Poker is a game that involves skill, chance and luck. It is the skill that leads to players making money over the months and years they play poker. However, many players struggle to break even. The difference between these players and those who are successful is not as large as some might think. There are a few simple adjustments that many players can make to improve their game and begin winning at a higher rate.
Having the right mindset is the biggest thing to do when you are playing poker. This means not getting emotional at the table and putting in the work to learn the game. It also means being willing to lose hands based on bad beats and sticking to your tested and trusted strategy. This is not easy, as human nature will try to derail you at every turn. You will be tempted to call a bad bet or make an ill-advised bluff, and that is why having a solid plan is so important.
A solid starting hand is also crucial when you are beginning to play poker. The game starts with everyone placing a small amount of chips into the pot, called the ante. Then the dealer deals each player two cards. You can then decide to “call” (put in the same amount as the previous player), raise or fold.
Raise to gain information – When you raise in poker it gives your opponent information about the strength of their hands. They may be bluffing and you will know it is a weak bluff or they may have a strong hand. This information will help you make decisions in the future.
The size of the raise – When you raise in poker it forces your opponents to either call or raise. This will give you a lot of information about their strength and will give you clues on how to play in the future.
Understanding the betting structure – Knowing how to read your opponent’s bets is a vital part of poker. The size of their bets and how often they bet will help you determine how much pressure to put on them. The more you understand how to read other players the better you will be able to play this game.
Avoid crying about bad beats – This is one of the worst things you can do in poker. Not only will it make you look ridiculous, but it will also lead to poor play and tilting down the road.
Studying ONE concept each week – Many players bounce around in their studies, watching a cbet video on Monday, reading a 3bet article on Tuesday and then listening to a podcast on ICM on Wednesday. By studying ONE concept each week you can more easily digest the content and make it stick in your brain. This is going to be more beneficial than trying to learn everything at once.