Playing online poker, whether in person with friends or online with strangers, can be a very enjoyable experience, especially if you’re doing well. While there is a lot to be said for beginner’s luck, playing against players with much more experience yourself can be somewhat frustrating. It can sometimes feel like these experienced players are almost reading your mind no matter how great your poker face is. However, this is where experience and a deeper understanding of the game can come in handy. The more you play poker, as with almost any other game, the better your understanding will be. Here are some tips you can use to help take your skills to the next level.
Player Fewer Hands Overall
Our first bit of advice is in regard to how many hands you play and how many you fold. Of course, there is no set number here, and it all depends on your cards on the day. But more often than not, you should be folding and waiting for a decent hand. This is a case of being smart with your money, and in fact, it’s said poker itself can make people better investors, as you’ll be practicing how to wait for the right hand to come along, just as you might have to wait for the right investment. There is no shame in folding pre-flop, and in fact, it’s a good idea to develop a sturdy pre-flop strategy right out of the gates. This strategy is a great way to strengthen your bottom line. Consider developing a fairly tight range of hands that you deem to be strong and worthy of your attention before the flop. When you do play your hands, you want to keep your opponents guessing. Maintain the same level of aggression whether you’ve got a pair of aces or a speculative, suited 7 and 9. This regulated aggression will confuse your opponents and keep them unsure of your ranges.
Do Not Limp
If you’re unsure of what this is, don’t worry. Limping simply means to call the big blind before the flop as the first player to enter the pot. This should be avoided for a number of reasons. Firstly, when you limp, you are unable to win the pot before the flop even happens, just like you can if you raise. At this point, you may as well have just folded. Secondly, the players behind you will get much more enticing pot odds, and you won’t be able to force players out of the running, resulting in more players and worse odds for you winning the pot. When we say don’t limp, however, we mean don’t be the first to limp. It’s actually acceptable to limp once someone else already has before you. This is referred to as an over-limp and simply results in you calling and staying in action, allowing you to play the flop and potentially get a good result on a low bet.
Guard Your Big Blind
The big blind essentially provides you with an automatic discount in a sense. When someone raises before it gets back to your turn, you’ve already invested your big blind into the pot automatically. That means that whatever anyone else did to call, your call will effectively be cheaper, resulting in you having better pot odds. Being the last person to play before the flop also means that, combined with your better odds, you can play many more possible hands than everyone else while still making a profit from the pot. A lot of this begins to come down to mathematics, and it’s worth searching for a recommended pre-flop chart to give you a better idea of which hands are worth playing and which aren’t. This will likely be the sort of knowledge that will be utilized by your skilled opponents, too, so be prepared for this.
Get Used To Playing
Before we move on to the next section, we feel it’s important to remind players that practice is incredibly important in all competitive games. It’s very easy to just jump into a game of poker and hope for the best, but there’s a high possibility that you’re going to get trounced by everyone else at the table. Getting used to the game of poker in low-stakes or money-less games is a good way for you to start getting to grips with how the game is played and how it feels to play properly. Simply getting used to the online gambling environment is important, too, and you don’t even have to play poker for this. There are plenty of online slot games and live table games you can play via sites like Jackpot Casino, so consider trying your hand at these first. Slots are a great option here as you’ll be playing alone but can still get a feel for online gambling and gaming.
Spot The Sucker
When playing poker, it’s important to remember that there will always be someone who is the least skilled out of everyone. You need to spend your time trying to figure out which one is the “sucker.” If you’re struggling to figure this out, however, you might start to notice that it might be you. While it doesn’t seem honorable, you need to ensure that you’re playing at a table with at least a few less-skilled players. Ideally, everyone at the table will be worse than you, potentially setting you up for some big and satisfying wins. Always set yourself up in a position where you have a better chance of winning. Otherwise, you’re going to get picked on all night. When choosing a table to stick with, you might jump around a few before settling down for the evening, just to make sure you’re not the one being taken for a ride by the other players.
Avoid Playing When It’s Not Fun
There are many places across South Africa where you can play poker, but as with all gambling, it’s important not to let this become something more than a game. Otherwise, you might end up making mistakes out of frustration or panic. This is easier said than done, however, and many amateur and professional poker players alike have had the experience of letting themselves get carried away and lose composure. Try to avoid this as much as possible. Once you stop having fun and can find yourself getting annoyed, take a step back from the tables and take a break, or stop for the evening altogether. Poker should be fun above anything else. While it can be thrilling to get a big win, losing it all can also be devastating. Don’t take the risk; instead, play smart and remember that you are indeed playing above all else.
Think About Ranges, Not Hands
When playing poker, you’ll likely know that a lot of your decisions should be based on what cards your opponents might have rather than the hand you currently have. While it’s very important to have a good hand to increase your chances of winning, fixating on a favorite hand or one that might seem great on the surface, you should still try to follow a clever game plan when it comes to playing or folding certain hands. Try to avoid going with your gut feeling where possible or making bold gambles, as they rarely pay off. You should begin thinking about the ranges of specific hands, always folding on hands that are almost always unlikely to win, such as an off-suited three and a two, and to instead only play when they get a hand such as a pair or high cards like a jack and a king.