FAQ/Walkthrough by sjr_st

Version: 1.01 | Updated: 03/07/06 | Printable Version

World Championship Poker: Walkthrough/FAQ
Version 1.01 (created 02/24/06, updated 03/05/06, US date convention)
by Matthew A. Peeler

This document is copyrighted 2006 by Matthew A. Peeler, and is intended for
entertainment and/or educational purposes only. This document should not be
reprinted, in whole or in part, without the express consent of the author.

The author has authorized this guide to be posted on the website:


Table Of Contents

[0.1] Version Update
[0.2] Introduction/Purpose
[0.3] General Notices About The Guide
[0.4] Vocabulary
[1.0] Basics
[1.1] Types of Games
[1.2] Limits
[1.3] Format (Sit and Go vs. Tournament)
[2.0] Earning Money
[2.1] Buy-ins
[2.2] Sit and Go Structures
[2.3] Tournament Structures
[2.4] Tournament Listing
[2.5] Tournament Payout Tables
[3.0] Strategy for Playing World Championship Poker
[3.1] Break Even Points and Earning Money
[3.2] Sit and Go Strategy
[3.3] Tournament Strategy
[3.4] Off-table Eliminations
[4.0] Opponent Betting Strategies
[4.1] Exploiting the Opponents
[4.2] Semi-bluffing
[4.3] The "Bait and Reel"
[5.0] Basic Strategy: Texas Hold'Em
[5.1] Preflop Initial Hands
[5.2] Postflop Betting
[5.3] Modifications for Hold'Em Variations
[5.4] Omaha Strategy
[5.5] 7-card Stud Strategy
[6.0] Other Observations
[6.1] Pot Odds for Texas Hold'Em
[6.2] Cheating
[6.3] The M Statistic
[7.0] Acknowledgements

Searching by topic can be done by using Ctrl-F (Find) on the section number
enclosed in brackets by each section.

[0.1] Version Update

Version 1.00 (02/24/06): Initial version

Version 1.01 (03/05/06): Added M statistic and Harrington's Zone information.
Found better estimates for 200+ player tournament payouts. Cleaned up minor
typographical and table formatting problems.

[0.2] Introduction/Purpose

This guide is a basic FAQ/Walkthrough for the game World Championship Poker,
intended to aid the player in opening the games many tournaments, and achieving
the highest return for the player in playing the various forms of poker
available in the game.

Enclosed is a description of the various types of games and tournaments
available, with their types, buy-ins, payout structure, and some basic

[0.3] General Notices About The Guide

Note 1:
I based this guide on the North American Playstation 2 version of the game, so
some particular strategies given here may not necessarily work for other

Note 2:
A basic strategy for how to play hands is enclosed, however, it should be noted
that this is mainly designed to defeat the computer opponents in the game.
Therefore, the strategies may not work as well on human opponents (such as in
online play, other poker games, or in real life). This strategy is not mine
alone, rather it is an amalgamation of strategies from several source books
(given in the Acknowledgement section) modified to this particular game.
Players interested in these strategies are highly encouraged to get the books
stated there.

Note 3:
There is also some information (such as pot odds) that requires a basic
understanding in algebra and statistics. I have tried to keep such mathematical
terminology to a minimum, however, it is necessary to truly understand the

[0.4] Vocabulary

Poker Terms:

Board: The community cards placed face up on the table that all players can

Quads: 4 of a kind

Trips: 3 of a kind

Boat/Full Boat: Full house

Kicker(s): The highest unpaired card(s). Often used to break ties, they are
quite important in a lot of hands.

Wheel: Lowest possible straight (5,4,3,2,A, with the ace low).

Card Symbolism: Ranks: A  : Ace
                       K  : King
                       Q  : Queen
                       J  : Jack
                       T  : Ten (10)
                Suits: s  : Suited Cards

Mathematical Terms:

Operational Symbols: + : Addition
                     - : Subtraction
                     * : Multiplication
                     / : Division
                     ^ : Exponents

Numerical shortcuts: K : (kilo-) Thousand
                     M : (mega-) Million

[1.0] Basics

Here is some basic information on poker.

[1.1] Rank of Hands

In descending order, the ranks of hands are as follows:

Royal Flush           : A,K,Q,J,T all of the same suit.
Straight Flush        : 5 cards in order, all of the same suit.
4 of a Kind (Quads)   : 4 cards of the same rank.
Full House (Full Boat): 3 cards of one rank, and 2 of another rank.
Flush                 : 5 cards of the same suit.
Straight              : 5 cards in order.
3 of a Kind (Trips)   : 3 cards of the same rank.
Two Pair              : 2 cards of one rank, and 2 of another rank.
Pair                  : 2 cards of the same rank.
High Card             : None of the above hands

Ties are broken by the rank of the cards used in the hand, with A counting as
highest (except in a straight or straight flush, where A can count as highest
or lowest, so 5,4,3,2,A is a straight (the "wheel")). For a full house, the 3
of a kind is compared first, then the pair. For identical quads, trips, two
pair, and pairs, extra cards (kickers) are then compared, up to the maximum of
five cards per hand. If all five cards in a hand are identical in rank, the
hands are considered tied, so...

9,9,9,K,Q,8,2 is tied with 9,9,9,K,Q,7,4 (last 2 cards not counted)

These ranks are used for all varieties of poker in the game.

[1.1] Types of Games

World Championship Poker contains several varieties of poker, listed below.

Texas Hold'Em: The most popular form in the tournaments, it involves each
player receiving two hole cards, with five community cards distributed 3-1-1
(flop, turn, and river). Small and big blinds are posted, and players may bet 4
times, before the flop, and after the flop, turn, and river. Players can then
use any or all of their hole cards with the community cards (the "board") to
make the best hand.

Tahoe: A variation of Texas Hold'Em with 3 hole cards to each player and the
same 3-1-1 board. Betting is as in Hold'Em, but players may only use up to 2 of
their hole cards with the board.

Super Hold'Em: Another variation with 3 hole cards to each player, but the
player can use all 3 hole cards with the board.

Pineapple: Another variation with 3 hole cards, but the players are forced to
discard one card after the first round of betting, but before the flop. Action
then proceeds as in Texas Hold'Em.

Crazy Pineapple: As in Pineapple, but the discarding takes place after the
second round of betting (between the flop and turn).

Double Flop Hold'Em: As in Texas Hold'Em, with 2 hole cards, however, two
boards (complete with flop, turn, and river) are dealt. The players cards are
compared on each board separately, and the winner on each board wins half the

Omaha: 4 hole cards are dealt, with the board distributed 3-1-1 as in Hold'Em.
Players are required to use exactly 2 of their hole cards with the board to
make their best hand.

Shanghai: 3 hole cards are dealt as in Tahoe, but the board distribution is
changed to 2-2-1. Again, as in Tahoe, players can only use up to 2 hole cards
with the board.

Billabong: Players are dealt 4 hole cards, with the last face up on the table.
Board is distributed 3-1-1 as in Hold'Em. Players must use either 3 or all 4
hole cards to make their hand.

7 Card Stud: Players are dealt 3 cards to begin, 2 face down and 1 face up.
After the first round of betting, players are dealt one card each round until
they have seven cards, with all cards but the last face up. A round of betting
occurs after each round of cards is dealt.

