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Are you interested in a quick and valuable education on poker ? Well, you have come to the right page. The following is
a complete and concise list of 124 Power Poker Tips, that will help you with your game. This list, if digested
thoroughly and practiced, should help you achieve a higher level of poker play, which can translate into higher
poker winnings. Of course, we make no guarantees on these strategies, and present them to the Poker user
community at a user's own risk. We hope that you find them beneficial.
- Poker Tip # 1 - Do not indulge in intoxicants while playing (alcohol is a big abuser). If it is a sociable evening, then just enjoy it and do not expect to win. Winners always have clear heads.
- Poker Tip # 2 - Do not bluff too often. If you get caught bluffing once or twice per session, that is enough advertising. Conversely, if one of your opponents is bluffing too much or seems overly aggressive – consider checking. If your hand is fairly strong and it is the last bet, checking might induce him to bluff off his money. And never try to bluff a bad player – bad players call too many bets.
- Poker Tip # 3 - Consider folding in the last betting round. If it is obvious to all that you are going to call the last bet and your opponent bets right into you, consider folding unless you have a cinch hand. Do not hang in there just to look tough or studly.
- Poker TIp # 4 - Do not chase. If you have the best possible hand, bet or raise. If you do not, fold immediately – do not stay in a hand “just for the fun of it”.
- Poker Tip # 5 - Look for behavioral giveaways (tells). Be alert for an overly forceful hand movement when betting or a heavy slap on the table for a check. These are often indications of weakness. A projection of sadness or vague disinterest often indicates strength. If, when betting, one of your opponents uses a reluctant or hesitant betting motion, this is also an indication of strength. Ask yourself “what do they appear to want me to do?” – then do the opposite.
- Poker Tip # 6 - Observe opponents’ playing habits. How many hands does each person play per round ? What are their minimum calling or raising requirements ? Since the cards tend to break even over a period of time, what you win is often the amount you save by making smart observations.
- Poker Tip # 7 - Do not get impatient. Poker is about patience and discipline, waiting for a good hand and making the most of it. Players who win the highest number of pots usually win the lowest amount of money.
- Poker Tip # 8 - Do not go on tilt. If you have a big hand and it gets beaten, do not make things worse by overreacting. Get up, walk around, think about it and learn something from the situation. Everyone gets good and bad cards – it is what you do with what you have that counts.
- Poker Tip # 9 - Be aware of your positional advantage or disadvantage. If you are in the front half of the betting order, play big cards and big pairs (being suited is a plus). If you are in the back half, play smaller pairs and connected suited cards, if there have been no raises in front of you.
- Poker Tip # 10 - Do not give away information. When betting, use the same firm, crisp motion on every bet and call. Keep your behavior consistent – look at your cards once and remember what they are – do not look back at them again.
- Poker Tip # 11 - They are More Likely To Be Bluffing, Not Less Likely. In reading poker tells, one of the most important things to do is watch your
opponents look at the final river card. If it helps them, they are very likely to only look for a short time. Then they will quickly place the card facedown and try to look uninterested, perhaps staring away from the approaching betting action. This is a ploy to make you think the card was not a good one, and whenever you see this mannerism, you should be wary, and you should not bet or call with marginal hands. Conversely, if the opponent keeps staring at the card longer than necessary, that is an indication that it did not help. He is trying to make you think that he is interested in it. He is not, and you can bet medium-strong hands for profit.
- Poker Tip # 12 - Betting A Flush Draw On The Flop In Holdem. Here is a favorite holdem play that you can use quite often without opponents adapting.
You have a flush draw on the flop -- two of your suit in your hand, two on the board. You are last to act. Everyone checks to you. Bet. Sometimes you will win the pot immediately without a struggle, but even if you do not, you will frequently have helped your cause. Now, everyone is apt to check to you on the 4th board card (the turn). If you make your flush, you just keep betting, natural as natural can be. If you miss, you check along. And the great thing is that you get a free card which could have costs double in common limit games where the size of bets increase after the flop. The final (river) card is also effectively free, because if you miss, you will usually fold. there is another twist to this tactic. You do not want to overuse it, because astute players may catch on and adapt, but one of the built-in tools of deception comes from mostly betting these flush draws when you have at least one card higher than the board. That way, you have additional chances of making top pair and continuing to bet on the turn. When this happens, many opponents will not notice at the showdown that you were originally betting the flush draw. They sometimes just see the top pair and forget when you made it or how. This psychologically camouflages the fact that you are often betting flush draws "on the come," hoping to get a free card.
- Poker Tip # 13 - Beware Of Bunched Aces In Holdem. This is called the "bunching factor." It has nothing to do with poor dealing, though. If you are playing 10-handed Holdem and the first seven players have folded before the flop, there is a better-than-usual chance that the few remaining players hold aces. Why? it is because when opponents fold, it is more likely that they folded something other than aces. This means that statistically there are more aces left that could appear in the few remaining hands. While this is not an overwhelming statistical factor, it is significant enough that you should be more selective about the hands you raise the blinds with from the button (dealer position) when everyone else has folded than you would be if the deal began three-handed ! This "bunching factor" applies to other games, too -- especially draw poker.
- Poker Tip # 14 - A Quick Bluff Is More Likely To Succeed Than A Hesitant One. Of course, there are exceptions, but on average, if you bluff fairly quickly without pondering you will succeed in stealing the pot more often than if you hesitate and seem unsure.
- Poker Tip # 15 - Adjusting To Wins And Losses. Many of your opponents will treat you differently when you are winning than when you are losing. that is because they are conscious of luck and fear you more when you are "running lucky." When this happens, everything is as it should be in the universe, and your opponents are easier to control. You can bet marginal hands for value that you would not be able to otherwise -- because you would be afraid that these same opponents would be inspired by your losses and would raise aggressively or play deceptively. When you are winning, your foes are apt to be docile and well behaved, and this allows you to press every hand for maximum value without fearing that they will get maximum value for their hands, too. what is the best way to adjust, depending on whether you are running good or bad? Simple. Most of your decisions in poker will be "borderline," meaning that the decision is not especially clear. When you are conspicuously winning and
faced with a borderline decision between checking and betting, bet... AND between calling and raising, raise. When you are conspicuously losing and faced with a borderline decision between checking and betting, check... AND between calling and raising, call. These adjustments works like magic, and they are pure profit.
- Poker Tip # 16 - Are Kings Almost As Profitable As Aces In Holdem ? Kings are nowhere near as profitable as aces in Holdem. Although the difference is much slighter between smaller adjacent pairs, such as eights and sevens, there is a very large gap between aces and kings in terms of profit when played correctly. Averaging all situations together, figure aces to be worth about 40 percent more than kings.
- Poker Tip # 17 - Be Careful About Letting Opponents See Cards By Checking. While it is often necessary to give an opponent a "free" card, you should not be happy about it. When an opponent has a weak hand in any form of Stud, Omaha or Holdem, your bet might snare the pot immediately. A check, gives an opponent the opportunity to see another card painlessly. A check lets opponents stumble into free winning hands they never would have paid to make.
- Poker Tip # 18 - Best-Game Shopping -- The Truth Behind This Powerful Concept. Some say that the success of a business often depends on three things: Location, location, and location. Well, you are in a business where you have the luxury of CHOOSING your location every time you play! Think about it. Always try to sit in the most-profitable game that your bankroll will comfortably accommodate, rather than just accepting the most convenient table. And do not get glued to your seat when there is money to be made by changing tables. Do business where the profit is. it is worth the effort.
- Poker Tip # 19 - A Check Can Cost Money. Why is it so often better to bet than check and call ? When you check and your opponent also checks, that usually means you lost an opportunity to profit by either (1) being called with a worse hand or (2) winning the pot outright without being called. Check-check means the second check is more apt to be satisfied than the first.
- Poker Tip # 20 - A Good Time to Bluff. One of the best times to bluff is when an opponent is staring you down, reaching for his chips, or otherwise threatening to call. While opponents who are trying to discourage your bet by threatening to call, Might actually call, they do not have hands powerful enough to raise. So, what remains are usually hands that they will be reluctant to call with. They will either call -- reluctantly -- or fold. Usually, in limit poker games where the size of the pot dwarfs the size of the bet, an opponent acting in this matter will fold often enough to give your bluff attempt an expectation of profit.
- Poker Tip # 21 - Checking Medium-Strong Seven-Card Stud Hands Into Opponents Who Look Weak. An important strategic weapon in seven-card stud is checking medium strength on the final river card when an opponent's exposed cards look weak. The purpose of this check is twofold: (1) Weak-looking cards often suggest that a straight or flush is possible, so you do not want to be betting kings-up into a hand that will likely fold unless it beats you; and (2) You will be giving your opponent a chance to bluff and lose more money, particularly if your hand also appears weak. The second point is important. You should beware of weak-looking cards when bet into what look like reasonably strong hands. Most players will not attempt to bluff with weak-appearing boards against apparent strength, because they think you will almost certainly call. But if it looks like you might also be weak or trying for a straight or flush, some opponents will try to bluff quite regularly. You should check on the river to give them this opportunity.
