The Game Of Texas Hold’Em

Texas Hold’Em in a Cardroom

Texas Hold’Em Online

Winning poker



Putting It all together

Psychological Considerations

Where to go from here

Places to Play

Appendix I Hold’Em poker Variations

Appendix II Poker Tournaments


  For successful play, it would be necessary to have knowledge of the mathematical facts and tactical poker players that had been described in the previous sections. That knowledge alone would not have made you successful. Your play must have had an underlying strategy, a broad plan that had provided a context for each action. This section will discuss strategic considerations.

  Inter-woven through this discussion is what Sid would call ‘life analogies,’ which would be a series of behavioral examples from life that would illustrate poker concepts. Dan Kimberg in his book Serious Poker, has made the astute observation that while most  sports professionals have believed their sport was a metaphor for life, ‘poker players have believed the converse that life was a metaphor for poker. * It would help to first consider why there has been no magic formula for winning at poker.

  Imagine there was a formula that has existed that would win at poker. A formula would mean a pre-determined set of actions for all situations that would be  encountered.  In situation 1, one should do A, in situation 2, one should do B, and so on. Once the formula becomes known, it would immediately become useless because poker has been a zero-sum game. One person’s loss would be another ones gain.  If everybody would play the exact same way, over time the cards would be evenly distributed so all the situations that would be encountered would become equally distributed.

  The result would be that no one would have an advantage; money would flow back and forth without having to accumulate for any one person. To win at poker, your actions should be different from the other players, different in a way that would give you the edge. *Dan Kimberg, Serious Poker, 2nd Edition (ConJelCo, Pittsburgh, PA, 2002) Clearly, a winning poker strategy would have to be a dynamic one that is, a strategy that would continually adjust to conditions. The strategy that has been outlined has been based on the five decision factors that have been described in Chapter 4: your cards, position, cost, number of players, and opponents playing style,combined with a classification of game conditions that will be described next.

  The premise of the strategy has been that the weight given to each decision factor would depend on the game conditions. For instance, your position under some game conditions would not be an important factor. In a different set of game conditions position would become the most important factor. To classify game conditions, four extreme cases have been identified and the strategic considerations appropriate for each has been discussed.

  A given poker game usually wouldn’t’ precisely match one of the extremes, but often a game  would have enough elements of on of the extreme cases that knowing what to do in the   extreme, would provide a good strategic starting point.

  Life Analogy – Investing

  Over the long run, investing in the market hasn’t been a zero-sum game.  Historically, wealth and the living standards that have gone with wealth have tended to increase over time. By investing in funds that track the general market, it has been possible to have a share in the expanding economy and accumulated money over time. However, the dream of most investors has been to ‘beat the market’ that is, to have made   more money than the market as a whole by having bought and sold securities from other   investors in such a way that money would have flowed from them to us.

  Could there have been a magic formula for beating the market? Obviously not or we would have all applied the formula and been multimillionaires overnight. That could not have happened because in the short term, investing has been a zero-sum game:   over a short period of time there has been only a finite amount of money available. To beat the market, it would be necessary to become educated about the securities that were being traded.

  Over the last decade, the Internet has made it possible for all investors to know more about the securities they would trade. With a computer and Internet access, a click of a mouse would have made it possible to   know company financials, breaking news, real-time prices, and to have made immediate  purchases. However, all this information had not made it easier to beat the market. When everyone had access to the same information, any change that had occurred would have reflected immediately in the price.

  Prices had moved in an orderly trend a few decades ago as information on a company had slowly filtered to investors. Today prices are moving abruptly overnight or in minutes, when thousands of investors are responding to breaking news posted on the Internet.

  Did the explosion of information, fast trade executions, and technical stock charts make it easier to have beaten the market? No, it had not. Many people may have claimed otherwise, but just look around. How many people have you known who had quit their jobs to become securities traders?  Today investors will be more knowledgeable, but beating the market would still be as difficult as ever because for the most part, everyone would have equal access to the same information.


  No matter how much information would be available, when it would be equally shared, no one would have the edge.There have been people who have beaten the market because they have made better decisions. But the adjective ‘better’ has meant their decisions have also been different from the majority. Their decisions couldn’t possibly be part of a formula, but would have to adjust to changes in the market before the change would happen.

  Usually, people who have been successful at beating the market have had a talent for making adjustments ahead of time. They have anticipated the next beg trend before the crowd had started the stampede.