Poker Play: An Effective Strategy At Any Level

Thursday, October 24 2013         No Comments

By Mark Allen Taylor

I never had an interest in gambling until I moved to Vegas. I was living in the suburbs of Chicago and working as a kitchen manager of a downtown restaurant. I never had time to socialize since work seemed to take up all my time. I was usually too tired from the long days of managing the restaurant. My wife and I were in the process of building a house in a brand new development. After our house was built, we made the decision to moved to Vegas. The timing was perfect, there was a housing boom in full force at the time and we bought our 2nd home at a great price. I moved out ahead of my wife for the purpose of finding work in the restaurant business. She was a registered nurse and was guaranteed work at a very nice hospital. Everything was good, or so I thought. Still unable to find a job at that point, we both eventually settled in our new home in Vegas and sold our house in Chicago and then divorced. I was single and jobless. I went through a few meaningless jobs before I landed a job dealing poker at Binion's Horseshoe during The World Series of Poker. I had a natural love for the game and was intrigued by the math involved in poker. My fascination with being able to get good "reads" on people led me on a pursuit to learn all I could about body language and the math behind poker.

I have always had an interest in understanding people. I studied psychology at Middle Tennessee State University in the early 90's. I have spent the last 11 years studying body language and facial expressions to better understand peoples' personalities. It has led me down a completely different path than I had anticipated. My aim is no longer to improve my poker game but to use research and studies to help myself and others understand personality.

Poker was originally played by groups of guys getting together for a "friendly" game of cards. Games were held in inconspicuous back rooms, dimly lit, where going "all in" could cost you more than the money on the table. There was always the threat of being raided by police, mugged by gunmen or both. It wasn't until Benny Binion moved poker to the gambling mecca now known as Las Vegas to legitimize what we know as poker. However, today's poker is an entirely different game. From excessive numbers of players to accessibility to information found on the Internet about the game and new and improved methods of play, finding the advantages in poker are becoming scarce.

There are three basic ingredients when it comes to playing poker effectively. The first is understanding the numbers behind poker, in other words knowing poker math. Next, is the ability to read someone's body language. And the third is understanding a person's personality. In this article, I am hoping to show you how these three interact with one another and how you can improve your ability to read others.

The first part to learning poker is the math skills. If you are saying to yourself that you are not good at math, that's ok. With a little logic and common sense, you can understand the fundamentals. Just understand that the math never changes. The statistical chance of drawing a specific card has, is, and always will be a 20 per cent chance. The basic are the percentages or probability of making your hand. For example, when I was playing consistently, I would look for certain percentages of my hole cards (Texas hold em) before I would get up from the game and try my luck at another table. I know that I should see a pocket pair once every sixteen hands, suited cards once every three to four hands, and suited connectors once every forty-six hands. The big statistic that saves me a lot of money is the issue with pocket jacks. I always thought this was a strong hand, however I learned that when holding pocket jacks, my percentages of a higher card coming on the flop are greater than my chance of getting pocket jacks! Lesson: don't play jacks to strong, you end up a long-term loser. An advanced skill to keep in mind is your expected value. Without going into too much detail about it, it is basically what you expect to get from a given betting session, and armed with this value, helps make your decisions. It's a little tricky and should be reserved for when you move up the poker ladder to then next level of game. For now just focus on the basic percentages. Don't get ahead of yourself. Get the basics down. It wont take you long. It took me about a week to understand the basics, then I was off to the races. Once I had an understanding of basic percentages and EV (expected value) I was still hungry for more. I felt like something was still missing from my game. I found that in my ability to read body language.

The next ingredient is the ability to read someone's body language. The skills you learn here can help you in every aspect of your life. As I continue my research and study in body language, I am still in awe of how this information is not valued enough to be taught in schools. The basic premise to body language is never, and I mean never, take a single body language and make a judgment on just that one trait. Some guys say if you really want to know what someone is going to do on a poker table look at their feet. At their feet? Come on, when I am sitting at a poker table, the last thing I am going to is say, "your all in, can you wait a second, I have to look under the table at your feet and then I can make my decision. " no, I'm afraid this isn't what would happen at a poker table. And it defies our basic rule to take gestures in isolation. The key to body language is to take body language in context. If someone has their arms crossed, it usually means they are being defensive. However, if they are sitting under the air conditioner vent and its 60 degrees in the poker room, it could mean they are cold, not being defensive. This is the best advice I can give you when it comes to reading someones body language. Once you become familiar with the putting body language expressions together in a meaningful way, the more advanced stage is to focus on the face and facial expression. There are more nerve connections between the brain and the face than any other part of the body. The poker face is expressionless, motionless but full of information if you know what you are looking for. There is a lot to facial expressions, too much to cover in this article, but what i can tell you is that your game will drastically improve once you start studying the face and all that it has to offer. Once again stick with the basics, learn to read overall body language, then move to more detailed information in the face.

