Why it pays to learn all the poker games
For along time the the only poker I played was Texas Hold'em cash games. It was pretty much 99% of what I played, then, from somewhere, I developed the urge to see something other than two hole cards on my computer screen. Strategies may vary in Hold'em according to my opponents but the fundamentals remained the same. I wanted a change, a new challenge. I decided to try another form of poker to stretch myself and to refresh my focus.
I found myself in a parallel world of Pot Limit Omaha or Omaha 8 or better (hi-lo). The games were totally different and very interesting. Not only were the games dealt with four hole cards - more action! - but the strategies varied totally from Hold'em.
This post is not to talk about specific strategy, it's simply to show you that apart from the games that you are used to playing, and probably think that you're best at, there are other games out there. There are variants that are super interesting in which to test your skills, including Omaha, Seven Card Stud, Razz and Badugi. You can find all of these in the PokerStars lobby, all the way up from micro limit zone.
Why play other games?
There are a whole lot of reasons to broaden your horizons. Here are a few that I think might persuade you to mix things up:
1. Exercise your mind: It has been proven - by scientists! - that maintaining your mind in a variety of ways helps to develop your analytical and intellectual capabilities. Your mind functions better when you force it to learn new things every day. Throwing in new variants of poker works that angle. You need to think in new and different ways because the mind is a bit like a muscle: if you exercise the grey cells the brain will 'grow'.
2. Having fun while learning something new: To avoid falling into mechanical play, which can be detrimental to your long-term game, you can take on a coach or read articles and watch videos at PokerSchoolOnline.Looking at the game in a new, fresh way helps to keep your enthusiasm levels running high. Playing some new forms of poker can really help to break you out of a rut. It can be invigorating. Give it a go.
3. Looking for the win rate: Texas Hold'em is by far and away the most popular form of poker... and the most researched. While it's great that there are lots of ways to improve your game it does mean that your average Hold'em player knows more about the game than, say, your average Razz player. Exploring new forms of poker is like riding out into a wild frontier. They'll be some tough competitors but you can also hit a gold rush if you prepare yourself properly. Win rates in new games can be really solid. Get learning and maximize your winnings.
I've included some links to videos that some PokerStars professionals and myself have created showing some Pot Limit Omaha basic strategy (these ones are in Spanish).
Tuition video number one
Tuition video number two
Also, drop into my "sirfreddy83" blog from time to time.
Fredy "sirfreddy83" Torres is a member of Team PokerStars Online.