Tuesday, March 31, 2009

History of Poker


There seem to be differences of opinion on the origin of poker. Moreover, there seems to be no clear or direct early ancestor of the game. It is more likely that poker derived its present day form from elements of many different games. The consensus is that because of it's basic principal, its birth is a very old one.

Jonathan H. Green makes one of the earliest written references to poker in 1834. In his writing, Green mentions rules to what he called the "cheating game," which was then being played on Mississippi riverboats. He soon realized that his was the first such reference to the game, and since it was not mentioned in the current American Hoyle, he chose to call the game poker.

The game he described was played with 20 cards, using only the aces, kings, queens, jacks and tens. Two to four people could play, and each was dealt five cards. By the time Green wrote about it, poker had become the number one cheating game on the Mississippi boats, receiving even more action than Three-Card Monte. Most people taken by Three-Card Monte thought the 20-card poker seemed more a legitimate game, and they came back time and time again. It would certainly appear, then, that poker was developed by the cardsharps.

The origin of the word poker is also well debated. Most of the dictionaries and game historians say that it comes from an eighteenth-century French game, poque. However, there are other references to pochspiel, which is a German game. In pochspiel, there is an element of bluffing, where players would indicate whether they wanted to pass or open by rapping on the table and saying, "Ich Poche!" Some say it may even have derived come the Hindu word, pukka.

Yet another possible explanation for the word poker, is that it came from a version of an underworld slang word, "poke," a term used by pickpockets. Cardsharps who used the 20-card cheating game to relieve a sucker from his poke may have used that word among themselves, adding an r to make it "poker." The thought was that if the sharps used the word "poker" in front of their victims, those wise to the underworld slang would not surmise the change.

The game of poker has evolved through the years, through many backroom games to the present day casinos around the world. Its history is rich with famous places and characters. For example, during the Wild West period of United States history, a saloon with a poker table could be found in just about every town from coast to coast.

Today, poker is carefully regulated by gambling laws, and saloons have given way to casinos and card rooms, but Poker is played more than any other card game in the world. It has grown into a sporting event, with competitions and tournaments all around the world. Tournaments take place almost every week of the year somewhere in the world.

If you compare the prizes of major sporting events around the world, you will find that the monetary outcome of any given event in poker would (pardon the pun) stack up. Poker today is one of the fastest growing, but hardly recognized sporting events. The pinnacle of the poker world, The World Series of Poker, attracts players from all over the world every year to compete for money and titles as the world's top poker players.

Poker will always be around and will continue to grow and flourish like so many other past times. There will always be a game to play, money to be won, and crowns to be worn.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Quick Tips to Improve Your Poker Game


Many of us can’t get enough of poker. It is an exciting game that for once doesn’t rely only on luck – but also a bit of strategy. Unfortunately not all of us are great at it and we require a few good tips that can help us to improve our game.

We have provided several poker tips that will help to improve anyone’s poker game. While these tips are geared to amateurs they can also help to give a few players a refresher course if they have been away from the game for some time.

Don’t Be Afraid To Fold
Many amateurs believe that they have to play every hand. Part of playing poker and winning at poker is to know when to fold. Some people may try to talk you out of this during the game – but that is just their tactic. Ignore them and make sure that you play only what you know you can win with. Or play what you know you can bluff with. Just because you are playing most of the hands doesn’t mean you are winning.

Bluff Like You Know What You Are Doing
Bluffing is an important part of poker and should only be used if you know what you are doing. You can win big if you bluff right – but to bluff just for the fun of it can cause you to lose big also.

Don’t Feel Pressured To Stay In A Hand
One of the biggest mistakes that amateurs make is to think that once they have put a lot of money in the pot they are forced to play out the hand. Throwing away your money just because you ‘feel’ that you have to is not going to win you any money. You will find that you will lose it very quickly. The minute you think you have a losing poker hand you need to fold.

Pay Attention To The Cards
It is very important to pay attention and to know exactly what you have in your hand and how you can use it to your advantage. Now you need to make sure that you pay attention to the cards that are being laid out on the table. You need to see what would work well with the cards in your hand.

Pay Attention To The Players
Observing your opponents is very important. It is a chance for you to try to understand their body language and know when they are bluffing and when they have a winning hand. It is important to study them even when you are not playing the hand so don’t be distracted by anything. When you figure them out you can steal the pot from them.

