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Professional poker players are looked upon as examples of how poker should be played. While it is true that you can learn a lot from pro players, they are not infallible. There are even times where you will actually hurt your game by trying to mimic the styles of certain players, especially if you don’t understand their thought process behind the moves they make.

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 3 Poker Tips that the Pros Won’t Share

Of course, there are times where some pros make moves so unexplainable that we just watch in amazement and scratch our heads. Today we will take a look a few times where you should NOT play poker like the pros.

How Not to Muck a Flush Like Phil Ivey

Probably one of the biggest gaffs caught on camera by a pro was Phil Ivey mucking a winning flush during the 2009 WSOP Main Event. How could such a big name make such a rookie mistake? It can be easier than you think, so we will give you few pointers on how NOT to muck a flush like Ivey.


First, commit your cards to memory. If you can’t your cards, at least remember when your cards are suited. Truthfully, if you can’t remember your cards on a regular basis at the table, you probably don’t have the focus needed to be an elite player.

With that said, if you have been playing for days or weeks at a time like was the case with Ivey in the Main Event, your focus is going to wane. When that happens, here is a simple tip: look at your damn cards! Yes, this may be telegraphing that you’re looking for a flush but at least you won’t muck it.

How Not to Bluff Shove into Aces Like Vanessa Selbst

Vanessa Selbst is known as the most dominant female player in the game today. However, back in 2006 she was known as “that woman that bluff-shoved into aces on national TV.” Selbst made the final table of the $2,000 NL Event at the 2006 WSOP and looked in good shape to win her first bracelet.

However, things went south after she raised with 5♠-2♠ pre-flop. After getting a call from one play, the chip leader at the time, Kevin Peterson, looked down to pocket aces and three-bet to about half the size of Selbst’s stack. She then shoved all-in and got insta-called claiming “bad read.”

So the next time you’re at the final table with 5-2, you have a couple of ways you can play it. First, you can FOLD. Folding costs you nothing. Next, if you decide to raise with the hand and get a call and a three-bet to half your stack, there’s no reason to shove your stack into the chip leader. Again, you need to fold your hand.

Remember, 5-2 is no good facing a three-bet equal to half your stack from the chip leader.

How Not to Get Disqualified From Poker Tournaments Like…

Recently, Antonio Esfandiari was disqualified from the PCA Main Event for peeing into a bottle at the table. This isn’t the only time that a pro or a well known player has been kicked out of a poker tournament or banned from the WSOP.

As a public service to those that think you can get away with anything in the poker room, here are a few things that you will want to refrain from so you don’t disqualified from a poker tournament or banned from a poker room. We will include a well known offender afterwards for those wanting more information on the incidents.

  • Don’t have buddies pass signals to you (Ali Tekintamgac)
  • Don’t break a dealer’s hand (Thang Luu)
  • Don’t steal poker chips (Chan Pelton)
  • Don’t be a continual asshat at the final table (Lesley Thornberg)
  • Don’t threaten to burn down the casino (Ryan Eriquezzo)
  • Don’t steal your opponent’s chips (Dumbass at 2010 WSOP)
  • Don’t throw clothes out the casino hotel window (Carter Gill)

In other words, don’t do things so incredibly stupid that a casino refuses to take your money. They WANT you to come play and give them a chance to take your money, so use your head as something other than a hat rack.

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James Guill

James Guill began his poker career in 2006, spending two years traveling the US tournament circuit. Since 2008, he has covered the game extensively for some of the biggest names in the industry. When not writing about the latest poker news, he can be found hunting for antique treasures in Central Virginia.