2013 New Year resolution? Win more poker!

December 31, 2012 3:00 AM
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It’s that time of year again when we all make resolutions for the new year: How are we going to change and/or improve things?

How about resolving to win more often and win more chips at the poker tables during 2013? I know you can do it. Here’s how…

Repeat after me: I promise to use Epstein’s Poker Two-Step and Money Management System. I promise you it will work, if…

The Two-Step

It’s not a dance. It’s simply two actions in sequence that are bound, when combined, to render you a sure winner at the poker table – well, almost.

Step 1 – Use Epstein’s Hold’em Algorithm or other means for effective starting-hand selection. If you start with decent holecards, depending on betting position and a few other considerations, you are much more likely to end with a winning hand than when starting with mediocre cards. About 75% of hands, the player with the better starting holecards will win out over a weaker hand.

Step 2 – The flop must improve your hand or, at the very least, have six outs to a winner. Probability law tells us you will connect with one of your holecards 1 out of 3 times. (Better to connect when you hold high holecards than smaller ones.)

With two overcards to the board, you will have six outs. If there is no raise on the flop, you can stay to see the turn – and hope to connect. It happens…And then, too, the flop could bring you a draw to a straight or flush. An open-ended straight draw offers eight outs; and a flush draw has nine outs. Very playable, especially if no one raises. Of course, the higher the card value, the more likely it will take the pot when it connects.

Money Management

After using the Two-Step for a while, you have now acquired lots of chips. You are well ahead. But, we all realize there is always the element of luck. We can influence luck to some extent, but we can never control it. That’s how bad beats happen. The result is that variance – ups and downs in your poker results – is inherent in the game of poker (or any other activity in which luck is a factor). Money Management is the key to overcoming this inherent variance.

The idea is to give yourself opportunity to continue to win. (“Winning is great fun; the more I win, the more fun it is!” – Irene Epstein; deceased). At the same time, avoid losing it all back. When that happens, then it’s only natural you are anxious to restore your winnings; instead, you probably lose some or all of your buy-in.

Our scheme for Money Management can make the difference, offering you opportunity to build your winnings further, while limiting how much of your winnings you lose back. Two methods are described in my first book (The Greatest Book of Poker for WINNERS!; T/C Press; 2001). Basically, here is how it works:

Having exceeded your goal for winning, take a portion of your winnings (say 50%) and move these chips to the right of the rest of your chips (your buy-in plus the rest of your winnings). For convenience, let’s label the portion of winnings to the right as your “play money;” the rest is your “money in the bank.”

As the game progresses, use only the “play money.” Likely, you will lose a few hands and then win one. Use those winnings to replenish your starting “play money.” The rest of the winning chips go into “the bank.” (It feels great to watch your “bank” grow.)

Eventually, you may very well lose all of your “play money.” Then it’s time to quit for the day and go home – a big winner!

So that’s it. That’s all there is to it. Can you make this your 2013 New Year’s resolution? Warning: It does require lots of self-discipline.

George "The Engineer" Epstein is the author of The Greatest Book of Poker for Winners! and Hold’em or Fold’em? – An Algorithm for Making the Key Decision. He teaches poker at Sr. Citizen Centers in Los Angeles, at West Los Angeles College, and at a new CalVet facility in West L.A. Recently, he received the Senior Citizen Volunteer-of-the-Year Award from the Westside Optimists, in large part for his poker activities. More recently, George was elected to the Seniors Poker Hall of Fame. Contact George at GeorgeEpstein@GamingToday.com.

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