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First Rule of Poker

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The First Golden Rule of Poker
Maximize the size of the pots that you win; minimize the amount of your money in the pots that you lose.


Pretty anti-climactic, eh? Expecting quite a bit more, weren't you? And why wouldn't you...to be told to expect the golden rule of your favourite game is bound to straighten you up to attention in your seat. And to be told something so simple, something so base that you already knew, has got to hurt.

Before you hit your Back button to leave this page in disgust, I hold that half of home poker players have never thought of this point in its entirety. And of the half that do, I also hold that half of them do not keep this principle in mind when making every single observation and every single decision they make at the Poker table. This rule of Poker is in fact so simple, that it is often overlooked.

Every time you put money into a pot that you can't win 'just to see what comes up', you lose more money than you need to. Every time you don't maximize the size of the pot by folding players with a big bet who would have otherwise stayed in and called on a smaller bet, you win less money that you could have.

It must be emphasized that individual hands are insignificant compared to your overall winnings/losings over the course of the night. Knowing when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em is the smartest thing that non-gambler Kenny Rogers ever contributed to this game. Again, it's so simple, it's overlooked. I challenge anybody to come up with a single generic Poker strategy that does not, in some way, branch off of this one golden rule of Poker. The fact is that this rule is the basis behind all intelligent Poker playing.

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