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Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Essential Hold'em Moves: The Limp Re-Raise

There’s no simple fix for becoming a winning poker player but there are a handful of simple, easy-to-execute poker moves that can make a world of difference to your bottom line.
By fine-tuning these tactics you’ll have more tools to put to work at the poker table. You’ll be able to better understand your opponents and how to manipulate them, and that will translate directly to money in your pocket.
Today we're talking about the limp re-raise, a move that can be used to slow-play your premium hands or bluff your opponent out of the pot preflop.
Most often used as a trapping play, limp re-raising is a powerful tool that will help you mix up your play and keep your opponents guessing about your cards.
By learning when and where to limp in and re-raise you'll have yet another way to increase your poker profits.
The What: Limp re-raising refers to limping in preflop (just calling the big blind), waiting for one of your opponents to raise, and then re-raising when the action gets back to you.
The Why: By just limping in you will trap opponents who would have folded if you had raised.

The limp re-raise works best against aggressive players.
The When: Limp re-raising can be used in cash games, sit and gos and tournaments.
The Where: The two places you'll be limp re-raising from most often are under-the-gun and in the small blind.
The Who: The limp re-raise works best against aggressive opponents who raise a lot when you limp in.

Limp Re-Raising the Right Way
The limp re-raise can be used in a number of different ways, which we'll go through, but by far the most effective way for beginners to use it is for value.
In this article we'll teach you the two main ways you can limp re-raise for value:
  • From under the gun with premium hands to trap your opponents.
  • When it's folded to you in the small blind and you have a big hand.
And as an advanced bonus tip we'll show you how with a little bravery you can turn both those spots into bluffing opportunities.

Limp Re-Raising Aces from Under the Gun
Chances are if you've played much poker you've seen someone limp in from under the gun, only to three-bet when someone comes in for a raise.
It's important to recognize this spot because nine times out of ten that limp re-raiser is going to have a monster hand.
But despite the move being somewhat transparent, there are still ways to use it to get value.

Most of the time when people limp re-raise under the gun they have pocket aces.
The best time to limp re-raise with aces is in a tournament or sit and go, when you have between 10 and 30 big blinds.
And it's especially effective at an aggressive table where you can rely on someone raising after you limp.
By just limping in you're going to induce your aggressive opponents to raise in position, going after your call and the blinds and antes.
By limping you're getting them to put money into the pot with a lot of hands they would have folded if you raised.
You're also giving them an opportunity to make a big mistake by calling your re-raise.
That's why it's important to make your re-raise substantial enough to make sure they're not getting correct pot-odds to call.
Re-raising roughly three times the initial raise will get the job done.
This move is especially effective when you're shortstacked since you'll be able to re-raise all-in when someone raises behind you.

Limp Re-Raising from the Small Blind
The second most common way to use the limp re-raise to get value is when it folds to you in the small blind and you have a big hand.
You also want to make sure that the player in the big blind is aggressive and likely to raise if you open-limp.
Imagine you pick up QQ and it's folded to you in the small blind. You want to get value out of the hand but if you simply raise, your opponent will fold most of his hands.
By limping you can exploit your opponent's aggressiveness. Because he's in position and you've shown weakness by limping, he'll be inclined to raise with a lot of hands.

Good players never do the same thing with the same cards every time.
Now you've got the opportunity to put in another raise and either take down the pot right there or play post-flop with a far superior starting hand.

Limp Re-Raising as a Bluff and Balancing Your Range
As we mentioned before, the big problem with limp re-raising is that you're basically telling the table you have pocket aces.
And while for beginners that's usually true, you'll see more advanced players limp re-raising from under the gun and the small blind as a bluff.
This is effective for two reasons.
First, it will win you money straightaway because it's such a strong line to take and most people will just believe you have a monster and fold.
Secondly it will balance your limp re-raising range, that is to say it will show your opponents that just because you limp re-raised, it doesn't mean you have aces.
If you limp re-raise with 9♦ T♦ from under the gun, for example, and your opponent moves all-in you can show your bluff and laugh at how you got caught.
Then a few orbits later when you do pick up aces and limp re-raise, your opponents will be far more likely to play back at you.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Who Is The Best Premier League Goalkeeper? Are Clean Sheets A Dirty Metric For Rating Goalkeepers?

