Try not to read too much

Posted by Dan Brown in Articles, Date: January 30, 2011

Back in the day (whenever that was) Poker was a hard game to get into and if you want to learn the ropes you had to pay, in good old fashioned cash. The only way to learn to play was to get out there and play the games, you didn’t have the luxury of online casinos where you could hide away behind your screen, you had to sit down and cut cards with real characters. The venue of choice was usually a smoke filled room in the back of a smoke filled bar, that fairly fizzed with the promise of danger and violence physical (or financial), tips and hints were whispered by confidants and the only books out there tended to be pamphlets badly printed on yellowing paper with a musky tinge. But no more…light a candle for those days of poker because are gone baby gone.

Nowadays, switch on a computer and you can play with almost anyone anywhere from the comfort of your mouse mat and poker schooling comes in large print, easy to read, easy to get hold of books (which arrive at the book store by the truckload), and as book stores are going the way of old poker rooms, most information you want is right at your fingertips (and just a click away). Here for example.

But a big problem with a lot of poker books and other card manuals is they’re meant to turn somebody from an amateur into poker king by chapter 9, because most books were written by professionals who were playing other professionals. That’s all well and good if you move in pro-circles, but some of us do actually have a day job (at least for the minute). Most of us just don’t get to enjoy that sort of competition, most poker hours are spent going mano-a-jerko with drunken jerks or complete amateurs who don’t know when to fold. Once you find yourself in a mire of poker no-nos, rather than poker pros, a strict ideological approach to the cards game won’t work. You need to pick your fights better or adapt your strategy.

By all means follow the writing of David Sklansky and play your poker accordingly, but sometimes different rules apply to wild card opponents.  A stopped clock tells the right time twice a day, and those chaotic savants might just do your bankroll some serious damage. Times change players change and the only way to keep up is to play them at their own game, getting back to basics and reading your opponents skill level is as talent you can’t get from a book.


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