If you don’t keep records of your holdem poker playing, start now. Make a form on your computer and print some copies. If you have the software, set up a database on your hard drive. At least get a notebook and a calculator. If you need to make notes in the casino, write on the back of a keno ticket and copy the information to your play records when you get home. Accurate play records will tell you a lot about yourself, your strategy and your opponents.
After a few losing sessions of holdem poker, you might be asking yourself the age old poker player questions. Do they know something I don’t? Have they figured out my game? Is this just a temporary losing streak? Do I have a tell? Am I playing too tight? Should I change my strategy? Am I playing too loose? Will I ever win again? What should I change? All these doubts about yourself and your game will soon have a negative effect on your play.
Look over your play records when you get home. You’ll find the answers there. I’ve always found that it was just a little bad luck and the other players were getting some money back, that’s all. A good set of records is the best thing I know for a poker player’s peace of mind and a good night’s sleep.
Your play records should include the date of each session, start and stop times, hours played, wins or losses, running totals and an hourly win rate. You’ll also want to have totals in terms of big bets. If you play in holdem games of various limits then big bets per hour is a better indicator of how you are doing than dollars per hour. Your play records should have notes about your play, your opponents, tells you’ve noticed and other information that might be useful. At the very least, your play records should be good reading later.
Texas Holdem Poker is enjoyable. Winning is great. Keeping play Slot records is unexciting at best, but the information in good play records is essential if you want to win. Without play records you won’t know if changes in your strategy have had a positive or a negative effect. You won’t know if you’re getting better or worse or why. In fact, if you don’t keep records, you don’t even know if you’re winning or losing in the game and you certainly don’t know how much.
Part V will discuss Hole Cards.
Chance’s Winning Texas Holdem Poker II Postion & Blinds
Most holdem players agree that more hole cards can be played profitably in late position than in early position. Any holdem hole cards that win money in early position will certainly win more money in late postion. Any hole cards that lose money in early position are probably not worth playing in any position.
Much of the advice about playing loose in late position is based on computer simulations where the players don’t get any smarter. In a live holdem game it won’t take the other players long to see that you’re playing weak hole cards on the button. You’ll then be check raised or worse yet, you’ll be betting while a strong hand is smooth calling all the way to the river. Too many situations like those will wipe out all the easy money you made with weak hole cards in late position.
There are very few hole cards that are losers in early position and winners in late position. Exactly which hole cards to play in late position and fold in early position will vary from game to game. It’s impossible to know what to play or fold based solely on position, and even if you did know, the gain would be very small and very risky. If your hole cards are not strong enough to play in early position, don’t play them at all. Late position is not a license to gamble with trash hands.
When you’re in the small blind and no one raises, it’s tempting to call with weak hole cards just to see the flop. If your hole cards are weak, abandon your small blind bet and fold your hand.
Likewise, when you’re in the big blind and someone raises, fold your hand if it’s not strong enough to play. Throwing good money after bad has never been a good idea.
You might win a little more in the long run by playing a little looser in the blinds, but you’ll increase the risk to your bankroll more than just a little. Save yourself some grief. Wait for winning hole cards even in the blinds.
If no one raises your big blind, you’ll have an opportunity to see the flop with your raggedy, no-hope, no-reach, offsuit hole cards. Check your option and see what Lady Luck flops for you. You’ll get an occasional miracle flop and that’s when you can show them the error of their ways. You can do the check raising or smooth calling and win back most, if not all, of the blind bets you abandoned previously.
Part III will discuss Rake & Tokes.