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Poker Basics – Antes and Blinds

Poker can be an extremely confusing game, especially if you’ve never played before. Try any online poker room for a first game. Before throwing yourself into the fray unprepared, there are various terms and ideas you should familiarise yourself with.

One of the most important things to be aware of is the protocol at the start of a poker game. Before the game even begins proper, prior to the first hand being dealt, players must put some money into the pot. This means that each player has something to stake before the first card has been dealt. There are two different ways in which money can be contributed, depending on the game you are playing.

If you’re playing a version of poker with what is called an ante, each and every player must contribute a certain, predetermined amount to the pot before each hand of the game. Usually this is a relatively small bet. The essential thing about the ante is that it’s not actually a bet, just a method of getting the ball rolling and the game started with money in the pot.

A blind is a forced bet made before the deal. It’s a blind bet because you haven’t yet seen a card, so you don’t know anything about the course the game may take. The standard practice for putting in blinds is that the two players who are to the left of the dealer pay them in. There are two blinds to be paid, one “little” and one “large”. The player immediately to the left of the dealer usually plays the smaller “little” blind and the player two places to the dealer’s left plays the more substantial “large” blind.

The actual amounts of both “small” and “big” blinds are predetermined before the game begins. The sum of the blinds often depends on the kind of game you’re playing and the minimum bet associated with that game. The “large” blind is usually equal to the minimum bet of the game, while the “little” blind is perhaps a half or a third of that amount.

If the minimum bet was £10, for example, the “large” blind would also be £10 while the “little” blind might be between £3 and £5. Blinds do count as a player’s first bet, which means that in the first round of betting in these kinds of games no one can “check” out, everyone has to place a bet.

Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino Tournament

Well, the good news is that I made it to the final table and I’ll be on ESPN. The bad news is that I finished ninth. Even though it stings a little, I’m happy because once I made it to the final table, I played as well as I possibly could. The thing that hurts is knowing that if I’d accumulated some chips, I could’ve taken everyone there.

I truly felt that I was the best holdem player at the table (of course, I’m sure we all felt that way).

I think all three hands I participated in will probably make it to TV. Out of about 40 hands, I folded 37 times and played just three. I took a flop with 3-3 in the small blind position. The flop was A-10-2 and I folded. (This was a really big pot, but I’ll let you wait for the telecast to see what happened).

I was then blinded away down to 10,000 (the blinds were 5,000-10,000 and I started the final table with only 61,000 in chips) when I picked up pocket eights. I moved all-in and the small blind called. When the board finished 10-5-2-10-K, I tripled up and had 30,000 in front of me.

Later on, under the gun, I picked up kings. I made it 20,000. The player after me made it 30,000. The small blind called, and then the big blind called. Not exactly what I was hoping for, but I did have a chance to quadruple up. The flop came 8-5-2. Not too bad, I felt. The small blind fired out, followed by a couple of calls (I was all-in). I didn’t like the fact that everyone was in, but still felt I had the best hand.

The turn was a 10. Bet, call, call. The river was a seven, putting three hearts on the board (the flop had two hearts). I didn’t love this river card, but thought I had a chance when the betting went bet-fold-fold. I was hoping that the small blind had J-J or Q-Q. He had 10-10. He turned a set of tens and that was all she wrote. I finished in ninth place and picked up $28,950.

It’s painful because I know if my kings had held up, I would’ve had some ammo and could have done some damage (as well as at least move up a few spots and pick up $100,000+ in prize money), but what can you do? Even if I had a huge supply of chips for that hand, I’d probably go broke anyway because I’d be unable to get away from the kings.

My goal from the outset was to at least make a final table, which, amazingly, has been accomplished already. I guess I’ll now have to adjust my goal and set my sights a little higher — I would like to win one of these events and bring home a bracelet!

I’m taking a two-day hiatus from poker because I’m exhausted. I think I’ll take another crack at the 80-160 game at the Bellagio on Thursday. Then, on Friday, I’ll play my next tournament. I was originally planning to play in tomorrow’s event, which also happens to be a six-player-max-table no-limit tourney (I would love to try that), but I’m emotionally and physically drained, I need some cheap nutritional supplements to overcome my descent.

I’d also like to compete for the Toyota WSOP Player of the Year title, if possible, and entering as many events as you can helps, but I’m just not up to it. My plan is to go to the Bellagio to play in the cash game and try to win buy-in money for the next WSOP event.

I’m up around $30,000 for the trip so far and it would be nice if the money I set aside to enter these tournaments could stay untouched. My new formula for success: play cash games for buy-in money, then make real money in the events themselves.

