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Duplicate poker

Duplicate poker isn’t exactly a stand-alone poker variant in itself, because it is basically Texas Holdem, with a set of added rules, that end up changing the nature of the game completely.

Duplicate poker takes at least 2 tables full of equal numbers of players, but usually more to play. The cards dealt at each and every table are exactly identical (seat no1 at table no1 gets the same cards as all other players in the no.1 seats at all the other tables) as are the flop, the turn and the river. Thus, it’s basically a copycat game of Texas Holdem going on at each of the tables involved, with different players. Individual players do not play against the other players at their table, but rather against those guys who sit in their position at all of the other tables. Their performances are compared, and since they all play the same cards, against the same cards, the one who plays best poker overall is the winner. This is why it is considered that duplicate poker is no longer comprised of a fine mix of skill and luck like regular Holdem , Omaha or other poker variants, and that it does away with the luck factor completely.

Even officially, it is considered a game of pure skill, together with backgammon and chess, and therefore it is legal to play online in the U.S. as well.

Some people might argue that while everything the players (who measure up against each other) need to deal with is similar, there’s still a variable in it, one that might just retain a little bit luck in the equation: direct opponents might be playing against the same hands, and mathematical odds, but they’re definitely not playing against players of the same skill level, therefore the end result might be biased in favor of the guy who is lucky enough to pick a table with more fish at it. While in theory it is possible that one guy pick a table with only weak-tight rocks at it, and the other guy be seated at a table full of professional level maniacs, practice shows that the players of different skill levels and playing styles are usually evenly spread out evenly at all the duplicate poker tables.

Therefore, one must assume that the measure of poker skill that an eventual chip-count reflects is as close to reality as possible.

Duplicate poker is available in tournament, cash and round-robin formats. When it comes to strategy, it is obvious from the get-go that regular NL Holdem tournament strategy doesn’t work here. Most people are confused by the unusual format, and they haven’t a clue regarding the sort of general approach they should adopt. I’d say the healthiest way to think about duplicate poker strategy, is to compare it with a NL Holdem cash game (assuming that your objective in the cash game is to indeed win as much as you can, in as short a time as you can, milking all the tiny edges you come across to the maximum. This is exactly what you should aim for in duplicate poker too.

I’ve heard about people who folded every hand they got and won, but despite that, the approach is faulty. You do not want to let your opponents’ lack of skill decide, do you? While simplistic strategy like that might work against a couple of opponents (with a little bit of luck thrown in), when there are several players you go up against, it is destined to failure.

What you need to do is to play as healthy a poker game as possible. Some people have the ability to lose less on account of the blinds than others, some players can win much more on a monster hand than other players on the exact same hand. Brush up on every aspect of your play, because playing the opponents instead of the cards takes on a whole new meaning in duplicate poker.

Read your opponents well, learn to exploit your table image to the maximum, be flexible and switch gears whenever required: these are the things that will make the difference in duplicate poker and not the cards you’re lucky or unlucky to get.

Most importantly, you need to stay on your toes all the time, you cannot relax and sit back to let the others fight it out like you sometimes would in a regular STT.

In conclusion: play duplicate poker as if you were playing in a cash game: keep the pressure up, and do everything you can to take as many chips away from your opponents as you can, in the most efficient way possible.

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