Can you tell?

A quick stroke of the chin, a flicker of the eyes round the table, a slight linger before flicking your cards flat.

Or in my case a ‘woooop’, a fist punching the air and a little victory dance. OK, maybe not.

I’m still learning the basics of Poker but far more interesting to me is the subtle tactical and psychology side. To bluff or not, to show your hand or not, when to raise the stakes, when to try and lull in your opponents, when to play a hand, when not, there are so many subtle variables in the basic gameplay that rely on … well, almost a sneaky nature.

I can see why so many people enjoy playing the game, there is a certain personal thrill to be had when you win a hand by bluffing (managed that once!) and as it’s every man for himself then, obviously, the ego comes into play. I don’t yet have a ‘poker-face’ mind you and I think that’s my weakness so I’ll be trying out a few little tactics this evening.

Anyone else a poker fan? Any hints or tips?

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Long time blogger, Father of Jack, geek of many things, random photographer and writer of nonsense.

Doing my best to find a balance.

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My poker hints and tips:

1) The better you get at poker, the less it is about the cards and the more it is about the people you are playing against. The flipside of this though is that if you’re not good at poker yet then it’s all about the cards; don’t run before you can walk. Learn about position, outs, odds and once those become second nature you’ll naturally progress.

2) Fold, fold, fold. Most of playing poker is folding and being patient.

3) I’ve lost many times when I’d staked a lot on the game and folded. When that happens people invariably say “That was a good lay down”. Knowing when to cut your losses makes you a good player.

4) Just because they have faces doesn’t mean they’re any good. Jacks aren’t as valuable as they seem.

5) Always muck your cards. If someone wants to know what you beat them with either refuse or lie.

6) Position is very important.

7) Point 1 reprise: If you’re playing against other beginners, do not overvalue psychology. Beginners are too unpredictable.

8) Always give yourself an honest appraisal if you made a stupid mistake. Don’t rationalise it with an internal, mental re-assessment of the last hand. It was a stupid mistake.

9) In early position, a high raise with a good hand is a good way to thin the field and weed out anyone with weaker hands who might develop it into something better later on. Don’t be afraid to spend money where appropriate.

11) Never check on the river if there’s someone left to play. Checking on the river is a huge flag over your head that says “I have a losing hand”.

12) Don’t listen to anything I say. I’m shit at it.

As comments go, that’s quite a cracker! I’d love to learn poker. Mis-spent an entire university course on brag, its poor relation. Got quite good at bridge in the 80’s, which also contains much bluffing in the bidding before each the hand. But there the resemblance ends, as it’s a whist-type game.

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