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Poker Pros

Posted: August 01, 2014
Poker Pros: Chip values aren’t always what they seem
Posted: July 29, 2014
Poker Pros: Action on smaller tables
Updated: July 23, 2014 - 3:38 pm
Poker Pros: A history-making mistake
Updated: July 16, 2014 - 2:11 pm
Poker Pros: Surviving the WSOP marathon
Posted: July 09, 2014
Poker Pros: Hellmuth still celebrated
Posted: June 27, 2014
Poker Pros: Math skills no substitute for people-reading skills
Posted: June 13, 2014
Poker Pros: Omaha hand produced biggest online pot in history
Updated: June 13, 2014 - 2:47 pm
Poker Pros: A well-timed bluff pays off in Canada
Updated: May 30, 2014 - 2:40 pm
Poker Pros: Make a read and stick with it
Updated: May 27, 2014 - 1:16 pm
Poker Pros: Don’t polarize your range
Posted: May 20, 2014
Poker Pros: Learn to trust your instincts
Posted: May 13, 2014
Poker Pros: Poker requires skill, not just luck
Posted: May 06, 2014
Poker Pros: Incentives of playing big pots
Posted: April 29, 2014
Poker Pros: Learn to play unpredictably
Posted: April 22, 2014
Poker Pros: Know your opponent’s hand
Posted: April 15, 2014
Poker Pros: Learn to trust your gut in poker
Posted: April 09, 2014
Poker Pros: Worldwide poker tournaments
Posted: March 18, 2014
Poker Pros: Play big hands in hold ’em
Posted: March 11, 2014
Poker Pros: Make thorough decisions in poker
Posted: March 04, 2014
Poker Pros: Have patience in tournaments
Posted: February 25, 2014
Poker Pros: Focus on winning poker chips
Posted: February 18, 2014
Poker Pros: Instincts help avert disaster
Posted: February 11, 2014
Poker Pros: A huge mistake costs player
Posted: February 04, 2014
Poker Pros: Hitting a hot streak in poker
Posted: January 28, 2014
Poker Pros: An ill-advised poker squeeze
Posted: January 21, 2014
Poker Pros: Set an effective poker trap
Posted: January 14, 2014
Poker Pros: Make bold decisions in poker
Posted: January 07, 2014
Poker Pros: A shocking result in poker
Posted: December 31, 2013
Poker Pros: A controversial poker fold
Updated: December 24, 2013 - 12:10 pm
Poker Pros: Bad decisions made in poker
Posted: December 17, 2013
Poker Pros: The problems with turn play
Posted: December 10, 2013
Poker Pros: Dressing up for poker events
Posted: December 04, 2013
Poker Pros: Learn from your mistakes in poker
Posted: November 26, 2013
Poker Pros: Don't fear bad outcomes
Posted: November 20, 2013
Poker Pros: Always try calling out bluffs
Posted: November 13, 2013
Poker Pros: Recalling poker experiences
Posted: November 06, 2013
Poker Pros: Strategy dictates tough fold
Posted: October 30, 2013
Poker Pros: Important to call out bluffs
Posted: October 16, 2013
Poker Pros: Looking for heroes in poker
Posted: October 09, 2013
Poker Pros: Control your emotional leaks in poker
Posted: October 02, 2013
Poker Pros: Advice on middle pocket pairs
Posted: September 24, 2013
Poker Pros: Steinberg's odd decision
Posted: September 18, 2013
Poker Pros: Making a bad call in Poker
Posted: September 11, 2013
Poker Pros: Let opponents make the mistakes
Posted: September 04, 2013
Poker Pros: Registering early for tournaments
Posted: August 28, 2013
Poker Pros: Bluffs tell a story in poker
Posted: August 21, 2013
Poker Pros: Accidents happen in poker
Posted: August 14, 2013
Poker Pros: Don't fear if you get a bad hand
Posted: August 07, 2013
Poker Pros: Smith's tournament hopes flushed away
Updated: July 31, 2013 - 5:15 pm
Get bluffed? Don't fret, move on
WSOP Main Event requires slight tactical adjustment
Posted: July 24, 2013

The World Series of Poker Main Event began July 6, with thousands of players competing for millions of dollars in prize money and the chance for instant fame.

