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Playbook- Poker

Helping you get the best from your online gaming.

Tips, tricks, pointers and advice to help you improve your poker and enhance your enjoyment whatever your level of experience at the tables

Basic Poker Tips:

Go for the Sit n Go’s

Sit'n'goes are a good place for beginners to start because you can find the buy-in to suit your bankroll and they're an excellent way to hone your skills without doing too much damage to your bankroll. Buy-ins are set from as little as 50c, and everyone starts with an equal amount of chips. The blinds rise regularly. In a ten-handed match, the pay-out usually goes to the top three finishers, for a beginner this could mean you play for longer than if playing a cash game. You need to be able to change gear as the blinds rise and your rivals get knocked out. When the blinds are low at the start of the game it is tempting to see a lot of pots. A good tactic, however, is often to play tight at first, and then loosen up as opponents drop by the wayside. The remaining players will become wary of you and as they get closer to the prize money, they will probably tighten up as you go for a wider range of hands. You should be aiming for third place initially at least - 20% of the pot is a 100% profit for you (usually double your buy-in). Once you've reached that position you can get aggressive and go for the jugular.

Choose your table wisely

Before a card is dealt your first major decision is which table to join. Once you're comfortable with the stakes, you want a table where your style of play will be profitable. Too loose, too aggressive or too tight and you may struggle to make money. Don't pick a battle with players you can't beat. For many, the loose-passive is the ideal type of table, often allowing you to profit from other's mistakes. In the Lobby, scan the tables to see which ones have a high percentage of players seeing the flop - which indicates a looser game - and a decent average pot size. (But you don't necessarily want huge pots since this could indicate some hefty betting going on.) Check the number of players. Most tables are 10-handed, so you will need to play tight as the competition is stiffer against so many opponents. On a table of six you can loosen up. Here you can call more flops and should have more chances to win. It will take a while to find your natural poker habitat - everyone has a different style. But remember, if you are struggling to make money, move on and join another table where the pickings may be better suited to your game.

Intermediate Poker Tips:

Use game history feature

A common howl of distress on the forums is from players whose bankrolls have started dwindling after a run of inspired and profitable games has come to an end. Why has my game suddenly fallen apart? A dip in form can sabotage even the best players from time to time and one way to sort it out is to go back over your games using the 'Game History' feature (which you'll find in the 'Game Lobby' under 'My Profile' on the latest versions of 888's poker software). Are you clinging to marginal hands that shrink in value as the heavy bets rain down on them? Have you become too predictable, only raising with A-A, A-K or K-K? Are you playing on tables that don't suit your style? Take the time to go over some of your recent games card by card, and eventually you should be able to pinpoint just where you're going wrong and then be able to make the necessary adjustments in future games. You can rewind, fast-forward, even pause, thus allowing you to focus on the exact moment when it all went wrong and you were hooked in. The feature even allows you to play back your hands while you are playing, meaning you should never miss another player's cards again.

Use slow playing to increase the pot

Learn the art of playing like a weakling when you actually have a strong hand. You disguise it with token or checked bets, building the pot, and unleashing your monster during a later betting round, trapping your horrified rivals. In Fixed limit, if you flop a big hand, wait until the turn to check raise, because the stakes increase and you can win more from your hand. But be careful! if there is a flush or straight draw out on the flop, it may be worth forgetting the slow play, and taking it down there with a re-raise. You may win less from the hand, but you haven't given your opponent a free card. Pre-flop, slow playing is not usually advised with a very strong hand, unless you are against a very aggressive player who has position on you. If you find yourself in these sorts of situations, a small raise or even a flat call with Aces or Kings may induce a big re-raise from a big bully, and an all-in re- raise from you will usually take it down there and then - or give you a good chance of getting all your money in ahead.

Advanced Poker Tips:

Get the best from a marginal hand

Any fish can take a pot if they draw four aces. It takes a skilful player to consistently extract maximum value from the more marginal cards that make up the vast majority of hands we get. One tactic is called "value betting" and it's all about prodding extra bets from players holding weaker hands. Value betting is also about knowing your opponents well. Your hand needs a decent amount of strength because you want to be called. You must be pretty sure it's a winner (this is where knowing your opponent comes in). It may also be useful to have thrown some bluffs around to convince rivals that your marginal hand may be a bluff. See the no limit value bet example below.

Value betting in No-Limit

You're playing heads-up with 8c-9s in the hole. The flop: Qs-5h-3c. Your opponent check-calls your continuation bet. The turn: 2d - you both check. The river: 9h and your opponent checks. Now is the time to milk your opponent for an extra bet. Your hand is disguised, has showdown value and your opponent has a habit of calling you often. Bet small, say a quarter of the pot, and he may call if he has something like K-5 or 7-7. You could try to check- raise, but your rival may just check. So a modest bet will tend to suggest that you have a weak hand or are bluffing. Of course, if your rival has a Q this would be disastrous. It all comes down again to how well you know them and whether their earlier checks were a typical trap of theirs.

