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Cigars, Beer & Poker Ground >> Advice for Beginning Poker Player


2/19/10 11:49 PM
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Alabama Man
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Background: I have just started playing poker a few months ago.

As I get older and learn things, there are many times where I find myself saying, "If I could back and give myself that information at 20," etc.

So if you could go back and give your novice poker self advice, what would you say?

Any help is appreciated!
2/22/10 4:12 AM
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cadeswallows
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geez peeps help the guy out a little. he posted 2 days ago and no response.

ill ttt a thread i created that i created while back. maybe it will help u
2/22/10 10:22 AM
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JHR
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I assume nobody has responded because the logical thing to do is read these threads. That will keep him busy for a couple days.

There are a ton of great posters here to learn from.

read
read
read :)
2/23/10 1:57 AM
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PR
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Edited: 02/23/10 1:57 AM
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Go buy the book "Theory of Poker" by Sklansky and make love to it, especially the section on pot odds and equity. That section explains the fundamental rule of how you make money in poker.
2/23/10 1:17 PM
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billid
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here are some resources you'll need

-Holdem Manager (free to try for 15 days)
-Table Selector (within Holdem manager, free 15 days)
-Pokertableratings.com (download hand histories to holdem manager)
-twoplustwo.com (stick to reading forums that are your limit)
-cardrunners.com stoxpoker.com leggopoker.com (these are video coaching sites. please sign up to one of them and only watch your limits)

There are so many little tips and ideas that most of us could go on forever telling you but you really wouldn't even understand the concepts at this point.

If you leave your email I can send you the pdf that I started off reading when getting into no limit holdem. 7 steps to NL holdem, it's called.

Let us know more about your game. What limit you're playing, what site, how often, what size bankroll you're playing with, how you've been doing so far and how you feel about the game.

It'll get some conversation going and when we see you going the wrong way, hopefully somebody can steer you in the right direction.
2/23/10 3:26 PM
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PR
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Billid, not that you advice isnt valid, but it's way over a beginning player's head IMO.

One book is more than plenty.
2/23/10 7:42 PM
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Spuds Buckley
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I would add, in the beginning, stick to ABC poker. It's fine to watcch poker and enjoy it on TV, but please do not attempt to play like Tom Dwan for example
2/24/10 12:48 AM
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PR
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dude, just listen to me, get Theory of Poker and study the shit out of it.
2/24/10 3:12 AM
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Ze Dano
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^^^PR^^^
2/24/10 10:20 PM
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JHR
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"get Theory of Poker and study the shit out of it."

PR is correct.
2/24/10 10:25 PM
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Florian Nailed The Carpenter
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 billid left off Deucescracked. You don't need to worry about it for a while but it definitely deserves to be mentioned with other coaching sites.
2/25/10 12:43 PM
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andre
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PR is of course correct (I have learned that PR's advice is always spot on). You have to really, really, really study that book to get meaning from it...a cursory read won't help you much.

In addition to that, let me give you more general advice. This isn't about specific plays, but more about what I and just about every beginner goes through the first couple of years.

1) Dont be fooled by a good run: Your mistakes may actually win you big pots if you are on a roll (for some reason "beginner's luck" really exists), and it may lead you to think you have the hang of the game. This causes a lot of people to move up in stakes way, way, way too soon. Stick to the tiny limits and dont be afraid to spend a long time building your bankroll and learning the game.

2) Bankroll, bankroll, bankroll: Are you playing for fun or for profit? If you are playing for fun, allocate a certain amount per month and don't go over that amount no matter what. If you lose it, consider the money well spent on the entertainment of playing poker and wait until the next month starts before you buy in again. That doesnt mean you won't want to develop your skills as much as possible, but you can play with that allocated amount any way you see fit. If you are playing for profit, however, you have to have a plan that involves playing cash or tournaments with buy ins/limits that are proportional to the size of your bankroll. What I mean is that if you have a $1000 bankroll, don't sit down at a $2/$5 table...your bankroll will evaporate even if you are playing well. You should be playing the penny limits in the beginning anyway.

3) If you arent a disciplined person, or don't think you can develop discipline, play only for fun rather than profit. Tilt is very real and you may think you can control it but unless you have a history of great self-control, you cant. And even if you do have that history, most of the time you still cant control it and it will cost you big.

