Author: Dave

Reasons Why You Should Try Playing in Online Casinos

Casinos, money and internet – sounds like a mix that is deemed to fail? If that has been your biggest worry and the reason why you’ve so far preferred land based casinos, it’s time to face the music. Things have changed big time and nowadays online casinos are safer than ever. More than that, there are various reasons why you could actually consider ditching the brick and mortar casino and try playing in online casinos instead. That being said, here are a few reasons why that change might be a good idea.

1. House edge is lower

The infamous enemy of every casino player – house edge – is especially high in land based casinos which in a way also makes sense. After all, it’s a lot more expensive to keep the wheels spinning in a brick and mortar casino. Most online casinos however have the advantage of offering much lower house edge. For example, in slot machines the payback is usually from 95 to 97 per cent while Blackjack may have 0,5 to 1,0 per cent house advantage. There’s no single truth to this but in general, online casinos take the point here.

2. You can still enjoy authentic experience

When you ask gambling enthusiasts why they visit land based casinos, they usually say “because of the atmosphere”. Technological advancements have allowed online casinos to almost replicated that via their live casino games. In live games, you get to play against a real live dealer as you would in a traditional casino, but you can do that while comfortably spending time in your home.

3. It’s more convenient

Have you ever stepped inside a land based casino and instantly realized it’s not really the place you want to be at and you should visit another one? One great reason why you should try online casinos, is the ease of moving from one to another. Even more, you can simultaneously play in several different online casinos. Many internet casinos have also introduced the possibility to play several games in one window, allowing you to play different games at once. Land based casinos can only dream about such convenience.

4. You are the boss

All land based casinos have strict rules you need to follow, in order to ensure the comfort of all casino players. That means, you have to abide by their rules for etiquette, clothing, game speed, table rules etc. If you want to avoid such hassle, then online casinos are clearly for you.

5. You can play for free

Words “casino” and “free” don’t seem to go hand in hand, but in reality they do. If you want to relax and spend time but don’t want to risk with your own cash, you can score several no deposit bonuses to try gambling in a casino or you can just play demo versions that are completely free to play. This is virtually impossible in all land based casinos. If you live in Nordics, this would be the best list to choose your kasino bonus from.

There are definitely more reasons to try online casinos, but if you appreciate convenience, speed and the ability to set your own terms to how you spend time in a casino, then online casinos are the way to go.

Quick Guide to Understanding Casino Bonuses

One of the reasons why online casinos have grown in popularity are bonus offers. These promotional goodies are created so players would have continuously reasons to return to that particular online casino. The greater the competition in the field gets, the greater the casino bonuses get and now it’s not unlikely to encounter bonuses that reach to even thousands of dollars. As a first time online casino player, you might initially be confused by the vast choices, so we put together this quick guide that explains the most common casino bonus types.

Bonuses for new players

Every decent online casino offers some sort of a sign-up bonus that you are eligible for if you don’t have an account in that casino yet. These bonuses can be various, but often they are matching bonuses that you can receive after depositing money to your casino account. Several casinos offer a welcome package not only for the casino games section but as well for poker, betting and other gambling categories the casino has. More info about casino bonuses for new players on Casinotarjoukset.com (in Finnish).

No deposit bonuses

Bonus that doesn’t require even one cent of your money – sounds too good? Well, you better believe it because many online casinos offen no deposit bonuses for new players. Such bonuses are rather small and might just give out a few free spins, but in the end the bonus still means you don’t need to risk with your own funds.

Bonuses that match your deposit

These bonuses are undoubtedly most common. Matching bonuses mean that the casino will give you a cash bonus according to the amount you deposited and the percentage up to which they’ve agreed to match the deposit to. For example, if the casino offers a 100% matching bonus up to 200 dollars and you deposit 100 dollars, you will receive 100 dollars. These bonuses are commonly around 50 – 200% but may be even higher.

Loyalty bonuses

Besides rewarding new players, casinos also need to keep their loyal players happy. For that they have implemented VIP programs and loyalty bonuses that are meant for players who’ve become regulars at the gambling site. You can usually receive a bonus according to your VIP level and by playing more you can climb to higher levels.

High roller bonuses

Not only long-time players are rewarded generously – same is often done for those who like to splurge on games and spend more than an average player. For such players, casinos have implemented larger deposit bonuses that often work as percentage bonuses.

Cash-back bonuses

Cash-back bonuses are common in sports betting but they ain’t no stranges in casino games section either. As you could assume from the name, a cash-back bonus gives the player back a little sum of their money. Often, the cash-back bonus can be redeemed only if you’ve already lost something. However, if there’s such bonus available it can cheer you up a bit even after suffering some losses.

No matter which bonus you redeem, you should always keep an eye on offers. After all, it’s free money, so you shouldn’t waist an opportunity!

