Digital Poker Book a k a Electronic or E-Book

Written By, Jason Narog of and


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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 4

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 FAQ 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 folded. 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 Limit Pot Limit Spread Limit Mixed Limit Ante 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 412 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 betting.

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.

Royal Flush

Straight Flush

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 Flush

4 Card Straight

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 fold.)


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 hand. 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 quickly. 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 you. 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 yourself. 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 Fisherman.


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 themselves. 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 straight/flush.). 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 hold. 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 hand. 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 actions: 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 dominated. 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 Position
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.) Definitions: T=10 Red means raise in that position Early Position Hands Suited / AA , KK , QQ , JJ , TT , AK , AQ , AJ , AT , KQ , KJ , KT , QJ , QT , JT Pocket Pairs Off suit AK , AQ , KQ

Middle Position Hands Suited / 99 , 88 , 77 , 66 , A9 , A8 , A5 , A4 , A3 , A2 , K9 , Q9 , J9 , J8 , T9 , Pocket T8 , 98 Cards 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 Suited / 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 Cards 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 call 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 , Suited 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
7 Votes 6 Votes 5 Votes 4 Votes 3 Votes 2 or Less Votes AAp , KKp , QQp , JJp , AKs , TTp , AQs , AKo , 99p , KQs , AQo , AJs , ATs , 88p , KQo , A9s , A8s , A7s , A6s , A5s 77p , 66p , A4s , A3s , A2s , KJs , QJs , KTs , AJo , QTs , JTs , T9s , K9s , Q9s , J9s , J8s , T8s , JTo , QJo , KJo , QTo 55p , 44p , KTo , ATo , T9o , 98s , 87s , 97s , K8s , K7s Q8s , K6s , 76s , A9o , 86s , 65s , 33p , 22p , K5s , K4s , K3s , K2s , T7s , J9o T8o , 96s , 54s , 75s , 85s , J7s , K9o , Q9o Q7s , Q6s , Q5s , Q4s , Q3s , J6s , J5s , T6s , 98o , 87o , 76o , J8o , 64s , 53s , 43s , Q2s , 74s , 42s , 32s , 65o , 54o , 43o , A8o , A7o , 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 1000starting 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 KK of both matching suits KK with 1 suit matching KK with no matched suits QQ of both matching suits QQ with 1 suit matching QQ with no matched suits JJ with both cards matching suits JJ with 1 suit matching JJ with no matched suits TT with both cards matching suits TT with 1 suit matching TT with no suit matching 99 with both cards matching suits 99 with 1 suit matching 99 with no suit matching 88-33 look about the same as the rest 80-81% 22 with both matching suits 22 with 1 suit matching 22 with no suit matching Winner % 82.36 81.71 81.06 81.97 81.33 80.69 81.58 80.94 80.31 81.19 80.56 79.93 81.31 80.68 80.05 82.60 81.95 81.30 Loser % 17.09 17.82 18.55 17.51 18.24 18.96 17.93 18.65 19.36 18.36 19.06 19.77 18.25 18.96 19.66 16.83 17.51 18.20 Tie % 0.54 0.46 0.38 0.52 0.43 0.35 0.49 0.41 0.33 0.46 0.38 0.30 0.44 0.36 0.28 0.57 0.54 0.50

