Folding your way to victory.
By Andrew LeRoy. November 26th
How do you win at Poker?
By winning as much money as possible
in the pots you win and contributing as little as
possible to the pots you lose.
Achieving this is an art.
The first step is to examine the fundamental
theorem of poker which states: Every time you play
as if you could see your opponents cards you gain,
every time you misread them you lose. This concept
is straight forward but is worth continual contemplation.
All of the deeper concepts in poker seed back to this
Most people will fold "rags", hands
like 62 and 48. They understand that these hands can't
win many showdowns and will show a long term loss.
However most people play far too many starting hands
without good reasons to do so.
If you are new to Poker the first
requirement is to play TIGHT.
This means playing far fewer hands
than most opponents. As your understanding increases
you will play more hands, particularly from good position,
but the major adjustment most players can make is
to play fewer starting hands. Premium starting hands
only is the rule for beginners. What this does is
take care of the "contributing as little as possible
to the pots you lose" aspect of winning Poker. Good
players will realize that you don't play many hands
and will adjust to it, but most players aren't good
The other aspect of playing tight
is the fit or fold concept. In loose, limit
Holdem you must get away from your hand if the flop
doesn't fit it. By fit I'm talking top pair, 2nd pair
with overcard kicker, or a strong draw. Don't chase.
Remember "contributing as little as possible to the
pots you lose" is the key.
AGGRESSION is the other way
to win. Don't be scared of betting and raising. When
you are ahead bet for value. Don't be scared of losing
your opponents. They will call far too often. This
is the "winning as much money as possible in the pots
you win" aspect of winning poker.
So there you are... some simple concepts
to think about. Every time you fold out of a pot you
didn't win ask yourself, "was I in there with
too cheap a starting hand?" Every time you take
down a pot ask yourself, "did I get every cent
I could have?" Then adjust. Continual improvement
is the key.
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Questions and Answers
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