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If you're going to play poker with any level of seriousness, it's important to keep records. That will help you figure out if you're winning or losing, and you'll be able to keep hands so you can review them later.
One of the most useful pieces of poker software you can buy is called Poker Tracker. Buying and downloading poker software, like Poker Tracker, can help you keep statistics on opponents. It's very useful to be able to fire up Poker Tracker and learn something about the players you're playing with. If a player hasn't raised before the flop in the first 50 hands you've played with them, when they do raise you can be pretty sure it's not K9!
If you want to play in a poker game, download poker software from an online poker site. One of the first decisions you have to make will be your name. From what I've seen and heard from other players, anyone with a name that's based on the movie Rounders will generally be a bad player. If you have 420 in your name, that's even worse. Of course, this is not to say it will actually affect your game, just that it will affect how people perceive you.
I think it's best to have a very inconspicuous name. If you're called BigBluffer, it's not really clear whether people will call you more. What is clear, though, is that they'll pay a lot of attention to you to try to figure out if your name is accurate. That's going to help them make good decisions against you.
There are a (very) few times when it's correct to fold AA before the flop in a no limit Texas hold ‘em tournament. For example, suppose you're in a satellite tournament where 15 players get a seat in a big tournament, and there's no difference between getting 15th and 1st.
You have a nice, healthy stack, and there are 16 players left, many of whom have a lot fewer chips that you. A player with a big stack raises, and it's your turn. Since you can win a seat in the big tournament just by folding, there's no reason to get involved. Just fold. If you do play, and your aces get cracked, you can scream “This online poker software is rigged!” but you'd have no to blame but yourself.
When you play in a live casino instead of using online poker software, there's a potential for a card to be accidentally exposed. Don't worry about it when it happens – it's fairly common for the dealer to bounce a card off of somebody's hand or something and flip it up, and that player then gets a new card. When this happens, you have to remember which card it was.
*A competent dealer will announce it and show it to the table. If you have a hand like 88, normally a very playable hand and an 8 is exposed, your hand becomes garbage. Don't curse the dealer – in fact, you should thank her for exposing the 8 and letting you know not to play!
Suppose you have QJ of hearts and your opponent has black 2's, and you wind up all-in before the flop. Do you know who the favorite is? Even though you might think that 22 is a favorite because it's already a made hand, QhJh is actually a slight favorite: it's about 53-47.
You can figure out this type of information by using a free poker game download called Poker Stove. It's at www.pokerstove.com. You can also figure out information using a range of hands, like QhJh against any pair. It's great! Downloading poker software, like this one, can prove to be very useful.
When you tell someone that you play on the internet, sometimes people ask if you're worried about cheating. I would say no. Are there people who have hacked into the software and can get themselves dealt the winning hand or see my hand? No. Are there computers playing? Maybe a few, but it's unlikely there are any doing it on a large scale.
The most rampant kind of cheating is two people who know each other playing in the same game. They can share information and use teamwork during hands, which is a textbook case of cheating. But online poker software programs and poker downloads have detection methods to catch people doing that kind of thing. And, the people who do it are usually novice poker players who generally aren't good enough to beat the games even by cheating.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|