Online poker is one of the most interactive and popular games in the world today. Millions and millions of people log onto their home computers, open their favorite website, sit down at a table, and play. Many play tournaments, some play cash games, and some play a mixture of both. Every poker variation from Holdem to Badugi are available online.What they all have in common is a love for a game. Online poker offers something that can be found in very few other places: the ability to strike it rich, from the comfort of your home, with very little investment. This is what brings so many people to online poker. Most poker sites even give players a no download poker option so you can play from any computer.
Online poker differs so much from live poker that makes it much more accessible and easier for your average, everyday person. They do not have to sit down and listen to banter and criticism. They do not have to hold their poker face. They do not have to schedule their day around what they want to play. When you play online, you can turn yourself off to everyone at the table, jump up and scream whenever you win (or lose) a pot, and play whenever they have any desire. Seats are always open, tournaments are always running, and all you have to do is sit in your favorite chair, turn on your computer, grab your mouse, and dive in the action!.
Pocket Pairs And Suited Connectors:
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By now, anyone playing poker, especially Texas Hold'em should
understand all of the basics when playing the game. Everyone should be
pretty familiar with most of the rules, nicknames of certain hands,
and maybe even most of the poker pros that play the game. As you will
see, poker is a highly nuanced game that takes years to master, unlike
online slots which you can start playing effectively if you have an
operational computer. This article isn't really about learning the basics, instead, I'm going to talk a little about how to play pocket pairs (ex: 6, 6 - A, A) and suited connecting cards (ex: 5spades, 6spades). There are many different scenarios think about when playing certain hands of Texas Hold'em or even just poker in general. Knowing a little more then just the basics of the poker will certainly help you become a better poker player over time.
Playing Pocket Pairs:
Nothing makes us want to ruin our poker face more than pocket pairs. Our tells sometimes begin talking to everyone at the table when we finally look down at our hand and find a pair of Pocket Rockets in the whole. One of the most important things about pocket pairs, no matter how much of a monster hand we may have, is keeping our composure when finding ourselves with big pot potential hands. Let's start with talking a little about Pocket Aces or Kings first. If you look down and are holding one of these monster hands, remember to keep the poker face on and try to react just like any other hand, after all, at this point, we want to get a few chips in the pot. Depending on table position, really makes a difference when playing a big hand like Aces or Kings. Lets say for example, you pick up rockets while being 1 st to act. Remember, most players are looking for any sign to fold their hand and move on until they pick up their monster. There are two big mistakes poker players make when 1 st to act: Over-betting on the button and under-betting in this position. Keep in mind, most plays from first to act will tell quite a lot about your hand. Most players assume that if you raise out from the button that you will have a pretty good hand. After all, most players know that there are 8-10 players following after you and why would a player try to get into the hand without having a strong hand. When raising from 1 st to act with AA, a good raise of a standard 2 1x -3x the Big Blind is a good way to try and induce a re-raise as the hands go around the table. Remember, you are looking to take any pot down whether you ever see a flop or not, and considering winning a pot without ever seeing a flop leaves your chips at practically zero risk, this is a good chance to play your Rockets strongly against a re-raise in hopes someone re-raising will lay down their hand. Worse case scenario, you will get your chips in the pot with the best hand possible. (10 out of 10 times, I will push allin against any re-raise in this scenario.) So, if a re-raise happens while you are holding the Bullets in this position, look to get all of your chips in the pot with a re-raise allin. What this does is apply the pressure back to the re-raiser to make the decision whether he wants to call or fold. If the re-raiser has a strong hand, he will more than likely make the call if he is holding a monster, and will strongly consider folding with Mid-pairs or AK or AQ. As mentioned earlier, if you take the pot here, that's a plus, if the player calls, you can feel confident that you are at least going in with the best possible hand.
