If
they think you are playing just for the fun of it you may be able to pick up
chips from people who don't view you as a player but rather someone who was
dragged along just to hang out.

Advantages - It's all fun and games, win or lose.

Disadvantages - No one will fear you or take you seriously. (This may also be an
advantage depending on how you look at it)

Tilt Factor - Incredibly low.

Secret To Playing Against - Remember the casual player may not know too
much about the game. A large raise with AK suited to knock out opponents may
not get rid of a casual player holding A3 off suit simply because they don't know
any better. Or because they don't care about losing.

Flop Master - The term was first coined by Daniel Negraneu during a WPT
event. It refers to players who like to see the flop then depending on whether
or not the flop helped their hand they'll bet, call or fold.

You may want to play as a flop master if you have lots of chips to spare and can
play flops well.

Advantages - The 'any 2 cards can win' theory is put into play and you know
whether or not you woulda/coulda/shoulda won the pot or at least have a
much better idea.

Disadvantages - This can get very costly if you want to see EVERY flop.

Tilt Factor - Very low considering its being employed by someone who simply
wants to see a flop then go from there.

Secret to Playing Against - Raise preflop if you have a good hand to avoid
having a flop master who simply 'limps in' catch a lucky break against you.

Fisherman - No one has ever coined this phrase to the best of our knowledge.
It refers to a new breed of player who call all the way to the river then fold
regardless of how large the pot is. The player is doing exactly what the title
refers to, fishing. They may be on a flush or straight draw or simply have ace
high and are trying to bust out whoever flopped jack or 10 high. Their betting
pattern will look something along the lines of this : PF- call; Flop - check, call;
Turn - check,call; River - fold. If you act before them there won't be the check
part. If they made their hand there will be a bet or raise somewhere.

You may want to be a fisherman if you have lots of chips to risk and don't think
your opponent will fold if you reraise.

Advantages - You risk less chips than you would otherwise by reraising on the
flop and having your opponent reraise you.

Disadvantages - You are NEVER in control of the hand and can only win if your
opponent is bluffing or if you catch your magic card to make the hand.

Tilt Factor - If they never make their hands then it could be very high.

Secret to Playing Against - Make it costly for them to try and outdraw you AND
never stop betting. Some of us, before identifying this player type, would bet
the flop and the turn then check the river out of fear even though there was no
straight or flush draw. Keep betting against fishermen unless they bet or raise
(or if you act before them a flush or straight shows up.)

Loudmouth - Loves to hear the sound of their voice. The loudmouth is trying to
tilt opponents. A huge loss may cause a loudmouth to stop talking, or double
the jibber jabber.

You may want to be a loudmouth to throw opponents off their game. Some
players may not be able to concentrate with you talking and this will cause
them to make mistakes. Or you're constant insults may cause an opponent to go
on 'revenge tilt' meaning they will take risks simply to bust you out of the

Advantages - Your talking may tilt opponents.

Disadvantages - You may give up information about your hand.

Tilt Factor - If they shut up then they're on tilt. Or they'll talk more.

Secret to Playing Against - Act like you are ignoring them when secretly you
are listening for tells in their voice as to how strong/weak their hand is.

The Silent Type - Like the name says, silent. They're hard to rattle being that
there is a conversation going on in their own head.

You may want to be the silent type to confuse opponents. If you aren't talking
or showing your cards they can never put you on a hand making you an enigma
at the table.

Advantages - Opponents won't know what to think of you. You won't give up
any verbal tells.

Disadvantages - You can't enjoy conversation with other players at the table.

Tilt Factor - Their game may change or you may get them to speak.

Secret To Playing Against - There is no secret. Just play your game.

Statistics Player - These players tend to know the numbers for all their outs.
They love pot odds and implied odds. Statistics players will usually play
according to charts that tell them what hands will and will not win a
percentage of the time. (Again its a good reason to read a lot of books and
know the charts so when you run across a statistics player you have a better
chance of putting them on a hand.) Statistics players are difficult to play if you
want to win large pots yet bet beyond the pot odds and implied odds of them
catching a winning card. That is also a double-edged sword however. You can
pick up pots from statistics players by completely over betting a pot to take
away their pot odds and force them not to make a call.

You may want to be viewed as a statistics player if you wish to put your
opponents on edge due to your vast poker knowledge. Good players tend to

respect statistics players because they know all the numbers and can come off
as 'great poker players.' Intimidation is a key to winning pots in poker. Also
being a statistics player will keep your losses smaller as you have already
precalculated potential losses from every hand you take part in.

Advantages - Fear factor from opponents. You know what to invest in and what
not too.

Disadvantages - Potential lost hands that didn't fit in with the percentages.
Opponents may get lucky on a 5% shot to win at the river. Opponents may start
throwing out bets solely to destroy pot odds.

Tilt Factor - Depends on how bad the beat was. A 5% miracle card can get
almost anyone on tilt.

Secret to Playing Against - Try to keep pots outside of the pot odds range for
their calls on draws. However, this may backfire as the implied odds are now

Opponents Player - This is a poker player who can shift gears based on how
his/her opponents are playing. They can adjust to every style of play and will
be focused less of charts and numbers and more on how everyone else is
playing. To be this kind of player you must first be able to recognize the
different types of player and the best ways to neutralize each specific style.
This is what we refer to as a Level 2 (or possibly 3) Player.

Your opponents will never view you as this style of player. They will have you
labeled as something else. Being able to shift gears to beat each opponent is
the key. This is honestly the cream of the crop when it comes to types of
players. If you play your game according to how your opponents are playing
then you hold the advantage.

Advantages - You can change your game to beat anyone.

Disadvantages - N/A

Tilt Factor - Depends on the person. If disciplined there should be no tilt


Secret To Playing Against - Play your game and hope their game isn't better
than your own.

How To Beat A Tight Player
Beating a tight player is actually the easiest player to beat at your table,
granted everyone else at your table has a basic knowledge of reading an
opponent and what cards constitute good cards / what cards constitute bad
cards. The table you definitely don't want to be at if a tight player is sitting
there as well is a table full of Calling Stations. The Tight Player will slowly but
surely (and systematically) take every last chip from the Calling Stations and
will be left with a huge chip stack which is almost impossible to take away
from the Tight Player. One Calling Station at the table is fine but when you
have multiple stations to feed the Tight Player chips every time they hold a
real hand you're in for some real trouble. Our only reason suggestion for
winning at a table consisting of a couple Calling Stations and one Tight Player is
for you to take all the chips from the Calling Stations before they have a
chance to feed the Tight Player their chips, thus allowing the blinds to slowly
eat away at the Tight Player as the blinds were meant to at any other table.

