We are proud to announce that Ante Up Clothing is now sponsoring B.C. poker pro Derek Leforte. Derek is a young pro who has been on the circuit for a few years, but in that time has had a number of money finishes including a 3rd place finish at last year’s WSOP $5000 buy-in pot limit hold’em event. He splits his time between his home in Vancouver and playing with other tour professionals down in Vegas.
We want to say thanks to Derek for becoming the newest member of Team Ante Up, and we wish him the best of luck at this year’s World Series of Poker!
“Pot Odds!”. I hear someone say this every time I’m at the poker table, but very few people are clear on when exactly they have pot odds. Pot odds are defined as “the odds you get when analyzing the current size of the pot vs. your next call”. I’d like to clear up a few misconceptions about pot odds, and let everyone know when the odds are in your favour and when they’re not.
Scenario #1 – Flush Draw
You have 2 pocket cards that are suited and flop four to the flush. Therefore there are 9 cards left in the deck that will make your hand. There are 47 other cards besides the 2 in your hand and the three on the flop, so you have a 9/47 or 19% chance that the next card will be your suit. This means that it is only worth calling a bet approximately 1/5 the total of the pot in order to catch a flush on the turn. For instance if the pot is $100 it is only worth calling a bet of around $20 or less to try to make your flush.
Scenario #2 – Open-ended Straight Draw
You might have a hand like 10-J and the flop comes Q, 9, 5. You’ve just flopped an open ended straight draw. You can catch any 8 or any K to make your hand. Therefore you’ve got 8 outs with 47 cards remaining. This means you have an 8/47 or a 17% chance of turning a straight. Similar to the flush draw situation above you should only call a bet that is, at most, this percent of the pot (ie. $17 into a $100 pot).
Scenario #3 – Gutshot Straight Draw
There is rarely a bet small enough to call for a gutshot draw. On this type of draw you have only 4 outs in the deck, and therefore a 4/47 or 8.5% chance of making your straight on the next card. Unless someone bets less than $8 into that pot of $100 its not worth your money. But if someone is betting only $8 into a $100 pot perhaps they deserve to lose, so by all means call for your ugly draw.
Chance of your pocket pair making a set on the flop = 1 in 9
Chance of being dealt pocket aces = 1 in 220
Chance of a Royal Flush appearing on the board = 1 in 77,968,800
Yesterday I was at the River Rock Casino in Richmond, BC and while I was there the “Bad Beat Jackpot” was won on the table next to me. For those of you that don’t know what a Bad Beat Jackpot is, the concept is a simple one. One dollar is raked from each poker hand played, and is added to a jackpot until a “bad beat” occurs. What qualifies as a bad beat may vary from casino to casino, but at the River Rock the minimum qualifying hands are a Full House (aces over tens or better) beaten by Four of a Kind or better.
The hand that won in this case was a full house aces over jacks, beaten by four of a kind jacks (both were pocket pairs). The breakdown for the jackpot, which was at just over $29,000, was as follows: 50% to the loser of the hand (person with pocket aces), 25% to the winner of the hand (pocket jacks), and the remaining 25% to be distributed between the other players at the table. The prize money was therefore paid as roughly $14,500 to the loser of the hand, $7,250 to the winner, and the remaining $7,250 split seven ways (one player was on a lunch break and received nothing!) between the other players at the table. Not bad for an afternoon of cards!
While some may argue that these jackpots are an exciting addition to the casino poker experience, I’ve made some calculations that show how the rakes that fund the bad beat jackpot take a large slice out of the profits of some players. For instance, a recreational player that plays an average of 20 or more hours per week, and a “professional” poker player that plays poker for a living and plays 40 or more hours per week.
Let’s start with the recreational player. Most likely he or she has another part of full-time job and plays poker on the side for a bit of extra cash. Let’s say this player plays for 20 hours per week, and plays 30 hands per hour. A rake of $1 (on top of the usual $2-5) is taken from each pot. Assume this player is a good one and wins 1 out of every 6 pots. Also assume this player plays 50 weeks out of the year.
20 hours/week x 30 hands/hour x $1 per pot = $600 per week taken as bad beat rake.
$600 x 1/6 = $100/week of direct profit taken as rake.