Draw Poker: Players are dealt 5 cards. After a round of betting, players can
discard up to 4 cards (4 card discards are only allowed if the kept card is an
Ace), or can choose not to discard. A second round of betting then ensues, and
then the hands are compared.

Triple Draw (2-7): As in draw poker, but 3 separate drawings are allowed, which
can be from none to all 5 cards for each drawing. The object here is to get the
lowest possible hand (2-7, no flush).

[1.2] Limits

Each of the varieties of poker can be played with the following betting limits.

Limit: Betting is limited to specific amounts, depending on whether it is pre-
flop, on the flop, turn, or river. These limits are listed as #/#, where the
first number is usually half of the second (i.e. 5/10, 25/50, etc.). The first
is the size of bets on pre-flop and flop, and the second for turn and river.
(Note: In most games, raises are capped at 4 bets). The blinds are usually set
by these limits, with the big blind betting the minimum amount and the small
blind usually half of the big blind. These usually increase each time the
dealer button goes around the table.

Half-Pot Limit: The betting minimums are as in limit poker, but players may
raise up to half the size of the pot (on top of their bet).

Pot Limit: Players can raise up to the size of the pot.

No Limit: Players can raise up to their entire chip stack.

[1.3] Format (Sit and Go vs. Tournament)

A Sit and Go game is played with the player and up to 5 opponents (making 6
possible players total) all at one table with identical stacks of $1000. The
object is to eliminate all of your opponents.

A Tournament is played with many more players (from 40 to 200+), all starting
with identical stacks. The player is put at the table with 5 other opponents,
and as players are eliminated, new players are put at the table. There is no
"splitting the table" as is the case in real life tournaments, which can be to
the player's disadvantage. The players at the other tables are simulated by the
game (somewhat poorly), and a count of how many players remain is provided at
each blind increase. The object is, again, to eliminate all of your opponents.

[2.0] Earning Money

A newly created character is given $1000 in off-line money and $1000 in on-line
money. Obviously, the goal is to earn as much money as possible. To understand
how to accomplish this, you need to look at the reward structure (how much
money you earn for placing in which position) of the various games.

[2.1] Buy-ins

Each game has a cost for playing that is deducted from the player's bankroll.
This is composed of two parts, the part "in the pot" that goes to the prizes
given in the game, and the "entry fee", which simulates the house's percentage.
For Sit and Go games, this is explicitly stated (such as a $30+$3 game, where
$30 goes to the pot and $3 to the house). For the tournaments, it is hidden in
the buy-in (a $22 buy-in is actually $20+$2, a $2700 buy-in is actually
$2500+$200, and so on). This affects the amount awarded for each place (the
tournament structure), and so we have to take this into account in calculating
how much we can win in each tournament.

As the cost of Sit and Gos and Tournaments increase, the entry fee percentage
gets smaller, starting at 10% and decreasing to around 7% for the highest buy-
ins. Therefore, as the player earns more money, they should go for the higher
buy-ins. A smaller percentage going to the house is more that is in the pot and
available to win.

[2.2] Sit and Go Structures

The structure of a game is the amount of the buy-in, the type of game, number
of players, and the rewards given for placing. Sit and Go games can have 2,4,
or 6 players, all varieties of poker listed above, and all limits (all of these
are the player's choice).

The buy-ins are as follows (listed as pot+fee, with fee percentage):
$20+$2      (fee=10%)
$30+$3      (fee=10%)
$50+$5      (fee=10%)
$100+$9     (fee=9%)
$200+$15    (fee=8.5%)
$500+$40    (fee=8%)
$1000+$80   (fee=8%)
$1500+$120  (fee=8%)
$2000+$160  (fee=8%)
$2500+$200  (fee=8%)
$5000+$400  (fee=8%)
$10K+$700   (fee=7%)
$15K+$1050  (fee=7%)
$20K+$1400  (fee=7%)
$25K+$1750  (fee=7%)
$30K+$2100  (fee=7%)
$35K+$2450  (fee=7%)
$40K+$2800  (fee=7%)
$50K+$3500  (fee=7%)
$100K+$7000 (fee=7%)

Based on the number of players, placing in a certain position pays according to
the following tables, given as percentages of the pot. Also included in the
table is the break-even point (BEP), which is the point where the player will
have earned an amount at least equal to the buy-in (i.e. they will at least
"break even").

For 2 players:
1st: 100% (BEP)
2nd:   0

For 4 players:
1st:  70%
2nd:  30% (BEP)
3rd+:  0

For 6 players:
1st:  50%
2nd:  30%
3rd:  20% (BEP)
4th+:  0

[2.3] Tournament Structures

Tournament structure is a little different. The name, type, buy-in and possible
prize (for winning) are listed, and the number of players are randomly selected
within a certain range. Limit is also fixed, and is given on the scroll bar at
the bottom of the screen. The payout table is determined based on the number of
players. Placing and/or winning certain tournaments opens up new tournaments to
compete in, generally with higher buy-ins and prizes. At the highest level,
free invitationals are opened, which have no buy-in at all.

Some important things to note:

The fee is hidden in the buy-in, but again, generally falls between 7-10% as in
Sit and Go, with higher buy-ins having lower percentages. This information is
given in the charts below.

The prizes given for winning are not correct. They vary based on the number of
players, and are usually (but not always) higher than listed. This is also
listed in the charts, as a range of values.

Some tournaments can have a range of number of players that allows it two
possible structures (say, a 60-120 player tournament, which has one structure
for 60-100 and another for 100-120 players). Usually, you can tell by how many
remain in the tournament after the first hand.

[2.4] Tournament Listing

Here is a list of all the available tournaments, with type, buy-in, number of
players, a range of first place prizes, starting chip count, and tournament
opening information (which tournaments open and are opened by this tournament):

(Note: In a lot of instances, the game's information on the tournament entry
screen is incomplete, if not completely wrong. Thus, I have listed all of the
correct information below.)

Daily Limit Tournament: Limit Texas Hold'Em
   $20+$2 buy-in, 40-100 players
   $200 starting chips, $320-$800 first place
   Available: At start
   Opens: None

Daily Limit Omaha: Limit Omaha
   $20+$2 buy-in, 40-100 players
   $200 starting chips, $320-$800 first place
   Available: At start
   Opens: None

Daily Limit Pineapple: Limit Pineapple
   $20+$2 buy-in, 40-100 players
   $200 starting chips, $320-$800 first place
   Available: At start
   Opens: Pineapple Cavalcade (place)

Daily Limit Tahoe: Limit Tahoe
   $20+$2 buy-in, 40-100 players
   $200 starting chips, $320-$800 first place
   Available: At start
   Opens: Tahoe Pot (place)

Daily 7-card Stud: No Limit 7-card Stud
   $20+$2 buy-in, 40-100 players
   $200 starting chips, $320-$800 first place
   Available: At start
   Opens: King of the Cards (place)

Weekly Tournament: No Limit Texas Hold'Em
   $100+$9 buy-in, 60-120 players
   $500 starting chips, $2400-$4200 first place
   Available: At start
   Opens: Weekly Super Hold'Em (place)

Weekly Omaha: No Limit Omaha
   $100+$9 buy-in, 60-120 players
   $500 starting chips, $2400-$4200 first place
   Available: At start
   Opens: Kings of the Felt (place)

Weekly Super Hold'Em: No Limit Super Hold'Em
   $100+$9 buy-in, 60-120 players
   $500 starting chips, $2400-$4200 first place
   Available: Weekly Tournament (place)
   Opens: None