Hopefully the Tight Player sits at a table that consists of skilled poker players
as opposed to beginners. If there are more skilled players than beginners than
the Tight Player does not stand a chance against the lot of you. Basically you
and the other skilled poker players at the table are going to blind steal, pre
flop raise, check - raise, and avoid every pot that the Tight Player raises. By
doing so you will allow the blinds to eat away at the Tight Player as they wait
for quality hands to play. Without a bunch of Calling Stations for the Tight
Player to feed off of (no one calls the Tight Player's raises or plays in pots with
the Tight Player) the Tight Player will slowly run out of chips (or drop to a level
where an all in bet doesn't scare anyone away from calling) and be absolutely
no threat (or maybe a small threat) to everyone at the table.

The hardest part about beating the Tight Player is making sure that no one else
at the table will play along in any hands with them as well. Hopefully the table
at which you sit will have enough players who have (at the bare minimum) a
basic concept of the game and will know to steer clear of pots with a Tight
Player. Any players that wind up involved in multiple pots with the tight player
(they call with terrible starting hands such as King Five off suit when the Tight
Player makes a large pre flop raise) should also be viewed as the number one
threat at the table and must be dealt with immediately. Rather than focusing
all your attention on eliminating the Tight Player you should be focusing all
your attention on eliminating the weaker players that are feeding the Tight
Player their chips. You will be cutting off the Tight Player's lifeline at the table
to winning pots and thus disallowing them from becoming a threat by targeting
the Tight Player's allies rather than the Tight Player itself. Use this analogy
when thinking of a Tight Player's presence at the table. The Tight Player is the
seat of the chair and the Calling Stations / Opponents playing pots against the
Tight Player are the legs of the chair below the seat. For every leg of the chair

you remove the chair becomes more and more unstable until, finally, it falls to
the ground from lack of support.

Attacking the Tight Player head on will only lead to you losing unnecessary
chips in pots you should never have been involved in. We're not telling you not
to play Premium Hands against the Tight Player (premium hands are basically
pocket anything above tens, suited connector face cards, and one gapped
suited connector face cards) we're just saying that its a terrible idea to wind up
in a pot against a Tight Player with a speculative hand such as 87 suited that
may or may not win this particular pot. Granted you may wind up taking all of
their chips occasionally, but over the long haul the Tight Player will have won
more chips from you through large pre flop / flop raises than you will have
from making speculative calls to hit open ended or inside straights. Wipe out
their means of collecting chips rather than wiping out the Tight Player. The fish
feeding the Tight Player will be much easier to beat in the short run anyway
(unless they continuously get lucky against you, which over time can't happen.
Case in point Chris Moneymaker, dead last in the Poker Superstars Invitational
after 5 rounds of play {even the players above him have currently only played
in 4 rounds to his 5, adding insult to injury}) and, without them, the Tight
Player will have absolutely no chance of collecting enough chips to survive.
Sure, the Tight Player may win a few blinds here and there but in the long run
without opponents to call their raises they will be withered away to nothing or
will have to switch gears from a Tight Player to a Loose Player. The Tight
Player switching gears should be one of the greatest moments for you at the
poker table simply because Tight Players can't play the same way Loose Players
do. Loose Players (good ones anyway) have the ability to bet with nothing yet
convince their opponents they hold a great hand yet at the same time hold a
great hand and convince their opponents they hold nothing. Tight players
simply do not have this ability. Sure, they may get away with a few bluffs here
and there because everyone thinks they hold a great hand but, sooner or later,
if a Tight Player starts raising more frequently their opponents will catch on
and because of the Tight Player's basic nature will not be able to hide their
obvious tells as to whether or not they are bluffing or holding a great hand,
mostly because of lack of experience in such situations. Practice makes perfect
and unfortunately for the Tight Player they have only been practicing playing
with great hands that hold a higher percentage to win the pot that most hands
(or at worse 45 - 55 underdog against a pocket pair, basically a coin flip) and
thus have no real experience with pulling off bluff after bluff holding garbage
hands or playing flops in such a way that opponents will have no choice but to
fall into their trap.

The Tight Player is condemned to the box in which they have built their rules
of strategy and betting in poker on and will have a difficult time changing gears
to win pots when the opponents just stop calling when the Tight Player holds a
monster hand. Without a Calling Station or two (maybe even an overly loose
player who lacks the ability to read an opponent aka a Level 1 Loose Player) to

feed the Tight Player chips blinds and antes will just eat away at them until
they are nothing. Depending on how tight your opposition is (incredibly tight
players will only play about 10% of total starting hands whereas a tight player
who is also skilled in playing a few drawing hands will play about 25% of total
starting hands) will determine how quickly those blinds will eat them away to
nothing. Clearly a player who will not play anything that isn't a top quality hand
will be dwindled down to nothing without opponents calling their large raises
very quickly whereas the player who can open up their game to play more
starting hands will dwindle down slower but eventually will meet the same end
result. The only way to win in Texas Hold Em is to play, and when you play you
have to win the pots you are in. If no one is playing against a specific opponent
those pots will be much smaller and due to the nature of starting hands will be
much more infrequent than an opponent playing 40% of their total starting
hands. And without a good understanding of how to win without great cards
will hurt the Tight Player in the long run when the time to pick a hand to
attempt to double up on rolls around, as they will either have such a small
amount of chips from waiting for great cards that doubling up (or even
quadrupling up) will have no immediate benefit to their chip stack compared to
the overall size of everyone else's chip stacks or will try and play a looser style
of game and will be eliminated for choosing the wrong hand to try and double
up on.

Summary. Attack the players that give the Tight Player chips as opposed to
attacking the Tight Player directly. Let the blinds cut away at the chip stack of
the Tight Player until they are either A) too low in chips to be viewed as an
immediate threat or B) change gears and start making terrible decision calls at
which point you will attack the Tight Player and take away their chips (or let
them double up in which case you will just have to wait awhile until the blinds
have once again done their job and you have another opportunity to eliminate
the Tight Player.)

Strategy for beating a Loose Player
A table full of loose players is by far the hardest table to find yourself sitting
amongst in Texas Hold Em because you never really have any information as to
what hands your opponents may hold on any given flop. Loose players (good
ones anyway) have the ability to raise you the exact same amount of chips in
the exact same manner with a great hand (such as AA) as well as a garbage
hand (such as 72 off suit) without giving away any tells as to which of the two
(or somewhere in the middle) hands they are currently raising with. Because of
this ability to raise regardless of hands (the starting phase to a Level 2 player,
only Level 1 loose players make raises because they saw professionals do it on
television as opposed to having any real understanding behind the mind games
of playing loose) a flop of 2 8 3 rainbow (all different suits) is just as likely to
have given the loose player two pair or three of a kind as it is to have
completely missed their hand.

