How to Avoid Looking Like a Poker Newbie (or Things You SHOULDN’T DO at the Poker Table)

poker playerAll of us have been clueless newbies once. Even poker masters such as Stu Ungar and Doyle Brunson have committed numerous faux pas moves early on in their career. Remember, poker is something that you get better at through constant practice- so expect to commit mistakes especially if you’re just starting out. But whether you learn something or not from these errors is another thing altogether.

This article is written to give you an edge over newbies such as yourself. It lists down some of the things you should, under no circumstances, do at any poker game.

Read it, and don’t be that proverbial fish at the poker table that all card sharks leech from.

Don’t discuss or show your hand.

Imagine this scenario: After an intense round of betting, your opponent decides to give in and fold. You lean over to try and engage him in idle chitchat about what his hand was and his reasons for folding. Then you show him your hand- it is worth absolutely nothing! It was he who had been duped all along!

In some casinos there is no specific rule that bans players from discussing their hands after the action dies down. This practice is very taboo, and is usually discouraged especially in serious poker games. Not only can it distract the other players, you are also giving your opponent valuable information on how you play your hands.

Never needle or distract other players.

If we go by the history of poker and the practices of famous card sharks like Stu Ungar, needling, distracting, and insulting opponents seem to be an inseparable aspect of the game. On TV, the image of the trash talking player makes for great entertainment, but in real life, talking too much at the table can earn you the ire of your fellow players.
Not only is insulting or talking to other players downright annoying, it can also take you off your game. Answering even the most seemingly innocent questions like “How many chips do you have left?” can inform your opponents about your playing style. Seasoned players can read the way some people play through subtle hints in voice, inflection, mood changes, and body language.

So keep your mouth shut as much as possible. The less you talk, the more you increase your chances on winning.

Don’t rely on stone-cold bluffs.

Stone-cold bluffs (i.e. trying to pass of a worthless hand as something more) is another Hollywood relic that has no place on a real poker table. This is something that is rarely successful in real-life, and even masters have a hard time pulling off such a blind bluff against seasoned players.

If you really want to play a productive game, leave the theatrics to the pros. Go by the book (i.e. betting only on strong hands) and you’ll be assured that you’ll be able to bring home something by the end of the game. It might not be as flashy as the ones you see on TV, but playing in a straightforward manner is often the way-to-go when playing cash games.

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