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Poker Tournament Strategy

July 14th, 2010 Comments off

Tournament Strategy

For those who don’t know, playing tournaments are quite different to regular cash games, and the strategy varies considerably.  Not only this, but the poker strategy you apply in tournaments at Betfair should vary depending on the stage of the tournament, your chip size, and the type of players on your table.

Early Tournament Strategy

At the start of the tournament, you should only be playing your best hands possible.  This includes any high pockets, AK AQ AJ, and possibly high suited connectors or middle pockets (depending on your table position and implied odds).  The reason you need to play so tight at this stage in the tournament is that there are so many players on your table.  This makes it very likely at least one will have a great hand, so entering the pot with a poor hand will usually just cost you chips facing a dominating hand.  Another reason for playing tight so early on, is that your chipstack in relation to the blinds in most tourneys is very low – plus you only have one buy-in.  This means you can’t afford to take risks calling the flop with bad hands, because at the end of the day you will just bleed your chips away.  Don’t worry about doubling up too quickly at the beginning of a tournament, there’s plenty of time for this in the middle stages.

Middle Tournament Strategy

The middle stages of a poker tournament are most important, because it’s where you need to accumulate most your chips, and its also where the blinds/antes become significantly large.  This increases the value of each pot, which makes it more important to bluff and use aggressive tactics such as 3betting, value shoving and blind stealing.  Its important if you want to succeed in tournaments, to constantly take advantage of your table position and pick off weak players.   The middle stages of tournaments is also importantly because it’s where you’ll reach the bubble i.e. payoff level.  You can afford to open your hands and starting range a little more now to include smaller pockets, suited connectors and generally anything else with potential.  If you become short-stacked (less than 20xBB), you need to be going all in regularly and value shoving to double up.  Try to get your stack in as early as possible with any of your top 70% of hands dealt. 

Late Tournament Strategy

Most importantly, make sure you change the way you play as the tables become short-handed.  You should open your starting hand range up greatly to include even mediocre hands like A7 or J9.  Another important rule of thumb in the late stages of a tournament is avoid heady confrontations with a deep stack (unless of course you have him dominated).  Playing against big stacks at this late stage can end your entire tournament, and its much more practical and less risky to focus on picking off the small-medium stacks first.  If you find yourself small stacked at this stage, it might be best to sit out and hope someone goes out before you, giving you a better payday.  For a big stack at this stage, you should be looking at 1st place, so keep playing aggressively and hitting back at players, however make sure you don’t aimlessly throw your chips about.  Be the policeman at the table, not the village idiot.

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Laying a Team

July 14th, 2010 Comments off

Laying a Bet

A great bet that can be rewarding in the short term is to bet on a football team NOT to lose.  This is great, because there can be two outcomes in the game in which you’re still rewarded – a draw or a win.  This type of best is most valuable and cleverly applied when your team’s opposition is basically just trying not to lose.  The outcome of this normally provides a weak opponent whose attacking motives are severely limited; hence your team is very unlikely to go behind or lose.  A complacent team is rarely a danger on the counter attack. 

Bet on a team not to lose.

A great type of bet is where your team doesn’t even have to win for you to make money. It’s called Double Chance, because you back two outcomes: a win and a draw. If you can identify a situation where one team is unlikely to lose, this kind of bet might be attractive to you. But keep in mind the odds will be lower than simply backing a team to win.

There are a several situations where this can be a useful bet, but one of the most common is when one team is playing for a draw. Try and pinpoint a game where one team’s aim is simply not to lose. A club employing such a negative strategy will very rarely win. Even if they succeed in drawing the match, your Double Chance bet against them is a winner.

Another important football betting tip in this category is to place such bets when the opposition has a leading goal scorer left out of the squad/injured.  If a football team is heavily reliant on one or two key figures (such as Torres at Liverpool), then the value of the bet usually becomes high – as many sports betting sites will give you better odds and not take into account the significance of this fully.

