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Barbara Connors

Top Ten Signs Your Game Might Have a Leak

1. "Small suited connectors under-the-gun? Yeah, let's see a flop!" One of the worst and most expensive leaks is playing too many starting hands-especially out of position. But too many players get sucked into playing substandard hands out of boredom, frustration, or just plain lack of discipline. Do this once, maybe twice, and it isn't a big deal. Do it repeatedly and it's a great way to siphon off chips.

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Wham, Bam ... and Scram

Some players attempt to artificially prop up their poker results with a strategy known as "hit and run." This style of play involves joining a game and sitting down just long enough to win a big pot or two-and then immediately quitting. This way, the player ensures himself of leaving the game with a win. He can make his exit basking in the warm and fuzzy feeling that accompanies winning, and he can tell his spouse, friends, and siblings that he made money in his game and is therefore a winning poker player.

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Turn the Beat Around

The bad beat jackpot is poker's version of the lottery-random, tantalizing, and a massive long shot to hit. And like the lottery, bad beat jackpots are usually progressive, meaning the more time goes by without a winner, the more lucrative the grand prize becomes. It's not uncommon for the prize money to reach five figures, or in some cases even six figures, of mouthwatering cash. Jackpot games can be found at many, if not most, brick and mortar casinos as well as some of the online poker sites.

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Turn the Beat Around

The bad beat jackpot is poker's version of the lottery-random, tantalizing, and a massive long shot to hit. And like the lottery, bad beat jackpots are usually progressive, meaning the more time goes by without a winner, the more lucrative the grand prize becomes. It's not uncommon for the prize money to reach five figures, or in some cases even six figures, of mouthwatering cash. Jackpot games can be found at many, if not most, brick and mortar casinos as well as some of the online poker sites.

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Over-Exposed

To look down and see two high cards in your grasp is usually a promising start to any hold'em hand. This we know. But when bad things happen to good cards and the flop fails to connect with either one of them, your beautiful beginning has turned into a thorny and potentially expensive situation. Your naked high cards aren't good enough for you to continue in the hand with any degree of confidence, and yet it can be oh-so-difficult to let go-especially if you raised before the flop-and oh-so-tempting to stay in, hoping to hit something on a later street.

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Getting Hitched

Pot-committed is a term most often associated with no-limit games, and particularly tournaments. It occurs when the pot is big enough to be offering you such great odds that you should almost always call-even if you believe that you are behind in the hand.

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Enemies with Benefits

The bounty tournament, aka headhunter tournament, brings a little something extra to the prize pool. Additional prize money is awarded to any player who busts a particular opponent, typically somebody famous. Before the event begins, tournament officials designate a small percentage of players as having prices on their heads, and these bounty players start the tourney with a "bounty button."

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Killing Them Softly

For the serious player, poker is war. The truly dedicated player is willing to bust anyone-friend, lover, relative, elderly grandmother on a pension-to get ahead in a poker game.

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Card-Wreck

If you flop a monster hand in hold 'em, and it happens in such a way that you hold the very cards any opponent would need to make a good hand, in technical terms it's known as crippling the deck. In practical terms, it means that your fabulous hand is unlikely to get any action from the other players, because nobody can possibly have much of a hand. So usually you will be compelled to slow-play-by giving away free or cheap cards in the hopes that at least one of your opponents will catch something to make a hand.

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Dealing the Pinch

One of the most sophisticated weapons in any poker player's arsenal, the squeeze play is potent and best used sparingly. It's an advanced type of bluff normally reserved for big bet games such as pot-limit and no-limit. Moreover, it's mainly useful in tournament play, and even then, the would-be squeezer must pick his spots very carefully.

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