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John Duthie

In January we had a guest pro-tip from Simon 'Aces' Trumper that many of you enjoyed. This month we have another guest pro-tip from John Duthie, winner of The Poker Million on The Isle of Man in 2000.

Form, Feeling and Fractions
The more I play poker, the more I realize what an incredible form game it is.

You raise with 6c-8c, the flop comes 8-8-6 and you find some poor sod with A-8. You decide that player A is a tight player capable of folding a large hand in the right circumstances and he does. Every read you make is right and every move you make succeeds. It's as if you are feeling a unique force and that no one, absolutely no one at all, no matter how good a player or how intuitive they are, can better you. What is more, your big pairs stand up, your small pairs connect, you make your flushes and hit your straights - in a word you're invincible.

Then suddenly, it's a week later, you can't decide which socks to wear, raise with aces and you know the rest. What's it all about?

How to recognize when it's not your day:

1) You feel off colour
2) Every traffic light on the way to the game is Red.
3) The first person you walk into in the card room asks to borrow money.
4) You feel part of the crowd.
5) You feel nervous.
6) Hendon Mob member asks you to write tips column.

In any competition, especially the big ones, feel the force and be open to the unusual and inexplicable. Don't let your rational judgment cloud your special perception. We all have it at some point in a competition and it's recognizing it that makes for that extra special play.

When I was learning to play golf years ago, my dad said to imagine that the hole was 6ft in diameter and that I should get the ball to land within that six foot hole. Well, when you do that, sometimes the ball falls in.

Pace yourself, give yourself hourly and daily targets and raise your game if you fall below these. Watch what's going on and feel the game around you. Every situation is unique as is every line-up. Get used to looking at opponents and sensing when they are weak or strong, watch how they bet and be true to your vision and fold if that's what your feeling tells you to do. Do not give yourself a hard time when you get it wrong; re-focus, centre yourself and continue on the journey.

Always be aware of your position relative to the button. If you slow play a hand be prepared to put it down and eat that humble pie.

Don't drink too much coffee or alcohol. Don't smoke too much. Drink water.

Poker is so much more than a game. It is an opportunity to study yourself and your fellow man and survive ----hopefully. Most of all enjoy it and don't moan when you get outdrawn; it just ain't attractive. Good Luck.

Next month we have a tip along the lines of Gina Thompson's 'Why do fools fall in love?' Join us then for more words of wisdom...

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