The Game Of Texas Hold’Em

Texas Hold’Em in a Cardroom

Texas Hold’Em Online

Winning poker

Tactics

Strategies

Putting It all together

Psychological Considerations

Where to go from here

Places to Play

Appendix I Hold’Em poker Variations

Appendix II Poker Tournaments



PSYCHOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS

  Choose Your Battles

  How often had you entered into a dispute that afterwards you had judged as not worth it? It could have been a price dispute at a store, an annoying action of a co-worker, or a trivial argument with a family member. In the end, winning or losing had not mattered. The most you could have hoped to gain would never have compensated for the cost in time, effort, or ill will generated. With experience, you would have learned to avoid confrontations that in the long run weren’t worth the cost.

  We have all had our ‘principles,’ but savvy people have chosen their battles.

  They have known when it has been worth taking a stand and when it has been better to let things go. In poker, learning to choose the right battles would be crucial to success and it would perhaps be the hardest skill to learn.

  Your first impulse in any confrontation would be to act.You would come to the poker table to compete for the pot. Watching other vie for the money would feel counter to that goal. How would fold hand after hand be competing? Inaction would also lead to complacency. You had stopped paying close attention and then missed out on the opportunities that had occurred.Poker has been a fast-moving game and decisions have had to be made quickly. For these two reasons the desire to compete and the need to stay alert it has been difficult to suppress the urge to play in most of the hands. Even if intellectually you had known when to fold, your emotions would have constantly urged you to make exceptions. All books on poker have correctly stated that the number one mistake most beginners have   made is to play in too many hands.  You should be patient and wait for the right situation and cards would be the standard advice.

  This advice has been sound, but in Sid’s opinion, it has been poorly expressed because patience would be the wrong idea. Patience would be what you would need waiting in line at the bank, waiting for the light to turn green, waiting for an unproductive meeting to end. In all these cases, you would know when your goal-banking, driving, returning to useful work – would be reached. Patience would be accepting that your goal would come in its own time that it couldn’t be rushed. Also, being patient would mean that if you had passed the time daydreaming, nothing would have been lost.

  You should compare waiting in line with waiting for a decent hand in a game. In poker, you would never know when your goal a favorable betting opportunity would occur. You would have to be mentally alert and ready for action at all times because at any time, you could have to act. In the meantime, unfavorable betting opportunities would be constantly present, tempting you to take foolish chances.  Rather than patience, what you would need to learn would be what Sid calls ‘deliberate non- action.’

  You would have to understand that not acting would be one of the most important actions in poker. You would have to accept the counter-intuitive idea that not taking action would be an integral part of the game and it would be essential to your long-range goal of making money. If folding were not your most frequent action, you would be playing poker badly. It would be nice to wish for hand after hand of great cards, such as pocket Aces and pocket  Kings that occur several times per hour. You were to fantasize about betting forcefully as both of your pocket cards would pair up on the flop, while your opponents would shrink back in fear.

  There will be times when these events would happen, times when you could do no wrong and winning would be easy. There would also be long hours, even long days, of hand after hand of garbage. During these times, your chip pile would get eaten away by the blinds, the few good starting hands you would get wouldn’t hit on the flop, and the poker game would seem utterly pointless and futile.