to Play Holdem Like the Pros.
Pokerlistings. August 2006.
Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth, T.J.
Cloutier. If you follow Texas Hold'em, you've heard
the names of these legends of the game. Thanks to
the recent popularity of televised Texas Hold'em tournaments,
these and other Texas Hold'em stars are instantly
recognizable. But how did they get so talented? And
how can you play like a Texas Hold'em pro?
One thing is for sure. If you are
like most people, you can't play like a pro the first
time you sit down at a Texas Hold'em table. Due to
the recent influx of big tournaments and satellites
allowing amateurs to win a seat at a major event,
many amateurs and first time players can be observed
winning millions at Texas
Hold'em. For most of these players, their
first big tournament win will be their last. Texas
Hold'em tournaments involve a good deal of short term
luck, and an average or even below average player
can get lucky enough to win one tournament. Not having
the discipline generated through years of play at
lower levels, however, many of these players squander
this money by playing in cash games way over their
head, or continuing to play high stakes tournaments
when they are really not prepared to do so.
To play like a pro requires years
of practice. A good number of pros certainly started
playing well right away, but very few jumped into
$10,000 events or high limit cash games within a few
weeks of learning the game. Those that did had the
advantage of a public that was largely ignorant of
poker principles, a situation that is no longer the
case. Famous poker pro Howard "The Professor" Lederer
got his start cleaning up after a back room poker
game, then playing for small stakes until he lost
all of his earnings, then starting over again the
next day. He did this for many, many sessions. Lederer
has now won millions playing poker
and is considered one of the foremost authorities
in the game today.
So how do you play Texas Hold'em like
a pro? You don't require dark sunglasses, or a special
hat, or a fancy nickname. What you need is practice.
What you need is discipline. Play at a low stakes
game or low buy in tournament until you are beating
it consistently. Then move up to a higher game or
tournament level. If after an extended period of time
the game is still beating you, analyze your mistakes
and move back down until you are sure you are ready
for the new level. If you have stronger players who
are able and willing to help you examine and improve
your game, take advantage of this by getting their
advice whenever possible.
Playing in the way recommended above
won't make you a star on ESPN overnight. What it will
make you is a consistently winning Texas Hold'em player,
and one day, with a little luck, a tournament or cash
game poker superstar.
to next essay
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