Mastering any poker game is a fun and challenging goal. This page gives general poker advice and strategy.
The basic poker Tips and Tactics
The basics of solid poker strategy involve many concepts that you must combine to become a consistently winning player. The following concepts are crucial to learning poker strategy:
- Tight play
- Aggressive play
- Random play
- Taking advantage of the mistakes of other players
Keep these concepts in mind as you develop as a poker player.
Some Poker Strategy Considerations
Decisions for the New Poker Player
Decide whether you want to play poker to win or to play for fun. To play at a consistently winning level requires both time and effort. In other words, it takes work. There is nothing wrong with playing poker for fun, but there is no reason to plan to lose, even when you are playing for fun. However, deciding which type of poker player you want to be before you start will make your decisions and sessions easier.
Make Good Decisions – the Results Will Follow
Even the best poker players in the world have losing sessions. Don't make the mistake of expecting to win every time you play. Your goal should be to play to the best of your ability in every session. If you do, the cards and winnings will take care of themselves as you improve. Many players make the mistake of judging their poker playing ability based on the results of each session. Your goal should be to make the best possible play every time. The closer you come to this, the better your results will be.
The Mathematics of Poker
Poker is a mathematical game, and it’s a game of incomplete information. That may sound complicated, but it really isn't. On a very basic level, winning poker starts with the selection of which starting hands to play. If you enter the pot with the best hand more often than your opponents do, you will win more times than your opponents.
Beyond Starting Hands
Starting hand selection is fundamentally important, but it’s only one piece of the poker strategy puzzle. Once you have mastered solid starting hand guidelines and understand how they change by your position at the table, the next area you should work on is your play for the rest of the hand. The area that separates professional players from amateurs is that professional players tend to play much better than their opponents during the remainder of the hand, after the starting hand decisions are made. This is especially true concerning the decisions made at the very end of every hand. These skills involve calculating pot odds, recognizing betting patterns, bluffing, and using position. The years of practice necessary to master the middle and end game play are well worth the effort, because even small improvements in a player’s abilities can have a tremendous effect on that player’s lifetime winnings.
Another meta-skill that should be part of a winning player’s poker strategy is avoiding tilt. Your opponents will use your emotions against you, but only if you let them. Emotional play results in poor decisions and lost money. Tilting and steaming can happen to anyone, and sometimes the only cure is a break from the game. That’s okay; the game will still be there ten minutes from now. In fact, it will still be there tomorrow.
6 poker tips and tricks that make you a better poker player
1. Don't Play Every Hand / Do Fold More
Probably the number one mistake beginning poker players make is that they play far too many hands. When you're just starting out playing poker, you want toplay poker, and that means staying in hands that aren't very good just to be part of the action. But playing more doesn't mean winning more, it usually means losing more. If you find you're staying in on half or more of the hands you're dealt, you need to upgrade your starting hand requirements.
2. Don't Bluff Just For Bluffing's Sake
A lot of beginner's understand that bluffing is a part of poker, but not exactly how. There's is NO rule that one must bluff a certain amount or at all during a poker game, but many players don't feel like they've won unless they've tried a poker bluff. Bluffs only work in certain situations & against certain people, and if you know a player always calls to the showdown, it is literally impossible to bluff that player. It's better never to bluff than to bluff "just to bluff."
3. Don't Stay in a Hand Just Because You're Already In It
Another common mistake beginners make is to think that "Well, I've already put that much in the pot, I have to stay in now." Nope. You can't win a pot just by throwing money at it. There may be cases when pot odds warrant a call, but if you're sure you're beaten, and there's no way your hand can improve to be the best hand, you should fold right away. The money you've already put in the pot isn't yours anymore, and you can't get it back just by playing a hand all the way to the end.
4. Don't Call at the End of a Hand to "Keep Someone Honest"
This one follows the last tip. I see a lot of players look at another player's final bet, look at the hand, and say "I know you've got me, but I have to keep you honest," as they throw in a final call. It may be worth it to see if a player really has the hand they're representing; you're gaining information that will help you later on. But if you really feel a player has the hand and you're beat, why give him another pile of your money? Those bets will add up over an evening.
5. Do Pay Attention to the Cards on the Table
When you first start playing, it's enough just to remember how to play and pay attention to your own hand. But once you've got that down, it's incredibly important to look at what's going on at the table. In Texas Holdem, figure out what the best possible hand would be to fit the flop. Make sure you notice flush & straight possibilities. In 7-card stud, pay attention to what's showing & what people have folded when you consider calling opponents.
6. Do Pick the Right Game for Your Skill Level and Bankroll
One of the reasons you shouldn't jump into a $5/10 game after winning a huge bunch of money at $2/4 is because as the stakes rise, so does the average skill level of the players sitting there. You want to be one of the best at the table, not the fish who sits down with sharks. If you're making stacks of money at a lower level game, why move? You're winning stacks of money. The swings up and down at higher limits are much bigger, and one big night's win won't last long at a high-stakes game.