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Gearing Down

We recommend one course of action to any player mired in a losing streak: Shift gears. We all change gears during a poker games - sometimes consciously, as a planned strategy - and sometimes we just wind up playing differently later on than we did when we first sat down.

When you're losing, consider gearing down way down, by playing fewer hands. Losing means it's time for lots of traction and not much speed. It's a time for playing only the best starting hands. Not marginal hands, not good - or even very good - starting hands, but only the best hands. That means you'll throw away hand after hand, and it takes discipline to do this, particularly when some of the hands would have won. But here's the recipe for gearing down:

Stay away from troublesome, marginal hands. Go with the gold.
Make opponents pay to draw out on you. Most of the time they won't get lucky, and that extra money in the pot will wind up in your stack of chips
Never play weak starting hands from early position.

These concepts apply to all forms of poker. But they're not enough. Each form of poker is quite different, and each demands the application of specific strategies and tactics if you're to win consistently (and we hope you will!). We present the five most commonly played Internet poker games in the very next page, but we leave it to you to blend the basic concepts of this page with the games-specific ideas you'll learn in coming pages. Once you've done that, you'll be on your way to becoming a solid, dangerous poker player - whether online or off.

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