When your playing Poker you should be thinking about poker. Now don’t just think about the current hand that your playing you should be thinking about everything all the time. You should be thinking about what you do with your mouth when you are looking at your cards. Keep track of it. You should know all your gestures when you see the flop, turn river. Every one has some form of tell. The name of the game is to figure out your tells before others do.
Now this is much more important than you think. Its not just to make sure that others cant figure out what you have but its a way to figure out what others have. People really are not all that different. If you have a tell then its a good chance that someone else might have the same tell. I like to write things down. That’s why I write these blogs not only for others to learn the game but so I can look back on my thoughts and remember them.
At the end of every session you play you should review either on the drive home or in your room. Think about the hands where you lost the most money. If you are with another player tell them the action of the hand and ask what they would do before you tell them what you did. If there are any differences have a discussion. it’s a great way to improve your game. If you are alone just write down the action and result of the hand and come back later and see if you could have saved a bet somewhere or made an extra bet. Write down a few things you learned, either mistakes or positive things. If you figured out a tell of yours that’s another good thing to write down.
One of the most common forms of information a player can revile is through their hands. Hands have a way of doing things that your not thinking about. Weather its tapping when your nervous or shuffling chips to pass time. The differences between when a player is in a hand and when he is not is often a tell. An example is if a player is shuffling chips a lot but at an average pace for the last ten hands he has not played. Suddenly he raises and is shuffling quickly. That usually means that adrenaline is running through his/her body making him go faster. This usually means he has got absolutely nothing or a really good hand. If its pre-flop I would be watching out for aces or other big pairs. Anything that you find useful for your poker game should be written down in some form of log for you to review them later. Writing things down and putting them on a computer would help you organise them later. Put them into categories so that you can review them.
Constantly thinking about the little things in poker, things other then what you have for cards, is an area of expertise that will set you above the others at your table. I find that it becomes a fun game anytime a player is doing something regularly I try to figure out a way that it relates to his poker game. Lots of times I don’t find any connection but the more you practice the better you will get.
My favourite word for poker is “Why”. I always want to know why did someone do or say that. Say a person at the table after sitting at the table for a few hours takes out a piece of paper and starts reading jokes to others. I like to know why he did that. My first impression is that he’s a nice guy that likes to entertain. He probably a weekend player or someone who plays often enough to remember to prepare and bring a list of jokes. But he’s not a very serious player because he is thinking about jokes when he’s coming to the table and not about poker. Now I am also going to assume that he has taken the time to learn the game of poker well but just doesn’t have the “guts” to back up all his actions. Often he would play many hands weak because he was protecting his bankroll and not trying to win hands. Sometimes this got me into trouble because I would play him very aggressively to get him to fold winners but I scared him so much that he would just check and call everything I did. I then had to change my game to capitalise on this and bet every time I thought I had the winner – fold every time he re-raised me and I didn’t have a strong hand – and make many position bets and raises for free cards.
Every little thing a person does at the game should be observed and then figure out why it was done. Almost everything has a meaning, even if they don’t know what it is. so figure out why and try to use it for your advantage.