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I was recently told about a hand from a $1/$2 no-limit cash game that illustrates two errors that many amateur players make on a regular basis. A generally tight player raised to $5 out of his $200 stack from first position at a 7-handed table. Another reasonable player called from the hijack seat (two to the right of the button). Hero called with 99 from the small blind.

In today’s article, we are going to discuss three areas where I feel weak live players are easily exploited. This article will hopefully give you three areas in your game to explore for leaks, as well as exploiting leaks in your opponents.


I was recently reviewing my hands from a recent tournament series and I spotted a hand illustrates an important concept that you must master if you want to win as much money possible from poker tournaments. This hand took place on the bubble of a $1,000 buy-in 6-handed event. My table was somewhat deep stacked, but the rest of the field was quite shallow, with the average stack being about 25 big blinds.

Athletes in all sports spend anywhere from 30-60 minutes (or more) warming up their body for competition. They do this for many reasons, but two of the most important are preventing injury and starting the competition at 100% of their ability. Now injury prevention is not a big concern in the poker world, but I am a strong believer that the second reason applies directly to poker and is often ignored. The one key difference is that poker players don’t need to warm up their body, they need to warm up their BRAIN.

Let’s put you in a situation:

You have AJ. You’re in a $530 tournament at your local Midwest casino. You’re in the big blind. You have 70 big blinds effective.

A young grinder raises from UTG+3 to 2.5X the big blind. It’s folded around to you.

He’s in his mid-20s. He’s a nice enough guy. He seems to do well in $1/$3. He’s been playing cards more lately, but he hasn’t moved up to $2/$5.

Set Learning Goals Like A Pro

Have you ever wondered if there is a best way to study all of the poker books and courses you’ve purchased in a manner that will ensure that you maximize what you learn? It turns out that there is and it hinges on your ability to set and achieve learning goals. In fact, there are numerous ways that setting proper learning goals can contribute to your success. In this article, I’m going to break them down for you and share a recipe for setting and achieving learning goals that virtually guarantees results.

Hand Analysis

While most of your profit in soft or small buy-in tournaments will come from getting full value from your strong hands, occasionally you will need to run a well-timed bluff. I played a hand in the recent $1,000 buy-in WPT side event at Borgata that illustrates this point.


This is the third part of my series on bluffing. In parts 1 and 2, we learned:

  1. Our bet size (relative to the pot size) determines how often we should be bluffing on the river.
  2. We bluff much more often on the flop, because those bluffs are mostly semi-bluffs that have equity, as opposed to pure river bluffs that have no chance of winning unless our opponent folds.
  3. On the river, we want to bluff with the absolute worst hands in our range, unless a stronger hand would block more of our opponent’s strong hands.

In this final article I want to give three practical tips to apply all of this.

The following hand took place early in Day 1 of the $3,500 buy-in Borgata Poker Open WPT main event. I was pleased to find myself at a table that should have been quite good for me because my opponents were clearly playing in a blatantly straightforward manner. Despite this, I found myself down to 24,000 from my initial 30,000 chip stack, mostly due to making a strong, but second best hands a few times in a row.


Moving up in stakes for a tournament or cash game player is often one of the most difficult things for a poker player. At higher stakes, you are faced with new, unfamiliar, opponents who are more skilled than the players at your previous stake. These two factors, unfamiliarity and skill, lead to a very challenging barrier to entry when moving up in stakes. Let’s discuss some tips that can help you move up in stakes successfully.

For this article we are going to use the example of Mike, who asked me about moving up from 2/5nl to 5/10nl.

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