The Poker Lab Rat

September 24, 2009

Erick Lindgren: A Big Hand Early in a Poker Tournament

Filed under: Erick Lindgren,General Blog Rant,pro tips — Mike @ 10:36 pm

Erick Lindgren poker professional

In the late stages of a tournament, big pairs are generally pretty easy to play. When you have 20, 30 or 40 big blinds in your stack, and you find a pair of Queens or Kings, you usually just want to play aggressively, force a fold, or play a big all-in pot and hope things work out in the end.

But early on in a tournament, when the stacks can be very deep relative to the blinds, I don’t think it’s always a great idea to play big pairs quite as aggressively. A hand I played this year at the WSOP Main Event demonstrates the point pretty well.

At the start of the hand, the blinds were 100/200 and most of the stacks at the table were right around the starting amount of 20,000 chips. One player raised and another called from late position. I looked down and saw two Queens.

The instinct for many in this situation is to re-raise. But I didn’t like that option. What would happen if one of the other players in the hand re-popped me? I’d hate to fold the Queens, but I wasn’t ready to risk going broke with Queens so early in the tournament.

My re-raise could have also prompted one or both players to just call. In that case, I would have been playing out of position without having a great idea of what my opponents held. After the calls, the pot would be quite large. It could have cost me most or even all of my stack before I figured out whether I was ahead or behind.

I decided to play a smaller pot and put fewer of my chips at risk, so I just called.

The flop came Jack-high. I checked, the original raiser bet and it was folded to me. I called – again trying to keep the pot relatively small. The turn was a blank, and I checked. My opponent checked behind. This check made me pretty confident that I was ahead. When the river paired the board, I was happy to put out a value bet, hoping that I could get paid off by, perhaps, a medium pocket pair.

As it turned out, my opponent didn’t have enough to call me and I took down the pot right there.

All-in-all, I was happy with the way I played the hand. I put myself in a position to win a moderate sized pot without incurring any risk of going broke. Next time you see a big pair early in a tournament, consider trying to control the size of the pot rather than playing as aggressively as you can.
Erick Lindgren

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August 23, 2008

Poker quotes from the professionals

Filed under: Erick Lindgren,General Blog Rant,Industry News,pro tips — Mike @ 11:16 pm

Here’s some recent poker quotes from well known professional players:

Justin Bonomo
Justin Bonomo professional poker playerI know the “feel” players will cringe at this statement, but every situation in poker can be broken down into mathematical terms.

It may seem like you have many good options in a given situation, but there is always one correct play, and the rest are all mistakes.

 

 

Antonio Esfandiari
Antionio Esfandiari - professional poker playerI got the owner to agree to flip for our bill. Double or nothing. If we lose we pay double whatever the bill was (about $900 pre tip) and if we win it was on the house. Heads or tails 2 out of 3. We win – our entire meal was free. How sweet it is.
[Eds comment: Why would you take this bet? Hell, I’d never even serve him. Tosser.]

 

Evelyn Ng
Evelyn Ng - professional poker playerI used to sometimes refer to A-Q affectionately as “big chick” or “slick chick” as a joke, but you know, sometimes A-Q is just a bitch! [Evelyn was 3 times screwed with A-Q in the 08 Ladies NO Limit Hold’em World Championship].

 

 

Erick Lindgren
Erick Lindgren, poker professionalBetting on myself to win a bracelet was a way to make it more important. This year, it became about attaining the bracelet, and not just the money, because money doesn’t motivate me as much as a tangible object. I see why Hellmuth talks about them all the time – it helps his motivation.

 

 

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December 30, 2007

Pro Poker Play: On confidence, game strategy and getting started

Filed under: Erick Lindgren,Josh Arieh,Poker News & Views,pro tips — Mike @ 12:09 am

They said it – comments from some of poker’s elite professional players

GAVIN SMITH:
Gaving Smith plays cash game poker online at FullTiltPoker.com - click to visit“Confidence is really important in tournaments, because it shows through to your opponents. If your opponents see you are confident, they are going to be less willing to make moves on you, and less willing to steal your blinds. Confidence will also allow you to be the aggressor at the table and take a little bit more control of the action.”

