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Archive for June 2008

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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In ABC by the book holdem--A is for Aces----



Poker is a game of maximizing wins (when you have the best hand) and minimizing loss (when you don't have the best hand). In the last hundred hours of play I have had pocket aces 25+ times, and they held up about 80% of the time. This is really a rare incredible run. Although against a random hand, they do tend to hold up more.


In the long term, I look at the profitability of my pocket aces rather than the number of times they win or lose. To maximize profit with them, I make a conscious effort to minimize my losses when I am clearly going to lose a showdown. Going all-in preflop is a good strategy. It takes the guess work out of post flop play---but it doesn't minimize losses.


At the end of the day, it's all about how many chips are coming back to your stack. The more you put in pre-flop, the more you should get out of the pot when it's all said and done. Sometimes, I like my opponent(s) to see a flop, to "catch" up, hoping they'll hit their card on the flop and bet out. I fgure this out by:



Basically, DEFINING -MY/THEIR- HAND EARLY - WHEN IT'S CHEAP TO DO SO. Firsts money in raises, and you re-raise, let's him know where you are at. If he goes over the top, it's probably Kings. If he smooth calls, you are probably against a small pocket pair or AK,AQ,AJQQ,JJ---put him on a range of hands.



DON'T BET DANGEROUS FLOPS IN MULTIWAY POTS. My AA demands isolation, But let's say I am under the gun with them, and find myself in a 4 handed pot and the flop is J-10-9. I am stuck without betting---It is better to check this flop with AA, even if was in a late position and it has been checked around to me . It is difficult to expect anyone to fold any sort of draw (even a gutshot) on this particular flop. Further, when I bet, they are correct in calling me.



GREAT players experience more bad beats than GOOD players. Great players get their money into the pot with the best hand and the suckers are forced to draw out. As a corollary, great players rarely deliver a bad beat: they almost never get their money into the pot drawing slim.


- - -- by Ed Reif»
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GREETINGS FROM the user friendly universe of ...Gilgamesh Missouri-Home to Toasted Ravioli , Where'd you go to high school?" ST LOUIS---.
Smash Mouth all-in-preflop poker is somewhat of a river game. Small Ball Holdem, on the other hand, is somewhat of a flop game, so if you can see three cards cheaply, it is a good thing.

Smashmouth poker is about first in money- ----You can't immediately win by calling; you can by betting, or raising! Betting or raising allows the possibility of winning the pot immediately by forcing decisions on the other opponents, who may very well fold, with slim holdings.


Small Ball Poker is about calling one or two small bets, but more than that it is about Never getting all your money in pre-flop. The best way to win in small ball is to fold more!(after you see the flop). Smash Mouth players are looking for reasons to bet, Small Ball, reasons to fold. Therefore, folding, is the "invisable" way to win. Try telling that to a Friday night action player: "Let's go to the casino and fold 60% of our hands!"

Most of the bad beat smashmouth pedal-to-the metal stories you hear start out like this, "Well, I got my money in good... only to get sucked out on the river." On the one hand, smash mouth poker is about agression, and poker rewards agression (selective aggression). On the other hand, Infinite patience in poker is also rewarded immediately. (You can't lose money you don't put into a pot).

As Mickey Mantle said in his 1985 autobiography"When you keep aiming for the fences, you're bound to strike out a lot ." Small ball poker avoids the MIS (move in specialists) and let them have their hands.

With Small Ball poker, AFTER the flop, you can evaluate the texture and the number of players in, and attack. If the pot starts to get big, then you must be ahead to continue to play. If you can keep the pot small, you can read you opponent(s) and decide what is in your best interest.

You have to be a good post flop player to play small ball. You have to be willing to see a flop with TT, knowing full well that it might mean mucking the hand if the texture of the flop doesn’t match up with your cards (No Set, No Bet).
You need to make high value river bets when the board shows broken draws. You can also bluff someone who is chasing you down with AX when the flush card comes on the river. Ax players know the flush draw very well as its their favorite hand. They WILL notice and often muck TP (top pair) to a big river bet that makes a 3 flush.

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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Motion Creates Emotion

Every hand of poker is a series of risk/reward decisions. Players cannot always figure out what is in their best interest. Money and risk are abstract, complex things. We act less rationally, less logically, and more emotionally when playing cards. When your left brain gets good at telling your right brain what to do, you even the score, and gain a competitive advatage.

