Archive for the ‘Poker (Winning/Successful Playing)’ Category

How to win more playing Texas Limit Hold-em Poker with winning strategies to increase your odds

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Ok, I figured out I might as well write an article on how to win this game (or rather how to increase your chances of winning).

Texas Limit Hold’em is a lot different from Texas No Limit, but you can win a lot more than average by literally playing “honest” poker. ( Its a lot more boring, but if you don’t mind sitting around for a couple hours, you can usually always double or triple your buyin (assuming max buy-in) earliest within an hour, maximum usually within 3 hours.

So… How To Increase your chances of winning at Texas Limit Hold-em. (c)-2008

1. Be prepared to spend 1-3 hours playing poker straight. If you aren’t, or you get bored easily, don’t play this, because you’ll most likely make mistakes (and make someone else money).

2. Only play your absolute best hands pre-flop. “Best” hands consistent of (a) any pocket pair (yes, ANY pocket pair, i’ll explain later), (b) Ideally SUITED and CONNECTED cards (i.e., J10 diamonds), (c) and then suited (with at least one high card for nut or close to nut flushes), or connected or semi-connected (i.e., 6-7, or 8-6, etc).

3. DON’T BET BIG ON THE FLOP IF ALL YOU HAVE IS TOP PAIR. You can bet — but if you are playing in a casino 10-ring game (or even 6 ring), you usually get some dork that will always, always, call you to the river, and if all you had was 10 high on the flop, moron will probably spike a jack, queen, king, or 2nd pair on the river. So if you bet, and someone calls — if their is a higher card on the turn, or your hand isn’t any better, either just call or fold. This is not no-limit poker, so rarely is top pair on the flop ever the ‘best’ hand. (Unlike how most no-limit players like to play). verycoolwriting dot com

4. Once you see the flop, play it mathematically. No matter how you bet, since the bets are so “small” in limit poker, you are always going to have morons that chase straights, chase flushes, chase a full house, etc, etc — ALL the way to the river. There could even be a couple raises — and they will just merrily call along. So first thing you should do when you see the flop is this. Check for any straight draws or flush draws. Check to see if the board has paired up. If none of this is true — and you have top pair or better — then chances are you’ve won the hand and can bet aggressively. But if any of the above is true, play cautiously, and be prepared to fold top pair to any aggressive re-raising, because you are almost always going to have some moron that will spike something he needs on the turn or the river.

5. AA and KK ARE NOT GREAT CARDS IN LIMIT POKER!!! Yes, it’s true. No-limit, yes, they are beautiful cards, because you can make the bets big enough to scare out most of the players, such that the only ‘heads’ up players you are going against are people who have say AK, AQ, AJ, KK, KQ, etc — in which case you already have them totally dominated. In LIMIT poker — you can have AA, “raise” 2x the blinds (which is nothing), get 5 callers and then get someone who hits two pair, flush, a set, etc and start do crazy betting. If you try and bet and someone crazy bets you, chances are they have better than you so either fold or just call.

6. PLAY ALMOST ALL YOUR POCKET PAIRS PREFLOP! Providing the betting doesn’t get crazy stupid (in which case it’s usually two ‘no-limit’ players battling it out with AQ vs AJ, etc) — then you should always play your pocket pairs, even 22. It is the sweetest thing when you can start crazy betting the flop against a no-limit player who things their top pair or high pocket pairs will beat you. They become ‘married’ to their cards, and almost always will give you a massive payout. So play as many pockets as you can afford to.

7. BET BIG WHEN YOU HAVE THE NUTS OR CLOSE TO THE NUTS ON THE FLOP! It’s the funniest thing — when you have the nuts flush/straight/set/etc (or at least ‘close’ to the nuts) — wierd thing in limit poker is most people simply don’t believe you. And if you get a turn card (that say wouldn’t give you a 1 card straight, but you already hit the nuts on the flop) — keep betting. People generally speaking simply do not believe you that you hit the nuts on the flop. It’s rare — but when it happens you can usually get quite a sweet payout. AND — the funny thing is — if you DONT bet on the flop when you have the nuts — and try and ‘trap’ players and wait until the turn card to make a big bet — almost always most of the people will fold. It’s wierd — bet when you have it, don’t bet when you don’t — and you generally will win bigger, and better, pots.