Once we put these first two together, we have almost completed our poker game. The third and last ingredient is understanding the personality of a person. Poker, at a basic level, is a game about cards. You play cards, you look at cards, and understand the cards. As you progress and step up your game to higher levels, poker becomes a game of observing and understanding people. The cards don't matter as much. Naturally, the best hand wins in a game of poker, but learning the skills to understand body language (in particular, facial expressions) and the type of personalities you are dealing with, is truly what the game of poker is about. It is very important to be able to tell if a person is lying to you. The greatest gift you can have is the ability to not only make good statistical decision, and read their body language, but to baseline the person's personality by what you see and hear at the table. Personality is composed of five key elements. One, the level of intellect. Two, their temperament. Third, their skill level. Fourth, a person's morality. And finally, number five, their attitude. To function highly on all five takes a rather unique individual. And everyone swings on a pendulum from high to low in each area. But knowing this is half the battle. Knowing how to apply this information is the other half. Once you are able to make intelligent decisions based on personality, with enough practiced, can make you unstoppable at any level of play.

These are the three basic ingredients when it comes to playing poker effectively. In this article, my hope was to show you how these three build upon one another and how you can improve your ability to read others and improve your game. First off, learn the math, it wont ever change. It is the foundation to build upon to be good at playing poker at the beginning levels. Next, learn body language skills, emphasize the facial expressions and context. Learn how the facial muscles react to stress and how wrinkles form based on the long-term use of certain muscles. And finally, read someone's personality traits by how they behave at the table, how skillful they are at playing, their level of intelligence and temperament.

By doing these things and becoming a life long student of the game, you should not expect to stay at whatever level you are at. You can improve you poker game and see amazing returns when these principles are applied. A word of caution, once you head down this path, you will see everything in a new light and understand human nature better. Your new found abilities may just lead you into directions you may not expect!

I will end this article with a true, real story. In 2004 I was full-fledged studying, reading body language, and profiling personalities everywhere I went. (I am sorry to those poor clerks at the Smith's on Flamingo). It was new to me then and it seemed as though I could read people at a different, higher level. I could predict how they were going to react based on the things I said and did. It was time to take a chance at the poker table. I had 140 dollars in my checking account and withdrew the money to try my hand at applying this to poker. I played for 31 hours straight, applied all that I had learned at that point and presto, it worked like a charm. I cashed out over 30 times my investment (over 100 dollars per hour) and was able to take home enough money to cover my bills for that month. With the little extra I had, I bought into a satellite at the Mirage a few days later. The WPT kicked off their season that year at the Mirage, so I wanted to test my new strategies at the next level. It was about 200 dollars for the satellite. I won it. Entered another, won it. Entered another, won it. In no time, I won enough money to cover the super satellite into main event that year. They were giving 37 seats that year and I think there were 355 satellite entrants. When they announced we had made to 37, I was about 15th in chips. A ten thousand dollar seat was mine, with only a two hundred-dollar investment. I sold the seat at a very reasonable discount to a friend and didn't play the main event. I took some time off to get better at my skills, and here I am, eight years later. Do I regret not playing? Sometimes. I think about what could have been. But in reality, the matter is I have not looked back on the decision to take a break in regret, and who knows, when the timing is right, you may see me at a final table of a main event someday.

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The Ultimate Poker Guide: Preparing To Play

Friday, October 18 2013         No Comments

By Robert Machowski

Welcome, fellow poker players, to the comprehensive guide for online poker. Although this guide will cover tournaments in a step by step fashion, cash (or ring) games can be played using exactly the same strategy - only the blinds never increase.

Our journey begins way before we take a seat at a poker table. Before we even think about parting with our hard earned cash we need to make sure we're in the right mental and emotional state to play (I know it sounds cheesy, but it's true). Playing poker when you're no 100% fit and well, and when you have other agendas on your mind is dangerous for your bankroll (money from poker winnings - don't worry if you don't have a bankroll yet). Let's go over some examples of what constitutes not being fit and well.

  • Illness - This covers a massive array of symptoms and there are too many individual illnesses to discuss, if you feel bad just rest yourself - your body needs it!

  • Tiredness - lack of sleep leads to irrational decisions, and when money's on the table you can't afford to make mistakes. Turn the laptop off and go to bed if you're tired! Simples.

  • Drug intoxication (for the vast majority of people alcohol is the lead culprit) - We've all woken up in the morning disoriented, with a headache and short term amnesia. Whether having a few drinks is right or not is another discussion all together, but booze + poker = epic sadness!

  • Stress - when you're stressed all your priorities change, you can lose all sense of reason and bet huge amounts of money without a care in the world. Everyone deals with stress differently, but everyone's mental state changes with stress - so grab those stress balls, go for a workout or have a bubble bath! Just don't play poker until you feel tranquil!

  • Hunger - If diamonds are a girl's best friend and dogs are a man's, food is a poker player's! Food gives you energy, and towards the end of a 4 hour+ poker tournament you'll need all the energy you can get! I don't want to get comments blaming me for making readers obese, so make sure you still have a balanced diet too!

  • Dehydration - No water = death, lots of water = health... enough said? Always keep a bottle / glass of water with you, if you're playing long tournaments caffeinated drinks will start to dehydrate you (or at least not hydrate you as much as water).

This list is by no means exhaustive, you need to use your own judgement on what affects you - and have the self discipline to wait until you're feeling 100% before you play.

