How to Play No-Limit Hold’em Multi-Table Tournaments For The Win

Sitting down at a final table is always a fun experience. You have invested a ton of time, outlasted a good majority of the entire tournament field, and now you are in a position to maximize your return on investment. If you are not an experienced MTT (multi-table tournament) player, making a final table can be quite nerve-racking. I am here to guide you through this opportunity to expand your bankroll. Read more of this post


What Can You Learn About Human Psychology From a Poker Game?

Having played poker competitively for the last few years, I have developed an understanding of how a variety of different poker players think and act at a poker table. No two opponents are exactly the same, but many poker players share very similar traits, especially the long-term losing players. A lot of long-term losing poker players are prone to being effected by their emotional state. At the poker table, one of your biggest weapons to becoming a long-term profitable player is understanding how the value of money affects certain players. When losing, a lot of weaker opponents tend to “chase their losses” hoping to break-even, but in the process, most of these players ultimately lose more money because they fail to regain the focus needed to win in the long-run. Read more of this post

The Psychology of Gambling (Infograph)

65% of Americans gamble – I’m not sure what percentage are degenerate gamblers or occasional gamblers, but at least we know that over half of America feels comfortable enough to gamble their money away during this “recession”.

How we gamble and how long we gamble all depends on how our brain is working. When we are having fun and enjoying gambling, dopamine is being release into our brain telling us that we want more. This is what makes gambling so exciting. When we are losing..well, that feeling is terrible.

Check out this info graph showing how our brains work and react during gambling.

Read more of this post


Twenty-five years ago the world learned of our high-level investigation into public corruption and organized crime, infamously code-named ABSCAM.

The unfolding details were riveting: …Everything from mobsters hocking stolen paintings and fake securities in the Big Apple to politicians peddling influence in the nation’s capitol; …High-ranking government officials caught on tape stuffing wads of bribe money in their pockets and saying things like, “I’ve got larceny in my blood”; …And FBI agents posing as representatives of a fictitious Middle Eastern sheik, gathering evidence of these big league crimes.

It all started in July 1978, when we set out to catch New York City underworld figures dealing in stolen art. We set up a bogus company in Long Island—Abdul Enterprises, thus the name “AB(dul)SCAM”—said to be owned by a wealthy Arab sheik who wished to invest oil money in valuable artworks. Then, we recruited an informer who connected us with crooks willing to sell us stolen treasures. It worked. Within months, we’d recovered two paintings worth a combined $1 million.

Through that operation, we were introduced to criminals who were dealing in fake stocks and bonds. Again, success. Our undercover work ended up halting the sale of nearly $600 million worth of fraudulent securities.

From there, our investigation led to southern New Jersey … and on to Washington, D.C. Our criminal contacts led us to politicians in Camden who were willing to offer bribes to get our “business” a gambling license in Atlantic City. Then, when we expressed interest in their suggestion to get the sheik asylum in the U.S., these corrupt politicians arranged for us to meet some U.S. Congressmen who could make it happen with private legislation. For a price, of course: $50,000 up front and an extra $50,000 later.

When the dust settled, one senator, six congressman, and more than a dozen other criminals and corrupt officials were arrested and found guilty.

Like many high-profile, sensitive investigations, ABSCAM generated its share of controversy. In particular, questions were raised about whether our undercover efforts led to entrapment. The courts ruled otherwise, upholding all convictions. In the end, the case reaffirmed the importance of undercover operations and led to stronger rules and safeguards on these kinds of investigations within the FBI.

Twenty-five years later, the bottom line lessons of ABSCAM remain the same: No one is above the law. To uphold order and justice, abuse of the public trust cannot and will not be tolerated. Which is exactly why the FBI continues to rank public corruption as a top investigative priority.

My Complete Poker Manifesto, Part X: Analyzing Your Poker Game with Record Keeping and Statistics

poker tracker

Poker Tracker 3

I use a program called PokerTracker to track all of my online poker statistics.

This little neat program costs just under $100 for a lifetime investment and also comes with a 30-day free trial.

This program is an ABSOLUTE necessity to purchase if you want to be a serious winner at online poker. Read more of this post

Traits of Above Average Poker Players

Tom Dwan: The Most Aggressive Poker Player on The Planet

90% of all poker players are long-term losers.

Only 10% of people who play poker are proven to be winners over the long term.

Why is this?

What separates this small percentage of players from the rest?

The answer is simple. They have studied and applied their game more than 90% of their competition.

When I first started playing poker, I belonged in that 90%. I knew how to play the game, and I knew what it took to win, but my wins weren’t sustainable long-term. I knew I would have to study and constantly adjust my game to get better.

It was a long process, but it was well worth the time and I have gained a lot of life lessons from becoming a better poker player.

In order to be a long-term winner, you will need to develop the following traits:

1. An ability to maintain attentional focus for long periods of a time.

2. An understanding of the deeply statistical nature of the game.

3. A sense of confidence and trust in your abilities

and most importantly:

4. A near RECKLESS disdain for money.

Money has no value on the poker table. The game is played with chips.  Whatever money those chips represent doesn’t and shouldn’t have any effect on how you play the game.

