Tools of the Trade for Would Be Poker Players

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There isn’t, and can never be, a perfect poker player. A hundred years from now, when The Future has properly arrived (because that’s when The Future is), there will be no perfect PokerBot. However brilliantly a person – or a machine – can calculate odds, the human element will always ensure that anyone (or anything) is ultimately beatable. Though you might go bankrupt trying.

The good news is that there are many ways to improve your game, including poker software, books and player forums. If you’re set on trying to make a living at the online game, and you’ve chosen your poker site, you’re ready for this guide to some of the best assistance available.


Hold’em Manager is used by many pro players, as well as amateurs who want to up their win rates. It performs many of the calculations you’d normally do yourself, allowing you to concentrate on the game and play more tables simultaneously. Like its competitor PokerTracker, the software displays stats about opponents and your own hand histories, providing in-game information and allowing self-analysis later.


PokerStove is a clever programme that evaluates your likelihood of winning a given hand; useful for anyone who’s regularly playing marginal hands and regretting it! TableScan Turbo is ideal for players who find themselves hanging around in the lobby trying to select a good table. It’ll scan all the games at a site and point you in the direction of the weaker players.


There are a plethora of excellent poker books on the market, from highly entertaining reads like Victoria Coren’s autobiographical “For Richer, For Poorer”, to Daniel Negreanu’s “Power Hold’em Strategy”. Negreanu’s book is an excellent compendium of tips and tricks suggested by pros from all over the world.

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For a different angle, try Jack Parker’s “How to Win at Online Texas Hold ‘Em”. It’s a shortish book that’s aimed at intermediate players. Sections on bluffing and sit-and-go’s, for example, are clearly explained and likely to improve newer players’ win rates. Drew Kasch’s “How to Shake the Online Poker Money Tree” is something of a classic, which has been updated to cover the changes in US online gambling law. It’s a bible for many people who’ve been able to make a living playing online.


Finally, don’t neglect online player forums. To gamble online for real money is to be put againts many players and so, you must learn to get better than many, many people. Two Plus Two has a quarter of a million members who gather to swap tips and stories, while PokerForums has sections dedicated to scandals and scams, as well as hand analysis and the usual chatrooms full of people crying about bad beats! PokerStrategy is well worth a visit, with specific threads for no limit, fixed limit, tournament play and sit-and-go’s.