Two poker tips that won’t make you rich

Note: Not at the old Poker1 site. A version of this entry was originally published (1992) in Card Player magazine.

A long time ago, I wrote these two no-limit poker tips. And, now that we’re well into the 21st century, they remain true today. So, please pay attention…

Let’s start 1992 with two no-limit poker tips selected from my notebooks. Years ago I was minding my own business when suddenly I was bombarded by a bright idea. The idea was: A player can never be truly organized with just one notebook. Why not carry three separate notebooks to the poker table?

So, I did. Each notebook had a title page. The green one was marked, “Average to Somewhat Important Notes.” The yellow one said, “Unimportant But Interesting Notes.” And the red one screamed, “Tips That Make You Rich.”

It was fun hearing opponents moan, “Oh, no! Here comes the red book!” That was a long time ago. I still take notes now and then, but I can assure you, no tip by itself will make you rich. Taken as a whole, though, hundreds of quality tips can make you successful.

No-Limit Tip #1: With the perfect flop, seldom go all-in right away. In no-limit hold ’em, you’re sometimes lucky enough to flop the near nuts. Imagine you hold Q♣ Q♠ and Q♥ Q♦ 7♣ is the flop. Except for a miracle straight flush or a third and fourth king or ace (assuming an opponent held that pair), there’s nothing to fear. You want to maximize your profit. So, if someone makes a small bet, you usually must not raise the maximum! (This discussion is different if you or your opponent is short on chips.) Just raise a little. A raise exactly equal to the size of the bet makes for a good tease. Try to win your opponent’s stack piece by piece with the intention of, finally, betting it all on the last round. Analysis shows that it’s also often correct to just call a bet when you have the nuts. While this is cute and sometimes leads your opponent to self-destruct with future bets, a small teasing raise turns out to be best against sophisticated opponents.

No-Limit Tip #2: The size of the bet does not keep pace with the size of the blinds or antes! If you believe, as I do, that you’ll make more money in the long-run against loose opponents, then you should encourage loose games. Agreeing to make the blinds bigger in no limit won’t help.

Historically, a game with a $10 big blind won’t be merely a measly 10 percent as large as a no-limit game with a $100 big blind. The $10 game will be at least 20 percent as large!

This means most players are much more selective when the blinds (or antes) are big. Therefore, games with smaller blinds (against exactly the same opponents) are easier to beat! — MC

Published by

Mike Caro

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Known as the “Mad Genius of Poker,” Mike Caro is generally regarded as today's foremost authority on poker strategy, psychology, and statistics. He is the founder of Mike Caro University of Poker, Gaming, and Life Strategy (MCU). See full bio → HERE.


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