If you are concerned with money, you wont be playing poker the right way. You will be playing with scared money and as the saying goes,

“Scared money don’t make no money!”

To be a big long-term winner in poker you must develop a SUPER-AGGRESSIVE playing style, sometimes known as LAG (Loose-Aggressive)

Here is my article on how to develop into a LAG.

Being aggressive doesn’t necessarily mean success. You have to know when to be aggressive, and when to slow down. Against certain opponents, especially ones who can’t fold a hand, being aggressive will lose you money.

Poker is always about adjusting. You need to adjust to each player at the table and your perceived table image.

Being aggressive has a few benefits:

1. You will win more pots where you don’t have the best hand

2. You will make more money in pots that you have the best hand

3. Your opponents won’t be able to accurately deduct your hand-range

If you are playing tight, you opponents will know you have the goods when you bet, and you wont win big pots. You will also not be able to pick up pots where you don’t have the best hand because you won’t be willing to bluff a lot.

That’s the beauty of poker.

You don’t need cards to win.

In fact, cards are somewhat meaningless if you have accurate reads on your opponents and you can figure out what their cards are and they have no idea what you have.

Annette Obrestad

Annette Obrestad is a young professional poker player that proved this.

In one online tournament of 180 players, she covered her hole cards the entire time. She never once looked at her cards.

Guess what?

She won the entire tournament.

She demonstrated perfectly how important reading abilities are and how unimportant cards are.

Just imagine how good this girl is when she actually looks at her cards.

She built a bankroll from $0 to over $1,000,000 by the time she was 18. She never made a single deposit online. She won a free roll tournament to start her bankroll, then NEVER LOOKED BACK.

Quite amazing if you ask me.

When people argue if poker is gambling, they should consult Annette to see what she has to say about that.

Players like Annette, Phil Ivey, and Tom Dwan are perfect examples of players who EXCEL in the aforementioned 4 traits and love to play super aggressive.

They simply don’t care about money.

If you want to be OUTSTANDING at poker you must STAND OUT from the rest of the competition.

Phil Ivey was once quoted as saying “If I have to bet $300,000 on the river with queen high, I don’t care, I fire the trigger.”

Simply Doesn't Care About Money.


Phil Ivey is basically saying here that he is willing to slide in $300,000 worth of chips (the price of a house for some people) on a complete bluff.

I bet if Phil figures he has a 51% chance to win the hand by betting that much on the river, he will make that wager EVERY SINGLE TIME.

That kind of sickness separates the winners from the losers.

You cannot play passively to win in poker.

You must get in there and gamble, but realize when you need to switch gears.

Good luck at the tables! 🙂

How to Manage a Poker Bankroll

Your Poker Bankroll: Manage it, or Lose it.

In poker, you have one lifeline, your bankroll.

Without it, you can’t buy into any tournaments or cash games.

For this reason, the most important thing as a poker player is to protect your life. Protect your money by learning how to manage it correctly.

The basic rule of thumb in bankroll management is to not put more than 5% of your entire bankroll into a cash game or single table sit n go. For multi-table tournaments, you should not be putting more than 1-2% of your roll on the line for a buy-in.

Under these rules, if you have a bankroll of $10,000, you should not be buying in to any cash game for over $500 and no tournament over $100.

At times, there will be opportunities to stretch these limits slightly but only if the games are VERY JUICY and you know you have an advantage.

Even having an advantage in a game doesn’t GUARANTEE that you will win. Luck is always a factor in poker and if you get unlucky, it can take a huge chunk out of your roll that you will slowly have to rebuild.

I will take shots in multi-table tournaments for up to 5% of my roll if I see that the player list is very weak. I want to invest in games I know I have the opportunity to make a lot of return on my investment.

The downfall of a lot of successful players is not managing their roll correctly. They hit a big score in a tournament and then dump it off in the cash games. Keep in mind, as the stakes get higher, the competition gets better.

I use a program called PokerTracker 3 to track all of my winnings and statistics of each of my individual opponents at the tables.

With PokerTracker, I can see how much I have won/lost at a certain stakes so I can determine my long term average win rate. If you are not beating a certain stakes after 10,000 hands, you will probably never beat it until you improve your game.

Find the stake that nets you the best return, and stick to it to build your roll.

You will lose money and win money on any given day depending on a variety of factors. ALWAYS manage your roll and make sure you are playing your A+ game or don’t bother sitting down. If you are not in the right mental state, YOU WILL LOSE MONEY, and losing money causes a lot of people to LOSE EVEN MORE MONEY. They like to chase their losses hoping to win their money back and in the process, rip their entire roll to shreds.

INCORRECTLY Manages a Bankroll

Just ask Viktor “Isilidur1” Blom about bankroll management. This gentlemen might be one of the top 5 No Limit Hold’em players in the world, but he simply cannot manage a bankroll.

I am sure he is being staked and he makes some money from his Pokerstars sponsorship, but he is the complete opposite of an example of how to manage a bankroll!

