Poker rocks are those players who seem to be immune to anything that happens at the table, and focus exclusively on the cards they have in front of them. Unless they are dealt premium hands, they stay away from pots and fold pretty much anything regardless of position and opposition. They are very few these days and some think that they are going extinct, because this strategy is simply not profitable enough to keep them around for a long time. On the other hand, they suffer minimal losses because every now and then they win back the money spent as blinds by going all in with a maniac or a loose aggressive player.
Any player with common sense and enough experience at the Texas hold’em table will avoid confrontation with these guys, because there is simply nothing to win. Cracking poker rocks is not an impossible thing to do but the payouts are so low that it is hardly worth trying. For the sake of personal satisfaction and very unlikely profits, one would have to risk his stack and create the context in which the rocks would come out firing. Unfortunately, these players are only going to get involved in hands where they are overwhelming favorites to win, and they state their intentions pre-flop.
The best strategy against them is not to focus on taking their stack, but to steal as many blinds from them as possible. They are less likely to react to aggression and even if they notice that players have the tendency to raise them pre-flop, they prefer not to respond in any way. On the long time you can win enough money by following this simple advice and definitely offset all the money you spend on those blinds that you can’t protect.
Many poker players are also watching high-stakes games at TV, and assume that by seeing what the best players in the world do, they will also improve their game. It is not a lie if they believe it, but in order to extract relevant information from better players, one shouldn’t rely on highly popular TV shows. There are plenty of experienced players over the Internet, who offer coaching to those interested and some of them even do it for free. Whether they offer a couple of lessons as a proof of their skill and then ask for a paid subscription or stick to the freebies, their advice is worth following.
The beauty of these video tutorials is that one can watch them between poker sessions, or during those days when he is away from the computer. It is not only educational, but also entertaining to watch and hear what these knowledgeable players have to say. Some of the video tutorials are broadcasted live, others are recorded and edited later, and there are benefits and shortcomings for both types. By watching live-action, you can see exactly what the player thinks during those precious seconds and which are the reasons that trigger one decision or the other.
The advantage of focusing on recorded videos that are later edited, is that the player running the tutorial has more time to present his ideas and actions from different angles. Many choose to pause the video and give additional explanations about what made them raise in a situation where most players would choose to fold, and other tricky circumstances. These represent the vast majority of video tutorials and while they vary in length, the more time one spends watching them, the faster his own progress will be.
Tight aggressive play can only take you that far, and those who want to turn into all-round players need to hone their skills in the art of playing loose aggressive poker. The transition is not as smooth as many expect it to be, and among the changes that make the difference between profit and loss revolve around the different types of bets. One of them is the float bet, which occurs on the flop or turn, and serves the role of raising the pot in the wake of a decisive action. This can be triggered by either a draw that turns into a made hand, or by a favorable context that favors a bluff.
The reason it is so effective, is that a float bet is not necessarily a large investment and when done properly it can even protect the player from additional expenses. The one who takes the initiative and bets or raises, will be feared by opponents and except for those who hold monster hands, many will be reluctant to re-raise. Fold equity is another reason for why the float bet is responsible for significant gains even when the follow-up strategy is rendered useless. Any sign of aggression is noted down by opponents, and many of them are simply waiting for another reason to lay down their cards.
If you make a bet while drawing for a flush, and the turn brings a card of a different suit, you can still hope to have your opponent folding his hand. This happens because many players assume that the one who is willing to bet or raise, does so in an attempt of protecting his hand from a potential flush. They interpret another bet as a sign of strength and confidence, so unless they trust their own hand a lot, will choose to wait for the next chance to strike.
The first steps are always the most difficult ones, and in online poker players tend to lose a lot of time in the initial stages of their careers. They are reluctant to invest real money before they get a strong grip on the game, but many of them make bad decisions. Important as it is to have a bankroll management and play only at those tables where the amounts invested won’t set you back, you can’t afford to hunt freebies all the time. Online poker companies offer freerolls to all their members but beginners are the ones that are more interested in taking advantage of these tournaments.
Since the odds of winning are slim to say the least, many good players waste a lot of time until they finally win an amount that allows them to start playing at cash tables. It is only fair to say that if they were to play exclusively freerolls, many won’t progress beyond this limits because it takes more luck than skill to prevail in these tournaments. Variance is a killer and with most of your opponents playing for virtual money, they are more likely to gamble. This is a good thing in theory, because a good player will eventually prevail over amateurs, but way too often this doesn’t happen soon enough.
Dwelling on free rolls or wasting your time with minor tournaments is not the way to play online poker, because the financial rewards are the ones that motivate players. An in-depth analysis about variance is available at http://www.mttstrategysensei.com/2011/02/thoughts-on-tournament-poker-variance/ with the author making some powerful observations. Depressing as it might sound for some beginners, an initial bankroll is essential for a poker player and it’s better to earn the money away from the poker tables before playing, than to focus exclusively on free rolls.
Most of the hands that are being dealt to players are easy to judge, and the decision of whether to keep them or fold them is quite easy. Those who factor in position, table image and understand exactly what kind of opponents they play against, have no problem in folding cards that would otherwise be playable. Nevertheless, there are a couple of speculative hands that without caring intrinsic value can greatly improve and help players secure huge pots. In most cases they won’t turn into better hands and one would need to fold them, but when they do improve they take the entire table by surprise.
There is more than meets the eye about suited connectors and small pairs, because although they are generally mediocre hands pre-flop, in the right circumstances they can turn into monster hands. If you have the proper table image and play from late position, you can afford to limp or even raise your opponent with small pairs without fearing aggression. The reason for doing so is to see the flop and the only board that justifies firing another bullet is one that turns your small pair into a set.
What makes these cards special is that the opponents are less likely to read your hand, therefore you can increase the size of the pot without scaring them off. Suited connectors don’t necessarily need to turn into a flush or straight on the flop, because if the board is favorable they justify the making of a continuation bet or a float bet. As long as the pot is manageable, the one holding such cards can afford to make another bet or raise, hoping that the turn will finally present him with the card that will improve his draw.