You’ve got poker questions on your mind and you don’t know who to ask. If you ask a novice, you’re not getting quality information whether it’s about poker rules or poker strategy. And you don’t really want to ask an expert because you’re intimidated.
You don’t have to worry anymore. The frequently asked poker questions below should help you out.
These questions and answers won’t cover everything about poker, but they will cover the basics about poker games as well as some questions that new poker players often wonder about. You will also find a lot of information on Texas Hold’em poker tournaments.
If you enjoy poker questions and answers, then you have just found Poker Q&A Paradise. That’s not really a thing, and nobody would really consider any Q&A Paradise, but there is a first time for everything, and I’m going to try my best.
With that out of the way, let’s get to all your poker questions.
What Are The Different Types of Poker Games?
There are many different types of poker games, but as a beginner all you need to know in today’s poker world is Texas Hold’em and Omaha. These are the two most popular poker games in the world by far.
In Texas Hold’em, you’re dealt two cards and there are five community cards. You make the best five-card hand possible of the seven cards available (two hold cards + five community cards).
Omaha is similar, but you get four hole cards and can only use two of those cards. You’re still making the best five-card hand of the seven available. You will see a lot more action in Omaha and you usually want to be drawing to the nuts (the best possible hand).
In Omaha be extra careful if you have the nuts on the flop, there could still be a lot of trouble ahead. If you’re new to the game, then I highly recommend beginning with Texas Hold’em. It’s a slower-paced game with more analysis, which will give you more time to learn and improve your skills.
How Does a Poker Tournament Work?
Basically, you buy-in a poker tournament for a set entry fee, get the same amount of chips as everyone else, play poker until one player has all the chips and win money if you finish in the top 10%-15% (depending on the tournament). That’s the simple version.
Now let’s take a look at the basic poker rules for tournaments.
There are blind levels. Let’s say the blind levels are 30 minutes. This means the blinds go up every 30 minutes. This prevents people from playing very few poker hands and waiting for the nuts.
When you build a stack, you can apply more pressure against passive players and those with short stacks, but you also want to have the mindset of protecting your stack when you get a big lead – don’t go up against strong players often and don’t gamble with marginal hands and draws.
If you’re short-stacked then you should be more aggressive to get back in the game, but make sure it’s patient-aggressive.
You lose all your chips, you’re out. If registration is over, then you cannot re-buy. This is against the poker rules. If you make the top 10%-15%, then you will win money. Someone will give you a card with what place you finished.
You bring that to the desk, sign your name, and leave a tip for the dealer (optional). If your winnings are more than $5,000, you will have to pay taxes. This is why it’s important to pay careful attention to the pay jumps.
If you’re in a spot where you will earn $4,900 if you get knocked out and the next spot pays $5,100, you want to gamble in that spot. Either double-up to go for the win or get knocked out so you pay less in taxes.
There are also some situations where you’re at the final table and the last two or three places are right around $5,000. This is where you should agree to a chop so everyone is just below $5,000. Nobody pays taxes and everyone goes home happy.
How Do You Become a Good Tournament Poker Player?
If you want to get better at poker tournaments, there is only one way to do it. The solution is to play much fewer hands.
What I’m about to write is not the solution to becoming an expert player at all levels, but it is the platform and you will win more, potentially a lot more. Most people who read this page are beginners, and if you’re a beginner, then you’re probably playing way too many poker hands.
It sure isn’t easy, but you can get there. When you first start playing poker tournaments, you’re going to be thinking: I can crush this, I’m the man (or woman), and I can play J9-off like a boss! Then you lose a tournament or two, which quickly becomes 17, and you begin to realize that it’s not that easy.
What began as an interest in poker tournaments to make a little money has now turned into a $1,700 loss. You want to call someone you know, ask them to meet you at a private location, and cry on their shoulder, but that would be weird, so you can’t do that. Now you’re stuck.
There is only one solution, which is change your poker strategy and play fewer hands. Don’t worry about your image and looking like a Nit. As I wrote in one chapter in Poker Notes, Have You Ever Seen a Nit Get Crushed? The answer is no.
If you play like a Nit, it keeps you in the game, and it sure as heck will keep you in most poker tournaments. In fact, if you play like a Nit in all poker tournaments, you will cash often.
You’re not going to win many tournaments, but you are going to be well above the average for cashing. You might be concerned with looking like a Nit to others, but that’s Ego talking, and Ego is our enemy.
Also remember that this poker strategy is just the platform. It’s also different than other platforms because in this case, when you run into trouble and hit a downswing, it’s a platform you want to land on again before moving back up.
You might not have any idea on how many hands to play, but I’ll help you with that. There are two simple approaches.
One, keep track of how many hands you’re playing on your phone (Hands Played/Flops Not Seen). Make sure you’re playing a maximum of 19% of poker hands.
If you’re above that and you’re dealt a hand like KQ-off in position and there has been a raise, fold. If you have played 15% of poker hands in the same situation, call.
You must adopt the mindset that you’re not playing to win the tournament or to accumulate chips. The game you’re playing, as well as your #1 priority, is to make sure you finish this tournament at 19% hands played or less. If you follow this poker strategy and stick to it, the cashes will come.
You will also find that even when you don’t cash in a tournament, you will be going very deep. It’s never fun to go deep without cashing, but it does show that you’re playing well. For the record, I’m currently writing a book titled 19%, which is based on this premise.
Two, use SPATS from The Perfect Range. By following this poker strategy, you will be playing tight but not Nitty. There is enough wiggle room with the range that you will have some unpredictability.
SPATS stands for Suited-Connectors, Pairs, Ax-suited, Ten and Higher, and Suited One-Gappers. This doesn’t mean you play all of these hands all of the time.
If someone three-bets pre-flop and you have QT-off, that falls into the Ten and Higher category, but you don’t call that, you fold. The SPATS range refers to hands that you can play, not hands that you have to play.
The Suited-Connectors and Suited One-Gappers are in there to keep your opponents off balance. If an opponent sees you raising with premium hands for hours, they’re never going to see it coming when you three-bet with 86-suited from middle position.
It should also be noted that the number one goal of SPATS is to prevent you from going on tilt. If you only play these hands and remain disciplined, poor pre-flop emotional decisions will be eliminated.