Anyways, these are 7 great strategies for improving your chances of winning texas hold’em poker more consistently. Enjoy!

Does raising help you win in online poker? YES! YES! YES!

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

Ok, someone came to my website ( searching for whether or not raising helps you win in poker. DEFINITELY YES! I thought this would be a good post to write.

Many players play with “scared” money. They are afraid of taking chances. They only want to play the “absolute” best hands. People want to “make” money playing poker (it’s ‘ok’ if you do — but they treat the money in their stack as their salary — so are afraid of losing it). If you raise really high — you’ll usually only get people playing high pocket pairs (JJ+), but usually only KK or AA if the raise is high enough.

The Experiment:

For fun (plus I was being a bit of a dork :)), I decided to go into the ultra low limit tables ($0.02/$0.04) where I didn’t really care if I “lost” $5 (well, of course I care, I don’t like losing, but this was a worthwhile experiment :)). So it was worth the $5. (Especially because if I lost it, I would just go to a higher limit game where I could make it back in 2 minutes). (

ANYWAYS. Basically I went to the $0.02/$0.04 tables and almost every hand raised to at least $0.50 on any semi-decent hand I had. (To put it in perspective, a “big” raise in poker is usually 3x the big blind, in this case it would be “$0.12”, and a “HUGE” raise would be $0.20). Anyways, I was having fun raising everything from $0.50 to $2 in a $0.02/$0.04 game. Almost every single time I raised everyone folded. I very “quickly” made $1.00 in about 5 minutes. (To put this in perspective, it is a 20% increase on your initial investment. So it would be like making $20 in a $1/$2 game in 5 minutes, or $200 in a $10/$20 game in 5 minutes).

I found the ONLY time someone would call (or put me all in) is if they had AA/AK/KK/QQ. Almost every other time they folded. So the strategy was really simple. If someone actually called my bet, then I needed to play ‘good’ poker. (I.e., if they only called, and I saw a flop and didn’t hit, I should probably check to their pocket pair or AQ/AJ/etc which they probably wouldn’t fold anyways). If they put me ‘all-in’ preflop, then it would be a good idea for me to fold (unless of course I had AA :)).


The results:

Basically, as long as I kept raising, I made some ‘pretty’ pennies. I just needed to watch out for the all-in bets, and providing I did so would usually come out ahead.

AND… I’ve also watched the “higher” limit games (I.e., where blinds are $25/$50), and almost always — it seems like there is one guy with a $20k stack kicking everyone elses but because he raises to “$175” almost every hand. The guys sitting relatively short-stacked (i.e., $1000 vs $5000 max buy-in) would almost always fold to that, and this guy would be cleaning up the blinds. Well — let’s say he does this 5 times in a row, thats 5*75=$375, so he can ‘afford’ to see a flop that one time someone decides to call. And providing he is playing good cards, would win it anyways (because usually someone only ‘calls’ that when they start getting ‘pissed’ and just want to see cards).

So anyways………… If you are feeling like a dork, start raising! 🙂 Play smart, but raise. It’s called aggressive play, and most of the time you can get other people to fold, and get some nice blinds.

How to play texas-hold-em poker against other nationalities

Monday, November 17th, 2008

Ok, when playing online, surprisingly certain nationalities play a certain way, and if you know this, it can help you play a much better poker game. Doesn’t matter whether you are playing at full-tilt, party poker,, etc — these types of players almost always seem to play this way. And no — for “politically correct” people (and insert politically correct disclaimer here — no offense, but if you don’t like it, don’t read it and say go to — it isn’t “stereotyping” — they actually do tend to play this way. So take and use this knowledge.


(c) verycoolwriting dot com

In my experience, Germans playing poker seem to be the most unbelieving group of people. No matter what you bet, no matter how good a hand you have, they almost always will call you right to the very end if they hit one card, no matter how crappy it may be. In all examples I’m assuming you raised pre-flop. So here is how to play them, and here is what to watch for:

[a] Calling — If you bet on the flop, and a german calls — chances are he paired up on the board, or is chasing a draw (i.e., flush draw/straight draw — they seem to especially love gutshots, etc). If the turn card is not a danger card (i.e., no way to complete a straight/flush, board doesn’t pair up, etc) — and the german checks before you — put him all-in. Almost always he will fold his crap hand.