Results as Reported on


SEAT 1: Wing Wong 54,000
SEAT 2: Eric Froehlich 192,000
SEAT 3: Jason Steinhorn 207,000
SEAT 4: Christian Van Hees 175,000
SEAT 5: Brian Mogelefsky 61,000
SEAT 6: Todd Witteles 134,000
SEAT 7: Peter Costa 153,000
SEAT 8: Zelong Dong 166,000
SEAT 9: Devon Armstrong 209,000
SEAT 10: Adam Hersh 248,000

Players were eliminated as follows:

9th Place – Brian Mogelefsky took a tough beat when he was dealt K-K against Jason Steinhorn’s 10-10. All of Mogelefsky’s chips were in the pot after the flop and it looked as if the 27-year-old New Yorker might double up. But a 10 on the turn gave Steinhorn a set, and poisoned the pocket kings. Mogelefsky earned $28,950.

Some poker tips

poker playerWe’ve had a lot of discussions about the WSOP lately and how some believe the format should be changed to a league or ranking system for qualification. We aren’t disputing that whoever lifts this title this year will be a good poker player however do you agree that with more and more participants every year, luck is going to play a bigger part in deciding who wins it. What are your views on this?

A lot of the appeal of the World Series of Poker is that anybody can win. If there was a ranking system, the event would not be the same. Luck is a factor in tournaments and it always will be. I can not think of one champion who did not get lucky a few times in their road to victory.

How do you manage to concentrate 8 hours a day on odds, your opponents, the cards, with the least distraction possible? Focus is one of the most important characteristics a successful player should have. It is a struggle for me to pay attention, but I do what I can to keep myself in the game at all times. If my mind starts to wander, I remind myself how important it is to pay attention. Once in awhile, I have to get up and take a walk. A ten minute break from the table can do wonders.

When you were rising up through the ranks of poker, who was your inspiration? There are a few tournament poker players that are great. Phil Ivey, Ted Forrest, Daniel Negraneu are just a few of them. I might like a move they made in a certain situation, but I wouldn’t say that any of them inspire me. I am inspired by my best friend and mentor. Many people might not even know his name, but he is the most well rounded poker player I know. He knows how to play all the games well, but more importantly, he knows what it takes to be a great poker player. He knows that it is what you do when you are away from the table that sets you apart from the other players. He taught me how to manage my bankroll, what I should do to prepare for a tournament, and how it is not about the “big score.” He taught me the valuable lessons that you don’t see on television.

Some like to have players that don’t know much about smart play at the tables because they are easy money. Some think that people who play too reckless ruin the game because they can hit with rags that you could never put them on. And when reckless people travel in packs you have no shot. If you were at a table with 9 seats, of the 8 remaining seats how many would you have that play smart and how many would you have that play reckless?

I would sit at a table with eight people who are reckless. If there are only two people who play badly on your table, then the six remaining players usually split up the two people’s money. If there are eight idiots at the table, then the money is yours for the taking. I know the dynamics of the games will change and it will be frustrating, but if you could sit in a game with eight clowns every time you play poker, you should make a bundle.

Do you often run into situations where men either think they can roll over you and not take you seriously, or don’t even want you at their tables? Absolutely, but it works to my advantage most of the time. When I first started playing poker, I used to use the “woman” thing all the time. I would be able to pick up extra bets in a variety of ways. Sometimes, a player might want to run over the “girl” and they would play recklessly. Another player might be the gentleman type and check a hand that they should bet. All the bets added up to extra money earned. Things have calmed down a bit because a lot of players know who I am, but once in awhile I still get an extra bet.

Position In Texas Holdem Poker

In this article you will find tips and tricks about Texas Holdem and how to use Position In Texas Holdem Poker to make money. If you are dreaming of playing in a big money tournament then this is a good place to start.

Holdem Poker Position

Playing online can sort of distort the picture for you. For one thing it makes position on the table seem to be more of a minor thing than it really is. The play moves way too fast at times and they give you buttons to click so that you can automatically call or raise a bet. It is of course to their advantage to move the game along as fast as they can. They make their money on the pot rake.

Notice when you play online that the dealer has a slot next to his right hand. The money that accumulates there is the pot rake. Of course, in a play money game it does not cost you anything to play. In a game played for real money it is a factor and should be taken into account. The fewer hands that you play, the less you pay.

If you are under the gun you cannot play tight enough. In fact action from a player in the first or second position to play can scare money out of the pot. If you have flopped the nut hand this position will allow you to sandbag (trap) other players into betting into you. Let them do all the betting and raising until the field has thinned. Then fall upon your opponents like ten thousand avenging angels.

Your position changes with each deal of the cards. Your betting strategy should also change with each change of position. Divide the table into thirds. If you are in the first third of players you are in early position. The second third you are in middle position. In late position you have the advantage and the information from all the players who have acted before you.

Imagine that you have pocket aces and you are on the button (the dealer): you are the last to act. You know that you have the best hand possible before the flop. Always raise. The odds that you flop a set (Three Aces) are 8.2 to 1. A full house 135 to 1 or four of a kind 407 to 1.

Now suppose that you have the pocket aces but you are first to act. Things have changed because of your position. You have no idea what the other players at the table are going to do and thus no indication of their hand strength. The pocket aces are fantastic before the flop but after the flop things can change dramatically.

In the middle position you have some information from the poker players who have acted before you but there are still at least a third more who have yet to act.

