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Bankroll Facts

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Bankroll Fact # 1 - If you aren't certain you can play very well, you need more

The recommended bankroll strategy assumes that you are in the 1 big bet per hour ballpark. If this is not you, you need more. Then you need 800 big bets (not 400) for the level you are moving up to. And you must drop down in half when you reach 400 big bets. If you are a 1/4 big bet per hour player, then double these numbers once more.

Bankroll Fact #2 - Risk tolerant players can play with less 

If you want to take some risk, you can move up when you have 300 big bets and drop down to half the stakes when you get down to 150 big bets. This isn't actually that risky if you truly are a 1 big bet per hour caliber player. The drop down strategy actually reduces your 1 % chance of going broke to much less than that. But remember the risks involved. How sure can you be that you are a 1 big bet per hour player? How sure can you be that your fluctuations aren't greater than the "typical" pro? How sure are you that you will always play your "A" game, even during prolonged losing streaks? How sure can you be that your competition won't get any better? With all these questions, why risk your career lifeblood? But that's just me. You might choose differently for yourself. As long as I know that you are making your decision with both eyes wide open, I can totally respect any decision you make regarding the level of risk that you are comfortable with. It's your life.

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Defending from the Big Blind vs Cut-off's

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There's a significant drop in most opponents’ open raising range from the cut-off than the button. For that reason, you need to tighten up your 3-betting and flatting range against most opponents. Most opponents will open raise from the cut-off about 24-33% of the time. Both 6-max and full ring tend to have similar averages, with full ring actually having slightly higher cut-off opening ranges to about 34.5%. It's reasonable to assume that because it's usually opened more often before it gets folded to the cut-off at full ring, that people seize the opportunity slightly more often. In either case, opening ranges in both games are very similar.

Blind Play

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Similar to flat calling, players tend to struggle heavily when playing out of the blinds. It's understandable of course, since you're out of position almost always (except when defending against an open small blind raise). Almost everyone posts losses from the blinds, but you can minimize your losses, or even show profit with some smart decision making and solid poker thinking algorithms. If you are bleeding heavy money from the blinds, then there are a couple of specific areas you should look at first to make some adjustments.

 

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The aggression in Short-handed No Limit Holdem

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People usually want to be aggressive to “take control of the hand” or “seize the initiative”; however, as we have said these are not ends in themselves, just examples of hazy thinking. Taking control of the hand is meaningless; it’s almost synonymous with a couple of legitimate reasons, which are “betting now to prevent a bluff later on” and “betting for information”. 

These ideas are more Limit poker ideas than NLHE ones. In NLHE since the bet sizes are not small fractions of the pot but rather close to pot size most of the time, they are significant and can’t be thrown around. Betting for information is too expensive, in fact it doesn’t really accomplish much except for sometimes making a hand easier to play.

Adjusting to the Opposition's Pre-Flop Aggression

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If everyone at the table is re-raising you often, then you will want to take steps to adjust to your opponent's pre-flop aggression. You should probably widen your four-betting range pre-flop and/or tighten your pre-flop opening range. Instead of having to fold hands like 64s in a spot, we will have more hands like 99 that we may choose to four-bet with the intention of calling an all-in bet as a result of a tighter pre-flop raising range. Instead of folding our weaker hands, we might also choose to four-bet as a bluff. Before continuing to read, try to figure out why four-betting a hand as weak as 99 and calling an all-in is quite often a good play versus many people with the level of aggression in today's games. How many reasons can you think of before continuing to read?

The same logic that applies to raising pre-flop applies to re-raising pre-flop. Imagine a case where it is extremely likely that if you call with AQo, that you will be squeezed. Next, imagine a case where if you re-raise AQo pre-flop, the original raiser will fold hands like AJo and ATs. Finally, imagine both of these cases being true of the same hand and that player who we believe will fold AJo and ATs type hands raises and we have AQo on the button. AQo is usually a clear call in this instance.

Poker: Choosing the Right Game

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After you’ve learned and applied the basics of how to play, game selection is the single most important decision that you can make.

Qualities to look for in a game.
If you are a regular, look for games in which you don’t know anyone. If you are a regular, you know the good players. Expert players don’t come out of the woodwork very often. If you don’t know the players in the game, it’s likely that they are playing for recreation and are not taking the game seriously. If you take the game of poker seriously, you generally are around enough to be noticed. If I find myself at a table where there are a good number of players whom I don’t know, I often tell a joke that only locals would get. If only the dealer laughs, then I’m at a table full of tourists.
 

Tilt and Your Opponents' Mindset

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One of the most profitable times at the poker table is when one or more of your opponents are on tilt. Some players even try to encourage till for just this reason. The more your opponents are on tilt, the more you can profit as a result. This article briefly discusses the merits and moral arguments of that type of poker strategy. Whether or not you specifically encourage players to tilt, it is important to get inside the mind of an opponent who is on tilt so that you can exploit the situation.

So far, we have been looking at tilt as a negative thing. But since poker is a zero-sum game, everything that is bad for one player must be good for another. Tilt can be a good thing when the person tilting is one of your opponents. In effect, we are trying to look at the poker mindset inside out. What attitudes of the poker mindset do our opponents lack and how can we take advantage of those weaknesses.