[b] Calling to the river. If you bet, german calls, you bet again, german calls — and then you bet on the river and a german puts you all-in, you should probably fold if you don’t have anything better than a pair. Chances are he has either made two pair on the river, or had some bull crap hand on the flop (i.e., hit K2).

[c] Make super tiny bets on the flop if you are only playing against germans. This is really really quite funny. I once tried this as an experiment, and have observed that it almost always works. If you are only playing against germans — beautiful. I was once playing (I think it was) a 3-6 game, so preflop we had already gotten something like $150 into the pot. Flop game, I think I had absolutely nothing. So I made a “$3” bet. The two germans after me dropped like flies, and I won the pot. Totally shocked, I thought I’d try it again, but this time raising on crap. The next hand, I think I might have had 8-2, but just for kicks, raised it to $30. Two germans again called me. I had absolutely nothing (actually I think it was even something like A K 9). I bet “$3”. The two guys folded again. I thought this was hilarious. So again, next hand whatever it was I raised say to $50. I think I had one guy call me. This time I think I actually did hit mid-pair. But again, I made a super ultra tiny bet (this time I think it was $9 though — just so they wouldn’t think I was doing $3 every time). To my shock and amazement, if I recall correctly, the guy thought about it for 15 seconds, then folded. Truly amazing. So germans seem to work in reverse — if you bet BIG — they don’t believe you. If you bet SMALL — they think you are trying to trap them and will fold.

Anyways, this is almost always how Germans will play. I don’t think there are any ‘tight’ german players, or ‘loose’ german players, there is just the “German” way of playing poker, and almost all of them play the same. So if you notice a player is from germany, keep this in mind.

North Americans (i.e., Canada/the U.S.)

Ok, this is from Canada/the US. When playing at tables with these players, you should be able to automatically spot the ‘good’ players. They are the players who raise preflop in ‘exact’ amounts (i.e., “exactly” 3x the previous bet when they have good cards, etc), or bet “exactly” 2/3 pot size (some poker sites recommend that, etc). They play very ‘mechanical’ poker — they are the guys that have read all the poker articles, calculate odds (and sadly even some cheat with poker stats software). If you notice a player like this — don’t bother trying to outsmart him — because then it really does just become a gamble, and basically who has bigger balls. (He is probably bluffing, but if you bet he’ll put you all-in just to see what you have, and then he’ll watch you fold and he’ll enjoy the bigger pot he just made). So if you notice “good” north american players, only play against them when you have ‘good’ cards. Everyone else pretty much plays incredibly loose and usualy pretty carelessly. If you have top pair (with high kicker) or better (i.e., two pairs, etc) — you can almost always milk the pot and clean up nicely.

But basically watch how they play, and watch for totally ‘complete’ hands (i.e., where you get to see the river and everyone’s cards). If he was calling on crap — you have a good loose player that you can win from.

Asians/Southeast Asia/etc

Ok, for whatever reason — Asians, especially Chinese, seem to be incredibly lucky when it comes to playing poker, and will play incredibly (what you would consider) “stupid” hands, and win. I was at this one table and watched this Chinese girl sit down, bet $10, get into a ridiculous pre-flop back and forth betting match, and she either flopped, or rivered, a full house (AAKKK), and I think the other guy had a straight or AQ, and had gone all-in with her I believe on the flop. Other asians have played low flushes (i.e., 2-5 hearts) and won in hands that I’ve been in — and NOT been scared of big betting (i.e., would call an all-in to the river on a 2-5 flush). So be careful!

So rule of thumb — if you are playing against them and they will just not fold — make sure you have a rock-solid hand.

Anyways, I hope this helps, enjoy!

Texas Holdem – How to play AK or AQ or AJ profitably and win at it

Monday, November 17th, 2008


It seems people like poker. 🙂 Me included! Wow, go figure — it’s only televised almost 24/7, the allure of winning big money for little effort — WHILE having fun and using your brain. It’s fun.