You need to be a good tournament player before you can become a great tournament player. Good is where you want to be right now because it will lead to a lot of cashes. We’ll worry about the wins another time. If you want those cashes, follow the poker rules for cashing above.
How Long Does a Poker Tournament Take?
This is one of the best poker questions because there are so many different answers. I’ll do my best to simplify the answer.
If you’re playing in a daily poker tournament, which is a lower buy-in with smaller fields, they usually take about three hours. It can be much shorter or much longer, but based on all the daily poker tournaments I have played, three hours is my best answer.
If you’re playing in a sit and go, it’s usually about one-two hours.
If you’re playing in a single-day sanctioned poker tournament, such as a one-day ring event, it will usually take about 10-14 hours.
All other poker tournaments are multi-days. The fields are so big that they take two or more days to complete. They are also a serious grind. You could end up played 10-14 hours per day. Fortunately, there are ways to combat this.
The first way to combat this is to buy-in late on Day 1. This way you won’t be sitting down all day and all night. You will also be reducing your risk because it’s less likely that you will re-buy.
Additionally, your opponents will not have seen you play for half the day, which might have given them information on your approach to the game.
Furthermore, your opponents will be more fatigued than you by the end of the night because you came in fresh around mid-day.
The second way to combat this is to play Day 1A instead of Day 2B.
Let’s say Day 1A is Friday and Day 1B is Saturday. This means Day 2 is Sunday, which is when all the people who bagged on Friday and all the people who bagged on Saturday will meet up for the final stretch on Sunday.
If you played on Friday and bagged, then you have Saturday off. You can go do stuff outside of the casino, which is highly recommended before a Day 2.
For the people who played all day and night on Saturday, they must come back and do it again the very next day. That said, a Day 2 isn’t as much of a grind.
Despite being deeper in the tournament, the decisions are easier because it’s a much tighter game and almost everything is based on position. Everyone smells the money, and not many people are going to make stupid decisions.
However, when some players get short-stacked in tournaments, many of them will shove with hands like J4-off despite having 10 BB. Wait for them to make these kinds of mistakes. If you happen to pick up a hand, it’s a great way to accumulate chips.
There is one other factor here. Most Day 1A/Day 1B tournaments take place on Friday and Saturday. Can you figure what that means? If a Day 1A of a tournament is taking place all day (and night) on a Friday, then you’re going to find a ton of poker pros. Most people work on Fridays.
For poker pros, this is their work. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to play on Day 1A with the pros. You will learn a lot by doing so. It’s also a much different game. The majority of the players on this flight will not play recklessly. The game is pretty much played as it’s supposed to be played.
Therefore, when you shove with top pair and your opponent has a flush draw, they’re much more likely to fold because it’s the right decision. The game is much more predictable, but it’s also much harder to extract chips. And it’s a smaller field.
All of this means that if you bag, you won’t be bagging as much as the people who bagged on Saturday.
A Saturday flight brings a much bigger field and all different kinds of poker players: tourists, home-gamers, regulars from the poker room, poker pros, and pretty much everything else you can think of.
The only thing I haven’t seen yet is a circus clown, but even that wouldn’t surprise me. The variance is going to be incredibly high on this flight because of the types of poker players in the field.
This can be bad at times. It can drive you nuts. But when you run good, you’re going to have one heck of a stack going into Day 2. Basically, if you play good poker on a Saturday, you need to put yourself in good spots and hope your hands hold.
If you can adopt the mindset of: I will play my best, everything else is out of my control, then you’re on the right track. It’s also a lot less stressful. Learn to be decision-oriented, not results-oriented.
A tournament like this will take a total of three days. In some cases, the tournament staff will have the final table on Monday, which will make it a four-day event.
These are usually the longest poker tournaments aside from the WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas, which is a ten-day event if you make it all the way to the final table.
How Much Does It Cost To Enter a Poker Tournament?
Basically, you can buy-in for a turbo poker tournament for a couple of dollars online, all the way up to a Million dollar entry fee for the “Big One for One Drop” Charity Event.
This sounds like one of the simplest poker questions, but there is so much that goes into this answer, and its important information.
I’m going to give you the most important information first and then get into some numbers. That important information is that generally speaking, the lower the buy-in, the higher the rake (how much the house takes), and the higher the buy-in, the lower the rake.
That information might lead you to believe that it’s better to play in the higher buy-in events, but that’s not the case. The higher buy-in events attract much stronger poker players.
I am one of the very few players I know that will play in a Daily or Nightly poker tournament and then play in a WSOP Circuit Main Event. I have quite a wide range for tourney entries, and there is no doubt that higher buy-ins attract a much stronger field.
The biggest difference between both extremes is that the poker players in the softer fields play more hands, and the poker players in the stronger fields play fewer hands. This makes it a lot more difficult to extract chips in the higher buy-in events.
In the softer fields, I always tell myself that I’m only playing against half the field because the other half doesn’t know what they’re doing. That is never the case in a WSOP Circuit Main Event. If you get a table draw where you find one soft player, you’re fortunate.
Getting to the numbers, the average Daily poker tournament, as well as the Nightly poker tournaments during the WSOP Circuit events, have a $135 buy-in.
But don’t just look at the total buy-in. Look at the entry fee and the deductions (rake/fees). The solution is to play in low buy-in events with a small rake. This isn’t easy to find, but they are out there.
If you want to play in small buy-in events with a low rake (relatively speaking) and without investing too much time, play the sit and go tournaments. These run all day at any WSOP event, whether it’s the Circuit or Las Vegas in the summer.
They also run through most of the night on the weekends. They tend to peter out at around 11 p.m.-1 p.m. on weeknights. These have a $115-$125 buy-in (depending where you’re playing). If you’re patient, you can pick up a quick $500-$900.
Most WSOP Circuit ring events have a $400 buy-in, which is high compared to most other poker tours, but they do mix in some $250 Turbo ring events, which are a lot of fun.
It’s also a way for a novice poker player to get some exposure at a cheaper price. But you don’t have to play in WSOP Circuit events. There are many other options.
One such option is RunGood, where the average buy-in for an event is $185. The RunGood events are also a lot more laid-back and much more fun (the Circuit is pretty serious). The RunGood Main Event is $575, compared to $1,700 for a WSOP Circuit Main Event.
