Welcome to to your best source for Texas Hold'em strategy. I'm Greg and if you've never been to our site before I'd like to tell
you a little bit about me and our website.
Hooked on Holdem
In 2003 I became fascinated like many people watching World Series on ESPN. I was hooked and
was watching it at every opportunity. Before long I
began surfing the web looking for online poker sites and wondering what was required for me to play.
When I realized I could play for free at Party Poker, I downloaded the software to my laptop and played
hundreds, if not thousands of games, mostly "Limit Texas Holdem" single table tournaments. I tried a
couple of "no limit" play money tournaments, but was disappointed that so many of the players
were simply going "ALL-IN" on the first hand. It seemed a bit ridiculous to me, so I was back playing limit
poker and for a while I was a happy camper. I enjoyed the camaraderie of the players, but soon
realized that many of these people had little interest in playing "as if it were real". That became
more and more frustrating. I then had an idea. I figured that out of ten people in a tournament game
there must be 2 or 3 that actually cared about playing real poker. My job,I figured, was to be
disciplined enough and hang around long enough so that I could get down
to the final 3 or 4. Most of the time, it worked. I frequently found myself in the final three or
four with players who did not want to lose - or at least cared enough about
their decisions that they weren't completely reckless. Now that might not sound like very stiff competition,
but when you compare that to the ridiculous "roulette-style" of poker that you typically see at the start of most
play money games, it was a major improvement.
Another Try at No Limit
It was at this point, I decided to test the waters again at the No Limit game. As expected, a
number of players at these single table play money tournaments would go ALL-IN on the first hand.
Invariably, some guy would end up with 3200 chips after the first hand. It was almost comical. But
I realized my purpose was not to win all the play money chips. My goal was to find the two or three
players who really cared about playing the game - and play them. I had begun thinking about playing for
real money, but since I like money, I was not ready to risk any of it until I thought I had a shot.
I kept this up for a number of months, and I soon began to win with regularity - mostly by being extremely
patient and very aggressive when the cards were good. I started foolishly thinking I was a great player
and the world had better watch out. I began to buy poker books and started with Lee Jone's popular book,
Low Limit Holdem.
Even though it was a "limit" Texas Holdem book, I had heard that it was perfect for a
beginning Texas Holdem player. I learned a lot about fundamentals from that book.
Before long, I was continuously buying poker books from Amazon.com, almost one a week -
and I was actually reading them. My poker library is huge at this point and I dare to say I own
just about every relevant Texas Holdem poker book published. Some were
absolutely brilliant, like Dan Harrington's amazing,
"Harrington on Holdem, Strategic Play"
Playing for Real Money
In late 2004, I finally decided that it was time to play for real. I did not
know much about the free bonuses offered by most online poker sites, so I just
deposited $100 at Party Poker and began watching some real money tournaments to
get a feel for it. As expected, there was a major contrast in style with real
money players. Going ALL-IN on the first hand was non-existent, and all ten
players were frequently still "in the game" fifteen minutes after a tournament
started. Even though these were only $5+$1 games, the players for the most part
took it seriously and they wanted to take my money. I entered my first No Limit
$5+$1 tournament game and came in 2nd, winning $15. I actually had a significant
chip lead (at one point my opponent had only 180 chips left), but I still got
Since I had kept an Excel spreadsheet of most every play money and real money tournament I played, I
knew that the number one reason for my early success was discipline, pure and simple. Keeping notes after
each session and recording results of pivotal decisions on specific hands was invaluable to analyzing
and adjusting my play. I realized that many opponents were frequently too aggressive too early, or painfully passive.
The tight, aggressive style had worked
for me and I continue to use it to this day. I have found that, for a recreational player like myself,
this offers the lowest risk and most consistent reward over time. While I have continued to play, and
moved up to the $10+$1 buy-in tournaments, I more frequently play the so-called "ring games", on-going,
non-tournament games where you can sit down and get up (virtually) whenever you like. The games I
play are a maximum $25 or $50 BUY-IN (meaning that is the MOST you can "start with" at the table).
When you are ready to try the real thing, please consider clicking on one of our
partner links to sign up. This helps support the PokerDecision website. Thanks again for visiting. Enjoy!