Rollercoaster ride

Get the knowledge – beat the field

Playing poker, Paul, is a lot like making love to a beautiful woman.’ That glib comment would, no doubt, be Swiss Toni’s take on the great game. The fictional used car dealer, played by Charlie Higson in The Fast Show, compares everyday actions, such as washing the car, hanging wallpaper or making coffee, to the act of carnal conjugation.

Poker can be just as easily slid into that analogy. The bouffant-haired Toni could easily eulogise that to be a winning player you have to target soft spots, exert strong confident pot control and juggle positional sense with stack management.

Schoolboy guffaws aside, the reality of the situation, whether at the baize or in the sack, is not always that prescribed and is infinitely less forgiving. There are few tried-and-tested techniques that will guarantee you much success in either, yet you’d be forgiven for believing that you’re a potential world-beater when you get a winning result.

If you approach poker nervously or with a lack of confidence you’ll either blind yourself out or find yourself making a series of bad moves that leaves you bewildered and watching from the sidelines.

Over-exuberance can be just as costly. Try shipping your chips around like a pro and it’s all the more likely that you will bust out early leaving you feeling deflated, a little embarrassed and wondering when you’ll get another chance to chip up.

Meanwhile, if you stick to an abc style of play you may well score a few tournament cashes but you’re unlikely to ever hit the heady heights of the game. On the other hand, if you experiment wildly you’ll enjoy a rollercoaster ride.

Yes, things are more likely to go tits up, but if you learn when to take your foot off the pedal you will experience the heady heights of the chip lead (or close to it) in some of those attempts to loosen up. And in anyone’s book, that’s a lot of fun.

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