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BIG-BET POKER CONCEPTS

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Why Play Pot Limit
Comparing Pot-Limit
Poker's Ten
You Playing Style
How Deep Are You
Taking The Initiative
Drawing Hand's
Psychology
Reading The Opponent
The Art of Bluffing
Betting The Bully
No Limit Play
All In Coups

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SPECIFIC POKER FORMS
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Using The Material
Pot-Limit & No-Limit
Big-Bet Hold'em Q/A
Big-Bet Hold'em Q/A 5-10
Big-Bet Hold'em Q/A 11-20
Pot-Limit Omaha
Pot-Limit Omaha Q/A
Seven-Card Stud
Lowball Draw
Key Pot-Limit
London Lowball Q/A
High Low Split
High Low Split Q/A
Strip Deck Poker

POKER PSYCHOLOGY

People who know nothing about poker often assume it to be a game purely of percentages. In truth it is quintessentially a people game. Knowing whether your opponents are pushy, timid, fearless,  incapable of passing when they have a glimmer of a chance, soft callers, drunk, tired, emotionally upset, penniless, caked up, on coke, at death’s door, or on tilt, counts for much morse than knowing you are an 11-10 underdog rather than 6-5. This is why many of the better players are extremely solicitous of the health of their opponents and family. They are being sociable, may have a genuine interest and ate trying to create a friendly ambiance for the amateur. Yet, there will still be an underlying measure of self-interest. After all, I need healthy opponents so that they will continue playing poker.

                      SOCIAL  DYNAMICS
                   To the best of my knowledge nobody has written a serious doctoral thesis on this subject-yet it is utterly fascinating.
                   One quite commonly plays in a game which is completely drab. Then somebody will mutter to me about how bad the game is. This is usually the player who is the prime the cause of lack of action. Where everybody is only taking up premium hands, it is essential to follow suit to some extent. It is true you can snatch off a number of small pots. The problem is that in each case you find yourself confronted only by the best hand among the other seven players. This is a tough burden to overcome. I remember playing in a four-handed game where for 30 minutes there was no bet at all. The poker player who had to bring in the forced bet won the antes. Of curse we stopped playing. Well, we had never really started.


                     Then, there is a change of just one person in the game and the whole dynamics of the action alters. Now the game becomes rip-roaring blockbuster. This in not necessarily because the player is a weak loser. I have frequently had that effect on a game myself. So much so, that when invited to sit in on a game, I have only half-jokingly suggested they pay my table money. It has been mentally disturbing when they have agreed. Similarly a player can have stultifying effect; as soon as he sits down, the game dies. The players don’t want to give the boring rock action.


                      Equally, once one player starts to play aggressively, trying to snatch off the antes, the other perforce follow suit. That is why it is perfectly feasible to play in one game where you don’t even consider calling with a certain hand and in another where you are willing to take the same holding to the river. For example, the flop is A-10-3 in Omaha. In some games, holding 6-5-3-3, I put my head down and charge. In others, a casual flip of the wrist mucks the hand immediately should somebody breathe on the pot.
                      Some professionals behave appallingly when the star attraction gets up from the table. They straight-away follow suit. Now the star may be a dreadful poker player, but that doesn’t make him a fool. Couldn’t they show some tact and wait a few minutes? Even the biggest idiot will eventually else, it may hurt his ego. You want the inveterate losers to feel at home; otherwise it will hurt your pocketbook.


                      A businessman was once leaving the poker table in Las Vegas after having thrown off a nice lump of money. Suddenly he turned and said, “you’ll probably laugh at me once I’m out of earshot. I come here three or four times a year and blow off some energy and steam. Whenever I return, you are always sitting here, trying to scratch out a living. You tell me, who’s the mug?”

