Final seven tips for playing winning poker

Final seven tips for playing winning poker

May 16, 2017 3:00 AM
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Hold'em tips, Part 1

As promised, here are more Poker Tips to help you on your journey to become a winner when playing Texas Hold’em. Continuing from where we left off.

Tip 13: Evaluate your opponents at every opportunity. When a very tight player raises preflop from an early position, he has a powerful starting hand. Muck your hand unless you have pocket Aces, Kings, or Queens (made hands) or a premium drawing hand (A-K, A-Q, A-J, K-Q). Be more inclined to call (or, perhaps, even raise) an aggressive player under the same circumstances.

Tip 14: If you catch the NUTS on the flop, play your hand to build the pot. The nuts is a hand that cannot be beat, considering the cards shown on the board. Don’t bet or raise on the flop. Let an opponent lead the betting, and just call along until the turn. Then, a check-raise would be great if you are sure an opponent will make the bet after your check. Let him think he has the best hand at that point. Then, on the river, it is usually best to make your bet; otherwise your opponents likely will check along if you try for another check-raise. A reverse tell, like sitting back in your seat, could encourage a caller or two.

Tip 15: You have been dealt pocket Aces. It won’t happen very often (once every 221 hands dealt to you). Make the most of it. You are about an 80% favorite over each opponent that sees the flop with you. If more than four opponents stay in, you are an underdog; you will lose more often than you win. Bet or raise to thin the field. It’s best to compete against two or three opponents.

Tip 16: Want to go home a winner? Variance – ups and downs – is inherent. The best way to be a winner is to quit while you are ahead. Have a reasonable goal. At that point, you could pack up and go home – a winner! Not ready to leave the casino; you want to play some more? OK. Cash out your chips. Make a note of how much money you have won. (Hope you keep records.) Could be a good time to have an early dinner. Then, sign back in for another session – and start all over again.

Tip 17: Be aware of calling-stations – players who, once they have invested in the pot, are reluctant to fold on subsequent rounds of betting. Don’t try to bluff out such a player.

Tip 18: Never be a “chaser” – a player who stays in the hand if he has any chance of catching the card that makes his hand. Chasers are losers. Occasionally, he will get lucky and win that pot. But, the odds are so far against him, in the long run, he is bound to lose his chips.

Tip 19: Learn how to count your outs – unseen cards that will make your hand. On the flop, you can use a readily available chart to convert your outs to card odds (against catching one of these). Compare the card odds to the pot odds – the number of chips in the pot versus your cost to call a bet to see the next card (the turn) and possibly also the river. Pot odds higher than your card odds gives a positive expectancy.

Tip 20: There are always exceptions to any rule. For example, the Hold’em Algorithm would have you fold A-3 suited in any position. Here’s an exception you might consider: You are dealt such a hand in late position. If three or more opponents are staying in the hand to see the flop, and there is no raise, call to see the flop. (Epstein labels this the “Hold’em Caveat.”) You are hoping to catch two of your suit on the flop. It will happen one out of nine such hands. Then you can expect to make your nut flush on the turn or the river about 35% of the time.