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Basic Poker Tips

There are ways to make winning at poker almost a guarantee. Unfortunately most of these strategies involve hypnotism, sleeping with the dealer, or committing a felony with a firearm. These are not things that most gamblers are willing to do. However there are ways to tip things in your favor that are perfectly legal.

1. Avoid playing a lot of hands:
Some of the biggest names in Poker play only 20-30% of their starting hands. Focus on higher value starting hands. This will help remove the luck element of game. If you don’t have a very good starting hand, fold.

2. Learn to know when to fold:
Good players love playing with guys who call often. They are like carbon based ATM’s for a player who knows what they are doing. Many beginners keep betting regardless of what is going on around them. Be aware of what your opponents are doing and gauge your strength based on what you see. Top players frequently say it's the hands you can lay down that are often the key to profitable play.

3. Choose less skillful opponents:
The object of the game is winning money, not self esteem. There is no shame in beating up on players who are less skilled than you. Play at betting limits where you can beat the majority of players. Move down in limits if you are having difficulties winning money. Check your ego before you begin to play, it will do you no good in a game of Poker.

4. Watch your opponents habits:
The best time to study your opponents is when you have folded. You have nothing on the line, so your objectivity will be in tact. Watch how opponents bet, and how much they bet, in what position are they betting. Learning how your opponents play is key.

5. Betting to gain knowledge:
Sometime it will be valuable to use your bets like a probe to test your opponents for weak spots. Sometimes it is beneficial to bet just to see how your opponent reacts. This will give you some information that you may be able to use later.

6. Role Play:
Once you have mastered Tips #4 &5, use what you have learned about your opponent. Try to think as they do and questions like "Why did he re-raise me that amount?", and "Why did he only call in the previous betting round?", "Maybe because he only called me, he has a kicker problem?"

7. Learn when to bluff:
Learning how to bluff means knowing when not to bluff. The most effective bluffs are done infrequently. Before possibly wasting a bluff be sure you are playing with folks who stand a good chance of buying into it. A bluff can be very effective when used rarely, and where there is a seemingly low risk of being called by your opponent.

8. Changing Gears:
Consistency has its place in the world. The poker table is not one of those places. When you play consistently the same way, you will be figured out by your opponents. You need to change your game up, and let them see that you can run bluffs, and can play some lower value starting hands. These changes should be subtle and shouldn't dramatically affect the how many starting hands you play.

9. Understand the value of where you are sitting:
Like a basketball player boxing out around the basket, your position is important when playing poker. For example, the ideal position is the Button (the Dealer). This means you are the last player to act. You get to watch everyone else play and can act without fear of a raise coming from behind you.

10. Learn your craft:
There are literally hundreds of good books, DVD’s, and other reference materials that can help you quickly improve your game. If the pros are willing to give you the benefit of their experience, why should you opt for trial and error as a teacher?

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