Important aspects and tricks for the beginner/intermediate player

ChuckTs

ChuckTs

Legend
Half drunk at 1AM on a saturday, i got bored and decided to start this thread.
I'll start it off but i want everyone to add to it from their own experiences and opinions. Also if I've written something that someone disagrees with or is completely wrong (it is 1 am lol) then feel free to correct me. I know we have some incredible players here on cc and I know they have great info to share.
The list applies to elements of poker for the sake of profit, and poker for the sake of improving one's game.

In order of what comes to mind first:

1) Bankroll management:


In order to make a good profit and have proper elbow room in poker, you should have a bankroll that is big enough to be able to take the swings of the limits you are playing at.
For instance you wouldn't sit down at a 10/20 limit holdem table with 150 bucks and a 200 dollar bankroll, because with a small run of bad cards you would be down to nothing but a few BBs.
Chart by AlonIpser
https://www.cardschat.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=757&stc=1&d=1146365596

2) Hand selection:


Generally, tight is right! For the beginner/intermediate player, this is the way to go. Fewer, stronger hands mean higher winning %, which should result in a slow steady incline in your bankroll. Expect smaller and fewer swings with a tighter style. Think about how many people you see raising KT type hands in a 10 handed ring game, and how hard they bet the flop when they hit. If you are playing a tight style, and call their raise with a KQ or AK, and you both end up hitting a K...well lets just say that you've got a nice pot lined up for you :)

3) Studying the game:

There are several ways of improving your game (and through that, increasing your profits); by direct experience and by studying poker books/articles or having poker discussions. Poker forums like this one are perfect places for discussions and analysis on poker hands.
Poker books are a great way of getting the proper basis for your poker game down. Though they can also be harmful...Doyle Brunson suggests in SS that you play his style (megalomaniac, raise alot of pots, take alot of small pots down, and when you get challenged with a big hand you get paid off tremendously) but this doesn't help a newbie player at all. This kind of style requires an incredible amount of experience and reading skills.

4) Playing Style:

Goes hand in hand with Hand Selection too: Playing a tight aggressive style of poker is generally the best way to go, though it does depend on the type of player you are. If you are the type that loves to be in every pot and control the table, then a shortanded game with a wider hand selection is for you; and vice versa for a tighter player. I prefer a tighter game as it lets me take down pots with continuation bets because players respect me; then again with a wilder style you get paid off immensely when you hit a big hand, because noone will give you respect for your bets/raises.
Again, a tight aggressive style will give you smaller swings and a nice slow steady income while a wild megalomaniac style will give you big, wild swings.

5) Controlling your emotions:

Tilting is an extremely easy way of losing your bankroll. Period. Even the pros tilt and end up losing big money sometimes. If you find yourself playing differently after losing a big hand or getting angry at a player, you have to realize that you're not on your game, and will make bad decisions in future pots in this state of mind.
It's as simple as this: If you can't control your emotions (which i personally can't sometimes :mad:) then take a break until you calm down! Take a walk, watch some TV, play some video games, do a workout - whatever.
Personally, i lost my entire bankroll the first time around because of an elongated tilt session that lasted a week or so.

6) Playing by the odds:

When you hit the board, there is no need to worry about odds. All you have to do is decide whether or not you have the best hand, and go from there. When you hit a draw though, you have to play by the odds. You will lose money in the long run if you play against the odds (negative expected value) and will win in the long run if you play them right (positive EV)
Here is a thread with a link to a nice odds chart:
https://www.cardschat.com/forum/cash-games-11/nice-outs-odds-chart-67108/

(4 outs - gutshot straight draw
8 outs - open ended straight draw
9 outs - flush draw
15 outs - straight and flush draw
19 outs - straight flush draw)

Also a member here named F Paulsson has a great blog - he's an odds genius ;)
https://www.cardschat.com/blog/

7) Reading your opponents:

It's harder to get reads online as you can't see the people, but in live poker games, reads are very important in making your decisions. Watch what your opponents showdown and link that to the way they played the hand. Mike Caro wrote The Book of Tells which is a great help - the gyst of most of the reads is that strength means weakness and weakness means strength. ex: if you reach to bet and an opponent pretends to bet out of turn, it generally means that he is trying to stop you from betting (he is acting strong to get you to check, which means he is weak).
Online, all you have to analyze reads-wise are bet sizes and the speed of the bet. Same thing most of the time; strength means weakness and vise versa. Then again it may vary by opponent - someone might raise small with AA to try and get some action, but others might raise big to try and weed out the weaker hands so they don't get drawn out. Again look at how your opponents play a hand through and see what they showdown.
One thing that alot of players suggest is to watch the players at all times. By this they mean that even when you fold a hand, keep observing the table. What is this guy raising with? Did he follow up on the flop? Why did he just check the turn?
You've got to pin playing styles on your opponents.