Choosing the right poker site for you is essential. There are loads of reasons why you would pick one site over another, but before we discuss that let's rule out a conspiracy theory that's been getting a lot of attention recently. Firstly, online poker sites are governed and checked for their RNG (Random Number Generation) so each card that comes down has the same odds of falling as a real bricks and mortar casino. If you think you're seeing, or have heard someone talking about there being too many 'big hands' (4 of a kind, royal flush etc) that's purely because in online poker you get through a massive amount of hands compared to live poker.

Here are the important factors to consider before you choose a poker site.

  • Brand trust - If the site you're interested in is a global, well established brand then you can be pretty confident it'll be a good choice. Global brands don't become global brands by accident, with massive expansion come massive responsibility - and these poker site giants live up to their expectations. If you're going for a slightly smaller site, or an up-and-coming site you'll need to look at player feedback - check a few forums or poker strategy sites out to get a feel.

  • Graphics and software - If you're planning on making some money from online poker you're going to be spending a fair bit of time looking at this poker site. Make sure you're happy with how it looks, if you want a quick peek at the poker table, lobby or account pages just search Google for a screenshot.

  • Number of players - The more players at the site means more tables open and less waiting around. You'll also get bigger tournaments with massive first place prizes (but also massive amounts of players competing for it).

  • Standard of players - There's a poker saying that explains this quite well - 'if you look around the table and can't figure out who's the fish (a fish is a bad poker player), then it's probably you'. If you can find a site that has loads of fish on it become the shark and devour all their money! Nomnom.

  • Tournaments - This is a massive choice to make before depositing any money so tournament types will be covered separately. Normally the bigger the site (number of players, brand trust etc) the more tournament structures available.

  • Bonuses - If you can pick up a no deposit bonus, or double up on your first deposit why wouldn't you? It's the first boost to your bankroll and you don't even have to win a poker tournament for it!

  • Reward schemes - loyalty points and reward schemes are great for serious poker players, it's extra money and prizes for free - like Christmas but... more like a reward scheme.

  • Customer service - If you have any problems you want to know you're in safe hands, look for the 24 hours customer support online chat. The customer service tends to go hand in hand with the 'brand trust' factor, but smaller sites can be good too.

  • Withdrawal options - almost all sites let you withdraw for no fee, but there's sometimes a minimum (typically $5 or �5).

Now hopefully you've found your poker site and we're ready to look for what type of tournament to play! The safest bet is to play a 'gimmick free tournament', with a fixed blind structure and a conventional leader board/prize pool. Here's the basic attributes of a gimmick free tournament.

The chips you start with are the only chips that are given to you be the dealer/poker site (no addons or rebuys).

  • The blinds increase at fixed intervals.
  • About 10% of starting players win money, with 1st place taking around 50% of the prize pool.

The amount of chips, speed of blind levels and prize structure may change slightly from site to site but try and get a tournament that has a 'usual' structure (for example - if blind levels are 10 mins at one site and 12 mins at another that's fine, but if blinds increase every minute it's just a gimmick tournament).

Just so you're not wondering what a particular tournament involves we've compiled a list of the most common tournaments (outside of the regular poker structure).

  • Russian Roulette - You basically have no input to the game, you're automatically all-in and it becomes a game of pure luck. One hand is dealt and whoever

  • Speed - Rapidly increasing blind levels mean a more aggressive approach is needed, some people prefer this but it's not great for learning solid poker strategy.

  • Bounty hunter - Each player has a percentage of the prize pool 'on their head', if you knock them out you claim that bounty.

  • 50-50 - Half of the registrants win money, it's basically double or nothing. It's not great because you still pay a registration fee, so if you win you want to win big!

  • Rebuys / addons - Rebuys are essentially 'extra lives', if you lose all your chips you can rebuy back into the tournament. Addons are extra chips which can 'top up' a players chip stack for a price.

Now you're feeling great in body and spirit, you've found a poker site and you know what type of tournament you want to play. All that's left now is... to learn to play poker! In the next addition of 'The Ultimate Poker Guide' we'll discuss how to have the best chance of making money. Until then, goodbye!

Profit from Poker provides members of the poker community with the best strategies, latest news and largest bonuses on the web.

Check out our site - you'll find useful tools and cheatsheets that'll give you an edge at the poker table. - making poker simple.

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A Critical Overview of Poker Tables Supplies

Saturday, October 05 2013         No Comments

By Brian Garvinand Jeff W

Anyone who is a poker enthusiast has to obtain at least one poker table to lay down the precious cards and chips. In casinos everywhere, poker is dealt on particularly designed tables and they are called poker tables. For a critical overview of these supplies, one can note that these tables appear in similarity to billiards tables in construction. These items come in a variety of sizes and shapes such as oval, rectangular, and pentagonal.

Basically, there are three kinds of poker tables. They include round, oval-shaped or well-rounded rectangles, and octagonal. If you want, you can opt for foldable tables. They come with folding supports with folding table tops set with trays.

Poker tables are now available for playing poker at the comforts of one's home and for setting up poker home parties. But one should be aware when choosing and buying a poker table. Less expensive tables are usually of low quality. Some of these tables are not that durable and even in the rare situations in which cheap tables last, wearing patchworks will keep cropping up on the table in the long run. So if you want to delight in some poker game fun at home, it is wise to splurge a bit more cash and purchase a decent quality poker table.

