Poker was invented in the U.S. in the early 19th century, and it is now the world’s most popular card game. If this is your first poker game, it can take time to get used to the terms, rules, and strategy. But don’t worry, the game is worth every minute you spend learning it. There are a few things you’ll need to know and with some basic tips, you’ll be playing like a pro in no time. A lot of online poker tips are general and can seem overwhelming when one doesn’t know where to start. More often than not though, there are beginner and advanced sets of poker strategies in each article with different levels of complexity.
Here’s a list for beginners and advanced players alike: these 10 pieces of advice will not only help you get over your self-doubt but also let you play the best poker you can!
1. Consider the Rules, Positions, and Poker Hands Ranking
Of course, our actions are guided by knowledge. It’s nice to understand the ranking of poker hands. Learning positions is unavoidable before you start to play. In general, it means that when you have a position on other players, you act on them and can see what they are doing before you decide.
2. Don’t be the First Player to Limp
Limping is an absolute no-no as the first player in a jackpot (just calling the big blind pre-flop). One player at least has limped already. The only acceptable situation is limp. This has been described as over-limping and it could be a great game because you get a great chance of joining it so that you can hopefully hit something good on the flop.
3. Ponder on Your Opponent’s cards
Many factors may suggest your opponent’s hands. It is a very hard and advanced subject, but a simple version can start. It’s good to think about its position and what hands it might open and play; it can suggest what it might have afterward. Betting or checking can show its strength or weakness, and you need to look for that information. The texture of the board is also important.
4. Knowing Your Odds and Outs
The chance of something happening is expressed using odds. When tossing a coin, for example, the coin has an equal chance of falling on ‘heads’ or ‘tails’, then we may describe this probability as one to one or ‘evens’ for every time it lands on ‘heads,’ there a likelihood it lands on ‘tails’ one time. Consider the odds of rolling a six on a six-sided die: for every time it lands on a six, it’s likely to land on a different number five times, therefore the odds of rolling a six may be expressed as 5/1.
5. Beyond Starting Hand
Although choosing a starting hand is critical, it is only one part of the poker strategy jigsaw. The next area you should work on is your play, once you’ve learned solid opening hand principles and understand how they fluctuate depending on your table position. Professional players tend to play significantly better than their opponents during the balance of the hand. The hand that starts the game is pretty important because it distinguishes them from amateurs. This is especially true when it comes to the last decisions of each hand. Calculating pot odds, spotting betting trends, bluffing, and using position are all part of this skill set.
6. Attack at any sight of weakness
When your opponent shows a lot of weakness in a heads-up pot, for example, if they check on the flop and turn, you can use an aggressive bluffing approach to take advantage of them. You should not only gamble with your regular semi-bluffs, but you should also bet with some nothing hands, preferably ones with good blocker effects.
7. Pay Attention to Stack sizes
In SNGs, stack sizes are quite crucial. A large number of recreational players accumulate a large stack. When players have a lot of chips, they frequently play table bullies or play even more hands. They are unlikely to fold frequently. When they have 30, 40, or 50 bbs, they’ll call your 12bb shove with those chips.
8. Defend Your Big Blinds
Because you’ve already put one big blind into the pot, the big blind is a unique situation. As a result, whenever you’re in the big blind and you’re faced with a raise, you’ll have better pot odds to call than the other positions — think of it as a discount. You can economically call with many more hands than if you were sitting in another position because of your discount and the fact that you are the last person to act preflop. That’s not to say you shouldn’t use garbage hands to call raises.
9. Target Limpers
Limpers are a terrific way to make money. At the table, often they are the weakest players and we know that money flows from the weak to the strong. So, your goal is to play as many hands as possible against limpers in +EV situations.
Limpers want 1 thing: to see the flop as cheap as possible to hit a strong hand. This causes them to limp with any pair, suited connectors, suited gappers, all broadways, most Aces, and lots of other suited hands.
10. Take Your Time
Don’t get into the habit of making snap decisions. It’s a significant mistake that even the most experienced gamers make all the time, and it eliminates all their chances of winning money. Take your time and consider what we’ve covered thus far. Give yourself as much time as you need to make your decisions.
Identify what it is about poker that you enjoy, and try to recall that experience. Perhaps you get a sense of adrenaline when you face huge money jumps deep in MTT? Perhaps you enjoy playing against the same players in cash games and learning how to beat them? Maybe you’re obsessed with perfecting your strategy?
With these ten tips, you will play like a pro in no time!