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Let's say you make the raise and get two callers around the table. A lot of different scenarios play a factor in determining how to continue play post flop, two of the biggest is how you have observed the other players play and what hit's the flop. Let's say the flop comes out 4s, 10h, and Kd. Their isn't much going on with a flop like this, no 1-card straight or flush draws makes your hand look pretty good. At this point, with AA, being 1 st to act, you want to make a decent continuation bet and get a feel of what the other players may be holding. There is a good chance that either one, another player may be holding big cards such as AK, a big pocket pair, etc. Being in the 1 st to act position gives you the chance to weed out any hands that completely missed the flop. With no draws on the board, you would want to play your hand strongly and try to take pot down there. Leading out with a strong bet will more than likely get the weak hands to fold. Let's say you make a strong bet of about 6x the BB and the 1 st player folds but 2 nd player just calls. At this point, you have to consider that the 2 nd player has at least paired the board, or maybe even hit trips or had a bigger pair than the 10 on the board. Knowing that you were 1 st to act pre-flop, a continuation bet is expected from you by player 2 and may pay to see what you do after the turn hit's the board. Most of the time, a continuation bet will force the other players to fold their weak hands and not allow for free cards to better their hand. Let's say the turn card brings the 3c. (4s, 10h, Kd, 3c) At this point, unless player 2 has caught a set or K-10 for 2 pair, AA still looks pretty good with still no draws on the board. This next bet will tell a lot about your opponent's hand. If you make another strong bet, if he has a mid-pair or smaller, player 2 should be ready to get out of the hand. If you get called here, that would tell me again, he is either slow-playing a set or he has a decent hand but maybe he's not sure if he is out-kicked. Considering you made a decent raise pre-flop, made another strong bet post-flop, and another after the turn, this should tell player 2 that your hand is definitely strong, he has to be weary about what you may actually have. Also, this should tell you that possible smaller connecting cards would have probably been folded post flop and that he would not still be in the hand now. Here is when you can begin to eliminate certain cards from your opponent's hand and begin to figure out what he may have. After betting this whole way, you really can't back down now on the river, and considering the board, AA still looks pretty good. The worst card you would want to see now is a card that pairs the board. This could possibly turn a boat out for your opponent or give him trips. However, if the card is a 4, 10, or 3 at this point, I would have to assume with the strong betting you have been making, that trips really wouldn't be hit here unless it's a K because he should have folded his 4, 10, before the river. If you open the door to your opponent on the river and check, this will make your opponent think you may have been trying to push him off the pot since the flop and is more likely to make a big bet himself and put the pressure back on you to consider if your hand is still stronger than his. So be sure to bet the turn here as well and this will either force him to only call or fold. If he re-raises, this may mean he has been slow-playing a big hand all the way. At this point, he should not still be in the hand without at least top pair with a strong kicker at minimum.
Let's change to the strategy a bit for mid-range pairs. Let's say 77-JJ. 10's and J's can be a little tricky to play. The best way to handle these pairs is with cautiousness. Once you pick up one of these pairs, depending on the action before you on whether or not a raise or just calls have taken place, these pairs can quickly cost you a lot of chips. If only one raise is ahead of you, if you have the chips to make an average raise call without affecting your stack very much, then make the call and see what the flop brings. Keep in mind, the player making the raise will most likely have a good hand himself and could be holding a monster pair as well that will have you dominated. A lot of the way you play these hands depends on how many callers or raisers are before you. If you are 1 st to act with these hands, play the 9's 10's and J's but the 8's and 7's you may want to consider just folding or limping in with a call in hopes that you may get to see a flop cheaply. If you are closer to the button, and everyone has folded around to you, you may want to play these hands a bit more strongly looking to maybe steal the blinds without seeing a flop.
Pairs of 6's or lower should be even more cautiously played like the 7's, 8's, and nines. Mostly, in early position, it's always a good idea to just get away from the hand however, in later position, trying to limp in and catch a flop is not a bad idea, however, pretty much be ready to fold them to any raise before or after you call. With all of that being said, sometimes if you have the chips to get in the hand, they could be a good way to catch your opponents off guard especially if you catch a set on the flop.
Suited connectors are cards in sequence with the same suit such as 7s, 8s - Jh, Qh, etc. These hands are great to play cheaply because of the possibilities these hands have. Suited connectors give you the best chance for straight and flush draws and a fighting chance against big pocket pairs. (more so then holding an under-pair to your opponents monster AA or KK, etc. Suited connectors are better played in late position where its more likely that if the table folds around to you, say if you were on the button, gives you a chance to catch your opponents off-guard with a small flush or straight. However, remember, if you are playing small suited connectors, flushes, straights, and two pairs are going to be your best chance of winning the pot. If you make it to the flop, and get a draw for a flush or straight, keep in mind that these draws are usually better than chasing a set with a pocket pair because there are more cards available to make your hand. Problems with playing suited connectors is that they are hard to raise with unless you have AK or KQ and even harder to call a raise with. Also, if you completely miss the flop, you are pretty much forced to try and bluff or fold your hand.
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Again, when playing pocket pairs or suited connectors, there are so many different possibilities to consider when doing so. Table position, size of chip stacks, and even how opponents play at the table have to be considered. Once you have played poker for a while, all of these different opportunities will present themselves in many different ways. When you become an experienced poker player, instinct should take over and let you know when and when not to play these different type of hands. Good luck at the tables and may the poker gods be with you.
Other Online Games:
As you can see, poker is a casino game that requires your full mental
attention in order to attain excellence. Sometimes, after a long run
of tournaments or table games, your brain turns to mush and you could
just use a game that doesn't make you think as much. Obviously, the
internet is full of options for you in your time of need. Some people
have told us that they prefer regular old arcade games, whereas others
prefer to play games like online bingo that are still for money but
don't require as much critical thinking. You can just sit back and
see what lady luck has in store for you!