                      I have often wished I could eavesdrop on the comments about myself when away from the game. If nothing else, it would be bug? Has anybody ever done so? I am certain players have sat in games with foreigners whose language they understand, but have not let on. The supposedly unintelligible conversations can be most illuminating.
                       Being a purist, I first those who profess a deep interest in the welfare of their weak opponents distasteful. Gushingly asking how they are and how the family is doing is extremely false. But let’s be honest; poker is a game of play-acting. Some opponents do react positively to such an approach. Nobody has ever accused me of being the greatest diplomat in the world. Sometimes a player will feel a moral imperative to go easy on an opponent with whom they have a good social relationship. Personally, I find it more profitable to take no prisoners. But the beauty of poker is that what is right for one player may be totally wrong for another.
                         Outsiders often mistakenly think the players must be at each other’s both on and off the tables. This is by no means necessarily so. Players often have close social relationships with each other. People are often truly distressed when another player has been destroyed by a particularly virulent outdraw. Such a social reaction is less prevalent in a limit game.
                           Poker games sometimes run continuously for days on end. I am sure it is a big advantage to be clean-living, not staying up for several days, and especially not being on coke or speed.
                          In England, and frequently in America, a game will start at a fairly set time, and run its natural course for less than a day. Pot-limit games grow in size as the day wears on. This is because the winners are naturally playing with more money. The losers usually like to maintain on the table at least half of the money they are stuck. This way they can get out of it in one shot. If there is a set closing time, often the game becomes wilder at the end, as the losers desperately raise to build big pots. Of course, they are being illogical; tomorrow is another day. Thus such expressions as “lift off” or “entering phase four.”

 


                       MENTAL CHARACTERISTICS OF OPPONENTS
                           Although nothing is of greater importance than knowing your own mental framework, there is no doubt that your opponent’s way of thinking is of great importance. If you are able take it further, to how they think you think, now the game is really entering its existential final stage. Unfortunately, you are now also up against high-quality opponents. There is little profit here, and I seek new pastures. If playing in a money game against all the best players in the world is your bag, so be it. I view poker as more of a game of mistakes than forced errors.
                          If your opponent is pushy, then it often pays simply to lie back and await his attack. This contradicts the generally held view that it is essential to be aggressive. If your opponent is timid, it often pays to underbet the pot so that he will be less likely to pass in fear of losing too much money. Of course, the nature of life is that you will usually not have the best hand, so that blasting him out is the best policy.


                           It is very useful, when joining a game already in progress, to find out how everybody is doing. I like to play with a large sum of money on the table to disguise my standing. If you can persuade somebody who has been at the table for some time to cough up the information, so much the better. I used to have one friend who would toke me a chip for information on somebody he hadn’t previously encountered. On one occasion I told him the player was a complete stranger to me. After the slightest hesitation, he pushed the chip over. Of course, my info was still informative, although perhaps not as much so as telling him the player had only one week to live.

                          Players react differently when down to their last few chips. Also, you mustn’t confuse the situations where somebody is doing badly in a game with that where they have struck rock-bottom in life. Some players will think, “What the hell,” and throw in the money out of desperation. Other will become extremely conservative and try to hold on until they have a lock. Generally, people are most reluctant to take tenuous action when they are level after a long session, having bobbed up and down-especially if vulnerable to a bluff. They simply do not want to get involved. That is why the correct winning attitude is that life is just one long poker game.
                          It does help to know when somebody is emotionally disturbed for reasons outside the game. Sometimes this can lead them to play better! Usually we tend to play a sequence of hands aggressively, then perhaps a group more defensively, and so on. Of course, a better poker strategy is to mix up your play so that the opposition has no clues as to where you are at. Imagine playing after breaking up with a girlfriend. A few hands pass without your thinking about the situation; then it comes to mind and you play like a savage beast. Suddenly you have a mood shift. How can the opposition cope with that? We don’t usually have visibly emotional indicators on our heads I hope.

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SPECIAL SITUATION
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Tournament Strategy
Shorthanded Play

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GENERAL INFORMATION
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Poker History
Business
Pot-Limit Rules
Dealing Big-Bit Poker
The House Charge
Ethics & Courtesy
Cheating
Internet Poker

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THE ODD'S
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implied-odds-probability-poker.htmlFiguring The Odd's
Percentage Table

Odd's For Hold'em
Special Odd's Table
High-Low or Better

 

 

 
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