Best Progressive Slots to Play in Online Casinos

Online slots with progressive jackpots belong to a league of their own. With an ounce of luck, hundreds of players have walked away from the online casino with a million dollar jackpot and that could happen to you too if you play progressive slots. There are several choices though and in this article we’ll introduce some of the most popular progressive slots to you a bit closer.

Mega Moolah and Mega Moolah Isis

Microgaming’s Mega Moolah and Mega Moolah Isis are legends. Mega Moolah, which is a 5 reel and 25 pay line slot machine introduces wild jungle theme. Similarly to other jackpot slots, you need to trigger a function that resembles Wheel of Fortune. From there, you have the chance of landing on a gigantic jackpot. What’s noteworthy is that Mega Moolah is responsible for producing the most online slots millionaires and the biggest win so far reached over 20 million dollars.

Mega Moolah Isis that shares the same jackpot is Egyptian themed and rather similar to the original game, except for the theme that features Cleopatra, Egyptian artifacts and more.

Mega Fortune and Mega Fortune Dreams

Another “mega” comes from Microgaming’s greatest competitor Net Entertainment. As the name suggests, the central theme of this slot game is fame, fortune and riches – diamonds, gold, champagne and everything else you can imagine. Both Mega Fortune and Mega Fortune Dreams are known for great return and similarly to its’ competitor, Mega Fortune has produced several millionaires.

Hall of Gods

This slot game has a fitting name. The theme revolves around mythology and includes famous gods like Loki, Odin and Thor. While the previous two games had a lighter and more energetic tone, this slot machine is all about mystery and taunts with dramatic music. However, noone can deny it’s one seriously fun game!

To win the jackpot, you need to get 3 or more Thor’s Hammers on your pay lines. Bonus round features mirrors that need to be broken with the hammer in order to reveal the symbols and hopefully land with jackpot symbols.

Arabian Nights

As you might have guessed it, this slot features Arabian theme – camels, Fez hat, genie and a lot more give you an exotic thrill every time you spin the slot machine. When in most other progressive slots it’s enough to bet the minimum stake, it’s not enough in Arabian Nights. Here you actually have to bet the maximum stake in order to qualify for the jackpot at all. In spite of this slight limitation, Arabian Nights never stops impressing people and bringing more slot machine millionaires to the society.

King Cashalot

Though King Cashalot slot might not be as famous as the previously mentioned ones, it’s nevertheless a delightful slot with exciting theme. The slot is based on royal theme, featuring a gold-crazed king. Microgaming’s slot machine has 9 pay lines and you’ll get the jackpot if you end up with 5 King symbols in the 9th line.

All of these slot games can be found at most online casinos but there are tens of others that didn’t make it to this list. If you want to put your luck to the ultimate test, try these progressive slots and perhaps you’ll be the next slot millionaire!

Video Poker Strategies

There are many strategies for playing video poker. These strategies come in one of two forms: either it is a general theory for how to wager and the best practices for gambling or it is a direct strategy for playing the individual video poker variations. This article will give you both types of advice to give you the best possible chance of winning some money.

First, you need to know where you should play video poker. Most people will play the video poker machines that are located inside of the casinos across the country. You can also play for real money at some of the online casinos; however, you will want to make sure that you visit a website with a good reputation. Also, mobile games are all the rage these days. You can check out some cool video poker games for mobile devices as well.

The one advantage of playing in a casino is that each video poker machine has a guaranteed payout rate that is regulated by the state where the casino is located. Before you start playing video poker for real money, either at a casino or while playing on a website, you should read this overview of gambling laws and regulation. This will answer a lot of the legal questions that you may have.

Video Poker Advice

The first strategy that most players will need to know is the payout percentages that the various video poker machines offer. The two most popular version are Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild. Jacks or Better offers a return of 99.5% when the appropriate strategy is applied. Deuces Wild has a return slightly over 100% when using the proper strategy. Of course, these payout percentages are base upon the operator of the video poker machine or video poker software.

The return percentages and hand payouts can be manipulated. This is something that you will need to be aware of because some shady operators (primarily online casinos) will change these features to give the house a better chance of winning. The most obvious of these is when a casino changes the normal payouts of the winning hands. Here is an example:

This is two screenshots from separate online casinos that are using the exact same software. The one on the top has the appropriate payouts for Jacks or Better. The one on the bottom is a shady online casino that reduced the payouts for the Full House and Flush on the same Jacks or Better game. This is what you have to watch out for. If you would like to see the normal pay schedule for several different video poker variations, you can check them out on this strategy page.

