PezRez and md261 are two of the poker world's most consistent 6-max SNG players. Together they run, which offers coaching and staking services. Here they dissect hands and games they've played. Also found at:

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Don't Leave $$$ on the Table

md261 on 27th April 2011

There has been exciting events in the poker world recently. Not much has really changed for non-US players, but since many people are reacting by withdrawing a large percentage of their bankroll from the big 3 and are looking to play elsewhere, a great opportunity has occured for everyone who can play at Non-US sites.

Networks like Party Poker, iPoker, OnGame and others are looking at this as the big opportunity to sweep up some of the players leaving Stars, FT and Cereus, and add them to their own network.

This surge in activity has led to real competition and price-warring between the networks. They view every player they gain now as a potential revenue stream for many years to come, and they are willing to do many things to gain players at this time. Competition is great for consumers as companies have to offer better value-for-money or better services to their clients, otherwise people will go elsewhere.

Networks want to get big players on, and will offer high % RB deals (sometimes even as high as 60%+) to get these players. If you are a full time pro, a high RB deal can add $10,000-$100,000 to your yearly winnings, for no extra work. Networks do not widely publicise these deals, because then players who do not know about it, and who think they are getting a great deal at 30% Rakeback, will demand a better deal, which means less money for the Network. Regardless of the stakes you play you can often get higher RB deals than you are getting.


As a general economic rule of thumb, the more competition there is, the better deals the customer/consumer gets, this seems to hold true for poker sites as well. Many people do not fully understand the relationship between a poker network and a poker skin.

Pokerstars and Full Tilt have no skins, you can only join the one site to play on one network, sites like are not skins, because .fr players cannot play on the same network as players outside of France. However a site like iPoker is a different case, here are a list of some of the skins that belong to the iPoker Network:

Bet365, Betboo Poker, Betfred, Betmost, BigSlick, Bluesq, Centrebet, Celebpoker, Chillipoker, DafaPoker, Expekt, Hansapoker, Mansion poker, noigpoker, nutspoker, pokeroceanm pokeruts, redfoxpoker, the nuts poker league, titan poker, vulcan poker, and others I do not know about.

This means that if you sharkscope sittysutty, who plays at celebpoker on sharkscope, you will realise that if you sharkscoped him on any of the other pokerskins listed above, it will also tell you his results. This is because they are the same player, you cannot have the same usernames on 2 different skins, because they are essentially playing on the same site.

A Network like iPoker will have a simple business strategy which almost guarantees them income, which will go something like this (the actual %'s are guesses). iPoker will give 65% of all the rake that a player brings in to the skin he is playing on. If sittysutty rakes $10 at CelebPoker, CelebPoker will receive $6.5. The skins are all competing with each other, and since there are so many skins there is lots of competition, so they may offer 60% RB to get players to play there, so sittysutty can receive $6 before any profit from the games. He need only break even at $50 turbos and he can get a $150+/hr hourly rate (12 tabling) without making any 'sharkscope' profit.

This is a good business strategy for the skins as well, if you are for example Manchester United football club, or William Hill bookmakers, you have a client base who may want to play poker, and you can take advantage of that by creating a skin like Manchester United poker, or William Hill poker. The skin just changes the colour scheme to Manchester United colours, and doesn't have to do anything else and it has created a new revenue stream. Manchester United Poker would have too few players by itself for any games to run, and they would need to pay lots of money to create the poker site and do all the programming, but as a skin they can make money and not have to worry about anything else.

Wherever you are playing it is well worth investigation regularly if you could be greatly increasing your hourly rate by changing where you play. It is very easy and comfortable to play at only one site, where the software is good and you know exactly what the blind levels will be, and who the good regs are. Spending 5 hours investigating other options could increase your hourly rate greatly, and even upping it $10/hr can make tens of thousands of $$$ difference over the year. Even if it doesn't it only costs you 5 hours.

This post is long, so I will not go into further detail, I may follow up this blog post with another post about the reliability of skins and why Rakeback affiliates are not allowed to advertise and have to remain concealed if people are interested.

When people we have staked or coached have asked for advice I will suggest to do good research, and make sure you are getting the best RB deal possible. I am always happy to pass on players details to a select few people I know who offer these deals to get their offers, but you should always do your own research and make sure you are confident that you are getting the best deal you can. Otherwise you are leaving money on the table.


Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Turning Bottom Pair into a Bluff Heads-Up

PezRez on 5th April 2011

In this hand I bluff the turn with a hand with some showdown value because a bet folds out a large portion of my opponent’s range that beats me.

PokerStars Game $35+$3 USD Hold'em No Limit - Level IV (50/100)
Seat 4: Hero (4490 in chips)
Seat 6: Villain (4510 in chips)
Hero: posts small blind 50
Villain: posts big blind 100
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Hero [6d Qh]
Hero: raises 150 to 250
Villain: calls 150
*** FLOP *** [Jc As 6h]
Villain: checks
Hero: bets 200
Villain: calls 200
*** TURN *** [Jc As 6h] [Kd]
Villain: checks
Hero: bets 500
Villain: folds
Uncalled bet (500) returned to Hero
Hero collected 900 from pot
Hero: doesn't show hand
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 900 | Rake 0
Board [Jc As 6h Kd]
Seat 4: Hero (button) (small blind) collected (900)
Seat 6: Villain (big blind) folded on the Turn

My opponent has been tight throughout the game, so I’m happy to open a lot of buttons. If I’m not going to open Q6o in this situation, what am I waiting for? I raise to 2.5x, and surprisingly my opponent calls. I am sure this tight opponent has a real hand, but as he’s pretty straightforward I feel he would have reraised me with anything close to premium.

The flop is a good one. I have bottom pair – but most importantly an Ace has flopped. This is the most populous card in my range, so I stand to have a good deal of fold equity on this flop. The bottom pair means my bet is really a semi-bluff; if I get called the chances are slim that my pair of Sixes is in the lead, but at least I’ll have 5 outs to make a genuinely good hand. On these Ace-high boards, your opponent has few draws (and no overcards) with which to call, so he’s likely to fold to any bet if he hasn’t connected (about two-thirds of the time). Consequently you can save some chips by shaving down your continuation bet to not more than 40% of the pot, as the impact will be pretty similar to a larger bet. If I’ve hit the flop I’ll make this same bet to encourage action and my opponent is probably expecting me to bet more if I’m bluffing, so I don’t think he’ll attempt a move.

My opponent calls, and with his flat-calls both preflop and on the flop I’m not convinced he has an Ace. A baby Ace is definitely possible, but at this point 80% of the time he has specifically a Jack. He calls because he can’t fold middle pair on the flop; but he worries I have an Ace and is playing cautiously, waiting to see what develops and whether I bet again. As I’m quite sure he has me beaten, I’ll probably take a free card if a blank hits, but if I get a decent scare card to bluff with I’m sure I can squeeze those Jacks out with some well-applied pressure.

A King is exactly what I’m looking for; another overcard to the Jack and a very plausible card for a button-raiser to hold. On the other hand it gives me a gutshot to go with my pair, so if I get called I still may well have 9 outs. Usually I would be checking behind with bottom pair and a gutshot heads-up, mostly because it’s clear no worse hand will call. However, here many better hands – all those timid Jacks – will fold reliably, so given that’s what I strongly suspect he holds a bet is obvious. 500 into 800 is plenty to achieve the desired effect, and I take the lead in the heads-up.