Friday, December 16, 2005

Review: Poker Chips

With the Christmas season is upon us, there is little doubt that this year’s hottest gifts will be poker related. That said, I happen to have put a little time into researching one of the most popular poker-related purchases, the poker chip. There are 3 major types of poker chips: clay, composite and plastic. The weight of poker chips can range anywhere from 4 grams to 14.5 grams. They also come in thousands of styles and colors. So, with all these chips to choose from, which chips are the best?

We will start by discussing plastic chips. The plastic poker chip is generally the cheapest. I actually went to my local dollar store and picked up 100 chips for .99. The great thing about these chips is not only their price, but their ability to be replaced. It doesn’t really matter if you lose one, break one, throw one out the window or whatever, because you simply drive down to your local dollar store and buy some more. These chips also tend to be the lightest chips, averaging around 4 grams. They are generally a solid color with no patterns or chip values. Most brands come in red, white, blue and sometimes green and black. The best plastic poker chips I’ve seen are Bicycle chips. These chips generally run a few cents each and you can get the Bicycle chips for around $20 per 100-chips.

Second you have the composite chip. Now, while this type of chip is probably best for 90% of all players, there are still some things to watch out for. Most composite chips are made from a clay/plastic combination and often have a metal disk in the center (not seen to the naked eye) in order to add weight and give a chip that “casino feel”. These composite chips can range from a cheap plastic-like feel (when more plastic than clay is used in the mixture) to an almost casino-like feel (when more clay is added to the mixture). Of course, the more clay used in the making of the chip, the more expensive the chips. A great example and probably the best value of these chips are the “dice” or “suited” versions. These are probably chips you’ve seen in a home game. They usually come is sets of white, blue, red, green and black and they are ringed along the outside edge with either dice or different suits, such as spades, clubs, etc. These chips come in several weights ranging from 8 grams to 14.5 grams. The average casino chip weighs 10-grams. However, because of the metal insert, I prefer the 11.5 gram-version of the composite chip, the added weight really gives a nice sound when you splash the pot. Replacing these chips is a task, because its hard to find single chips. Even to buy a whole new set isn’t that expensive, but if you have the option, buy 600 or 700 chips instead of the standard 500, you’ll be happy you did when you start losing them. Because of the different composite mixtures, these chips can be priced anywhere from $50 to $150 for a set of 500. Ebay is a place to find some GREAT deals on these chips.

Saving the best for last, we have the all clay poker chip. Clay poker chips are, to borrow a phrase, the Cadillac of poker chips. This is what almost all casinos use and they just have a great feel. They are almost always 10grams (the official casino weight). The one downside of these chips is the price. For 500 clay poker chips, I paid almost $600. Another downside is the replacement issue. These chips usually come with custom edge spots (colored stripes that are painted on the chips). Even if you are able to find single chips, finding chips with similar edge spots is difficult. Again, buy a few more chips than you actually need, you’ll be thankful once you start losing them. The best, readily available clay poker chip is called the “horsehead” chip. This chip is generally around $1 per chip (you can see how this might get expensive). But once you play with these chips, you will never want anything else to touch your felt. Now, if you have money and want to get the absolute best, search for something called the “Tophat & Cane” chip. Its made by a company called Paulsen. Paulson only sells these chips to casinos in lots of 100,000 chips or more! They require a casino license in order to make a purchase. The result? These chips are extremely rare and extremely high quality to find in small sets. These chips weight 10 grams. Ive seen these chips sell for upwards of $3 a chip. Unfortunately, you need to take very good care of them, because if you manage to find a complete set, they are almost impossible to replace. I have a set of these chips and they are so great, the feel and the sound are so awesome, I sleep with them under my pillow. Ok, not really, but you get the point. So why do these chips come so close to the actual casino chips? That’s easy, these two chips ARE actual casino chips. Horsehead and Tophat & Cane chips are both used in hundreds, if not thousands of actual casinos across the worlds. Once you hold these chips in your hand, once you splash them into a pot, you’ll realize just what makes these chips so special. The look, the feel, the sound…nothing else even comes close. They are truly amazing.

