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08/01/2007 No. 8
he Guardian G2 Poker Column
Victoria Coren
Monday January 8, 2007

You've made some excellent new year's resolutions this time, haven't you? Quit smoking: perfect timing, before the ban comes in this summer. Cut down on drinking: very wise. Lose a bit of weight: well, I didn't want to be the one to say ...

But the keen poker player must make an extra set of resolutions, pertaining solely to the beautiful game. Today is a good time to pause and consider where you lost the most money at poker in 2006, and resolve to change those situations. Should you stop playing such a straightforward game, and have the courage to bluff more often? Stop bluffing so much because people always call? I haven't watched you play, so I don't know where your holes are, but here is a list of possible resolutions, which may at least inspire you to come up with your own ...
1. Quit while you're ahead. Don't lose it all again. Work out in advance how much profit would satisfy you, and stop when you get there.

2. Quit while you're behind. Don't see red and keep throwing money at the problem; learn to accept when you're having a bad night, and just draw a line under it.

3. Don't call so much. With a made hand, raise to protect it or find out where you are. With a draw, raise to disguise it or build the pot in case you hit. Alternatively, there's no shame in folding.

4. Be more trusting. When someone puts in a big bet, or keeps betting every street, they have a strong hand more often than they're bluffing. You have to keep them honest sometimes, but scepticism can be a very expensive tendency.

5. Read Dan Harrington or Doyle Brunson poker books for inspiration, not word-for-word instruction.

6. Win quietly, lose graciously, and remember that the online chat-box is for chatting. Not for making death threats. Good luck ...

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