Does it Benefit Me to be a Specialist or Should I Learn All the Games?

Posted by Dan in Poker Tips on July 28, 2009

This is a tough question to answer as it really depends on what you want to do with your poker playing.  If you are just looking to take down your local game, you are probably better off just playing hold’em and becoming an expert.  If you want to be a true player and be successful at the casinos, you are better off getting a well rounded education and learning all of the games.

The reason I say that you should become well rounded is because you never know where opportunity is going to strike.  Most home games are either a compilation of a bunch of silly games like After the Queen, Low Hole and 7, Middle Hole and the like or straight up Texas Holdem Poker tournaments.  Any game with a wild card is pretty much pot luck so you can focus on hold’em and clean up with your buddies.

When you are looking to play cards for a living, you have to be able to play where the money is.  For instance, you walk into your local card room and all of the hold’em tables are not only filled, but are occupied by people that you know are better than you.  On the other hand, the 7 stud table has 2 seats open and has nothing but suckers sitting at it.  Do you want to be on the list to donate your money or would you rather go sit down and make 2 month’s rent in one session?

The other money making opportunity for this is playing poker on poker sites.  H.O.R.S.E. tournaments are becoming more and more popular at the poker sites. While there may be a lot of players in them, they do not always have the best skills once you get into the stud variations.  It is always funny to watch someone play Razz for the first time as it can get quite confusing. These poker sites offer more popular games which might be an opportunity to make more money.

This is where being a well rounded player will help you.  Let them fight it out on the hold’em and Omaha Poker games.  You can sit back and wait for big hands there, but when the stud games roll in, all bets are off.  This is where you can lay down the hammer and take advantage of the weaker players.

As a matter of fact, this is also true of the live game.  I’m not sure if you noticed for not, but the majority of the variation games had all pro’s going deep in the WSOP.  The reason behind this is the fields are smaller and the play is much weaker.  A skilled player can rip right through these games.  In all honesty, if you want to win a bracelet, this is your best chance.

Now is the time to start practicing.  Get as much experience as you can at the micro levels online and then get into the live games at the casino.  Start at the lower levels to get a feel for how the game is played and then start sitting in with the big boys.  You may even find that you like it better than hold’em!

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