For soccer teams, goalkeepers are a vital last line of defence. The difference between having a good keeper between the sticks and having a bad one could be tens of goals a season. But how can you identify which keepers are the best – and how does this affect your betting?

The most popular metric for measuring goalkeeper success is “clean sheets”. You hear about it almost every week from football pundits, and while not letting the opposition score is important, it’s not the ultimate indicator of a goalkeeper’s ability.

Let’s compare No.1′s from two very different sides – Man City and QPR. Joe Hart (City) has an impressive 13 clean sheets – the most in the league – while Julio Cesar (QPR) has just 5. If this were the only metric we examined, it would be obvious the Hart was the stronger keeper.

A slightly more accurate statistic would be if we factored in the number of games each player has played – 29 vs. 21. Now Hart’s achievements seem even more impressive. The Laser Blue ends games with a clean slate 44.8% of the time, while Cesar manages it on just 23.8% of occasions.

This is only part of the picture, however, because in those 21 games, Cesar made 84 saves – far more than Hart’s 49. He’s also only conceded five more goals than the City star, despite playing for relegation-battlers QPR.
Religiously following clean sheet charts totally negate other, even more important statistics, and can cause people to overvalue the ability of goalkeepers – particularly at top clubs.

The table to the left shows that seven of the 10 keepers with the best clean sheet percentage come from the “big” Premier League clubs. Only John Ruddy (Norwich City), Asmir Begovic (Stoke City) and Simon Mignolet (Sunderland) stand out – potentially something to note when they’re on the field.

Better indicators? Shots per goal & saves per goal

Although less glamorous and more difficult to come by, researching the shots per goal conceded and saves per goal will give you a better picture of a goalkeeper’s ability.

Shots per goal conceded is a good indicator of both how well a goalkeeper can stop shots, as well as how good he is at organising his defence to minimise optimal scoring chances.

There is potential for biases for both good and bad teams in this indicator – good teams might be more adept at preventing clear-cut shots (increasing the number of shots per goal), while at the other end of the spectrum, worse teams might face more opportunistic strikers, hoping to exploit a worst team with speculative shots.
The latter reason might explain why the table to the left is dominated by teams from lower down the table – Swansea, WBA, Stoke, Southampton, Sunderland, QPR and West Ham. Even more interestingly, it shows that Paulo Gazzaniga, Southampton’s No. 2, actually has the seventh best performance in the league.

Saves Per Goal

The most objective indicator of goalkeeper performance could be saves per goal. This eliminates the two biases for shots per goal, as the No. 1 has to physically block the ball from going into his goal to be counted.

Interestingly, it’s actually Gerhard Tremmel of Swansea City that leads the rankings with 4.7 saves per goal. Two of the goalkeepers widely considered the best in the league – David De Gea and Petr Cech – came in second and third at 3.9 and 3.6 SPG each.

How can this help soccer betting?

Most bettors rely on subjective assessments of goalkeepers when determining their ability, which can be detrimental in betting. For example, it’s a natural assumption to assume that a team’s second-choice goalkeepers will be less sure of himself between the posts than the first-choice, and therefore when he’s playing the team should concede more.

In many cases, however, this hasn’t proven corrected. Looking at the saves per goal data, Southampton’s first choice keeper Artur Boruc is actually bottom of the table at just 1.4. The two other men who have represented Southampton between the sticks – Kelvin Davis and Paulo Gazzaniga – are rated at 1.5 and 2.7 saves per goal respectively.

Therefore rather than expecting a worse performance without Boruc, bettors might be more accurate in assuming no difference, or even a better performance. If we were just to examine the clean sheet information, however, Boruc has three compared to just one for Gazzaniga.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

How You Can Achieve Profits Like This

Here's an example of one of my recent bets where I made £706.69 . It was on the recent Liverpool V Chelsea football game-

If you want to find out how you can copy my bets then submit your name and email address at the top right of this web page.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

How Often Are The Top 5 Tennis Players Beaten?

Everyone – except the top players – loves to see underdogs prosper. But with the top five ATP stars almost unchanged in the last five years, are Djokovic, Murray, Federer, Nadal and Ferrer too consistent to fall to players outside the top ten with any degree of regularity?

