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Poker in the Board Room

In early 1988, Warren Buffett wrote his annual letter to the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the multinational holding company for which he served as chairman and CEO. It was an especially tense time in the investment world, just a few months removed from the “Black Monday” crash that saw markets plunge precipitously around the world. On that day (October 19, 1987), the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 22 percent, the largest single-day decline in the history of the index.

Hand Analysis

I was recently told about a poker hand that illustrates a few key errors that many amateur players make on a regular basis. Somewhat early in a $120 buy-in tournament with blinds at 200/400 with a 50 ante, a straightforward recreational player in first position raised to 800 out of his 12,000 effective stack and the player in the cutoff, who was loose and passive, called. Hero looked down at AKand decided to 3-bet to 2,100.

Hand Analysis

I recently had the pleasure to travel to Montreal to play the World Poker Tour $1,000,000 guaranteed $5,000 buy-in event. As usual, I was playing my standard, fairly loose, aggressive strategy, which consists of raising a lot of hands preflop and making numerous small stabs postflop. There was a young Brazilian guy across the table from me who also happened to be very loose and aggressive. We had tangled a little, with me getting the best of him twice (he bet twice and I called down with middle pair both times) before this hand came up.

Hand Analysis

This is the sixth and final article in my series on playing draws. We’ve been talking specifically about flush draws and open-ended straight draws.

Finally, I want to briefly talk about backdoor draws and how even they can be critical in your decision making process.

“Maverick” (from “Poker on Television”)

As central as poker is to Old West storytelling, poker was often only a tangential (and frequently negative) element in the worlds portrayed by televised westerns….

I was recently told about a hand from a $75 buy-in poker tournament that illustrates a major mistake many recreational players make with premium, but possibly second-best, hands.

With blinds at 2,000/4,000 with a 400 ante, an unknown player in second position raised to 9,100 out of his 160,000 effective stack. The player in the hijack and cutoff seats both called, as did our Hero on the button with 87

The Limitations of Exploitative Play

I love teaching the everyman how to play poker, because I can identify with them.

Growing up, I loved competition. Unfortunately, competition didn’t love me. I wasn’t athletic enough to excel in sports. I wasn’t intelligent enough to play chess competitively, or to compete within academia. My glacially slow mind wasn’t appropriate for video games.

Simultaneously, I found real life to be mundane. I couldn’t stand school. I was bored out of my mind when I was working security, commercial fishing, landscaping, and cooking jobs.

I just wanted something to happen. Anything.

Mastering Mixed Games - an extract

The book Mastering Mixed Games is due to be published by D&B Poker in the summer. This will be the first serious book on mixed games for a long time and will be essential reading for anyone interested in these games. The variants that will be featured are: 2-7 No Limit Single Draw, 2-7 Triple Draw, Badugi, Badeucey and Badacey, Limit Hold ’em, Omaha 8 or Better, Pot Limit Omaha 8 or Better (40bb), Razz, Stud and Stud 8 or Better.

Playing Draws, Part 5

In the previous article we began to talk about playing draws in position. We decided that we would rather just call with draws when we’re in position, rather than raise with them. By doing so, we keep the stacks as deep as possible, and that allows us more creative tactics on the turn and river.

The only other thing I’ll say about playing draws in position is, always consider your opponent before deciding to bet or raise as a semi-bluff. Your opponent’s personality type should weigh heavily on that decision.

For example …


Before I start into the fourth part of my six-part series on playing draws, let’s recap what we’ve learned so far. In the first three segments we talked about playing draws out of position, and found out that:

  1. Some draws are meant to be played aggressively (e.g., check-raise with them). Some draws are meant to be played passively (e.g., check-call with them). It is not correct to randomly choose one of these approaches!
  2. When playing a draw aggressively, we want to choose the line (and bet sizing) that will maximize our fold equity.
  3. If we plan to check-raise with a draw, and our opponent is a good player, we need to be careful to make sure we have enough legitimate value check-raising hands in our range as well. Otherwise, our opponent will sniff out our semi-bluff and punish us.

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