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Past Articles:

Thoughts on PokerStars VIP Changes
2015-12-20

The Top 9 Myths About Online Poker
2015-05-17

The 4 Worst Tips Given To Beginner Poker Players (Don't Fall Into These Traps)
2015-05-03

Should You Play Poker Professionally?
2015-04-05

Poker Can Change Your Life: 4 Inspirational Rags to Riches Stories
2015-03-29

The Discomfort Zone: Manage it for Growth and Success
2015-03-15

An Intro to Daily Fantasy Soorts
2015-03-08

The 4 Main Psychological Principles That Shape Your Poker Play
2015-02-15

A Detailed Rake and Reward Comparison of Three of the Top Poker Sites
2015-02-08

Don't Jump The Gun: Get Full Value From Your Best Hands
2015-02-01

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Overrated and Underrated Poker Skills

THE WEEKLY SHUFFLE, 2013-11-10, by TwoGun

Overrated: Spotting Tells

Most of the best poker players have played extensively online, where tells are virtually nonexistent. To think they drastically change their play when they play live due to tells is a bit ridiculous.

If a good player spots a tell in another player, it may alter what hand they put the other player on. However, rarely does one base his strategy largely on tells or play a hand completely different due to a tell. It's an additional piece of information for how to best play your hand, but it is not the sole piece of information you base your decisions on.

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Underrated: Putting Someone on a Hand

Unless you worked at UB during the Superuser days, you'll never know for sure what another player is holding. However, good players are generally better able to put someone on a range of hands. Not only are good players able to generally guess what another player is holding, they are better able to guess how good their guess is.

A casual player might think "my opponent must have pocket jacks" whereas a good player may think "there's a 70% chance he has a pocket jacks-queens", a 25% chance he's on a draw, and a 5% chance he's just flat-out bluffing. Poker sharks are able to better approximate what another player is holding and also take into account that the confidence they have in what another player is holding.

Overrated: Bankroll Management

There is a constant focus on poker forums about bankroll management and avoiding going bust. This is a common theme you'll see in all types of contests where money is risked in order to win more money (whether it's poker, daily fantasy sports, stock trading, or just general gambling).

Most of the time, people think about it way too much. It may just be because the nitty side of people likes to think about these sorts of things, so they waste their time doing so. However, the truth is that except in a few exceptional cases, bankroll management didn't make or break a player. Now, bad game selection, wasteful spending, or poor investments can sink you, but rarely is it just because you had bad variance at stakes a little too high for you even though the games were truly +EV for you.

In general, the cardinal rule of bankroll management is to play in +EV games and to play with cash you can afford to lose. It's also almost always better to keep your day job and look at poker as a potential alternate source of additional income.

Underrated: Focusing on +EV Games

Poker is a game of relative skill. Granted, if you're one of the top poker players in the world, pretty much any game or tournament is +EV for you. However, for most of us mortals, we need to seek out games where we are better than the other players.

Truly good players have a knack for finding the most +EV games and tournaments. They don't just lazily boot up PokerStars and expect to be a big winner. They find the stakes and games on whatever online site they can dominate and also find the best live games to play in.

Good players know which games they can beat and which they cannot, and they focus on playing the ones in which they have an advantage. That's not 'bankroll management;' that's just playing in the most +EV games.

Overrated: Aggressive Play

A lot of good players tend to play aggressive, but a lot of players just donk off chips thinking they can bully others at the table. If you're predictably aggressive, another player is bound to trap you, or a casual player will just call you down since that's what you do eventually. Being aggressive does not equate to being good.

Underrated: Tricky Players

Players that can be truly unpredictable (in a good way) is still a bit underrated. It's hard to read someone if he is constantly changing his style of play. People tend to have less confidence when they compete against that type of player, which generally means the trickier player can take better advantage of different situations.

The Weekly Shuffle is our Sunday column with our observations and commentary on the poker world. Have an idea for an article? Leave a suggestion on the feedback page.

 


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