Bring Out the Best Poker Player in You
Betting before the buy should be primarily based on mathematics; betting after buy, on psychology.
You are playing in a pot against A, B, and C. How much have you learned about their respective techniques? Are you aware that A invariably draws one card to threes; that B, similarly, always draws two cards to a pair; that C, holding two pairs, doubles before the buy, stands pat, and then doubles again?
Here's the material for a whole range of inferences which, if you are a good player, should go far towards winning the pot.
Have you contrived to give them comparable (but fallacious) impressions about your own style of play of which you feel fairly sure they will try to avail themselves? If so, you are in a strong psychological position, and the pot should be yours, even if you don't hold the best hand maybe three times out of five.
All intelligent bluffing has a psychological foundation. Every Poker player should do his best to explore various bluffs and semi-bluffs in the light of this assumption however, a player lacking imagination may, if he has other qualities be a consistent winner, but he is not likely to win very much.
Imagination in this context is the capacity to turn to a particular situation by improvising an appropriate coup.
In the game of skill which transcends all others, Chess provides the opportunity to play imaginatively in the so-called middle game, where a prior analysis is no longer relevant. Capablanca, Alekhine, and Niemzovitch were imaginative Chess players; as are Reti, Gligoric, and Tal.
Poker offers comparable type skills if less exalted opportunities. A situation will unexpectedly present itself in which, if you have imagination, you can evolve a line of play that is almost certain to succeed but, only if you have judged the situation correctly.
Your plan may fail against players who, like you, have imagination and can envisage what you have in mind. Furthermore, it is almost certain to fail against stupid players who aren't using their brains at all.
Against duffers, the subtler devices in your repertory are almost useless, but that doesn't matter because duffers will be losing enough chips anyway to compensate for their imperviousness to finesse.
No one can hope to play Poker successfully who doesn't follow equanimity.
A player who has lost his temper is certain to lose a great many chips as well, for other players will at once proceed to exploit advantageously the impairment of judgment which the loss of temper implies.
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