People should always have a critical overview of poker tables supplies if they aim to buy one. There are a range of poker table supplies available which will suit your casino fancy. Some of them go together with multiple stands while some types of tables have only the tabletops. There are some things needed to finish the entire set up, however. For instance, you have to mount the tops on a dining table or some other structure. Playing poker at home always require a poker table. There are lots of people with serious interest in playing poker and they often learn playing without a poker table is difficult indeed.

Poker table supplies are easy to make, or so they say. Usually, basic carpentry is needed but many shops offer these supplies like materials for the construction or comprehensive plans. The configuration for building these tables are available on the Web or you could ask for references and guidance from home poker gamers online.

Poker tables are usually constructed by using a poker table felt and other poker table materials. The make of these items are built with pieces of plywood and some have rails and cup holders while others are blanketed with a billiard felt, faux suede, plain poker cloth, or velveteen. Of course, poker gamers can have their tables made in leather or fine wood. Also, online poker sites present dynamic table backdrops.

To the delight of poker gamers everywhere, players are predicted to have their own customized table backgrounds for use in custom tournaments. Thus, boring, ordinary tables can be transformed into tailor-made tables that echo a poker player’s personality. It is better then to gain a critical overview of these supplies so you will know your way around and find the best poker table supplies for your poker game nights with your friends.

Let Brian Garvin and Jeff West teach you more about Poker Supplies and Poker Supply stores at our Poker Stars Direct blog.

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Play Free Poker and Learn How to Become a Poker Money Winning Machine

Wednesday, October 24 2012         No Comments

By Nick Moseley

I can imagine a new poker player who, after watching some episodes of the World Series of Poker or the World Poker Tour, suddenly gets 'inspired' and tries out one of the big advertised poker sites.

Suddenly - suddenly - as he imitates the plays he saw in some episode, like moving all-in with 4-4 in early position - he thinks he is making a good play. Of course it is sometimes a good play, but not always.

As it is, the overenthusiastic player loses a large stack and it costs him hundreds of dollars in real money.

Why not tell him to try the same play on a free poker site, so that he will recognize his mistakes? He can play free poker get knocked out, learn from it and still have hundreds of dollars left.

Free poker sites are also a great way to build a bankroll, if you don't have one, and if you play long enough. And you will learn to play poker for free and learn from your mistakes and those others make.

Sure, you can try playing your Q-7 offsuit and then flop a Q-5-3 and then get called by A-Q later or K-K - that is when you realize your Q-7 is trash, and you ought not play it again.

Of course, you can watch someone else play the Q-7. He may flop Q-5-3, as above, or even A-J-7. Now you know you have him, because you have K-K (in the first flop) or A-K, or J-J (in the second).

Now you remember the times when you win, and when you recall these times every time a similar situation arises, you will win the pot.

If you play free poker long enough you will see what these situations are and then be able to characterize them like this: On the first flop, it may be 'Playing Overpairs'; on the second, it may be 'Playing Top Pair' or 'Playing a Set'.

There is, however, a downfall if you are not careful: Suppose you play 3-2 off and you win. You might think 3-2 off is a good hand, and then suddenly you rush to play real money poker. You lose. You think, "How would 3-2 be harpooned in this board! This just won last week!"


  • If you are observant enough for a long time in playing free online poker you might notice plenty of players doing the same (playing bad hands) and they win.
  • However, you can watch if they are winning consistently or not, and oftentimes they don't.
  • Someone plays 7-2, the wins; someone plays it again later, then loses.


When you play free poker it may not yet teach you that A-10 is sometimes dangerous to play after a raise because it might be a better Ace, but it teaches you what hands to avoid and what to play.

In free poker you should not just play any old hand. You must play as if it is really big money at stake.

Play only good hands as if your big money bankroll depended on it.

If you keep playing bad starting hands without the ability to represent them (and representing hands is not so practical in free poker because many free poker players play just any hand, bet when they hit the Flop and throw when they don't) you will be a bad player sooner.

Regarding this, here is another point, indeed this is the key free poker point that will win you a lot of money:

Most free poker players are beginners or reckless fun seekers so when you take the time to master free poker then you will know how to blast them into orbit

Then you get to real money and you will meet the novice and maniac TV watchers who got a bit too inspired and guess what happens next?

That's right, your hard earned free poker skills will trash them and they will "donate" their stacks to you time and time again!. And as for the really good players, it's so easy - avoid them unless you have the nuts.

This article is by Nick Moseley, marketing manager for, the perfect learn to play poker for free site for beginners to play free poker without risking any cash. For more experienced poker players the draw is in the ability to fine tune game play and techniques in a totally no risk zone while collecting free poker cash at the same time.

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How to Play Hold'em Poker - Tips to Play and Win

Friday, October 19 2012         No Comments

By Carolyn Anderson

Many people love to learn the Texas hold'em poker as this can be an exciting great game that can also be an avenue to make big profits as well. If you happen to watch the Texas hold'em poker tournaments online and on TV, you will indeed find the game a great one to learn.

