Irish Poker

Irish Poker: What It Is And How To Play It

Poker is one of the most popular card games in the world. Aside from being incredibly exciting, it also provides a lot of different exciting varieties. Today we are going to learn about Irish Poker, an exciting style of poker inspired by Texas Hold’Em and Omaha. The latter stands out for its dynamism and players enjoy it, to a large extent, for its high variance. Let’s get started.

Irish Poker: All You Need To Know

What is Irish Poker? 

It is a type of poker that is based on Texas Hold’Em and Omaha. There will always be a dealer present and there will be two blinds (one big and one small). Additionally, cards are dealt clockwise starting from the small blind. There is also a flop, a river… 

What types of poker is Irish Poker based on? 

It is based on Omaha and Hold’Em. In Irish poker, players must be dealt 4 cards preflop and will see a flop. After that moment, the players must proceed to discard two of their own cards. From then on, the hand is played as in Hold’Em. The only thing that differentiates Irish Poker is the flop action. In everything else, it is very similar to its two reference modalities.

How does an Irish Poker game start?

Irish Poker starts in the same way that Pot Limit Omaha does. Each of the players in the hand receives 4 hole cards. No one but the player himself will see them. In addition, there are the same number of big blinds as there are small blinds and the game is played to the left of the big blind. 

After the dealer has dealt the cards on the flop, betting continues. At that point, players must discard two of their hole cards and the action continues just as it does in Texas Hold ‘Em Poker. On the river, players can use one, two, or none of their cards to make the best possible 5-card hand. 

What are the basic rules of Irish poker?

Those who decide to try Irish Poker should know that its games play out like those of Hold’Em or Omaha. There will always be a dealer present and there will be two blinds (one big and one small). Additionally, cards are dealt clockwise starting from the small blind. There is also a flop and a river, so you already have some of the most relevant keys to enjoy this modality in poker tournaments.

The differences between Irish Poker and these other reference modalities come on the flop. In Irish poker, players must be dealt 4 cards preflop and will see a flop. After that moment, the players must proceed to discard two of their own cards. Since then, the hand is played like Hold’Em. The only thing that differentiates Irish Poker is the flop action. In everything else, it is very similar to other popular poker styles.  

What are some specific Irish Poker strategies?

As in the rest of the online poker modalities, Irish Poker also allows the use of certain strategies to try to improve your results. Remember that none of them are infallible and that you must be prepared to apply them correctly, but they can be helpful, without a doubt.  

Let’s focus on the timing of the hand before the flop. Players must act here in the same way and with the same mentality as in Omaha Poker. The goal is to find cards that work well together. Big pairs can be a good example of this, like a JJQQ hand. On the contrary, there are certain hands that we must avoid in every possible way. Some are obvious like the 4-4-4 or Q-2-2 for example. Furthermore, hands such as QQ-2-4 in the initial position should be discarded because their chances of leading to a successful outcome are slim. 

For all those who do not know Irish Poker very well, there are some things you should know. The best advice we can give you at that time is to be patient and conservative with your bets. In this way, the mistakes you may make will not have such serious consequences. Later, you can place your bets on strong hands. Good options in this sense would be these starting hands. 

Another relevant issue for the strategies you can carry out in Irish Poker is that double coincidence hands have a very important strength. Hands can be discarded if they are odd, but they are always played if they are double.  

Now that we know that the flop is the crucial moment of the hands in Irish Poker, you should also know that the strategies used are the ones that prevail. When it comes to discarding the cards, it will rarely be a drastic decision since it will be enough for you to trust the mathematics. Knowing which cards should be discarded is not a simple process since there is no clear rule in this regard. It all depends on the characteristics of the flop, the behavior of your rivals and the cards you have at all times. 

The attention you must have to every detail is vital for the resolution of the hands. If there are a lot of bets and you only have one hand of a pair, it is very likely that you are defeated or that you are playing against someone who has a great draw. Also, in case you have lost a draw on the flop and there is very little action, it is best to hold with the strongest hand. Never hold on to cards that have failed in the hope that better hands will come along because that usually doesn’t work. 

Be as tight as possible in the initial phase

Many poker players play too many hands in the early levels of tournaments. They receive a lot of chips (compared to the blinds) and make the effort to call many flops in hopes of improving small pairs or completing early connectors.

This way of playing is a losing strategy in the long run. Just because you have a lot of chips you don’t have to waste them on weak hands. The best way to know how to play poker is, for example, to play tight at the beginning of a tournament.

Calling pre-flop with a hand like 6-7 is rarely a wise investment since you will virtually never be able to get a good enough hand like two pairs or straight with the winning frequency to justify calling pre-flop.

If you are a beginner player, you should also keep in mind that you may mistakenly play a weak hand after the flop, and it is more common than you think for a player to take the second-best hand and lose a large number of chips.

During the early phase of a tournament, you are playing with really deep stacks, often with 100 big blinds or more. Inexperienced players tend to make too many mistakes when the stacks are deep.

What you want most at the beginning of tournaments are cards that are easy to play and have a chance of forming the best hand when you get to the showdown. 