Anyways, actually I decided to write more poker articles because it seems that that is what the public wants 🙂 (copyright 2008

Ok, so anyways. Playing AK/AQ/AJ can be very tricky, and sometimes you don’t know if your opponent has a better kicker (if he has AK/AQ/etc). So here’s how you do it correctly (to increase your chances of winning all the time long term).

First of all, decide one of two strategies. Do you want to try and milk the pot (players) — should you hit your ace on the flop? OR — do you just want to quickly steal the blinds and maybe a little bit extra from one player that plays as well? I’ll also list things you should watch for, as well as other notes, at the end. Anyways, here you go:

Strategy One — Slowplaying AK/AQ/AJ/ Milking the pot

This is really quite simple. To slowplay this — simply make a ‘moderate’ sized bet, maybe only double or triple the big blind (assuming no one raised previously — if someone did, you have to be careful and I’ll explain later). Anyways — do this. Assuming it’s a six player table — you’ll probably get at least 2 players limping in (calling). ( If they call — that is great. Chances are they have stuff like KQ, J10, or an ace with a really crappy kicker (I.e., everything from A9 and down). If you hit your ace on the flop, it is a no brainer, make a bet, you’ve probably won the pot. If everyone folds, congratulations, if not — skip to the next section (not this ‘next’ item’ but the item after that of ‘things to watch for). But chances are anyways, either way you’ve probably won the pot, so congratulations.

Strategy Two — Defending AK/AQ/AJ/

Ok, if you don’t like the possibility that you might not hit, then make a ridiculously big raise. (i.e., at least 5-6 times the pot). Most people will be scared off, and you can usually almost always win the pot (blinds and maybe 1-2 limpers). In my experience I’d say at least usually 70-80% of the time. If someone calls — then they are chasing usually with a crappy kicker to their ace, or they have pocket pairs. If someone re-raises you or goes all-in, chances are they have high pockets (JJ for looser players, QQ,KK,AA for tight players) and you have to think whether or not you want to gamble.  Anyways, if you see a flop, you can almost always bet pot size and everyone else will fold. If not — see the next section:

Things to watch for when playing AK/AQ/AJ/etc

1. If you bet on your AK/AQ/AJ and see a flop, don’t hit anything, bet again and someone goes all-in, you should probably fold. Chances are you got some idiot who say called with pocket 2’s, hit a 3rd ‘2’ on the flop giving him a set, and wants to milk you for what you’ve got. If you didn’t at the very least hit an ace, fold.

2. If you bet big pre-flop, and the board pairs up on the flop (i.e., say 998) — and you have AK/AQ, you can almost always bet and win. If someone “tries” to put you all-in, chances are they are full of crap, or have pocket pairs. If you think they are full of crap (it’s happened many times), call them. If you think it is a tight player, maybe fold, depending on what you think — i.e., are they on tilt, or calm, cool, and collected? Many tight players will almost always call big raises on pocket pairs, on the ‘off-chance’ that they might make a set on the flop and see big returns.

3. If you bet big pre-flop, and hit your ace on the flop, and you bet, and someone puts you all-in, evaluate your opponent. If they are a good player, chances are they have ace-something (or KK and don’t want to believe you have an ace), so take a look at your kicker. If you have a good kicker (i.e., Q/K), then call. If they are a crap player, and they put you all-in, chances are they hit a crap two pair (i.e., J2), so fold.


Bottom-line — get a feel for your opponent. Your ‘feeling’ should influence part of your play, if it doesn’t “feel” right, fold.

But other than ‘feelings’, my experience has taught me this is usually the best way to play AK/AQ/AJ. Always bet big preflop (3-4 times the last bet). If someone calls, bet big on the flop again. If someone re-raises you and you hit an ace on the flop with two other low cards, call any all-ins they make (they probably had KK,QQ,JJ, etc, and don’t want to lay down their cards). (Almost always AA will be an all-in pre-flop if you raised, so you don’t have to worry usually about them having just slowplayed AA if you actually get to see a flop). If a possible straight exists, fold — because probably some moron hit it.

Anyways, those are some tips that I hope you enjoy and can put to good use! If you have any suggestions/questions, please let me know through the comment form. Thanks!

