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With the re-launch of Outstanding Poker V2.0 I have moved my blog over to the new site and no longer need to post here!

View my current blog at for all new postings!

Posted on August 21st, 2010 by Tim  |  No Comments »

Dealing with tilt at the poker tables

Got an interesting question from a member via email:

I find that  my biggest problem with online poker is tilt. I think I am a decent player. I am after reading alot of e-books and articles over the past 3-4 years. I play live but mostly online. I use to win $300-$400 a week mostly playing sit & gos and tourneys, it seemed I never went broke, but when i started playing cash games I saw my profits disappear. Not in live cash games but online. I would say I am in the red about $26000 in the past 6-8 months. I win at the $0.50-$1.0 nl games then move up to higher stakes and lose everything usually on a bad beat. I am after reading over and over again your bankroll management and tilt information but still fall into the same traps. I know I can win because I done it consistently in the past.  Now I will not lie to you, I do drink when I play at times which can affect my game. I love the game and I am not ready to give up but I need a big re-awakening. My big question for you is how do you let the bad beats roll off so easily? Any advise?

Here are my thoughts:

It’s clear that you need some discipline in your game.  You need to realize that you are simply gambling if you move up to stakes higher than $0.50/1 and that you are probably a losing player at those stakes.  Play at stakes you are comfortable with and are skilled for.  If you seek the gambling thrill, then go play blackjack or something because you’ll probably lose less money (although you will still lose).  To win consistently at poker you must be very disciplined and play at games that you are skilled for and bankrolled for.

Another step  you really need to improve on is emotional control.  You need to really tone down your tilt problem.  You need to realize that bad beats happen and that it’s all part of the probability of the game.  AA cannot win every hand.  And yes, you will hit bad streaks where you constantly get it in with the best hand and lose.  But that is also guaranteed to happen from a probability perspective every so often.  Once you realize this and accept that continued bad beats are part of the game then you will be able to handle them better.  Bad beats are what keep the fish in the game and enable winning players to make their money.  If they didn’t exist then the games would dry up immediately.  Focus on what you can control – your emotions and your decisions at hand.  Don’t worry about what cards fall after you’ve made your decision.  If you used all the information at hand to the best of your ability and are making winning plays, then in the long run you’ll be a winning player (though obviously in the short run it can swing either way, sometimes substantially).

When you find yourself starting to tilt you should leave the tables immediately.  Do not chase losses – you will only let your emotions get to you and force you into making bad plays that add up to more losses.  Take a break and come back the next night if you start getting emotional.  Don’t get frustrated – it is very tough to overcome emotions, sometimes I still tilt myself.  But when you realize it’s happening, the worst thing you can do is keep playing.  Come back another day with a fresh mind and attitude.

And lastly I know you don’t want to hear it but it’s probably not the best idea to drink while you play.  If you’re looking to just have fun then by all means do it, but realize that it’s costing you money in the long run, as it messes with your poker judgments and emotional stability (which is hugely important) while playing.  Save the beers for after you record a solid winning session.

I hope this helps!


Posted on May 22nd, 2009 by Tim  |  2 Comments »

Tough fold for Outstanding Poker member

I received an interesting hand via email from one of our members that I want to discuss here:

Hi Tim,
Do you think I should have called the river(he pushed quickly) or bet the flop?  I didn’t have much info on the guy.  It was only his 10th hand, and I wasnt paying attention to how he was playing…  he limped under-the-gun and called my raise, I was thinking maybe he got two pairs.  Did I have value to call river?  Thanks

Seat 2 is the button
Total number of players : 6
Seat 3: Villain1 ( $50.25 USD )
Seat 5: Villain2 ( $50 USD )
Seat 4: Villain3 ( $49.75 USD )
Seat 1: Villain4 ( $49.77 USD )
Seat 6: Villain5 ( $30.70 USD )
Seat 2: HERO ( $53.25 USD )
Villain1 posts small blind [$0.25 USD].
Villain2 posts big blind [$0.50 USD].
Villain4 posts big blind + dead [$0.75].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to HERO [  Kh Qd ]
Villain5 calls [$0.50 USD]
Villain4 raises [$0.50 USD]
HERO raises [$4 USD]
Villain1 folds
Villain2 folds
Villain5 calls [$3.50 USD]
Villain4 folds
** Dealing Flop ** [ 8c, 3d, 7s ]
Villain5 checks
HERO bets [$6 USD]
Villain5 calls [$6 USD]
** Dealing Turn ** [ 6h ]
Villain5 checks
HERO checks
** Dealing River ** [ Kc ]
Villain5 is all-In  [$20.70 USD]
Your time bank will be activated in 6 secs. If you do not want it to be used, please act now.
HERO will be using his time bank for this hand.
HERO folds
Villain5 does not show cards.
Villain5 wins $41.60 USD