In the early stages of tournaments, you should sit back, play your strongest hands, relax, analyze your opponents, and enjoy the atmosphere.

Many professional players even use late registration to avoid playing in these early stages. They can increase their stack, but they prefer not to risk their entire stack in the early levels.

A healthy stack in the later stages of a tournament is much more worth it than a slightly larger stack but with the risk of elimination.

Force the machine when the before arrives

After the initial levels, the vast majority of tournaments introduce the ante levels. Players are forced to put a certain amount of chips (usually one-tenth of the big blind) into the pot on all hands before the cards are dealt. When there is before, expand your range. Once the ante kicks in you should start opening your range and playing a little looser pre-flop.

The reason is simple: when the antes come into play there are more chips to win on each hand. At the same time the stacks begin to get smaller, so taking the blinds and the ante in one hand will help your stack grow considerably.

Let’s take a look at the following example: you are in the fourth level of a tournament (not yet before) with 5,000 chips and 100/200 blinds.

You’re on the con button and the action is folded, so you think about stealing the blinds with your weak hand. If you achieve the goal you will win 300 chips, which is equivalent to 6% of your stack, which is fine, but is this profit worth the risk of having your bet re-raised (and forced to fold your cards)?

Now we are going to see the same example but when the before have already come into action. Thinking that the blinds remain and each player has put 25 points in the pot.

In total, there would be 550 chips to win. If you achieve the objective, you will increase your stack of chips by 11%, making the attempt to steal the pot much more profitable.

This is why you should try to steal the blinds (and the ante) more often once the ante has come into play: even taking small pots will increase your stack substantially.

When you think about stealing the blinds and before you not only have to look at your cards but also take into account your position at the table and the way the players behind you play.

If you are in a late position and no one has entered the pot, you can steal this one with weak hands, especially if the players behind you are tight.

In the early stages of a tournament, it was okay to play very tight since you had a deep stack (compared to the blinds). That said, once the blinds grow, it is much less correct to play so tight.

If your stack of chips is equivalent to 100 big blinds you can fold your cards for an hour without losing many chips, but when you only have 15 blinds and the previous ones have also come into play, after an hour you would have no chips and you would be eliminated.

Good poker is aggressive poker

No matter what phase of the tournament you are in, playing aggressively is in the vast majority of cases the best way to play. The player who makes the bet is the one who “wears the pants” and the one who has the best chance of winning the hand.

There is a very simple reason why playing aggressively is the best way to be successful at Irish Poker: the player who calls can only win the pot with the best hand, while the player who bets can win with the best hand, pot with the best hand or watching all his opponents fold the hand.

Inviting yourself to play aggressively doesn’t mean that you have to put chips in the center like there’s no tomorrow every chance you get, it just means that when you decide to enter a hand you have to play it aggressively.

If you are the player who is betting, you are the one who decides how much to bet and, therefore, the one who makes the pot grow on the flop, turn, and river. A good exercise for any poker player, to improve this aggressiveness, is to play a tournament without limping or ever seeing a bet (only if it is all-in), you can only fold or bet.

It’s interesting how this fact of never seeing a bet (something that is not optimal) will more often give you better results than playing without ever raising the bet (a way of playing that many beginners have).

Small bets when the tournament has advanced

Many amateur and beginner players use a very wrong bet size in the later stages of tournaments, which can cost them a lot of chips.

Many players open the hand with a bet of 3 big blinds (sometimes even 4). This is fine during the initial phases of the tournament but is considered a mistake in the later phases when the stacks have less value (relative to the value of the blinds).

Once you are in the middle and late stages of a tournament you should make hand openings just slightly larger than the minimum bet. For example, in 2k/4k blinds you should not raise to 12k, but it would be best to bet 8k or 8.5k.

The reason is simple and easy to understand: with shallow stacks a small bet achieves the same effect as a larger bet, but with less risk.

In the more advanced stages of an Irish Poker tournament, you are trying to steal blinds or re-steal from those players who want to take your blind, often acting with weak hands. You want to minimize the damage to your stack if you lose, so you bet smaller.

It is true that by betting less aggressively (with smaller bets) you give your rivals the option of calling your bet with excellent odds, but you will notice that when the stacks are shallow most Players don’t think about odds anymore, they just want to keep their chips.

This is probably the best course of action for them as it is usually better to keep a relatively healthy stack than to risk part of it on a dubious move.

You must also keep in mind that small increases allow you to have leadership in hand. Let’s say you have 15 blinds and a speculative hand in the final position.

If you open the hand with a bet of four big blinds you are practically pot-committed. If someone behind you bets big and puts you all-in, you will have two options: call the bet and risk the entire tournament with a weak hand, or fold your cards and lose a quarter of your stack.

Both alternatives are bad for you, and you could have avoided them if you had only bet 2 big blinds. In this case, you would not have remained pot-committed and it would avoid possible headaches.

Betting too big before the flop in the late levels of an Irish Poker tournament is probably the number one mistake for beginner players, with more experienced players taking advantage of this and profiting from it. It is very common to see how there are players who put 40% of their stack in the center in the pre-flop game instead of folding or going all-in. Regardless of the hand they have, it is a tremendous mistake. Do not do it.

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