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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.


Learning when to turn a made hand into a bluff is one of the most beneficial lessons for mid-stakes players. It takes study, practice and experience, but with a few key tricks you will be able to better navigate river decisions and understand when to turn your hand into a bluff.

The Poker Learning Dilemma

As a coach, teacher, and podcast creator, I am in an interesting position. I get to work with and answer questions from some of the most talented and motivated established and up and coming poker players from around the globe, and yet, I also get to see how many struggle with developing their poker expertise, reducing bad habits and consistently playing in the zone. After some amount of thought about why it is so difficult to succeed at poker, I have come up with some possible hypotheses that I think can help you guide you towards improvement.

When Should You Become a Professional Poker Player?

One of the most-asked questions I get during my morning show A Little Coffee (Mon – Fri at 9am ET) is “When should I become a professional poker player?” To hopefully avoid re-answering the same again in the future, here are my thoughts on the subject.

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