Drunk Poker

Let me clarify very quickly – Drunk Poker isn’t a variant of No Limit Holdem, or any other poker game for that matter. We’re talking about playing while under the influence of alcohol. If you’re the type to partake in a little partying during the weekend and drink a little of the tipsy juice, make sure you don’t login into Cake Poker and start a little poker action.

Why not?

Because there’s no secret Poker Strategy that will work for you when you’re drunk.

Just do what other drunk people do and make an ass of yourself in public or pass out in a compromising position. Whatever your vice, if you’re impaired for any reason seriously just chill out and stay out trouble. The Dad in me wants to remind you that this should include:

-          Driving a car, boat, motorcycle, bicycle, golf cart, or anything else that rolls or moves

-          Sex, that’s how babies are made (nothing worse than knowing you conceived your child drunk)

-          Fighting (great way to wind up in jail, lose friends, and generally look like an ass)

-          Drunk Dialing – don’t call ex-girlfriends/boyfriends asking forgiveness, etc

-          I’m sure there’s more to add to the list but you get the gist of it

Danger Will Robinson! Danger!

(For those that missed the Will Robinson reference) In short, don’t play poker drunk. You can make mistakes that cost you money. While this explanation seems simple, in reality it’s something that many players will deal with from time to time. So if you feel that you “may” fall into this category here’s a tip – Print this page out and keep somewhere near your PC. Next time you find yourself logging in to UB after a night out with Jack Daniels, hopefully you’ll see this and find another venue for entertainment.

Why is it such a big deal?

Poker is a game of mental acuity and we’ve all learned the hard way that when you’re drunk, the brain gets drained of, um, lots of stuff required to play a good game of poker. Online poker only adds to the drama because you’re on a CLOCK for every hand. Take too long to decide and you may well be folded out of a winning hand! Make a bad choice thanks to the booze and you just dropped some cash. Either way, it’s a lose-lose situation.

A little tipsy

Let’s not forget the Tilt Factor. Hell, I’ve been known to go on tilt after taking a bad beat. Who hasn’t? If you’re one of the large percentage of the population that tends to have a short fuse when you’re drunk, stay away from the virtual poker table. Tilt = Bad news. Tilt + Alcohol = Disaster. Do I need to preach anymore? I think not.

If it takes AAA meetings to stop bleeding cash at the poker table, pick one vice and quit. One will break down your mind, body (liver, spleen, kills brain cells), and soul. The other at least gives you an opportunity to earn a little cash.

Easy choice? I thought so.


I am not going to preach to you about drinking and whether it’s bad or not. That’s your call. However, we’re here to talk about poker and unfortunately alcohol plays a role in gambling. It always has and always will (I challenge you to find an alcohol-free casino in Las Vegas), so I wanted to write about it in the hope that it may save a person or two from the headache (pun intended). We’re all big boys and girls so you decide the next time – Drunk Poker or perhaps chill out and watch High Stakes Poker on Tivo while getting tanked.

I know what’d I’d do.

Rush Poker Tournament Strategy

Full Tilt Poker now offers Rush Poker Tournaments to compliment their already hyper-successful offering of the cash game variety. If you’re not familiar with the concept, it basically takes the waiting out of the game. In a standard poker game or tournament you have to wait a few minutes for the next hand (assuming you folded out) – Rush Poker turns that idea on it’s ear. In this variant of the classic game, you are “Rushed” to a new table and instantly dealt another hand. Fold again? Rinse. Repeat. This goes on until you go broke in a cash game or are busted out in a tournament.

Since this is a new concept to the online poker community, smart players are likely already looking for the latest on Rush Poker Tournament Strategy. Having played many sessions myself of this game, I’d like to share just a few concepts on how to beat these tournaments.

Time is on your side

Contrary to what you may think, you have more time in a Rush Poker Tournament to wait for premium hands. Does this mean fold every mediocre or crap hand that you’re dealt? I think not. In an earlier article I shared my thoughts on Andy Bloch’s comments regarding Rush Poker Tactics – In it he talks about the fact that the game is creating ABC poker players.  There’s some chatter about raising on the button and people folding – In my opinion you should use this tactic carefully. My reasons are listed clearly in that article so feel free to read it if you’re so inclined, I won’t rehash that here. With that concept in mind (that the game creates ABC poker players), you should strive to become one too. You should also strive to become an A B G or B E K poker player, meaning that you should adapt to the situation (the rushed nature of the game) and be able to switch gears accordingly. Let the other players think that time is NOT on their side, make smart plays at the opportune times.

This concept is pretty abstract,  I understand. However, you should really put some thought into things such as three or four betting opponents in this game, especially when you’re in the Blinds or in late position. You have to be prepared to get knocked out soon or take it to the house in this game.

