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Poker Prosperity

Playing CardsI like any serious poker player, interested in the profit column. If that column doesn't show a positive balance, something is very wrong. If I lose money in any given week, I have to be concerned. If, God forbid, I lose money for any given month, I must do some serious soul searching! I have to ask, ''What is going on? What is wrong with my game that I can change to improve this profit picture?"

Let's take a brief look at three factors that are big contributors to profit or the lack of thereof: patience, planning and position.

Patience

Nothing, in my opinion, destroys the profit potential as much as the lack of patience. When we enter too many pots with marginal hands, when we stay too long when all the signs tell us we are beat, when we draw to long-shot hands, these are all signs, that we do not have the patience to wait for favorable circumstances. We try to force a hand when the evidence tells us that we have a slim chance of holding the winner.

It is playing marginal hands in risky situations that cause the problem. The urge to play to compete for the money in the pot is the culprit. We want to play. We want to compete. That is why we play the game, right? It is like the male vulture says to the female vulture after two hours of waiting: "Patience, hell. I'm going out and kill something!" That is precisely the problem. We get impatient to kill the pot! We want action. We want to risk. We want to play the game.

Unfortunately, to win we must have a bulldog tenacity to wait for the right moment, for the right hand. We must be relentless in our pursuit of that skill to wait, wait, and wait. We must develop the conviction to not throw our money into a pot that we are not the favorite to win. We must have the singleness of purpose to dedicate ourselves to winning, not playing. I constantly remind my students I do not teach recreational poker, I teach winning poker. a winning poker player is a patient poker player.

Planning

Do you know how to play your big pair after a raise has been made? are you absolutely sure what is the best way? If not, you need to develop a plan.

Do you know for certain how to playa second or third nut full house in High/Low Omaha? Can you fold it if you become convinced you are beat? Do you habitually payoff with a second or third best hand? If so, you need a plan.

Do you call a raise with a small pair in Seven Card Stud? If so, you need a plan.

Do you know when it is time to quit a game because the game is too tough? Do you know how to cope with a bad beat? Do you know how to pick the best game for you to play in? Do you know how to change your play when the mood of the game changes? Do you know how to cope with a losing streak? If you cannot answer yes, you need a plan.

Position

The correct use of position is another vital factor in the profit picture. You will note that quite often in a hand of poker, no one has much of a hand. When circumstances put you in the last or near the last to act, you can often take advantage of this situation and win the pot with a bet.

The advantage of good position

Whenever you are the last to act, you have a huge advantage over everyone else. They have acted or not acted on their hands without the benefit of knowing what you will do. They are clearly in greater jeopardy than you are. If they have nothing and you have nothing, you have a clear advantage. If you bet, they cannot call you. If they should bet on nothing, they are taking the chance that you have nothing. Sometimes they will be betting into a huge hand and you will raise them and take their money. If they should bet into you when you have a modest hand, they will still be risking a raise because they just do not have the same information you do.

The use of power betting when you have position places a great burden on the people with low-quality hands. They will be intimidated when you bet unless they are lying in the grass, waiting to check-raise. You will soon identify who has the ability to get you to bet their hands and you can accommodate to that as well. The correct play of position is to totally confuse the other players as to what you are doing. Slow-play plays a big hand once in while when you have the positional advantage. Get their respect. Make them fear you.
 

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