Lending Money This is the next worst thing to borrowing money. By all means make up your own mind about it, but remember the odds are poor for getting paid back. Even when you do get the money back it can lead to undesired results. I once loaned someone £50 and sure enough I got it back, but a few days later I was asked for a loan of it again. It was repaid again, but asked for again, and so it went on until eventually I did not know who owned the £50 – me or the person who had borrowed it and seemed to have it more often than I did. In fact, eventually the person was asking me for the loan of his £50. So a good rule is:
Don’t lend money, it is an even quicker way to lose friends than borrowing money!
Mistakes The winner in the long term is the player who makes least mistakes. So when luck is against you, stay calm and play your normal game. If you lose your cool you will start to play badly and make more mistakes.
Novices You should never bluff a novice – they don’t know the true strength of their own hand and are too likely to call.
Over the Top No, it is not being totally outrageous – in poker parlance it means re-raising an original raise. In particular, it usually refers to re-raising someone you think is bluffing. So if you think someone is ‘on the steal’ (bluffing), and you and this opponent have both got lots of chips, why not try going over the top. Beware though – it is best done against only one opponent, if there is a third party that person may have a legitimate hand.
Power Play Power play is a term used to describe playing hands in an aggressive way. There are different styles of aggression and different times when it is appropriate to be aggressive. Some players like to play aggressively with hands like A-A, K-K and A-K – that is, raise and re-raise by the amount of the pot or more if it is no-limit play. Other players will raise to reduce the field at a loose table before the flop, as the value of one’s hand goes down the more callers there are, but they will take the risk and not re-raise hoping that they will get a caller after the flop. This second tactic is more risky. In most cases, it is probably best to use power play and re-raise. Some players don’t like to be pushed around and will always come ‘over the top’ and re-raise with these hands. An aggressive style of play is most generally considered to be the winning way. But it is not the only way so don’t be a slave to dogma and try to develop your own style.
Rocks A rock is the type of player who only enters a pot with the very highest grade of hand. You can easily spot rocks because they tend to sit a long time without playing a hand. An average player might play one in three hands, whereas a rock will play one in ten. Be very wary if this type of player enters the pot with you and be even more wary if the rock says something like ‘let’s gamble’. What the rock means is for you to gamble because be assured in this case that the rock will have a premium hand. By the way, a ‘rock garden’ is where there is a whole table of rocks. My best advice here is if you see a rock garden, make a run for the door!
Selection of Hands It’s the cards you don’t play that make you a winner – you must know when to throw them away.
Slow Playing This is where you bet a small amount with a strong hand in order to get more players into the pot and to deceive them as to the strength of your hand. It is often a bad strategy unless you have a blockbuster of a hand. Therefore, always make your opponent ‘fold’ or ‘pay to play’, never give a free card. It is often said that you can slow play a nut flush but not a nut straight.
Tight Play This means playing conservatively and only getting involved with strong hands. It is generally the right strategy, but a better piece of advice is to play tight at a loose table and loose at a tight table. A loose player plays too many hands, perhaps as many as eight in every ten. The advantage of playing tight at a loose table is fairly obvious, it means you can exploit the other players weaker than average holdings. But what about playing loose in a tight game? Well in a tight game there is more opportunity to bluff and play with a bit of creativity and flair.
Weak Players There is a well-known saying in poker circles, ‘If you look round the table and have not spotted a mug within twenty minutes, then it has to be you.’