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FEBRUARY POKER ROOM OF THE MONTH: PKR
US players are unfortunate, because they're not able to play at one of the best poker rooms around, which is PKR. However us non-US players get the benefit, as PKR attracts a ton of fish due to their incredible 3D graphics. They are so much more than graphics though - did you know that they feature their tables on TV? So you could sit at a table, and have people around the world watch you play. Or how about their 100% to $2000 sign-up bonus? Add 30% rakeback on top of that, and you would be crazy not to play here.

Read more about PKR Rakeback here.


Lesson 176: Playing Fifth Street in Seven-Card Stud (By Keith Sexton)


Fifth Street is the big decision point in Seven-Card Stud because that's the critical juncture in the hand when you have to put in your first big bet. While it's nice to have a made hand at this point, you don't always need one to put in a raise on Fifth Street. If you have a big draw, that can be enough to warrant raising your opponent. Some players don't think like this, and I believe that's a costly mistake.

Here's an example of a situation where I believe raising with a draw is the correct play. Let's say your opponent is showing an Ace, and you have a 7 of diamonds up and a 6 and 7 of spades in the hole, giving you a pair of 7s. You and your opponent are the only players involved in the hand, and he opens with a raise. You call. 

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Lesson 176: Playing Fifth Street in Seven-Card Stud (By Keith Sexton)

Lesson 175: Semi-Bluffing (By Andy Bloch)


The semi-bluff is one of the most powerful weapons in any poker player's arsenal. If there's a decent chance you can steal a pot by semi-bluffing, you should usually take it. But, as with any play you make at the table, the semi-bluff is always most effective when you use it at the correct time in the correct situation. Semi-bluff too much and your opponents will know when you're on the draw; semi-bluff too little and your opponents will know to fold whenever you bet. The key to semi-bluffing is to always mix things up and never become too predictable with your betting patterns.

Let's say that you've flopped the nut flush draw and are pretty certain your opponent has connected with the flop in some way, be it top pair or maybe even a set. A lot of players like to check-raise as a semi-bluff in this spot. There are a couple of problems with this play: first, if you always check-raise in this spot then your opponent will be able to put you on a draw very easily. Second, if your opponent really does have a hand, there's no need to check-raise here because there's no way he's folding and there's a good chance he'll pay you off anyway if you hit your hand. 

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Lesson 175: Semi-Bluffing (By Andy Bloch)

Lesson 174: The Pros and Cons of Being Active Early (By Aaron Bartley)


Deciding how active you want to be at the beginning of a tournament depends heavily on what type of tournament you're playing in. If it's a standard Sit & Go, I always recommend playing tight and conserving chips early. If it's a Multi-Table Tournament or a Shootout Tournament then you should consider a more active style in the early phase.

Part of the goal in doing this is to accumulate chips. But another part of the goal is to establish an image that will help get you chips later. It can be a rewarding way to play, but you need to understand that there's also a downside to the image this type of play will create. 

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Lesson 174: The Pros and Cons of Being Active Early (By Aaron Bartley)

Lesson 173: The Rebuy Tournament Game Plan (By Michael Gracz)


Going into any rebuy tournament, you should know before the first cards are dealt how much money you're willing to invest. Whether you're playing with a single bullet (not planning to rebuy at all), enough money to rebuy 50 times, or somewhere in between, you should have a number in your mind. You need to know from the start how many risks you can afford to take, and play accordingly.

For me personally, I don't believe in playing with a single bullet or with unlimited ammo. If you're only planning on making one buy-in, then why not play a regular No-Limit Hold 'em tournament? Playing a rebuy tournament with only one bullet, you have no safety net and you're giving the other players a significant edge over you because they're able to exploit your reluctance to gamble. 

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Lesson 173: The Rebuy Tournament Game Plan (By Michael Gracz)

Lesson 172: Taking Online Notes on Opponents (By Paul Wasicka)


When you're at the table playing live poker, the only notes you can take - at least inconspicuously - are mental ones. Online, however, you're granted a tremendous opportunity that doesn't exist in live play. It's important to take advantage of this and keep notes on your opponents. If you're going to do this, you need to do it right. This means including key details to give the notes relevance when you find yourself calling upon them later.

One thing that many poker players overlook is the importance of including the date. I always type the date alongside my note on a player so that if I come across that note when playing against him six months later, I'll know to follow it with caution because a player's style can change greatly in that time span. On the other hand, if I were to play him again a few days later, chances are he hasn't overhauled his game too drastically in that time period. 

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Lesson 172: Taking Online Notes on Opponents (By Paul Wasicka)

Lesson 171: How to Play the Early Stages of Turbo MTTs (By Michael Craig)


When playing a turbo Multi-Table Tournament online, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is overcompensating for the fact that it's a turbo by playing too fast and loose during the first several rounds. Because the levels are shorter and the starting stacks smaller, you'll see players rushing to get all their chips into the pot with a hand like A-9 or pocket 5s. Since these tournaments actually play like normal tournaments during the first few levels, it's important to remain patient and wait for big hands.

In the first 15 or 20 minutes of a turbo tournament you should play the same way you would in the first hour or hour and a half of a regular tournament. You should be looking to play quality hands aggressively from late position, but if you meet any resistance you need to pull back. At this point in the tournament it's not worth losing all your chips with A-J offsuit or pocket 5s if an opponent comes over the top of your raise. 

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Lesson 171: How to Play the Early Stages of Turbo MTTs (By Michael Craig)


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