ALL ABOUT POKER:
WHY TRASH TALKING IS NOT
THE BEST STRATEGY
by Bill Burton
Bill Burton is the Casino Gambling Guide and columnist for the Internet portal About.com located at:www.casinogambling.about.com . He is the author of "1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets" (available online at www.billburton.com) and "Get the Edge at Low Limit Texas Hold'em". Bill is also an instructor for Golden Touch Craps: www.thecrapsclub.com
There is no denying that the television is largely responsible for the popularity of Texas Holdem and the increased number of people playing poker these days. Everyone knows, or should know, that these televised tournaments are edited down to show only the most dramatic and interesting moments. While these edited tournaments may make for an entertaining television show, it can lead to the wrong impression about playing poker and the behavior of the players.
When they are constantly showing someone calling an all in bet with an inferior hand, and then catching a miracle card on the river to win the pot, it leads many to believe that the game is all about luck. Showing a player folding hand after hand waiting for a strong starting hand would be pretty boring television, so those hands showing proper play are edited out.
I can fully understand this and I accept it. If it wasn’t for television, poker would never have gained the popularity that it has today. However, there is one facet of these televised events that I do find disturbing. They tend to glorify the bad behavior of certain players. We have all watched the blow ups of players as they get drawn out on the river and start berating their opponents for their "moronic" play.
Maybe it is the "reality television mentality" that makes some players think that confrontation and rude behavior is not only entertaining but socially acceptable. Unfortunately, this has caused some of this behavior to be carried over into the local card rooms. After all, it these poker superstars are berating players, trash talking, and throwing temper tantrums on TV, then it must be just another part of the game. Right? Wrong!
There are some players who use verbal abuse and intimidation as part of their game plan to put pressure on weaker opponents, forcing them to make mistakes or fold in certain situations such as when they are bluffing. This tough, arrogant persona is part of the "strong" table image they are trying to convey but I have often wondered how effective this tactic really is for helping you win a tournament. Sure, you may be able to intimidate or bully a player off a hand, but that will only work a limited number of times and it can be counterproductive in the long run.
Playing winning poker is all about making the right decisions. The more information you have, the better you will be able to make your decision for the appropriate action. You can gain valuable information by talking with your opponents and observing how they act when they are not involved in a hand. Then, when they are in a hand, the tone of their voice or their body language can tell you quite a bit of information.
If you constantly berate or bully players at the table they are very unlikely to want to talk with you, answer questions, or even look you in the eye. Chances are you will gain very little information from them. Many of the most successful poker players are the ones that make others feel comfortable and welcome during a game. It is easier to get someone to open up when they are relaxed at the table and having a good time.
Poker is a social game and many players use the game to get out and socially interact with others who share a common interest. While most players’ goal is to make money, it is hardly the main reason that many people play (especially the players who you will find in the lower limit games). Over the years, I have witnessed quite a few players who feel compelled to use the trash talking and bullying tactics in live cash games in my local card room. All it does is make everyone at the table uncomfortable and it can actually drive away bad players who would have stayed around losing their money if they were having a good time. Look at it this way: Being nice can be profitable.
Until Next time remember:
Luck comes and goes.....Knowledge Stays Forever.
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