Blom has won $5,000,000 in a week, then lost it all the next.

He is a complete sicko, but that is what separates him from the others at the high stakes.

His problem like many others is TILT.

He goes on big winning streaks, but can’t cut off his losing streaks.

He is only 21 years old, so I don’t blame him.

It must be tough being a millionaire at his age!

If you are serious about developing your game, I suggest checking out some of my other articles I have written:

The Poker Trance: The Ultimate Poker Mindset

Top 10 Reasons You Should Play Poker

Top 5 Reasons You Lose at Poker

My Multi-Table Tournament Strategy

Booking The Win at Final Tables

The $3,000 Guarantee Final Table Takedown

Top 5 Heads-Up No-Limit Cash-Game Strategies

How to Develop Into a LAG (Loose-Aggressive) Player

My Most Profitable Session of Online Poker

Using a Rubberband To Squash Negative Thinking Patterns

Good luck at the tables! :)

Top 5 Tools For Multi-Table Tournament Grinders

With the growing popularity of online poker in recent years, many players have found their way onto the internet to compete in online poker tournaments.

Notoriously, Sundays are the biggest day for online tournaments.

To follow my tournament progress, click here.

With tournaments running around the clock with buy-ins ranging from $1-$1000, there is a tournament for everyone to play regardless of bankroll restrictions.

At peak times on Sunday, I will have almost every tournament open that I can afford with my bankroll, and that means I might be playing 20-24 tables at a time.

Due to the increased workload, it is necessary for any aspiring tournament grinder to have the following 5 tools in order to succeed:

1. Workstation

Multi-Table Madness

If you are a serious tournament player, you are probably going to be playing more than one table and tournament at a time and in my case, you might be playing 20+.

Managing 20+ tables is impossible without a huge monitor, or multiple smaller monitors. I use a 24inch monitor with tables overlapping each other. When I have to act on a table, the table will pop to the front.

I like to sort tables out by blind levels/buy-ins so I know quickly which tournaments are more important. As I get deeper into some events, I might isolate certain tables in a corner of the screen so I can focus strictly on one of them while auto piloting the other tournaments that aren’t as important at the moment.

It is important to get yourself a reliable internet connection and a fast processor if you want to be playing this many tournaments at once. If you have an older computer, I wouldn’t recommend firing up too many tables due to the fact that your processor might not be able to handle the poker software when it has multiple tables running.

2. Flexibility

Portability is a Necessity

Being flexible means that if your main workstation breaks down for any reason, you have a backup plan. A backup plan would include a separate computer, maybe a laptop, that you can play on if anything goes wrong with your main rig.

Portability is important because if your internet connection drops out, you will have to move to another location to resume play.

If you don’t have a backup plan and something wrong happens, you will lose your buy-ins for the tournament and eventually be blinded out as the tournaments continue to run with you having no way to play.

There have been times where I have been extremely deep in tournaments, only to have my internet cut out for periods of time. It sucks but if you have the option of portability, you can remedy the situation quickly and get back up and running within a few minutes. It shouldn’t be too hard to find another network to go on because a lot of public places offer free Wi-Fi nowadays.

3. Water

You Can Never Drink Enough Water!

I can’t stress enough how important it is to stay hydrated. If you know me personally, you know how much water I will consume during a long session. It probably is close to 2 gallons of water in a 10-12 hour period.

Because your brain has to process so much information and actively think during the whole process, it needs fuel to keep running.

Without proper hydration, you might experience headaches and lack of focus due to a low tank. Make sure to have plenty of water available during your sessions, and load up the tank before you even decide to play. On most sites, you will have a synchronized break every 5 minutes at the top of the hour, so there will be plenty of time to pee when you need to, don’t worry.

4. Meditation

Train Your Mind To Focus!

Probably one of my favorite things to do before, during, and after long poker sessions.

With meditation, you can train your mind to focus on the task at hand, and also be immune to losing focus due to the fact that you won’t care as much about bad beats when they happen.

When I first started playing poker, I would be emotionally affected by bad beats. With my meditation practice, that is no longer the case.

I can sit and play for long periods of time without focusing on the outcome. Instead, I focus on making good decisions knowing the outcome is partially controlled by luck.

Sometimes that luck won’t be on my side, and if that is going to affect you emotionally, you are going to stop making good decisions and will probably bust more tournaments than you win.

5. Music

Your Favorite Music Makes Poker More Enjoyable!

Music is great for making long sessions more entertaining. When I put on music during poker sessions, I tend to slip into a trance.

This trance helps me stay focused, and also stay upbeat as I am playing so I am alert and aware of everything that is going on.

The type of music doesn’t really matter, that is all based on personal preference. Either way, I like to have my music at a very loud volume to get completely lost in the game and eliminate side distractions.

