Poker Tips and Tactics
It’s been said that poker is easy to learn but hard to master. Mastering any poker game is a fun and challenging goal. In the poker strategy section, you will find many resources to help you become a winning poker player. This page features general poker advice and strategy as well as links to poker strategy and tips for other poker games.
The basics of solid poker strategy involve many concepts that you must combine to become a consistently winning player. The following concepts are crucial to learning poker strategy:
- Tight play
- Aggressive play
- Random play
- Taking advantage of opponents’ mistakes
Keep these concepts in mind as you develop as a poker player. These strategic concepts are like the colors on an artist’s palette: the basic colors are the same, but the artist’s use of them is unique and stylistic.
Some Poker Strategy Considerations
Decisions for the New Poker Player
Decide whether you want to play poker to win or to play for fun. To play at a consistently winning level requires both time and effort. In other words, it takes work. There is nothing wrong with playing poker for fun, but there is no reason to plan to lose, even when you are playing for fun. However, deciding which type of poker player you want to be before you start will make your decisions and sessions easier.
Make Good Decisions – the Results Will Follow
Even the best poker players in the world have losing sessions. Don't make the mistake of expecting to win every time you play. Your goal should be to play to the best of your ability in every session. If you do, the cards and winnings will take care of themselves as you improve.
Many players make the mistake of judging their poker playing ability based on the results of each session. Your goal should be to make the best possible play every time. The closer you come to this, the better your results will be.
The Mathematics of Poker
Poker is a mathematical game, and it’s a game of incomplete information. That may sound complicated, but it really isn't. On a very basic level, winning poker starts with the selection of which starting hands to play. If you enter the pot with the best hand more often than your opponents do, you will win more times than your opponents.
Beyond Starting Hands
Starting hand selection is fundamentally important, but it’s only one piece of the poker strategy puzzle. Once you have mastered solid starting hand guidelines and understand how they change by your position at the table, the next area you should work on is your play for the rest of the hand. The area that separates professional players from amateurs is that professional players tend to play much better than their opponents during the remainder of the hand, after the starting hand decisions are made.
This is especially true concerning the decisions made at the very end of every hand. These skills involve calculating pot odds, recognizing betting patterns, bluffing, and using position. The years of practice necessary to master the middle and end game play are well worth the effort, because even small improvements in a player’s abilities can have a tremendous effect on that player’s lifetime winnings.
Another meta-skill that should be part of a winning player’s poker strategy is avoiding tilt. Your opponents will use your emotions against you, but only if you let them. Emotional play results in poor decisions and lost money. Tilting and steaming can happen to anyone, and sometimes the only cure is a break from the game. That’s okay; the game will still be there ten minutes from now. In fact, it will still be there tomorrow.