how to win at poker

How To Win At Poker

Words: Samantha Rea
Illustration: Mark Thomas

The poker expert Byron Kaverman reveals his secrets…

Everyone fantasizes about winning big at cards and living off the spoils, but how can you make those dreams a reality? Byron Kaverman has the answer. The 29-year-old American has won almost $7 million in poker games worldwide, and the Global Poker Index recently named him Player of the Year. A former psychology student, Kaverman closely watches the body language of his rivals to gain an advantage. “Some people try to throw off their opponents by talking,” he says. “But really they’re just giving themselves away.” Here are his five tips for winning big. 

1 Be aggressive
“Take the initiative and bet first if you can. If someone else does, don’t just match their bet, raise it. This aggressive approach will win you games. If you only match bets, then that’s the sign of a beginner. Play passively and others will sense weakness. They’ll spot a lack of confidence in your cards and bust you out of the game.” 

“Be aware of your physical tendencies so you don’t give off any tells.”

2 Remember mistakes 
“If you lose a hand, just forget about it and focus on the next one. Then, at the end of the day, analyse the hand and look at what you could have done differently. If it’s a multiple-day tournament, concentrate on the next day, then revisit the hands when the tournament’s over. Some people write down the hands they lost, but I remember the significant ones. I analyse them by myself, or talk them through with friends.”

3 Relinquish control 
“It’s important to keep a cool head—if you get upset, it’ll affect your game. I don’t
let poker affect my emotions and I don’t feel any pressure to win. I play my best and accept that the results are out of my control. How? Remember, even when you’re a 70 percent favorite to win, there’s still a 30 percent chance that you’ll lose. Understanding that and taking it one hand at a time is a good way to keep your emotions in check.” 

Ben Carpenter also has some tips on how to win at poker

© partypoker // YouTube

4 Keep your poker face
“I maintain the same expression every hand, no matter what cards I’ve got. Be aware of your physical tendencies so you don’t give off any tells. I don’t wear shades, but if you blink when nervous, they can be useful. Also, balance the time you take to make a decision. Even if you know your move straight away, you should always take the same amount of time so you don’t give anything away to your opponents.”

5 Play within your means
“Be disciplined: exceeding your budget will affect your game. Only enter tournaments that cost 1 percent of your bankroll. So, if you are playing with $1,000, then you can buy in for $10 without worrying. In my time, I’ve played 15 to 20 tournaments in a row without winning any money. You have to allow for that or you’ll go broke fast.” 

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05 2016 The Red Bulletin

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