Well, now that you know all about these chips and you are able to make a decision, how many chips are you going to buy? And what colors? For your average home game, a 500-piece set should do just fine. I recommend 250-white chips (normally $1 chips), 150-red chips (normally $5 chips) and 100-green chips (normally $25 chips). If you opt for the 750-piece or the 1000-piece sets, I would keep the ratios the same, but feel free to add some black chips (normally $100 chips) or some purple (normally $500 chips) into the mix. Ok, you’ve decided on which chips to buy, you’ve decided which colors, you’ve decided how many…now where do you get them? I will give you two resources, both of which I have used personally to buy chips. Ebay is just a great resource for buying poker chips. Often it costs more to ship the chips than it does to actually BUY the chips, because they are so cheap. Also, Kardwell is a great resource for these chips. Their website is and I have no affiliation with them, nor do I benefit from you going there. I simply recommend them as an informed consumer. Their customer service and chip selection is second to none. They even have the Paulson chips (or at least they did a year ago when I bought mine).

I hope this article was helpful and I hope it allows you to make an informed decision and make someone’s Christmas very merry, even if it’s your own J

Interview: Shawn Gundrum a.k.a. BigGunX

How do I Improve My Game: Part III
An Interview With Shawn Gundrum a.k.a. BigGunX

The one question I hear asked more than any other is “How do I improve my game?” Well, thanks to the help of Adam, Cal and Riley, three people many of you have never heard of and their internet poker forum PocketFives, I am attempting to answer that very question. Over the past few weeks, I have been fortunate enough to talk with some of the best poker players on the internet, all of whom I got to know through the PocketFives forum. I have broken the information down into a 3-part series. This is the third and final installment of that series.

BigGunX, as he is know online, is known in real life as Shawn Gundrum. Shawn is not only a great poker player, but he is a member of our nation’s armed forces as well. At 29 years old, Gundrum is one of the “old timers” as far as online poker is concerned. But his age only serves as another way he rises above other players. Gundrum has only been playing online poker since 2004, but that hasn’t stopped him from becoming one of the hottest players on the net. Although Gundrum isn’t yet ranked, it is surely because his duty to his country comes before his love of poker. He has received numerous honorable mentions, been added to more than one “player to watch” list and, no doubt, would surely be ranked if he was able to play the volume of tourneys required for that goal. Gundrum has only been playing poker for a single year, but has netted himself well into 6 figures in that time. His largest online win is an impressive $13,400, but what is really astounding is that Gundrum has won $10,000 in a single day, multiple times in his short online poker career. Sound like someone you’d want some advice from? You got it!

Gundrum describes his overall game as “Controlled aggression”. Sound familiar? This theme of controlled aggression seems to resound through all 3 of the pros in this interview series. I have broken out the tourney into early, middle and late stages and asked BigGunX to explain specifics about his play in each stage:

Early Stage- Play tight, but not too tight. See flops cheaply with low pocket pairs and suited connectors. Hitting sets and straights are a great way to chip up early in tourneys. Avoid large coinflip pots early. Allow yourself to be able to outplay your opponents later, instead of risking your chips on 50/50 shots.

Middle Stage- This is the time to accumulate as many chips as possible in order to get a nice stack for the final table.

Late Stage- First try to make the money. Not because you want to sneak in, but because once you reach the money, smaller stacks drop like flies. Take advantage of that and move up the money ladder a few notches. “My play during this stage is most dictated by my relative chip stack at the table”.

