In Kevin MacPhee’s ‘Swinging to the Edge’ he reveals his tips on poker that you can use to become a better player. While I enjoyed the book I had some criticisms of certain aspects of the advice.
The first suggestion that I found highly recommended in this book is to increase your knowledge of the game of poker. If you know more about the game of poker than your opponents, you have a big advantage because you can read their moves and read the body language of the table. You can often read the body language of a poker player and they often make their moves without meaning it.
If you are skilled enough, you can even read their body language, so that you can read their thinking and their intentions. If you notice that they keep their bets low and that they don’t fold out of fear of losing the pot, they are trying to get something for nothing. However, if you see that they fold out of fear of being blind sided, you will know they are playing for pride and not for the best hand.
While you should be aware of the body language of the poker player, you shouldn’t let it cloud your judgment on whether or not they are bluffing. We all want to win but sometimes we do not act in the best interest of our own poker strategy. In order to decide whether or not they are bluffing, you need to read their expressions and their actions.
The next tip in ‘Swinging to the Edge’ is to learn how to focus and enjoy a tight game. Many players, like myself, focus on what they don’t have and how they need to make sure they have everything in order to be successful at poker.
If you do this, it can sometimes drive you crazy and make you push yourself way past your limits. My advice to you is to have fun during your tight games and remember that everything takes a back seat when you are winning. As you continue to win and increase your stack, you can enjoy the moments when you aren’t acting like a poker pro.
Another tip in ‘Swinging to the Edge’ is to adjust your style of play when you’re winning. This can sometimes be hard for me to do, because the more I see my poker skills improve the more I want to play the same style. The truth is that you need to play with style when you are having a good poker run. You can always modify your style as you go, but when you are having a great run you want to continue to make changes to your style.
One of the things that I learned in my poker career is that there is a rhythm to playing poker. When you’re winning and your stack is growing, you don’t want to slow down and try to make smaller pot sizes, you want to increase the size of your bankroll.
Sometimes it is wise to practice different poker strategies that you might want to employ when you’re winning, but it is important to play the same strategy that you are playing every time. That way you don’t lose concentration and have to change strategies at the last minute, because your hand was not strong enough to keep up with the other players.
Another tip in ‘Swinging to the Edge’ that I found useful is to learn how to relax when you are winning. I know that I am more comfortable when I am winning, but sometimes I am on tilt and I am not playing with any strategy at all.
Sometimes I’m able to find the calm and the fun in poker, but sometimes I get frustrated and feel like my strategy is just a gimmick and that no one can really use it. When this happens I think to myself, “If you ever get really frustrated, then you need to sit down and focus on what you do best and figure out a strategy that works for you”.
When I am winning I would rather play conservatively and only go for two cards and when I’m losing, I will be more aggressive and take the chips that I think I will need to win. Once you begin to become skilled enough at poker, you can learn any poker strategy to suit your own style and personal needs.