Poker is a card game that requires a lot of skill and patience to master. The best players take years to learn how to play well and win consistently. But it’s never too late to start learning poker and improve your skills. Here are five tips that can help you play better:
Make a Strategy List
A strategy list is like a cheat sheet for the game of poker. It ranks the hands from best to worst and helps you decide what cards to keep or exchange for new ones. It’s a great way to understand the different ways that you can win.
When you first start playing poker, it’s easy to get carried away and think that you have the edge over everyone else at the table. This can lead you to make mistakes and lose money. However, if you’re patient and focus on improving your game, you can turn things around.
Commit to Smart Game Selection
Poker is a game that involves betting, so you need to be sure that the games you choose are profitable. This means choosing limits and game variations that fit your bankroll and your level of experience.
Don’t Be a Hero
The most common mistake that beginner poker players make is trying to outwit their opponents. They’ll try to make a certain hand look stronger than it really is by bluffing, or by calling down their opponent’s hands with weaker hands. But these tactics are usually unsuccessful and will backfire more often than not.
Instead, a better strategy is to play your strong value hands straightforwardly. This will force your opponents to think about their hands and come up with a wrong conclusion, which is the best thing for you.
Remember that your job is to make them fold, not call. This can be done by making them think that you’re bluffing, or by letting them overthink and arrive at wrong conclusions.
Don’t Make Your Hand Too Optimal
There are many times when you should raise or bet more aggressively than your opponent. This is especially true when you have a pair or higher. If you have a pair of Kings, but your opponent has an 8-4 or a 6-7, they are likely to give up. Similarly, if you have a pair of Aces, but your opponent has a 7-5 or a 6-2, they are likely to call.
Use a Range of Your Own
Another key aspect to understanding how to play poker is your own range. While a new player will try to put their opponent on a specific hand, more experienced players will instead work out their own range of cards. They’ll look at a number of different factors, including the time it takes for them to make a decision and how much sizing they’re using, to determine what kind of hands they have.
Don’t Be a Hero
A hero poker player is one who always calls down with mediocre hands, chases ludicrous draws, and makes crazy “hero calls” on the chance that they’re holding something good. A hero poker player should also charge a premium for their draws, as they’re likely to be able to make them pay a premium to see their draw.