On the other hand, there are many different variations of the traditional Jacks or Better game. This is any video poker game where there is no wildcards and the minimum winning hand is a pair of Jacks. This would include Aces & Eights, Bonus Poker, All American Poker, Double Bonus Poker, Jackpot Poker, Double Jackpot Poker, and several others. All of these games have slightly different payouts than the Jacks or Better game. Each game will add a casino bonus to a particular winning hand; it will also reduce the payout for another more common hand to even the return percentage of the machine.

For example, All American Poker will offer an 8x payout per coin for a Full House, Flush and Straight. The Flush and Straight hands receive a bonus, while the Full House is reduced and the Two Pair payout goes from 2x to even money. Other games will offer bonuses for a particular hand, most often a 4 of a Kind. You might receive a very large bonus when you receive 4 Aces for example.

The trick with all of these variations is to use the basic video poker strategy for the base game (Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, Joker Poker, Double Joker, Deuces and Joker, Tens or Better) and slightly adapt you play to go after the bonus hand on that machine.

Basic Strategy for Video Poker Games

As I stated above, there are six basic types of video poker games available: Jacks or Better (52 card deck, no wildcard, Jacks or better wins), Tens or Better (52 card deck, no wildcard, pair of 10’s or better wins), Joker Poker (53 card deck, 1 wildcard, Kings or better wins), Double Joker (54 card deck, 2 wildcards, Two Pair or better wins), Deuces Wild (52 card deck, 4 wild cards, 3 of a Kind or better wins), and Deuces and Joker (53 card deck, 5 wild cards, 3 of a Kind or better wins).

Of these games, most casinos only will offer Jacks or Better, Joker Poker and Deuces Wild. The others are specialty games that are only rarely offered. These are the three games that have a general basic strategy.

Jacks or Better
(In order of lowest hand to highest hand, follow the highest number possible)
* High card = Jack, Queen, King, Ace *

1) Discard all 5 cards when you have no high cards and no connectors.
2) Discard 4 cards if you only have one high card.
3) Keep a suited 10/Jack, 10/Queen, or 10/King.
4) Discard 3 cards if you have two high cards. Keep the lowest 2 if you have 3.
5) Keep 3 cards to a straight flush.
6) Keep 2 suited high cards.
7) Keep 4 cards to an inside straight draw (one possible card to complete).
8) Keep a low pair.
9) Keep 4 cards to a flush or an outside straight draw.
10) Keep 3 cards to a Royal flush.
11) Keep a high pair.
12) Keep two pairs.
13) Keep 4 cards to a straight flush.
14) Keep a three of a kind.
15) Keep a pat hand (completed straight, flush, full house).
16) Keep 4 cards to a Royal flush.

When you keep the cards, the other cards that don’t match are discarded.

Joker Poker
* High card = King or Ace *
(Always keep a Joker/Wildcard)

1) Discard all 5 cards when you have no high cards and no connectors.
2) Discard 4 cards when you have one high card.
3) Keep a low pair.
4) Keep an Ace/King.
5) Keep 3 cards to a straight flush.
6) Keep 4 cards to a straight draw.
7) Keep 4 cards to a flush.
8) Keep 3 cards to a Royal Flush.
9) Keep a high pair.
10) Keep two pairs.
11) Keep 4 cards to a straight flush.
12) Keep a 3 of a kind.
13) Keep a pat hand (completed straight, flush, full house).
14) Keep 4 cards to a Royal flush.

Deuces Wild
* With no wildcards or winning hand *
You will discard all 5 cards except:

1) Keep 2 cards to a Royal Flush.
2) Keep 4 cards to an inside straight draw.
3) Keep 3 cards to a straight flush.
4) Keep 4 cards to a flush or outside straight draw.
5) Keep 3 cards to a Royal Flush.
6) Keep 4 cards to a straight flush.
7) Keep 4 cards to a Royal Flush.

* With 1 wildcard *
You will discard the other 4 cards except:
1) Keep 3 cards to a straight flush.
2) Keep 3 cards to a Royal flush.
3) Keep 4 cards to a straight flush.
4) Keep any 3 of a kind or higher.
5) Keep 4 cards to a straight flush w/ 3 natural connectors.
6) Keep 4 cards to a Royal flush.

* With 2 wildcards *
You will discard the other 3 cards except:
1) Keep 4 cards to a straight flush.
2) Keep 4 cards to a Royal flush.
3) Keep any 4 of a kind or higher.

Your Bitcoin Poker Guide

The world of poker seems to be constantly evolving, after all, you might consider the internet as the biggest game changer of all. Whilst technology has helped dramatically change the landscape of poker, there’s a new contender on the block which has also effected how we can play poker. What’s that I hear you ask? Bitcoins.

Whilst many might argue that poker has its own currency, that’s because you play with poker chips, the Bitcoin is a new kind of money which is officially listed as a currency. This new currency is starting to become popular among gamblers and poker fans. You should also check out bitcoincasino.org for additional information surrounding the world of Bitcoins and gambling – where you’ll find reviews, tips, guides and more information.

