Strategies and tactics are important in winning poker. A strategy is a plan of action to achieve a goal; a tactic is how you pursue that plan. To be a winner at hold 'em, an essential skill is understanding and using appropriate strategies and tactics. Players are prone to concentrate on the strategies, while neglecting the equally important tactics. The success of your strategy often depends on the effectiveness of your tactics.
One of my students, Jim, is a consistent winner in low-limit hold 'em. Recently, while playing $3-$6 limit at a local casino, he was accused of greed.
In a recent column, I told you about Poker Player Newspaper reader Allison "Wonderland" Johnson's lucky seat theory. She believes there is one seat at the table that is fortunate to be blessed with winning hands much more than its fair share of the time.
I had been playing for about four hours in a $4-$8 hold 'em game at a local casino and not doing well. I was on my second buy-in at a loose table with lots of poker pigeons. With a little luck, I was sure I could make up for my losses and go home a winner. Sound familiar?
In the big blind, I was dealt 7-4 off-suit. The under-the-gun player to my left raised and I was thinking about folding. But when five other opponents called his raise, giving me pot odds of about 13-to-1, I decided it was worth another small bet to see the flop. You never know what the flop will bring.
Professionalism is "the conduct, aims, or qualities that characterize or mark a profession or a professional person," according to The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. In the game of poker, what then distinguishes a professional from a non-professional?
Poker is a game of decisions. Make the right decisions and you will be a winner in the long run. But, when there are decisions to be made, mistakes are often made. We're only human. Mistakes may be momentary gaffes-blunders that are avoidable, missteps where you just take a wrong step, slip-ups, or errors in judgment. Perhaps the worst mistake a poker player can make is oversight-a failure to notice something that could be important. It may well be inadvertent, but it's avoidable-and often costly.
Is there such a thing as a lucky seat at the poker table? That's the seat at the table that is fortunate enough to be blessed with winning hands more than its fair share of the time.
Well San Diego Poker Player Newspaper reader Allison "Wonderland" Johnson makes a strong, albeit somewhat emotional, case for the concept of the lucky seat. She has developed her Personal Poker Play Pattern-abbreviated "Quad Ps" or "PPPP."
Mike Caro, "The Mad Genius of Poker," is one of my favorite poker celebrities. In fact, his seminars some years ago at the Hollywood Park Casino helped me to become a winner when I first got serious about poker. Indeed, even though I am a good deal older than Mike, I look upon him as my poker mentor, and I believe I am not the only one who regards Mike in such high esteem. I always look forward to his columns in the Poker Player Newspaper. Recently, in connection with a discussion of "random," he examined several issues concerning bluffing.
If you had X-ray eyes and could see through the backs of your opponent's cards, you would know exactly what he held. But only Superman had that power. You and I-we are mere mortals. So we'll have to be satisfied with the next best thing: Trying to read our opponent's hole cards.
In the past two years I have won two bad beat jackpots playing hold 'em in local Los Angeles area casinos. Exciting! Rewarding! Sure, I was lucky; the odds must be a gazillion-to-1 against it happening, but, over the long run, it can-and obviously does happen.
The rules and payoffs vary from casino to casino. Typically, you must have aces-full-of-tens or better beaten by four-of-a-kind or better at the showdown, with each player using both of his hole cards in his best five-card hand.