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Introduction

 

How I Learned Poker

There is no university which provides poker as a basic. You will not find any kind of organized curriculum or a particular syllabus to learn poker. The serious student of the game is offered to learn poker in whatever the way he finds it better. This happens to be one of the things I have always loved about poker. Either studying or playing, you are free to make decisions and to act on them and as such to answer no one but to yourself. However, this lack of any typical learning poker strategy can make the process of acquiring poker skills irritating one.

I will not try to explain such a strategy but share some of the steps that I had taken and resources that I have used to learn this sophisticated card game. I will discuss more on those tools which I think is useful in this game. That does not mean there were no counterproductive efforts or other errors at that time.

In this part, we will talk more about the foundation of my poker education and in next part the following phases and more "advanced" concepts of my poker learning process. I expect you will find some ideas which will help you to learn and understand this exciting game.

An Inauspicious Trip

In the summer of 1987, I started playing play poker . It was a weekend trip to Las Vegas which aroused my curiosity about poker and blackjack. But as I was attracted to competitive approach, poker instantly took me towards the interesting phase. I took a student's approach to learn more poker. That is searching for all the books of poker to study. Depressed from the books then available in bookstores, I demanded Doyle Brunson's Super/System: A Course In Power Poker after seeing it mentioned in the magazine article. Then I thought that I can search for other good poker books from the work of Brunson's colleagues.

These books pronounced my introduction to the serious poker literature. I think the first book read by me was Super/System and Winning Poker (now called as The Theory of Poker) and Hold'em Poker written by David Skylansky. For someone who had hardly played a hand of poker, this was little insurmountable introduction of the game. I was still confused on the general rules and procedures of the game as I found difficult to digest the details of the semi-bluff and basic differences between limit and no limit poker. At present, however, a player starting out can work his way, starting with good quality text such as the fundamentals of Poker by Malmuth and Loomis.

With the experience, I suggest that anyone learning poker first obtain the help of someone with some experience to guide him through the normal rules of play. When you know nothing whatsoever about the game it is difficult to learn from books. One time I called up my mates together (who knew as little as I did) to try playing for nickels and dimes. I had referred to a weak poker book that I found in the local bookstore, checking on rules and procedures as we progresses. The instructions given in this book was perplexing and we understood its discussion of structured limit betting to mean that if we are playing suppose, 5c-10c limit, we can bet any amount on a 5c betting round as long as it was in multiple of 5c! To put other way, we played a very silly form of no limit poker. Finally, we straightened matters out.

Into the Card rooms

I came into the public card room after perhaps ten hours of this home poker. I thought that high draw is a better form of poker to begin with as to me it was a classic game that came to mind when I always think about poker. So I had gone about thinking what I could of Mike Caro's high draw chapter in Super/System. I adjusted to commit to think a good amount of the advice on play before the draw then realized I needed to start getting a bit of experience to bring to life what I was reading. So to prove one fine Sunday I went north from San Diego to Las Angeles where I found the suburb of Gardena and Normandie Casino. There I forwarded my way to $2-$4 jacks-or-better draw game. I figured to lose only $19 in three hours. I also figured to draw some ridicule for standing pat with no good hand and still betting out after the draw to win the pot, only to be asked to show my jacks or better "openers."

I felt sorry as the action was rewound and the online poker players returned their money. I was shocked, however, by the level of frustration shown by the other players in response to my beginner's mistake. These players, I was figuring to see, took their game somewhat seriously. Before leaving the Normandie Casino, I had some talking with a friendly local who informed that the Texas Hold'em was the new poker game in town.

Some weeks later I found the poker in San Diego County. Originally I found one of the Indian reservation casinos. I went there one night with one of my friend who also wants to learn the game. After looking for some hold'em and seven-card stud eight-or-better games, we bought into hold'em tournament for $5. We did not last very long, but in talking afterward decided that hold'em is the game which has to be learned. I need to say that even as poker "infants" that night our reasoning was bit like that of an expert player. We deduced that in addition to being famous, hold'em seems to be difficult game. Its complexity, we think, would serve us well in the long period.

As graduate student (he in electrical engineering) we were, I must confess, little stubborn about our intellectual abilities compared to what we assumed were those of the average poker player. We were confident that we would develop a rapid understanding of this complex game, and so have a great advantage over those who we thought wouldn't study it in the same depth.

Continue Here: How I Learned Poker-I

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