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Own the Table

Texas Holdem Tips: Own the Table
by Hank Cashman of

If you want to win more and more often, you have to take control of the table. Donít leave your fate up to your opponents. You have to own the table.

When you are in a hand, your cards and position are part of the game, but not all of the game. You have to stay in control. You know that there is some luck factor in poker but skill is what makes the difference.

Take a Limit game for example. When you're first to act, you control how high the betting will get. Letís say you're in a hand with a bet/raiser behind you. If you want to keep the pot small, you should check first. You know the other player will bet so you keep the pot down to one bet. If you want to build a pot you should bet first. This way when he raises you, you can re-raise and possibly get the pot capped. Either way, you control the play.

In a No-Limit game you can still control the table from any position. With your bet and the size of the bet, you set the pace for the rest of the play. If you start the betting at one or two times the blind the hand will usually continue at the level. If you push in higher then the bets will climb to match your bets and the pot. As the pot grows so do the bets.

Take what you have learned about your opponents and use that to help keep control. If you know they will bet a hand, let them. Keep your hand a mystery by letting them do the betting. If they don't bet the river and you have called all the way, bet it. They will assume you have had the hand all along. Even by laying low you have controlled the action.

On the other side, if you have bet with a semi-bluff, keep it up. I have seen too many players lose hands by giving up on a continuation bet. If you bet the flop and donít bet the turn you have given the control over to your opponent. Most of the time that one more bet will be the deciding factor in wining or losing. If you have been called by someone chasing a straight or flush and they miss, your next bet could give you the pot.

In Heads-Up play, always give the impression of a strong hand. If you are the button, always raise pre-flop. If your opponent is in the button and doesn't raise, you do it. After the flop bet or raise on more time. This will let you know where you stand and usually buy you a lot of pots. In Heads-Up always be aggressive and control the table.

Someone has to be in charge of the action on the table. It might as well be you.

Keep the cards and chips flying.

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