Stay At Your Skill Level
Just because you won a big pot in the $2/4 does not mean you should switch you to the $5/10. The money is higher because the skill level is harder. You may find that you are not yet ready to upgrade. Before you move up try to be the best at your poker table.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Omaha Poker: A Form of Texas Holdem

Omaha poker

Omaha poker is a community card poker game similar to Texas holdem, where each player is dealt four cards and must make his best hand using exactly two of them, plus exactly three of the five community cards. The exact origination of the game is unknown, but casino executive Robert Turner first brought Omaha into a casino setting when he introduced the game to Bill Boyd who offered it as a game at the Las Vegas Golden Nugget Casino.

Omaha is a nine-card hi-lo poker game that uses a dealer button, blinds and community cards.

Omaha poker is a form of Texas Holdem, except the players are dealt 4 hole cards (face down) as their initial starting hand prior to the flop and five board cards as community cards. The community cards are dealt face up in the center of the table in the same manner as in Texas Holdem with betting after each round.

Players play in turn clockwise. Two players to the left of the dealer button post blinds. There are 3 other betting rounds; the flop, the turn, and the river. The five community cards and their rankings are used by all active players.

After the final betting round, the players remaining in the hand will then show all their cards. To qualify for a winning low hand, a player must have five cards of 8 or lower with no pair using two from their hand and three from the board (community cards). Straights or flushes may be used for the low hand if all the cards are 8 or below.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

How to Bluff in Texas Holdem

Internet poker

To those that have really mastered it, bluffing in poker is an art-form. Bluffing is also a key strategy that must be learned in order to become a big time player. It is a craft that takes a lot of studying, patience, and intuition to be great at.

We will mainly be focusing on the Texas Holdem style of play. First of all, if you are a bad liar, it's time to get better at it. Having a nice clay chip set and fancy table won't help you win the game. There is a reason many players wear sunglasses and don't show expression on their face. They are trying to be difficult to "read," or in other words, they want it to be difficult for their opponents to figure out what kind of poker cards they are holding. You don't want to show a lot, or any, emotion in this game. The other players will often learn how you operate very quickly if you make it obvious.

There are certain times and situations that must be learned and followed as to when bluffing is the right call to make. Learning these strategies will not only help you in your bluffing, but also help you to figure out when someone else is!

First and foremost, you want to be close to, and preferably on, the button when you bluff. This way, everyone else has called, checked and bet before it's you're turn to act. If everyone is checking, then you have the opportunity to throw in a poker chip or two and see how many opponents you can get to fold.

You also have to take into consideration, if you opponent keeps betting, what they could possible hold in their hand. Even if you are on the button and everyone else is checking, you aren't going to necessarily win the hand. You don't want to push all your poker chips in just to lose the pot in the end. You need to learn when it is time to stop throwing in more chips, and when you have been defeated for that hand.

As you continue to practice and improve your strategies, you will last longer and longer in the game until you're wrangling up the chip sets at each game you go to. Be sure to be as inconspicuous as possible, and never reveal to your friends how you do it! You don't want them to use your own strategies against you…

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Keys to Sharpen Your Poker Skills

poker skills

Poker is the perfect combination of both skill and luck. However, you can play for years and find that you still have a lot to learn...

Know the ranking and probabilities of possible poker hands. The best hand is a straight flush, comprised of five consecutive cards of the same suit.

Make sure you know the basic rules and terms. After the cards are dealt, the poker player to the left of the dealer has the option to fold, check or bet. To fold is to retire your hand because you do not think you are capable of winning. Folding results in the loss of any money you have so far put into the pot but prevents you from losing more. To check is to stay in the game but to decline to bet. Betting means that you put additional money in the pot, and anyone wishing to stay in the game must do the same.

Prepare for the draw by deciding which cards you want to keep. Experienced players try to avoid drawing more than two cards, because doing so signals that you have a weak hand and limits your ability to bluff.

Understand that the game changes as the stakes increase. For example, in a nickel-ante game, bluffing is not likely because no one is likely to be scared away at such low stakes. As bets increase, bluffing becomes a more effective technique.

Poker is primarily a game of psychology, not chance. You are playing against other people, not against the cards. Study your opponents for "tells”, revealing traits that convey information about their hands. Does a player whistle when bluffing? Tap their feet when agitated? Look for these signals and remember them, while being conscious of any tells that you may be sending.

