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Free Poker Strategy Articles

A collection of poker posts written by poker players for poker players

How Should I Play The Nuts?

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Today we’re going to review a hand sent in by Matthew. This is a hand from 100NL 6max online where Matthew has AQ and finds himself in a pretty interesting spot because he picks a pretty a-typical line. This hand is from Bovada Zone Poker, so there are no HUDs. And he said players are a bit fishy when calling you on these tables. And he just wants us all to know that he does not normally play like this, but he just wants a quick line check on an odd line that he took.

He opens AQs, gets called, gets called, goes three-way to it, goes here, check, and hero decides to check instead of taking a normal see bet line. Matthew says, “I absolutely smashed the flop. Unfortunately, my range is way, way ahead of my opponents. And the hands I would really only get value from are things like weaker Aces, maybe asdf few small flush draws.” Continue reading

How To Play A Turned Top Pair

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In today’s spot we’re playing 4-handed. We have AJ in the big blind. There’s a steal from the button, call from the small blind, and the Hero decides to 3bet.

Alastair in the write-up says this: “I wanted to send this hand because I’m working on expanding my 3bet range and quickly realizing that you do get into tricky spots, especially with a deep SPR such as this.

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Going All-In Preflop With AT In An MTT

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First and foremost, I want to thank Scott a lot for giving me a lot of tournament information about this and this is the write-up that he sent me.

He said, “This was deep in the nightly $55 tournament on PokerStars with a $25k guarantee. There are nineteen players remaining in the field, which is why play is six-handed in this hand. And most of the players at this table were pretty fishy and they had minimal MTT experience according to SharkScope. None of them had previously done any 3betting preflop. And here I played about 50 hands with each of these players up to this point.”

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Taking A Back Door Flush Draw To The Felt

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In this hand we have AKs on the button. It folds around, hero steals, gets called, and goes heads up to it. Nikos says that he plays a lot of 6max 5NL on Pokerstars and the villain is unknown to him. There’s only 26 hands against him, so there’s no real indication on if this person is good or bad or anything like that. Totally fair.

As played, the small blind checks. Hero decides to continuation bet and the small blind decides to check-raise. So in this situation, Nikos decides to call. And calling is one of those where you may look at this and say, “Well, if I fold, I’m folding too often against the check-raise. So I need to start including things that have maybe some back-door equity” and AK of clubs is going to be one of those hands that fits the bill.

In this kind of situation, what you really want to think about is, Okay, I do have some backdoor stuff that could develop. I could catch a turn club. I could catch a jack or a ten on the turn and start developing a backdoor gutshot. And, of course, I could improve to an ace or king and probably be good a percentage of the time as well.

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Reacting When They Adjust

Making Adjustments In Poker (After They React To Our Aggression)

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“How do we adjust if villain starts to realize we are exploiting too much (like 3betting too often)? Do we go with very nutty range to 3bet?” –Berkan U

As you improve as a poker player you will quickly find ways to exploit your opponents. You’ll become more adept at noticing their leaks, spotting frequency issues in their strategy, and in turn you’ll create your own strategies to exploit their weaknesses.

But at a certain point you may exploit a player so much that they actually notice. And any player who notices they are being exploited is typically going to try and create a counter-strategy themselves. This is the essence of poker. You employ a strategy, your opponent counters, you counter their counter…and this continues on forever.

This isn’t much of a concern when playing against a weak player (since they aren’t even self-aware enough to notice strategic issues in their game), but this is vital when you play regularly against smart players. Smart players are aware of their own leaks (to some extent) and are aware of dynamics and exploitations that are happening around them. If they notice you exploiting them too often, they WILL fight back. Continue reading

Beating-4Bettors

How To Beat Players That 4Bet Preflop?

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I’ve got a problem. I don’t know what to do against regs that often 4-bet versus my squeezes (both in-position and OOP). What kind of hands should I push or fold (or maybe call)?” – Alex

This is a great question Alex, and really highlights the importance of planning as you increase your own aggression. You did mention calling the 4bet as an option in your question – but since we normally aren’t deep enough to justify a call, we’ll skip that option for this article.

First, let’s breakdown our three major options:

1 Squeeze a stronger range so you can combat 4bets more often

2 Squeeze and jam wider

3 Squeeze and fold often if you face a 4bet

Option 3, even though it’s by far the worst option, is the one most commonly employed by players that want to increase their squeeze %. Squeezing is a great poker play, one that applies a ton of preflop pressure to both the original raiser and the caller(s) – but squeezing a wide range and then folding everything but the nuts to a combative 4bet range is NOT a good idea. It makes you too big of a target with a frequency exploit that even bad regs can identify and exploit with ease.

Squeezing wide and folding too often vs a 4bet makes you a HUGE target

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Turning Queen-High Into A Bluff

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In this hand Philipp has to decide what to do with Queen-high in a local poker tournament. Preflop, he makes an aggressive raise over a bunch of limpers and ends up going heads up to the flop. After facing a donk bet on 952, Philipp decides to start bluffing and needs a solid plan for progressing through the hand.

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mathematical approach to poker

Why A Math-Driven Approach To Poker Is Powerful

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Poker is a game of math. The math can range from simple things like figuring out the size of the pot to very complex things like calculating the EV of multi-street plays. But poker is also a social/psychological game where tells, psychology, and dynamics come into play. Players that approach the game solely through the social lens are just as much missing a crucial element as players that solely approach the game mathematically. Like most things, balance is required to be a well-rounded player who can thrive at any table.

While most math-based players understand the value in the social side of the game (albeit, usually not giving it the credence it deserves – myself included years ago), social-focused players tend to ignore much of math side of the game. This is normally due to the fear that the math will be too complex, too cumbersome, and maybe even too nerdy. Continue reading