Archive for December, 2010

Being able to figure out what kind of poker hand your opponent has is the difference between winning and losing in poker. You usually make a guess based on previous behavior, how much aggression your opponent has shown so far, the position your opponent is in (acting first is a huge disadvantage) and so on.

Starting Hand Chart (Courtesy of pokerGTA.com)

If you make no estimate what kind of poker  hand your opponent has, you can only reason in three ways:
a) You assume he always has the best poker hand. So you throw away your hand.
b) You assume he always has the worst hand. So you put your chips in.
c) You bet big if you have good cards, and you throw your cards away when your cards are lousy.
Clearly (a) and (b) are bad strategies.

The last strategy is not as bad as the other two, but still terrible. More often than not your cards are bad. So your opponent will figure out you’re not willing to make large bets with lousy cards, so every time you don’t bet, he will, and every time you bet, he won’t. You’re going to lose your chips that way. This is basic game theory.

So you need to figure out what cards he could have been dealt so that his actions make sense. Then, from that range of plausible cards, figure out how often he has a better hand than you do. If you like your odds, you put your chips in. Otherwise, you throw your cards away.

It’s a lot more complex than this, of course. But the point is that “estimating your opponent’s hands”, as difficult as it may be, is absolutely crucial if you want to win.

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Different players think of different levels.

A beginner will primarily focus on what his own cards are. An intermediate will focus on what his opponent’s cards are. A more advanced player will focus on what his opponent thinks his cards are and so on. The best poker players in the world are experts at figuring out which level you’re thinking on so they can think one level beyond you.

Once you estimate your opponent’s range based on his style, the cards, his previous actions, etc, you need to know what to do with that information. There are dozens of online poker software specially designed to help with the second part.

Estimating your opponent’s hands I assume means guessing what range of holdings he would play that way. For instance, if a tight player raises under the gun, you can narrow down his hands to just a few. It has immense value; in fact, it’s the hardest part of the game. Figuring out what to do once you’ve estimated someone’s hand is (with a little practice and the help of a good computer program) pretty easy.

The entire game is one big war to see who can estimate his opponents’ hands the best, while preventing his opponents from doing the same to him.

Aren’t online gambling sites some of the biggest spenders on online ad sales? With revenue of $1+ billion per year, I think a good chunk of that must go to lead generation. Poker advertising is now cache.

In some businesses, there simply is no other way. For example, recently I heard from some online dating services that they really boil down to the hard calculation of “how expensive is it to convert a user we bought with advertising”. Like, if they raise their conversion rates, they can afford more advertising, and so on. Sure, maybe sometimes there will be a “hit dating service” that spreads through word of mouth, but the others seem to do OK, too.
Poker Ranking
Especially in the world of Online Poker it seems advertising is huge! It IS! Big budgets are the current hot flavor for poker advertising.

I used to be all negative about advertising, but I changed my attitude since I realized that nature itself relies heavily on advertising. A beautiful flower is advertising, too. Even a flower has to announce “I am here” with colors and scents. Maybe in some cases a “social recommendation mechanism” is also at work (like the bees who inform other bees about food sources), but without such a mechanism, how are your clients going to discover you? And even if you can be successful without advertising, it seems a bit silly to be against it. If you know that by investing 100000$ in advertising, you can earn another 1000000$ in revenue, why would you not do it? With the advent of televised slick commercials, poker advertising took on a totally new look. You are sure to be sucked in to visit and try a hand or two after seeing one of those fulltilt pokerpro commercials on television or some of those humorous storyline poker advertisements from partygaming.

To all poker players the message goes out loud and clear: play poker on those sites that advertise the most! Poker advertising pays super rich dividends indeed.

Well, being a fairly new industry, the online poker industry rakes in the moolah the more money they pump into ads. It’s silly at face value making the user look like an idiot, yet it’s not consumer goods, it’s internet poker!

Hence, moral of the story: If you’re spending more on poker advertising, you must have something really good going for you.

I see zillions of articles and claims aimed at branding internet gaming as an addiction. For example, figure this: Around 1 million South Korean gamers are suffering from serious addiction that brings them to neglect eating, bathing, skipping school and even quitting their jobs. Last year saw at least 7 people dropping dead after playing too many games for too long a stretch. Talk about playing hard unto the death!online gambling addiction

Talk about being stupid!

With the evolution of internet technology, people are presented with new mode of entertainment all aiming for fun and relaxation: online games. If you are sick with your monotonous life all you have to do is visit the different gaming sites on the internet. Then, again you are asked to fear the addiction it may bring in, conveniently forgetting that to play or not to play is a matter of choice and you are in control of your own mind.

