Poker Practice Test

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If you have two hearts in your hand and the flop has two hearts, how many outs do you have?

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You have 9 outs. Each suit, including hearts, has 13 cards. You have two in your hand and two more are on the board, leaving a total of nine outs (unknown cards that can improve your hand).

What is a Sit-and-Go tournament, and how does it work?

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Sit and go tournaments were made popular by online poker rooms. These tournaments are almost always single-table affairs and players seem to like them because they’re fairly fast in comparison to multi-table tournaments. Six-player tables pay the top two finishers and the nine or 10 player tables usually pay the top three finishers.

You're in the World Series of Poker Main Event, and an early position player moves all-in. When you inspect your hand, you find pocket Queens. What will you do?

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One of the big things that separate professional tournament players from amateurs is the pros get their money in as a clear favorite more often than the amateurs. They still end up facing the same chances of losing on close decisions as everyone else, but they avoid coin flips as often as possible. In this case, it’s likely the player who moved all-in has a pair of Aces or Kings, in which case you’re dominated. Even if they only have Ace-King it’s a coin flip. It’s not worth taking the risk at this point of the tournament so you should fold.

What is a satellite tournament, and how does it work?

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Satellite tournaments are ones that the winner or top finishers get entry to a bigger tournament instead of cash prizes. Many poker rooms run satellite tournaments to gain entry to the WSOP Main Event. These can be single-table or multi-table tournaments.

How many outs do you have if you have an open-ended straight draw? A hand like 8-9-10-J is an open-end straight draw.

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An open end straight draw completes a straight with one of two cards. Each of the two cards has four in the deck so the answer is eight outs. In the example above any of the sevens or queens completes your straight.

You have pocket Eights from under the gun and three other players remain in an online Sit and Go event that pays the final three players. The blinds are 100 / 200, and you have 2,500 chips in your hand, which is the average stack size. So far, you've been playing a tight game. What should you do?

Correct! Wrong!

A pair of Eights has a good chance to be the best hand with three opponents and if the player to your left folds you’ll be in the best position for the rest of the hand, but it also has some issues. If you get called your opponent will likely either have a better pair or two overcards. I recommend a raise in this situation and if you get re-raised you should fold. If you get called and you don’t hit a set on the flop you should get out of the hand without spending more money, but you might get to see the turn for free. Your tight play is likely to pick the pot up without a fight, and it’s a fairly clear sign an opponent has a strong hand if they call or raise. A raise to 750 leaves you plenty of chips if you have to fold to remain a force in the tournament. If you move all-in the only hands that will call you either dominate you or are a tossup. I’ll admit this is a case where there might not be a single 100% correct answer, but I’ll always either raise or fold in this situation. I explained why an all-in move is incorrect, and a limp is almost giving your money away. You have to fold to a raise when you limp and you’ll only hit a set roughly one in eight times if you do see the flop, so you’ll end up folding most of the time

What is a freeroll poker tournament, and how does it work?

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Freeroll poker tournaments offer real money prizes but don’t cost anything to enter. Most freerolls are offered by online poker rooms, but some land-based rooms offer them for players who complete a minimum number of hands or hours at the real-money tables.

If you have a flush draw and an open-ended straight draw, how many outs do you have?

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As you have nine outs with a flush draw and eight outs with an open-ended straight draw many players instantly think they have 17 outs. However, two of the open end straight outs are already counted in the flush outs so you actually only have 15 outs.

With a small stack compared to the other eight players, you've made it to the final table of a large online multi-table tournament. Before the blinds become a problem, you have enough chips to play for at least an hour. The first place pays $200,000, while the ninth place pays $10,000. From the button, the chip leader, who has been playing exceptionally loose recently, is the first to raise to three times the big blind. In the big blind, you have pocket Nines and must call 10% of your stack if you decide to call. What should you do?

Correct! Wrong!