Post Flop Play in Rush Poker

The single biggest mistake I see players make in this format is acting like their post flop should be just their pre-flop play. Wrong. You should play post flop here just the same way you would play in a standard game. Guess what? The other players that folded are gone, long gone. They’ve been whisked away to another table and you’re left here with the remaining players in the hand. Standard rules apply here and so the does the clock so play the exact same way you’d play in any other situation. Don’t make mistakes you wouldn’t normally make at a regular table. It can cost you here just the same.

Playing TAG in Rush Poker

I would say the vast majority of players in this game are Tight Agressive (TAG). Nothing wrong with this approach but again, I think the key is the ability to switch gears and play Loose Agressive (LAG) just as much if not more in this situation. The game moves so quickly no one is taking copious notes, at best they’re color coding you based on TAG or LAG or whatever. If that’s the case, even better for you because when you switch gears on them they won’t know what happened (other than the fact that they are staring at the dreaded “You just lost” screen).

At the end of the day I still see Rush Poker as a big experiment. One that’s working for Full Tilt because players love it and they’re playing the game frequently. Also it’s an ongoing experiment from the perspective of many online poker veterans, it’s something new that’s creating a new type of player. Whether these new types of players have long term success remains to be seen. At the end of the day it’s going to be what you make of it, so give it a try and see what happens. Remember though, you have to put in the time.

Even if it is in a Rush.

Good Luck at the tables!

Building a poker bankroll

The toughest thing for most casual poker players to manage and maintain is their poker bankroll. If you’re reading this and you’ve played real money poker online at some time in your life, you’ve likely had difficulties in managing your bankroll. It’s not an insult, it’s reality for 99.9% of online poker players and it’s something that we could all improve upon. For the small percentage that are managing their ‘roll and never had to make more than their initial deposit, congrats! You can stop reading now.

The rest of us would likely agree that this statement applies to them:

“I’m a casual player and only toss $50.00 or $100.00 at a time into my Cake Poker account. I may play a few Sit and Go events and hit up a weekend Guarantee Tournament, other than that I just mess around.”

If that’s accurate, read on because if you only take one or two the following points and integrate them into your bankroll management it will pay dividends.

Bankroll Building Tip #1 – Play the appropriate limits based on your bankroll size. In our article titled No Limit Poker 101, I talked about playing the right limit using some basic math. Here’s the same chart I put up there:

.5 / 1 NL = $300.00

1 / 2 NL = $600.00

2 / 4 NL = $1,200.00

3 / 6 NL = $1,800.00

4 /8 NL = $2,400.00

5 / 10 NL = $3,000.00

Pretty straight forward and it’s based on the generally accepted rule of having a minimum of 300 Big Blinds (or Big Bets) in order to be able to survive the swings that take place when you play poker for any length of time.

Bankroll Building Tip #2 – If you’re looking for stability, stay away from No Limit games. Yes, this is a NL Strategy website but if your knees get weak at the prospect of losing your entire stack in one hand of poker, stick to Limit Poker. Your bankroll will not experience the same type of variance and your ego will stay intact as well.

Bankroll Building Tip #3 – Take advantage of Poker Deposit Bonus offers as part of their loyalty programs. Most sites will match your first deposit up to 110% and then release the bonus into your players account as you earn Frequent Player Points. Some of the best Poker Loyalty Programs are from Full Tilt and Poker Stars, check out each site for specifics on how you can earn points. Speaking of great Loyalty Programs…

Bankroll Building Tip #4 – Stick to one game. If you play 2/4 NL on a daily basis, stay away from higher limits until your bankroll is ready. Same goes for SNG’s and tournaments. Definitely resist the temptation to head over to the online Blackjack or Casinos that some poker rooms offer! That’s the quickest way to erase your bankroll (and something the Casinos guys would love for you to do).

Overall, it’s an ABC 123 type deal. Just stick to the basics until your bankroll can take HUGE swings and dips. Then you can have a little fun but not too much fun, because then you’re back to zero again. And then you’re back here reading this same article again, hoping for a different result the next go-round. And we don’t want that :)

Short stack poker

In almost every type of poker game or tournament that you will buy into, there’s three types of “stacks” (the number of chips one has in front of them). Yes, tournaments start out with equal stacks but that changes quickly. So let’s pretend we’re halfway through a big tournament or cash game and consider our options playing against these different types of stacks -

Big Stack

Average Stack

Short Stack

Pretty self explanatory, right? Of course. Playing against those stacks isn’t. For the purpose of this article, we’re going to assume YOU are the short stack. Now let’s take a look at how to play your short stack against a hypothetical opponent.

