Every poker player should know that you have to start at the beginning. So, you are a beginner at playing poker; well, we all have to start some place. Even the professional poker player had to be a beginner at one time. Like the rest of us, you just have to start playing. Maybe you have watched the World Series of Poker (WSOP) on TV, maybe you've read some of the poker books, maybe you've been to a casino and stood at the rail of a poker room or maybe you have played a little free Internet poker. But the best way to learn how to play poker is in a live ring game for real money! Now, you are about to jump feet first into the poker waters. You are at the casino poker room and they have just seated you at a table. You mumble, "Hi," to the dealer and other players. Your hands are clammy, there's sweat on you upper lip and you feel light headed. (Yeah, we've all been there.) You are somewhat overwhelmed and a bit shy about sitting down at the poker table. You don't know what to expect and are having self-doubts. "Are the other players going to run all over me?," you think to yourself, allowing your own hype to intimidate you. Oh no, here comes the first hand. You look at your hole cards, studying them to make sure you know what you have. The Ace and Jack of Hearts. Now if only you could remember what all the poker books say about good starting hands. Am I supposed to raise? You just call. The flop comes King of Spades, Ten of Hearts, and Four of Hearts. Wow, four to a straight and four to a flush. You are trying to look nonchalant but your heart beats faster. You call the bet. The turn card is the Jack of Spades. "Okay, not too bad; at least I have a pair," you say to the little poker player inside of you. The dealer discards, and what seems like slow motion, lays down the river card. The nine of Hearts! You have the nut high flush. "Check raise, check raise, check raise," your mind is screaming. "No, no. I can't do that. I'm just a beginner. What do I know?," says the scaredy- cat. So, you just place the required bet. The only player left in the hand raises. What could he have? You stare at the cards on the board; you check the cards you hold. All the players are looking at you, waiting to see what you will do. From somewhere you hear your voice squeak, "Re-raise." Your opponent calls the re-raise and shows a King-high straight. You turn your cards over and the dealer declares, "Winner, Ace-high flush", pushing the pot your way. As you stack up the chips, you hear the losing player grumble, "Beginner's luck." Gee, this poker playing stuff is easy. Shuffle up and deal!
I started playing poker when poker wasn't cool. My family always played card games so poker came naturally. I am not a pro by any means; I'm an average person just like you who likes to play all types of poker; although Texas Hold'em is my favorite. My only "claim to fame" is that I have played for many years and in all kinds of venues. My philosophy is: Poker Knowledge = Poker Skills = Poker Wins. I'll leave you with this thought, "There are no perfect poker players; only those of us humbled souls who strive to be".