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I was recently told about a hand played by an amateur poker player in a $500 buy-in tournament that illustrates a common mistake that many players make on a regular basis. With blinds at 1,000/2,000 with a 200 ante, everyone folded to the player on the button who called 2,000 out of his 80,000 stack. This player is known to call with a wide range from late position, hoping to flop well. The small blind, an unknown player with 50,000, also called. Our Hero, with a 30,000 stack, decided to check in the big blind with 42.

I was recently told about a hand from a $1/$1 no-limit cash game that illustrates a few mistakes that many amateur players make on a regular basis. The first two players at a nine-handed table called $1 and then the Hero in third position raised to $25 out of his $425 effective stack with 9-9.

Imagine you are at the beginning of a tournament or you have just joined a cash game. You have more than 75 big blinds effective. You raise with K-Jo on the button and the big blind calls you. The board comes 7-7-4 rainbow. The big blind checks to you. There is 6.5X in the middle. You raised 3X on the button preflop and he called. You have 72 big blinds left. What do you do?

Before we get any further, let me ask you something: How many times have you been in this situation? Hundreds of times, right?

Any time you come to a situation in poker and think, “God, I seem to always find myself in this spot,” that is a terrific situation to study.

I was recently recounted a hand from early in a $365 buy-in WSOP circuit tournament by one of my followers on twitter (@JonathanLittle). A local grinder, who generally plays a somewhat tight, aggressive strategy but is capable of playing loose at times, raised to 300 out of his 9,000 effective stack from second position at a nine-handed table. Our Hero decided to reraise to 700 from the button with A5.


Let’s talk about the decision-making process in poker. In every sport, the athlete has their technical fundamentals that they rely on during high pressure moments. In golf, it is the player’s swing. In basketball, a player’s jump shot. In swimming, it is their stroke. These technical aspects of a player’s game are constantly worked on and ingrained in their body, so they can perform under pressure. As a prime example, a golfer knows their swing so well, that they don’t even have to think about it. Their body automatically performs the swing, due to the repetition that has occurred.

I recently had the opportunity to play a $25/$50 no-limit game on Poker Night in America at Choctaw Casino in Durant Oklahoma. It was an awesome experience and a lot of fun. The table was a nice mix of amateurs and professionals and there was lots of action. About halfway through the first day of filming, I became aware that I was not playing very many pots with the amateurs, and quickly realized the obvious mistake I was making.

If you are flying from Los Angeles to New York and your plane is 1% off course, where will your plane end up? 150 miles outside of New York. You’ll be in Delaware. Let’s say you and a friend of yours are in the exact same shape physically. You have the exact same diet. You have identical weight. Identical height. Identical frames. Identical metabolism. Let’s say you start walking to work. It’s only ten or so blocks. You also just stop using certain condiments. You don’t put a spoon of sugar in your coffee. It adds up to 125 calories saved per day. Your friend, however, has a beautiful wife who takes up baking. It turns out she’s amazing at the craft. She starts feeding him some of her delicious cookies each day. He just has one cookie a day, however. He has it with his coffee each afternoon. Can you blame the guy? He starts eating 125 calories extra each day. If you and your friend both keep up your habits, in two years you will have lost 30 pounds. Your friend will have gained 30 pounds. “Life’s this game of inches, when you add up all those inches, that’s gonna make the f*****g difference between winning and losing, between living and dying” – Al Pacino, Any Given Sunday.

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.

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