I would almost always at least call in this situation and I would also accept raising as correct. I would often do that myself, but would probably fold to a substantial re-raise as I would still be left with 70% or so of my chips. If I was even more shortstacked I would be willing to go all-in here depending on what I knew about my opponent. The question frames the raiser as playing loose and opens the pot from the button. Both of those facts should lead you to feel confident about staying in. It could be a simple blind steal attempt with only a 3x raise

What is a blind structure?

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The amount of the blinds on each level is the blind structure and it’s important to know how fast the blinds go up. When the blinds go up slowly you can play a slower game, waiting to get your money in when you have a clear advantage. But when the blinds go up quickly you have to take a few more chances because the blinds will eat up your stack if you aren’t quickly building it.

What are the chances of drawing one of your outs on the turn if you have four to a flush on the flop?

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You have nine outs out of a total of 47 unseen cards, so nine cards help you and 38 don’t. You simply divide 38 by nine to get the correct odds. In this case the odds are 4.22 to 1.

What if you just had to call 5% of your stack, and the rest of it was the same as the previous question?

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The odds of being able to double up are good when you hit a set because the chip leader will probably try to bully you and your double up will be a small percentage of their stack. When you consider the question about where to draw the line, only you can make that decision. Some players will call 10% of their stack so wherever you decide to draw the line is fine, as long as the pot odds are favorable.

If you hold a flush draw and an open-end straight draw on the flop, what are your chances of completing one of your draws on the turn?

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You have 15 outs which leave 32 unseen cards that won’t help you. When you divide 32 by 15 you get the correct odds of 2.13 to 1.

What should you do if you're in the same situation as the last hand but have Ace-King instead of pocket Twos?

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In this situation, there’s no reason to call. You’re pot committed if you call so you should move all-in if you decide to play and you absolutely should decide to play this hand. Big Slick is exactly the kind of hand you want to make your move with when short-stacked as it is arguably the third-best tournament hand in Texas Hold'em short of pocket Kings and Aces. You're a big favorite against a weaker Ace and still a decent favorite against undercards. It's essentially a coin-flip against an underpair, but with only 6 big blinds to play with this is likely to be the best hand you'll see before being blinded out. Live or die with it.

In TV tournaments, the pros are always bluffing. They appear to be bluffing a lot more than I'm used to in my cash game play. In a tournament, how often should I bluff?

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If you’re a winning cash game player then you should probably bluff in tournaments about the same amount of time as you do in cash games. If you’re a losing cash game player you should probably bluff less in tournaments than you do now. Bluffs are shown on television because they make good TV. Most of the routine dull hands are cut out so it just looks like the pros bluff more.

On the flop, you have an open-ended straight draw in the same no limit Texas Hold'em game. You know you need to strike a straight to win, but you're up against a $100 stake and a pot of $250, including the bet. What should you do?

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You have eight outs which have odds of 4.88 to 1 to hit your straight on the turn. The pot is only offering 2.5 to 1 odds, so you should fold.

What if you're in the same situation as the last two questions in terms of stack size and blinds, but you're the first to act with a pair of Twos?

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You have to either move all-in or fold. The reason you might move all-in is the same as explained above about being the aggressor. I still recommend a fold here because every time you get called you’re either dominated or in a coin flip. Wait for a better hand to make a move.

You're in a multi-table tournament with a top 100 finisher. You have an average chip stack with 110 players remaining in the event. You can reach the money without difficulty if you simply fold every hand. An early position player moves all-in and another player calls. Both of them have larger chip stacks than you have. You search for pocket Kings. So, what's your plan?

Correct! Wrong!

If you need to pay the rent you shouldn’t have entered the poker tournament, but you have to fold in this situation. You’re a clear favorite against two players when you have pocket Aces, but you still won’t win all of the time. With a guaranteed spot in the money if you keep folding you can’t call. This is just about the only type of situation where you should fold pocket Aces pre-flop.

Experienced poker players often use a shortcut rule to assess the likelihood of hitting their draws on the turn, river, or both the turn and river. Which of the following is the meaning of this rule?

