Memory and Analysis|
is less of the drudgery of counting and memory in poker than in
other card games of skill, but unfortunately you will need some
counting and memory even in poker. If you aren't capable of it you can
still be a pretty good player but you won't be a master player.
stud poker, memory of cards is important. In draw poker, you don't
have to remember many cards but you do have to analyze the special
values of certain cards. In both games, you have to both remember and
analyze certain things that your opponents have done. I will take these
up one by one.
Memory in stud poker. The stud
player simply has to remember what
cards have shown and have been folded. Otherwise he won't know the
chances that a particular opponent has a particular hole card. Also, he
won't know his own chance of improving.
give you an oversimplified example. Maybe it wouldn't happen
more than once in a hundred years, but related cases happen every day.
You have four of a kind. Your opponent shows 10-8-7-6, all hearts. If
you don't know or don't remember that the nine of hearts showed and
folded in another player's hand, you don't know you have a cinch hand.
And, as a noted card authority once remarked, "You can't remember a
card you didn't see." So you have to watch everything and remember
everything. I will explain the practical application of this when I
discuss stud poker.
Analysis in draw poker. From the
cards in your own hand you can often
draw conclusions about opposing hands. Suppose you stay against a
player who opened, only the two of you in the pot. He draws three
cards. You draw three cards to Q-Q-A-K-6. You make three queens. He
bets, you raise; he probably had you beaten with aces or kings going
in, but your holding of the ace and king reduced his chance of making
three of a kind in either rank and he probably bet on two pair. If your
hand had been Q-Q-8-5-3, you might have called instead of raising.
the opponents' play. This is a special knack for some players,
as I said in the section on Psychology, but every player can cultivate
the knack if he does so consciously. You must deliberately say to
yourself (silently, of course), "Joe stayed against a showing ace when
he had a six down and a jack up,"
"Joe stayed against two opponents when he had a pair of sixes." If
you don't notice and analyze this information consciously, you are far
less likely to remember it.
this connection, it is a good idea to insist on one of the universal
laws of poker: That every hand in the showdown, whether it wins or
loses, must be shown. Though this is a universal rule, it is more
honored in the breach than in the observance. In 99% of all cases, one
player will say, "Kings up," and flash his hand briefly; the other will
say, "That's good," and throw his hand away without showing it. I admit
that you will profit from doing the same when it is your hand that
would have to be shown; but when it is somebody else's hand, you can
legally ask to see it and in most games you won't make yourself
unpopular by doing so—especially if you pretend that you're just
said before, I will have much more to say on the subject of card
memory and analysis when I discuss the particular games, which I will
now take up one by one.