Poker Strategy Tips, Tactics & Advice
The best approach is to play a tight range of strong and/or playable hands, and you need to play those hands aggressively. Playing all of your hands, and don's be shy!
Advice on Poker Tactics That Will Help Improve Your Game
Tip #1: Play Fewer Hands And Play Them Aggressively
Even the best players in the world are limited in the number of starting hands they can play in No Limit Texas Hold'em before the flop. This limit is based on the number of outs in the hand. If you try to play too many hands at once, you will run the risk of losing all of your chips (unless lady luck is on your side).
The method that is by far the simplest and quickest for increasing your bottom line is to work on developing a solid preflop poker strategy. Developing reliable preflop ranges, on the other hand, can be accomplished relatively easily (for example, by downloading our free preflop charts), but maintaining the discipline to play within those ranges can be challenging. Do not permit yourself to become impatient to the point where you play a hand that is not worth playing.
The best strategy is to play only a limited range of hands that are either strong or playable, and you need to play those hands in a very aggressive manner. Playing all of your hands aggressively, including the more speculative ones like 7's and 6's or 5's and 5's, enables you to disguise the strength of your actual hand by giving the impression that it is weaker than it actually is.
When you raise the stakes, your adversaries won't know whether you have A-A, A-K, or 7-6, which will make it extremely difficult for them to compete against you. Tight and aggressive play will win the game every time.
Tip #2: Don’t Be The First Player To Limp
Limping, which refers to the act of simply calling the big blind before the flop, is a terrible play for a player who is the first to enter a pot. There are two primary reasons why you should steer clear of seeing this play:
You have no chance of winning the pot before the flop, unlike if you had raised the bet.
You are offering the players behind you very tempting pot odds, which increases the likelihood that you will compete against multiple opponents and, as a result, decreases the likelihood that you will win the pot.
The only time it is appropriate to limp is in a game in which at least one other player has already done so. This strategy is known as over-limping, and it can be a successful play because it gives you excellent pot odds when you join the action. This increases the likelihood that you will hit a good hand on the flop.
Tip #3: Semi-Bluff Aggressively with Your Draws
You have to be able to bluff convincingly if you want to be a true dominator in poker. However, failing to bluff successfully is one of the quickest ways to see your money disappear at the table. The question is, how do you prevent your bluffing from becoming too frequent?
The most effective method of bluffing is to let the cards you have determine whether you will bluff or not. This is the case in poker. This means that you should bluff with hands that have the potential to improve to a better hand later in the hand, such as straight draws, flush draws, or even just a couple of overcards to the board.
Tip #4: Fast-Play Your Strong Hands to Build the Pot and Make More Money
When a player checks their flopped nut flush three times and then has to awkwardly table their monster of a poker hand because their opponent checks back on the river, it is a disheartening sight to behold. When a player has a strong poker hand, but is afraid of driving their opponents out of the pot, they often make the mistake of playing too slowly for too long. This is a common strategy error.
It is recommended that you bet when you have a strong hand in order to both increase the size of the pot and protect your equity. However, this does not imply that you should always bet or raise with strong hands after the flop. You can determine whether or not you have strong hands if:
- It is highly improbable that you will run out of money.
- On later streets, there aren't that many scare cards that can stop you from getting paid.
- The range of your opponent is heavily weighted toward hands that have no showdown value.
Bet, or check-raise if you weren't the aggressor before the flop, whenever you have any doubts about your hand's strength. Although it is disheartening when your opponent folds, it is not nearly as disheartening as when you get outdrawn or miss out on potential value.
Tip #5: Defend Your Big Blind (with the Right Hands)
Because you have already contributed one big blind to the pot, the big blind position is distinguished from the others. Because of this, whenever you are sitting in the big blind and you are presented with a raise, you will have better pot odds to call than you would if you were in any of the other positions. You can think of this as a discount.
Because you have a discount and because you are the last person to act before the flop, you can call with a much wider range of hands and still make a profit than you could if you were sitting in a different position. That is not to say that you should call raises with garbage hands like 9-5; however, hands that are closer to the edge of playability, such as K-9 and Q-6, become playable in the majority of situations.
- The exact width that you should defend is determined by a multitude of factors, the four most important of which are as follows:
- The location of the raiser in question (play tighter against the early positions and looser against the late positions).
- The total number of participants in the hand (when 1 or more players has already called the raise, play tighter and only call with hands that do well in multiway pots).
- The amount of the wage increase (the larger the bet sizing, the tighter you should play and vice versa).
- Stack sizes (when short stacked, play fewer speculative hands and prioritize high card strength).