Here are my thoughts:

It’s close, but I think a fold is best if you don’t have a read.  It really depends on the player though – sometimes this would be a snap call.  But think about what hands he’s limping UTG with – lots of low/medium pocket pairs and suited-connectors.  They absolutely crush this board – 88, 77, 66, 87, 76, 86, 45, T9 all have you beat.  I’d guess he was slowplaying a monster, or perhaps called the flop with a hand like T9 and hit on the river.  Note there was no flush draw so that reduces his potential missed draws.

Well played.

Posted on May 8th, 2009 by Tim  |  1 Comment »

Poker hand reading exercise

Hi folks,

Sorry for the lack of updates – been busy with relaunching the site and hiring new coaches.  Rest assured it’s coming along very smoothly and we should be relaunching in the next few months.  We’ll have a lot of changes coming along with new coaches in various realms of online poker (SNGs, MTTs) as well as some big upgrades to the site.

Here’s an interesting hand from today, when creative thinking can really net you some extra value from your opponents.

No-Limit Hold’em, $6.00 BB (6 handed) – Hold’em Manager Converter Tool from

UTG ($685.10)
Button ($413.40)
MP ($702.50)
SB ($114)
BB ($1140.20)
Hero (CO) ($725)

Preflop: Hero is CO with 10, 10
2 folds, Hero bets $18, Button calls $18, 1 fold, BB raises $76, Hero raises $142, 1 fold, BB calls $78

Flop: ($341) 4, K, 7 (2 players)
BB checks, Hero checks

Turn: ($341) 7 (2 players)
BB checks, Hero bets $165, BB calls $165

River: ($671) K (2 players)
BB checks, Hero bets $400 (All-In), 1 fold

Total pot: $671

Hero had 10, 10 (two pair, Kings and tens).
Outcome: Hero won $1068

From the outset it doesn’t look too interesting, but a lot of thought actually went into this hand.  I make a standard raise pre-flop with pocket tens and get called by a weaker player (who I know has a wide range).  Good thinking player in the BB then squeezes to $82, since he knows that I’m opening a wide range of hands in the cut-off, and the weaker player is calling with a wide range of hands – so neither of us can likely continue on.  I realize he knows this, so I decide to put in a re-raise, with plans to call it off if he pushes.  I’d likely be a slight dog, to his pushing range of AA-JJ, AKo, AKs, and possibly AQo/s, but I’d have proper odds to call since I’d already have committed $160 into the pot.

My opponent decides to smooth call my 4-bet out-of-position which is very odd.  When the flop comes down very dry, I try to think what hands he would simply smooth call my 4bet with.  I figure that AA-JJ and AK would have just pushed pre-flop, so that leaves possibly AQ, KQ, and smaller pocket pairs.  Since my range can still consist of premium hands, I know that he’s afraid of what I’m holding.  I check behind on the flop since I have some showdown value, and I don’t think I’ll induce a bluff check-raise by betting.  When the turn bricks off (since 7x is in neither of our range) and my opponent checks again, I become pretty confident that I have the best hand.  He likely has either A-high or a middle pocket pair.  So I bet slightly over half pot to try to induce a check-raise from my opponent (which I would snap call).  When he simply calls the turn, I’m liking where I stand.  When the river pairs the King, I’m liking the card since it will either induce him to push as a desperation measure since his pocket pair just got counter-feited, or he will possibly call a push from me with Ace-high, since all Aces will chop the pot.  When he checks to me, I push, hoping for a call with A-high, or possibly pocket 9s.  He folded however, but I was still able to get what I think is max-value from the hand (I guessing he probably had a low pocket-pair, or possibly AQ).

Anyway, I figured this might be an interesting hand to really explain an in-depth thought process.  Feel free to provide feedback in our forums at

Good luck with your games!


Posted on May 6th, 2009 by Tim  |  1 Comment »

Big Changes Coming at

Hi folks,

Just wanted to let you all know about what we have planned for in the near future.  We’re pretty excited to be expanding and taking the site to the next level.

First of all – I realize the blog updates have been lacking.  People have been asking me for more updates on what’s going on at and with my game personally.   I’m interested in letting you all know about my own successes in the online realm, as well as where we’re taking the site – so blog updates are going to be much more consistent.

