Elements of Poker

Observe Other Poker Players

Although online poker players do not have the luxury of seeing their opponents, plenty of information can be gleaned from their style of play. Players should remain vigilant at the poker table, even after folding a hand. The manner is which opponents play their hands and the correct interpretation of their check, calls and raises can provide a good idea of the cards they hold. Equally important is a player`s own table "image." Attempting to pick up valuable information from other players` actions will give a good idea as to the "tells" displayed to others by the player himself.

Discipline and Patience

Discipline is probably the most crucial poker skill and discipline is equivalent to patience. A good deal of patience is required to delay the bigger bets until the right opening occurs. Discipline is necessary before ever sitting down to any poker game. Playing when tired or after drinking alcohol leads to poor decision making and a subsequent loss of chips. Furthermore, a disciplined, patient approach prevents wasting money on poor hands in bad games.

Unpredictability and Flexibility

A player`s table image can affect the actions of opponents. A player perceived as "tight" will be presented with chances for profitable bluffing, whilst a player viewed as "loose" will often collect a large pot when they "have the nuts" (a strong hand). In poker, timing is critical and making an unanticipated move at just the right moment can produce lucrative results. Changes in playing style, dependent on the styles of opponents` play can provide an edge. Tight players playing a little looser and loose players playing somewhat tighter, contrary to their rivals` actions, can present an unpredictable image to opponents. This image can be enhanced by a player making "advertising" plays, in which a hand is played in an abnormal fashion. This tactic is the most effective when competing against the same players for a considerable time

Consider your Opponents` Poker Hands

Many uninspired players focus solely on playing their own hands, disregarding the cards held by their opponents. This is a major defect in general style that makes it difficult for a player to fulfil any potential. Eventual confrontation with rivals is inevitable and when it occurs, at least a general idea of what they hold serves well. Having a reasonable idea of what opponents hold allows for appropriate actions and reactions.

Bankroll Management

Even expert poker players "go broke" as they are incapable of handling their money correctly. There are several factors to consider in proper bankroll management. Discipline is essential for effective money management. A poker bankroll should be set aside and considered as operational capital, solely for playing poker. Other expenses should not be paid from the poker bankroll and similarly, cash reserved for other things should not be used for playing poker. Ensure the bankroll is large enough to endure a long sequence of losing hands. Limit Texas Hold`Em games require a bankroll 300 times the size of "big blind" bet to prevent losing the whole bankroll in the unavoidable bad runs. The choice of game limit for poker games is important, as a player who is "in too deep" will have a hesitancy that is detrimental to gameplay.


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