Honestly, poker can seem like somewhat of an impossible game to master. It’s totally understandable due to its many rules, hierarchies, and the fact that you must also be good at bluffing. Poker is a game of both skill and strategy. If you’re new to the game, or perhaps just searching for a way to improve your chances of winning, finding a strategy that suits your needs as a player can prove to be useful. There are different poker betting strategies to choose from. So how do you know which one fits you best?
Let’s take a look at the different poker strategies. We’ll be going over the basic poker strategies, more advanced poker strategies, and different tips and recommendations that can help improve your plays. We hope that you’ll find this article useful. Let’s dive in!
Basic Poker Strategies
Basic poker strategies are extremely useful poker strategies for beginners and less experienced players. We’ve gathered a list of some of the best basic poker strategies that can help you optimize your chances of winning. If you’re interested in learning the strategies, then keep on reading!
Decisions for Beginners
If you’re a beginner, it’s extremely important that you decide whether you want to play poker to win or to play for fun. If you’re interested in playing at a consistently winning level, it requires both time and effort. It takes a lot of work. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with playing poker for the sake of fun! But there’s no reason to plan to lose, even when you’re playing for fun. It’s important to decide which type of poker you’re interested in playing before you start. It will make your decisions easier.
The starting hand selection is extremely important, but it’s only a small piece of the poker strategy puzzle. Once you’ve mastered basic starting hand guidelines and understand how they change by your position at the table, you should work on your play for the rest of the hand. The thing that separates professional players from amateurs is the fact that professionals tend to play much better than their opponents during the remainder of the hand. This is especially true when it comes to the decision they make at the end of the hand. Professional players tend to take into account the pot odds, betting patterns, bluffing, and positions. This, of course, takes lots of practice. As they say, Rome wasn’t built in one day. Just remember that even the smallest improvement in your abilities can have a significant effect on your chances of winning.
Make Good Decisions
Good judgment is one of your greatest tools when it comes to playing poker. It goes without saying that even professional poker players have losing sessions. It would be a mistake to expect that you can win every time you play. You should aim to keep great focus and play to the best of your ability in every session.
A lot of players judge their poker skills based on the results of each session. That’s a mistake. A lost game doesn’t define your skills. Your aim should be to make the best possible play every time. That way, both your results and skills will keep improving.
Maybe you’ve never encountered the term “tilt” in a poker setting before. If a player tilts, it means that the player has become emotionally upset or frustrated. This usually tends to happen when a player is experiencing a string of bad luck, or when they lose a big hand. An important skill that should be part of a player’s poker strategy is to avoid tilting. Your opponents will attempt to use your emotions against you, but only if you let them. If one plays while being emotional, it tends to result in poor decision-making and lots of lost money. Of course, tilting can happen to anyone, and it's totally okay. It doesn’t define your ability to play the game. But it is still important to steer clear of tilting if you wish to improve your chances of winning.
Advanced Poker Strategies
If you’re a more experienced player, or perhaps just a beginner who’s curious, advanced poker strategies may be interesting to try. Advanced poker strategies include a number of different techniques and tactics. Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular advanced strategies to use when playing poker. Let’s take a look at some of the top poker strategies together.
Different Playing Styles
A thing that makes poker an extremely intriguing game is the many different approaches, styles, and ways to play that one can take. Most playing styles can be broken down into the following:
- Tight: playing few hands and not taking too many risks.
- Loose: playing a lot of hands with greater risk.
- Aggressive: playing to put others under pressure by opening pots and making big bets.
- Passive: playing by calling more often than betting, and letting the opponent dictate how the game unfolds.
Do you use any of the playing styles listed above? Maybe you’ve actually used all of them before. That’s actually the best way to go about it. The ability to switch up your style depending on what is needed is very useful. If you only use one specific playing style, you’ll be too predictable. For beginners, we recommend a ‘tight-aggressive’ combination where you can get comfortable with betting aggressively without losing your cool. The tight playing style can teach you discipline, whereas the aggressive playing style can give you an edge.
The Importance of Position
Positions are very important when it comes to the outcome of a game of poker. Therefore, it’s a great idea for you to be aware of the position that you’re in. The dealer is usually the last player to act in a betting round. The fact that the dealer is acting last is a rather big tactical advantage for you. The reason is the fact that you already know how your opponents have acted. The dealer’s position will change after every hand. This is to ensure that the advantage is shared between all players. That way the game will be fair.
You can use this tactical edge so that it works in your favour. It’s always wise to play more hands when you’re in the ‘late’ position compared to the ‘early’ position. The late position is when most players have already acted before it’s your turn, and the early position is when you’re the first to act. Typically, experienced players will “relax” their starting hand requirements when in a late position. Doing so affords them greater flexibility and more options due to the added benefit of the position.
Bluff When It Makes Sense
There are many things that can set you apart from other poker players. One of them is the ability to understand that the more players you’re up against, the bigger the possibility that one of them will have a stronger hand. You find yourself in situations where a well-timed bluff could secure you the win.
But what is the purpose of bluffing in a game of poker? To keep it short, poker players are basically trying to get their opponent to fold the best hand. It’s quite simple, right? Typically, in most poker games, the majority of your hands won’t be good. They might be so scrappy that you’ll want to fold before the flop. If that’s the case, bluffing can become a very important tool. It’s sort of a lifeline that can give you a second chance to win.
It's important to consider how your play looks to your opponent if you wish to convince them that you hold cards that will beat them. If you actually were holding the cards you want them to think you hold, would you have played the way you did? Is your ‘story’ believable enough?