Paper or Plastic? Live Cash game chips are not tournament chips! There is a difference between gambling and betting. Live "brick/click and mortar"poker is a game of money played with cards.

Yet, we tend to throw good money after bad---the sunk-cost fallacy is a common mental mistake. Just because we’ve spent money to see a flop doesn’t mean we should continue to spend money on it. It doesn’t even mean we should continue to play the hand . What matters is the hands ’s future value(flop-turn-river) to us, not how much we’ve “spent” on it.

The ability to take a small loss to avoid a big one is the hallmark of smart poker player. It's also the sign of a great investor. Great poker players lay down great hands. You have to reframe the situation and retrain your mind. In other words, you have to learn to love to take losses to be a long-term winner. Just like no one hand is going to make or break you, it is about exceling, about process, not results.

As in real estate, location counts-In Holdem it is position, position, position. The forced blind small bet is where most people call, even a riase, because they have money already in the pot. When you're in position, however, you have the luxury of getting the last action, when you're not you don't. It is that simple-yet common sense is not so common,e specially in the small blind.

Most people know hand values and preflop strategy, but post flop is where a bit of behavioral financing comes in: or The Power of Mind over Money. It is rooted in mental bias. It is our own idiosyncratic way to distort our map of reality. Just as the menu is not the meal, this map is not the territory--because everyone experiences gambling differently


I, for one, am guilty of the House Money Effect, with chip overload of playing loose with their money--actually it is ALL my money once won!

Poker is not a form of gambling---but gambling is a form of poker

Most wall street theories and models assume “investors” are rational decision makers who act in their own best interests. But, in reality, our investment brain often drives us to do things that are quite illogical, but make perfect emotional sense.

Poker's outward simplicity-The ability to affect the outcome is present, unlike roulette. If no one sees any cards, the cards did not play a role in the outcome. Thus, the outcome was determined by the betting of the players, clearly a process of skill or strategy.

Ipod Shuffle Mode-Delusions of Reference

Poker's patterns are not our own. Poker is more reflective of real-life "wild" randomness because that game has major strategic and tactical components to it that is mashed up with the quasi-dealer element of a shuffled deck. Makes me think of the ipod shuffle mode----the shuffle mode has an algorithm that randomizes the selection of songs that your IPod can select. Any 'pattern' you discern from what songs your IPod selects is illusory. Just because you lost five times in a row, doesn’t mean you are “due” to win one.

Any strongly held belief that random events, objects, behaviors of others, etc., have a particular and unusual significance to oneself or ones play or game is purely incidental. The Rabbit's foot-good luck? Not for the rabbit. More than that, the in to your sane, "ruunning bad" or "running good", that it reflect your situation or , in fact, communicates about you or your "predicaments" is usually accidental in nature- so reading too much into it is counter productive. Usually if things are really bad, there are probably leaks in your game-and the quest for "good luck" is usually in these questions:

1.) How much of your bad run is your fault? Anyalsis may be paralysis but the meaning of a poker life--is get one! and the unexamined poker life is not worth living! Assign blame-- Do you find yourself saying "should" I shouda raised, I shoulda folded that. Be honest




2.) Do you need to step down in limits? Money can't buy happiness but it can buy chips, which is kinda the same thing, and you can't play poker without money! It's better to step down voluntarily to a game you can crush than to be forced to because you lost all your bankroll playing above your head on a bad run

3.) Are you playing the right game? Without the right game, the right people don't show up. Game selection-(e.g. limit, no-limit sit-and-go tourneys, etc.) and also to choosing the right tables. The urge to "get back" when losing repeatedly can cloud your vision, leaving you stuck at an unprofitable table when there are plenty of loose, crushable games to choose from. Change Tables!

4.) Do you need to take a break? Well, I was joking the other day with my sister Kathy --You know why I won so much money the other night...It's like the Indian's and the Rain Dance. The reason it works---they never stopped dancing! I never stop playing poker! On the other hand , a broken clock is right twice a day---and because of the huge luck factor in poker, you can win lots of pots(not always chips). Clearing your head, getting away fromt eh game is not only useful, it is mandatory every once in a while.