If you are serious about developing your game, I suggest checking out some of my other articles I have written:

The Poker Trance: The Ultimate Poker Mindset

Top 10 Reasons You Should Play Poker

Top 5 Reasons You Lose at Poker

My Multi-Table Tournament Strategy

Booking The Win at Final Tables

The $3,000 Guarantee Final Table Takedown

Top 5 Heads-Up No-Limit Cash-Game Strategies

How to Develop Into a LAG (Loose-Aggressive) Player

My Most Profitable Session of Online Poker

Using a Rubberband To Squash Negative Thinking Patterns

Good luck at the tables! 🙂

One O’Clock Lock

Money In The Bank

Among my many vices, I like the rush of a good NFL bet. I have done well this season by focusing on one game I love rather than trying to hit it big on the parlays. With that being said, so you know I put my money where my mouth is, I am letting my entire season’s winnings ride on the Saints today, laying 8 in Minnesota, who sports the 27th best (or 5th worst) passing defense in the league.

Disclaimer: Money may not, in fact, be in the bank.

Using a Rubberband To Squash Negative Thought Patterns

This was a clever little idea that I took from poker mindset trainer and life coach Sam Chauhan.

Sam Chauhan

Sam is a mindset trainer that many professional poker players have gone to and swear by. Sam has an extensive list of clients including non-poker pros as well. After working with Sam, many professional players have had some great runs in tournaments that they credit Sam for helping them with.

Big poker tournaments can span over many days and it can be extremely hard at times to focus on the game for that long. One lapse of judgement can cost you your entire tournament and investment of time.

An excerpt from an interview with Sam:

What are some of the techniques you use to help people overcome this?”

Chauhan: “I’ll give you an example. A lot of people have negative thoughts while they’re playing or negative thoughts in general. And hey, we go through challenges, we’ve all gone through challenges–especially with the way the economy has gone over the past few years. But, negative thoughts don’t really help you. Negative thoughts actually push you deeper into depression. So one of the techniques that I show people is to have them put a rubber band on their wrists. And as soon as they have a negative thought about something I instruct them to pull back the rubber band and snap it. What happens is the brain has to focus on the pain of that wrist, so it has to get away from that negative thought, and now you’re consciously aware that the reason you have pain on your wrist was because of that negative thought, which forces you to think more positive. That’s one way where you can break that pattern instantly. And if you do this constantly, your brain will begin to change your thought process about these bad thoughts. It’s a technique that has worked really well for a lot of people I’ve worked with.”

I have personally tried this and it certainly does work.

I am able to stay focused at the tables longer and I don’t care as much about getting unlucky as I used to. When I first started playing online poker I probably broke close to 5 mice after taking some really nasty bad beats.

No longer does that happen.

I don’t even get upset anymore, at all, ever. Poker is game that relies on luck and I have gotten over the fact that I will get unlucky in the worst ways sometimes.

The rubber band technique has also worked for me in other various aspects of my life. Any time I have a limiting belief about myself such as “I can’t do that!” or “That’s way too hard!” I snap the band as hard as I can to tell my brain that those thoughts are no longer welcome in my head and if they arise again, you will have to experience a nice little pluck my from my friend on my wrist.

Don't Worry, Be Happy!

An added element to this method that I personally added is every time I pull the band, I think of something I am thankful for. This replaces the negative thought with a positive one, further increasing my positivity level throughout the day.

I also think of something I am thankful for every time I notice the band on my wrist. If you think of how many times you look at your hands during the course of the day, you can see how many times you have the opportunity to think positive.

I have been able to rewire my mind to be almost 100% positive at all times.

There are still times when I pull it but it certainly isn’t as frequent as it used to be.

Give it a shot.

Put a rubber band on your wrist and try to notice when you have a limiting belief about yourself. Give it a good pull and make sure you feel it to get the full effect. Your little monkey brain will be tamed, and you can instill a powerful empowering belief system!

My Most Profitable Session of Online Poker

The Monster Run

Total Tournaments Played: 33

Total Hours Played: 13

Amount Spent to Buy in: $479.39

Total Cashes: 7

Final Tables: 6

Tournament Wins: 2

Total Amount Cashed: $3,148.26

Net Profit: $ 2,668.87

Return on Investment: 556.7220%

This was easily the biggest session I have had online in my tournament career. For the complete story read The $3,000 Guarantee Final Table Takedown.

The $3,000 Guarantee Final Table Takedown

After having a brutal unlucky downswing in Lock Poker multi-table tournaments, I finally booked a win in a $3 rebuy buy-in turbo $3,000 guarantee good for $672.22.

I also played a total of 33 other tournaments today with a total of $ 2,668.87 in profit after the evening was over.

A Breakdown of Each Tournament

This was my best day of online tournament poker to date.

I treat poker as a business venture, and this investment netted me a ROI (return-on-investment) of 7,369.11%. I invested a total of $9 into this tournament. The tournament saw 339 players register, rebuy, and add-on creating a total prize pool of ~$3,200 exceeding the $3,000 guarantee from Lock.

We start with 1,500 chips and blinds of 15/30. You are allowed to add-on an additional 1,500 chips at any time you are at 1,500 chips or below for another $3. At the first tournament break, you are allowed to add-on an additional 2,000 chips for $3.  I always take this option immediately before the tournament starts, and I always take the rebuy option at the break. If you are trying to win one of these wild turbo tournaments, you would be stupid not to.

