Texas Holdem Tournament Strategy - Winning vs. Aggressive Players

Written by Rick Braddy

The Texas Hold’em poker phenomenon has takenrepparttar country by storm. There are reportedly over 100 million active poker players worldwide. Poker’s popularity is largelyrepparttar 110002 byproduct of technology and several recent trends: 1) online gaming, where players engage and socialize in real-time overrepparttar 110003 Internet, and 2)repparttar 110004 broad publicity created by high profile TV shows likerepparttar 110005 World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour.

With allrepparttar 110006 poker-mania, there’s an amazing shortage of quality information to help people learn how to play properly and become great players quickly. This isrepparttar 110007 first in a series of Texas Holdem strategy articles aimed at helping players learn how to win at Texas Hold’em poker. Tournament play is a popular, fun sport. These articles will help players understand how to approach tournaments, which differ greatly from regular “ring game” play.

This installment deals withrepparttar 110008 most-asked question: “How do I deal effectively with aggressive players?” Many players struggle against "maniacs",repparttar 110009 aggressive, wild players who play most every hand, somehow seem to pull cards out of thin air, and often manage to dominaterepparttar 110010 table.

Here's what actually happened in a recent poker tournament. I entered a tournament atrepparttar 110011 Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida, about 20 minutes from my home in South Florida. This weekly $300 entry-fee tournament fillsrepparttar 110012 poker room with 220 players every Monday night.

The blinds start at 50/100 and go up every 15 minutes. I spentrepparttar 110013 first 30 minutes just hanging out and occasionally limping in to see a flop. The reason for "treading water" was to study my opponents and their playing patterns very closely. There were a number of solid poker players, but right away I spottedrepparttar 110014 aggressive ones.

I was sitting inrepparttar 110015 middle, directly across fromrepparttar 110016 dealer. There were two "wild men" to my right. These two participated in most every hand, and agonized with themselves whenever they had to throw a hand away. This was hilarious to me, and it was also very telling. I knew these dudes were doomed fromrepparttar 110017 onset, yet they were extremely dangerous if they caught something with one of their trash hands. These types are great targets, but only when you know how to play them correctly. If you do, you’ll end up with most or all of their chips in your stack. The key is to get to their chips before someone else does.

There were some squeaky-tight and solid players, as usual. Finally, there were two other players to my left who knew one another very well and spoke what sounded like Russian. These two played very aggressively. They rarely called or checked. They would bet or raiserepparttar 110018 pot significantly, so if they played a hand, you knew they were going to bet it big and you’d better be prepared to push a bunch of your chips intorepparttar 110019 middle. As a result,repparttar 110020 table became tight overall, except for these four players who controlledrepparttar 110021 early action andrepparttar 110022 dictatedrepparttar 110023 table tempo forrepparttar 110024 first hour or so. They gambled with wanton abandon, trading chips with each other asrepparttar 110025 rest of us just observed and wished for a real hand to materialize.

It became apparent that our maniacs were playing mostly garbage hands, and using assertive chatter in an attempt to intimidate everyone. They were enjoying pushing everyone around with their aggressive betting and raising style. Humorously, they got into a number of showdowns, causing all of their trash hands to become openly exposed; e.g., 69 off-suit, Q3 suited, etc. I definitely had these guys pegged now – if only I could get a strong hand…

Later, one of my Russian "friends" came in overrepparttar 110026 top of a bet I’d placed with a huge raise, then smiled at me as he leaned his head back as if to say “Go ahead. I dare you”. My middle pair just wasn't strong enough to engage with him, but I remembered this little "lesson" and my mistake. He'd used this tactic many times againstrepparttar 110027 others and I should’ve expected it. I also realized that we had not seen any of his supposed "big hands", as he always mucked them. Whenever you see an aggressive player dominating, and then mucking all those supposed "great hands", you know you've spotted a target.

We played on, withrepparttar 110028 two maniacs to my right getting busted out byrepparttar 110029 Russian contingent. It’s been an hour and fifteen minutes - and I still haven’t seen even one decent hand yet! This is, unfortunately, typical poker.

After about an hour-and 45 minutes, I finally pick up a pair of wired 9's (99). Now I was hopingrepparttar 110030 flop would yield a set (trips). Sure enough, it came: 9, K, 5. I was elated and jumping up and down (inside). I was finally in a position to make my move, and hoped it would be against one of my aggressive Russian friends with their big stacks.

To prepare my trap, I delayed and muddled around for about ten seconds, and then casually "checked" verbally and using my hand in a chopping motion, with a slightly disgusted look. Next,repparttar 110031 younger Russian moves in with a big bet of 3,000 chips. I was sure I had him now. As expected, everyone else quickly folded and got out of his way – except me. This fellow had pushed everyone around and I was finally properly armed and ready to do battle on my own terms. Note that this had been my "battle plan" all along. I was deliberately targeting these aggressive characters, knowing that whenrepparttar 110032 time was right, their ill-gotten stacks would become mine!