- - -- by Ed Reif»
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Live At The BIKE ---Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles Last Night


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- - -- by Ed Reif»
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Your Brain On Poker-Zero Gravity Thinking

Everything we think we know about online poker is changing, so we really know nothing. Sometimes nothing is a real cool hand. ---I'm feeling Paul's got a few good days left-like David "Chip" Reese (1951-2007)----The One With the Most Chips Still Dies.!

This is the wake up call for ABC by-the- book players. The so-called new ways to play holdem are the old ones heated up in a microwave for 15 seconds. You see, Poker Doesn't think. It is an infinite game;the overall phenomenon of NLH has no end. It is always a frontier, always on the edge.

Donkey plays were mandatory at the Full Tilt NLH 6 handed $1$2 table last night. Not only did Hotel_Anyware get good value on his scoops, there was dead money in 60% of the pots. It is easier to change somebody's religion than the way they play poker- what we have here is a failure to ex-communicate--It certainly put the odds back into God, as Mr. Anyware felt like a megalomaniac. After all, if he couldn't predict the flop, so Hotel invent it.

Creating rather than responding is zero gravity thinking---less to do with originality and more to do with the unexpected. It’s not about winning or losing---rather excelling....and the donkeys felt the G's!

Get em scared and then keep the scare on em. --Exponentially scared.And open a can of whoop ass.

Laziness has become the religion of the 21st Century gambler. Vene, Vidi, Velcro: "I came, I saw, I stuck around until I ran out of money".

Saying, "It's only a game" is the lesser known, I don't have a dream speech. Yet the aim of NLH is not just winning, but progress. Inspiration increases (to excel) when the left brain gets good at telling the right brain what to do.

There's a saying--the future isn't what it used to be; neither is taking risks! It seems like the price is always right. Risk is always properly rewarded.

Mr Ed Reif had a bluff fest the other night, going to war often with squadush--firing three bullets into a raised pot---the Stu Unger three-barrel bluff; UTG last in money; betting scare cards: putting opponents on super-insane-massive-tilt before the three stooges- Sponge Pants Bob, Fred the Funnel, Steve the Sieve, put him on it. Turn raises, or bets were scarier to the 3 stooges than flop bets, and here are the top three I sold: The Stone Cold Bluff---no pair, no draw. The Representing Bluff---betting scare cards, flushes and straights. The Semi-Bluff---drawing to the nuts, flush, straight or overcards.

Sam was a strainer. Bob absorbed all! Fred puts the fun in funnel. He didn't suffer from tilt. He was a carrrier. And the beat(s) go on...as the outlaw badboys (internet players) becomes the sheriffs. The lawfulness of donks behavior is what gets them in trouble. They don’t play aweful, they play lawfully. They are predictable. They act in certain ways. They act in a cause and effect way. They “take in” the game. They play their cards. It can make you or break you, that "tight is right" approach. Generally speaking, they are too loose pre flop, and too tight post and have no sense of the importance of (betting) position.

They call it poker because the word f_ck was taken.

Poker is a little like seduction and deceit. You have to seduce people to trust you. You have to lie so good, they believe you and they think you are telling the truth . It's less about resources (having big hands) and more about resourcefulness, the heavy lifting and mental gymnastics of "Sometimes you call", "Sometimes you raise", and "Sometimes you bluff".

Online domination is not as easy to dish out as in a live cash game-or as we like to say, keeping the ick in Dick, the c#nt in country-- Being the ugly Americon poker player , speaking English loudly and slowly to get your ideas across--- Betting has to do your talking. It's a slang that spits in the street, rolls up its sleeves and says "Let's Get To Work!".

What America does best is produce the ability to accept failure. Poker is no miraculous exeption. Scared money is a misuse of imagination. There was a lot of that going around. Players were in fact more sensitive to decreases in their chip count than they were to increases in them. For these kind of opponents , if you threaten their bankroll with extinction, they act like nothing matters, taking more rather than less risks.

The Power Of Mind Over Money- I bet on Jerome!

Hotel_Anyware told you so—It’s not what’s between your legs but between your ears---your BRAIN.

Read the New York Times article. There’s a bit of rouge trader Jérôme Kerviel, at Société Générale in all of we poker players. We all hate banks and like to see the golden rule---the ones with the gold making the rules-- get broken.