The prize pools at RunGood won’t be nearly as high, but the competition will be much softer. Would you rather have a decent chance at winning decent money or a small chance at winning a lot of money? I would prefer the former.
If you want a shot at the bigger money at a cheaper price, you can also look into satellites, which are smaller tournaments with low buy-ins where the winners get tickets to a larger event.
If You Use a Larger Denomination Chip, Is It a Call or a Raise?
It is just a Call. Let’s say you’re playing in a poker tournament and the blinds are 100/200. This is very early in the tournament. If you put out a $1,000 chip without saying anything, then it’s just a call.
If you wanted to raise, then you either would have had to announce, “Raise” or you would have had to put two chips out. Whenever you put two chips out (above the original bet), it’s a raise. You must at least double the other poker player’s bet to make it a raise.
If You Show Your Cards During a Hand, Is Your Hand Dead?
If you show your cards in a poker tournament, technically your hand is not dead, the dealer is going to call the Floor over. The Floor will usually rule that the hand will be played out and you will get a warning.
If you do it a second time, you will receive a one-round penalty. I have received a penalty before (for a different reason), and it’s much longer than you think.
If you’re playing in a cash game, you can never show your cards when there are three or more players in a hand. In most poker rooms, you can show your cards when it’s heads-up in a cash game. You can also show just one card.
If you plan to do this, I would highly recommend asking the dealer if it’s okay prior to flipping your card(s). I say this because you will find some poker rooms that don’t allow this.
In a tournament you don’t want to receive a penalty unless you have a gargantuan chip lead and you’re approaching the money. The reason the Floor rules this way is to prevent collusion.
They must do this in case you have a friend at the table that you’re splitting winnings with and you’re purposely giving him information so he can collect more chips from you.
You would only do this if you were short-stacked and he had a better chance of cashing/winning. When someone does this, it’s called punting. It’s rare but it does happen.
By the way, if you’re wondering why any poker player would show their card(s) to an opponent, it’s usually to protect a made hand against a draw. Showing your cards can also put your opponent on the spot. If they call an all-in bet with a draw, the rest of the table might peg them as an idiot.
Therefore, they’re more likely to fold due to potential embarrassment. I used to show my cards once in a while, but I haven’t done it in years. If I have a made hand and my opponent has a draw, then I have the advantage over the long haul. I want that call.
Is Poker More Luck or Skill?
This question was asked to some of the best poker players in the world years ago. They all pretty much agreed on the answer. In their opinion, poker is 70% luck and 30% skill in the short term and 70% skill and 30% luck over the long haul. I can agree with that.
The poker pros who answered this question are famous players that you see on television. You might see them play tournaments once in a while, but they’re usually playing high-stakes cash games. And they’re usually seeing the same opponents over and over again. My situation is different.
By playing on the WSOP Circuit and jumping into other poker tournament series for an event or two once in a while, I see a lot of the same people. I can tell you this with absolute certainty.
There are about 8-10 poker players that win a heck of a lot more than everyone else. One player I’m friends with won three events over the past three months for a total north of $120k. Not bad for three months of work.
If you’re curious as to how this poker pro plays, he’s tight-aggressive but extremely aggressive when he plays. I’m not talking about three-bets and four-bets, he just jams it. And he’s willing to call all-in bets with A2-off.
Watching him play is definitely entertaining. He wants his chips in the middle because he knows that three consecutive all-in wins gets him in the money.
Another important point about this player. It’s very rare that he will play pots against me and other poker pros. I guess he knows we won’t be as quick to put all of our chips in the middle with 76.
Yes, those are the kinds of calls he gets, which relates to Ego. The average poker player gets fed up with his antics and finally calls.
This is often a bad idea. And he doesn’t always have A2-off. How can you possibly know? My approach against this player is to raise him out pre-flop. He will usually fold, but when it goes further than that, I need crazy strength to stay involved because I know he’s going to jam it.
Does Poker Take Skill?
Yes. Most Definitely. Poker takes skill. A lot depends on the table you’re playing at. What I’m about to write is the absolute truth; I have no doubt about it whatsoever.
If you’re playing in game where everyone is about equal in skill level, the game will be almost all luck. If you’re playing in a game where you have a lot more experience than your opponents, the game will be almost all skill.
The longer you play in games like these, the more skill is a factor. If you’re only playing for an hour, that is not the case.
I remember playing in a 1/2 NL cash game at Harrah’s Cherokee in 2015. I played the 1/2 NL game because it was a Wednesday night and there were no other games available. This happened to be one of the softest games I have ever played in.
One of the regulars at Harrah’s Cherokee Poker Room, who is a cash game poker pro, was also playing in this game because there were no other options and the game was so soft. After this anonymous poker pro played in the game for ten minutes, he said, “Wow! This is a really soft game.”
I don’t know why he would say that out loud because you never want to tap the glass, but it at least confirmed what I was thinking. Wouldn’t get up from that game to eat, use the restroom, make a phone call, or for any other reason. I was locked in. After four hours, I was + $961, which is a lot for a 1/2 NL game.
These weren’t just bad players, they were scared money. I didn’t win that $961 by getting lucky on flips or calling bad bluffs. I got that money by relentlessly attacking in the right spots and against the right players. When you can dominate a table like this, it’s a great feeling.
I remember the +$961 because that’s when the Floor came over and said they were breaking up the game to fill two other games. The anonymous pro angrily stated, “I object!” I found that funny.
Here’s what I’m trying to say. If I had the same cards but all my opponents were Circuit pros, there is no chance I would have won $961. Probably would have been up a couple hundred dollars or close to even.
I wouldn’t have had a big edge based on poker strategy. I also would have played fewer poker hands because I would have respected my opponents more.
But since I found my opponents at this table to be soft and passive, I played more poker hands and accumulated more chips. If this isn’t proof that poker is a game of skill, what is?
When you’re playing cash games, the key is to finding the right game—a game where you have an advantage. If you’re playing in poker tournaments, you don’t have this luxury. You must adapt to the table draw you’re dealt. If it’s a strong table, play fewer poker hands. If it’s a weak table draw, play more poker hands.
How Do I Improve My Poker Skills?
