Carl Sampson 'The Dean'

Carl Sampson (nicknamed the Dean) is a regular writer for The Hendon Mob. All of his articles can be found in the list below.

Articles by Carl Sampson

  • What is a Great Poker Book? (17/10/2012)
    Poker books still have a place in my heart and I love nothing better than to sit in my armchair with a cuppa and to get embroiled in a good book.
  • The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (27/07/2012)
    Well what exactly can you tell someone in an evening that will make them money?
  • A Square Peg in a Round Hole (07/06/2012)
    These days while I still have big issues with motivation to play and tilt... life isn’t quite so bad and the round hole is now far more square shaped.
  • Poker coaches are not the Holy Grail (02/03/2012)
    Discussing the process of coaching and highlighting the fact that it is pretty far away from being the Holy Grail many people think it is.
  • The True Value of Tracking Software (07/02/2012)
    There are too many people placing too great of an emphasis on poker tracking software and are literally paying the price.
  • A Question of Evolving Strategy (23/01/2012)
    You need to start with one very important assumption in poker. You know the old saying about assumption...
  • Another Dwan "Special" (05/01/2012)
    We can see another Tom Dwan “special” here in this hand against JC Tran which I recall was discussed on the forum.
  • What Goes Around Comes Around (12/12/2011)
    Electronic day traders were experiencing this same "toughening" process that is being observed in online poker around 10-20 years before online poker was even conceived.
  • The Optimal MTT style? (21/11/2011)
    The theory of tournament poker along with the strategic concepts behind it is still immensely fascinating.
  • Can Hellmuth dodge bullets? (08/11/2011)
    It is hard to tell if this guy is a novice, limit player or just doesn’t understand bet sizing but Hellmuth is obviously not going to fold to a min raise.
  • Isaac Haxton vs Ryan Daut (28/10/2011)
    I love discussing high stakes poker hands and one such hand here features one of my favourite players Isaac Haxton.
  • A Change is as Good as a Rest (24/08/2009)
    I guess if you do something for long enough then things are bound to get somewhat stale.
  • Like a Cat to Water (17/08/2009)
    Some people take to poker like a duck to the proverbial water...
  • Self Hypnosis - The Silent Enemy (10/08/2009)
    I never really liked multi-tabling, to me it never felt like real poker. I liked to feel players out by single tabling and really homing in. However this really isn’t enough these days so some time ago I decided to significantly drop down in levels and multi-table.
  • Don't Get Spooked Needlessly (03/08/2009)
    A close friend asked me this week if I thought that software programs were ruining online poker.
  • Topics of the Week (27/07/2009)
    As someone who has asked for financial backing and been backed in the past then I cannot slate anybody. Besides there are clear reasons why people need staking...
  • The Dean on Dragons Den (20/07/2009)
    Carl Sampson appeared on TV show Dragons' Den.
  • Seat Selection in Six Max Limit Hold'em (13/07/2009)
    Despite the fact that I don’t play much limit hold ‘em these days (actually try non), some things never change. Seat selection is paramount now above certain levels and getting a bad seat on a bad table at six max can be a licence to lose money.
  • Muddy Waters (06/07/2009)
    Dear old Cottlad gave me the idea for this article when he mentioned about transferring from No Limit to Limit. I have never made this transition as I went the other way but I believe that a true conversion isn’t as simple as many people believe.
  • Plotting a Way Through the Mental Minefield (29/06/2009)
    Lets face it... most of us on here already know poker pretty damn well. We bloody well ought to do, we do enough reading, studying, playing and talking about it. We may argue about the odd hand and how it should be played but in reality these are minor things in what is a far greater picture.
  • It Was There All Along (22/06/2009)
    I have been delving into the world of sports psychology over the past week or two and have had my head in a couple of books. Mainly to do with how athletes and sportsman at the highest level maintain concentration. This I feel has a strong link with poker.
  • Do You Need Software to Win Money Online? (15/06/2009)
    There is no doubt that online poker is certainly getting tougher, but it has to reach a point where it cannot get any harder! Do I think that money can still be made online without using software. The answer is a resounding yes but it all depends on how high up you play and how often.
  • Differences in Stats for Limit Regs (08/06/2009)
    Over the years there have been big changes in how the best players have approached limit hold'em. Top players have basically figured the game out but the lower limits still harbour decent games as there are still plenty of players who prefer limit hold'em over the more “risky” no limit variety of the game.
