The Shark: How To Raise Your Game
Top Tips From Professional Poker Players
Expert Poker Player: Bruno Kawauti
Short player description:
A strategic player
Global Poker Index 2015 Rank #1,225
Player of the Year Rank 2015 #1,367
Live Best Cash $451,398
All Time Money $673,783
All Time Money List Current Rank 12,068
Popularity Rank 4,267
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Think of yourself as a bit of a poker predator? Being a home poker Shark certainly has its upsides, agrees Poker superstar Bruno Kawauti - but even the sharpest of swimmers can be vulnerable to the trickiest tides.

How To Dominate The Home Poker Table

A fundamental part of being an effective home poker predator is learning how to watch and when to strike. “Know your enemy” advises Bruno, himself the veteran of many hundreds of high-pressure poker games, “Watch carefully how your opponent's play before you start to loosen up your game.” Once you’ve identified where the opportunities lay for you, don’t leap into action too quickly - “Start slow and when you know exactly how each one plays, go in for the kill!”.

A cool, calm and calculated approach can be a challenge for some Sharks. The instinct to lay traps and dominate games from the first hand can often be too alluring - but it’s the players who master this patient but ruthless approach that win the biggest.

“Don’t let your ego get to the table in home games” warns Bruno, “It’s sometimes easy to let your emotions get in the way of the game because you’re playing with friends, but try to be that cold shark, with no emotions!”

However, Bruno believes that one thing is more important that perfecting this approach - enjoying the game regardless, “Play for the love of the game, not for the money” he says, “It will make your path to victory - and a good time - much easier.”

The Shark: Understanding Poker Psychology

So, what’s the best way to tackle the many personas at the home poker table? Bruno believes that the way to shift the immovable Rock is to exploit their tight style, “Play more pots in position against them, raise their blinds, and try to play more small pots against them, not big ones.”

Your fellow Sharks are best avoided if you want to keep hold of your loose change, but the frantic, often inexperienced gameplay of the Fish is there to be exploited. “Try to play as many pots as possible against them” suggests Bruno, “They will make a lot of mistakes - you just need to identify them - and there’s money there for the taking.”

Facing down a Bully? Take a more straightforward with them, “They will be firing a lot of bullets, and you will have to have value to get paid - but you can use your image to make a stand, and show them they cannot bully you.”

Play tight for most of the game is a sensible approach for the Shark - particularly when there’s a Maniac in the house. “The Maniac will often try to steal pots, and make crazy re-raises, or all ins - so steal is not a good option against them” says Bruno, “Let them do the betting job for you, and be patient. Your moment will arrive!”

Top Tips To Raise Your Game

  1. Watch a few videos, and talk through big hands and in-game strategy with friends after the game - it will accelerate your learning curve.
  2. Be sharp, both mentally and physically - it will help you when tough decisions arise. Mind and body, walk together.
  3. Be humble. Poker is a game of people - it changes a lot because each individual will develop as a player over the years. That’s why poker is about constant learning!

Learn more about the different personas at the home poker table - explore the guide and discover expert tips for raising your game.