Is Online Poker Fair & Safe?

July 21, 2010 - by Bulldog · Filed Under Online Poker Articles Leave a Comment 

It’s a pretty common question and one which does need addressed from time to time, as with anything where money is involved there is always a risk of someones greed getting the better of their conscience. Online Poker involves very large amounts of money placed in poker accounts by hundreds of thousands of players from around the World, in the main it is safe!!

There have been scandals in the past and tales of cheating most notably an Ultimate Bet scandal a few Years back, many losing players are the first to claim cheating and that there is noway they should be getting beat on the river so often, what these players fail to realise is that online you play 3 or 4 times as many hands as you would live, you simply get to see more flops, more action and more bad beats in a short period of time.

Play Safe Online Poker

To make sure you are safe and put anyone’s mind at rest you should stick with the “big names” such as pokerstars, bodog or fulltilt for example. These sites have wayyy to much to lose and have the highest security measures in place, online poker is fast, fun and very safe but we all need to play where we know we will be treated as fairly as possible.

Enjoy your online poker!

Taming the Bulldog Poker Players

June 11, 2010 - by Bulldog · Filed Under Bulldog Poker Strategy Leave a Comment 

Some Bulldog Poker players are young and inexperienced, they make the rest of us look bad which is quite a good thing in the long run. The young bulldog is the maniacal player who wants to bet, raise or re-raise on every hand irrespective of what he has in his hand.

Categorised “officially” as loose-aggressive, this is the extreme manifestation of that type of player, and whether he is doing it through ignorance, drunkenness or is a very clever player attempting to lay a trap, you have to figure out how to deal with it to prevent any major losses of your own and to potentially tame your bulldog by taking all his chips.

Against these bulldogs, you should loosen up your starting hand requirements a little, whilst still maintaining an ABC game (bulldogs cannot be bluffed), and attacking aggressively when you have a premium hand. You know that the bulldog is getting involved in the majority of hands, and that no-one gets that many good hands, so he is obviously got a far lower starting hand criteria than you are applying. Therefore, you should play your premium hands with confidence as he will not catch lucky all the time.

Part of the trick to beat a bulldog is to isolate him. If you and several other players are up against him in a hand, although there is a good chance that the bulldog will be beaten, so might you.  It is important that you bet a substantial amount into the pot to ensure the other players fold, and then be prepared to call should the bulldog re-raise. Playing too many marginal hands in a multi-pot is a sure way to lose your chips, and you should never attempt to limp into a flop against this type of aggressor.

There is a major bulldog tendency that you have on your side, and this is that the bulldog is not the smartest of creatures (in terms of actual intelligence, a bulldog is rated 77th of 79 recognised dog breeds). He has a natural propensity to display when he is dealt a good hand by reducing the size of his initial bet and taking slightly longer to make the action. It is as if he was thinking “Oh my! What shall I do with this?” If you can identify these “tells”, you should avoid playing in these hands and just focus on playing premium hands when the opportunity arises.

Overall, it is better that you have the willpower not to be dictated to by anybody. Poker is a battle of minds, skill and tactical play, and you should not stoop to somebody else´s lower level as you already have the higher playing ground. Finding a bulldog on your table can be alarming at first. You have the option in ring games of fleeing or fighting, but in tournaments have nowhere to run. So, it is better to adopt strategies to defeat this type of player and profit from it.

Fantasy WSOP

June 11, 2010 - by Bulldog · Filed Under Online Poker Articles Leave a Comment 

Daniel Negreanu (via his Full Contact Poker web site) is hosting a free to enter Fantasy Poker competition based around which poker players will win the most money at the WSOP in Las Vegas (excluding the Main Event). Prizes for the competition include various cash amounts up to $1.000 transferred to your PokerStars account and free membership to Negreanu´s poker training web site.

To enter, you simply have to register on the web site and select the highest prize winning individual or group from the 57 pairings listed. The pairings are based on prize winnings in last year´s series (excluding the Main Event) so you may need to do some homework before rushing onto the site to enter.

Some of the headline pairings include:-
Daniel Negreanu v Phil Ivey
Jennifer Harman v Annie Duke
Phil Hellmuth v Erick Lindgren
Mike Sexton v T. J. Coultier
Chris Ferguson v Joe Hatchem
Jamie Gold v Chris Moneymaker
Tom Dwan v Patrik Antonius

and last year´s Main Event victor, Joe Cada v this year´s most watched rookie Annette Obrestad.

Negreanu has cheekily included a group pairing that includes himself and his PokerStars buddies against the leading lights from Full Tilt Poker, and another which includes the Poker “kids” (Shaun Deeb, Isaac Baron and Annette Obrestad) against WSOP old hands – Phil Hellmuth, Johnny Chan and Doyle Brunson.

There is also a tiebreaker involved in which you have to estimate how much Negreanu will himself cash at the WSOP (again, excluding the Main Event), and it is as easy as that to bump up your PokerStars account, whether you are going to Las Vegas yourself this year, or think the competition is too hot and are going to leave it until 2011.

