Modern cinema is a great tool for teaching poker because it crosses cultural barriers in a way that few teaching elements can. All one needs to do is listen to the advice that can be found in the lines of a variety of films and then remember their relationship to playing poker. Now, this doesn’t mean you can repeatedly use a line from "Goodfellas" in conversation while playing, but it does mean you should keep in mind the concepts that go with the line.
When it comes to poker movies, "Rounders" leads the pack because of its witty writing and somewhat realistic story line. The movie's main character, Mike McDermott, played brilliantly by Matt Damon, finds himself coming to grips with his future as a high-stakes poker player. Although there are numerous nuggets of wisdom thrown in throughout the movie, few can hold a candle to McDermott's comments on weak poker players in the beginning of the movie. This is a line that all poker players know and love.
"Listen, here's the thing. If you can't spot the sucker in the first half hour at the table, then you ARE the sucker."
Dead money is good money.
When you come to a table and find weaker opponents, you should take advantage at all times. Take some time to profile your opponents (based on their play) and figure out who the weakest links are and then attack them. Make sure to use your position at the table as a weapon during hands with these weak players because they tend to make mistakes that force them to fold to a heavy check-raise. These less-experienced players frequently don't understand that having position in a hand is crucial, and their inexperience makes them perfect prey.
Recognize when you need to leave a game.
Being honest with yourself in poker is key if you want to be successful, and this means recognizing your limits. If you sit at a table and find yourself struggling to find a groove, recognize your predicament and make your exit. There is nothing wrong with making this decision because it will save your bankroll. Many players make the mistake of letting their pride get in the way, and they end up being crushed by stronger players. There is no glory in this. Do yourself a favor and be honest enough with yourself to recognize that you need to find a new game before you go broke.
Don't give out information when you spot a tell.
By profiling players, you will find some who are unable to hide their tells. The key here is to not let on about your new-found knowledge. Unlike Mike McDermott, who at the end of "Rounders" lets Teddy KGB know that he has picked up on a tell, your goal is to keep this information as quiet as possible so that you can keep tapping into the ATM sitting across from you. In other words, make sure your actions don't let on that you have figured out players' weaknesses if you want to keep bleeding them dry; otherwise, you may scare the fish away, and you'll lose out on taking a sizable chunk of their bankroll.