There was actually one time where I folded POCKET ACES in the small blind when it was folded all the way around to me in the small blind. I did this because I don’t think the big blind ever has much of a hand and he will probably fold if raise giving me a meager 30 chips that will prevent me from being able to add-on another 1,500.

Since a lot of players usually add-on right at the start, I think this option should be take 100% of the time.

With a 3,000 stack, I can potentially double up early with a big hand and be sitting with 6,000.

When I have the biggest stack at the table, I like to play SUPER aggressive to slowly build my stack for the money bubble where I can exploit that aggression even more. I want a big stack because I can steal a lot of blinds and force players to play hands and play back at me. When they play back at me, my hope is to eventually have a big hand where I can bust them.

Because my table image is that of a maniac, I can steal blinds frequently and get paid big on my good cards. This is ABSOLUTELY essential if you want to be a good tournament player and make deep runs to the final table.

It was a pretty wild tournament and I can say I definitely got lucky in a lot of spots but that is because I like to take gambles for a big stack. I don’t mind ever losing a tournament because I feel I need to take calculated risks to have a big stack for the final table.

I am only interested in first place and the big pay out, anything else is just a nice consolation prize.

This is the mentality you MUST have if you want to be a long-term winner in large MTTs (multi-table tournaments).

I went into the final table with about 250,000 in chips and the blinds already at 10,000/20,000. In this scenario, it is basically shove all-in or fold pre-flop. I never got any sort of hand to shove all-in with in the early stages and I was down to about 130,000 at one point.

I was able to get lucky and double up with K-Q vs A-4 by hitting a king on the turn and getting back to 250,000. At this point there was six players left with the biggest stack having ~450,000 chips.

The blinds were moving up rapidly every 7 minutes because it was a turbo tournament. Usually, the blinds increase every 10 minutes or every 15 minutes for bigger buy-in events.

You simply have to get very lucky in these tournaments to win due to the fast blind structure. I played solid the whole tournament not ever getting out of line and picking good spots to get my chips in on the way to the final six.

I was able to add to my 250,000 stack by knocking out a player with 180,000 with A-10 vs A-4 to bring us down to the final 4. The blinds were now at 15,000/30,000 with a 1,500 chip ante each hand.

The fourth player was quickly eliminated and we were down to the final 3 when I was dealt A-K of hearts in the small blind. The button shoved K-9 of diamonds for a bout ~420,000 chips and I snap re-shoved all-in and caught an ace on the flop.

I was now sitting with over 900,000 chips and my remaining opponent had about ~500,000 chips left.

Blinds were now at 20,000/40,000 with a 2,000 chip ante so this was going to be a quick heads-up match with us most likely getting all the chips of the tournament into the middle pre-flop.

The Million Chip Stack

After 4 hands of all-in shoves and folds, I was sitting with 1,000,000 chips for my first time ever in a MTT. If I lost this, I wouldn’t care, one of my goals was to hit this milestone this year.

On the fifth hand, I was dealt A-4 of hearts on the button. My opponent shoved his remaining chips in with Q-10 off-suit and I snap called hoping Lock Poker would make it quick with an ace on the flop. I got my wish, and I hit an ace in the window. The board ran dry, and I was left with all the chips in play and the first-place payout of $672.22.


It was a fun tournament no doubt, but I was also able to reach another one of my goals which was to take a small buy-in rebuy event down. These tournaments have been my bread and butter on Lock Poker due to the fact that the action is extremely wild and if you are patient, you have a good chance at building a good stack for the late high blind levels and eventually the final table.

The Top 18 Tournament Payout Structure

I have finished 3rd and also 2nd in a $3 rebuy for $300 and $500 respectively over the course of this year.

I knew eventually I was going to take one of these crap-shoots down.

For now, I am satisfied with my play but my tournament game needs further improvement.

I have noticed myself losing focus on some tables when I am playing a dozen or so at a time.

I will usually always have a tournament with a big chip stack and I tend to focus too much on that one rather than building in the other ones. I will have to take more time for decisions and start making better plays if I want to maximize my profit in the long-run.

I won a satellite ticket to the $215 high-roller event and I will probably be stabbing at that tomorrow afternoon in hopes of an even larger score.

A score that would define my tournament poker career.

The Poker Trance: The Ultimate Poker Mindset

When I am in the middle of a poker session, there is absolutely nothing else on my mind except poker.

I am not thinking about work I have to do, what I am going to do tonight, or what the scores of the games are on TV. I don’t care, I am playing to maximize my opportunity for profit. Everything else is secondary.

Patrik Antonius

I didn’t start out like this, in fact, I used to be very distracted.

Playing on the internet creates a lot of chances to distract yourself. You have an infinite source of information at your fingertips, it can be tough to not want to browse around.

For this reason, I like to play multiple tables at once. I like to play enough tables to the point where I am making a decision almost every second at a different table. This forces you to focus on the game and leaves no window room for distractions.

This has some disadvantages however. If you are prone to tilt, you might lose a lot of hands in a row for big pots and be pissed off. This will only lead to you slipping away from your A game and making more mistakes.