Most internet games are easy to get “hooked on” once you start playing them and they are also popular since they maintain great quality and content, thus providing endless hours of fun, entertainment and growth whether you play them by yourself or with family and friends. It also gives you a connecting experience with others.
internet gambling

From a global point of view, the Internet has become like a living organism that hosts many online systems. Boundaries drawn by geography, economy, culture, degrees of education and family traditions have largely disappeared. Everyone with a computer or a laptop and an internet connection can take part in the experience. Online gaming communities are becoming huge playing fields for social interaction. When gamers send messages to other gamers, they are free to exchange email addresses and meet beyond the gaming community. Communities have become an extension, a new medium of human touch – interesting and educational. When such interactive communities form, a semantic world of sharing knowledge, solving problems, working as a team, playing, building, quarreling, cooperating, planning and forming relationships develop. It can all be classified under “fun” and “recreation”.

Gambling AddictionBeing addictive to something would be in many contexts to describe an obsession, compulsion, or excessive psychological dependence on something, such as: drug addiction or alcoholism.

I believe that any “activity” can never be at fault. How could it? It is inanimate, without any consciousness of its own! It is the person partaking in the activity who is responsible. An online casino, a top internet poker room or online games are invented by us for our pleasure, for our recreation for spending some time and money in a healthy pursuit – not a means to blow up your college education. As long as online games are played for fun and entertainment and even as a profession, it cannot be an addiction. Like in everything else, pleasure derived from any online gaming activity is desirable, not addictive.

Yet, when it is a recreational activity, it should occupy only the time slot meant for your recreational activities, not overlap your productivity or your rest.

This, is the golden rule!

No, I’m not referring to a new shooting angle with my webcam here; nor am I talking about shooting at the nearest shooting range; nor about pool playing angles; I am talking about that set of actions undertaken by clever cheats which occupy a strange gray area in the game of poker.

Angle shooting is engaging in actions that may technically be within the scope of the rules of the game, but that are considered unethical or unfair to exploit or take advantage of another player. For example, an angle shooter might motion as if he were folding his hand to induce other players to fold theirs out of turn.

Angle Shooting

Angle Shooting Like the time when I was playing this online poker tourney where there were these two players who were taking 20-30 seconds every time it was their turn to play. They did it every single time as if they were in cahoots. One of them was continuously chatting in some foreign language and the other was constantly aiming abuse at the pot-winning participant, including me. Is the slow playing taking it away from me, I wondered….I figured the only advantage he was getting was by aggravating and angering everyone on the table and put a couple of them on tilt even.

Look at another setting: Arin, my friend, was at a showdown and this guy deliberately miscalls his hand – probably with the intention of influencing Arin who may have had a better hand, to muck! I mean, Arin had top pair, and Mr. Miscaller very likely had a lower pair, but he declares on the chat, “I have the straight”

Arin folds in anger and frustration. The whole table realized that Mr. Miscaller was lying but it was no use – Arin had folded a winner, the angle shooter guy took the nice big pot!

Yet another form of angle shooting which is pretty exclusive to online poker is to abuse the disconnect protection (DP) rules most internet poker sites have in place. Disconnect Protection is a rule exclusive to online poker rooms whereby if a player is disconnected from the site in the middle of the hand his hand is played out as if he were all-in without the player actually having to put any more money in the pot. The online poker rooms that offer DP usually have specific tables set aside for this so that all players at the table are aware that the special DP rules will apply. How this is used by angle shooters is if a player is in a hand that he is unsure if he has the best cards and doesn’t want to invest any more money to find out. He can unplug his internet connection and then wait for the hand to play itself out. On a DP table the remaining cards in the hand would be dealt and the pot would be awarded to the player with the best cards. If there were multiple opponents in the hand then he would be eligible for a side pot, of course!Poker Cheating Device

Angle shooting is done to manipulate your opponents and gain an unfair edge in the game. And they are mostly lacking in evidence since the intention can never be proved and the defaulter can get away with it pretending or claiming that it was a legit error. Make sure that you observe and mark the pattern of such angle shooters clearly. You will find that inadvertently they will repeat their tactics and then you have them. File a complaint with the online poker site that you are playing on, or stay away from these compulsive cheaters.

There is no stopping the cheater who wants to have a go at his techniques – he will constantly re-invent himself and try staying a step ahead of normal honest players. Like the old poker story goes: “Stop cheating!” the dealer told the poker player. “I’m not!” claimed the player. “You must be,” said the dealer. “That is not the poker hand that I dealt you.”

Poker Metagaming

Posted: December 21, 2010 in Poker Software
Tags: ,

Imagine a game outside the game – The Metagame!

It’s a concept that exists for all competitive games, and can hardly be defined in one sentence. For the sake of simplicity, the Metagame is a collection of strategies in common use pertaining to HOW everyone ELSE is playing.

