Gambling strategies and stories.

Enter the world of sports betting as a career

Do you really know just what it takes to be a good sports bettor? It takes more than just an in depth knowledge of a sport for one simple reason. This is because the sports betting industry employ and use professional odds compilers whose job is to accurately work out odds and probabilities for certain sporting events. They use vast amounts of historical data, computer programs and the very same sports betting knowledge that you possess.

So it is difficult to gain an edge by trying to beat the betting industry in that way. Many gambling professionals try to gain an edge by going against the market masses. For example if a really strong favourite is really short priced like for example Frankel has been recently then the price will in all likelihood contract below its theoretical level of where it actually should be.


This means that there is often value in opposing the competitor or team and going the other way or even laying them on the exchanges. When you lay on the exchanges then it doesn’t mean that you are laying them to lose. If you back them again in play then you can still make a profit even when the competitor wins because all it takes is for them to win but to win in a way that isn’t straight forward. Frankel’s final race for example saw him get away from the stalls very slowly and anyone that had laid him could have backed him again in running and made money.

Why should a possible sports bettor choose sports betting over poker as a potential career? Personally I cannot think of one as sports betting is far tougher in which to make a living for one simple reason. This is because when you place bets then you are doing so against professionals but in poker you can pick and choose your games.

Carl Sampson is a professional poker player that plays online poker at

Can You Handle a Gambling Environment?

The Gambler’s Fallacy is the primary cause of addictive gambling. If we’re not careful, our minds can play psychological tricks on us and convince us that we are “due” a win and this can happen when we play any form of gambling including online poker at the big respectable sites.

So, let’s say that you’ve lost five straight games at the blackjack table. The gambler’s fallacy is your mind telling you that you are “due” a win because you’ve lost five in a row. But in reality, the five previous games are completely independent events from the one you are about to play. So you’re making a mistake if you think that somehow your losing the previous five will help you win the next one.

What's the matter with Kansas? Nothing, anymore, if you like to gamble.

Lottery players suffer from gambler fallacy. The idea is that sooner or later “I’m due a big one.” Well, sorry to set the record straight, but each lottery pick is a completely independent event. So, the fact that you haven’t won any money for the last 365 lottery picks, doesn’t make you any more likely to win tonight’s lottery event.

So, you might ask, is it simply always a fallacy to gamble? The answer is no! But your gambling strategy should always make reference only to the specific event on which you are placing a bet. If you have some inside information about an event that makes the chances of your winning greater than 50% then you are in a very good place to gamble. In fact, it might hardly be said a gamble if you know with 90% certainty that you will win!

The fact of the matter is though that an out and out gambling environment will test you in ways that you never dreamed possible. Not everybody is cut out to be a gambler and you need to ask yourself some serious questions before you go down the road to becoming one.

Carl Sampson is a professional online poker player that plays online at

Online Casinos: Win or Loss?

Every time we think about making money on the web, we come across the idea of online casinos. At online casinos, you can play roulette, slot machines, card games, and many more. Lots of players wonder whether it’s possible to win at online casino. and if the answer is yes, how to do it? The answer is simple: it’s possible to win at online casinos. However, much depends on luck. If you are lucky, you have 70% chances of winning. So how to win at online casinos? First of all, you should pick out a game, Secondly, you should develop a strategy to follow.

Poker is the most popular game among those players whose goal is to make money. If you picked out poker, don’t make large bets at the beginning f the game, especially if you don’t know how to play. Experience and practice are the two things that can bring you success. Download a demo poker game to your PC and play for fun. After you have gained enough experience, you can start playing for money and making large bets.

Blackjack is a second popular game. Most players know this game as 21. The rules are pretty simple: you must collect 21 points during one game. King, Queen, and Jack amount to 10 points, while Ace is 1 point. This is the difference from its Russian variation. To win at blackjack, you need to apply different strategies and systems. This topic is covered in numerous articles and guides. Relying on players’ reviews and experience, we can say that your own behavior scheme is the best strategy for you. Read more

How to play suited connectors

Many cash game players like hands like suited connectors along the lines of say 9-8s. They know that they can make big hands with them like flushes and straights. But in order to play these types of hands well then you have to be aware of their strengths and weaknesses in all sorts of scenarios. For example let us say that an UTG player makes it $7 in NL200 and it gets folded around to you on the button with 9-8s. It would be interesting to know what your play is here but I bet many of you would call.

