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The Gentleman Gambler

Sep 2, 2003 4:17 AM

Carol, in a recent column I was telling the folks that I would give them a few tips on how to win when they are playing in a poker games, so today I am just going to give a few tips about how to be a winner when playing poker.

Being a professional poker player is an occupation that requires a great understanding of the world in general. When you first sit down to play in a poker game:

Tip No. 1: Enter the game slowly. I recommend that you sit there for a while and observe the game. Study the game before you play a single hand. See what’s happening first, see how the flow of the game is going.

You should just sit there for a long time and just throw hand after hand in the muck while you are watching the other players and how they play. The reason that you are doing this is that you’re trying to determine how they play, what their tells are, the nature of their betting patterns.

Use your mind during this time of observations to try to understand the people you’re playing against. Try to see what cards they’re playing and what they do with them and how they react to certain situations.

People are creatures of habit and they will repeat themselves time and again. So watch them closely to see how they bet their money, how they move their hands ”” make a book on them ”” This brings me to my next tip.

Tip No. 2: The football season is just getting started but I noticed in a recent GamingToday that Perry’s 2003 preseason college football ratings have each and every one of the top 100 plus of the college football teams has been assigned a power rating number.

This means that if Oklahoma with a rating of 182½ is playing Texas with a rating of 176½ on October the 11 in the Cotton Bowl at Dallas, then OU should win the game by the difference in these two power numbers (182½-176½ = 6).

So, Texas would be a 6 point underdog. Of course this number has to be adjusted for weather, injuries, home field advantage and other factors. But if you will look at the future books around town you will find 4 or 4½ is the number.

Lay the points and take Oklahoma; you will need help counting your money.

Now, I said you must do the same thing with each and every player that you play poker with, but let’s just make it simple and rate the table that want to play with at this time.

Of course go ahead and keep your future book for another game. But for today we will only consider the players who will play in the poker game today.

Give each of the players a rating of 1 thru 10. Be fair with yourself and give yourself an honest rating; do not over rate your own play!

Now, how do you rate each of the other players at the table?

If you have played with him before, remember his history: did he win or did he lose? Look at his hands ”” are they clean or dirty? Look at his clothes. Look at his shoes. Look at his stack of chips; how many does he have? How did he get them? Did he buy them or has he been winning pots?

Watch his eyes! Does he look at his watch? If he is playing against the clock, it is important! Where is he looking? Is he alert? Does he have a girl friend with him that he may want to impress? Or is he sleepy? Or drunk or drinking? Is he mad or happy? Is he young? Is he old? Is he tired?


BEFORE PLAYING take time to observe the action for a while.

Try to think of everything that you can that make him different from the other players and assign him a poker power rating number of 1 to 10.

Do this for every player at the table and re-evaluate each player assigned a rating number at each dealer change.

Do this for each and every player at each dealer change and be honest with yourself.

Adjust your poker power rating up and down in accordance with how you are playing and how you are winning against this group of players. And of course you must adjust all the other players rating up and or down at each dealer change.

If it is a tournament, do this at each limit change and/ or each dealer change.

If you are a 10, stay with it and if you are a poker player you will know if you are the strongest or best player at the table. If you are off your game that day, take your poker power number down. To thy own self you must be true.

Now most important, try to play in pots with the 1, 2 and the 3’s ”¦ you will like the results.

When you are a pot with the 4, 5 and 6’s play each pot with a little more care.

If your rating is correct you will win most of these pots .

Then when you are in a pot with the poker players with power rating of 8, 9 and 10’s, play with them like porcupines make love ”” VERY CAREFULLY.

If you have a poker power rating 10 or 9 or 8 at this poker table, you will win almost every day.

If your poker power rating is 1 or 2 or 3 or 4, you will lose almost every day.

If you find yourself in a poker game where your poker power rating is 4 or lower you must quit and find another game or wait and play another day.

If you don’t, when you look around for who Mr. Tucker is, it will be you.

Most successful poker players are good at game selection and if you cannot evaluate the strength and /or weakness of the other players, don’t play.

Most good football coaches have their athletic directors schedule several early games with weaker teams that have a power rating less than their team to make sure that they keep their jobs and have a winning season.

This is just another form of game selection.

Pick your enemies carefully and when you win, your friends will find you and may want to borrow or help you count your money!

Until next time remember to stay lucky!