Clearly every game requires some quantity of real-world time, but there is a great difference between, for instance, chess and The World of Warcraft. In chess, total skill will win a game. That game skill was developed through real time investment (real time -à game skill), but the skill is independent of the game. You don’t have to play ChessZone for 100s of hours to be good at ChessZone. You just have to play chess.

Poker MetagameSo what is a Metagame? It can be defined as “the SUM of everything that you know about the other players, and everything they know about you.” Applied to poker, when you are metagaming, the objective is to look beyond individual hands and attend to the overall structural features of the game involving such concepts as table image, table presence and how they change over time. Something that doesn’t hit your brain the very first few rounds of trying to understand the concept!

Look at it this way, to make it simpler: the cards, positions and your opponents are but parts of a single situation. When you play the “meta” game part of poker, for instance, you are also trying to do things that will have an impact on the larger framework.

A heady combination of psychology and statistics are involved in the metagame behind Poker, especially in the popular poker variation of Texas Hold ‘Em. In the film Casino Royale for instance, is shown a lot of the strategy of reading your opponents and playing statistics; and playing your opponent based on your knowledge that they too know the psychology and the statistics. The metagame behind poker is interesting indeed and a great concept to learn and master – you’ll virtually become unassailable!

Practically speaking, you are playing to make money online playing poker and you can “establish a table image” by playing with a style that will reflect your personality and your risk approach. Remember that while you are doing this, your smart opponents will begin reacting to you thus minimizing whatever advantages you had established. How do you act to this? You should ADJUST! If you’ve been aggressive, loosen up a bit. If you’ve been bluffing in between, now cut back and play only solid hands. Balance your play. Make sure you pay attention to the simple features of the game as to how a game changes over sessions, timings and venues. Your image will be established over a period of time and you have to make certain that it is riddled with question marks, a mystery figure not entirely decipherable! 🙂


Metagame ClockLearning the metagame of poker can be a turning point for your internet poker play in several ways. Young, aggressive, online-trained players can make themselves known in live games around the world within months. As a case study, note this: the metagame of poker has actually now completely shifted focus and all players, both live and online, are today dealing with an extremely high level of belligerence and aggression.

The best thing we, as players, can do now is stay ahead of the information curve. If you were an information seeker before, seek more information now. If you have not been an avid reader, now is a good time to begin. Learn more, each passing day, if winning is the motive.

Get going on mission: Poker Metagaming. It’s a given that a man with money is no match against a man on a mission. So there!

The Poker Family

Posted: December 20, 2010 in Poker Strategy
Tags: ,

The poker community is well knit. They are affectionate and respect each other without intruding on anyone’s space. The best part about it is that in no time you can find yourself to be one of them. Once the game sets into rhythm, you will find yourself discussing a good hand, or chuckle about nuts in the chat, consoling someone over the disastrous flop or river and evolving wicked deceptive tells only to cool down with a mug of beer later on. The game is intoxicating and rewards well! The Poker Family

A classic example of an ideal Poker Family is Robert Border & Co i.e. Robbie, Angie (his wife) and baby Boo (their now 17 year old starlet Britney). Robbie and Angie met at the tables itself! They are extremely committed towards their family. They discuss the game well amongst them and always encourage each other in their individual endeavors. Not surprisingly, poker runs in Boo’s veins…literally. Robbie told me of this incident where once he was teaching Britney a few card tricks while she was just about 7-8. Robbie was with none other than Doyle Brunson then! Robbie had to leave for an urgent phone call and kept his real money play window open which became Boo’s playground. She started playing as daddy had taught not aware of the sharks around. The money at stake was close to $3k! Robbie came just in time to save the hand digging into his pocket 😉

However; he did not lose his cool and calmly explained in a child’s language the potential consequences. Such patience…next time you knock at this particular door be sure to put your best shoes on. The poker community is a great place to be; what you give is what you get, same as everywhere else; only more so.

Well, poker has been popular for over a century. Texas Hold’em has a lot more cache due to having relatively (for poker) low variance, yet still enough that any clown can win. It’s got faster action than anything but a craps table. It takes only a few minutes to learn and can never truly be mastered. It’s still got that kinda seedy feel to it. High school kids think a top poker pro is on level with a rock star or pro athlete (I know because I know a few myself!).Televised Poker

I think TV ratings have come down a bit, but I’m pretty sure it’ll be around for a while. I wish other games like pot limit omaha and badugi were more camera friendly, as they’re a lot more skill intensive.

The recent success of TV poker shows has been attributed to two developments: the “lipstick” spy-cams that provide behind-the-scenes access to players’ cards, and the proliferation of satellite games both online and offline that offer amateurs and unknowns an inexpensive, long-shot bid for a hot tournament seat.

