Let’s talk poker strategy, or not

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Talking strategy is a great tool to improve your game, and I’d argue it’s damn near integral. Just be conscious of where and when you discuss strategy.

I recently played the World Series of Poker Circuit in West Palm Beach, Fla. On Day 2 of the $1,600 main event, I overheard two players at my table discussing strategy. This is bad for multiple reasons.

• By discussing strategy at the poker table, you help weaker players learn various concepts. By making weaker players stronger, they become tougher and we lose money in the process. So by talking strategy you’re costing yourself money. That’s a pretty vicious cycle.

• You teach players there’s something to learn. The vast majority of players out there are so stubborn and egotistical they think they know everything there is to know about poker. I like it that way. If they overhear you throw around “hand ranges” and “bet-sizing” you might drive them to learn. Again, this is something we don’t welcome.

• You take the fun out of the game. The fish will grow intimidated and make fewer mistakes. He might feel threatened and stop open-limping or stop playing every hand. We wouldn’t want to encourage the fish to play better.

• You clue your savvy opponents in on how to exploit you. Even if you make a big fold, keep your mouth shut. Or lie. Lie like a damn rug. If you show your cards, tell the truth about what you had or discuss the hand you just played, you’re giving your foe vital information that will be your downfall.

In summary, information is power when it comes to poker. We want power. We need power to win and to make money so I would advise you to skip the discussion on strategy while at the tables.

Trust me, because if I overhear you talking about a hand, you can bet (your last dollar, after I take the rest) I’m listening to every word you say and I’m going to use it against you. You have the right to remain silent.

— Mike Wolf is a team pro at surebetpoker.net. Email him at MichaelJWolf33@gmail.com and follow his adventures on Twitter @mikewolf7.