How do the top 5 tennis players shape up vs. lower ranked opposition?

In the last 52 weeks, all five of the top five tennis players have increased their win percentages against unseeded opposition. Djokovic is currently leading the standings, having lost just once in 52 outings against non-seeded competitors. At a massive 98%, his current win percentage is seven points higher than his career-average of 91%.

Roger Federer is also almost unstoppable, with 50 wins to three defeats (a 94% win percentage, up from 93%), while Andy Murray is up 1% to 88% and David Ferrer – also at 88% – is up 7%.

The average win percentage over the last 52 weeks for this group was 92%. This means that – on average – we can expect to see one of the top five players lose to an unseeded rival 8% of the time, or once every 12.3 matches. The “career average” win rate for these players (when they are ranked in the top five) against opposition ranked 10+ was 89% – or a defeat once every nine outings.

What about Nadal?

Before his win at Indian Wells, how would you rate Rafael Nadal against players ranked 11+ in the last year? Most people would say he’s been making a few mistakes – after all, we can all remember the Spaniard’s spectacular exit from Wimbledon in 2012 at the hands of the 100-ranked Lukas Rosol. And to a lesser extent, people are also aware of his defeat to Horacio Zeballos (rank 73) in February 2013.

These high-profile defeats – one in the second round of Wimbledon, the other on his return from injury – are easy to remember and gained a lot of media coverage concerned with whether the Spaniard had lost his killer instinct.

Statistically, however, they couldn’t be further from the truth.

Nadal’s killer instinct

Nadal – despite his drop to fifth in the rankings – is actually more adept at finishing off players outside the top ten in the last year than he usually is. In the last 52 weeks, when ranked at #5 or better, he’s finished-off opposition 51 times, and lost just four. That gives the left-hander a 93% win rate – above his career average of 91%.

The reason that we tend to think that Nadal has lost his killer instinct is not because of the objective truth, but more to do with a gut instinct called the “availability bias”. This is a psychological effect where humans attach greater significance to events that leave the strongest impression – an early exit from a Grand Slam, for example.

The Nadal example – and his subsequent success at Indian Wells – demonstrates how easy it is to underestimate a player’s abilities following a high-profile defeat (or poor run of form), and why it helps to be as objective as possible in analysing players.

Friday, 12 April 2013

How Bookings Affect Live Soccer Betting

A red card is one of the most significant events that can impact the outcome of a soccer game. This article examines the importance of bookings (both red and yellow), how they affect game probabilities, how managers adjust and why they place away teams at a disadvantage.

The red card: a soccer game changer

While everyone understands the circumstantial effect of red cards – the immediate loss of a player – statistical analysis helps us better understand the extent to which teams are negatively impacted when they receive a red card.

Unsurprisingly, the team that had a player sent off gained fewer points per game. Over the 60 Premier League games where a team saw a red card in 2012, 20% dropped points at the final whistle when compared to their predicted points (based on the score prior to sending off).

For the 20 teams that were drawing at the time of receiving a red card in last seasons Premier League, 65% went on to lose, 30% held on for a draw and just 5% – one team – managed to win.

The negative impact of a red card on a team is also evident in the amount of goals they score and concede. A study by Titman et al. (2012) highlighted that teams playing against a red-carded rival benefited by a 64.5% scoring rate increase.

Previous research looking at a number of Premier League seasons also indicates that the longer teams have a player deficit, the worse off they will be. If a team receives a red card in the first minute, their average goal difference in the game would be reduced by about 1.5 goals. This is reduced to 0.85 and 0.62 if a team is effected by a red card at half-time and 60 minutes respectively.

These figures can enable live bettors to gauge whether live odds have accurately changed to reflect red card incidents, and potentially to measure the significance of yellow cards, the most common precursor to a red.

Don’t underestimate the importance of yellow cards

With the knowledge that red cards can dramatically change the expected course of a match, and given a yellow card can lead to a red, bettors should understand the importance of a yellow card as more than a pause in play.

Referees have a tendency to ‘even up’ decisions

As yellow cards increase during a game, the in-play probability of a player being dismissed grows. Titman et al. (2012) stated a yellow card to any player on a team in the Premier League more than doubles the hazard of a straight red card to any other player on that team.

