We’ve all been there. We start playing the game of cards, get used to the typical flow, and aim to learn a more advanced poker strategy. This is a constant subject of curiosity for new players who are slowly shifting from being an amateur player to an intermediate one. If you are new to the game, you will often hear it being said from your seniors and those around whom you play to keep it simple. And for the most part, that is the best advice to receive at the start. However, you will have to advance your game as you keep playing it if you are aiming to make it your career and play it at a professional level. That is what this article is about, to give you some much-needed poker strategies to take your game to that next stage where you are considered to be in serious competition. Today, we will be looking at seven such strategies to upgrade your gameplay.
The ABC Poker Formula
Whatever it is that you pursue to do in life, the method should always involve a deep and solidly laid foundation. Poker is no different, this is a game of skill and luck, but it has to be built from the ground up. As a beginner, you must spend most of your time learning the basics of the game, the different variants, the structure, poker hand rankings, and practice freeroll tournaments as much as you can. Beginner poker players are often advised to play poker the ABC way, which naturally refers to keeping it simple at the table. ABC poker strategy suggests for you to play poker in the most basic and fundamentally rooted way possible without complicating anything. You raise when you have strong hands, you call when you are confident, you fold when you are not, and you do not bet unnecessarily.
You spend most of the time analyzing the different moves on the table and gain experience as much as you can. Most advanced players consider this type of gameplay to be easily exploited, which is true because of its predictability. If you are playing poker the ABC way in an advanced tournament, you are calling for trouble as you will be outsmarted easily. However, sometimes when you aren’t aware of the situation in the game, it is best to keep things simple; it always helps. Poker can be made complicated rather quickly, and it is called for on most occasions. But these moves need to be made with many calculations that newbies may not be aware of. Therefore, it is suggested to stick to the basics during your initial phase of playing the game. Following are some concepts to be implemented in ABC poker play:
At the early and mid-position, raise only good hands.
At the pre-flop, only 3-bet hands like Queen-Queen or better and Ace-King.
In a multi-way pot, don’t try to bluff relentlessly.
Turn, and River bets should be kept for value.
Bet sizes should be kept about 2/3rd value of the pot.
1. Pay attention to your Bankroll Management
Bankroll Management (BRM) is an aspect of poker that all successful players pay attention to. It is generally suggested to never play more than 5% of your total bankroll at a single table. You will find that most professional poker players use one hundred times their buy-in. You do not have to restrict yourself to this, but play in a way that you wish to go on and play with a hundred buy-ins. You will learn things the hard way if you play below your bankroll limits. This will negatively affect your game, and by the time you notice, you will barely have any bankroll left. So, always take your BRM into account before playing a game as this is an advanced poker strategy you will need to spend more time on than any other.
2. The Check-Raise Tactic
One of the best moves you could make at the table to greatly lure your opponents into pushing their chips at the centre while having the best hand in the game is through the check-raise. You shouldn’t rely on checking with the intention of raising as a method to bluff. However, you should check-raise only when you find yourself to be in front in terms of value and wish to add more to your hand. Players who tend to check-raise as a means of bluff usually learn that it is an expensive move to make and therefore ends up as a meagre investment.
3. Go for the Continuation Bet
Being the raiser, it is in your interest to go for a continuation bet (C-bet) every time the board isn’t very drawing prone and when you are in position. However, it is suggested to go for a C-bet for only about 50% of the time when you are out of position. Betting out of position is called a donk bet. You should never donk bet on a highly drawing board, but you can do it about 50% of the time on other random boards. This is an advanced poker strategy that you could put to practice in your very next game that will inevitably produce results.
4. Take Advantage of Being in Position
Being in position should change your approach to the game if you wish to win the pot. You always have the upper hand when playing from position. Being in position gives you power over your rivals since you play last, and this works in your favour as you do not have to predict anything. All the action happens before you, so you only dictate the odds. Betting for value or making a bluff, being in position allows you to execute these many other strategies with ease and you can counter your opponents much more efficiently. The more you wish to evolve your game, the more you need to be aware of the mindset required to play at this highly profitable spot.
5. Folding is a Necessity
Most amateur players wrongly consider folding to be an act of giving up; they believe it is best to stay in the hunt. However, there are times when even the best of players will fold at the table, and that is a sign of experience. It is better to cut your losses than suffer substantial damage to your BRM. If your gut tells you that you are about to lose all your chips with a certain call, then always go for the fold, and you will have another hand to recover later, so it isn’t the end. The more you practice poker, the more you will realize that sometimes it is about when you don’t make an action. There is a method to folding, and you will learn it the more you play.
6. Playing the Top Pair
Poker indeed is a game of varied complexities, and the nature of it changes as per the situation. What you may consider to be a perfect starting hand could lead to some unproductive moves post-flop. That being said, one of the most reliable starting hands for you to ever have and which will most likely produce a profitable outcome is the top pair. You should remember that this is arguably the best combination you can have and so you have to build your game on it. Stacking-off every time you hold a top pair is not the way to go. However, it won’t be wrong if you fold with the top pair when facing a raise. That being said, play this hand to the best of your knowledge since this is what will bring most of your chips.
7. Raise Rather Than Check-Call
This is an advanced poker strategy that should be standard practice by all players. However, you will see that a lot of players raise during the game regularly even when they are out of position. If you are keen on continuing with a hand even when you are out of position, then a raise is likely to be the best move you could make because it will cost you just about as much as a check-call. This also gives you an added incentive in terms of offering fold equity.
Poker for newcomers is basic, but for those looking to take things a step further and higher, things could get challenging. That being said, we hope these seven strategies would help upgrade your next poker venture. You will find many such simple, yet highly informative articles on the official Spartan Poker website. If you feel confident of your knowledge, you can always download the poker app and join a tournament of Texas Hold’em, Omaha, or any other variant of your choice.