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The Pain Barrier - Manipulating Your Opponent
Joe Beevers
Feb 9, 2007

Finding the Low Cards in Omaha Hi/Lo
Mike Matusow
Jan 15, 2007

Looking at the Long-Term
Erik Seidel
Jan 6, 2007

Playing Small and Medium Pairs in Seven-Card Stud
Perry Friedman
Dec 29, 2006

Playing Aces in PLO
Andrew Black
Dec 21, 2006

Playing in Australia
Mark Vos
Dec 15, 2006

Playing Mixed Games
Jennifer Harman
Dec 7, 2006

Pot-Size Manipulation
Gavin Smith
Nov 30, 2006

Betting out of Position
Gus Hansen
Nov 20, 2006

How a Pro Thinks Through a Hand
Team Full Tilt
Nov 13, 2006

Cash Equity at the Final Table
Rafe Furst
Nov 6, 2006

Getting Beyond Your Cards
Perry Friedman
Oct 30, 2006

The Mindset of a Winner
Kristy Gazes
Oct 23, 2006

Balancing Poker and Life
Clonie Gowen
Oct 16, 2006

Play More Pots
Erick Lindgren
Oct 9, 2006

Heads-Up vs Multi-Way Hands in Omaha Hi/Lo
Andy Bloch
Oct 3, 2006

Playing Big Slick in Deep Stack Tournaments
Paul Wolfe
Sept 25, 2006

Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone
Ben Roberts
Sept 18, 2006