Keep your game competitive by avoiding patterns. Patterns in your play are signals that your opponents will pick up. If, for example, you follow the same betting pattern every time you bluff, opponents will figure this out. Poker is infinitely variable and every hand is unique.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Aggression in Pot-Limit Omaha

pot-limit omaha

Pot-limit Omaha is the second most common form of poker in the world today. One thing that all the top Pot-Limit Omaha players have in common is aggression. When it’s checked to them, they need a reason to check rather than a reason to bet. Why? Put simply, by betting poker players are more likely to win bigger pots and more of them. They might get caught bluffing from time to time, but they’ll usually have outs.

Betting or raising gives you two ways to win – by having the better poker hand or making your opponent fold. Of course, if you’re too aggressive you’ll find opponents snapping off your bluffs more often, so the poker strategy requires balance and refinement. Getting the right balance is tough but the rewards are huge.

So how do you know when to bet and when to check? It is easy. With big draws, you want to take the pot straight away. If you get called, you will win a bigger pot if you hit. When you’ve got a good made hand you should bet to charge your opponents to outdraw you. When your opponent has shown a tendency to fold too easily you should bet almost always, regardless of your hand, until he catches on. Against a calling station that can’t fold an overpair, you bet everything that beats it and pretty much nothing else. If your opponent likes to chase draws, you should sometimes bet with just top pair or an overpair. You should tend to bet more often in position than out, with the caveat that aggressive opponents will sometimes raise you off your draw, so balance your bets with checks when you can’t stand a raise. It’s a pretty simple strategy that will reap rewards. Add in some hand reading, game selection, tilt control and a bankroll, and you’re well on your way to being a massive winner.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Internet Texas Holdem Tips

Texas Holdem

Texas Holdem Tips have strict guidelines which are the only way to win the pot. We should understand that each player develops a unique set of tricks and strategies matching his own style of play. However, the following tips are an extract from the most successful strategies, which can be very helpful in development of our own strategy of play, which is especially useful for novice and upstanding Texas Holdem players or even other kinds of poker games.

First of all you must play just good starting hands. Real money Texas Holdem games require you to perfectly know good starting hands, worthy enough to see the flop. Don’t hesitate to fold weak hands.

You must learn to quickly read the flop and make reasonable decisions, earlier than you will have to press the button in order to stay in the pot. You know that online Texas Holdem is much faster than its live counterpart, thus you must get accustomed to the faster pace of the game and learn to analyze the flop and make decisions much faster than in a casino.

Choosing to play Texas Holdem online, you need to adjust to some specific features of Internet poker rooms before throwing your chips onto the table. Even if you have some experience of playing poker in casinos or at home, there are still a lot of things for you to learn.

Take notes and keep track of every game you play, unless an Internet poker room, where you play provides all necessary data in statistics. And even if it does, you still need to take notes about your opponents, their strategies and tricks, etc.

Texas Holdem is not a “luck game”. If you rely on luck, then it might be better to consider some “luck games”, such as roulette, slot machines, etc. Texas Holdem is a highly intellectual game, where smart and inventive players earn more than even the luckiest ones and one of most important aspects of all intellectual games is an ability to evaluate your opponents and bluff.

Texas Holdem is a very serious game that supposes discipline and self-control. You must keep to a strict schedule without forgetting that you live in a real world, where you have your job, your family and your leisure time. Meanwhile, Texas Holdem requires concentration and attentiveness – that’s why you must feel comfortable during the game.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Limit, No-Limit and Pot-Limit Holdem

Internet poker

Most online casinos offer holdem in at least two versions: limit and no limit. In limit, the exact size of every bet or raise you make is determined in advance. In the later betting rounds, it’s always twice as much as it is on the early betting rounds. In no-limit, you can bet in an almost unlimited range, starting with a minimum bet that’s equal to the size of the big blind, which is a required bet that the player two seats to the left of the dealer position makes, to as many poker chips as you have on the table.

Another method of betting is called pot limit. This is kind of an intermediate battleground bridging limit and no limit games. In pot-limit games, you can’t always bet all the chips you have in front of you; you’re limited by the size of the pot. But the pot can grow quickly as bets, raises, and calls occur, and huge money can change hands on a single showdown.