How to avoid playing on tilt, and how to get over a bad beat

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008


Everyone gets a bad beat. And almost everyone ends up playing on tilt. It’s very hard to get over it, so I’m going to suggest a number of steps you can take to get over it fast and minimize your losses. The ideal way of getting over it is to walk away from the game immediately for 2-3 days, but I realize that is highly unlikely because you just “want” to make it back, what you just lost and what just took you two to three hours to build up. Here are some suggestions on how to get over it, make sure you don’t lose more, and how to make it back.

1. Get up immediately and go have something to eat. Chances are you are playing poorly because you have been sitting there for 3 hours straight without a break, waiting for your ‘big score’, only to have had your stack size severely cut down. Probably you made an anxious move because you were getting hungry. So get up, have a sandwich/piece of fruit/whatever, as long as you get away from the table for 20-30 minutes.

2. Realize it’s part of the game and see the bigger picture. If you just lost that much of a significant amount — that it makes you feel bad, chances are you have been playing with too much money. Especially if you are playing online. You need to learn how to “walk” away when you are ahead, and come back another day (or go to another table). I was playing in a casino once (actually a few times :)) and noticed this one guy who was always at the tables, but would only play 2-3 hours a day. He was playing the limit 5-10 games, and basically he would play until he was up $100-$200, and then he would leave the table. You need to learn to leave when you are ahead, and then come back to the table with a smaller stack. For example, let’s say you are three times the buy-in, and up $400 (i.e., you have $600 at a $200 table). If you keep playing, just statistically (unless you are an exceptionally good player) — you are eventually going to make a mistake and lose at least half your stack, if not all of it. (I.e., you might decide to go all-in with AA vs someone who say has JJ — and then they spike a third jack cleaning you out). You should walk away from the table, cash out the “bonus” $400 you’ve made — and then buy-in at $200. This way — you’ve covered your “investment” (“your” $200), you’ve “made” $200, and now you are playing with a “free” $200. Now, if you say had AA and someone beat you with JJJ, you wouldn’t feel too bad — because you could buy-in again, and not have lost anything. It’s only when you keep playing and have a huge stack, that eventually you may just make one wrong read — but that is all it takes — and all your hard work is gone over the last 2-3 hours is gone. Once you have had a really bad beat once or twice, you’ll learn that playing like this is a much better strategy.

3. If you have a sore neck, if you are tired, if you start swearing or yelling, seriously, it is time to walk away from the “game”. You need to remember that it is just a “game”. Yes, it is really nice winning a wad of cash. And yes, it is nice winning period. But if your health suffers because of your playing, all you are going to be using that money for is health bills. Is it really worth it to say have made $1,000 — but then need to use a neck brace, or pay for (regular) back massages because you’ve played for 5 days non-stop and are sore? (This is especially true of online players, because you can play from dusk to dawn in your pajamas and not move once). I know it is hard to walk away at this point — but you need to do it. Just remember that. Because if you don’t, you’ll find you very quickly lose another 2-3 times you original buy-in — and if you felt bad before, now you’ll feel really bad.

Prevention is the best medicine/Conclusions:

To prevent yourself from getting in the situation where you have a “really” bad beat (and only maybe have small ones, which are a lot easier to cope with), do the following:

1. Make sure you eat enough (every 2-3 hours), and that you get an adequate amount of sleep. (Sure, you can play at a casino or online for 5-6 hours straight, but don’t spend 20 hours with no breaks).

2. When you win big — go to a different table and pocket the difference. That way, if you ever do “lose” big on an all-in (whether you misread someone or they just made a stupid, but lucky, play) — then you won’t lose too much, and you can keep playing. It’s only when you play with a huge stack that it becomes very dangerous. No longer can you really take AA vs whatever preflop all-in risks, because someone can spike a third card to make a set. It’s (sadly) happened many times to me, where I had KK, and someone hit a straight with JJ, and AA has been broken (by an idiot that called 8-3 all-in).

3. Try to remember, part of the game actually is gambling, and you might lose no matter how good you are . It is a game of skill, but it is also a game of luck, and gambling is involved. When you see all the cards on the table — it can be straight math to figure out who has the absolute best hand. But preflop betting, all-in lotteries and straight and flush chases are gambles.