Playing Cap Games
Howard Lederer
Sept 11, 2006

From No-Limit to Limit
Richard Brodie
Sept 4, 2006

Check-Raising on Draws
Steve Brecher
August 28, 2006

Betting the River with Marginal Hands
Andy Bloch
August 21, 2006

Learning from Allen Cunningham
Jay Greenspan
August 14, 2006

Acknowledging Mistakes
Team Full Tilt
August 7, 2006

Playing the Main Event
Gus Hansen
July 31, 2006

Managing the Short Stack
Mark Vos
July 24, 2006

Playing Pot-Limit Tournaments
Rafe Furst
July 17, 2006

Red for a Day
Brian Koppelman
July 10, 2006

A Big Stack Mistake at the 2006 WSOP
Phil Gordon
July 3, 2006

Winning Poker - It's About More Than Money
Ben Roberts
June 26, 2006

Seventh Street Decisions in Seven-Stud
Keith Sexton
June 19, 2006

Big Blind Play in Limit Hold 'em
Jennifer Harman
June 12, 2006

Firing the Second Bullet
Greg "FBT" Mueller
June 5, 2006

Fourth Street Decisions in Seven Stud
Keith Sexton
May 29, 2006

Finding Your Inner Maniac
Greg "FBT" Mueller
May 22, 2006

Beware the Min Raise
Phil Gordon
May 15, 2006

Playing Bottom Two Pair
Rafe Furst
May 8, 2006

The Other Danger in Slow Playing
Howard Lederer
May 1, 2006

Why I Prefer Cash Games to Tournaments
Huckleberry Seed
April 24, 2006

Early Tournament Play
David Grey
April 17, 2006

Bad Position, Decent Cards
Howard Lederer
April 3, 2006

Inducing a Bluff
Layne Flack
March 27, 2006

Back to Basics
David Grey
March 20, 2006

Representing a Bluff
Huckleberry Seed
March 13, 2006

Viewer Beware
Howard Lederer
March 6, 2006

When Passive Plays
Chris Ferguson
February 27, 2006

Book Smarts vs. Table Smarts
Erik Seidel
February 20, 2006

Playing with John D'Agostino
Jay Greenspan
February 13, 2006

On Cavemen and Poker Players
Ben Roberts
February 6, 2006

Small-Pot Poker
Gavin Smith
January 30, 2006

How Big a Bankroll?
Team Full Tilt
January 16, 2006

Thoughts on Omaha-8
Jennifer Harman
January 09, 2006

In Defense of the Call
Gavin Smith
January 02, 2006

Stepping Up, Stepping Down
Kristy Gazes
December 26, 2005

Playing a Big Draw in Limit Hold 'em
Chris "Jesus" Ferguson
December 19, 2005

Know Your (Table) Limits
Paul Wolfe
December 12, 2005

Getting Started in Stud-8
Jennifer Harman
December 05, 2005

What's Your Starting Hand Really Worth?
Steve Brecher
November 28, 2005

Big Slick: A Slippery Hand
Rafe Furst
November 21, 2005

Bad Cards or Bad Plays?
Team Full Tilt
November 14, 2005

Strategies for Short-Handed Limit Hold 'em
John D'Agostino
November 7, 2005

Taking on a Short-Handed No-Limit Game
John D'Agostino
October 31, 2005

What I learned at the WSOP
Jay Greenspan
October 24, 2005

Back to the Drawing Board
Perry Friedman
October 17, 2005

It's Not Easy Being Green. Or Is It?
Team Full Tilt
October 10, 2005

Texture Isn't Just For Fabric
Phil Gordon
October 3, 2005

Know Your Opponent; Own Your Opponent
Paul Wolfe
September 26, 2005

How Bad are the Beats?
Steve Brecher
September 19, 2005

Third Street in Seven Stud
Perry Friedman
September 12, 2005

Flopping a Monster
Richard Brodie
September 6, 2005

Our Favorite Poker Books
Team Full Tilt
August 30, 2005

Holding On To Your Winnings
Aaron "GambleAB" Bartley
August 22, 2005

No-limit by the Numbers
Andy Bloch
August 15, 2005

Chip Sandwich
Phil Gordon
August 8, 2005

Sizing Up Your Opening Bet
Chris Ferguson
August 1, 2005

So You Wanna Go Pro
Rafe Furst
July 25, 2005

Dealer, Leave the Bets in Front of the Players.
Greg Mascio
July 18, 2005

Not Playing By The Book
Phil Gordon
July 11, 2005

Playing Two or More Tables at Once
Erick Lindgren
July 4, 2005

How To Win At Tournament Poker, Part 2
Chris Ferguson
June 27, 2005

How To Win At Tournament Poker, Part 1
Chris Ferguson
June 20, 2005

Specialize At Your Peril
Howard Lederer
June 13, 2005

Common Mistakes
Phil Gordon
June 6, 2005

Don't Play a Big Pot Unless You Have a Big Hand
John Juanda
May 30, 2005

Ask And Ye Shall Receive Part II
Erick Lindgren
May 23, 2005

Ask And Ye Shall Receive Part 1
Erick Lindgren
May 16, 2005

Should I Stay Or Should I Go
Jennifer Harman
May 9, 2005

Keep Your Toolbox Well Stocked
Chris Ferguson
May 2, 2005

Why I Leave My Sunglasses And iPod At Home
Howard Lederer
April 25, 2005

In Pot Limit...
Clonie Gowen
April 11, 2005

The Script
Phil Gordon
April 4, 2005

Just A Few Things When Playing Razz
Jennifer Harman
March 28, 2005

A Way To Approximate The Odds
Clonie Gowen
March 21, 2005

Sit N Goes Made Easy
Howard Lederer
March 14, 2005

Tips From Tunica

Andy Bloch
January 23, 2006

I'm writing from Tunica, MS, where I've played in several World Series of Poker Circuit events at the Grand Hotel and Casino. A couple of days ago, I played in a $2,000 No-Limit Hold 'em tournament, and I saw some of my opponents make some pretty odd plays. For this tip, I decided to highlight a couple of these strange decisions and describe why you should avoid making similar plays.

A Curious River Raise

Midway through the tournament, I saw King-9 in the cutoff (the seat to the immediate right of the button). I raised to put some pressure on the blinds, and I was called by the big blind. The flop came T-5-2 rainbow, so it was no help to me. My opponent checked, and I checked behind him.

The turn was a 9, giving me a pair. He checked, and I made a small bet that he then called. The river was a King and I now had two pair. After my opponent checked and, thinking that I had the best hand, I made a substantial bet. At this point, he surprised me and made a large raise. I was reasonably sure I was up against a set or Q-J for the straight, but still, I made the crying call.

He showed pocket Aces and I took a nice pot.

What should my opponent have done?

For starters, he could have re-raised pre-flop, though calling pre-flop was certainly reasonable. He also could have taken the lead in the betting on the flop or the turn, not allowing free cards to hit the board. However, his real trouble came on the river.

When he check-raised, he failed to ask himself a critical question: What hand can I call with that he could beat? His river check-raise showed a lot of strength - so much, in fact, that I probably wouldn't have called with any one pair. By the river, he really had no idea what I was holding. For all he knew, I could have had Queen-Jack or any sort of two pair. If I held the straight, he'd be facing a very large raise, one that would certainly be a mistake to call.

In this sort of situation, his best play was to check-call on the river. By the time the river card hit, he should have been looking to showdown the hand with the hope that his pair survived.

While here, I've seen many players make similar mistakes on the river. They bet or raised with any hand that they suspected was best, including marginal cards like second pair. But their big mistake was that they failed to consider their opponent's hand. When you hold marginal cards, you should ask yourself two important questions: Do I have the best hand? And, if I do, does my opponent hold a hand that he's willing to call with? If you can't answer "yes" to both questions, just check the river and showdown the hand.

Trouble on the Turn

Later in the tournament, I raised pre-flop in late position with King-6 and the big blind called me. The flop came Ac-As-7s. I didn't have an Ace, but I bet anyway when my opponent checked. After he smooth-called and a 6h came up on the turn, my opponent bet big.

This play makes no sense because it doesn't tell a coherent story. A check-raise on the flop would be reasonable - my opponent would be representing a big hand, maybe trip Aces. A check-call on the turn would make sense, too. In that case, he probably holds a monster like a full house or he could just have a seven.

As it turned out, my opponent had A-7 (that's what he said, anyway), and by betting he forced me to fold. That wasn't very smart. If he checked, I might have continued with my bluff (though that-s unlikely).

In any case, it's almost never a good idea to check-call a flop bet, and then bet the turn if a blank hits. A play like that might confuse your opponent momentarily, but you're unlikely to gain much value. Your flop and turn bets should be related – they should tell a consistent story.

If you think carefully about your turn and river bets and what you're trying to gain, you're sure to improve your results. You'll get better value on the turn and avoid drowning on the river.

See you at the next tournament stop.

Andy Bloch