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Pot-Limit and No-Limit Poker
by Bob Ciaffone
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The first instructional work devoted exclusively to pot-limit and no-limit betting. The games covered include hold'em and Omaha; lowball draw; seven-card stud; and London lowball. Poker theory applicable to high -low split betting and tournament strategy are also thoroughly studied. Includes quizzes to grade the reader's progress, and a number of odds tables. The book is geared to readers who are already experienced poker players and who would like to learn more about the fascinating subject of big-bet poker, where the only limits on how much you can bet may be the number of chips in front of you and the size of your heart.
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Jackpot Sit 'n' Go Tournaments!
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Titan Poker's jackpot sit 'n' go tournaments are extremely popular and attract veteran and novice poker players alike. The tournaments start immediately when enough players join the table, and tournament winnings are distributed according to the site's regular payout structure. If a skillful player succeeds in winning the appropriate number of consecutive tournaments, he is also entitled to receive a huge jackpot prize.
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World Poker Tour Official SiteThe World Poker Tour website has poker professional bios, tournament schedules and results, television schedules, a poker store, and a link to their online poker room. Fans and players can also register to be part of the WPT community.

Some No-Limit Hold'em Tournament Hands

Here are some hands that I played in Tunica at the World Poker Open in January 2005. They have been selected for this article because I played them in an unusual manner, rather than in my more usual,Bob CiaffoneBob Ciaffone is one of America’s best-known poker players, writers, and teachers. He has numerous poker tournament wins and placings, the most prominent being third place in the 1987 World Championship. He has been a poker teacher since 1995, with his students having earned well over a million dollars in tournament play.  Bob's website is  straightforward style.

Before I discuss these hands, I would like to clarify what had happened in a Tunica hand that was discussed in one of my previous columns. My column said I was in the small blind, raised a pot preflop, and got called. Then it said I was checked to on the flop and moved in. It was graciously pointed out by a number of people that the small blind never gets checked to on the flop, because that person always acts first. In fact, I was on the button that hand. My apology.

I am a big believer in normally protecting my hand with a bet on the flop, instead of trying to be tricky. But look at how I decided to play this no-limit hold’em tournament hand. I had K-Q offsuit at a full table, with blinds of $25-$25. I started the hand with just over a grand in chips. The under-the-gun player called, I called, and three others behind me called. The small blind folded and the big blind rapped, so six of us saw the flop in a pot of $175. The flop came K J 8, which was both good and bad news for me. The good news was, I had top pair with a good kicker, which is normally a betting hand. The bad news was, there were five other players in who may well have helped, either to a made hand or a draw, because three cards in or next to the top half of the deck were on the board. The big blind and the under-the-gun player both checked, and I had to decide what to do. There was no way I could take the heat if someone raised my flop bet, and I thought it too dangerous to bet, so I also checked. The next two players after me also checked, and the button bet $125. The big blind called, the under-the-gun player folded, and once again it was up to me.

Every time the betting comes to you, it is necessary to re-evaluate the situation in light of the extra info gained. The button was a young player who had been betting aggressively, and could have had a wide range of hands here. If I called, there would be $650 in the pot and I would have about $900 left. Despite the dangerous board, the betting indicated that I may well have the best hand. Accordingly, I went all in. To my relief, the button folded without much thought, and the big blind went into the think tank. I figured he had top pair with a worse kicker and would be in bad shape if he played. Maybe he would put me on a draw for the way I had played, so I was pulling for him to play. Finally, he flashed a king and folded. I flashed him a smile, but no cards, and took the pot. I think this hand shows that each new situation should bring about a rethinking of strategy, regardless of whether you agree with the way I actually played on this occasion.

Here is another hand in which I went against my usual custom and checked the flop. In a tournament when the blinds were at the $25-$50 level, I raised from under the gun to $150 with pocket jacks. I had one caller, the small blind, so there was $350 in the pot preflop. The flop came Q-6-3 rainbow, not the best, but playable. However, when my opponent checked, I also checked. Aside from simply trying to vary my play, here is what I was thinking: If I had the best hand, he would have only five outs or fewer. If an overcard came, that would scare him more than me, inasmuch as after I had raised from under the gun and checked, he would be afraid that I had A-K.

The turn was an offsuit 8, which looked like a complete blank. He checked again, so I figured him for a small pair and bet $300. He called. The river brought a black 4, another innocuous card. He checked, and I got piggish, betting $500 with what I believed to be the best hand. This is an example of what the poker expression “bet for value” means, trying to milk an extra bet instead of just showing down a moderate hand. My opponent went into deep thought, and finally bit, throwing his chips in for a call in a resigned manner. When I showed him my jacks, he nodded his head and folded. I always feel good when I am able to extract some milk from what looks like a dry cow.

This next hand illustrates a situation that I have run into several times lately. The blinds were $200-$400 with a $50 ante at a ninehanded table. There was a lady in the game who had run her chips up to about $10,000, but had suffered a series of reversals and was now down to only $3,400. She was a solid and experienced player, although a bit straightforward, and had missed some opportunities. On this hand, she was in the cutoff seat and I was in the big blind with the K 7. Everyone folded to her and she called. The small blind also called, so there was now $1,650 in the pot, and it was up to me. I figured that if the lady did not have enough hand to bet her last 3 grand when everyone had folded to her, she would probably fold to a raise, so I popped it $3,000 more. She shrugged her shoulders and called with all of her chips; the small blind folded. We showed our hands, and she had two fives, the best hand, but only about a 53 percent favorite to win the pot, according to Poker Probe. It turns out that her fives stood up, so she got new life, and I had a serious derailment.

Do not let results obscure the truth of a situation. My preflop raise was fine, as she might not have been able to call, and I was getting sufficient pot odds on the actual hand when she did. Her play of limping in and then calling a raise was poor strategy. If she had gone all in preflop with 5-5, as she should have, she would have won the pot without a fight, rather than facing a serious chance of reporting to the rail.

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