Ever wonder who at ESPN said, "hey let's put poker on TV?" Ever find yourself skimming through channels at night and for some reason stopping on poker? I know I have done both on several occasions. Who would have thought watching no limit Texas hold em 'could be so captivating. Since the poker explosion a few years back, I've routinely found myself in situations where not knowing the simple strategies of this game have replied in me losing my grocery money for the week.
Since 2003, no limit Texas hold em has become mainstream, and you're almost considered an outcast if you do not play. So rather than continuing to lose my hard earned money, I figured I'd do some poking around and learn how to play for the next occasion. How hard could it really be right?
Well it turns out the basics are not that difficult, but to become a master takes quite a bit of experience, the development of instincts, how to read players, the list goes on.
First things first, find an online no limit Texas hold em site such as pokerstars or full tilt that will let you play for free. Experience will help you hone your skills. Online you can learn the basics such as knowing what cards win, how the betting works, and how you go about making the winning hand.
Once you are good at that, you'll learn what possible combinations your opponents could have considering the cards that are up. You'll learn how to pull out more chips from your opponents. You'll learn when to fold and when to fly. You can learn all of these no limit Texas hold em techniques online without putting down a dime.
Then comes the real knowledge, reading players. You can do this online to an extent. You'll have to closely watch the players bets. See, certain players are very aggressive, and certain players are very conservative. Players will stick to the same relative betting pattern when they play, unless they are either really bad, or really good. You'll learn how to pay attention to these patterns and predict when they're bluffing and when they've got a good hand.
Then what you'll want to do is take this knowledge to the real table. In no limit Texas hold em and any poker game, you want to play the man, not the hand. Keep a close eye on your opponents reactions when they look at their cards. If you play enough, you'll soon be able to read when your opponents have good hands and when they're just trying to fool you just by picking up on their idiosyncrasies.
If you're at a group of inexperienced no limit Texas hold em players, you can usually stack quite a few chips by picking out the player who acts as if he has a big hand, and bets over the top of everyone else. More often than not, this fish has absolutely nothing and is trying its best to buy a pot. He almost never succeeds. I wonder why people like this play, because they ALWAYS lose if there is anyone that knows halfway what they're doing.
Another trick is to let your opponents take each other out. Play big hands when you have them at the beginning, just to keep your stack alive, but do not risk it all unless you know you've got the nuts (best hand possible with the showing cards). This way, you'll let your opponents fear on each other while you sit back and collect chips now and then. Then when there's only a few left, you'll go to work, completely changing your betting strategy, and no one will be able to touch you.
I've won many o Thursday night poker pots using this technique. Of course there's quite a bit of luck involved too, but if you want to rarely less on luck and more on your skill, I suggest honing your skills online.