There are several ways to improve your poker skills. The best way is to play more. There is no substitute for experience.
There are also online training sites. You play a simulated poker tournament and the program lets you know how many correct moves/mistakes you made. You can evaluate your mistakes and apply on the next attempt. The only problem with these programs is that you can’t get human reads.
How Do Kickers Work In Poker?
When you and an opponent have the same pair, the player with the higher second card (kicker) wins the hand. For example, if you have KT and your opponent has K9 when there is a KQ852 on the board, the player with the KT wins the hand. (This is assuming top pair is the best hand)
When you’re playing pots with top pair and a kicker comes into play, it’s often not a big pot. I’ll tell you a secret about Texas Hold’em, if you make it to the river/showdown, most winning hands are going to be stronger than top pair. You will see a lot of two pair, trips, straights, and flushes.
What Does Aces Full of Jacks Mean?
This means you have a full house that looks like this: AAAJJ. If you have aces full of jacks, then you have three aces and two jacks. If you had jacks full of eights, then it would look like this: JJJ88.
Who Wins If Both Players Have a Full House?
The player with the bigger full house will win, the player with the higher three of a kind. Let’s take a look at an example. If I have kings full of sevens and my opponent has sevens full of kings, then I win the hand. KKK77 > 777KK.
It’s not often that both players will have a full houses, but it does happen. The person with the smaller full house will usually call, but there are times where their opponent has made it obvious that they’re holding a bigger full house.
This is the kind of situation that separates good poker players from great poker players. A good poker player will call in these spots. A great poker player will fold if they have the right read and actually trust that read.
How do you know if your opponent has a bigger full house? That’s easy as pie! If your opponent is betting without hesitation or concern, or if he goes all-in on any board that shows full house potential – he has you beat.
The reason most people call with the smaller full house is because they’re thinking that a full house is a difficult hand to make. Instead, they should be thinking how their hand relates to the board, not about the value of poker hands in general.
Most people know the rankings of poker hands, but there is no poker hands chart that shows you the value of your hand for every board. Let’s say the board is KK789, you’re holding 77, your opponent is a tight player, and he just moved all-in after you raised him.
Really think about this. What hand could he possibly be holding that you can beat? Base this answer on his actions.
If it was a loose player, that’s a different story. That player might make this move with trips, but a tight player who bets without hesitation or fear on this board, despite you showing a lot of interest, has kings full. There will be instances where this is incorrect, but it will be rare.
If this kind of player keeps coming at you on this board, and he’s willing to put all his chips in the middle, then calling is –EV over the long haul. It’s a fold. That’s pro level “stuff.”
Who Wins If Both Players Have Two Pair?
The player with the highest value top pair wins. If both have the highest top pair, it then goes to second highest pair.
Example: If you have KQ on a board of: KQ42A and your opponent has Q4, you both have two pair, but you have the bigger two pair (higher-value cards); therefore, you win.
If you have KQ on a board of: KQ42A and your opponent has K4, you both have two pair, but you have the bigger two pair (higher-value cards); therefore, you win.
Fortunately for you, there are a lot of interesting people out there who believe you should play a lot of low-value cards to sneak up on your opponent and win a big pot. This is the most ridiculous poker strategy I’ve ever heard.
Playing a lot of low-value poker hands is like gambling on a lot of speculative stocks. You want to invest your money; you don’t want to gamble your money. The higher-value cards in Texas Hold’em poker tournaments and other poker games are like Blue Chip stocks.
You might not win as much with them if you’re only playing premium hands and your opponents know that, but you’re going to grind higher if you play these kinds of poker hands more often than rags. You can then throw in a speculative play once in a while. That’s how you do it.
What Happens If Two Players Have the Same Pair? Who Wins?
It depends on the kicker, which is the second card. If you have AT, your opponent has A8, and you both hit an Ace for top pair, then the player with AT wins the hand because he has a bigger kicker.
What Happens If Two Players Have the Same Hand?
If two players have the same exact hand, then it’s a chop and they split the pot.
For example, if you both have AT and hit top pair, then you have the same exact hand. The dealer will split the chips evenly and hand each of you a stack. In most chop situations, you’re winning a little because of the people who committed some chips but then folded earlier in the hand.
Chops are anti-climactic, but if you were to chop every hand forever, you would make a lot of money.
Why Is It Called the River in Poker?
It’s called the river because you can drown in the river or go down the river. Since it’s the last card, it can change everything, especially your hopes and dreams for winning that big pot. But keep in mind that sometimes you get lucky on the river as well.
This is a great question as well as an interesting topic. Firstly, bad players get lucky on the river more often than good players. Most good players will try to move their opponent off the hand (get them to fold) prior to it getting to the river.
The bad players will often call despite being behind in the hand. Since bad players stick around more often, they get lucky on the river more often. I’m a bit different because I have a sense of which bad players will call my bet even if I try to move them off the hand.
Therefore, I will keep the pot small if I have a good yet not great hand and actually allow the hand to get to the river. By doing this, I can evaluate the situation and call/fold/raise accordingly.
This is a very different poker strategy because it’s based on more information opposed to math, and many poker players will scoff at it, but whenever you look at the earnings for these players, it’s never above $1,000.
The truly good Circuit players know and understand that applying your own brand of poker is the way to succeed.
This is my brand of poker. It doesn’t follow the normal poker rules for winning, but if I followed the same poker rules for winning as everyone else, how would I gain an advantage? Blaze your own trail or fail.
I’m going to share something with you that very few people know, even if they have been playing poker games their whole lives. When Texas Hold’em was first invented, it was just the flop.
The problem was that the strongest players kept winning. In order to keep the bad players interested by letting them get lucky once in a while, they added the turn and river. It worked.
It also added a lot of variance, but there is an easy way to combat that: play fewer poker hands and fold more often.
Is Poker a Good Way to Make Money?
Studies have shown that approximately only 10% of poker players are profitable. That’s obviously not a high percentage, but if you’re in that percentage, you’re doing very well. If you can figure out a way to beat the game, you’re going to make money. This is going to be challenging, but it can be done.
poker player making money
Can I Make a Living Playing Poker?
Yes. I’ll tell you how I do it. A lot of poker players complain about variance. They consistently say that variance is the reason they can’t maintain their bankroll.