- Poker Tip # 22 - Confidence Really Matters At Poker. One of the best ways to end a losing streak at poker is to convey confidence. I am not saying that a positive attitude will bring you better cards. It will not. But by avoiding a defeatist demeanor, you are making yourself less of a target. Opponents typically are inspired and play better against those they think are vulnerable. Make sure you show winning spirit and maintain good humor when the cards are not favorable. you will be surprised how this can salvage your psychological stature at the table and often make your recovery come quicker, while diminishing your losses and adding to your overall profit.
- Poker Tip # 23 - Do not Act On A Tell Immediately. Some people are so proud when they spot a poker tell that they act immediately and smugly. That is a mistake! The last thing you want to do is make opponents aware that they have tells. Hesitate and act unsure, as if you are calling or folding at whim. That way, it is less likely that your opponents will adjust their behavior, and you will be able to profit from those same tells again.
- Poker Tip # 24 - Do not Be Afraid To Move Down In Limits. Many players see a good game at a higher limit than they are used to playing. Usually, they would not play that big a game, but the conditions are so good right now that they decide to give it a try. that is fine. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. The problem is that once these players get accustomed to the bigger limit, they tend to not want to go back to their previous limit, even if the bigger game turns bad. They think it is embarrassing to play smaller than others have seen them playing recently. This attitude is sure to keep players broke. You need to play a game you are comfortable with that is keeping with the size of your bankroll. Sometimes, you can move up a limit to take advantage of profitable circumstances. But, while you are building your bankroll, you need to be able to move down again when those circumstances change.
- Poker Tip # 25 - Do not Be Aggressive When you are Losing. You do not have the same intimidation factor over your opponents when you are losing as you do when you are winning. For that reason, you will make more money, or lose less, if you ride out your losing streak by reverting to a conservative game plan. When the cards bring you out of it, your opponents will be intimidated again and you will be able to manipulate them with faster action and fancier plays. Remember, you should not be superstitious or believe that the cards will continue to be hot or cold. But that is what many of your opponents think. So, take advantage of it by being more aggressive when you are winning and less aggressive when you are losing and opponents are inspired and less likely to play poorly.
- Poker Tip # 16 - Do not Bluff Too Often In Loose Games. Obviously, opponents call too much in loose games, otherwise these would not be loose games. The main mistake opponents make in these games is to call too often. You should expect this key mistake of calling too often to hurt you when you try to bluff. When you bluff, clearly you do not want to be called, but in loose games you should expect to be. Sure, everyone knows that, but you would be surprised how many serious players bump their head against poker's wall by trying to bluff anyway. The secret is to never bluff in loose games unless you have a specific reason on a particular hand against a particular player. In tighter games, you can bluff once in a while at random, but in loose games, you must resolve never to bluff without a major motive.
- Poker Tip # 27 - Do not Declare War On The Player To Your Left. The player to your left has a permanent positional advantage over you, because he will usually act AFTER you do. For that reason, you do not enjoy the luxury of declaring war by check-raising or otherwise trying to make his life miserable. Treat the player to your left gently and politely. If you give that player a reason to maximize his positional advantage over you, he probably will. If you give him no reason to make it tough on you, your life will be easier and more profitable. Remember, you must be very significantly better than an opponent to your left to play fancy against him. If your relative skills are anywhere near even, it is better to keep the peace.
- Poker Tip # 28 - Do not Discourage A Bet You Intend To Call. Sure, it is only natural to stare an opponent down, reach for your chips, or otherwise try to prevent your opponent from betting on the final round when you are uncertain about your hand. But, wait! If you intend to call anyway, there is no reason for you to discourage that bet, even if you wish it did not happen. Your opponent is very unlikely to be prevented from making bets with hands strong enough to beat you. But what you might discourage are bluffs -- exactly the hands you are hoping your opponent will have if you call. So, as a general rule, on the last round of betting against a single opponent, never discourage a bet you intend to call.
- Poker Tip # 29 - If there is No Tell, Ponder. If you have a close decision about calling or folding, hesitate for a few seconds and watch. Pretend to be pondering the situation. Often you will not get a tell from your opponent until you drive home the fact that it is necessary for him to sway your decision. Your hesitation will often shift your opponent into "acting" mode, where the same "weak means strong" and "strong means weak" clues apply as usual. When in doubt, conspicuously ponder for a few seconds -- and observe how your hesitation affects your opponent.
- Poker Tip # 30 - If You Want A Call, Make Your Bet Look Large. Advertisers invest a lot of effort making products look more desirable. They put marbles in soup that they photograph to make you want it more. In advertisements, they position cars in settings that will make you want to be there and more likely to buy. Now, you might say that is unnecessary, because people already know how thick famous soup really is and that cars go mostly on everyday streets and park in ugly garages. Still, it is an absolutely irrefutable fact that making products look more appealing gets more sales by appealing to emotion, no matter what the buyer intellectually knows. it is the same with poker. If you want a call, make your bet seem more attractive. Spread those chips out. Fan your $100 bills if you are in a big game and you place them in the pot. you are selling something here! you are opponent knows how much it will cost to call, but he is emotionally subject to pay or not pay depending on what he is getting for his money. So, if you want a call, make it seem worth calling. Bet with a little fanfare and spread the cash or chips to take maximum territory. it is in the presentation. The more attractive your bet looks, the more likely you will get called.
- Poker Tip # 31 - Do not Fold Instantly Unless you are Sure. Sometimes you can get a tell on an opponent simply by not folding too quickly. do not slow up the game, but occasionally -- when you are in doubt about whether to call -- you should conspicuously study your opponent. This extra scrutiny will sometimes make a player who is bluffing uncomfortable enough to give you the clue you are seeking. In general, if the player remains relaxed, you should fold, as you originally intended. But if there seems to be growing tension in the opponent and he becomes totally "poker faced" and motionless, even not breathing, you should consider calling. Remember, a player who is bluffing will usually do nothing unusual for fear of triggering your call. it is the absence of animation and the suspenseful tension that let you know that an opponent is more likely than usual to be bluffing. When you are in doubt and fold too quickly, you often lose the opportunity to capitalize on this powerful tell.
- Poker Tip # 32 - Do not Play To Impress Your Opponents. Sometimes you are frustrated because there is such a large luck factor in poker. Once we master enough poker skills, it is only natural to want to let others know that we are accomplished players. But a whole truckload of money can be lost in a half-hour by players wanting to impress others in a short span of time. You might be able to do that in basketball with a few blocked shots, some fancy dribbling, and a couple of dunks; but poker is not the type of game that makes impressing others easy. Ultimately, if you vary from your game plan to impress opponents, you are risking losing a lot of money that should have stayed in your purse or wallet. Sitting and waiting for an hour will not look very impressive to your opponents, and choosing the routine thing instead of a fancy play will not, either. But this is the way of winning poker. Only occasionally can you use your expertise profitably to show off. Most of the time, you cannot. But, as a consolation, all the money you accumulate by the end of the year will BE impressive in the long term -- unless you throw it away by trying to LOOK impressive in the short-term.
- Poker Tip # 33 - Do not Rebuy Yet. When you are down to your last few chips and can play for just the cost of the ante or blind, you should often wait to rebuy until after the hand ! that is because there are no better pot odds you than to be able to see the showdown for free with everyone else at the table matching your money with their antes. If it is a blind they are matching, only some will voluntarily call. But, even then, the point is powerful: Other opponents may knock each other out of the competition, while you remain to see the showdown. you will often arrive at the showdown with hands you could not have afforded to call with if you would had more money. This means you have an extra opportunity to get lucky and "draw out" -- and that is worth enough to defer your rebuy until the next hand.
- Poker Tip # 34 - Do not Surrender Your Hand Without Checking And Waiting. Here is the situation. it is just you and a single opponent on the last round of betting. When players have no chance of winning, they sometimes fold prematurely, instead of checking, thinking, "What difference could it make?" Well, it could make a difference and it often does. To an observant opponent, it means that when you do not throw your hand away out of turn, you are more likely to have something worth calling with. So, among other things, this means your opponent will not bluff as often when you check medium hands that are worth calling with, and you will lose out on opportunities to call and make profit. When you do call, you are more likely to lose, because your opponent will bet a higher proportion of bigger hands relative to bluffs. And it is all because you previously threw away hands out of turn. You see, it is important to go through the motions of checking and making your opponent decide what to do.
Let us say you have missed everything on the river in seven-card stud. You have king-high nothing, and your opponent has a pair of tens showing. This is a time you should check and make your opponent act before throwing your hand away. Even though it will not matter this one time, it will matter in the future, if your opponent realizes that if you had a very weak hand, you would likely have folded. He understands, therefore, that now you are more likely to have something beyond a hopeless hand. So, check and wait for your opponent to act. do not surrender early.