This article takes a brief look at what the Bitcoin is and why it can be beneficial when using it with poker gambling. Without further ado…

What is the Bitcoin?

Before you consider using this new currency, it’s important to understand exactly what it is. As you might guess, the Bitcoin is a new form of currency which doesn’t involve a bank – it’s a digital currency.

Bitcoin was invented by Satoshi Nakamoto and it went live in 2009. Because there isn’t a bank involved, you can think of it as a way in which to transact without the need for a middle man. You’re probably wondering how it can work without a bank, however, there is a unique methodology to the Bitcoin. It basically uses computing power, which is used to solve mathematical problems, people and companies across the globe mine for Bitcoins, making it an ever-growing currency. Of course, you can also trade between other currencies like the USD, Euro and GBP. Currently, 1 Bitcoin is worth around $225 – making it a very valuable asset to have. More retailers across the globe are accepting it and the same can be said for online casinos.

One of the frustrations of using a credit card is that a transaction fee of around 1-3% is involved, however, the fees associated with the Bitcoin are often much lower – a great advantage to using the Bitcoin when gambling online.

A number of countries including the USA have recognised the Bitcoin as a legitimate currency, suggesting that it could continue to grow without problem. However, some countries have had the opposite approach by making it illegal, these include Russia, Iceland, Vietnam and a number of other smaller nations.

Below are a few advantages to using the Bitcoin…

Why use the Bitcoin when playing Poker?

  • It’ safe and secure
  • It’s new and exciting
  • The fees are minute
  • Bitcoin is increasing in popularity
  • Governments are starting to notice it as an official currency
  • You can remain anonymous
  • No bank involved

Remember that you can use Bitcoin for many online gambling games, these include: poker, roulette, slots and dice. Give it a try! Just remember to avoid new and untested casino sites, always use reputable sites which are officially licensed and comply with all of the usual legalities.

The biggest poker networks of the world

Although the poker boom is already over, online poker remains one of the most lucrative and entertaining forms of online gambling to date. The gaming halls have moved to servers, and they have expanded with no geographical boundaries (well, some legal ones still remain), so today almost everyone can have access to a game of Sit-n-go Hold’em by using a smartphone, a tablet or a desktop or portable PC. Not all poker rooms have their own custom software, though. With a few exceptions – like Unibet’s poker room, for example, that uses proprietary software – most poker rooms run on software provided by online poker networks. Here is a short list of the biggest ones of the world where you can play and win at online poker non stop.

1. iPoker and iPoker 2

iPoker is the largest online poker network maintained by online gambling expert Playtech. It gathers some of the best names in online poker under its virtual roof – Ladbrokes, Coral, Bet365, TitanPoker, Betfair, Betclic and many others. It constantly has thousands of people connected – tens of thousands during peak hours – and it runs one of the best online poker tournaments in the poker world.

iPoker has split in two recently, and the split gave birth to iPoker 2, the tier-two network for the biggest poker rooms out there.

2. PartyPoker

PartyPoker was once the largest poker room on the planet, but the Unlawful Internet Gambling Act of 2006 has knocked it out of the US, which almost caused it to go bankrupt. After its merger with Bwin it has managed to stay one of the largest poker networks of the industry. Today it goes downhill, though – players are complaining about glitches, bad customer service and similar things. The company behind PartyPoker – the Bwin.party Digital Entertainment – is going to be bought this year, so maybe its services will improve.

3. Microgaming Poker Network

Microgaming is one of the biggest online casino software developers of the world, and it also runs a fairly successful poker network. The MPN has a decent attendance of mostly casual poker players and some really attractive GTD tournaments, which makes it an attractive destination for many.

+1 – PokerStars

PokerStars is not a poker network, but an online poker hall – and the largest one there is. When it comes to its number of players, PokerStars – together with Full Tilt – is the largest in the world, exceeding all poker networks put together. PokerStars and all of its operations was acquired last year by Canadian online gambling firm Amaya Gaming, which has in the past acquired the OnGame poker network as well. PokerStars has recently ventured into the world of casino gaming as well – let’s see what this decision’s effect will be on its poker standings.

PokerStars has recently purchased the rights to Full Tilt Poker; they reopened the Full Tilt Poker rooms on November 6th, 2012. Poker players in the United States will be able to play for fun but will not be able to play for real money. However, you can visit these legal sites if you would like to do so. If you were owed money by Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars will honor the money owed to you.

You can contact them for more details by going to Full Tilt Poker’s website. This includes being able to switch the money over to a PokerStars account. Find out more about the PokerStars bonus code that can allow you to make more money for free.

