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Notwithstanding the great variety of poker games — high games and low games, stud games and draw games, limit games and no-limit games — there is an inner logic that runs through all of them, and there are general precepts, concepts, and theories that apply to all of them. However experienced a player may be with the rules and methods of a specific game, like, say, five-card draw, only by understanding and applying the underlying concepts of poker can he move confidently to the expert level.


The principles of such stratagems as the semi-bluff and slowplaying are essentially the same in limit five-card draw poker as in no-limit hold ’em poker, and they are equally important. Poker logic is not tricks and ploys. In weaker games tricks and ploys may sometimes work — for example, gesturing as though to fold your hand and then raising after the third man in the pot has called. However, a super hustler with an arsenal of tricks and ploys who is not also a good player will not get the money against tough competition.


Some poker writers make tricks and ploys the essence of poker; the best that can be said of them is they are misguided. Some players substitute tricks and ploys for sound precepts and sound play. They act surly, try to anger other players in the game — in a word, use almost any gimmick other than good play to win the money on the table.