Tables with many loose players will have an incredibly high volatility (the
swings in chip stack size will be enormous) and will cause some players to want
to start playing with more starting hands against large raises in an attempt to
pick up a huge chip stack quickly. This is exactly the wrong mentality you want
at a table full of loose players. Instead of playing more hands against loose
players you should be playing less hands. Why? Because if you stick to the
type of hands a Tight Player would play (the hands that have the best chance
of winning any given pot) with a few extras (quality drawing hands) you are
giving yourself the edge in terms of percentage to win the pot (granted you
may lose a game or two in the short run to loose players but a true poker
player is looking toward the long haul, winning 100,000 games out of 150,000
games as opposed to winning just the next 2 or 3) By increasing your
percentages to win pots you will be able to invest into pots more wisely, thus
giving yourself the edge when it comes to pot odds and will always have the
option to fold your hand the second you believe you are beat. Loose players are
much more likely to drop substantial portions of their chip stacks to you (if not
their entire chip stack) in one or maybe a few hands as opposed to any other
sort of player, thus giving you tremendous Implied and Investment Odds.
Whenever the odds of your hand or your chip stack size are in your favor (your
hand winning or your chip stack increasing in size) you have a golden
opportunity to move yourself up the rankings and at the same time move a few
of your opponents down a peg or two, if not completely out.

The most important reason to play less hands against a loose player rather than
play any two cards against a loose player is because poker is a game about wise
investment moves based on information that helps you call based on an
informed decision rather than simply gambling. If you want to gamble go throw
your money away on the roulette wheel or slot machines and stay away from
the poker table. As for those of you who are still with us and still want to play

quality poker never fall into their game of raising with any two cards. The
Level 1 Loose Players are (unintentionally) throwing you off your game and
sending you into a state of tilt in which bad decisions and loss of chip stack are
soon to follow. The Level 2 and 3 Loose players are (intentionally) throwing you
off you game to place you in a state of tilt as a way of extracting the maximum
number of chips they possibly can from you when they do in fact finally hold a
quality hand.

Let the loose players eliminate each other. A loose player with fewer chips
than you is much easier to eliminate when you finally hold great starting cards
than a loose player with a lot of chips. Attack the wounded loose players with
quality starting hands as they will be desperate to reclaim chips and once again
play with reckless abandonment. A loose player is much less of a threat when
they hold fewer chips to speculate with than a loose player holding many chips
as their starting hand selection may fall anywhere from being a 4 to 1 favorite
preflop all the way to a 20 to 1 underdog preflop. If you are sticking to only
quality hands at worse you will be a 4 to 1 underdog pre flop (if they hold AA or
KK and you have two under cards) yet be the favorite on the majority of hands.

Also by sitting back until you do indeed hold quality cards one loose player may
take enough chips from another loose player to turn said loose player into a
Tight Player. As you've learned from our Tight Player Strategy Guide a Tight
Player is much easier to push around when in the blinds than a loose player and
will be much less willing to take risks in fear of being eliminated than a loose
player. The blinds will slowly eat away this formerly loose now tight player
until they are either A) down to nothing or B) go all in with starting cards that
may or may not be of the best quality.

Another key to playing against the loose players is removing all forms of blind
stealing, bluffing, and pot odd raises from your game as loose players may or
may not really care about your attempts to try and outplay them on the betting
field. Loose players earn their title by calling raises (or simply raising) with
cards they typically shouldn't or ignoring pot odds altogether and working more
with a system of Implied and Investment Odds (Level 1 players simply have no
concept of these odds and will play just because they know if they do indeed
make their 4 out straight they will win the pot) than anything else. Your
attempts to steal the blinds or bluffing will be met with resistance in the form
of a call or reraise.

You should also keep in mind that when betting it is best to hold two pair or
better against a loose player because your top pair with an ace kicker may be
beaten by the loose player holding that exact same pair plus a second pair
(giving them two pair) even though their starting cards were not of the same
caliber as yours. For example your Ace King may lose on a flop of King Five
Eight to a loose player holding two pair Kings and Fives. Depending on how
loose the player is / how many more chips the player has than the rest of the

table will affect whether or not the loose player will call your large pre flop
raise while you hold Ace King suited and the loose player holds King Five off
suit. Some players may simply want to speculate and take a chance at taking a
lot of chips from you simply because they have a read on your betting patterns
(only raising with quality cards) so therefore know if they catch the right flop
they can take all your chips. Or the loose player simply has no strategy and is
new to the game (doesn't know what is and is not a good hand / good draw /
good odds / etc)

Your greatest weapon against the loose player aside from playing only strong
starting hands against them and avoiding huge confrontations where you hold
nothing more than face card high are your tells on the loose player. Every
player has a series of tells, even professionals. Some are rehearsed tells in
which your opponent is acting a certain way to get a certain reaction out of
you and some are caused simply by your mind and body's nervous system.
Regardless every player has tells and the loose players are no exception to this
rule. Pick up on subtleties from when they do hold a hand and when they don't
hold a hand. Use the time you are not in the pot to watch one individual player
for any tells that stick out in your mind as to whether or not they have
something or don't. Or maybe even they have a tell for when they have
something but know its not the winning hand. After you have discovered each
loose players tell(s) during the rounds of action in which you did not hold
quality cards you can (should, and will) exploit every tell you picked up to fold
hands in which you know you're beat and extract as many chips as possible
when you have the best hand. Tells are your most useful weapon against a
loose player, playing quality cards is your second most. Once you've picked up
on the tells of your loose opponents you have the option to broaden the range
of starting hands you will play and pick up pots without holding the best hand
from loose players who bet, yet bet weak. Don't go overboard with your
starting hands selection though because then the loose players will view you as
one of their own and will be much more likely to call you in pots that you were
trying to pick up from opponents you believed to be weak. They will look you
up just to make sure you weren't playing loose back at them.

Summary. Play less hands rather than more hands against a table of loose
opponents. The same applies to one loose opponent. Allow loose opponents to
weaken other loose opponents for you because a loose opponent with less chips
is much less of a threat than an opponent with more chips than you (in the
event the loose opponent does outdraw you having them covered in chips will
allow you to remain in the game, and prior to your opponent outdrawing you {if
that does indeed happen} you will at least know that you are playing solid
poker and started with the best hand, which should be worth something to you,
at least mentally). When not playing in a hand with loose opponents (which will
be often) try to pick up on any tells each loose player gives off be it betting
patterns, what they say, tone, emphasis on words, any change in tone of the
player's voice, body movements, face movements, eye movements, etc that

would give you an edge as to whether or not the loose player is or is not ahead
in the hand in any pots you play against the loose player(s).

Strategies for beating a Passive Player
Unfortunately there are two different types of passive players. The first of
which will be the main focus and is defined as a player who bets small with top
pair, straights, flushes, etc. This first type of Passive Player is a losing poker
player by definition and is setting their bank account up for huge losses due to
their inability to protect their, at the time, winning hand. The second is the
slow player. The Slow player pretends to be a passive player allowing others to
do the betting for them when secretly they hold a monster hand and are just
waiting until there is enough money in the pot (or a possible draw to destroy
their nut hand) appears on the board and the slow play routine has to end in
order to protect the hand. Some slow players never pick up on this and will
allow their great hand to turn to garbage by simply not betting enough to
protect it. Passive Players suffer from the same problem. Passive Players /
Slow players are trying to allow other players to believe they are in control of
the hand when actuality they are not. This is a great system to use when your
hand can't be beaten / outdrawn but most be dropped the second your hand is
in danger of losing. Thankfully a good percentage of Passive Players and Slow
players have never learned this lesson and will allow you to take pots that
should have been rightfully theirs and instead win the pot on the turn or river
with a better hand.