Read on if you want to learn how to play hold'em poker and learn to enjoy the game and make good winnings as well.

Texas hold'em poker is fun and it would be a lot fun especially if you win. Of course, the excitement comes with winning, and if you want to win in Texas hold'em poker, here are some tips that might help you outsmart everyone on the table.

Know the game. Of course, it is important to be knowledgeable about the game to win it. Know the terms and the mechanics of Texas hold'em. Watching the game often can also help you learn a few tips and strategies that players do while on the table.

Play to win. Of course, the fun in poker is not just in winning, but if you can win, that would be more fun and exciting. Of course, looking at your money that doubled or tripled and even more, after the game, would be a very great deal as well.

Choose your place on the table. This may seem simple but this can be a crucial part of how to play hold'em poker and win. One of the important tips to keep in mind before even the game starts is to take note of your position to the dealer. The early position means you have to act first than your opponents and you may not have the advantage of reading your opponent's cards if you need to decide to raise, call or fold first.

Keep in mind though that it does not always mean you will play in the early position all throughout the game. Depending on where the blind is, you can be in the early position, middle or the late position in reference to the blinds. If you are playing on the early position, you may want to play bigger cards and fold on the smaller ones. If you are in the late position, you can also call with small pairs as well, and with a good advantage of being able to read your opponent's cards.

Don't play too many hands. One thing that can fail you in Texas hold'em poker is to play too many hands in the hope of winning. Keep in mind that you don't have to play a lot of hands to win big in poker. If you want to learn how to play hold'em poker, also learn to control yourself and train yourself to only play the hands that can give you good chances of winning.

The bluff. Probably one of the best things that you can do in poker is the bluffing, but this can also be disastrous. Master the art of bluffing and practice your poker face. If you have a very readable expression, that can be a strength of your opponents, so make sure you know how.

Carolyn Anderson loves to play online casino games. If you want to learn poker, check out Black-Hat-Poker. Also check out Online-Poker-Training-System, where you can learn some tips in winning poker online.

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Learn to Play Texas Hold Em - The Smart Approach

Tuesday, October 09 2012         No Comments

By J. P. Jones

When you're new and need to learn to play Texas Hold Em, you'll be looking for the place that gives you the most privacy. You might think that just because you're not absolutely smooth and knowledgeable, that you shouldn't take part in a game. Don't be shy - it's the hottest card game in decades and there's always someone handy who is willing to teach you how to learn to play Texas Hold 'Em. It's rather like learning to swim - you can't do it on the shore. You have to wade in and take part, maybe sink a couple of times and come up sputtering, but you'll get the hang of it.

You can begin by watching television, just to get into the atmosphere of the pros. There are televised and recorded games available most times of the day and night on several of the cable channels. The best part is, you can watch them in rerun a hundred times and still pick up on something you missed before. It's an ongoing learning experience. You'll see an odd collection of folks, from every walk of society. There are those who come to the table with high IQs, those who come with a need to earn a great deal of money and those who come just because they have a reputation to protect. They will wear champion bracelets, sunglasses, hoodies and any variety of expressions from aloof to friendly and open. Don't let them intimidate you; by the time you reach that level you will have your own "cool" down pat.

When you return to reality, you might check out a totally unique multimedia eBook from "" It's set up with an "on-your-shoulder" tutor who has been out there in the real poker world, from home games to the Vegas neon. From within the book you'll sample a pro game and learn insider tips from someone who started out just like you when they were new to the game. These are the most valuable lessons because like you, he didn't come into the game with pocketfuls of money to lose. Each lesson cost dearly.

There's also a lot to learn by dealing your own game. Just find a dining room table and deal out 4-6 players' worth of cards. Move from seat to seat and play each player's hand. You'll learn to play the odds and develop some great card-handling skills at the same time. It keeps your focus on the game instead of reading other players. It's also not intimidating because there's no one to snicker when you fold or tease you when you called instead of raising the bid.

There are also quite a few websites online where you can play for free while you get your feet wet. Here you can watch people's play and calculate their strategy without having their face-to-face intimidation.

J.P. Jones invites you to discover the best ways to learn to play Texas Hold em and advance your Hold'em poker game at You'll find everything you need to dominate your competitors and hold your own in any Texas Hold'em game.

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Learn To Play Poker Step-By-Step

Thursday, October 04 2012         No Comments

By David Gardner

Today, poker is considered one of the most skill-testing games in the world. In the past, poker was regarded as a game of luck. However as regular players started winning poker tournaments more often, it becomes clear that poker is a skill-based game that can be learnt. I have personally struggled to learn poker for months without any success, but once I started to dedicate my time to it and found a great role model (he's Bryan Micon), my poker skill has improved significantly, allowing me to win at least $100s every night.

The most popular type of poker game is the Texas Holdem. To win in this poker tournament, a player needs to form the best 5 card combination. Each player gets 2 cards, which he can combine with another 5 cards that everyone can combine with. To win Texas Holdem, you need to have the best 5 card combination hand, or at least make your opponents think that you have the best hand.

