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6 Poker Tips For Beginners

The following are not rules or formulas, because there are already plenty of those published, written and compiled by people much smarter than I am, with better calculators, to boot.


But this article could still save you thousands of dollars, so stick around for a few minutes! I offer you simple, general concepts that will guide you towards being a solid player. If you're a newbie, they'll spare you a lot of grief as you ascend the learning curve. If you're an experienced player, you'll benefit from the reminders.. you're not perfect. That's right, I saw that idiotic call you made last week. You know the one I'm talking about. Ok, Just 6 points. Memorize them, say them before going to sleep, and PRACTICE them... May the force be with you.


1) The worst hand in Texas Hold 'Em is 7 2 offsuit, right?


Wrong. The worst hand you can possibly be holding, is the -second best- hand at the table. While it is true that 7 2 offsuit is the least likely hand to win from the outset, keeping in mind the disaster that can take place when you push the second best hand to a showdown, is much more important. In many cases the difference between a great player and a fish, is knowing when to dump a solid hand that is probably second best. Calling with second best hand pisses you off, right? Me too. So let's smarten up.


2) By far, the most common action a winning player takes, is folding


You need to have good starting standards, and fold mediocre hands; especially when there is a raise in front of you. You need to be willing to let go of a hand that doesn't improve. You need to accept it when there's a likelihood that your hand is beaten.


All of this adds up to, you will be folding most of the time. But relax; in a full table you only need 1 good hand every 2 or 3 rounds to steadily make money. Patience, and aggression at the right moments, can make you a big winner.


If you're unwilling to concede that you have to fold most of the time, and don't understand this point, follow these instructions:


i) Log into your poker account


ii) Withdraw your cash


iii) Never go back.


3) Bad players would rather lose than be bluffed


Good players fold most of the time. Poor players, or players on tilt, tend to overplay hands, cling to their cards, and frequently refuse to believe that their opponents' raises represent actual strength... we call these people calling stations, for obvious reasons. They'll call bet after bet, muttering something about 'keeping you honest', while donating their bankrolls to pot.


Acceptance is key here. If you are a winning player, who makes good decisions overall, you are going to be bluffed out of some pots. This point can't be stressed enough - the benefit you'll gain from your willingness to fold iffy hands, where you don't have the correct odds to continue, WILL make up for situations where you are bluffed out of pots. If you fold a hand that ended up being the best hand, who cares?? Feel good about the fact that you waited for another, higher percentage situation. That nutcase in seat #3 who just bet into you with a pair of twos WILL try it again, in a situation where you have a monster hand.


4 Money that you saved in a LOSING hand, is just as important as money that you won in a winning hand.


We hope this is self-explanatory... Look closer... it makes perfect sense. Making a couple of 25 dollar calls that you know you shouldn't make (when you were obviously beaten), affects your overall profit just as much as a 50 dollar pot that you won.


If you find yourself frequently throwing in money just to see what the other guy has, because there's a smidgen of doubt in your mind, that maybe you can win this one after all... if this is you, there's no way to tiptoe around it: You suck at poker.


When you fold a hand which you figure to be a losing proposition, you should feel good about it. David Sklansky, of the the premier poker authors says he actually derives pleasure from making a 'good fold'!

When you make a good fold it means that the cards didn't go the way you hoped, and you lost...But a lesser player would have lost more, with your cards!


5) Money that you put into the pot on earlier betting rounds has little or no bearing on what the correct play is right now.


That was then and this is now. One of the most exciting aspects of poker is that situations change and tides turn quickly. The winner is often simply the player who is best able to adapt to the situation. If you're playing Hold 'Em and calling a bet on the river is a bad investment (for example, there are 4 clubs on the board, you have no club, and your tight opponent raises) you probably need to fold, despite the fact that you put a lot of money in the pot in earlier rounds, and it hurts to make the laydown.

Players who put in a lot of chips preflop or on the flop often feel entitled to the pot. Feeling entitlement is how people go on tilt, lose big, flip tables, start sobbing, take out second mortgages, etc.

You are not in the game to take any particular pot - remember this PLEASE- ... you are in the game to make situation-dependent moves that will make you the most money (or save you the most money).


6 ) Poker isn't a game of skill. It's a game of chance - which can be played skillfully


Sorry. But it's the truth. Poker isn't always fair. The best player won't win every time. Good play will not be rewarded every time. But over time, the player who picks better spots will maintain an edge. If you get your money in when you're a money favorite, and fold when facing a losing proposition, you'll gain in the long run.


You're playing for the long run. It's one big game, and it doesn't matter how this session turned out. Got bad-beat when you were a 93% favorite? Get over it, smart guy! You know that if the same situation comes up again (and it will), you'll get the best of it in the long run.


Remembering this will help keep you on your A-game. You'll likely have incredible highs and lows, ups and downs, good runs and bad runs. This is normal. What matters is the long run.


Keeping this in perspective is important; when you lose a coin flip, you don't feel bad about yourself afterwards, or have an urge to take the life of the person who won. That would be ridiculous. It was just bad luck. Try to treat situations in a poker game with the same indifference.


With that, good luck! And if you suck at poker, please.... stop playing immediately. If you insist upon playing, play me. Till next time, CN

The Basics of Value Betting

Short Term EV

5 Mistakes When Playing Pocket Aces

Playing Irrational Players

Thinking Through Your Poker Hands

Playing Your Draws Aggressively

Basic Bankroll Management

Common Beginner Mistakes in Poker, Part 1

9 Reasons You Lose At Cash Games

NLHE Table Selection

Playing Middle Suited Connectors

Playing OverPairs

Avoiding Tilt

6 Tips for Beginners

Playing The Turn in NLHE

Tournament Play - Playing The Shortstack

Common Beginner Mistakes in Poker, Part 2