Insiders guide 2

Have you read our first page of advice on how to succeed at two of the Internet’s biggest poker sites, Empire Poker and Party Poker ? If not, click here. The section you’re reading now is a follow-up to our original “cheaters’ guide,” and exists to help you make even more out of your online poker experience!

Again, to remind you: Empire Poker and Party Poker are, together, the largest online poker room. That’s a good thing, because the competition can be very soft. Like most Internet poker sites, limit Texas Hold’em is the most popular game there is. And while there’s a lot of people who play and it’s hard to keep tabs on individual players, the bottom line is that Empire and Party Poker’s limit Hold’em games can be quite lucrative—IF you play them correctly. We’ve decided to post some advice on our website that will help you attack these poker-room giants from the right strategic angle.

First, you’ve got to realize that there is a wide variety of players that play at Empire and Party Poker. Most online sharks have an account at these sites—we’ll be straight with you. But so do most online fish, and that’s where the fun comes in. Anyone who exercises good game selection could make a ton of money just by choosing the right games. Unfortunately, the websites make it a little tougher to do this by the stats alone. They don’t display the flop percentage, and basing your game choice on average pot size alone is not a good idea. A high average pot could mean a lot of fish calling to the river, but it could also mean a game full of tight-aggressives, and you don’t want that. Another consideration is that the average pot could be highly inflated due to one or two recent hands, and besides that a high average pot might induce a lot of sharks to join the game. That kills the point of joining the game in the first place, of course.

The best long-term solution to the problem of game selection is to keep notes on as many possible players as you can. Like most poker rooms, Empire and Party Poker both allow you to keep individual notes on each player; use them, for God’s sake! These notes don’t need to be long to help: “calling station” or “shark” is sufficient enough to get the point across.

Also, a good investment is to buy a software program that’s known as Poker Tracker. This program allows you to review your play and keeps track of certain stats like win rates, percentage win at showdown, etc. You can have Empire and Party Poker e-mail you your hand histories and then load these stats into the program. Poker Tracker will also show you the win rates and other statistics of your opponents, so this is a tool that will really help you size up your competition. The program certainly pays off in the long run.

Once you do find a soft game at Empire and Party Poker (and you will), stay there. If you’re in a tough game, leave. These sites are too tempting for you be facing stiff competition. Go hunting for prey, and you will find it.

Another tip that we think is often overlooked is that you should generally play the longhand games instead of the shorthand ones at these two big casinos. The shorthand games (six or fewer people) tend to attract more sharks. Generally, fish like to play what they are used to playing at the casino—longhand. Also, if you learn to play shorthand well, it’ll come in handy in a longhand game. Longhand games often stay full, but they also often become short at times. If you learn how to play shorthand well, in addition to having a good longhand game, you’ll have a huge advantage over your opponents, who may only know how to play longhand. Anyone in the six-person-maximum rooms is there to play shorthand, so chances are they are just as good at that as they are at a longhand game. People in the full games, however, often are very poor at shorthand games, but end up playing short for stretches while they wait for the game to fill back up. Jump on these opportunities whenever they arise.

Finally, a very important tip to success at Empire and Party Poker comes from your first day of poker lessons: starting hand selection. We just want to remind you that you don’t want to get caught playing dominated hands. If a good player raises in early position, fold your K-Q, K-J, A-T, etc. The fatal flaw of most Empire and Party Poker players is that they just play their own hand pre-flop. They think about the Sklansky charts (which are very useful, we admit), but they don’t consider the relative strength of their hand versus the hand of their opponents. You know better than to make this mistake.

Make use of the tips we’ve given you —go get ’em, tiger!