- Poker Tip # 35 - Playing Too Tight In Seven-Card Stud. Many disciplined seven-card stud players lose consistently. With some, the problem is easy to identify. They play very tight, which can win against loose opponents, but they play tight at the wrong times. These players are very disciplined about the hands they enter pots with. they are very conservative about risking their money. And that is fine. But once they are involved in a pot, they think themselves out of it. How? They consider each subsequent betting round as a bright new opportunity to fold and they use their extra-tight calling criteria all over again. When they do this, they give an aggressive opponent four more chances (betting rounds after the first one) to make them lay down a hand. And if they lay down a hand when the pot is already very large relative to the cost of the call, they are frequently making a grave mistake. Sure, you should lay down sometimes late in the action when the pots are large, but not routinely. it is fine to be selective about pots you enter, but once you are involved, make sure your opponents do not bet you out of your money too easily.
- Poker Tip # 36 - Position And Manners. Everyone has a tactical advantage over the player to his right. it is the advantage of usually getting to act after that opponent. Because of this basic truth, you should often declare war on players to your right and make friends with players to your left.
- Poker Tip # 37 - Do not Think Of 7-Stud Pairs The Same Way As Holdem Pairs. it is important to understand the fundamental difference between starting with a smaller pair in Holdem and starting with a smaller pair in seven-card stud. In stud, you can improve by making a bigger two-pair than your opponent or by simply catching another pair when your opponent does not. In Holdem, you cannot win these ways. In order to draw out in Holdem when you are holding the smaller pair, you must catch a third card of your pair's rank, make a straight or flush using one card, or play the board to tie (which, by the way, can happen when two pair and a kicker hit the board -- all ranking higher than either your or your opponent's original pair). So, as an example of the difference in difficulty of overcoming a bigger pair in Holdem, let us use a pair of sevens vs.. a pair of sixes as an example. The assumption is that the first two cards in Holdem are your private two cards, of course, and the remaining five cards are the communal board. The assumption in seven-card stud is that the pairs are the first two cards in the hole, with five cards to come (including the not-yet-dealt random door card [first face-up card] for each player). We will make these two individual pairs consist of four different suits.
Based on documented statistical studies involving 4,000,000 individual hands dealt, here is the difference: In Holdem, the pair of sevens wins 81 percent of the time, leaving you with only a 19 percent chance of winning with your pair of sixes. But, in seven-card stud, the pair of sevens wins 58 percent of the time, leaving you with a much-more-significant 42 percent chance of winning with your pair of sixes.
- Poker Tip # 38 - In 7-Stud, Sometimes You Should Call Even When The Odds Are Bad On that last river card, you want to be able to make good laydowns sometimes. Of course, most of the time you are supposed to call unless you have strong reasons not to, because the pot is usually very large relative to the size of the call. The rewards overwhelm the risks. Fine, but if you take poker seriously, you will look for opportunities to make quality laydowns. Overall, these save you money. Sometimes you can fold a strong hand when it is obvious that your opponent must have you beat. But wait ! You usually do not want your opponents to know you folded a strong hand, otherwise they will be inspired to take shots at you in the future and steal whole pots when you least suspect it. For this reason, seldom fold strong-looking hands on the river in 7-stud. If you have aces-up with aces showing among my face-up cards, you should be less likely to fold than if you have aces-up with no pair showing. Once an opponent realizes that you are making rational laydowns with quality hands, you are a target. you would much rather have opponents think you are going to call everything unless you have nothing. The general philosophy of poker is that you want to compete against loose, meek opponents who call you but do not bet into you. If you can do something to promote that weakness, even if it is a slightly bad call right now, when you have powerful cards showing, you are often going to make that call despite the odds.
- Poker Tip # 39 - In Holdem, it is Usually Better Not To Raise From The Big Blind. When many opponents just call your big blind, you should seldom raise unless you have a powerful hand. Intermediate strength is seldom enough to justify your option to raise from the big blind position. that is because you will need to act early on all future rounds of betting, giving all or most of your opponents a positional advantage. Unless you have real strength, you will usually accept a free look at the flop.
- Poker Tip # 40 - Do not Tighten Up Against Loose Opponents. One of the worst common pieces of poker advice is that if your opponents play loose, you should play tight. This makes no sense. When your opponents are too liberal about the hands they enter pots with, that means most of the conservative hands you used to make money with are still profitable, but additionally you can play many more hands you could not have played profitably otherwise. Although you should not play as loose as your opponents, you have more opportunity for profit, because they are playing so poorly. So, relax your standards a little. do not play tighter. Play looser. (There are some specific hands that might make money in a typical game that are less profitable or not profitable at all in a very loose game, but that is beyond the scope of this tip, and it does not change the fact that you should be willing to play more hands against loose opponents.)
- Poker Tip # 41 - Exploiting No-Limit Weakness. Suppose you are playing heads-up, no-limit freeze-out. If you are playing perfectly, expect to win more consistently against an opponent who plays too tight than against an opponent who plays too loose.
- Poker Tip # 42 - Getting "Drawn Out On" Can Be A Good Thing. do not get frustrated when opponents play weak hands and draw out on you. Your goal in poker should be to get drawn out on with a larger portion of hands than your opponents. Why? Because the most skillful players are more selective about the hands they play. Often, the only way they can lose IS to be drawn out on. So, if that is how you are usually losing, that is probably a good sign.
- Poker Tip # 43 - Getting A Free Card By Checking. In all forms of Stud, Holdem and Omaha, you usually do not want to give free cards to weak hands, but you always want to get free cards when you hold weak hands. If you have a semi-hopeless hand that you will definitely surrender if your opponent bets, do not check quickly when you are first to act. it is usually better to hesitate slightly. Sophisticated opponents notice this, especially if you do not seem to be acting. Often they will check behind you and you will earn a free card. This tiny tidbit of psychology cannot hurt, and it sometimes helps you stumble into an unexpected winning hand -- a whole free pot, so to speak !
- Poker Tip # 44 - High Cards In Holdem Are Better Against Fewer Opponents. When you have low, coordinated cards, such as 8-7 of the same suit, you will generally fare better in the long run if you play against many opponents. However, high cards alone, such as A-K unsuited, A-Q unsuited, and K-Q unsuited usually have a greater profit expectation against just one or two opponents. The reason is that you are much more likely to win with ONLY a high pair, if the board helps you. Also, with high cards against just one opponent, you can win without helping at all a measurable percent of the time. You will almost never have that happen against a large field of opponents.
- Poker Tip # 45 - Holdem And Seven Stud In Four Words. The best way to describe the key to Holdem in two words is: HIGH CARDS. For seven stud it is: LIVE CARDS.
- Poker Tip # 46 - Holdem - Four Suited Cards On The Board. You should, of course, exercise caution when there are four cards of one suit on the board and you do not have a flush. But sometimes you should bet right into that board without a flush. The best time to bet is when you have two pair, three-of-a-kind, or a straight against a lone sophisticated player who has checked into you. If there were raises before the flop and parts of the four-flush on the board are high cards, especially an ace, figure it is more likely that your opponent does NOT have a flush. He/she is more apt than usual to hold high cards, and those high cards are likely to MATCH the suited cards on the board. There are fewer likely ranks that will provide your opponent with a flush, and it is more likely than usual that he has a pair. So, sometimes bet two pair. Not only can this be a profitable decision, the play will enhance your image.
- Poker Tip # 47 - Holdem Open-End Straight Draws Are Often Unprofitable. One of the key decisions in Holdem is whether to call a bet on the flop when you have an open-end straight draw. Often you should. But when it is close, you need to consider other things. Here are three: (1) If there are two suited cards on the flop, you are somewhat more likely to be beat by a flush, even if you make your straight. This can often turn a hand that would otherwise be slightly profitable (with three different suits flopping) into one that is slightly unprofitable. (2) If there is a pair on the flop, you are somewhat more likely to be beat by a full house or four of a kind, even if you make your straight. This, too, can often turn a hand that would otherwise be slightly profitable into one that is slightly unprofitable.
(3) Is your extra card high in rank? When a single card provides the open-end straight possibility (such as a flop of 9-7-6 when you hold K-8), the rank of that extra card is important You want an additional chance of making a pair big enough to win. Ace is best, of course. You will not often play hands that give you the opportunity to flop a small straight attempt with an unrelated extra card, but when you do, the rank of the extra card should often be the deciding factor. When whether to call with an open-end straight attempt is a close decision, you can use the three factors above to break the tie.
- Poker Tip # 48 - Holdem Danger On The Flop. When you are check-raised on the flop, be prepared to surrender often unless your hand has promise. it is tempting to bet aggressively when checked into and you hold a fairly weak hand. Betting is okay, because you might win the pot now, or you might win the pot against other opponents with similarly weak hands, even if they call. But a check-raise can mean trouble. it is tempting to call, because the price is cheap considering the amount of money already in the pot. But figure it is going to cost a lot more money to chase your opponent to the showdown. Unless you are against a tricky and sophisticated opponent who often check-raises as a bluff, pass. you will save money.
- Poker Tip # 49 - Holdem Starting Hand Rankings. In order to determine the rankings of Holdem starting hands (from best to worst), you must consider the number of opponents. A pair of eights will do better against fewer opponents, but speculative hands, such as JC 10C, do better against many opponents.