Interestingly, Titman also discovered that a team’s booking rate increases by 25% if the opposing team receives a yellow card, which reinforces the notion that referees have a tendency to ‘even up’ decisions during the game.

How cards impact on a manager’s tactics

When a team loses a player to a red card, the manager must react to the situation and change his tactics accordingly. Like a manager, a bettor should judge how important the player sent off is to the team, how the card impacts the shape of the team, what can be done to mitigate the situation and what bearing the sending off will have on the opposition.

A perfect example of how a red card affects the game can be seen when analyzing the recent last 16 Champions League second-leg game between Manchester United and Real Madrid.

The Reds were controlling the game – United nullified Madrid’s potent attack by using Danny Welbeck to restrict Madrid’s most creative player Xabi Alonso – after Sergio Ramos had scored an own goal to give Alex Ferguson’s team a 2-1 aggregate lead.

However, the game turned when United winger Nani was sent off for a dangerous challenge on 56 minutes. Not only did United have a man less, but they also had to move Welbeck to left midfield, in order to preserve their second bank of four – allowing Alonso to roam free and become more creative.

Known for reacting to situations quickly, it took Madrid’s manager Jose Mourinho just four minutes to make a substitution – replacing Alvaro Arbeloa with Luka Modric, and swapping Sami Khedira to right back.

Red cards dramatically change the match

The change turned the game as Modric controlled the centre of midfield with intricate passing sequences, and scored the equaliser with a long-range strike. After equalising, Real were in the ascendency and retained the ball superbly, scoring their second goal within 13 minutes of Nani’s red card.

Ferguson had the better of Mourinho when it was 11 vs. 11, however the red card changed the game and after the sending off Mourinho reacted both immediately and intelligently.

Are away teams at a disadvantage?

It is known that teams playing at home perform better than away – but how much help do they get from the referee?

Studies highlight that the probability of receiving a red card is different between home and away teams. Data collected from the Champions League from 2002-2007 showed that in only 24.3% of games did the home team incur more yellow cards than the away team.

Away teams collected 84% more red cards

In that period home teams received a red card in 6.42% of games, while the away teams received them in 11.82% of games. This means that away teams picked up red cards 84% more often than home sides. Interestingly, in 82.89% of games there were no red cards.

Research on the Bundesliga (Anders & Rotthoff) from 2004 to 2009 highlighted that the effect of cards on the home team is different to that of the away side.

Titman et al. (2012) found that a home red card increases an away teams’ scoring rate by 60% and decreases the home sides’ scoring rate by 17%.

In comparison, a red card for the away team sees the home team’s chances of scoring increase by 69% and the away team’s chances decrease by a massive 42%, which shows the handicap for away teams is more severe.

Final thoughts

This article contradicts the repeated soccer cliché that playing against ten men is more difficult than eleven. Unlike a goal, a red card merely presents an opportunity and a challenge to the respective teams.

Over many games a team will benefit from facing a team with fewer players, but in a one-off game the team need to exploit their advantage, which may require a different tactical approach. Basically, a red card is a potential game changer, but the game still has to change.

The data on the impact of red cards to goal probability should be of special interest to live soccer bettors, as this can be used in conjunction with subject analysis of specific game dynamics to help gain in-play advantage.

With the knowledge that referees tend to favour home teams when disciplining players, it is important to look at influences on the referee. Because of inconsistencies across individual referees’ tendency for cards, profiling referees is important, however this is more than likely accounted for in the bookmaker’s prices, so investigating influences on the referee themselves could be profitable

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Exposing Myths for Tennis Betting – Is A Player Only As Good As Their Second Serve?

An excellent serve is a vital tool in any tennis player’s arsenal, but just how much impact does it have on the outcome of a match? Understanding the myths surrounding the serve – such as the importance of the second serve – is key for serious tennis bettors.

A player’s serve is a key indicator of their chances of winning a match. Such is the importance of holding serve that set scores are often reported as one player being a “break up” or a “break down”, rather than the actual number of games won.

Men serve 3x more aces than women, but the same number of double faults

Myth: A Player is only as good as their Second Serve

One of the myths that surround the serve is that “a player is only as good as their second serve”. Legends of the sport – the likes of Roger Federer and Serena Williams – have notably reliable second serves, which may have started this myth.

