Poker is easy! Once you know the hands – that’s it! Unlike chess there are no complicated processes to do to fully understand the game, once you know that two pair beats a pair and so on you pretty much know how to play poker. The real skill in playing poker is the ability to read your opponent. Once you know your players you will win.
How do you measure this and put it into ranking order? This is the easiest and most difficult bit. The easiest bit is that the person with the most chips is the winner, however, its the longevity of having the most chips marks one player above another player and that is the end of that.
Is this time dependent for the ability to read other people and making cash? Probably as the amount of time spent on poker is all important. This naturally bring the argument to psychology the great unknown in poker. Any student who wants to study psychology will undoubtedly need their head testing as the joke goes.
So anyone who believes they can write a definitive way of reading a player is either deluded or a liar. Then again if I believed that last statement then I would not want to play poker, because its the head f^^k that makes a very simple game extremely attractive to play.
Yes there is a luck element to the game but there is a luck element to life itself. This is what makes the game of poker really interesting. Like football skill will always win, same with poker. Sometimes, however, a massive amount of luck to shoot you to the top of the food chain such as Italy in the World Cup of 2006. Good team but rode their luck to be World Champions, they will not win the World Cup 2010. In poker there will always be a shooting star that lights up a tournament and features in the top 20 earners for a while then disappear but year after year there will be the faces of the same players in the top twenty. This is proof of its self that great players will always win.
So the real skill in poker is getting inside a players head. How do you do it is very hard but some find it relatively easy and some find it virtually impossible. Some have insight, some just have not got a clue. What will always be interesting is how you deal with a mediocre hand or how you turn a bad hand into a good hand by using lies and manipulation to take the pot. The beauty of getting a player to fold their winning hand has no parallel. Likewise the ability to fold a potentially winning hand sometimes is just as good as winning a large pot.
When playing poker it is good to have an empty head. A head where the whole world is blocked out and the only thing of interest is the game at hand. It is total selfishness that poker requires it is no use contemplating the electric bill or the row with your partner, no! The game requires total concentration even if you pretend not to be concentrating. The reason for having sunglasses and an ipod is to block out any distraction or leaks that you may have while sussing out your opponent.
Poker has many attributes that you will not find in other sports. It is totally democratic, you do not have to be a brain surgeon or a greedy banker to be in the game. All you need is the ability to read your opponents and get them to do what you want them to do, when you want them to do it.
Phil Ivey – the subject of the photo is a past master of the mind games that are needed in poker and this is born out that successful head screwing is the way to go when playing a very easy caed game. Dont you just love this game?