If variance is the problem, then you must find a way to reduce variance. In order to reduce variance, play fewer poker hands. If you’re getting involved in fewer poker hands, then variance is going to be less of a factor.
I’ll try to put it a different way. If you’re playing a normal amount of poker hands, then you’re going to put yourself in a lot of vulnerable situations. Let’s say you call with KJ on a three-bet and hit top pair. Your opponent keeps betting out and now you’re committed to calling (or raising).
Or let’s say you call a standard raise pre-flop because you’re on the button with 96-suited. You flop a flush draw and your opponent keeps coming at you hard.
Or let’s say you decided to limp in from middle position with 65-off because you “felt it.” You flop an open-ended straight draw. Now let’s take a look at each situation individually.
In the first example with KJ, if someone three-bet you pre-flop and they keep coming at you, they have at least AJ. They could have AJ, AK, KK, or AA. Whatever the case may be, you’re doomed.
In the second example, you flopped a flush draw. Two problems here. One, your opponent likely has a made hand, which means you’re only 36% to win the hand (at best).
If you keep making calls like that, it’s –EV. There are some cases where you want to call there, but we’re keeping things basic here for simplicity purposes.
If your opponent doesn’t have a made hand and they keep coming at you, then they likely have a bigger flush draw. What are you going to do if you hit the flush and your opponent puts you all-in? Once again, you’re doomed.
In the third example, you’re now likely to call a bet because you can hit pay dirt if you hit your straight, but you’re only 32% to hit that straight. If you miss, then you might be tempted to call your opponent’s turn bet to take one more shot at it, but you will only be 16% to hit your hand.
This is not a profitable long-term poker strategy. What could you have done to prevent all of these situations? Fold! That’s why I always try to tell you to play fewer poker hands. It reduces variance!
The only exception is if you’re playing in soft poker games or if you have soft table draws in Texas Hold’em poker tournaments. In these instances, it will play out differently.
If you’re at a soft table, you call the KJ, and your opponent keeps coming at you, then it’s an easy read and you will fold. Soft players are easier to read. They’re basically playing face-up. As long as you don’t let Ego in the door, you will know when to fold.
In the second example with 96-suited, we don’t really know what’s going on, but we can find out. At a soft table, you put in a big raise here. Your opponent will fold more times than not.
Either they have a good (not great) hand like top pair and they will put you on two pair or a set, or they will fold their flush draw to a big bet unless it’s an ace-high flush draw. By applying pressure to soft opponents, you will accumulate many chips.
In the third example with the 65 and a flopped open-end straight draw against a soft opponent, we’re also going to apply pressure. We can win two ways by doing so. If he folds, we win the pot. If he calls and we hit the straight, we win an even bigger pot.
And if he raises, he gives away the strength of his hand and we fold. We cannot be defeated at a soft table unless we get very unlucky. And that can happen.
I recently played in one of the Flamingo Daily poker tournaments because a fan of mine loves playing there. It’s also a pretty chill room. On Level 1 an opponent open-shoved when I had AA. I obviously called, knowing I had a huge advantage. He had QQ and flopped a queen, which held. I was out.
These things will happen in Texas Hold’em poker tournaments. You just have to roll with it. When these things happen, always remind yourself that if you keep putting yourself in those types of situations—where you’re a huge favorite—you will win money over the long haul.
What Happens If Everyone Checks In Poker?
If everyone checks, the dealer deals the next card. If everyone checks the river, then everyone shows their hands to see who takes the pot.
The person closest to the small blind is supposed to show first, but this rarely happens in small-stakes poker games. If you’re at the higher-level poker games, then everyone will want as much information as possible and will wait for the small blind to show first.
Why Are Aces Called Bullets?
There are two possibilities here. One possibility is simply because if turned sideways they look like bullets.
The other possibility relates to the Dead Man’s Hand, which is A8. It’s called the Dead Man’s Hand because Wild Bill was killed while holding it. He had made two pair: aces and eights, but a third bullet got him in the back during the hand. The nickname might stem from that event.
Is AK a Good Hand In Poker?
AK is an excellent hand in poker. It’s the fourth-best hand you can be dealt behind AA, KK, and QQ. A lot of people will make jokes about AK. Some people call it Anna Kournikova because it looks so good but never wins. If you ever hear someone mention this at the poker table, they’re not a good poker player.
First off, a good poker player doesn’t use old clichés when playing. That’s a tell. Secondly, a good poker player knows that AK is a very strong hand and knows that it wins a lot more than it loses.
The reason people have a misconception with AK is because they automatically think they deserve to win once it’s dealt to them.
What they’re failing to realize is that AK, especially AK-suited, is much easier to play than AA or KK. When you have AA or KK, it’s very difficult to fold, which can lead to you losing all of your chips.
Don’t get me wrong, you always want to be dealt AA or KK, but you need to know how to play them. When you’re dealt AK, it’s quite simple. If you hit your hand, extract as much value as you can from your opponent(s). If you miss the flop, fold.
Do you see my point? You can fold AK easily; you can’t fold AA and KK easily.
The best situations with AK are when you’re up against AQ, AJ, AT, KQ, KJ, and rarely KT. This long list of favorable match-ups is why poker pros love AK.
This is also simple. A lot of poker players will overvalue AQ (still a very strong hand), AJ, AT, and KQ. This means that it’s very possible to get into a battle against one of those hands when you’re holding AK.
You are likely to accumulate a lot of chips in these spots. It’s also why many poker pros don’t hesitate to call all-ins with AK.
They know that they’re more likely to be up against one of the hands above than AA or KK, and if their opponent has KK, they still have outs. Going up against AA is really the biggest concern, but you’re still not drawing completely dead.
When deeper in poker tournaments and the poker strategy turns more into all-in or fold, AK will often be up against a middle pair or small pair (it doesn’t matter if it’s a middle pair or small pair).
This is a coin flop. It’s not really what the person with AK wants to see, but at least it’s better than being up against AA or KK.
Is AQ a Good Hand in Poker?
As far as AQ goes, yes, it’s a strong hand. The funny thing about AQ is that soft poker players think it’s a strong hand, medium players (majority of the field) think it’s an okay hand, and strong players think it’s a strong hand. You go through a progression with AQ.