Crazy Weekly: No Limit Crazy Pineapple
   $100+$9 buy-in, 60-120 players
   $500 starting chips, $2400-$4200 first place
   Available: At start
   Opens: Crazy for the Felt (place)

Poker Cavalcade: Limit Texas Hold'Em
   $500+$40 buy-in, 40-80 players
   $500 starting chips, $8K-$16K first place
   Available: At start
   Opens: Aces High Showdown (place)

Pineapple Cavalcade: Limit Pineapple
   $500+$40 buy-in, 40-80 players
   $500 starting chips, $8K-$16K first place
   Available: Daily Limit Pineapple (place)
   Opens: None

Shanghai Cavalcade: Limit Shanghai
   $500+$40 buy-in, 40-80 players
   $500 starting chips, $8K-$16K first place
   Available: At start
   Opens: None

Kings of the Felt: No Limit Omaha
   $1000+$80 buy-in, 40-100 players
   $200 starting chips, $16K-$40K first place
   Available: Weekly Omaha (place)
   Opens: Aces High Omaha (place)

Crazy for the Felt: No Limit Crazy Pineapple
   $1000+$80 buy-in, 40-100 players
   $200 starting chips, $16K-$40K first place
   Available: Crazy Weekly (place)
   Opens: Crazy Aces High (place)

King of the Cards: No Limit 7-card Stud
   $1000+$80 buy-in, 40-100 players
   $200 starting chips, $16K-$40K first place
   Available: Daily 7-card Stud (place)
   Opens: Aces High Stud (place)

Pot O'Gold: Pot Limit Texas Hold'Em
   $1500+$120 buy-in, 50-150 players
   $1000 starting chips, $30K-$78.75K first place
   Available: At start
   Opens: Best of the West 1 (place)

Double Pot: Pot Limit Double Flop Hold'Em
   $1500+$120 buy-in, 50-150 players
   $1000 starting chips, $30K-$78.75K first place
   Available: At start
   Opens: None

Tahoe Pot: Pot Limit Tahoe
   $1500+$120 buy-in, 50-150 players
   $1000 starting chips, $30K-$78.75K first place
   Available: Daily Limit Tahoe (place)
   Opens: Best of the West 2 (place)

Aces High Showdown: Half-Pot Limit Texas Hold'Em
   $2500+$200 buy-in, 50-150 players
   $400 starting chips, $50K-$131.25K first place
   Available: Kings of the Felt (place)
   Opens: WCP Mini Championship (place)

Crazy Aces High: Half-Pot Limit Crazy Pineapple
   $2500+$200 buy-in, 50-150 players
   $400 starting chips, $50K-$131.25K first place
   Available: Crazy for the Felt (place)
   Opens: Crazy 8 Open (place)

Aces High Omaha: Half-Pot Limit Omaha
   $2500+$200 buy-in, 50-150 players
   $400 starting chips, $50K-$131.25K first place
   Available: Kings of the Felt (place)
   Opens: Omaha Open (place)

Aces High Stud: Half-Pot Limit 7-card Stud
   $2500+$200 buy-in, 50-150 players
   $400 starting chips, $50K-$131.25K first place
   Available: King of the Cards (place)
   Opens: WCP Showdown 4 (win)

Best of the West 1: No Limit Texas Hold'Em
   $5000+$400 buy-in, 100-200 players
   $500 starting chips, $175K-$350K first place
   Available: Aces High Showdown (place)
   Opens: None

Best of the West 2: No Limit Tahoe
   $5000+$400 buy-in, 100-200 players
   $500 starting chips, $175K-$350K first place
   Available: Tahoe Pot (place)
   Opens: Tahoe Regional Finals (win)

Best of the West 3: No Limit Billabong
   $5000+$400 buy-in, 100-200 players
   $500 starting chips, $175K-$350K first place
   Available: At start
   Opens: None

Best of the West 4: No Limit Super Hold'Em
   $5000+$400 buy-in, 100-200 players
   $500 starting chips, $175K-$350K first place
   Available: At start
   Opens: WCP Best of the West 2 (place)

Omaha Open: Pot Limit Omaha
   $5000+$400 buy-in, 120-250 players
   $1000 starting chips, $210K-$375K first place
   Available: Aces High Omaha (place)
   Opens: Omaha Open Invitational (win)

Crazy 8 Open: No Limit Crazy Pineapple
   $5000+$400 buy-in, 80-160 players
   $1000 starting chips, $160K-$280K first place
   Available: Crazy Aces High (place)
   Opens: WCP Showdown 3 (win)

Omaha Island Finale: No Limit Omaha
   $10K+$700 buy-in, 40-80 players
   $1000 starting chips, $160K-$320K first place
   Available: At start
   Opens: WCP Showdown 2 (place)

Pineapple Champs: No Limit Pineapple
   $10K+$700 buy-in, 60-120 players
   $1000 starting chips, $240K-$420K first place
   Available: At start
   Opens: WCP Invitational 2 (win)

Limit Hold'Em Heroes: Limit Texas Hold'Em
   $10K-$700 buy-in, 120-250 players
   $1000 starting chips, $420K-$750K first place
   Available: At start
   Opens: WCP Best of the West 1 (place)

WCP Mini Championship: No Limit Texas Hold'Em
   $15K+$1050 buy-in, 60-120 players
   $1000 starting chips, $360K-$630K first place
   Available: Aces High Showdown (place)
   Opens: WCP Showdown 1 (place)

Crazy Pineapple Finals: No Limit Crazy Pineapple
   $15K+$1050 buy-in, 80-160 players
   $1000 starting chips, $480K-$840K first place
   Available: At start
   Opens: Crazy Pineapple Invitational (win)

Tahoe Regional Finals: No Limit Tahoe
   $15K+$1050 buy-in, 120-250 players
   $1000 starting chips, $630K-$1.125M first place
   Available: Best of the West 2 (place)
   Opens: WCP Invitational 1 (win)

State Poker Finals (Hold'Em): No Limit Texas Hold'Em
   $25K+$1750 buy-in, 120-250 players
   $2000 starting chips, $1.05M-$1.875M first place
   Available: At start
   Opens: WCP World Championship (place)

State Poker Finals (Omaha): No Limit Omaha
   $25K+$1750 buy-in, 100-200 players
   $2000 starting chips, $875K-$1.75M first place
   Available: At start
   Opens: Omaha World Championship (place)

WCP Best of the West 1: No Limit Texas Hold'Em
   $50K+$3500 buy-in, 100-200 players
   $2000 starting chips, $1.75M-$3.5M first place
   Available: Limit Hold'Em Heroes (place)
   Opens: Big Slick Invitational (win)

WCP Best of the West 2: No Limit Super Hold'Em
   $50K+$3500 buy-in, 100-200 players
   $2000 starting chips, $1.75M-$3.5M first place
   Available: Best of the West 4 (place)
   Opens: No Limit Invitational (win)

WCP Showdown 1: No Limit Texas Hold'Em
   $100K+$7K buy-in, 30 players
   $5000 starting chips, $1.2M first place
   Available: WCP Mini Championship (place)
   Opens: WCP World Invitational (win)

WCP Showdown 2: No Limit Omaha
   $100K+$7K buy-in, 30 players
   $5000 starting chips, $1.2M first place
   Available: Omaha Island Finale (place)
   Opens: WCP Aces Invitational (win)