Look for Unusual Home & Away Form in Football

The most natural trend in football is for teams win more matches and points in their home games.  Of course the sports betting sites and bookies recognize this fact, which is why the odds are shorter for home wins in football betting.  This being said however, there are plenty of teams in the English football leagues (including the Premier League, Championship an Football Leagues) that go through unusual runs of form away from home, yet can’t seem to earn points at home.  This can be down to multiple reasons, such as a more closed counter attacking side away from home, or just home form pressure from disgruntled or hallowing support.  Either way, taking advantage of these scenarios provides a great tip in football betting because the bookies won’t take note of this – or will give you favorable odds to say the least.  Example of this unusual type of home/away form in football includes Wigan FC in the 2005/2006 season, where at home they manage 7 wins, 3 draws and 9 losses; where as their away form earned them 8 wins, 3 draws and just 8 losses.

Bet on the draw

The truth about football betting, is that bookies earn most their revenue (over 70% at Ladbrokes) from draws.  This is because the majority of punters in UK football bet for a sensational win or loss – this makes perfect sense as punters like to take a “stab” so to speak, or support their own team.  The truth though, you will massively reduce your losses in football betting by placing the majority of your bets on draws.  These actually carry the best relative odds in most football matches, for instance the recent Arsenal Liverpool game had 4.0 for a draw.

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Over Under Football Betting

July 14th, 2010 Comments off

 How to Capitalize on Over/Under Football Betting

In football betting a common wager is the domain of over/under betting the total number of goals in a game.  You can bet that there will be either more, or less, than a certain number of goals in the game.  This is a nice bet because regardless of the exact score line, you can still win your money back under a number of conditions or outcomes.

Imagine for instance, you bet there will be more than a total of 3 goals in a game.  This is over betting, and in games where there’s likely to be a lot of goals, such as a David vs Goliath, it’s a good bet to make.  Visa versa under betting is when you think there will be less than a certain amount of goals in the game.

How to Improve Your Winnings in Over/Under Football Betting

Just like any football betting tip, the more you know, understand and can predict the game, the higher your chance of success when betting in football.  When it comes to the category of betting over or under in football, there are some important factors to take into consideration.

Previous Encounters & Results

Looking at the history of previous fixtures involving the same teams is extremely important. Of course the same result in the past cannot definitively be replicated, but looking at how these games were played and the general attitude/style of the teams can be analyzed.  In almost every recent Chelsea vs Arsenal game the score lines have been extremely tight because of the way the teams have been set up.  In fact, a useful tip when betting for matches involving the collision of teams at the top of the league, is that there is motivation for the team to get a draw then risk fighting for the win.  This inevitably produces defense-minded teams and tactics; with small motivation going forward (this usually precludes a 4-5-1 system).   It’s also noted that when two high quality teams play each other, particularly in the Champions League for example, the two footballing sides tend to cancel each other out.  This tends to produce low goal outcomes.  When a team is winning 1-0, there biggest incentive and motivation is to defend and keep the status quo – not throw men forward to increase the lead.

Number of Goal Scorers in Both Teams 

The number of realistic goal scorers in a team should heavily affect your decision to bet on the number of goals in a game.  Some sides in the Premier League and Championship tend to be over-reliant on members of their squad for goals (Torres and Gerrard at Liverpool for example).  However when goal scorers are left out/injured from the team, there is a much higher chance of a stale mate or lack of goals.  Importantly, strikers who’ve come back into the squad from a long term absence tend not to be as sharp and successful in their first few games back in the team.  

Previous Form of Both Football Sides

The number of goals a team has scored or conceded is another massive influence of goals in a football match.  If you’re going to make an over bet on total goals in a game, make sure the team has proven capable of scoring of number of goals against similar opposition.  Arsenal are a prime example of this, because their fast-flowing football, dynamic movement and technical ability tends to rip lower league teams apart and create room for goals.

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Any Time Scorer

July 14th, 2010 Comments off

 Football Betting Tips for Any Time Scorer

Placing a football bet on an Any Time Scorer means you’re betting that they will score during the match – and you will your bet if he scores during the game regardless of how many or during what time.

Football Betting Tips on Any Time Scorer

There are some important things to take into account on these bets.  Firstly, the highly rate strikers at the teams at the top of divisions will yield low value.  Betting on Drogba, Torres (or more Rooney nowadays) won’t generally give good odds.  The real value, and more appropriate strategy for these type of bets, is to bet on someone who’s likely to score, but is not over valued by the football betting site or bookie. 