4. Don’t bet money you can’t afford to lose. If you can’t lose it, then don’t play with it. Otherwise it makes the bad beats and tilt that much worse.

5. And have fun! Hopefully, that is why you are playing poker! (Also to make a few extra dollars on the side! :))

Should you slowplay two pair, a set? When should you slow play in texas hold-em poker…

Saturday, November 1st, 2008


I decided to write this article because I had someone actually searching for this information come to my website, and thought maybe that I could write a few things that would help.

So should you slowplay on the flop?

Slowplaying is dangerous, especially if you try to slowplay on the flop. Sure, sometimes you will get really sweet flops, but in my experience you usually lose more trying to slowplay ‘semi’ decent hands on the flop, and I’ll explain why. More often than not you’ll lose. Two pair can get beat by a set, a set can get beat by a straight, and a straight beaten by a flush and so forth. Usually what happens is that you say see two pair on the flop, slow play and then when the next two cards are shown, try to make your ‘kill’ to get a sweet pot. But you totally miss the fact that someone else could have just now gotten a better two pair, a set, a straight, etc, etc. And then you become totally oblivious to any big bets they make. If they put you all-in on the flop — you might think they are trying to ‘steal’ the pot — totally ignoring the fact that you ‘let’ them runner runner a straight, etc — and then they clean you out. They clean out that nice stack that just took you 2-3 hours to build up 😛 And then other times — when you actually do have the best hand — if you let your opponent see another two cards, they will fold to your big bet on the river because they didn’t hit their straight/flush/etc and it is an easy fold for them. Some people like to go “ALL-IN” on AK, even if they don’t hit anything on the flop. But if you let them see another two cards, and they don’t hit an ace or a king, chance are they will fold to any kind of big bet you make.

Example #1 (How slowplaying hurt):

Recently I was playing a hand. He raised big, I called on A7 suited diamonds, and so called. Flop came up A99, one diamond. I figured I had him beat, didn’t think he’d raise on a 9, and thought I could out bet him if I wanted — but thought I had him beat, he didn’t play like he had ace high. Next card is a king of diamonds. I have two diamonds on the board now, he bets, I call. Final card is a 5 of diamonds. I now have a flush. I look at the hand, realize I have the nut flush, and figure if he was trying to bet me on 9’s, or ace with high kicker, I definitely had him beat. He bet. I reraised. He reraised me, I figured maybe he had AK, or AQ and I really had him beat. I went all in. He went all-in. Turns out he had pocket kings, and the turn had given him a full house. I lost my money on the all-in that I had, and was kicking myself (I had just lost what had taken me about 3 hours to get. He had a huge stack and had me totally covered).

Example #2 (How not slowplaying helped):

Another hand I was playing recently, a guy bet big, and I called. Just liked the feeling of my cards, even though it was 5 2. Sure enough, flop comes up and I hit 5 2. Two pair. I did check raise (I checked, let him raise then I re-raised) — and then he went ‘all-in’ to try and force me out of the hand. I liked my hand, so went all-in as well. I ended up doubling my pot — because I didn’t slowplay, and went big. (I forget what he had, I think maybe A-K or something like that). But anyways — had I played until the river and just checked/called all the way along, he probably wouldn’t have gone all in — and probably any big bet would have made him fold.

So When do you slowplay?

The only time you should slowplay on the flop, is when you flop the nuts, which is rare. The nuts would be for example, flopping a straight flush. Highly unlikely they would ever beat that. Or flopping four of a kind, or a full boat with top pair (i.e., 99988). Very rare (not impossible, but rare) that these will get beat. In these instances, you can usually take your time slowplaying.

If you see a turn card, and it makes your straight/flush/etc, you should bet anyways. Many times if you just ‘check’, the other guy will check, and if they don’t hit anything on the river, will fold to any small bet. But if you bet — for some strange reason — people just don’t believe that you made your straight/flush/etc and will usually call, giving you a little bit of extra cash. And then if you still have the nuts on the river (i.e., your straight didn’t get beat by a flush, and your flush didn’t get beat by say a full house), sometimes they will “call” just to “see” what you had if you make a small bet. But if you check on the turn, and let the other guy see a free card, usually they feel you are trying to “trap” them and will fold.