The Full Contact Poker Web Site is a good place to explore. As well as being able to get Negreanu´s advice through his blog and keep up to date with his whereabouts via his video diary and Twitter feed, there is a very active poker forum community, profiles on the stars of the games and a lot of information about what is going on at PokerStars that sometimes you miss when entering the site.

Good luck with the competition – it might just pay for a satellite buy-in for next years event!

Short-Handed Opening Hand Selection

June 4, 2010 - by Bulldog · Filed Under Bulldog Poker Strategy Leave a Comment 

When you are playing short-handed poker – tables with just 6 players, or towards the end of Sit ´n´ Go or Multi-Table Tournament – premium hands are less rarely seen due to there being fewer cards dealt.

For players who apply the same opening hand criteria as when playing on a full ring, this can be damaging to your chances of winning (or progressing in the tournament) as you will not be involved in so many hands and are paying blinds more frequently.

There is a way to adjust your opening hand criteria to account for the lower number of cards that are dealt, and in order to do this, you need to know the odds of specific cards being drawn on a full ring table and recalculate what your opening hands should be.

For example, the odds of being dealt AA are 220/1. On a ten player, full ring table playing 90 hands per hour, AA will appear on that table an average of four times within the hour ([10 x 90] / 220).

On a six player table, playing at the same rate, AA will be dealt less than two and a half times ([6 x 90) / 220) or 40% less often.  Expanding this theory to include a typical tight players opening hand criteria may look something like this.

Frequency of JJ or higher (54/1) within 90 hands on a full ring = 16.67
Frequency of JJ or higher within 90 hands on a short-handed table = 10
Frequency of any AK (82/1) within 90 hands on a full ring = 11
Frequency of any AK within 90 hands on a short-handed table = 6.50
Frequency of any suited AQ, AJ, AT (110/1) within 90 hands on a full ring = 8
Frequency of any suited AQ, AJ, AT within 90 hands on a short-handed table = 5

Therefore, to adjust to the equivalent opening hand criteria for short-handed tables, you have to calculate the frequency that lower hand options offer. You know (from the above) that you can do this by reducing the odds of your premium hands by roughly 40% (16.67 – 40% = 10 / 11 – 40% = 6.6 / 8 – 40% = 4.80) and so you need to look for hand combinations that fill the void.

A suggested solution would be to replace “JJ or higher” with “88 or higher”, “any AK” with “any AK or AQ”, and include Kings in your suited selection (KQ, KJ, KT).

The odds of seeing 88 or higher are 31/1 whereas the odds for JJ or higher less 40% is 32.4/1.

Including any AQ to your any AK selection is 42/1 instead of (82/1 – 40%) 49/1, and the addition of Kings in your suited criteria reduces the odds to 56/1 where the odds previously were (110/1 – 40%) 66/1.

This wider range of opening hands will compensate for the lower frequency of seeing your higher criteria being matched and enable you to become more competitive in short-handed Texas Hold´em.

How to Beat Multi-Table Poker Players Online

May 23, 2010 - by Bulldog · Filed Under Bulldog Poker Strategy Leave a Comment 

Defining the type of player who prefers to play multiple poker tables at the same time is not difficult. As they have to avoid making as many marginal decisions as possible, they have the highest opening hand selection of any player, and apply their criteria rigidly.

Irrespective of the type of game you are involved in, if you see a particular hand quickly being folded, or being bet aggressively on rare occasions, you can bet the owner of the hand is playing “tight” on several tables at the same time.

The “tell” is in the time it takes for them to make their betting decision. By glimpsing at their cards between actions on other tables, the player has seen that they do not match up to his strict qualification, and has hit the check/fold button without giving it a further thought.

Although these guys are highly skilled at what they do, and the best multi-table players are incredibly profitable, there are ways in which you can use their lack of focus to your advantage.

Multi-tablers rarely defend their blinds. If you have one behind you in the betting, a slight raise in late position should win you their blinds.
Multi-tablers are addicted to continuation betting. If you find you have a good hand against somebody whose focus is not entirely on their game, raise their continuation bets and build a monster pot for your own winning hand.

Multi-tablers do not go looking for flush draws or straights. Therefore, if you have a marginal hand post flop, you can bluff that you have caught on the board and they will more than likely fold.

Multi-tablers are rubbish at heads-up. Remember, they are still using their high opening hand selection. So if you find them in the bubble on a regular one table Sit ´n´ Go tournament, you should have the measure of them every time.

If you are not sure whether an opponent is active on a number of tables at the same time, invest in some player tracking software. The cost of the investment will be worth it, as you will find players hiding quietly on your table, who you were not aware offered the opportunity to exploit.

Playing poker is all about taking whatever value you are offered, and exploiting every edge you have. If you can determine that a player is multi-tabling, or indeed involved in any other activity which diverts his absolute focus, seize the advantage to increase the profitability of your poker.

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