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2014 January 27

Shaping Your Image

by Ashley Adams

I have found that as my opponents play more “correctly”—that is to say as they cease to be bad calling stations, my old tight aggressive, “ABC” poker is less profitable. I don’t make as much money off of bad calls, which was the main part of my profit, because my opponents aren’t calling as readily as they used to with second best hands. Accordingly, it’s critical for those of us who care about winning to regularly assess what we’re doing and how it’s working and then redesign what we do to take advantage of the changed circumstance. I’ve been doing exactly that over the last couple of years and especially over the last six months. During that time I’ve worked on two things, chiefly: aggression and image. I’ve addressed the subject of aggression in previous articles, and I’ll address it more in the future. So let’s look at how you can make more money by changing your image.

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Playing a Big Pair in the Hole; and an Overcard Flops

George “The Engineer” Epstein

You see the flop with a big pair in the hole. You are (almost) certain that you have the best hand. Now the flop... Oops! An overcard falls. How good is your hand now? If an opponent has connected with a bigger pair, you have only two outs to improve your hand. So what is the best way to play a big pair in the hole before the flop?

A Typical Example. In a medium-limit hold’em game at a full table of nine players, you are in a middle position, and have been dealt J-J; that’s a premium drawing hand. If no overcards fall on the board, your pocket Jacks could hold up to the showdown; but, quite often, it must improve to take the pot (more so, of course, with smaller pocket pairs).

Could an opponent have been dealt a higher pair? With J-J in the hole, the odds are about 8-to-1 in your favor that none of your eight opponents has a higher pair. Most likely you hold the best hand preflop. This often is confirmed when no opponent raises preflop. (Discount a raise by a “maniac” who could raise with almost anything in the hole—even without looking at his holecards!) You figure that your pocket Jacks is the best hand so far... Preflop, you properly decide to raise, hoping to force out any players behind you who happen to hold A-rag, K-rag, or Q-rag, thereby protecting your J-J, and gaining a better chance to win the pot if an Ace, King, or Queen should be dealt out on the board. Note: If you were one of the blinds, raising likely would not force out an opponent who already had made one bet to see the flop; so, in that case, just call and avoid giving information about the strength of your hand.

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Tanks, But No Tanks

by Barbara Connors

Poker is a game of decisions and some of those decisions are going to be tough. If I raise, what are the chances I’ll get called? If I call, will a player behind me raise? What is likely to happen on the next betting round? And perhaps the most important question of all—what cards does my opponent have? Is he betting with the best hand, or is he weak, or is he betting at me with complete air?

And then of course there is position, pot odds, potential outs to improve, stack size, table image, and more to consider. Given all this, it’s no wonder that poker players faced with a difficult decision will sometimes feel the need to take an extra minute. Or two. Or three, or four, or five… When a player takes an extra-long time to act on his hand, that’s known as going into the tank, or more commonly, tanking. For better or worse, tanking is becoming more common in poker games of late. Whether the player in question legitimately needs the extra time to think through a challenging decision, or is not-so-legitimately wasting everyone’s time depends entirely on the context.

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Mike Caro: Today’s word is... RISK

Sadly, I must report on a poker epidemic. It’s destroying the profit of millions of serious hold ’em players. And it’s happening before our very eyes.

I’m talking about the epidemic of raising too often before the flop. Many players are doing this to command the table and to reduce risk when they hold hands that have an advantage right now, but are vulnerable to the flop.

So, what’s wrong with that? After all, you see modern players doing it on TV and winning. It must be right. Don’t old-time strategies fall victim to this trending new pre-flop aggression? It seems like it.


But, wait! It’s an illusion When players are overly aggressive, they win a lot of pots. As they accomplish this, they seem superior to other players, but their profits diminish. It’s the only thing that can possibly happen.

Your rating: None Average: 4.7 (6 votes)

Bike Kicks Off Mega Millions Series 8 With Facebook Event

John Taylor took the first prize of a 7 player chop in the first event of the Bicycle Casino’s Mega Millions Series VIII tournaments. That No Limit Hold ‘em event easily met its $20,000 guarantee with 559 entries at $50 + $25, and 442 $50 Add-ons. The prize pool totaled $48,544. 63 players cashed. The second and main event of this tournament ran from January 3 to January 14, too late for this issue’s coverage. There were 23 planned events plus turbo satellites, leading up to the $5,000 + $200 buy-in for the final round.

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Roderick McPherson Wins Opening Event at Beau Rivage Million Dollar Heater

Rod MacPherson was happy that the $500,000 guarantee was met because he got the lion’s share of an early morning 13 player chop. MacPherson, a professor at Montevallo College in Alabama had been piling up chips from early in the tournament. In particular, by flopping a set against the chip leader on day 2, he was way ahead of the field. All of the final players came from the local region including, MS, LA, FL, GA and AL In all some 175 players cashed in this event.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Sean Stevens Wins Choctaw Opener

2014 kicks off with 533-player no-limit hold’em tournament; Victorious Stevens earns $34,380


Sean Stevens won the first Circuit of the new year late Friday night at Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, OK. His win in the $365 No-Limit Hold’em tournament earned him a smooth $34,380, but it didn’t come without a fight.

Stevens matched up against Krzysztof Stybaniewicz, a Polishborn pro, heads-up in the year’s first finale. What began as a normal bout between proficient pros turned into a marathon for the ages.

First, Stybaniewicz held the lead, then Stevens chipped up, then chips found their way back to Stybaniewicz. Before the rail knew it, the heads-up battle was going on its second hour – then its third, then its fourth. Finally, a victor was crowned during the fifth hour of twohanded play and Stevens consoled his adversary with a firm handshake and a “good game”.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

Poker News: Wynn’s Boston-Area Billion-Dollar Casino Project Moves Forward and more

by Haley Hintze


Wynn Resorts emerged as the clear favorite of the developers of a Boston-area casino after the company was deemed “suitable” by Massachusetts gaming regulator. Wynn plans a $1.2 billion casino complex in Everett, an inner Boston suburb, but will likely have to outlast legal challenges by rival Caesars Entertainment, which had competed for the same single Eastern Massachusetts license, but was forced out over questionable and modest business ties to a suspect New York hotelier. Caesars responded to its ouster by suing a prominent Massachusetts gaming official with alleged close ties to Wynn, meaning that despite the recent Wynn approval, matters aren’t quite settled.


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