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Poker News: May 7, 2006

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Ten Tips to Improve Your Online Poker Game

Author: Lena Katz

You play for fun, you play for thrills, you play to distract yourself from work--but in a perfect world, you'd play for tons and tons of money. In this story, Shawn Rice, UltimateBet online team member and traveling pro, as well as teacher at, shares 10 ways that you can improve your online game and hopefully become one of poker's big winners.

Tip 1. Play within your means.
Don't overplay your bankroll. Whether you're playing in online tournaments or cash games, you have to withstand the peaks and valleys of poker. You really have to be disciplined to play cash game poker because your bankroll's constantly at risk, and it's easy to get in over your comfort level. In tournament play, you know what you're going to spend before you go in--so if you tend to lack discipline, I suggest you stick with tournaments.

Tip 2. Know when to quit for the day.
You've got to have a stopping point. In specific, you should never lose over 10% of your bankroll the same day. If you lose 10%, you're playing catchup poker, and it changes your game play for the worse

Tip 3. Play a game that you're good at.
Choose a game where your expected value is better than the average person in the field. You don't want to play a game that you're not strong at, just because the field is better and the final prize pool is richer. Because no limit hold 'em is so popular these days, it might seem that that's where the money is, but in fact, if you're an Omaha 8 player, your likelihood to cash in is greater in an Omaha game, even if the prize pool isn't as rich.

Tip 4. If you're a beginner in tournament play, earn your way into the big tournaments through satellites.
Don't pay a $500 entry when satellites are an option. Reason being, if you're not good enough to win the satellite, you're probably not skilled enough to play in the main tournament.

Tip 5. When you're starting out with new, unfamiliar software, play only one game at a time.
Do this till you get very familiar with a site. Only start playing two at a time if you're absolutely sure you can do so without compromising your skill--and even then, it's advisable to stick with a maximum of two simultaneous games. Oftentimes you'll see top online pros--Poker Ho, brsavage, Scott Fischman and JohnnyBax--playing four or five online tournaments at once. What they're doing is gambling early and aggressively in several tournaments with the knowledge that they'll bust out of a couple early, but the hope of gaining a big stack in a couple others, positioning themselves early on to get into one or two two simultaneous final tables with a decent stack.
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Tip 6. Learn the math of poker.
There's no way around it. Do your homework. Input different hand scenarios into an odds calculator when you're not in play. Record and memorize the results. That way, you will have the knowledge stored in your brain in the heat of battle, and you'll be able to make a calculated decision rather than a panicked one.
[Learn to calculate poker odds and outs]

Tip 7. Knowledge is key, whether you glean it from books, videos, or a mentor.
All poker books are great--regardless of whether you agree or disagree with what is written--because they make you think. Different authors have different styles of play, and there are so many different winning styles of play at poker. You may find one that suits you--or, after having read many books, you might pull the most helpful things from each one and come up with your own unique play style. If you're going to learn from video, pick videos by pros who have won a lot of money. Annie Duke, Phil Hellmuth and Howard Lederer all have outstanding instructional videos available. Different Web sites offer poker tutors: PokerByExample, Find a pro that you respect, and see if they offer one-on-one tutoring.
[Buy Poker Books]

Tip 8. Know your player.
The disadvantage of playing online is that you can't read your opponent--but the advantage is, you learn more about respecting the amount of the bet. When first playing a new person, ask yourself why they're betting a certain amount at a particular time. Study and familiarize yourself with each opponent's betting patterns. Once you know that player, you will be able to strategize your play around what he's likely to have--based on his betting patterns--and it really will matter less what you have.

Tip 9. Stay consistent with your betting patterns.
if you vary your betting according to your hand--making bigger bets when you consider yourself to have a strong hand--it will be a tell for many online pros.

Tip 10. Learn to control your emotions at the table.
Poker in many ways is like boxing. It's all about how you relate to your opponent. It's how you counteract somebody's bet, raise, check-raise, and how you follow up with a fold, a call oe a raise. Whether you're a boxer in the ring or a player in the game, in order to be a heavyweight champion, you're going to have to take the punches.What separates the pros from the amateurs is how they deal with it. Take a break, do breathing exercises. If you're in a tournament, take a step back and remind yourself that one or two bad beats hasn't yet knocked you out. If it's a cash game, don't get back in the ring till you're ready to fight.

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Related Articles:
-Five Unconventional Tips to Poker Success
-The Poker Father's Top 10 Poker Tips for Playing Poker
-Texas Hold'em Tournament Tips

Article downloaded from the World Wide Web on May 6, 2006:

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