Various Situations and How to Play Them
When you want to mess with your opponents' heads, successfully bluff them out of a huge pot and then show your bluff. The mere showing of your cards will have a lasting effect on your opponents' play, causing them to second-guess how they'll play against you the next time. However, unless your hand goes to the river, online poker players do not have the ability to show cards.
To help you get a read on your opponent, Party Poker, for example, has a feature that allows you to get hand histories by clicking on the hand number and requesting an e-mail history be sent to you. You usually receive these requests within minutes.
As you become more and more experienced in the online poker arena, you'll be confronted with various situations in games. The best way to be prepared for all these unknown situations is to consider as many as possible before you sit down to the poker table. That's what this section will help you do. The following examples will teach you how to play your hand if you find yourself in similar situations, using your knowledge of your opponents' styles of play.
Playing a Short Stack
Whether you play in limit, no-limit, or tournament poker games, not making adjustments in your play when you're short-stacked can be a costly mistake. Therefore, your goal is to maximize what you have left in front of you by making a few simple adjustments to your game.
No one likes being on a short stack, especially when the poker game has a lot of action and your cards have been running more than just good. However, when the river has refused to cooperate, knowing how to make simple strategic adjustments in your play can help you improve the outcome of the hand.
In tournament and no-limit games, players on a short stack tend to look for multi-way action pots to make their stand and push in all their remaining chips. What you want to do is gradually build your stack by looking for situations where you can steal the pot from the blinds with a raise. But you should never raise your hand if you are not willing to go all the way to the river with it.
When you don't hold premium cards, but you do hold pretty good cards and you're the first player to act, this could be a good time to go all in, especially when you know that your opponents always need better than average hands to call a pre-flop raise.
Conversely, should there already be a caller or two along with the blinds in the pot, you might not want to make this move. It's your object to steal the blinds, not find yourself in a heads-up situation that can knock you out of the game or tournament.
Playing Big Slick
Whether you play them suited or unsuited, in tournaments or cash games, A-K has busted out more players because of their love affair with this combo. True, you do have a 50-50 chance of winning with them, but you also have a 50-50 chance of losing.
You can turn a 50 percent chance of winning into a 75 percent chance of winning by causing an opponent with a small pocket pair to fold in fear that you're holding an over pair, assuming he is too good a player to chase and possibly get trapped.
Following are a few pointers for getting the most out of your A-K pre-flop:
Raise with your A-K but do not call an all-in raise with them.
A-K loses much of its value when opponents are short-stacked and pot-committed. So don't raise when you have these types of callers, as they may have you dominated with pocket Aces or Kings. Or they could have pocket Deuces that would also have your A-K beat pre-flop.
Realize that the size of the blinds, in relation to the size of your raise or all-in bet, has a lot to do with which pre-flop hands will call your bet. If the raise on your A-K is not greater than several times the size of the big blind, you will have callers, which is exactly what you do not want. Your object is to steal the blinds in order to build your stack, not help build your caller's stack.
Playing Heads-Up Poker
Heads-up poker, which is between two opponents only, is more about strategies than it is about your cards. So if you remember some of the following suggestions, your play should improve, as should your bankroll.
When your opponent plays tight, raise often.
Try to trap an overly aggressive opponent.
Look for discrepancies in your opponent's betting patterns. Is she a calling station? Does she raise or re-raise every pot? Then use these tells to your advantage when deciding how to play your hand.
Pay particular attention to the hands your opponents do play, and how they play their premium, middle, and low cards, and draws, before the flop.
Never underestimate the value of a check/raise. It will slow down anyone betting on the come with a drawing hand, enabling you to see free cards when you need to in future hands.
You should never approach each opponent with the same set of eyes. Making more raises when you're in position should improve your bankroll. However, if you are up against an all-in maniac, then only call their bet if you have a monster hand.
Playing in short-handed games is one of the most profitable forms of poker play for two reasons: The more seasoned players have the advantage over their opponents, and there are more hands dealt, which gives you more opportunities to increase your bankroll.
Playing short-handed can be quite profitable, but most beginners will find themselves facing an uphill battle when they try to come out ahead in short-handed games. And even though everyone gets lucky once in a while, in the long run, the more seasoned players will bankrupt the less experienced players every time.
How can I play in two games at the same time?
You can use two computers with a game on each, you can switch back and forth from one game to the other on one computer, or you can reduce the screen size of both games so that you can see them both on your computer screen side-by-side.
The reason skill is so important when playing in a short-handed game is that you will be forced to play more mediocre starting hands than you would in a ring game, where there's a player in every seat, because the blinds come around more frequently. This is where good note-taking skills and knowledge of your opponents' play come in handy, and why it is so important to observe the action of a shorthanded game to detect any player weaknesses before you click yourself into a seat.
Playing Multiple Tables
For good online poker players, the ability to play in multiple tables is an advantage that the offline player does not have. However, when you play in multiple games simultaneously, you should always be fully alert and have a solid grasp of the games that you play.
It is possible to play in three or more games but it is not recommended, as the concentration level that this would require is almost nonexistent. You will be prone to make errors that you would normally not make.
True, you can make twice, even three times, as much money when you are a winner playing in multiple games. But remember, no one's winning streak lasts forever.