One thing to remember when bluffing is to make sure that you think it through carefully. The story has to make sense. If your opponent sees through you, all of your efforts would have been in vain. Just remember, make sure to only bluff when it makes sense. If you force a bluff in an unnatural situation, it won’t be believable and you’ll end up losing the pot.
Know Your Odds and Outs
Odds are a big part of online gambling. They’re a way of expressing probability. For example, when tossing a coin, there’s an equal probability of the coin landing on ‘heads’ or ‘tails’. In this particular situation, the probability could be expressed as one-to-one. For every time the coin lands on heads, it’s likely to land on tails one time as well.
That makes sense, right? Now, let’s take a look at a rather common situation in a poker game. You have four clubs and you’re waiting for that last club to fall on the river, which will make your flush and ensure that you win the pot. There are 13 clubs in a 52-card deck. Two of them are in your hand and another two are on the board. This leaves nine clubs remaining. Not counting the two cards that you have on hand and the four on the board, there are 46 cards left. Nine of these cards can ensure your win – they’re known as your ‘outs’. An out is the card that you need to improve, or secure, your winning combinations. Out of the 46 cards, 37 of them will not make your flush, but nine of them will (your outs). Therefore, your odds will be 37/9. This means that your chances of making a flush are approximately 4 to 1.
Using the example above, we’ll explore the idea of pot odds. Pot odds are the ratio of chips you can win versus the chips you have to put in the pot. As the example above states, you might be heads up against an opponent, and you’re waiting to hit your last club on the river. There are already 10 in the pot. Your opponent bets their last 10. You can either choose to call, in the hopes that you’ll hit the club, or you can fold. How do you know what the right decision is? It’s actually quite simple – if you use a little math.
In this particular situation, you’re asked to pay 10 to try to win 20. The pot odds in this case are exactly 2 to 1. But... As we already know, the odds of hitting your flush are approximately 4 to 1. Taking a 4 out of 1 risk for a payout of only 2 to 1 is an extremely unfavourable play. In this situation, you should fold your flush draw.
But! What if the scenario was pot odds of 10/1 because your opponent put in his last ten to a pot of 90? In that case, you would be asked to pay 10 to try and win 90. A payout of 10/1 when taking a 4 out of one risk is a favourable move. In this particular instance, you should call.
7 Quick Poker Tips and Strategies
We know that playing poker can seem extremely difficult – especially if you’re new to the game. Maybe the strategies for poker also seem kind of tricky. Therefore, we’ve created a small list of tips that can, hopefully, help increase your chances of winning. We’ve gathered 7 tips that will help you play like a pro in no time. Interested to learn online poker strategies? Then keep on reading!
Tip 1: Play Fewer Hands – Aggressively
If you attempt to play too many hands, you can quickly lose your chip stack. Of course, you may be lucky, but the fewer hands you play, the less risk of losing your money. Furthermore, don’t allow yourself to become impatient and play a hand that’s not worth playing.
Tip 2: Don’t Be the First To Limp
Perhaps you haven’t heard of the term “limp” before in online poker. Limping basically means that you call the big blind preflop. Limping is a very big no-no as the first player to enter a pot. There are actually two reasons why it’s a bad idea. Firstly, you won’t be able to win the pot before the flop – like you could if you raised. Secondly, you will be giving the players that go after you very enticing pot odds. You’ll likely end up facing multiple players and be less likely to win the pot. There’s only one situation where limping is a good idea. It’s when at least one other player has already limped.
Tip 3:Semi-Bluff Aggressively
If your desire is to truly become a god of poker, you need to be able to bluff effectively. But remember, bluffing is actually one of the fastest ways to lose your money. The most effective way to bluff is actually to let your cards dictate whether or not you’re going to bluff. It basically means that bluffing with hands that have out will improve to become the best hand later on. This could be flush draws and straight draws. Furthermore, it’s not advisable to bluff with nothing on the hands prior to the river!
Tip 4: Fast-Play Your Strong Hands
Slow-playing too often is a mistake that’s quite common among players who’re afraid of chasing their opponents out of the pot when they have strong hands. It’s usually best to bet your strong hands in order to build the pot and protect your equity. We’re not saying that you should always bet/raise your strong hands post-flop. It’s all up to you.
Tip 5: Defend Your Big Blind
The big blind is a rather special position. The reason is that you already have 1 big blind invested in the pot. Whenever you’re faced with a raise while sitting in the big blind, you’ll actually have better pot odds to call than the other positions. You can think of it as a sort of discount.
Tip 6: Attack when Your Opponent Shows Weakness
Typically, players that have hands that can call multiple bets don’t check as often as they should. Therefore, when they do check, they usually have a rather weak hand. Then, that hand will often fold when faced with multiple bets. This is known as the “bluffing with nothing” situation. If your opponent shows weakness, you can take advantage of them with an aggressive bluffing strategy.
Tip 7: Fold if You’re in Doubt
Are you interested in knowing the biggest difference between a bad player and a world-class player? The great player is able to lay down a good hand when they think they’re beaten. It sounds rather simple, right? It’s actually rather hard to do. Our brains are built in a way that makes us naturally curious and competitive when it comes to winning. When we fold, we feel as though we’ve lost since we didn’t get to satisfy our curiosity. If we call too often in the wrong situations, we’ll quickly lose. If you’re unsure whether to call or fold versus a bet or raise, then follow our advice. It will always be wisest to fold.