Step one is to identify whether or not the Passive Player / Slow player will
indeed protect their hand when necessary or allow you a look at free / cheap
cards. If they protect their hands then leave them alone until you hold a hand
that can't be beaten then bet normally. This works exceptionally well against
opponents who flop straights / flushes / three of a kind / two pair /etc that
just so happen to be a little weaker than your hand. Let's say you flop an ace
high flush while your slow playing opponent flops a king high flush. You'll bet
out like normal and your opponent will believe they are in fact trapping you
when you have set a reverse trap. Your normal bet shouldn't set off any alarms
in the head of the Slow player / Passive Player that you in fact hold the nut
flush but rather show that you hit top pair or something similar and are simply
testing the waters to see if anyone has hit a better hand. You are both slow
playing other opponents as well as the slow player at the exact same time with
the feeler bet. Slow players, unlike Passive Players, will at some point become
aggressive and try to bet you out of the pot, thinking they hold the nuts, when
in actuality you have been holding the nuts the whole time and have been using
their system to beat them.

As for the common Passive Player they will bet small whenever they hit top
pair, two pair, etc giving you cheap pot odds to draw toward your straight /
flush / trips / boat /etc. You will want to pick up on what sort of starting
hands the Passive Player typically plays to give you at least a general idea of
what they hit on the flop before making a lot of cheap calls in an attempt to

outdraw them when there was in fact no possible way to outdraw them.
Normally that won't happen however, and the Passive Player will allow you to
reraise pots with basically nothing (if you smell weakness) and swipe the pot
away from them. The Passive Player has a terrible time of protecting winning
hands and will wind up making terrible calls on the river after you have indeed
outdrawn them. Use pot odds as your tool of whether or not to attempt to
outdraw the Passive Player. Typically if you have a 4 out straight draw its best
to fold or reraise the Passive Player in an attempt to pick up the pot right then
and there. This will also give you information as to how committed the Passive
Player is to their hand and after a few reraises you should have a general
understanding as to what to expect while playing against a specific Passive

The best thing to do is if you feel beat / don't have a worthwhile draw against
your Passive Player / Slow player opponent is fold. By folding you are giving
them much smaller pots than they would have received had you called along
and lost the pot. Let the blinds do their jobs and slowly take every last chip
from the Passive Player until they're broke. As with the Tight Players target any
opponents that seem to feed the Passive Players / Slow players unnecessary
chips as they, just like their Tight Playing counterparts, will be harder to win
chips from if they do somehow become the chip leader due to their small
betting nature and ability to fold to raises even when they do in fact hold the
best hand.

Summary. Pay attention to what sort of hands your Passive Player / Slow
player opponent tends to play to give you a more narrowed idea as to what
hand they've hit when they bet small. Use Pot Odds or Investment Odds as
guidelines on calling / folding to the small bets made by a Passive Player.
Mentally label whether or not your Passive Player / Slow player opponent
protects their hands against draws or simply sticks to a basic system of betting
small allowing opponents the chance to outdraw. Use raises to test the
commitment a Passive Player (not a Slow player, who will instantly reraise you)
has to their hand as well as their ability to judge who holds the winning hand /
their read on you. Stay out of pots where the odds / outs are not in your favor
when it comes to Passive Players / Slow players. The blinds will slowly eat
them away as they will not receive the amount of chips their winning hands
should have typically won. Attack opponents who feed the Passive Players /
Slow players chips because a Passive Player with a lot of chips will be harder to
defeat than a Passive Player with few chips.

Live Tells
Note. These are generalizations and will not apply to every person or every
instance. The best way to get a read on a player is to watch them and pick up
on subtle differences in their actions while NOT in the hand with them. It is
harder to pick up on these actions and play at the same time.

Players With Strong Hands

Pre Flop
Looking away from their hand quickly to avoid staring at the monster / stare at
their hand longer when they hold a monster.
Stacking cards on top of one another or other ways of neatly arranging them
If a player uses a card protector they will place the protector over hands they
intend to play.
If a pot has been raised some players intent on calling will begin stacking their
chips to make the call
It's Not What They Say, It's How They Say It
Player encourages others to move the betting along / yells at someone for
taking too long
A player's voice will crack or become higher pitched
Player making statements that sound like they want a call typically have a
strong hand.
Quiet players suddenly become chatty
Glance at their chips quickly after connecting with a card on the board (or with
a pocket pair / over cards in the hole preflop)
Slowly reaching for chips when the board has helped
Staring at the card they connected with on the board
Glancing around to see who is still in the hand after a card has helped their
Body Movements
Shaky hands while checking cards typically signals a strong hand
Legs begin to shake
Leaning back in a chair typically means a strong hand
Shaking their head or signing as though they hit nothing is a sign of strength
Over exaggerated movements that occur for no reason such as stretching are
used to cover up a tell.
Acting as though disinterested in the events unfolding
A player drinking suddenly puts down their drink

On The River Fidgeting with their cards as though they are excited to show

Neither A Sign of Weakness Or Strength

If a board is suited a player usually has 1 of that suit if they recheck their hole
cards, or neither they just remember their hand was off suit
Leaning forward in their chair typically indicates a player is on a draw, but it
could also indicate strength or weakness depending on the player
Automatic reraises with overly animated movements shows the player is on a
Reverse Talkers will tell you exactly what hand they hold only in the opposite
direction. (I have excellent cards means weak)
A player looking to steal the pot will typically look to their left to see if their
opponents have looked at their cards

Opponents With Weak Hands / Bluffing

Leaving cards out in a disorganized fashion
Not using a card protector (when the player has a card protector)
Holding their cards between index and middle finger waiting for turn to fold
Staring directly at you as though trying to intimidate you is typically a sign of
Won't look you directly in the eye
Forced smile when you ask them about the strength of their hand
Covering the mouth to hide a smile (may also be a sign of strength depending
on the type of smile and your opponent)
Stroking the eyebrow with a forefinger is a sign of deception
Touching the nose is the same as covering the mouth
Hands through hair / Rubbing the neck reveals the person doesn't know what to
Tapping on their cards, chips, table twice indicates the player didn't make their

Shaky hands while touching chips shows weakness / bluff
If a player is bluffing they will be afraid to move and will sit still as a statue
Their chest may begin moving more heavily due to heavy breathing while
Scratching, specifically 5 times in a row indicates a liar

Online Tells
Thanks to the buttons online poker provides its players, tells can be
determined rather easily. There are several buttons including check, bet
minimum, bet any, call minimum, call any. There is also the Post and Fold / Sit
Out button. If a player is sitting out and your poker provider allows he/she to
still be in a pot that no one has raised make sure you bet to get him/her out of
the hand, especially if it's just you and the big blind post and folder in the

Strong Hands
Bets small
Pauses as though thinking then bets out when an obvious straight or flush card
Goes from reacting slowly to suddenly betting quickly
Reraise right behind your raise in less than a second (raise any button)
Weak Hands
Automatically checks past the player (check button)
Pauses as though thinking to bet then fires out a bluff at the pot (depends on
the player, use player notes to distinguish between pause weak and pause
strong players

Study the way your opponent bets. Some players will even throw out specific
numbered bets when they hold a specific hand.

