Winning Texas Hold'em Poker
The battle rages on: Winning at Texas Hold'em tastes great! No, winning at Texas Hold'em is less filling!
Er, wait a moment...wrong sport. The great debate in poker is: Winning at Texas Hold'em is about skill! No, winning at Texas Hold'em is about luck!
Now, that's more like it.
So which is it? In poker, is it that you make your own destiny? Or is it that you have to
face up to your fate, which would mean you just persist until Lady Luck looks your way and decides to smile? Here's the deal: it's a combination. It's luck and it's skill. To be a winner, you have to accept the luck of the flop and everything else, and know how to use it to your advantage--which includes knowing when it has gone too strongly against you and folding. Texas Hold'em winners know when to be losers--and that, my friend, is a part of the skills you need for consistently winning at Texas Hold'em.
That old song was right: every hand's a winner, and every hand's a loser. Winners at Texas Hold'em have patterns of winning--but they don't even come close to winning every hand, and they don't try to (losers do). Just like the price of a good-quality stock on the stock market, luck fluctuates up and down; but winners ultimately ride out a jagged-edged "up" pattern. And that makes all the difference. And in poker, winners are those who know how to "pick good stocks".
So--what are these poker skills that enable winning poker players to "pick good stocks"--that is, use luck to their ultimate advantage? In basic terms, there are four: mathematics; discipline; psychology; and a clear understanding of risk vs. reward.
Here--let me tip you.
The First No-Limit Texas Hold'em Tips: Math Skills
Winning poker players know their general percentages are. They are aware that the chance of hitting a set with a pocket pair is about 1 in 8, that the chance of completing a flush draw at the top is about 1 in 3. They understand the importance of outs--the number of those cards which are capable of improving your present hand. Counting your outs, multiplying that number by two, and then adding two to that will give you the rough percentage shot that you will have at hitting. That is, if your "outs" calculation comes to 18, you've got an 18% chance of getting one of the cards you need on the dealer's next turn-up of a card.
Winning poker players are also capable of calculating poker pot odds,because just knowing outs is meaningless in itself; you've got to know how to bet in a calculated way, too. Math skills comprise a basic skill that you need to possess in order for you to be successful at the poker tables. If you do not understand pot odds, implied odds, and the other applied mathematics of poker, you should not be playing in public poker tables until you've learned them.
Note: Limit games rely more heavily on good math skills than do No-Limit games.
The Second No-Limit Texas Hold'em Tips: Discipline
In order to play successfully, winning poker players need to give themselves some kind of an advantage. The thing that separates winning poker players from "fish" is that fish do not expect to win; but winning poker players do. A fish is a player who is happy playing just about any game, because he is only hoping to be lucky. Skilled poker players know that they cannot rely on luck alone.
Every different kind of game requires a different type of playing discipline. Disciplined No-Limit players, for example, can be foolish in limit games, and vice versa. Disciplined limit players always tend to be tight before the flop, never playing too many hands unless they have an excellent chance of drawing a win. Disciplined No-Limit poker players, on the other hand, have a very different type of discipline, because they are more concerned with getting trapped than they are with paying too many blinds.
Disciplined players know when they should play, and they know when they should quit. They recognize the point where they are playing on tilt and they know when to quit while ahead. Disciplined players are aware of their imperfections, and they learn from their mistakes rather than blaming others. They learn from mistakes and move on, and this is why they are winners.
The Third No-Limit Texas Hold'em Tips: Psychological Skills
Winning poker players are not self-centered. When poker pros walk into a room, they empathize with their opponents, trying to figure out what they are thinking and why they are making the decisions that they make. The poker pro is always trying to answer three main questions:
- What does my opponent have in his hand?
- What does my opponent think I have in my hand?
- What does my opponent think I think he has in his hand?
Determining the answers to these questions is the first step, and then manipulating each of these answers is the second step--the more important step. If you have pocket kings, for instance, and your opponent is holding pocket aces, and you are both aware of what the other person has, and both of you are aware that the other person knows what you have, why play? Poker pros are players who use slow playing, fast playing, and bluffing as means to manipulate the answers to those second and third questions listed above.
Good poker players are aware of the fact that psychology is much more important in No-Limit games than in limit games.
The Fourth No-Limit Texas Hold'em Tips: Risk vs. Reward
Both pot odds and demanding some kind of an advantage fall into this particular category. Poker players are generally willing to take long shot risks, as long as the particular reward is worth the effort. If the expected return is greater than the anticipated risk, most winning poker players will take that chance.
Good poker players tend to be slightly risk-averse rather than risk neutral or risk loving. Risk loving poker players will be more willing to risk an entire bankroll on a bet with even odds, while risk neutral players are more indifferent towards such an action. Risk averse poker players are never willing to go all in if the odds are even. The best poker players are at least slightly risk averse, valuing every single dollar in the bankroll equally.
No-Limit Texas Hold'em Tips Finale
All four of these fundamental skills are vital to a successful poker game--but, the most skillful poker players still rely upon luck to help them win. You need to be able to rely on strategy, skill, and a little bit of luck to be a winner when playing any type of poker. If you are hoping to generate big wins for quick riches when playing Texas Hold'em poker, the only way you are going to be successful is to combine vital poker skills with the willingness to accept Lady Luck's whims and weave fate into your own destiny.
You are going to be relying on your Texas Holdem bankroll to carry you through all of the ups and downs in every game you play. Your bankroll, when it comes to Texas Hold'em poker, is going to give you a necessary buffer for playing strategically rather than with desperation. In limit Texas Hold'em and No-Limit Texas Hold'em, beginner's luck soon turns into all-time losing if luck is all you care to rely on. You need skill to be a winner. And I gotta tell ya: Winning at Texas Hold'em Poker tastes great!
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