Tech

A simple guide to not sucking at poker

There's something unique about man's relationship with poker. 

Ask him how good he is at football, or golf, and he'll probably puff out his cheeks and give a "so-so" hand wiggle - even if he's the next Jamie Vardy/Tiger Woods.

Ask him how good he is at poker and he'll look you dead in the eye and proceed to regale you with a story of how he won big at a mate's stag do/the local casino/online. Even if he's rubbish, he'll somehow have it in his mind that he's really, really good. 

Chris Moorman really is good at poker. Having earned $4.1 million in his career, he's now an ambassador for 888poker, representing the brand at the World Series Of Poker currently being played in Las Vegas.

These are Moorman's tips on how to play poker like you actually know what you're doing - whether online or in a live game. 

  • A simple guide to not sucking at poker

    When shouldn't you play a hand?

    "The main fact that determines if you shouldn't play a hand is down to your stack size.

    "In almost all cases it is correct to play the really good hands, such as big pocket pairs [being dealt a pair], but when short stacked, suited connector type hands go down in value as you haven't got the chips behind in order to successfully semi-bluff or get paid off substantially when you hit a disguised big hand."

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    How to read a player's tell online

    "Timing tells can be very important in online poker.

    "There is no set rule to say that if someone acts quickly they are bluffing and vice versa, but different players have natural thinking times in certain spots.

    "If you can interpret these successfully then it can lead to a huge advantage in identifying how strong a hand they have. The best way to do this is through the experience of playing the same opponent many times before."

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    Arm yourself with a heads up display

    "In the modern game it is important to use a head's up display (HUD).

    "A HUD is software that tracks all the previous hands you have played against someone and puts all the stats in easy to use numbers that aids in your decision making. The vast majority of players that play online are using these. If you aren’t you are leaving yourself at a severe disadvantage."

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    Set your limits

    "Always have a set bankroll, separating life money and poker money.

    "You should never spend more than five per cent of your poker bankroll on one tournament. If you're playing cash games make sure to have a stop loss. For example, if you lose three buy ins then you stop playing and take a break till the next session so you aren’t playing tilted and making bad decisions because of previous events."

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    Your luck will run out

    "It’s not all about luck: In the short term you might rely on some luck, but the more you play the less it matters.

    "Luck in poker over the course of one hand can be 100 per cent. Luck in poker over the course of one year can be 50 per cent. Luck in poker over the course of your lifetime of playing will be smaller than 0.001 per cent. In the long term the skill will always overpower the luck."

    Chris Moorman is an ambassador for 888poker, the main sponsor of the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. You can find out more information at 888poker

    (Images: Getty)