There are great names from the World Series of Poker's past: Amarillo Slim, Puggy Pearson, Doyle Brunson. Gruff, manly names. The kind of guys who might down a bottle of bourbon, stuff a cigar in his mug, and then casually lay down a Royal Flush.
Do you want to be the next Puggy Pearson? I know I do. That's why Penthouse magazine sent me to the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas to get world-class poker tips from the likes of Greg Raymer, Mark Seif, Shawn Rice, and several other pros from those numerous late-night poker TV shows.
Here's a brief sampling:
Have a Dirty Harry Look
Psychologically, people tend to avoid a person they perceive as being aggressive. So, when going up against a player in a bluff situation, try to develop a Dirty Harry look.
Former trial lawyer turned poker pro Mark Seif explains, "If you have an angry person at the table, people tend not to want to deal with him." Seif demonstrates by doing his Dirty Harry--the very look he used to win two WSOP bracelets. It works. I no longer want to deal with him.
Be the Hammer, Not the Nail
Just as soccer is a 90-minute game, when playing in a tournament, your goal is to make it to the final table. Therefore, don't be too loose. New players want to be involved in all the action so they end up playing way too many hands. You'll burn out if you start too fast. Learn to be a tight player and focus on the good hands. Once you start playing fewer hands, you'll find that the decision-making process becomes easier.
Conversely, new players sometimes don't play aggressively enough. You'll get run over at the poker table if you don't put that foot on the pedal when the time is right. No one likes to get run over. According to my instructors, poker's easy when you don't have to make the tough decisions.
Focus on the Cards
A hoodie and sunglasses seem to be the standard poker uniform at the WSOP. Former FBI agent/body-language specialist Joe Navarro dismisses the flashy poker accessories. "It makes you see a lot less at the table," he stresses with a smirk. Navarro explains that when a player is wearing sunglasses, he is still easy to read: "It doesn't block how their eyes react when they arch their eyebrows."
Also forget hiding inconspicuously behind your hoodie: "Hoodies mean nothing--they don't track how you are sitting, perched, and the position of your hands."
Navarro believes that hands (human hands) are the biggest giveaway when collecting information on your opponents. Check to see if their hands are flat or arched in a ready-for-action position. When a player shows strong hands, they will be forward into the table, since we tend to move toward things we like. We also subconsciously incarcerate the cards if they have value. Spread fingers also designate a strong hand while fingers close together or thumbs hidden means the player's hand is weak. (Use this to read his bluff.) For the optimal position, Navarro suggests hiding your thumbs and keeping your elbows in. When other players try to read you, all they'll get is a blank slate.
Read the rest of the World Series of Poker winning tips by clicking to Penthouse magazine