Common Live Poker Leaks ; Expanding Your Draws

 leak buster

Five Common Live Poker Leaks

by Ian Simpson
Live poker is a very different game to the online version, and some of the leaks in your live game will be unique to that format. Here are 5 leaks I have found to be quite common, spotting them, or eliminating them from your own game is sure to increase your chances at the tables.

Ipads/Mobile Phones

I see many poker players spend every moment outside of a hand either on their phone or on their Ipad. I’ve actually sat next to people who have downloaded movies to watch on their Ipad while they play live. Obviously this is a major leak, and one that you can capitalise on if you catch your opponents falling foul of this bad habit. Spending too much time on your phone or Ipad defeats one of the main advantages of live play and that is picking up physical tells on your opponents. Often times these tells will be picked up while you are not in a hand and can play closest attention to your opponents. Another major drawback is accidentally acting out of turn because of lack of attention to the game. Repeat offences can get you a penalty at the table as well as the fact that you prematurely give away your intentions to your opponents. There is definitely an advantage to be had against someone more absorbed in the sexy texts their bit stuff is sending them or the movie they are watching. For starters they are much less likely to be 3bet bluffing pre flop, as they are probably happy to get back to their movie (or their sexting) and wait for a premium hand than get out of line with junk. Also the live tells you happen to pick up on them are all the more valuable if they
in turn are surrendering the chance to pick up any tells they may be able to find on you.

Online vs live hands per hour

Online poker obviously gives you many more hands per hour than live poker. Aside from the fact that a virtual dealer takes microseconds to transition from one hand to another, not needing to collect the cards in and shuffle them, many players play multiple tables at once. Some people will go from grinding 20 tables online, getting 2 hands or so per minute per table, to getting one hand every 5 minutes at a particularly slow live table. This can result in some otherwise solid players, with well-defined ranges for each position, to spew their chips away after having been forced to sit still without any decent cards for a long time (and by some players I do of course mean me). There are many useful solutions to the boredom that can occur at a slow live table. Watch for tells of the opponents still in the hand, or talk to your neighbour. Talking to the person next to you, especially if they are a stranger to you can not only lead to you meeting a new and interesting individual, but they will often reveal things about their game which you may be able to use to your advantage.

Table Talk

While I would advocate talking to the people at your table outside of a hand, just to make the game a friendlier and more sociable experience than anything else, during a hand you should probably shut up unless you are confident with your table talk game. You often do not know just how good your opponents are at reading tells from people, and unless you are well practiced, a poker tell wizard might just be listening and exploiting your chatty nature.

Alcohol Peer Pressure

I mentioned the negative effects of alcohol in my previous blog. One this I didn’t mention is the danger of peer pressure when it comes to alcohol. The poker community, especially in England, are a great bunch and a heck of a lot of them love a drink either during or after the end of day 1. If you need a clear head, either the next morning or in the immediate future, just say no kids.

Stack Size Monitoring

In a live tournament, as opposed to online, the exact stack sizes are not displayed for you on a screen. It really pays to keep apprised of the stack sizes around you before making a decision to avoid any nasty surprises. I’ve seen many a player 3bet bluff and accidentally commit to calling an all in because they hadn’t realised the stack size of their opponent (and by many a player I do of course mean me). Another tip would be to confirm the stack sizes with a quick glance at their chips before looking at your cards. I’ve seen some people only ever ask to see peoples stack when they are checking their implied odds, and if you notice them do this, you can eliminate the premium hands from their range and play post flop accordingly, weighting their range to set mining pairs and suited connectors.

After spending a year sponsored by Paddy Power Poker through their Sole Survivor promotion, Ian Simpson went on to win the 2013 Irish Poker Open to take home €265,000 euros. He currently plans on doing some work in schools in between travelling the tournament circuit and writing for Card Player Magazine. You can find him on twitter @IanSimpsonPoker


poker draw

Poker Strategy With Rep Porter: Expanding Your Draws

Porter Talks About A Strategy You Can Use From Out Of Position
by Rep Porter
Today, I want to talk about a strategy that you can employ from out of position. I like to think of this strategy as “expanding your draws.”

Let’s start by looking at the situation from the point of view of the player with position. You raise preflop and the big blind defends. Some flop like the J-9-4 with two diamonds comes. You make a standard continuation bet. The big blind calls. Now the six of diamonds comes on the turn. Suddenly, the big blind leads into you. How do you feel? It seems like you have been in this situation a zillion times and they show you the flush a huge amount of the time. You also know that sometimes the big blind will have flopped a strong hand and have been passive with it, either to keep the pot small, or slow play. In those spots, they will be leading out in a defensive manner, trying to keep you from having a free look at a fourth diamond. In either of those situations, this is a strong lead from your opponent. So what do you do?

Well, all the hands that you missed with, you have to fold. Your one pair-type holdings are in a tough spot. If you call here, and your opponent has the flush, they are going to bet again. If they had some reasonably strong hand on the flop, you are usually going to be facing a bet on the river as well. It feels like you should fold a lot in that situation. And then sometimes you actually have a strong hand. Sometimes you will have made a flush. Sometimes you will have had a big hand on the flop, like top two or a set.

Sometimes you will have an overpair or top pair and a big diamond to go with it. These are the types of hands that you can continue with comfortably in this position. All said, there are a lot of folds in this spot. It feels like way more than half the hands. This seems like the exact type of situation we are looking for to use our chips as weapons.So how does this work from the point of view of the big blind? When you naturally get to the turn, there are a variety of hand types you can have. You might naturally make a flush here. You might have a one pair or two pair type hand. These are all hands you should consider betting anyway.

You may also make it to the turn with an open-ended straight draw. A hand like the Q-10 or 10-8 suited. You might also have K-Q for a gut shot and two over cards. All these drawing hands that have yet to make anything are perfect hands for using your chips as weapons.

If you bet an amount that is consistent with your flushes and value hands, you put a lot of pressure on your opponent. It is very important to keep this bet sizing consistent across the whole range of hands you want to bet in this situation. A half-pot sized bet gives you two to one on your money, meaning you only have to win this pot one time in three to break even. When we were looking at the situation from the point of view of the preflop aggressor, we decided that they are probably folding over half the hands. This seems like a great situation. There will be times when your opponent raises you in this situation. This is okay. You know that you are going to lose sometimes. So just fold when this happens. Be comfortable knowing that in the long run, this is a positive expectancy bet and it just didn’t work this time.

So the next question is, are there other ways this situation sets up? Any time there are both flush draws and straight draws on the flop this situation may arise. This play actually works better when you have the straight draw and can bluff the flush. Flushes catch people’s attention. On a 9-8-3 two spade board, if the offsuit queen or jack comes on the turn, people don’t have the same fearful reactions. They often are more concerned with the rank of the card than the open ender that may have arrived. But when the four of spades comes, the flush is in the front of people’s minds when you lead into them.

There are cases where the straight draws can be obvious, but they aren’t as common. You need a high card flop, like J-10-x or 10-9-x. And then you need the lower end of the open ender to arrive, the 9 or 8 on those boards.

Try leading the next time the third card of a suit comes when you have check-called the flop with a open-ender and see what happens. ♠

Rep Porter is a two-time WSOP bracelet winner and is the lead instructor at, whose mission is to help poker players achieve better results through better decisions and that is done by teaching poker in a way that makes learning easy and enjoyable with high quality courses taught by professional players.

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