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Poker strategy

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Game modes

High, low and high/low

There are three ways to compare the players’ hands. These modes must be enabled and known by the players before the game begins.

These three modes describe how players’ hands will be compared, there are:

  • High: only the strongest combinations count.
  • Low: Only the lowest count combinations.
  • High/Low: the highest hand wins half the pot and the lowest the other half (often with certain restrictions to be valid).

Kill or half-kill

This is a game option sometimes used in cash games. When a player wins an undivided pot (scoop), he received the Kill button. If that same player again in the next round scoop he becomes the killer. A killer must wager at least twice the big blind (initial bet) even if it is small or big blind. The game then continues as if the blinds were doubled. This obligation falls upon the killer wins the pot. Sometimes there are added some conditions, eg a minimum amount of the pot to activate the kill mode. On the other hand, sometimes the killer has the right to speak last in the first round of betting. We talk about Half-Kill when no double-blind but the one that does multiple of 1.5.

Look at two and kill

This option is used in Lowball. Every player can activate this mode after seeing received and watched his first two cards. He then receives the kill button.

Option

A special feature: in cash game, the player who follows the big blind may, before seeing his cards, take the “option”: he must put double the big blind and will be the last to speak at the first round of betting.

Games inspired of poker

  • Strip poker
  • Aces Poker
  • Liar’s Poker
  • Caribbean Poker
  • Raker, mix of rummy and poker

Poker practice

Big players

Worldwide, the best known are Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, Phil Ivey, Tom “durrrr” Dwan, Mike Matusow, Chris Moneymaker, Chris Ferguson, Gus Hansen, Sam Farha, Erik Seidel, Joe Hachem or Fabio Cartier.

For some, the most legendary Stu Ungar remains player nicknamed ‘The Kid’ for his child’s face, who won the WSOP Main Event 3 times in as many.

The singer Patrick Bruel, Gilbert Gross, Claude Cohen, David Benyamine, Vanessa Hellebuyck, Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, Fabrice Soulier, Elie Payan, Antonin Teisseire and Aubin Cazals are French players to have won a title at the world championship poker WSOP.

Big tournaments

The best known are the World Series of Poker (WSOP), the World Poker Tour (WPT) and European Poker Tour (EPT).

Online poker

Many companies offer online gaming services. These companies make available to their customers poker software and take a commission on the parts that make the players via their interface.

Poker strategies

Poker is a game that combines elements of luck and strategy. According to the variants, the game types and players, there are a multitude of strategies.

To adopt a winning strategy, it is necessary to sense and control the interaction between aspects as varied as:

  • Game: The variant, the level of aggressiveness of the players, your position, how are you involved in your bet in the pot, etc.
  • Mathematics: Have some simple notions of probability and trust them
  • Stress: Manage the psychological pressure
  • Personal development: Mastering your inner impulses not to go “on tilt” (ie trust to your own instincts only).

You should know that the winning strategy is not the same if you play with friends or in a room at the casino or online. Indeed, the environment at the poker room is also a factor that changes your odds of winning and therefore your game strategy.

Poker strategy has become so refined in recent years as professional poker players communitie have emerged to expose their analysis and develop the following main aspects involved in the strategy:

  • Probability of the hands, starting hands
  • Pot odds, implied odds
  • Disappointment: bluff, semi-bluff, slow play
  • Playing positions
  • Betting structure
  • Image and player profiles
  • Tells (involuntary body language)
  • Expected gain, fairness (EV), return on investment (ROI), BB/hour …
  • Bankroll management
  • etc …

Poker strategies are so vast and evolving so quickly that it would be too long and boring to detail them all here. Many books have been written on the subject such as “Easy Game”, “Raiser’s Edge”, “Poker Tamed”, “Poker Edge”, some of which are available in eBook. It is best to start to look at a variant of the game that you have fun and learn all its subtleties.

What you should remember is that poker is NOT a game of luck, and that logically, if there are poker professionals, this is the best proof that there a real way to learn to tame the strategies of the game but also learn self-dominating emotions.

“A poker hand is an equation with 7 unknowns […] in a boxing match where all shots are allowed.” (David Borrat, Poker Edge)”

Winner poker is a savant mixture of basic mathematics and psychology, much more than a strategy game.

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