You eventually realize that it matches up well against more hands than it doesn’t match up well against, but a whole lot is going to depend on your reading ability. If I know my opponent is holding AK or better, I’m folding.
You can never really know, but one of the most common poker rules for pros is that if you’re not at least 90% sure, fold. This means if you’re not at least 90% sure that you have the lead, you should fold your hand and wait for a better spot.
Is Poker Considered Gambling?
Yes. Poker is considered gambling, but it’s different from other forms of gambling because there is a lot of skill involved. Some players can’t stand to hear the word “gambling” associated with poker, but those are the facts.
If you end up become a professional and playing in poker games and/or poker tournaments, you will find that you’re friends and family will think you’re heading down the wrong road. They might even offer help. Professional poker players find this funny.
As far as friends go, like it or not, they’re going to change. You’re going to end up spending more time with people who have similar interests. Don’t feel guilty about it. It’s completely normal.
If you’re playing in poker games as a profession and one of your friends is always playing tennis as a hobby, how do you think that conversation is going to go?
It’s going to be awkward. When you have a conversation with someone about Texas Hold’em poker tournaments because you both played in the same event the previous day, the conversation flows with ease.
Who Bets First In Poker After The Flop?
The player in the small blind will act first, but they aren’t necessarily betting first. The small blind is the worst place to be post-flop because you’re out of position. Out of position simply means first player to act.
When you’re first to act, it means you’re the first to give away information. You can trap by checking a good hand, but trapping can be dangerous. If you check and your opponent(s) doesn’t take the bait by betting, you just gave them a free card. Your trap can backfire and you’re now behind in the hand.
This doesn’t mean I’m against trapping. I’m definitely for it, but not too often. You always want to mix up your betting patterns. This is how you keep your opponents off balance.
Since most players rely on betting patterns to read their opponents, if you switch up your betting patterns, you will not be readable.
You might even drive your opponents crazy, which is good because it can lead to them going on tilt. Once they’re on tilt, those chips will be leaving their stack as if they’re being vacuumed up.
You just have to hope they go your way, but never force the issue. If you try to force it, it can cost you chips. Your chips are valuable!
What Is No-Limit Poker?
No-limit poker means you can bet as many chips as you want that you have in front of you.
There are no restrictions on how much you can bet other than you can only bet what is in front of you, and you can bet as much as you want at any point in the hand.
No-limit Texas Hold’em is the most popular of all poker games, and No-Limit Texas Hold’em poker tournaments are the most popular types of tournaments.
What Is The Difference Between Limit Poker and No-Limit Poker?
Limit poker means there is a cap on how much you can bet, but that cap changes pre-flop and post-flop. In No-Limit you can bet as much as you want, up to being all-in at any time in No-Limit poker.
For a Limit example, if you’re playing in a 3/6 Fixed Limit game (limit poker is often referred to as fixed limit), you can bet in $3 increments pre-flop and $6 increments post-flop. In most fixed limit games, you can keep betting as much as you want as long as it’s heads-up. This is regardless of the stakes.
The poker strategy for fixed limit is very different from no limit. In fixed limit, the goal is to consistently put yourself in mathematically advantageous situations.
There is not much emphasis on reading your opponents because there are no big bluffs. You will win the majority of your money with straights and flushes in low-stakes fixed limit.
Once you get to 5/10 FL and higher, the game changes. It’s more about tight and strong play than chasing draws. Just as is the case with no limit poker games, the lower the stakes the lower the skill level, and the higher the stakes the higher the skill level.
Might have mentioned it before, but I once played 13 sessions of 3/6 FL because another player in a no limit game told me the 3/6 FL couldn’t be beat. I took that as a challenge and focused as best as I could. I went 13-0.
My strategy was simple: be aggressive with premium hands and drawing hands pre-flop and continue to apply pressure if I hit the flop.
If heads-up and I missed the flop, I would bet out. If I got called and didn’t improve on the turn, I would abort the mission. This fixed limit poker strategy proved to be highly effective at the 3/6 level.
What Is Under The Gun In Poker?
The “Under the Gun” position is the first person to act pre-flop, the player directly to the left of the big blind. It’s not a good place to be because if you just call the big blind, you’re likely to get raised by someone by the time it gets all the way around to the big blind.
Your poker range should be very narrow when you’re under the gun. Everyone’s range is different based on their style of play, but you should basically be thinking the following when you’re under the gun: If I call here, can I call a raise with it?
If the answer is yes, then you should be the one raising. This will weed out all the marginal hands, especially since you’re raising from the under the gun.
If the answer is no, then you should fold. You should be folding a lot more than you should be playing when you’re under the gun.
It’s not against the poker rules to play a lot of hands from under the gun, but if you see someone playing many poker hands from this position, you can safely assume they’re a bad player.
Why Is It Called The Nuts In Poker?
The real reason it’s called the nuts is because when people first started playing poker in the Wild Wild West and someone knew they had the best hand possible, they would bet their horse and wagon, and in order to bet their wagon, they would have to place the nuts from their wheels in the pot.
This way, the opponent knew he couldn’t escape if he lost, but as long as he wasn’t a dummy, the person betting his horse and wagon wouldn’t lose because he held the best hand. Hence, the nuts.
Can You Check The Nuts In Poker?
You can check the nuts pre-flop, flop, and turn, but you cannot check the nuts on the river. If you check the nuts on the river in a cash game, they will probably let it go. If you check the nuts on the river in pretty much any Texas Hold’em poker tournament, the dealer will call the Floor.
The Floor person will come by, the dealer will explain the situation to the Floor, and based on this information, the Floor will determine whether or not you should receive a warning or a penalty.
I accidentally checked the nuts on the river once. It’s not one of my most memorable poker hands, but there is a good reason for why this happened.
The player immediately to my right had picked up his small stack of chips and cupped them in his hand so I couldn’t see them. I thought he had gone all-in earlier, so I just checked. Now I always check to make sure nobody is concealing chips. Live and learn. Never check the nuts on the river.
Can The Big Blind Raise Pre-Flop?
Yes. The big blind can raise on the first round, which is called pre-flop, or pre-flop action. When you’re in the big blind, you’re going to be out of position on the flop. You won’t be first to act if the small blind is in the hand, but it’s still not a good place to be.
