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Hints To Players

A few words of advice to the tyro may not, in conclusion, be out of place.
They will not make him into a good player--practice and experience alone
can do that,--but they may prevent him paying for his experience more
than is necessary:--

Do not play with folk you do not know.

Never play with a man you cannot implicitly trust. The game needs all
your attention, and it becomes a toil instead of a pleasure if you have
to be on the watch for unfair play.

Never play for a stake you are not prepared to lose.

Fix a limit to your losses and cease play at once when they reach it.
The temptation to continue is greater when losing than when winning.

Fix a time to cease play--and keep to it.

Perfect self-control is, it is needless to say, essential to
successful play.

The man whose losses make him ill-tempered, must not play at all.
He certainly cannot win, since loss of temper involves loss of judgment.
A game like Poker, which it must be confessed is not calculated to rouse
the finer feelings of humanity, is only tolerable when played under the
severest self-imposed restraint.

Avoid playing, moreover, with an opponent who cannot keep his temper.
You will beat him, no doubt, but anger is infectious, and, unless you
are blessed with extraordinary self-command, the risk of catching it
is too great.

Neither voice, manner, nor features should give the slightest clue
to your hand. One or other will do so at first inevitably, and all will
need a constant effort to control. The perfect Poker player sits like
an automaton, and his face is a mask.

Study your opponents, their features and manner, in success and failure.
To an accurate observer they will generally betray themselves.
An American authority says, "the study of my adversaries is,
of more value than the study of my cards."

Bluffing is at best a very dangerous game, seldom worth the risk, and it
involves, even for its occasional success, a very just estimate of your
opponents. Remember that you cannot bluff even a tyro out of "fours."

If you do bluff, bluff when you are winning, and have established a fear
of your hands in the minds of your opponents.

To bluff when losing is insanity.

In actual play there are few maxims which hold good for all cases.
All depends on what is termed luck, and nearly every Poker player
recognises luck, whatever that may be, as an important factor in the
game--one they often allow to override calculable chances. Some players
seem to have almost persistent good luck, and win with comparatively
poor hands. Others are just as unlucky, losing with high cards.

With a pair, if you decide to play, discard the remaining three cards.
You have then three chances of triplets.

With triplets discard one, your chance of getting fours is remote, and you
leave your opponents in doubt as to whether you are not trying for a flush.

With triplets you may generally risk seeing your opponent.

Never try for the completing card of a sequence. If, for instance,
you have 3, 4, 6, 7 and king, do not play-- discarding the king on
the chance of receiving a 5. Throw up your hand. With a sequence you
may generally wait till your opponents think fit to see you.

With fours, discard the odd card, in order to mislead your opponents.
This hand, or anything better, so seldom comes to a player, that he is
justified in staking as much as possible upon it.

Be content to pass sometimes with the better hand. The best players do so,
since it costs less than the habit of calling.

Neither borrow nor lend a penny at the table.

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