The action came back around to me, so now it was justrepparttar 110033 two of us heads-up. The two Russians said something to each other thatrepparttar 110034 rest of us couldn’t decipher. I delayed and bobbed my head around as if to be struggling with my decision. Then, I motioned with both hands and uttered “I'm all-in". I knew this series of actions would likely trigger an aggressive reaction, since my “check-raise” made it appear as if I was trying to steal this pot! A check-raise almost always triggers a full-tilt response from an aggressive player.

He immediately called me - he was so aggressive (and pot-committed) that it was like a fish takingrepparttar 110035 bait and running for deep waters - hook line and sinker! I threw my pair of 9's over, revealingrepparttar 110036 trip 9's. There was a low murmur aroundrepparttar 110037 table fromrepparttar 110038 other players. My young Russian friend reluctantly flipped his five/trash hand over - he had a pair of fives (with a King over-card showing onrepparttar 110039 board!). He was definitely angling to drive me out of this pot with his ascertive play – one too many times…

You see, no one actually gets that many great hands in poker - nobody. If someone plays 30% to 40% or more ofrepparttar 110040 time, they're just "gambling" and bluffing. This guy thinks he has a "good" hand, because he actually had a real pair – something he doesn’t often have when pushing everyone around with mostly aggressive betting as his only real weapon.

Play Pool Better: Top Ten Ways to Improve your Billiards Game

Written by Reno Charlton

Billiards is an old and much loved game, particularly inrepparttar United States andrepparttar 110001 United Kingdom. This is a game that people of all ages play; evenrepparttar 110002 younger kids can play now on special child-size tables that are widely available. It is also a game that, although once more popular with men, is now keenly played by both sexes. You can play pool in all sorts of environments, from restaurants and bars to halls and homes. It is also a game that can be as relaxing or competitive as you want to make it. Some people like to enjoy a friendly game over a drink after work, others like to unwind with a few games on their home pool table, and some like to join leagues and clubs and play to win.

1. Understand billiards in general

Whether you are young or old, male or female, a relaxed player or a competitive player,repparttar 110003 chances are you want to play as well as you can. Being able to play well is all part ofrepparttar 110004 fun of playing billiards, so it is important to learnrepparttar 110005 rules and strategies ofrepparttar 110006 games you are interested in, and then try and improve your game on a continual basis. Improving your billiards game is particularly important if you want to play competitively; however, it is also important even if you enjoy friendly games – after all, it’s not much of a challenge if you can’t put up much of a fight against your opponent…plus, practicingrepparttar 110007 game is far too much fun to miss out on.

2. Practicerepparttar 110008 game

This is one ofrepparttar 110009 key aspects of improving your billiards game –repparttar 110010 importance of practice can’t be stressed enough, and many pros will tell you that getting in practice isrepparttar 110011 singularly most important part of becoming adept at billiards. Some people practice for hours each day – which, of course, is not practical for everyone. However, getting in some regular practice at your local pool hall, bar, or even inrepparttar 110012 home, can be a big help.

Having easy access isrepparttar 110013 best way to enjoy practicing this game. If you have to go torepparttar 110014 pool hall or bar, you don’t always haverepparttar 110015 energy and motivation, particularly if you have been at work all day. This could mean losing out on a lot of valuable practice. However, setting up your own billiards table at home means that you can practice at any time inrepparttar 110016 comfort of your own home. Setting up a pool table/billiards room is relatively simple and very affordable these days, and once you have your room set up you won’t have to pay for games atrepparttar 110017 bars, halls or clubs – and you can enjoy a fantastic area in which to entertain, relax – and, of course, practice.

3. Don’t forgetrepparttar 110018 cue

Your cue is a pivotal part of your billiards game – after all, you won’t get far without it! You should ensure that you buy a cue that is of good quality. However, strange as it might sound, you also need to find a cue that you can relate to. Remember when Harry Potter went to get his first wand in The Philosopher’s Stone, and he just knew when he hadrepparttar 110019 right wand? Well, this isrepparttar 110020 sort of feeling your should aim for when you buy your pool cue. Holdrepparttar 110021 cue, get a feel for it, and make sure that you are comfortable with every aspect ofrepparttar 110022 cue. Many professionals state that usingrepparttar 110023 same cue for every practice and real game is a big part of their success, and if you are going to be playing withrepparttar 110024 same cue you have to make sure that it is one you are perfectly happy with.

4. Join a league or club

You could find that joining a pool league or billiards club or team can help to improve your game. This is not only because you will be able to get in some regular practice, but also because you will have a network of support. You can pick up tips and advice from other members of your team or club, and these can really help you to improve your game. Plus taking part in friendly competitions can help to give you that competitive streak, which in itself can help you to develop and improve your game through pure motivation.

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