Re-published courtesy of our content partner Ante Up Magazine.
I often see players my age crafting elaborate lines of action for the sake of balance. I would argue that balancing your perceived range of hands at $1-$2 NLHE is about as awful as it gets. The most crucial aspect of being a successful live cash-game player is betting hands for value. Sounds reasonable right?
You’d be surprised just how many low-limit players bluff way too often or miss extra bets. The primary way we make money in small games, such as $1-$2 and $1-$3 no-limit hold’em, is by betting our strong hands and getting weaker players to call with weaker hands.
I often see players my age crafting elaborate lines of action for the sake of balance. I would argue that balancing your perceived range of hands at $1-$2 NLHE is about as awful as it gets.
The reason online players balance the percentage of bluffs to strong hands in their ranges is so they won’t be exploitable when playing against good regulars. You probably won’t play the same players much if you play $1-$2 in large poker rooms. So why not just wait for a strong hand and bet it all the way against players who are going to call anyway?
Re-printed courtesy of our content partner Ante Up Magazine.
During a recent online session, I pulled the trigger on what I would call the perfect bluff.
I was in the early stages of an online tournament with blinds at 15-30 and most of the players at my table were hovering around the 3,000-chip starting stack. I had 2,950 to start the hand and my opponent was the small blind with 3,145. Normally I play a conservative, relatively tight, straightforward game in the early stages of a tournament. I will mix it up on occasion, but for the most part, nothing too fancy.
In this hand, I was in middle position with the - and raised to 75. The small blind reraised to 240 and I decided to play a pot in position. My opponent was representing a big hand, so if I happened to hit the board hard, or sense an opportunity to take the pot away by utilizing my position then I would do so. Otherwise I planned to play a small pot.
I called and the flop was --, giving me bottom pair with backdoor flush and straight draws. Not the flop I was looking for, but if my opponent had just an ace, K-K, Q-Q, J-J, 9-9 or worse, I might be able to take this pot away if he showed any weakness. If he showed any resistance I would just fold. I also started my wheels spinning on how I would play the hand if I did have the nuts and proceed from there.
My opponent checked the flop and I checked behind, as I would do whether I hit it or not. In this case, I definitely would check a super-strong hand to induce a bluff from my opponent on a later street. The turn was the and my opponent bet 250. I thought my opponent would make this bet with pretty much his entire range since I checked the flop.
Sure, he could have a monster, but I was looking for an opportunity to get to showdown if he checked the river, or represent a monster to try to take the pot away on the river if a good card came for me. So, I called.
Harrah’s Joliet could not have timed the spring 2011 opening of their World Series of Poker room any better. The Department of Justice had just shut down online poker in the US and players, like me, were left scrambling to find a place to play. For a few weeks I bounced around between The Horseshoe, Majestic Star, and Hollywood Joliet, while waiting for Harrah’s grand opening. When it did finally open its doors I was there and have been a regular ever since.
I live much closer to Joliet than Hammond, so convenience was the biggest draw to Harrah’s. Once I started playing I found many more reasons to continue. Due to its smaller size (8 tables) it is very easy for the players to get to know the staff, and vice versa. From the poker room manager, Doug Walters, down to the dealers, the number one priority has been to cater to the regular player’s needs and requests. From lowering the initial rake, to starting a weekly poker league, adding more chips to the starting stack of the tournaments, instituting tier credits for poker players (17 per hour), and most recently adding additional cash games, Harrah’s has been taking the advice of the players and changing the room accordingly since they opened their doors.
For the first few months as the room was still in its infancy, the standard games were 1-3 NL Holdem, and a nightly 3-5 NL Holdem. The 1-3 is their most popular game and most days have 2 to 3 tables running. The games play nine handed with a $100 minimum and a $300 maximum buy-in. The rake on this game is 10% with a $6 cap on a full table. If you are an early bird they reduce that rake to a $4 cap from 9am-12pm.
The following is a press release from Harrah's Joliet, received by Chicago Poker Club on Monday, May 2, 2011.
Go “All In” for the New LIVE Poker Room at Harrah’s Joliet!
Throw your chips in the pot and go “all in” for the new poker room at Harrah’s Joliet Casino & Hotel. Opening May 2nd at 10am, the poker room will offer Limit & No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em, Omaha, and Seven Card Stud.
