Lucky Straights

The ramblings and mumblings of a wannabe poker pro

Starting to play online poker for real money

I hope that you have been playing your heart out at some of the featured online poker sites. The play money poker sites may be fun, and you may win a lot, but is the stimulation of a real game, real people, and most of all, real money there?

There are several reasons for this. First, you don’t have any hard earned money on the line. Second of all, your opponents don’t have any hard earned money on the line. These two stipulations in unison with each other make a poker game loose and careless. Have you ever had pocket aces in a hand and bet or raised everything you could and yet despite your raises, there are still at least five players at the showdown? Of course you have! This is play money, not real money.

There are no repercussions. Of course, with you pocket aces in hand you would normally think that they will hold up. Not in a play money game they won’t. Aces are always cracked by opponents that hit their gutshot draws, backdoor flushes, and a low two pair (on the river). Nobody cares about the chips, because that’s exactly what they are to these people. They are just chips, no real money!Play money games are played too loosely and the players can no longer be taken seriously because they have no consequence for their actions at a play money poker table. The worst that can happen to them is that they lose all of their play money poker chips and buy back in with no risk. Some people will bet too much and some will call too much and by too much I mean it in both essences of the word. Your opponents call too many hands and the call to large of bets. When you make the transition from play money poker to real money poker sites, you will finally realize how the game should truly be played and you the chips should truly be respected.

So now that you are killing the play money tables, it is time to make that transition to playing against players for real money. Make sure that you have played at least 1000 hands at the online card room of your choice so you are used to the placement of the buttons, the bet sizes, and the culture. We are not going to start at the high stakes tables, nor the medium stakes tables, and not even the low stakes tables. We are going to begin playing online poker at the micro limit tables at Full Tilt Poker which range from $0.01/$0.02 up to $0.50/$1.00. This is where you will find the fish and the new players. This is also where you will learn how drastically differently the game is played when the stakes are real rather than play money.

When you are playing in this game you will notice that there are far less lunatics in the game. Rather than 7 people calling your preflop raises, you only have between 2-4 people calling your raises. Your opponents didn’t make that money in front of them to simply give it away. They want to keep it!

We should begin by depositing $50 into your account and putting it on the table. If this doesn’t last you at least 20 hours of playing time then you are not and will not be prepared to move up the ranks. You don’t just have to beat your opponents in this game. You are now trying to beat the rake as well. Don’t ever move up in the ranks if you are only breaking even. The players at higher stakes get better and better as you move on. There is a dramatic difference between this texas holdem online poker game and a $5/$10 game as you may come to notice when it is your time to move up to that rank. Not moving up if you are only breaking even is a good rule to abide by at every level of play.

Okay, now you are probably worried about losing all of your money because you don’t know exactly which cards to play. No problem! Just play it this way… Tight is right! Play the top 10 hands if you are playing no limit and the top 20 hands if you are playing limit. Ace Face, pocket pairs above 7’s, and suited big cards. That is all that you have to worry about playing for now. Once you get a better feel for the game then you can add some variety in there for deception.

When you are playing at first, stay away from those junk cards that you used to play. J9o is NOT a good hand to play at a full table. Remember that you want to play tight. If you don’t play tight you will lose all of your money very quickly. If you lose all of your money at this stake then you should stop dreaming about being a professional (or even an amateur) poker player. You should stop right now before you develop a problem.

To show you why you should not make stupid loose plays I will illustrate an even that happened to me in the past. I was playing once in a $300 buy in tournament and it was down to a heads up match and I thought that the other player was playing too tight for heads up play. So what did I do? I raised him with 93o when I was not on the button. Naturally, he called with his Q10s and let me bet into him and then he raised me on the turn. I called because I had picked up a flush draw. I hit my 9 high flush, but I hadn’t realized that he had already made his flush on the turn. I was embarrassed about my play and went home a loser. I could have won $5000 more if I had just stuck to my guns and drug it out.So the moral of the story is that real money poker players play differently than play money players. When it is your time, be prepared to play a tighter game and keep your chips in front of you.

June 17, 2008 Posted by | Limit Cash Games, NL Cash Games, Sit-N-Go's 2, Tournaments and Freerolls | , | Leave a comment

Finally Play, and Go Broke

Still not well enough to play my regular games, but I’ve been itching to sit in a game on Sun Poker, so sat eventually sat down in a 3/6c 6 max cash game. I only have the $5 that support gave me to play with, well $5.12 actually, as I’m holding off depositing until I’m well enough to play for the deposit bonus, so sat down with the full amount, not too bothered if I end up broke, as I just wanted a bit of quick fun, and took the opportunity as the $5 was a freebie.

Anyways within a few circuits I note one guy is likely to raise with a very wide range, and c-bet most boards, and the other players didn’t seem like much of a threat either, so when I picked up AJ, I played it much more aggressively then I normally would, which is probably more correct anyway due to being 6 handed.

I make a large enough re-raise to give the raiser an easy option to fold if he’s holding trash, trying to get heads-up with the re-raiser, expecting to be ahead of both of them. Both end up calling.

I make TP on the flop, but the board is already paired, I decide to play it strong, if I run into AK or a Q, I’ll just have to pay them off, in the end the re-raiser shows KQ to bust me, and the raiser showed A9, ah well, it was fun, and I got to sit in a few raked hands to test out my rake back promotion.