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Poker Pros: A hard bluff can be worth it
Posted: July 17, 2013

I recently finished second in the PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker 21-H event for nearly $300,000. The heads-up battle at the end was interesting, because my opponent used a very passive style of play, limping a lot on the button and checking back on the flop with both strong and marginal hands.

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Aggressive betting has its drawbacks
Posted: July 10, 2013

My general mentality about poker is “keep betting” when I get involved in a hand. That’s an oversimplification, but my generation of poker players generally shares that mentality, and we’ve separated ourselves from the older generation of players by taking aggression to the next level. But there are also moments when you have to dial back the aggression, even when you have a strong hand.

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Poker Pros: Find confidence in a tourney
Posted: July 03, 2013

By SCOTT FISCHMAN

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Poker Pros: Calling preflop with a major hand can have its benefits
Posted: June 26, 2013

By BRYAN DEVONSHIRE

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Poker Pros: Use big plans instead of hurtful shortcuts
Posted: June 19, 2013

Poker is not a game of easy decisions, shortcuts or rules of thumb. Usually, when you find a shortcut to help solve a problem, you should be happy to use it. But doing so at the poker table can backfire on you.

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Poker Pros: Use logic in your bluffs
Posted: June 13, 2013

One of my oldest friends in poker is a talented Canadian player named Mike Watson. Although Watson has accumulated some excellent tournament results over the years — including a win at the Bellagio Cup in 2008 for more than $1.6 million — he’s not well known among the poker-playing public due to his modest and nonchalant personality.

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Poker Pros: In cash games, map out a money strategy
Posted: June 05, 2013

Q: Scott, As a regular no-limit hold ’em cash-game player, I have a pretty good grounding in pot odds and make a lot of my plays based on this knowledge. Some of the friends I play with in home games, however, are less astute. When I figure them for a draw and make a bet that offers them incorrect pot odds, they often call where more experienced players would fold. How do I stop players like this from drawing out on me without putting my whole stack on the line and running the risk of them catching a monster? — Brett J.

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Poker Pros: ‘Doyle’s Law’ still applies for players in tournaments
Posted: May 27, 2013

A long time ago, poker legend Doyle Brunson wrote that the key to no-limit hold ’em is to put a man to a decision for all his chips. He was right, and Doyle’s Law is fundamental to accumulating chips in tournament poker.

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Poker Pros: Play aggressive at the table
Posted: May 22, 2013

I’m used to having a hyper-aggressive image at the table. One of the things it lets me do is get a lot of value when I make a medium-strength hand.

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Poker Pros: Knowing when to fold is a tough call
Posted: May 15, 2013

It’s a rare strategy to get more than half your stack into the pot and then fold. It’s usually a terrible strategy, because unless you’re bluffing or drawing dead, you’re getting great odds to call off the rest of your stack and try to win the hand by sucking out or by catching an opponent bluffing in an unlikely spot. But if it’s unlikely for your opponent to be bluffing, you should probably fold despite the investment.

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Poker Pros: Don’t play too many hands at poker
Posted: May 08, 2013

Scott, I am fairly new to poker, having been playing for about three months.

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Poker Pros: Plan for every possible move that could happen in poker
Posted: May 01, 2013

It was Day Three of the World Poker Tour’s L.A. Poker Classic main event earlier this year. I’d been short for much of the tournament but had built my stack to $125,000, just behind the average stack of $140,000. About 110 players remained, and blinds were $1,000-$2,000 with an ante of $300.

