The Poker Lab Rat

November 27, 2007

Erik Seidel’s Top 6 Tips on Self Control

Filed under: Erik Seidel,Poker News & Views,pro tips — Mike @ 3:43 am

 Erik Seidel plays online poker at FullTiltPoker.com

1. His big tip
Pay attention all the time. Watch and listen. Focus on the next to speak and interpret his action.

2. I will survive!
Think your way through all situations. When things have gone badly, sit there just as tough as you were when you came in. That can be very discouraging to other players.

3. Respect your opponents
Try not to think you’re better than you are. Remember that you’re only as good as your last mistake. There is something to be learned from every hand, whether you’re in it or not. Even bad players can teach you something – like how to play against bad players. Keep working on your faults and patterns. It’s all going to take much longer than you think. Don’t play your cards – play your opponents.

4. Embrace risk
Don’t kid yourself about poker. There may be more skill than luck in the game, but there’s still a lot of gambling involved, particularly in tournaments. Don’t become too attached to your chips. In competitions they’re shrinking all the time as the blinds go up, so put them into play and make them work for you.

5. Control your impulses
Embracing risk doesn’t mean going crazy. Think every bet through every time – don’t ever play emotionally. If you find yourself saying “I end up with all my chips in and I don’t know how they got there”, you’re a victim of your own impetuosity.

6. Have fun
Until the day comes when you decide to go pro, you’re playing the game to enjoy yourself, so enjoy! Keep it light, maintain your sense of humour and don’t get grumpy. You should work hard to improve your game, but do it with a smile, not a frown.

Erik Seidel – who is he?
A New Yorker who spent eight years on the backgammon circuit and then worked on Wall Street trading Stocks. He’s beanstick thin and ultra studious, and you can play him online at Bookmaker Poker and BetOnline Poker. (Check out the medium to high stakes tables. ).

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November 16, 2007

Erik Seidel’s Advice on Bounty Tournament Play

Filed under: Erik Seidel,Poker News & Views,Poker Tournaments,pro tips — Mike @ 2:10 am

Erik Seidel plays exclusively online at FullTiltPoker.com

Knockout Bounty tournaments available at a few top Poker rooms (such as BetVictor Poker and Paddy Power Poker) – can add a fun and exciting new wrinkle to tournament poker. While it’s important to go after the bounties at the right times, you have to keep an eye on your overall goal: winning.

A lot of players will forget this and risk way too much as they try go after bounties. You have to be wary of these players and adjust your game accordingly. You will often have to tighten up as your opponents are willing to play a wider range of hands in pursuit of Knockout Bounties. While everyone else is pushing with a wider variety of hands, you need to play smart and remember not to stray too far from your normal game plan.

Of course, there are times when you should be more aggressive in trying to take down a bounty. If another player at your table is short stacked, by all means go after him, especially in the early stages of the tournament. If you’re in the small blind and a short stack is in the big blind, you should force his hand with pretty much any two cards. In this case, the small risk in doubling him up is outweighed by the reward of taking down the bounty.

Inversely, if you find yourself short stacked in a Knockout Bounty tournament, you should be willing to push all-in with a narrower range of hands than you might otherwise play in a non-bounty tournament. Remember, everyone at the table is going to be gunning for you and your bounty, so you want to give yourself the best possible chance of having your hand stand up so that you can rebuild your chip stack. To that end, you should also be more wary of bluffing and of trying to steal blinds with a marginal hand, because you’re probably going to get called by at least one player, regardless of what cards they’re holding.

In the later stages of these tournaments when you’re getting close to the money, my advice is very simple – forget about the bounties and just play your normal game. If you’ve made it this far, you don’t want to make any unconventional or risky moves just for the chance to take down an additional bounty. The risk simply doesn’t justify the reward and your chips are just too precious to throw around when first-place could be within your grasp.

So go ahead and gun for a bounty when the opportunity presents itself, but don’t go out of your way trying to take another player out just for the fun of delivering a knockout punch. Remember, even in a Knockout Bounty tournament, there’s no sweeter reward than to be the last man standing after the final hand is dealt.