Calling is a not a terrible play in a vacuum as you have absolute position on the button and if no one three bets from the blinds then you have seen a relatively cheap flop for only $7. This all assumes of course that both you and your opponent have deep stacks. However you have several problems in this situation and the first is the amount of implied odds you are getting for your hand. In the modern online poker game then the players are better and more solid than they ever used to be.

So if you make a big hand then the pay-off is likely to be marginal at best. Also a hand like a suited connector tends to make the big hands that they have the potential to make not on the flop but on the turn and river. This means that it can be expensive when you miss or that you often get bet away from your hand on the flop. So calling early position raises is probably not profitable in the long term and using PokerStove can help us to see why that is. Looking a typical range of an UTG raiser and they are probably raising with AA-TT, AK and AQs.

Some may raise with KQs and AQ but that is about the maximum range that you will find in nearly all cases. That only comes to 5% of their range and your equity with a hand like 9-8s comes to around 30.7% which is not enough to warrant making the call. Also remember that this is a best case scenario as well because if they raise with a tighter range like AA-QQ and check all other hands then your equity drops to an alarming 21%.

The argument in the past of course was that weak players compensated for that by over playing big pairs like aces and kings when you flopped a big hand or made a big hand on the turn. This isn’t the case now and so suited connectors do not play well in these situations over the long term. I would much rather call a raise from say the button or the cut-off if the raiser came from the cut-off or the hijack. At least then the call is more comparable in terms of equity against a much wider range.


Carl Sampson is a professional poker player who plays online at

How to play pocket pairs

I think an awful lot of player misplay pocket pairs against a raise but the way to correct that problem is to use a basic rule of thumb used by many strong no limit Texas hold’em players. Let us say that it has been raised by an early position player in a $1-$2 ring game. They make it $7 and you have the 5c-5d in middle position. I see players that are really tight routinely fold these hands but I also see many novice and even intermediate players that should know better routinely call as well.

So what exactly is this broad rule of thumb? Well it is hardly sophisticated and it is hardly scientific but it does a very good job of helping you to make a good poker decision. This is to only call the raise if the effective stack sizes are around the 20-25 mark meaning that you both have between 20-25 times the amount of the raise in your stack. So in this instance I want my opponent as well as myself to have at least $140 and as much as $175. I tend to err on the high side in full ring where the players are tighter.

However in six max then you can probably go with the lower figure. This is for a heads up scenario and if you call the raise then a call can drag other players into the pot as well thus increasing your implied odds. This is a factor that is often missed by many players because a call can actually start an avalanche of calls from players looking for implied odds for their respective hands. It works in a similar way to players who refuse to sit at a poker table and play heads up.

Most would rather wait until there are more players before they sit down. In many instances then the arrival of the second player is quickly followed by a third and a fourth until the game rapidly fills up. There are many players that would call a raise if there were more players involved and so it could be your job to start that process off. Calling raises from early and middle position players with small to medium pocket pairs needs to be done with care and the effective stack sizes play a big role.

Because you have called the raise then you have made it more likely for your opponents to call as well. However you still need to a springboard from which to make that call and that springboard is having an effective stack of at least 20-25 times the size of the raise. If there has been a raise and callers then you can lower this figure to somewhere between 15-20 times the size of the raise. This is because of the combined effect of the total money in play. I would never advocate 3/betting a solid player from a decent position and especially in full ring.

You can though strive to take the initiative and probably should do so in six max and 3/bet most raisers when you have position. The minimum position that the raiser will come from is UTG but at other raises will come from the hijack and cut-off seats. You do need your opponents to make big mistakes to increase your earn rate and one way for them to make big mistakes is when they overplay premium pairs.


Carl Sampson is a professional poker player who plays online at

Semi-Bluffing in Poker

There are times when you should semi-bluff and times when you shouldn’t. To semi-bluff or bluff successfully then you need your opponent to fold some of the time. Let us say that your opponent made it 3.5bb to go and you called on the button with both blinds folding. The pot is now 8.5bb and your opponent makes a c-bet of 5.5bb making a 14bb pot. Now if you semi-bluff or bluff with a drawing hand then you may raise to something like 18bb. This makes the pot 32bb of which 18bb of those are yours in this current play.


This means that your opponent needs to fold more than 56% of the time for the play to show immediate profit. This is because that is the amount of the money that you have places into the pot on this one play. Forget about any money that you placed pre-flop because that money is gone. So to have some sort of overlay in this situation then we need our opponent to fold more than 60% of the time but how can we know how often they will fold to a bluff raise?