- Poker Tip # 50 - Holdem Suits. Many players underestimate the value of same-suit starting cards in Holdem. While it is true that flushes will only comprise a small portion of the hands you finish with, they comprise a large portion of the hands you win with. Here are two powerful rules for measuring the power of suited cards: (1) The larger the ranks, the less important it is that your starting hand is suited, because high ranks often win in other ways; (2) The fewer the number of opponents, the less important it is that your starting hand is suited, because it does not usually require great strength to beat a few opponents.
- Poker Tip # 51 - Holdem: Chasing A Flush With A Pair On Board. When you begin with two suited cards and flop two more -- meaning you need to catch one more of that suit on the 4th (turn) or 5th (river) cards, it is often correct to continue to pursue the pot. So, if you start with Kh-Jh in a fixed-limit game and the flop is 7H-AD-4H, you probably should call (and sometimes even bet, partially for deceptive purposes). But if there is a pair on that flop, such as 10H-10D-7H, you should often fold. Why? it is because the flush attempt is usually only marginally profitably (on average) without the pair present. The increased chances of you making a flush only to have it beat by a full house when a pair is present often makes the pursuit unprofitable. that is why, if you think the pursuit of the flush would only show a small profit without the pair, you should almost always fold with the pair present. Rare exceptions might involve times when you can use the presence of the pair to bluff or to posture.
- Poker Tip # 52 - How Good is King-Jack Offsuit In Holdem ? It depends on the type of game. Much of the modern literature ridicules the play of king-jack offsuit and similar hands that might be dominated. The truth is that in very conservative games, these hands are unprofitable from early positions and when calling an early position raise. Still, king-jack ranks high on the list of hands you might be dealt at random and even average players in loose games frequently make money with it overall. That statement is shocking to most advocates of tight entrance requirements, but it is the truth. Why is king-jack a winner, when many books say that it will usually be dominated by ace-king, king-queen, ace-jack ? it is because real-life players are out there indiscriminately playing hands like king-7, jack-5, and who knows what else. The net effect is that king-jack often dominates more than it is dominated, and under command of a skillful player it definitely earns a profit. This is not taking rakes into consideration by making this claim. But it is definitely true that, in a seat-rental game, king-jack offsuit at a loose table has a long-range profit expectation in many situations, even though players are traditionally ridiculed for playing it. Inexperienced players are safer not playing the hand, because they are likely to end up not knowing what to do after the flop. Beyond that, the value of king-jack in loose games is widely underestimated.
- Poker Tip # 53 - Aggression in the Blinds. With all but the most powerful of hands, you always can justify just calling, rather than raising, when you are in a blind position. Remember that you will be in poor position throughout future rounds of betting (except if you are the big blind against only the small blind). This gives you less of an advantage than it may seem, and makes a raise questionable. Also, when you are in a blind, it costs you less voluntary money to call than it costs other players. This means you are often getting a good deal to call, based on pot odds (the amount in the pot versus the amount it costs to call). But when you raise, the proportion of the money you have already blinded becomes less significant, and your pot odds diminish. it is hard to justify reducing pot odds with marginally strong hands when you will have poor position on future betting rounds.
- Poker Tip # 54 - Always be pleasant to play against. Yes, you can get opponents to "go on tilt" and lose additional money by aggravating them. But that is the wrong way to go about playing poker. In the long run, opponents will continue giving you easy money only if you make the experience as pleasant as possible. Never ridicule their play. If they beat you, be gracious. Weak opponents will give the most money to players who make winning with bad hands fun and losing painless. Try to be one of the players they do not mind losing to.
- Poker Tip # 55 - How Much Are Your Chips Worth In A Tournament ? do not be discouraged if you only have as many chips as you started with late in a common "proportional payoff" poker tournament. Most players think it is necessary to gather chips, but it is not. If you have the same $500 you started with after three-quarters of the players are eliminated, the same amount of money is out there against you as when the tournament began. It has not gotten any better or any worse. But what has gotten better is that there are fewer players contending for the cash prizes. Mathematically, your prospects of profit have increased. So, you are always better off with the same amount of chips later in a tournament than when the first hand was dealt. Remember, the trick is to survive. do not panic if your stacks do not grow. you would rather they would, but you are still better off, even if they stay the same.
- Poker Tip # 56 - How Tipping Is Like The Rake. You should think of tipping the same way as the rake. The winners of the pots pay. Therefore, there is a penalty for winning, and you need to play somewhat more conservatively. When the method of paying the house is seat rental (called "collection" in some places), everyone pays the same amount and there is no penalty for winning pots. In that case, you can play marginal hands that average only pennies in profit. With tipping, a few professional players pay a fixed amount to the dealer when they sit down or after they are done with their half-hour shift. If you do this, and do not vary the amount -- win or lose -- there is no tip penalty for winning pots, and you can actually play somewhat looser.
- Poker Tip # 57 - How To Dress For Poker. One excellent poker book claims that you should dress up in a business suit and a tie to play poker. The idea is that this gives you a psychological advantage over others by making you seem successful and professional. You gain an intimidation factor, it is alleged. The most important thing you can do about clothing is to dress very comfortably. Cotton works for me. A professional image is precisely the wrong one to bring to the poker table. You want to look as if you are fun to play with and not particularly out to win everyone’s money. Winning the money should appear accidental to your opponents. Try to appear unpredictable, not too serious, and willing to gamble. You will make much more money with that image, even if you play essentially the same strategy.
Dress to make yourself comfortable and behave in a way that makes your opponents more comfortable about losing to you. Dressing to appear businesslike is wrong for poker.
- Poker Tip # 58 - How To Randomize Your Poker Decisions. Against very weak opponents, it is usually not necessary to randomize your decisions. You do not need to be very deceptive, because a straightforward strategy will usually earn the most money. But against more experienced players it is a good idea to mix it up, as long as you do not sacrifice too much in the process. But how do you randomize ? There are many ways to do this, some simple, some elaborate. One very easy way is to decide to choose the standard play for close decisions (such as mostly calling, but sometimes raising) three-quarters (75 percent) of the time and the exception one-quarter (25 percent) of the time. For situations in which a three-to-one ratio of standard play to exception seems reasonable to you, you can simply consider the suit of the FIRST card dealt to you. If it is a spade, choose the exception and raise (for the sake of this example). If it is any other suit, go with the standard play and just call. As an extra precaution against the unlikely event that an opponent will catch on, you might change the exception suit from time to time. You could change it each session or even each hour.
- Poker Tip # 59 - If you are Bluffing, do not Move. Your opponents have a calling reflex. They came to your poker game hoping to be in action and hoping to call bets. They have a deep bias against folding. So, anything you do is apt to look suspicious and give them a reason to call. We have previously talked about deliberately triggering this calling reflex when you have a strong hand. You can jitter, wiggle, talk, or seem animated. This gives them reasons to call. Fine. But the opposite is also true. If you are bluffing, it is usually a mistake to be animated. The more you do, the more suspicious they become, and the more apt you are to be called. The secret to how you should conduct yourself when you bluff is to be as unnoticeable as possible. But do not be too rigid and unmoving or your opponent might consider that suspicious in itself. The trick is to be as inconspicuous as possible without overdoing it.
- Poker Tip # 60 - If you are Sometimes Stuck With Kings In Holdem. do not make the mistake of routinely throwing away a pocket pair of kings in Holdem when an ace flops. Rather than being proud because you have the discipline to fold, you should be concerned that, overall, you are costing yourself money. that is because when you have kings and, say, ace-jack-nine flops, bettors can be gambling that no opponent holds and ace. They may be pushing pairs of jacks or nines for profit. They may even hold a smaller pocket pairs than your kings, or a straight or flush draw. Or they may be bluffing. Yes, you are going to lose often, but you have got to hang in there much of the time with those kings. On average, you will make more profit by calling than folding. Remember, unless you have a solid read on your opponents and know they would not bet without aces or you detect a tell that indicates strength, you should usually call.
- Poker Tip # 61 - Are Small-Limit Games Too Loose To Beat ?. Many poker players complain that small-limit rake games are so loose that good players with solid strategies cannot win in the long run. that is wrong. You should never complain about these small-limit games being too loose. In fact, you probably would not be able to beat these games if you were against sensible opponents, even if you had a skill advantage. Why? it is because the rake in small-limit games is a larger burden compared to the size of the pot. While you might outplay more conservative opponents, you probably will not be able to overcome the rake. You need those super-loose opponents to overcome the rake, even though it may be frustrating because they hang in there and draw out on you so often. Just remember, you will have to endure that frustration to win.
- Poker Tip # 62 - Ask Opponents For Their Opinions. Nothing gives you more information about how an opponent plays than simply asking. Most people are flattered when you ask how they would play a hand. One can learn a lot of information about day-in and day-out opponents simply by asking questions. Often an opponent will volunteer information about their play, while proudly answering your questions, that you might not learn in weeks of observation.