Playing against the Big Stack

Big Stack players tend to push around smaller stacks. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition but for the most part, you will find this to be the case. The most basic strategy when faced with this type of opponent is to slow play your hand and let him do the betting. If he’s the original raiser and you peek down to find a pair of Tens or better, smooth call and play the flop accordingly. If it comes all rags and there’s no scare cards like an Ace or a King, use your read and go from there.

Playing against an Average Stack

Players with average stacks are looking to get a big stack, big surprise right? Instead of risking their stack by battling heads up with one of the larger stacks, they will often target the small stacks. It’s not a bad strategy and a great way to mitigate risk because even a bad read or a bad beat against a small stack will not wipe out all of their chips. Because of this it’s often easy to pick up pots against an average stack – it’s essentially the same philosophy as playing the Big Stacks, use your read and play accordingly. Pick your spot and get the chips in the middle of the table, if the cards fall your way this is perfect approach to building your stack like a high-rise in New York.

Playing against another Small Stack

This is often a more difficult spot to play because their mindset is very likely similar to your own. While tournament players will play relatively tight at this point, cash game players can always rebuy and if Tilt is a factor they may shove with any two cards. In the tournament example you really want to get your money in good against a short stack with a premium starting hand BEFORE the flop. Put them to a decision right off the bat, don’t let them see a flop. The last thing you want to do is call off your remaining chips post-flop. The same logic applies to a cash game, it’s easy math.


The scope of this article can’t possibly explore every situation that you will encounter when playing poker, whether it’s tournament play or cash game action. Rather it’s meant to give you a quick glimpse into the typical mindset of a player in this scenario. Good reads only come with time, as do good decisions. Use these tips as a foundation and put them into practice one step at a time, it’s not a guarantee so take baby steps. Don’t run until you can walk, learn from your mistakes and you’ll find that they are farther and farther apart. Remember, poker is a marathon not a sprint.

Editors note: Cake Poker is a great site to try these tactics.

Tilt Free Poker – Filtering noise at the poker table

Noise is one of those constants in life we just learn to deal with. In almost every nook and cranny of the earth, there’s some sort of noise being generated. It may be birds or the ocean gently lapping at the sandy shore. It may be a jackhammer making quick work of decades-old asphalt in New York City. Regardless, it’s there and there’s not much you can do to stop it. The poker table is no different – Whether it’s live poker or online, there’s typically plenty of noise.

It’s just noise – so what?

Noise can have a degrading effect on your poker game whether you realize it or not. Obvious examples are the loud, obnoxious guy that trash talks every time he rakes a big pot. There’s always a “Phil Hellmuth” at the table as well that wants to educate everyone on the “right” way to play a hand. When you’re playing online there’s the omniscient chat box – the playground for low IQ drones that want to flex their Internet muscle and talk trash to people thousands of miles away. If you’re the target of these attacks you most often will have a very specific reaction – usually to talk trash back. This however, is not the best course of action because by playing into these tactics you’re putting your bankroll at risk.

Live game tactics for dealing with noise

The dynamics at a live poker table are fundamentally different than those at an online table. So let’s talk a bit about how to mitigate the effects of “noise” while playing live. The easiest method is simply plugging in your iPod and listening to your favorite tracks. So long as you’re a seasoned player and can keep pace with the game (posting your blinds, acting in turn) this is a great approach. In some cases house rules prohibit you from using electronic devices at the table, so you’re forced to deal with these issues another way. What then?

Simple psychology – ignore them. Just like that kid in high school that wanted all of the attention; if you ignore them long enough they’re bound to stop. Or at least select another target. Either way, you’ve achieved your goal of minimizing the effects of the noise as it pertains to your poker game. Another tip is a level of meditation – put yourself in another place. Not so much that you lose track of the game but imaging you’re playing in a calm, serene location (snow, ski, or the beach – whatever floats your boat). You’d be surprised at how well this works.

Worst case – report the offender to the Dealer or the Floor Manager. If it’s that bad they will likely be given a stern warning and/or asked to leave the property. I would like to qualify this advice with more advice – If the person is a weak player and is losing money hand over fist, you may run the risk of making other players at the table angry by following this tip. Use your better judgment before trying to get anyone removed from a game.

Online tactics for dealing with noise

In the online poker world, it’s considerably easier to deal with this type of distraction. Turn off the chat box. Seriously, the chat function is not an effective tool anyway unless you’re negotiating a deal at the final table with the poker room manager. So unless you find yourself in that situation keep it off. Most rooms allow you to filter out certain players as well so if it’s a specific offender spouting off insults, try right-clicking on their player name. If there’s an option to mute that player then BINGO, you’re in business and they’re out of business! Problem solved.

Final Thought

These are somewhat rudimentary tactics but they do work. Remember, it’s critical that you play at the top of your game when real money is on the table. If the endless banter of these players is something that has distracted you in the past, try these ideas and measure the results. In the end, your bankroll may just thank you for it.