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The Edge: Gain It and Keep It

There are several ways that you can find an edge in just about any poker game. One of the easiest to take advantage of is the loose player. Poker is a game of observation, skill and luck as a few might say. First of all when looking for an “Edge” you have to pay strict attention to everything around you. Simply practicing the art of observation, as mentioned earlier, a play can find the right cards to play and the right situations to play them in. The vast majority of the weekend or casual players do not practice or posses the skill or trait that is necessary to pick up on these opportunities. Therefore they often end up playing inferior hands out of ignorance or just by not paying close enough attention.

Beyond some of you opponents being too sloppy or not being focused on the game there are a few things that you can use to gain the proverbial “Edge”. While playing poker as a profession we all understand that the ultimate goal is to win the most money possible, but keep in mind that the methods that we employ to win are greatly varied. That said it can be assumed that winning is a result of utilizing your skills and practices to lead or guide your opponents actions. When the time comes and you have one of those killer hands, you want your opponent to remain in the game unless there is a good chance that the next card dealt could beat you. Apparently you expect to be the winner in the end, so it is to your advantage to get them to donate as much as possible money into the pot. Remember that if your opponent acts first and you don’t think that he will bet then it is in your best interest to bet out right away. Once you understand the complexity of the hand being played, you can obtain and maintain the upper hand against less knowledgeable players.

Of course this is where your mathematical skills come to play, unless you can deduce the odds at a lightening pace there is a growing chance that they could draw the hand to take the pot after all of your hard work. Whether you are holding a pair of Kings or Aces, your opponent could be drawing into a straight or even a flush if given the time. If you don’t act when you first believe you have the “Edge” you may them odds to outdraw you. Food for thought, the “Edge” is very fine when playing professionally, so remember it can cut both ways.