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Phil Hellmuth is from Madison Wisconsin which is where he got his start playing poker. The son of a university professor it was well he was a university student himself that he started to play poker. Mostly he played with his friends at school but it was just a matter of time before he moved on to the point where he started playing more serious games. Eventually he would make the decision that he was going to be a professional poker player and he would leave school to pursue his career.

It is mainly as the result of his success in tournaments that Phil Hellmuth would build his reputation as a poker player. He won the World Series of Poker main event when he was just twenty four which at the time made him the youngest winner ever, although this record has now been broken several times. It was at the WSOP that Hellmuth would find his greatest successes as he would go on to win a record eleven bracelets. Of course he has played in and won plenty of other tournaments but it is largely the WSOP that people associate Phil Hellmuth with.

Although undoubtedly one of the greatest poker players in the world Phil Hellmuth is also one of the most disliked. He tends to behave in an obnoxious manner while he is at the tables and he is certainly one of the most arrogant players on the circuit. Part of this is a deliberate strategy that is designed to throw other player off of their game. That being said it can’t all be an act, to a certain extent this is just part of his personality. While the other players may hate him the fans tend to have a different opinion and he is usually a fan favorite.

It is not just his behavior at the tables that people criticize Phil Hellmuth for. There is also a belief that he is somewhat limited as a player. The feeling is that a truly great poker player should be good at all of the variants of the game. Hellmuth is an undoubted master of Texas Hold’em, he is not however particularly good at other variants. One does however get the feeling that a lot of this criticism is because people don’t like Phil Hellmuth and not because he is wanting as a player.

One other criticism that is often leveled against Hellmuth is that he is a tournament specialist and that he is not very good in cash games. Again this is largely because of the fact that other players don’t like him personally. While it is true that most of Hellmuth’s success has been in tournaments there is not a lot of doubt that if he took cash games more seriously he would do well in them.

There is surely a science behind almost everything. Two things are essential for playing some winning poker. One you need to get a feel of the math of the cards and seconds, you need to know how your opponents are thinking how they think you are thinking.

Some tips from known behavior and management experts will not really hurt. Let us see what they say about our favorite card game:

Betting with your best and worst hands

You will rake in more cash when you know how to capitalize on the weakness and mistakes of the other poker players. The dictum is that you need to know when to play your best and worst hands.

When you play aggressive with your best hand you want your opponents to think that you have a weak hand. Play your weak cards and make them see you as a strong contender for the chips. You need to push your opponents to the wall and make them commit some mistakes which spell profit for you.

Punish your opponents when they do probability matching

Poker like other card games is a game of tendencies. Let us say you have 1 King and 3 Queens and you have to guess what you will pick next. Right now you might say definitely Q but then that is not the case in real life when there is always the tendency to pick the lone K.

You need to know what your opponent’s tendency is. You need to see what his cutoff points are or which he considers unprofitable and which he considers worth betting. You need to remember that he will not strictly stick to this cutoff and for that you can punish your opponents.

Try to open your calling range a bit and catch him when he isn’t playing his good hands much and playing his weak hands more.

Don’t ever show them what you are doing

Bad players of poker will most likely be bad players most of the time. But remember poker is all about information. Never ever give a hint what you are doing to the other players if you don’t want the chips going down the drain.

H_img_play_games_poker2When you are just starting out in poker, it can be very, very difficult for you to just keep it simple and straight-forward.  I know that I am very guilty of putting it all up front and when I first started in the game of poker, it was terrible!  However, you don’t have to do that.  You want to start in the low-limit games and make sure that you do not bid on every single hand.

Sometimes in the game of poker, you need to fold and that is something that you are going to want to keep in the back of your mind.  Too many beginning poker players just bid on everything and never fold and that can actually cost you more money in the long run.

So make sure that you just keep it very simple and I can promise that you are going to be fine and might even get good!

pokerYou’ve heard of the three R’s, right? Well, now we are going to focus on the five P’s — of poker, of course. Follow these P’s and you will be well on your way to becoming a pro.

First off and arguably most important, you need patience. Patience is necessary to win. You have to wait for good hands, you have to wait for your opponents to play, and you have to have the patience to wait when you simply do not have good cards and cannot play that hand.

You need perseverance as well. Do not give up and play your best game no matter what, no matter where you are playing.

Use psychology. Use it with yourself and your opponents. Look for their tells, remember how they played in past games.