Betting Patterns
Here are a few betting patterns and what they might represent.

The check raise events for pocket pairs and flush / straight represent making
their hand on the turn. Also note that the player may just bet rather than
check raise.

A check raise typically signifies an opponent slow playing their hand or an

opponent on a draw trying to take control of the hand. It's important to know
your opponent so you can draw a distinction between which of the two
categories they fall into.

Represents Preflop Flop Turn River

Opponent On Tilt Raise Raise /

Opponent On Tilt Raise Check
/ Fold
Opponent Holds Pair Call Bet Bet Check
Opponent Slow playing Call Check, Check, Bet
Call Raise
Opponent made Trips w/Small Pocket Pair Call Check, Check, Bet
Call Raise
Opponent made flush / straight Call Check, Check, Bet
Call Raise
Opponent made flush / straight and is slow Call Check, Check, Bet
playing Call Call
Opponent wants a free card Raise Bet Check all of
Weak Opponent with good starting hand (the Small Bet Check Bet
small raise is the giveaway) Raise / Bet
Opponent on Straight / Flush Draw Call Check, Check Fold
Raise / Bet
Weak Opponent on Straight / Flush Draw Call Check, Check, Fold
Call Call

Betting patterns may vary from player to player so avoid using this list as your
sole idea on betting patterns. A lot of players will habitually bet the same way,
possibly the same number of chips even. Betting strong on draws is the most
common, especially considering that it's listed the thing to do by a good
number of poker authors, even this website has it listed.

Some opponents may fold every time they are reraised, check with a great
hand, always check the river, etc. With Level 1 and lower Level 2 opponents
betting small means strong and vice versa.

Look for the speed at which your opponent is betting as well. Opponents who
reraise you quickly may be on a draw, whereas if they pause to think, they may
be considering folding OR how much to bet with the hand they've just picked
up. The speed of your opponents bets and its tell will vary from player to
player so don't set anything in stone as an obvious tell on everyone who plays

Starting Your Own Home Game
Alright so you've checked your state and local laws and have determined
that a small home game is acceptable by law. Now you're going to need a few
things to get started. You'll need a table for everyone to sit at. Any table will
do, maybe you want to build your own table. Or maybe you just want to buy a
table top for your dining room table. Some may even want to go out and buy a
real poker table. Regardless you can find poker tables in our merchandise
section to help get you started.

Now that you have a table you're going to need some chips. Sure you can pick
up some cheap plastic chips down at your local drug store but most players
today will be disappointed in your chip selection and the best way to have
repeat home games is by having at least a Texas Hold Em Casino Style Poker
Set sold at your local Wal Mart or in our poker chips section. They run about
$15-$20 and come with the blind buttons, 200 chips, 2 decks of cards and a
table cloth to put over your dining room table (this could eliminate the need to
buy a poker table.) The problem with these chips and even buying a nice poker
chip set without customization is that players may come to your home game
with the exact same chips and sneak them into the game when no one is
looking. You do not want poker cheats sneaking in extra chips. It's happened to
us before, a new player showed up and snuck in identical chips. He ended up
winning the game and we didn't notice until after everyone was eliminated.
The best way to go is either by marking your chips with paint that you can buy
at any of your local drug stores or buy custom poker chips with your initials or
whatever else you want. The players at your home game will be impressed with
you if you have your own customized chips and players who are impressed are
more likely to come back.

Now that you've found the right table and the right chips you are going to have
to determine the buy in, the size of your blinds, the chip values, and whether
or not you are going to increase the blinds after a certain amount of time. The
size of your blinds is another factor that will determine whether or not players
enjoy your game. Too low of blinds and your game will last hours without
anyone being eliminated. Too high of blinds and no one will be able to lose a
hand without being eliminated. The best way to go is to not assign your chips
dollar values but rather number values. If your chips represent number values
you can give each player more chips and have much more leeway with the
numbers you choose for your blinds than if you went with dollar values. As for
increasing the blinds after a certain amount of time that’s completely up to
you. Perhaps you want to increase the blinds after each player has been
eliminated. You should probably ask your players if they want to increase the
blinds and see what they say.

Another factor to consider is giving the dealer choice of what card game to
play. If you do make your game dealer's choice you have to decide if the dealer
only has the option between a few games or if the dealer can choose any poker
game. If you allow the dealer to choose any game many players may become
confused as to the rules of the games and confused players are less likely to
return to your home game in the future. Determine ahead of time how many
different poker games your players know how to play then take a vote as to
whether or not the table should be dealer’s choice.

You definitely should designate one player to divide up the equal number of
chips to each player and handle any arguments that happen at the table. Pick
the player most educated and honest to read each player's hand to make sure
the true winner takes the pot. Having too many players call out winning hands
or allowing players to declare their hand without inspection will lead to both
confusion and cheating. Some players may declare they hold a hand they truly
don't while others simply may not know what hand they hold. Letting five
different people call out a winner will slow down the game and (if they're
drunk) possibly lead to physical confrontations which is something you
definitely don't want, especially if your neighbors call the police on you for

So you've got the table, the chips, the size of your blinds, the chip values, buy
in, and whether or not you are going to play dealer's choice all figured out. But
your game is missing something. What is it? Oh yes, the players themselves. Ask
your friends if they want to play. If this doesn't give you enough players ask
your friends if they have any friends who play. If that's still not good enough
ask your friends friends. Its six degrees to Kevin Bacon. You should be able to
find more than enough players for your home game by asking your friends to
ask their friends and so on.

Well that’s pretty much it when it comes to starting a home game. You should
have everything you need. If we left anything out please feel free to contact us
and we'll add it promptly.

Finding A Home Game
Alright, so you want to play poker but either A) Don't want to host at your own
home or B) Can't host at your own home. No worries this little strategy guide
should help you find a home game to sit in on.

Start with your friends. Your friends will most likely not be worried about
whether or not you cheat at cards (unless you brag about cheating at cards or
have been showing them card tricks for the past year) and will be willing to let
you sit in on their game. Thanks to television almost everyone has at least one
friend who either hosts or sits in on a home game on a weekly / bi monthly /
monthly basis. And since it’s your friends the game will be much friendlier and
you will have an easier time getting a read as to what hands they hold because
you already know them.

