In the past few years, professional poker playing has exploded in popularity. The biggest players are winning substantial amounts of money. However, none of the professional poker players are sharing their secrets. In reality, the best players in the world aren’t doing anything really spectacular other than following basic poker tips. What makes the best players so amazing is their ability to utilize all of their strengths and capitalize on the weaknesses of others. Anyone can significantly improve his or her poker game by following these four easy tips.
1. Observe your opponents. This is probably the most crucial part of poker. When playing against someone, the more you know about them, the easier it will be for you to take advantage of their weaknesses. It is always a good idea to observe an opponent’s betting habits. Some players bet extremely high when they have a good hand. Other players will attempt to make several seemingly small raises. Anyone who consistently raises after each flop might have a good hand. However, some players will try to bluff. Noticing patterns can help you adjust to the moves of your opponents. This will help you save money, and possibly have great gains.
2. Bet wisely and watch your money. Every poker player should set limits when going into the casino. The pros don’t have to worry about money so much, but the average player definitely does. Set a limit and do not exceed it. Being money conscious can help ensure that if you have a bad day at the tables, you don’t put yourself in debt. Along with managing money is managing bets. Some players like to bet high (high rollers), but this can lead to drastic losses. Some of the best players bet moderately, and increase their bets slightly when they have a good hand. The best advice for betting is “avoid the extremes.” Don’t bet too little, because you will end up losing money in the long run. At the same time, don’t bet too much because you might lose a lot of money on only one hand, and that is never good.
3. Take your time. The pros seem to think very fast, but that is because they are pros! You don’t have to make decisions too rashly. Take time to look at your hand and figure out what you have and bet accordingly. Also, take the time to survey your opponents and surmise what hands they might have. The pros are always thinking and are simply faster than the average player. It is important to realize that every poker player has to think logically and make educated guesses.
4. Know when to fold, and when to stay in. Many players do not understand the best solutions for folding or staying in. The best players understand their chances and only stay in when they have at least one type of hand. Having two face cards is a good reason to stay in, but having two different low number cards might not be such a strong hand. When observing other players, if you notice high bets from a player who does not bluff, then you should probably fold. Knowing when to take risks and when to be conservative is a very important element to being a solid poker player.
The pros may seem like they are doing impossible things, but they are really just following basic tips. Poker is a game of chance, but you can always tip the odds in your favor by studying your opponents, being smart with money and betting, and thinking through your decisions. Play smart and you will notice a great increase in your poker winnings.
Paul Runyan writes about and gives tips on many games, but focuses on poker.