So, if you have a good hand I encourage you to raise to limit the field.
Based on this, there is a certain approach you want to use some of the time, but not all of the time. You never want to do anything all of the time in poker games. Your opponents will pick up on your patterns. From this day on, you have no patterns.
When you’re in the big blind with marginal strength or better and you have 1-3 opponents who just limped, you want to raise more than the standard raise. You want to raise at least 4x the big blind.
This will make your hand appear very strong, which will lead to more folds from your opponents. This is good because you don’t want to play too many poker hands out of position post-flop.
If someone calls, it’s okay. You already told everyone that you have a premium hand, even if you don’t. This gives you two ways to win the hand. Read carefully here because it’s important.
If your opponent only limped pre-flop, then he’s not likely to be holding an ace. If he is holding an ace, it’s a weak ace.
Therefore, if an ace hits the flop, we can represent that ace by betting out. Since we raised 4x the big blind pre-flop from the big blind position, it sure does look like a strong ace. You will usually get a fold here.
If you’re playing a marginal hand like JT and you hit the flop, you can bet out as well. Your opponent won’t put you anywhere near JT because your pre-flop raise told a different story. This is where you win the bigger pots.
Simply by raising 4x the big blind from the big blind position, you told a story that wasn’t true, which gave you two ways to win the hand. One, you followed along with the fictional story and your opponent bought it. Two, you hit your hand, which your opponent never saw coming.
It’s a great tactic because it’s highly effective, but it will lose its effectiveness if you do it too often. You must determine the right time and place.
What Is The Best Poker Room In Las Vegas For a Beginner?
The best poker room for a beginner in Las Vegas is one of the following poker rooms: Bally’s, Flamingo, or Planet Hollywood.
If you go to Bally’s, you will find more of a mix but maybe one pro at most. About half of these players are medium players and the other half are tourists that don’t implement any kind of poker strategy whatsoever.
The reason you might want to play here is that since half the field will have at least some idea of what they’re doing, there will be less variance. Bally’s also runs daily Texas Hold’em poker tournaments at 8 p.m. That means a convenient time and location (mid-strip).
If you go to Flamingo, you’re going to find a ton of soft players. The only risk here is that the field is so soft that it’s extremely rare to see folds. They play poker hands without having a clue.
This can be good for you at times, but with so many players entering almost every pot, it’s more like bingo than poker strategy.
If you want to win at Flamingo, play the cash games, not the poker tournaments. This way you can always re-buy if something goes wrong. You can also apply a lot of pressure because most of the people here are playing with scared money.
If you go to Planet Hollywood, buckle up! The Texas Hold’em poker tournaments and other poker games here are incredibly soft. This is a different kind of soft than Flamingo because you will find more drunk people at PH.
And drunk people who don’t know anything about poker strategy are prone to paying you off for $500 with bottom pair on the river. If you’re a beginner, this is exactly where you want to be.
Do You Have To Show Your Cards If You Lose?
In regular poker games and poker tournaments, you only have to show your cards if your opponent called you on your river bet.
Sometimes they will show first anyway, so wait about a half-second prior to showing. If they show a winning hand, you can muck your hand, which will prevent your opponent and the rest of the table from gaining information on you.
When you’re all-in in a cash game, you never have to show your hand. If you have the losing hand, you can just muck it (fold it).
On a somewhat related note, if you’re in a poker tournament and two or more players are all-in, everyone has to show their hands. It doesn’t matter who shows first, so show your hand immediately.
Dealers can’t stand it when two or more players are waiting for the other player(s) to show their hands. The players don’t like it much either, but only if they know that it doesn’t matter who shows their hand first.
Should I Show My Hand or Muck?
You should almost always muck your hand. When you show your cards, you’re giving away too much information. It’s also making you look like a friendly guy/gal opposed to an intimidating opponent, and it makes you look like a newb.
You don’t want to look like a newb who knows the basic poker rules and nothing more. If you look like a newb, your opponents are going to play more poker hands against you.
This is good news if you’re running good, but nobody runs good forever, and it’s bad news if you truly are a newb. Pretend to be an experienced player by never showing your poker hands.
There are some instances where you might want to show your cards. This is when you want to sell the wrong image so you can play off it later. For example, you might want to show a winning hand to make others think that you don’t bluff.
Or you might want to show a bluff to get others on tilt, hoping you can make a hand and get paid off on another hand later.
These tactics might work against most players, but if I’m sitting at a table where someone shows their hand, I know their intentions. I know that if they show a winning hand, it’s so they can get away with a bluff in the near future.
Therefore, I’m more likely to call if I’m in the next big pot with that player. If they show a bluff, then I know they’re setting up a value bet or bigger the next time they’re in a big pot. I will use caution.
This game has so many variables and such a deep psychological element that you must pay attention to everything at all times and play off what you have learned. But you also want to play based on you how you think others perceive you. Sell the wrong image.
If you’re confused in any way, never show your poker hands. This is a solid poker strategy.
Is There a Time Limit in Texas Hold’em? When Can You Call a Clock in Poker?
You usually have as much time as you need in all poker games and Texas Hold’em poker tournaments, but there are exceptions. If you’re taking too long, someone at the table can call a clock. It doesn’t need to be someone in the hand.
At that point, the dealer will call the Floor over. The Floor will say to you, “You have thirty seconds to act. I will count down from ten seconds when there are ten seconds remaining. If you don’t act by the time I get to zero, your hand will be dead.” (A dead hand means a fold).
This happened to me on one of the biggest hands of my life. I was very deep in a WSOP Circuit event for a lot of money last November. Ended up finishing 7th of 2,373 players for just shy of $21k, but the only reason I got that far was because of one hand on Day 2.
I was dealt being UTG:
and limped. I was one of the shorter stacks at the table and had no interesting in tangoing too much with JJ. The big blind raised. I called and everyone else folded.
The player in the big bling had 1.3 million chips and I only had 440,000. He bet out (I don’t remember the amount). I called.
I remember the player in the big blind betting an amount that left me with 90k. Tanked for a long time. I had no idea how much time had passed because I was going through every possibility in my mind.
I needed to go through every hand my opponent could be holding to see if it matched his betting pattern and the board.
