5 Essential Tips for Winning Poker
When it comes to poker strategy you can go into a lot of detail to fine tune even the smallest aspects of your game. However, if you are just a new player starting out and looking to see if you can outplay your opponents at the tables, you only really need a few basic pointers to set you in the right direction. So take the following tips on board, and take your game up a few notches.
1. Don’t Bluff Too Often
One of the biggest rookie mistakes is bluffing far too frequently. The bluff is powerful play in the right situation but, it is something that should be used sparsely. Although you may see professional players making big bluffs on TV, I can assure you that these are rarer than you think, as TV shows will edit the footage to show only the most exciting plays.
If you bluff on a regular basis, you are putting yourself in a situation where you are committing chips to the pot without the best hand. This may be fun and exciting but, at the end of the day, it is only going to lose you more money than you win. So, if you are new to the game, hold back on your bluffs and try to only bet when you think you have the best of it.
2. Use Position
When you are dealt a hand you should always be aware of where the dealer is and if you are one of the first or last to act in a hand. If you are near to the left of the button, it means that you will be one of the first players to act on each betting round. Conversely, if you are on the button or to the right of it, it means that you will be one of the last to act on each round.
If you are one of the last players to act on each betting round, it gives you the advantage of seeing how your opponents react to the cards on the flop, turn and river before you have to make your play. For example, if your opponent checks to you, you can infer that they have a weak hand, so a bluff is more likely to be successful.
3. Don’t Pay Too Much For Draws
Another popular (and unprofitable) trend amongst new poker players is the desire to chase after drawing hands. If you only need one more card to make your straight or flush, it can be very tempting to make some pretty big calls from other players in the hopes of getting lucky. But, if you are paying a large amount each time to try and catch the right card, you will be losing more money than you win in the long run.
The trick is to be selective with how much you pay to try and complete your drawing hands. Use your initiative when you are deliberating whether or not to make a call. If the bet is small, then go ahead and call. However, if things look a little too expensive, be strict on yourself and fold the hand – you will thank yourself in the long run.
4. Stick With Big Hands
A sure fire way to get yourself off to a good start is to only play big hands that have a lot of potential. The best cards to play within Texas Holdem are big pairs and big face cards as these will make high pairs that will often win hands at the flop and on future betting rounds. Make sure that you avoid playing lower cards, as these can get you into a lot of trouble if you make half a hand and you are not sure how to play them.
If you are entering a hand with bad cards, you can only expect bad results. So make sure you give yourself an edge by entering pots with hands that have a higher expectation to win.
You can read about poker strategy as much as you like but there is no replacement for actually playing the game and refining your skills. It is a great idea to read information on how to play good Texas Holdem but it is always best to take your knowledge to the tables to practice and to see how it works.
The more you play, the better you will get. Even if you are currently a losing player, all it takes is practice with the determination to learn how to improve your game, and you are on the right track to winning money. If you practice and learn as much as you can, you may well make it into the 5% of players that actually win money from poker on a regular basis. So get out there and start playing some poker!