- Poker Tip # 63 - Whom To Attack In Tournaments. The most common types of poker tournaments are the "proportional payoff" variety. that is where, as players are eliminated, tables are consolidated until the survivors meet at a final table and first place wins all the chips. But first place does not get to keep all the money, so there is -- in effect -- a penalty for winning. This means survival is worth more than using many sophisticated tactics that would earn extra profit in non-tournament games. So, you should avoid high-risk, seemingly profitable finesses and play more conservatively in order to survive and win more of the prize pool. Fine. But, correct strategy for these tournaments also requires that you attack mostly players with fewer chips than you have. This provides two advantages:
(1) You cannot be eliminated by those players, so you will survive even if you lose the pot; (2) If you win the pot, you will eliminate the short-stacked opponent and automatically move up in the money.
- Poker Tip # 64 - Why Convey Optimism ?One of the big mistakes players make is to slump in their seats and seem defeated when they are losing. This just encourages opponents who are ready to take advantage of your misery. they will play better against you, because you have made yourself a target -- someone they have increased hopes of beating. Of course, the fact that you are losing, in itself, inspires your opponents. But do not make it worse. Continue to act confidently, laugh, make your moves animated and assured. This will make your opponents less likely to leverage all their advantages against you. If you can keep them from betting or raising just one time when they have an advantage, you have earned something. And you are more likely to do that if you convey optimism, rather than surrender emotionally.
- Poker Tip # 65 - Know How Your Opponent Is Playing Right Now. it is a mistake to categorize most poker players as loose or tight and respond accordingly without taking into consideration their present frame of mind. There are very few players who consistently play one rigid way. The exception might be the true "rocks" who never waiver and only play their very best hands. Aside from that, most opponents change their strategy frequently. Sometimes this is calculated and sometimes it is governed by emotions. The important thing is to adapt your strategy to the way an opponent is playing right now. that is usually more profitable than adapting to the way an opponent plays on average.
- Poker Tip # 66 - Late In A No-Limit Tournament -- Moving All-In. it is very late in a no-limit, percentage-payoff poker tournament. You have a huge stack. You should often raise the first short-stack bettor by moving all-in against two or more short stacks behind you with a medium-strong hand. That is assuming your opponents are rational and there is no player with a big stack waiting to act. They simply cannot call without huge hands, because they need to survive and move up a position. Rational opponents will seldom risk calling with their entire stacks, even when holding strong hands with moderate advantages.This tactic should be almost a routine play for you, under those circumstances.
- Poker Tip # 67 - Loose vs. Tight Opponents. You should expect to make more money against too-loose players in the long run; but, in the short run, you are more certain to win something against too-tight opponents.
- Poker Tip # 68 - Maximizing Positional Advantage. Remember, players to your left always act after you and get to see what you do before they decide. This "positional advantage" in poker is so powerful, that you should neutralize it by making opponents on your left less likely to pick on you. Do this by striking up friendly conversation, sharing information about my hand (after the pot is determined, of course), buying them coffee, and more. Never intentionally irritate players on your left. there is no reason to motivate them to maximize their positional advantage. Usually go to war with players on my right, where you have position working in your favor, not against you.
- Poker Tip # 69 - Listen For Sighs. Poker players who sigh and subsequently bet usually hold big hands. they are trying to appear sad in an attempt to fool you. Among more sophisticated opponents, the sigh will not be obvious. you will have to listen closely, but it is often there -- and it is usually an act, whether subtle or more obvious. Although this powerful tell will not help you much playing online poker in today's environment, it is one you should use against opponents sitting at the same physical table in traditional poker games. Seldom call a sigh.
- Poker Tip # 70 - Long Range Benefits Of Being Gracious. do not ridicule opponents mistakes. you will motivate them, and they will play better. Always make it as comfortable as possible for your opponents to lose. The only strategically acceptable exception is you have busted them permanently. Then if you ridicule them, it cannot cost you anything in the future. it is just bad manners. A similar Mad Genius concept applies to real life: If you are not going to kill them, let them save face.
- Poker Tip # 71 - More Bad News For Holdem Small Pairs In Early Seats. it is usually wrong to call the big blind early with small pairs, such as 2-2, 3-3, and 4-4. Many things work against these Holdem hands, such as (1) you can make three of a kind and lose to a larger three-of-a-kind, (2) if you get lucky enough that your pair might matter, a bigger pair (or bigger two-pair when there is a major pair on board and your second pair is not large enough) might beat you, and (3) two bigger pairs might show up on the board, leaving you with essentially no hand at all. But if this argument does not convince you, here is some more bad news: You usually can afford to call a single raise after you call the blind with a small pair, but not a double raise. So, if you call, and there is a raise, and then there is a re-raise, you should usually fold. But in folding, you are surrendering a first bet without any shot at the pot whatsoever. People who are trying to analyze whether these small pairs are profitable in an early position, seldom mention the fact that you might have to throw the hand away without seeing the flop. So, even if you can argue that the small pair is a close decision without the forced-to-fold factor, it is not a close decision when that factor is correctly considered. Once again: Seldom play small pairs from an early position, unless you are in a very loose game with very timid opponents who do not raise aggressively AND you can outplay those opponents on later betting rounds. If you never play these small pairs at all from early seats, you will not be sacrificing much.
- Poker Tip # 72 - Never complain about Bad Luck. Among the worst things you can do at a poker table is complain about bad luck. Complaining does not make your opponents sympathetic, it just makes them think, "Hey, there is someone unluckier than I am -- someone I can beat!" When your opponents think you are unlucky, they are often inspired and they play better against you. What you need to do is condition yourself to convey to opponents that you are lucky. there is nothing they fear more than luck, not even skill. The luckier your opponents think you are, the more they will be intimidated and the more they will fall into line and let you manipulate them. Of course, there is no such thing as predictable luck -- good or bad. Luck just happens and we only see it after the fact. Over a very long time, everything is sure to almost even out and luck becomes a non-factor. But, what you need to realize is that by complaining about bad luck when it happens, you are helping your opponents and hurting yourself. that is why we say the affirmation at my seminars. It will not change your luck, but it will keep you from feeling unlucky and complaining. The affirmation is: "I am a lucky player. A powerful winning force surrounds me." That "powerful winning force" is probability working in your favor when you play correctly. Over 10,000 players have said the affirmation and many have contacted me to explain how it runs through their head over and over when they are about to complain and keeps them feeling positive. Say it to yourself before you play. It will work in your favor.
- Poker Tip # 73 - Occasionally Raise When you are "On The Come". In poker, "on the come" means that you have not made any kind of hand that is likely to win yet. But you have an opportunity to connect and make a very strong hand. "On the come" is almost always interpreted to mean you are trying for a straight or a flush. Betting on the come is a professional tactic that has powerful benefits. Although the tactic often fails in the hands of inexperienced players, you should probably experiment with it and use it occasionally -- even if you do not currently play at a professional level. The best time to bet on the come is when you are last to act. This means that opponents who call your bet will often check to you on the next round. If you connect, you just keep betting -- giving you built-in deception, because opponents may figure you for something other than the straight or flush -- or, if you miss, you can check and get a free opportunity to connect on the next card.
- Poker Tip # 74 - Deception In Seven Stud. Reserve seven stud deception mostly for the early rounds of betting. Unless there are breathtaking reasons to act differently, choose your most obvious strategy on fifth street and beyond.
- Poker Tip # 75 - Do not Over Concentrate. Some poker players try to concentrate too hard in the course of a game. They burn themselves out in the first hour and cannot play extended sessions in top form, even when the games are very profitable. Concentration is good in poker, but do not force it to the extent that you are uncomfortable. That adds pennies to your immediate profit, but can actually cost you money overall, because you do not pace yourself and you cannot get as many hours into profitable games.
- Poker Tip # 76 - Omaha High-Low And Psychology. it is important to understand that high-low split poker games, and Omaha high-low, in particular, do not demand the emphasis on psychology that other forms of poker do. When you are playing Omaha high-low, do not sacrifice sound mathematical strategy to try to influence opponents. Advertising is usually costly. Why? Because high-low players tend to play their cards like bingo. They make their decisions primarily on the strength of their hands and are often almost oblivious to the strategies of opponents. In high-low, reduce you emphasis on psychology and play your cards.
- Poker Tip # 77 - Positioning Yourself In A Blind Game. In general (for reasons I have discussed elsewhere), you should sit to the left of the loosest players and act after they do. Sometimes, it is hard to decide what the best-available seat is, though, and there are other factors you should consider. For instance, in Holdem, Omaha, and other blind games, it is worth money if opponents are too conservative in blind positions. that is why it is often profitable to sit to the right of players who do not adequately defend their blinds, giving you an opportunity to steal those blinds by acting first, and to the left of players who do not attack the blinds liberally enough -- so that you can get an occasional free "walk" when you might have otherwise folded.
- Poker Tip # 78 - Raising Blind In Blind Games. In short-handed games or when everyone had folded and you are in the dealer position or in the small blind, you quite often raise without looking at your cards. And you let your opponents know you are raising blind. The reason is that this turns out to be very cheap advertising. It enhances your image as a "gambler" -- as somebody other players are willing to play more loosely against, supply you more profit in the future. What does it cost ? Not much, because -- if your image is dynamic and your opponents are non-threatening and timid -- you are going to raise in those situations the majority of the time, anyway. Occasionally, you will find yourself with a hand you might have folded, but even then, the average expected loss is not that great. If you are a knowledgeable and aggressive player with an edge against your opponents, you are not usually giving up anything by attacking from the button or small blind when nobody else has entered. And on the times when the play is unprofitable, the sacrifice is usually only a small fraction of one bet, on average. Advertising in this way can often bring in much more in psychological benefits than it loses at face value.