  • It Maybe Time to Refresh (01/06/2009)
    Anyone who has spent a considerable amount of time on the betting exchanges will not have failed to notice how relevant news has an almost instant effect on the prices. The same can be said of gambling systems and strategies, something that I have done a lot of work on in the past.
  • It’s All Poker at the End of the Day (25/05/2009)
    I had the idea that every single poker variation was individual in nature and that making the leap from one variation to another was a massive step to take and one that had to be planned carefully. This is still true of course, it is now obvious that the games are not as different as I first imagined.
  • When is the Best Time to Leave an Online Poker Game Part 2 (18/05/2009)
    I have always thought that the taking of advice or seeking out information in poker is a very double edged thing. You obviously need to further your education in order to make money but as the saying goes "a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing".
  • When is the Best Time to Leave an Online Poker Game Part 1 (11/05/2009)
    I have noticed over the years that my attention span when playing online has been getting less and less. There was a time when I could play forty or fifty hours a week quite easily but now that would simply drive me nuts. But yet live poker is a different story...
  • Size Matters (05/05/2009)
    I get a fair few e-mails from novice players asking me what is the best amount to buy-in for in a cash game. I feel that this is one of those issues that cannot easily be answered. Much of it depends on your own individual skill, the skill of your opponents or the strategy that you are looking to use.
  • Is the Site Crooked... Don’t Bet on It (27/04/2009)
    There was an interesting thread on the forum this week about the mechanics of random number generators and the inner workings of online poker sites in general.
  • Decisions not Outcomes (20/04/2009)
    Three of the most powerful words that I have ever heard with regards the giving of advice in poker came from ex-world champion Greg Raymer in an article that I read of his. It's so simple its brilliant.
  • A Question of Expected Value (EV) (13/04/2009)
  • What were You Feeling? (06/04/2009)
    This past few months, my daily blog on my website has begun receiving more hits than usual. This tends to mean that I get more e-mails than usual and messages. I don’t always have time to respond to people but this week I took the time to reply to a guy who sent me a hand that he had played and asked for my advice on what he did wrong if anything.
  • Finding the Proper Balance Around the Blinds in Small Stakes Full Ring (30/03/2009)
    in full-ring, your play in an around the blinds will constitute the bread and butter earn rate. You will make money from weaker players too and even some regs but correct play in and around the blinds will be crucial to your overall earn rate.
  • What the Books don't Teach You: Part Three (23/03/2009)
    In this final part of this mini-series I want to discuss several key elements with regards book learning in poker. There is nothing wrong with reading poker books, I have read hundreds over the years but you have to read them objectively.
  • What the Books don't Teach You: Part Two (16/03/2009)
    Last week I started a discussion on poker books and poker coaching websites for that matter and some of the weaknesses in them. Becoming a winning poker player is a multi-faceted exercise that moves beyond merely learning and then utilising learnt theory.
  • What the Books don't Teach You: Part One (09/03/2009)
    A thread started last week on the forum led me into this article because poker books are a major learning source for so many people who attempt to learn the game.
  • When the Dynamic Changes (02/03/2009)
    I thought that I would make this weeks article about the main talking point on the forum last week and that was Phil Hellmuth’s call with a pair of eights against JC Tran (stop groaning). I am certainly not going to use this article to take an unfair opportunity to say that I was right with my opinion. To be honest I don’t even know if I am and simply calling with the eights may have been the best default play rather than trying to over analyse the situation by trying to plough through various multi-level thinking processes.
  • Evolution of a Limit Player (23/02/2009)
    I don’t know what attracted me to limit hold’em, it was either the structured safe betting or the fact that it was the very first game that I studied at the outset. But limit was the big game online years ago as the sites were still having problems incorporating non structured betting games into their software.
  • The Return of Fatman and Sobbin (16/02/2009)
  • The Green Green Grass of Doncaster (09/02/2009)
    I had known “Big Dave” for a good few years and he was as knowledgeable about horses as anyone who I knew (actually that’s not saying a great deal looking back). But back in 2002 we hatched one of the most fiendish plans ever devised to make money from horse racing.
  • Slightly Off Topic (02/02/2009)
    So this week I might just have a good old ramble for the very first time and see what I come out with. Actually I have been thinking recently about what would be a good idea for a forum series and that would be to discuss the main thread topics of the week and we could call it “a week on the forum”... let me know about that one... might be a bad idea.
