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.
There's an old poker adage that says if you never get caught bluffing, then you must not be bluffing enough. A corollary to that adage might be if your bluffs keep getting caught, then you must be doing it too often. Either way you look at it, there's no getting away from the fact that bluffs always carry the risk of getting snapped off. For many players, that's a big part of what makes bluffing so much fun-the thrill of taking that chance in order to buy a pot without the best cards.
Anyplace you find rules, you will always find somebody who wants to abuse them-especially in a game like poker, where so much money and ego are often at stake. Technically, angle shooting is not cheating. Angle shooters don't break the rules-they just make it their personal mission to bend them as much as humanly possible. Angle shooting occupies a strange gray area in the game of poker. It's unethical and poisons the atmosphere of the game, and yet it's not really illegal.
That phrase was coined by author John Vorhaus in his book, Killer Poker Online. Say you're thinking about quitting a poker session, but then a little voice in your head keeps telling you: Just one more hand...just one more round...and you end up staying for a lot longer than you planned. That's a classic case of one more hand syndrome and it's a real danger sign. Self-discipline is crucial in this game.
Allegedly, poker is a logical, rational game. In theory, it's a game of calculated decisions based on odds, strategy, and a careful reading of your opponents. But as we all know, it's not really like this in practice. Factors such as greed, ego, and tilt often play a substantial role in decisions made at the poker table. Moreover, poker players-even skilled players who are supposedly bastions of strategic and mathematical knowledge-can be some of the most superstitious people in the world.
It's one of the best feelings in poker. You're holding a pocket pair and watch the dealer spread a flop containing a beautiful matching card. You've flopped a set. Right off the bat, this puts you in a fabulous position to take down the pot. Not only is your set more powerful than the vast majority of hands that could be out against you-unless the board is very coordinated, and we'll get to that in a moment-but it's also exceptionally well-concealed. Most of your opponents will never guess what you have until it's too late.
During the course of a hand, any player who needs a few extra moments to think about what to do when the action is on him can request "time." It can be anything from a few moments to a minute or two, as he tries to decide what to do next. But occasionally this poker time-out takes longer-a lot longer. This is known as going into the tank. And it's not uncommon to see this happen over and over again, particularly in tournaments.
It's one of the most difficult things for any player to do: Let go of a good poker hand. So much of our time at the poker table is spent waiting, waiting, waiting to be dealt just a couple of decent cards. And so when we finally do peek under our hole cards and see something worthwhile, it's almost like falling in love-or at least like temporary infatuation. But the ability to fold premium cards in the right spot is a critical poker skill. When good hands make bad calls, it's virtually impossible to win in the long run.
No fold 'em hold 'em is exactly what it sounds like: Nobody folds. Well, almost nobody. So efforts to protect your good hands by pushing opponents out of the pot are usually futile. Predictably, these games are almost exclusively found at lower limits. Contrary to what many believe, no fold 'em games certainly can be beaten. Actually, they are among the most profitable of all poker games in the long run. But to beat them, you must make the necessary adjustments-and be prepared for some humongous short-term swings.
In the long run, good poker players win and bad players lose no matter where they sit. But seat selection is probably one of the most underrated elements of winning play and can have a substantial impact on your profits. Sit in the wrong spot and you'll spend the entire game swimming against the current. But choosing the right seat is like floating downstream with the tide gently aiding you along. In either case you can still get where you want to go, but the second way is easier and faster.