The maximum number of opponents who sit in a holdem game is usually limited to ten, but more commonly only nine chairs are put at a poker table.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Better Choice: Internet Poker

Internet poker

It wasn’t that long ago that Internet poker became so popular and now it seems that almost everyone has played Internet poker at least once. If you haven’t played Internet poker yet then you’re definitely missing out on some fun and I would suggest checking it out. Let’s now take a look at some of the reasons why I feel Internet poker is better than live poker.

There is no organizing that you need to do to play Internet poker and you can simply sign in to your account from any computer and begin playing. Whenever you feel the urge to play some poker you’ll be able to just by jumping onto your computer.

Since you’re playing online you can play as long as you want whereas if you’re at a casino you’ll need to drive home at some point. Internet Poker rooms are open 24 hours and this ensures that players around the world can play poker whenever they want without any problems.

You can do other things while playing Internet poker such as watching television, playing a game, doing some work or whatever needs done. It will take away from how focused you are in the game, but if you need to do some stuff then you might as well pound it out while playing Internet poker so you don’t have to do anything afterwards.

You can quit at any point to take a break and come back to play. At a casino you can take breaks, but only for a certain amount of time and if it’s busy you might lose your seat.

There are tons of tournaments with low buy-ins so that even if you don’t want to risk $100+ on a ring table game you could still play poker. Most casinos have a minimum $100 buy-in for games, whereas Internet poker has tournaments starting at $1 and ring table games starting at $.01/$.02 with a $10 minimum.

If you’re a new Internet poker player you don’t need to be worried about giving away any tells to your opponents while playing over the computer.

You can say what you want about the cards or opponents without offending anyone since you’re playing at your home and no one can hear you anyways. This venting process can payoff since you won’t be bottling the anger up. Bottling your anger up in poker can be costly because you’ll start playing differently and most times losing more money.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Texas Holdem: The Most Famous Poker Game

Internet poker:Texas Holdem

For those that have little experience or players who appreciate the psychological, strategic and mental aspects of poker, Texas Holdem is the poker game of choice. It is, as poker professional Mike Sexton has stated on the WPT, “a game that takes minutes to learn and a lifetime to master.” There is a great deal of truth in that statement as there are different nuances that confound even those players who have a strong background in this particular variation of poker.

Every player gets two cards and two players - the small blind (half of the stake of the table) and the big blind (the full stake) - place mandatory bets to initiate action. Each player has to determine whether they want to play their hand by, at the minimum, calling the big blind, raising the bet or declining to play and folding. For those that remain in the hand after this round of betting is completed, the first of the community cards come down with a three-card display called the "flop." This is followed by another round of betting and, if any players still remain, another card is dealt, called the "turn" or Fourth Street. Another round of betting ensues and, if there are still players contesting the hand, the final card called the "river" or Fifth Street is dealt. A final round of betting occurs and, once this is completed, if there are players still in play for the hand, they display their cards. The best five-card hand takes what is in the pot and the poker game moves on to the next hand.

This is a community card game because there are five cards on the table that all players use - players can use one, both or neither of their two hole cards to make their best five-card hands. Through strategic play, bluffing at the pot or even table talk, players use every part of their capabilities to try to win the hand. The game can be played in different styles - Limit, Spread Limit (rarely seen nowadays), Pot Limit (where betting is limited to what is in the pot) and No Limit - and different people will excel in different forms of this game. What makes community card games the best is that there is something for everyone.

Most every poker room around will offer a form of Texas Holdem, as it is currently the most popular game around. With that in mind, every Internet poker room will offer Texas Holdem as its bedrock of poker games. For anyone who wants to take an initial dive into the world of poker, Texas Holdem is the route to take.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Poker Table Position Matters

poker table position

Most poker players who have been around the game for a while know that to win a person has to be both lucky and good. It is easy to tell what exactly the luck factor is, however, the skill part of playing poker is more of a gray area. Most players equate skill with being able to correctly read an opponent, or choosing the right hands to play. The truth is that being able to decide when it is a good idea to play a certain hand and when it isn’t, based on where a player sits with respect to the dealer, is equally important.

There are few hands that a player can raise and enter a pot with without giving concern to where he or she is betting. These hands are the obvious ones, such as pocket Aces or Kings. On the other hand, when dealt a hand such as Ace-Eight or Ace-Seven, entering any pot recklessly can result in big losses. With a hand like that, one high card and one average kicker, it is best to only bet into pots with as few players as possible. The problem is that if you call or raise in the wrong position, you have no way of telling how many players will be doing the same.

