My own Chris Ferguson Poker challenge

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Cory | Poker Articles, Poker Bankroll Building

Cory wrote the article below about setting yourself a poker challenge. If you have time check out his band’s website at

In a previous article on the poker bankroll blog, I talked about how important game selection is, even in live games where it’s a little more difficult.  Today I want to focus on the idea of occasionally challenging yourself.  Most times when you go out to play cards, you want to be in the spot where you can make the most money as easily as possible, but occasionally, it might be a good idea to see how you measure up against tougher competition.

A few nights ago I was in a live $1-$2 game and it was easily the toughest low stakes game I’ve ever been in.  The table was tight, aggressive and people were not paying off bets without hands.  I almost immediately asked the floor for a table change then I thought, since I’ve been winning, I could afford to sit at a tougher table to see how I measured up.  If I lost, it would be ok, I could stack off and still have met my profit goal for the week.

Sitting in a game against tougher players means you need to do a few things differently.  First, in a normal low stakes easy game, you don’t need to put much effort in to balancing your range.  Your opponents are not making any attempt to read your range of possible holdings, so you need little or no deception in your play.  In a tougher more observant game, players are seeing you limp with Duces and raise with Kings, so are likely to raise pre-flop when you’ve just limped and fold when you raise.

Balancing your range is just playing many hands of varying strengths the same way.  Raising pre-flop with Aces, 76S and Duces.  Balancing your range is something you’ll also need to do post-flop in tougher games.  If you want to be able to check behind with a straight draw, sometimes you’re going to have to check behind with top pair or two pair.  If you want to bet top two for value, sometimes you’re going to have to bet in to a pot with just a gut shot.  The tougher the game gets, the more you have to keep your opponents guessing.

The next thing you’ll want to do is be sure to focus on reading your opponent’s ranges in every hand.  Humans naturally make patterns, recognize theirs before they recognize yours.  Spot the weakest player at the table, even if he’s relatively strong and try to figure out what makes him weaker than the rest of the line-up and how you can exploit it.

In my session against a table full of regular, solid players I managed to hold my own and turn a profit with some nice play and a few lucky hands.  The reason I stayed to see how I stacked up against this table was first out of my own curiosity, but mainly in case I won, which I did, I could really be confident in my play when I took a seat in my regular soft games.  If I can turn a profit on a very tough table, I should be crushing a very soft table.  Playing with confidence can really be a game changer, so every once in a while, when you’re playing well and feel on you’re a game, try sitting in a game with tough players just to see if you can stand up to the challenge.  If not, you’ll have a few specific things to work on, if so, you can go back to the good games and be fully prepared to crush.

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3 Comments to My own Chris Ferguson Poker challenge

August 8, 2010

Confidence is everything…..

August 11, 2010

….and I have no confidence whatsoever these days, so I’m quitting poker for the time being. All my poker clients are deleted.
.-= Mark´s last blog ..Poker challenge =-.

August 12, 2010

You shouldn’t quit, just regain your confidence! Come back into the fold!

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