After you learn to play poker for a while, you might realize that winning poker is really not about having the best 5 card combination hand. There is so much more to it, including psychology, aggression and strategy. In theory, it is possible to calculate the most correct move in terms of statistics. This is a good skill to have since it gives you the most chance of winning in the long term. However, you'll need to realize that there are different stakes involved with every game, which can greatly affect your decisions.

To learn to play poker, you'll need to have the skill of calculating the odds of the opposing hand. Because you are playing against other players and not against a dealer or a casino, it is possible to have a much greater chance of winning than other players at the table if you have a good understanding of the odds. This is really not hard to learn, as the more you play, the faster you'll be able to have an idea of the odds.

It really pays to learn to play poker properly before you stake too many chips on it. After reading many poker guides, I realized that it is very difficult to simply read a book and learn poker. To successfully learn good poker skill, I found that the best way to do it is to look for great poker players, observe and model the way they play. There are several great audio and video tutorials on the internet which teach poker step-by-step. My personal favourite player is Bryan Micon, who has created several great poker products that educates people about many deep aspects of poker.

Did you find this information useful? David Gardner is a professional poker player, and has a passion for playing poker for cash. As of today, he has identified several legitimate poker strategy guides, making him near $500 a day. Visit his website at where he exposes the online poker strategy guide scams and identifies the best poker strategy guides on the web. For a limited time only, get a FREE poker strategy e-course at filled with powerful poker tactics!

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Playing Poker - How to Get Started

Saturday, September 29 2012         No Comments

By Chris Hohenstein

The game of poker is one of strategy, timing, and mental focus. It's about being able to balance the odds of the pot and the actions of an opponent in order to maximize the money earned from a hand. Luck does play a small role in winning sometimes, but overall, it's all about making the right moves at the right time.

Texas Hold'em is the most popular poker game right now. The rules of the game are pretty easy to understand. Each player is dealt two cards face down that only he or she knows the value of. A round of blinds and betting occur, and then three cards are laid face up in the table. Another round of betting occurs and then two more cards are flipped over one at a time. Betting occurs after each card is flipped over. The best combination of five cards between the two cards a player is holding and the cards on the table wins the pot.

There are other poker games out there, such as Omaha, Stud, and Razz. Those play out with more cards dealt in different ways, but the principal of the best five cards winning remains the same in all play.
Not all hands are won at the end of play though. A poker player has the option to fold his hand to an opponent if he thinks he's beaten or has no chance to win the pot.

Learning when to fold and when to bet is a difficult task that most first time poker players have a hard time dealing with. It is important to win as much money from a pot as possible, but it is just as important to lose as little as possible in a pot.

Developing a knack for folding and betting comes from experience reading other players' reactions. Some aspects of it can be taught, but involvement is the only sure fire way to learn to read people.

If you're a first time player, I encourage you to try playing online for free to develop a good idea of the game before you start putting money out there. Tons of professionals anxiously await the opportunity to take a new player's money, so don't get caught in that predicament.

Watch the World Series of Poker or the World Poker tour an television to learn about different strategies and playing styles. Develop your own unique approach to the game and then take it to the tables.

If you focus enough and learn what to do and not to do, you could be a professional poker player in no time.

Chris Hohenstein is a semi-professional poker player and freelance writer. He has been playing poker for over 10 years and writing about poker for over 2 years.

His home site, [] is now host to all of Chris' latest strategy and poker news. He is also the resident poker coach to all members of the forums. Membership is free and all participants will have access to our exclusive and fresh content. Members will also receive enrollment to private tournaments with free money and special prizes.

Join now @ [] for your chance to meet some new friends, learn and start making money.

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Is Online Poker Better Than Live Poker?

Friday, August 10 2012         No Comments

By Robert Machowski

This topic has been the center of attention in many heated arguments. With online poker being a relatively new concept, many of the 'old school' poker players state that it has lost the true essence of what poker is about. There is no 'correct' answer to this question, only points of view - and throughout this article benefits of online and live poker will be discussed.

Live poker has been around since 1829, and Texas Hold'em has become the most popular card game in the world. Most casinos boast a poker table, with tournaments and cash games being held regularly.

The rush from bluffing / winning a hand in live poker is unparalleled.

Anyone who's serious about playing poker has seen some televised tournaments. The look of relief on a players face when a bluff is pulled off, or the grimace of a player who's been caught bluffing is true emotion. With a full 10 manned table, pulling off the unthinkable and showing your opponent your hand give a feeling of satisfaction that can't be described in words.

Social bonds can be made with regular players.

If you play poker at a casino reasonably frequently, you will start to make bonds with other players. There are a lot of good people who play poke - and a lot of good friends to be made. There are however a few people that will take liberties, it is recommended that you never lend money to someone at a casino.

Gets players out of the house.

This is mainly a benefit for older players, or players with families. If your daily routine is becoming monotonous, then a couple of hours break down the casino could really help. Money doesn't need to be an issue either, as a safeguard to your finances you could leave your bankcard at home, and only take cash to the casino.

Online poker was created in the late 90's, as a basic software package. Since then, it has boomed into one of the biggest industries the internet has to offer. Almost every house hold in the modern world has a computer with internet access - and anyone with internet access can access online poker.