8) Note-taking:

Note taking is a great feature on poker sites that you normally would have to do mentally (which some say is a distinguishable trait that separates the good from the great players in poker) in a live game. Although it may seem like you play against different players every time you play a sit n go, you'd be surprised how many times you find yourself in a tough situation and see that you've got a note on this player that helps you along in your decision.
Some good things to take notes on are what kinds of hands he plays and how (PF raise, limp, call raise), what kind of player is he (passive, aggressive, tight, loose), if he tilts, and tricky things the player does (bets when checked to, does he always make a continuation bet, etc), if he/shes's a slider etc. I also note if a player made final table in an MTT and top 3 in a SnG.

9) Playing your position:

Position is extremely important in most poker games. Generally as you get to the later positions, you can loosen your hand selection up further. TT is an immediate toss under the gun for me in a 10 handed game, but also an immediate raise on the button or in LP.
Heres a chart by jasondavies on positional hand selection that is derived from a chart in a Tom McEvoy (I think?):
https://www.cardschat.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=576&stc=1&d=1143075328

You can also use this against your opponent - If you notice that a late position player is raising the button alot, then you can safely assume he is playing some weaker hands and that your 88 type hand might be stronger than you would expect.
 
KerouacsDog

KerouacsDog

Legend
Great work there Chuck, and all of the top of your head, whilst half-drunk?
I'm with Four Dogs, when I'm drunk something completely different happens, I certainly couldn't put something like that together, Christ, I struggle with putting a sentence together.
I can see I still have a hell of a lot to learn about poker.
 
Kenzie 96

Kenzie 96

Legend
Awards
9
Very nice thread Chuck. I also would like to order a case of whatever inebriant you are using. lol.
 
ChuckTs

ChuckTs

Legend
thanks guys...anybody have anything else to add?
i know im missing some stuff...
 
spore

spore

Rock Star
Very nice guide. Couple things:

1) you state you don't need to worry about odds when you hit the flop. Well, that's not true. You still need to worry about your opponents odds. And even if you hit the flop, you may not have the best hand and you'll want to know your odds of improving say 2pair to full house.

2) I think you have the outs for "straight and flush" and "straight flush' backwards.
 
ChuckTs

ChuckTs

Legend
good eye, spore :)
12 outs for straight + flush draw, or belly buster straight flush draw
15 outs for open ended straight flush draw.

also good point on #1, odds don't just matter when you're drawing, but when you're opponents are drawing aswell. When you want to make an opponent pay for his draws, bet roughly from to 2/3 to the full pot to make them draw against their pot odds.
 
Coryan

Coryan

Guest
Great list...well thought out. If you were to prioritize the list, I would put these in the top four. Not sure in what order, but I believe they are the four most important.

1) Study the game.
2) Hand selection.
3) Play your position.
3) Bank roll management.

CORYAN
 
Lo-Dog

Lo-Dog

Cardschat Elite
Nice post Chuck. Guess most people on here are not aware of the powers of Canadian beer!:beer:
 
spore

spore

Rock Star
Odds still aren't right Chuck, so I worked them out :p

Open-Ended Straight and Flush Draw

5s 6s [hole cards]
As 7s 8h [board]

flush = {2s, 3s, 4s, 8s, 9s, Ts, Js, Qs, Ks} = 9 outs
straight = {4h, 4d, 4c, 9h, 9d, 9c} = 6 outs

Straight and Flush Draw = 15 outs

Open-Ended Straight Flush Draw
5s 6s [hole cards]
Ac 4s 7s [board]

straight flush = {3s, 8s} = 2 outs
flush = {As, 2s, 9s, Ts, J, Q, Ks} = 7 outs
straight = {3h, 3d, 3c, 8h, 8d, 8c} = 6 outs

Straight Flush Draw = 15 outs

Gut Shot Straight and Flush Draw
5s 7s [hole cards]
Ac 4s 8s [board]

straight flush = {6s} = 1 out
flush = {As, 2s, 3s, 9s, Ts, Js, Qs, Ks} = 8 outs
straight = {6h, 6d, 6c} = 3 outs

