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Monday, January 09, 2006 

I know how to play poker but how can I do it better?

No matter what your skill level, advice is always useful so whether you're looking for advice on bluffing or online poker tells, we've got it all here for you.

Real Players, real time, real Poker!


Top 10 tipsTime for a recap on the simplest and most fundamental strategies for playing winning poker. If you follow this advice you may not win every time but you'll certainly reduce your number of losses.

1) Know your own abilities and if you think the people at your table are better than you are move to another table.

There is no point being the fish at a table full of sharks.

2) Play at a table that suits your bankroll. You need to have the chips available in order to play a good hand, if you're short stacked or playing at a table where the blinds are more than you can afford you're putting yourself at a major disadvantage.

3) Don't play too many hands. Play the hands you have a good chance of winning and don't waste money hoping that the river card will miraculously present you with a killer hand.

4)Pay attention to the other players at your table and try to pick up trends in their play that you can use to your advantage.




5) Don't go on tilt. Playing stupidly after you've just won or lost a huge pot will see your stack reduced to zero in no time.

6) Don't get emotional. Getting angry or upset at the poker table will reduce your enjoyment of the game and make you a play badly.
You're better off taking time out to cool off rather than losing your money and giving yourself even more reason to get upset.

Real Players, real time, real Poker!


7) Don't chase losses. If you lose a large pot then so be it, so long as your strategy is good you'll recoup your losses in the long run.

8) Don't be afraid to learn more in order to improve your game. Be sure to read as much as you can and take advice when it is offered but make sure that the tips and advice you're getting are relevant to your game. Don't be afraid to disregard a tip if it goes against your established strategy especially if that strategy is working well for you.

9) Know yourself and play the game you're comfortable with. If you're an aggressive person who is comfortable with playing an aggressive game than play it. If you're more conservative then learn to play to your personality. If you're playing in a style that you are not comfortable with your opponents will see you coming a mile away.

10) Mix it up! Don't be predictable, adjust your playing style as you play so that others at your table can't get a fix on how you'll react in a particular situation. Don't abandon your style completely but at the same time don't be afraid to adjust it every now and then.Know your opponents Keep notes on players you have come up against in the past.

If you come up against a Player who bluffs his way to winning a number of pots or has a certain playing style you feel you could exploit make notes.

The next time you come up against that Player you can know from the outset how to play them.Poker is a difficult enough game as it is, why throw away the experience gained in one poker session when it ends? Making notes means you don't need to waste time and money relearning what you've already learned.

Next time you see something noteworthy about a Player simply right-click on their name and select "Edit Player Notes". Add the notes you'd like to keep about that Player and the software will remember them for you the next time!Play the right game Select the right game for you. This doesn't mean giving up Texas Hold'em to go off and play bingo at the community center.

What I mean is make sure you've selected the right game for you, there is no shame in leaving a table when it becomes obvious that you're out of your league. Remember even the tenth best poker player on the planet is going to lose in the long run if he sits down at a table with the 9 best players on the planet.

Don't try to chase your losses against a superior opponent, better to cut your losses and go and find another opponent to play against.

You'll earn more money and get more enjoyment from playing poker.Don’t get into a rut Change gears from time to time when playing.

If you’ve been at a table for a while playing against the same group of people and you’ve been playing really tight all evening you might consider mixing it up a bit.

Start to vary your play somewhat, play a bit more aggressively than usual or a hand you would not normally play.

By being too predictable you risk losing out on big pots.Think of it this way, you’ve been playing against a guy all evening and the only time he raises is when he’s sitting with a top hand. When he raises you you’ll get out of the pot because he’s obviously got a better hand then you have. He wins but it’s a really small pot.

If people aren’t sure what hands you’re prepared to play you might just catch them when you are sitting with a top hand, especially if you let them catch you in a bluff once or twice. Don’t abandon your strategy but at the same time make the other players at the table think a bit more, you’ll win bigger pots and enjoy the game more if you don’t play too predictablyBluff Statistically if everyone played a perfect game without bluffing no one would ever make money playing poker.

The bluff is an essential part of the game and is one of the most exciting plays you can make due to the risks involved, but knowing when and how to play it is vital to its success.New players usually play far too many hands, they often go on a tilt and chase their losses, the idea of folding a lesser hand is difficult for them to do and on the whole they will play too many games to showdown.

