How many times have you thought to yourself that, I’m going to be a better player?
I will not play every hand. Wondered how the guy across the table always wins. Well, you can be that winning player too. Here are10 tips and tricks to make that winning player sweat while you take his stack the next time.
You will define your poker greatness not by the hands you play, but by the hands, you fold. – Dan Reed.
You don’t have to play every hand dealt with you. There is a hand dealt approximately every two minutes. Probably the first biggest mistake beginning poker players make is that they play far too many hands. When you’re just starting out playing “poker”, you want to play lots of it, and that means staying in hands that aren’t very good just to get lucky or be part of the action. But playing more doesn’t mean that you are winning more, it usually means you are losing more. If you find you’re staying in on half or more of the hands you’re dealt, you need to upgrade your starting hand’s requirements. Develop a range that fits your game style. But all in all, play less, play premium equals win more.
There are nights where you’re just playing with friends for low stakes and it’s more about the fun than the poker. But if you’re in a casino, watch the alcohol. The truth is, while you are relaxed after having two drinks; it may lead you to become a loser, even when you are not fully drunk. You may notice that few other players at the table are imbibing as well. That should be your first clue that poker isn’t a game to play when you have dulled senses.
“The hardest tumble a man can take is to fall over his own bluff
A lot of beginners understand that bluffing is a part of poker, but not exactly how to . There’s is no rule that one must bluff a certain amount or at all during a poker game, but many players don’t feel like they’ve won unless they’ve tried a poker bluff. Bluffs only work in certain situations and against certain players, and when you know that a player always calls to the showdown, it is literally impossible to bluff that player. It’s better not to bluff than to bluff just for the sake of bluffing.
Another common mistake beginners make is to think that “Well, I’ve already put that much in the pot, I have to stay in now.” Nope. You can’t win a pot just by throwing money at it. There may be cases when pot odds warrant a call, but if you’re sure you’re beaten, and there’s no way your hand can improve to be the best hand, you should fold right away. The money you’ve already put in the pot isn’t yours anymore, and you can’t get it back just by playing a hand all the way till the end. Why give your opponent another pile of your money? Those bets will add up over and over.
Poker is not played with emotion but with cards. When Mad, Sad, or in a Bad Mood don’t play. When you play poker, you shouldn’t do it to escape from or vent out any kind of negative emotions. You can never play your “A” game if you start out on tilt — playing emotionally, not rationally is never good for the game. Likewise, during a poker game, if you lose a big hand or get sucked out on and feel yourself going on tilt, stand up and take a breath. Fellow players will sense your mood and take advantage of it. Always remember money lost is not yours anymore but the stack you have is still yours. What you do with it is entirely up to you, and to win in poker, all you need is a chip and a chair.
When you first start playing, it’s enough just to remember how to play and pay attention to your own hand. But once you’ve got that down, it’s very important to look at what’s going on at the table. In Texas hold-em, figure out what the best possible hand would be to fit the flop. Make sure you notice flush and straight possibilities. Pay attention to what’s showdowns are happening and what people have folded when you consider calling opponents.
As you play, one of the single best things you can do is observe your opponents, even when you’re not in a hand. If you know one player always raises in a certain position, and another has a poker tell when he bluffs, and the third one folds to every re-raise, you can use that information to help you decide how to play or what move to make against them. Once you know that a player always folds to a re-raise on a river, that’s when you can bluff and steal the pot. In poker remembering information is everything, so pay close attention.
Some players look at another player’s final bet, look at the hand, and say “I know you’ve got me, but I have to confirm my read, as they throw in a final call. It may be worth it to see if a player really has the hand they’re representing; you’re gaining information that will help you later on. But if you really feel a player has the hand let go. Don’t keep bleeding chips just to see if your read is right. Not everyone can be the Kid.
There are many reasons people move up to a higher limit game than they usually play. Good reasons like they’ve been winning consistently at a lower level and are ready to move up, and bad reasons like the line is shorter for higher limits or you want to impress someone. Don’t play at stakes that make you think about the actual money in terms of day-to-day life or with money you can’t lose. Even if you had one super-good night at 25/50, resist the urge to play 50/100. The next tip explains more why.
One of the reasons you shouldn’t jump into a 50/100 game after winning a huge bunch of money at 25/50 is because as the stakes rise, so does the average skill set level of the players sitting there. You want to be one of the best at the table, not the fish who sits down with sharks. If you are making stacks of money at a lower level game, why move? It takes a fair amount of time for any player to get used to the dynamics of higher stakes. Bankroll management is also very important. You’re winning stacks of money. The swings up and down at higher limits are much bigger, and one big night’s win is not enough to last you one bad hour in a high stakes game.
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