Does money play a role in the White Collar rippoffs ? This seems so obvious, why even ask the question? But, for some, the thrill is in the taking — not in the having. See the similarities in going for broke in a NLH game?

Poker is cool because the "greed is good" meme in the 80s, and the "rules don't apply to the rich" 90s (think Enron, Worldcom, dotcom) don't apply. The assumption that gambling is bad has outlived its usefulness.Now anyone can do it with complete ease, because it means nothing at all, thanks to the CNN effect of dealing with everywhere and everything at once, including the WPT and WSOP. When you start to read about the evils of NLH, you have to give up only one thing--- reading.

"I' ll take things that I know for $1,000 Alex!"

Nerons that wire together fire together---Making money and then making money again is our chemical romance. It produces a “desire to continue”. We are all wired to "invest". Being Digital. It’s not about atoms or how little people behave, it’s about the juice, The Card Lust, where people and bits of information meet. Poker is a game of situations, like milk, with an expiration date stamped right on the carton. There are no perfect strategies. Poker history doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme!

It's not so much about "counting your outs" and "folding AK in a raise, re-raised pot"-- that cause-effect relationship stuff. It's more about the anti-poker game--situations. A collection of situations you haven't played yet; of the things you don't know. there is a massive collection of unknowledge,the anti-hands that contain all the hands that may still change your poker life.

The Sex Of Poker logic makes what you don't know far more relevant than what you do know. I considered that many of my Jackpots and big hands were caused and accelerated by their being unexpected.---of me being an anti-gambler. The upshot is that:Knowledge leads to action but lack of knowledge can also lead to action.


There's No Limit Like No-limit.

The world of either or is a world of false dilemma. There is a third option. The world of “and”. It is the difference between a breakdown and a breakthrough. The Pro’s of con ---Confidence and contradiction. to reach beyond what appears to be obvious. Reaching beyond the obvious is the essence of getting creative with NLH.

Buying into a poker game , unlike buying a car is a gamble that the future will represent an improved version of the past. And who knows whether that will be true? When it comes to NLH, what you don’t know is far more relevant than what you do know. Consider that many huge hands can be caused and sped up by their being unexpected, that case eight on the river for a suck out, a four card flush free roll.

Bad Beats Happen-we retrofit a narrative to tell ourselves that we should have seen it coming because we ourselves could not have been that stupid. And yet, we are no better prepared for the next one. Going for broke, however, is more poetic than calculating the odds. And crunching numbers. We really don't have any Poker enemies.It's just that some of our best friends are trying to kill us. Bad Beats---I am going to live through this---even if it kills me!

The Casino Is Our Water Cooler-


Economically important things are consistently unexpected, in that people underestimate, on average, the probability and impact of improbable events We are chronic explainers-once an event happens, we try our hardest to say I told you so and explain it. the cult of the amateur. The casino is their water cooler. There's plenty of kool-aid for all to drink. Totemic discussion of the previous hand's bad beat are like sand at the beach--and Life's a bitch. This is poker not confession.

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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video
Poker is anything you can get away with!

The power of mind over money is rooted in mental bias . It is our own idiosyncratic way to distort our map of reality. Just as the menu is not the meal, this map is not the territory--because everyone experiences gambling differently. When your reality check bounces---change your map.FLOUNDERS verses ROUNDERS -The difference in playing with the belief and intention of winning against just being social.

For the poker Balla, nothing is better than when that average Joe Player sits down at a poker table. Why? Because he just sat down with money he INTENDS to lose! There is no more +EV situation, and most tables in a live poker room are filled with players exactly like that. When you treat No Limit Hold em as only a game of chance instead of skill, it is not a law of probability, it's a fact for games with negative expectations: Risk of ruin is 100%.

A Joe plays when he "feels" like it, a Pro, all the time! Call them perpetual shortcuts JOES make when losing poker ASAP; and as any of the PROS will tell you, they don't need cards to win--that's for amateurs. Pro Players specialize in other people's biases! especially that malignant optimistic one that beats its chest and says, "I'm the best player at the table".

