If you are winning in your home poker games, most of the time the reason is that you get lucky, or your friends made a mistake. Consuming alcohol might be relaxing and even keep you in a good mood, but it can also affect your chances of making rational decisions and sticking to your usual poker strategies.
Of course, some people drink to socialize, and some also believe that drinking brings them confidence. But how many times have you seen someone being overconfident and acting more aggressively than usual after drinking alcohol, which in turn causes them to lose badly?
At the very beginning, you might feel excited and bold, all your senses are sharpened. But slowly you will find that you are losing your chips and your performance becomes unstable. So, don't drink, and pay attention to the changes in the actions of the players who drink.
Playing a home game is very different from playing in casinos or a serious poker tournament. In a home game, even if you are unfamiliar with other players at the table initially, you will gradually get to know each other and become friends. Each player might be at different level and have a different style of playing poker. It is also very important to pay attention to the changes of the other players in the process of getting to know them.
Instead of making the weakest player your target, to make the most out of your poker night at home, we suggest that you try to choose opponents of the same level and even compete with players who are better than you. Take this opportunity as your own training camp, communicate and discuss with your friends, learn new ideas and playing styles. Observe who is the best and the most experienced in this game. How is his style of playing poker different from yours? Try to learn from these players and see if you can understand. Your home game can be a supplementary station before you step onto the real battlefield.
In a poker home game, there are fewer players at the table. Practice profiling each player. Imagine what they are thinking. What do they see? Understand their strengths and weaknesses. Can’t remember all the details? Take notes. If it’s too much trouble writing all the things down on a piece of paper or it might be a bit disturbing for you to do so, then simply use your digital device. If you want to get the most out of a simple and fun poker home game and improve your poker skills, try to take notes after each hand. What was each round like? How did the players at different positions react in the hand?
Take your notes on the players who are better than you then ask their opinions. Talk about all your findings from each hand you played. A fresh point of view usually can inspire you. Don't worry if they are stingy. Good players are very happy to share. Like you, they also hope to improve themselves through any way they could. Healthy communication often brings true friendship as well.
Now that you have received feedback from great players, it is time to summarize and organize all the information you have and form your own poker strategy. Then practice it in your game, record the results, and make adjustments if necessary. Repeat this process over and over again.
You will soon find that you can quickly figure out the playing style of all players after only a few hands at the table.
You know what? You should probably fold more often than you do. You don’t have to participate in almost every hand. The quality of the cards you hold is important. Tighten your starting hand range and see if your win-rate increases.
Of course, the most unpopular players in home games are such tight players. From time to time, you could also enter a pot by limping. To limp in poker is to bet the absolute minimum needed to stay in a hand. You just don't have to stay till the end. You could simply fold it after the flop. Based on your own observation, you decide how far you want to go. In short, do not think that you need to play every hand.
It’s understandable that people get bored after playing the same game for a long time. You can certainly change it up and allow for a more dynamic game. It is quite common to play Dealer’s choice in a home game. That is to say, whoever is on the button can choose what game to play for one orbit.
The player on the button already has a position advantage and when he picks the game, he will consider what his strongest game is and probably what the weakest games of the particular opponents at the table are.
However, remember that if you want to learn some new games, it is better that you learn it in your own time. It costs you more to learn new games during your home game. There might be some people who will persuade you to play games you have never played before and assure you that you will know how to play during the games. Be cautious. You might lose a lot from it.
Nevertheless, by using these tips, you could try to maximize the value of your home games and make it more than just socializing. Enjoy, and have fun!