Second of all, we’re looking at adding a new pro to focus on Multi-table tournaments (MTTs) and Sit’n’Go (SNG) tournaments.  Although I started out playing a lot of Sit-n-Go’s in my early online poker career, I have shifted to primarily focusing on cash games.  While we do have a bunch of SNG content on our site, I’ve got requests for more from our members, so I’m in the midst of recruiting new pros to increase our content there.

And finally – I want to annouce our message board that’s starting to become active.  I welcome all members to post their questions/difficult hands as well as just boast about your successes you’ve had with your poker game.  I get a lot of emails from members sharing their success stories – and I want all our members to share in each other’s success as well.  So please use take a look at the discussion forum and feel free to post anything poker related on there.

Cheers to your continued poker success!


Posted on February 25th, 2009 by Tim  |  1 Comment »

How I got into online poker and early lessons learned

I started with a simple $50 deposit on Pokerstars back in the day after I saw Chris Moneymaker win the World Series of Poker on TV. I used to always play with my buddies socially (we were all pretty terrible at that point), and once I got the poker bug I had to try it online.

I initially played $5.50 Sit-n-Gos on PokerStars, and grinded out a small profit playing them over a long period. Once I figured out the basic optimal strategy (play tight early on followed by eventually switching to push-fold mode once you get to less than 15 BB’s or so), I started multi-tabling the $5.50 Sit-n-Go’s by playing 4 at a time. From that initial $50 deposit I never went bust. Once my bankroll was sufficiently large (I think around $500), I switched to playing $16 Turbo Sit-n-Gos (four at a time) and grinded those out. Sit-n-Go’s are profitable because your typical opponents at these stakes are beyond terrible at poker, but once you start moving up and playing with other players who understand the strategy, you jump on the variance train and it’s like playing bingo.

Then randomly I went out to Vegas for a vacation with my buddy and started playing $1-2 No-Limit cash games. I instantly started making money at cash games because the people that play $1-2 NL live in Vegas are also beyond terrible. I ended up staying in Vegas for 4 weeks just grinding out $1-2 No-Limit every day. By the end of the four weeks I was up around $5,000 and the decision to switch to playing online cash games was very easy. I realized that was where the money was to be made.

So I started playing 25NL online with my old SNG bankroll, and quickly moved up 50NL and then 100NL after I started beating them for a decent amount. After watching some big winners online, I realized that the real money was made playing 6max (as opposed to Full Ring 9-handed) with a tight-aggressive style that I still advocate in my videos today. I stayed at 100NL for maybe a month or two, and then moved up to 200NL where I grinded out a large number of hands. I think anyone who is disciplined and dedicated to learning the game can beat 200NL consistently. It took me some time to move to 400NL because the games are a lot more aggressive (I would play 200NL and then add in some 400NL tables when I was feeling good about my game), and eventually I made the switch full-time to 400NL after grinding at least 100,000 hands at 200NL. One thing to say is never feel bad about moving down if you are running bad, as we all run/play bad from time to time. Follow strict bankroll rules, and don’t “move up” to chase losses or stay at a level where you can’t sustain the swings – this is the quickest way to hit busto-ville.

One other tip I have is to remember, that at many points in your poker career, you will run worse than you can possibly imagine. It happens. Play enough hands and you will eventually run terrible for a seemingly endless amount of time. I’ve had up to 20-buyin downswings before. They are tough to weather mentally, but if you stay calm, continue to grind, don’t chase your losses, and make sure you follow a strict bankroll strategy, you’ll be okay.

Nowdays I play a mix of 400NL, 600NL and 1000NL, wherever I find good games with players that like to donate money to my cause (ie. weak passive players).

Posted on November 28th, 2008 by Tim  |  No Comments »

Don’t slowplay folks!

I advocate quite often in my instructional videos that slowplaying a monster usually isn’t the correct play in No-Limit Holdem. Here’s a fantastic hand from my session yesterday:

No-Limit Hold’em, $4.00 BB (6 handed) – Hold’em Manager Converter Tool from

Hero (BB) ($779.20)
UTG ($469.06)
MP ($930.50)
CO ($674.70)
Button ($276.50)
SB ($90)

Preflop: Hero is BB with K, J
2 folds, Hero raises $16, 2 folds, MP calls $12

Flop: ($34) A, Q, 10 (2 players)
MP checks, Hero bets $28, MP raises $81, Hero raises $212, MP raises $833.50 (All-In), Hero calls $523.20 (All-In)

Turn: ($1560.40) 5 (2 players, 2 all-in)

River: ($1560.40) A (2 players, 2 all-in)

Total pot: $1560.40

Results below:
Hero had K, J .
MP had 9, 8 .