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Poker Pros: Learn how to float in poker
Posted: April 24, 2013

One of the biggest things separating the strong players from the weak players is the willingness to battle over pots without a hand. While many players will take a flop and then fold when they miss, strong players have some tricks up their sleeves to stay in the hand and turn a miss into a profit. Today, I’m going to teach you how to float.

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Poker Pros: Don’t get attached to a hand
Posted: April 17, 2013

Make a read and stick with it. Far too often, I see people go through each stage of a hand with the notion they will wait to see what their opponent does next and then re-evaluate. This is a fancy cover-up for two silly mistakes: being indecisive and getting attached to a hand.

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Poker Pros: Play your Ace-King like a pro
Posted: April 10, 2013

Ace-king. This ever-enticing Texas hold ‘em starting hand has many nicknames, my favorite being “Anna Kournikova.” The comparison with the attractive former tennis player seems apt, since it’s been said of both the hand and Kournikova, “Looks good, never wins.”

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Poker Pros: The right bluff is about storytelling
Posted: April 03, 2013

Scott, is raising under the gun with rags on a very tight table ever something you would do to indicate a strong hand in a tourney when the blinds are worth stealing, in the hope that everyone will fold? — Billy

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Poker Pros: Aggressive play leads to big win at Borgata Poker Open
Posted: March 27, 2013

The final table of the recent Borgata Winter Poker Open in Atlantic City was one of the most entertaining I’ve seen during my time with the World Poker Tour. It wasn’t because the table was packed with big-name pros playing up or melting down for the cameras. In fact, the table was the opposite, made up of lesser-known players conducting themselves very seriously and in near silence throughout.

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Poker Pros: Big hands call for big bets
Updated: March 25, 2013 - 11:28 am

Earlier this year I found myself playing heads-up for the $340 no-limit hold ’em preliminary event title at the Los Angeles Poker Classic. The LAPC has the second-coolest trophies in poker, behind only the famed World Series of Poker bracelets. They’re these big, heavy, Remington cowboy-on-a-horse sculptures. I didn’t have one and desperately wanted one.

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Poker Pros: Theres no shortcut in poker
Posted: March 13, 2013

After years of playing poker, I have seen the same mistake more times than I can count: Where a hand calls for careful, thorough analysis, poker players look for shortcuts and simplifications. In any given players mind, there are several  or several dozen  terms and phrases that sound sensible to the ear but fail at the table.

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Poker Pros: Play smart with a short stack
Posted: March 06, 2013

About halfway through a $340 no-limit hold ‘em tournament, I was in the big blind when action folded to the cutoff (the first seat to the right of the button), who merely called. Just calling preflop in that spot with so few players left to act is always incorrect. It was an especially glaring error for this player, since he had only 10 big blinds remaining in his stack.

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Poker Pros: Win your hand with a low pair
Posted: February 28, 2013

Small pairs are the cute blind dates of poker. There's an immediate sense of potential, but you don't want to invest too much too soon.

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Poker Pros: Play the best hand with information you get
Posted: February 20, 2013

A few days ago, I was talking with an amateur poker player about his playing experience. During our conversation, I realized something: most poker players have no idea how to think. More specifically, they have no idea what to think.

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Poker Pros: Having the right hand in the wrong situation
Posted: February 13, 2013

Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor. Here’s an interesting hand I played a few years ago at a $1,500-buy-in event at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

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Poker Pros: Stack size alters strategy
Posted: February 11, 2013

In poker forums and social media across the Web, certain hands become YouTube fan favorites for the combination of play and personality on display. A recent hand between Vanessa Selbst and Kevin MacPhee at a European Poker Tour event in Berlin has become especially popular because of the wild play and wild talk that went on throughout the hand.

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Poker Pros: Watching game film gives you key info on opponents
Posted: January 30, 2013

Pro athletes watch a lot of game film to learn opponents' tendencies. But no sport can match poker for the information to be gathered from watching tape. Televised poker gives you a chance to see how a player handles every situation, and all the while you know exactly what he has in his hand.