4) Learn the math. This is the reason PR recommended the book he did. I thought I could get by on reading ability and craftiness alone, but poker is really all about the math. That's why I say PR is correct about everything...The guy is a friggin VULCAN.
2/25/10 4:36 PM
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PR
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:)
3/1/10 1:34 PM
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Alabama Man
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PR - Go buy the book "Theory of Poker" by Sklansky and make love to it, especially the section on pot odds and equity. That section explains the fundamental rule of how you make money in poker.


Thanks PR. I read that recommendation on your other thread and bought it. It's coming in in a few days.
3/1/10 9:46 PM
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Alabama Man
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asdf
3/1/10 9:50 PM
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Alabama Man
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andre - PR is of course correct (I have learned that PR's advice is always spot on). You have to really, really, really study that book to get meaning from it...a cursory read won't help you much.


Thanks a lot for seconding it. I have this book now and am going to forsake all others to really get the meaning out of this book.


In addition to that, let me give you more general advice. This isn't about specific plays, but more about what I and just about every beginner goes through the first couple of years.

1) Dont be fooled by a good run: Your mistakes may actually win you big pots if you are on a roll (for some reason "beginner's luck" really exists), and it may lead you to think you have the hang of the game. This causes a lot of people to move up in stakes way, way, way too soon. Stick to the tiny limits and dont be afraid to spend a long time building your bankroll and learning the game.

2) Bankroll, bankroll, bankroll: Are you playing for fun or for profit? If you are playing for fun, allocate a certain amount per month and don't go over that amount no matter what. If you lose it, consider the money well spent on the entertainment of playing poker and wait until the next month starts before you buy in again. That doesnt mean you won't want to develop your skills as much as possible, but you can play with that allocated amount any way you see fit. If you are playing for profit, however, you have to have a plan that involves playing cash or tournaments with buy ins/limits that are proportional to the size of your bankroll. What I mean is that if you have a $1000 bankroll, don't sit down at a $2/$5 table...your bankroll will evaporate even if you are playing well. You should be playing the penny limits in the beginning anyway.

3) If you arent a disciplined person, or don't think you can develop discipline, play only for fun rather than profit. Tilt is very real and you may think you can control it but unless you have a history of great self-control, you cant. And even if you do have that history, most of the time you still cant control it and it will cost you big.

4) Learn the math. This is the reason PR recommended the book he did. I thought I could get by on reading ability and craftiness alone, but poker is really all about the math. That's why I say PR is correct about everything...The guy is a friggin VULCAN.


Andre this is all very good advice and thanks a lot for taking the time to type it all out.

I am going to print it out!

Thanks again!
3/1/10 9:51 PM
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Alabama Man
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BTW: I am going to try to grow my bankroll to $100 before moving to 2c/5c? Is that too soon?
3/1/10 10:57 PM
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PR
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The thing about bankroll when you are starting out Alabama, is that you arent paying professionally, and you arent paying bills with your poker winnings.

Bankroll management is important for you simply for the reason that it gives you the TIME to play lots to learn.

Yes, you probably dont care about $2 or $3 in the big scheme of things, but the key it to not think about it as money right now... you are simply focusing on improving your game. If you cant win at the penny tables, you can NOT win at the higher tables.

Just make sure you have about 20 buy-ins for the table you play. When in doubt move to lower stakes. A buy-in is 100 big blinds. so at 2c/5c its $5.

Alabama - is 2c/5c too soon for you? Let me ask you this - when you pay 1c/2c can you identify weaknesses in every opponents game? Like can you look at player 1 and say "that guy plays too many hands, so I will value bet against him more", or another guy "thats guy an aggressive bluffer so I will let him bluff agaisnt me" etc etc.

If you can identify weaknesses against most everyone at the table, then you can try moving up.

It should be obvious to you that you can beat the guys you are playing against, logically obvious. The fact that you are asking here indicates to me that you probably aren't ready to move up yet.

So be careful.
3/1/10 11:00 PM
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PR
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Remember, it's better to make mistakes now and learn from them and experiment with different play styles and moves now when you are at the lower stakes, then learning those lessons when you are playing for higher stakes, because theyll cost you more money.

It's like MMA. Sure we all want to learn cool moves like the flying armbar or the superman punch, but we need to learn how to properly do a regular armbar, and learn how to do a regular cross first.

Also, dont be that guy that buys 100 poker books but gets nothing from any of them.

