I recently got an email from a guy asking, What about online propping, JV? Do you think it's a career path or what? This brought to mind my own experience as a proposition player at the now defunct Regency Casino in good ol' Bell Gardens, California. I thought it was just super that they'd pay me eight bucks an hour to play poker, and figured that with that kind of cushion there was no way I could lose. Well, I lost $300 on day one, lost $500 on day two, called in sick on day three, and gave up the pretense on day four.
Last time we talked about the problem that kings face against flopped aces. Queens face the same problem, only more so, for they have to fear both aces and kings on the flop. Still, queens are a premium pair, and you really want to be raising with them, especially to drive out those someone holding a king. Your preflop raise might not drive out A-J, but it should certainly send K-J to the muck.
Like pocket aces, pocket kings work best against a short field. You should definitely raise with them preflop, from any position, because they're a huge favorite to be the best hand. As with aces, raise enough to drive out the shoe clerks who can pummel you from below. Three times the big blind is a good point of departure; bet more if others limp in first. As with aces, you don't want a lot of traffic. The trouble with kings, though, is that the traffic they attract usually contains aces.
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I've been running bad lately. I don't like to admit it, but it's true, and if I can't tell the truth to myself about myself, then I have no hope of turning my losing streak around. So there it is: I'm running bad.
When you look down at your hole cards and see those pungent eyeballs looking back, your blood races, your heart pounds, and your hands begin to sweat. It's a natural reaction to pocket aces. After all, you've got the best possible hold'em hand. Everyone else is chasing you. In this instant, many players have an urge to drag (slowplay) aces. May I suggest that you fight this urge? Around here we have a saying:
SLOWPLAY ACES, GO TO HELL
Here's why, in three easy reasons.
Under what circumstances should you show cards? Man, good question, and I don't have a great answer. Exposing cards can be a great way to manipulate your foes. Showing big cards after big bets may train your enemies to fold to your bluffs. Likewise, showing the odd naked bluff could gain you a loose call later on. Trouble is, you never know exactly what sort of image you're going to need in ten minutes or half an hour; showing your bluffs, for example, may deny you bluffing opportunities later when you need them most.
In a perfect world, we'd get to play poker as much as we want. In a perfect world, the game would always be on and the game would always be soft. In a perfect world, there would never be family obligations or work-related travel or gridlocky traffic jams to block the straight line between poker desire and poker bliss. In a perfect world...
Named after a certain purple dinosaur, the Barney Stare, also called "attentional inertia," is a phenomenon of fixed focus caused by watching something (like television) for so long that mental processes slow down, the physical body decays into something like a torpor and, quite possibly, drool forms at the corners of the mouth.
Okay, I'm kidding about the drool, but for the rest of it, well, doesn't it sound like something that might happen to you at the poker table? It will, you know, if you play too long, too carelessly, and ignore the Five Warning Signs of the Barney Stare.
So this guy Paul writes to me with grave doubts about his game. He's a low limit player of modest experience, and he thinks he's playing well, but he keeps getting his ass kicked in the fish pond that is low limit internet poker. Per Paul: I wait patiently to get my money in the best spot, play strong starting hands, and get completely wiped out by the fish across the table because he out draws me. I raise when I have my strong hands to better protect them against these types but it seems so futile. If it's suited, they call. If it's connected, they call.