This is not the right environment to be in for a successful bluff since you’re far more likely to get called on it. When going in against beginners to poker it’s probably better to play a tight game and take advantage of their mistakes. Players on this level are also more likely to attempt to bluff too often and will lose more often then not which leads some to believe that a successful bluff is impossible.

Intermediate and top level players are better competition for an attempted bluff. They play tight, they don’t try to take every hand to the river and they know how to conserve their chip pile by not fighting losing battles. They’re also likely to attempt a bluff themselves which makes the game all the more interesting.

When playing against the same group of players for an extended period make sure you don’t play too tight. If everyone knows you only contest the best hands they’ll get out as soon as you make an aggressive play, sure you’ll win the pot but there won’t be much pot to win. Better to let your opponents know that you’re prepared to bluff, don’t fall into the trap of playing a bad hand to the river just to advertise the fact that you’re prepared to bluff but don’t feel to bad if your bluff attempt gets caught out.

Once your opponents know you’re likely to bluff from time to time they’re more likely to take you on when you really do have a killer hand which will ensure that the pot you win is that much better.Advertising your willingness to bluff doesn’t make that much sense in the online environment since the turnover of players on your table is likely to be high.

In this case bluffing to advertise is a waste since the players you’re up against now may well not be there in the next few minutes time. When bluffing in an online game play to win.Bluffing is an aggressive move, you need to play it decisively and look sure of yourself or you’re likely to get called on it by a player who correctly reads your uncertainty.

Either look and act like you’re playing the strongest hand at the table or don’t bother bluffing because you’re just setting yourself up to lose.

Finally when you’re bluffing you want to do it in a pot being contested by 3 players at the most, it’s most effective in a heads up.

Trying to bluff at a table of 10 where most of the players are still in the game at the river is a suicide move since most of the players obviously feel they have a good hand and will stay in for the long haul.Don’t go on tilt Going on tilt in poker is something that happens to virtually every player in the game at some stage.

It occurs either after a series of big wins or even a single big win or after a series of losses. In the case of going on tilt after winning you may feel that you're invincible and begin playing cards you should have folded pre-flop.

You might do okay for a round or two if you're lucky but ultimately you'll find yourself going on tilt for the second reason.Going on tilt after a losing streak is common and stems from frustration or a need to chase your losses.

As is the case in so many aspects of life acting in anger or frustration usually makes matters far worse and if you can't correct the situation you're likely to turn a tilt into a long term playing strategy.

To put it bluntly going on tilt shows a lack of discipline. Allowing yourself to go on tilt is something you do to yourself and allowing it to continue merely allows those around you to profit from it.

Think how great it must be to play at a table with a person who is aggressively playing every hand to the river and is getting more aggressive as their stack is reduced.

You're sitting at an online table in any case so no matter how frustrated the player gets all they can do is curse and complain and play in an increasingly more desperate fashion.

If it were me playing I'd ignore the chat and take all the money I could from them.So how can you prevent yourself from going on tilt? First of all you should never lose sight of your playing strategy. Even if it isn't working for you at the moment, a good strategy should not be abandoned lightly.

Make sure you don't get too emotionally attached to the hand you're holding. Having someone beat your supposedly unbeatable hand will be a blow to your ego and you might feel the need to teach them a lesson.

Better to play a good hand aggressively and accept the fact that you can't win them all and neither can your opponent. You'll get them the next time and if you're playing better poker than they are you'll get back everything you just lost and more.Most important of all is to remember that you're playing poker to enjoy yourself.

If you're frustrated and angry you're obviously not enjoying yourself. Try doing something else for an hour or two until you calm down and then go back to the game.

Lastly, if you see someone else going on a tilt take advantage of the situation. Get them to help fund the deposit on your new car or send your kid to college.

Think how much you'll enjoy your poker when someone is handing their bankroll over to you.Tournament Play Playing in a tournament can be one of the most exciting pastimes you're likely to find especially if you're sitting at a particularly lively table.

In ring games people tend to be far more conservative in their behavior and in the plays they make. In a large tournament the more people begin to drop out the more exciting the poker becomes.

The Gaming Club Poker Room has seen a dramatic increase in the popularity of tournaments in general and Freeze-out tournaments in particular. This is not surprising since the Freeze-out format allows players to budget their poker perfectly.