This is where poker table position comes into play. Someone sitting directly to the left of the blinds will have to act first in the pre-flop betting. In this case, it is probably best to only make a small call with a mediocre-good hand if not a fold. On the other hand, someone sitting to the right of the blinds will be able to full analyze the situation and see how many players enter the pot or what, if any, raises are made. In this position, calling or folding is a much easier decision and it is a good idea to enter the pot if it is not too expensive or overfilled with other players.

Finally, it is equally critical to realize that if you are in fact the player who has to blind, whether it be small or big, then you are in the best position of all. Not only do you not have to give away having a playable hand by entering the pot, but you also get a pass on playing cards that are easily foldable in any other position. Not to mention the fact that the players who blind are the last to act unless there is a raise.

If you are just looking to have a good time and don’t care much about winning money or playing serious poker, than it is easy to overlook using table position as an advantage. But all the professional players, and the good amateurs, know the importance of using where they are sitting to determine whether or not it is worth playing so-so hands. The more hands you can play in small pots, the better chances you have to win big by the end of the night. So do yourself a favor and don’t mechanically call or fold poker hands.

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Sunday, March 8, 2009

World Series of Poker

world series of poker
The World Series of Poker (WSOP) is one of the most prestigious poker tournaments in the world. First played in 1970, the World Series of Poker has grown in popularity ever since.

The World Series of Poker draws many of the top poker players, but it is not their exclusive domain. Players come from all walks of life and most of the poker players are amateurs. The World Series of Poker often sees many of those amateurs beating the pros.

The World Series of Poker actually consists of a number of poker tournaments of various poker games including Texas Holdem, Omaha, Razz, and Stud Poker. There are also Lowball and Hi-Low split poker games. The World Series of Poker typically has about 45 individual poker tournaments which begin the first week of June and end with the final day of the World Championship Event about mid-July.

The winner of each World Series of Poker tournament event is awarded a gold bracelet (which many players value more than the cash prize). The cash prizes are substantial typically ranging in the low to mid six figures with the first place prize for last year's Championship event setting a new record at $5 million. Poker tournament buy-ins generally range from $1,000 to $5,000 with the Championship tournament having a buy-in of $10,000. Players can also get into the Championship tournament by winning World Series of Poker satellite tournaments.

Harrahs Casino also sponsors the World Series of Poker Tournament Circuit. The circuit is comprised of various poker tournaments held at different Harrahs casino properties nationwide. Poker tournament players earn points toward an invitation to the World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions which is held shortly after the conclusion of the regular World Series of Poker tournaments.

Many of the World Series of Poker tournament final tables are taped and televised by ESPN.

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Roulette: A Game of Both Luck and Skill

online game

Some people might argue that roulette is purely a game of chance, you can never really tell for certain which number is going to play, while others swear that roulette is a game of skill, you should know how to read the table. Well if the latter were true more people would be going home with pockets full of money. Maybe it would be more truthful to say that roulette like all other casino games is a game of chance and pure luck. This would be a more realistic approach as no matter what strategy you might devise if luck is not on your side when that roulette wheel stops spinning you can bet your number won't be staring back at you.
Many people who gamble whether in a physical or an online casino, often times try to devise some sort of strategy at coming up with the winning number, but so far no one has ever been inducted into the Guinness book of record for creating a fool proof sure-win strategy for roulette or any other casino gambling game for that matter. Even the best devised betting system will not guarantee that you are going to be the next casino millionaire, no matter how fool proof the system may seem. Furthermore there are people out there on the internet who offer betting systems for sale that they swear are guaranteed to make you a winner, well you should be very wary of these sales pitch as there is no guarantees when it comes to playing roulette or other similar gambling games.
In conclusion the plain truth is winning a game of roulette or any other casino gambling game depends on luck rather that skill. Some people are just plain luckier than others and seem to win at the roulette table more often than others. Roulette is really not that much difference than buying a lottery ticket, you take a chance and buy a lottery ticket hoping that it will win and if lady luck is on your side your numbers will come up, it's as simple as that, well it's the same with playing roulette you take a chance and bet on some numbers and if lady luck happens to smile on you, your numbers will be a winner.
With that said and done just remember playing at those casino games whether it's roulette or the slot machines, it does not really matter, you should be having fun, enjoying yourself, so don't worry if you are not a winner just relax and enjoy yourself and who knows maybe one of these day you might be surprised to find that you have finally hit the jackpot and have become the newest millionaire.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Heads Up Challenges

