Season 5 of GSN’s High Stakes Poker just hit the airwaves on Sunday. And what makes this poker show from the others is that it is an all cash no-limit Texas Hold-’em game – no “chips” standing in for money – with players putting up their own dough for the $200,000 minimum buy-in. Last year’s final table take was over $5 million. This year’s could go higher.
One of the players at the table this season is Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari, a professional magician turned pro poker player. (How do you sit at a table with a guy who used to make cards appear for a living?)
With career tournament winnings in excess of $3.12 million, he’s also the author of In The Money, and co-stars with Phil Laak on the television show “I Bet You”.
I spoke with Antonio recently, and got his tips for guys who want to make some cake at the weekly poker game, or take their skills to the next level and play some tourneys. Here’s what he recommends before you drop your first ante:
1 – Fold when you know you are beat.
So many times you know your hand is no good and yet you still call out of frustration just to see the other persons hand. Remember – money saved is money earned.
2 – Position.
Try and avoid playing out of position. It’s the most important thing in no-limit hold ‘em.
3 – Play aggressive, not passive.
Never ever be a calling station. Put the heat on your opponents.
4 – Never go on tilt.
That means playing pissed off or letting your emotions get to you. And I do mean NEVER!
5 – Bankroll management.
It’s very important to play within the limits that your bankroll permits. It also allows you to play with more comfort and a lesser risk of going busto.
6 – Never play tired.
There will always be another game. If you feel your body and or brain is not up for it DO NOT play.
7 – Follow your first instinct.
It’s usually right. Don’t ask why. It just is.
8 – Play premium cards.
If you catch yourself starting with weak hands it won’t take long before you realize what an uphill battle you will be fighting. Bad cards can and will get you in trouble. I’m not saying to never play them… just try and stick with strong starting hands versus weak hands.
9 – Stay in shape.
I feel that I play significantly better when I am working out consistently. Also eating relatively healthy wouldn’t hurt. Most people have a hard time getting to the gym – and so do I. That’s why I made a workout bet where I must go to the gym 4 times a week, and workout for 45 minutes each session, or else I lose $3000 PER day I don’t go. It’s the best bet I’ve ever made.
Tip number 10 ladies and gents! I hope you are sitting down for this one…
10 – PLAY WELL.
As simple as that…winning is a lot sweeter than losing.
High Stakes Poker airs Sundays, 9PM ET/8PM C on GSN.