Although I like to believe I don’t tilt as much as I used to, at times poker can be very frustrating. There will be times where I wont cash in 40 straight multi-table tournaments and it just flat out sucks. Tournaments have such a big luck factor that you really can’t be upset about it.

One of the best ways to counter tilt is to meditate.

Meditating is easily on of the best things I have done to develop my game and my brainpower. I simply don’t care about losing anymore. I have seen every bad beat possible and I have gotten extremely unlucky deep in big tournaments to the point where some players would want to throw up.

I have lost massive chip lead pots with the best hand only to have an unlucky river card end my whole tournament. The first few times it happens, it is a disgusting feeling, but it just makes you hungry to be back in that spot again. The times that I win that monster pot deep in a tournament, which I will statistically more often than not in the long-run if I get my chips in ahead, I put myself in a position to take down the entire tournament.

With a massive chip stack, I already know I am extremely dangerous because I like to play a huge stack like a complete maniac. I like to use fearless aggression to put as much pressure on my opponents who have smaller stacks.

A huge stack is such a weapon if you are an experienced tournament player because you are comfortable deep in tournaments, and don’t care about the money. I have played over 1000 multi-table tournaments and I have seen every beat possible so I simply don’t even care anymore. I don’t care about the money, I care about having all the chips in play at the end, and that is easier achieved with a huge chip advantage over your opponents. For this reason, I am more likely to gamble late in tournaments for a shot at a fat stack.

When you think about the money, you tend to play more passive to try to move up in the money spots. By doing this, you lose the chance to accumulate more chips, and if your goal is to truly win, you are going to need all the chips at the end anyway, so start building now. As the chip leader, you are never all-in, so you can never be all-out.

I pride myself on the ability to just laugh at how unfriendly the cards can be sometimes. Cards don’t have souls. They don’t care about you and they don’t care that you have lost the last 20 hands to a bad beat.

When I sit down to play, I like to have music on. Music helps me focus and puts me in a trance when I am focusing externally on the game. It is almost like a mental euphoria. It keeps grinding long sessions entertaining as well.

In live games, I have my headphones on as well. I am not always listening to music however, I like to pretend sometimes that I am not listening to table talk. I want people to think I can’t hear anything they are saying. In turn, I don’t give away any information by not speaking, but pick up everything my opponents are saying.

Hearing people discuss hands is extremely valuable. I can immediately size them up on their skill level and figure out how to play certain hands against them profitably.

I don’t feel the need to talk to anyone at the poker table, only if I am playing a game with my friends. I don’t want to give away ANY information. I am here to take my opponents entire stack, not make friends. At the table it is all business.

Poker is supposed to be a social game, and that is the stigma attached to it. Most people go to the casino poker games to have a good time and enjoy themselves. These are the people that I make the most money off of. They don’t care if they win or lose, they want to have a good time and gamble. It is these players that make poker a profitable game to play.

Focusing on the game can be extremely hard to do at times. You have to meet your human needs first. Be extremely hydrated, and make sure you aren’t hungry. If you are thinking about food, you aren’t thinking about poker.

I am a completely different person at the poker table than I am in any other situation in life.  This is my time where I feel I am at my complete best. Information is bombarding me from every direction, and I have figured out how to manage it all to give myself the best chance to win.

Many professional athletes coin this term “the zone.” I like to describe it as a zoned out focused euphoric trance. Poker requires no physical ability, leaving more room for your brain to think strategy and not worry about being sweaty or exhausted from physical exhaustion.

I slip into a highly focused, highly observant, highly aware state to maximize my expected return from my investment of time. After all, time is money, and I am going to make the most of my time to maximize my win rate.

There have been times where I have been so focused on the game that I have absolutely no idea what time it is, and I don’t even care. The clock is another distraction. I like to cover it up when I am sitting at my computer. Your mind likes to judge yourself on how long you have been playing and it can be distracting.

To play poker for long sessions, especially live tournaments that might span over multiple days, you do however need to be physically fit. Sitting at a table for 12 hours a day can have a toll on you if you aren’t in shape. You can guarantee a stiff neck and back for the next few days if you aren’t addressing your physical fitness.

I don’t set a exact time for how long I will spend in a session. Obviously in tournaments I have to play till I win or I bust so that is taken care of. Online, if the cash games are very juicy, I am willing to play until I have to pin my eyes open to stay awake. Big chances for profit rarely come, and when they do, you better be ready to sit for as long as possible.

There have been times where I would start a session at 9pm and not stop playing until 8am the next day.

I know I am going to have to have that ounce of sickness to come out profitable. I can’t take poker lightly. 90% of all players are long-term losers, I want to be in the top of the 10%. I don’t care how people view me, If I did, I probably wouldn’t have pursued poker.

I treat my poker as a business and the only way for my business to be successful is if I treat it as seriously as possible. Many people find poker as a form of entertainment and for me it is, that is why it doesn’t feel like I am “working” when I am playing.

