How to Bring Fun Back to Poker: Five Pieces of Advice from Katie Dozier

katie-dozierAre you tired of being surrounded by hoodies and sunglasses at a silent poker table? Being berated by a 21 year old kid on how bad you played a hand? And having to listen to endless discussions of which ranges to 4-bet pre-flop? Well, you’re not alone! For some time now, it has been discussed within the poker world what it takes to make the games more social and entertaining for new (and old) players.

In a recent blog, poker pro Katie “hotjenny314” Dozier shares her thoughts on what pros can do to make the games more fun for new and recreational players. Her first piece of advice is to ditch the costumes: “Unless you’re suffering from the flu (in which case, please stay home!), don’t come to the table with a hoodie covering so much of your face that you could win a costume contest for dressing like a mummy. Don’t wear obnoxious sunglasses with a hat.”

Hiding behind sunglasses and hoodies don’t give players an edge, according to Dozier. In fact the camouflage has the complete opposite effect as it makes her pay even more attention to the tells this kind of players are trying to hide.

Stop pretending to be in a bad movie is the second thing Dozier calls her fellow pros to consider: “Of course, as poker players, acting is part of our job description, but there’s no reason to spend 5 minutes staring down your opponent to see if his blinking frequency can confirm that he holds the nuts and you can hero fold the 2nd nuts—because you won’t be folding.”

The routine stare down scares the recreational players away, and it’s certainly not something that makes the games more fun to play.

Dozier’s third advice is don’t take forever to act: “This one goes hand-in-hand with the last point. Some players say they do this to avoid timing tells—but guess what—you’re just as balanced if you act quickly instead of slowly.”

Dozier adds that some of the worst offenders of this are big names in the poker world. And for the recreational players “they probably feel uncomfortable enough without having to wait 3 minutes for that player to puzzle out his optimal c-bet size.”

The fourth advice never talk strategy at the table seems to be of particular importance to Dozier. She says: “Nothing makes me lose respect for a player faster than them throwing around mathematical poker jargon at the tables, and it often exposes leaks in their logic that I try to exploit. An even darker side of talking strategy at the tables is the grotesque display of a pro berating a weaker opponent.  I wish that players that do this were not so often exalted in the poker world, and that others will find strategic ways to squelch this awful bullying.

Help your table to be fun is the last but not least thing Dozier encourages. It doesn’t mean that pros should dress up in colorful or funny costumes, but “starting conversations as trivial as complementing someone’s witty t-shirt can put players at ease and give them entertainment value that will inspire them to keep playing. Daniel Negreanu is an excellent example of making poker fun, and it has to be a big part of why he is arguably the biggest name in poker.”

With only a few days to go before the WSOP starts, Pokernews Women hopes this five great pieces of advice have reached their audience – they certainly deserve it. You can read all of Dozier’s blog here

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