Once the buy-in and tournament fee are paid that's it no extra costs and no surprises. At the start of a tournament you're going to want to keep to your normal game-plan and play fairly tight. Go for the cards you're confident have a good chance of taking the pot and fold everything else. If you play your cards right you'll find the field slowly falling away from you and the competition becoming that much more intense.

The smaller the field becomes the more flexible you'll need to become with your choice of playable hands, the players you're up against at this stage are likely to be fairly good and well versed in mixing it up so be sure you're ready to do the same.

Your ability to bluff will become increasingly important as will you ability to spot an attempted bluff. Personalities will begin to show as players get closer to winning a place at the final table, so be ready. The quiet person from the first table may start to become more vocal and more aggressive.

So long as it doesn't go overboard and become offensive you could make a comment or two that may put your opponent off his game a bit.

You're looking for any advantage you can get here, so pull out your book of Groucho Marx quotes and have some fun.

If you're not sure you're ready for such banter perhaps you should ignore the wannabe comedian chatting away at you and take the pot from him while he's thinking up his next witty comment.

Make sure every play you make is the best one you could make in order to win the pot, but you'll find that aggressive plays and taking risks will have the biggest rewards.

Let's face it, when you sit down to watch the top players on a television poker special you're often wondering how they can get away with some of the plays they make. The fact that they spend 10 minutes glossing over all the preliminary rounds and hours focusing on the final tables is because that's where the action and the excitement is.

Seeing the big guns bluff their way to a pot win on a nothing hand is why you're glued to the set watching them.Learning to play poker from a television broadcast of the final table in the WSOP is probably not going to give you the best strategy for playing your average ring game. Incorporating aspects of what you've seen when you play at the final table of the next $100,000 guarantee is another matter entirely though.

Online Poker tells Let’s play amateur psychologist and discuss how to recognize and possibly avoid the most noticeable online poker Tells.To begin with let's define a poker tell, it's a reaction, by a Player, to the cards they are holding which may give you an indication of the play the person is about to make.


Here is the scenario: You're sitting across the table from a player who checks or calls often and rarely ever raises (a calling station), the speed with which this player reacts would indicate to you that they're using the automatic function inside the poker software.

The flop is dealt and as per normal the player calls the big blind in order to stay in the game. The betting round ends and the turn is dealt, the first player to act bets, the next player calls and play moves on to the calling station.

This time however there is a slight hesitation before the player raises.This is a fairly simple example of a tell, it's obvious that this player is holding something that was helped by the turn card and is now planning to hook others at the table into increasing the pot.It may be obvious to you when you watch this example unfold at the poker table but how often have you done this very same thing without thinking? Reliance on the software to play for you can make it difficult to take control of a hand you want to play.

Now let's present another example: You're sitting with a pair of 9's in the dealer position. The rest of the table has called and the player before you is thinking about the play he wants to make. At this point click the "Raise Any" option.

Irrespective of the play made by the previous player the software will instantly raise forcing everyone at the table to re-evaluate their hand. The message that is sent out is that you're sitting with a very strong hand and are likely to take the pot.

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Your action may cause a stronger hand to fold and help you steal the pot (not that a pair of nines doesn't already have a fair chance of taking the pot) or it may make a player with a strong hand play more conservatively to limit their loss should you beat them.

Allowing the software to play some of your hands for you isn't a bad idea but make sure you don't become reliant on it or your game-play will become predictable and easy to read.

As has been the case so often in the past the central message here is to change gears sometimes to vary your game.

Keep you opponents on their toes and make them work hard for every pot they take away from you. My next tip involves the automatic posting of blinds at the beginning of a round, it's a useful option which helps to speed the game up and it is generally accepted to be bad manners not to use it.

Consider however that you've been playing shorthanded for a while and you want to leave the table in the next hand or two depending on the cards you're being dealt.

Real People, Real Poker, Real Time...Crazy Vegas Poker


You don't want to be accidentally dealt in on a hand you don't want to play so you turn off the auto post blind option and begin manually posting your blinds.

A perceptive player sitting at your table will notice that instead of instantly posting your blind as per normal you are now manually posting them which would indicate to them that you may be considering leaving the table.

