WSOPE Expands…Draws ESPN Coverage

When the World Series of Poker Europe first started in 2007, I wondered how long it would last.  After all, an expansion on the main product of the WSOP overseas didn’t seem like a lasting business venture.  And if you need a good example of major poker organizations failing by trying to expand too much, just look at the WPT and its online poker site experiment.

But it seems like the WSOPE is definitely here to stay since they have added another bracelet event, and are backed by a huge ESPN TV deal.  For the second straight year, ESPN will be covering the WSOPE, which means there is a long-term deal in effect.  This year’s coverage of Europe’s WSOP will start on January 31st and end on February 28th.  Some of the events will be receiving live coverage too which will be extremely exciting to watch!

In addition to the ESPN coverage, and the bracelet event expansion, many of poker’s biggest stars will be in attendance at the WSOPE.  Phil Ivey, Doyle Brunson, Gus Hansen, Jennifer Harman, Daniel Negraneu, and Phil Hellmuth are just a few of the big names that will playing in these tournaments.  The fact the stars of this caliber are willing to turn out every year is a definite sign that the WSOPE is huge.

The only thing that doesn’t seem to be expanding in regards to this event is the Main Event.  Last year’s champion, Barry Shulman, won the Main Event and earned a little over 800,000 pounds for his victory.  And while this is definitely a huge sum of money, it is nothing in comparison to what the inaugural Main Event champion Annette Obrestad made in 2007; she earned 1,000,000 pounds for her victory.  Other than this though, the WSOPE is well on its way to becoming a classic.

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Time Management in Poker

You hear about time management all of the time in business.  That’s because time management is an extremely important factor in how much profit a business can haul in.  Being able to properly manage the optimal amount of time for people to work is incredibly effective at increasing productivity. 

And since many people treat the game of poker like a business, you’d think that they would discuss time management more often.  However, time management is rarely discussed in poker even though it should be.  You absolutely must know when the best time to quit a session and move up a limit is if you ever want to be a highly successful player.  With that in mind, let’s look at some poker time management concepts.

How long should your sessions be?

One mistake that a lot of poker players make is playing too long of sessions.  For instance, if you can only concentrate for 4 hours, then you have no business playing an 8 hour session.  Likewise, if you can concentrate for 4 hours, then you’re losing money by only playing for two or three hours.  So you should definitely keep track of how long you’re able to focus while playing poker.  Keep tabs on this number over the course of a few weeks and see where your prime performance comes.

How long should you stay at a limit?

If you are a $3/$6 Limit poker player looking to move up to $5/$10 stakes, you will definitely need to know when the proper time to move up is.  Of course, this all depends on your situation too.  For instance, if you have a full-time job, it will require you to spend 4 -5 months at this limit before moving up.  On the other hand, if poker is your primary source of income, you can dedicate enough time to strategy and learning the game to move up within a couple of months.

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Switching from Hold’em to Omaha

Despite the intense competition within the game, many people are choosing to stick with Texas Hold’em.  Smart players, on the other hand, are making their way into the game of Omaha Hi-Lo where the money comes a lot easier.  However, the money won’t come at all unless you know how to properly make the switch from Texas to Omaha Hi-Lo.

Pre-Flop Limping

One big difference you’ll notice in Omaha Hi-Lo is that there is a lot more limping before the flop.  Because of the fact that so many players have the potential for a made hand, nothing is a sure thing in Omaha.  That’s why most players choose to limp in before the flop so they can see what lands on the board.  So, unless you have a huge hand, follow suit and try to see the flop for cheap.

Split Pots

Another thing you need to be aware of when playing Omaha Hi-Lo is that there are a lot of split pots.  One player can win the high hand while one or two players can also win the low part.  The obvious goal here is to try and scoop the pot, but if you can win half of the pot for cheap then this is also good.

Raising

One more thing to keep in mind while playing Omaha Hi-Lo is that the hands you raise with will definitely differ.  For instance, an A-A-K-K might seem like a great hand, but in reality, it’s only going to be good for half the pot so don’t raise.  A hand like A-A-2-3 has the potential to win both the high and low hand so you should definitely be looking to push your advantage with cards like these.

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Being a Winning Player vs. being a Good Player

When you think of a good player, you no doubt think of a winning one.  After all, you’ve got to be good to win at the game of poker so this should be a mute point, right?  The truth is though, not all good poker players are winners in the long-run.  There is a huge difference between being a good player and a winning player; winning players make a profit over the long haul while good players simply know how to play.  Obviously, you want to be known as a winning player so here are some ways to accomplish that feat.

Understanding Variance

Variance (also known as luck) is always going to be a part of poker no matter how good you are.  There is a certain element of chance involved with poker that is going to be there despite your best efforts to control the table.  Sometimes this element of chance causes you to lose in the long run which is never a pleasant thing.  However, you have to realize there will be dramatic swings in your results that are just a product of what cards land on the table.  You have to be able to withstand the rough times in order to get to the good ones.

Factoring Rake

With the amount of money that the house takes from hands, you could actually profit while playing against your peers, yet lose money in the long-run.  Consider that in a $2/$4 game of No-Limt Hold’em, anywhere from $3 - $6 could be taken from the pot.  This might not sound like a lot, but it actually does come out to be a sizeable amount when you’re up against slim profit margins.

Improve

Above all, winning players refuse to be complacent and are always studying strategy while trying to improve their game in some way.  This is in great contrast to good players who are merely happy learning lots of intermediate strategy, and then sticking to their guns.

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Beating Tight Players

Tight players are kind of like the ninjas of poker in that they sneak up on you with huge hands if you don’t identify them.  Unfortunately, identifying a tight player is a little easier said than done because they are hard to spot.  Those who play tight are barely noticeable until the showdown when they reveal the nuts.  But beating tight players is a must for anyone who wants to be a winning player over time.  Keeping that in mind, let’s look at some ways to beat tight players.

Put Them on a Range

The first key to beating a tight player is putting them on a range.  For instance, the average tight player will only bet or raise with premium hands like A-K, J-J, Q-Q, K-K, and A-A.  So if a rock is suddenly initiating the action, you can be sure that they’re holding something really good.  If they do start raising like mad then you’ll definitely want to get out of the pot.

Show Excellent Hands

Most people like to conceal their hands after winning a big pot so as not to give away too much information.  However, you should always show a tight player your good hand so that they think you only play premium hands as well.  If they think you play the nuts every time, they’ll fold to almost anything later on.

Post-Flop

It’s smart to avoid raising wars with tight players before the flop.  If a tight player bets and raises a lot before the flop, it is usually because they’re holding something great.  So try to see the flop as cheaply as possible in these instances.  Assuming weak cards hit the board, you can bet and raise like you just hit something big in order to fool the rock into folding.

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