I asked Gundrum what the best hand he ever played was and, surprisingly, it was a 7-card stud hand that took place in a CASH game. “I had pocket 7’s with an Ace door card [the “door card” is the first up card you get in a 7-card stud game]. The most aggressive guy at the table was the bring in with the 3 of clubs. After some raising, we went to 4th street. My card was a King and he paired his 3 to give him an open pair. He bet, I raised, he reraised, I called. 5th street brought me a 7, giving me trips. [We both made it 4 bets], we were at endless raising since we were heads up. 6th street gave me another 7, giving me quads. I bet into him and after a lot of betting, he got all his money in the pot. This was a 10/20 game, so the pot was pretty enormous. Turns out he has quad 3’s on the first 4 cards. I put him on trips, but no way could I put the maniac on quads. Turns out it was the worst beat I’ve ever put on someone and I took down a pot of about $1300.

Hopefully, this hand and the tournament breakout gives you a good idea of how BigGunX has had so much success. I asked Gundrum if he had any advice for the players out there who want to become like him: “Take in all the information you can. I learn more and move every day just by observing and Ive continued to improve my poker skills by doing just that.” Another key ingredient to being a successful player, according to Gundrum is “play like the money isn’t important. Don’t let bad beats get you down. Of course the money is great and ultimately that’s why we play, but my game has taken off in leaps and bounds since I stopped worrying about each bad beat and [started] focusing on the bigger picture, which is improving my game daily.”

Gundrum’s greatest poker accomplishment is not what you’d expect. He says his greatest poker accomplishment is “not letting it consume me. I love the game more than anything on earth, but I also realize it’s just a game. I’ve learned how to balance my Army life, my poker life and especially my personal life. Everything in moderation is the key to success and happiness.” Wow, is all I could say to Gundrum’s response. He is a Captain in the United State Army, he is a world-class poker player and just 5 months ago, Gundrum became a father. Shawn Gundrum is poker’s equivalent to Bobby Fischer. To his opponents at the poker table, he is Iraq’s equivalent to the United States! We should all thank Gundrum for his insight here, as well as serving our country, allowing the rest of us to sit back on our laurels and play poker all day. Thank you Shawn Gundrum, God Bless America!

I hope you enjoyed my 3-part series, interviewing some of the best internet poker players in the world. I know I had a great deal of fun writing it and talking with these poker prodigies. If you would like to get in touch with me, I would love to hear your feedback on future articles, improvements or suggestions. You can private message me on, screen name Supermoves or send an email to . Thank you for the opportunity to write and I look forward to putting out future articles.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Recap of my Head's Up Tourney Win on 10/13/05