Can be played anywhere, anytime (so long as you have a laptop with wifi).

This is possibly the biggest reason for players to take up online poker, as anyone with a spare half an hour can jump onto the internet and play some cards. Bringing the online poker room into your front home, whilst still being with the people you love has changed the way we play poker for the best.

Overhead costs are much less, meaning your cost to play is reduced.

Casinos have so many outgoings, not just the cost of the property, but electricity, staff costs, security etc. Online poker does also have outgoing, but they are vastly reduced, which means some of the cost cutting can be returned to the player. Online poker cash game rake and tournament buy in fees can be up to 50% cheaper than at live casinos.

Online bonuses are much more accessible.

Online bonuses bolster bankrolls up, and the internet has taken the hard work out of finding them. For first time players, no deposit poker bonuses can allow them to play poker without having to risk any of their own cash at all.

Find the latest Online poker tips at Profit from Poker - the fastest growing online poker resource on the web.

WARNING - Some tips found at are considered controversial.

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Where Should You Play Poker?

Saturday, July 21 2012         No Comments

By Thomas E Kemper


Often overlooked, this fundamental question must be answered before you can pursue your dream of becoming a long-term successful poker player.

A poker players' decision as to where he/she is going to play poker is perhaps the most important decision affecting the players' enjoyment of the game and his/her bankroll. Generally speaking, a player has four possible venues to choose from, they are:

1) Online poker sites
2) Casinos/Local Poker Rooms
3) Home games with family & friends
4) Local Charity/Fund-raising tournaments

Each of these four venues has their own unique 'pros and cons' to be considered. One venue may be best for Player 'A', but not necessarily a good choice for Player 'B'. The correct venue is relative to your personality, bankroll, and skill level.

Lets' take a look at each of the four venues more closely, and discuss the characteristics of each. I will be speaking in broad generalities which are consistent wherever where you live, but you should realize geography plays an important role in venue selection. Gambling laws vary from one locale to another, so please research the laws in your area and play within those laws. With that caveat in place, lets' examine online poker first.

Online Poker

Without a doubt, online pokers' popularity has exploded in recent years; so much so, the Federal government has placed limits on the ability of US players to move money to and from the poker sites. These restraints pose a real problem for poker players, and several player associations are trying to fight these restrictions. The future of online poker laws is uncertain at this time. A full discussion of the legalities of online poker is beyond the scope of this article, but I encourage all poker players to do their research before you jump into online play.

Pros of Online Poker:

- The best thing about playing poker online is the ability to play from the comfort of your own home any time you wish. Sites such as Poker Stars, Full-Tilt, Ultimate Bet, etc. will literally have tens of thousands of eager players online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Whenever you are ready to play, you will have no problem finding an available game.

- Online play allows the player to play a wide variety of games. If you would like to take a break from Texas Hold'em and have the urge to play Omaha, Stud, Razz, Horse, or virtually any other game you can think of, the online sites will accommodate you.

- Another benefit to playing online is that you can play any stakes you are comfortable with. If you are conservative, or just starting out, you can play for as little as a few pennies a hand. If you are looking for an adrenaline rush, you can play for as much as several thousands of dollars. The sites will offer a wide variety stakes in between these two extremes as well.

- Finally, because the online sites keep the games moving quickly, you can improve your game by playing a high volume of hands in a relatively short period of time. More experienced players may play multiple games at the same time. These players are seeing an extraordinary number of hands per hour.

Cons of Online Poker:

- Online poker can quickly become addictive. Online poker addiction can have severe negative consequences for the players' physical, emotional, professional, and financial well-being. An addicted player will often start staying up all night playing while ignoring his need for sleep. This may lead to emotional problems and ultimately lead to a strain on the players' home and professional life. A player must be vigilant to remember poker is not as important as family, friends, or your career away from poker.

- The online player may also become a victim of cheating while playing online. The poker sites try to catch cheaters through the use of sophisticated software that monitors play and looks for irregularities, and I believe they are partially successful in these efforts; however, it cannot be denied some cheating goes on without be caught. The problem for the individual poker player is that he can never be certain he is not being cheated. The poker world was a buzz last year when the media reported the scandal involving Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker. Some cheating occurs between the players themselves when two or more players gang up on an unsuspecting player through the use of telephone communication while the hands are being played out. If your opponent has more information about the hole cards than you do, you are at a significant disadvantage.

- Because poker is played quickly online, the less skillful player will likely lose more of his bankroll online than if he played elsewhere. If a losing player plays more, he will naturally lose more over the long run.

Casino Poker

For this discussion, I will consider full service casinos (which you are likely to encounter in Las Vegas or Atlantic City) and local Poker Rooms (commonly found at Kennel Clubs, Horse Racetracks, or other Pari-Mutual facilities) to be one in the same. The size and degree of sophistication may be greater at a full service casino, but Poker Rooms have come far in recent years and can offer similar services to a poker player. Each facility provides the tables, chips, dealers, and pit bosses to manage play, and each provides a comfortable atmosphere for the players to enjoy. In exchange for providing these services, the 'house' will rake the pots or charge you an hourly fee to play (more on this later).

