The following is taken from, and expanded upon, my reply in Poncho Bowie's post in the forum

When taking part in a NLHE game what are important considerations to be thought about throughout the game? Bear in mind there are many many possible scenarios - mathmaticians prefer the pot odds and Eearning/Expected Value calculations; Loose Aggressives will want to see more pots, and pot odds may not be of so much importance. Therefore I have listed what I believe are the cornerstones of being able to play successfully over a period of time.

  • Image - you can get away with proverbial 'poker murder' with the right image (and you control what image you want to convey depending on the table of course). Playing Tight Aggressive at a table full of loose players can cause the whole table to fold to you the moment you bet anything above the BB or if you enter a hand at all! That may sound great; but it soon becomes very boring winning very small pots when others are gaining a large stack through loose play which they could then use to bully you regardless. So one has to change one's image a little (it is actually setting a trap for later). Play one or two garbage hands and purposely go to the showdown with nothing - the pot will be small since no one will raise against you. Once they see you are not only playing monsters or strong hands your trap is laid. You will find peeps will start raising against you. Fold a few hands to let them think you were trying it on. Then when the opportunity arises (see Patience below) your trap is ready to be sprung and you may more that double up :twisted: . I love it when a good plan comes together

  • Position - decrease your risks and increase your chances since others have acted and you have more information. Is the bet made out of proportion to the normal bet size eg WHY has villain gone all in? or Why has villain only bet the BB when normally s/he is throwing chips at the pot? You have a much better chance of either Winning More or Losing Less in the Button position than you do in the Small Blind position. Isn't it better to be developing a straight when you are the last to act in a hand, or do you want to go first only to find you are chucking chips into a pot that shows a very strong leaning to a full house rather than your straight? (I was taking part in a UK £20k Final the other night and that is precisely what happened: I was in early position got crippled and did not make the money - My Ace high straight beaten by a Full house. Hours of hard work and patience down the drain in ONE HAND! ).

  • Read of players (their image) - if you know how they play you have a better chance of beating or not losing to. To me the first main level of poker awareness is position the second is play the player. There are many other levels as we ascend to Poker Heaven of course; but I think these two are pretty important.
    • Does a player just bet the BB post flop? This is considered weak play since one is meant to bet a % of the value of the pot
    • IF the villain is normally chucking chips into a pot and suddenly only bets the BB each time the villain may well be setting a trap.
    • Is the villain playing lots of hand? (Loose)
    • Is the villain continually checking to your bets? (Calling Station)
    • Is the villain playing few hands; but betting very hard? (Tight Aggressive).

  • Patience - your best friend at the table (sometimes we fall out; but 'she' is always right and comes back with "I told you so! &quot :wink: . A useful friend to have against shove-monkeys, blind stealers, LAGs, those threatening bodily harm (I had one in the PSO league the other day because he lost a hand!!! Pathetic!) indeed in ALL situations

  • Card selection - helpful but not necessarily essential in relation to reading other players' style and also dependent on a lot more factors (position, chip stacks, game stage, etc etc etc). Early stages it is recognised as being better to play tight - only Strong hands. Mid game (perhaps fourth blind level when weaker players and indeed some strong players have fallen by the wayside) it is time to loosen up a little and increase your range of hands based on the IMAGE of the others at the table. End game going hell for leather as you dominate a table. Being a tad more careful Heads Up etc etc

  • Betting - this happens after all of the above and is relative to all of the above. It may take an all-in counter-attack to protect your blind; it may only take a small bet to steal a blind. For goodness sake if you want to improve your game don't just bet Big Blinds post flop. Bet a % of the pot. Poker Stars helps here since you can set your Betting Slider to % defaults and then you only have to click say the 66% tab or the 100% tab etc depending on what YOU have set. Preflop is similar in that you can set the slider to say 2X BB 3X BB etc (Please note that these may NOT be the settings I personally use). If necessary I can tweak my defaults depending on my needs at the time if I am playing a single game rather than Multi Tabling (eg post flop I have noticed that a min bet 25% of the pot will often win rather than the, say, 45% default I had set)