If you would like to see a list of the best US poker sites that currently allow real money poker players from the U.S., you can find the latest list at usafriendlypokersites.com. If you live in Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah or Washington, you should not play online poker sites for real money because of state laws that forbid online poker.

Shorthanded Texas Holdem

Adjusting your play – An introduction for beginners

This information is not a template for a winning game. It is on the contrary an explanation of the factors that matters when you only play a few players and what the game at shorthanded tables looks like. Will you make a profit or a loss? Well this is mainly up to your ability to read the game and to change and vary it and of course pick the right opponents. Therefore it is recommended that you do not play any NL games before you have played for quite a long time and thus have gained some experience.

The major part of this text applies to fixed low limit shorthanded Holdem although it to some extent also applies to NL.

When the number of players at a table has gone down to about 6 or fewer you start talking about shorthanded play. Playing FL Texas Hold’em like I earlier have been recommended at full 10-tables is a completely wrong method to manage well. When playing shorthanded you are more or less forced to play more hands to be successful at the poker table. Rule of thumb: The fewer players the more played hands by you (If the blinds aren’t smaller than usual). You should also play more aggressively.

This in the first place is due to:

That the blinds go quicker around the table. If you do not play they will finish your stack. In other words – what you spend on blinds will not be covered by the occasional winning hands you get by playing tightly.
That you have fewer opponents. Thus luck or chance affects fewer opponents. This of course minimizes the risk that a fairly high pair with a pretty good kicker card will be beaten by somebody else. At a 10-player-table it is fairly easy to take down a cocky player who plays bad starting hands as the player frequently will meet high cards or high pairs. When playing at shorthanded tables this is not as obvious.
That you have bigger chances to blind steal. The blinds are generally more valuable when playing shorthanded.
That players are more afraid of opponents who raise often. More players than you expect can join in up to the river card without calling your bluff after the river card. Calling stations are welcome, that is the players that from the odds point of view play wrongly by being too much in love with their high cards and call all the way without having at least a pair on the hand.
Some background to make the above way of thinking more complete:

Let’s say you are playing heads-up, fixed limit at a $2/$4-table at an online poker room such as Bodog Poker Canada.

You pay the Small Blind ($1) and your opponent the Big Blind ($2)

You raise before the flop and plan to go on playing if the flop will give you anything. This means you are prepared to pay $3 to win the $3 that already are in the pot.

If your opponent call you 50% of the times this means that you already at this stage have an advantage as you are the one who decide if you want to go on, that is if you have got a good hand. You always fold if the flop does not give you anything after first having checked your opponent and he then has made a bet.

If your opponent call you less than 50% of the times you have the best chances to make a profit. This is partly due to the fact that he is folding his Big Blind to you and partly that you sometimes win more hands after the flop.

Now to the extra nice part. If your opponent only calls, for example 33% (1/3) of the times, this means that you win $3 two times out of three and lose $3 the third time. This means that you on average make a profit of $1 per played hand. Add further profits that you make when flopping a good hand and go on playing.

Countermeasures to this way of playing are of course, as you already might have guessed, calling and raising more frequently. This is not a recommendation – it is a must!

The winning concept is often: Raise or fold frequently.
Very often it is better to raise than just calling when you have a playable hand and when the table consists of few players and these are passive. By doing this you take the initiative and can use this in different ways – disguise your hands, bluffing and get some good action when you have the nuts. This is particular suitable when you are in a position for blind steal when players aren’t defending their blinds strongly enough.

Selecting tables – Aggressive play
Passivity is a sign of weakness when you play shorthanded. That is why I look for tables with LOW flop percentage when I want to play aggressive shorthanded. This is in other word completely opposite to what I look for when I play fixed limit with full tables.

Selecting tables – Passive play
It is of course possible to play fairly tight Hold’em at these tables but in order to make this work satisfactory you would like to have 5-6 players around the table and a high flop percentage. The rule of thumb “Call more hands when playing shorthanded than at full10-player-tables” is however always valid.

Starting Hands
In most cases it is enough to have a fairly high card in combination with a fairly good kicker card (7 or higher) to call or raise. Overdoing the aggressive play can sometimes pay off at certain tables but it can also make you lose a lot if you do not notice that your opponents have started slowplaying or that they simply cannot be defeated easily – cause they know that you know how to defeat these tables…

A starting hands table will not be shown here. These hands are far too dependent on the playing conditions at the table.

and something about FL odds
When the flop has been dealt you should see to it that you always have something on your hand when calling somebody. Making a a draw for something else than a flush (when you have 4 cards to a flush) or straight (when you have an open straight draw, for instance 9-T- J-Q) is from an odds point of view a completely wrong decision if you are sure that the opponent has a stronger hand than yours and you also know that he will not give up. And very often it is much better beeing the agressor in those hands.

