10 (guaranteed!) tips for winning at poker

Sep 1, 2009 5:10 PM


Carol, I know I have told the poker folks if they wish to win when they play poker they need to follow certain rules. At the end of most of my "Back in the Saddle Again" columns I write in GamingToday, I give folks one of my "Oklahoma Johnny" poker tips of the week.

This time, I’m lumping several together for the many newcomers to poker. The plan is simple. I plan to give you folks my 10 most important winning poker tips in this column.

If you follow all 10 of them, I will give you my "Oklahoma Johnny" Hale Oklahoma guarantee that you will win each and every time that you sit down to play poker.

I teach poker a lot better than I play, so this week I will try to follow my own tips and/or rules to play poker and see if I have a positive result.

The honest truth is that I enjoy playing poker in a fun mode most of the time and tease the cards and do not follow the rules like I should.

At my age I do not have time to wait too long for a poker hand. I want to enjoy the game.

I love to play 8 and better Hi/Lo Omaha poker out at The Orleans. I play a lot of hands. The dealer gives me four cards and I can play poker with them either Hi poker, Lo poker or both.

I must tell you that in Oklahoma we had an old boy that we are real proud of. You may have heard of him – Will Rogers was his name and Will was noted for many sayings; one of his well-known comments was, "I never saw a man I did not like."

Now, I know Will would forgive me if I change his saying to a poker saying – so I ask that you folks also think kindly of me when I tell you, "I never saw two cards that I did not like."

So, with four cards in my hand, I want to play each and every hand.

Oh, yes, here are the aphorisms I promised.

OK Johnny Hale’s 10 best tips

1. Do not play poker when you are mad (at yourself or someone else.)

2. Do not play poker with important money. If the money that you are playing poker with is needed for another higher purpose in life or if the money will buy something that you or your loved ones need, you must not play with important money.

3. If you think the game is not right for you to play, don’t play. (Cheating, smoking, excessive drinking, stakes too high – just any reason that makes you uncomfortable when you play.)

4. Do not play against the clock. If you have something else that is more important than the game, go take care of that, then come back and play.

5. Know the rules of the game and the house rules of the poker game.

6. Relax, do not rush your play. Poker is a waiting game. Wait until you have good positive expectations of winning the pot before you try to win the pot. Think you are going to win. 

7. Do not let anything upset you while you play. If you get a phone call or you begin to worry about something that you must do tomorrow and you do not have 100 percent of your attention on the game, quit. They will deal tomorrow.

8. Rate the players. Give each of the poker players a rating. If it is a nine-handed hold’em poker game, rate the poker player that you think is the best at the table as no. 1, then give yourself an honest rating. If you rate yourself 1, 2 or 3 you will win the money. If you rate yourself 7, 8 or 9, you will lose your money in this game.

If you play in pots with the 7, 8 or 9, you will win the money. When you are in a pot with the 1, 2 or 3 rated players you must play the way porcupines make love — very carefully — or you will lose your money.

9. Raise the pot at every opportunity. It is often cheaper to raise the pot than to just call. Most important – unless you are small blind or big blind in hold’em – do not play in a poker pot that has not been raised before the flop.

10. This is the most important tip of all. When you look down and find that you are winner, quit. Do not try to win all the money today. Greed is a horrible thing.

You can shear the sheep often, but if you kill the sheep you must eat it. They will deal again tomorrow. Go home, be happy and count the money.

Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Johnny Hale