  • Finding the Proper You (26/01/2009)
    This wasn’t apparent to me a few years ago but it is really strange how I prefer six max limit hold’em to full-ring but yet at no-limit it is exactly the other way around. I guess that it is a combination of my past experiences and skills being successful in some fields but becoming a serious handicap in others.
  • Building Your Own Prison (19/01/2009)
  • Locating Your Cut-off Point (12/01/2009)
    Reading Alex B’s blog this week revealed to me that me and him have something in common. In fact what we have in common may be present in the majority of poker players but it is certainly relevant to me for sure. But I want to start this week’s article by relating to you something from my past which is Chess.
  • A Parallel Universe (05/01/2009)
    If I had a hundred pound in my pocket for every player who I have heard cry foul about online poker then I would have retired ages ago. But quoting the movie Stargate leads me onto what I want to say in this weeks article.
  • The Evolution of a Poker Player (29/12/2008)
    I have many interests in this world but some take up far more of my time than others and poker is obviously one of them. But there are many other areas of gambling and financial risk that have long held a fascination with me. I have done an awful lot of study on the financial markets but as of yet have yet to become seriously involved in this area.
  • What does it All Mean? (22/12/2008)
    Over the years I have played more forms of poker than I can care to remember including six-card Omaha. Pot Limit Omaha played with four cards is dubbed the "action game" but what price six-o?
  • Getting the Job Done (15/12/2008)
    My recent foray into large MTT’s has proved educational at the very least if nothing else (certainly hasn’t been profitable yet). But I have struggled at the outset and breaking clear of a cash game mentality isn’t easy. But then again neither is chopping and changing poker forms either, something that I adamantly proposed that you should not do in one of the very first articles that I ever wrote for this site about specialising.
  • Tell Us Something We don’t Know (10/12/2008)
  • How Strong is Your Style? (01/12/2008)
    Now that I have spilled the beans somewhat regarding my recent poor results in the NLHE games online, I feel that I really ought to pull my finger out and get back on track. The problem is that you can’t play decent levels anymore without running into the proverbial dogs balls wherever you look.
  • Knowing Your True Self (24/11/2008)
    How often have you heard some new seemingly revolutionary analysis from someone or a certain concept that has made you realise that you were not quite as good as you thought you were?
  • Tight is Still Right in Low-stakes SNG's (17/11/2008)
    How do you play low-stakes SNG's? There are many strategies that are generic in nature that will serve a player well and especially at the low-stakes tournaments. But you must deviate your play to the calibre of your opponents if you really want to succeed.
  • Equity and ICM in SNG's (10/11/2008)
    The constantly evolving online poker landscape dictates that you either evolve with it or you die and it’s that simple. As players evolve then you need to have understanding of equity and the ICM calculations.
  • Strategic play in SNG's (03/11/2008)
    I did play these full time a couple of years ago up to and including the $200+$15 level and did reasonably well.
  • How I hate School (28/10/2008)
    Well at the ripe old age of forty, here I am again trudging back to school to learn yet another subject. I might not be walking across muddy fields to hang out with kids who place more emphasis on their nicotine intake than their education but it feels the same.
  • A Lesson in Omaha #5 (21/10/2008)
    Over the past year or so, there has been a preponderance of players playing a short stack in PLO and in NLHE too. I think that the lessons here are clear in that playing a large stack isn’t necessarily the way to go for many players. But this is an argument that I have been making for ages but I have been derided for it in certain circles.
  • A Lesson in Omaha #4 (16/10/2008)
    I remember years ago when I used to play in dealers choice cash games and private games, six card Pot-Limit Omaha was often played. For anyone who has never played the six card version then if you thought that conventional four card Pot-Limit Omaha was a “nuts” game then you haven’t seen nothing compared to the six card version.
  • A Lesson in Omaha #3 (09/10/2008)
    I remember the day clearly when the penny finally dropped with me in how to play seven card stud well. It was when I read about the connections with hold’em (can’t remember where I read it now) and then everything just seemed to fall into place. Now I don’t play stud at all and haven’t for ages but I am confident that I could handle the game very well when called upon to do so.
  • A Lesson in Omaha #2 (02/10/2008)
    One of the lessons that I learned (painfully) at the beginning of my time playing PLO was in the overall vulnerability of big pairs and especially when out of position and with deep stacks.
  • A Lesson in Omaha (25/09/2008)
    I don’t know what it was about the game but I could never properly figure it out and especially short handed. In fact years ago I would actually muck good PLO hands in dealer’s choice games simply because I couldn’t trust myself from the flop onwards and I had lost more money at this form of poker than any other in my career. Because of this I developed mental scars and PLO was always something that had to be steered well clear of simply because in my mind then no good could ever come of it.