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

Cards AK Suited AK off suit (K not matching either of the AA) AK off suit (K matches one of the suits in AA) AQ Suited AQ off suit (Q not matching either of the AA) AQ off suit (Q matches one of the suits in AA) AJ Suited AJ offsuit (J not matching either of the AA) AJ off suit (J matches one of the suits in AA) AT Suited AT off suit (T not matching either of the AA) AT off suit (T matches one of the suits in AA) KQ Suited (not matching suit in AA) KQ Suited (matching suit in AA) KQ off suit (K or Q matching suit in A) KQ off suit (K and Q matching suit in A) KQ off suit (neither matching suit in A) QJ Suited (not matching suit in A) QJ Suited (matching suit in A) QJ off suit (Q or J matching suit in A) QJ off suit (Q and J matching suit in A) QJ off suit ( neither matching suit in AA) JT Suited (not matching suit in A) JT Suited (matching suit in A) JT off suit (J or T matching suit in A) JT off suit (J and T matching suit in A) JT off suit ( neither matching suit in AA) KJ Suited (not matching suit in A) KJ Suited (matching suit in A) KJ off suit (K or J matching suit in A) KJ off suit (K and J matching suit in A) KJ off suit (neither matching suit in AA) QT Suited (not matching suit in A) QT Suited (matching suit in A) QT off suit (Q or T matching suit in A) QT off suit (Q and T matching suit in A) QT off suit (neither matching suit in AA) J9 Suited (not matching suit in A) J9 Suited ( matching suit in A)

Winner % 87.23 91.95 92.80 86.84 91.93 92.37 86.45 91.10 91.93 86.05 90.68 91.50 82.13 83.33 86.92 87.65 86.18 80.12 81.26 84.74 85.43 84.04 78.12 79.19 82.56 83.22 81.90 81.73 82.92 86.49 87.21 85.76 79.73 80.85 84.30 85.00 83.62 78.69 79.82

Loser % 11.51 6.80 5.86 11.92 7.24 6.30 12.32 7.67 6.75 12.72 8.11 7.19 17.50 16.21 12.68 11.86 13.49 19.52 18.30 14.88 14.10 15.66 21.55 20.39 17.08 16.34 17.82 17.90 16.63 13.12 12.32 13.92 19.93 18.72 15.33 14.56 16.09 20.98 19.77

Tie % 1.26 1.25 1.35 1.24 1.24 1.33 1.23 1.22 1.32 1.22 1.21 1.31 0.38 0.46 0.41 0.49 0.33 0.36 0.44 0.38 0.46 0.30 0.34 0.42 0.36 0.44 0.28 0.37 0.45 0.39 0.47 0.31 0.35 0.43 0.37 0.45 0.29 0.33 0.41


J9 off suit (J or 9 matching suit in A) J9 off suit (J and 9 matching suit in A) J9 off suit (neither matching suit in AA)

83.19 83.87 82.51

16.46 15.70 17.22

0.35 0.43 0.27

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

This is the reason to raise preflop with AA
6 Handed Game
AA 35.47 98o 13.82 Qjo 17.38 55 12.82 63s 12.76 T2o 7.66 TIE 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 25.07 19.29 13.65 10.36 7.89 5.82 AA A2o KQo 98o 56o 43o 26.76 1.61 14.03 15.79 10.81 11.21 88 4.57 T7o 5.78 77 4.17 T2o 1.15 66 4.40 72o 1.23 55 4.76 K5o 3.21 TIE 0.02 TIE Varies

Its winning percentage went from averaging a little better than 80% all the way down to 25% in a 10-player game. 53

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
AK SUITED AK OFFSUIT % You Will Make By River % You Will Make By River in 100,000 Games in 100,000 Games Royal Flush - 0.07% Straight Flush - 0.32% 4 of a Kind - 0.13% Full House - 2.27% Flush - 6.57% Straight - 5.61% Three of a Kind - 6.82% Two Pair - 25.42% One Pair - 77.64% Royal Flush - 0.03% Straight Flush - 0.12% 4 of a Kind - 0.14% Full House - 2.29% Flush - 1.92% Straight - 5.57% Three of a Kind - 6.90% Two Pair - 25.31% One Pair - 77.50%

