Q: What's the difference between Micro Stakes NL, Small Stakes NL, Medium Stakes NL and Mid-High NL?
A: Micro stakes ranges from $01./$0.02 up to $0.25/$0.50(NL$50). Small stakes is in the realm of $0.50/$1.00 to $1/$2 (NL$100 and NL$200, respectively). Medium begins at $2/$4 and peaks at $5/$10 (NL$1000). High-Stakes is everything above. Please understand that the amount of BBs in play is more important than the level you're currently playing at. A big hand involving two $1200 stacks at a $3/$6 table would pass as High-Stakes.
Q: There is a hand I would like to submit for analysis, how should I do this?
A: Very neatly. Posting your hand history in a clear and neat manner will increase the chances of it being replied to. Here's a few converters:
Do not include results in your hand post. Results are irrelevant to how well you played the hand. Being results orientated is the #1 error n00bs make in hand analysis. If the results are posted in the original hand post, they tend to lower the quality of advise given. You can always post the results later on after the analysis has played out, or if there is a request for results within the thread. But, oftentimes results are never posted and no one really misses them.
When preparing a hand history without the aid of the converter, please remember to do the following:
include stack sizes
replace suits with images
list reads, if any
Stack sizes: The responses you may receive weigh heavily on Hero and Villain's stack sizes. Posting a hand without them will greatly skew your responses. Please remember to list them.
Suits: When posting a question, please make sure your hand isn't [Ah 6h] with a flop of [Kh Jh 6s]. It makes the hand very hard to read and will most likely limit the number of responses you'll receive. You can replace text with images by clicking on each suit under the "Instant Graemlins" title, found directly below the post form.
Reads: Always important. Anything can be a read: Poker Tracker notes, how they've been playing, past hands, even how they're chatting. List anything that might help.
Q: What is the best way to give advice?
A: Always try to back up your advice with logic behind it. This ensures that your thought process, which will inevitably be different than someone else's, can be understood by all.
One word responses irk a lot of posters, so please do not do this. Lengthy responses aren't required, but explaining your reasoning with a quick preface or epilogue is ALWAYS appreciated.
Q: Damn, I just got outdrawn for a monster pot. Do you want to hear about it?
A: Absolutely not. Nobody cares. It's not about winning money, it's about eliminating mistakes and making correct decisions. If you're all in as a huge favorite and lose, you played the hand fine and should accept the fact your opponent did not. Everyone takes bad beats. Everyone.
If you really have to tell someone and your mother isn't home from work yet, then go here.
Q: I Just flopped Quads, how do I extract?
Flopping Quads happens so infrequently that it's nearly a complete waste of time wondering how to play them. Your best bet is to do just that; bet. You want money into the pot, so bet like you would with a regular hand. Build a pot and get money in before it's too late.
Q: What does it mean when people say things like "Villain was 27/6/3.4" about their opponent?
A: These are Poker Tracker statistics for that player. The first usually means their VP$IP, the second is their PFR amount, and the third is their overall aggression factor.
Q: What's VP$IP?
A: VP$IP is an abbreviation for "Voluntarily put money into the pot." If a person's VP$IP is extremely high, they're super loose players. The opposite applies to tight players. You can find your official VP$IP by using Poker Tracker.
Q: What is Poker Tracker?
A: An awesome program that keeps track of everything you can imagine. Click here for more details and here for a discussion about Poker Tracker.
Q: Where can I find some awesome full ring NL Auto Rate rules for Poker Tracker?
Q: What should MY Poker Tracker numbers look like?
A: Everybody's Poker Tracker statistics will be different, reflecting their different styles and approaches to the game. Nonetheless, there are some statistical relationships that frequently result from winning play. To learn how to use Poker Tracker to analyze the effectiveness of your own playing style, see this thread. At one point we did a survey of a wide variety of winning 2+2 players to see how their Poker Tracker statistics looked; you can find a summary of the results of that survey here. IMPORTANT NOTE: do not adjust your play simply because "it will make my PT stats look better." The play styles advocated in this newsgroup will automatically adjust your Poker Tracker statistics in certain directions, but the reason for the adjustments have nothing to do with statistics. If you improve your play your Poker Tracker statistics will reflect your changes, but if you play to have good Poker Tracker stats your game will fall apart.
