Poker Notepad: Poker isn’t a slot machine


Why in the most cases poker and casino games are being looked at different angles? That is because there are completely different principles in poker. There is no “Cash-in” button, where you supposed to press for coins to fall down. There is no jackpot you’re supposed to wait for.

Today’s “Poker Notepad” is quite unusual. Usually we’re trying to deal with practice and today we’ll talk about theory. Just because it’s important. Well, theory isn’t that important all the time, but in this case it is.

We are going to use thoughts of Ed Miller, professional poker player, author of many books, poker couch and a man who has university degrees in several fields. Kind of person to listen to.

Ask the right questions

Have you ever played Video Poker slot machines? It’s a slot machine poker with high skill requirements. Pros can make money without fear of losing bankroll. It depends on the payments table.

So, you can ask in Video Poker: “If I have 2-А-Q suited in Super Mega Deuces Wild should I keep all the hand or just deuce?”


There is definite mathematical answer which is correct in all the cases. You just need to look at payments table and count thing out. How much is wild Royal Flush and how much is four deuces – just comparison of two factors.

These are principles to poker slot machines. There is no such principles in real poker. You do realize this and still ask questions like:

  • How often should I call with small pocket pairs preflop?
  • How am I supposed to play draws on the flop?
  • Should I slow play on the flop?
  • Can I limp aces preflop?

There is no value in a hand

You see, those questions are meaningless. Answers to them can’t help you progress. You won’t be able to make value as there is no payments table in poker.

Many players chose this path: they wait for the strong hand, get into the pot and try to win big pots; or they wait for a strong hand and fold (if they miss the flop).

If there is a guy with lots of money who calls everything – then yes, this strategy will be successful.. But this is rare these days.


What you need to do is to watch how other players put money in pots. Let’s suppose one of the opponents open too often and bets every flop. What is the question you need to ask?

For example, what hands are good to play with against this opponent to take pots away from him?

Or, what flops are good for you to re-raise him In order to get better chances to win?

In other words, we depend on how other players act. Each opponent creates situations you can get money from. But these situations differ, so questions and answers will be different in each case.

Sitting and waiting for good hands is too simple to be strategy these days. It works only at the smallest stakes and against the weakest opponents. You should play depending on your opponents. That is the main principle in poker.

Previously on the series:

Poker Notepad: Relative Value

Poker Notepad: Pot Commitment

Poker Notepad: Live poker chameleon

Poker Notepad: Maniacs can cry also



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