Well luckily there is a simple answer and that answer is how wide your opponents range is and how much of that range they will fold to aggression. Let us say that the flop is 10s-7d-4d and your hand is the Jh-8h. If your opponent only ever held aces down through queens then any raise that you made on the flop would likely have zero fold equity. This is for the simple reason that our opponent has only strong hands in their range. They would doubly not fold to a flop raise because the board also has drawing possibilities.

Our fold equity is clearly then linked with the width of our opponents range and how many hands are in that range. Let us add a new range where we placed seven hands into that range where our opponent would fold to our bluff raise. Clearly against this play then we would have 100% fold equity but this wouldn’t be representative of real life play because our opponent wouldn’t have weak hands all the time. However if we merged those seven hands with the three strong hands then we can see that our opponent would fold 70% of the time.

What this means is that we can now bluff raise profitably even if we have no equity. If our opponent folds 70% or more and we only need them to fold more than 56% of the time then we have a clearly profitable play. This works even better if we have outs because even if we raise and get called then we will sometimes make the best hand and extract more value from that. So let us compare the range of an UTG raiser with that of a cut-off raiser. An UTG raiser in say six max may be raising with 15% of their hands while a cut-off raiser could be raising with 35%.


 Carl Sampson is a professional poker player that plays online at

Play part-time poker not full time

I know from personal experience just how tough it is to actually play poker full time. If you have only come from a background where you have been employed then you may just find things even tougher. The variance within the game can be similar to many types of businesses where you can end up losing over any given week or month. I always feel that many of the skills that are needed to play poker full time are in-built and in place long before a player even makes the decision.

I don’t think it is correct to say “I want to be a professional poker player” until you are fully aware of what that actually entails. Because the middle limits are very tough in which to make a living then you will probably need to play lower down the levels. Doing so makes the disparity between what you can earn from playing poker and what you could earn from a career too close. This would certainly be the case for graduates for example who could find a well-paid job between the £30k-£60k range that also had a pension and other benefits.

This is why I think that the majority of players that are playing the game full time are doing so out of necessity because they don’t have other serious career options in many cases. This certainly applied to me because my final years at school were something of a washout and so I left school with minimal qualifications. This led to a career in gaming which I ultimately left after becoming disgruntled with being passed over several times for promotion. Little did I know it at the time but that led to a successful change of career although I did have several false starts in between.

So the bottom line is that I arrived as a full time player not by design but by accident and necessity and I think that this applies to most players who play the game full time. The problem from my perspective was that all through my adult life, I have become disgruntled with certain jobs and careers when I have been doing them for too long. In some cases I have left jobs after a few weeks or months that I wasn’t enjoying. One of the key factors that prevent many players from succeeding at poker is “greed” or trying to make too much money.

The game itself will only allow you to extract so much money because as you increase the levels then your opponents will increase in skill, knowledge and sophistication. So to beat players at say the $1-$2 level in no limit Texas hold’em then you will need to be substantially better than you would need to be to beat opponents at say the $0.10-$0.20 level and so on. If you imagine poker as a sort of pyramid where the higher you go then the fewer players that you encounter but the tougher they are.

So do not allow greed or the desire to play for more money hinder your chances of success. There is a fine line in poker between not playing high enough for your skills and playing too high. You should curb the desire to want to test yourself at higher levels until you have categorical proof that you can make it. There are too many people who are gambling or shot taking as some like to call it for my liking. A good online poker player will be cold and hard in their attitude towards money.
Carl Sampson is a poker pro who plays online at

How to devise your own poker system

I have written before about the concept of poker systems but to a certain extent then we all have a “poker system” as we all do certain things in certain situations. However for a system to be useful then it has to find an edge. To find an edge then it has to take advantage of errors either in your opponent’s method of operation or in their conception of certain areas of the game. So to build a poker system involves a lot of fundamental poker knowledge and then an understanding of the game dynamics of the environment that you will be using this system in.

Many so called “expert” poker players deride “systems” in the belief that we are discussing set parameters that cannot ever change. However this is where an understanding of how trading firms operate can be very instructive. Many trading firms these days use what are called “algorithms” that help them to trade electronically and in much greater quantity. These algorithms or “algo’s” use pre-determined rules that allow the program to enter and exit trades electronically! The bottom line is that these programs are in most cases not left to trade in solitude without expert outside analysis and help.

In this respect then it isn’t too dissimilar to poker because we are implementing a poker system whatever we do. Even if you think that you are a “situational” player and that your style is totally fluid, you will still be using fixed rules in certain situations that repeat themselves. If your normal 3/betting range is say 10% but you think that an opponent is raising very widely and you expand that to 15% then you will clearly do the same again in the same situation given the same dynamics…….bottom line is that it is a system.

