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Be The Poker Shark, Not The Fish
Anyone who has been around poker for awhile is familiar with the analogy of the poker shark and the fish, which one are you?
The Poker Shark
The poker shark knows what they are doing. They know the ranking of all the poker hands and the mathematical and statistical likelihood that they can play the cards they have been dealt into a winning hand. The shark knows the body language and the "tells" of the players around the table: how to tell if they are bluffing or if they really have the "nuts" to go all in and take the whole table.
The Poker Fish
In contrast, the timid poker fish is constantly in danger of being swallowed whole by the poker shark. The fish is uncertain of everything, and it shows. The fish doesn't know the rules of the game, the betting limits, the strength of his hand, how to read the behavior of the players around him. The fish plays weak hands and loses. The fish lacks the skill and confidence to exploit the most money out of the rest of the table when he has a good hand.
How To Be The Shark
When playing poker, be the shark, not the fish.
First, know your game. Whether you are playing Texas hold'em, Omaha hold'em, Badugi, Seven Card Draw, Five Card Stud, or Paigow Poker, you must commit the rules of the game to memory.
There are two pieces to knowing every game: First, learn the rules of the game which do not change from one location to the other. The order of the deal, the ranking of hands, et cetera, is the same in a home basement game as it is in a casino. Second, learn the betting options for the game. This will change from place to place, game to game, and table to table.
Know when you can raise and when you can check. Know the limits. If you don't know the game, buy a book about basic poker and basic strategy. Another good way to learn the various poker games and be on your way to becoming the poker shark is to find a place to start playing free texas holdem games. These games move very quickly, and in one day of free play you can easily have several hundred games under your belt.
In addition to knowing your game, you must get to know the players at the table. When hands are dealt, you should be the last one at the table to look at your own hand. What's the hurry? Spend that time watching the faces of your opponents, observing how they react to the hands they were dealt.
Once you have mastered the art of playing poker and reading your opponents, you will find that you are the poker shark at every table.
Poker Articles > The Poker Shark