Oh man, I was so excited after my win last night I could hardly sleep. This was a few different firsts for me: My firs pokerstars win, my first heads up win, my first pocketfives open win, my first win against a field of top players. Before I recap my tourney, I want to say a few things. First, thank you to ALL of you (and there were a lot) who were railbirding cheering me on. Your support NO QUESTION helped me win. Second, what a goddamn league I run. You guys played great. Yogiblair and I (both leaguers from the beginning) almost made it heads up for the title, but we both placed in the top 3. Also, in the final 8, there were FOUR league members. I guess it made sense, since all we do for 6 hours a week is practice short handed and late stage tourney play together, but I am impressed and proud of all of you who played. Finally Id like to thank rojaz for being such a good sport. Right after I sucked out on him to win, he said congratulations and posted a very nice message in Adams thread about the win. I hope I can be so gracias when someone beats me in that manner. Thanks for being a good sport and giving me a great game!Now onto my phenominal win!!Match #1- CHOIR This guy was sitting out, so after waiting 4 or 5 hands to see if he would show up, I started playing. When it got down to where he was all in in the BB, he won 4 hands in a row..hahaha...I thought that might be a bit of!Match #2- SassierTexanDispite being extremly hot, I really just ran over her. I dont think the match lasted 10 minutes and it might have been more like 5. I was never behind and just played pure aggression. Honestly my cards in this match didnt even matter. She was nice and gracious in defeat and I just said gg and went back to playing the League tourney until my next match. Match #3- JayBizzle8This was FAR AND AWAY my toughest match. This was also where the support for you railbirds really helped (again, cant thank you enough). I started out going up a little till I took a HUGE beat with A-10 against A-9 to get down to around 3k (he had 9k at this point). I got back up to 12 and make a bad read to be back down to 2500. At this point I had pretty much resigned myself to losing the match, I even said something like "I suck, JayBizzle is going to win"...until...all you railbirds were like "dont give up super", "plenty of time sup", "you can do it sup". I then put on a fucking poker clinic. Going all in till I got back to about 5k, stole some pots up to about 7k. *EDIT* after talking to JayBizzle, he corrected me on one hand...I got all in pre with QJ and he had K-9, I caught a Q on the turn. It was only slightly worse than a coinflip, but I want to make sure I get it right!Match #4- purchasingcoOh man, I feel a little bad about this one. Not that I put a beat on him, but I was pretending that I couldnt figure out how to show my cards and I was "telling" him what I had...LOL...I was enjoying this so much, I kept it up for the rest of the tourney...LOL....again, pretty much ran this table. I think I might have lost one big pot and been down a little...but this was another fairly quick match. Match #5- Jjang84I dont really remember much about this match other than he was a really nice guy. We were joking around a lot and he kept saying "I think Im getting played here" LOL...This match took a little longer, we went back and forth We played about 15 5k pots, Id say I won 8 he won Finally I stole a REALLY big pot and put it away not long after...ggMatch#6-Darnell50This was the match I was most worried about when I saw him sit down. I knew he was a good player. I also knew I was a good player. So I adopted a slightly different strategy...I call it "fuck you". LOL...I wanted every bet I made to say "Fuck you, you wanna play, lets play" I wanted him to know that any raise he made, could make him play for all his chips. As a result, he didnt raise much preflop, maybe double the blinds. I would raise I would say 70% of the time and win. I had won so many small pots that way, that when he reraised, id move in and let him make a decision. Most of the time it was fold..haha. I was winning so many pots that I actually folded AQ once to his preflop raise because I knew I could steal 7 or 8 of the next 10 unraised or min-raised pots. I played my set of 8's (I think) beauitfully to end this *EDIT* Ok, Im a donk and get these matches mixed up a little. Apparently I ended darnell50's match when his top pair ran into my overpair of JJ...sorry of these days my memory will work..Championship Match- RojazThis one was another battle 10 or 15k pots back and fourth. Finally he had me down to like 50K to 150K for him. I battled back, literally STEALING pot after pot with raw aggression. There were 3 or 4 25k pots and one 75k pot and I won them ALL with absolutly nothing. The very last hand was where karma kicked in...even though I won, I took a HUGE bad beat against JayBizzle8 in match 3. Here I had pocket nines and raised and called a reraise preflop. The flop came blank-bank-8. I bet out, got raised, reraised, got reraised and finally moved in. Rojaz called. He had KK...a 9 came on the turn and I had won. He did laugh a little and say how bad of a beat it was, but no name calling, no screaming fit...just a little aggrivation. However, I do want to point out my thinking here. I had seen him make a big reraise with TPTK before AND I had literally been pushing him around. I thought the combination of these things would make him overplay two overcards or top pair or even an underpair like 44 or 55. Although, even if I had lost that hand, which I should have, I would have had 30K left. Even though thats a big underdog, I have to be honest, I wasnt worried. I really thought I could still win even with just 30k...all those played into my decision to go all in. Glad I did :-) Good game to everyone I played against and thank you for the opportunity. Feel free to use this thread to ask any questions about my play, Ill be happy to answer them. Thanks to the Leaugers for rooting me on and to pocketfives for having the tourney. This was great!!

Interview: Corey Cheresnick a.k.a. Muchaka

How do I Improve My Game: Part II
An Interview With Corey Cheresnick a.k.a. Muchaka

The one question I hear asked more than any other is “How do I improve my game?” Well, thanks to the help of Adam, Cal and Riley, three people many of you have never heard of and their internet poker forum PocketFives, I am attempting to answer that very question. Over the past few weeks, I have been fortunate enough to talk with some of the best poker players on the internet, all of whom I got to know through the PocketFives forum. I have broken the information down into a 3-part series. This is the second installment of that series.