After almost five minutes, one of the Circuit pros (a female I’m friends with) called the clock on me, even though she wasn’t in the hand. She said, “Sorry, but it’s been five minutes and there’s big money on the line.” I completely understood her point.
The Floor came over and gave me a countdown. What ran through my mind was the following: If he has a ten or a nine, he wouldn’t be firing out this many chips so aggressively. He would be afraid to scare me away. He could have missed a flush draw, or he could have two overcards since he raised pre-flop.
I also have to factor in that this is Day 2, which means he looked at the players at his table coming into the day. He might know who I am, and he might want to outplay me. His Ego is getting in the way.
This is what led me to calling with one second left. I’m pretty sure everyone at that table thought I was going to fold. So did I at one point, but I needed to trust my analysis. I called.
As expected, the player in the big blind put me all-in. There was no other move. I was going to call no matter what because I already had so many chips in the pot, but he didn’t help himself by saying, “Clock!” immediately after betting. The five-minute wait on the previous street must have been hell for him.
When I called, he turned over AJ-off. Complete air. My JJ hand held, and word quickly spread about the call. However, I will admit that I was in some kind of bizarre zone for several months at that time. I didn’t understand it, but I liked it. I fell into a similar zone in Coconut Creek and Pearl River.
While I always feel like a threat in Texas Hold’em poker tournaments, I don’t always fall into this zone. I wish I could, but the zone cannot be forced.
Getting back to time limits, some poker tournament series have implemented a 30-second shot clock to move the action along faster. I think this takes away from the game, but if there is change, I will roll with it instead of complaining. You must roll with the changes to succeed.
In some of these poker tournaments, there are time bank cards. I’m not very familiar with them because I don’t play in these poker tournaments, but I think you get a 30-second time bank card and a 60-second time bank card, and you can use each of them once for time extensions on poker hands.
What Does Guaranteed Mean in Poker? What Does GTD Prize Pool Mean?
GTD means guaranteed. A guarantee means how much the tournament series will pay in prize money regardless of how many players show up.
Once in a while, a tournament won’t have enough players to reach the amount of money expected to be paid, but if a tournament series says there is a guarantee, then players will still show up.
For example, if the WPT (World Poker Tour) says there is a $1 million guarantee on a poker tournament and not enough players show up for a $1 million prize pool, the WPT will take money out of their own pocket and add money to the prize pool in order to make the guarantee.
How Does the House Make Money in Texas Hold’em?
In poker tournaments, the house makes money off fees, which is also sometimes called the rake. Always look at the buy-in breakdown, as in Entry Fee vs. Deductions.
If the Deductions from the prize pool are more than 20%, it’s robbery. Even 20% is bad. If it’s 10%-15%, that’s a good deal. In most cases, the smaller the buy-in the higher the rake, and the bigger the buy-in the lower the rake.
If it’s a cash poker game, there is a rake. If the rake is 5% with a $10 max, then the dealer will drop 5% from every pot for the house. This amount will never go above $10 if there is a $10 max.
You always want to look at the rake in cash games. For instance, Harrah’s Cherokee has a $7 rake, which is outrageous, especially without any promotions. With a $200 max buy-in in the 1/2 NL game, this game can only be beat if you’re running very good.
Otherwise, there is no maneuverability due to the low max buy-in and the house is taking too much rake (in 2015, the max buy-in was $500, making it a Super 1/2 NL game).
Then you add dealer tips and you’re really in trouble. If you were the best player in the world and you played in the 1/2 NL game at Harrah’s Cherokee every day for six months straight, you would end up losing money.
If you’re going to play cash games at Harrah’s Cherokee, go to the 2/5 NL game. The rake is still high, but the soft competition offsets that, and you can buy-in as high as $1,000, or you can match the biggest stack at the table, which is sometimes more than $1,000.
What Is the Buy-In for the World Series of Poker?
There are many different events at the WSOP, many of them with different buy-in amounts ranging from about $400 to $100,000 per tournament, but I’m pretty sure you’re referring to the Main Event, where the buy-in is $10,000.
What Type of Poker Do They Play in the WSOP?
The WSOP tournaments include Limit, Pot and NL Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Seven Card Stud, 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball, H.O.R.S.E., Razz, Crazy Eights and more.
The poker tournaments also come in different forms: High Roller, Sit and Gos, Deep Stacks, Heads Up, Mega Satellites, Ladies Only Event, Seniors Only, Bracelet Events, and more.
What are Blind Levels?
In a poker tournament, blinds go up progressively after fixed periods of time. This is to guarantee that the tournament completes in a timely manner. The blind level structure is the amount of time you stay at one small blind/big blind level.
For example, if the blinds are 100/200 and the blind level is 20 minutes, then the small blind will owe 100 and the big blind will owe 200 for 20 minutes.
At that point, the amount owed by the small blind/big blind will increase and continually increase every 20 minutes until the tournament is complete.
How Do You Know When to Fold in Poker?
You know when you’re beat, but only great players will have the ability to fold. Ego is a huge factor here.
A lot of players fear that they are being bluffed and that their opponent will show a bluff, which will lead to embarrassment in front of everyone at the table. The only way you can get around this is to push Ego to the side and not care.
Doyle Brunson once said, “You always know. It’s just a matter of whether or not you listen to yourself.”
Phil Ivey once said, “I have seen so many hands that it’s just second nature to me now.”
The following is how I deal with it. I tell myself: Okay, if you show a bluff, that’s cool, but I’ll be at the final table, you won’t. We’ll see who has the last laugh. I never say this out loud, but I often say it to myself.
That was a lot. I hope all the poker questions and answers above help you become a stronger poker player. I went into a lot more detail than I expected, which I assume relates to my passion for the game as well as writing. I guess my neighbor was right.
Many years ago, I was talking to him about poker strategy. He told me had never met anyone as passionate about poker. I was shocked. I never expected to hear that, but I thought that maybe it meant I was underestimating my passion for the game. A lot has happened since then.
I hope my experiences helped you learn, and since I’m a writer, I hope I kept you engaged as a reader. I know Q&A isn’t the most exciting thing on the planet, so I did my best.
Keep reading these articles. They should definitely help you. I’m putting a lot of experience into them. Good luck out there and see you at the WSOP!