WCP Showdown 3: No Limit Crazy Pineapple
   $100K+$7K buy-in, 30 players
   $5000 starting chips, $1.2M first place
   Available: Crazy 8 Open (win)
   Opens: WCP National Invitational (win)

WCP Showdown 4: No Limit 7-card Stud
   $100K+$7K buy-in, 30 players
   $5000 starting chips, $1.2M first place
   Available: Aces High Stud (win)
   Opens: WCP Invitational 3 (win)

Omaha Champs Invitational: No Limit Omaha
   $0 buy-in, 6 players
   $5000 starting chips, $25K first place
   Available: Omaha Open (win)
   Opens: None (closes one tournament)

Crazy Pineapple Invitational: No Limit Crazy Pineapple
   $0 buy-in, 6 players
   $5000 starting chips, $25K first place
   Available: Crazy Pineapple Finals (win)
   Opens: None (closes one tournament)

WCP Invitational 1: No Limit Tahoe
   $0 buy-in, 6 players
   $5000 starting chips, $25K first place
   Available: Tahoe Regional Finals (win)
   Opens: None (closes one tournament)

WCP Invitational 2: No Limit Pineapple
   $0 buy-in, 6 players
   $5000 starting chips, $25K first place
   Available: Pineapple Champs (win)
   Opens: None (closes one tournament)

WCP Invitational 3: No Limit 7-card Stud
   $0 buy-in, 6 players
   $5000 starting chips, $50K first place
   Available: WCP Showdown (win)
   Opens: None (closes one tournament)

Big Slick Invitational: No Limit Texas Hold'Em
   $0 buy-in, 6 players
   $5000 starting chips, $50K first place
   Available: WCP Best of the West 1 (win)
   Opens: None (closes one tournament)

No Limit Invitational: No Limit Super Hold'Em
   $0 buy-in, 6 players
   $5000 starting chips, $100K first place
   Available: WCP Best of the West 2 (win)
   Opens: None (closes one tournament)

WCP National Invitational: No Limit Crazy Pineapple
   $0 buy-in, 6 players
   $5000 starting chips, $250K first place
   Available: WCP Showdown 3 (win)
   Opens: None (closes one tournament)

WCP Aces Invitational: No Limit Omaha
   $0 buy-in, 6 players
   $5000 starting chips, $500K first place
   Available: WCP Showdown 2 (win)
   Opens: None (closes one tournament)

WCP World Invitational: No Limit Texas Hold'Em
   $0 buy-in, 6 players
   $5000 starting chips, $500K first place
   Available: WCP Showdown 1 (win)
   Opens: None (closes one tournament)

Omaha World Championship: No Limit Omaha
   $40K+$2800 buy-in, 60-120 players
   $4000 starting chips, $960K-$1.68M first place
   Available: State Poker Finals (Omaha) (place)
   Opens: None

WCP World Championship: No Limit Texas Hold'Em
   $50K+$3500 buy-in, 150-300 players
   $5000 starting chips, $2.625M-$4.5M first place
   Available: State Poker Finals (Hold'Em) (place)
   Opens: None

Note: Invitationals open by winning the appropriate tournament, and close once
they are participated in. Entering an invitational also closes one other
tournament, starting at Poker Cavalcade and working downward in the listing.
These tournaments, and the invitationals themselves, can be reopened by
fulfilling the requirements again, with the exception of tournaments available
at the start (such as Shanghai Cavalcade, or Double Pot). These are permanently
closed and cannot be reopened.

[2.5] Tournament Payout Table

There are 4 payouts for tournaments, based on the number of players, given here
as percentages of the pot with BEP listed.

For 30-60 players:
1st:   40%
2nd:   22%
3rd:   10%
4th:    7%
5th:    6%
6th:    5%
7th:    4%
8th:    3% (BEP)
9th:    2%
10th:   1%
11th+:  0

For 60-100 players:
1st:       40%
2nd:       20%
3rd:       10%
4th:        5%
5th:        4%
6th-9th:    3%
10th-12th:  2%   (BEP)
13th-15th:  1%
16th+:      0

For 100-200 players:
1st:       35%
2nd:       20%
3rd:       10%
4th:        7%
5th:        5%
6th-10th:   2%
11th-14th:  1.6%
15th-20th:  1.1% (BEP)
21st+:      0

For 200+ players (* places are estimated):
1st:       30%
2nd:       17.5%
3rd:       12%
4th:        6.5%
5th:        5%
6th:        4%
7th:        3%
8th:        2%
9th-12th:   1%
13th-16th:  0.9%
17th-23rd:  0.7%  (*)
24th-31st:  0.5%  (*) (BEP)
32nd-45th:  0.25% (*)
46th+:      0

The last couple of places in the 200+ tournament are estimates. In that large a
tournament, players drop out so quickly (see Section 3.4) in those places that
ensuring that an accurate payout amount for any particular place is difficult,
especially since other players not at the current table (and thus invisible to
the player) may have gone out at the same time, leading to split payouts.
However, in a strategic sense, those values are of little importance. You
should have little trouble finishing 16th or better a majority of the time in
those tournaments.

[3.0] Strategy for Playing World Championship Poker

In these sections, we'll look at a basic strategy for playing World
Championship Poker.

First, note that while Sit and Gos are quick, generally a better return can be
gained through the tournaments, especially since the player can take advantage
of several tendencies in the game more easily in the tournament structure than
in Sit and Gos. Also, the tournaments are more lucrative given the amount of
money invested (a $20+$2 Sit and Go earns $50 for first place, but a $20+$2
tournament can earn from $320-$800, given the number or players involved).

However, in the early going, Sit and Gos are a reliable way to earn money for
the tournament buy-ins.

[3.1] Break Even Points and Earning Money

Whether you are playing Sit and Go or Tournament, take note of the payout
structure, especially the break even points (noted as BEP). This is where you
have to place to earn your money back. For Sit and Gos with 6 players (which is
probably the best structure for Sit and Go), it's third place. For tournaments,
it varies based on the number of players, as listed in the tables above.

[3.2] Sit and Go Strategy

Sit and Go playing should usually be played with the maximum 6 opponents,
making the break-even point third place. This is because the computer
opponents' strategies are relatively easy to exploit at novice level (less so
at higher difficulty, though they are still present). Fairly solid, tight play
should ensure a player places at least third (and thus, makes money), at least
70-80% of the time (if not more), especially at a high limit (pot- or no-
limit). This is a great way to earn entry fees for the tournaments.

As for choosing an amount to buy-in, you want to take into account your current
bankroll. While you are learning, I suggest playing for close to the minimum
(say $20-$50) and at a limit game so that mistakes do not cost you much in the
way of chips, or money. After some experience, go for the largest amount that
you can reasonably afford, keeping in mind your bankroll and the possibility of

There is always a possibility that you will go broke, due to luck or the
randomness of the cards (unless you cheat). Mathematicians call this the
"possibility of ruin" or "possibility of absorbsion" (in gambling chain
analysis, $0 is called an "absorbsion point", because once you are broke, you
can't earn any more money). With the high possibility that you will earn money,
this possibility of ruin is not likely, but it should be taken into account. A
good safeguard against ruin is to always play Sit and Go games where the buy-in
is less than a quarter (1/4) of your current bankroll. This will reduce your
chances of ruin in 4 tries at that buy-in to less than 1% (given 70+%
possibility of winning money). 