Pocket Pairs
Cards KK QQ with 1 suit matching QQ with no matched suits JJ with 1 suit matching JJ with no matched suits TT with 1 suit matching TT with no suit matching 99 with 1 suit matching 99 with no suit matching 88-55 44 with 1 suit matching 44 with no suit matching 33 with 1 suit matching 33 with no suit matching 22 with 1 suit matching 22 with no suit matching AKs % Other % 33.69 65.48 45.65 53.88 46.02 53.59 45.56 53.98 45.94 53.68 45.54 54.01 45.92 53.71 47.01 52.54 47.43 52.21 47.5 – 52.5 48 51.5 48.12 51.32 48.53 50.98 48.71 50.68 49.12 50.33 49.37 49.96 49.77 49.60 Tie % AKo % Other % 0.82 29.60 69.61 0.47 43.03 56.55 0.39 42.66 56.99 0.46 42.95 56.65 0.38 42.58 57.09 0.45 42.93 56.68 0.36 42.57 57.12 0.45 44.53 55.08 0.37 44.16 55.53 NA 44.3- 55.444.8 54.8 0.56 45.72 53.78 0.49 45.35 54.21 0.61 46.35 53.10 0.55 45.98 53.52 0.67 47.04 52.34 0.63 46.67 52.75 Tie % 0.79 0.42 0.34 0.41 0.33 0.39 0.31 0.39 0.31 NA 0.50 0.44 0.56 0.50 0.62 0.58


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

1.22 1.12 0.60 0.50 0.52 0.44 0.48 0.58 0.50 0.42 1.15



A) KJ off suit (not matching suits) QT Suited (not matching suit in A) QT Suited (matching suit in A) QT off suit (Q or T matching suit in A) QT off suit (neither matching suit in A) J9 Suited (not matching suit in A) J9 Suited ( matching suit in A) J9 off suit (J or 9 matching suit in A) J9 off suit (neither matching suit in A)

74.86 62.18 65.32 65.67 66.10 62.21 65.31 65.64 66.13

24.03 37.33 34.08 33.82 33.47 37.32 34.11 33.86 33.46

1.11 0.49 0.59 0.51 0.43 0.48 0.58 0.50 0.42

73.31 59.84 61.21 64.25 63.76 59.82 61.22 64.23 63.74

25.62 39.73 38.28 35.30 35.86 39.76 38.28 35.33 35.90

1.07 0.43 0.51 0.45 0.38 0.42 0.50 0.44 0.36

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


76 off suit (not matching suit in 63.93 A) 65 suited (not matching suit in 60.15 A) 65 off suit (not matching suit in 63.94 A)

35.69 39.36 35.63

0.37 0.49 0.43

61.35 57.57 61.35

38.34 42.00 38.27

0.31 0.44 0.38

This is the reason to raise preflop with AK
6 Handed Game
AKs 31.31 76o 10.95 T9o 11.35 QJo 17.64 T2s 10.24 55 16.72 TIE 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 17.40 76o 3.52 QJo 10.93 T6o 7.79 72s 7.28 88 16.98 Q4o 2.76 94s 33 10.44 15.08 A2o 2.83 TIE 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 14.29

76o 1.97

QJo T6o 13.79 23.40

72s 6.65

88 9.36

Q4o 1.23

94s 6.16

33 10.84

A2o TIE 0.74 2's / 9.61
1.97 4's

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


Outs, Odds Against, and Pot Odds
Outs 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Turn % 2.13% 4.26% 6.38% 8.51% 10.64% 12.77% 14.89% 17.02% 19.15% 21.28% 23.40% 25.53% 27.66% 29.79% 31.91% Odds Against 46 to 1 22.5 to 1 14.67 to 1 10.75 to 1 8.4 to 1 6.83 to 1 5.71 to 1 4.88 to 1 4.22 to 1 3.7 to 1 3.27 to 1 2.92 to 1 2.62 to 1 2.36 to 1 2.13 to 1 River % 2.17% 4.35% 6.52% 8.70% 10.87% 13.04% 15.22% 17.39% 19.57% 21.74% 23.91% 26.09% 28.26% 30.43% 32.61% Odds Against 45 to 1 22 to 1 14.33 to 1 10.5 to 1 8.2 to 1 6.67 to 1 5.57 to 1 4.75 to 1 4.11 to 1 3.6 to 1 3.18 to 1 2.83 to 1 2.54 to 1 2.29 to 1 2.07 to 1 Turn and River % 4.26% 8.42% 12.49% 16.47% 20.35% 24.14% 27.84% 31.45% 34.97% 38.39% 41.72% 44.96% 48.10% 51.16% 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 equation. 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 Scenario
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 bestcase 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 AA AK suited AK off suit Ax off suit Odds Against 220 to 1 331 to 1 110 to 1 5.25 to 1 % 0.45% 0.30% 0.90% 16%

