Everyone plays poker these days. In fact, millions of people all of the world engage in playing poker at least once in a while – often more than once a week! Poker has become increasingly popular over the past few years and that’s mainly thanks to the World Series of Poker and movies like Rounders. Poker is not the easiest of the casino games to get a handle on, but these four tips should give you an improved shot at winning when you hit the tables.
Only Play Good Hands
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be shocked how many poker players decide to enter a pot with inferior card holdings. More experienced players will not need to be told this, but beginners frequently make this mistake – simply because they want to play as much as possible. You’ve got to remember though that when playing poker, as much as you might be trying to have fun, the game’s purpose is to try and win money. If you attempt to play hands you ought to be folding, all you will do is increase your losses. Most good players will play less than half of the starting hands they are dealt during a game.
Watch the Other Players and Their Cards
Much of poker is about psychology and observation, so you should be sure to also take great care to notice of other players at the table and their “tells”. This is of course pretty tough to do if you’re just starting off as a new poker player, but you should at least try to observe a few basic things about the others at the table – when do they raise or fold? You should also be keeping tabs of the cards on the table, especially if you are playing a game like Texas Hold’em (so you can work out what the best hand for the flop would be).
Play Rationally, Not Emotionally
Poker is a game you will be most effective at if you are fully in control of yourself and playing calmly. This means you should not play if you are stressed out or in a bad mood, and you should also never mix poker and drinking, as this reduces inhibitions, which can lead to reckless bets, calls, and raises that your opponents will likely take advantage of.
Know When to Bluff
Given how well-known the poker bluff is as a tactic, it is perhaps not surprising that inexperienced players sometimes overuse it. Naturally, this reduces a bluff’s effectiveness somewhat. A bluff will only succeed if you use it at the correct point in the game, and against a player with the right psychology. Of course, and a win secured without bluffing your opponent is just as valid.
Beyond the aforementioned four poker tips, there’s truckloads more to keep in mind. After all, poker is known as the game that takes five minutes to learn but a lifetime to master. As you improve, your best bet to keep an edge over your opponents is by enrolling with one of the best poker training sites.
Robbie, suggest you read Hold’em or Fold’em? — An Algorithm for Making the Key Decision. You will note that anyone playing more than 1/3 of his hands preflop is bound to b e a loser. (Not 1/2.) And play fewer in early position. The 2nd step in the Poker Two-Step is also vital to being a winner. (I have written several columns on this concept — published in Gaming Today.
As for bluffing, the Esther Bluff tactic cannot be beat. I win about 80% of my bluffs in low-limit games.
Keep up the good work.
It always brings a smile to my face to see a comment or email from you – thanks so much for taking the time to read another article from my site.
It goes without saying that of course you’ve got a valid argument there and that your book is worthwhile. This article was written about 7.5 years ago (I truthfully didn’t even remember it myself!). Thankfully, I’ve come a long was both as a writer and as a player since then 🙂
Thanks, as always, for your encouragement and warm regards to you as well my friend.