Phil Hellmuth is a professional poker player from the United States, widely regarded as one of the greatest tournament players in the history of the game. Born in 1964 in Madison, Wisconsin, Hellmuth began playing poker at a young age and quickly became known for his aggressive and unpredictable playing style. He has won a record-breaking 15 World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets, as well as numerous other major poker tournaments around the world. Hellmuth is also known for his larger-than-life personality, often displaying emotional outbursts at the poker table that have earned him the nickname “Poker Brat.” Here are his top 5 tips when playing poker tournaments at the real poker table:
One way to get tells from poker players is to watch their hands when they bet, a lot will be revealed. Make sure you bet consistently, putting the chips in the pot the same way, whether you’re strong or weak. To help your betting make sure you have the same expression on your face whether you’re strong or weak. It will make it a lot harder for guys like me to get a read on you.
Keep a close eye on a great player’s tactics, then add them to your arsenal. Pay attention to the hands they are playing by keeping track of their game. This will prepare you to play against them the next time.
Some poker players show obvious changes in their posture when their hand strength changes. For instance, you may notice their shoulders slump when they’re holding a weak hand. Conversely, a player may seem very attentive and sit in an erect position when he has strength. If you discover one of your own “weak tells,” then use it when you’re super strong. If you discover one of your “strong tells,” then use it when you’re weak. This will throw players off.
Take note of the length of time that a poker player looks at his hole cards. Many players can’t help staring at big hole cards, and their length of time peeking is likely to be longer. Conversely, if a player is looking to steal the pot, he may look to the left to see if the remaining players, who haven’t yet acted, have glanced more quickly at their cards and are likely to fold. This is why it is so important to soak up as much information as possible before the flop, and for you to get paid off as much as possible with great reads.
Weak is strong, and strong is weak
We have all heard that Weak is strong, and strong is weak. It is true more often then not. When poker players are holding a big hand, they tend to look disinterested. On the other hand, a player increasing the level of his voice while raising the pot, and trying to look intimidating all the while just might be running a bluff. It’s hard to know when you’re giving out tells yourself. Remember to be forever observant not only of your opponents but of yourself as well. For the same reasons you study opponents at the table you should assume that you’re being studied by at least one of your opponents at all times at the poker table.