Posted on September 10th, 2008 by Tim  |  1 Comment »

Back in the Poker Rhythm

It’s been a while since I blogged, but I’m going to get back into the swing of things after having spent a while working on building the site and getting it ready for launch.  I’m pretty pleased with how it’s turned out so far, and we’re going to start cranking out the content in the coming months (at least 1+ video per week), so stay tuned for some solid poker videos.  We just launched our Discussion Forum where we hope to start building our poker community here.  Feel free to post hands or discuss poker strategy, and I’ll try to help you guys out wherever possible.

Good luck at the tables!

Posted on August 28th, 2008 by Tim  |  No Comments »

Extracting maximum value from your opponent

I played an interesting session tonight with some good results, up a few buy-ins at $2/4. I ran across an interesting hand that I’m hoping will inspire people to really start thinking about how to optimally play hands by evaluating all factors – the board texture, your opponent’s style and aggressiveness, and recent history with your opponent (also known as ‘metagame’).

CO ($74)
Button ($213)
SB ($440.70)
BB ($74)
UTG ($400)
Hero ($579.30)

Preflop: Hero is MP with Jh, Jc.
1 fold, Hero raises to $16, 1 fold, Button calls $16, 2 folds.

Flop: ($38) 7h, 6c, 9c (2 players)
Hero bets $30, Button calls $30.

Turn: ($98) Qh (2 players)
Hero bets $66, Button calls $66.

River: ($230) 9h (2 players)
Hero checks, Button calls $101 (All-In), Hero calls $101.

Final Pot: $432

Results below:
Hero has Jh Jc (two pair, jacks and nines).
Button has Tc Jd (one pair, nines).
Outcome: Hero wins $432.

In this hand, I was playing a weaker player who had been playing a wide range of hands, so I was pretty confident that my overpair of Jacks were well ahead of my opponent’s range on the Flop. After he smooth called my continuation bet on the Flop, it seemed very likely that my opponent was drawing, as there was a plethora of draws on the flop (flush draw, plus tons of straight draws). I lead out on the Turn again, as I wanted to charge my opponent for his likely drawing hand. When he called and the River produced another 9, it really made me think about whether putting my opponent all in for another $101 (into a $200+ pot) made sense. Analyzing the hand up until that point, I really wasn’t going to get called by a lot of hands that I beat. My opponent’s hand is very likely a busted draw, or three 9’s. Given that the three 9’s is calling and winning if I bet, but the busted draw is folding, it makes no sense for me to bet myself since I gain no additional value from my opponent. But if I check, I can induce my opponent to bet his busted draws and gain even more value from the hand. While I stand to lose if he does indeed have three 9’s, I only have to call an additional $101 to win $328. So if my opponent is bluffing more than 31% of the time (calling $101 to win $328, so $101/$328) of the time, which I figured he would indeed bluff with a high frequency given my read that he was weaker and also due to the fact that his line looked strongly like a draw. With this line, I got maximum value from my opponent.

This hand just goes to show that you really need to always be thinking about more than just your own hand in order to extract maximum value from your opponent.

Good luck at the tables!

Posted on March 5th, 2008 by Tim  |  1 Comment »

Another complete mess

It seems like the crazy people never cease to exist. I had a quick session today and broke even, but I ran across this interesting hand that reiterates the concept I made in my previous post.

SB ($716)
BB ($635)
UTG ($2)
Hero ($609)
Button ($133.20)

Preflop: Hero is MP with 5h, 4c.
1 fold, Hero raises to $24, 1 fold, SB calls $21, 1 fold.

Flop: ($54) 5s, 7h, 5c (2 players)
SB bets $66, Hero calls $66.

Turn: ($186) Tc (2 players)
SB bets $166, Hero calls $166.

River: ($518) 8c (2 players)
SB calls $460 (All-In), Hero calls $353 (All-In).

Final Pot: $1222

Results below:
SB has Jd Ts (two pair, tens and fives).
Hero has 5h 4c (three of a kind, fives).
Outcome: Hero wins $1222.

Now on the outset my line looks terrible. Against any normal opponent I would be raising at some point and not playing it so passively. But this particular villain was crazy, so I figured I would just let him put the money in the middle for me. Once again, on the river, he pushes the rest of his stack in with a hand that does have showdown value, but is never going to get called by worse. He has turned his hand into a bluff, especially since the flush card came on the river. If you are new to the game, you should always be asking yourself “what worse hands are going to call my bet?” You will save yourself a lot of money if you ask that question before each and every bet you make.

Posted on February 16th, 2008 by Tim  |  No Comments »