What Should I look for When Betting on Any Time Scorer

Players most likely to score in football, aside from prolific strikers, are those who take penalties, free kicks, and play the full 90 minutes of the game.  A prime example of this was Crystal Palace’s Andy Johnson, who scored 21 goals last season – with 11 from the penalty spot.  Marcus Tudgay (striker/winger at Sheffield Wednesday) scored 14 goals in 42 last season, the majority coming at home.  This means the odds of him scoring in a game were roughly 1/3, where as the betting odds you’d receive would be much higher – possibly 8-1.

This brings to mind another important factor in football betting on Any Time Scorer – Form and Home/Away.  Football teams tend to score 2/3 of their goals or more at home, and a player is much more likely to score as a result in a home fixture.  The form of a player – particularly a striker, is also incredibly important.  Strikers play off confidence, this rule is virtually true for 99% of strikers in football.  If you’re player hasn’t scored in 5 matches, he’s more unlikely to score in the next match then if he had done, but hey, that’s football for ya!  Let’s look at Wayne Rooney’s career for example.  If you analyse his stats, he’s gone through many dry periods, and then periods where he’s scored 10 goals in less matches.  For Englan in the World Cup qualifiers this was particularly true, and his international form was replicated at club level, and visa versa.

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Value Betting in Football

July 14th, 2010 Comments off

 Betting for Value

If you’re seriously interested in football betting, this is a good article for you to read.  It discusses the differences between impulse-buy mug bets, and those which actually provide value in the long run.  Remember, it’s the expected value in your bets that makes you a more profitable punter.  You don’t have to right 100% of the time, but picking the right betting categories with the right odds will earn more money than most one-off gamblers.

Value Bets

Ok, so you pretty much should understand what is meant by “value”.  In any business decision, the rewards should measure up to the risks taken. The bigger the risk, the larger the rewards you’d expect?  This makes sense no?

What this means, is that you when you’re making bets in football, you need to pick something with the right value and odds – not just something you think is bound to happen.  For instance, you might swear on your grandmother’s life that Man Utd will thrash Chelsea 3-1.  But with odds of something like 10-1 for a perfect score for instance, this is pretty bad in my opinion.  See the next topic why.

Correct Score Bets are “Mugger’s Bets”

You wouldn’t think it, but the first football betting tip is to learn that correct score bets are for mugs – that is they present bad value for what you’re paying.  Imagine the scenario for instance, where you want to bet on a score for two unpredictable teams, let’s say Bolton vs Fulham.  You might think the game will have 3 goals or less, so you bet on 2-1 Bolton (home win), which gives odds of 7-1.  This isn’t too bad you might think.  However, if you actually can’t the number of scenarios the game could end with 3 goals or less there’s 10!  This basically means you’d mathematically expect odds of 10-1 or greater if you thought the game would have less 3 goals.  This is also assuming the game can only have 3 goals or less, which of course isn’t true!  You can see then, that betting on the correct score commonly pay off in the long run.

However Correct Scores Aren’t Always Muggers Bets!

This is a little contradictory, but there are in fact qualified and intelligent times to make bet on correct scores when football betting.  This is usually when you’re betting on two teams unlikely to score and both have solid defenses.  This would definitely be true of Chelsea in the Avram Grant’s “let’s win the Premier League in 1-0’s” side.  It’s also quite true of Mourinho’s Chelsea, and a few bottom Premier League teams off the top of my head.  In this instance, betting on a result like 0-0 or 1-0 will payoff, because of the likelihood of the result.  On the other hand, betting on a team capable of scoring 4+ goals against opposition is a bad bet unless you’re receiving 20-1 or better on the correct score odds.  Good teams tend to keep clean sheets in their wins also, so remember a 1-0 bet makes far more sense than a 2-1 bet if it’s against weak opposition.

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Bankroll Management

July 14th, 2010 Comments off

Poker Bankroll Management Tips

Poker bankroll management defines how you should use you current bankroll to eliminate risk and variance from your game.  While poker is a game of skill, there is no question over the element of luck and chance that predominate the game.  Because of this, your required to use your bankroll in specific way to eliminate the variance and bad beat within the game.