However, upon investigating data from four Wimbledon competitions, researchers Jan Magnus and Franc Klaassen showed that the difference between “good” and “great” players was not their second serve performance at all, but their first serve ability.

Tennis Betting – Be Aware of the Second Serve Myth

Magnus and Klaassen divided players into two categories – seeds and non-seeds – and calculated what percentage of points the players won on each serve against players of a similar ability.

The result was that while both seeded and non-seeded players won 51% and 51.8% (respectively) of points on their second serve against equally talented opposition, seeds won 45.6% of points on their first serve compared, while non-seeds won just 43.1%.

This indicates that seeded players distinguish themselves from non-seeded players by having better first serves (resulting in 2.5% more points), but comparable second-serves (actually winning 0.8% fewer contested points on the second serve than the non-seeded). The same is true for the WTA.

Difference in First Serve for ATP & WTA

There’s a difference in how this phenomenon occurs between the ATP and WTA, however. In the ATP, the difference between seeded and non-seeded players is determined primarily by the percentage of points won if the first service is in – 77.7% over 72.4%. The percentage of first-serves in is very similar.

For the WTA, the difference is determined by the percentage of first services in (65.6% over 60.2%), whereas the percentage of points won if the first serve is in is similar.

Those interested in tennis betting should therefore put more emphasis on a player’s first serve, valuing changes in a player’s first service stats as more indicative of the outcome than the second serve.

For the men, it’s of great importance – particularly in a close match with live tennis betting – to pay attention to a player’s points won if the first service is in. In the WTA, however, the key indicator is the more obvious percentage of first serves in.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Common Betting Fallacies


It isn't true. It sounds plausible - perfectly plausible - but it isn't true. The reason why it isn't true I will hazard a guess at in a moment.

We hear the 'need to win' argument every year in the final few weeks of a season, when teams who have everything to play for come up against opponents who have nothing to play for. We are talking here about teams going for a championship, promotion, the play-offs or an escape from relegation in games against opponents who are safely ensconced in mid-table.
The bookmakers' odds on these games are completely different from what they would be at any other time, because the bookmakers know that nearly all of the money bet on these games will go on the team with the greater need of the three points.
Yet there is no evidence that they are more likely to get them.

In actual fact, if anything, promotion-hunting teams did worse in May, when they played their last few games, than they did in any other month of the season.

Why should we expect, say, a relegation-threatened team to play better this Saturday than they did last Saturday? The belief that they will presupposes two things. That they weren't trying last Saturday, when they also needed to win. And that they could play better if they did try.

Let's think about this in a different way. Because, actually, there may be a good reason why, overall, teams who need to win perform no better than usual and teams who don't need to win perform no worse than usual.

Why does someone become a professional footballer? Among other things, it's because they like playing football.

Top coaches will tell you that there are lots of players who can impress in training but not in matches. And lots of others who can impress in ordinary matches but not in important ones.
Sven-Goran Eriksson says: "I have had players in training put away 99 per cent of their penalties, but in matches could only make 60 per cent of them. Others are active, attacking and constantly winning the ball -but only in training."

His excellent book Eriksson On Football is really an extended discussion of the ways in which coaches can try to help players perform without feeling pressure. Because pressure can wreak havoc on performance.

In a vital end-of-season fixture, you might have one team playing under greater pressure than they have experienced before in their lives and another suddenly released from all pressure, playing only for the joy of doing so, just like they do every day on the training ground.

Do you still want to back the team who need to win?

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Combatting Loose Aggressive Poker Players - Playing Against LAG Poker Players

The loose aggressive poker player or the “LAG” is one of the most feared types of poker players and for the most part they are winning poker players. You will get all different types of LAG’s, both good and bad. In the following article I am to talk about typical characteristics of a LAG, their strengths, weaknesses and how to profit from them.

Before we carry on, I want to tell you that the majority of your profits when playing poker will not come from LAG players, LAG’s are usually the winners in poker, so much of my advice will be about how to minimize their edge against you or how to profit slightly from some of the weaknesses in their game.

Characteristics of a loose aggressive poker player

·  VPIP: Above 25.

·  PFR: Above 25.

·  3-bet percentage: Typically above 7%.

