Here's a key chart I present in my WINNING Poker Seminars. It's a great away to introduce the seminar to the attendees. Poker is a game of:
• Patience & Perseverance
• Money Management
• Gaining the "Edge"
• A Sort of Investment
In a previous column, I told you about poker being "A Sort of Investment." Well, the other night, while playing $4-$8 hold'em at the Hustler Casino, I went home a WINNER because poker is also a game of IMAGE.
To explain: Just as you are evaluating your opponents based on how they play their hands, they are doing the same to you. Based on that assessment, you have "earned" an IMAGE.
My Image. . . I know my image: I'm tight and aggressive. I call preflop when my hole cards meet my standards -- relying on my Hold'em Algorithm to make it easy to make that determination.) And I play aggressively, raising when I feel it is appropriate. So that's my image; I don't try to disguise it.
Lots of Action. . . I was the oldest player at that table. My opponents were all young men in their 20s and 30s. And they wanted action -- lots of raising and reraising. Almost every other hand was raised the maximum (three raises to "cap" it) preflop, and sometimes during later rounds of betting. So the pots were large. . .
Because that game had so much "action" preflop, I generally avoided marginal drawing hands, staying in with made hands or premium drawing hands.
So I Took Advantage of My Image! Actually it's not very hard to do. When I entered the fray, calling preflop, they knew I had a strong opening hand. But they didn't know what hole cards I held. Just the same, they joined the preflop action, and even called when I raised after the flop.
With A-10 of hearts, I caught four-to-the-nut flush on the flop; and there were five opponents still in the hand. I raised because I had a positive expectation: With the card odds of 1.86-to-1 against me, I was getting the best of it if two or more opponents called my raise on the flop. Of course they had no way of knowing that I had a drawing hand; they probably assumed I had a high pocket pair. In fact, one opponent shouted across the table: "Pocket aces, huh?" I smiled at him. He called as did three others. Lots of action!
When the turn didn't help me, and the board was not threatening, I decided to bet again. Now I was making a semi-bluff. I had hoped to catch the flush on the turn. Alas, it didn't happen. . . I needed another heart for the flush. Two opponents folded when I bet. Now there were just two opponents still in the hand. The river was another blank. There was nothing higher than a jack on the board. They both checked to me. I bet - with nothing but four-to-a-flush, Ace high. The young man who had queried me at the start about my hand, thought for a long time - or so it seemed. And then he folded. Whew! So did the other young man. I dragged in a big pot - thanks to my image! Maybe I was lucky too. . .
Guess what: A few hands later, I had another opportunity to bluff. Again, because of my IMAGE, they let me take the pot from them. Of course, I used the "Esther Bluff" both times. That was two out of two tries for the night. And, thanks to my IMAGE - and the "Esther Bluff" - I was able to go home a WINNER!
So, readers, what's YOUR opinion?