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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

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

Tips From Tunica
Andy Bloch
January 23, 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

Playing Cap Games

Howard Lederer
Sept 11, 2006

This week, Full Tilt Poker launched Cap Games - a version of our Pot- and No-Limit games in which no player can commit more than 30 big blinds to any pot. The biggest cash games in the world, the ones that Jennifer Harman and Phil Ivey play in, use a cap when they play No-Limit Hold 'em or Pot-Limit Omaha, and we thought you'd enjoy the experience as well.

For this tip, I am going to discuss some of the advantages of Cap Games over traditional big-bet poker, then I'm going to cover some strategic points that should help you when you first sit into a Cap Game. For even more information on Cap Game strategies, you can read my recent Pro Chat transcript.

Advantages of Cap Games

Most players reach a point where they grow uncomfortable with the thought of risking all the money they have on the table in a single hand. For example, say that a player in a $.50/$1 No-Limit game has done well and has built his stack from $50 to $300. He's certainly happy with that turn of events but, if there's another big stack at the table, he may be unwilling to stay at the table for fear of losing a very large sum on a difficult hand. In a Cap Game, however, this player can keep his seat, knowing that he can't lose more than $30 on any single hand.

When a cap is in place, there tends to be a lot of action. Players open up their games when they know their losses will be limited and will commit for the cap on hands they might be more cautious with in a standard No-Limit game. So Cap Games can be action packed and a lot of fun.

Cap Game Strategy

For the most part, Cap Games play just like other big-bet games. But there will be some key pots where you can use the cap to your advantage. You'll be able to take some shots at pots that you probably wouldn't take in deep-stack games.

In particular, Cap Games offer great semi-bluffing opportunities. For example, say that you're in a $1/$2 No-Limit Hold 'em Cap Game and a player opens for a $6 raise. You think he's weak and decide to re-raise to $20 with the 9c-Tc. The blinds fold and the raiser calls. The flop comes 2c-6c-Js. He checks to you and you decide to bet about the size of the pot - $40 - with your flush draw.

With this bet and the pre-flop action, you've reached the cap; you can't commit any more money to the pot. That makes this flop bet a pure semi-bluff. There's a good chance that you'll force a fold and, if you don't, you've still got about a 1 in 3 chance of hitting your flush on the next two cards. In a standard No-Limit game, however, this play could go very badly. You could be check-raised or called. If called, you could face a large bet on the turn after missing your flush. Either way, you might be forced to fold without having the opportunity to hit your hand.

Also in Cap Games, you can play some medium-strength hands more aggressively than you would in a traditional No-Limit game. For instance, you might be reluctant to commit 100 big blinds on a middle pocket pair, even if you felt your opponent was playing overcards and missed the flop. But in a Cap Game, you might play for the maximum on something like pocket 9s if you feel it is, in fact, the best hand.

In addition, there are more opportunities for slow-playing in Cap Games. Say that you hit a set of 5s when the flop comes 5d-7d-9c. You could be up against some sort of draw here and, in a standard No-Limit game, you'd probably want to bet so that you didn't risk letting a flush get there for free. But in a Cap Game, you might give the free card. The draw will probably play for the cap no matter what you do, and if an opponent had overcards and missed the flop, he'd only commit money if he connects with the board on the turn.

In general, you don't need to be so concerned about super-fine reads or making big laydowns in Cap Games. If you think there's a reasonable chance you're ahead, you can play for the cap without putting an excessive amount at risk.

Give our new Cap Games a shot. I think you'll enjoy the more open style of play that accompanies these games. They really are a lot of fun.

Howard Lederer