Poker Strategy – Detecting and Setting Traps

One of the less understood poker strategies is that of trapping. When playing poker, how many times have you been trapped by a more experienced or tricky player? We all fall into these traps from time to time… but why? How can we detect traps and avoid them? This article delves into poker strategy keys for setting traps, and detecting them.

First, what is a trap? A trap play is where an opponent with a strong hand represents weakness, luring their opponent into overplaying their hand. For example, I hit a nut flush (Ace-high flush) on the flop. I have the best hand at the table now, unless the board pairs (such that someone could pull a boat or four of a kind – not likely).

So, instead of betting it big, I might throw out a smaller bet or even check it (slowplay). Another player holding big slick (A-K) pairs up with an Ace on the flop, thinking he’s got the best hand so far. Another player has a small pair (e.g., 4’s) and picks up a set on the flop (assuming flop was something like 4-A-J).

Now, had I bet really big or raised back too early, the player holding the Ace would realize he’s trouble and the small pair would’ve likely folded pre-flop. Since I just checked it down, no reason to be afraid of me, since I’m obviously on some kind of a draw…

The person with the three of a kind (the 4’s) tosses out a bet of 4 times the blind. The guy with Aces calls it. After delaying slightly, I go ahead and also call it (why not, I’m getting decent enough pot odds).

So, I’m trapping them both at this point, letting them bet into me and just calling their bets. The same thing happens again on the turn, except the player with Aces drops out.

Now it’s just me and the set of 4’s. They bet big again, this time the size of the pot. Again, after a slight pause, I just call them “reluctantly”. Then comes the river, and they go all-in.

I immediately call them…oops! They’re sunk! What happened here?

These players never asked themselves two simple questions:

1) Why is he calling that raised pot (on the flop and turn)?

2) What hands might he be holding? What could he be

up to by calling my bets like that? Trapping? On a draw?

It’s crucially important to THINK before you ACT by understanding what the other players are actually doing. It’s also very important not to underestimate your competition, as there are some very wily players out there…

There’s a potential flush showing on this flop, and since I’m kind of “lurking” in this hand, it’s very suspicious behavior, and unlikely I’m on a draw calling those kind of big bets.

Unless you’re playing against a beginner or a drunk, there’s no reason to believe someone will likely call a raise that’s 4 times the big blind on a draw. That’s the first mistake – assuming another player has no hand and not realizing why they’re behaving as they are.

Second, the board is showing a possible flush – and both of these players aren’t holding it! Just because I didn’t bet on the flop does not mean I don’t have it!

Had either of these players slowed down and considered my betting (calling) behavior, and asked themselves these questions, they’d probably have realized what was going on. Whether the player with the set of 4’s could fold them is another story 🙂

Aside from a trap, what else could have kept me in this hand?

Traps aren’t easy to detect. When a good player calls a big bet, there’s a better than average chance they are trapping! You’ll also often see them delay for an unusually long time, as if they’re struggling to make a decision about calling your hand, then either call you, raise or go all-in. If this is indeed a good player, you now know almost for certain you’re being trapped (call) or warned (raise/all-in). If you don’t have the top hand at this point, you’re probably beaten.

This lengthy delay can be a great “tell” for traps and detecting strong hands, and is one you should learn to recognize. The delay is an attempt to make you believe they’re “struggling” to make their decision – do the opposite of what your opponents want you to do when there’s an obvious tell like this one.

Good players don’t usually call bets – they usually raise/re-raise with strength or fold. They don’t often waste their money on draws, so if they’re lurking in there with you, it almost certain it’s not out of curiosity…

If you aren’t spending twice as much time thinking about what your opponent’s hand might be, based upon their betting (calling) pattern and position and play history, you should be.

Your own hand strength is quickly and easily determined. Spend more time on your opponents, learning to read their normal betting patterns and skill level, then when they do something that doesn’t match their normal pattern, slow down and ask yourself why.

I hope this helps you become a better trapper (and avoid falling in yourself 🙂

Rick

Sharpen Your Poker Game With Brainwave Entrainment Music

Years ago, I played in a Friday night all girls poker game. Naturally, the radio played non-stop Top 40 tunes. And, all of my opponents talked in their obvious ‘a guy is around’ girl talk. It was absolutely the most fun I have ever had playing poker. Except for one problem, I never won. I guess that is why they kept inviting me back. I really was trying to win. Really. But, what guy can think about poker while surrounded by all of those distractions?

Whether we are at home or in the casino, the poker scene is usually the same. One distraction after another. In fact, most of our lives are spent in a state of distraction. I am distracted right now. Let’s see: I am writing this article, worrying about my email backlog, thinking about bills to pay and errands to run, there is some loud noise outside, and I am munching on a snack while the coffee is brewing. My mind is literally awhirl with all sorts of unrelated thoughts competing for center stage.