Pros of Casino Poker:

- Casinos/Poker Rooms typically do a good job at offering the player a comfortable environment to play. As more and more card rooms spring up, they realize they must compete for your business; therefore, you are likely to be treated well because the casino would like you to become a regular player at their facility.

- A player can be relatively confident the games will be run by professionals. The entire staff from the dealers to drink servers know their jobs (and their tips) depend on providing the players with excellent service.

- Casinos and card rooms are generally conveniently located within a community, and they are open 12 or more hours a day seven days a week. On short notice, a player can head off to the casino and expect to find plenty of action. Texas Hold'em is king at casinos, but other games are offered when enough players are available to fill a table.

Cons of Casino Poker

- Playing at a casino can be an expensive experience. A casino has considerable expenses, and must recoup these expenses through a 'rake'. Some card rooms charge an hourly fee to play, say $10-12 per hour per seat. Others will take a percentage of each pot, or a percentage of the total tournament entry fees. A house rake of 10-20% is not unusual and must be overcome to be a long-term winner. A player must also be mindful that good etiquette dictates the player should tip the dealers and servers for the service they provide. These tips will add to the cost of playing at a casino.

- Another pitfall to playing at a poker room is that you may be the victim of a couple of 'regulars' who team up to soak the new fish that sits down at their table. Players can communicate their holdings through subtle hand signals which puts the unsuspecting player at a disadvantage.

Home Poker Games

Every night in America there are thousands of home poker games underway between families and friends. Poker requires very few supplies to host a game, and these items are readily available through many internet sites. You can start playing at the kitchen table and eventually move up to a true poker table complete with drink holders, padded rails, and a felt playing surface. The next thing you will need is a good case of poker chips, a 500 count set of 11.5 gram (or higher) chips will be adequate for up to 9 players. The final and most important item you need for the home poker game is a setup (two decks) of 100% plastic playing cards. Expect to invest between $15-25 per setup for quality cards.

Pros of Home Poker Games

- The one big advantage home poker has over venues of play is that you can pick and choose the players you play with. Typically, a group of 3 or 4 hard core players will decide to start a home game and they will invite their friends and family to play. This selection process nearly assures a group of players that get along well with each other. Chances of a loud or obnoxious player being invited to the game are minimal. The more harmonious the game is, the more you will enjoy playing there.

- A home game fosters social networking which may lead to new professional relationships as well. You may make a helpful contact with a lawyer, accountant, contractor, etc. through poker.

- Home games are great opportunities for husbands and wives, fathers and sons, etc. to share some quality time while playing poker.

- Generally speaking, little (if any) 'rake' is taken from a home game which means the money stays where it belongs, with the players!

Cons of Home Poker Games

- Do not fool yourself, organizing and hosting a home game can be a lot of work. If you are the host, you must be prepared to make calls, provide a place to park and play, provide the snacks and drinks, as well as the cleanup afterwords.

- A potential problem with home game poker is that in some localities, it may be against the law to wager money while playing. You must research and abide by the laws in your community.

- In a worst case scenario, a disagreement make break out in the card game which ultimately leads to a dissolved friendship or hurt feelings. All the players must be respectful of each other and sensitive to each others needs.

Charity/Fund Raising Poker

- In these turbulent economic times, some well known charitable organizations have turned to hosting poker tournaments to bring in much needed funds. Some private schools are even hosting poker games to supplement their scholarship funds. A poker player can give back to his community by supporting these events.

Pros of Charity/Fund Raising Poker

- Charity tournaments can be great social events which bring together large number of poker layers to support the cause. Somehow, it is more palatable to pay an 'entry fee' than it is to write a donation check!

- The skill level of the players that show up to these events is poor. Playing good poker is secondary in the minds of many players to having a good time while supporting a good cause. This mentality presents an opportunity for the skillful player to "clean up' at the expense of the social players. Depending on the size of the tournaments, the payouts can be significant. You may be able to parlay a $60 entry fee into a $1,000 pay day for winning.

Cons of Charity/Fund raising Poker

- The biggest problem with these type of poker games is the lack of professional management by the event organizers. A serious player can quickly become irritated when a tournament starts a half hour late, or he gets seated at a table with an inexperienced dealer, etc. Violations of the rules and etiquette of the game are commonplace at fund raisers.

- The 'rake' can be quite high at these events. Remember, the primary reason the charity organization hosting the game in the first place is their desire to raise money. A rake of 25-40% is not unusual at these games which is unacceptably high to a player trying to boost his bankroll.

- A word of caution regarding the legality of these games, the charities often believe they are immune from compliance with local laws regarding gambling, but the sheriff does not always agree! Do your homework before deciding to play in fund raisers so you can make an informed decision.


Let me restate my original premise that deciding where to play poker is perhaps the most critical decision a player must make and will have the greatest impact on the players' bankroll. There is no right or wrong answer to this question, you must decide which venue is best for your situation. In my opinion, the player that plays only occasionally and just wants to have a good time should probably head over to a casino and enjoy the atmosphere and service. However, if you want to build your bankroll, I recommend finding a few good home games with little or no rake. These games will provide you with the best opportunities to make money in the long run.

Now go play some poker!

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