As your bankroll gets higher, you should probably look to tournaments to gain
money, and use a max buy-in Sit and Go ($100K+$7000) to replenish your
bankroll, or just as a change of pace.

These tend to be games where you will "grind" your opponents down using
superior tactics and pot-odds. When you are the superior player at the table
(and after you learn basic strategy for these games, you will be), you should
seek to slowly exploit the weakness of the computer players, and gain your
chips a little at a time. This is not to say that you shouldn't take the
opportunity to bust one of your opponents (which you have vastly outplayed in a
hand), but you shouldn't be actively seeking an all-or-nothing proposition with
them where you feel that you have only a marginal advantage. When in doubt,
check the pot down or fold, and wait for a better hand.

After winning a few of the lower level limit games, start experimenting with
higher limit games at low cost. The strategies there are a little different,
due mainly to a higher "variance" at these games, by which I mean that the
risks and rewards are higher. Proper play earns more money, but mistakes cost
more at higher limits. The play goes much faster, but the strategy is still to
grind your opponents down.

[3.3] Tournament Strategy

In tournaments, the number of opponents is randomly determined within a set
range at the beginning of the tournament. You will generally not know how many
players there were at the start of the tournament, but will see a number of
players remaining after the first hand is over. This is not the actual starting
amount, as we will see in the next section, but we can estimate the starting
number from this. If you make it to the last table (6 players left), the actual
amount of players can also be estimated by the chip count, or by the payouts
when players are eliminated.

It is actually to the player's benefit to have as many players in the
tournament as possible, both to increase the payouts and, somewhat
paradoxically, to also increase the likelihood of earning money. This is due to
an easily exploitable flaw in the game in regards to off-table eliminations
(detailed in the next section).

In general, the strategy for tournaments is similar to Sit and Go, with a few
exceptions. The general strategy it to grind the opponents down, but also to 
avoid gambling in cases where waiting a hand or two is likely to move the
player up in "real" money (to a position with a higher payout).

For example, it is best not to go all-in on a good, but not great, hand when
you have an opponent extremely short stacked with 11 players left in a
tournament that started with 100-200 players. The reason is 11th place pays
1.6% (which is what you will earn if you go all-in and lose), whereas if you
fold the hand and wait, the odds are that the short stack will be eliminated
soon, moving you to at least 10th place (which pays 2%). The difference of 0.4%
doesn't sound like much, but for a $5000+$400 buy-in tournament, it's $2000-
3000 (about half of the buy-in). The computer opponents do not alter their
basic strategy for these cases, so you certainly should.

[3.4] Off-table Eliminations

Easily the player's greatest advantage to the tournament structure is the
generally passive way that the opponents play at the player's table, compared
to the hyper-aggressive algorithm for off-table play. Computer opponents
literally give their money away off-table, leading to an inordinate amount of
off-table eliminations.

Here's a quick example from my own game. I bought in to the State Poker Finals
(Omaha) tournament (100-200 players), and was given the usual $2000 in chips. I
saw after the first hand there were 112 players remaining. In this particular
tournament, I started watching the payouts as players were eliminated and found
them to be a little high, so when I made it to the final table, I did a quick
chip count of all the players at the table and the blinds and antes. It totaled
close to $250K in chips (since the game uses the same K notation for thousands
as I do here, it suffers some round-off error). That means 125 players started
the tournament ($250K/$2K per player). Payouts (from the payout table above)
confirmed my calculation that there were 125 players at the start. That means
that 13 players (over 10% of the field) were eliminated IN ONE HAND! I later
confirmed that for all tournaments, around 7-12% of the field is eliminated in
that first hand, and it stays pretty high throughout the rest of the

This means that a rather tight approach is best with the tournament structure.
Since a lot of your competition is getting eliminated off-camera, there's
little need to gamble early. You still want to get a pot now and then, and
maybe double up once or twice, but most of the time you can quietly fold
marginal-to-poor hands, and watch the number of players remaining (given every
time the dealer button goes completely around the table) drop lower and lower.

Off-table eliminations abruptly stop at exactly 16 players remaining, every
time. That means every player from 16th position on must be eliminated at your
table (by you or another opponent). That's actually to the player's
disadvantage (you can't wait players out as much), but 16th position is usually
close to or past the break-even point (for large tournaments), so this makes
tournaments quite lucrative, money wise.

There is one other minor drawback to this. To determine the chip count for new
players sitting at your table, the game calculates a random amount based on the
chips remaining (off-table) and the number of players remaining (off-table).
With the high amount of eliminations off-table, the off-table chip count will
be quite high and the number of players off-table low. This means that players
entering your table often have very high chip counts (when compared to yours),
so that you will be playing short stacked a lot of the time. Fortunately, the
strategy algorithm is not very adept at exploiting it's large stack, whereas
there are ways to exploit your short stack, so it's not an overwhelming

[4.0] Opponent Betting Strategies

Here, we discuss the betting strategies of the computer opponents.

For the most part, the strategies of the computer opponents remain the same
regardless of difficulty level. The real difference in difficulty comes from
the change in betting style.

Novice opponents are typically callers or folders before the flop (often
chasing with very little), raise very rarely preflop (and usually have a high
pair when they do so, typically AA-JJ), and are usually content to check a hand
down to the river. They are rather quick to abandon a hand when confronted with
a bet/raise, except for the last player, who calls quite often (so, don't
expect to win with a weak bluff all the time). They tend to "school" together
to defeat the player, meaning they tend to hang around in hands together,
leading to a high amount of beats at the turn/river (since there's more
players, there's more likelihood that someone will draw out). They tend to bet
tightly, only when they have something (say, a high pair, top or middle, or
better). There is almost no bluffing (it does happen, but rarely, so don't call
if all you can beat is a bluff).

Amateur players bet a little more before the flop, so you might see a few more
raises (usually they could have pairs through 88, or AK/AQ suited or unsuited).
They chase with trash hands less often. They are still content to check down a
hand, release a made hand a little less often when confronted by a bet. Betting
is more aggressive, but still fairly measured, making it a little harder to put
them on a hand. Schooling is still present, though less prevalent. Bluffs start
showing up more frequently, usually as late blind steals or on the river in
checked-down pots (but still rare).

Professional players are like amateur players, only moreso. Since this is a
guide for beginning players, if you have advanced to this level of difficulty,
you should be more than equipped for the challenge.

[4.1] Exploiting the Opponents

For novice players, aggressive betting works wonders at getting opponents to
fold, but there will usually be one left, so don't go all-in on a cold bluff
trying to run everyone out. When you're betting, have something.

This should be balanced with tight requirements for getting in a hand, since
you can usually wait out around 16th position in a tournament.

There is usually not a need to steal blinds (make high raises in late position
to get the blinds and antes) until very late in the tournament, and maybe not
even then if you are winning pots often. Similarly, you should usually let the
blinds go when raised in late position (they usually have a high pair, and are
not stealing).

Amateur players don't always fold to aggressive betting, so be more measured in
your bets/raises. However, they do fold on occasion if they think they're beat,
so bluffing is actually a little more effective, but still should be done very
rarely. You should defend your blinds to a steal attempt with a good hand, but
otherwise play relatively tight (again, you can wait out 16th place). These same
things, but more of them, apply to the professional level.

