The popularity boom of Poker, especially Texas Hold’em, seems to be the never ending story. What started two decades ago only continues to grow and grow each year. There are more websites, tournaments, and back room games than ever before, all for a demand that can’t seem to be met.
Every player is looking for games they can win and money they can take. Poker is a fantastic game in the fact where a player’s strategies can carry the weight to the point where the cards hardly matter. Luck of the draw is irrelevant. It’s more than just bluffing and knowing when to fold, though. There are factors to be considered every bet, every hand, and everywhere in-between.
The first thing every poker player must realize is that there’s always room for improvement. A player should never rest on their laurels. You can always improve. Just like anything else, it takes time, patience, and practice. It’s more than just learning strategies, too. It’s about developing them. You’ll want to keep your play simple until it becomes second nature.
Where your watching your opponents more so than your own hand, all without thinking about it. We’ve prepared a list of strategies to learn that will not only make you the best poker player you can be, but, more importantly, win as much as you can.
Know your Position
While it seems like an obvious idea, many players will get ahead of themselves simply by not understanding where they sit in the order of the table. As players come and go, fold or stay in, your position order will change accordingly. Are you the “small blind position?”
Or are you “on the button” as some may say? Where you’re positioned changes your bet, hand after hand, and what worked two hands ago may not even be relevant anymore. Stay sharp and understand who will bet next and how it will affect your wagering.
Learn to Slow Play
“Slow Play” actually has nothing to do with the pace of the game. While it is annoying when players take too long to place a bet, check, or fold, the pace of the game is the last thing you should worry about. Slow playing is a strategy employed in order to drive up the pot. It simply means playing your strong hand as if it’s a weak one in order to keep others in the game as long as you can.
There are times to do this and times you shouldn’t and it all depends on how the players at your table play out their hands. It works well versus bluffers and conservative players. When you have a good hand you want to maximize its potential in order to win as big of a pot as you can. A good slow play can do just that for you, time and again.
No Free Flops
If your hand is strong enough to stay in the game at least until the flop comes out, don’t let other players get there for free. Simply raise the minimum bet, even if only a little. Once the flop comes into play, the hands can change dramatically and the next thing you know, you’re once strong hand doesn’t stand a chance. Make your good hands work for you by not showing the flop for free.
Know the Players
Driver’s Ed teaches you to be looking in your rear view mirror as much as you are looking at the road in front of you. A similar rule applies in Texas Hold’em. You should be watching your opponents as much, if not more, than looking at your own cards. How do they bet? What are their tells? How big is their stack? Are they up or are they down?
Everything a player does at a poker table should be scrutinized to learn their habits. Is a player down and making bigger and bigger wagers? He’s nervous and is trying too hard to win back his chips and can be bluffed. Is a player up big and slow playing you? Don’t give in your stack. To be successful at Texas Hold’em, knowing how much to bet is more important than knowing the cards. The easiest way to be successful at this is to know who you are playing.
Get Out When You Want
There are points in a hand where it’s difficult to get out. You’ve come too far and despite your better judgement, you stick it out only to lose. Don’t be afraid to get out whenever you want. After the flop is always a tough fold, especially for new players.
You’ve put in the pot and maybe even met a raise along the way and the obligation to keep playing is natural. However, getting out can always be a smart play for the simple reason that anything that saves your stack is a smart play. Don’t worry about your appearance, worry about your stack.