After manually posting your b

lind you get dealt pocket aces and naturally you want to play them so you raise when your turn to act arrives. Normally this action would indicate a fairly strong hand to everyone at the table but in this case the table may have already picked up on your intention to leave soon.


Players preparing to leave generally want to conserve their stack and don't on the whole play hands that are marginal. You have just advertised that due to the fact that you're wanting to leave the table and are therefore likely to try to conserve your stack, the fact that you've made an aggressive play means you are very confident of taking the pot. Under the circumstances if you were reading these tells would you contest the pot? I would certainly think twice before risking my money under the circumstances.

It's difficult to suggest a way to overcome this particular situation short of saying that instead of disengaging the auto post blind you might want to decide when you wish to stop and hit the sit out next hand button while playing your last hand.

If you're sitting at a small table of fairly skilled players though this has the potential to work as a very good bluff if you're sitting with a mediocre hand and want to steal the pot.Go where the money is When choosing a table to sit down at make sure you check the average pot before sitting down.

Then when you're actually sitting at the table continue to monitor the average pot. As time passes at a table, particularly one where few people are leaving and joining, you'll see that people will become tighter and tighter as they learn more about the other people at the table and how they play.

Slowly but surely the pot will become smaller and smaller as people play fewer and fewer hands.

You may well not notice that this is happening until you find yourself sitting with pocket rockets when an ace arrives on the flop and you realize that everyone at the table has folded leaving you to win a pot consisting only of blinds.

Monitor the average pot size as you're playing and if you notice that it is getting consistently smaller and smaller then move to another table.

There's no point in sticking around a table where you'll win virtually nothing, no matter how well you're playing. You require a bankroll to play poker! No really, this is a mistake many people make which ultimately leads to losses, and a great deal of frustration.

In order to play effectively you need to have a bit of a cushion to see you through the rough spots.Amazingly enough you won't win every hand you play, and while playing through a rough spot, you need to be in a position to keep playing till your luck improves or move to another table if it doesn't.

If your game selection requires a larger bankroll than you can comfortably afford you'll find yourself out of the game and broke far too quickly and your enjoyment of poker will be hugely diminished.

A good rule of thumb is to have about 300 times the biggest bet at your table in your bankroll. This means that in order to play for a virtually infinite length of time on a fixed limit $0.05/$0.10 table you'll need about $30 in your account.

This will allow you to comfortably play with only a 1% chance of ever going bankrupt.

This of course relies on the fact that you're using a winning poker strategy and that you're sticking to it, no matter what!By using this calculation in determining your bankroll you ensure that when "Lady Luck" does smile on you, and gives you great cards to go with your great strategy, you also have the credits available to see the hand to the conclusion and maximize your win.Essentially you can sit down at a $5/$10 table fixed limit table with $100 in the bank and play through one hand.

You'd better hope you win the hand though because if you don't you're probably all in for the next hand.


Even if you do win you're only a few hands away from going broke if you hit a bad patch. You might enjoy the adrenalin rush you get from playing like this but you certainly won't enjoy it for long.So, in closing, decide in advance what you can afford to have as a bankroll and then calculate the odds you'll get of not going broke at each table limit.

Once you have this information use it to ensure that your poker gaming is as satisfying as it can be and continues for as long as you want it to.Dealing with a rough spot I’m talking about those periods where nothing seems to be going your way.

These things happen to the best poker player in the world so they’re bound to happen to everyone else at some stage.

If you’re following my advice on having a sufficient bankroll available for the game you’re playing then you’ll probably be able to ride out the storm.

It’s very important that you’re brutally honest with yourself during a bad patch though. If you’re just not getting anything right take 10 minutes to evaluate how you’re playing, if you can see the flaw in your strategy then correct it.

Don’t get angry or frustrated about a bad patch or this will become the flaw in your strategy. Be as unemotional as possible and just evaluate your game up until that point.As I said before every player at some stage just doesn’t get the cards they need to win, that’s poker. It’s possible that there isn’t anything wrong with your strategy.


By quietly evaluating your game for a while you’ll feel better for proving to yourself that although you’re doing everything right, the cards are just not on your side for the time being. Best of all you get some time to cool down and get rid of any frustration that was building.

Getting emotional about a bad run is certainly one of the best ways to extend it indefinitely, so don’t fall into the trap.