Position is vital as well. You need to know your position at the table, and you need to know everyone else’s as well.

Last but most certainly not least, you need to practice. A lot.

bluffing 4When you are bluffing, the Turn is extremely important as well. By betting big during the turn if you have been engaging in moderate bets throughout the rest of the game, then your opponents will most likely be suitably intimidated.

You should not go too crazy, but if you really thing that, thanks to the turn, your hand will win the entire game, then you can consider first checking, and then betting madly when the River card is dealt.

Keep in mind, however, that if you have done a check before this point, your opponents may decide to call you because they suspect that you actually are bluffing. So, this should only be done if you really do think you can take the whole shebang with your hand.

Keep in mind, as well, that this strategy actually works quite well if you have been caught in a bluff before — whether accidentally or on purpose.

bluffing 3So, bluffing — when you do it is just as important as how you do it, as we saw in last week’s post. However, the strategic time described there is not the only good time to make a good bluff.

You have to remember that the betting session which follows the dealing of the River is extremely vital. Your bet then needs to be confident and powerful, because that will make it more intimidating. The same is true of the bluff at that stage of the game.

So, let’s say that the player before you puts forth a small bet. You can go big, because doing so might push that player out of the game. However, if the player before you makes a big bet, you should then call … and then you go all in. You might just have the opportunity to take down another player’s bluff with one of your own.

bluffingBluffing, when done correctly, is an art form — and as with any type of art, you have to practice your craft and hone your skills before you can ever do it perfectly. Picasso did not just start out painting abstract faces. The first time Michelangelo tried to sculpt something, it definitely did not look like the David.

Bluffing, especially, takes a lot of practice. Another step in perfecting it involves making a check when you are able to do so. It is preferably done either after the flop or after the turn. In the other round, your bet should be reasonable, not ostentatious. When you bet consistently, your opponents tend to believe that you have a solid hand. They view it as your attempt to get as many of their chips as you possibly can.

Remember, you have to be brave and ballsy to successfully carry out a great bluff, but it is possible.

bluffing-1When playing poker with any degree of skill, perfecting your bluffing technique is paramount. In real life, and real poker, bluffing is not like you see in the movies. You are not just going to pull the wool over the eyes of the other players by putting on a pair of sunglasses or wearing a perpetual scowl.

The first thing you need to do, in fact, is make note of the number of players currently active in the hand. The fewer opponents you have, the better you will be able to bluff successfully. In fact, it is ideal to bluff when only one to two players are involved.

You need to be casually, especially when you are looking at your cards. Try not to show any emotions in your expression, but do not be outlandish about it. Do not show disappointment or anger if you have bad cards; do not so elation or excitement if you have good cards.

The Gambler says: Know when to fold ’em.


Newer poker players, or simply those who may not be incredibly experienced, often make a common mistake.  Even very experienced cardsharks are prone to this mistake, if they are not playing realistically.

Play every single hand is not going to intimidate the people with whom you play.  It is not going to impress them, either.  It will make most of them sit up and take notice, but trust, that’s going to be to your detriment.  It will be to the detriment of your wallet as well.

Playing every hand is a reckless strategy.  All it’s going to do is allow other players to hone in on your weak spot.  Knowing that you never fold will give them the incentive and the opportunity to lure you into crazy bets which you cannot hope to win.

It pays to fold.  Naturally, doing it all the time creates problems of its own.  You don’t have to go overboard in either direction, you just have to be unpredictable.  Fold bad hands, feel free to fold the occasional medium hand, but only on occasion.  And, of course, you can bluff when you like.  Basically, just be sure to moderate in both directions.

barry greensteinPoker Stars is one of the most famous sites for online poker. Not only does it have the most people playing poker online, but it has some of the best. Poker Stars even has its own poker team that it endorses at major poker tournaments such as the World Series of Poker.

Chris Moneymaker is one of the most famous people on the Team Pokerstars’ poker team. He started out playing poker online with Poker Stars, and eventually made his way up to a tournament on Poker Stars that included a seat at the World Series of Poker. While this World Series of Poker tournament was his first ever, Chris won it all!

Barry Greenstein is another one of the famous players on Team Pokerstars’ poker team. Barry started out in college studying for a PhD in math, however, he also wrote software in his spare time. By 1991, Barry was making so much money from poker that he made it his full time career. Barry has gone to the World Series of Poker six times, and has won the title two times. Barry has won over six million dollars and is constantly winning more games of online poker.

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