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Poker Pros: Raising could grab you a win
Posted: January 23, 2013

In poker forums and social media across the Web, certain hands become YouTube fan favorites for the combination of play and personality on display. A recent hand between Vanessa Selbst and Kevin MacPhee at a European Poker Tour event in Berlin has become especially popular because of the wild play and wild talk that went on throughout the hand.

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Poker Pros: Guessing an opponent’s hand at poker is next to impossible
Posted: January 15, 2013

“I put you on ace-king!” Possibly the most overused phrase in poker, this generally comes out of the mouth of the preflop pacifist who just got all-in with some measly pair on a flop that didn’t include an ace or king. I heard this statement recently, rolled my eyes and wrote this down.

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Poker Pros: Small bluffs make even bigger impact
Posted: January 09, 2013

Traditionally, when people think of bluffing, they think about making a large, intimidating bet that blusters an opponent out of the pot. But a more effective and cost-efficient bluff is one in which the size of the bluff is based on what your opponent thinks of you and also on the strength of his probable hands. Sometimes a very small bluff can be the best option, for surprising reasons.

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Poker Pros: The age-old question, to accessorize or not
Posted: January 02, 2013

Scott — Where do you stand on accessories at the poker table? I like to wear shades when I’m playing, but my mates give me a really hard time, saying that I look like an idiot. I know Doyle Brunson has said that they shouldn’t be allowed at the table if poker wants to develop as a professional sport, but I watch poker on TV, and it seems like half the pros wear them. What do you think? — Stout

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Poker Pros: Quick decisions could cost you
Posted: December 24, 2012

Not long ago, I found $30 on an online site that I had forgotten about, and with little to do at my Colorado ranch home in the fall, I decided to go back to my roots, back to the small stakes, and try to run it up. Im going to try to run it up to $10,000 without ever depositing.

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Poker Pros: Using strategy like a poker superstar
Posted: December 19, 2012

Not long ago, I had the pleasure of co-hosting a poker gathering at my house in Las Vegas. We convened not for the typical revelry of card-playing and socializing, but at the request of poker champion Vanessa Selbst, to take part in a coaching session she would lead as a preparatory Final Table simulation for eventual World Series of Poker Main Event runner-up Jesse Sylvia.

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Poker Pros: Changing gears in the middle of a tourney
Posted: December 05, 2012

Scott — I’ve been spending a lot of my poker hours playing tournaments. I am extremely confident in my ability and would say that my game is fundamentally sound. But I’m still interested in learning, and I’m aware that in tournaments, there are many instances in which decisions and strategy are not based on those fundamentals.

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Poker Pros: Position could save you at the poker table
Posted: November 28, 2012

I recently participated in a poker training session with a fairly accomplished student — let's call him "Dave" — and my co-coach, 2006 World Series of Poker Player of the Year Jeff Madsen. Three-handed, with Dave on the button, we ran into a perfect illustration of the value of position in poker.

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Poker Pros: Going all-in for big Borgata win
Posted: November 20, 2012

Schedule flexibility and being your own boss are two major advantages to playing poker for a living. However, once you’ve entered a tournament, your control over working hours has ceased, and you’re locked into being there during established hours of play.

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Poker Pros: Using your table position to make the right bet in poker
Posted: November 14, 2012

Position is very important in poker, and in some other table games as well. The opportunity to make decisions after opponents have acted is powerful. The house is a favorite in blackjack largely because the house always wins when the player goes bust, even if the dealer later busts, too.

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Poker Pros: Determining your edge holding ace-rag hands
Posted: November 07, 2012

Scott, have you got any tips on playing “ace-rag” hands? Seems like when I play them, I get into trouble a lot of the time, but I witness other players winning with them all the time — Don, New York

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Poker Pros: Tips on trying a sit-and-go before entering big tournament
Posted: November 01, 2012

Single-table “sit-and-go” tournaments are great for testing new strategies and for getting you in and out of the action quickly.

