SELECT A CASINO. Rule number one. Be a member of no less than six online casinos so you can rotate and move around from casino to casino during play. Select only well~known casinos with excellent reputations for paying quickly and maintaining industry~ accepted randomizing algorithms (more on this later).
SELECT A BETTING LIMIT. But only if it's $1/2, $2/4 or $5/10 blinds. This section will discuss the research, the math, and the studies on human nature that prove conclusively that high~stake limit tables are not the place to make money. They are however an excellent place to lose large amounts of cash in a big hurry. The return on investment (ROI) is best at medium limit tables.
SELECT YOUR STAKE. No decision here if your smart. You must have 50 to 100 times the Big Blind. Any less and your chances of making money nose dive. More will only improve your table 'cred'and help to intimidate weaker players.
SELECT A TABLE. Spend at least 15 minutes watching the play at each table. Review your notes if recognized players are present. Check out at least three tables before you start. Then select the loosest table. To win at Texas Holdem Poker you must play tight in loose games and play in loose games only. If all the tables are tight, run. Go back to Step 1.
SELECT A POSITION AT THE TABLE. Watch for the tightest player at the table. Pick a spot to that players left. We have dedicated an entire chapter later on to table position strategy.
TAKE NOTES ON PLAYERS. Record playing styles. Do they raise before the flop? Do they fold before the flop? What's the size of their stake? Do they react quickly or slowly when their turn 1. comes up? What kind of cards did they play on? Everyone should take player notes at casinos like Party Poker where they offer the feature. Don~t know how to take notes? Just right~click on the avatar (picture) of the target player and click ~Player Notes~. That feature is there for a very good reason -use it.
TURN OFF CHAT. It's distracting and rarely valuable. If you want to chat, use MSN -but never while you're playing for money.
TURN OFF TV's, MUSIC, OTHER DISTRACTIONS. Now is not the time to catch the score on your favorite game or consume a bucket of chicken. If anyone's going to be distracted, it should be your opponents. Let them miss cues, watch their stack disappear and wonder what happened.
PLAY TIGHT. Follow the Food Chain Theory. Learn the rules. Understand the odds. Bet like a'shark', not a'fish'.
PLAY FOR ONE HOUR -then take a break, regardless of whether you're winning or losing. This will keep you sharper than the other players who are hanging on for that one last win.
And there you are. Ten steps that will make you thousands, maybe a lot more over time.