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SKILLS YOU NEED TO WIN AT TEXAS HOLD’EM

Obviously, it takes more than being able to sit at a table for long periods of time and throw chips into the pot to be a good Hold'em Poker Player.  You need certain specific skills to be any good at this game.  Most of the skills you need have already been mentioned in the text of this book or mentioned indirectly in the examination of another topic.
  This sections is devoted exclusively to examining the specific skills that you need to be a good Hold’em Player. There are no big secrets in this list.  My purpose is to get you to think about poker as a game that does require certain skills and to make you realize that you can improve on those skills if you concentrate on them individually.  Here’s my list of skills that you need to be a good poker player:

  1. Game Selection

If you are the 10the best poker player in the world, then you are better than 99.999999% of all the other poker players (assuming one billion players).  But, if you shoos to take the one empty seat in a ten handed game where the other players are the first through ninth best players in the world, then you would be the worst player in the game.  You might as well be rated near the bottom of the world’s worst players if you can’t beat anyone in your game.  In this example, you went from being 10th in the entire world to worst in your game, and what caused it?  Game selection.  Being good at game selection means choosing yousr game you can expect to beat.

  1. Seat Selection

Because money tends to move clockwise in most poker games, and especially in Hold’em, it is important that players with certain characteristics act on their hands before you.  You want both very loose and very tight players to sit on your immediate right as well as players with a lot of money on the table for the stakes that you’re playing.  You want all betting and raising to be completed before the action gets to you.

  1. Mental Preparation

This includes a desire to succeed, patience, concentration, good judgment, and self discipline.  Your goal is to win.  Don’t given in to the temptation to play hands just for the sake of playing.  Stay focused on the task at hand.  Make your decisions based on the relevant facts available to you at the time.  Have the desire to put it all together to work toward making good decisions.

  1. Stay Educated

Stay abreast of developments in game poker theory and research.  Share information with other poker players and read poker related literature.

  1. Hand Selection

This, your first decision of the hand, is the most critical.  This is actually what makes you a loser or winner in Hold’em. 

  1. Buying a Free Card

Actually, you are raising on a cheap round in order to get a free card later during the more expensive round.  This saves you one-half of one big bet and adds up over thousands of hands played.

  1. Semi-Bluffing and Bluffing

There are times when it’s correct to bet with a hand you know is not the best.  If you were to play only when you actually had the best hand you would get no action when you did play.

  1. Raising and Check-Raising

You must know when to get the worse hands out and when to make them pay to beat you.  If a player beats you with a hand that he would not have called a raise with, you’ve made a serious mistake.

  1. Reading Hands and Reading Tells

Both of these skills used in unison will give you the best chance of estimating what your opponents are holding, and once you know that, you will always be able to play your hands perfectly.

  1. Your Skill at Deception

This is not a major part of low limit Hold’em because so many players don’t have the poker smarts to know that you are using deception in the play of your hand.  But, there are times when you can win a big pot if you have varied your play in critical situation.

  1. Slowplaying

This works well because you are playing your hand in a weak manner on an early round in order to disguise your hand and make more money on a later round.

  1. Adjusting to Game Conditions

Poor players may leave the game and be replaced by rocks.  Players with all the money may leave the game.  The game may get short handed.  It may be later than you think.  Any number of things could change so that it may not be the same original good game that you started out playing six hours ago.  Be alert for changing game conditions.

  1. Knowing When to Quit

There is no reason you should have to stay and play after you’re won or lost a certain amount of money.  You should play as long as you have a positive expectation in the game and leave when you don’t, whatever the reason may be.  This is especially true in a casino game.
  One final word about the skills you need to play this game: More money is lost by players who know what the right thing to do is, but don’t do it, than for any other reason Having a  Strategy tactics, a Game Plan and the Disciplin to stick to are, along with a sufficient Bankroll, the four most important things that a player needs to be a winner at Texas Hold’em.  You cannot be winner if you’re missing any one of these four essential ingredients.