Beginner Poker: Foreword

In my first contribution to Chicago Poker Club
, I talked about hovering around Dickey Simpkins' table at a charity event, covering how the NBA basketball player was not immune to rookie mistakes on the felt.

His position reminded me of when I first took interest in the game. A lot of articles I tried reading were inundated with information. I had to decipher mounds of poker jargon before I could even think of reading more about poker theories.

I thought I'd create a primer series of articles for beginner poker players. I'll start off with the inaugural article by addressing a twelve letter word that some more experienced folks try to use to our advantage:


It's not just the verb exercised by poker great Phil Ivey.


It's not just the style of play practiced by a Big Stack Bully.

"A Big Stack what now?"

Intimidation begins long before your first hand is dealt. The thousand-mile-an-hour loop of questions start the moment you accept an invitation to your first live poker game.

I'd like to issue a disclaimer of sorts: as noted in my previous article, I've only been playing in live games for a few years myself. In no way do I consider myself to be an expert in Texas Hold 'Em.

Daniel NegreanuThe game is filled with professionals that have years of experience. Some of my personal favorites are Daniel Negreanu, Mike Matusow, Chris Ferguson, and (because he's just damn entertaining) Phil Hellmuth.

All that said, I'd like to think that I've got just enough experience (and basement bar table winnings) to help beginning players better understand what lies ahead of them. In a nutshell, I'd like to take the opportunity as a poker blogger to make the game less intimidating and more fun for new players. Hell, if I can encourage my girlfriend to play a live game with a few of my loudmouth friends, I can certainly help someone actively looking for advice!

What I won't cover, for two reasons, is basic game mechanics.

First reason: there's about a million instructional resources available. There's no need for me to add the redundancy of another.

Second reason: as my friends will tell you, I tend to run off on a ridiculously above-average number of tangents. I'd like to cover one or two specific mechanics at a time and reserve the entire article for the "what ifs" of that specific mechanic or mechanics.

Finally, I'm hoping to spur some interaction. Did I say something that made you think? Did I say something that's totally off-base? Did I say something that pissed you off? Did I NOT say something that you think would add to my article? Chicago Poker Club has a forum -- use it!