Give yourself even more of an edge!

Use the improved features on 888Poker to enhance your playing experience.

1. Classic view

The classic table view is back. Whether you want a simple, classic clean table, or one packed with avatars, you now have three options, each featuring the latest table features. Set your preferred view in the "Settings" page under the "Graphics" tab.

2. Tournament Information box

Need information about your tournaments? Get all the information at your fingertips with our new "info tab". All players competing in tournaments can now see important details that will help them evaluate their positioning and decisions, including:
  • Number of players still in the tournament
  • Your position
  • Largest stack
  • Average stack
  • Smallest stack

3. All-in button settings

If you've ever accidentally clicked the "All-in" button while holding 7-2 off-suit, you will love this feature. You now have the choice of two new All-in button options on your "Game Setting" tabs
  • Hide All-in button: So you can't accidentally hit it while you're playing.
  • Approve All-in action: This way you will be able to confirm your intention to go All-in.

4. Sit'n'Go under a different tab

We have done some filing! We have sorted out the different tournament types and for those who love Sit'n'Goes, they have their own special tab for maximum convenience.

5. Chat call-out balloons

We have updated our table view so when players talk, a call-out balloon will appear so it's easier to know who said what (only works in Avatar View).

How to play Fixed Limit

If you want to make a steady profit, then Fixed Limit could be the game you've been looking for. 888 Forum member Aaronlt posts his tips on the subject

Many people avoid Fixed Limit poker because the pots appear smaller, and the opportunities to go all-in for a bluff are reduced significantly. Firstly, the pots in Fixed Limit and Pot Limit are

actually larger on average than No Limit, because many players choose to push that cap to the max. In No Limit, people tend to steer clear of large pots. Secondly, if you are playing to bluff by going all-in, then you are playing for the thrill of the gamble, not to make money.

Playing the game

Some players are inclined to change their style of play because the game is different. It isn't. The same hands win, the same hands lose, the odds don't change. Play your numbers, stick to your successful strategy and you should win as much as you did in other versions of the game.

Starting hands

In Fixed Limit there is a tendency for players to widen the range of starting hands that they would play from that of No Limit. This is acceptable since you can predetermine how much money it will cost you to chase draws. However, keep in mind that if you play every suited connector and every flush draw, the pots you win have to be equal to or greater than the value you spent chasing them.

Changing gears?

Changing gears is important in tournament play, but when playing at a cash table you may not be sitting with the same people long enough for it to be effective. Many people at cash tables will have a very short memory of you. It is far more important to remain consistent - avoid tilt and chasing - than it is to switch gears in the hope of trapping a player in one pot.

Loose aggressive

The Loose-Aggressive style allows you to pick up many small pots that can add up quickly in Limit Hold'em. The L-A player can raise and re-raise without having to show their cards, and unless the opponent has made a hand, it is hard to call such a player. Unfortunately for L-A types, they lose their mystery in Fixed Limit poker. Aggression and table-bullying is difficult to keep up at Fixed Limit, especially at the smaller tables. Where the L-A players do hold an advantage in Fixed Limit is when they come up against a single opponent chasing a hand. By betting and raising the chaser, more often than not, the chaser will pitch in his missed draw on the river, leaving a relatively decent pot for the L-A player to pick up uncontested.

Tight aggressive

Arguably the most effective approach for the average poker player to use, it is especially effective in Limit poker. The Tight-Aggressive player is going to be paid off in medium to large amounts every time they play a pot. Compared to the L-A player, who is paid off in large amounts periodically, a T-A's consistency is what wins in the long term. By only choosing hands with strength, and by betting them aggressively post-flop, you punish all the people who think Fixed Limit is a chasing game. The downside of playing in this style is that you are committing a lot of money post-flop, and you must be aware when the chasers have hit their hand. It is essential for T-As to get off their busted hands early in Limit Poker.


Tight-Passive or Aggressive-Passive won't be the most profitable style for Fixed Limit. The T-P player has the table image to earn respect for their good hands. If they're in the hand post-flop, the other players will recognise that they have a hand, and are likely to be confident that it is the best. The problem is, the TP won't be paid off enough for their monsters, and they will lose often to chasing players because they lack aggression. Alternatively, the A-P player offers more problems as they raise pre-flop, committing players, who are already in for more money, which will keep them in the hand longer. Since they play weakly after the flop, they will face aggression, since the size of the pot is significantly larger now, and due to their passive style they are unlikely to put up much of a fight.

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