Here are a few other strategies that seem to work well on the computer

[4.2] Semi-bluffing

Semi-bluffing is betting with a hand that is generally weaker than needed to
win (so, you are not the best hand), however, contains strong draws to the
best. It is usually done after the flop when the flop did not give you a pair
(or maybe a weak pair), but you have either a flush draw (4 to a flush), an
open-end straight draw (4 to a straight, all together), a high inside straight
draw (4 to a straight, with the missing card inside, with a lot of high cards),
or, occasionally, two overcards (two cards in your hand higher than the board).
It attempts to take the pot immediately by forcing all opponents to fold (the
bluff), but, if called, still has outs to any made hand.

Semi-bluffing usually drives out opponents fairly well (especially at novice
difficulty), but usually leaves you heads up with 1 player, rather than winning
the pot immediately. The last player just can't seem to give up the hand, so
you will likely be drawing against a fair hand (probably top or middle pair).
This is still not quite as bad as it seems, because, had you checked, you would
be drawing against 2 or more opponents, therefore increasing your winning 
chances dramatically.

For novice players, the lowest postflop bet of the big blind is generally
enough, so it can be done cheaply. You may be raised back, which then requires
a pot odds analysis to see if you should call. Higher difficulty players at
higher limits require a little higher bet (say, 1/4 the size of the pot) to get
it to work.

The best part about the semi-bluff is that it can be used in combination with
the "bait and reel" to give great profits if you draw out, but relatively
inexpensive losses when you do not.

[4.3] The "Bait and Reel"

The "Bait and Reel" is one of the most lucrative strategies for flop betting,
and, once it is mastered, will be one of your best money winners. It is based
on a simple observation of the opponent player's reaction to a re-raise.

When an opponent player bets a pot, and the player raises back to him, he
almost always calls, no matter the size of the raise or pot, and often re-
raises, if possible.

This also seems to work if the player bets, and the opponent raises him back.
The opponent, again, seems to call any re-raise.

An actual example from a hand played at the end of a tournament, me versus 1
computer opponent, heads up:

After blinds and antes: around $1500 in pot
Player has $80K chips, dealt Q7, with small blind $500
Opponent has $74K chips, dealt K2s, with big blind $1000

After a call of the big blind and a check, pot holds around $2K.

Flop: 7K7, one 7 of opponent's suit (player has trip 7's, opponent has pair+2
card "backdoor" flush draw)

Player: Bets minimum $1K (pot has $3K) (the "bait")
Opponent: Raises $5K (pot has $9K)
Player: Re-raise all-in $79K (pot has $88K) (the "reel")
Opponent: Calls all-in $69K (pot has $150K: $6K back to Player)

And the trip 7's hold up to win me the tournament.

Most human opponents, faced with the all-in re-raise, would fold all but the
best hands, but the computer opponents have evidently decided that once they
raise, they are pot-committed, and call all re-raises.

This tendency gives rise to the "Bait and Reel" which works as follows:

After the flop if you have a great hand or an excellent draw (such as a flush
draw or high open-end straight draw), bet the minimum (or a quarter of the
pot). This will drive out opponents, usually leaving 1 left. That opponent may
raise immediately, in which case if your hand is made, go all-in (or the
maximum allowed). If not, or you only have a draw, see the turn and/or river.
If you have at any time made a hand, bet the minimum again, look for a raise,
and re-raise all-in. If your draw doesn't come, check-fold at the river.

If you are first to act, you can also check/re-raise all-in with the same

Since you generally have only one opponent, outdraws are rare, and you will
usually either double up (if you were the short stack) or eliminate the
opponent (if he was).

Note 1: Obviously, in limited games, you may not be able to go all-in, but even
if you re-raise the maximum, the opponent often just re-raises you again,
allowing you to again re-raise the max. It can also often be repeated on the
turn and river if the opponent still has a good, but second-best hand.

Note 2: Also, obviously, make sure you have the best hand or draw when you do
this. It's a bad feeling when you "bait and reel" on a straight draw, make the
straight, go all-in, then lose to a flush/full house.

[5.0] Basic Strategy: Texas Hold'Em

Here is a basic, semi-aggressive betting strategy for Texas Hold'Em. This
strategy can be modified for the other variations of Hold'Em that the game has.
Omaha and 7-card stud are somewhat different from regular Texas Hold'Em, so
require a little different strategy, and so have separate sections.

[5.1] Preflop Initial Hands

For most beginners, the main error in pre-flop strategy is to play too many
hands. The computer opponents tend to be this way as well, often calling and
checking to the end with utter trash hands (especially at novice difficulty).
This, combined with high attrition off-table, suggests rather tight
requirements for staying in a hand pre-flop. This assures that once you are in
a hand, the odds are that you are the favorite.

Note that this is often NOT the case in live tournaments, although a tight
strategy can sometimes be helpful there as well.

So, to call or raise a hand before the flop, the following tables can be used
to serve as a basic guideline for beginners.

Hands are rated here on an "aggression index", indicating how strong a hand is
in a given position, from 0 (worst, and should almost always be folded) to 10
(best, and should almost always be raised), and a suggested strategy, which can
(and should) be modified for the specific situation:

10: Raise, and re-raise
 9: Raise, and call if raised
 8: Marginal raise/call hand, may call if re-raised
 7: Call, but might raise if desperate
 6: Call
 5: Call
 4: Call
 3: Marginal call/fold
 2: Call if desperate, otherwise fold
 1: Fold, call only if extremely short stacked
 0: Fold

So, here are the aggression indices for starting hands (s means same suit):

Pos. 1 & 2                        Pos. 3 & 4                  Sm. & Big Blind
AA-QQ   10                        AA-TT   10                  AA-TT    10
JJ-TT    9                        99       9                  99        9
99       8                        88       8                  88        8
88-77    6                        77-66    7                  77-55     7
66-55    4                        55-44    6                  44        6
44       3                        33-22    4                  33-22     5
33-22    2

AKs     10                        AKs-AQs 10                  AKs-AQs  10
AQs      9                        AJs-ATs  9                  AJs-ATs   9
AJs-ATs  8                        A9s-A8s  7                  A9s-A2s   7
A9s      6                        A7s-A6s  5                  KQs      10
A8s      5                        A5s-A2s  4                  KJs       9
A7s      4                        KQs     10                  KTs       8
A6s-A2s  3                        KJs-KTs  8                  K9s-K8s   6
KQs      9                        K9s      6                  K7s-K2s   5
KJs      8                        K8s-K6s  2                  QJs       8
KTs      5                        K5s-K2s  1                  QTs-Q9s   7
K9s      2                        QJs      8                  Q8s       5
K8s-K7s  1                        QTs      6                  Q7s       3
QJs      6                        Q9s      5                  Q6s-Q5s   2
QTs      5                        Q8s      2                  Q4s-Q2s   1
Q9s      3                        JTs      8                  JTs       8
JTs      6                        J9s      5                  J9s       7
J9s      3                        J8s      2                  J8s-J7s   2
T9s      4                        T9s      7                  J6s-J2s   1
T8s      1                        T8s      3                  T9s       7
98s      3                        T7s      1                  T8s       3
97s      1                        98s      5                  98s-32s   6
87s      1                        97s      2                  97s-42s   2
76s      1                        87s      5
65s      1                        86s      2
                                  76s      4
                                  65s      4
                                  54s      2
                                  43s      1

AK       9                        AK      10                  AK       10
AQ-AJ    8                        AQ-AT    8                  AQ        9
AT       4                        A9-A6    2                  AJ-AT     8
A9-A8    1                        A5-A4    1                  A9        3
KQ       7                        KQ-KJ    8                  A8-A2     2
KJ       6                        KT       3                  KQ        9
KT       1                        K9-K7    1                  KJ        7
QJ       3                        QJ       3                  KT        5
JT       2                        QT-Q7    1                  K9        3
T9       1                        JT       3                  K8-K2     2
                                  J9       1                  QJ        6
                                  T9       2                  QT        5
                                  98       1                  Q9        3
                                                              Q8-Q5     2
                                                              Q4-Q2     1
                                                              JT        3
                                                              J9-J8     2
                                                              98-32     1

After you have become accustomed to which cards are worth playing, this
aggression index can be modified for different playing conditions.

