How to Play Poker: The 23 Golden Rules

Over the last few years I've written down some "golden rules." These are rules for playing professional poker that all players should adhere to.

Most of these are personal rules I created to keep my own play and actions in line. Some are rules I follow, and others are rules I wish my opponents would take to heart.

I can only wish I had known all of these, and followed them from day one. Had I have done just that, I would have a significantly larger roll right now. In no particular order:

The Golden Rules of Poker

  • Always play within your roll
  • When you make a free card play, take the free card
  • Only play poker with a positive and clear frame of mind
  • It's better to get bluffed than make a bad call and lose your stack
  • There is no room for ego in poker
  • Above all else, we play poker to make money
  • Every action you make should be made for a reason
  • Never educate another player at the table
  • No one wants to hear your bad beat story
  • Being 99% to win a pot is not 100% to win
  • If you think someone has you beat, they probably do
  • Roll with the punches, accept your losses and don't let them run your life
  • Control your temper
  • If you set a limit, goal or rule, stick to it no matter what
  • If you feel like you're in over your head, stand up and leave
  • There's more to life than poker
  • Never correct someone who mentions a piece of incorrect poker logic
  • Remember to shower - biological warfare is not acceptable
  • Play on reads and odds; ignore all hopes and prayers
  • Respect the integrity of the game
  • This is a gentleman's game - act like one
  • Your goal is to get to the point of consistently playing mistake-free poker
  • Don't tap the glass

These simple rules are more valuable than any other poker resource I have ever come across. Take these rules to heart now, or spend the time and money to learn them yourself the hard way.

Trust me when I say that to learn these rules, I've lost more than enough money for both of us.

More Poker Strategy Articles:

Laurie Beaman
2010-06-02 12:53:19

Sean, I have a question regarding the size of the live straddle bet.Can it be any size as long as it is at least double the big blind or is it restricted to double the big blind?
Thanks in advance Laurie Beaman

2009-09-04 14:51:00

does anybody else have any other golden rules of their own they wish to add?

Sean Lind
2009-03-27 01:10:00

Victor, if you’re planning on changing gears and semi-bluffing two or three barrelling your draw, that’s fine. But if you are intending to make a free card play, that is your goal, plan and read, then you should always stick to that plan.

Victor Castellanos
2009-03-27 01:07:00

Hi Sean… Certainly, these rules are a “must” in every single poker game, including its variants. However, about the second tip ” When you make a free card play, take the free card”, I think that it depends on your image in the table. Suppose you’re being a TAG player, and you feel like changing gears in that particular hand, because of the reading you have on your opponent’s hand. Wouldn’t be correct to keep betting, despite you don’t have a made hand yet?

Sean Lind
2009-03-24 18:32:00

If you make the free card play, you’re raising the flop with the intention of making your opponent check the turn, so you can check behind and see a free river.

You make the play for pot control.

If you miss on the turn, but still bet, you’ve now stuffed the pot, and given your opponent the option of check-raising.

Unless you hit the turn, you want to check, and take the free card.

2009-03-22 13:07:00

I was looking at the second tip:
If you make a free card play, take the free card. i know what the play is i just dont understand, “take the free card”. does that mean if u make the play, you should check the turn no matter what?

Sean Lind
2009-01-20 17:39:00
j kelner
2009-01-19 02:12:00

where or what book will tell me how to calculate odds of a hand … without the
computer telling me i cant carry a computer into a
game and i can only guess what my oppenents hands are
[email protected]

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