Playing Poker with the Sharks

Card Sharks

Diving in to a kiddie pool full of really bad players, or fish, is no sweat at all and winning is fairly easy. When you are ready to play higher stakes, and bigger tournaments, the fish are always accounted for, but something much bigger and a lot more dangerous is to be looked out for - SHARKS! Top players like this, including most professional players, definitely leave a mark on your ego as well as on your bank account.

The Shark Advantage

Sharks have reached this level of play by having tons of poker experience, and they are a force to be reckoned with. These players are efficient in ALL aspects of playing poker. More times than not, when up against a shark it seems as if they know exactly what cards you are holding - and they do! All of their poker experience lets them know exactly what type of player you are just from playing with you for a very short time. Knowing this, added to what you bet or call (and when and why) tells the sharks everything they need to know in order to prey on your stack.

What you need to know and always remember, before you dive into the deep blue sea to go swimming with the sharks, is that players like this can adjust their game to all types of players. Sometimes it seems impossible to get a read on a shark - you just never know what they are holding or why they are betting - because they are GOOD.

Poker Strategies against Card Sharks

You can win against card sharks. It is not impossible to take their stack, just like it is not possible to win every time you sit at a game. The best way to capture a shark and his chips is the all-time unstoppable way, with the nuts. But you cannot play with the nuts every time you are in a hand, so you have to bring your play level to the same as their level. You must be able to mix up your game and play differently in different situations. If you can work on your game and play like a tight player, an aggressive player, a tricky player, and have the confidence to protect your stack, you are on your way to holding your own with card sharks.

Watching the professionals play poker on television is a great way to learn a thing or two. You can see what plays they make and instantaneously see how the plays work out. I think it is better to watch good players and how they play on TV rather than watching good players and big games via the Internet because you don't always get to see what they are betting. If an Internet player is in a big pot and makes a big bet on the river and everyone folds, most of the time the online card room doesn't show what they are betting. So it is a bit pointless watching and trying to learn if you don't get to see what they are betting with and why.

Getting to be a good player takes a lot of time, work, effort and money. Every time you make a bad play or take a bad beat you learn something new. Every time you sit at a higher game than you would normally play, you learn. I suggest that you slowly escalate your level of play as you learn from your mistakes. Take chances on bigger games when you can afford to as well. After time you will see yourself rise above and become a very good player, or even become a shark yourself.

♣ Back to the index of articles about poker strategy.