Ahhh, it's Wednesday night, time to tune in the Travel Channel. Why? Poker tournaments, my friends and the game they play is called Texas Hold 'Em. But can anyone learn how to play like is a little bit of both; luck and skill are needed to be a successful poker player. After all, gamblingthe pro's on TV? Is it so effortless and easy as it appears? Let's take a look at some of the little things that can make or break you at the poker table.
Does poker require luck or skill? Some play the game and seem to hit every card needed for the winning hand. Others, with a hand that could not beat any hand on the table, slyly walk away with the pot and a wink and a smile.
So the answer to the question it would seem would be that it is a game of chance.
But consider this: some mathematicians contend that the odds of getting a royal flush are 1 in 649,739. So, given those odds, chances are if you rely on the luck of the draw you will definitely lose more than you will win.
So how do you become an experienced poker player and win all the time? Well you can become an experienced poker player but, alas; you will not win all the time. Poker does require skill and the old adage, know when to hold 'em, know when to fold' em certainly has a ring of truth to it. Furthermore, you must factor in the skill level of the players at the table, your bluffing and betting skills, the stakes involved and of course, luck.
Here are some important tips for the successful poker player:
Do not gamble if you can not afford to lose. People lose a lot of money due to lack of planning and some gamble way over their heads because they do not know when to stop. Pick an amount to play with and stick to it. Additionally, do not borrow money to gamble, you just add more pressure upon yourself having to bet with borrowed funds. Allocate a budget and stick to it!
If you are serious about winning, avoid alcohol. You may make bets that you would not normally make. Play with a clear head.
Do not play if you are stressed out or emotional because not being in the right frame of mind can cost you big at the poker table. Play with focus. If your mind is preoccupied with other problems, your judgment will suffer and you open yourself up for critical mistakes.
Study your opponents and define who they are and how they play the game. You may have to adjust to their style of play. Do not be intimidated by the aggressive nature of a particular player or the passiveness of another.
Do not wait on cards, they usually do not come. Do not be afraid to fold the poor hand. Poker is a time consuming game and you are not dealt a winner every time.
Display a "poker face". Your expressions and mannerisms can tell a lot about your hand, even to the most inexperienced players. Whether you have good cards or a terrible hand, it is best to display the same emotion and not convey any clues to the other players. Conversely, if you are a seasoned player, you can use this "poker face" style to your advantage to project false "tells" to other players and force false reads on their part. You could pretend to have a powerful hand by aggressive betting, table antics or talk and pull off a successful bluff.
Patience is the key and you have to know when to bet. Be knowledgeable as to when bet and get a feel for the game. Bet wisely and in control. Bear in mind that bluffing will not work if you are a poor player and expert players will ever sense this and pick you apart, making your night a short one.
Practice! Practice with low stakes games, hand held games or play for fun as you refine your game and skills. Read articles, books and ask other players about the game and different situations that might occur.
There are thousands of poker books written with tips, guidelines, rules and regulations but the important aspect to remember is your poker strategy and your game. Practice, refine and define who you are as a poker player. Know your limits, play the odds and odds are you will come up a winner!
Copyright (c) 2006 Robert Benson