The Image

The Image

Few things are more important to a poker player than the image he presents at the table.

Poker players, especially the veterans, are the most observant people you will ever find.

That is why SILENCE prevails over most tables in a poker room. The players are too busy concentrating on the other players and their hands, to worry about what's on television or what is happening around them.

When you sit down at a poker table, think of yourself as being in a hotel room in Moscow. The room is bugged, and KGB agents are lurking outside your room and in the streets observing everything you do or say. There is no question what their intentions are:

They want to get you!

Most new poker players are easy to read. They come to a table full of hope but just a little scared. They don't know the other players and they think they are outclassed, and generally they are correct.

Some players slide into a game with confidence. They buy a lot of chips and flip them around like they know exactly what they are doing. This intimidates some of the other players, but not all of them, especially the ones who know the player.

When I enter a new game, I do several things to establish my image.


I get 'blooded' as quickly as possible. This means going on the attack against the other players. I call a raise with a pair of pocket 10s and if the flop is in my favor (three cards under 10), I come out betting. I don't wait for the raiser to bet.

The raiser probably doesn't have me beat. He is probably holding another smaller pair or two overcards. If he has pocket aces, kings, queens or jacks, he will probably raise me. But by betting...

...I know where I stand and I can pretty much put him on a hand. If he raises me, he either has me beat or he is bluffing. But I don't back off. I get blooded and it will help me in future hands.


A player who is passive or timid presents an image that is fairly easy to dominate. That player will only play solid hands and can easily be intimidated.

The good players know that when he makes a raise, he has a powerful hand and they will let him go, knowing they can get him on a future hand.

Sometimes you will make a mistake and lay down a winning hand. This happens to everybody, even the good players. It is something that cannot be avoided and you should not feel ashamed when it happens to you.

When you sit down at a table, close your eyes and tell yourself:

"This is the luckiest seat in the house. I am so lucky to have gotten it."

Then believe what you have told yourself and play accordingly.

You may run into a couple of big hands along the way. Bad beats happen to everybody. DON'T let it affect your confidence. If it does...

... leave the table. Take a walk around the casino. Go outside. Wait until you have calmed yourself before you return to the game.

Create an image that intimidates the other players and it will help you win.

A strong image is one of the best weapons you can carry into a poker game. Make sure yours is powerful.

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