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Poker Life: Poker around the world

Thu, Nov 24, 10:03am by Poker Guru

One thing I love about poker is that you can play all around the world. When I am on business trips, I love going to a local casino and play some poker. I have played poker in fifteen countries and five different continents. As much as there are differences, it is funny how cardrooms around the world seems to attract exactly the same characters. The awkward guy whose whole social life seems to be in the casino. The cool young guy with shiny sunglasses who thinks he knows everything. The bored guy watching movies on his iPad. The old guy who has been a gambler all his life but still keeps making beginner’s mistakes. The annoying guy who does not know when to stop talking.

However, the playing style can be very different. In some countries there is a macho culture where players refuse to be bluffed and will always call you down. It is very easy to be profitable against those players: You just wait for good hands and play them aggressively. This kind of table style also means that some players will sit with very big stacks. You will rely on a few big pots to be profitable so if you are unlucky you can also lose big.

In other countries players play way too tight, like they are all playing with scared money, which means that you need to loosen up and make regular bluffs. They are all playing like you would at the macho table above so expect to be up against a good hand if they play back at you. In this type of environment your profit will not come from the big pots but from the small pots you pick up without a showdown. You will only be in big pots with a good hand against another good hand and you can only expect to win 50% of those.

Yesterday I played in a cardroom against a mix of players. I raised from mid-position with Ace-Jack and was called by the button and the Big Blind. The flop was Ace-Queen-Five. I made a continuation bet and was called by the button. The turn was a Jack. I do not want to give away free cards in this situation so I bet 60% of the pot and faced a big raise. What can he have? He would not raise me with A-K or A-10 in this situation so he either has a set, A-Q, A-5 or a bluff. Even K-10, the nuts, is a possibility if he planned to bluff me on the turn and got lucky. The Jack on the turn makes me think about it but this is an easy fold with or without it. The Jack just made me think about it.

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