Playing Cash Games

When you’re playing cash games, you’re required to buy-in to a table with enough chips to cover 100 big blinds.  For instance, if you want to play at a table with 10p/20p blinds, you’re going to need £20 or more to buy-in.  The figure is high because you have be able to cover the variance and risk associated with poker.  You may lose chips in the blinds before you’re dealt a good hand, so you need to be able to cover these factors.

Another important tip, is that you should have a total bankroll of around 30-50 table buy-ins for the level of cash games your playing.  This is to stop you risking your entire bankroll in one game of poker.  Even the best players in the world have to stick to these guidelines. Over 80% of online poke players lose money.  These players usually won’t stick to bankroll management strategy, which is why many of them are losing money.

Tournament Bankroll Management

Tournaments are fun, exciting, and trendy nowadays.  The big point to remember is that tournaments carry a lot of risk – the number of entrants involved in comparison to the number of payoff places in a typical tournament means you’ll probably need to play a number of tourneys before you make any money back.  This makes bankroll management even more important than cash games, because the variance is much higher.  Just make sure you only enter tournaments you can afford to play 40 times over with your current bankroll.  You can’t expect to hit 1st place prize in massive tournaments in one attempt. 

Example: You want to enter a $10 MTT (multi-table tournament).  This means you’ll need a total bankroll of 40×10 = $400.  You’ll need at least $400 to be able to play this type of tournament.  Most importantly, the figure is even higher for re-buy tournaments, because you’re expected to be willing to sacrifice up to 5xbuy-ins for each re-buy tournament you enter (this is an important part of re-buy strategy, which requires you to play much riskier, and the chances of busting out are higher).  For a $10 re-buy tournament, you’ll need a total bankroll of 5x10x40 = $2000.

Playing SNGs

SNGs (Sit and Goes) are like smaller tournaments with only 6 – 50 players.  The rule of thumb here is to have enough bankroll to cover around 30 SNG buy-ins for whichever game you’re playing.

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Pro Poker Tips

July 14th, 2010 Comments off

 What Makes a Good Poker Player?

Millions of people play poker, 200,000 players sign up online poker accounts each month, however still only 5% of players online actually make profit playing poker.  Normally this is because loosing players and negligent, and don’t take the time to learn strategy and improve their game.

The following article will cover some of the basic qualities that make solid online poker players.

Mathematics & Pot Odds

Success in online poker is heavily accredited to making fast, calculated decisions with respect to pot odds and expected value.  If you haven’t come across these terms before you need to read up on them as they are the corner stone of playing the modern poker game profitably.  To put it in simple terms, for every decision you make in poker (call, fold or raise) you are taking a risk with regards to your chip stack and bankroll. Playing hands with positive expected value means you are playing in a way where the rewards are greater than the risks. 

By studying the probability of winning the hand (“outs”), along with the current size of the pot and the amount it cost to enter (“call”), you can easily work out whether you’re playing profitably with regards to expected value and pot odds.

Playing with a Proper Bankroll

This is a topic I covered in another article, so I’ll just go over the basics here.  Bankroll management is about reducing the risks in your game that are associated with variance and bad beats.  By only risking a small proportion of your total bankroll in each game, you reduce the risks massively and remove element of “luck” in poker in the long term.  Bankroll management is incredibly important if you want to make money over the long-run in poker.

Discipline

All the world’s best poker players, whether live or online, need to be disciplined.  Although you may think a bad call here or there might not be worth much, when you’re playing in the long run these “little mistakes” will add up to a sizeable amount.  Being disciplined means not playing loose when you’re bored, not getting tilted because you lose an unlucky hand, and not getting tired and reckless half way through your game. Discipline is about maintaining a level of quality in your game, and not being negligent over the poker strategy you’ve learned.

Don’t Play Obvious

One of the most important parts of poker is to keep your opponent guessing, and not playing in an obvious manner with lots of tells.  This is important for both live and online poker.  Bluffing is an important part of poker too, but if players can read you too easily than you won’t make much money in poker over the long-run.  In order to make yourself non-obvious, try playing hands differently, bluffing occasionally, and taking advantage of your table position to steal the blinds.

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