  • Where is the Money Coming From? (18/09/2008)
    I think that before you take a seat in any poker game be it online or in some card room then it pays to have some kind of a plan as to how you intend to make money.
  • In Defence of the Check Raise (11/09/2008)
  • When Getting Pot Odds Just Doesn't Cut It (04/09/2008)
  • Knowing When to Quit (28/08/2008)
    Victoria Coren wrote an article last week about the secrets to beating the online games. I noticed that a few people gave her a bit of stick but I think that the fair thing to do is to give the benefit of the doubt as it was a very short article and nothing ever comes across properly like that... I should know.
  • A Glance at Supersystem (21/08/2008)
  • Ancient Wisdom Still Going Strong in 2008 (15/08/2008)
  • Turning Pro (07/08/2008)
  • At the Forefront of Adjustment (31/07/2008)
  • Hellmuth versus Dwan (24/07/2008)
  • Choosing the Battleground (17/07/2008)
  • A Study in Position in No-Limit Hold'em (10/07/2008)
  • The Rise of the Machines (03/07/2008)
    Back in the days when I used to play Chess pretty much everyday, I had a strong fascination with Chess programs and how they worked. My main fascination was in investigating their processes of how they looked at certain positions and what strengths and weaknesses they had.
  • It's All in the Mind You Know (26/06/2008)
  • There's Always a Way (20/06/2008)
  • World Series of Ponder (12/06/2008)
    Every year at this time we have the annual jamboree that is the World Series of Poker
  • Keeping the Finger on the Pulse (05/06/2008)
    I have often said that the more you understand poker then the more you will see valid comparisons in other fields of endeavour.
  • Defending the Big Blind in Tough Short Handed Limit Games (29/05/2008)
  • Big Brother is Watching (22/05/2008)
    We have come to a stage where having no artificial software aid to help you is starting to seriously handicap the online player simply because so many people are using tracking software of some description.
  • Going Your Own Way (15/05/2008)
    But we differ greatly in terms of knowledge and ability and so we should, I would be a bit miffed if I knew that someone who had only been studying poker for a few months was already better than me.
  • Poker Tracker in Limit Hold'em (08/05/2008)
    Because of the sheer mathematical nature of limit hold’em then I think that PokerTracker is of even more use in that form of poker.
  • You Haven't Made it Yet (01/05/2008)
    Winning at any mid level limit holdem game in 2008 takes considerable skill
  • Good Enough or Not Good Enough (24/04/2008)
    This week has not been a good week, the writing of my latest book is really starting to become a bind, my cat has fleas, I have just turned forty and also done my nuts in on the tables. Oh and I ought to mention that I have really come to hate Neil Channing.
  • Heads Up Limit Hold'em Part 4 (17/04/2008)
    This week I want to take a look at a hand that I played in my recent encounter with the Polaris program on Poker Academy. While there was no money at stake here, the hand in question does present material that is instructive. This hand highlights the point that it can be correct in heads up play to change plan in the middle of the hand depending on new information or cards that appear.
  • So You Wanna Be a Prop? (10/04/2008)
    So You Wanna Be a Prop?
  • Heads Up Limit Hold'em Part 3 (03/04/2008)
    I want to play through a hand that I played recently at $10-$20 heads up. My opponent had been very aggressive and had been trying to move me off pots with check raises and pressure betting. But I already had a good angle on his game after ghosting him a couple of times.
  • Heads Up Limit Hold'em Part 2 (27/03/2008)
    I want to expand a little on what I said last week with regards playing from the button.
  • Destination Final Table (E-Book) (20/03/2008)
    [Carl Sampson's] philosophy of tournament poker
  • Heads Up Limit Hold'em Part 1 (13/03/2008)
    How important button is?
  • Don't Be in a Rush (06/03/2008)
    The reason for me why poker is so fascinating is because it is a mixture of several individual subjects combined and this means that the game can never be truly mastered.
  • Are You a Live One? (28/02/2008)
    Carl Sampson article on online vs live poker
  • Perpetual Motion (21/02/2008)
    Online environment and the quality of the participants has undergone dramatic changes
  • Is No Limit Really Your Game? (14/02/2008)
    I am taking a leave from talking about limit hold’em for a while. I want to revert back to NLH but before I go into strategies and theories during the coming weeks, I want to present to you a question that many people should be asking themselves. “Is no limit poker really suited to me?”
