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Strategy for Crushing the No Limit Texas Holdem "Online Penny Poker" Games

By Greg Mallon
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PART 2 of 4

You played for 316 Hours in December? Are you Nuts?

The first thing you might ask is how I could possibly play 316 hours of online poker in December and not get divorced. Well, the truth of it is, I did not play 316 hours. I "multi-tabled". On this particular report, PokerTracker is showing how many "table hours" (my term) I have played. To be clear, if I play 8 tables for 1 hour, that is 8 "table hours" according to PokerTracker. So the truth of it is, that in December, I have played about (316/8 typical tables = 39.5 hours) or about 40 actual hours for the month of December.

So I actually averaged about 39.5hrs/31 days = 1.27 hours, or about an hour and a half per day. That's not too bad (in my mind anyway) - and apparently not enough to get divorced, as long as you wait for the kids to go to bed before playing. (By the way, this was simply a 2 month experiment - I do not play at this rate all the time). In most cases, I have just replaced my "TV time" with online poker. I might play more or less on any given day, and some days I did not play at all - we all need a break, but this should give you a good idea of the commitment of time. Again, this is not something your doing to make a ton of money, it is just something that will allow you to "play" and make a consistent, "small" profit - so in that sense it is enjoyable. Play to have fun.

Prerequisites (Understanding the Game)

Even though this strategy is geared toward newer players who just want to start making some small money playing no limit texas holdem, it still requires that you have fundamental knowledge of game. You should certainly be familiar with:

  • "what beats what" (if you are not sure, then before continuing, please read a book like Lee Jones', Winning Low Limit Holdem - a good fundamental primer on holdem. If you try this strategy without understanding the fundamentals, you will simply lose money. So take the time to educate yourself a bit and you will have much more fun).

  • Recognizing "Flop texture", meaning recognizing what various "draws" look like (eg, flush draws, straight draws). The quicker you can recognize the texture of any given flop, the better player you will become. You can improve this skill by either playing a ton of free, play money games (read my article), and you could use my practice hand generator and deal a ton of hands, flops etc, see your opponents cards. I use it myself just as a tool for thinking about various flops.

  • The advantages and power of position in Texas Holdem

  • Bankroll Management - You want to make money of course, but you most certainly don't want to lose all your money quickly. If you start to lose, stop, think and study the decisions you have made. A good poker player is brutally honest with him or herself

  • After speaking with a couple of friends of mine (who only play the "play money" games), I figured I would probably include a list of "do's and don'ts" to give newer players some advice on what to do in some common situations. Again, for the most part, you will be playing "few" hands. One of the reasons you are multi-tabling is so that you can stick to "premium hands" and "toss" the marginal hands (hands that may give you very difficult decisions). The idea is to simplify your decision making.

    Common Situations - Recognizing When to Fold

  • After the Flop, the Board is Paired: This can be a dangerous situation if you do not have much experience. If you have not hit the flop but no one has bet, you should bet about 2x the Big Blind (.04 at penny poker). This is enough to scare people into thinking you have hit the flop and are trying to TRAP them. Oddly enough, betting more than that looks too much like a bluff. If you have not hit that flop and someone bets out BEFORE you, FOLD.

  • You have not Hit the Flop: It does not matter if you have ACE-KING or not (suited or not), if you have not "hit the flop" in some reasonable manner, FOLD. A famous quote from T.J. Cloutier is, "If I don't flop to it, I'm done with it". Never forget this.

  • You flopped top pair, but there are many players remaining and there are flush and straight possibilities: I hate to sound like a wimp but when the board is favorable to flush and straight draws, and there are many opponents, and you "only have TOP PAIR", be careful. Fold to significant resistance. In other words, don't lose you whole stack with one pair. The average winning hand in texas holdem is "two pair". Beginners always look at their own hand "in a vacuum" (without context). As you become good, you begin to think about the relative strength of your hand. That is, ask the question, "What might my opponents have?" Beginners frequently lose their entire stack by going all in with top pair.

  • Someone Goes All-In: There is one thing that I have found to be very true in online poker. Dan Harrington, in his book Harrington On Holdem, said it best: "Most bets mean what they appear to mean".... MEANING, a huge bet usually means a big hand, and if you don't have the NUTS, forget about it. Trust me on this one.

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