They say that poker is a game of skill with a luck element included – it happens for a reason. Although you can lose a hand that you played correctly, in the long run, you have more chance of being profitable. But, if you want to achieve it and if you want to become a winning poker player you need to have a good strategy. Down below, in this article, you’ll find five tips that will not only allow you to minimize the losses, but also maximize the winnings. Find out what they are!
Play tight no matter what
Sadly it’s easier said than done, but you have to accept that the tighter you are, the better results it will bring. Stealing blinds is okay, and you should do this against super tight opponents, known as nits. But, when your hand selection is very loose you risk something much more – being dominated. And good opponents will make good use out of such mistakes. Good preflop hand selection will let you avoid many tough spots, and when you play solid ABC poker, you are more likely to progress and advance to higher stakes.
Some pros recommend you to do so in order to balance your game, but let’s think for a while – do you really believe that micro stakes are full of poker professional players, who only wait to exploit your game? Incorrect! They are exploiting fishes in much higher stakes. Micros were, are, and always will be a place where you will play against many fishes, weak and recreational players. And that’s why you should always open raise. It will allow you to build bigger pots and therefore win more blinds. If you limp, the pots will most often be much smaller, and also you lose the initiative. It makes it much easier for good and aggressive opponents to kick you out of the pot. Even if you happen to win a few times if you limp, in the long run limping is a -EV play, so you should avoid it.
Analyze your game
Playing a lot and collecting the data is crucial. But, if you are not a winning player by now, it won’t change a whole lot. Why? Because it means that there are certain leaks and mistakes in your game, that you are constantly repeating. Therefore you are either losing money, or you don’t win as much as you should. So, it’s in your best interest to check out at least the biggest hands from every session and find out if your play was correct. Sometimes you won money, and in fact, your play was questionable. And sometimes you lost the pot, although if it wasn’t for the bad beat the money would be yours. Situations like that sometimes happen, but micro stakes players make a lot of wrong decisions. Analyze your game on your own, ask your friends or hire a coach, and make sure to always learn from your mistakes. Only then you’ll be able to grind the bigger stakes.
Learn more about the mindset and psychology of poker
Every player believes that they are immune to “tilt”. It’s wrong, each and every one of us often gets annoyed when we played correct, and fish decides to chase some ridiculous draw that they eventually hit. Such situations often happen, and they can throw off balance even very advanced players. If you check out your hands’ history, you will be amused by how many big blinds you have lost because of that reason. That’s why you should educate yourself, and know how to tell when you are tilted, and that it’s not a really good idea to continue playing. Oftentimes it results in stakes hopping, which can be fatal to your bankroll.
Obey bankroll management
Have you seen The Rounders? If you did, you surely know that Mike McDermott is a good poker player. Except he has one obvious flaw – he ignores bankroll management rules. And it’s crucial to always keep it in mind. You can bluff your opponent, but you’ll never bluff mathematics and variance. That’s why you should play on stakes that are adjusted to your balance. If you are a cash game player, make sure to have at least 40 buy-ins. For example, if you want to play at NL10 you should have at least $400 to play. Some games are really tough and crazy, and if your bankroll is high enough downswings won’t be that scary to you. When it comes to tournament players it’s best to have at least 100 times more than the buy-in is. So if you want to play in a $2,20 hyper-turbo tournament, make sure that you have at least $220 in your balance.
As you can see those are the simple tips, that will really help you become a better poker player. You might have been aware of some of them, but be honest with yourself – have you been consistently using them? If not, try now, and be surprised how much easier it will be to advance to higher stakes. Good luck to you!