- Poker Tip # 79 - Raising With Small Pairs From Late Position In Holdem. Although you can often call profitably with a small pair against a long line of players in Holdem, when you are in late position and no one has entered the pot, it is different. Then, you should usually raise, not just call. The reason is that against many players, you are trying to take advantage of pot odds by calling and seeing the flop. You realize that you will almost certainly need to improve your hand to win against that many opponents. But when you are in late position, you can raise hoping to end up one-on-one or to win the blinds outright. If you do end up against just one opponent, there is a good chance your small pair might be enough win the pot, affording you an extra chance to win that you would seldom enjoy against many opponents. The raise is designed to chase players out and give yourself that extra chance to win.
- Poker Tip # 80 - Rake vs. Rent. When the house rakes money directly from your pot, you need a bigger advantage to call and raise. If you are renting your seat by the hour, you should play more liberally.
- Poker Tip # 81 - Take notes when you play. On most on-line sites there is a little "notes" box that you can click on and jot down small tidbits of information along and along during a game. An example of this would be keeping a list of hands that a particular player shows down. Another example would be to keep track of your own play so that you can review it at a later time and fine-tune your play. Also, when playing online at a particular site, one will notice that at certain limits and in certain rooms, it is common to see the same players so keeping track of their betting patterns and what hands they show down is extremely helpful. There are a few great programs out there that auto track lots of information, one must just be certain not to become dependent on this software and use it strictly as a supplement.
- Poker Tip # 82 - Play smaller tournaments first. The reasons for this are many, but mainly to gain confidence at the lower levels if you are able to dominate them. Playing in these small buy-in tournaments, one can receive a ton of experience for just a little bit of cash, with incentive to win some pretty decent prizes if you make it to the end.
- Poker Tip # 83 - Razz Proposition Bet. Try betting someone that if they shuffle a standard 52-card deck and deal out 7 cards, you will end up with a seven stud low (razz) hand ranking 9, 10 or jack for low. You must have precisely one of those three hands to win. If you have an eight, a seven, a six or a bicycle, you lose. If you have a queen or a king for low, you lose. If you have a pair or worse for low, you lose. you will get takers on this one, and you have the best of it! you will win just over half the time--50.6%.
- Poker Tip # 84 - Seating. You will make more money in the long run if you choose a seat to the left of loose players. By acting after them, you trap them in your pots when you raise. If you act first, your raise will often chase them out and you will win nothing from them.
- Poker Tip # 85 - Seldom Re-raise As The Big Blind In Holdem. First, you need to know that you can re-raise as the big blind when an aggressive, blind-stealing-type opponent raises in the small blind after everyone else folds. You do not need a very strong hand to justify that re-raise, because even if you are beat by a mediocre hand, the re-raise gives you psychological leverage to add to your positional advantage. Remember, you will get to act last on all betting rounds.
But in all other circumstances, while you should vary your play, and you can certainly sometimes justify re-raising when you are in the big blind position, usually you will make more money by waiting to see the flop. Among the many reasons for this, these important ones come to mind: (1) If the small blind is not involved in the pot, you will have the disadvantage of acting first on all future betting rounds. (2) With all but aces and, perhaps, kings, the strength of your hand is not usually defined until after you see the flop. You really do not know if it is strong or weak. Unlike stud games where your strength often changes slowly, one card at a time, the three-card flop strongly defines your hand in Holdem. Although your cards may be strong enough for you to believe that you have a likelihood of having the best hand, that edge is usually not enough to justify a re-raise and risk facing yet another raise from a rare hand that might truly dominate you. This is especially true because of your poor position. (3) Why announce that you have a fairly strong hand if you do not have to? The very tiny edge of pushing a hand you think might be slightly better than your opponents' hands is often overwhelmed by the fact that you are giving away information unnecessarily. Of course, this show of strength can sometimes work in your favor (and you CAN use it deceptively with weak hands), but it is more likely to work against you by chasing away weak callers and the long-range profit they might supply on future betting rounds. If you just call, opponents will think you might have anything, from very weak hands to moderately strong ones or better. You keep your options open on future betting rounds, and you can fold more easily, having invested less, if the flop disappoints you. For these reasons and others, you should usually not re-raise in the big blind with moderately strong hands, except when isolated with only the small blind.
- Poker Tip # 86 - Seven Stud Flushes. A starting hand like K-Q-10 of mixed suits is usually better than one like J-6-3 of the same suit. that is because the king-high straight can easily win with high pairs without making a straight, whereas the small suited hand will more often need to complete a flush to win.
- Poker Tip # 87 - Shifting Gears. One of the most widely discussed strategies by professional poker players is called "shifting gears." As an example of shifting gears, you might change suddenly from very aggressive, loose play to very defensive, conservative play. The theory is that you put opponents off balance, because you always make the adjustment before they recognize and try to adjust to it. While shifting gears can be important, you need to do it for a specific purpose. Remember that if opponents are not observant or do not react incorrectly -- by calling too much when you shift to tight gear or by folding too much when you suddenly shift to loose gear -- then you are wasting your time shifting gears. In particular, it is usually a mistake to shift gears in loose, small-limit games where opponents treat poker like bingo and make decisions more on the strength of their own cards than on how they perceive you. If your poker opponents do not adjust unwisely to your gear shifts, do not shift.
- Poker Tip # 88 - Sitting Next To The Dealer. One advantage of taking a seat next to the dealer in a real-world casino is that when you fold, it is easy to slide your cards toward the center of the table without fanfare. When I am trying to create a loose image that will get me extra calls, I want to draw attention to hands I play, but I want to fold as inconspicuously as possible. When I am sitting next to the dealer, one gains the psychological advantage of being able to fold without drawing much attention to the act.
- Poker Tip # 89 - Sizing Up A Game By The Laughter And How They Lose. When you have a choice of games to enter, you frequently should choose the one with the most laughter. Laughter often means people are not playing too seriously. Silence is what should be avoided. That usually means a table full of serious players who will not enjoy throwing me their money. Avoid such tables unless you are honing your skills against tough competition just for the practice. Also look to see if players lose pots graciously. If players are angry when they lose, that is a bad sign. Favor opponents who do not greatly mind losing. These usually are the most profitable opponents, and they add to a congenial atmosphere that makes the whole game more comfortable and beatable.
- Poker Tip # 90 - Smoking At The Poker Table. Many players are irritated by opponents smoking at the poker table. If you are in a game where smoking is allowed, there is a powerful tell that often surfaces. If a player who is smoking bets and then exhales a cloud of smoke, that player is relaxed and probably holds a big hand. If, on the other hand, the player swallows the smoke, lets it out in barely noticeable wisps or does not exhale at all, there is a very good chance you are facing a bluff.
- Poker Tip # 91 - it is Sometimes Better To Be Betting Than Checking In Seven-Card-Stud. One game where it is regularly better to bet than check on early betting rounds is seven-card stud. If you have no pair, you might want to represent one by betting. Usually, this is partially a bluff, because you want to get your opponent out and take the pot early, and partially speculative in the event you stumble into a straight or a flush.The player calling may have a small pair or no pair at all, hoping to make something. Neither one of you has much to brag about Now if you make a pair on your board, another bet will often win the pot for you immediately. Even an opponent with a pair (especially if it is smaller than yours) may give up without without a fight, fearing you had a big pair in the hole or just made three of a kind. When you have been the aggressor and improve, it is hard for a previously reluctant caller to call again. This means you can often win pots without a struggle by betting "prematurely" that you might have lost in a showdown or folded to your opponent's bet had you checked on earlier rounds.
- Poker Tip # 92 - Take A Break Before you are Broke. Poker can sometimes be a mysterious blend of frustration and aggravation. Most players do not play their best game when things are going poorly at the table. A lot of the mental energy they need to make correct decisions quickly is used up worrying about their temporary bad luck. When this happens to you, you should get up from the table (whether online or in the real world) and take a walk. Keep walking until your confidence returns.
- Poker Tip # 93 - Sometimes You Should Stop Listening To Opponents And Watch What They Do. it is important to listen for audible tells. So, you should not ignore what you hear -- except sometimes. Many opponents have vocal mannerisms that are so misleading that it is almost impossible not to make incorrect conclusions about their style of play. In particular, some players have persistent, even irritating, habits of banter that suggest a very loose and carefree style of play. But beware ! Whether these speech patterns are deliberately intended to mislead you or simply integral to the opponent's true personality, often this vocal image misrepresents the actual strategies used. You should temporarily close your ears to the banter and focus on how that opponent actually plays -- the way you would if you were playing online where you cannot hear your opponents, instead of in a real-world game. You might get a different impression and be able to choose counter-tactics that are more profitable. Or you might find that the opponent is, indeed, just as carefree and loose as suggested by the vocal mannerisms. In either case, it is worth knowing. The trick is to stop listening long enough to see what is really happening.
