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August 14, 2005

Knowledge Is Power

Posted at August 14, 2005 01:56 PM in Beginner Topics , by Sack.

One of the biggest mistakes I see on the poker tables is people playing WAY over their heads and understanding of the game. I love seeing these people at the tables- and you don’t want to be THAT person.

It looks so exciting on TV with all the drama. People pushing all their chips in the pot, crazy come from behind hands, and just the whole spectacle in general is a rush. And if you just watch TV that’s pretty much all you know. What you don’t see is the week long journey that usually unfolds before the final table that is generally televised. Even forgetting that, you usually only see one or two hours that is cut down from what can be a 16-20 hour battle at that final table. All that generally is shown is the action segments, but you don’t see the reasons why that action is going on. You more or less are using a cliff’s notes version of the long novel that is that particular tournament.

You may see a great player push very hard with a middle pocket pair. This generally isn’t because a hand like pocket 8’s is a monster hand (because it isn’t). Usually a hand like this is pushed because either 1) he is very short stacked and doesn’t have much of a choice, or 2) he senses some weakness on the other players parts based on his hours of playing against them and knows he can probably take down the pot.

Unfortunately to many new players this translates to “move all in with any pocket pair” and the harsh reality is that it just doesn’t work out very well. The absolute must that you have to do to be successful in any type of poker game is to learn. Pick up a book or a video and know your game. Then know the people you are playing. One of the best quotes I’ve ever heard is that “poker is not a card game played by people, it is a people game played with cards.”

I won’t go into deep detail or specifics in this entry, I just wanted to get the point across that you absolutely must learn the basics and general strategies before you can expect to be any good for any length of time. So go buy a book, watch a video, read up on some websites (Gecko has put lots of good info on this site to learn from.) So get some education first, be a force and not a fish.

You pal Sack has made an email box just for this stuff, so any questions or comments you have, feel free to bombard me with it.