The “Stuff” of Winning Poker

Winning consistently at poker takes skill and knowledge what we call poker strategy. But it takes more than that.


From this Course, you’ll learn what I call the “stuff” of winning poker. Trust me. In my private one-on-one lessons, I’ve taught hundreds of players to win consistently over the years in Las Vegas and Reno, in California and Atlantic City, and points between.

These students who have proven to be the most consistent winners are the ones who built a solid foundation on what I’ll refer to this text as poker stuff. It is the stuff of poker that will make you a consistent winner. Stuff means anything important points we’ll look at in this Course deal with Stuff.

This Course gives you the winning strategy of Of Las Vegas professionals at the limits of $1-$4, $5-$10, and $10- $20. Plus the winning stuff!

Anyone can pick up on the strategy. Yet many have studied on there own and still aren’t winners. No one has told them about the stuff of winning poker rules. Lucky you! You’re about to learn it.


Poker is not a game of cards. It is a game of people. We only use cards and chips to keep track of what’s going on. In fact, poker is the only game in the casino where your decisions, pitted against your opponent’s decisions have a direct influence upon your winning or losing. It is the only game you don’t play against the house. You play poker against other players: people. Therefore…

There is no substitute for knowledge of your opponents!

Make a big note filled with those words. Tape it to your bathroom mirror where you’ll see it every day. Write it in blazing letters on the insides of your eyelids. Learn it until you have assimilated it as part of your being. Your success at the game of poker will depend in large part on how much you take this fact to heart and then how well you develop that knowledge.

You have to know as much about them as you possibly can so you know how to play against them. Study your opponents how they play. What will they raise with on third street?  What will they call a raise with?  What will they limp in with? Learning to play poker strategy and rules and such is relatively simple. More difficult is getting inside your opponent’s mind.

What is his frame of mind?  It might change tomorrow or in an hour. What get him on tilt?  Does he have a strategy?  What is it?  Does he deviate from it, consciously or by tilt?  And how far? How do his starting requirements differ from yours?  This is extremely important, as you’ll see from this example:

I was playing in a newly-started $10-$20 seven card stud game in which I was familiar with all the players except one. This man sat two seats to may left, which meant that he almost always acted after I did. I began to study his play. What I quickly learned was that he raised on third street every two or three hands.

What I needed to know, and also know quickly, was whether he was just getting a hot run of god hands, or sf his starting requirements differed from mine. My problem was that I couldn’t enter a pot with a hand such as a low or medium pair because I couldn’t stand the raise that was almost sure to come.

My study of him intensified. I paid particular attention to his cards whenever he showed them at the end of a hand. It wasn’t long before I discovered that he was raising at third street with every three-straight  or three flush he held never with any pairs.  I don’t know where he learned this casino strategy, but it must still be costing him dearly. I say “still” because it cost him that night, from his stack to mine.

Now, with specific knowledge about this opponent, I was able to play him to my advantage. Now I could enter the pot with a hand like a pair of eights. If he raised, fine. I reraised and got it heads up with him while I was holding the better hand. Thus, I was able to clean his clock.

Is he gambling?  Or is he all tucked in, waiting for the nuts before he’ll invest in the pot? Notice and remember everything about him and the way he plays. And why he plays. For fun or for money?  Much of what you will learn from this course is based upon this important principle.

When you know how an opponent tends to play, it’s easier to put him on a hand because there are fewer possibilities to consider. You should study a new player right from the first moment you see him, even if you are at the rail waiting for a seat. In fact, that’s a good place to begin gathering knowledge of your opponents.

Rather than walking around shooting the breeze, just killing time, get on the rail and watch the game you will be playing in. Study the players you haven’t seen before. When you’re on the rail for twenty minutes, you can gather much information about a player, and he has none about you when you sit in his game. It’s an easy way to get an edge on your competition.

Never stop studying your opponent. Not today. Not next week. Not next year. You can never know too much about him. What is the texture of the hands you see him play?  Is he a check-raiser?  A slow-player?  Will he raise with a drawing poker hand?  Some players rarely bluff. Some raise on a whim. Some are super-solid, selectively aggressive, well-disciplined, consistent winners (my students).

You need to know “who is which is what.”  So you need to “get a book” on each of your opponents. Most players who keep a book on their opponents keep that book in their heads. But just to let you know what you are up against the seriousness of many of your potential opponents I’ll tell you that many poker players, both pro and semipro, keep an actual, written book on their opponents.

When one of these serious players encounters a new opponent at the table, he immediately starts a book on him. he’ll chat him the newcomer, learn his name and where he’s from, and closely observe how he plays.  Periodically he’ll walk away from the table and write notes about the new player in a small notebook he carries just for that purpose.

When he goes HOME he transfers this information into a small spiral notebook which he always takes with him whenever he goes to play. Later, when he finds himself in a game with a player he might have played against some months before during the tourist’s long weekend stay in town, the “book writer ” goes out to his car, looks up Mr. Tourist (“Jim from Toledo ”), and finds the information on how Jim plays.

If you play low seven card stud at the medium limits in Las Vegas, you are in one or two of these books. And by the way, in any public poker room you might play in anywhere across the country, you are going to be competing against my students. So you’d better get all of this down cold. They have.


When I first came to Las Vegas many years ago and began to play seven card stud seriously, I was bothered by the fact that there were so many cards to remember. Several times I took working players aside and asked them about this problem. The answer I kept getting was, “I have the same problem. Let me know if you figure it out.”

So I set about figuring it out. I figured and contemplated and pondered. While pondering (or was it during contemplating?), the answer flashed quietly into my mind. We make it much tougher than we have to. It looks like a big job remembering all of those cards laying out there. But actually, that’s not necessary.

Let’s say that four people fold on third street over cards and four stay to play. You also stay. You won’t need to remember your exposed card because there it is, right in front of you. That leaves three other players in the hand. And you won’t have to remember their cards either, because they are laying right out their in front of them.

So now we can see that the problem is smaller than it looks. No point remembering a card that is still in plain sight. So on third street, we have to remember only the four cards that have been folded. Put them into memory as they fold.

Let’s say tat the are folded in this order: nine, jack, seven, four. Rearrange them in your mind as four, seven, nine, jack. You’ll find it easier to remember them in sequence. (I prefer starting with the lowest card and going to the highest because that’s the way I learned to count –up.

Some players prefer it the other way around. Take your choice.) It will be a rarity that you’ll have to, or be able to, see and account for all thirteen of a suit. Take note if you’ve seen more than three of a suit. That will make it unlikely that an opponent is drawing to a flush in that suit.

If you see two or fewer of a suit, consider that suit to be live. At fourth street strategy, suppose that two other players fold, two cards each. Put them into memory in sequence as they fold. Now a total of eight cards have been shown and folded. And that’s all you have to remember. Eight cards.

 There are now only two players left in the hand, you and one opponent, and all upcards will now stay on the table until either one of you folds or until there is a showdown. With different numbers of players folding at different streets, these numbers will change.

But for the most part, you will be required to memorize only nine or ten cards at the most. And that’s a lot easier than trying to remember every card shown during the entire hand. Simple, huh? You’re welcome



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