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Online Poker News Archives - November 10, 2005

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Copyright 2005 KENS 5 and the San Antonio Express-News

November 10, 2005

Chuck Blount on poker: Analyze your play before jumping to higher limits

When David "Chip" Reese was asked, during a recently televised poker show, why he plays poker for such high limits, his answer had me scratching my head but wasn't short on logic.

One of the best high-stakes players in the world and the youngest person inducted into poker's hall of fame, Reese said, "I like to play games that have a little sting to them if you have a bad night."

My initial thoughts were that Reese, who has commas in his bank account that most will never see, should stash his good fortune and move down in limits to games that would still provide excitement yet pose no threat to his financial situation. Why risk losing it all in $5,000-$10,000 games and higher?

In Reese's mind, he isn't, and most of your high-stakes professional players will tell you the same thing. They are simply playing poker in a game at limits they can afford and are good enough to play in.

If you have been playing poker regularly and have had some success, chances are you will want to move up a few limits in your chosen game.

The Internet opens the door for a variety of options that start in the micro-limits (5-10 cents), but brick-and-mortar casino players generally will start their poker odyssey in the $2-4 or $3-6 limit Hold 'Em games.

Unless you already are wealthy, the games listed above are the standard proving grounds for your poker game. In baseball terms, think of it as playing on the varsity high school team compared to playing in the majors.

Most of the players in these games will buy-in for anywhere from $100 to $200, which is a figure that attracts a wide range of players from first-timers to experienced players. Play with regularity (once per week), and it will take about four months to determine whether this is a game you can beat.

You likely will encounter three scenarios with 16 playing sessions:

If you are down $1,000 or more at this point, it's pretty clear that you need some help. Seek out advice from other players, read books, watch DVDs and retrace your play to analyze your mistakes. It's OK to continue playing poker at this level as long as you can afford to do so, but understand that you are below average.

If you are between an $800 loss or gain, then you are playing in the correct game and only witnessing variance over the relative short term. This averages out to a $50 win or loss per session, which is little more than dinner and gas (before it was $3 per gallon). Keep on plugging away but continue learning.

You should be happy with yourself if you are up over $1,000 at this point, but you still have to be realistic about how good you are. Again, you are still working on the short term, so you should continue playing this game for another four months to make sure you could keep it up.

It should always be the goal of any poker player to gradually move up to the next limit as long as the skill and bankroll ($3,000 to play $5-10 regularly) have grown to the point that it makes sense. The money grows exponentially as you move up, and the average pot won in a $5-10 game will be triple the size of a $3-6 pot.

Just remember that with the exception of the wealthy and foolish, virtually every player has gone through the same growing pains as you have to play at the higher levels.

Continue to gauge your skill and bankroll wisely according to the scenarios listed above, and perhaps one day you can afford to move up and sit down with Mr. Reese.

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