If you have an A with a fairly good kicker card without anything else worth mentioning I do not say it is wrong to raise as you with frequent raises can force a player with a mediocre pair to fold. This is more common than the fact that you will hit an A on the turn- or river card… This however to a large extent depends on how scaring the flop is to your opponent and your own certainty that your opponent does not have anything that is favoured by the flop.

Even if you join up to showdown and lose your way of playing might have created good conditions for coming hands when you really have a strong hand. As mentioned before it takes a lot of reading and thinking/planning when playing shorthanded compared to playing longhanded (10 players).
Shorthande playing contains lots of hands that goes all the way to showdown with an A as the highest card with a low kicker card after loads of raises which might be good to know (there is of course a big difference between playing against 6 players or against 3 players – so be wise!). You keep your game balanced.

Risk of trouble

The shorthanded tables are probably the place where the players tend to use bad language and cause trouble the most ;-). If you learn to play winning shorthanded you should not expect to hear that you are good player. It is more likely you will be booed at and asked to go to a place which is slightly hotter.

You have to disregard this and merely establish the fact that these comments come from players who do not know what they are talking about and who play too tightly. That is why they literally hate your raising standards with QTo (well, it should’t be standard raise either – it depends on the table…) and even worse hands. Calling the flop in this way is not a problem but going on calling is wrong unless you have something of value.

Addition

Does this sound simple? Unfortunately it is not. Reading the players and picking the right opponents is incredibly important in order to beat these tables which is the difference from the low limit-tables where you in the long run nearly make a profit automatically by playing very tightly and by using your positions ( if many players call the flop and play their hands too far).

Be aware that your bank roll will be exposed to BIG fluctuations.

The rake

Playing shorthanded or heads-up without rakeback is a big waste of money. Even at the limit tables the pots will be raked for hundreds of dollars each month. This is an amount that you could have yourself.

With so many poker sites, where should you go to for live poker strategy and guide to online poker? PlayingPokerOnline has you covered so check them out today.

Aced Poker Review

Aced Poker has been around for several years. However, they have not always been available to the US poker market. This has recently changed as the Aced Poker site has recently changed domains. Aced is part of the Merge poker network along with the more commonly known Carbon Poker. If you are new to the poker network concept, it means that all of the poker players in the Merge poker network will be shared among the different poker sites that use the network.

Being a part of the same network, Aced and Carbon have many similar features which will be explained below. So the obvious question would be “Why would I want to play at Aced Poker instead of Carbon?” The simple answer is that you may have already used your sign-up bonus at Carbon and playing at Aced Poker will allow you to earn a similar bonus.

Aced offers a 200% sign up bonus up to $5,000 when you use the Deposit Bonus code ACEDPK. You must enter this code in the appropriate bonus code box when you are making your deposit (not after the deposit). The amount that you deposit is directly correlated to the amount that you can earn.

Most people aren’t going to be able to afford or want to trust any site with $2500, but the option is their if you want to earn the maximum amount. More likely, you are going to want to deposit at least $100 or up to a thousand if you are a baller. You will be able to earn twice the amount that you deposit in bonus money.

So, how does the bonus work?
Unlike some of the other sites that have complicated bonus structures or levels to earn, Aced Poker makes it simple to understand. For every 1500 Reward Points that you earn, you will receive $10 into you account. You will have 90 days from the time of your deposit in order to earn your bonus money. After that, the bonus expires and the remaining money cannot be claimed.

How do you earn Reward Points
Reward Points are earned by playing at the real money poker tables. You will be contributing rake if you play at the Cash Games tables or tournament entry fees if you play in the Sit & Go’s or Tournaments. There are three reward tiers if you are a consistent player at Aced; otherwise, here is how the reward points are earned:

Ring Games: you will earn 10 Reward Points for every $1 of rake contributed. Fractional points are awarded if you play at the lower limit tables.

Sit & Go and MTTs: you will earn 10 Reward Points for every $1 paid for entry fees into the tournament.

The three reward tiers are Aced, Aced Plus and Aced Elite. These reward tiers are limited to players that earn a certain number of Reward Points in a month. The Aced Elite is invite only, so if you aren’t a diehard player, don’t ask.

The Aced level is relatively easy to receive. All you need to do is receive 500 Reward Points in the month. If you do this, you will receive a 10% Points for Cash exchange, meaning that you will only need 1000 Reward Points in order to receive the $10 cash bonus. You will also be eligible for the Reward Point tournament buy-in.

Aced Plus is more difficult and requires you to play much more often. You will need to 5,000 Reward Point in a month to be eligible for this. To put that into perspective, you will need to contribute $500 in rake or tournament entry fees combined in a month. If you do this, you will be eligible for 15% Points for Cash exchange, meaning that you will receive $150 cash bonus if you accumulate 10,000 Reward Points.

If you play at the Aced Plus level for several month in a row, you can ask to be invited into the Aced Elite level. This includes 35% Points for Cash exchange, VIP tournament buy-in, and exclusive bonuses, promotions, and tournament entry coupons. You must continue to play at this level month-to-month in order to maintain this elite level.

Other Promotions

One note about these other promotions: you can only claim one promotion or accolade at a time. If you claim an additional promotion or accolade, it will replace the current promotion or accolade that you are using. This means that you should continue with your Initial Deposit bonus until you have collected all of the cash or the promotion expires before you accept another one of these.

Mobile Poker
Aced Poker now offers a mobile poker app for Apple, Android and Blackberry devices. You can find this by going to m.aced.ag on your mobile’s browser.

There are both Cash Games and Sit & Go’s offered on this mobile platform. If you play in one Cash Game or Sit & Go, you will receive a special mobile accolade.

Reload Bonus
If you are finished with your initial sign up bonus, you can use a monthly reload bonus. This month’s bonus code is APRIL375PK which is a 75% bonus up to $375. Each month will have a different reload bonus available to players. These bonuses expire 60 days after your deposit.

Happy Hour
You have to opt-in to this promotion. You will receive 1.5x the Reward Points when you play between 10:00AM ET and 3:00PM ET from Monday to Friday.

Free Poker Training
Earn 10 Reward Points to receive free poker training at DragTheBar for the current month and the next month. You must opt-in to this promotion by visiting the Poker Training page at the Aced.ag website. This is a great tool for any beginner or moderate poker player that wants to improve their skills.

Value Betting the River in Texas Holdem

If you read any types of advanced poker ebooks or strategy articles at any of the online poker sites, you’ll learn that one of the biggest flaws amongst even winning players in the micro-stakes games is that they don’t value bet the river properly.

Unfortunately a lot of regulars butcher the river. They either don’t value bet the river enough with strong hands, or they value bet in awkward situations where they would be much better off checking for value and taking the safer route.

Think about this one for a second. Have you ever caught yourself with Ax or mid-pair and decided to raise the board after a check only to get bluff-raised off the pot and fold? Well this is precisely what I’m talking about when I say that most players don’t play the river profitably enough or exploit enough value from the regulars.

There are no rigid safeguards or rules for how you play the river. In fact, the river encapsulates what Texas Holdem is all about. Getting the meta-game right, understanding your opponent’s playing style and narrowing down his hand range is the only right way to playing the river. If you are having to guess at these stage whether your opponent has something or not then you’re probably not at a very good player yet.

Against calling stations and weak TAG players you should be value betting lightly more often, since they are more likely to call with dominated hands. Against decent LAGs and solid players however you should only be value betting with strong hands.

Value Bet or Check the River?

You only want to value bet the river when you’re ahead. Typical hands that I will value bet the river with will be 3 of a kind, the nut flush/straight or top two pair. For example, if I have K10 on a board A-K-4-9-K then it is 99% likely that you are ahead.

Your aim should be to extract the maximum value possible from the board, however knowing how to do this will depend on your opponent’s playing style and how he played the flop and turn. If he showed some aggression by betting the flop and continuing by betting the turn then he’s probably got the Ace and will be calling you down.

On the other hand if he checked both the flop, turn and river then he’s very unlikely to call any sized bet on the river. He might have even had a drawing hand like JQ and missed it on the river. Against these types of players you need to make much smaller value bets to encourage them to call. I’d make a ¼ pot value bet for example rather than a 50% bet which I’d do if my opponent had the ace.

Most players fail to recognize dangerous boards and value bet when they are not 100% confident that they are ahead. A bad time to value bet the river for example would be when you have 78 on a 9-10-J-Q-4 board. Although you have a very good hand you could easily be drawing dead to the nut straight. Hence, if your opponent checks to you then you are better off checking for value and seeing a cheap showdown.

To explain why checking is the best option let’s say you value bet for instance. By value betting 50% of the pot you are only likely to get called by hands that beat you since there are 4 cards to the straight on the board. What’s more, if you value bet the river then there is a greater chance that your opponent will try to bluff-raise you by representing the nut straight. Hence, checking for value is the best option in the long term.

Now, obviously there will be much more difficult situations to assess on the river. Let’s say that you have JQ for example and board shows 6-J-K-2-7. If you’re opponent checks over to you then your decision to bet the river should be based on your opponent’s tendencies. If he c-bet the flop but checked both the turn and river then he could have hit the bottom or even mid-pair.

You should value bet against this opponent since there is a high chance they will call with an inferior hand. On the other hand, if he raised pre-flop, bet the flop and the turn but then checked the river, then there is a greater possibility that he has the K. Since he showed so much aggression earlier in the hand I will check behind a check under these circumstances and avoid an ugly re-raise.

Becoming a VIP at PokerStars

PokerStars is currently the most popular online poker room in the world. They have between 100,000 and 150,000 real money players at any given time. Therefore they also offer the best perks for VIP members. You might ask yourself, “How do I become a VIP poker player at PokerStars?” That is what this article is going to answer in a simple and straightforward way.

First, when you create a new account with PokerStars, you are automatically enrolled into the VIP Club. However, this VIP Club has many different levels. You will begin with the BonzeStar status. This is followed by ChromeStar, SilverStar, GoldStar and Platinum Star. You will attain these different levels by collecting VIP Player Points (VPPs).

These VPPs are based off of the number of Frequent Player Points (FPPs) that you earn. The VIP levels will offer a multiplier to the number of FPPs that you earn. The higher the VIP level that you attain, the faster you will earn these FPPs. There are a variety of things that you can do with the FPPs. This includes buying poker items at the VIP Store, win seats for live or online events, enter cash tournaments at PokerStars, enter VIP Club satellites, or get cash and bonuses in exchange for these FPPs.

When you earn a certain number of VPPs during the course of a month to gain a VIP level, you will instantly earn the benefits for that level for the rest of that month as well as the following month. Here is the number of points and the benefits that each of these VIP levels will offer to you.

* Note – The FPPs that you receive when you make a deposit or receive a bonus do not convert to VPPs. VPPs are only earned by playing in raked hands or by participating in tournaments.

BronzeStar – Less than 100 VPPs per month. You have no special rewards when you are at this level.

ChromeStar – Between 100 and 499 VPPs per month. You can receive up to $100 in VIP Stellar Rewards. You will also gain access to the 100K Privilege Freerolls and the Weekly $5,000 VIP Tournament.

SilverStar – Between 500 and 2499 VPPs per month. You will earn 1.5 FPPs per VPP earned. Receive up to $300 in VIP Stellar Rewards. You will earn $25 per 2,250 FPPs earned. Monthly VIP Club Statements and Tournament Tickets. Access to the Weekly $30,000 VIP Tournament, the Monthly VIP Bash satellites, and satellites to the Monthly $100,000 VIP Tournament.

GoldStar – Between 2500 and 7499 VPPs per month. You will earn 2.0 FPPs per VPP earned. Receive up to $900 in VIP Stellar Rewards. You will earn $75 per 6,250 FPPs earned. Access to the Monthly $100,000 VIP Tournament. Access to satellites for the Quarterly $1,000,000 VIP Tournament.

PlatinumStar – 7500 VPPs or more per month. You will earn 2.5 FPPs per VPP earned. Receive up to $1,000 in VIP Stellar Rewards. You will earn $200 per 15,400 FPPs earned. You will have access to the Live Event packages. Access to the Weekly Sunday Million VIP satellites.

The top poker players can also earn the best two VIP levels: Supernova and Supernova Elite. Once you earn one of these two levels, you will stay at this VIP level for the remainder of the calendar year.

Supernova – 100,000 VPPs per year. You will earn 3.5 FPPs per VPP earned. Receive $1,200 in VIP Stellar Rewards. Up to $23,200 in Milestone Cash Credits. Receive $1,600 per 100,000 FPPs earned. Ability to earn a Porsche Cayman S. Access to the Concierge Service. Receive quarterly exclusive newsletters, prioritized support, and live event benefits. Access to the Quarterly $1,000,000 VIP Tournament.

Supernova Elite – 1,000,000 VPPs per year. You will earn 5.0 FPPs per VPP earned. Receive at least $43,200 in Milestone Cash Credits. Gain entry to the WCOOP Main Event ($5,200). Get monthly access to the exclusive newsletters.

Earning VPPs

How do I earn VPPs?

Earning VPPs for poker tournaments is relatively straightforward. You will earn 5.5 VPPs for each $1 USD paid in tournament entry fees. This translates into 7 VPPs for every €1 or 8.8 VPPs for every £1 in tournament entry fees paid. Freerolls and Play Money tournaments do not charge a fee, so no VPPs can be earned.

The rake contributed during the cash games is very different and will need to be calculated on a per hand basis. The rake collected is based on the total cash in the pot. If the total pot is $100, $3 of rake is collected. This means a total of 16.5 VPPs are awarded to the table for this hand. This is broken down to award the individual player the points for the percentage of the pot that they contributed. The fractional VPPs are awarded in hundredths.

VPPs awarded per $1 USD in rake collected: $0.01/$0.02 tables earn 10 VPPs; $0.02/$0.05 tables earn 8.5 VPPs; $0.05/$0.10 tables earn 7 VPPs.