Brooklyn poker pro and winner of three World Series of Poker championship bracelets, Matt Matros, is giving private poker lessons to select VIPs at Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center’s (WHBPAC) Casino Night on Friday, July 22. This master of the game won’t be available to teach everyone, but he kindly agreed to share 10 key poker tips for winning big pots and avoiding bad beats over the weekend.
For those who won’t be joining Matros at his private table on Friday, Casino Night will still offer fun, high-stakes blackjack, roulette, craps, slot machines and, of course, poker starting at 8 p.m. Why not be prepared?
1. Be extremely selective before deciding to enter a pot
Even professionals fold about 80 percent of their hands before the first round of betting at a full table.
2. But be much more willing to call the final bet with a reasonable hand
By the last round of betting the pot will usually be offering a decent price, so that if your hand has even a 25 percent chance of being best, it might be worth a call.
3. Keep track of the size of the pot
Bets are only big or small relative to the pot size, and you’ll have no way to evaluate them if you don’t know the pot size!
4. Play aggressively
That means when you do choose to enter a pot, you should often be betting and raising, rather than checking and calling. In fact, when you’re the first person to enter a pot, you should always be coming in for a raise.
5. Don’t try to bluff bad players
If you have nothing and you’re up against an opponent who never folds, it’s foolish to continue your usual aggressive play. Bad players are bad because they never fold. The way to beat them is to start with better hands, not to put in more money with your bad hands.
6. Don’t be afraid to bet your good hands!
A common mistake among typical players is that they’re satisfied to win a big pot, without realizing they could’ve won an even bigger pot. If you think your opponent has a medium-strength hand you can beat, don’t let that player off the hook. Bet your hand and profit.
7. Pay attention
Players who act strong are usually weak, and vice versa. If a player sighs and shakes his head and then puts money in the pot, proceed with extreme caution. Conversely, if a player emphatically slams down a bet and stares menacingly at you, there’s an excellent chance that player is bluffing.
8. Learn the basic math of your preferred form of poker
This includes pot odds, drawing odds, and odds of hand vs. hand match-ups. Knowing the math behind when to take a calculated risk is crucial to success in this game.
9. Keep track of hands you’ve played and review them away from the table
Try to analyze your play without considering whether you won or lost the hand. Reviewing your own hand histories is one of the best ways a poker player can improve.
10. Seek out as much information as you can
That means internet forums, other players you respect, strategy books and even online training sites. If you’re really serious about this game, then there’s no end to the amount of learning you’ll have to do to stay sharp.
Visit whbpac.org to learn more and buy tickets.