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Choose Yours Game Carefully

  If you have your choice of more than one game to play in, try to play in the one that has the greatest number of player entering every pot.  This means it is a loose game and it should be very profitable for you.  Try to find a game with a lot of alcohol and lots of money on the table for the betting poker limit.

Analyzing Your Opponents
  When you play poker, what you’re really doing is matching your brainpower against the intellectual ability of your opponents in such a way that you always know how you measure up.  How much you’re winning or losing is how you keep score in this game.  It is critical that you know as much as possible about your opponents.  You of course can’t know everything, but there is a lot that you can deduce on your own.
The number one fault of most low limit players is that they will see the flop with hands they should have folded, they will call when they should fold and they play their hands long after it’s clear they’re beat or don’t have the right odds to play.  In short, they play too loose.

You will hardly ever see a beginning low limit Hold’em player play too conservatively or too tight.  If a low limit player has the option of either calling or folding, and it’s an even toss-up what the correct play is, he will almost always decide to call.  That’s one reason why it’s so difficult to bluff out a player on the end.  They came to play and it’s no fun to fold  without calling one last final bet to see what you have.  “Well, I cam this far,” and “He might be bluffing,”  are two sure signs of the typical low stud poker limit player.

The major difference between low limit and medium / high limit players is that the latter do a lot more raising pre-flop and on the flop to protect their hands during the cheap betting rounds.  If you’re on a draw, they’ll know it and they’ll make you pay the maximum allowed by the house rules.  Any hand from a pair on up is a favorite over a straight or a flush draw and if you draw is going to win, then you’re just going to have to pay for the privilege.
If you find yourself in a game where there’s an inordinate amount of raises on the flimsiest of cards, then that’s a sure sign that you’re playing against talent superior to yours and you should get out.  You’re no longer a favorite in the game. 
If you don’t know how a player plays, you should assume he plays well, or at least as well as you do until you have concrete evidence to the contrary.  If you see him play a 7♥ 5♥ in early position, if he calls with second or third pair to the river, if he consistently calls on the end with a losing hand, if the players on his right often successfully check-raises him, down as a poor player.
There is, however, one popular method of detecting poor players that I think is overrated and not that reliable.  It is the method of watching to see how many or what proportion of pots he voluntarily enters to see the flop.
The conventional wisdom says that if he plays very few hands besides the blinds then he is a tight player and if he sees the flop with half of his hands then he is a loose player.  This line of reasoning is probably better than no information at all but it can often lead you to the wrong conclusion.

There are 1,326 different possible two-card combinations that you can be dealt before the flop and if you discount similar hands (i.e. J ♦ 2♦ is the same hand as J♠ 2♠ ), then there are only 169 different possible hands.
With that many different hands out there it is possible, and often likely, that you can’t find a playable hand in the first one hundred hands you’re dealt.  This means that when you see a player enter the game and not play a hand for three hours, it’s not always because he actually is a tight player.  In this case, you should evaluate the quality of his play based on the actual cards that you see him turn over at the ends of his hands.
It is possible to walk into a casino advice at poker room and determine, just by observing the players, just who you would like to play against and who you wouldn’t.  Here is a list of players you would like to play against.

Players You Want to Play Against

  1. Off-duty Casino Employees

Skill at dealing poker does not equate to skill at playing poker.  Dealing three hundred hands a day does not teach you how to play poker.  I’ve seen the magician levitate the girl a hundred times but I don’t know how to do it.  And “thank you” to all you poker dealers who bought a copy of this book.

  1. Talkative, Loud , smiling, cheerful Players

If they’re doing all that, they can’t possibly be devoting enough mental energy to the game to beat the player who is concentrating on the game.

  1. Beautiful Women

It’s been my experience that good looking women haven’t devoted enough time and effort to learn the game.  They almost always are playing because they’re waiting to do something else.  Besides, they serve as a good distraction for the other men in the Game.

  1. Players with Tattoos

Anyone dumb enough to have themselves tattooed probably won’t exhibit a lot of poker skill and intelligence at the poker table.  They will unknowingly follow your lead at the poker table.

  1. Players who Drink Alcohol

A player who’s been drinking will start to play more carelessly, bet and call when he shouldn’t, bluff when he shouldn’t and generally play too many hands. And he’ll usually stay and play and drink until he’s broke.

