If someone tells you they're smarter than you, they're not. If they were, they'd know not to tip you off to that fact, thus putting you on your guard. This is true in poker, and also true in life where, at minimum, you don't want people to think they're not as smart as you if for no other reason than it may make them feel grumpy and insecure, and then not give you what they want.
Imagine this scenario in a realworld cardroom: You make a river bet, get called, and turn over your hand. Your opponent mucks his cards without showing, but curiosity gets the best of you, so you reach into the muck and peek at his discards. How many times do you think you could do this before they threw your sorry, angle-shooting ass out of the casino? Yet online you can do it all day, every day, and if you're not aware of it you should be. Every online poker site has a handy little feature called instant hand histories.
In just the last year, no-limit Texas hold'em has emerged with a vengeance, establishing itself as the game of choice for a whole eager horde of new poker players. From home games to cardrooms and casinos and all across the internet, people who have never played poker before are losing their poker cherry, so to speak, to the Cadillac of poker. Television is to blame, of course.
The other day I came across a useful piece of poker instruction in acronym form: FAR; Focus, Aggression and Reads. This simple shorthand reminds us what, exactly, we need to take into most ring games and most tournaments if we hope to have a chance to win. The next time I played poker, I applied the FAR strategy, and really liked the results... until I forgot that there's a little more to poker than just focus, aggression and reads. There's also, for example, hand selection, a little something I somehow overlooked in my zealous attention to FAR.
Dear Loser, I'm sorry to hear you've been running so badly. If I understand your situation, it's this:
You're getting spanked right now and there doesn't seem to be anything you can do to stop it. The last few weeks have been a perfect storm of bad beats, bad luck, and bad decisions, and it's combining to chew a hole in your bankroll, your confidence and your normally sunny disposition. And it's not like you don't know it's happening. To paraphrase Paul Kelly, "You see the knives out, you turn your back. You see the train, you stay right on that track."
This year's World Series of Poker is history, and once again history was made by the massive contingent of online poker players, whose teeming numbers swelled the ranks of every single tournament, and helped break attendance records for the main event and many others. With popularity comes notoriety, and it's no secret that online poker has been the subject of much press and punditry in every media outlet from ABC's Nightline to, probably, Cat Fancier magazine. "Internet poker is a cultural phenomenon," pronounce the talking heads.
When I'm on tilt, I describe myself as "a cork, bobbing on the sea of poker." Here's how I went corking last night, and please note how my own good fortune triggered the event in the first place.
In the natural ebb and flow of tournament poker, you routinely see a tightening of play as people get within shouting distance of the money. Those with short stacks cast nervous eyes about, looking for other short stacks and measuring the distance of approaching blinds. "Can I make it?" players wonder. "Can I make it to the money without taking a chance, or must my money move in order for me to cash?" These players are looking for an excuse not to play. They're looking to make good laydowns.
There's a time and a place for everything. Usually when you're playing poker, it's easy to figure out what the proper time and place are: If you're sitting in a cardroom or a home game, and there are chips and cards in front of you, that's the right time and the right place to be playing poker.