The biggest thing I value about poker is freedom. Freedom to play whenever you feel like, at whatever stakes you feel like, knowing there are always games to play around the clock. I don’t like having a set schedule, I like to be spontaneous and open to any new opportunity that presents itself each new day. If I want to play 10 hands or 10,000, I can do that. I don’t have to show up at 9am, and stay till 5pm. Alternatively, I can show up at 9am and play for 24 hours straight if the games are good enough.

It all is a gradual learning process. As you grow your poker mindset, you grow as a person. Poker requires life skills and learning poker can help you in every aspect of life. Poker will make you evaluate yourself and make you brutally honest with yourself if you want to succeed long-term. Take a look at some of my other articles if you wish to improve your game as much as possible.

Good luck at the tables.

More Poker Strategy:

Top 5 Reasons You Lose at Poker

My Multi-Table Tournament Strategy

Booking the Win at Final Tables

Top 10 Reasons You Should Play Poker

How to Play AA For Maximum Profit

How to Overbet For Massive Value

How to Develop into a LAG (Loose-Aggressive Player)

Additional Strategy, Sports Betting:

The Three Tenets of Profitable Sports Betting

Playing LAG (Loose-Aggressive) in No-Limit Cash-Games to Maximize Profit

Poker has evolved through time and with the growing popularity of online poker in recent years.

In online six-max short-handed cash games, no longer will you find players only raising with premium hands. There is a lot of action pre-flop with raising and re-raising on almost every hand. Wild aggression has become the norm in these no-limit hold’em cash games.

One of the most profitable styles, yet hard to master is a style called LAG (loose-aggressive). Being LAG means you raise and re-raise without premium hands in order to steal a lot of pots you would usually have no interest in. This style requires incredible hand reading ability and the ability to put your opponent on an accurate range of hands.

LAG’s rarely rely on their own hand strength, rather they exploit their opponents perceived hand ranges. They use their table image to their advantage by constantly betting and raising to keep their opponents guessing. When you are very aggressive, opponents have a difficult time putting you on a hand, netting you more profit on your monster hands.

When you have a monster hand and you have been very active, opponents will begin to question if you actually have a good hand. Opponents will be more likely to pay you off not knowing if you are bluffing or betting for value. If you play very tight, opponents will know you must have a big hand and will be more inclined to fold their medium strength inferior hands.

If you have folded the last 20 hands, and now you are betting hard, it is pretty obvious that you have a good holding. You can however pull off well timed bluffs if you are playing TAG (tight-aggressive). Because your perceived image is tight, you can bluff occasionally when you know your opponent will have a hard time calling your bet.

Developing into a LAG is a long process. I recommend a TAG style when you first start to limit your losses. Playing LAG is an extremely high variance playing style. By this, I mean your bankroll is prone to wild swings. Bankroll management is essential, and I wouldn’t recommend playing this style without 50 full buy-ins for the stakes you are playing.

Here is an example of standard LAG play.

No-limit Hold’em six-max deep stack $2/$5 blinds, effective stacks $1000. I have been sitting at the table for about 20 hands and the action has been slightly aggressive with no one getting out of line.

I am on the button with K10 suited of spades. A TAG UTG (under the gun, first position) opponent raises to $15, cutoff flat calls $15, and I raise it up to $75. UTG calls and the cutoff folds.

Pot is $162.

We see a flop of 7,5,9 rainbow. UTG checks and I bet $95. UTG thinks for a while, then calls. At this point, I put my opponent on a range of 10 10, JJ, 777, 555 and 999. My opponents is a tight aggressive player so I believe he would re-raise AA,QQ,KK or AK pre-flop unless he is being very tricky which wouldn’t make sense in a deep-stack game. In a deep-stack game, you don’t want to be slow playing big hands like these because they are vulnerable to be cracked for a monster pot.

I have a program called PokerTracker which gives me every statistic possible on my opponents. My opponents has a VPIP (voluntary put money in pot %) of 11% and a PFR of 8% (pre-flop raise %). These are typical TAG stats and pretty tight for a six-max cash game.

Pot is $352.

Turn comes a 2 of spades. This card doesn’t change much. My opponent checks again, and I fire $175 into the pot. I make a 1/2 pot bet here for two reasons. If I get raised, I can get away from my hand cheap and if he calls, I am setting myself up to pull a monster bluff on a lot of river cards.

He thinks again, and calls.

At this point, I don’t believe he is slow playing a monster hand. Most players will raise a set on the turn, especially TAGs. If he checks the river and I check too, he is losing a ton a value for his hand in a deep stacked match.

If he bets the river big, I can fold for cheap too. If he bets the river, the only possible hands he could have are monsters, like a set of 7s, 5s, or 9s. It wouldn’t make sense to bluff the river in his position because he doesn’t have the initiative in this pot, I do. I am the one representing a big hand and it would be foolish to try to bet the river as a bluff if I do in fact have a monster.

Pot is now $702 and I have $655 left in my stack. River comes an Ace of clubs. He checks quickly and I think for about 20 seconds, and I dump my remaining $655 into the pot. If he was playing tricky and planning to set me up on the river, I am glad to pay him off here as he wont normally be doing this.