  1. Players Who Expose Cards

There are players who just aren’t careful enough to protect their hands.  If you meet one, I recommend you always try to sit on his left.  You’ll always know when to fold, call or raise.  Also, you should try to look at your hand as soon as you can so you can decide if you intend to play it or not.  If you’re not going to play, don’t make an effort to spy his cards.  There’s no reason to try to find out his hand if you’re not going to play.  That little bit of extra eye movement or slight turn of the head on your part could give away what you’re doing.  There’s no need to risk it if you’re not going to play your hand.  And you’d be surprised to see how often it doesn’t help to know what your opponent’s cards are anyway.

  1. Nail Biters

The psychological profile of nail biters is perfect for you.  These people are impatient, impulsive and their close decisions are usually wrong.

  1. Young Poker Players

By this, I mean players under age 25.  Even with the availability of poker books and computers it’s just not likely that a player this young has the experience at the table needed to be a big winner in the long run.  If you play with a young player, you can usually be sure he’s still learning the game from you.

  1. Players who Play Out of a Rack

If you buy in for so many chips that you can’t hold them in your hands, then your chips are given to you in a rack at the cashier’s cage.  Players who bring the rack to the table and play out of the rack instead of taking all of the chips out of the rack really slow up the game.  It takes them forever to get the chips out of the rack when it’s their turn.  A player who is not aware that he’s slowing up the game is almost always a beginner and that’s exactly who you’d like to Play Poker against.

  1. Nervous Players

Nervous players always have to be doing something and with so many opportunities to call (every hand), that’s what they’ll do.  They’re harder to get out of a pot but you’ll beat them in the long run.  They are also easy to read and they play too many hands.  They often make it very obvious to everyone when they flop a great hand.

  1. Rich People

It is more likely than not that the stakes in your game is not high enough to intimidate a rich person.  They can afford to take chances and a loss is not as devastating to them as it would be to less wealthy player in the game.  They also are often willing to lose more money than the average player in your game.

  1. 7-Card Stud Players or Recent Converts from the Game

The hand values in the two games are totally different and the 7-Card Stud player is at a big disadvantage until he learns to re-orient his thinking.  The two most common mistakes they make are not recognizing when they’re drawing dead and overrating pairs in the pocket and going too far with them.

Players to Avoid
  Everything else being equal, you should prefer not to play with these types of players:

  1. Players Who don’t Talk, Smile or Take Their Eyes off the Game

This type of player is usually tight and poker experiences enough to know that the should pay attention to the game.  The problem with having players like this in your game is that you won’t get any action from him unless he’s a favorite to win the hand or already has you beat.  If there are more than two players like this in your game then you can’t reasonably expect to win much and you should change games.

  1. Drunks

While it’s great to be in a game with someone who’s drinking, it’s terrible to have to play with a drunk.  They hold up the game every time it’s their turn to act, they don’t know who has bet or raised, and the action has to be explained to them every time.

  1. Older, Retirement-age Players

These players are patient, they wait for high cards and they don’t take chances. Their technical skill is not always that great but they know enough to protect their bankroll.  They don’t normally have much “gamble” in them and they seldom bluff.
This brings us to what I call Warren’s Rule of Bluffing.  Here’s how it works.  Assume you are head-up on the end with an older player who has bet into you and because of the action and the board you can’t decide if he’s bluffing or not.  What you do is quickly estimate that player’s age and subtract that number from seventy.  Whatever number you’re left with, that’s the percent chance that he’s bluffing.  You can laugh, but I swear it works in a typical low limit Hold’em game.

  1. Sandbaggers

A sandbagger is a player who habitually doesn’t bet his hand.  He prefers to check-raise and induce bluffs from players who think that a check from him is a sign of weakness.  You’ll often pay a double bet with a losing hand but on the other hand you always know where you stand when he does bet.

  1. Other Good Players Besides Yourself

The object of this game is to make money, not to demonstrate your skill or compete with other good players.  If you do recognize a good player in your game, you should try to sit on his immediate left.  That way he’ll always have acted before you do.  If he bets, you know you have to have slightly better than average cars to call.  Since he will often bet more than he’ll check, you can use his bet to raising flop poker and make the players after you call a double bet more often