JOSH ARIEH:
Josh Arieh plays online at Bodog Poker - click to visit“Right now I’m caught between a couple of strategies. I base my strategy on the table. If I find myself at a table of mediocre, inexperienced players, I tend to gamble a lot more in the early rounds. I try to utilize my edge over them to obtain a lot of chips so I can play a big stack. On the flip side, if I have a very tough opening table, I play a tight game and try to survive, so that when the table breaks, I am still in there with chips, and hopefully moving to a more profitable table. You need to be able to adjust your tournament strategy based on what your table is allowing you to do.”

ERICK LINDGREN:
Erick Lindgren plays online poker at FullTiltPoker.com - click to check it out!“I was just a small town guy that played sports his whole life = basketball, football, baseball – every game possible. I went on to college to try to play basketball seriously, but I wasn’t good enough; there were physical limitations, so I…er… wound up in a casino. I started playing the $3/$6 Hold’em game right away and was winning pretty good, so obviously I was intrigued and I took it very seriously from the beginning.”

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November 17, 2007

Pro Tips for Playing Multiple Online Poker Tables

Filed under: Erick Lindgren,Poker News & Views,pro tips — Mike @ 8:19 pm

Erick is a member of Team FullTilt and plays exclusively online at FullTiltPoker.com

 

 

 

 

Most players eventually realize that it’s fun, fairly easy and potentially better use of their time when trying to build a bankroll, to play at multiple online poker tables at once. Early in my career, I played as many as eight games at once on a daily basis. Here are some tips for playing multiple games:

1. Aligning your tables. Online poker software is getting better and better with some sites far better for easy multi-table play than others – some give you the choice of “picture in picture” or separate browser windows for each poker game that you can move independently around your screen, stack, layer and re-size…

Resolution is key for effective multi-table poker (you gotta be able to see those cards!). Most computer systems come preconfigured now for max res. It’s easy to change the resolution of the monitor by clicking on your desktop, then Properties, then Settings. Grab the arrow in the Screen Resolution area and move it to a smaller resolution. If possible use 1600×1200 setting to get up to four games on one screen without overlap. In order to maximise your screen area, make sure your video card and monitor support higher res settings.

2. Once you get into playing more than one game, the best way for you to keep up with the action is to look for hands you can fold automatically. Use advance actions. That will help you pay more attention to the game you have a real hand in.

3. Play the same game at every table. (Not just like Hold’em or Omaha, but also the same limit/ NL and preferably games with similar stakes).  It will help you avoid mistakes in reading and playing your hand, and you’ll find it easier to get into a good rhythm.

4. Most importantly: Track who has raised the pot. Make sure you make a mental (or physical jotting!) of this since it is key to how you will play your hand latter. It sounds simple, but it is really easy to get in a pot and not recall who raised when you’re playing across four to eight tables!

5. Make sure you take some breaks. When I used to play eight games, I was an animal. I would run to the bathroom and every screen would be beeping at me. Take a few breaks. The games will still be there when you get back!

Playing multiple poker games concurrently is a lot of fun and I hope to see you at the table – or tables!

Erick Lindgren

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October 11, 2007

Show the Flow?

Filed under: Erick Lindgren,pro tips — Mike @ 8:09 pm

Poker tips by Professional playersIf your opponents always fold and never see your cards, that’s obviously not a bad thing, but it can prevent you from communicating to them that you’re mixing up your play. As long as you think that you’re the better player, it doesn’t hurt to show somebody your cards once in a while. Yes, it gives them information, but as long as you can play on that higher level and mix it up, then that’s fine. But if your opponents are better than you, and you’re more scared of them and you think that information will help them, then you shouldn’t show your cards.

Erick Lindgren

 

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April 15, 2007

Erick Lindgren: Ask And Ye Shall Receive Part II

Filed under: Erick Lindgren,Poker News & Views,pro tips — Elle @ 12:21 am

“Wouldn’t Casey have been more than happy to raise with his A-A, knowing the older guy would reraise him?”

Erick Lindgren a member of Team Full Tilt

Last blog posting I offered an example of a hand where asking the right question – “Why’d you bet so much?” – netted me a sizeable pot.

This posting I’ll show how a very different question at the same tournament proved equally effective.

Case Two:

Today, I start my table as the chip leader with more than double the average stack. This is a tougher table, with Annie Duke, Bill Gazes, Casey Kastle, and Lee Salem.