Q: I see lots of slang around here.. abbreviations and such, what do they mean?
TAG: Tight-aggressive player. LAG: Loose-aggressive player. LAP: Loose-passive player. Typically a fish. BB: Big blind. SB: Small blind. CO: Cutoff. The seat directly to the right of the button. UTG: Under the gun. The first player to act preflop, directly to the left of the BB. PF: Preflop. PFR: Preflop raise or preflop raiser. Aggro: Aggressive. PP: Pocket pair. SC: Suited connector. HH: Hand history. PSB: Pot-sized bet. FPS: Fancy play syndrome. PTBB: Poker Tracker Big Blind.
Q: What's the proper bankroll for each limit?
A: General consensus is that a winning player should keep at least 20 buyins for each limit he's playing. Excluding poor beginner play, bad bankroll management is the biggest reason that new players go bust. Do yourself a favor and only play in games you can afford.
A: There happens to be a neat little feature built into some converters. It allows the user to get the script for the hand history and post the results of the hand in white. The reason is so people don't initially see the results as it might skew their opinions. Unfortunately, there's another little device that users discovered.. a mouse. It allows us to circumvent and view the hidden results. This is bad because people get an idea of what advice they'll give, view the results, and change their opinions. Suddenly putting the bad guy on Aces is pretty easy, that betting pattern is damn obvious.
Some users dislike posting results, others don't mind it. I personally post results in about half of my posts, the other half remain hidden as I end the hand before showdown to ask advice on the current street. I encourage you to save your hand history, post the version without showdown, and then later come back with the results. After you receive a good number of replies, update ASAP with what happened. We'd like to know.
Q: What's a sustainable winrate for this game?
A: I believe the average winrate sustained by fairly good players is 7-8PTBB/100. Click here for a winrate thread. Aiming for anything above 0 is recommended.
Q: Which games should I be playing in?
There are a couple main themes which should be factored into your decision to play in a certain game.
Bankroll: If losing the money in front of you will substantially hurt your bankroll, leave the game. This is a fundamental rule that should be applied nearly always. The times it should be disregarded are when joining a bigger and more fishy game would be +EV. Taking a shot at loose and juicy games isn't horrible. Just make sure you won't lose your entire roll playing there.
Skill level: Scope the table out before you sit down. If it's full of rocks and winning regulars, leave. If it's unknown faces, fishy players, and known morons, by all means take a seat. If you sit down and realize you're outclassed or outmatched in skill, there is no shame in leaving. Proper table selection is key to becoming a winning player.
Q: Should I ever fold Aces preflop in a cash game?
A: Only if you hate money.
Q: Okay, so I raise 4xBB preflop with Kings and the player to my immediate left raises. Then another player goes all in. Do I fold?
A: Depends on the opponents. Folding Kings preflop in fear of Aces isn't a liked topic in the forum. Here are some threads that deal with the subject of Kings Vs. potential Aces.
Sometimes laying Kings down preflop is correct. Most of the time it is not. There is roughly a 3.4% chance, at a full table, that your Kings are up against Aces. Make a decision and go with your instinct.
Q: I've heard other posters mentioning the 5/10 rule. What is it?
A: The 5/10 rule is an important no-limit concept that first appeared in Bob Ciaffone's excellent book, "PL & NL Poker." To quote directly from the book:
"When contemplating calling a raise because your position is good, you have a clear call if the raise is less than 5% of your stack, and a clear fold if it is more than 10%. In between those numbers, use your judgement."
It's a good rule for calling a preflop raise with a pocket pair in hopes of hitting a set. The driving force behind the concept is the implied odds in a given situation. If you get your set, but the opponent only has 5BBs after the initial raise, calling to hit the set in the first place is incorrect.
Q: Should I be minraising preflop?
A: As a standard raise? Absolutely not. Your standard raising technique should be 3 or 4xBB + 1BB for each limper already in the pot. You want to protect your hand and charge others to come in with weaker ones. Here are some good discussions on preflop and postflop minraising.
The majority of everything else is too strategy related to be placed in a FAQ. Every situation is different and I believe they deserve more than a few lines in this entry. Scan the forums for individual threads for more in depth answers from other posters. Read up, young grasshopper. And good luck.
This FAQ was originally created by Skeme and improved by SSNL mods. Thanks guys!