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I always seem to lose with pocket Jacks. Should I be raising bigger? Or maybe flat-calling? 

Pocket Jacks are a tricky hand to play. There is no short and simple answer to your question! But I will say that I am always happy to see pocket Jacks, and often win a lot with them. The secret is in your post-flop strategy. Read my blog on “How to play pocket Jacks” to find out more.

Do you have to be very mathematical to play poker and know all the odds? I’m more interested in the psychological aspect. 

I myself have always been interested in numbers, but I know many who aren’t. Even Dan Colman, one of the most successful of all poker pros, said in this Paul Phua Poker School video that he is more of an intuitive than a mathematical player. You do still need to know the basic odds: find out why here. But the good news is there is a simple trick that makes calculating poker odds easy: discover my magic odds formula.

How should I play suited connectors?  

That’s a good question, and one I will answer in detail in a future poker strategy article. With middling or low suited connectors you will rarely flop the best hand: the most you can hope for, usually, is to get a straight or a flush draw. So unless you are confident in your post-flop strategy, it can be dangerous to pay too much to see a flop except with high suited connectors. You can pick up some tips on strategies for playing a draw in this detailed article on how to play a flush draw.

I’ve been told I should fold most hands pre-flop. Which starting hands should I play? 

That is good advice. You can’t lose much money by folding! Unless you are especially skilled in post-flop strategy, you should be patient and wait for a premium hand. Watch my video on the best and worst pre-flop hands.

Whenever my Aces get cracked (all the time, it seems!), it puts me on tilt so that I lose the rest of my money. How can I avoid this? 

First, if your Aces often get cracked, that may mean you are allowing too many people to see the flop, which increases the chances of one of them hitting better than a pair. You may need to raise more: watch my video on pre-flop strategy. Second, everyone gets unlucky sometimes in poker, no matter how well they play! The secret is to learn from it if you have made a mistake; and if you haven’t, remind yourself that your good and bad luck will even out over time. Here are some tips on avoiding tilt and keeping your cool.

Some people tell me I should re-raise with a flush draw on the flop. Some say I should call. How do you play a flush draw? 

They are both right, depending on the circumstances! Re-raising can give you “fold equity” (ie you also win if they fold). Calling feels safer, but if your opponent makes it too expensive it’s not worth your while. Remember: the chance of hitting a flush draw by the river is just 1 in 3, but a good tip is to consider whether you have any other outs that might increase your chance of winning. For detailed advice, see my blog on how to play a flush draw.

I’ve lost a lot of money recently by calling river bets, thinking someone is bluffing when they aren’t. If someone has a good poker face, how can you tell? 

That’s a great question. I have made a video on the subject of “tells”, which are the subtle signs that someone may be bluffing: watch it here. I also have a video on keeping a poker face (tip: it’s more about your actions than your face), and a video on effective bluffing (tip: size of bet is very important).