Some suggested modifications are:

Limpers: after the first limper, subtract 0.5-1 from index for each limper

Short Handed: Add 0.5-1 per each seat empty

Blind Steals: If raised by button or small blind, call on an index of 5-6 or
more (rather than 7-8)

Move toward more aggression as you are short stacked (see the M statistic in 
section 6.3)
[5.2] Postflop Betting

After the flop, remember that the computer players rarely bluff, so it is same
to assume that they are betting with top to middle pair or better. You need to
beat that by the river to have a chance to win.

Semi-bluffing works well immediately after the flop if you have a flush or open
straight draw (see above).

If bet into, use the pot odds tables given in section 6.1 to see if you should
continue. Remember that you may be raised on a high middle pair, so adjust your
outs accordingly.

Computer players (mostly at the novice difficulty) have a tendency to sit on
certain strong hands (like a small pocket pair improving to trips). This can be
extremely frustrating if you flop top pair and they meekly call all the way. It
happens rarely, but often enough that you should make note of it.

[5.3] Modifications for Hold'Em Variations

In the Pineapple and Crazy Pineapple games, you will be dealt 3 cards and
forced to discard one later. You should play these only if you have a good
opening hand in the three cards (and it should be slightly better than normal).
The computer players here tend toward having higher cards, or pairs, so yours
should be higher as well.

In Tahoe and Super Hold'Em, you get to keep all 3 cards. Again, you need a good
opening hand in these, again slightly stronger than normal. In Tahoe, you can
only use 2 cards in your hand, so a set of trips, 3-straight or 3-flush is not
as good a hand as it looks (it's actually weaker than just two and another
card). In Super, you can use all three cards, so those hands are much more

Billabong is a little different. You must use at least 3 cards of your 4, so
you need cards that work together (connected, suited, or paired) to keep going
with the hand before the flop.

Shanghai is like Tahoe, only the board card distribution changes (to 2-2-1). It
can be played with similar opening hands as Tahoe.

2-flop Hold'Em is probably the most frustrating game of the bunch. Use the same
opening requirements, but don't bet into a hand unless you are fairly sure of
winning one flop and may win the other. Many, many hands will be split
(especially if only 2 handed at the river), and the end result for much of your
hard work will be only to get back the money you started with (plus maybe half
the blinds and antes). 

[5.4] Omaha Strategy

With Omaha, you need cards that work well in pairs. The best hands are hands
that have one or more of the following:

Pairs (but not 3 or 4 of a kind)
Two cards (no more) of the same suit (the higher the better) to make flushes
Two or more cards close in rank to make straights
Double suited (two cards in each of two suits)

Omaha is more a "drawing" game (getting the best draw to a flush, straight,
trips/quads or full house).

A good opening system for Omaha was developed by Edward Hutchison and
tested/modified by Mike Caro and is available online at the sites listed in the

[5.5] 7-card Stud Strategy

For 7-card stud, the best opening hands have:

3 of a kind
A high 3-flush or straight
A pocket pair (in the hidden cards)
A pair with the up card
Two overcards to the board

Again, a good detailed opening system for 7-card stud can be found on the sites
listed in the Acknowledgements.

[6.0] Other Observations

Here is some other useful information relating to the game.

[6.1] Pot Odds for Texas Hold'Em

The pot odds for Texas Hold'Em are based on the fact that of the 52 cards in
the deck, after the flop 5 are known to the player (the 2 hole cards and the 3
on the flop), thus leaving 47 unknown. Probabilities can then be calculated
based on how many cards produce a winning hand (called outs) versus the 2162
possible combination of turn/river cards.

The formula for the probability of drawing an out card on the turn/river where
p is the number of out cards in the remaining deck is then:
     Prob. = (93*p - p^2) / 2162

The following table gives the outs, probability, and odds calculation of that
probability (pot odds) after the flop:

Outs     Probability      Pot Odds
 0            0           Infinite
 0.5      0.0213922      45.75 to 1
 1        0.0425532      22.5  to 1
 1.5      0.0634829      14.75 to 1
 2        0.0841813      10.88 to 1
 2.5      0.1046485       8.56 to 1
 3        0.1248844       7.01 to 1
 3.5      0.1448890       5.9  to 1
 4        0.1646624       5.07 to 1
 4.5      0.1842044       4.43 to 1
 5        0.2035153       3.91 to 1
 5.5      0.2225948       3.49 to 1
 6        0.2414431       3.14 to 1
 6.5      0.2600601       2.85 to 1
 7        0.2784459       2.59 to 1
 7.5      0.2966004       2.37 to 1
 8        0.3145236       2.18 to 1
 8.5      0.3322155       2.01 to 1
 9        0.3496762       1.86 to 1
 9.5      0.3669056       1.73 to 1
10        0.3839038       1.6  to 1
10.5      0.4006707       1.5  to 1
11        0.4172063       1.4  to 1
11.5      0.4335839       1.31 to 1
12        0.4495839       1.22 to 1
12.5      0.4654255       1.15 to 1
13        0.4810361       1.08 to 1
13.5      0.4964154       1.01 to 1
14        0.5115634       0.95 to 1 (favored)

From 14 outs on, the player is the favorite, and should call.

Half outs are used when a card may or may not give the player the best hand
(such as a middle pair, or a high pair but causes straight or flush
possibilities), or when adding backdoor draws (draws which require both turn
and river cards).

In general:
Backdoor Flush draw = about 1.5 outs
Backdoor Open-End Straight Draw (ex. 5,6,7) = about 1.5 outs
Backdoor 1-gap Straight Draw (ex. 5,6,8) = about 1 out
Backdoor 2-gap Straight Draw (ex. 5,7,9) = about 0.5 outs

You may also take into account the future betting if you hit your draw, using
what is called "implied odds". This can add more to the pot in later rounds,
making it profitable to continue if the odds are close. This addition requires
some amount of estimation based on experience, but for limit games around 1-1.5
the bet size on the turn/river works well. For higher limits, it may be much
higher (up to a percentage of the size of the smaller stack in no-limit). The
interested player should consult the sources in the Acknowledgement section and
their own experiences in calculating these implied odds.