So bottomline — don’t slowplay — unless you have the absolute nuts on the flop.

How to increase your chances of winning at No-Limit Texas Hold’em Poker – 10 easy steps.

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008


I’ve written several articles on why you *shouldn’t* play texas hold’em poker and why you will actually lose (due to cheaters, scammers, etc, and the emotional toll on you and how it affects your life, etc, etc), if you really really really really still want to play poker, you are 100% responsible for your actions. Following the rules below can help you win, but you can still lose. If you can be disciplined, this will help ensure a better winning streak and the chances of you consistently winning. You will not win all the time, and you can even lose a lot of money before you make anything. It is and can be extremely nerve racking to play poker, and many people lose to the few that win, if you still want to play, here are rules to live by to help you. This is based on personal experience, and I don’t believe I’ve ever (directly) seen it in any book. Standard internet disclaimer: It is copyright me, etc, so if you’d like to republish it, etc, please ask me first and give me credit. 🙂 However, you are welcome to play by these rules.

So, if you are going to play poker, despite the fact it is really really hard to win (I’m just emphasizing it, because if you can’t afford to lose money, don’t look at this as a get-rich-quick scheme, and I really do recommend staying away from the game unless you just really enjoy playing cards), then this is how you play.

1. Don’t get emotional – in otherwords, play the same style no matter what. If you are winning, great. If you are losing, that sucks. But DON’T play differently (i.e., cocky or too protectively) if you are winning or losing. Play the same way. Otherwise you are no longer playing logically, you are playing emotionally, and it is one of the fastest ways to drain your bank accounts.

2. Don’t play pre-flop chicken / bingo / the lottery / (aka preflop all-in) unless you can afford to, or just like to really, really, gamble. Yes, “statistically”, “according to the books” AA should most of the time beat someone heads-up. But many times I’ve seen some dork call on 7-2, and hit the flop with 7-2 (or worse still, flop a full house). Or, you have Joe idiot who, according to his `poker books` sees that the “pot odds” are good (i.e., lots of money on the table, low risk) and that he ‘might’ win, so calls on crap — and does win. AA does get beat. So does KK, JJ, etc. I was in another hand where the pot got ridiculously high, 3 players. I had KK. Another guy had JJ, someone else I think had 99. We all went all-in. The guy with JJ won by getting a set. Yet another type, I played against a russian guy who just didn’t care how he played, and magically was beating people out with 22 vs AA, etc. (And ironically the hands I folded would have been the ones I would have won against him :P) Anyways, playing all-in preflop really is a gamble, even on AA. Yes, it should win — but it can lose. Don’t get upset if you lose your whole stack on someone playing crap. It happens.

3. Watch out for raises and re-raises. If you don’t have something good, fold. Most of the time, people raise because they figure they have something better than you. And if you have nothing or just a pair, chances are they do. Most common mistake is say betting on top pair, and then smeone re-raising you. Chances are they have a set, or are at least chasing.

4. Don’t go all-in on the flop (or even the river) unless you have the absolute best best hand. Yes, sometimes people will fold due to the pressure. But then other times, someone will have a set, hit a full house, and you won’t, and you’ll be screwed. But if you are going to put the pressure on — do a big raise, not all-in. You All-in — you are committed, there is no going back. The only time you should ever go all-in is if you have the absolute best hand.

5. Get information. You can usually get information by how people play consistently. Don`t pay attention to the faces they make, the sighs, the comments, etc. Play according to how they bet.

(a) Watch how they play over time. If they always say raise $10 on certain hands, and then you see a showdown 3 times (all the cards) — and see that he/she raised on pocket pairs, the next time you see a $10 raise, chances are he/she has pocket pairs again.
(b) Pay attention to their re-raises and subsequent showdowns. If someone re-raises on a flop and you see a showdown, and they hit a flush, then you know they like to chase cards (and that they are a little bit of a more aggressive tight player because how they played the hand). If, on the other hand, they raise, you see a showdown and see that they only had top pair — then you know that person is a bit of a `looser` player and doesn`t play the absolute best cards. So you will know how to play him/her in the future.

