- Don’t play too many hands
The most important of all poker tips is to not play too many starting hands. While in Texas Holdem it’s true that “any two cards can win” poker is not about winning hands, it’s about winning money. The tendency to play too many weak hands is the easiest way to tell the difference between a good and a bad player.
At low limits without any great knowledge of post-flop play, it is sometimes possible to win money simply by playing more tight pre-flop than your opponents.
- Don’t chase against the odds
Continuing on the same theme as the last poker tip, once you have gotten rid of the bad habit of playing too many starting hands, you should also learn to fold when you miss the flop (or similar part of the play sequence of other poker games) and the poker odds of you improving makes it prohibitive to pay to see more cards.
A good hand can easily become worthless, if you are holding for example pocket queens and the flop comes with an ace and other players are showing aggression, making you believe you are up against a pair of aces, there is no point chasing that third queen.
A lot of hands you play especially in multiway pots are speculative, i.e you are hoping for a good flop and if you don’t get it then get out of there. Don’t throw good money after bad and pay all the way to the river hoping to improve if the poker odds don’t justify it.
- Observe your opponents
Poker is a people game played with cards rather than a card game played with people. Don’t stare yourself blind at your own cards, observe your opponents. How many hands do they play? What kind of hands do they play? Do they raise a lot? What kind of hands did they have when they raised?
Keeping track of such things makes it easier for you to guess what your opponents are holding and why they’re taking the action they’re taking. A raise from a player who usually doesn’t raise of course has to be taken more seriously than from someone who is raising every second hand, making for a fold while you might’ve instead chosen the totally opposite response of re-raising the more aggressive player.
- Play aggressively
Play aggressive rather than be a passive calling station. If you’re calling down your average hands hoping to win and then hesitating to raise your strong ones you are letting your opponents control you and making sure that you lose the maximum when they have you beat, and that you win the minimum when you have them beat.
When the odds are against you winning you should put as little money in the pot as possible, ie folding, and when the odds are in your favor you should be putting as much as possible, ie raising. In the long run, this is how you win money, by playing tight but aggressive and pushing your chips to the middle of the table when you have the best of it.
- The importance of the position
Before you are anxiously waiting for the next time you will be on the button then you will not be able to win at poker. The importance of position in poker can’t be underestimated.
This is because poker is a game of information and the more late position you have the more information you have because then you will have already seen the chosen action of the opponents before you for that particular hand, giving you a clearer picture of how it will develop.
The position also gives you the power to control the hand. If you want to maximize the money that goes in the pot when you are in the last position the strategy is very easy. If your opponents don’t bet, you bet, if they bet, you raise. Whatever happens, you are maximizing it.
Now on the other hand if you are in an early position doing so is more tricky. If you bet they may be scared and will just call. If you check hoping they will bet so you can check-raise you run the risk of them checking behind you. You are no longer in control.