Poker Road Warrior: Forum Post Highlight - 3 Rules of Poker
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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Forum Post Highlight - 3 Rules of Poker

Hey I am going to start posting some of my fave forum posts from way back when. Here is one I like:

The Rules of Poker

I like to say I’ve been playing poker for fifty years. I remember my father and my uncle teaching me to play when I was about six. I’ll be sixty next year so even taking into account the self inflected brain damage of the last, say forty-five years…it’s probably about right. Poker was very, very different thirty years ago. I’ve had to learn Hold’em in the last few years. I’d played it a couple times, but it was never the game of choice or my choice of games. The structure and the content of the game morphed. And in the last five years the growth has not been arithmetic – but geometric as I struggle to cope.

RULE NUMBER ONE. What my Dad and Uncle Ernie (and they were pretty fair players…I’ll always remember the Christmas I got a two electric trains, a pony AND a motor scooter because Dad had a good game or two) tried to teach me was “Don’t bet unless you have the best hand”.
I know “real simple and oblivious”. It is. BUT having the knowledge and patience to observe it in practice is like always doing the right thing in real life… The good news is, like real life, if your right more than half the time over the long haul you should finish ahead of the game…maybe. Let’s put it this way:
O.K., you’re playing Hold’em…you matched the BB on a QJ – OS…the flop…Just then Hoyle comes back from the grave and says “Folk’s the rules have changed. No more cards…games over…pay the winner”. Do you get paid? If so, bet and repeat the process twice.
Of course, the question is “What is the best hand?” So it’s time for:

RULE NUMBER TWO. Poker at it essence is about making good decisions. Kinda like that “real life” thing again, huh?
Back to our example, the flop is QQJ, three different suites. You have the best hand. Guess you know what to do now. Next card is a five on the turn. This time Attila the Hun comes in and says “Bush is out…I’m in, …this game is over, pay the winner”. You win, but if the turn and it’s evil redheaded, yard kid, step sister with a heart as cold as my third ex-wife…the river are both Kings and someone has KK in the hole…it could happen, stay alert.
But in our example, the last card, a 3 doesn’t matter. This kind of hand is a joy to play because “I got ‘em and you got ‘em to get”. It’s almost always a good decision to play them, but the “almost always” (like our KK – KK example above and can cost you next months electric bill or at least a mortgage payment. Which brings us to:

RULE NUMBER THREE. You never step in the same river twice. I like this one, it so Zen-like. It’s ambience, patterns (Read SHARKY on this), players, position, pot and stack size (maybe position in a tournament), the stats, history, patience, nerve, ego and whether Lady Luck is over that deal about you givin’ her V.D. It’s a lot to consider to reach the right decision in a few seconds. It’s not easy to be a real good poker player or everybody ‘d be doin’ it. And we all know that ain’t happening.

Well, I gotta go do business stuff. I don’t know if anybody reads these, if so, any suggestions for the next three rules? We gotta get a little more specific here (stuff like…how strong is a set on the turn in PL O8). I’ll try to add some, maybe.


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