$100/week x 50 weeks = $5000/year is taken from this player to fund the bad beat.
Now let’s take a look at the player that plays for a living. He or she will “work” at least 40 hours per week. The pro, like the recreational player, will also play around 30 hands per hour and play 50 weeks out of the year. However, the pro’s skill level is likely higher than that of the recreational player and they will win around 1 out of every 4 pots.
40 hours/week x 30 hands/hour x $1 per pot = $1200 per week taken as bad beat rake.
$1200 x 1/4 = $300/week of direct profit taken as rake.
$300/week x 50 weeks = $15000/year is taken from this player to fund the bad beat.
This means that as a pro poker player you will have to win the large 50% share of the bad beat jackpot at least once a year (based on a jackpot of $30,000) to make the rakes worth your while!
For this reason many players won’t play in card rooms that take a rake for the bad beat, while others may come to these card rooms just for that same reason.
Please leave a comment, and share with us your thoughts on the pros and cons of the Bad Beat Jackpot.
I've had a lot of people who don't know poker that well asking about the rules of the game. So, below I will describe the most basic rules of Texas Hold'em (currently the most popular form of poker in North America), so that even those that have never played any type of poker game before can easily learn the game in no time.
NO LIMIT TEXAS HOLD'EM - BASIC INSTRUCTIONS
1. Texas Hold'em can be played with as few as two players, or as many as ten, at a single table.
2. The game begins with two players, left of the dealer, placing an initial bet. This is called posting the blinds. In Texas Hold'em, there are no antes but forced bets, or blinds, are used.
3. The person to the left of the dealer posts a bet called the small blind, which is usually equal to half of the minimum bet.
4. The person to the left of the small blind posts the big blind, which is equal to the full minimum bet.
5. The dealer shuffles one full deck of 52 playing cards. (In a Texas Hold'em game, a disc or other marker is used to indicate which person is the "dealer" for the round.)
6. Each player is then dealt two cards face down. These are called your hole or pocket cards.
7. Next is a round of betting starting with the person to the left of the two who posted the blinds. This round is usually referred to by the term pre-flop. Much like most games of poker, players can check, raise, or fold.
8. Players can bet, raise or re-raise any amount equal or greater than the minimum bet, which should also equal the amount of the big blind.
9. In No-Limit Hold'em, the number of chips you have in front of you determines the maximum bet. A player can go "all-in" by pushing all their chips toward the center of the table. At this point, either the player or the dealer should "count them down", or calculate the amount of the player's all-in bet. To call, the other players at the table must match the value of the chips.
10. In the event a player cannot match the value of another player's bet, but would like to call, he or she can go all-in and play for a portion of the pot. Should this happen, the dealer should divide the original, larger bet into two stacks: the first stack should match the amount of the caller's all-in bet. This stack is pushed into the original pot along with the caller's all-in bet. The second stack is placed into a side pot - for which the all-in caller is not eligible. This enables the rest of the table to continue play - raising and re-raising as they normally would. At the conclusion of the hand, the all-in bettor is eligible to win the original pot, but not the side pot.
11. After the initial betting round ends, the dealer discards the top card of the deck. This is called a burn card. This is done to prevent cheating.
12. The dealer then flips the next three cards face up on the table. These cards are called the flop. These are communal cards that anyone can use in combination with their two pocket cards to form a poker hand.
13. Next is another round of betting - starting with the player to the left of the dealer.
14. After the betting concludes, the dealer burns another card and flips one more onto the table. This is called the turn card. Players can use this sixth card now to form a five card poker hand.
15. The player to the left of the dealer begins another round of betting. In many types of games, this is where the bet size doubles.
16. Finally, the dealer burns a card and places a final card face up on the table. This is called the river. Players can now use any of the five cards on the table or the two cards in their pocket to form a five card poker hand.
17. There is now a final round of betting starting with the player to the left of the dealer.
18. After this round of betting, all of the players remaining in the game begin to reveal their hands. This begins with the player to the left of the last player to call. It's called the showdown.
19. If two or more players have the same hand, the next highest card in the player's hand is used to break a tie. This is called the kicker.
20. If there is no kicker card and the tied players have used both hole cards, or have the exact same hand, then the pot is split between them.
21. The dealer position then moves clockwise to the next player and another round of play begins.