E.W. asked in Games & RecreationGambling · 1 decade ago

Poker (NL Hold 'Em) - Intermediate Advice?

I've gone through about 3 poker books (including Super System) and I think I've gotten pretty good at the low limit tables. I've done about 8 tournaments recently and placed in the top 3 about 7 of those times and the last one was just a bad beat.

I want to get better but I think I'll stick to the low limit tables for a while and get a steady bankroll going. I feel like I could be better but don't quite know how. I think I might need a brush up on some mathematical things so I can utilize them at the table. As it stands now, I pretty much play off other players and try to play tighter in the low brackets since most people play loose and aggressive.

Does anybody have some tips to get me to the next plateau? I don't really know how I can learn to calculate odds or anything like that. It seems like a great way to increase my winnings but I don't know where to start.

Can anyone help?

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  • 10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    The math is the easiest thing to learn, because you can just memorize things. And it will definitely increase your winnings, because it's what determines the size of your bets, and when to chase a draw or not.

    The most important thing to know is the odds for X number of outs to hit postflop. You could calculate the percentages using basic probability, or by using a shortcut method, but the percentages probably won't help you much, unless you think of bets as percentages of pots. Most likely, you think of bets as either ratios ("My pot odds are 4 to 1") or fractions of pots ("The bet is 1/5 the pot"), probably ratios.

    Here is a site that has all of those probabilities in decimal form: http://www.texasholdem-poker.com/odds_chart

    You'll just have to use a calculator and convert to ratios (or a different site might have a chart in ratio form already). Some of the ratios will be hard to use in your head during a hand, so you'll have to find the closest simple ratio. Write all the ratios down and memorize them. You'll notice the flop and turn probabilities are similar, so if you want, you could average them out and memorize just one column instead of two. It's not important to be exact.

    Knowing the ratios, you'll not only know when you should chase or not, but you'll understand why a bet is or isn't properly sized. If you think your opponent is 2:1 on catching his draw, your bet should be big enough so that he has less than 2:1 on his money. Ideally, it should be as big a bet he's willing to call -- the worse odds he accepts, the more money you make in the long run. When you make a bet that gives him bad odds, you should WANT him to call (this concept is hard to explain to people like Phil Hellmuth). Here's an important concept: in the long run, you make more money by him calling a well-sized bet, than by him folding. On the other hand, if the bet gives him even odds, then you make just as much by him calling as by him folding. If you underestimated his outs, and the bet gives him good odds to call, THEN you make more by him folding. (In all three situations, you profit in the long run, since you're the favorite to win the hand. The difference is in *how much* you profit.)

    The "on the flop, for the turn and river combined" odds on the chart are useful to know, but you'll notice it's not so often you need to use them (which makes them harder to remember). They come in handy in these situations:

    a) You or your opponent is all-in.

    b) You're confident the turn will be checked around.

    c) you're confident you can sucker your opponent into letting you see the river for a cheap bet on the turn. In this case, you must factor in that turn bet when calculating the pot odds.

    Once you know the outs odds, then you can collect whatever miscellaneous odds you think would be helpful. Examples:

    -- When you have a pocket pair, there is a 12% chance of hitting a set on the flop.

    -- A runner-runner flush draw has a 2% chance of hitting, so it can be counted as 1 out once.

    -- Preflop, a pair vs lower pair is 80% to win

    -- At a 10-handed table, the odds of someone having a higher kicker than a 6 is only about 48%

    -- With a suited connector, you have a 23% chance of hitting any of the following: two-pair, trips, boat, quads, open-ended straight draw, straight, 4-card flush draw, or flush.

    --etc....these kinds of stats are less important but still come in handy sometimes

    All of those miscellaneous odds can be found online. Google and wikipedia are good places to start. And also Brian Alspach's page.

    Any stats you can't find, you can calculate yourself or simulate in a computer program if you have beginner programming skills.

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  • 10 years ago

    Honestly IMO the best way to get really good is to utilize 2+2 forum. This is the biggest poker forum in the world and a lot of the best players in the world post there as well as a lot of really really good players. You can post your hands in the forum and get feedback from really good players who are already crushing the games you want to be beating. I really do not think there is any better tool then 2+2 forums and I have a few friends now make $100k+ a year from poker who drastically improved their games by posting and analyzing hands for hours on end on 2+2

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  • 10 years ago

    Recognize that limit play usually requires much stronger cards as a rule - there isn't much of an opportunity to push around smaller stacks like there is in NL, so it's far more difficult to get other people to lay down their hands and bluffing is nigh impossible, especially if there's a raise cap.

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  • Rachel
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Walk into it aggressive but smart. Feel it out. There will be a lot of loose playing. Don't get caught up in this too soon. I would play smart and observant. Watch for tells. Watch for the novice and watch for the pro. Then as you feel comfortable tighten up a bit. Play it smart. Change your play a lot. Don't give out your style.

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  • pdq
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Here is a book that might be just what you need.

    "Theory of Poker", by David Sklansky. It really covers many of the most important concepts in poker.

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