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All About Luck In Online Poker

1. Don’t press your luck when you don’t need to. If it’s early in a deep stack tournament, simply don’t put yourself into position to need to get lucky to win. Especially in a deep stack tournament, skillful players should be able to find situations where the outcome is predicated on their skill (at bluffing, inducing bluffs, making reads, whatever) and not on luck at all. This is why you hear the top pros say over and over again that they won’t get broke early with any hand but pocket aces. They are particularly chary of hands like AK, which look oh so pretty, but usually need to be on the right side of a coin flip in order to win a big pot. Pros hate coin flips early in tournaments. They don’t want to need to get lucky to stay alive, not when simply not getting involved will serve the same end.

2. Plan ahead for the luck you get. There’s a whole range of situations where certain “unlucky” cards will come off the deck — unlucky in the sense that they don’t help your hand. But if you have a plan for those unlucky outcomes, you can often turn them to your advantage. We call these cards phantom outs — cards that would help your hand if you, in fact, had that hand. To use phantom outs, simply look at a flop that’s two-suited or two-straighted and tell yourself that if a coordinated card comes on the turn you’re going to bet it as if you own it. Against the right opponent (the kind who will put you on a draw and be determined not to pay you off) you can the wrong card into a ripe opportunity to capture the pot.

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