- Poker Tip # 94 - Staying Out Of Games If You Know About Cheating. Some old-time players think they should merely stay out of poker games when they know scammers are seated. That is not enough ! You have an ethical obligation to warn management and other players if you know for sure cheating is happening in a game. If you do not do this, you are saving yourself, but allowing others to be cheated out of their money. Honest management is always interested in information that will help them protect their games. The notion that you should mind your own business if someone is scamming a game that you are not involved in is repugnant. It IS your business ! It is the business of all ethical players to keep games honest for everyone.
- Poker Tip # 95 - Strange Fact About Ace-To-Five. you are playing ace-to-five lowball. As is traditional, there is a joker in the deck. you are less likely to be dealt a pat six-four (6-4-3-2-A) than a pat bicycle (5-4-3-2-A). The odds are 1400-1 against a six-four; 1245-1 against a bicycle. The reason is that when you have 4-3-2-A and a joker, the joker always serves as a five, never a six.
- Poker Tip # 96 - Take A Walk. Anytime you feel “glued to your seat," get up and take a walk. Players often find themselves so absorbed in the excitement of the poker game, that they stop thinking objectively. The best way to cure this is to simply get up from the table when they feel it is difficult to do so.
- Poker Tip # 97 - The Difference Between Aces And Kings In Holdem. In Holdem, you hear a lot of talk about aces and kings being the ultimate hands. that is true, but do not be too quick to put them in the same category, as many players do. A pair of aces before the flop logically belongs in a category all to itself. Here is how often each hand wins against nine opponents holding random hands when everyone stays to the river: (1) A-A = 31% (21 percentage points higher than a fair share)
(2) K-K = 26% (16 percentage points higher than a fair share). What really makes the difference is that, when you consider actual betting strategy, A-A is much more likely to gain extra bets and to stay out of trouble. For this reason, in the hands of a professional, A-A can be almost twice as profitable as K-K overall in a full-handed game. that is something to keep in mind.
- Poker Tip # 98 - Truth About Aces In Holdem. Despite common advice, you do not want to raise with aces in order to chase players out of the pot before the flop in Holdem. That pair of aces usually makes as much money or more with extra opponents chasing you. That does not mean you should not raise. But it means when you do raise, you are usually doing so hoping opponents will call, not fold. Thinning the field has its moments, but -- contrary to what you have heard -- raising with aces before the flop for that purpose is not one of them.
- Poker Tip # 99 - Two Big Kickers Are Often Enough When You Have A Small Pair In Seven-Card Stud. After the fourth card, should you chase down a probable pair of jacks with a smaller pair in seven-card stud? It depends on many factors -- the number of players, the exact cards exposed, the betting sequence, the habits of opponents, tells, and more. Remember, the decision you make on fourth street is very important, because -- under most casino structures -- the fixed limits double on the next betting round. You will almost always continue to pursue the pot for a single bet when you have two cards higher than the probable opposing pair and you do not see a higher card than my kickers in that opponent's hand. So, if your cards are 4-A-4-Q and you suspect a pair of jacks and see no higher cards in that hand, you will still play (in fact, you will sometimes bet out and sometimes raise if bet into). that is because if you make another pair, you are likely to have two pair larger than those your opponent would most likely make (jacks up). If you have 4-3-4-10, though, I would almost always fold. If you have only one higher card, such as 4-K-4-10, you usually should fold, but sometimes call. Of course, this explanation is very simplistic, but it is a profitable guideline when there are no obvious other factors guiding your decision.
- Poker Tip # 100 - The Importance Of Choosing The Right Game. If you are playing in a home game, you probably do not have much choice, except whom to invite and whether to play. But if you are playing poker in a public casino or online, you will have plenty of choices. you will have different types of poker to choose from and different limits, and sometimes you will be able to select from two or more tables of the same type and limit. For all but the top world-class players, the profit comes from playing against the right opponents. By "right," we mean weak. Remember who plays poorly and seek them out in the future. If you are not sure, watch games before taking a seat. Sure, you can occasionally hone your skills by playing against tough competition, but direct profit comes mostly from weak opponents. Sometimes we get lazy and do not want to get out of our seats and change tables. We do not want to take half an hour to drive to another casino where games may be more profitable. But, remember, you must have a significant advantage over your poker opponents to make money in casinos. You have to pay the rent or the rake, plus other expenses. It is not good enough to just be slightly better than your opponents. You need a serious edge. The most successful players are careful about which tables they sit at -- and sometimes they decide not to play at all right now. In fact, looking at games in terms of how profitable each table is and taking a seat on that basis alone can be the biggest key to profit. Fairly good players who pay attention to table selection can make huge incomes for their poker careers, while even better players, who pay less attention to table selection, can struggle and sometimes make no money at all.
- Poker Tip # 101 - The Simplest Truth About Beating Poker. The main secret to winning at poker is simply to play your best game all the time. That seems too silly to mention. But, apparently, most players do not do it. Do you realize that you can give away a whole month's worth of disciplined poker profit in one night. So, it is not good enough to play your best game most of the time. All of the time is what you should strive for.
- Poker Tip # 102 - The Terrible Truth About Deuces In Holdem. Even if you play all the way to a showdown in Holdem, if you start with a pair of deuces, the odds against you catching at least one more deuce among the five board cards are 4.2 to 1. you will only succeed 19 percent of the time. When you consider that you are unlikely to win without seeing a third deuce, that you might lose -- often at some expense -- even when you do see one, and that it will probably cost you considerably more money to get to that last river card, you can understand why a pair of deuces is usually unprofitable to play in Holdem.
- Poker Tip # 103 - The Value Of Trickery. The more you can manipulate opponents, the more potential profit you can earn. Fine. But the big secret is that you cannot manipulate using fine strokes and precise control if opponents do not understand what is expected. For this reason, beginners and those with limited poker skills are not good targets for fancy poker plays. Sure, they can be manipulated, but only in broad ways, such as teasing them into calling. You probably will not be able to use trickery to get them to make daring laydowns. For this reason, you should save your fancy plays for sophisticated opponents -- and only use them sparingly.
- Poker Tip # 104 - Tournament Chances. If all players are equal, the odds against you winning first place in a poker tournament corresponds to the amount of money you must still gather vs. the amount you already control. For instance, if ten opponents each have $500 in chips and you have $1000 in chips, it is 5-1 against you winning the tournament. that is because there is $5000 you still must win weighed against the $1000 you already have. (Note that in real life tournaments, this estimate will be imperfect for several reasons. The most important is that players who can go all-in have a better chance of winning pots.)
- Poker Tip # 105 - Tournament Strangeness. Most poker tournaments use a proportional payout. This means that the prize pool is distributed in predetermined percentages. First place may get 40 percent, second place 25 percent, third place 15 percent, and so on. You need to know that there is a powerful concept governing how you should play. The winner must gather all the chips and then give most of them back in prize money to other close finishers already conquered. Because of this, the quest for survival changes your strategy. Mathematically, it becomes more profitable to make safe decisions in order to survive than to maximize your chance of winning first place by taking advantage of every small edge. So, you should be more conservative about the hands you play, especially late in a tournament. And you should be more reluctant to make daring raises for value. You need to play tight in these tournaments, if profit is your motive. Conversely, if profit is not your motive and you just want to go after first place and the trophy, you can ignore this advice. you will be more likely to win that trophy, but less likely to earn extra profit.
- Poker Tip # 106 - Watch For Folded Arms. One tell that you can find quite profitable is folded arms. When an opponent slumps or leans back in his chair and folds his arms between hands, he is in defensive and patient mode. do not expect this player to suddenly get inspired and play a weak hand for the excitement. When this player leans forward and decides to play, it is almost always a legitimate hand. The folded-arms type of player is content to lean back and wait. do not expect to see weak-starting-hands.
- Poker Tip # 107 - Watch Them At The River In 7-Stud. In reading poker tells, one of the most important things to do is watch your opponents look at the final river card. If it helps them, they are very likely to only look for a short time. Then they will quickly place the card facedown and try to look uninterested, perhaps staring away from the approaching betting action. This is a ploy to make you think the card was not a good one, and whenever you see this mannerism, you should be wary, and you should not bet or call with marginal hands. Conversely, if the opponent keeps staring at the card longer than necessary, that is an indication that it did not help. he is trying to make you think that he is interested in it. He is not, and you can bet medium-strong hands for profit.
- Poker Tip # 108 - What Happens If you are Nervous When Making A Bet With A Big Hand ? Actually, you should not worry about appearing nervous when you are making a bet with a big hand that you think will win. Beginners and intermediate players often exhibit this type of "happy" nervousness naturally, and trying to disguise it can cost you money. that is because opponents think nervousness is suspicious and are more likely to call.
