What I am learning by playing poker

My desktop when playing poker at Pokerstars
– as you can see, I am chip-leader

I mostly play in five seater sit&go tournaments with nine players per table. This makes a total of 45 players who start the game. Games last between ninety and a hundred and twenty minutes.

The main lesson I have learned by playing these games is patience. Some people are more lucky than others. I am definitely not a lucky person when it comes to games of chance. This means I can’t afford to be brave, and have to play a careful considered game. I usually play around one hand in every twenty and have to keep tight control of my patience as it is so easy “to take that gamble”.

There is no such thing as a professional gambler. By the very nature of playing often and earning a living by it normally means that you don’t gamble but play the odds. Not caring whether you win a particular game but knowing that, by playing the odds, you have to come on top in the long run.

Texas Hold’em poker is very much a game of skill, much more than other poker games such as stud or draw poker. As an example, bridge is far more complex than draw poker, but Texas Hold’em is more complex than bridge. To give but one example, the value of your hand can alter depending on how many are sitting on your table and your position, in terms of number of players, from the dealer. So all through the game you have to have a mental shift according to your position from the dealer, and this shift has to occur on every hand. On the last table, you have to shift attitude depending on how many players are left on the table.

So, as I do not get many good hands, I have had to learn the patience of waiting to seize the moment and, when I do, have to figure out how to get the other players to part with their money.

It trains your memory as you have to memorise how each player plays depending on whether they have a good hand or not. You also have to remember the exact way they have played the hand you want to bet on. Now, you may begin to understand my problem as, growing old, I notice my short term memory is all shot to hell. So, to sum up, no luck and no memory.

The tournament pays the top seven winners with the first prize being $31,500 (which I have just won) and, I might add, have won many times before.

Before you all turn green with envy, this is for what they call “play money”. It is not real but a good way of scoring success. I play as Ampers on Ladbrokes, and Ampers_ZA on Pokerstars.

I never play for real money.


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