Gut Shot Straight and Flush Draw = 12 outs
 
Last edited:
ChuckTs

ChuckTs

Legend
spore said:
Odds still aren't right Chuck, so I worked them out :p
Open-Ended Straight and Flush Draw
5s 6s [hole cards]
As 7s 8h [board]

flush = {2s, 3s, 4s, 8s, 9s, Ts, Js, Qs, Ks} = 9 outs
straight = {4h, 4d, 4c, 4s, 9h, 9d, 9c, 9s} = 8 outs

Straight and Flush Draw = 17 outs should be 15 outs

Open-Ended Straight Flush Draw
5s 6s [hole cards]
Ac 4s 7s [board]

straight flush = {3s, 8s} = 2 outs
flush = {As, 2s, 9s, Ts, J, Q, Ks} = 7 outs
straight = {3h, 3d, 3c, 8h, 8d, 8c} = 6 outs

Straight Flush Draw = 15 outs (7 + 6 + 2 = 15)

Gut Shot Straight Flush Draw
(not gutshot straight and flush draw - would be fewer outs EDIT: it's the same, nevermind lol)
5s 7s [hole cards]
Ac 4s 8s [board]

straight flush = {6s} = 1 out
flush = {As, 2s, 3s, 9s, Ts, Js, Qs, Ks} = 8 outs
straight = {6h, 6d, 6c} = 3 outs

Gut Shot Straight and Flush Draw = 12 outs
see edits in bold
(the straight + flush draw you overlapped the 4s and the 9s, so minus two outs.)
i think we're both mixed up lol :eek:
 
spore

spore

Rock Star
Gah, can't believe I missed the overlapping 4s and 9s, and the 7+6+2 = 13? My bad!! Correct now :p

[edit: wait, that means you were right, haha. sorry i doubted you (the second time ;))]
 
ChuckTs

ChuckTs

Legend
OK i've got it now...i think:D:
An Open ended Straight flush draw and an Open ended straight draw and flush draw both have the same number of outs: 15

Open ended straight flush draw:

pocket: JdTd
flop: QdKd4c

outs:
straight flush: 9d,Ad
straight: 9c,9h,9s,Ac,Ah,As
flush: 2d,3d,4d,5d,6d,7d,8d
total: 15 outs

Open ended straight draw and flush draw:

pocket: JdTd
flop: QdKc4d

outs:
straight: 9c,9h,9s,Ac,Ah,As
flush: 2d,3d,5d,6d,7d,8d,9d,Kd,Ad
Total outs: 15

Also the same with gutshot straight flush draw and gutshot straight draw and flush draw, but i'm too lazy to go through the cards (12 outs each)
i used to think that the straight flush would have more outs than the straight and flush...guess i was misinformed :)

whew...
 
ChuckTs

ChuckTs

Legend
I'm drunk again; and here's another one:

10) Patience:
In order to play a tight aggressive style (which is often a winning one), you need to have patience.
I recently played an MTT in which i didn't play one single hand until the first break because i stuck to my starting hands guide, and no hands qualified for a raise or to call a raise.
Alot of people would get bored and maybe call a raise with a KT or QJ type hand and hope the flop gives them something. I like to set a table image of extremely tight during a tournament or cash game to a lesser extent (i like to make a little loser image for ring games so i can win bigger pots from tight players who think i'm gambling when really i'm trapping - with MTTs, people generally don't play as tight because their money isn't directly 'on the line', so you can get paid off much easier). By setting such a tight image, it makes it really easy to isolate, and also steal blinds and entire pots by making strong bets; and in order to set this kind of image, you need to fold a whole lot of hands for a good 1/2 hour sometimes. I try never to stray far from my strategy, because not only would it would ruin my whole table image by doing it, but i could get in big trouble (either bust out of a tourney, or lose a whole lotta dough at a ring game) by playing trouble hands.
 
starfall

starfall

Visionary
I particularly recommend any beginners pay attention to the Studying the Game advice. A book like Play Poker Like The Pros (Phil Helmuth) starts with a very tight style of play, and suggests gradually loosening up as you get more experience. Similarly some of the 'how to beat online Holdem' type guides start with a small set of 'beginner' hands, and add in some 'intermediate' hands and then 'shark' hands... all of them take what seems ot be a good approach for a beginner of avoiding the harder-to-play hands, because these are the ones which will win, but will win less often.
Doyle Brunson wrote Super System when most players were not nearly as aggressive, and an aggressive style would often not get callers. Since then the normal style of play has changed noticeably, and while this style of play can be very profitable, it doesn't scare off players so easily, and requires more reading skills to be used successfully.