There are additional important considerations, such as how frequently your opponent will make continuation bets after the flop, but the ones mentioned above are the most important ones for you to take into account.
Tip #6: Fold When You’re Unsure
Do you want to know the single most important distinction that exists between an amateur player and a professional player? It is the ability of a good player to play a good hand like top pair even when they believe they are beaten that sets them apart.
This may appear to be an easy task, but in reality, it is quite challenging to accomplish, in part because of the structure of our brains. We are naturally inquisitive, and it is in our nature to strive for success. When we fold, we give up the opportunity to win the pot, and we also miss out on the chance to find out what our opponent has in their hand, which can be frustrating.
Calling too frequently and in inappropriate circumstances is the second-fastest way to lose money when playing poker (after ineffective bluffs). If you are unsure whether to call or fold in response to a bet or raise, you would be doing yourself a favor if you folded the hand.
A useful piece of advice is to document the specifics of the hand after you have folded in one of these predicaments. This will allow you to evaluate whether or not you folded correctly after your session has concluded. If you want to consistently improve your poker skills and fill in the knowledge gaps in your poker repertoire, a great way to do so is to learn about hands like these and/or discuss them with other players.
Tip #7: Attack When Your Opponent Shows Weakness
Players don't check their hands nearly as often as they should when they have a hand that can call multiple bets. This indicates that when they do check, they typically have a relatively weak hand that they are likely to fold if confronted with multiple bets on the table. This is the situation where you are "bluffing with nothing," as I mentioned earlier.
If your opponent in a heads-up pot shows a lot of weakness (for example, if they check on the flop and the turn), you can take advantage of them by using an aggressive bluffing strategy to take advantage of the situation. You should bet not only with your typical semi-bluffs but also as a pure bluff with some nothing hands, preferably ones that have good blocker effects.
Tip #8: Play Solid Poker Early in Tournaments and Don’t Worry About Survival
When it comes to poker tournaments, the beginning of the competition is not the time or place to focus on stack preservation. When it comes to tournament poker strategy, this is one of the most commonly misunderstood aspects.
Think about the fact that in order to finish in the money, you are going to have to at least increase your starting stack by a factor of two or three (usually more). Playing solid and aggressive poker early on is the best way to build up a stack for a deeper run in the tournament; you should avoid playing defensively at this point in the game.
If you are low on chips and getting close to the money bubble or a pay jump, the only time you should consider switching to a more survival-oriented playing style is at that point. This essential component of tournament strategy can be studied in greater detail on this page.
Tip #9: Only Play If You Feel Like It
Playing poker, whether as a casual pastime or as a career, ought to be an enjoyable experience for everyone involved. This is true whether or not the player is a professional. It makes perfect sense that you shouldn't engage in this mentally taxing activity unless you're in a good mood, given that your performance will be at its highest point when you're content.
If you are beginning to feel frustrated, tired, or angry during the session, you should immediately terminate it and find something else to do. If you do so, you will almost certainly end up saving a significant amount of money for yourself. Poker will continue to be available the following day.
Before I start a new game, I always try to mentally prepare myself by imagining myself going all-in and losing my entire stack on the very first hand. If the mere consideration of the possibility does not bother me, then I know that I am prepared to bring my A-game for an extended period of time. But if the prospect of going all-in and losing one of my buy-ins on the very first hand seems intolerable, I think twice about participating in the game.
Tip #10: Only Play In Good Games
If after thirty minutes at the table you haven't been able to determine who the sucker is, then you are the sucker.
This is just as true now as it was when Matt Damon's character, Mike McDermott, said it in the movie Rounders (1998). Playing poker against opponents who are weaker than you is necessary if you want to improve your odds of winning.
Consider it in this light: if you are ranked ninth best poker player in the world, you will almost always be the best player at the table you are sitting at. But if you sit down at a table with those other eight players who are more skilled than you, you will be the one who gets taken advantage of.
You should always put yourself in positions where there is the greatest possibility that you will win. When playing poker, it is essential to remember to check your pride at the door.
If you want to have a positive win-rate, the bottom line is that you typically need to be better than fifty percent of the other players at the table. And if you want to make a sick-good profit, you should play against the worst players you can find. This is the best way to increase your chances of winning.
The following items should be checked off during a successful poker game:
- At least one of the players is hobbling around with a limp.
- There are a lot of pots that can be shared.
- Raises can either be extremely infrequent or extremely common.
If you are playing in a game in which two or more of these boxes are checked, you are in an excellent position to win money. In the event that none of these conditions are met, you should get up and look for a more lucrative table (unless you feel like putting your poker strategy to a test).