Playing Texas Hold Em Online

This article will help you make the jump from playing at home to playing online less daunting. If you have any questions which are not addressed here please let us know in the comments.


Poker companies offer a variety of methods to deposit to your account. We personally recommend credit cards or bank transfers as deposits and withdrawels are very quick and it is one of the most robust online payment systems. However, it is important to find a method that suits you and your needs. You will find a list of the most common depositing options below.

It’s worth nothing that a lot of poker companies will charge for certain payment methods and may also offer special bonuses for depositing using their preffered payment method.

Finding the Right Poker Site

Here is what we consider to be the most important factors when choosing which poker software to download:

Quality of Support – Most of the larger poker companies have great customer support however that is not to say smaller sites can’t compete. If you are curious about the support a specific poker company offers please ask in the comments.
How good is their bonus? – Nearly all poker companies offer sign up and deposit bonuses to entice you to play at their site. Remember to read the bonus terms of any site you download. It’s sometimes hard to quantify how good a given site’s bonus is, however the general consensus is the easier the bonus is to clear the better it is. A 1000% bonus is not so great if it takes 2 months of playing there to clear it.
Do their games suit you? – It’s important to find a poker site which has games and limits to suit the games you want to play. Some sites lowest limit games are 1 dollar whilst others are 1 cent. Remember, you can download any poker sites software without depositing so you can see if the site suits you. This also allows you to check how busy the tables are. You dont want to deposit money at a site where you have to wait ages for tournaments to fill up.
Integrity – More and more poker companies are springing up every month. The choice for players is getting better though we still strongly recommend playing at poker sites which look after their members. Be it through bonuses, customer care or responding to collusion issues.

Who we Recommend

PokerStars – Home of many WSOP main event champions, PokerStars has gained a reputation for being one of the best poker sites on the web. Support is great, there are loads of games to choose from and the majority of the time the site has over 100,000 players on. Recommended.

Party Poker – They launched at the start of online poker with a bang boasting one of the best poker software on the net which was way ahead of a lot of sites at the time. Since then it has continued to grow and more recently it has seen the number of players increase a lot. We have been having games with them for years and can recommend them from our own experience there.

Carbon Poker – Carbon is one our favourite sites. Their software has many great features including tagging players using color codes and adding notes to players. Their software is the best ‘mac friendly’ poker site out there and its even possible to play online without downloading anything. For new players their 100% sign up bonus and freerolls for new players should be enough to please most.

Gain an Advantage over other players!

There are dozens of poker applications available which can be used to track your stats, improve your game and give you odds whilst actually playing online. Our personal favourite is PokerTracker. Poker Tracker is a Windows based computer program that allows you to analyze your on-line Texas Hold’Em play. Poker Tracker stores and summarizes hand history data that can be downloaded from your poker site. Currently sold for $55, you can find it for $40.

Playing your hole cards

Playing your hole cards can be a real trial especially if they are a pocket pair. Pocket Aces are the real killer. They just look so damn pretty when you play No Limit Texas Holdem.

I was playing Texas Holdem online this morning. A free game just to while away some time until my buddy picked me up to go to the casino. For some reason I kept getting pocket pairs. First it was a pair of Deuces. The flop came 8d,Ah,8s which gave me two pair Eight’s and Twos. Losers.

A couple of hands later I drew pocket Aces. I did not improve until the river when an eight was paired on the board giving me Aces and Eight’s. Losers.

It went on like that through Pocket Jacks, Pocket Tens, and Pocket Aces again. Losers all. Most of the time I would see the flop and drop the pocket pairs like hot rocks. The trouble with pocket pairs is that they look so good before the flop. Especially pocket Aces. But after the flop they are most likely beat if you did not catch the set. The temptation to follow the pocket Aces all the way to the river can be overwhelming, at times. The times, especially if you have been throwing away hand after hand. Sometimes you just have to mentally slap yourself to bring you back on track. Make a play plan, and stick to it.

You should know that if you do not have a hand after the flop that most of the times you should not be in the game.Muck your cards and stare at the cocktail waitress. If you have not flopped a set with you pocket pair it is most likely a losing hand. If you see a pair flop and you have two pair you might as well figure that someone else has three of a kind. What are the odds that you are going to fill the full house? Not good. Muck your cards.

The real clincher came when I was dealt Pocket Kings when I was in the dealer position. I had it all. The second highest pair. The position to see what the competition was going to do before I acted, and enough of a chip stack to run a semi-bluff. The flop came. 10d,Jh,2s. I had the second highest pair, no chance of any flush, and a double inside straight draw. Three players were left in the game and both checked to me. I bet.

An Ace rolled over on the turn. Now I was faced with an over card, an inside straight draw and two players who had hung on through every bet. They checked to me. I had the feeling that my semi-bluff would be called by both of them and there was a good possibility that I was being slow played by at least one of them. I checked. A King was rolled over on the river giving me the set, finally. The idea nagged at me that I was playing against pocket Aces that had made his set on the turn. Glaring in my face was the real possibility that at least one of them had the nut straight. But no I was fine, for once.