For the serious player, poker is war. The truly dedicated player is willing to bust anyone-friend, lover, relative, elderly grandmother on a pension-to get ahead in a poker game.
If you flop a monster hand in hold 'em, and it happens in such a way that you hold the very cards any opponent would need to make a good hand, in technical terms it's known as crippling the deck. In practical terms, it means that your fabulous hand is unlikely to get any action from the other players, because nobody can possibly have much of a hand. So usually you will be compelled to slow-play-by giving away free or cheap cards in the hopes that at least one of your opponents will catch something to make a hand.
One of the most sophisticated weapons in any poker player's arsenal, the squeeze play is potent and best used sparingly. It's an advanced type of bluff normally reserved for big bet games such as pot-limit and no-limit. Moreover, it's mainly useful in tournament play, and even then, the would-be squeezer must pick his spots very carefully.
In Act I of George Bernard Shaw's famous play Caesar and Cleopatra, the two main characters meet for the first time at the foot of the Sphinx. Cleopatra, still very young and inexperienced, does not realize who Caesar is and confides to him her terror that the invading Romans are barbarians who "are coming to eat us all." Without revealing his identity, Caesar tells Cleopatra that if she behaves like a grown woman and a queen, then the Romans will not harm her, but if she continues to act like a silly child, she will be eaten.
As the name indicates, reverse implied odds are the opposite of implied odds. While implied odds push your true pot odds one step forward, reverse implied odds pull them one step backward. In either case, the pot odds are not quite as they first appear, because future betting rounds must be taken into account.
It's one of the most beautiful words in all of poker. It's a word players always love to hear because it offers the promise of getting something for nothing. The word is freeroll, and it means that you cannot lose.
It's a peculiar kind of poker tragedy. You're drawing to a big hand when precisely the card you were hoping for appears on the river. It's such a wonderful feeling, a glorious rush. So now you throw chips into the middle of the table with abandon, confident this pot will soon be yours-only to discover at the showdown that another player already held a better hand than the one you were drawing to. You were drawing dead all along. Hitting your card was the worst thing that could have happened. That beautiful river card has cost you a big chunk of chips.
Unique to live cash games, a straddle bet is an additional and voluntary pre-flop blind raise. In effect, a third blind. Before any cards are dealt, the under-the-gun player can announce "straddle" and put out chips amounting to twice the big blind. In some locations, a Mississippi straddle is allowed from any location at the table. With the straddle, betting limits double for the first round only, and the straddler will always act last before the flop.
In no-limit and pot-limit games, one sneaky little weapon that can prove very useful in the early rounds is the pot-sweetener. Typically, a pot-sweetener is a smallish bet or raise that's designed not to drive opponents out. It's a little bet that's trying to coax little calls-with the aim of fattening up the pot for the eventual kill. Opponents usually call the diminutive raise because they're getting good pot odds, and in the later rounds will be more inclined to keep on calling because of the now-larger pot.
Thievery is an essential part of poker. If poker were simply a game where the best hand always drags the pot, it would lose much of its strategic nuances and in turn, much of its appeal. The giant all-in bluff is the most dramatic form of poker larceny, but there are many others. Stealing the blinds and antes is small potatoes by comparison, but it's still a crucial tactic, especially in tournaments.