Poker is game of logic, cunning and guile (and a slice of luck) so to become a successful player you’re going to have to dedicate some serious hours to learning your craft. The wealth of information available in books, forums and on the internet can be a little overwhelming so to start you off on the road to success here are some top poker tips.
1. Better to be a bettor
Texas Hold’em is all about aggression and being willing to put the maximum amount of pressure on your opponents. Whenever you look at your cards in a game of Hold’em ask yourself this simple question: is this hand good enough to raise? If the answer is no, then it’s unlikely the hand will be worth calling with and therefore you should fold. If the answer is yes, then it’s time to loosen your raising arm and stick in the chips.
2. Know thy odds
To succeed in poker you don’t need degree in quantum mechanics but you should have a basic understanding of the numbers involved. Knowing the chances of making a straight, a flush or a full house is crucial if you want to make profitable long-term decisions. Using Hold’em calculator software will help familiarise you with the most important odds so you can crush the game every time you sit down.
3. Tight is right
Just as being aggressive is important in Texas Hold’em, so is choosing the right hands to play. Selecting the right hands pre-flop will ensure that your post-flop decisions are much easier. Many new players play too many hands and subsequently lose money. Don’t be a fool, hang around for the best starting hands and wait for your opponents to graciously slide their stack across the table to you.
Probably the most crucial theoretical concept you need to grasp when you’re playing poker is the question, “why?” Understanding what you’re doing at every point is incredibly important and is the reason why the best players continually win. Before you make any fold, call or bet ask yourself the reason for your action and what are you trying to achieve. Interrogating yourself in this way will force you to make better decisions at the table and help you avoid any tricky spots during a hand.
5. Roll with the punches
Playing with an adequate bankroll is essential if you want to be able to absorb any blows and avoid going broke. Many players want to run before they walk and nine times out of ten end up losing their money quicker than they earned it. Playing in games with too high a buy-in can have a catastrophic effect on your bankroll and leave you mourning the loss of your hard won money. Make sure you have at least twenty buy-ins for the level you want to play. That means if you want to play Texas Hold’em with $1/$2 blinds (where the maximum buy-in is $200) you would need a bankroll of at least $4000 to comfortably play in that game.