6. Play your best cards, in other words, ONLY suited connectors, any two face cards and pocket pairs. That`s an easy rule, and makes a lot of your decisions easy. If the flop comes up with three clubs and you have hearts in your hand, it`s an easy fold with several people in the pot (someone else might hit a one card flush). If you instead played something like A2, UNSUITED, but say had an ace of clubs — you would be tempted to chase a flush (you would need a fourth club on the table), that you might never hit. And, if someone else already had a flush, they`d have no problem making it expensive for you to see the next card. But you would be tempted to chase. If you play crap (i.e., 10 2), and the flop comes up A 10 2, it is tempting to play that, but someone else could have you outkicked on two pair (i.e., slow playing A10), have a set, or hit a higher pair, or chase a straight (runner-runner).

7. Always play your pocket pairs, even with a raise (but call). It is really sweet when you call on 22, and hit a 3rd `2`on the flop. You can usually get paid of quite well and the other person doesn`t see it coming. And, if the board pairs up, you hit a full house. Pockets are usually quite valuable.

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8. STEAL THE BLINDS/OTHER EASY STEALS. There are a few different (easy) way of stealing the blinds, that almost always seem to work.
(a) If you are the small blind, and the only person left in the pot is the big blind, bet 5x the amount. So for a $5/$10 game, you would bet $25. Unless he has something good, he is most likely to fold. If he does call, you can generally bet the pot on the flop with nothing, and he will fold.
(b) When you only have 2-3 people in the game, and everyone before you has checked, usually a bet from 2/3 to the pot size will get everyone else to fold. If someone actually does call, recall what kind of player they are. If they are a tight/aggressive, chances are they are trying to slow play you, and unless you have something good on the turn, should fold to any raise from them. (Almost always such a play will bet into you on the turn if you check). Otherwise, if it`s a loose player, you can usually bet on the turn and get him/her to fold.
(c) For whatever reason, raising 4 BB plus everyone elses BB seems to get them to fold, or make the games heads-up. In otherwords, if 4 people called on $1, and you are the last to act (to play), and you bet $8, chances are everyone else will fold. If you get more than one caller, then chances are you the players either have high cards, or a pocket pair.

(d) Bluff flushes/straights/etc according to how the other guy plays. Many times, there will be some guy that tries to `bluff`a flush or a straight. Lets say the flop is A hearts, 10 hearts, and a 2 diamonds. If the next card is a heart, and he just checks, chances are he doesn’t have it and you can outbluff him. Just make a bet, and he’ll many times fold.

9. Save yourself money.

Every now and then, you`ll have a killer hand on the flop, bet big, and some dork will call you. Initially this is what you want, because you figure you`ll get a big payoff for your big hand. But if the dork calls you all the way to the river, then re-raises you (or all-in) at the end, take a step back and take a look at the cards. If there is a good chance someone beat you on a straight/flush/trips/fullhouse/etc, chances are they did. You don’t need to call his all in when you have AAA, but there is a possible straight or flush on the board, just to see that yes, he had something better than you. I know it is hard to fold such a great hand, but dorks like that exist, and dorks like that do hit big. Now, on the other hand, if you have the best hand and maybe he was chasing a second best hand (let’s say you both hit a flush, but you have the ace), then by all means, go all-in and enjoy your winnings 🙂 Point is — on a river all-in — take a moment and re-evaluate the cards before you potentially lose more than you need to.

10. Pay attention to their nationality (in these politically correct times :)).

Regardless of what ‘politically’ correct people say — in poker, nationality actually is important. Different nationalities play differently. For example, a number of europeans (and it seems Germans in particular), for whatever reason, will almost always absolutely refuse to fold to anything if they hit a pair on the flop. And if he calls, it is usually a crappy 2nd or 3rd pair. So, as long as the board doesn’t pair up by the river, chances are you have him beat. On the other hand, many orientals will play anything and get very lucky. So if you are playing against them, and they are betting wildly, make sure you have something very good. Chances are they`ll hit a full house on J 3 (and they will have called that, offsuit, on your big raise when you had AA). Only play your best hands. North Americans tend to fall into one of two camps — either extremely tight (good), or extremely loose (bluff crazily). Pay attention to which one they fall into, and then play accordingly.

Anyways, here’s 10 sets of good rules on how to make money playing poker. Enjoy!