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Oh no, I have a good hand! by Juan Jose Capelli

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Take it easy

Usually a person is pleased when conditions go in their favour and if they’re playing a game, they will start feeling like a winner. But in poker? Well, in poker it’s recommended that you take it easy, even when everything seems to be going your way.
We all know that playing with a bad hand can be complicated, but not everyone knows that ruining a hand with good cards is very easy to do. Unconsciously you can send information about your hand, so here are some tips: If you were a great actor you probably would be in Hollywood, not at a poker table!

Acting, or “Hollywooding” as it’s called at the tables, is one of the most common faults with beginners, it is their most common tactic in poker and the easiest to discover. Trying to show you have a weak hand by attempting to look annoyed or upset and then making a big bet is a NO-NO, you’re giving information away. It is better trying to stay neutral, with a ‘poker face’, because if you are not a good enough actor for Hollywood, you are not good enough to act at the poker table.

Watch out for your words and for your silence!

There are all kinds of players including those who take risks, careful players, those who change and adapt, those who are very quiet and those who are always talking.
Do not go against your natural tendencies; and once you have chosen an attitude, keep to it. When you have been playing without talking for most of the time and suddenly erupt with a flurry of words, you are telling everyone that you are in a potentially good playing position.
Choose the character which is the most comfortable for you and then commit to it, and do not change your natural behaviour.

Leave those chips alone!

You are not here to make towers with your chips or play percussion, you are playing poker. If after looking at your cards you stare at your chips, or start handling them, you are indicating that you will make a big bet. Do yourself a favour and just do not touch your chips unless it is to place a bet!

You are not playing alone

The best advice is not to waste your chances: do not be hurried and never let yourself feel too confident. Regardless of your hand, it is essential to check out your opponents as there are always two sides to every decision in poker: First is to make an assumption about your opponent’s strategy; next, based on this, is to choose your own strategy with the highest EV (expected value).
Of course, this sounds simpler than it actually is, but it is important to watch the tables and try your best to observe your opponents. Whether they always go all in or how many bluffs they do, for instance; or if they are quiet or not when they have good hands. It is possible to capture their signals and use them to your advantage.
Don’t just focus on your own hand, even if it is very promising, and always remember that many times even with the highest number of possible outs you can fail. If it were easy to become a good player, everyone would be a winner.
It’s good policy to find your leaks, and fix them. Never think you know everything about a hand, and remember that your ego is the biggest leak of all.

Image ‘Ace Up My Sleeve’ by Keith Esposito>Photographers Website

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