An episode of the Travel Channel’s World Poker Tour, for instance, featured a section on poker fans who staked their satellite buy-ins into lottery-sized cash prizes, prompting host Shana Hiatt to observe that, “Playing poker can be a dream come true for anyone.” You bet it can!

Here’s the deal: the trade-off of the zero-sum wager; the sensational pleasure in the prospect of a large payoff for the few in exchange for the willing sacrifices of the many, fits neatly with the current global popular fiscal policy, its swagger, and its bluff-and-guts political strategies.

It is so much fun playing poker online on your laptop or your desktop within the relaxed atmosphere of your home, it also is good learning to understand a little bit how they make it work. Every online gaming company builds its software within a planned system structure.

The poker software architecture of a program or computing system is the structure or structures of the system, which comprise software components, the externally visible properties of those components, and the relationships between them.

For laymen like us, I thought that it might be difficult understanding what poker architecture actually entails, so when I joined Cybertech, I spent quite a few days with our company programmers and got a lot of inputs from them. I found that once I understood the basics, it was pretty interesting how our programmers plan, design and monitor the system poker architecture for the poker games that our company builds.

Poker architecture is designed by our programmers with the following goals:

a. Bug-free and high speed game play, providing a great play experience to the user.

b. Dynamic scalability, wherein augmenting the capability of the system without disturbing the already running components of the systems.

c. Dynamic configuration, wherein the behavior of the system should be able to re-configure dynamically.

d. Availability of games and services all the time by having redundancies and backups for each and every sub-system.

e. Simultaneous multiple games, where the user should be able to play multiple games simultaneously.

f. Varied types of games, like holdem, Omaha, Omaha hi/lo, 7 stud, 7 stud hi/lo, heads-up, single and multi table tournaments, no-limit, pot-limit etc.,

g. Persistence of the Game, in case of unintended disconnection, the client should be able to reconnect to the game(s) within 30 seconds. If he connects, he should be able to continue from the point where he left.

h. Transparent and seamless Payment system integration, to spare user from knowing the Payment system account.

A high level System Poker architecture includes the following major sub-systems:

1. Game Client (Download)

2. Game Server(s)

3. Directory Service

4. Database

5. Payment system

6. Mail System

7. Report System

8. Live Floor Person

9. Admin Control

10. Fraud and Collusion Control.

11. Game Logs

A complete and comprehensive security system including a system for prevention of DDoS attacks is an imperative as well. The following diagram I’ve inserted sort of depicts the high level diagram of a typical Poker architecture System:

Poker Architecture

Fig.1 Poker Architecture

In my dealings with customers for our company products, I am often asked what architecture or platforms our poker products are built on and support, and after regular meetings with our software programmers, I can today safely say that I can answer quite a few queries without batting an eyelid. Since I cannot make this a long winded post and bore my readers with lots of technicalities, I’d like to end by stating that the right poker architecture is the basic building block of the entire software suite which takes years to build.

With the right poker architecture, you’re halfway home 🙂

The chips are used in place of the notes to play games like poker and casino gaming. These chips are available in sports shops option to play at home and in clubs. Although these chips are common these days in different stores, the chips used in casinos can be regarded as sacred. Each casino has its own type of chip clear. The people who run casinos religiously guard chip thefts. Moreover, they see building measures in order to duplicate the chip to enter the land-based casinos. They have to do, because these casinos chips, money and the business model focus on these chips casinos.

But there is not much security concerns and money troubles when poker chips are bought for home use. Several varieties of poker chip set are available in stores that sell sports goods. Generally, poker chips for home use come in basic colors like red, white, blue, green, and black. Generally, each color specifies a particular amount of money. Nowadays one can order customized poker chips that can contain even one’s own name or family name. Normally, the price of such specially designed chips is higher than that of normal chip sets.

But otherwise the price of the poker chips is determined by the quality of the material used and the complexity of design on its inlay. These chips can be made using materials like clay, plastic, and ceramic. A piece of colorfully designed thin paper that is lastingly affixed to the surface of the chip is called inlay. It can be designed very attractively. If you own a company, the name and logo of the company can be inscribed into the inlay of the chip. Some companies in this field use technological advances like laser engraving to put the design into the inlay.

Manufacturing casino chips is regarded as an industry of comparatively fewer players. The manufacturing method is actually called a “trade secret” by experts. Most of the manufacturers are located in some cities and towns in the United States that are known for their casinos. Las Vegas is a good example. But thankfully, majority of these organizations have their own websites. They allow people to see, select, and buy a particular poker chip set. One can pay the bill through credit cards or some other online bill payment agencies.

Companies shipping the chip set the address provided to the buyer. You can also sort and chip set, which is derived exclusively from you. You can submit the necessary planning and design studies for integrated circuits affect. Needless to say, as a series of personal chips are more expensive than other standard chip sets.