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

REQUIREMENTS FOR SUCCESS

  To gamble successfully, you must:

  • Have a sufficient bankroll
  • Place bets with positive expectations
  • Accumulate statistics

  Having a sufficient bankroll would mean that the size of a typical bet would have to be small in comparison to your total bankroll so that normally occurring losses would not wipe you out.

  In the movie, Rounders, the hero, an expert Hold’em player, had violated this rule when he had wagered his entire bankroll on a single hand of high-stakes, no limit Hold’em poker. He had been dealt Ace of clubs and nine of clubs. The flop had been Ace of spades, eight of clubs and none of spades. He had figured his opponent had been on a spade draw, he had bet his two pair.

  He had been thrilled with the turn card (nine of hearts), which had given him nines full. When the river card was a three spades, he had figured his opponent had made his spade slush and would have called any bet. He had gone all in with his entire bankroll ($30,000). This had been a good bet because his opponent couldn’t have had two nines, would have been unlikely to have had the other two Aces, and would have been hesitant to fold a flush.

  The problem had been the remaining two Aces were exactly what his opponent had had. Aces-full had beat nines-full and in the next scene our hero had been back to his day job. Despite his poker expertise, he had been unable to buy into any games.The hero’s mistake hadn’t been how he had played, it had been wagering everything he had on one hand.Placing bets with positive expectations would mean that if the bet would be won, the payoff would be greater than the odds against winning. In other words, the pot odds would have to be favorable.

  Over the long run, you couldn’t possibly win money if you would consistently place bets with unfavorable payoffs. Many poker players have always drawn to certain hands. If they have needed one card to complete a flush or a straight, they would stay in the hand no matter how much it would cost or how much money would be at stake. With one card to come, completing a flush or open-ended straight would happen about one   out of every five tries. If the payoff hadn’t been losing money because your one win every five tries would not have been enough to pay for the inevitable for losses.

  Just because you would have won a certain percentage of these bets, didn’t mean you should have made them.Accumulating statistics would mean that many, many bets would have to be placed. It would be this third condition that most people would fail to understand. Most books on gambling have stated the need for a sufficient bankroll and taught how to place bets with positive expectations (good best) and to avoid bets negative expectations (bad bets). While this knowledge would be necessary, it would not be sufficient to be a winner at poker.

  What has often been glossed over has been the necessity of accumulating statistics. The reason for this omission has been that accumulating statistics is work. The attraction of gambling would be the possibility of wealth without work. But the truth would be, successful gamblers would have to work hard for their winnings.To illustrate why all three conditions would have to be present, you should consider one form of poker gambling: selling life insurance. You were to start a company selling life insurance, and you were to sell your first policy to a  twenty-year old person in good health for hundred dollars. You were to agree to pay one hundred thousand dollars if that person should die within a  year. Since the odds of a person that age dying within a year would be about 10,000 to 1, it  would be very unlikely that you would have to pay out any money.

But suppose a freak accident were to befall that person tomorrow. If you would not have a sufficient bankroll, you would be bankrupt before you would have a chance to sell another policy.