Simple texas hold'em poker tips for beginners - pokerlistings

I wrote a beginner "How to Play Poker" book a while back that you can download for free. You can get it .

Note: This is an expanded version of a piece that ran in the September edition of the UB Forum Newsletter.

The book goes into a lot more detail than this series of articles will, but if you’re just starting out I’d suggest reading these pieces as well to get a better handle on starting hands and basic poker strategy.

Today we’ll talk about a few simple tips that will help you avoid some major mistakes when you play realMoney Texas Hold'em.

If you're already implementing proper poker etiquette at the table, you're already light years ahead of most of the fish in the game (which, let's face it, are plenty).

5) Count Cards!

This does not mean you are going to become the next Rain Man. All you need to be able to do is keep track of what card densities are present in the deck based on what has already fallen down.

Is there a ton of high cards or low cards? Did the dealer burn through all his low cards in one hand? These are all vital information for you to have when making decisions.

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For example, say you pick up nine-deuce off suit. While normally this would be a very weak hand, there is a chance it could be a big hand.

If you noticed that all the low cards fell on the flop, giving you a straight, this once almost disposable hand is now quite strong.

Conversely, if there have been many high cards and you flop top pair, top kicker, while it may feel big you are actually sitting with a pretty weak hand.

If you want to get even more advanced you can start to do some simple math.

When there are four hearts on the board and you still have three heart cards in your hand and in the deck, you know you are going to hit your flush in three attempts roughly 83% of the time.

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That puts you in a much stronger position than you may think!

A good rule of thumb for a new player: After the flop, take a second to quickly evaluate the board and see if any combinations are made or canceled out.

For example, if you flop an open-ended straight draw (two overcards with the possibility of connecting for a straight), and none are on the board, there were 12 such cards in the deck.

If two of them went with one overcard on the flop, there are now only nine “dangers” out there that can give your opponent a straight.

Cancelled straights are what you want to see on the turn!

4) Pick Up On Player Tendencies

You might be surprised how easy it is to read other players at the low-limit tables.

Sure, Phil Ivey you are not, but picking up on tendencies will help you win more money in a big way.

Maybe one guy only raises when he has pocket pairs. Another guy seems to call all the time while another folds often when facing a raise.

These are very easy to spot in a casual player and knowing how to recognize them will go a long way to helping you make correct decisions against them.

For example, if the aforementioned caller actually calls down everything to the river consistently, you can trap him by making trips bluff on the river, since chances are he is still going to call!

Every time you see someone do something seemingly out of the blue, make a note of it; did he make a weird sizing of his raise? Did he bet when usually he checks? Write it down so you don’t forget.

After a couple hours of play you will start to notice patterns in your opponents. As they say, people are creatures of habit.

Take note of those habits as they are your key to winning your money!

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3) Don't Showoff!

Okay, so you rivered the obvious bluff on the hero call of the century and everyone looks impressed. You feel like a stud.

Believe me, on the inside we all think we look like .

What you didn’t see was the old school poker pro that was watching you closely and picked up that you were bluffing the whole way.

Now all he knows is that you like to pull stunts. Great! Now you have a reputation as a showboat who likes to put in huge river bets with little value.

Players will now adjust to you and you will start winning less money. So please, for the love of God, stop being a showoff!

Not only does it hurt your profits, it angers the pros and trust me, no matter how good you are, there will always be pros in the game playing for mockingly small sums of money compared to what they are used to.

They are bored and like making hacks like you look silly. Just stay humble and don’t draw attention to yourself.

No matter how good your play is, there is always a chance that your opponent will make a correct fold or hit a lucky card.

Don’t get cocky! In poker, humbleness will earn you much more money than being a showoff will.

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2) Don't Play Too Many Hands!

By far the biggest mistake beginners make in low-limit cash games is playing too many hands.

Yes, you only have to finish in the top one-third of the field to win some money but that doesn’t mean you should change your approach to playing your hands.

Poker is still a game where the goal is to make your opponents throw their cards away. The best way to do that is to carefully select the hands you play before the flop.

If you limp into pots with the lowest pair possible or unconnected high cards, you are allowing your opponents to control the pot and you will find yourself constantly having to stack off on nothing.

Remember, the goal is to win money, not play hands!

There is absolutely no reason you should be playing hands like 7-2 offsuit or lower pair, weak kicker from early position.

In fact, you should be raising enough to make it expensive for anyone to want to play those kinds of hands.

Choose your cards carefully and when you have a good hand, play it hard. But don’t waste your time and money chasing after scraps.

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1) Read a Bloody Book!

My No. 1 tip to beat poker beginners at their own game is to educate yourselves! There are hundreds of great books and sites about poker.

Some are geared toward mathematicians, while others are written in ESL (English as a Second Language) student speak.

But there are plenty of simple, easy-to-understand resources for learning to play Texas Hold'em that are both fun and informative.

Reading about poker is one of the easiest ways to improve your game. It allows you to move at your own pace, re-read sections you didn't understand and absorb all the tips and tricks without feeling pressured.

Even if you only learn one new thing from a book, it could end up being the difference between losing and winning on the turn.

Information is power. The more you know, the easier it is to make correct decisions. And the easier it is to win money!

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Bonus Tip: Don't Be Afraid to Fail!

Failure is simply an opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.

It takes guts to fail spectacularly. Very few people possess this kind of courage, which is why it's also very rare among successful individuals.

Most play it safe and shy away from taking risks that could potentially lead to failure. While this type of thinking may seem prudent, it's actually a recipe for mediocrity.

Look around you. Who do you see being rewarded for their efforts? Is it the person who aspires greatness yet falls short ... or the one who sets her sights just low enough to ensure she reaches her goals?

Who do you respect ... and why? My guess is you admire those who swing for the fence because they represent possibility -- a refusal to live life in a way that's safe and predictable, but unfulfilling and unremarkable.

So what does this have to do with your poker game? Plenty.

Failing brilliantly means betting it all with pocket jacks, getting called, losing the pot ... and then dissecting what went wrong. Was your read on your opponent inaccurate? Did you misplay the hand post-flop?

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Whatever the case, identify the flaw(s) so you can address it/them the next time you're dealt a similar hand.

This type of introspection is critical if you want to improve your poker skills.

A Final Word on Basic Poker Strategy...

Poker is a game of risk versus reward and range vs. range analysis. . It's a skill game, not a luck game, like playing the slots.

Yes, in the short term results are determined by the laws of probability but in the long run human error and therefore decision-making becomes more important.

Hence, why someone like Dan Bilzerian can lose it all. Because although he may get 90% of his decisions correct, he makes so many bets the variations even out and evens itself out.

To be successful in the long term you have to be in it for the long haul. That means hundreds of thousands - if not millions - of hands and decades of play. Are you Doyle Brunson? If not, never worry about the long term.

Just worry about making correct decisions based on the information you have at that moment.

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