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The Dangers Of Poker TV

Here is the problem with poker TV: the commentators often speak in absolutes. Even when they try not to speak in absolutes, watching TV does something funny to the receptive abilities of the person watching it; they often gloss over or even completely edit out information that is vital to really, truly understanding what they are seeing. The end result is that newcomers to the game of poker, be it land based poker in a home game or a brick and mortar casino, or online in a virtual poker room, end up bringing the wrong lessons to the table. The end result of that, unfortunately, is a string of frustrating losses, sometimes expensive ones.

Some examples include watching just about any World Poker Tour show. Ninety Nine percent of the time those shows are No Limit Hold’em shows, and they are always tournament shows. Many times when a player makes a strong move with, for example, an Ace Five and end up winning, it is because they understood the odds and were in a short handed game or heads up. For the new player online in a cash game with nine other people trying to take his money, the lessons learned watching WPT are more often than not dangerous.

There is plenty of good to learn from those shows, of course. The basics of Texas Hold’em have to be learned somewhere, and a great many new players were introduced to “The Cadillac of Poker” via the WPT or other similar shows. But those newbies who have Phil Gordon drummed in their head from Bravo’s Celebrity Poker Showdown, saying “Aggression is the key to winning in no limit” would do well to clean the wax out of their ears. Gordon said NO LIMIT; limit is another story all together.

In the end, new players should watch the shows and learn what they can but always, always, understand the circumstances surrounding the advise they are being given.

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