An older gentleman at the table is raising and reraising a lot of pots, and generally, playing wildly. Like the Cowboy from a day earlier, he is definitely today’s mark. He’s got Casey, who’s stuck on his right, especially frustrated. The three times Casey brings it in for a raise, the old man reraises, and Casey throws his hand away. This hand, Casey limps in for $1,200. Annie, Lee, and another player all call.

I’m pretty sure I have the best hand with A-T, and raise it $5K. I expect to win the pot right there, and am rather unhappy when Casey quickly says “All in” for a total bet of $25K. It’s folded back to me, and I am now faced with a decision for half my chips.

Here, Casey is representing that he limped in with A-A hoping for a raise behind him so he could reraise all-in. This is a typical slow play in our game. But his play here doesn’t make sense. Wouldn’t Casey have been more than happy to raise with his A-A, knowing the older gentleman would reraise him? I look at Casey hoping to get a read, but he is frozen like a kid playing statue.

I need more information, so I try to get Casey to acknowledge that I’m still in the hand, or at the very least, that he’s still alive. I ask if he limped with aces and I still get no reaction. I then say, “Can you beat queen high?” He finally looks up, smirks, and says, “Yeah, I can beat queen high.”

Now, some people in poker like to lie about their hands. Here, it felt like Casey was happy to be able to tell the truth in response to what is, admittedly, a pretty silly question. After all, if I can’t beat queen high, why am I even thinking of calling?

Now I feel certain that Casey is holding K-T, K-J, or K-Q suited. I have him. “I’m not buying it,” I say as I push in my chips. “Good call,” he says and turns over K-T of diamonds. I proudly showed my A-T and it holds up, winning me the $50K pot.

Sometimes a simple question can return a very profitable answer. Remember though, information flows two ways at the tables, so be sure that you’re getting more information than you’re giving.

Erick Lindgren

>Read Part I of this professional poker tip from Erick Lindgren

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April 13, 2007

Erick Lindgren: Ask And Ye Shall Receive Part 1

Filed under: Erick Lindgren,Poker News & Views,pro tips — webmaster @ 11:55 pm

Erick Lindgren - poker pro

“I want him to view me as a young hot-shot, with the hopes that he’ll bully me later when I have the goods.”

All Talk and No Action,  A Two-Part Lesson from Erick Lindgren

You can learn a lot by listening. You can learn almost as much by talking, if you ask the right questions.

The following occurred at a tournament at Bellagio in 2004.

I draw a very good first table and recognize only two faces. They are solid pros, neither of whom is very aggressive. I know I can take control of the table and quickly look around to find the best targets. I notice an older gentleman in a cowboy hat who’s involved in too many pots and decide he’s my mark. My plan is to bluff him at first opportunity and do anything I can to get under his skin. I want him to view me as a young hot-shot, with the hopes that he’ll bully me later when I have the goods.

I chop away at some small pots and my $20K starting stack is now $43K when Cowboy and I finally get to lock horns. I’ve been raising a lot of hands and splashing my chips around a bit. In this case, the blinds are $200-$400, and I bring it in for $1,200 with pocket jacks. I get three callers, including Cowboy, in the big blind. The flop comes 7h 4c 4h and the small blind checks. It’s Cowboy’s turn, and he pushes all in. He looks proud, firing his $37K into a $5K pot.

I’m completely befuddled. What’s going on? I can’t make any sense of it. There’s a player to act behind me, but he’s only got $3K – he isn’t going to matter at all in this hand. My best bet here is to get Cowboy to talk. “Why’d you bet so much?” I ask. He tells me to call and find out.

I make a list of his possible hands: A-x hearts for the nut flush draw. Pocket eights, maybe. Or a random berzerko bet with a pair of sevens. After a minute or two of deliberation, I call. He flips up T-7c for one pair! He fails to improve and I now have $80K, and am ready to roll.

It’s important to know who your weaker players are. Concentrate on playing against them and finding ways to get them to make a big mistake. You can’t count on the pros to make those mistakes. In this particular case, I knew he was getting tired, and through a few verbal jabs, I was able to make myself his target.

Next blog, a similar question with a very different answer yields an equally large profit.

Erick Lindgren

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April 11, 2007

Playing Two or More Tables at Once

Erick Lindgren - poker professional

 

 

 

 

 

 

“…the best way to keep up with the action is to look for hands you can fold automatically.”

