Doyle's Poker Tips

Doyle Brunson, the "Texas Dolly," winner of 10 WSOP bracelets and one of the most prolific poker players the World has ever seen has written these poker tips for us to share with you. Using Doyle's Tips when playing Texas Holdem will help your game no end.


When Not To Bet
You should be very reluctant to bet a marginally strong hand into a consistent bluffer. You'll often make more money checking and calling. (Note, though, that if the bluffer will not bet most losing hands he would have called with, you should bet.)

Long Range Benefits Of Being Gracious
Don't ridicule opponents mistakes. You'll motivate them, and they'll play better. Always make it as comfortable as possible for your opponents to lose. The only strategically acceptable exception is you've busted them permanently. Then if you ridicule them, it can't cost you anything in the future. It's just bad manners. A similar Mad Genius concept applies to real life: If you're not going to kill 'em, let 'em save face.

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A Good Time To Bluff
One of the best times to bluff is when an opponent is staring you down, reaching for his chips, or otherwise threatening to call. While opponents who are trying to discourage your bet by threatening to call, MIGHT actually call, they don't have hands powerful enough to raise. So, what remains are usually hands that they will be reluctant to call with. They will either call -- reluctantly -- or fold. Usually, in limit poker games where the size of the pot dwarfs the size of the bet, an opponent acting in this matter will fold often enough to give your bluff attempt an expectation of profit.

Don't Play To Impress Your Opponents
Sometimes you're frustrated because there's such a large luck factor in poker. Once we master enough poker skills, it's only natural to want to let others know that we are accomplished players. But I've seen a whole truckload of money lost in a half-hour by players wanting to impress others in a short span of time.

You might be able to do that in basketball with a few blocked shots, some fancy dribbling, and a couple of dunks; but poker isn't the type of game that makes impressing others easy. Ultimately, if you vary from your game plan to impress opponents, you're risking losing a lot of money that should have stayed in your purse or wallet. Sitting and waiting for an hour won't look very impressive to your opponents, and choosing the routine thing instead of a fancy play won't, either. But this is the way of winning poker.
Only occasionally can you use your expertise profitably to show off. Most of the time, you can't. But, as a consolation, all the money you accumulate by the end of the year will BE impressive in the long term -- unless you throw it away by trying to LOOK impressive in the short-term.

Listen For Sighs
Poker players who sigh and subsequently bet usually hold big hands. They're trying to appear sad in an attempt to fool you. Among more sophisticated opponents, the sigh won't be obvious. You'll have to listen closely, but it's often there -- and it's usually an act, whether subtle or more obvious.

Although this powerful tell won't help you much playing online poker in today's environment, it is one you should use against opponents sitting at the same physical table in traditional poker games. Seldom call a sigh.

Rake vs. Rent
When the house rakes money directly from your pot, you need a bigger advantage to call and raise. If you're renting your seat by the hour, you should play more liberally.

Reprinted with permission from Doyle’s Room • •

About Doyle’s Room: is an online poker room operated by DBPN (Doyle Brunson Poker Network), a company incorporated and licensed in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles. Doyles Room is the only site endorsed by Doyle Brunson, the 10-time World Series of Poker champion and the King of Poker.

Powered by Microgaming, offers a number of poker card game options that include Texas Hold’em, 7-card stud, and Omaha and also offers a variety of casino games such as Blackjack, Roulette, Slots, and more.

** does not accept US-based players.

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The 1st commandment of poker, thou shall always make rational decisions. This rule holds true for all of your poker decisions, from game selection, to playing within your bankroll, to check raising your friend on the river. Successful poker player's decisions are always rational.

The 2nd commandment of poker, thou shall always think positively. In order to become a winner you must first believe that you are a winner. Successful poker players always think positively.

The 3rd commandment of poker, thou shall only play good starting hands. No matter what form of poker you are playing you must adhere to the rule of playing only quality starting hands.

The 4th commandment of poker, thou shall be selectively aggressive. Being selectively aggressive means betting and raising when you have an edge in the hand, or when it may influence the outcome of the hand. Successful poker players are always aggressive with their strong hands.

The 5th commandment of poker, thou shall know and play the percentages. A large part of playing solid poker is math, from being able to calculate your pot odds to figuring out how many cards will help you in a particular hand. Successful poker players always know and play the percentages.

The 6th commandment of poker, thou shall mix up your play. If you want to make maximum profit in a poker game you need to make people play against you when you have a strong hand as well as a marginal one. If you only bet when you have a strong hand or check all of your drawing hands your opponents will eventually pick up on this and you will become a very readable opponent. Successful poker players always try to mix up their play.

The 7th commandment of poker, thou shall always work on improving thy game. Whether by reading or re-reading a book or article, or practicing with software on your computer, you must constantly be trying to become a more complete poker player. Successful poker players are always trying to improve.

The 8th commandment of poker, thou shall learn from thy mistakes. Successful poker players always learn from their mistakes.

The 9th commandment of poker, thou shall always pay attention. To be a winning poker player you must be observant of your opponents, regardless of if you are involved in the hand or not. Successful poker players always pay attention.

The 10th commandment of poker, thou shall be a well-rounded poker player. To be a great poker player you must give yourself as many prospects as you can to win. Limiting yourself to only 1 form of poker such as limit Texas Hold Em, will severely reduce the options you have to find a good game. Successful poker players are well-rounded players.

Anil Yadav

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