The Poker Lab Rat

May 31, 2010

Pro Poker Tips: Tight-Aggressive Is Always Chic

Filed under: General Blog Rant,Poker News & Views,pro tips — Mike @ 9:32 pm

Professional poker tips at PokerLabRat.comIf a poker player wants an edge, he must move with the times. Today, a style which was successful only a year ago can already be outdated; tomorrow, he could be the sucker.

However, in the poker world (as in the fashion world), there are timeless classics: the little black dress for a woman; the pinstripe suit on a man; tight/aggressive play at the table. Admittedly, this type of player is less likely to knock somebody’s socks off, but he is also far less likely to be knocked out of the tournament himself.

Dan Harrington described this style in his tremendous book, “ Harrington On Hold ’em” and, as a result, it quickly became the worldwide standard. Today’s truly smart tournament players, however, were soon tearing up the rule book and, as a result, modern poker has no dominant strategy. Loose/aggressive is currently in fashion and playing out of position has become the Holy Grail. But again and again the strategies turn back to what poker is all about: bet on a good hand and give up a bad or hard-to-rate one.

As soon as one reflects on it, by focusing his own bets solely on “value” instead of bluffing, a good player wins again and again with safe, tight/aggressive play. Why ever not?

Good players do not make plays simply because they want to or to show that they can. They make plays because they represent the optimal decisions. Poker is ultimately a contest of decision-making; he who consistently makes the best decisions, wins – all the same in which outfit he enters the party.

Riskers gamble, experts calculate.

Stephan Kalhamer

a5_wABOUT STEPHEN: Stephen Kalhamer is an author, mathematician and poker fan. He is a professional poker coach and plays online at Bookmaker Poker. To find out more about him, join him at a table sometime soon.
2h_wABOUT BOOKMAKER POKER: Check out the latest player reviews of at GoonersGuide.com

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May 14, 2010

Playing Poker Like a Pro: The Importance of Keeping Records

Filed under: General Blog Rant,pro tips — Mike @ 7:00 pm

Playing professional pokerIt’s not a sexy subject, but we all know how vital bankroll management is to your poker career. A great way to help out with managing your roll is to keep records of your play.

Accurate records not only help you keep track of how you’re doing, they also allow you to analyze your game and keep you honest with yourself. We all like to believe that we’re winning players, but that’s not always the case.

Here are a few key categories/stats to keep track of every time you play:

– Overall bankroll (so you never play over your head in games that are too big)
– How long you played
– What game/limit you played
– How much you made (how many big blinds or big bets won per hour)

Keeping records of these basic elements really helps put your game in perspective. Personally, I like to dive in even deeper, so I keep track of my emotions as I play. How you feel when you play and what frame of mind you’re in are vital to the outcome of your session – don’t ignore these factors.

Keep track of things like when you get tired and how long into a session you are when you start to get tired. When you play bad or below your standards and make mistakes with your play, note when they happened and what factors contributed to these mistakes. Whether you admit it or not, poker is a game of emotion; it literally pays to keep track of yours – and hopefully keep them in check.

Keep these records on a daily basis and go back through them each month to analyze your play. Be honest with yourself about what you see. You’re looking for patterns: I lost again while playing this game at this limit for this many hours; I lost again when I played for an hour too long or I won more than normal when I played a shorter session.

If you notice a pattern and see that you’re losing at one particular game or limit, ask yourself: “What am I doing wrong here?” The truth hurts sometimes, but don’t let your ego get in the way of becoming a winning player. When the records show that you’re not doing well, it’s time to move down to a lower limit, reassess your game and start over again.

Seeing these records laid out in front of you allows you to be honest about yourself as a poker player. The numbers never lie, and that’s why it’s so important to keep accurate records of your play.

a5_wABOUT KRISTY:

Kristy was born in Torrance, CA and is nicknamed “Mixed-Games Gazes”. She has $980K in Career Tournament Earnings.

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