Over many years of playing poker in many parts of the globe, I have come to the conclusion that there are some games that are simply unplayable.
While this may not become immediately apparent, any astute player should become aware of this within the first hour of play. To stay longer at a wrong game...
...is a serious threat to your bankroll as well as a winning frame of mind.
It's a fact that one trait most poker players have is stubbornness. They find it hard to believe that they are facing players who are either better or more deceptive than they are in the art of poker.
If you have one player at the table who has this talent, it isn't much of a problem. You simply avoid that person. But if there are several players who share the same talent...
...watch out! You could be in big trouble!
The other evening at BestBet, a poker room in Jacksonville, FL. is a good example of what I mean. There were several players at the table who obviously knew and who had played against each other. They joked, made snide comments, and knew when to fold against each other because of the way the other person played.
The evening wasn't pleasant for me and I retired a loser after about four hours of play. I should have left after the first hour. My bad.
For anyone to win at poker, that person has to find a game that is good for him. 'Good,' in this case, means a table where most of the players are passive and you are the only aggressive player there.
If another player also has an aggressive game, no problem. You just avoid that person until you get a good hand where you can fire back when he raises or re-raises you.
Momentum is a vital factor in poker. You really need it from the very start of a game or you need to get it early.
Your goal is to put the fear factor into the other players and start building your stack. If you haven't at least doubled your stack in the first hour, something is wrong and you either need to change that or leave the table.
Simply call a floor person over and whisper, "I want a table change." In most cases, that will happen quickly. Hopefully, the next table will be much kinder to you.
In a tournament situation, of course, you are stuck at the table you are assigned to and that can be a problem. If you find that three or more of the players at the table are aggressive...
...be very careful to enter pots only when you have better than average hands. Even then you may lose because of raises and re-raises, but at least you will have a chance of surviving until the table is replaced by passive players.
That is why it is so important to sit down at a table in a calm mood after a good night's sleep and a good healthy breakfast. Have a good relaxed sense of humor. Talk to people. If the other players are especially silent...
...chat with them, the dealer or the cocktail waitress just to remain relaxed. Put yourself in charge of the table rather than let yourself be at the mercy of the other players. This is critical to your chances of winning.
In a cash game if you find yourself getting bad hand after bad hand, ask the dealer for a seat chance and the first time a new seat opens up, seize it! Then when you get a winning hand or two, smile to yourself and think:
''This is a winning seat."
Repeat that over and over. It will definitely give you an edge.
And here is a tip from the legend himself. Doyle Brunson strongly recommends you to play the next hand after winning the pot regardless of the cards you catch.
If there is a raise and you find yourself looking at 6-3 offsuit, of course, you can dump it. But if there is no raise, play the hand and give luck a chance. Good luck. Let the games begin.
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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