Poker A game of People
Rightly said, poker is not the game of cards. It is a game of people. We only use cards and chips to keep track of what's going on. Poker is a game where your decisions, against your rival's decisions have direct control upon your winning or losing. Seven-card stud is the only game you don't play against the house. You play this against other players i.e. people. More number of people the higher the profits. Your decision in this game is very important. With the help of cards and chips you decide your win.
There is no substitute for knowledge of your rivals
Your success at the game of poker will depend in large part on how well you develop the knowledge. Knowing your rivals is as much important as knowing how to play your game. You should contemplate the knowledge of all kinds of rivals. It is of utmost importance. Therefore study the rivals in respect of how they play. Try to read the hands that your rivals play. Ask certain questions like, what will they raise with on third street ? Or with what hand they will call with? Or what will they call a raise with? What will they limp in with? and so on.
Learning to play poker strategy and rules is fairly simple. The more difficult thing is to get inside your rivals' mind.
Your game strategy will be affected by the types of players you are playing against. You don't know what is going in their minds. It changes at any time. What kind of strategy do they possess?
How their starting requirements differ from yours? This is very important to know when you are playing your game.
There was a player, who I didn't know about him, played against me in a $10-$20 seven-card stud. After playing few hands I started reading his hands. What I want to know, which he realized, was whether he was getting a hot run of good hands or if his starting requirements differed from mine.
The only problem was that with a low and a medium pair I couldn't enter because I couldn't stand the raise which was almost sure to come.
I started paying attention whenever he showed his cards at the showdown. I realized after sometimes that he was raising at third street with every three-straight or three-flush he held and never with any pairs. I don't know where he learned this strategy but it would be costing him a lot.
With this specific knowledge about this rival, I was able to play with him. I could enter the pot with a hand like a pair of eights. If he raised, too fine for him. I re-raised and got it heads up with him while I was holding the better hand.
Was he gambling? Or was he all tucked in, waiting for the nuts before he will invest in the pot?
Just note and remember everything about him and the way he plays. Why he plays. Is it for fun or for money? This important principle is what you shall learn from this chapter.
Once you know how your rivals play their hand, it is easy for you to put him on a hand because they are fewer probabilities to consider. This is important for you to study a new player from the moment he plays even if you are sitting at the rail waiting for a seat. Sitting at the rail and watching players from there is also another way to gain knowledge of your rivals.
Try to study more about those players you haven't seen or played before. When you are on the rail for half an hour, you should gather information about a player and he has no information about you when you sit in his game. This is an easiest way to get an edge on your competition.
Always continue studying your rivals. You can never know too much about him. What is the texture of the hands you see him play? Is he a check-raiser or a slow-player? Will he raise with a drawing hand or made hand? Some players shall bluff rarely. Some players are super-solid, aggressive, loose, tight, consistent winners.
Just maintain a notebook and write everything about the players who you think is more important which will you while playing against them.
Most players including pro and semi-pro keep the actual, written book on their rivals.
When one of these intense players encounters a new rival at the table, he immediately starts a book on him. He will talk with the new player, learn everything about him, like his name, where's he comes from and so on, and while playing closely observe how he plays. Our pro will walk away from the seat and write all the information about that new comer in his notebook.
When he finds himself in a game with a player he might have played some weeks before, he immediately turns the pages of his book and finds his name and information about him. Therefore you need to write down the details of your rivals whenever you play against them.
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