The Best Poker Content This Week: July 4, 2022
Today we're discussing playing online poker with play money, how to handle a loose aggressive Texas Hold'em player, and looking at some basic poker slang you need up your sleeve.
Last week during one of the community games the question of using play money games to test your live poker chops was raised. The basic premise is that Fun Country's live online poker tables represent the best way to host a live game - you can see and hear all of your opponents with their cards, when the flop, turn and river hit. Just like an in-person table, live online Texas Hold'em with video enabled lets you observe opponents demeanor, watch their eyes and time their betting. It's not exactly like live casino play but it's pretty darn close.
Do You Fake It?
The question of play money vs. real money certainly isn't a new one. /r and this post from Nathan "@BlackRain79" Williams is from 2016. That doesn't make his advice any less valuable today. How Can You Use Play Money Poker to Make Money Playing Poker Online? may be an unweildy title, but the main thesis of the post is quite clear: the skills you will learn to beat play money games will help you win at the real money tables as well.
The full post is worth reading, but the highlights here are the most relevant to live video poker on Fun Country. First up - fold weak draws:
As you know in these games, play money players are notorious for chasing every weak draw to the river or even calling the whole way with bottom pair. However, simple math tells us most of the time they do not hit their long shot and therefore lose the hand.
Understanding the need to let go of weak draws transitions to real money play as well. In order for you to have success in these games, it is necessary for you to fold weak draws, especially when your opponent is betting big.
That advice works at every single level. In a play money game you're going to see people play bad hands, and play those bad hands poorly. And sometimes they're going to get paid off - the old two wrongs luck into being right. That can inspire new, smart players to make the same poor choices. Don't. Use this opportunity to build discipline and recognize bad play in others. You can also use this as a chance to test aggressive play in position, with hands that justify it.
Another skill that play money poker will teach you is to be aggressive. Something that you will notice in these games right away is that every hand is one big limp fest. Everybody and their dog calls the big blind and enters the pot. When you have a good hand, you need to raise in these situations in order to thin the field. You also simply want to get more money in the middle when you have the best of it.
Learning this skill will also be useful when you make the jump to the real money games. While you won’t see anywhere near as much limping, it will still happen at the lower limits in particular on a regular basis.
Nathan goes on to provide insight on using play money games to teach yourself how to play tight and how to value bet. This will help you win at the tables, regardless of the stake. In online Texas Hold'em on FCP, you may be playing in a freeroll but there are real prizes - so you'll want the help to win.
Come At Me, Bro
Phil Galfond posted a great video on dealing with hyper aggro players.
In the video, Phil discusses the three major types of maniacs you face on the felt, then offers his insight on how best to change up your play to use their style to your advantage.
00:00 How to Play Poker against a Maniac | 00:39 Maniac 1, Puts in Lots of Money/Overbluffs | 04:28 Maniac 2, Puts in WAY Too Much Money with Good Hands/Underbluffs | 07:04 Maniac 3, Loves to Bluff all Streets
Playing online Texas Hold'em you'll run into your fair share of all three types of players, and Phil's advance can help you avoid a mistake while also improving your overall play.
Vegas Makes Everyone A Little Blurry
Hey, we know that guy! And the guy directly on his right is also somewhat famous as a poker player: Daniel Negreanu.
In honor of Brian taking blurry photos with poker Hall of Famers, we're linking to Daniel's DAY OFF WSOP poker vlog. Both the photo and the vlog are a great reminder that poker is fun, but taking some time off is key to maintaining success.
Upswing Poker wrote a great, short, article on pot odds.
Quick math - well, the ability to do math quickly - will aid you in making good bets and maximizing your bets on the turn and river. Less experienced players may not always make bets which give them the best opportunity to force a fold from an opponent, or induce a call when they're holding the best hand. Using pot odds will help players at all skill levels make the best bet they can at each step of the hand.
Pot odds are expressed as a ratio, such as 2-to-1, which can be converted into a percentage — 33% in this instance. However, calculating pot odds using ratios is a somewhat messy, multi-step process. We prefer to use a formula that doesn’t require converting a ratio to a percentage.
To calculate how often you need to have the best hand when calling on the river, use this simple and quick formula:
(Opponent’s bet size / Total pot size if bet is called) * 100
For example, suppose you face a $30 bet into a $50 pot on the river. You would need to have the best hand versus your opponent’s range more than 27.3% of the time to make a profitable call (30 / (50 pot + 30 bet + 30 call) * 100).
A similar formula can be used to determine how often a bluff needs to work in order to turn a profit:
(Bet size / Current pot size, including the bet) * 100
Suppose you bet $30 into a $50 pot on the river as a bluff. In this case, you would need your opponent to fold more than 37.5% for your bluff to be profitable.
Read the whole post for more tips that will help you win money on the river. This one is more advanced and to fully utilize the valuable information you'll need to understand ranges and how to put people on a range. Because ranges are more defined and narrower on the river than they are on the flop and turn, blocking a select few combinations of hands becomes much more significant. As always, we want to bluff with hands that likely remove value combinations from our opponent’s range.
A Quick Word On Solana
We know a lot of Fun Country players are finding our platform through their favorite NFT projects and Fun Country even has our own NFTs and tokens which are dropped to winners / participants in our game. These are part of the Solana blockchain. While we know you're poker fans, players and grinders, the integration of NFTs into you poker experience may be very new. Here's a quick post on Solana, and the growth of the blockchain, relative to the NFT projects and marketplaces.
Coindesk noted this week that Solana is now one of, if not the, largest blockchain for NFTs.
While the world of Solana NFTs lacks the star power and attention brought by Ethereum’s blue-chip projects, its popularity among traders has never been better. The blockchains are now neck and neck in average daily transactions, with Solana’s edge coming from its significantly lower transaction costs.
A lot of us reading this would argue that Solana has several 'blue-chip' projects (!!) but even without the same level of name-brand recognition this is a diverse, vibrant community of communities and we're thrilled to be a part of it and have you join us.