“If you're gonna play the game, boy you gotta learn to play it right,” croons the late great Kenny Rogers in the best song ever written about poker, The Gambler. And we all know what he means. The game of poker is a lot like the game of life. So, what are the best poker tips that can turn you into a winner at the tables and life in general?
Read on to find out how we big guys can not only get better at poker but better ourselves overall.
Poker tip #1: Know your value
Poker is a lot like life in that money is used as the means of keeping score
Knowing your hand values (or starting ranges) is important. Simply put, this means you need to know the potential of your hand. Just like in life, the value of the cards you are dealt changes depending on a number of things. A poker coach friend of mine once entreated me never to open with AJ off suit from early position in a game of Texas Hold ‘Em. However, if I am playing in a short-handed game (5 players or less) or if my chip stack is at a critically low level (less than 10 big blinds), then I am opening the betting with this holding. Knowing your value when it comes to whether to put in a call is also critically important. The question to constantly ask yourself is: am I getting the right implied value odds-wise if I make this call?
Just like in poker, it is crucial to understand one’s own innate value. We are all dealt different hands in life. However, this should not dissuade us from realising our potential. Before we set out on any course of self-improvement, it’s important to realise our true worth. Do you know what you are truly capable of and what you have to offer others? Whilst you may not be the CEO of your company just yet, this doesn’t mean that you don’t have what it takes to make it happen in the future. As big guys we have a lot of value to offer. We really know how to enjoy life, thus we can share our ebullience with others.
Poker tip #2: Seize the opportunity
“Life is not always a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes, playing a poor hand well.”― Jack London
Poker is all about consistently making the right call. In other words: “know when to hold ‘em, no when to fold ‘em”. There is a saying in poker that explains whenever the action is on you, it is your job to make the perfect move (whether that be a call, fold or raise). So, should you continue to chase against the loose-aggressive player who always bets big on aces and there’s on ace on the board? No. Sometimes a fold is the most profitable play.
The same is true for life in general. Whenever it is your turn to do something (like for instance, be the bigger person in a lover’s tiff) then it is up to you to play the situation perfectly. Taking the higher road now, should help you along a better path tomorrow. Seizing the opportunity on the felt as well as in life, means getting ourselves into the game so that we can make the right calls to get "lucky"!
Poker tip #3: Think about your image
Poker Fashion: a contradiction in terms
Obviously, being a good payer means perfecting your poker face. Take a look at the pros. They could be holding pocket Aces or on a stone cold bluff, it doesn’t matter. They have the same look on their face. Next time you are playing live poker, study your opponents. Once the cards are dealt are they continuously checking their hole cards? They’re most likely considering a bluff. A player with a strong hand will not have to remind themselves about what they are holding! Knowing your table image means that you can actually trick your opponents into believing you're weak (so they’ll call) when you’re actually holding the nuts.
Similarly in life, we can positively influence the way people see us. As big guys, we already have the advantage of having physical significance. Dressing for your body shape will help impress upon people even further our substance. The term ‘poker fashion’ is a bit of a misnomer. Gaudy t-shirts, or oversized hoodies with caps and sunglasses aren't really cool anymore. And they certainly don’t really flatter us big guys. Instead, it’s important to understand what style tips can help us look our best, and thus feel more confident.
So, the next time you are about to sit down at the poker table remember: poker is just like life. You don’t have any control over the cards you are dealt but there are subtle ways you can tweak your chances of getting lucky (if you play your cards right). May the odds be ever in your favour!