How To Improve Your Edge And Become A Better Poker Player
Poker is fun, and the rules are simple to understand, even for beginners. You get to play against other players, not the house, so it is very interactive, which gives you the opportunity to influence your edge on the game.
However, this also means that you are faced with people who have just as much skill and motivation as you do, if not more. It would have been great if you could beat the competition with just a staredown, but poker requires a different approach – developing an edge over the game.
Master The Basics
It’s really surprising how many people skip this process. No matter the poker variant you want to play, you need to learn the fundamentals first. From the starting hands to betting positions, your first step to becoming a pro is to master the basic rules. Advanced techniques are also essential, but what differentiates a winner from a loser is a clear understanding of the game.
Start With Texas Hold’em
When you hear the word poker, 90% of the time, it is referring to Texas Hold’em, which is the simplest and most widespread variant. As a beginner, you would be jumping the gun by playing real money No-Limit Hold’em or Omaha the first time you visit the casino.
The rules of poker are simple, but gaining mastery of it is a different ball game altogether, and your best chance of doing so is starting with the simplest variant. Once you’ve gotten the hang of constructing a killer five-card poker hand, you can naturally transition to other versions of the game.
Play Fewer Hands More Aggressively
Quality over quantity and huge pots over multiple pots. Many poker enthusiasts have the misconception that winning more pots brings the highest returns. Looking back on the history of the game, the biggest winners aren’t those that win several pots. They are those that play a few solid hands with good odds as a backup.
You can win by either making the best hand or causing the competition to fold, so the best approach would be to get the advantage by focusing on playing a tight range of hands aggressively.
Select Your Table Wisely
The table you play at can decrease or increase your chances of winning. No matter how good you are, if your opponents are more skilled, you will have a difficult time winning, thereby limiting your profits in the long run. Look out for more passive and inexperienced players who play for fun in order to increase your edge.
Don’t worry about getting better by playing with the experts. You can alternate your gameplay, so you get the chance to learn from the professionals and other times rule the game by playing with the newbies.
Master The Art Of Bluffing
Not all rounds of the game will play out in your favor, and if the cards coming your way are not very friendly, your escape route from losing might be pulling a successful bluff. When you bluff, the aim is to make your opponents believe that your weak hand is actually a strong one, which will prompt them to fold.
Before using this strategy, there is a lot to consider. You need to build a tight player image, assess your opponents, and weigh the size of your bet, among other things. If you can successfully deceive your competition, you get to steal the pot.
Fold When The Odds Are Against You
Remember that thing called bad luck? Even the best of us get to experience it, and it often comes in streaks, so you should be prepared to face them. Losing is never fun, but it can be profitable in the long run. For your poker career, making the right decision is crucial, even if that means giving up a great hand.
You won’t be winning the pot, but you would be losing less, which allows you to play on for longer. Think of it as giving up the battle to win the war.
Be In The Best Mindset
There are two elements at play in poker, luck, and skill. The former is up to chance and could work for or against you. The latter is entirely in your hands. The skill aspect requires you to have a clear and efficient thinking process, and distractions cause the exact opposite.
Here are some things to put you in a good state of mind:
- Hold off on the booze. Alcohol blurs your thought process, and you may find yourself losing to rookies if you play while intoxicated.
- Stay off your phone. Even if you consider yourself a good multi-tasker, you are sure to miss some important details if you keep glancing over at your phone.
- Eat healthy, sleep well, and meditate. Don’t eat too heavy; you may feel tired. Also, don’t eat too light; you may get hungry during a critical round. Sleep well to keep your eyes sharp, and having a well-trained mind will help you avoid tilt.
- Break up your sessions and don’t play for hours on end. Give the brain a few seconds to cool off and then get back in the game.
Change Your Environment
The number one perk of playing online is the convenience of visiting not just one but several poker sites without moving an inch. Just as choosing the right table is crucial, choosing the right casino can have a positive impact on your winning edge.
Different platforms have different Rakeback deals, table limits, and different kinds of players. To crown it all is the bonuses and rewards that boost your bankroll, creating more opportunities to take home a large pot.
Long term success in your poker career is a continuous process. Strategies change every couple of years, and old ones become obsolete.
Even heavyweight champions get their title stolen so you can stay on top of the game and maintain a winning edge only if you keep learning and exploring the dynamic world of poker.
Practice makes perfect, and if you want to become one of the best, you need to continue sharpening your skills any chance you get.