If none of your friends play poker you still have quite a few options, one of
which is the internet. Do a quick search of the internet to see if there are any
poker websites in your area posting games. Some cities (such as Portland,
Oregon) have many websites set up specifically to invite new players to home
games. A good place to start your search would be
which offers meetup groups for you to search through. There are quite a few
meetup groups for poker in a good number of cities. All you have to do is join
the group and possibly make an e-mail or phone call and you're in.

Another way to go on in the internet is through subscription home game sites.

For a fee these websites will tell you where the local games are and they'll e-
mail them to you. Currently we do not have any websites bookmarked for such
sites but are on their mailing lists (we didn't pay any money though so we only
receive bits and pieces of information, how to get there or contact are not
included for free).

Depending on your cities laws the classifieds may be the way to go. Some
players may place classified ads to attract poker players to their home games.
This is a bit risky but if you haven't been able to find a home game thus far this
may be the way to go.

Finally you can hang out in bookstores, bars, and pool halls. Don't ask any
random person if they play cards in a bookstore head over to the magazines
and pick up a copy of Card Player or Bluff and start reading it then wait for
someone else to pick up the same magazine and strike up a conversation about
one of the articles and work your way from there. Or head over to the poker
books section and do the exact same thing. Bars and pool halls are another
story. A good portion of people playing pool will (most likely) also play poker.
The two games pretty much fall into the same category of people who enjoy

smoking, drinking, and gambling. Everything God fearing Americans dislike but
we sinners enjoy.

If you do find a home game to sit in on make sure you thank the host for
allowing you to play and bring some food or refreshments. No one likes a
cheapskate and the best way to be invited back is by not making any enemies.
Also if you do not smoke or drink and the host allows smoking and drinking at
the card table don't complain. Everyone hates complainers and this is the
quickest way to make sure you are blacklisted. Keep your opinions to yourself.
After all you're there to play cards, not tell someone that smoking causes
cancer or drinking destroys your liver. Smokers and drinkers already know that.
They're smoking, drinking, and gambling because they don't care. They're risk
takers and they live for the moment. So have fun and don't make any enemies.
You can definitely win their money, but make sure you do so in such a way that
everyone is not offended. and its affiliates do not condone drinking and driving. if

you drink never drive. if you do drink, drink responsibly. and just as the non
drinkers will not give you a hard time for drinking do not give the non drinkers
a hard time for not drinking. if you drink too much and become offensive
toward other players don't plan on being invited back to the game.

Poker Games and Casino Poker Games
Poker Games
•5 Card Draw
•7 Card Stud
•5 Card Stud
•Soko (Canadian Stud)
•A.C Triple Flop

5 Card Draw

In 5 card draw you place your ante and or blind (depending on if its just blinds,
just antes, or both) to receive your cards. Each player looks at their hand to
decide whether or not to bet. After every player has called or folded you trade
in cards to the dealer to improve your hand. Depending on the house rules you
are playing under (ask to make sure) you can receive anywhere from 0 to 5 new
cards. Some players have learned you can only receive 4 new cards and that is
ONLY if you have an ace. It's best to check and make sure before you begin
playing. After you receive your new cards another round of betting takes place
and a winner is revealed.

Variations: Lowball/Triple Draw, however hand rankings are reversed. (No pair
is better than 4 of a kind.)

Would You Like to Play 5 Card Draw For Free Without Downloading Any
Software. We have it in java script format. Play 5 card draw on java script
at today.

Please note that we did not create this java script game, it was freeware we
found on the net. For some reason the creator of the game mixed up the hand
rankings and placed a full house BELOW a flush and a straight. Be aware of this
before playing.


Lowball is played just like 5 card draw with 5 cards dealt face down. You are
trying to draw to the best possible low hand. You may draw up to 4 cards (you
can receive 5 cards but 4 will be dealt to you first then your 5th card will be
received after everyone else has their requested cards.) Depending on the
game A5 Lowball (California Lowball) does not have straights or flushes work
against you and an ace qualifies as low. In 27 Lowball (Kansas City Lowball)
straights and flushes DO work against you and an ace is always high. In Triple
Draw you draw 3 times. There are many other rules to the game including kill
pots, cards dealt face up, and required betting when holding a specific hand.
Robert's Rules of Poker includes all these rules. You can check out the book at

7 Card Stud

In 7 card stud everyone places an ante. You are dealt 3 cards, 2 of which are
face down and 1 is face up. The player with the smallest upcard is forced to
make a "Bring In" bet, which is simply half the current blind (in a 2/4 game the
bring in would be 1). If 2 players have the same upcard SUIT comes into play.
Spades are the highest suit, then hearts, diamonds, and clubs are lowest. Every
player then can either match the Bring In bet or "Complete" the bet by raising
up to 2 (the current blind for that level). After everyone has folded or called
another card is placed face up. If anyone has a pair showing you can bet double
the current blind (4) or simply bet 2. If someone bets 4 all following
calls/raises must be in the new increment. If no one has a pair showing then
the bet level will stay at the current blind. After everyone has called/folded 1
more card is placed face up. The minimum bet has now increased as well (from
2 to 4) regardless of whether or not a pair is on board. After all the
calling/folding 1 more card is placed face up to give you 6 cards in total.
Call/Fold. 1 final card is placed face DOWN, betting occurs and a winner is


Razz is played exactly like 7- Card Stud. However, just as Lowball is to 5 card
Draw Razz is to 7 Card Stud. The object of the game is to get the best possible
LOW HAND you can. Unlike 7-Card Stud H/L (8b) there is NO low qualifier so a
9, 10, or even King high could take the pot, as well as a pair even.

5 Card Stud

5 Card Stud is typically played the same as 7 card stud with an ante and bring
in system. 2 cards are dealt 1 face down and 1 face up. Depending on whose
making the rules either the low card or high card will bring in first. Round of
betting, 1 more card face up. Another round of betting, 1 card face up. At this
point you have 4 cards. On the fourth card the minimum limit increases to the
big bet (in 2/4 the limit would now be 4 for the 4th and 5th cards.) Round of
betting. Final card is placed face up.

Variations: Your 2nd or 5th card can be dealt face down giving you 2 down
cards and 3 up cards.

Would you like to play 5 card stud online for free without downloading any
software? We have it in java script form. Play 5 card stud in java script today.

Please note that we did not create this game, it was downloaded freeware. The
creator of the game mixed up the hand rankings and has a full house BELOW a
flush and a straight. Be aware of this when placing bets.

Soko (Canadian Stud)

Soko is played with an ante and bring in system. In Soko the player with the
HIGHEST card brings in first (2x the ante typically). You receive your first 2
cards 1 face up and 1 face down. After the bring in, calling, folding 1 more
card is placed face up. Betting. Another face up card. Betting. Final card is
face up. The difference between Soko and other card games is that 4 card
flushes and straights will BEAT 1 pair. 2 pair beat 4 card straight and flushes
and the rest of the hand values for other games is exactly the same.