Corey Cheresnick or as you may know him, “Muchaka, is a 23 year old Poker Phenom. His largest win online is $40,000 and live he has pulled down an astounding $240,000 in a single tournament. What’s so scary about that? He has only been playing poker for two years! A little piece of advice…when Muchaka enters a pot in front of you, FOLD! For the second installment of this interview series, we will delve into the strategy of Corey Cheresnick and see if we cant use some of his insight to better our own game.

When I asked Cheresnick to explain his style of play, he told me “My style is constantly changing. If you saw me play two months ago, you wouldn’t believe it was the same person playing today.” I have broken out a tourney into early, middle and late stages and asked Cheresnick to explain specifics about his play in each stage:

Early Stage- Much like GambleAB, Muchaka also elects to avoid the coinflip situations in the early stages because he feels his skills allow him to have a better shot at winning than 50/50. In fact, Cheresnick doesn’t like to be all-in early in a tourney with ANY hand. .

Middle Stage- This is where Cheresnick says he gets “very very aggressive”. If he goes broke, so be it, but he tries to come out of this stage of the tourney with a large chipstack.

Late Stage- “Tight Aggressive”. This is where you need to make crucial reads and go with them. If you have a hand and you feel it is better than your opponents, really push him.

When I asked Cheresnick what he considered to be the best hand he ever played, he told me about a hand from the Bay101 tournament, where he coincidentally finished 5th (You may remember the MU-CHA-KA, MU-CHA-KA chant from the WPT episode...yes, that was Corey Cheresnick!). With about 17 people left, Cheresnick picked up 66. He raised from late position and the Big Blind called. The flop was K-4-5 and the Big Blind check-raised. Cheresnick called and the turn was a blank (a meaningless card) and both players checked. The river paired the board with a 5, the Big Blind checked and Cheresnick bet about 70% of his remaining chips. The Big Blind went deep into thought, literally taking 10 minutes before finally folding and showing KQ. To me, this really illustrates Muchaka’s late-stage strategy. He got a read that the Big Blind was weak and could be pushed off of his hand. He was right and took down a very large pot.

After reading about this hand and the tourney breakout, you can begin to understand how Cheresnick has had so much success. Cheresnick has some advice for the new players, who strive to reach this level. First, “never get too attached to one hand. Tournaments are long and one hand will not make you a winner”. Well, except for the last hand! Secondly, “learn every style of poker, loose, aggressive, etc. Be able to master each style, then you will be able to switch gears in the middle of a tourney and more importantly be able to recognize how others are playing.” For those of you who have gotten this far and can’t wait to finish reading so you can run out and become a professional poker player, Muchaka says he actually would NOT recommend it as a profession to most people. “It takes a real special personality to be able to handle this profession” says Cheresnick, “there are plenty of players who are good enough, but don’t have the mental stability to be able to make it”. And Muchaka heeds his own advice. Still in school, I asked him if he planned to play poker for a living when he graduates, his reply? “I do not know if poker will be my full-time job, but I know it will be a big part of my life.”

To use a cliché, “the cream always rises to the top” and Corey Cheresnick has certainly proven himself to be among the cream. He estimates that he has won over $150,000 playing online alone, not counting two seats to World Poker Tour events around the world and a seat to the World Series of Poker. One thing is for sure, whether this exceptional poker player chooses to play full-time or part-time, the poker world will be sure to see lots more of Corey Cheresnick.

Interview: Aaron Bartley a.k.a. GambleAB

How do I Improve My Game: Part I
An Interview With Aaron Bartley a.k.a. GambleAB

The one question I hear asked more than any other is “How do I improve my game?” Well, thanks to the help of Adam, Cal and Riley, three people many of you have never heard of and their internet poker forum PocketFives, I am attempting to answer that very question. Over the past few weeks, I have been fortunate enough to talk with some of the best poker players on the internet, all of whom I got to know through the PocketFives forum. I have broken the information down into a 3-part series. This is the first installment of that series.