  • Don't Be an Open Book (07/02/2008)
    Over the past few weeks or so, I have been discussing the merits of playing certain types of hands in short handed limit games before the flop and comparing full ring game from short handed play when it comes to hand selection and their various strengths and weaknesses. I want to round off this mini pre-flop short handed series by talking about the importance of having unpredictability in your game.
  • Knowing Your Limit (31/01/2008)
    So far we have looked at small pocket pairs and ace rag hands including medium aces. This week we will be taking a look at some other hand types and how they differ from full ring.
  • What’s Inside Your Selection Box? (24/01/2008)
  • Are You Tough Enough... Well are You? (17/01/2008)
  • See a Pair and Die (10/01/2008)
    One of the types of hands that many players misplay in short handed limit games is small.
  • Taking the Next Step (03/01/2008)
  • In Defence of "Not Calling" (27/12/2007)
    I am going to round off 2007 by writing one more article on no limit hold’em before I switch to limit for a few weeks.
  • When It No Longer Cuts It (20/12/2007)
    There will come a stage in your poker life where you will desire to test yourself in bigger and tougher games. Nothing wrong with taking a shot at a bigger game and the big boys do it all the time.
  • Breaking Down the Barriers (13/12/2007)
    Thinking about David has reminded me that he was indirectly responsible for altering my mindset with regards gambling for higher stakes and being less fearful of losing money.
  • Avoiding Trouble Situations (06/12/2007)
    Have you ever been in a situation where you have raised from early position with a premium hand like aces? Of course you have...
  • Don’t try this Multi-tabling (29/11/2007)
    I thought that this title would get you. After some of the recent posts on the forum last week about multi-tabling then most people will be thinking that the title is telling people not to multi-table.
  • When Floating Affects Your Table Image (22/11/2007)
    We all know how important implied odds are in a game like no limit hold’em and we have all seen our fair share of bad play be it in live cardrooms or online. But quite often, if you see what you think is a bad play then do not just automatically assume that your opponent is a dummy.
  • Floating in No Limit Cash Games (15/11/2007)
    Floating is the process of calling a flop bet without much of a hand in order to try and create the thought in your opponents mind that you have a powerful hand and are deliberately letting them take the lead and bluff their stack off to you.
  • Beating the No-Limit 6 Max Games Part 5 (01/11/2007)
  • Beating the No-Limit 6 Max Games Part 4 (25/10/2007)
    Strange title... Again...
  • Beating the No-Limit 6 Max Games Part 3 (18/10/2007)
    We all know about the importance of aggression in poker, perfectly timed aggression is in fact the hallmark of an accomplished player.
  • Beating the No-Limit 6 Max Games Part 2 (11/10/2007)
    I think that watching your own game is every bit as important as watching your opponents. You should always strive in poker to deviate your game and if you always do something in a certain way every single time then your game could do with some improvement.
  • Beating the No-Limit 6 Max Games Part 1 (04/10/2007)
    No-limit hold’em is getting tougher as more and more people knew how to play the game.
  • The Dean’s Limit Hold’em Surgery Part 3 (27/09/2007)
    This is where the fun starts and the real battle. The point is and a lot of players forget this, poker hands are linked together in very subtle ways.
  • The Dean’s Limit Hold’em Surgery Part 2 (20/09/2007)
    In online play, you don’t have that long to decide what to do but in the overwhelming majority of cases, if you have to think about it then it is probably a very close call either way anyway.
  • The Dean’s Limit Hold’em Surgery Part 1 (13/09/2007)
    I will discuss situations arising in both limit and no limit hold’em 6 max cash games and going into detail about what I would do in these situations and why
  • Beating the 6-MAX No Limit games (06/09/2007)
    I would like to share with you some of my techniques and strategies that I use at this form of the game and hope that you can make them work for you also
  • The Defining Moment (30/07/2007)
    I think that nearly all poker players have moments in their playing careers that stand out from the rest. Like gut wrenching suckouts and exhilarating huge pots that we tend to recall in vivid detail even years later. But all poker players also have defining moments in their history when there was one certain hand where your play suddenly quantum leaped forward because you did something that you had never previously done before.
  • If You Want to Win... Get the Brain working! (30/05/2007)
    Whether you are a poker player, blackjack player, professional sports bettor or whatever, you will need a vast arsenal of knowledge at your disposal if you are going to make it pay.
  • Should you specialise or not? (18/04/2007)
  • Omaha 8 is not just about having A-2 (01/03/2007)