In this age of multitasking, one might think that they are being more productive when they tackle several tasks at once. But more than likely, they are not. Even today, the human brain is still only capable of thinking about one thing at a time. Should I repeat? Your mind can focus on only one thing at a time. If your thinking is scattered, then you are ultimately less productive.

When we are in our usual wide awake, active mental state, known as Beta, we are typically in a state of continuous distraction. This is also, usually, the state of mind we are in when we play poker. See the problem?

The cocktail waitress, the TV, the dog, the loudmouth – they really are not conducive to achieving peak mental poker performance. After all, poker is a mental sport. So, how can we possibly maintain the level of focus required for peak mental performance with all of those distractions bombarding us?

If you were tied for first place in the last leg of a marathon, none of those kinds of distractive thoughts would be allowed to enter your mind. If they did, you would not be tied for first for long. Why then, do we allow distractions to enter our minds at the poker table? Perhaps, there is a real simple answer – we do not know how to block them out. There are many methods for blocking distraction in order to achieve focused concentration. This article is about one called brainwave entrainment music.

Ideally, If we could induce the right amount or mix of Alpha (intuitive), or Theta (relaxed) brainwaves while we play poker, then we could block the distractions. Because, these are the brainwave states of higher concentration. We all know the importance of playing while relaxed, playing intuitively, and maintaining focus. Don’t we wish we could summon and maintain this state of mind every time we play poker?

Some music, especially that with lyrics, can be terribly distracting. While, some music can actually induce concentration. The right music can do wonders for your poker game. If you are unfamiliar with the role that music can play in concentration, then hang on. This could be as big an eye opener for you as it was for me.

Everyone is unique, so I am not going to attempt to lay down a preferred, standard music list. And, even though this is a discussion about what works for me, we all appreciate that everyones’ brains are each wired differently. So, what works for me may not work for you, and vice versa. But, this information will give you something new to think about.

The most successful forms of music for me are a few Classical, and a few New Age selections. They remarkably improve my concentration while playing poker. I have loaded the respective CD’s unto my MP3, and play them continuously during a game, online or offline. Several of the New Age selections are designed by their composers to induce certain mental states, such as increased creativity, or relaxation, or focused concentration. The process of inducing these mental states is known as brainwave entrainment.

The best brainwave entrainment effect is obtained by listening with a headset. Distractions will tend to fade away, ushering in a much desired state of focused concentration. Load your MP3 and you can use this type of music while playing live or on-line. For an effective mental prep, I will even listen while driving to a game. Then, when I arrive at the game, my poker mind is ready for ignition.

Awhile back, I played a lot of limit hold’em in a casino. My standards for play and bankroll management were rigid. This required a great deal of concentration, especially with some sessions lasting ten hours and longer. Distractions simply could not be permitted, but it was near impossible to maintain the level of focus that was needed.

Then, I discovered brainwave entrainment music. My MP3 was loaded and played my favorite selections continuously, hour after hour. I quickly learned to carry lots of extra batteries in my pocket. In the months to follow, the dealers came to know me well. They began to call me the player who never lost.

The effect of brainwave entrainment music on my concentration is simply amazing. There is no other technique that I can employ, while actually playing, that helps as well to achieve and maintain my ‘A’ game. I am certain that you will have the same experience.

Micon Secrets 2 Review – Is It Another Junk Poker Guide?

Are you a poker playing who is trying to make money from playing it? I know I am and have been trying for almost 2 years now. After reading most poker strategy guides on the internet, I was still a lousy poker player. To make any dollars from playing poker was impossible for me, no matter closely I followed the guides that I had been following. And then I finally realized why. Most poker guides and strategies you’ll find on the internet are outdated and non-working, written years ago by players who are not even credible. All these wrong advice were losing my money, and I was about to give up on the idea of making money from poker. Luckily I did not, as I found Micon Secrets 2. My poker game has totally changed after that, and I want to tell you what you can find in this amazing Micon Secrets 2 package, along with my personal experience after using it.

Firstly, the Micon Secrets 2 package is like no other poker strategy guide you have seen elsewhere. It is packed full of information written with 19 years of professional poker experience. It took me quite a while to digest the information in Micon Secrets 2, but it was all worth it. After all, it is a relatively easy to understand poker guide, yet very powerful.

I found the bankroll management section very helpful for me. Micon Secrets 2 has helped me grow my bankroll steadily in the past 2 months and is showing no signs of stopping. Finally I knew what correct limits I should be played based on my results, and learnt to stop busting my bankroll, something which I was very guilty of before.

You really need to understand section 2 of the Micon Secrets if you plan to make any money from poker. After using the Micon Secrets 2 for 2 months, I’m convinced that you have to understand and master cash games. Learn to do it step-by-step from Micon Secrets 2, and play every position perfectly to have the best chance of winning. There are also very interesting strategies that I have never read about anywhere else. Hybrid styling is a great strategy to secretly keep your opponents off guard.

