Play and Exposed Cards
 
There are two universally applicable techniques for reading hands in all poker games and one more for open-handed games like seven-card stud, razz, and hold 'em. Most commonly you analyze the meaning of an opponent's check, bet, or raise, and in open-handed games you look at his exposed cards and try to judge from them what his entire hand might be. You then combine the plays he has made throughout the hand with his exposed cards and come to a determination about his most likely hand.

Here is a simple problem in reading hands that should make this point clear. The game is seven-card stud, and your opponents are decent players:

Player A
Player B
Player C
You

Player A with the pair of aces showing bets; Player B with the pair of kings showing calls; and Player C with the pair of queens showing calls. There are no raises. You are last to act. How should you play your three 7s?

 
[ 1 ][ 2 ][ 3 ]
 
Chip Accumulation vs. Conservation
 
Because the chips merely serve to indicate who has more than whom, it would be accurate, technically, to think of your chip total as a "point total." Nonetheless, players are used to thinking of chips as being worth dollars, not points. The play seems more fun and exciting that way too, so casinos keep the harmless fiction alive.

Even though the "no cash value" chips do have value, their value is often different from the numbers marked on them: A $1,000 chip can be worth very different amounts to you at different stages of a tournament.

Let's suppose you've entered a $100 tournament where they give each player $1,000 in tournament chips to begin. If you get hot early and within the first half hour of what is expected to be a ten-hour event, you find yourself with $2,000 in chips, your thousand-dollar chip is very valuable. It's half of your stack and it represents a big lead over par. If you got involved in a big pot and lost $1,000 here, it would be a catastrophe.

In comparison, suppose you are now in the ninth hour of that same tournament and have a $100,000 stack. Winning or losing $1,000 at that stage barely matters. It's only 1 percent of your stack, rather than 50 percent of it.
 
eXTReMe Tracker copyrights © 2005 all rights reserved. Online Poker Guru