Poker is a daunting game of skill, strategy and blind luck but for all players, whether novice or pro, there are a few things you can do to help put the odds in your favour. Here are seven of the best tips for poker players of all standards.
Don't Play Every Hand - It's OK to fold!
The biggest mistake beginners make is playing far too many hands. You have to remember that playing more doesn't mean winning more! Learn quickly that sometimes it is best to get out early.
Don't Play Drunk
This is as simple as it gets. If you're drunk your judgment will deteriorate. Don't be fooled into thinking that a few drinks will relax you; it's just likely to make your game looser. A few drinks with friends are fine but if you want to play seriously then stay off the sauce.
Don't Bluff Just For Bluffing Sake
Bluffing needs to be learned. It only works sometimes and on some types of players. Never bluff just for the sake of bluffing.
Don't Stay in a Hand Just Because You're Already in It
Once you've realised that a hand is unlikely to be a winner don't feel that you should stick it out just because you've already put a lot of money into it. It's best to jump out with some money than to have to leave with none.
Don't use poker as Escapism
For the same reasons as drinking, this doesn't apply if you're just playing with friends but if you are playing seriously then you should be focused. If you are in a bad mood then you are likely to lose focus and play emotionally rather than rationally. If at any point in the game you feel yourself getting angry or frustrated you should get up and take a break for 10 minutes or so.
Do Pay Attention to the Cards on the Table
For the beginner it's enough just to remember the basics and what you have in your hand. Once this is learned it is very important that you know exactly what is on the table and what it means for you and could potentially mean for others. Learn the game you are playing and study it.
Only play at a level you are comfortable With
Always play within your limits of money and skill. Playing to impress people will only leave you with egg on your face, and most importantly NEVER play with money that you can't afford to lose. When you have been winning consistently at a certain level it's OK to progress but don't be afraid of moving back down if it doesn't work out. It's pretty obvious, as the stakes increase so will the ability of the other players, so be aware of this.
About the author:
David Whitmarsh lives in South Korea and, among other things, he maintains a reasonably successful gambling systems and tips website at www.dashelc.com.
[Article submitted August 2009]
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