After the turn, the calculation is much simpler. For p outs, the probability
     Prob. = p / 46

Giving a calculated pot odds of:
     Odds = (46 - p) / p to 1

There is also no need of backdoors (and not much need of half outs, either), so
the odds are:

Outs     Probability    Pot Odds
 0            0         Infinite
 1        0.0217391    45    to 1
 2        0.0434783    22    to 1
 3        0.0652174    14.33 to 1
 4        0.0869565    10.5  to 1
 5        0.1086957     8.2  to 1
 6        0.1304348     6.67 to 1
 7        0.1521739     5.57 to 1
 8        0.1739130     4.75 to 1
 9        0.1956522     4.11 to 1
10        0.2173913     3.6  to 1
11        0.2391304     3.18 to 1
12        0.2608696     2.83 to 1
13        0.2826087     2.54 to 1
14        0.3043478     2.29 to 1
15        0.3260870     2.06 to 1
16        0.3478261     1.88 to 1
17        0.3695652     1.71 to 1
18        0.3913043     1.56 to 1
19        0.4130435     1.42 to 1
20        0.4347826     1.3  to 1
21        0.4565217     1.19 to 1
22        0.4782609     1.09 to 1
23        0.5           1    to 1 (even)

After 23 outs, the player is the favorite, and should call.

To illustrate how to use these tables, here's an example:

Say you have K8 of clubs, and you have check/called all the way to the turn
with one opponent left. The pot has $600.

The board shows:
Ac,9s,Td,4c (two clubs on board)

You believe that your opponent has at least top pair (so, pair of aces or
better). Your opponent bets $100. Should you call?

To win over the long term, you need odds of less than 7 to 1 (the $700 now in
the pot versus your $100 to call). You cannot win the hand unless you hit your
club flush, so you need one of the 9 clubs left (you have 4, and the deck has
13 total, so 9 remain). Therefore, you have 9 outs.

The table for the river cards has 9 outs at 4.11 to 1, which is less than the 7
to 1 in the pot, so you should call.

If the opponent had raised $300 instead, you would need odds less than 3 to 1
($900 in pot verses $300 to call = 3 to 1), so in that case, the pot odds say
to fold.

[6.2] Cheating

The player does have a cheat, of sorts, based on the random number generation
techniques used in the game.

At the start of a hand, before the cards are dealt, the console randomly
determines the entire deck of cards, then starts dealing to the players.
Therefore, if the player saves the game at this point (at the start of the
hand), the cards dealt to each player, and on the board, are fixed in sequence.

So, if you bet on a pot, but are drawn out on, you can quit the game, reload,
and the cards will be dealt in exactly the same way (in the Hold'Em varieties),
allowing you to fold it early. Or, if you folded a marginal hand that would
have won, you can reload and stay in to win the pot. The players involved in
the hand may change slightly (some may stay in that would have folded, or vice
versa), and they may bet differently, but everything regarding the cards is the

This is even more useful in 7-card stud, since by manipulating the number of
players left (by betting a lot to remove players or checking to keep them in),
you can try to force certain cards to yourself. For example, say you are dealt
3 clubs. You call the bring-in with 3 other players, and see that a lot of
clubs are dealt to them early, but not to you, so you end up losing the hand.
If you saved at the beginning of the hand, you can replay the hand, but bet out
to remove players. Now, instead of dealing cards to 4 players, you may have
only 2 or 3, which means that, since the deck order is set, you may get those
early clubs, winning with a flush when you otherwise would have lost.

If you wish to cheat using these save techniques, I suggest saving on marginal
hands and/or after every large pot win. You will find it most useful when you
are required to win a tournament to open another one. Placing is easy enough to
not really need a lot of help, provided you are being measured in your

[6.3] The M Statistic

Magriel's M statistic is a measure of how aggressive you need to be at a given
point in a tournament, and is calculated by dividing your current stack by the
total of the blinds and antes put in the pot.

For example:

If you have $3000 and the blinds are $50/$100 (no ante), your M statistic is:
             3000 / (50 + 100) = 20

If you have $3000 and blinds are $150/$300 with an ante of $25, your M
statistic is (assuming you have all 6 players at the table):
             3000 / (150 + 300 + 25*6) = 5

The lower the M is, the sooner the blinds and antes will break you, and
therefore the more aggressive you have to play. In our first example, the M was
20, which is quite high, so you should not feel the need to vary much from 
basic tight strategy. Our second example has an M of 5, which means that you
need to double up fairly soon, so should start looking for a fairly promising
hand to push all the way.

To determine how aggressive you need to be with a given M, Dan Harrington has
developed the "Zone System" for his books (listed in the Acknowledgements),
which is summarized below:

Green Zone (M = 20+): No need to vary from basic strategy

Yellow Zone (M = 10-20): Start to be a little more aggressive with some hands
(particularly high cards). Be ready to make a large (or all-in) bet on a good

Orange Zone (M = 5-10): Need to become really aggressive on high index hands (7
or above), re-raising all-in if raised before the flop. Your basic options are
see a flop cheaply, going all-in if it hit, or go all-in before the flop to
steal the blinds and antes.

Red Zone (M = 1-5): Probably need to look to go all-in on any calling hand
(index 4 or better), especially if your M is 3 or lower. Otherwise try to steal
the blinds.

Dead Zone (M < 1): Find any hand with an index 1-2 or higher and go all-in
(especially if the blind is coming up), and hope for a good board, or everyone

For World Championship Poker, the players are often so passive, and aggressive
betting so often rewarded, it is possible to modify this down somewhat (perhaps
to 12+/6-12/3-6/1-3/<1), especially in limited games (Dan Harrington was
writing specifically about no limit tournaments). The main point here is to
avoid having the blinds eat away your stack waiting for good cards. If you are
extremely short stacked, the best course of action is to find a decent hand
and push it.

[7.0] Acknowledgements

The following books are recommended by the author and were used compiling this

Getting Started in Hold'Em, by Ed Miller. Two Plus Two Publishing, 2005.
     ISBN: 1-880685-34-5
     A good beginner's guide to the world of Texas Hold'Em. Advocates a fairly
tight, conservative betting strategy.

Small Stakes Hold'Em, by Ed Miller, David Sklansky, & Mason Malmuth. Two Plus
Two Publishing, 2005.
     IBSN: 1-880685-32-9
     The intermediate guide, to be read after the previous book. Expands on the
previous book, with pot odds analysis, semi-bluffing, backdoor draws, etc.
Focuses on limit Texas Hold'Em.

Hold'Em Poker For Advanced Players, by David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth. Two
Plus Two Publishing, 2005.
     ISBN: 1-880685-22-1
     The third in the series. More tactic oriented, with post-flop concepts.
Advocates a little more aggression than the previous books.

Harrington on Hold'Em, Vol. 1-2, by Dan Harrington and Bill Robertie. Two Plus
Two Publishing, 2005.
     ISBN: 1-880685-33-7/1-880685-35-3
     These no limit series books are excellent reads, but written above
beginner level. Once a person has some experience, they are invaluable. Come
complete with hand strategies, tactics, and an extensive problem set.

With a lot of books by Two Plus Two dominating my strategies, I felt it might
be best to try some other sources for comparison, so I added the following:

The Complete Book of Hold'Em Poker, by Gary Carson. Kensington Publishing,
     Advocates a more loose, aggressive style than the previous books. Has some
good sections on advanced concepts, theories of poker, and game theoretic

Also, Edward Hutchison has published a guide to opening hands in Hold'Em and
Omaha, available online, which I also referenced.

Other online poker strategy sites that were used:



Thanks is also in order to Crave Entertainment, Coresoft, Inc., Renderware, and
Gamespy Industries for producing the game, and CjayC and the entire crew at
GameFAQs for hosting this guide.