Internet poker

If you like to played heads-up, Internet poker room are beginning to provide previously unavailable opportunities. Have you ever wondered why there are so few heads-up matches in real-world casinos? Surely, heads-up can’t be that unpopular, because just the thought of a high-intensity one-on-one game can make pulses race. And isn’t it the final heads-up hands in a poker tournament that are the most exciting to watch on television? Let me tell you, having enjoyed a lot of experience in this situation, those final heads-up hands are not just the most exciting to watch---they’re also the most exciting to play!

So why aren’t heads-up games available in poker rooms and casinos? It’s because those games are not economical for them. Each game takes up valuable real estate---a full table. Worse, each game require a dealer---who is hired to provide service to up to 10 players at a table---just to service two customers.

But these all change online. It costs nothing to set up a new table for two players, because the tables are purely imaginary, just tiny sots forming the image on your computer monitor. And online casinos don’t worry about you using up their tables, because they can provide as many as they want at no cost. No tables to purchase. No poker room floor space limitations. But, bigger than that is the fact that online poker doesn’t worry about paying dealers. The cards are all shuffled and distributed by the software. There’s no cost involved in dealing more cards or adding more games…

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Poker Strategy: Understanding Risk and Reward

Pot odds and demanding an advantage fall into this category when playing poker. Poker players are willing to take a long-shot risk if the reward is high enough, but only if the expected return is higher than the risk.

More importantly, they understand the risk-vs.-reward nature of the game outside of the actual poker room. They know how much bank they need to play, and how much money they need in reserve to cover other expenses in life.
Good poker players understand they need to be more risk-averse with their overall bankroll than their stack at the poker table.
When you play in an individual game, you must value every poker chip equally at the table. You should only care about making correct plays. If you buy in for $10, you should be okay with taking a 52% chance of doubling up to $20 if it means a 48% chance of losing your $10.
However, you should be risk-averse with your overall bankroll. You need to have enough money so that any day at the tables will not affect your bankroll too much. If you worry too much about losing, then you will make mistakes at the poker table. You need to leave yourself with the chance to fight another day.

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Monday, March 2, 2009

Internet Poker Strategy---Discipline

Good poker players demand an advantage. What separates a winning poker player from a fish is that a fish does not expect to win, while a poker player does. A fish is happy playing craps, roulette, or the slots; he just hopes to get lucky. A poker player does not hope to get lucky. He just hopes others don't get lucky.

Good poker players understand that a different Internet poker game requires a different discipline. A disciplined no-limit player can be a foolish limit player and vice versa. For example, a disciplined limit holdem player has solid preflop skills. When there is not much action preflop, he or she only plays the better hands. When a lot of people are limping in, he or she will make a loose call with a suited connector or other speculative hand.

A disciplined player knows when to play and when to quit. He recognizes when he is on tilt and is aware when a poker game is too juicy to just quit while ahead.

A disciplined player knows that he is not perfect. When a disciplined player makes a mistake, he learns. He does not blame others. He does not cry. He learns from the mistake and moves on…

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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Internet Poker Skill---Psychology

Psychology plays an incredibly important part in Internet poker which means that poker and psychology can’t be separated…A good poker player is not a self-centered player. He may be the biggest SOB you know. He may not care about anyone but himself, and he may enjoy stealing food from the poor. However, when a poker pro walks into a poker room, he always empathizes with his opponents. He tries to think what they think and understand the decisions they make and why they make them. The poker pro always tries to have an answer to these questions:

1. What does my opponent have?
2. What does my opponent think I have?
3. What does my opponent think I think he has?

Knowing the answer to these questions is the first step, manipulating the answers is the second and more important step. Suppose that you have a pair of kings and your opponent has a pair of aces. If you both know what the other has, and you both know that you know what the other has, then why play a game of poker? A poker pro manipulates the answers to questions #2 and #3 by slowplaying, fastplaying, and bluffing in order to throw his opponent off.

Good poker players know that psychology is much more important in a no-limit game than in a limit game. Limit games often turn into math battles, while no-limit games carry a strong psychology component. Thus, poker tells are much more important in no-limit games.

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