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How I Learned Poker

Part II

As I have already described in my last essay more of learning and progression into winning poker rules play, I start my movement from small limit into middle limit games. This pronounces easy beginning of a new stage in my poker education.

Moving Up

An important element in my expansion as a player resulted from moving up to the $10-$20 level. I had played $10-$20 many times in Las Angeles some years before, and though I have suffered only small amount of loss, I again fall down back to the small limit games, not easy with the swings I had experienced. Accordingly, I made little arrogant commitment to move up only as my bankroll passed some edge which I knew would allow for loose play at each new limit. Furthermore, these were great edge, estimated with respect to hourly rates that were likely lower than what I could actually expect to achieve at each limit. I need not worry about losing my bankroll, and I want to increase my bankroll only through the poker.

If I won my way into each new limit, I knew I can feel more confident at that limit of game. While this was true, I was prepared to move up to $10-$20 well before I finally did. I recommend that newer online omaha poker players who have the financial resources to do so without their full bankrolls, should experiment with moving up as early as possible they are confident that their skills are developed to win at the next level. Keep in mind that you can always move back down.

It is natural for players who are capable of winning at higher limits to have to move up and down little between limits for a while before fully setting at the next higher limit. Suppose you want to increase your earnings, the benefits to move up when you have skills, experience and resources to do so, merely mean you can earn more, letting you to move up again as soon as possible and so on.

In this situation, it took me immense confidence to step into $10-$20 before I had reached the very high bankroll edge I had made for myself. The players, who played at higher limits than I, and whose ability I had inspired much, shocked me when he said in conversation, "I'd say there are about ten people in San Diego County who play well and you are one of them." Before you have gathered more experience, the short-term luck factor in poker can obscure your vision in judging my eyes to the possibility that I had been misjudging my willingness to move up.

Another time came about a month later as I played in a $6-$12 game. A young visitor expert from Dallas was in the game that day waiting for the $10-$20 game to start. He asked if I played $10-$20. When I refused to play, he offered to take forty percent of my action at $10-$20 so that I would be playing in $6-$12. After an hour later, he again brought it up, saying, "I certainly want forty percent of your action." That this unknown player, who seemed to be good, was anxious to "invest" in my play poker ability was sufficient to make me change the timing of my move up. Soon afterwards, I started playing $10-$20 game regularly, played successfully, and from that day continued slowly to work my way up to the limits.

Poker on a New Level

There was one time where I actually moved up, I could tell that I was facing a new, challenging level in my poker education. I played mostly in a card room in a $10-$20 hold'em game which was biggest game they spread. (This game further expanded into $15-$30, then $20-$40.) Here, for the very first time, I was challenged with some professional and skilled, non-professional players on a regular basis. The players, tougher than any I had ever confronted, joined the game, some of whom I still play with in bigger games. That game also includes some fanatics, and semi-fanatics who, irrespective of their style of play, were more brilliant thinkers and hand readers than I had had to face with in the lower limits. This combination of tougher players and thinking fanatics made for a challenging adjustment. I think it was the excellent poker "school" that I ever had. I must also mention that there were even out thinking, typically bad players as well to make their game more than sufficiently profitable.

At this point, I started to explore most of tactics and levels of thinking I had studied in the poker literature. The frequency of the semi-bluffs should be kept less in loose games. But here, I had not only the opportunity but a need to become more acquainted with them. Furthermore, with players now putting me on hands and thinking about what I put them on, I had to learn to apply the tool of thinking about what my rivals was thinking during play, a key to success above the small limits.

At that same time, I also started facing rivals whose play was same in the respect to my own. This provided a sort of validation through observation. In the small limits it is easy when you are trying to play well but are not very experienced, to develop self doubt as you counter and advantage so few others who play anything like the way you do. Additionally, when you do see someone who plays as tightly as you do, for example, you have no evidence that this element which can help you succeed at progressively higher limits. However, seeing the same style at a higher limit, showed by a player who you know worked his way up and is succeeding at that level, supports your understanding that you are doing something correct.

Further taking a step ahead, the better rivals against whom you play present you with an opportunity to learn by observing them. I observed closely what my rivals did, and worked to find the logic of plays they made that I did not quickly understand. When you play against better players, you can be in a position to find all levels of complicated plays. Do not miss the opportunity to think about what you see. Always be sure to apply analysis to distinguish between very good play and bad play camouflaged as good. Even good players show more of the latter, and also the former. I am not suggesting you to go out and look for tough games. Though the venture into a tough game may be useful, you will usually be facing enough tough rivals as you move up the multiple images middle limits without looking out games that are full of them. Always be game selective.

Continue Here: How I Learned Poker-III