What we are looking at in this situation is a system that has more parameters to it and is thus more complex but we are still looking at a system. For a poker system to work then it has to find an edge somewhere. This edge can be obvious and clear or it can be subtle and deep. It is pretty obvious to say that the edges that are obvious and clear will also provide the greater profit potential. This is unlike the edges that are deep and subtle and require expert analysis.

This is precisely why it is difficult to make money at the middle stakes levels. Our opponents systems are designed to interact with our own and so it then becomes a battle of styles and systems. Whichever player has the greater level of experience and theoretical background will be a better position to adjust their own “system” in order to combat yours. To then get into a battle of system versus system is thus very difficult in this environment. The ideal environment for system based play is one where your opponents are not adjusting to your system, are slow to adjust or who adjust in small numbers.

If you can find a game or a level where this applies then you can build a very successful poker system. The advantage to having a system is that it is then easier to replicate the rules over a larger number of tables which should in theory give you a greater earning potential. However as we have said previously, we need to ascertain how our system is going to make us money.

If you don’t have any idea of how you are going to make money then what you are essentially doing is going into a game blind. Once you have the system parameters in place then you need to beta test your system. Unlike in electronic day trading then this will involve manually operating the system yourself which means playing poker and lots of it.

Carl Sampson is a poker play who plays online at

Does your mental state affect your results?

These are some of the most used clichés with regard to how one’s mindset can help affect the turn of events. Do you believe them? Are they true? Do they have a place in the world of gambling in areas like online poker or even in any other online gambling arena for that matter or are they simply restricted to live casinos only?

Perhaps. To be honest, I am not totally sure. I think that to a certain degree, it just might be true. But this will only hold true if you believe that luck has something to do with gambling. Some people will vehemently react against this statement. I know some people who would state clearly that many card games have nothing to do with luck and that it is all skill.

I believe, however, that in most of these games, there is a degree of luck involved. I am not making little of the important role that skill plays, trust me. I know how important a card player’s skills are. However, I also believe that sometimes, luck comes into play. And sometimes, it might make the difference for players – skilled or unskilled.

So what do you do about luck? It is not something that you can control. It is something that comes and goes. Now back to the original question – does your attitude and mindset attract or repel luck? Is there any truth to the idea that if you think lucky, you will attract luck?

I think that there is no clear cut answer to this. I know a lot of lucky people who think lucky – it must be true for them. Then again, I know a lot of people who think they’re lucky but always end up bust.

What do you think?

Carl Sampson is a poker pro who plays online at

How to be a better online casino player

Online gambling is no doubt easier and more convenient than go to a land based casino. Yet it doesn’t mean that you do not need to have clear strategies when gambling online. It still takes skill and wit to become successful in online gambling. Here are a few tips to help you become a success.

First things first – just like with land based casinos, choose your online casinos well. There are probably more choices available online than land based casinos within your area. This works both ways – you can take your pick from a wide array of online casinos yet at the same time, you have no assurance that the online casino you pick is a good one. That is, unless you do your homework before joining the fray.

So what should you do? How do you go about it? Well, that is what the rest of the Web is for! Do research. Go to independent web sites which review online casinos and gather as much information as you can about the casinos you are considering. Join forums and exchange real and honest information with other online casino players.

If you already have some casinos in mind, do check their reliability and customer support services. Make sure that you read their terms and conditions very well and that there are no hidden clauses in there. The time you spend doing this will be worth your while in the end. The last thing that you would want is to play well and then find out later that you have been scammed.

That brings us to the other side of the coin – you may have the best online casino, the most reliable casino, yet your skills are below par. Then it wouldn’t really make sense, would it? I believe that before you go lay your money down on online casinos, you should make sure that your skill level is good enough.

One way to do this is to practice with the free games first. Most online casinos have them – take advantage of them. Once you are familiar with the modes of play and you are confident that you can take on people for real money, only then should you leave the free tables behind.

Another tip for you is to have a risk management plan. Whether you play off line or online, the idea is the same. Assess the game you are going to play and the risk as well. Do not feel overconfident, thinking that since this is online, it would be easier. Nothing could be further from the truth. Gambling is gambling – online or offline. The risks and odds exist in both set ups.

Keep these things in mind as you embark on your online gambling experience and hopefully, you’ll end up being successful at it.

Carl Sampson is a professional poker player who plays online at

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