Poker is a game of partial information, and when you have a competitive advantage you have to take into account this and, more important, behavioral factors. There is wise.... and there is otherwise:

Behavior Has ConsequencesIrrational default modes of playing tend to show up in our game both when we win---the House Money Effect chip overload of playing loose with their money, and when we are getting on tilt with bad beats: That's when emotion and even confidence cloud our judgment and misguide our actions. The Volatility and Variance of NLH rewards patience, a clear mind, and, selective aggression.

American Airlines AA and the Concorde Effect—A True Story at the $100 Buy-In Bicycle Casino- Eating Dessert First.I’m UTG, deep stacked with four limpers. I raise and get called by all four. I should muck right there but I don't. I’ve got pocket aces. The flop is low ball 3 4 7 rainbow. I bet big-a Dan Harrington "information" bet to see where I am at... and lose three players. The turn is a 5, a possible straight. I bet big again and get re-raised all in. I insta-call. The river is a blank. I flip over AA and Lift Ticket has Pocket 66. for the nuts.

The very next hand I get pocket kings--it was Dijon Vu, the same old mustard--My emotional return on investment however, my EROI, was saying "SEAT OPEN!" and the table could smell it and I got everyone calling, a family pot. I actually wanted to go home broke..and even though I tripped up, I lost to runner, runner, heart flush. I did. That's right,wanting to lose money. And that emotional return was more of a payoff than the financial one--when my black Kings got cracked by suited connectors (hearts, a baby flush!).

Granted, too much respect for money makes you a bad NLH player but I walked away from that session with knowledge: First, that my brain is the "most powerful computer." Second, when on tilt, my brain is the most powerful "broken computer ."Tilt makes us sub-optimal for evaluating rewards, sizing up risks and calculating probabilities. It's like selling the car for gas money.I walked away with a less broken computer, less sabotaging behavior, and more insight into the fact that self-delusion is more than possible in poker - it's highly likely!Behavioral Finance ---

The Black Box Flight Recorder has a name for my crash landing -- The Sunk Cost Fallacy --the refusal to get out of a losing position, because you've already written the money off -- resulting in losing even more money. The British and French governments continued to fund the Concorde project long after it was determined that it was a loser---merely to justify past investment in it, rather than assessing the current rationality of investing.

You have an over pair on the flop and bet big. You get called. On the turn the texture of the board is dangerous. You bet out in the dark---suddenly you are stuck as your opponent straightens out.We are in fact more sensitive to decreases in our chip count than we are to increases in them.

Doyle Brunson, a member of the MENSA Poker Club says: Great players lay down great hands. In fact, the ability to accept a loss and get away from a great hand is probably the most important (and difficult) skill to learn in poker. It's the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.The ability to take a small loss to avoid a big one is the hallmark of this poker genius.We all start out as geniuses, and then allow our emotions to de-genius us. If you put good players into bad situations they usually turn bad.

Poker is not a form of gambling---but gambling is a form of ---loose-aggressive--- poker.All gambling involves betting, but not all bets are gambling. It depends on how much control you have over the outcome and how much luck you think you have at the moment.


Betting on positive expectations and predictable outcomes.—either you hold unbeatable cards or make other players belive you do, that’s a skill set that pays out 10x over time. A bet is a declaration that says I have a better hand than you---Find out if it the truth or a lie, act accordingly to disappoint your opponent. Unless you have the stone cold nuts, when you bet you want opponents to think you do, and fold.


Either raise or fold, but rarely call.Always aspire to be a nobody in poker. A nobody bets only when the odds are favorable. Gamblers are somebody--They splash the pot, make loose calls , bluff off their stack and bet money at unfavorable odds and eventually lose it all. A nobody cannot lose; he eventually wins all the money that "somebody" players risk. Most Somebodies idea of a good lay down is to flat call. Bluff raising for him is out of the question.


NLH is a safety net for somebody gamblers. Not knowing what he is doing because he doesn’t know what he is doing—shields him from his own efforts to lose! These kind of players back into a lot of hands and split pots., and generaly confuse nobody players.


Zero Sum and Then SomeSerious poker is a POSITIVE -SUM GAME. Everybody gets what they want or need. The game itself helps the pie expand. And in (game) theory everybody simultaneously wins in a positve sum game. Yet if Poker is all about reading game theory books and learning ABC theroies and systems, then the games are really like used bookstores---dead information. The game sure doesn't look like a used bookstore, thanks to dealing with everywhere--- ubiquitious internet poker. Nobody players routinely make more cash than people who work in used bookstores!