I’m really keen to get back to these tables as soon as I can, but may need to deposit more money into them, then I was planning. I was only going to deposit around $20, but at least $50 would be more appropriate. I’m going to hold off a little longer, as I’m still unable to play regularly and I have my Poker Stars bonus over my head yet, but I am very excited about these cash games.

Here’s the hand, only thing I thought about doing differently at the time was pushing all-in on the flop, it wouldn’t have made a difference here though.

I’ll be very happy to hear anyone’s advise on 6 handed cash play, as I’ve never played this format before, Thanks.

January 19, 2008 Posted by | NL Cash Games | , , , | Leave a comment

Up and Down

Its been an up and down session today, cashed, then failed to cash in some Sit-N-Go’s, then made a profit from a cash game, then failed to cash in some more Sit-N-Go’s.

I let my emotions get the better of me in one Sit-N-Go, costing me a place in the money,  but  otherwise I think I played well, calling it a day now though, as I’m a little tired.

May not get any games done over the next two days, but I still have a bonus to earn so if I get the opportunity then I’ll sit in a couple of Sit-N-Go’s.

Merry Christmas xxx

December 24, 2007 Posted by | NL Cash Games, Sit-N-Go's 2 | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Very Very Pissed Off!

I am very very pissed off right now, I have just lost a huge pot with a set of queens when the river gave the winner a set of kings, added to this I have lost my last two Sit-N-Go’s by being river’ed its been a terrible night and I am fucking sick of loosing countless favorable situations!

Here’s my pain in full pictorial form :

This may have been avoided by a straight push all-in, I’m boggled as much as you are why I didn’t, but the result is still has unpleasant.

This fucking idiot called my all-in push on the turn, where he had only a 15% chance of winning, as he says “he had to take a look”.

I’ve still only played very few NL cash games, but this is twice my set has lost to a higher set made on the river, I am more then a little pissed off about it, I’m like the new fucking Mike Matusow or something!

According to Poker Stove, I was a 88% favorite to win the hand on the flop, and a 96% favorite to win on the turn.

EDIT : I continue some good play on a new table, and regain a chunk of my loss from the set vs set hand and pick up 2 FPP’s, but I’m still really disappointed about not taking that pot down.

December 23, 2007 Posted by | NL Cash Games, Sit-N-Go's 2 | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wheres my rush?

I’m beginning to feel I’m jinxed in these cash games, I’m surrounded by crazy people raking in loads of huge pots and I’m constantly being let down. Here’s 3 key hands, which occurred in quick succession and all of them fail me :

December 21, 2007 Posted by | NL Cash Games | , , , , , | 5 Comments


Finally after 4 1/2 hours of play and sitting at 3 tables at the same time, I turn it around and leave without a loss.

What an experience…

December 20, 2007 Posted by | NL Cash Games | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Twin Tables

I’ve opened up another cash table, and I’m now playing two at the same time, never done this before with NL, but I’ve been sitting here for very nearly 4 hours, so anything that will help me take in some money for a change is a bonus at this point.

I’m also realizing that my bankroll is too small for the cash games, loosing a couple of maximum buy-ins, even on the 0.1/0.2 tables is a huge slice of my bankroll, which makes it even more important for me to get back to playing well in the Sit-N-Go’s to build my bankroll back up after loosing a couple of buy-ins in the cash games.

December 20, 2007 Posted by | NL Cash Games | , , , | Leave a comment

A Shit Time

I’m having a shit time this session. Been sat playing non stop for close to 3 hours, getting nothing but junk, I have to move tables 3 times after they all break, up, all my money’s going on blinds as I wait and wait.

Then on a new table I watch a stupid idiot donk off more then half his stack with T9s, capping the betting with nothing, next hand he goes all-in, I put it down to steaming and call with 99, not a great hand, but the best hand I’ve had in 3 hours. He shows AT and paired his T on the flop to double up and decimate my stack.

I’m sick of being surrounded by action with no cards, I’ve had crap all night. I’ve added to my stack, in case a good hand does eventually come, but I’ve now put $10 down on this session and would like to see a return for my time.

Another session like this tomorrow and I’ll be glad to get back to the tournaments, paying more then 15 orbits of the blinds without a hand fucking stinks!

December 20, 2007 Posted by | NL Cash Games | , , , | 2 Comments

Cash Games

After another disappointing run in the Sit-N-Go’s, I finished the day off with a 2 1/2 hour NL cash game session. Things where going terrible at first, no good cards at all in the first hour and lost big with my set over set, and AJ running into AK.

After that table broke up, I spent another hour and a half grinding it out and regained most of my losses and started to have a little fun, it was a nice change of pace from the tournaments.

I’ve decided to take a short break from the Sit-N-Go’s now, I’m not sure how I’ll achieve this break, either take a day off and only play cash games, or only play one or two tournaments compared to my usual three or four, but its something I feel I need to do right now. Hopefully I’ll then be able to return with a clear head and start to rebuild some success in the Sit-N-Go’s again.

I’ve been advised to get hold of a copy of NL Hold’em Theory by David Sklansky, which I will order today. I’m not very experienced with NL cash games, so it will be interesting and very rewarding to try and build up via these instead of the Sit-N-Go’s, which I have predominantly been playing for some time now.

December 19, 2007 Posted by | NL Cash Games, Sit-N-Go's 2 | , , , , , | 6 Comments


I was about to kick the crap out of my computer screen after this :

Twice, in the last two games now I’ve made a set on the turn, and my opponent made a higher set on the river, I’m not happy 😦

December 19, 2007 Posted by | NL Cash Games | , , , , | Leave a comment