Section 3 of Micon Secrets 2 is the SitNGo domination section. The objective of this section is to teach you to use Sit N Go tournaments to build your bankroll easily and steadily. I learnt how to observe other players to determine their skill quickly, and take advantage of unskilled players. I finally understood the difference between pushing from the big blind and small blind, and when exactly to do each. Micon Secrets 2 is the most complete Sit N Go guide that I have read over the past 2 years. It covers all the technical and mental aspects of the game, and is very well written. You do need to manage your expectations to make money from poker. The Micon Secrets 2 guide will not make you rich overnight, and you do need to implement the techniques repeatedly to make money.

Finally in Section 4, you get over 4 hours of video and audio! In this section, you will learnt how to handle every situation you encounter. You’ll also get to see Bryan Micon’s games and how he won big money playing poker.

To master the Micon Secrets, you do need to fully understand the guide. If you want to buy the Micon Secrets 2, I would suggest you go through the guide multiple times first. Luckily, there is great audio for you to listen to over and over again. Listening to the audio in the Micon Secrets 2 is just a great experience, and was a breakthrough for my poker skill. I’ve been able to win more Sit N Gos and make more final tables after using the strategies in Micon Secrets 2. It has won me more cash than I had ever made from poker, and is a result of listening to a proven successful player. Listening to Bryan Micon is just different from listening to the average poker advice you get from other guides.

Priced at just $97, Micon Secrets 2 is great value for money. If you are serious about boosting your bankroll and make more cash from poker, you should consider giving Micon Secrets 2 a try.

Is Statistical Tournament Poker Gambling?

I’m a poker player, not a professional by any means, but not bad player either. This last month a new poker parlor opened in Portland, Oregon that got my interest. I had seen lots of tournament poker in bars around Portland but they didn’t appeal to me for a few reasons…

1. They were in a bar, which meant a smoke filled environment and I am not fond of cigarette smoke.

2. The nights of play varied, often it was like every Tuesday night but not every night, if I wanted to vary my nights of play I had to go to different locations.

3. There was no guarantee that I could play, if I made the trip to the bar and the seats at the tables were already assigned I was SOL, I made the trip for no reason, or I had to wait 2 hours for the next game to begin, which might already be all assigned.

4. There was an expectation to use the establishment, and I agree with this, if they host a poker game they should expect the participants to buy food, drink, and whatever else. But extra bar food is not always in my budget.

5. Because the game was free it was usually crowded and the seats taken up by regulars who usually did not use the establishment, they even had the audacity to bring food or drink from another location into the establishment where the game was being played.

So, needless to say I did not play in the bar tourneys much. In steps this new poker room, National Poker Challenge, opening a new location here in Portland in the Cedar Hills area. I had to check it out and I was pleasantly surprised. They had addressed all of the issues I had with bar tournaments.

1. The room was non-smoking, a smoking area had been set up outside for the players that had to have their addiction to get their fix.

2. There are games every day, several times a day. They open at 3:00pm and close around 10:00pm with their first game at 3:15pm and their last game currently around 8:30pm.

3. They have online sign-up available or you can call the room for a seat, if the game is full they can tell you the likelihood of you getting a seat as an alternate and if they don’t have enough players for a game they will call you and tell you so. They exercise an in-your-seat policy, at the time the game is supposed to start if you are not in-your-seat or at least called and told them that you are on your way, your seat is given to an alternate.

4. and 5. Because the location is devoted to the game and not a bar or restaurant itself there is no expectation to purchase anything from the establishment because poker is its business.

Their business model is similar to the bar tournaments in that you are not playing for cash but are playing for points and statistical analysis of your play. Rather then charging the bar owners for running the tournaments they charge the players directly and statistically track the players play. The players are charged a monthly subscription that pays for the facilities, the dealers, and the statistic tracking. They do offer invitational tournaments for the top players that have cash and prizes. There is no charge for the invitational tournament. So is this gambling?

According to the Oregon Department of Justice it is, because the players are paying a fee to play and there are prizes at the end. But what makes this different from other events? Is it the poker chips? Are poker players being discriminated against because they use a piece of clay to track their points during a game? Think about it, you can have a chess tournament with an entry fee, there are prizes at the end for the best players, but does the Department of Justice call that gambling?

You can have a marathon where the runners pay an entry fee and there are prizes at the end, and most of the runners don’t even have a chance of finishing first, but is this called gambling? But because poker players play a game that uses chips it is called gambling when the games they are paying for don’t even have prizes. So, again, is it gambling? In my humble opinion, No it is not gambling. You are playing a game of skill and having your skill tracked. My hope is that the Oregon DoJ is not successful in its discrimination of this location and drops their investigation.

I invite you to join us in the poker room and try your skill at the table, see how they track your statistics and see how it may improve your play. After all, their tag line is “Do you know who the best poker player is? We do!”