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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Holdem is too random to be left up to chance.
You would rather be skillful than lucky anyway--Sure anyone any ONE TIME gets lucky 100% of the time. The law of large numbers says that you will win the lottery. Ask yourself this question before sitting down to play poker: Lucky or skillfull?

"Whether my decision is good or bad depends on how I make it, not on the outcome."
The Secret is about the law of attraction and results—the secret of poker is the complete opposite! And opposites attract!
The way to get better is to think about process not results—focus on better decision making and ignoring short term results.

Analysis Is Paralysis

Poker Bloggers are the sharpshooters that come down from the hill after the battle to shoot the wounded, in this case, the dead. I'll give it my best shot.

There is never a certain prescribed way to play a hand, just a way to think about them. There's the expected result, based on analysis, and the actual result, based on events. For Instance:




David Sklansky's Fundamental Theory of Poker is a theory which is not about poker. Instead it is a theory about the results of poker. In other words, you cannot use the Fundamental Theorem of Poker to solve any actual poker problems. It’s good for finding out whether I was lucky enough or not to be holding any two cards against an opponent. That theory is outlined early in his book:

"Every time you play a hand differently from the way you would have played it if you could see all your opponents' cards, they gain; and every time you play your hand the same way you would have played it if you could see all their cards, they lose. Conversely, every time opponents play their hands differently from the way they would have if they could see all your cards, you gain; and every time they play their hands the same way they would have played if they could see all your cards, you lose." [17-18]
videoPOKER: It is not about winning or losing, rather excelling: Because of the huge amount of luck associated with NLH, We often face uncertainty in making decisions, we can, therefore, make a good decision and get a bad outcome. (Bad beats are had more often by GOOD players than bad. Afterall, you are "getting your money in good"...only to get that suckout miracle card ruin your nut flush to a staight flush etc.) Good decisions in poker, therefore, will not guarantee good outcomes, but on average, consistently better decisions lead to consistently better outcomes.
"Good decisions are made one step at a time." Preflop, flop, turn, river.

Rock.Paper.Scissors. It's not just for kids anymore. Part coin flip, part drawing straws, RPS is not just some novelty way to gamble but a poker strategy to bet:

ROCK=CHIPS. PAPER=Cards. SCISSORS=POSITION.

Rock: wins against scissors, loses to paper and stalemates against itself.
Paper wins against Rock, loses to scissors and stalemates against itself.
Scissors wins against paper, loses to rock and stalemates against itself.

BET, RAISE, or FOLD-

You can't immediately win by calling; you can by betting, or raising! Furthermore, you need a stronger hand to call than to bet or raise. betting or raising allows the possibility of winning the pot immediately by forcing decisions on the other opponents, who may very well fold, with slim holdings....and never cold call a preflop raise with easily dominated off suit hands.

The Equity of Folding in a Tournament-Folding is the invisable way to winThe best way to win more is to fold more! Hand selection is really something to consider; so is position. Playing too many starting hands is the How Not to Do It way..When it is raised in front of you-Your mantra should be "I'm looking for a way to fold this AJ offsuit.

Knowledge isn't power---applied knowledge is. Luck isn't power either, but applied luck is the most powerful element in NLH: here's what I mean; Focus on decisions not consequences. Luck has consequences. Focus on decisions, not luck. What you think of me is none of my business, and what luck thinks of me at any particular time, is none of my business. Luck Positive (Winning) and Luck Negative (gad beats) are OVERHEAD; Chips, the cost of doing business!

Think about good decisions, not results. It's about the process not pots won---the chips will come. Do what you love and the money will follow--have a love affair with making sound decisions based on partial information. It is, after all, about excelling, not winning or losing a particular hand.
Make probability based decisions--How many outs do you have? What are the immediate odds-pre flop, flop, turn and river? What are the long shot odds for you and your opponent, once you put him on a range of hands? The universal tell in poker is called betting!

Poker without cards---bluffing. It simply has to be part of your game--- this Misleading Vividness. But remember: BIG POTS for BIG CARDS: The really powerful starting hands---High card value, suitedness and connectedness---have multiple ways to win.

"Cards are there for bad players" is not always the case. Neither is:" NLH is about playing the person more than the cards"

IN NLH there are 4 opportunities to bluff, 1 pre and 3 post flop.

