Are you struggling to win on the poker table? Is it true that no matter how hard you try, you only barely maintain a break-even result? If so, no need to panic, because most poker players are in the same situation.
In fact, you only need to make small adjustments to your playing strategy, and your poker skills will be significantly improved. SLOWPLAY has compiled these quick tips for you. Try them and continue training your thought process. You will be rewarded! Now, let’s dive in.
1. Do Not Only Think About Hands
You can tell the difference between average players and advanced players by observing how they think about their opponent's hand.
Average players usually base their thinking entirely on specific hands, while advanced players will have ranges in mind.
From the perspective of the game in general, players in certain positions may get flushes, high-mid-low pairs, and so on. Average players always believe that their opponents have certain specific hands based on their intuition, while advanced players clearly know that the entire range of hands will appear with various frequencies during the game. What’s more, they will try to analyze the frequencies and make their best move.
Tips: Be realistic. Nobody will always acquire a specific hand. Think about the ranges and stop focusing on hands.
2. Do Not Cling to Your Favorite Hand
We all have our favorite hands, or we simply think that some hands look pleasing to the eye. For example, some people's lucky numbers are 9 and 7, and their eyes gleam with excitement when they get it.
Some hands are worth a try in certain situations, such as when the player’s position is in the back and players in front have not bet or raised, even though what he has is not high pairs or high suited cards. But in fact, if it is not high pairs, high suited cards, or high unsuited cards, then it is not an excellent hand to cling on to. If the player’s position is in the front, then you might refer to our last blog post - WHAT HANDS TO FOLD IN POKER: DEFENSE IS THE BEST OFFENSE, from which you will learn that these hands should be folded for the greater good.
Tips: It's okay to have a favorite hand, but realize that superstition will not help you in Texas Hold'em. It is a game of mathematics and logic. What you need to do is to play smart.
3. Stick to A Consistent Strategy
The most important thing you need to learn to become an advanced poker player is emotion management. Don't change your strategy randomly because of mood change, exhaustion, or other similar reasons.
To excel in the game of Texas Hold'em, you need a long period of learning and accumulation. Each of your hands and every process in the game will become part of your accumulated experience. All the strategies you adopt are based on the time you spent on the game and lots of practice. Sudden changes of strategy on the poker table will mess you up.
Tips: Find the strategies that work for you, then stick to them. Do not allow big wins or losses affect you.
4. Make Only Reasonable Adjustments
Although having a consistent strategy is vital, advanced players will sometimes adjust their strategy and win a lot of money in the end. However, it should be noted that these adjustments to the strategies are based on obvious reasoning not because the players are tired or bored.
Let’s take a 9 and 7 suited hand for example. When the player’s position is in the early positions, such a hand usually should be folded before the flop. However, advanced players may choose to change their strategy and raise. Such a move could be due to his observation that the entire game is relatively passive, and players at the blinds are non-professionals too.
Tips: Be reasonable. Keep learning throughout each game and accumulate your experience. Use your experience to help you decide whether to adjust your strategy or not.
5. Fold the Aces When You Have to
Another significant difference between average players and advanced players is the courage to fold hands with high pairs.
Have you ever experienced the feeling when you have a pair of aces in hand, but an opponent suddenly goes All In on the turn? This situation is not rare and choosing to fold at this point is almost always a good idea.
Advanced players understand that emotional attachment to pretty-looking hands is useless. Average players however, often cannot resist the temptation to hold on to these hands, and end up losing their poker chips.
Tips: Be a cold-blooded player when necessary. Even the top poker hands cannot guarantee you victory. Understand that even a pair of Aces can lose.
6. Do Not Let Tilt Get Hold of You
At times, players might experience consecutive losses. Consequently, their emotions prevail, and they start to play irrationally. Countless players have given in to their negative feelings and ended up losing a great fortune.
Tips: Remember to relax. Understand that the psychological combat starts the moment you sit down at the poker table. There are always ups and downs. Don’t give in easily to your emotion. The tilt only hurts you.
7. Choose Your Poker Game Wisely
Some beginning players want to play with more experienced players. If you just want some challenge or pleasure, then it’s fine. However, if you are there to win, then you need to consider whether that’s the right game for you.
If you want to win big, instead of challenging the masters, try to find players whose poker skills are not as good as yours. When they make their mistakes, that’s your chance to win.
(Classic line from the movie "Rounders", depicting how to choose the right game to play.)
Tips: Choose wisely. Don't put yourself in a situation where all the other players are at a much higher level than you.
In fact, going from "barely breaking-even" to becoming a "big winner" is not as difficult as you might imagine. It is these small strategic adjustments that can improve your Texas Hold'em poker skills and take you to a higher level.
Learn to think more objectively and logically. Treat the game rationally, and minimize emotional and intuitional input. Even beginning players can quickly grow into advanced players.