Patience is the cornerstone of good poker. All too often, when we start out all we want to do is to get involved in some big pots, run several elaborate bluffs and end the evening raking in everybody else’s chips. Well, I’m afraid to inform you that most of the time our cards should be hitting the muck pre-flop. Don’t let TV poker fool you into thinking that you should be giving non-stop action regardless of what your starting hand is; it just doesn’t work like that.
Get used to holding and wait for those good starting hands or favourable situations. Tells have a near-mythical status amongst newcomers to the game. A tell can be anything from spotting an opponent’s betting patterns and noticing when he strays from the norm, to detecting a sometimes subtle change in someone’s mannerisms.
Be warned, though; when dealing with a seasoned pro, any information they are seemingly displaying is usually there for a reason and should therefore be only be taken on board with extreme caution! Julian Thew is one of the top British pro players. A regular tournament and big-money prize winner, I persuaded him to furnish readers with several of his top hints for successful poker.