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3 elements to consistently winning in Texas Hold'em Poker

Mar 18, 2014 3:00 AM

Playing poker, week after week, day after day, in the long run you are either a winner or a loser. There is no “Mr. In-Between.”

What does it take to be a consistent winner? Why do most players go home losers more often than not; while others (a minority to be sure) usually win? It must be more than luck because, in the long run, luck is bound to even out.

What’s more, the winning poker player must overcome the handicap of the casino rake (unless he is playing in a home game where there is no rake). He has to win more than that and also overcome other costs to play such as a bad-beat jackpot drop and a tip to the dealer.

There are three key elements that characterize the winners’ abilities, and vividly distinguish them from the rest of the pack. Perhaps we should better label these as “essentials” because, without these, you are bound to be a loser. In fact, these same elements apply to life, in general, as well as the game of poker: Decisions, Control, Skill.

There are many key decisions that must be made even when first being seated at your poker table, starting with game, table and seat selection. You can hardly expect to win at any poker game if you neglect these; and, yet, most players seem oblivious to the need to make rational decisions on these seemingly mundane selections.

Of course, during the play of every hand, there are so many other decisions that are vital – starting-hand selection; call, raise or fold on the flop; semi-bluff on the turn; bluff on the river; and on and on.

Decisions…Decisions…Decisions: The opportunity to make these decisions puts you in control. Knowing how to make these decisions in your best interests requires real skill.

Of course, it’s essential to know how to make these decisions. The really skilled player has it down pat. He doesn’t just guess. Considering the average hold’em hand lasts just two minutes, he has to be skilled enough to accommodate that short time span. That takes quick thinking – lots of skill!

You can quickly spot the winners and the losers.

Aside from looking at their chip stacks, it’s really not difficult to distinguish the winners from the losers. The losers came to play; whereas, the winners play to win.

The skilled players realize the majority of hands dealt are not viable starting-hands. They know any player who stays to see more than one-third of the flops is bound to be playing inferior hands – and is almost certain to go home a loser.

But what about luck? Playing the slots, roulette or Keno, and so many other games that are outright gambling, there is little if any skill involved. More often than not, there is little rationale for making your play decisions in such games.

It’s you against the casino; and the casino always gives itself the edge. It’s simply a matter of trusting to luck – chance. The laws of probability are not involved. You might just as well bet on random numbers on the roulette wheel.

It’s all a matter of luck; but you still have the house’s edge to contend with. There is absolutely no skill involved! And, you have absolutely no control over luck. When playing poker, in the long run, it will be the player who has the skill who will be the winner. Make sure it’s you! And that’s true in poker and in life.

Life is like a poker game.

It takes skill to succeed.

A little luck along the way also helps.

In both cases – poker and life – the winner walks away with the rewards.

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