My PokerTracker gives me the stat that my opponent check-raises the turn 33% of the time after flat calling the flop and checking the turn. This is a high %, and makes me believe if he is flat calling out of position then raising the turn, he has a monster.

My opponent could easily have JJ or 10 10 here and continued with his over pair on the turn. The river is the perfect bluff card for me.

The ace is a very scary card for my opponents hand range. If he has JJ or 10 10, I don’t think he can ever call this river. I could have easily hit my ace on the river if I had AK,AQ,AJ and was bluffing the flop and the turn. I am not giving him good odds to look me up.

The total pot is $1357 and my opponent also has $655 left. He is getting a little better than 2/1 odds to make the call meaning he has to be right almost 50% of the time. Based on my perceived hand range, this river shove all-in is a no-brainer if you are trying to profit from playing LAG.

I am eligible to have 777,555,999,AAA,222, AK,AQ,AJ here, all of which he has to be worried about. As I said before, I don’t put my opponent on a set as he would usually tell me on the turn with a raise. His passive play on the turn set me up for this bluff.

My opponents thinks for a minute, hits timebank, lets it wind down to 0, then folds. I take down the $1357 pot. He types in the chat box “nice catch.” I respond with a “ty”.

This is just one example of where aggression can land you pots you have no business being in. I would only pull a move like this on a TAG and in position. Position is one of the most important parts of playing LAG. Having position enables you to see what your opponent does first before you have to act. If you have the initiative and position, you can bet the flop, turn and river with nothing if the board gets scary for his perceived hand range.

This might look like a crazy hand and an extremely risky bluff, but based on my opponents statistics, I feel he folds here more than 85% of the time. If he folds 85% of the time and we ran this situation a million times, in the long-run I will technically win $1153.45 each time (85% * $1357). There will be times where he played a monster slow and tricky and I will lose those situations but my overall expected return on this play is +EV (positive expected value).

Because I haven’t gotten out of line or been caught bluffing yet at this table, making this move is completely necessary to drive your opponent out of the pot. As a LAG, you have to take calculated risks and not worry about the outcome. If you are making profitable decisions, in the long-run, you will net yourself profit. Once again, this is where bankroll management comes into play as you need to have a deep roll to risk a lot of chips on bluffs.

I recommend trying this LAG style once you are comfortable with the game and you have shown a profit as a TAG over 10,000 hands of short-handed cash-game play. You have to be honest with yourself on your skill level or you will run the risk of going broke by playing over your head. PokerTracker is absolutely essential for evaluating your own play and getting solid reads on opponents. Without it, all the players online are simply a name with an avatar. You will have no idea of how they are playing.

More Poker Strategy:

The Poker Trance

Top 5 Reasons You Lose at Poker

My Multi-Table Tournament Strategy

Booking the Win at Final Tables

Top 10 Reasons You Should Play Poker

How to Play AA For Maximum Profit

How to Overbet For Massive Value

Additional Strategy, Sports Betting:

The Three Tenets of Profitable Sports Betting

The Three Tenets of Profitable Sports Betting

There are certain “rules” that must be followed when betting on sports, especially if you’re in it for the long-term and not simply betting on the Superbowl because all of the prop bets keep you interested in a game that you’d otherwise have no interest in.

Whenever placing a bet, there are three basic rules to adhere to:

1. Respect Your Bankroll

One of the biggest threats to your success and longevity as a bettor is mismanagement of your funds. In other words, its a marathon not a sprint. The majority of people tend to overstress their bankroll and bet too much on a particular wager.

The rule of thumb when attempting to maximize long-term success is to never bet more than 5%-10% of your bankroll on a given wager.

While this may not lead to that huge one time payout that every gambler so eagerly chases, it will ensure that when that “sure thing” loses by half of a point your bankroll will still be intact to place that next bet.

The key here is establishing a good form of money management. If you are going to follow another person’s bets and advice, then you should probably set up a system of units as to not over bet.

For example if the person you’ve chosen to follow bets $100 per game on average, that is their unit. And let’s say your bankroll only allows you to average a $20 bet per game, $20 would become your basic unit.

Therefore, for every $100 that your “source” bets, you would personally bet $20. I would recommend creating a system where your units are approximately 2%-4% of your bankroll so that you’re average bet comes in around 2 units.

This allows for the occasional 1 unit or 3+ unit bet.

2. Leave Emotion Out of It

Let’s face it, those of us who bet on sports are almost always sports fans on some level or another.

One of the greatest risks to sabotaging your bankroll is betting with your heart. We don’t see our preferred teams through the unbiased eyes that are necessary when analyzing a particular spread. Betting needs to be done with an analytical mind, not with your heart.

3. Learn to Handle Wins and Losses

Nobody has ever won every bet they placed, plain and simple. The key is to remember that the goal is not to win every single bet, but to win more bets than you lose. Adversely winning streaks are awesome, but don’t let them throw you off your plan.

Stick to your system of unit betting. A winning streak can lead to false confidence and in turn result in greater losses than wins in the end.

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