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Survive and Thrive Tournament Strategy (Play Video Poker)
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Survive and Thrive Tournament Strategy

August 16th, 2006

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Tournament play is much different from table play in , and even the specific type and set up of the tournament will dictate what kind of a strategy a player should take. While every tournament and every table demands a different specific strategy, one of the few tournament strategies that can generally consistently works for a large series of players is the survive and thrive strategy. Survive and thrive is exactly that: you thrive in the tournament and make the money not by playing wildly and doubling up ten times, but by avoiding playing as often as possible, playing extremely conservatively, and then playing hard only when you have a strong advantage.

The true survive and thrive strategy is difficult for many players because it does require such a conservative approach that even goes beyond what a conservative table player would play. Throwing away pocket 8s or 9s pre-flop is not uncommon, but a tournament requires a different type of thinking than a normal table. At a table you can re-buy, or switch gears knowing the blinds are always the same. Large tournaments are not like this. The blinds raise to keep putting pressure on the lowest stacks and to push the tournament towards conclusion. Losing even a few minor hands early will have you feeling the squeeze of the blinds, and may force you into a situation of going all in on a hand that you really do not want to push all your chips in with.

Survive and thrive does not mean to play extremely weak, however. When you get pocket As, you should push all in. Same with pocket Ks. The reason for this strong aggression is that since you dont play many hands, you want to cash in when you do. These are hands that start you out as a 67-75% favorite. This is an incredible advantage, and it you double up once or twice, then you can sit out even more handseven throwing away pocket 10s or 9s when there are a lot of scary pre or post flop raises ahead of you, and you think someone might have you beat. Why risk money on a coin flip hand or worse, when you can wait until you are a 4 to 1 favorite?

Basically with a survive and thrive strategy, you are letting other players take the chances and knock each other out, and with each disaster you avoid, you keep crawling nearer and nearer to the paid places. Not only to the raising knock players out, but you will notice as the blinds get higher and higher players seem to go nuts right before another raise. There are many times with only $1,500 in chips in an and thirty spots out of placing I watched guys with $2,000 chips go all in, two $4,000 chips go all in, and another high stack call. Those are four players that should have outlasted mebut instead three were knocked out when they did not have to take that chance. As long as you are not knocked out, you have a chance to place.

Players get really wild and excessive as the blinds go up. If you can steal an occasional blind, do so. The advantage of survive and thrive is that if you only play hands worth going all in on, then when you go all in to steal blinds no one is going to want to call you, so you can keep yourself afloat since even blind stealing becomes safer when you use this strategy. With survive and thrive, when there is any doubt at all, fold or run. When you are sure you are ahead, make your opponent go all in to call you, because youwant all of his or her chips to keep up your conservative, yet strong, playing. This is the best strategy to consistently place in tournaments, especially in online tournaments where blinds tend to go up very quickly.

What if everyone keeps folding? That is great! If no one wants to call you, keep stealing blinds and low bets to keep yourself above those blinds, and avoid the temptation of jumping into the feeding frenzies unless you absolutely have an unbeatable hand. Play this way and success will be yours!

Posted in Pokerrooms, Poker School, Texas Hold'em Strategy | No Comments »

Folding pocket Aces pre-flop. Are you crazy? Not necessarily.

July 28th, 2006

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Andy Machin

Do you have the discipline to before the flop?

Imagine the scenario. You’re playing Texas hold’em poker in a single table sit-and-go tournament. It’s getting towards the latter stages, five players are left and you can smell an in-the-money finish. But you need to get in to the top three and stay there - while your chip stack would be nice if it was bigger. The blinds are becoming significant and you know you’ll have to make your move soon.

Out come the cards - miracles of miracles, you look down at your cards and see the magic AA looking back at you.

Now, surely this means it’s you right to win the hand. Announce “I’m all-in” and become the chip leader.

Now, under most circumstances there’s no doubt that you should either push in a tasty raise or even all-in with those big aces. Although remarkable as it may seem, there are times to fold those “pocket rockets” and not see a flop. It takes discipline to do and is all about risk versus reward.

If you’re playing single table sit and go tournaments you must finish in the first three to get a return on your entry fee. We all know that the great starting hands don’t come along too often and when they do, a lot of players become married to the hand and can’t put it down under any circumstances.

The savy player knows when to fold.

And that includes folding AA pre-flop. Here’s when to consider very carefully when to muck those aces before the flop.

Back to the scenario. Five players left, you’re in fourth place with those Aces screaming at you to push your chips in. But you have the advantage being in last position to act. Two players with bigger stacks than you throw enough chips in the pot to force you all-in if you decide to play.

And now the small stack in fifth place takes his chances and goes all-in.

The action is now on you. The urge to splash your chips in to the middle is irresistible. But before you do - this about it for a moment. As things stand, you can fold your aces now with the chance of moving in to third place and a money finish without risk.

If the player in the hand with the biggest stack wins it, he’ll take out the other two with smaller stacks and you instantly get bumped up to third place and guaranteed money without. And without risking any of your chips which you still have to fight with.

Risk = zero.

Reward = third place at least and a guaranteed prize money.

That’s when to fold anything pre-flop, not just aces. Throw anything away at any stage if it means you can move in to the money without risk.

Posted in Gambling Articles | No Comments »

How to Play Pocket Kings

July 26th, 2006

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Pocket kings are a hand that requires a lot of strategy to play correctly. The only starting hand that is more powerful is pocket aces, though some players, including some pros, are strong believers that A-K is just as good. Still, when you start off a round of Texas Hold ‘Em, there aren’t too many hands that you would rather see. Pre-flop, pocket kings are considered a dominant hand. It is correct to always raise or re-raise no matter where you are sitting at table. This is true of no-limit games, and always true of limit games.

The biggest general concern you have with pocket kings is having an ace land on the flop or during play. Should you worry about pocket aces? Generally, no, and here’s the reason. The chances of being dealt pocket kings are 1 in every 222 hands. That is the same odds that someone will receive pocket aces. They are great hands, but the chances of both being in the same round are really slim to nil. What happens if you fold your kings only to find that pocket queens or pocket jacks end up winning the pot? You won’t feel good about that decision then. The odds of your pocket kings winning against any two cards (other than pocket aces) is 70%! This means that if you play it out ten times, on average you will win against that hand seven times.

The general odds are that one of every three boards (this is all five cards—including the flop, fourth street, and the river) will have an ace appear. That ace is the bane of a existence, because several of the strongest hands someone will play you all involve an ace (A-K, A-Q, A-J, A-10), as well as suited ace-something, or bad players will even play A-4 or A-5, which suddenly could be better than your kings if that board hits badly. So how do you play pocket kings? There is only one basic rule, then there are some general guidelines. Like any type of poker game, the players involved in the game and playing styles have a lot to do with how you should react.

The Rule: Pre-flop you should raise and re-raise. In a no-limit game if a short stack goes all in you should actually raise over that to discourage others from calling. Always raise and re-raise pre-flop with the kings. Your chances for winning the hand are so good that you want to put in as much as possible.

Next time, we’ll look at the guidlines for playing your pocket kings!

Posted in Pokerrooms, Poker School, Texas Hold'em Strategy | 1 Comment »



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