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Poker Pros: No-pressure situation turns into giant win
Posted: October 24, 2012

I simultaneously love and hate playing poker on the East Coast. I love it because the tournaments there still attract a healthy number of amateur players, and the caliber of characters you run into at the table is unmatched anywhere else.

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Poker Pros: Keeping your head in the game could keep you at table longer
Posted: October 16, 2012

On a sunny January day in the Bahamas, I took my seat for Day One of the annual PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, somewhat ready to play in the biggest $10,000 no-limit hold ‘em tournament of the year outside of the World Series of Poker Main Event.

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Poker Pros: Power lies in gathered information at poker
Posted: October 10, 2012

Scott — There’s been something on my mind, but I haven’t come across anybody who’s able to give me advice that I’d feel confident putting into action. You’re definitely the guy to ask since you’ve had consistent results in non-hold ‘em events.

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Poker Pros: Taking out the Player of the Year
Posted: October 03, 2012

Throughout much of World Poker Tour Season X, Will Failla was the Player of the Year leader, a position he held since winning the Legends of Poker event at the start of the season. It wasn’t until the end of the season that Joe Serock, who made back-to-back final tables in San Jose, Calif., and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., surpassed him.

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Poker Pros: Turning hands with value into a bluff
Posted: September 26, 2012

You’ve made it to the river, but you lost a paddle along the way. You aren’t quite sure if your hand has enough value to call the river bet you’re facing, but given your actions, your opponent might think it possible that you have a very strong holding. However, you’re fairly certain your opponent can’t call a raise because of how he played his hand. Do you give up and sink into the water (call), or do you battle the current to reach the end of the river (raise)?

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Poker Pros: Staking other players can pay off
Posted: September 19, 2012

Playing in poker tournaments requires large buy-ins. As a way to diversify our investment, many players have staking agreements with other pros. Sometimes it’s a simple percentage swap, sometimes it’s an outright stake — I’ll pay $2,000 of your $10,000 buy-in for 20 percent of your winnings.

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Poker Pros: Over-aggressive player could make you pay
Posted: September 12, 2012

Recently, I played in the first-ever World Poker Tour event in Philadelphia, at the Parx casino. It was a $3,500 event with re-entry, and for the first four levels practically everything fell my way.

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Poker Pros: The cards giveth, the cards taketh away
Posted: September 05, 2012

Scott — I play a $1 to $2 no-limit game at the Isle Casino in Pompano Beach, Fla. In a hand recently, I drew ace-king suited and was one off the button. Five players limped in, and I raised to $20. Three players took the flop with me.

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Poker Pros: Winning the pot, but losing the hand
Posted: August 29, 2012

On rare occasions you can win a pot but still feel like you lost the hand. This usually happens in hands where your opponent saves money by folding on the river when he was considering calling, but sometimes it happens when your opponent just calls the river instead of raising. That’s precisely the way I was owned in a $3,000 no-limit event at this summer’s World Series of Poker by a talented young player named Jason Wheeler, who’s little known to the general public but well respected within the poker community.

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Poker Pros: Trying to call a stranger's bluff
Posted: August 22, 2012

The 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event ended early for me, as I busted on the second day. I don’t subscribe to the mentality that busting the Main Event is the worst day of the year. As far as I’m concerned, it’s my job to bust poker tournaments. Besides, when you’re playing a tournament with 6,500 opponents, you have to know there are an awful lot of people in the way of realizing that final-table dream.

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Poker Pros: Knowing when to fold
Posted: August 14, 2012

Scott — I had one tough spot tonight in $1/$2 no-limit hold ‘em. You don’t know the table dynamics, but I want to get an opinion.

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Poker Pros: WSOP title run began with a hero call
Posted: August 08, 2012

After five years of intense poker training, something was still missing, so for nine months prior to my first World Series of Poker Main Event in 2006, I went on what I call “The Poker Diet.” Wow, did it make a huge difference in my focus. I convinced myself I was going to win, dreamed about it daily, and off I went.

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