Poker guide - Starting to play for real

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Starting to play for real (money)

Written by: Dave Colclough (2004-04-12 18:59:19)

Howdy Folks,

I hope you have all been practicing hard at the Play tables at bet365poker? I'd guess you've had fun, but the stimulation isn't quite there? There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, you don't have any of your hard earned dough on the line. Secondly, your opponents don't have any of their hard earned dough on the line. So they just don't play the same. Have you played a hand yet where you have the Aces, raised at every opportunity, and still there are five opponents on the river? And low and behold, one of them hit a gutshot, middle pin, inside straight draw. Ouch… No. They would not have been there if you were playing with real wonga.

So if you have got the hang of the pop up buttons, how the game flows, and generally feel comfortable, it is now time to move onto the cash tables. No, not 100/200 limit, or even the 10/20 limit. The sharks will be slobbering at the thought. They haven't been educated by Finding Nemo yet, and 'fish, are not friends. They are food''.

Let's start small : $0.10/$0.20 or $0.50/$1. Fixed Limit Hold'Em is the next step. This will drastically reduce the lunatic opponents scenario. All of a sudden, only 2 or 3 opponents are calling your raises. Your opponents don't want to give their money away, and they want to take your money off you! Let's sit down with a $50. If this doesn't last you at least 20 hours playing time, don't move up. Ideally, you shouldn't move up until you are breaking even. This is probably a good rule to abide by at all levels.

Ok. I know what you are thinking : I haven't given you any clues on what sort of cards to play, what situations, or 'position', to play them, and how to play them. If only it was that easy! The answers are, it depends, it depends, and you guessed it, it depends. (I should have been a politician.) Over the weeks, I'll try and cover as many 'it depends' as possible.

› A starter for ten… 7 2 off suit is not a good hand. 9 3 is also not a good hand. Just watch me blow $15000 (real money) on Sky Sports next month for proof. I was heads up with Peter, having outlasted the other 4 opponents. I believed Peter was playing too tight for heads up play, so I decided to bully him. Wronggg. I raised his big blind once too often with 9 3, and he surprisingly called me with 10 Q. Whoops! Not a very nice scenario. Needless to say I went out, lost my money, lost the $15000 prize money, lost the opportunity to win $200,000 in the final, looked rather stupid on TV, and lost my pride. And the moral of the story is… 'Let's stick to decent starting hands'.

› Don't call any bets with an off suit, high card, low card combination, e.g. J4, Q3, K5.
› Don't call any bets with an off suit, two low cards combination, e.g. 84, 72 and especially 93!

› Only call with suited connectors, e.g. 9h,10h if the price is right, i.e. one bet and no raises.
› Only call with low pairs, e.g. 5s if the price is right, i.e. one bet and no raises.
› Let's try and play high cards like AJ. KQ, A10. These are calling hands.
› Let's only raise with AK, AQ and the high pairs 9s and up.

Ok, this all sounds very predictable. But you will be surprised how little your opponents notice, and believe it or not, how little many of them care.

See you next week folks,

daveDave 'El Blondie' Colclough is the European Poker Player of the Year. He is sponsored by bet365poker, part of the bet365 Group Limited, one of the world's leading betting and gaming groups. Dave writes a weekly column full of poker tips and his experiences playing professionally.

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