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A poker pro reveals strategy - Our Region - The Sacramento Bee
Published: Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 4B
Last Modified: Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012 - 12:56 pm
Yes, there's luck in poker, but over a thousand hands the better player always wins, says Steve Gee, who has outlasted more than 74,750 opponents to make it to the final table at the 2012 Word Series of Poker championship, which wraps up Monday and Tuesday in Las Vegas. ESPN2 will cover the action starting at 5 p.m. PDT.
Gee shared some of his secrets of success that have earned him millions of dollars, from general approaches for beginners to specific game-play tips for experienced players:
• Keep meticulous track of all your poker sessions: how much you bought in for, what the limits were, how long you played, how much you won or lost and several key hands. The biggest thing amateurs do wrong is fail to keep track.
• Take something from each poker session, and study your opponents.
• Read online discussions on strategy and tactics.
• Understand the value of position, it's the most critical thing in poker. If you have position – meaning you get to bet last or next to last – you get a lot more information because everybody has to act before you. When you're under the gun – meaning you have to bet first – your range is a lot tighter, but as you get closer to the button (which acts last), you've got to play a lot more hands, anything from pocket aces to 4-5 suited.
• Under the gun, I would probably play pocket 5s and higher, or 10-J suited and higher. On the button I'm playing down to pocket deuces and 4-5 suited.
• Don't limp into a bet, that's the sign of a fish. Players who call bets repeatedly are not in control of the pot. Poker rewards aggression.
• I bet the same amount every time from aces to 6-7 suited, so my opponent doesn't know what I've got.
• In cash games I'm ready to sit down for eight hours. If you sit down for only an hour or two, you're not going to have the patience and discipline to wait for the right hand. But if you haven't played a hand in 20 minutes, your opponents are more likely to be afraid of you.
• The higher the buy-in and bet size, the better the value you get on the rake, or the house's cut of each pot.
• You have to know the size of the pot and how much you're in for. Study how much is in the pot and calculate your odds accordingly. If you have a flush draw on the flop in No-Limit Hold 'em, you're a 5 to 1 underdog to hit it because there are 46 unseen cards. So if there's $1,000 in the pot after the flop and you call an $800 bet with a flush draw, you've made a mistake because you're now paying $800 to win $1,800, less than 3 to 1.
• I know weak players right away, calling big raises from out of position.
• Even the best players sometimes lose hands to players who luck out on the turn or river cards (the fourth and fifth face-up cards in Hold 'em).