Theory of Poker, learn that shit inside out. The only thing that makes TOP hard to understand is the examples are often in poker games that arent hold em so try to focus on the concept he is teaching you even though he might be explainging it in a game you dont know how to play.
3/2/10 12:45 PM
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andre
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PR, you really are a genius. Ive said it before, but I'll repeat it because it keeps hitting me: When I first read your responses to my posts (when I started playing poker daily a couple of years ago), I valued them, but I thought you represented a type of poker player that wasn't really playing the game as a game of "art" but rather as a game strictly of math. Now that I've played so much online and live (still have a lot more live time than online), I realize that what you are advising represents both the art (reading opponents, deception, discipline, etc...) AND the math, and that it is the ONLY way to be profitable in poker in the long run.

Awesome. Thank you so much for the contributions you make to this forum.
3/2/10 12:55 PM
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JHR
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Get a room you two...

;)
3/3/10 6:16 PM
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DaveFu
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Here a couple of lessons or concepts that I think that most players, especially beginning players grossly undervalue or just ignore all together. Many of which are in Theory of Poker and other books. Hopefully, you're not a knuckle head and can learn these lessons the easy way.

1. You are not an exceptional player.

What I say by this is that as a beginning player 99.99% of the educated wisdom that is spread about your game or level you are playing at applies directly to you.


Notice I said educated, many times your competition will teach you how not to play poker. They will make mistakes, and you must identify those mistakes and develop ways to exploit them.

I can not recommend that you live on www.twoplustwo.com strong enough.

I find that Golf is like Poker, everybody not named Tiger sucks at Golf, everyone else is just trying to suck less than everyone else that weekend, game tournament etc. Poker is the same way.

2. Win the big pots lose the small ones.

As stated in the Theory of Poker, Poker is game of mistakes. If you makes less costly mistakes than your opponent, you'll win in the long term. If they make less costly mistakes than you, they'll win in the long term.

When I say costly, it is important that this differs from the amount of mistakes. You can make 10,000 mistakes that cost you a penny before you'll catch up in value to one that cost you 100.00
3/3/10 6:26 PM
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DaveFu
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So what that means to you as a poker player is that you should basically not be afraid to lose small pots by calling value bets. Inversely, you shouldn't be building big pots with weak hands, that leads to big expensive mistakes on your part.

This information can help you with game selection, because the best players tend to pull a profitable chunk of the big pots. And the worst players tend to play the most hands and win a lot of trashy pots.


3/3/10 8:08 PM
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PR
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Yes, people need to realize that your profit in poker comes from your opponents making big mistakes, not you playing awesomely and making amazing moves and reads.
3/3/10 9:20 PM
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Alabama Man
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PR - The thing about bankroll when you are starting out Alabama, is that you arent paying professionally, and you arent paying bills with your poker winnings.

Bankroll management is important for you simply for the reason that it gives you the TIME to play lots to learn.

Yes, you probably dont care about $2 or $3 in the big scheme of things, but the key it to not think about it as money right now... you are simply focusing on improving your game. If you cant win at the penny tables, you can NOT win at the higher tables.

Just make sure you have about 20 buy-ins for the table you play. When in doubt move to lower stakes. A buy-in is 100 big blinds. so at 2c/5c its $5.

Alabama - is 2c/5c too soon for you? Let me ask you this - when you pay 1c/2c can you identify weaknesses in every opponents game? Like can you look at player 1 and say "that guy plays too many hands, so I will value bet against him more", or another guy "thats guy an aggressive bluffer so I will let him bluff agaisnt me" etc etc.

If you can identify weaknesses against most everyone at the table, then you can try moving up.

It should be obvious to you that you can beat the guys you are playing against, logically obvious. The fact that you are asking here indicates to me that you probably aren't ready to move up yet.

So be careful.


Theory of Poker, learn that shit inside out. The only thing that makes TOP hard to understand is the examples are often in poker games that arent hold em so try to focus on the concept he is teaching you even though he might be explainging it in a game you dont know how to play.





This is very helpful. I am no where near being able to beat everyone at the 1c/2c tables. And I don't feel it's logically obvious for me to beat them. When I play on MSN poker I do. So now I see the difference. Is isn't about how much I am playing with but rather how I am faring against the other players.


I am reading the Theory of Poker now and I will just make it my Bible for a while. I am a big believer in sticking to one thing until you are good at it. And the material in that book is deep and will take me many months to get. Thanks a lot for recommending it!

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