Pineapple is played exactly like Texas Hold Em except you receive 3 card
before the flop instead of 2 (if compairing it to Omaha you get 1 less card.)
There are 2 variations to Pineapple 1 is Regular Pineapple the other is 2 Crazy
Pineapple. The only difference between the 2 games is when you discard 1 of
your 3 hole cards. In Regular this is done before viewing the flop, in Crazy it is
done after.

Variations: There are a couple new games sweeping the nation that are similiar
in style to Pineapple. 1 of them is known to us as Irish Omaha (we don't know
the 'working title' of the game but that was the name introduced to us) in

which you receive 4 down cards and discard 2 of them after viewing the flop.
The game could be played exactly the same by discarding 2 of them before
viewing the flop. The final variation (we've seen this on a few websites) would
be 4 hole cards, discard 1 pre flop and discard 1 more on the flop. All 3 games
would then be played exactly like Texas Hold Em.

A.C Triple Flop

A.C Triple Flop has 4 betting rounds and 2 down cards just like Texas Hold Em.
You must use BOTH your hole cards in combination with three on the board for
a winning hand just like Omaha. There are a total of 6 community cards dealt
two at a time. There is a "Buy A Card" Option that must be decided on before
beginning play. If there are no complaints (or the majority says yes and no one
whines for hours) players may buy 1 optional down card before the final round
of betting giving your final flop 2 up and 1 down for a total of 7 cards on the
board. The "Buy A Card" cost will be kept separate (side pot) if all the players
in the hand do not pay for the Option. The inventor of the game suggests
playing with the "Buy A Card" Option in Limit Games and the cost of the Option
to be no less than double the maximum bet for games of 6 / 12 and below (so
the minimum Buy A Card price would be 24 in this case) and decided upon
beforehand for higher Limit Games. To Visit The A.C Triple Flop Website visit

Casino Poker Games

• 3 Card Poker
• Caribbean Stud Poker
• Deuces Wild
• Jacks Or Better

3 Card Poker

3 card poker is a table casino game that is played against the dealer. For
starters every player must place an ante. If you believe your hand is good
enough to beat the dealer you place a bet equal to or greater than the ante on
the PLAY wager. If not you may fold. If you want to play YOUR HAND ONLY
place a bet on the PAIR PLUS wager. Or you can play both. You have to place 3
bets for this (Ante, Play Plus, and Play) or else you forfeit your Ante and Play
Plus wagers. Depending on the casino payouts may vary (these payouts are

from the Barona Casino in Lakeside, CA which can be visited online at

• Player Folds: Lose

• Dealer Does Not Qualify: Play is a push and Ante is 1 to 1
• Dealer Qualifies and Player Beats Dealer: Play is 1 to 1, Ante is 1 to 1
o Dealer Qualifies with Q high or better
• Tie: Push
• Ante Bonus Payouts (When Wagering Against A Dealer)
o Straight : 1 to 1
o 3 of A Kind: 4 to 1
o Straight Flush: 5 to 1
• Pair Plus Payouts
o Pair: 1 to 1
o Flush: 4 to 1
o Straight: 6 to 1
o 3 of a Kind: 30 to 1
o Straight Flush: 40 to 1
• Hand Rankings
1. Straight Flush
2. 3 of a Kind
3. Straight
4. Flush
5. Pair
6. Ace High
 Ace is always high unless combined with 2 3 for an A 2 3

Caribbean Stud Poker

This game is played against a dealer. To begin you place an ante bet to receive
your cards. The dealer gives every player at the table 5 cards as well as
himself. The dealer will then turn over 1 of his cards and its your turn to bet or
surrender. A bet is double the size of the ante. The dealer must hold an ace
and a king or better for his hand to qualify. If the dealer does qualify you hold
a pair you will only get back your ante (one of our editors played Caribbean
Stud Poker in Poland, they called it Las Vegas Poker, he lost all his chips due to
not understanding the whole pair deal) but if you hold anything better than a
pair you will be payed depending on the structure.

Want to try your luck at Caribbean Stud Poker for free without downloading
any software? has Caribbean
Stud Poker in java format.

Deuces Wild
Deuces Wild is a 5 card draw slot machine game where the object is to get 2
pair or better for a structured payout. The payouts are listed on the machine'
main screen. As the title suggests Deuces are wild.

Jacks or Better
Jacks or Better is a 5 card draw slot machine game where the object is to get a
pair of jacks or better for a structured payout listed on the machine.

Would You Like To Play Jacks Or Better For Free Without Downloading Any
Software? We have a Java version you can play for free by clicking

Poker And The Law
Please note that this was written back in 2005. Since then the US of A has
passed a bill that defines online poker much more harshly than the Wire Act of
the late 70’s did. If you’ve never heard of the Wire Act it states that bets
cannot be placed over a phone line, which in today’s day and age would be a
modem, cable modem, or DSL modem. Certain online casinos no longer allow
US players to open an account.

I didn't know the law. Can I be charged with a

Yes. Ignorance of the law is never an adequate defense, no matter what state
the law was in, or whether you lived in that state or not. If you are of age,
you are charged with knowledge of the law, whether or not you actually knew
it, regardless of the crime. You may argue that a law was unconstitutional,
unfair, or applied selectively, but you will never win with "I didn't know the
law." - quoted directly from The Legal Database - free legal information - Legal
Questions : I Didn't Know The Law -
know-the-law.htm retrieved on 07/12.2005.

The following is a link to the most useful website we've found on the internet
relating to poker laws that does not charge a rediculous sum of money to view
its contents. Check it out: and make sure
you know you're states laws to avoid winding up in serious trouble. is another website you should check out.

Basically we can sum up online gaming for you real easy. The feds have
something called the "Wire Act." The Wire Act is a law that states making or
taking bets over a phone line is illegal. It's actually a felony and punishable by
up to two years in prison for anyone who takes bets over a phone line (be it
telephone, internet, or fax machine.) Every state that hasn't put into writing
yet that online gaming is illegal currently has it on the floor waiting to be

Q and A
Question: What's with the name From Goldfish To Piranha anyway?

Answer: Poker players seem to refer to newbies or amateurs as "fish" and

professionals as "sharks." Being that we are not professionals our strategy
guides cannot turn you into a shark. But we know a little bit about the game,
at least enough to make sure the weak players aren't constantly taking all your
money (incredibly weak players never bother to learn anything about odds,
outs, probabilities, starting hand charts, position at the table, etc so they tend
to chase every inside straight draw and longshot they see meaning they will
lose in the long run if the bet sizes are large enough every time and new
players don't really know any of these concepts because well, they're new) we
learned a little something about Fish and found out that Goldfish are fed to
Piranhas. Goldfish are known as "Feeder Fish" for Piranhas so we thought it
sounded good.

