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Beasts of Poker
Upoker Player Journey in 6-max Holdem & PLO (2020)
‘’Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe’’
What’s the equivalent of sharpening the axe before chopping down a tree in poker, i.e. trying to beat your opponents to the maximum possible? You’ve guessed it – it’s choosing where to play. And that’s where my journey started on 22th of March, locked inside four walls due to the corona outbreak… only visiting a supermarket twice a week… and going for a run to get some fresh air from time to time! Other than that, I’m pretty much online all the time. As the headline hints, I chose to start playing on Upoker.
Having experienced some apps like PPPoker and Pokio, Upoker was not a totally different animal to me. It is actually somewhat similar to those other apps. Except there are some features that I liked so much I kept going on a playing frenzy for full five days – after which I snapped myself out of it by thinking ‘I need to write about this player journey right now, or otherwise fellow players won’t know how Upoker is different from the rest of the apps!’ So, here we are, reviewing my player journey. I’ve included an outlook on the games, traffic and especially the playing experience – let’s go back to the Sunday when I first opened the app:
The first few days
So I start out by applying to two different clubs called Breeds and Poker Hero. First I installed the app on my iPhone 8, and later on my PC as I thought I’d rather be able to play whether on the move or at home. Installing the app I see two language options, English and Chinese, so clicking the right button is not that hard here. After making the deposit which can be done either through a bitcoin transfer with a bitcoin wallet or an app like Wirex, or a Skrill p2p transfer, I fire up a Holdem table on Poker Hero. As a side note, my deposit is guaranteed 100% by Beasts Of Poker. This is always a great benefit when you try out a new club or app in poker.
I start playing with blinds of approx. 0.3USD/0.6$ and 0.6/1.2$. One of the first mental notes from these games is that there are none of those nits that you can find at the bigger sites. You know, those guys who are waiting only for premium starting hands to enter the pot. You see, on Upoker you can click on any player’s avatar and find the following info on them:
When I click to see VPIP% of different players at the tables I am seated at, there are almost none that were under 30%. Plus I find several between 60-85% – not a bad start!
On the second day I really want to shoot up the volume. So I open a few more tables to get more hands per hour, as Upoker allows you to play up to 4 tables at once. There are fireworks everywhere, chips being moved back and forth and the clock is barely past the noon time. This is surely not something I’m too used to. Then again, Poker Hero is a club with origins in Thailand, so the majority of players of the club come from Asia. For them, European midday is more like the early evening, so it’s already time for some beers and relaxation. Which is obviously more than fine for players who want to play some cards with them early in the day!
I continue playing the loose Holdem games with blinds 0.3USD/0.6$, 0.6/1.2$ and 0.9/1.8$. It’s now the fourth day, and I suddenly start to lose some crucial big pots. I run KK into QTo on Q86r flop for 170bb’s each and it’s a T on the turn to give my villain two pair. Then I hit middle set on KQ6cc and 3bet the flop, only to see the turn flush draw being completed with less than 40% pot-size effective stacks left. So I go broke on that one too. While this is just standard variance, in Holdem it tests your patience a bit since you’re probably facing a long stretch of bad & mediocre hands before putting your stack in again. Just when I thought this is the flop where it’s going to happen, we get this:
So, I think to myself: ‘Why not try some Omaha?’ And so, Omaha it is!
I jump at the first table where they have a free seat at. Oops, it’s 6-card PLO – but hey, there’s a first time for everything in poker, let’s go! One hand later I’m 1 stack poorer, and play for a little while at that table before making the transition into 5-card PLO, which I at least think I know the basics of. Okay, so I sit on a 0.6/1.2$ table of HU PLO5, and a maniac sits down with me while I also open a ring game table with blinds of 1.5/3.0$. I lose all the all-in pots against the maniac. But, somehow I win the small ones so that I’m actually in profit before the maniac decides to reload. Meanwhile, I run pretty hot at the 1.5/3.0$ hitting back-to-back backdoor nut flush. Okay, I DID have a good starting hand in both of those pots and was forced to see the river due to too many outs. I quit that table since the good players have position on me and we’re deep stacked. I play a few more hands of the HU before deciding to call it a day.
Now what are the differentiating features (besides straddling, the table chat, the player stats being visible with 1-click which can also be found from some other apps) that made me go into a play-frenzy for 5 days? The two most important ones in my opinion are:
Proper timers for each street
While the games are good also on PPPoker, what I missed there was enough time to think before making a decision which button to click. On Upoker, you have a 15-second timer for each street, which is plenty for a mobile poker app. Playing 4 tables with a proper timer like this is no problem!
In case you want to have even more thinking time at the tables, you can also purchase a VIP status for some additional time banks.
Proper multitabling features
Upoker allows you to play 4 tables at once, which can at times get you quite busy if you have a situation developing at more than 1 table simultaneously. How to decide where to put your attention? Upoker has solved this problem by showing you the starting hand you’re dealt at each table on the top of the screen. This way you can see whether you’re in a hurry to play a premium starting hand at another table, or if you can just play out the current hand while a trashy starting hand at the other table goes into the muck in case you don’t click anything in time. At a PLO table you can also hit the pot-button on the betslider, or the all-in button at a Holdem table. Overall, the multitabling features for a 6-max NLHE or PLO player are definitely above average.
To sum up this player journey, I would say Upoker is both a ton of great action and fun at the same time. You can play Omaha with up to 6 cards, but if you prefer to stick with just two and play Holdem, there are plenty of tables running also during daytime in Europe. In fact, I liked Poker Hero so much that I never even tried out the other club! My recommendation therefore is Poker Hero as the club to start from, where you can get 40% rakeback