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hendrik | 30th Mar 2018 | 一般

It didn't happen often - the horses took care of that - but now and then he would buff up his collar, slide those blue suede shoes underneath the poker table and let us take him to Heartbreak Hotel.

 

Winchy was one of those lads who thought poker and alcohol was a good combination. So here is my first trick for any budding amateur looking to get started in a local home game.

 

1. Don't Drink Alcohol When You Play

The money will flow in your direction either because you got lucky, someone else got unlucky, or through your opponent's mistakes.

 

Drinking alcohol reduces your ability to make rational, logical decisions. That's a giant spanner in the works if you want to make some money.

 

Some people drink to be sociable. Others believe it gives them confidence. While that belief may be true, is it a good thing?

 

How many people have you seen playing uber-aggressive because they have had a drink?

 

It works for a while. They always seem to be the victor in those crazy spots, but over time the money flows back the most rational and logical route.

 

Player Pick your mark.

So don’t drink and look out for the people that do, which brings me to my next trick ...

 

2. Identify Your Target

The great thing about competing in a home game is there are less of you. They will slowly become your friends.

 

You will grow to care for them more than the people you used to spend time with before you flopped your first four of a kind.

 

Each player will have a particular skill set. Recognizing this over time is important.

 

While it's critical to play each hand optimally, I strongly suggest that you avoid playing pots with the strong players and instead focus on the weaker players.

 

There's this guy who plays in my home game called Alan the Bookie. He is like a rock; very predictable, and painful to extract money from him.

 

Then you have Winchy; very often drunk and a fish in most of the games.

 

There was a time I would get involved with Alan the Bookie just as much as Winchy. That was a mistake. The Bookie was winning all the money so I started watching his game.

 

I noticed that he only played big hands against the fish. And that brings me to my next point.

 

3. Copy the Benchmark

Who is the benchmark in the game? Who is winning all the money?

 

Scrutinize their play. What do they do well? What aren’t they doing that you are?

 

Copy them. 

 

Player What does he feel?

4. Empathy Maps

I enrol in a lot of online training courses to advance my business acumen. One of the things I have learned over time is to understand who my customer is by creating an empathy map.

 

What are they thinking? What do they see? What do people think of them? What do they hear?

 

You should do the same in poker; especially in a home game with fewer players. You should have a file on every player in your home game. What are their strengths, what are their weaknesses?

 

Then you can create a plan to exploit them. I guarantee you will be the only person in the game doing this. But how do you gather all of this information?