LOOSE players are looking for reasons to CALL; TIGHT, to FOLD.

The more your bluffs matters, the harder they are to pull off because they are, after all, bluffs. It is, however, impossible to defend against a solid bluffing strategy. Reality is perception, and appearance reality. When you don' have good cards, however, somebody else probably does.


You aren't a bad poker player if you get caught bluffing sometimes or most of the time. You only have to win a fraction of the time to net a profit. Sklansky's (game)Theory of poker points out that you cannot play optimally unless you include bluffing into your game.
Every bet or raise can be a bluff, and you can beat a bluff with a mediocre hand. The only way to compensate for the bluffs of your opponents is to bluff them back!

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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Get rid of all the players with low pairs, big draws and junk because:

The thing is - when you haven't seen any cards what have you got really ? An Ace high ... with a King kicker, just about any starting hand could beat it. Doyle says he likes AK because it is so easy to throw away.


Top players know AK is a great drawing hand but they also know its can be a killer if it just doesn't work out.

Now here is the next problem with playing AK - OK it's a drawing hand so your thinking - don't play it too hard until you see the flop and then you can work out how your doing . Wrong. Limping in with Big Slick is going to make you a big underdog – You probably could have gotten the small pockets- 5’s ,-2's out with a bigger raise.

IF you hit either an Ace or a King on the flop then you've got yourself top pair with the best kicker. You might get lucky as is connected to get the nuts straight, if its suited you have got the table crippled if you draw that flush.

It's worth noting A-K suited is 5th best starting hand but A-K off is 9th best. I got felted against a pocket pair that connected on the flop of A-5-Rag.


It is an easily beaten hand if you let lots of players see the flop, that ragged looking board could have given any of them trips, two pair, straights - allsorts.

However AK doesnt fair so badly against a couple of player with other high cards. You have to play big slick hard before the flop if your playing it. I didn’t and payed out big time.

Get rid of all the players with low pairs, big draws and junk - With a big prefop raise you can be fairly sure the one (ideally) or two players left only have something high or decent pairs. Then you have the added advantage - you made the raise and you took control ... again.

Dont make the mistake of trying to keep more people in to make a bigger pot for your "great hands" - thats how to make your own bad beats. With most of the players in to see the flop your as good as giving your chips away - Play it aggressively, raise pre-flop and then hold yourself back when you see the flop.

But DO NOT go all-in before the flop - remember you've got an Ace high nothing more. In this situation the only hands that are really going to cause you concern are AA and KK - but if someone had that they'd have come right back at your big raise with an all-in before the flop.

Chances are unless they hit trips with there good pair (see what they do) you can fire at them once you pair either the King or the Ace in fact you should fire out a good size bet even if you dont –
remember you've already as good as shouted at them "my hands is a winner". Then see what they do - if they come back at you know they've got something, probably trips - then you need to slow down accept your beat and try to see the rest of the cards cheap. The chances are they will lay down just about most things that dont hit.

Now this all works well if you were easily able to take control of the table ie. you had good position to get a big raise in after you had seen what everyone else did but remember preflop this is - on the button and the two blinds. The worst postion to be trying to play AK from and indeed any other big hands like AA KK QQ is when your under the gun - this is the first seat after the blinds. Why ? well your first to act before the flop and first to act after the flop. This seat is tricky especially if you dont hit an Ace or a King on the flop.

Again the temptation is to flat call and see what happens ideally hoping someone else cuts the field down for you - thats risky - dont do it. Not only are you risking players limp in, your letting other players get control.

They will sense weakness and have position over you so you could very easily end up facing an all-in decision after re-raising a bet and someone coming back at you over the top all-in with a half decent pair. Then its become a tough decision with that Ace high of yours (lay it down). No by raising even in early position you will take control and narrow the field and against one, maybe two players you have a good chance to avoid AK becoming
The Anna--looks good never wins.

Got Tilt?

Tilt is a HUGE factor in poker, in most cases it is the difference between a winning and breakeven/losing player. So it is therefore essential that you can recognize tilt and know how to control it.

Remember, you don't HAVE to play poker, it is there for you any time you want to play. You're not obliged to do it.

Take a break until you can bring your A game to the table.