After Being Dealt A Pocket Pair
Flopping Trips or better Flopping Trips Flopping A Full House (Boat) Flopping 4 of a kind Trips or better by the river 7.5 to 1 8.3 to 1 136 to 1 407 to 1 4.2 to 1 11.76% 10.75% 0.73% 0.24 % 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 flop 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 A pair 2 pair (both hole cards) 2 pair (1 hole card) 2.1 to 1 2.5 to 1 49 to 1 24 to 1 32.47% 28.57% 2% 4%


Trips Boat 4 of a kind

73 to 1 1087 to 1 9799 to 1

1.35% 0.09% 0.01%

Odds of Flop Being
Trips 1 Pair 424 to 1 5 to 1 0.24% 16.67%

% Your Opponents Do Not Have An Ace Preflop
Opposition 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 You No Ace 72% 60% 50% 40% 34% 27% 22% 17% 13% You 1 Ace 88% 77% 68% 59% 50% 43% 36% 31% 25%


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

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

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

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


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

Long Shot Straight Draws Completing
Open Ended Runner Runner Gut shot Runner Runner 37 to 1 70 to 1 2.63% 1.41%


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

Holding 2 Suited Cards
Flopping a Flush Flopping At Least 4 Flush Flopping 4 to a Flush Flopping a Backdoor Flush Making Backdoor Flush by River 118 to 1 7.5 to 1 8.1 to 1 1.4 to 1 23 to 1 0.84% 11.76% 10.99% 41.67% 4.17%

Holding 2 Unsuited Cards Non Paired Cards
Flopping 4 to a Flush Flopping a Backdoor Flush Making Flush by River 88 to 1 6.8 to 1 53 to 1 1.12% 12.82% 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 factor 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 hands. 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 threat. 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 cred.' 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 game.


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 greater.

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 factor. 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 Player. 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 hand

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 everyone


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 draw. 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 weakness 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 do

Tapping on their cards, chips, table twice indicates the player didn't make their 88

hand 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 bluffing 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 hand.

Strong Hands
Bets small Pauses as though thinking then bets out when an obvious straight or flush card appears 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 Opponent On Tilt Preflop Flop Turn Raise Raise / Fold River


Opponent On Tilt Opponent Holds Pair Opponent Slow playing Opponent made Trips w/Small Pocket Pair Opponent made flush / straight Opponent made flush / straight and is slow playing Opponent wants a free card

Weak Opponent with good starting hand (the small raise is the giveaway) Opponent on Straight / Flush Draw Weak Opponent on Straight / Flush Draw

Bet Check Check, Bet Raise Check, Bet Raise Check, Bet Raise Check, Bet Call Check all of the above Small Bet Check Bet Raise / Bet Call Check, Check Fold Raise / Bet Call Check, Check, Fold Call Call

Check / Fold Call Bet Call Check, Call Call Check, Call Call Check, Call Call Check, Call Raise Bet


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 poker.


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 noise. 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 email 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 •Lowball •7 Card Stud •Razz •5 Card Stud •Soko (Canadian Stud) •Pineapple •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 declared.

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 98

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 straight

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 crime?
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 - 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 passed.


FAQ 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 difference.

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 holding. 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


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