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Poker - Tips and Strategy

Is poker a game of skill or is it just chance? One time a court tried to decide this question and the jury asked for pack of cards and played far into the night. At the end of the game, eight said it was chance and four said it was skill. Coincidentally, the four had won and the eight had lost. It was a hung jury. My guess is that a good, skilful player will win over a of time. What is skill? It's the knowledge of the game, the play and the odds.

I know of no better system of winning in the game of draw poker than knowing the odds. Take a typical situation where you have a pair. Shall you hold a kicker or should you not and draw three cards. Well, if you are holding a kicker to bluff your opponents, that's one thing. But if you are holding a kicker because you think you have a better chance of improving your hand-and many players do think so-just, look at this and remember.

If you have a pair, it is 5 to 2 against your drawing another pair and 8 to 1 you won't draw a card to make it three of a kind. It is 97 to 1 against you making a full house with a three card draw and 359 to 1 you will not make four of a kind.

Now what are your chances of betting a pair with a kicker in a two card draw? The odds against ending up with two pair are 5 to 1. The odds against getting 3 of a kind are 12 to 1. It is 119 to 1 against making a full house and 1,080 to 1 against making four of a kind.

You can see that in every possible way it is better not to hold a kicker. If you know this by the odds and follow the odds and your opponent doesn't know the odds and makes the wrong choice you have the edge. And so it will be in every hand. You will know by the statistics what to do. You mix in a little intelligence and knowledge of people and you'll seldom lose.

You have seen it a hundred times-the poker player who slams down his hand and says, "What rotten luck. It gets worse and worse every week." But it's just that he's a bad player betting too much on unworthy hands and not enough on strong hands. If he knew the odds he wouldn't have to curse his luck.

Learn more about The Odds System


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