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The correct name of the shortcut is the 4 and 2 rule, or the 2 and 4 rule. The rule states that you can get a rough idea of the percentage of time you’ll hit your draw by multiplying your outs by two or four. When you multiply your outs by two you guess how often you’ll hit your draw on the turn or the river. When you multiply by four you guess how often you’ll hit your draw from the turn to the river. The only time you usually use the four-part of rule is when you face an all-in or almost all-in bet on the turn. Otherwise, you need to know your chances from the flop to the turn and then make another evaluation. Here’s an example: If you have a flush draw, nine outs, after the flop you can multiply your outs by two to get 18%. You have roughly an 18% chance to it your flush on the turn. The actual percentage is 19.1%, so this is a close estimate. If you multiply your nine outs by four you have roughly a 36% chance to hit your flush on either the turn or river. The actual percentage is 35%, so once again you can see this works for a close estimate.

What would you answer to the last question if you were more concerned with winning the tournament as a whole instead of just getting into the money?

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In this case you call. If you triple up in this situation it puts you in a position where you have enough chips to make a serious run at winning the tournament. This is why you need to be properly bankrolled in all situations. You need to be able to make the call here because the prize for winning a big tournament is exponentially higher and often could be life-changing. You don’t want to feel forced to fold.

On television, I frequently see pros going all-in with Ace-King versus lower pocket pairs. These hands, according to what I've read, are essentially coin flips. Shouldn't I do it every chance I get because the pros do it all the time?

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The best tournament players prefer to never have to get in a coin flip situation. You lose a coin flip 50% of the time so they have a 50/50 chance to get knocked out of the tournament if they get all-in on a coin flip hand. If this happens twice they only have a 25% chance of surviving. The third time it lowers your chance of surviving to 12.5%. The chance of staying alive goes down as you add coin flips. You usually only see the exciting hands edited to make a decent TV show so don’t be fooled. Often what you see is a player getting short stacked so they’re forced to make a big play. They often push all-in with Ace-King or a small pocket pair.

On the turn, you're heads-up against a single opponent with an open-ended straight draw and a flush draw. Your opponent has just moved all-in, and she has you covered. If you fold, you'll have enough chips to keep playing for a long time. What should you do?

Correct! Wrong!

To determine the best play, you need to see how many outs you have. The pot odds are a clear call, but your tournament life is on the line, so there are other things you have to consider. You have 15 cards in the deck that makes you a winner, and 31 that knock you out of the tournament. Are you willing to risk your tournament life when you’ll be knocked two out of every three times? This is a case of outs being more important than pot odds. You should fold and wait until you’re a favorite to win.

You're in the middle of a large multi-table tournament and you're running low on chips. You realize you'll have to act quickly to try to double up. Your stack is 1200 and the blinds are 100/200. In late position, an early position player with more chips than you raises to 900, and you hold pocket Twos. What should you do?

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If you call or move all-in and get called, what hand do you hope your opponent holds? I can’t think of a single hand that makes me happy, so this is a folding situation. If you make a play with a small pocket pair you must be the aggressor, not the caller. I wouldn't necessarily be opposed to getting all-in with this, but you're looking at a coin-flip situation against overcards at best. With only 6 big blinds left, you'll have to make a move and this may be the best hand you'll see, but you'll probably want to be the one making the move rather than responding to a raiser. When you make a move you can win if your opponents fold, but if you call you can only win with the best hand at the showdown

Is this correct or incorrect? I'm a great cash game poker player, so I shouldn't have too much trouble transitioning to tournament play.

Correct! Wrong!

If you have to pick an answer you’d probably have to go with true, but this is kind of a trick question. If you’re a winning cash game poker player you have all of the skills you need to be a winning tournament player, but you’ll need to make some minor adjustments to maximize your tournament poker winnings. You have to be aware of the blinds about the size of your stack. You also need to be aware of the size of your opponent’s stacks. Stack size is important in no-limit cash gameplay, but it’s even more important in tournament play.

What are your odds of finishing your straight on the turn if you have an open-ended straight draw on the flop?

Correct! Wrong!

An open-ended straight draw has eight outs out of 47 unseen cards. This means eight cards help you and 39 don’t. In this case, you divide 39 by eight to get an odds of 4.88 to 1.

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