Cheat Sheet

Card Games All-in-One For Dummies Cheat Sheet

From Card Games All-In-One For Dummies

By Consumer Dummies

Playing cards should be fun. But if you have even the smallest competitive streak, you probably want to win too! Here are some tips that may just increase your chances of winning. At the very least, they’ll increase the amount of fun you have.

Do’s and Don’ts of Bluffing at the Poker Table

Bluffing in poker entails betting on bad or moderate hands or drawing fewer cards than you should in an attempt to represent a good hand. Keep the following points in mind as you develop your bluffing strategy:

  • Don’t be too stolid. Keep in mind that you have to speculate to accumulate, and if you aren’t caught bluffing occasionally, you’re not doing it enough.
  • Do study your opponents’ actions at the table. Try to work out how often they bluff, and try to get a read on their body language during their bluffs. In fact, if you can, try to watch a group of players before joining them. You can read their behavior much better when you’re not tied to one position at the table and you don’t have to worry about a hand. If you don’t have this opportunity, make sure to pay attention after you fold your cards.
  • Do try to work out the strengths and weaknesses of your fellow players before and during play. If you notice that someone is unprepared to surrender any pot to a potential bluff, make sure you exploit that weakness. However, don’t try to bluff him out because know in advance that bluffing won’t work. Make him think you’re bluffing with the best hand.
  • Don’t try to bluff against multiple players still in the hand. If more than three players are still in the pot, the odds are that one of them can beat whatever bluff hand you’re pretending to hold. Keep your bluffs for the smaller number of players.
  • Don’t bluff against the evening’s big winner. Such high rollers have more money to burn and are likely to invest it in seeing the hand through to its conclusion.
  • Don’t show your bluff. Try to avoid showing your hand after a successful coup, unless you don’t intend to bluff much more that evening.
  • Don’t get caught bluffing too often. If you get caught bluffing more than 50 percent of the times you try it, change your strategies and possibly your opponents. You may be cavorting with too tough a crowd.

An Easy Method of Calculating Winning Odds in Texas Hold’em

One of the most common calculations you have to perform in Texas Hold’em is figuring out your chances of improving your hand with a favorable flop, turn, or river Phil Gordon, one of the Hold’em gurus you see on television, uses the following simple formula to approximate your winning chances:

  1. After the flop, count the number of cards available that will give you a winning hand.
    With 7-8-9-10, you need a 6 or J, eight winning draws, or outs.
  2. Multiply the resulting number by four to give you a percentage chance to win the hand.
    In the example above, the eight cards give you a 32 percent chance of winning. If you have four cards to an ace-high flush, for example, your chances of getting a fourth heart (of which there are nine) on the turn or the river are about 36 percent. If you’re already at the river, multiply the nine by two to get 18 percent.

9 Ways to Be a Better Bridge Partner

Working together as a team is important for the success of a bridge partnership. You and your partner both want to win, so you don’t gain anything from getting upset when play doesn’t go exactly as planned. It seldom does! Here are some tips on keeping your partner happy.

  • Treat your partner like your best friend: Even if you don’t know your partner well, treating her with respect improves her play.
  • Tolerate your partner’s errors: Don’t keep harping on your partner’s errors; just forgive and try to forget (at least until after the game). If you have constructive criticism, save it for after the session, when you’ll both be calmer. Expect (demand) that your partner show you the same respect.
  • Own up to your own errors: Don’t lay your own errors at your partner’s doorstep. A weaker partner will feel good to know that you, the stronger player, make errors as well — and are a big enough person to admit them.
  • Keep a poker (well, bridge) face: Never make any facial or body movements or use mannerisms that indicate whether you’re pleased or displeased with a bid or play.
  • Deal well with disaster: A truly good partnership handles the inevitable disaster with a touch of humor. If your partner doesn’t have to worry that you’ll have a fit when something goes wrong, he’ll play better.
  • Pick up the slack for a weaker player: The better player in a partnership should make the weaker player feel at ease. When you judge that partner is going to play the hand, bid somewhat conservatively.
  • Offer words of encouragement: Give your partner a few words of support after the hand is over, particularly if she doesn’t make her contract.
  • Treat your partner the same whether you win or lose: When the session is over, win or lose, tell your partner how much you enjoyed playing with him. Kind words mean the world to a player who knows he hasn’t played well.
  • Know when to have fun: When all is said and done, you play bridge to have fun, and so does your partner. You’ve done your job if your partner leaves the table happy.

Deciding on a Drawing Strategy in Blackjack

When you first start playing Blackjack, you may look at your cards and not know whether to stick (refuse any more cards) or draw (ask for one or more cards). Here are some guidelines to remember:

  • Never take a card on 17 or more (unless you have an ace and a 6 — a soft 17 that you can’t go bust on)
  • Never stick on 11 or less. Draw at least one card to get closer to 21.
  • On hands ranging from 12 to 16, the dealer’s hand affects your strategy:
    • If the dealer has an ace, court card, 10, 9, 8, or 7, take an extra card if your total is more than 11 but less than 17.
    • If the dealer has a 4, 5, or 6, stick on any total of 12 or more.
    • If the dealer has a 2 or 3, stick on any total of 13 or more.

Here’s an example to help you see the logic behind these guidelines. Say that you have a 10 and a 6 for 16, a lousy hand. If the dealer has a 10, a court card, or an ace up, you’re a heavy underdog, but the odds say that your best shot is to take another card and hope to improve your hand. If the dealer has a low card up, however, your best chance of winning the hand is for the dealer to bust. You should stay where you are and hope that the dealer gets a bad second card (a 10 or court card) and then busts when he’s forced to draw a third card.