Pretend we are attending a midway show at a fair in your home town. A carnival barker who claims to be a magician -- let's call him a kahuna to give him even more power -- comes on stage and claims he can solve life's mysteries for you and lead you to wealth.
He says he knows how to win at Texas Holdem.
Okay. I agree with you that sounds a bit strong. But...
...here are a few suggestions that should help you improve your game if you play in land-based casinos or poker rooms. These are based on my decades of play at casinos in America, the Caribbean and Costa Rica.
So here goes:
(1) After the flop in a game that involves four players or more if you haven't improved your hand, the flop has probably helped somebody else. Unless you have a pair if somebody comes out betting, you had better fold.
(2) If a sweet little old lady who hasn't been very active suddenly bets into you after you raise, you had better take a real good look at your hand because you are probably beat. Of course, it's always possible that senility has kicked in and she is just feeling frisky, but that is a very long shot that you don't want to mess with.
(3) Always be careful of players who wear bib overalls, International Harvester, or John Deere hats. They are probably farmers and farmers are very frugal with their money. A bet probably means they have a winning hand.
(4) If a player with a lot of chips suddenly makes a big bet and tries to stare you down, don't throw your hand away if you have something. Think about it. Joke with him about what he has. You probably have him beat.
(5) If you are thinking of betting and a player reaches for his chips, he is probably bluffing and doesn't want you to bet. Act accordingly.
(6) If you raise with two suited cards under 10 and get two callers, watch the flop. If the cards are all low, come out with a larger bet than what is on the table. You probably won't be contested.
(7) If everybody else at the table is a calling station, attack them with a vengeance. Passive players rarely win and they will rarely call an aggressive player unless they have improved substantially after the flop.
(8) In a no limit game, unless you are very short of funds, buy in with enough chips to take the stacks of anyone at the table. That is what no limit Holdem is all about.
(9) Keep telling yourself, "This is the luckiest seat at the table" and believe it. If you don't feel lucky, you probably won't be lucky. Make your wishes at the table come true.
(10) Joke with the dealer, the cocktail waitress and the other players. Keep yourself loose with your chatter. Your conversation will rattle your competition and will help keep their minds off the game.
Author: Geno Lawrenzi Jr.
(Geno Lawrenzi Jr. is an international journalist, magazine author and ghostwriter and poker player who lives in Phoenx, AZ. He has published 2,000 articles in 50 magazines and 125 newspapers. If you want to share a gambling story or book idea with him, send an email to email@example.com ).
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