·  Aggression frequency: Typically above 60

·  Aggression factor: Typically 3 or above.

·  Continuation bet: Typically high. Coincidentally, good lags seem to c-bet less.

·  Hand reading ability: Typically good but not always.

·  Raise/check raise flop: Typically high

·  Overall style: Plays lots of hands, understands equity, bets aggressively.

(Stats based on typical 6-max LAG player)

Strengths of the loose aggressive player

The biggest strengths of loose aggressive player is that they are aware of how important the initiative is and they find lots of spots to bet and take down the pot with a weak holding. Typically, good LAG’s usually have a high w. I like to call them the kings of maneuvering because they seem to be in all the pots but manage to stay out of trouble when they face resistance on their travels.

LAG’s are typically aware of their image and will get a lot more action than tight players or nits. The reason for this is simple, the more hands they play, the more weak hands they will play, the less likely they will have a strong hand. LAG’s will get paid off often when they have a strong hand and their bluffs will get called down light.

Good LAG’s will typically have balanced ranges and will make sure that when they barrel off in certain spots, your call will not be super profitable.

How to beat LAG’s

The biggest weakness of the LAG is how many hands they play, they play too many hands and will bet too much.

Bluff raise them more often.

In order to combat the lag, its best to play a TAG style, with a tight image. What you do is look for spots where your range can perceived to be strong and their range is likely to be weak, then you add in some bluffs into your range.

So for example, in spots where you will frequently only have strong made hands or draws, you can introduce raises with much weaker hands as a bluff. These hands could be hands like bare overcards, overcards with backdoor draws or overcards with gutshot draws. What this does is allow you to capitalise on your opponents excessive aggression in spots where your range is still fairly strong overall, your opponent may think your making moves but there’s nothing they can do about it due to the strength of your overall range. Its also worth noting, that when you bluff raise you will still likely have some equity, so if you have two overcards you could have 6 outs to the best hand when called. This is more than enough to make your play profitable against their wide betting range.

Typically when your raise is called on the flop, you may want to follow up with multiple barrels. Sometimes you wont want to, much of that is based on your assumption of how light they will call your raise and the turn card. Only you can make these assumptions, this will be based on both their tendencies and their opinion of you.

Slowplay against these players

For the most part, I talk a lot about slowplaying being bad and that fast playing is the best way to capitalise on your opponents mistakes. However, its pretty much the opposite story against loose and aggressive players. LAG’s will barrel very frequently so you will want to let them make this mistake against you when you hold a strong hand.

Usually I would recommend never slowplaying a set on a draw heavy board, but against a LAG this might even be the best line (Depending on how aggressive they are). You see, LAG’s are often good hand readers and will assume that when you call twice on a flush draw board or a straight draw board, you can never have a strong hand like two pair or a set because you would have raised earlier. This may give them an excuse to either value bet thin or go for the 3 barrel bluff. You need to keep your strong made hands in your calling down range so that they can make this error against you.

Another benefit of doing this is it also protects your medium strength calling range. As soon as your opponent sees you call down 3 streets with a set, when he would assume you would raise the flop, he will automatically assume that’s in your range in the future and he will be inclined not to 3-barrel bluff you as much and play much more transparently against you.

Preflop slowplay and 4-bet bluff.

The preflop slowplay is something I love to do against LAG’s. Typically LAG’s will 3-bet with a very wide range, in order to combat this you can introduce both preflop slowplaying with monster hands and preflop 4-bet bluffing.

Whenever my opponents 3-bet range is closer to 10% than 5% im often inclined to slowplay a hand like AA and KK preflop. Because there range is so wide, they are less likely to have a strong hand, so will fold often to a 4-bet. Therefore, against these players, slowplaying your strong hands becomes super profitable and so does 4-betting as a bluff to get them to fold whatever hand they 3-bet with.


LAG’s are generally winning players and you wont make much money from them in the long run. Their understanding of ranges and equity is what precisely makes them a winning player. But that being said, there biggest weakness is that when they bet, they hardly ever have a strong hand. So in order to beat them you have to counter this by letting them bluff when you have a strong hand or taking them off their hand by raising when you hold nothing. Remember, having a tight image is crucial to getting away with some of these plays. Use them at your own risk!