One other suggestion for the list:
Don't play tournaments the same as cash/ring games:
This is something that has been touched on in various other posts, but boils down to this: In a tournament you don't want to risk all your chips unless you're a big favourite or have too small a stack to risk less, and can often win pots by pushing other players off pots because they don't wish to take those risks. In a tournament, risking all your chips with a 55% chance of winning is generally a bad idea (as one bad hand will end your tournament), whereas in a cash game you can keep putting all your money in the pot with only a 55% chance of winning, because in the long run this will make you money. On the opposite of this, in a tournament the blinds eventually get so high that the profits from stealing the blinds and the cost of not winning at least small pots regularly makes gambling with weaker cards essential, so you need to adjust your style of play. In a cash game unless the game gets short-handed (at which point you can just leave), you can stick with a fairly consistent style of play. Learn the differences between how tournament and cash games play and adjust your style accordingly.
 
ChuckTs

ChuckTs

Legend
very good point, starfall.
Just like you said, if you have even 22, and you are %100 sure that your opponent has two big cards, it is strategically correct to call an all in at a cash game, because you have the edge. On the other hand, you would next to never play 22 for an all in at a tournament.
It's all about the long term results in ring games, so calling with the slightest edge is correct, because in the long term you will profit.
In MTTs, you are playing the short term. Like you said starfall, you only want to put your money in as a big favourite, not just with a slight edge. You only want to get your money in when you have a big advantage (ie when you have AA,KK,QQ type hands.), and only call all ins with AK,AQ type hands when the person pushing into you is, say, shortstacked and stealing a blind. AK is more of a raising then a calling hand.
I basically just regurgitated what you said, starfall :p but again nice post :)
 
ChuckTs

ChuckTs

Legend
just a quick tip:

full tilt poker has "pro poker lessons" every once in a while which have EXCELLENT advice in them
They e-mail them if you sign up via their site, and choose the option of recieving the emails.
I personally have saved every single one in a separate folder in my hotmail account, and read them religiously.
They can apply to both beginner and more advanced strategy.
Just thought id share that free strategy they send out :)
 
ChuckTs

ChuckTs

Legend
Playing "monotonously":
Can't remember where i heard this, but i've applied it to my poker as long as i can remember, and it works.
In order to conceal the strength/weakness of my hand, I try to bet the exact same way every time.
I wait a certain amount of time, then bet 3.5x the big blind. Always.
How many times have you seen someone minraise AA preflop, then showed it down, taken a note on it and then seen him do the same thing later?
for me it's been quite a few - people generally play certain hands the same way preflop.
the size of your bet is a BIG give-away to the strength of your hand.
That's why i like to raise the same amount every time - i might try to steal with K9 on the button and raise 3.5BBs, but i'll do the exact same thing with AA aswell.

One thing to keep in mind with this style, though, is the conditions in which you play it. At an inobservant micro table where everyone is just playing their cards, then I might deviate from my monotonous style and play hands a different way because the players won't even notice how i've played a certain type of hand previously. The same-bet-everytime theory works best with observant opponents who pay close attention to betting habits (usually found at higher limits, or in the tougher games)
Also, my strategy slightly changes with cash games and tournaments. I stick strictly to the above strategy with cash games, but with MTTs, the conditions are constantly changing, and so does my strategy - i might limp utg with AA one time, or raise with it another. It all depends on the table.
With ring games, generally people are playing the same way for hours straight, so i don't stray far from the monotonous betting theory.

Another thing to add is table talk (or chat). (Ossmann's "Costly table talk" thread reminded me of this)

https://www.cardschat.com/showthread.php?p=407768#post407768

One thing to always keep in mind is that when you do something different than you've been doing all night, people notice. So if you've been really talkative all night and all of a sudden shut up and make a big raise, then people will really notice.
Aside from the amount of talking/shutting up you do, what you're talking about can also be very dangerous.
A perfect example is that in Ossmann's thread. The opponent (who sounds like a younger player who was really happy that his read actually came in handy, and decided to share) who was talking revealed some key info. He revealed that he had a read on Ossmann, and thought "look at me! i exposed it!" Of course this is a bad idea, because after he did, Ossmann took advantage of that and used it to profit more, and lose less with his bluffs.

Table talk is fine; some actually suggest being friendly and chatting it up with the other players, but keep the talk relatively the same, or try not talking during a hand, don't answer their probing questions, or even answer them the same way every time in the same manner suggested with PF betting (i myself just respond with the same ol' "pay to see, my friend" - gives away no info, and doesn't really encourage a call/fold)
Hope this helps - again any arguments/disagreements are welcome :)
 
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