And starting May 2nd, (through May 17th), you can play to earn entries** to win the chance to compete against poker legend Doyle Brunson and 8 other finalists. If you win, you’re going to Vegas, Baby! Plus, you’ll get $1,500 for travel expenses and a seat at the World Series of Poker Main Event**, a total value of $10,000!
In addition to earning entries through poker play, you can also get the chance to win through Facebook. “Like” Harrah’s Joliet on Facebook to download an entry form. Then, bring your form to the Total Rewards® Center and you’ll be entered in the drawing for the chance to play.**Meet poker legend Doyle Brunson on Saturday, May 21st at 5pm at Stage 151. Purchase a book beginning at 8am to receive his autograph.**
Support lung health by going all-in for Irv's Winter Warm-Up Virtual Poker Series. The event is a series of four qualifying tournaments with each prize pool featuring over $7,500.
On Thursday, October 25, 2018 Urban Prep Academies will be hosting its 12th Annual Aces Up Charity Poker Tournament, making it one of the longest running charitable poker events in Chicago. Hundreds of players will hit the felt, trying to best one another in this game of skill and chance, all vying for a piece of the prize purse valued at more than $10,000.
You can register for this the 12th Annual Aces Up Charity Poker Tournament here. Tickets for spectators can be found there as well.
Aces UP! 2017, Urban Prep’s 11th Annual Charity Poker Tournament, was held on Thursday, November 30th at The Chicago Sports Museum. With hundreds of players and spectators filling the place, and enjoying a world class buffet and open-bar, excitement and competition were at an all-time high.
Hosts Alexi Giannoulias, Richard Roeper, Chris Zorich and Urban Prep founder & CEO Tim King were back at it, adding extra energy to the night’s fun. Per usual, participating celebrities were marked men and women as bounty prizes were awarded to players for knocking them out of the tournament. These “Celebrity Bounties” fought as hard as they could, but ultimately surrendered their poker chips – and medals – to deserving competitors.
For the guests who weren’t trying their hands at poker, two new game tables were added to the mix: Blackjack and Roulette. Participants in these table games were allowed to cash their chips in for entrance into the Aces UP! 2017 raffle. The prizes included Chicago Bulls game tickets, certificates to Lettuce Entertain You restaurants, a $500 gift card and limited edition Nike basketball shoes designed specifically for Urban Prep.
There was additional pressure for the eight players who made it to the tournament’s final table, which was broadcast live online by Windy City Poker (and aired on Comcast SportsNet in 2018). They battled tirelessly for a piece of the prize pool valued at over $10,000. When the dust settled, Aces UP! 2017 champion Matt Perno was the last standing, claiming the coveted “ChampionCHIP” and earning a place on the golden Aces UP! Championship Trophy.
You are cordially invited to the Fifth annual "ALL IN FOR A CURE" Poker & Casino Night!
This special night will feature dinner, premium open bar, silent auction, charitable poker tournament and charitable casino games. The grand prize winner of the poker tournament will win a $10,000 Main Event Seat to the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas! This incredible event benefits the Chicago Diabetes Project in partnership with Special Kids Network.
When: This Saturday, September 15th, 2018
Doors open at 6:00pm
Cards Dealt at 7:15pm
Where: The Estate by Gene & Georgetti, 9421 W Higgins Rd, Rosemont, IL 60018
For more information, including registration click here.
About the Cause
Chicago Diabetes Project
Place your bet on One Step Programs as we prepare for our 2017 Charity Poker Championship on Thursday, February 23, 2017 at the Montgomery Club.
The event will host an estimated 240 poker players and more than 100 spectators. Players will compete for approximately $15,000 in prizes including the coveted Grand Prize: a seat at the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event in Las Vegas ($10,000 value) sponsored by RW Baird. Any player who knocks out one of the celebrity bounty players will also receive a $25 gift card!
Dan Bernstein from WSCR "The Score" AM 670 and a board member of the nonprofit returns as emcee for this 12th annual No-Limit Texas Hold ‘Em tournament. Players from all over the Chicagoland-area and Northwest Indiana play their best hand for an evening of poker and high stakes gambling, memorable food and drinks, prizes and of course, charity.
Player seating is limited to the first 240 players who register, so click on one of the links below to reserve your seat today!
All proceeds from the 2017 Charity Poker Championship will benefit One Step Programs (dba Children's Oncology Services, Inc.), a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for children and adolescents diagnosed with cancer. More information on our programs and the 2016 Charity Poker Championship can be found at www.onestepcamp.org.