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Which Count?
 

A reader says: On surrendering and using a plus-minus count strategy we are confused in situations such as the following: we are sitting at third base. The dealer has a 10 up and received his hole card when the count was -3. we have sixteen. At the time we have to make a decision whether to surrender, hit, or stand, the count is +2. we feel we should stand since the dealer probably has a small card in the hole (since he received his hole card when the count was -3). Is this the correct decision?

For every decision you make, use your most up-to-date count. In your example, make your decision based on the +2 count. Ignore the fact that it used to be -3.

 
When to Try a Steal
 
Although there are certainly many things poker players can do to improve their chances of winning and losing outside of bluffing/stealing (for example, extracting extra bets from your opponents by trapping them with a check-raise, slow-playing a hand, setting up false tells, finding other players' tells), stealing is numero uno. When you get to the bottom line, you find that the only consistent way to get to final tables and win poker tournaments is by winning a fairly high number of pots to which your cards don't entitle you!

If you think about it, you'll soon see that this has to be true. If the player with the best hand always won the pot, the player who caught the best cards on tournament day would win the event. Poker would be a game of pure chance, no more difficult than betting on a coin flip.

The beauty-and danger-of poker lies in just how much skill is involved. There's far more skill involved than most players, even most very good players, realize.

This is "beautiful" because many players who aren't good enough to play against you will do so, figuring either that the game is mostly luck or hoping that they will get lucky enough to overcome their underestimated skill deficiency.
 
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