Aaron Bartley, otherwise known by his internet handle, GambleAB, is ranked as one of the top poker players on the internet. Though he is only 22 years old, when he sits at an online poker table, he is given the respect of a Doyle Brunson or a Johnny Chan. Bartley has been playing online poker for the last 2.5 years, an amazingly short period of time for his skill level. Bartley is a full-time poker player. That is to say, his sole means of income is playing poker. His largest tourney win is $142,000. Sound like someone you’d want some advice from? You got it!

Bartley describes his overall game as “Controlled aggression based on reads and feel of the table.” Well, that’s all well and good, but what does that actually mean? I have broken out the tourney into early, middle and late stages and asked Aaron to explain specifics about his play in each stage:

Early Stage- Play fairly tight, avoid large pots where you are 50/50 to win if you feel you can outplay your opponents later on, play your cards more than your opponents.

Middle Stage- This is where you try to accumulate chips, but NOT go broke. Especially in online tournaments (due to rapidly escalating blinds) it is important to reach the final table with a decent chip stack, but it is even more important to simply GET there. This is the stage in which good reads can really pay off.

Late Stage- This is where you can become more aggressive, but don’t forget your main goal, survival. If the other players are super-aggressive (raising and reraising a lot), lay low, let them bust each other out. “Most final tables have a few players that are just playing stupid, a few people that are playing smart and a few people that are playing tight. My goal is to identify who is who and exploit that knowledge.”

I asked Bartley what he felt to be the best hand he ever played and I think it really illustrates his middle-stage strategy. The hand came up during a live World Series of Poker Circuit Event. “It was on Day 2 and we were down to about 4 tables (final 18 got paid). I had a slightly below average chip stack, but [I was] still in good shape (I had just come back over the last 30 minutes from taking a bad beat and getting down to a decimated chip stack). I had a hand come down where I had AK [suited] and it got heads up with a guy preflop. Every instinct and poker ability in my body told me this guy had AQ. When the flop came down all rags, I let him take control of the betting since I felt I had the best hand. I check-called him on the flop and then check-raised him all-in on the turn and he had to put the last of his chips in. He ended up having KQ (so basically my read was perfect) and I won a huge pot to double up with Ace high. That hand let me accumulate more chips and basically propelled me to the final table, all because I had a read and stuck to it.”

Hopefully, this hand and the tournament breakout gives you a good idea of how GambleAB has had so much success. With so many new players out there, wishing they could play like Bartley, got this advice once and wishes to share it: “Practice, practice, practice…and when you’re not practicing, practice. Then practice some more. The only way you can get better at poker is to practice. Play. Think about the game at all times. When you are driving, think about hands and situations. When you’re at work, think about different players and how they play. Only by constant thought and practice can you get to a high level, especially with tournament poker.” For those of you who have gotten this far and can’t wait to finish reading so you can run out and become a professional poker player, GambleAB has a warning. “Make sure you are focused and determined enough to make a run at it. I recommend playing part-time for a while and when you can show 6-12 months of solid results, then start thinking about having poker as your only source of income.”

Its not easy to play poker for a living, but Aaron Bartley, a.k.a GambleAB, at age 22 has done just that. Aaron plays on many poker sites and even has his own avatar (the small picture that appears next to your name when playing online) on certain sites. Bartley has already been on television and can be seen daily playing online. Without a doubt we will be seeing a lot of GambleAB. Stay tuned for the next installment of this 3-part series featuring the best internet poker players in the world.

Article: 5 ways to improve your MTT game

Improving your MTT game: an article for mediocre players who want to get good!

