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

Recently, Poker

Firstly, I just want to apologize for not posting very frequently recently. Don’t really know why I haven’t, the blog is usually my first port of call, probably down to the amount of heads-up games I’ve been playing recently. There usually isn’t much to write about with them.

Anyways, recently in poker, I have been doing okay, and feeling good about my play, and perhaps more importantly I’ve started to have some fun, especially on Full Tilt. I completed my first sit ‘n go’s on Full Tilt just before the weekend, busting out early in the first, and then finishing 4th out of 18 immediately after. I didn’t mind failing to cash in the first one, I just needed to adjust to the new structure, but I was terribly disappointed about my premature bust-out in 4th. I had more chips then anyone else, and lost it all within around 4 hands.

We did get in a 4 handed home tournament after that though for some loose change, and we even implemented some re-buy’s, though after 3 each it was getting out of hand lol. I made 2nd, with a huge mountain to climb and pushed all-in with middle pair, chip leader woke up with a flopped two pair to send me out and take the win, but I had fun.

Since then, I’ve been focussed back on the heads-up matches, trying to earn points for my bonus on Poker Stars as fast as possible, whilst still earning a small profit, and I’m also using them on Full Tilt to try and build a modest bankroll from the $15 a friend transfered for me. Since doing them for so long, I feel like I’ve lost a bit of patience with the regular sit ‘n go’s at the moment, but as long as I’m doing well in the heads-up games, I’m not too worried about it.

Today, I’ve been stuck on Full Tilt, with 4 heads-up matches completed so far, 3 of which where against the same opponent, whilst I wait for Poker Stars to restart there servers so I can get some games done there, and earn some points for my bonus.

February 12, 2008 Posted by | Home Poker, Sit-N-Go's 2, Tournaments and Freerolls | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Today’s Poker

Haven’t been feeling too well over the last couple of days, so consequently haven’t gotten much poker in, and I’m feeling a little down about that.

Had a nice 5k starting stacks, 3 handed home game, which I won, but got lucky in doing so. Heads-up, I made a bad read and moved all-in to protect my hand I felt was good, eventually my opponent folds the better hand. Later on, the pots getting big and I push, with a small pair and a flush and straight draw, eventually my opponent calls with two overs and the nut flush draw, I mange to dodge his outs and take an astonishing lead. We later found out my edge was only around 2%, I felt my flush draw was good at the time, but my opponent was drawing to the same flush with his ATs, so I lost many of my outs there, and only just held on. Surprisingly he managed to double up several times before I managed to knock him out and eventually take the win.

Online hasn’t been as good, only just completed my first sit-n-go of the day, where I was knocked out in 4th, when my KT push runs into the chip leaders AK. I’m hoping to get in another game tonight, but I’m going to relax a while first to see if I can start to feel a bit better first.

January 29, 2008 Posted by | Home Poker, Tournaments and Freerolls | , , , , | Leave a comment

Not Listenning to My Instincts, Again!

Busted twice in one night, because I didn’t listen to my instincts, time to call it a day, before I throw away all of my recent hard work. Not a bad play on my part this time, but I knew I was beat and let it cost me my seat anyway.

Two things made me push back, knowing he’d do the same thing with QQ, and maybe even AT, and the fact that he very recently did the same thing when he made bottom set, and I got stubborn and wanted to look him up. It was stupid, despite how much I invested in this hand, I should have gotten away with my seat intact, instead I heard that little voice that said I was beat, he’s made a set, and I ignored it.

It takes a few realizations like that for the lesson to sink in with me sometimes, as long as I don’t make the same mistake tomorrow, I’m happy. Making the same mistake twice in one night at least lets it hammer home.

Here’s the hand :

January 27, 2008 Posted by | Tournaments and Freerolls | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Perils of Playing on Instict

I’ve been feeling good, 4 straight cashes, including two 1st places, has helped boost my confidence, then a bad read sends me out in 6th, it could have gone either way, but deep down I know I wasn’t focussed as much in this game as I should have been.

Note to self, don’t read, comment on blogs whilst playing online poker!

Here’s the hand, his bet on the turn, screamed weakness, and lots of times it is weakness, but here it wasn’t, I took a shot and it backfired, but if I had my head-in the game, it wouldn’t have cost me my seat, its a situation I should have gotten away from, but didn’t, it will remind me to stay focussed in future.

Here, I obviously wasn’t trying to represent I’ve made a set of Kings, I took too long to think about it, and he wouldn’t buy it anyway, he just felt weak, but looking back at things like how fast he called my 4xBB raise pre-flop, and how he checked the flop, which seemed odd, as he’s the guy whow will almost always lead out here, but I filtered all that out, and didn’t listen to what was important, why is he playing so obviously weak! Also noting A2 was way ahead of me, I made a stupid play and was doomed to go broke.

January 27, 2008 Posted by | Tournaments and Freerolls | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments