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Beginners Questions Poker beginner ? Ask your (possibly) naive question here and our community will attempt to help you.

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12-06-2008 until 02-05-2106
Cry Me A River
Orange is the new Green
 
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 23,790
**** Beginners Forum Frequently Asked Questions **** (01/04/13)

Beginners Forum Frequently Asked Questions.

Updated Jan 4, 2013.

- Table of Contents -

1) Posting guidelines

Because we get a ton of new players everyday looking and using the Beginners forum for the first time and to promote a better forum experience we have come up with some basic guidelines for posting a hand. So before you click that shiny button that says "New Thread" here's some things you should consider.

1.01) Is this hand a bad beat?

In other words, did you get your money in ahead and still lose? The it's a bad beat. Nothing you can do about it. It happens. Move on to the next hand.

1.02) Have you read the FAQ?

There is so much information in that one resource that you can spend months browsing through it. Many of the questions you have, are already answered in the concepts and topics covered in the FAQ. Most of your hand posts boil down to concept application. So you should really try to get at the root of your question. Not should I fold or should I shove. You're really looking for the 'why' not the 'what'. In other words, if you don't know 'why' it really doesn't matter 'what'anyone tells you. The FAQ is full of the "why". At least make a reasonable effort to see if your question(s) can be found in the FAQ.

1.03) Have you tried the search function?

Chances are your question has been answered before, especially if you do not have much poker experience. You really don't need to start a 'when to move up bankroll thread' just type in 'bankroll management' into the search function and you should be able to find something that will help you out. Don't be discouraged if you don't find something with your first search, sometimes you have to give it the right words before it finds something. There is also bankroll information in the master sticky already. So you might want to try there first.

1.04) Title your post correctly.

This is fairly important because it can effect the advice you get. Things to include in the title are Level of play, 10NL, 25NL etc. Usually your hole cards. Some sort of idea of the decision you are looking at, but try not to give away the outcome of your hand. Good Example would be, "25NL KK in LP, turn decision vs a nit" a bad title would be something like "25NL, KK am I always behind here?" It's subtle but you can tell what the outcome is before you open the thread up. Knowing the outcome of a hand really can influence the advice you get.

1.05) Be sure to convert the hand if possible.

Raw hand history is harder to read, and might get ignored by those who choose not to read it. Also, raw histories include screen names and its somewhat bad form to show these. Not all hand histories from all sites can be converted, but most of the larger sites HHs can be run through the forum's own hand history converter. If that does not work there are other converters listed below. Details can be found in this thread: Official TwoPlusTwo Hand Converter Thread.

1.06) Alternate hand history convertors.

2+2 now includes a built in hand history convertor. Details can be found in this thread: Official TwoPlusTwo Hand Converter Thread.

Here are some other hand history converters:
Lego Poker/FTP converter
Flopturnriver
Deacons
Neil Dewhurst
How to convert Ultimate Bet hands?

1.07) Only show the hand up to the point of the decision you want to discuss.

For instance if you have AA and are check raised all in on the flop you don't need to show the cards that come on the turn or the river they are meaningless to the decision you are making and can influence how others see the hand.

1.08) Don't post results!

It really does change the advice you get and whether you win the hand or not has no bearing on the quality of your decision. In the body of your post try not to give hints as to the outcome either.

1.09) Include stats.

You see a lot of post that start with "villian was 35/14/2" These are stats given from most poker database software. (for example Poker Tracker) and are VPIP, PFR, Total AG. These stats are not the only ones the software can give you and I would suggest you include any stats that you might think pertain to the hand. If you don't know what these stats mean, then once again you can find that info in the Master Sticky.

1.10) Include reads.

These would be actually what you have observed a player doing. Such as 'villain checkraises sets on the flop'. Because of the built in variance that poker players experience, stats are not true reads until you get a bunch of hands on a villain. No, 50 hands is not a bunch. Reads are really important to a lot of decisions we make. The better your reads, the better the advice people can generally give.

1.11) Include your image.

At some levels this is important, at others not so much. How important really kinda depends on if you think villain is actually paying attention to what your doing. I think though if you have been fairly active it effects villains more than if you have been fairly quiet at these levels.

1.12) What can you expect from others?

People respond to hands in different ways and for different reasons. Some will give you fairly lengthy and complete answers, others may just say a few things that may not help you at all. Some people like to teach, others are merely working on their own game. The main thing you have to remember is that poker is a lonely game. You and you alone are responsible for your poker education if you want to improve. So if someone makes a comment on your hand that you don't understand ask them about it. Most are more than willing to explain their thinking when asked.

1.13) How do I post an image in a thread?

To post an image or photo, first you must HOST it on the web. Even if you are just posting an image that is already on the web, unless it is on your website you MUST rehost it. Hot-linking an image (linking directly to an image on somebody else's site) is very bad and may get you banned. Always rehost!

The most popular hosting sites are ImageShack and Photobucket.

One you have your image hosted, write your post. To add an image in your post, click this tool, which is just above the box where you enter your post: and enter the URL where the image is hosted.

1.14) What not to post.

Do not post requests for staking or offers to stake.
Do not post requests for coaching or offers to coach.
Do not post requests for rakeback or offers of rakeback.
Do not post spam.
Do not post bad beats except in threads designated for that purpose.
Do not post one word replies. Include some thought and explanation in your replies.
Do not post personal information regarding or identifying any other posters including but not limited to: phone numbers, addresses, URLs, AIM screen names, poker site accounts, etc. No trainwrecking!

2) What do the numbers XX/YY/ZZ mean?

These numbers are from Pokertracker and refer to three things. XX is VPIP(voluntarily put money in pot as a percentage), YY is PFR - percent of times the players raised preflop, and ZZ refers to aggression. These stats will vary as your game progresses and depending on the games you play. The Microlimit FAQ has an in depth explanation of poker tracker numbers and what stats are considered normal for a full ring limit player. More info can be found on Pokertracker’s forums and in some of the FAQ's for your respective game.

3) What are ptbb and ptbb/100?

ptbb is "PokerTracker Big Blinds"
ptbb/100 is "PokerTracker Big Blinds per 100 hands"

PokerTracker was originally designed for Limit poker. In Limit, win rates are expressed as Big Bets. A Big Bet is double the Big Blind. PokerTracker kept this convention for No Limit.

So 1 ptbb = 2 big blinds.

ptbb/100 is a measurement of win rate.

4) Why can't I send private messages?

Why aren't private messages enabled for my account?

Cliff notes: As a spam prevention measure PMs are automatically enabled after you've demonstrated legitimate use of the forums.

5) Why can't I post in the Marketplace Forum?

*** MARKETPLACE RULES & HOW TO START THREADS***

Cliff notes: Many scammers open new accounts to try and scam. Many new posters (ie; you!) get scammed because they ignore necessary precautions to protect themselves. For these reasons in order to start threads in the Marketplace Forum or sub-forums your account must be at least six months old and you must request approval to start threads.

6) Why can't I post in the Staking Forum?

*** MARKETPLACE RULES & HOW TO START THREADS***
NEW Staking subforum rules (MUST READ)

Cliff notes: Many scammers open new accounts to try and scam. Many new posters (ie; you!) get scammed because they ignore necessary precautions to protect themselves. For these reasons in order to start threads in the Marketplace Forum or sub-forums your account must be at least six months old and you must request approval to start threads.

7) Where can Americans play for real money post-Black Friday?

Americans have the following options: Bodog, Yatahay Network, Everleaf Network, Cake Network. Also, if you signed up at a skin on the Merge Network before they stopped taking new registrations from Americans, you may play there.

Please do your research on a site before depositing. Also, due to the rocky nature of poker in the US, it is advised that you do not keep online more than you are willing to lose... in case there is another problem similar to ftp and ub/ap or any additional actions by the DOJ.

8) How can I sell Play Money chips?

There have been a number of threads about this which may give you some information:

Play money chips on stars
Okay, so I sold some play money and have $1800.
Selling Play money?
How muxch are 1 million fulltilt play money chips worth?
Question about play money turning into real money..
Play money to cash
Selling play money chips

However, the consensus is that:

A) No sites are buying play money any more.
B) Those that are, will probably scam you.

And the only way to actually sell play money is to find someone privately. And this isn't the appropriate forum to do that. This is: Marketplace Forum.

9) How can I sell Stars T$ and W$?

W$/T$ Marketplace V9.0! Buy & Sell W$/T$ here!

10) Where can I request to transfer funds between sites with other players?

Person to person transfers. [OP is a "MUST read", or you WILL be scammed!]

Note: You must read the first post in that thread! If your request does not follow the rules it will be deleted. Failing to follow the rules can often will result if you getting scammed.

11) I want to quit my job and play poker. How many hours/tables/what level do I need to play to make $X?

First and foremost, if you need to ask a question like this you absolutely are not ready to tackle poker as a job if you are at all dependent on the money. Not even as a part time job.

Needing to rely on poker as income is completely different from playing poker casually. What do you do when you don't make money for a week? Or a month? Or if you just don't feel like playing? At the very least you generally want a minimum 20 buy-ins for cash games and 100 buy-ins for tournament as a roll PLUS six months of living expenses as a cushion. Many pro players play well over-rolled. And you absolutely should be sure you are beating the stakes you want to play at for the rate you need. 1000 hands is not nearly enough to tell if you're a winning player.

To calculate your hourly rate or how many tables, at what win rate, etc you need...

For Full Ring:

Hourly = Win Rate * Big Blind * 65 * Number of Tables

Win Rate = (Hourly)(Big Blind * 65 * Number of Tables)

To Make $10/hour at 50NL Full ring

2 tables = 15.38 bb/100
4 tables = 7.69 bb/100
8 tables = 3.84 bb/100
10 tables = 3.076 bb/100
16 tables = 1.92 bb/100

For 6-Max:

Hourly = Win Rate * Big Blind * 80 * Number of Tables

To Make $10/hour at 50NL 6-max

2 tables = 12.49 bb/100
4 tables = 6.24 bb/100
8 tables = 3.12 bb/100
10 tables = 2.5 bb/100
16 tables = 1.56 bb/100

This is a bit of an approximation, depending on which site you play (some sites faster than others) and/or what kinds of tables you play (fast vs regular) and how often you play shorthanded or change tables (table selection). Also doesn't factor rakeback, bonuses etc.

For tournaments:
Daily rate = ROI * Buy-In * Number of Tournaments per day.
Hourly rate = (ROI * Buy-in/Average length of tournament) * Number of tables.

12) Ok, but I really, really want to be a pro poker player. How long will it take?

This is unanswerable. A similar question like, "How long would it take me to become a surgeon?" Is slightly more answerable in that you can say, "If all goes well, your undergrad degree will take 3 years, then 4 years of medical school then a couple years of residency. But what if your grades suck and you can't get into medical school? Or what if you faint at the sight of blood? Or what if you change your mind and decide you want to be an artist?"

Playing poker at a professional level is hard. Playing poker professionally is harder. Professional poker players are by nature self-employed entrepeneurs. That is not a lifestyle for everyone even in more conventional fields. Many people are simply not cut out to work for themselves.Add to that are the baggage that comes from being a professional gambler and poker as a career is never going to be an option for most people, even if they have a dream.

This may come as a shock in this era of everyone wins a trophy day, but, "You can do anything you put your mind to" is simply untrue. For most people the answer to, "How long will it take me to become a professional poker player" is "never". Just as most people could neer be a surgeon. Or an NFL quarterback. Regardless of how hard they tried. And without considerable knowledge and insight into a person's abilities and character it is impossible to predict any player's future in the game any more than it is possible, barring exceptonal circumstances, for a high school coach to predict one of his player's career in the major leagues. The history of first round busts is ample example of this.

What will determine your fate as a player comes down to three main areas:

A) How quickly your skill will improve (Do you have a natural aptitude? Do you ignore advice and pick fights with everyone who tries to help you?)
B) How you will react (emotionaly) to the game (will you become a degen? Will you get frustrated and quit? Will you become a riggy?)
C) Things outside your control (if you run good you will have more confidence and be able to move up more quickly where you will be able to build bankroll more quickly. What is the future of the game - ie; when will trhe American market reopen and under what conditions? What effect will global regulation and taxation have?)

All three of these are extremely complex variables. Here are some of the questions that would need to be answered in order to even begin to address this.

Are you a logical thinker?
How good are you at learning new things?
How are you at math?
How are your people skills?
How is yor deductive and inductive reasoning?
How literate are you?
How good are you with computers and software?
How good are you at the Internet?
Do you enjoy reading and posting on forums?
How good are you at reading and posting on forums?
How many people do you know who play poker (at an accomplished level)?
Are you an emotional person?
What is your current poker skill level?
What is your background in strategic thinking?
Have you ever done anything difficult?
Have you ever had to work at anything?
Have you ever failed? If so, what was the result?
How self-disciplined are you?
How emotionally mature are you?
How realistic and grounded are you?
Are you easily frustrated?
How good are you at honest self-assesment?
How good are you at setting attainable goals?
How result oriented are you?
Are you financially responsible?
What is your current financial situation?
Will you run good or bad?
What is the future of the game?
Do you have access to live games? Quality?
Where do you live?

13) Does my all-in EV mean I'm lucky or unlucky?

No. Do Yourself a favour and ignore All-In EV until you don't need to ask questions like this one.

Also: CoTW: Why all-in-EV is a horrible measure of overall luck

14) How can I fix my red line?

*CotW: The Last Red Line Post Ever*

15) Can a Poker related business (affiliate, poker room or software developer) advertise here or answer questions?

Business

Affiliates and poker sites are not permitted to have user names that represent their site name or otherwise identify themselves as affiliates in any way unless they are pre-approved to do so.

In order to be approved to post in the Affiliates/Rakeback, Internet Bonuses, and Beginners forums, the business must be an existing advertiser on the 2+2 forums that meet certain criteria set by 2+2 administration. Businesses wishing to know more about the approval process should contact *TT* for more information, he will be happy to help.

Approved Businesses

Pre-approved affiliates and pokersites are permitted to have a username and that represents their company; however when using that name they will be limited to posting in the A/R, IB, and Beginners forums (and their sponsored forum when applicable) only. This includes, but is not limited to, such things as using a name with the site's initials or using a name that contains terms like "affiliate", "rakeback", and "cashback", among others.

Affiliates posting under their site name in this forum are allowed to have a single active thread promoting their current offerings. If they wish the existing thread can be locked by requesting the change from one of the forum mods and a new thread started, provided the time frame between previous threads is reasonable the moderator will help. With the exception of the master thread pre-approved businesses should only be posting in a support role within these forums. Directly answering questions about the Business' site is encouraged, and answering other general interest questions is permitted. However, this does not give license for affiliates to use this as an opportunity to boost their post count and/or advertise. Examples of this would be answering a question that has already been answered without providing any new information, or answering a question in a way that promotes your own site. Please use common sense, remember that your potential customers are watching you!

Spamming offers by PM is strictly prohibited.

16) Is online poker safe?

There are dangers inherent in gambling online and there have been major problems and scandals in the past. For example:

  • Planet Poker's random number generator was revealed to be flawed and predictable.
  • Super-user accounts which could see other player's hole cards were revealed to have been playing for years on Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet. Evidence suggests upper management and/or ownership may have been involved.
  • Companies like Futurebet (on the Ongame network) and Tusk (on the Microgaming network) go out of business, taking down dozens of sites without paying players.

However, if you're careful and do some homework online poker can be reasonably safe.

There are three primary regulatory bodies for online poker:

PokerStars is licensed by The Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission.
Party Poker is licensed by The Alderney Gambling Control Commission.

The KGC is, at best, of dubious reputation and effectiveness.

Alderney and Isle of Man are regulatory bodies run by democratically elected European governments. Of particular note, in order to be on the "white list" in the UK and permitted to advertise there, a site must be registered with a recognized European regulatory body. Both Alderney and Isle of Man are approved for the UK white list.

That is, sites regulated by Alderney and Isle of Man are, as far as the UK government is concerned, as well regulated and legal as any brick and mortar casino.

Nothing is ever 100% safe. Enron is a good example of a huge company that everyone assumed was solid and wasn't. People do get cheated in brick and mortar casinos. Talk to any survivalists and we could be living in a Mad Max future any day now. Risk is everywhere - Driving in a car is by far the riskiest thing most everyone reading this will ever do, and people do it every day. So use reasonable caution. eWallets are not banks. Don't leave more money than you can afford to lose online. Stick with reputable, regulated sites.

16.01) What about juiced pots?

One of the predominant claims put forward by conspiracy theorists is that sites deliberately deal coolers and bad beats to "juice pots" and make them bigger so as to collect more rake. These conspiracy theorists never offer any actual statistical proof. Just their "feeling" that online poker has more "big hands" than it should. This despite the thousands of 2+2 users with large databases of millions of hands, particularly at FTP which is routinely datamined for all hands. Considering how well posters on this site have been able to spot real cheaters, be they bots or super-users, you'd think someone would have some concrete proof by now if there was any substance to any of these speculations.

Yet no one does.

No, the conspiracy theorists evidence consists entirely of the argument "It would be good for the site".

Except that's completely wrong.

They say it would be good for a site to juice the deck to ensure coolers. Big hands like quads over full house in order to maximize the rake. That the site would stand to make the most money this way.

This is wrong and it betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the poker economy and how winning players and the house make money. This is exactly what a site would NEVER do. In fact, if sites were rigged we would never see quads over full house.

At most sites, the No Limit rake is 5% with a $2 cap. This means the maximum rake is hit when the pot reaches $40.

At a 50NL game if two players go all in, the pot is $100. At 100NL if two players go all in, the pot is $200. The site still rakes only $2.

In fact, the best situation for the house would be if the pot was always exactly $40. A $100 or $200 pot is actually bad for the site because they aren't getting their full share of the rake and there's a chance that somebody goes broke. Even worse if they go broke and never come back.

This is the worst case scenario for both winning players and the house - That losing players go broke too quickly, get frustrated with the game and never come back. You can shear a sheep many times but only kill him once.

It would actually be in a site's best interest to always have a $40 pot. That is, if a site were going to set hands to maximize profit from pot size, they would rig for medium sized pots.

Which of course is impossible since pot size depends too much on players. There's always some donk who'll overplay and get it all in. There's always some nit who will underplay and the pot will be small.

However, from the house's perspective clearly medium sized pots are optimum, small pots are second best since they still collect some rake and nobody goes broke. Large pots, particularly all-ins are the worst case scenario for the house. Both because they miss out on rake and there's a chance somebody goes broke and quits, even for a short time.

Since a site can't ensure that medium sized pots actually stay medium sized, if a site were rigged it would rig for small pots. Action hands and coolers would actually occur far below expectation.

So why do people keep coming back to the idea that there are more big hands online than live?

There are several reasons - Sample size and selection bias are the two most important. You get far, far more hands per hour online than live. At least twice as many hands per hour per table and as many as triple. In addition many online players multi-table. An online multi-tabler can easily see 10-20 times as many hands per hour as a live player. That's sample size. More hands of course means more big hands. Also, if you have the preconceived notion that there are more big hands online, then every time you see one of those big hands it's only going to reinforce that prejudice even if it's not that big of a hand. Whereas live you're not going to be making a note of every big hand. There's your selection bias, we tend to remember things that support what we already believe and discard whatever contradicts it.

16.02) What about the cash out curse?

The second big conspiracy theory is the "cash out curse". That sites punish winning player. Particularly players who have the gall to actually cash out winnings.

This also doesn't make any sense, either held up against a reality check or as far as what would be in a site's best interest.

If this were true, how to explain all the players who have started at small or micro stakes that have managed to work themselves up to high stakes? What about all the players who cash out and then run good? What about all the bad players who deposit, play bad, and just lose money?

From a site's perspective, why would they do this?

Let's say I play $100NL. I make my usual cash out and the site doomswitches me.

Since I've just made a cash out, that means my roll is likely to be at or just above my requirements for playing that level. Let's say the site deliberately doomswitches me and I lose, what $500? $1000?

Suddenly, I'm no longer rolled for $100NL and I need to drop down to $50NL.

Since I'm now going to be playing $50NL instead of $100NL, I'm going to be paying (roughly) half the rake.

So the site has just taken a pay cut in order to "punish me" for cashing out. What's more, where did that money go? It went to other players. Who may have just cashed out themselves.

Once again, this whole theory is a very basic misunderstanding of how poker sites makes money. Poker sites don't make (much) money off player balances. Even if they stash player balances in a high yield account, what are they going to get, like 5% per year? And they have to keep that money liquid so players can cash out, so they're probably getting something like 3%.

They make much, much more than that from the rake!! They make 5% per hand on the rake. With potentially hundreds of hands per hour from multi-tablers. Interest rates pale in comparison.

Why would a site jeopardize a player moving down or leaving the site entirely by doomswitching them? While a site certainly wants to maintain enough player balances to remain liquid, fundamentally a site doesn't care. All a site cares about is maximizing rake. Indeed, if a site were rigged along these lines, it would be to ensure that nobody ever ran particularly good or particularly bad. Everyone would just chug happily along paying their rake at a steady, constant rate.

However, we all know that players do run good and players do run bad. Which is actually evidence that sites are not rigged.

17) What structure, game or site should I play?

Read this thread.

18) Should I play Sit and Go, or cash games?

***What should a beginner play - Sit an Go, or cash games????***

19) Why are my "won without showdown" winnings so low or negative?

This is standard.

At very low stakes, players make the same mistake over and over again: they call too much. Therefore, you should expect to make the easiest money when exploiting that mistake by taking stronger hands to showdown. Showdown profits are normally the way people make money at the lowest stakes.

To profit in non-showdown hands, you must get your opponent to fold when you are behind, (if you are ahead, you profit more by getting them to call). It can be relatively difficult to get low-stakes opponents to fold better hands than what you hold yourself, on average, so non-showdown winnings are typically low for micro-stakes players.

See also: ** Official Beginners NL Holdem Stats Thread **

20) Should I move up to where they respect my raises?

No!
If you can't beat BAD players, you're not going to do any better against GOOD players.
Learn to adjust your game to beat loose players. Those type of games are very beatable and you are not ready to move up until you can. (What happens if you're fortunate enough to sit at a loose table at a higher stake?)

Also, read this: "Outplaying" players who don't fold

21) How do I outplay players who will not fold?

"Outplaying" players who don't fold

22) What is rakeback?

Rakeback is a promotional tool used by some affiliates to entice you to sign up through them. The affiliate makes money from the site, they get a % of the rake you generate. The affiliate gives some of that rake back to you. In order to qualify for rakeback you must sign up for the site through an affiliate. You generally can not get rakeback later. Rakeback is based on your MGR not rake or rake paid. MGR is the amount of rake taken from the table, divided by the number of players at the table (your share of all revenue taken from the table).

For more on rakeback, visit the Affiliates/RakeBack Forum.

23) How do I get rakeback on Full Tilt Poker if I already have an account?

FTP rakeback for existing accounts finally happening
** Official thread for RakebackPros discussion and RB for existing FT accounts

24) How do I get rakeback on PokerStars?

There is no rakeback on PokerStars. Instead, their VIP program is as good or better than rakeback elsewhere if you play enough volume.

25) How many VPP do I get per hand on PokerStars?

Accumulating VIP Points is as easy as playing poker. For each qualifying raked real money poker hand you play on PokerStars, you earn VPP credits. Every time you play real money multi-table poker tournaments that has a tournament fee, you earn VPP credits. Every time you play a Sit & Go tournament that include a tournament fee, you earn VPP credits.

Important Note: VPP credits are credited at the end of a hand. So if you leave a table before the hand is completed, you may not receive the VPP(or VPP credits) for that hand. To ensure that you are properly credited, please "Sit Out" until the start of the next hand, and then leave the table.

1. Earn VPP credits for cash game play

First VIP Point (VPP) is awarded for playing a hand in which the rake reaches:

  • $0.40 for fixed limit poker games with stakes $1/$2 and lower
  • $0.40 for NL/PL poker games with blinds $1/$2 and lower
  • $0.40 for "1-on-1" poker games (this applies only to "1-on-1" tables, not to regular tables which have only two players seated)
  • $1.00 for all other games

Second VPP is awarded for playing a hand in which the rake reaches:

  • $2.00 for all 6-max tables (this doesn't apply for games being played 6- handed at 10/9/8 player tables - just 6-max tables)
  • $3.00 for all other tables

Third VPP is awarded for playing a hand in which the rake reaches $5.00.

2. Earn VPP credits for tournament play

Five (5) VPP credits are awarded for each $1 in tournament fees paid.

For example, playing in a poker tournament with $20 buy-in and $2 tournament fee, each player will be awarded 10 VPP credits. *Note that partial VIP Points are always rounded to the nearest whole number.

In a $5 buy-in Sit & Go poker tournament with only a $0.50 fee, 3 VPP credits (instead of 2.5) will be awarded to each player who played poker in the tournament.

In a $5 buy-in 4-player Heads-Up Sit & Go poker tournament with only a $0.25 fee, 1 VPP (instead of 1.25) will be awarded to each player who played poker in the tournament.

Please note that "FreePlay" tournaments do not award VPP credits. You can play poker for fake money at the free tables, but these poker games and tournaments are not part of the PokerStars VPP program.

26) How many FPP do I get per hand on PokerStars?

FPP are based on the VPP you earn, multipled by your current VIP level.

VIP LEVEL FPP MULTIPLIER

MONTHLY VIP LEVELS
VIP Level FPP Multiplier
BronzeStar N/A
SilverStar 50%   (1.5 FPPs per 1 VPP)
GoldStar 100% (2 FPPs per 1 VPP)
PlatinumStar 150% (2.5 FPPs per 1 VPP)

YEARLY VIP LEVELS
VIP Level FPP Multiplier
Supernova 250% (3.5 FPPs per 1 VPP)
Supernova Elite 400% (5 FPPs per 1 VPP)

27) How do I convert PokerStars FPP to cash?

There are three standard ways to convert FPP to cash:

  • Buy bonuses from the VIP store.
    • Silver $50 bonus for 5,000 FPPs = $0.01/FPP
    • Gold $285 bonus for 25,000 FPPs = $0.0114/FPP
    • Platinum $650 bonus for 50,000 FPPs = $0.013/FPP
    • SuperNova $1,500 bonus for 100,000 FPPs = $0.015/FPP
    • SuperNova $4,000 bonus for 250,000 FPPs = $0.016/FPP
  • Buy into satellites (ie; for the Sunday 200K). When you make it through, you un-register which gives you T$. You can use these to buy into tournaments or you can sell them: W$/T$ Marketplace V9.0! Buy & Sell W$/T$ here!
  • Use the Concierge service (you submit the receipt for large purchases and Stars deducts the FPP and gives you cash).

28) What is bankroll management?

Basic beginners bankroll management
More advanced bankroll theory

29) What is a level?

The term "level" really has two usages in these forums.

The first is to outsmart someone by thinking several steps ahead or above them. This comes from the idea that beginning players are on "Level 1 thinking" which is they only consider the value of their own hand and ignore everything else. Better players operate on "Level 2 thinking" which means they consider not only the value of their own cards but also the possible value of their opponent's cards. Even better players consider the value of their own cards, the possible value of their opponent's cards and what their opponent will think of the value of hero's cards. This is "Level 3 thinking".

This is a potentially infinite progression:

Level 1: What do I have?
Level 2: What does my opponent have?
Level 3: What does my opponent think I have?
Level 4: What does my opponent think that I think they have?
Level 5: What does my opponent think that I think they think I have?

This progression is illustrated amazingly well by this clip from The Princess Bride.

The other way "level" is used is synonymous with "joke". To imply that someone is gullible. That they're thinking one or several levels below everyone else because they fell for what was obviously a joke or sarcasm or parody.

If I say "Battlefield Earth" is the greatest movie ever made and you take that at face value and believe I'm being sincere then you have just been leveled. Everyone else knows I'm being sarcastic.

30) How do I use PokerTracker to improve my game?

Pokey's How to use Poker Tracker

31) What is the rule of 4 and 2?

Help with Odds

32) What is pot equity?

Pot equity is your percentage chance of winning the pot at any given point in a hand. That percentage is the amount of equity you have in the pot or how much of the pot "belongs to you".

Here's a Texas Hold 'em example. You hold AsAh and you have a single opponent with what could be any hand. Your pot equity against a random hand is about 85%, meaning that if you both pushed all-in and the hand went to the showdown you can expect to win about 85% of the time. Notice that this is for a run all the way to the river with no strategy discussion and no chance of anyone folding to scare cards. The effect is the same as if both players agreed to check all the way. Pot equity does not tell you anything about numbers of bets you can expect to win.

You're not always up against a random hand, of course. If my opponent calls my raise with my AsAh above, I can start to put her on some hands which will eat away a bit at my pot equity.

You probably won't be figuring pot equity at the table. You'll mostly be figuring it after the fact when you wonder how good your AKs was against someone's ATo (answer 75%). Use a tool such as PokerStove for help in figuring your pot equity.

Pot equity has some use at the table. Primarily it lets you know how much of the pot "belongs to you," as mentioned above. When you know your equity, you can compare it to your "fair share" which is just the pot size divided by the number of people in the hand. So, when you start a hand with pocket aces and have three opponents, you know that your fair share is about 25% but your pot equity is around 85%. Therefore, all bets that go into the pot earn you more than your fair share. This is especially useful when you're trying to determine whether to check/call vs. bet/raise with a flush draw. If you have many players in, your pot equity (the chance you'll win the hand, which is directly related to you making the flush) vs. your fair share may warrant a bet/raise rather than a check/call. That is, every bet you put in and get called is, theoretically, extra money for you when your pot equity is higher than your fair share.

33) What are pot odds?

Pot odds are quite simply the odds offered by the pot, that is, the ratio of money you will win if you win the pot compared to the amount you would have to bet to remain in the pot.

For instance, after the turn in hold'em there are 7 big bets in the pot when the betting gets to you. You have four cards to the nut flush. You have to put in 1 bet to continue, so we say the pot is giving you 7:1 (pronounced "7 to 1") odds. Compare that to your approximately 4:1 chance to make your flush on the next card. Since your chance of making the flush is better than the odds being given by the pot, you should call. What if there had been very little betting and there were only 3 big bets in the pot when the action got to you? The pot would be giving you 3:1 odds versus 4:1 to make your flush. Your odds are not better than the pot odds, thus the correct action is to fold.

The same calculations can help you decide if you should call after all the cards are out. Instead of comparing the pot odds to the odds of making your hand you have to compare the pot odds to the odds that your hand is good.

34) What are implied odds?

Implied odds are odds taking into account bets you will win on future rounds if you hit your hand.

For instance, the odds against making your hand might be 7.5:1 against with immediate pot odds (expressed odds) of 4.5:1. However, if you believe your opponents will call you down or allow you to sneak in a checkraise, you can count those bets in the current size of the pot to establish whether a play is correct or not.

Whereas implied odds are important to consider in all forms of poker, they take on special significance in big-bet games such as no-limit hold'em. It's not an exaggeration to say that winning at large-stack no-limit depends on the implied odds derived from getting poor opponents to pay off your monster hands. For example, if you play a highly speculative hand such as a small pair or connectors, you may well be willing to pay "too much" (judging by limit hold'em standards) to see a flop. When you do hit, if your opponents will pay off most or all of their stacks, then you're justified in taking a gamble with positive expected value.

35) What is a cbet or continuation bet?

A continuation bet is a bet on the flop after you raised preflop. It is continuing the aggression you showed preflop.

36) What is variance?

What is variance and how is it calculated?

37) Is there a starting hand guide?

The answer to this question will vary depending on whether you play 6-max or full ring; cash or tournaments; MTTs or STTs. And in the case of tournaments, what point it is in the tournament. Most of the micro or small stakes forums dedicated to these specific games have articles or links in their FAQs, stickies or compilations discussing starting hands. Please check those forums for details.

38) I've heard about theorems like Zeebo's Theorem and BelugaWhale Theorem, what are those?

A concise list of 2+2 theorems

39) What are some good books for poker study?

***Special Offer For Beginners****

50% off the retail price of "Getting Started In Hold'em" by Ed Miller".
Use coupon code GT97Z3 to buy this book new for $8.98 (retail price: $17.95).
Go to the Two Plus Two store to order.

***Special Offer For Beginners****

For texas hold-em the book to start with is “Getting Started in Hold Em” by Ed Miller. This book has a basic explanation of concepts for both limit and no-limit. From there, “Small Stakes Hold Em” and “Hold em for Advanced Players” on the limit side. For no-limit many people suggest “Harrington on Holdem 1.” Even though this is a tournament book, the concepts in it relate very well to cash games. “Theory of Poker” is an excellent all-around book and covers lots of general poker concepts.

40) What are some great threads to read to get me started?

***** Official Dumb Questions Thread ****
Need Help? Ask me (WCGRider)
Building a BR from 20 dollars (GinaSD)
Build a bankroll from $35 (GinaSD)
Basic Sit \'n Go Questions Answered Here (Collin Moshman)
Pooh-bah post: A general guide for aspiring online poker players (raze)
Pr0crast Anthology

Why you suck at uNL Part One: Playing Aggressively (WCGRider)
Why you suck at uNL Part Two: Bankroll Management (WCGRider)
Why you suck at uNL Part Three: Game Selection (WCGRider)
Why you suck at uNL Part Four: Honesty and Persepctive (WCGRider)
Why you suck at uNL Part Five: Understanding Continuation Bets and Double Barrels (WCGRider)
Why you suck at uNL Part Six: Hand Reading (WCGRider)

The Digest

"The Digest" January 2013
"The Digest" December 2012
"The Digest" November 2012
"The Digest" October, 2012
BQ Digest September 2012
BQ Digest August 2012
BQ Digest July, 2012
BQ Digest May and June 2012
BQ Digest April 2012
BQ Digest March 2012
BQ Digest February 2012
Link to January 2012 Digest
Link to December 2011 Digest
Link to November 2011 Digest

41) Dictionary of abbreviations, jargon and slang.

This dictionary is an amalgamation of several glossaries including Poker Acronyms & Abbreviations and Lingo and Abbreviations.

If you can't find something in this list, it's likely NOT a poker term, rather it's a common slang term or internet slang. Check the Urban Dictionary.

41.01) Numbers and other symbols

-EV - Negative Expected Value
~$7 - Around $7 or about $7
+EV - Positive Expected Value
3-bet - A bet, a raise, and then another raise. The third action is a 3-bet
4b - Four bet
50NL - No limit with blinds of $.24/$.50 and a $50 maximum buy-in. Online poker limits are expressed as 100 big blinds as that has traditionally been the standard maxmimum buy-in at most stakes.
6-Max - 6 players per table
6m - 6-max
7SFAP - Seven Card Stud For Advanced Players (book)
9To - Nine Ten offsuit

41.02) A

ABS - Absolute Poker (online poker site)
AC - Atlantic City
AF - Aggression factor
AFAIK - As far As I know
Aggro - Aggressive
AI - All in
AINEC - And it's not even close
AIPF - All-in pre flop
AKQJT - Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Ten
AP - Absolute Poker (online poker site)
ATC - Any two cards
ATF - About The Forums (2+2 Forum)
Ax - An Ace with any second card

41.03) B

B&M - Bricks & Mortar: Playing at a poker club or casino as opposed to online
B/c - Bet and call a raise
B/f - Bet and fold to a raise
B3b - Hero's plan is to bet, and then 3-bet if raised.
BB - Big Bet or big blind (depends on usage)
BB/100 - Big Bets per 100 hands (standard measure of win rate)
BBL - Be Back Later
BBV - Brags, Beats & Variance (2+2 Forum)
BBV4L - Brags, Beats & Variance For Life (2+2 Forum)
BI - Buy-in
BI - Bring In
Blocking bet - Often a river bet made OOP when an obvious draw hits on the end, where you bet and fold to a raise
BR - Bank Roll
BRB - Be Right Back
BTW - By The Way
Bumhunting - Extreme table selection that results in only playing fish and refusing to play anyone else. Usually in HU games.
Bump - A no content post that does nothing but move a thread back to the top of the page
BWDIK - But What Do I Know

41.04) C

C-bet - Continuation bet
C/c - Check and then call any bet
C/f - Check and then fold to a raise
C/r - Check and then raise
CB - Continuation bet
CC - Check check
Check behind - To check when it's been checked to you, usually after betting action on previous street
CK - Check
CO - Cut off, player one seat to the right of button
CP - CardPlayer (magazine)
CTH - Computer & Technical Help (2+2 Forum)

41.05) D-E

DoN - Double or Nothing. A form of STT where half the players are paid and get double their money back (less the rake).
Donk - Short for "donkey". Donkey is an insult, equivalent to stupid, idiot, moron, etc.
Donkbet - Either to lead into the PFR on the flop, or a tiny bet made in relation to the pot
DP - Draw poker
DUCY - Do You See Why?
Effective stack - The smallest stack amongst the players remaining in the hand.
eg - Example
EOM - End Of Message - often put at the end of the subject if a post has no content
EP - Early Position
EV - Expected Value

41.06) F

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
FE - Fold Equity
FH - Full House
FL - Fixed Limit
Float - You call a bet with a marginal hand or draw, usually on the flop while in position, with the intent of stealing the pot on a later street.
FPP - Frequent Player Points
FPS - Fancy Play Syndrome
FR - Full ring (9 or 10 players per table)
FT - Full table
FT - Full Tilt
FT - Final Table
FTP - Full Tilt Poker (online poker site)
FW - Foxwoods Casino
FWIW - For What It's Worth
FYI - For Your Information
FYP - Fixed Your Post

41.07) G

GG - Good Game
GL - Good Luck
GLK - Good Luck
GOAT - Greatest of all Time
Goot - Good
Grimming - May refer to stealing the blinds the first hand of HU cash game and then immediately sitting out. May also refer to backing out of (welching on) any bet, particularly flipaments and especially after information becomes known that makes the bet disadvantages (ie; refusing to flipament after seeing your hole cards).
Grunch - To post a responce in a thread without reading any of the existing replies so your opinion is not affected by other people's posts.
GT+ - Gametime Plus (software)
GTD - Guaranteed $1m GTD would be a tournament where prize money of over $1m was guaranteed
Gutshot - An inside straight draw

41.08) H

HE - Hold 'Em
HFAP - Hold'em For Advanced Players (book)
HH - Hand History
HJ - Hijack, player two seats to the right of button
HL - High limit games
HOF - Hall of Fame
HoH - Harrington on Hold 'Em (book)
HORSE - A game that rotates through H - Holdem, O - Omaha hi/lo 8-or-better, R - Razz, S - Stud (hi only), E - Eight-or-better Stud hi/lo (all limit)
HP - Hollywood Park Casino
HSNL - High Stakes No Limt (2+2 Forum)
HTH - Head To Head
HU - Heads Up
HUD - Heads Up Display. Software which displays opponent's stats on your table.

41.09) I

ICM - Independent Chip Model
IFYW - If You Wish
IGHN - I Go Home Now
IIRC - If I Remember Correctly
IMHO - In My Humble Opinion
IMO - In My Opinion
ISD - Inside Straight Draw
ITM - In The Money
ITT - In This Thread
IWTSYH - I Want To See Your Hand
IYAM - If You Ask Me

41.10) J-K

JAT - Just A Thought
JMO - Just my opinion
KJs - King Jack suited
KOTZ - King Of The Zoo (2+2 tournament)
Kxx - Refers to a King high flop

41.11) L

LAG - Loose aggressive (player)
LAP - Loose passive (player)
LC - Low Content
LDO - LOL, Duh, Obviously or Like Duh, Obviously
Level - To outsmart, as in this clip: Battle of Wits. Also used when someone falls for a joke or is gullible.
LHE - Limit Hold 'Em
LL - Lower Limit games
LMAO - Laughing My A** Off (available with numerous variations)
LO8 - Limit Omaha Hi-Lo
LOL - Laughing Out Loud, Lots of Luck, etc
LP - Late Position

41.12) M

Meh - The sound you make when you shrug your shoulders signaling indifference; not great, not terrible.
MGR - Monthly Gross Revenue
MHIG - My Hand Is Good
MHING - My Hand Is No Good
Minraise - Raising the lowest amount possible
ML - Middle Limit Games
MM - Mason Malmuth
Monotone - A flop of all the same suit
Moran - Moron (this is a deliberate mispelling - an in joke)
MP - Middle position
MSNL - Mid Stakes No Limit (2+2 Forum)
MTT - Multi Table Tournament

41.13) N

NC - No Content
NH - Nice Hand
Nit - A player who plays too conservatively, plays too few hands, is weak-tight.
Nit - A person who is overly concerned with rules and precision. Compulsively corrects minor errors. Enforces the letter of the law rather than the spirit of the law. Is quick to be offended by minor slights, usually someone of stern disposition. Also often an implication of miserliness
NL100 - Number indicates the buy-in; this is No Limit, with $1 BB's
NLHE - No limit hold 'em
NSFW - Not Safe For Work
NT - Nice Try
NT - No Text in post
NVG - News, Views & Gossip (2+2 Forum)

41.14) O

o - Offsuited - K7o would be a King & 7 of different suits
O8 - Omaha Hi-Lo
OESD - Open Ended Straight Draw
OESFD - Open Ended Straight Flush Draw
OMG - Oh My God!
OOP - Out of position
OOT - Other Other Topics (2+2 forum)
OOTM - Out Of The Money
OP - Original Poster
OPP - Opponent
OT - Off Topic
OTB - On The Button
OTOH - On The Other Hand
Overbet - A bet amount larger than the current pot
Overpair - Having a pair in your hand higher than the biggest card on the board
OWA's - One Word Answers

41.15) P

PA - PokerAce Heads Up Display (software)
PAHUD - PokerAce Heads Up Display (software)
PAHWM - Play A Hand With Me
PF - Pre Flop
PFR - Preflop raise or preflop raiser
PL - Pot Limit
PLO - Pot Limit Omaha
PLO8 - Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo
PM - Private Message
PO - Poker Ofiice
Pot control - Attempting to keep the pot small with a marginal holding
POTD - Post of the Day
POTM - Post of the Month
POTW - Post of the Week
POTY - Post of the Year
POV - Point of View
PP - Party Poker (online poker site)
PP - Pocket Pair
PPM - Party Poker Million tournament
PS - Poker Stars (online poker site)
PSB - Pot Sized Bet
PSR - Pot Sized Raise
PT - Poker Tracker
PTBB/100 - poker tracker big blinds won per 100 hands played. A PTBB is 2xBB.
PTL - Player To My Left
PTR - Player To My Right
Pwned - Owned or powned. Usually means you got outplayed.

41.16) Q

Q73r - r = rainbow flop
QFT - Quoted For Truth
QOPTW - Question Of Playing This Way
QOTPW - Question Of This Player's Win

41.17) R

R - Rainbow flop
R - Rebuy $11+R would an $11 tournament with rebuys available
R+A - Rebuy & AddOns $11+R would an $11 tournament with rebuys & add ons available
Rainbow - A flop of all different suits
Ratholing - Also referred to as "Going South". Removing chips from the table so as to reduce your stack size. Online, this includes short stackers sitting out and buying back in at another table with the minimum stack.
RB - Rakeback
Reraise - Raising the PFR
RGP - Rec.gambling.poker - a long running Usenet group, now available as a forum
RIO - Reverse Implied Odds
ROFL - Rolling on the floor laughing with numerous variations
ROI - Return on investment

41.18) S

S - Suited - K7s would be a King & 7 of the same suit
SB - Small Blind or Small Bet depending on how it is used in sentence.
Sc - Suited connector
SD - Standard Deviation
Semi-bluff - Betting/raising when you have a draw.
Set - Flop is K42, you hold 44, you have a set
SH - Shorthanded
sLAG - Slightly loose aggressive
SMZ - Sklansky, Malmuth & Zee - 2+2 Publisher's/Authors
SNG - Sit 'n' Go tournament
SNGPT - Sit-n-Go Power Tools
Spew - To expel chips with great force, as if vomiting uncontrollably (to play really badly in such a way as to cause the loss of a lot of chips quickly).
SPR - Stack to Pot Ratio
SS - Short Stack
SSNL - Small Stakes No Limit (2+2 forum)
Stars - Poker Stars (online poker site)
Stealing blinds - Open raising in late position with less than premium hands in order to take the blinds.
STFU - Shut The **** Up
Stop-n-Go - You bet, get raised, you call closing the action on that street, then lead out on the next street.
STT - Single table tournament
STTF - Single table tournament forum (2+2 Forum)

41.19) T

T$ - Tournament dollars, which can be used on a particular site to buy into tournaments
T&C - Terms & Conditions
TAG - Tight aggressive player
TC - Terms & Conditions
Thin value bet - Usually a river bet made when it's unclear if you are ahead or not
TL;DR - Too long; didn't read
TOP/FTOP - Fundamental Theorem Of Poker
TP2K - Top pair 2nd best kicker--You have KQ, flop K72, you have top pair, 2nd best kicker (the Q)
TPBK - Top pair bad kicker
TPBK - Top pair best kicker
TPCK - Top pair crap kicker
TPGK - Top Pair Good Kicker
TPNK - Top Pair No Kicker
TPTK - Top pair top kicker
TPWK - Top Pair Weak Kicker
TR - Trip Report
Trips - Flop is JJ8, you hold KJ, you have trips
TTH - Turbo Texas HE
TTHRIC - This Thread Has Run Its Course
TWIMC - To Whom It May Concern
TY - Thank You

41.20) U-Z

UB - Ultimate Bet (online poker site)
UI - Unimproved
uNL - Micro No Limit
UTG - Under the Gun, first player to act preflop
UTG - Under the gun, first position, to the left of the big blind
UTG+1 - Under the Gun plus one, second player to act preflop
UTG+1 - To the left of UTG
VB - Value Bet
Villian is 24/10/3(98) - Pokertracker stats indicating VPIP/PFR%/AF (with preflop aggression taken out) over 98 hands
VNH - Very Nice Hand
VPIP - Voluntarily put money in the pot
W$ - Poker Stars Tournament dollars which can be used to buy into Poker Stars tournaments
WA/WB - Way Ahead or Way Behind
WCOOP - World Championship of Online Poker - series of high buy in tournaments held on Poker Stars
WGAF - Who Gives A Flute
WGAFF - Who Gives A Flying Fig
WPT - World Poker Tour
WSOP - World Series Of Poker
WSOPME - World Series Of Poker Main Event
WTF - Huh?, What the ****
X-post - Cross-post. A post made in more than one forum at one time
YMMV - Your mileage may vary


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