 

A former Wall Street Trader, Erik Seidel holds 7 WSOP Bracelets

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March 18, 2007

Book Smarts vs Table Smarts

Filed under: Erik Seidel,Poker News & Views,pro tips — Mike @ 10:03 pm

“Just as there is no right way to write a song or paint a picture, there is no right way to play poker.”Erick Seidel poker professional

These days, it seems like you can’t walk through a bookstore without tripping over a poker strategy book. How do you play A-K in early position short-handed? Should you raise with suited connectors on the button after the big stack smooth calls? When is it right to slow play pocket aces?

There are now dozens of books written by expert poker players that will answer all of those questions. I’ve seen entire chapters devoted to playing certain hands in particular circumstances. And while it’s useful to understand why these authors make the suggestions they do, it’s more important to realize that all of these questions have the same answer:

It depends.

Poker is a game of infinite complexity. Players like Chris Ferguson can calculate the odds of almost any situation, but there are no hard, fast rules for how to play a specific hand. The math matters, but if you want to take your game to the next level, you need to start working on three things: Creativity, imagination, and flexibility.

There are many successful styles that work in poker. From the seemingly reckless manner of Gus Hanson (there is a method to his apparent madness), to the tightly disciplined systems of David Skalansky, your goal should be to experiment with different ways of playing. Once you’ve started doing that, you need to figure out which style will work best for you and the situation at hand.

If the game is too loose, it’s often right to play fewer cards. If the table is a rock garden, you can sometimes get away with bluffing more. The key is not to be stuck to some plan that is “always right,” but to redefine yourself in each given situation.

Learning how to adjust your play takes practice. Shorthanded play is a great opportunity to test your creativity because you have more decisions to make. You can also invest time playing single table sit & gos, where the increasing blinds force you to play more hands against your opponents.

Imagination is at the heart of the game. Just as there is no right way to write a song or paint a picture, there is no right way to play poker. The best players are experimenting and adjusting all the time. The beauty of the game lies in this ever-shifting landscape, and it keeps us interested each time we sit down.

Erik Seidel

 

 

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January 7, 2007

Professional Poker Play Must Consider the Long Term

 

Looking at the Long Term – Erik Seidel

Tournament poker can be a very tough business. No matter how good you are, you’re bound to encounter long periods where things don’t go well. On the tournament circuit, even the best players can go several months – or even a couple of years – between significant cashes. These dry spells can be tough to deal with if you don’t develop a solid mental approach to the game.

I think the down times are particularly difficult for younger players who have some success early in their careers. They come to expect great results and can become overwhelmed when things go badly in a long string of tournaments. They may grow frustrated and are apt to assume they’re making mistakes. They make changes in their games that aren’t well thought out, and they suffer because of it.

To endure the long, tough stretches, serious players need to understand that bad runs are inevitable. They’re part of this business. And while there’s something to be said for going into every tournament with a positive attitude, it’s also important to be realistic. If you expect to win every tournament you enter, the disappointment that accompanies repeated bust outs could be very damaging to your psyche. I know that early in my career, my confidence suffered when I went through a rough stretch.

Over time, however, I learned to focus my attention in productive ways. Now, when I’m playing in a tournament, I concentrate on making the best decisions I can. I try to approach every hand in a thorough and effective manner. If my focus is good at the table, I can be honest with myself as I assess what I’m doing well and where I need improvement. I’m not likely to fall into the traps that ensnare other players. Many refuse to admit mistakes and insist that a bad run is due to bad luck alone. Others believe they’re playing well when their results are good, even though they’re playing poorly and are benefiting from a great run of cards.

After a tournament is over, I’m quick to remember that tournament poker requires the temperament of a marathoner, not a sprinter. If I play well and consistently make good decisions, I’ll be rewarded, though it may be a long time before I see the results I’m looking for.

Erik Seidel

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