Most players eventually realize that it’s fun and fairly easy to play at multiple online tables at one time. Early in my career, I played as many as eight games at once on a daily basis. Here are some tips and instructions for playing multiple games:

1. Increase the resolution on your monitor. You can do this by right clicking on the desktop, then clicking on Properties, then clicking on Settings. You can then grab the arrow in the Screen Resolution area and move it to a smaller resolution.

If possible, use the 1,600 x 1,200 setting to get up to four games on one screen without overlap. In order to maximize your screen area, make sure your video card and monitor support higher resolution settings.

2. Once you get into playing more than one game, the best way for you to keep up with the action is to look for hands you can fold automatically. Use advance actions. That will help you pay more attention to the game you have a real hand in.

3. Play the same game at every table. It will help you avoid mistakes in reading and playing your hand, and you’ll find it easier to get into a good rhythm.

4. Most importantly: Track who has raised the pot. Make sure you make a mental note of this since it is the key to how you will play your hand later. It sounds simple, but it is easy to get in a pot and not recall who raised when you’re playing more than one game.

5. Make sure you take some breaks. When I used to play eight games, I was an animal. I would run to the bathroom and every screen would be beeping at me. Take a few breaks. The games will still be there when you get back.

Playing multiple games is a lot of fun and I hope to see you at the table. Or tables.

Erick Lindgren

tickyThere’s lots of choice when it comes to poker networks including the iPoker Network, Microgaming Poker, Chico Poker and WPN Poker Networks. Check out the latest poker room reviews or the poker room showdown before you decide where to play your next hand of poker.

 

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January 31, 2007

Play More Pots

Filed under: Erick Lindgren,Poker News & Views,Ratty's Poker Play — Elle @ 9:02 pm

Erick Lindgren a Full Tilt Poker pro

In tournaments, I play lots of hands. I’ll put my money in with all kinds of connected cards, especially when in position. I might limp, I might min-raise or raise a little more than the minimum, depending on the circumstances. I’m looking to keep my table off balance so they don’t know where I’m coming from.

My overall goal is to pick up a lot of small pots without a lot of resistance. I might raise in position and hope for a call from one of the blinds. If I raise pre-flop with something like 6-7, I might miss the flop entirely, but the raise puts me in control of the hand. On the flop, I’ll likely bet if checked to, even if I miss. That small bet on the flop will usually win me a small, but helpful pot.

Of course, sometimes it won’t work out. I’ll bet and get check-raised on occasions. But that’s okay, because I actually don’t lose much in the hands that I have to surrender. Overall, I get to gradually add to my chip stack by chopping at small pot after small pot.

The other major advantage to my style is that, occasionally, I will hit a flop hard. If I do happen to flop a straight, it’s difficult for other players to put me on something like 5-7 or 6-8. If one of my opponents also gets a piece of the flop, I’ll get paid off in a big way.

By adding to my stack early, I have a real advantage over players who play a cautious, tight game. The extra chips that I accumulate allow me to survive some tough spots. So, if I happen to get involved in a race with A-K or a pair of Tens, I can withstand a loss. An opponent who’s playing tight will likely be on the rail after losing a single race.

New players often ask me how they can learn to play more pots. I always suggest that they drop down significantly in stakes and practice. If you’re playing $2-$4 no-limit, drop down to $.50-$1 – a level where some losses won’t hurt you.

Once you’re at that table, try to play eight hands out of 10. Play everything but 2-8 or 3-9 – hands that are entirely unconnected. When you get yourself involved with this kind of frequency, you’ll have to concentrate more on your opponents than on your own cards. You’ll have to be on the lookout for opportunities to take down pots with well-timed stabs. You’ll also learn how to proceed in situations where you flop a good, but dangerous hand.

By dropping down and playing a lot of hands, you’re going to learn a lot about poker. You’re also going to have a lot of fun. Lord knows, playing 50% of the hands is a whole lot more entertaining than sitting around waiting for Aces.

If you look at the success that Gavin Smith, Daniel Negreanu and myself have had over the last couple of years, you’ll see that being active can be an excellent way to score big in tournaments. It takes practice to play this style, but it can lead to great results and be a lot of fun.

Erick Lindgren

tickyThere’s lots of choice when it comes to poker networks including the iPoker Network, Microgaming Poker, Chico Poker and WPN Poker Networks. Check out the latest poker room reviews before you decide where to play your next hand of poker.

 

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