- Poker Tip # 109 - what is The Best Game For You ? For most of us with poker skills, it is much better to play poker than craps or roulette. that is because at poker, you can control the odds by making quality decisions. Good players eventually beat bad players. But when you play craps or roulette, it is you against the house and the odds are in their favor. But, wait! do not be too critical of someone else for choosing craps over poker. You see, an unskilled player might have a better chance at craps, where the odds against winning a bet remain fixed, but not overwhelming. A poor poker player has a much worse chance of winning tonight at poker than at craps. This leads to three conclusions: (1) Be careful who you play poker against, and try not to be overmatched. (2) do not gamble too big while you are learning to play poker. (3) do not ridicule others for choosing a no-win casino game, because they might do even worse at poker.
- Poker Tip # 110 - When Not To Bet. You should be very reluctant to bet a marginally strong hand into a consistent bluffer. you will often make more money checking and calling (Note, though, that if the bluffer will not bet most losing hands he would have called with, you should bet).
- Poker Tip # 111 - When To Hesitate. In poker, the time to hesitate is when you really need more time to resolve a close decision. Often things will occur to you given a little extra time. Or, under the extra pressure, your opponent may provide you with a tell. You might occasionally also hesitate for deception, so that alert opponents cannot determine that your pause always means you have a close decision. Also, sometimes when you make a final bet with a big hand, you will be more likely to be called if you do not bet instantly. Well, if you do not bet ALMOST instantly. Because both a bet delayed for a few extra seconds and an unreasonably quick one are apt to make your opponents suspicious and more likely to be called. But, unless there is a specific reason to hesitate, you should usually make all your bets, calls, and raises crisply and confidently -- because this enhances your image and speeds up the game.
- Poker Tip # 112 - When you are Losing. it is often important to play aggressive poker and establish a dominant image. However, you should sometimes abandon your aggressive play when you are losing. that is because other players unconsciously feel they can beat you. They then become inspired and play better. This little understood concept means that your normal value bets and raises will suddenly be unprofitable! One of the great secrets to poker strategy is that you can play much more aggressively when your opponents are intimidated by you than when they are not.
- Poker Tip # 113 - Where Your Profit Comes From At Poker. When you play poker, what determines your fate? Is it how good you are? Is it how bad your opponents are ? No ! Actually, it is the DIFFERENCE between your skill and that of your opponents. Really good players can lose for their lifetimes by playing against tough competition. And much less accomplished players can win for their lifetimes by playing against weak competition. Always remember that and try to choose games where you have skills greater than your opponents. that is a major secret to winning.
- Poker Tip # 114 - Which Game Should You Play - Holdem Or Seven-Card Stud ? If you have a choice between playing holdem against novices and seven-card stud against novices, choose holdem. Although seven-card stud is more complex, the mistakes beginners make in holdem are costlier (and, so, more profitable to you). For an experienced pro, seven-card stud is often the more profitable choice against average-and-better opponents, though. You can expect more bankroll fluctuations playing seven-card stud, and it usually takes longer for the skill factor to overwhelm the luck factor.
- Poker Tip # 115 - Small Pair From Early Positions In Holdem. Analysis has shown that pairs smaller than fives are not usually profitable from early positions in a limit Holdem game. This is true whether the game is loose or tight. Fives are about break-even when played correctly on the flop and beyond. You might play these small-pair hands on rare occasions, just to make your strategy seem more bewildering to opponents. When you do, you should almost mostly call in hopes of seeing the flop cheaply, while raising only once in a long while for deception. If you follow this formula -- seldom play tiny pairs from early positions and when you do almost always just call -- you will make the most profit in the long run.
- Poker Tip # 116 - Small Pairs From Early Position In Holdem. computer simulations and other analysis suggest that most Holdem players will not make a profit with pairs of deuces, threes, and fours for their lifetimes. There is an argument that these hands are worth playing in very loose games, but you cannot be sure. You need to be very selective. When you have one of these small-pair hands in an early position, it is tough to anticipate how many players will come into the pot if you just-call the big blind. Will you be raised ? there is lots to think about. it is often OK to call after many players have called already, but it is more risky to gamble from an early position in anticipation of a lot of callers. And you often need many callers to justify the odds of playing a small pair and hoping to make at least three of a kind. Remember, in addition to not knowing what your opponents will do, you will be in an inferior position -- having to act first -- on all future betting rounds. You have to think about what is wrong with a pair of deuces. One bad thing is that occasionally you can catch a third deuce while someone with a pair of, say, sixes catches a third six. Obviously, you would rather have these hands reversed. And if a big pair hits the board and two pair beats two pair, it is not going to be your two pair that wins. Also, these small pair often end up having absolutely no value! That happens when two bigger pair hit the board. If the board contains two kings and two fives, then an opponent with two sixes has kings and sixes, while you -- holding a pair of deuces -- have a worthless hand and must play what is on the board. All things considered, most Holdem players should usually fold small pairs in early positions.
- Poker Tip # 117 - Winning If They Never Call. To grasp the difference between too-tight and too-loose players, think about this. If players always call, you will probably win; but if players never call, you will certainly win.
- Poker Tip # 118 - Winning Pots. Our main objective in limit poker is not to win pots. In fact, the biggest lifetime losers are the players who win the most pots ! Why ? Because they are always there at the showdown. If a pot can be won, they usually win it, whether it was a good gamble or not. Sure, there are some professional tricks that can help you win pots average players would not. But in general, the players who win the most pots lose the most money! Be selective about the hands you play.
- Poker Tip # 119 - Yes, You Can Play Poker If you are Impaired ! there is a common bit of advice in poker that is almost universally accepted, but it is wrong. The advice is that you should never play poker if you are tired, distracted, or have been drinking. The intent of this advice is good, but the application is terrible.
The truth is that in poker you profit when you have an advantage over your opponents. You can play poker without sleeping for days as long as you are against opponents who are also impaired or who are much weaker than you are -- even in your current condition. You can accept a drink at the poker table when you are competing against players who are also drinking. Of course, you will do even better if they drink a lot and you do not drink at all -- but that might work to your disadvantage if they think you are trying to take advantage. You must measure your advantage at poker by your ability right now versus your opponents' ability right now. Sometimes you can earn a lot more money by playing against poor opponents when you are in a weakened condition than you can by playing against stronger opponents when you are in top condition. Remember, your long-term profit is always a result of the difference between your play and your opponents' play. Playing great in a world-class game might not make you a winner. Playing fairly good in a weak game usually will.
- Poker Tip # 120 - You do not Need An Edge To Have An Edge. Some say you should not ever gamble unless you have the best of it. But most of the really successful gamblers I have ever met sometimes are willing to wager when they are not sure they have an edge.
Why? it is simple. Suppose someone challenges you to tennis. You know the challenger is no athlete, but neither are you. Fine. You might turn out to have the worst of this bet. But here is the big secret. it is often worth finding out! If the challenger is not a sophisticated gambler and seems to have a lot of funds to lose, you should risk taking the worst of it. Ideally, if you find out you are the poorer tennis player, you will back off or just make small sociable bets for an hour to be polite. If you find out you are the favorite, you will keep playing and try to increase the stakes. This tactic is used by most all-around successful gamblers worldwide, whether they have reasoned it out or just do it instinctively. The point is that you do not always need to have the best of it. If it turns out that you do not, you might lose a little. If it turns out that you do, you will probably win a lot.
- Poker Tip # 121 - Concentrate your table position and strong starting hands. This is a common rule and one that should be adheared to if one is to become a sucessful online poker player. This is due to the fact that most online players are involved in way to many pots and see way too many flops, mainly with marginal to weak starting hands. It is permissiable to play marginal hands in late position when there is no action in front of you. The way to beat these super-loose online players is to just tighten up and wait for the right cards at the right time so you can felt someone.
- Poker Tip # 122 - Practice reading the flop.Since the speed of online play is part of its allure, the games move at a much faster pace. Being able to immediately scan a flop and determine the "nuts" or best possible hand, is imperative. Does the flop have a possible straight or flush draw? Who may have hit the flop? More importantly, who missed the flop all together ? Some recomend sitting out a few rounds the first time you start a game or new table session to get a feel for the style of play you are up against.
- Poker Tip # 123 - Adjust to the speed of the online game. This one is pretty self explanatory, but important still. In a Brick & Mortar casino a player can expect to see around 30 hands an hour. This number can be expected to easily hit 50 hands per hour in an online casino and one must be able to adjust to the faster pace. There are several reasons for this, first, the online "dealer" is much faster than a live dealer in a casino. Second, there is a time clock that immediatelt begins to run as soon as the action is on you which causes an annoying beep when you have delayed too long. If a decision is not made 10-20 seconds after this period, the players hand is automatically folded and play continues. There is a way around this however, a player may request an additional period of time when faced with a very tough situation such as an all-in call. This feature is available on most gambling websites.
- Poker Tip # 124 - Do not put more cash in your online account than you can afford to lose. This is a bankroll management tip, but very important nonetheless. This is an often ignored rule strictly because we as humans, tend to chase our losses or move up in limits to recoup a loss at a lower limit game more quickly. Always remember to quit when your situation has deteriorated to the point where you are "on tilt" or making bad decisions. Chasing cards, making bad calls, or playing inferior hands. In short, do not use the grocery money to gamble with, and when your allotted gambling money is gone, do not throw good money (not planned for gambling) after it.
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