Some thoughts on how to perform at the poker table. Photo by Eric Sandler
Sports gambling is a diversion in which a gambler thinks he holds an edge over the sportsbook according to their knowledge of a team. Yes, it takes a skilled person to be able to win consistently at sports betting, but even a person who is considered an amateur gambler can win at sports betting at any given time. Consistency is important, and that's what only 3% of bettors can accomplish over their sport betting careers. The best gamblers in the world win 57-60 % of their wagers. Although it may not seem difficult, there is a small group of people that can say they successfully do it year after year. If a sports gambler can win 52.4 % of their wagers, they can at least break even. Anything over that is profits, and that extra 5% is quite the difference in growing your bankroll!
Poker is known as a game of skill. A game in which not only do the cards you are dealt matter but also the ability to give the perception of something you don't possess. Texas Hold-em has grown as one of the most popular types of poker being played in casinos everywhere. The way the game is bet and the order of action in which the game is bet gives advanced players ideas of what opponents could be holding according to betting patterns. This makes poker more of a skilled game than sports gambling. On a card table, you can win with bad cards by betting your opponents out of hands. It's not about what you have; it's about what your opponents don't have.
Poker has endless possibilities in the way hands play out. For starters in Texas hold'em there are 169 starting hands.
*13 Pocket Pairs (EX: AA-KK-33-22)
*78 Non-Pair Suited cards (EX: A hearts J Hearts or 5 clubs K clubs)
*78 Non-Pair Unsuited cards
There are really a total of 1,326, But that total also considers suits as distinct, when in fact, before the flop comes, the suits are all actually of equal value. When the flop comes, certain suits held in a players hand, gain relative value.
Knowing your opponent
There are many strategies one can use when playing poker. Some players are aggressive, some extremely tight. On some occasions, you will notice the same players in many pots over the night giving you the reason to believe they could be a "looser" of a player and one that likes to play more hands than others. On the other hand, you notice an opponent rarely calls anything, and when he does he usually shows strong hands. Although it sounds novice, this is one of the first reads a poker player must make when studying his opponents.
Starting hands (hole cards) are broken up into different categories. Pocket pairs are considered a made hand, as you are already holding at the minimum a pair. Most Pocket pairs are considered the stronger starting hands. We say most because pocket pairs are also broken down into categories.
*BIG pocket pair AA-KK-QQ
Big Pocket Pairs and Suited Aces are considered the strongest starting hands.
Medium and small pocket pair and the bigger to medium suited connectors follow.
Non-Paired, Non suited, Non connected- at the bottom, as the card combinations give us the least possibility to make big pairs, straights, or flushes.
Now that we explained the starting hands, your position according to where the dealer button gives hands more strength than others according to where you are seated and when it's your turn to act. The advantage of having a "late" position and seeing how everyone else acts first is something you must use throughout your sessions. While a medium pocket pair looks decent when you first glance at it, your raise from early position followed by a re-raise and a caller, all of a sudden makes those pocket nines look like a fold depending on the bet amount. That is another critical factor: when you are getting the value to call your hand according to how much is in the pot. In some occasions, you will know your hand is not the best hand when calling, but if you are getting the right pot value to call, you can call raises in the hope of catching up because the bets made weren't enough to get you out. Thats a whole other topic; let's get back to position and how to use it.
So pre-flop, being in the blinds leaves you last to act therefore giving you the best spot before the flop comes, with big blind being king. If you are required to act after the big blind, you are considered early in action and in the most vulnerable spots to act in. One, because let's say you want to limp with a marginal hand, your range has to be that much tighter with so many other players to act after you. A marginal Ace with a 9 (A9) in early position isn't exactly something you would want to limp with often. Say you do, and it goes around and is raised three times the Big Blind, and the button calls, blinds call and now back to you. At this point, you might be getting value enough to call, but the problems you can find yourself in with a weak kicker are what can cost you chips. Calling with the weak Ace after a raise and a caller leaves you hoping for what flop? Of course, something like two nines on the flop would work but what happens when that Ace pairs on the flop and now the action is once again to you first. Can you believe the original raiser of having a big ace? What if they were playing two face cards that were not an ace or a medium pocket pair and the callers the same? At this point now you're having to make a play with a marginal hand and are forced to either bet to see where your opponents are, or check-call or check-raise to them with the expectancy of a call. All of these decisions while holding a marginal hand.
Reading your opponents and separating the aggressive from loose players and knowing how to use the button and your position is vital to growing as a poker player. Master these two elements and treat the game with simplicity. The fewer situations you find your self in on the table, the better. When you put your money in the pot, know what you're trying to beat and what you're looking for.
Like I mentioned earlier, poker hands have endless possibilities and strategies are plenty. I'll be giving out some of my poker approaches and views on how to better your game and become a winning player through various articles.
Any questions or comments reach me at @JerryBoKnowz on twitter
Now it is Houston's turn at the top of The Associated Press Top 25 men's college basketball poll.
The Cougars moved to No. 1 for the first time this season in Monday's latest poll, climbing one spot to end the six-week stay of reigning national champion Connecticut. Houston (24-3) became the fifth team to hold the top spot this season.
Purdue rose one spot to No. 2, while the Huskies’ loss to Creighton dropped them to third in a poll that included South Florida cracking the rankings for the first time in program history.
Kelvin Sampson's Cougars spent seven weeks at No. 1 last year, their first stint at the top since the “Phi Slama Jama” days during the 1982-83 season with a team featuring future NBA greats like Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. Now they're back, playing in a new conference home (the Big 12) with the same defense-first formula that has Houston leading the country in KenPom's adjusted defensive efficiency (87.1 points allowed per 100 possessions).
“Our guys are tough,” Sampson said after an overtime win at Baylor. “We're not always pretty. But last time I checked this is not a beauty contest.”THE TOP TIER
The top 10 featured the same universe of teams, though in reshuffled order.
Tennessee moved up a spot to No. 4 for its highest ranking of the season, followed by Marquette. Arizona, Kansas, Iowa State, North Carolina and Duke rounded out the top 10.RISING AND FALLING
While there was plenty of movement, there were no major leaps among the week's 12 rising teams. No. 11 Auburn and No. 12 Creighton had the biggest jumps of a modest three spots, while four others teams rose two positions.
No. 24 Florida was the only team to hold its position from last week.WELCOME ABOARD
South Florida has been a surprise in its first season under Amir Abdur-Rahim, who led a remarkable turnaround at Kennesaw State from a one-win season to an NCAA Tournament bid last year. Now he's helped the Bulls (21-5) go from being picked ninth in the American Athletic Conference to their first-ever ranking at No. 25.
The other two additions are familiar: No. 22 Utah State spent five straight weeks in the poll earlier this season, while No. 23 Gonzaga is back in after falling out for six straight weeks to end that program's first stretch among the unranked since the 2015-16 season.FAREWELL (FOR NOW)
Colorado State (No. 22), Texas Tech (No. 23) and BYU (No. 25) fell out from last week.CONFERENCE WATCH
The Southeastern Conference led the way with six ranked teams, including No. 14 Alabama, No. 16 Kentucky and No. 18 South Carolina. The Big 12 was next with four teams, all in the top 15.
The Big East had three, followed by the Big Ten, Atlantic Coast, Pac-12, Mountain West and West Coast conferences with two. The Atlantic 10 joined the AAC with one.