In this Article I would like to share my Poker experience with you and help you achieve a higher, or even winning position in the Dukascopy Poker Contest.
"I have won the Weekly-$750 and Daily-$100 Tournaments both once now, and came in third in the Daily Tournament on 26-7-$50"
(Picture: Logo taken from the Poker Contest Webpage, find the poker contest here: https://www.dukascopy.com/fxcomm/poker/ -- Click the 'Play' button to open the Poker environment)
In my Article I will discuss:
A. The variant of Poker that is played here: Texas No Limit Hold'em - a game that I have been playing online for a couple of years
B. Some simple rules to follow as a novice that can help you get a long way in a tournament
C. Some personal favorite rules and decisions in tournaments, that are also used by Famous Poker Players that help me win
Here we go!
Texas No Limit Hold'em Poker, also known as Texas Hold'eM or No Limit Hold'eM, is the most popular variant of Poker on-, and off-line, and has been for many years now. To try and explain the game here in detail would be to much, and is not the point of my article, as we want to improve. Seeing we are all playing already, I have to assume we have at least a basic knowledge of the game.
But for those who would like to know more about the game and its jargon, here are some links:
(you may like to use the Glossary to look up some of the terms that I use in this Article!)
(Picture: Once you are logged into your Dukascopy account, and open the Poker environment by clicking 'Play' - as indicated above (a new browser window will open) Then you can select tournaments, and other games)
First of all, before sharing the rules of No Limit Hold'em Poker that I abide by, I would like to share with you some things that I have noticed while playing in the Daily and Weekly Tournament at Dukascopy:
Especially at the beginning of the tournaments, but also throughout most of the time that the tournaments lasts, there are no Raises - everyone seems content in just Calling almost every hand, and then if I Raise after the Flop, most of the time people will Fold. It doesn't really matter what hand I have, because if no-one else has Hit anything on the Flop (and this happens most of the time - that's just statistics) they will be happy to Fold. This is how I gather most of my Chips at the beginning of the Tournament, and you all should really take a look at this - only Call if you are seriously considering to Commit to a hand, or you will Bleed (slowly lose) Chips.
Players seem to Commit all their Chips to a single Hand when Hitting Middle Pair/any Pair after the Flop - don't do that! First of all, you should never go All-In unless you are sure you have the best Hand (Always leave yourself Outs), and secondly, you are just giving your Chips away....... Just think about it: if, say - the Flop goes Ace-King-Two, and you are Holding King-Eight; lets say you bet/call 100 on the Flop, and a (seemingly harmless) Six comes on the turn and you bet 400, what do you think it means if a player Calls (or even Raises) that - I'd say he has the Ace. But I have seen players go All-In on numerous occasions with that King! I say, just Fold and save your Chips for the next Hand
And now for some simple, easy to follow rules that may help you to go a long way in any poker tournament
Fold all your Garbage (weak hands) Pre-Flop, and only play so-called Profitable Hands, like Ace-King/Queen/Jack, King-Queen/Jack, or Doubles, and make sure to Raise these Hands before the Flop - always Bet the Flop (whether you Hit or not!) if your opponent(s) Check, and if you are Raised/or your opponent(s) Bets and you haven't Hit - Get Out!
If another player Raises before you, and you are Holding a Monster like Ace-Ace or King-King, or Ace-King Suited (same colour), make sure you Re-Raise him (at least twice his initial Raise is a good thumb of rule) - Don't just Call! (he might Hit, and you may Miss the Flop and be in trouble)
Conversely, If you Raise a Hand like Ace-Jack correctly (about three to four times Big Blind), and your opponent(s) Re-Raises you - Fold your Hand! (you are probably Dominated, and do you really want to lose your Stack just to find out he was playing Aces?)
Stay calm, be patient - Rome was not built in a day, your hand will come. Just follow the rules, and never try to force the issue! If you start playing too Losely: Calling every Hand - like Jack-9, Q-10 etc. you will be out of Chips before you know it. Let others do that and just play your Big Hands!
Try to control the Pot - what I mean is keep the size of the Pot in your favor; for example: if you are Raising/Betting Pre-Flop with (for example) Ace-King and the flop coand everyone Checks -- then you must Bet, but in this case don't Bet too much - try and let them Fold without running the risk that someone Checked a Monster like a Set (three of a kind) -- if you get Raised hugely now, you can still Let your Hand go (Fold). Of course, if you hit the Ace or King - Bet Hard!
Always try to avoid an All-In: if you are not absolutely sure you have the best Hand (look at the cards on the Board=table carefully!) it is better to Fold half of your Stack and get another chance later than be out of the tournament altogether, right? Remember that we are all Down (low on Chips) at some point in the tournament (even me :-), and we always need a certain amount of luck to win -- if you play the right way, and lady fortune favors you that day, you will come out on Top!
Follow these simple rules and you will see your game improving immediately, and you may be surprised how well you do in the tournament!
(Picture: A list of previous winners can be found on https://www.dukascopy.com/fxcomm/poker/)
Finally, here are some tested favorites that have helped me win tournaments in the past:
Call small Pairs Pre-Flop to a maximum of one third of your Stack: I always call a Pair of 2s, 3s etc Pre-Flop for the chance of Hitting a Set on the Flop - a Set will almost certainly win you a huge Pot, but I make sure that I never sacrifice/Call more than a third of my Chips: if I have 4000 chips and someone Bets 1800 Pre-Flop then I will Fold my 2s, 3s, 5s etc - anything above 7s I will Bet myself Pre-Flop or Re-Raise! This tactic is also propogated in Daniel Negreanu's - Power Hold'eM Strategy.
Bet Straight and Flush draws for extra Outs: if I'm in a Pot with for example 6-7, and the Flop comes 8-5-Jack, then I will Bet that Flop for an extra Out: what I am talking about is an extra way to win the Pot: if everyone Folds my Bet - fine, I take those Chips (that's my extra Out), if someone Calls then I can still Hit my Straight, and if I get Raised I can still get out - it is better than Calling each Bet, hoping to Hit your Straight or Flush, and losing all your Chips in the process!
And finally, avoid playing the High Stack(s) as much as possible: this is a psychological thing mostly, but think about how these players with Huge Stacks got all their Chips: luck must be on their side. I will calmly fold King-Queen Suited against a small Bet from someone who has 10 times as much Chips as me, simply because they can afford to put me All-In Post-Flop, and an All-In is something that I am trying to avoid (especially against them). On the other hand, if I have a Monster like King-King, then I will Shove (go All-In) right away against them Pre-Flop to avoid them Lucking Out as much as possible - a Monster-Hand must be played, always!
I hope this Article helps you, and hope to see you all in the Poker Tournaments