Until recently, I considered myself to be a relatively good online poker player. I routinely made it about halfway through big tourneys, but never cashed and certainly never won any of them. I just assumed that it was bad luck. After reading this site and seeing that people can actually cash on a regular basis, I realized that I was not as good as I thought I was. I set about creating a plan for getting better. In the last month I have made 5 final tables. People were actually commenting about my play at the tables. They were saying things like “Super, nice play...whos standing in for you?” and “Super, nice chip stack, is it really you?” It is really me, my friends…and I love it. So, I decided that I would share my 5 secrets for MTT success with all of you.

#1: Tighten up- Early on in tournaments, you really should play tight. There is really just no point in being loose. Lets say you call in late position with 9-7 suited with the blinds at 5-10. The flop comes 9-7-J. You bet, get called…turn is a 2. You bet, the other guy folds and you win 60 chips. WHO CARES? You start with 1500 or 2500, 60 means nothing!! And sometimes, you’re going to bust when that other guy hits his trip deuces on the turn! At the beginning stage of the tourneys, the chips you DON’T lose are worth more than the small amount of chips you could win. Also, build a pot with your big hands. If you pick up KK when the blinds are 5-10, make it 50 to go. Someone with A-Q, or lower pocket pairs is probably going to call you. Now you have a pot worth playing for.

#2: Make Good Laydowns- I don’t mind taking stabs here and there, but don’t be afraid to laydown if you think you are beat. If you have KK and the flop is A-5-9 and you bet and someone raises…lay it down. I know its hard, but lay it down. Do NOT play trouble hands like A-9, K-10 or the like, fold those hands preflop. Another big point here is not to overvalue top pair. Say you have A-10 in the BB and the flop comes 10-5-7 and you bet the pot. Your bet gets raised or maybe there is even a reraise…your top pair is likely no good, dump it. Also, youre gut will tell you a lot. We have all just “felt like we’re beat” even though we have a good hand. If you get that feeling, fold. You’ll suprize yourself with how many times you are right. Remember, you WILL get enough good hands in the first hour of an average tourney to accumulate a good stack without playing trouble hands.

#3: Have Position- One of the most undervalued factors in the game, is position. Watch some of the top 10 players, see when they bluff, see when they play questionable hands (like Bax and his famous 97 suited) it is almost always when they have position. If I get hands like 22-88 or AJ when I am in early or middle position, 90% of the time I fold them. There are too many people left to act behind me. Also, don’t forget, if you are in late position and there are 3 or 4 limpers, a 3xBB raise isn’t likely to win you the pot. Say you pick up QQ on the button, but there are 4 limpers before you. The blinds are 20/40. 120 is probably going to get you one or 2 callers. Try making it 200 to go, likely you will win the pot right there or be up against one caller. If you do get a caller, you have position. You have the ability to see what that player does before you put any more money into the pot. That is a HUGE advantage…use it!

#4: Learn When to Raise- A good example is with something like J-10 suited. If I am on the button or the cutoff and it is folded around to me, I will often raise with J-10 suited. However, I would never call a raise with those cards. Learning when to raise and when to call a raise is a very important part of tournament strategy. You’ve all heard this: “You need a stronger hand to call a raise than you do to make a raise”. But many of us don’t follow that mantra. Also, unless you have a very good hand, most of your raises will be from positions 7-9. Poker should (to an extent) be boring. You should be folding most of the hands you get.

#5: Find a Mentor- I know this is not as easy as it sounds and I have been very lucky in this regard. Find someone who is a winning player, someone who’s game you respect. And flat out, just ask them. “Hey, would you be willing to help me with my game?” Many players, especially the good ones, are very busy. So don’t be disheartened or take it personally if they say no. I asked 6 people and only got 2 responses. But you will find someone, there are a LOT of good players on this site.

I am giving you what I never got, a guaranteed roadmap to MTT success. Follow these rules and you will improve your game, you will become a winning player. As always, I truly hope you guys found this article helpful. I get great satisfaction in knowing Ive contributed something to this community, from whom I have taken so much. GG and GL!