Poker tips and techniques
Poker is considered an easy to learn but hard to master card game. Here you can find some tricks that can help you become a good poker player, as well as techniques and strategies for newbies to the game, and some high end concepts for the initiated.
Things to keep in mind about poker
Decisions for the poker newbie
You must make a choice whether you’re in it for the fun or for the winnings. Poker requires a carefully crafted system and strategy to get a winning streak, which in turn needs hard work. There’s no harm in playing for fun, but you shouldn’t plan to lose. Choose what kind of player you want to be to ease your decisions and sessions.
Good decisions lead to good results
Even the best poker players lose money. It’s okay if you don’t win every time. Your goal must be to play better each session. Your cards and benefits will slowly improve as you do.
Many players make the mistake of judging their proficiency according to the results of each session. Your objective must always be to make the best play. The more you do this, the better results you’ll get.
Poker is a maths game, in which the information is incomplete. It can sound complex but it’s really not. At its core, a winning play starts with the hand selection that you will play. If you play better hands than your rivals consistently, the wins shall be regular.
More than the starting hand
The selection of a starting hand is one of the most important decisions in poker, but it’s only a piece of the puzzle. Once the guidelines of the starting hand are understood and how the seating position affects them, the next step is to work on your game. The difference between sharks and fishes is that professionals play better than their opponents during the rest of the hand after the initial choices.
This is true for the decisions made at the end of each hand. The skills to calculate the pot odds, to recognise the betting patterns, bluffing, and making use of the seating position, relate to the years of practice to master the mid and end game, even the minimum skillset of a player can have an impact on the player’s career and winnings. A great way to learn is using IntelliPoker’s free resources, where you can find immeasurable opportunities to practice your game.
Avoid the tilt
One of the most important strategies that a player must hone is that of avoiding tilting. Your rivals will try to find a way to use your emotions against you, but you can prevent that. The emotional struggle can lead to bad choices and losing money. Losing control and getting mad is normal, sometimes the best way to regain it is taking a break. Take your time, the play will be there if you pause for a moment or a day.
The different styles of poker
One of the most fascinating aspects of poker is the sheer variety of styles, ways to play. Most styles can be boiled down to a combination of these:
- Conservative: this style is all about being wary, playing few hands without taking big risks.
- Risky: The complete opposite; the hands are played loose and free, with an inclination towards betting.
- Aggressive: This style focuses on making bets, opening pots and putting pressure on other by making big bets.
- Passive: Unlike the one before, this style focuses on matching bets instead of making them and waiting for the rival’s actions to shape the game.
Think of the way you play poker. Which one of these styles best describes you?
If your answer is “all and none”, you’re right. To switch gears in poker is one of the most treasured skills, if you stick too closely to a single style you’d get predictable. Regardless, newbies should stick to a “passive-aggressive” combination.
This style will help you get comfortable betting aggressively, which is fundamental in the long run, while playing the best hands before the flop will help you get control and avoid downward spirals with weak hands. With experience and time, your game will get better and you’ll find it easier to relax and change your style, keeping the aggressive betting.
Understanding the seating position
The dealer or button is the last player in a betting round. To be the last one to act gives you a tactical advantage, since you can observe how all the other players used their hands. The dealer position changes from hand to hand, that way all players get to use this advantage and the game is fair.
To use this in your favour, it’s recommended to play more hands if you’re in the last positions (ex, after most player’s turns have passed) than if you’re in the first seats. Good players are used to distend the demand levels between the different seats, the benefits of the last positions bring them flexibility and options during the developing hand.
If you’re against rivals that have to act before you do, it’s said that you have an advantage over them, while they’re at disadvantage. This can be really important.
Make sure that bluffing is worth it
It’s always important to choose a good hand, but the more players you’re against to, the higher the chance that at least one of them will have a stronger hand. There are cases in which bluffing can help you win a pot that otherwise you would lose.
When a poker player bluffs, what are they trying to do? They’re trying to make their rival fold their stronger cards. It’s just that! In almost all poker games, the hands are trash and you will want to fold preflop or they’re bad and you don’t want to bet a great deal of chips on them. Bluffing is important, in situations like this, where you can get a second chance at winning.
Bluffing is only successful if you can make your opponent believe that your cards are the winning hand, that’s why you should care about how your calls look. If you really had the winning hand or the cards you want to make them think you have, would you play that hand the way you did? Is the “story” you’re playing coherent or logical according to you actions?
As you bluff, make sure that the story you’re telling makes sense. If you want to bet more, as a last hope of winning the pot, then probably the other players can guess your intention.
Odds and outs
Odds are the poker term for the possibilities. If you flip a coin, there’s a 50% chance of it landing as head and 50% of it landing as tails: meaning one to one probability (1/1). For every chance of it landing on heads, there’s a chance of it landing on tails. Now, think about a dice: for each time that a six lands, there exists a possibility of another of the five numbers landing. Then, the probabilities of it landing a 6 are 5/1.
Now, let’s analyse a poker situation: you have four clubs and you’re waiting on the last club to appear on the river street to have a flush and winning the pot. There’s 13 clubs in a deck; two of them are in your hand and two of them are on the table, so there’s 9 clubs left. There’s 46 possible cards that can turn out in the river, 9 that can help you win the pot. These 9 cards are known as outs.
Then the odds of making a flush are 37/9 (37 cards out of 46 won’t help you, but 9 will) This is 37 to 9 and, thus, your odds of making a flush are approximately 4 to 1.
Using the previous example, the pot odds are the probabilities of chips you can win against the chips you need to bet in the pot.
Let’s say that you’re on a hand to hand against a rival, waiting for the last club on the river. There’s 10 chips in the pot, and your opponent bets his last 10 chips. You can match his bet, waiting on the club or fold. What’s the correct play? It’s easier than you think.
If you pay 10, there’s the possibility of winning 20; the odds are 2:1. As we know, the probabilities of making a flush are 4:1. To take a risk of 4:1 against a 2:1 chance of winning, it’s a bad play, you shouldn’t play on your backdoor straight.
But what would happen if there’s 90 chips when your rival bets his last 10 chips? You’d have to pay 10 to win 100 chips; the pot odds being 10:1. To risk 4:1 for a 10:1 prize is a smart play; in this case you have to match.