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Why should you learn to play non holdem games?

While nobody doubts the fact that Texas Holdem is the king of all online poker variants, and as such, it is the game in which the most money changes hands, playing a few hands of a non-holdem variant can be positively refreshing every now and then.

Taking a break from poker is often a good idea. When at the receiving end of a horrible bad beat, people become susceptible to tilting. It is an expert advice to take a few days (or even weeks) of break from the game then, to prevent not only tilting, but also going into “chase-mode” which is at least as dangerous as tilting itself.

How one spends that time during the break though, can be rather important especially regarding his performance upon his return to high stakes Texas Holdem.
Playing non-Holdem games during that break can not only be a great opportunity to get away from the daily grind of professional or semi professional Texas Holdem, It can also serve as an efficient sharpener of poker skills.

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You see, Omaha and Stud, or Pineapple for that matter, are not at all less interesting or important than Holdem. They play these variants in the WSOP, and if they’re good enough for those guys, they should be good enough for you too. These games are simply less popular, so playing them doesn’t involve money as much as it does fun.

Learning these poker variants can help you shed some light on your Texas Holdem play from an entirely new perspective, and thus make it possible for you to see things you weren’t aware of.

Let’s see a few examples, like learning about the importance of game selection. The first time that you wander outside the limits imposed by the world’s most popular poker variant, will not only teach you a thing or two about the nature of Omaha and Stud, but also about that of Holdem compared to these games.

Omaha hi-lo is a game of nuts. Starting hands take on a whole new aspect in this game, and the post flop betting part – which you always regarded as the most essential stage of a Texas Holdem hand – loses importance. What you start with in Omaha is extremely important. Knowing how to calculate pot odds as a function of the outs available on certain starting hands becomes essential. Due to the fact that you get 4 hole-cards instead of the two you were used to from Holdem, you’ll have a lot more information available regarding the eventual configuration of your showdown hand, from the very beginning. Rookies will no longer annoy you to death with their abysmal calls and lucky draws. The luck element is diminished and skill steps up full force. What does this mean in terms of gameplay? It means that if you’re a good player, you’ll never give rookies a shadow of a chance.Going up against skilled opposition though will not be nearly as much fun as it was in Holdem.

You are likely to find good value in the games nonetheless. Holdem for instance, is very attractive to rookies, on account of the fact that they believe if offers them better odds. They no longer need to make the best poker hand, they can settle for the worst too, and half the pot. That looks like another winning opportunity to a newbie.

When you catch on to the nature of this game, and you realize that fish will no longer be able to school up on you (a phenomenon which – be a man about it – drove you insane in Holdem), you’ll look at the issues Holdem throws at you in an entirely different light too.

Game selection (which I briefly touched in an above paragraph) will be a new skill that you shall master. You’ll understand that if you’re a complete poker player, it is way better to take scores of rookies on in Omaha, or Stud, or even Pineapple than in Holdem. You’ll also see Holdem for what it truly is: this high luck-variance game that gives rookies a much bigger fighting chance against skilled players than they deserve. You’ll also look at the luck factor differently, and that will hopefully trigger a different attitude in you towards future bad beats and losing streaks.

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You’ll understand that beating Holdem doesn’t only require superior skills in determining pot odds and implied odds under different circumstances, it also requires the systematic application of apparently unimportant edges, that will make a huge difference in the long-run.

By understanding the very nature of Texas Holdem, you’ll be able to select the kind of Holdem (cash, MT or STT) game that offers you the best grounds for allowing your skills and edges to work for you.

In conclusion: learning non-Holdem games won’t just relieve you of the stress of long daily poker sessions, it will also add to your skills, thus making you a more complete and ultimately more successful poker player.

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