Math Equations
Here is a list of all the mathematical equations found in this e-book, from Outs
to Odds.

Turn Or River Outs Equation

# Of Outs divided by Remaining Cards in the deck. For Texas Hold Em the Turn
has 47 unknown cards left in the deck (52 cards in the deck minus your 2 hole
cards minus the 3 cards on the flop equals 47) and 46 for the River. Pineapple
would be 46 and 45 because you start with 3 hole cards instead of 2 and Omaha
would be 45 and 44 because you start with 4 hole cards instead of 3. To make it
easy we always multiply by 100 to avoid 0.XX numbers.

Turn AND River Outs Equation

1 - ((47 minus # of outs) divided by 47) multiplied by ((46 minus # of outs)
divided by 46)) *100 to avoid messy decimals. The reason everything is
subtracted from 1 is because without it you would know the percentage you
WOULD NOT hit your hand.

On The Fly Turn to River and River Outs Equations

It's called the 4 2 method and its pretty close to being acurate, although not
exact. To determine your outs on the flop all the way to the river multiply your
# of outs by 4. To figure out just the turn or just the river multiply your # of
outs by 2. For turn or river you want to add 1 from that number on 3 - 8 outs,
add 2 for 9-14 outs, and add 3 for 15 outs. For Turn AND River you want to
subtract 1 for 8 - 9 outs, subtract 2 for 10 - 11 outs, subtract 3 for 12 outs,
subtract 4 for 13 outs, subtract 5 for 14 outs, and subtract 6 for 15 outs. It's
fairly accurate and a percent or two here or there won't really matter in the
short run, it won't even really matter in the long run unless we're talking
subtracting 6 which would be 6% or 6 out of 100 games, which still isn't a huge

Odds Against Equation

This is by far the easiest equation. Cards that hurt you divided by cards that
help you is odds against. In other words if there were 47 cards left in the deck
and you had 4 outs it would be 47-4=43/4.

Odds Against Pot Odds Equation

Money In Pot divided by Cost To Call gives you Odds Against Pot Odds. Only call
when the Pot Odds Against are less than you Odds Against to win the hand.
(example you are a 3.7 to 1 to win the hand and the Pot Odds Against are 5 to
1. then its a good call because you will win 1 out of approximately 5 hands yet
the Pot Odds are set for you to break even every 1 in 6 hands.)

% To Win Pot Odds Equation

Cost To Call divided by (Money in Pot plus Cost To Call) gives you the % you
need to win the hand Pot Odds. Only call when your % to win is greater than
the % you determined through this equation. (example if you have a 20%
chance to win and the Pot Odds are 11% then it is a good call because you will
win 1 out of every 5 times yet the Pot Odds are set so you only have to win 1
out of every 9 times to break even.)

Investment Odds Equation

note: Investment Odds are an Implied Odds formula that you create
in your head rather than what the current pot size is. It is an
educated guess of what will happen by the end of the hand.

Total Pot Size multiplied by your percent chance of winning divided by your
total investment (your total bets) gives you investment odds. If the number is
greater than 1 your Investment Odds are good, less than 1 is a bad gamble.

Our starting hands list was created by careful inspection of what hands
individuals such as David Sklansky, Lee Jones, Bill Chen, Edward Hutchison, and
the people who created the Modified Sklansky List suggested playing and we
went from there. Our list is not an exact duplicate of any one of those
individuals but rather a hybrid of all of them (our true hybrid of their suggested
starting hands lies in the 106 hands you should or should not fold, our list used
their lists in combination with other starting hands lists in an attempt to cover
all the bases from strongest hand on each individuals list to the worst hand
they would limp in with.) Our concepts of which hands to raise with are based
more on our own opinion rather than any one of their particular lists, as was
moving A7 and A6 down to Late Position due to its lack of drawing power /
winning with a proper top pair. Their lists served as our starting points, our
foundation for which we tried to build the best possible starting list on our own
opinion in the strength of hands. Some may match, and they match for obvious
reasons. AA is of course going to be at the top of the list and 43 suited is going
to be at the bottom of the list, those are no brainers. The small blind starting
hands chart was designed without reference to any starting hands list as there
are no (to our knowledge) starting hands lists for players in the small blind.

The concept of betting patterns as tells and certain betting patterns on our list
are from Lou Kreiger's articles about betting patterns. He introduced us to the
concept of checking on the river, slowplaying a monster, and opponents
drawing to a free card. Other betting patterns such as the opponent on tilt we
picked up randomly off poker message boards (we honestly don't remember /
know which boards or which members) whereas some we created on our own.
Lou Kreiger deserves 100% of the credit for betting patterns being on this page
though because if it weren't for him we never really would have put a lot of
thought into the concept, even though we know and have seen first hand that
betting patterns are obvious tells as to what sort of hand your opponent is

Our odds of catching particular flops came from all over the net. These odds
seemed to be common on almost every other poker website yet no two
websites seemed to ever hold the same numbers. As for the straight odds
percentages those were derived and proven mathematically by an individual
who uses the screen name Pyroxene on the Flop Turn River message board. His
tireless efforts to teach others the math of odds in poker as well as give players
the odds of catching straights on flops is commendable.

The hand matchup percentages came from software we downloaded from

Turning River. They have created a free program for players to calculate
their pre flop, flop, or even on the turn odds with 1 all the way up to 9
opponents. This is the most useful piece of software we have found yet for

calculating the percent odds that didn't have to be calculated freehand. From
what we can tell they developed the entire program in Flash. Another odds
program that we will use was created by Tim Babb. This program will tell you
the percentages of your hand making a specific hand (Full House, Flush, etc)
based on the number of games you input.

Closing Thoughts
Well that’s From Goldfish to Piranha, all the thoughts I had on Texas Hold Em
back in 2005. Any mention of us, we, or multiple people mentioned throughout
this book is a reference to anyone I mentioned in the acknowledgement section
or friends I asked for input / picked their brains while playing hold em. Have
any of my thoughts changed on poker strategy? Probably. I am currently in the
process of creating a new book that will be entitled The Poker Struggle, which
will be all my thoughts on playing hold em since the summer of ’05. A lot of it
will probably be the same, some of it will be completely different. Does that
mean I think the information above is outdated? No, not by a long shot. I used
the strategies above to win a good amount of games. The information
contained here is engrained in my mind and I know I play very similar to what
I’ve written above even today. But some of it I’ve tried to take out of my poker
game. If you’d like to stay up to date with the progress of The Poker Struggle
please join my newsletter at Also
note that I made mention of The Art of War and how it should be used to
improve your poker game in the Strategy Introduction. Poker and The Art of
War will be released soon as I am currently writing that as well. You can see
the progress of that book, as well as contribute to sections of it by visiting And finally for all your poker
merchandise needs make sure you keep visiting The
Network at as we are
constantly adding new merchandise that will either help your game or just
make you look more like a poker player. Thanks for reading.

- Jason of