Poker is a game, just like chess. On the face of it, poker can seem like a frivolous card game that leads to huge losses or major wins. But nothing with such huge highs and lows comes easily. Playing poker isn’t the same as flinging random cards on the table and hoping something sticks. It’s a game that involves strategic thinking and playing with a vision. A player has to dabble in strategic moves such as poker hand analysis, be capable of reading their opponents tells and even place bets thinking of the endgame. There is very little that is random or frivolous about poker.
Now, if you’re a newbie poker player, or are someone who has just recently been introduced to the game, then all of the nuances of the game can sound very intimidating. And while it is true, that mastery of poker only comes with a lot of practice and study, there are certain tips that a beginner can benefit from. These tips might not lead you to direct wins, but they’ll definitely start you out in the right direction. Using these strategies can inculcate a thinking process that’s extremely important to poker. Also, imagine sitting at a poker table and using one of the moves listed below! You’ll definitely impress the players sitting around you, and if that’s not cool, then I don’t know what is. So whether you’re an amateur player, a spectator or an experienced player looking for a refresher, these strategies will improve your game, for sure. Read on, and learn.
1) Keep track of Your Hands:
Poker is a game built on hands. Your hands are simply the card combinations you build in order to win a game. Also, you hold these and your fate in your hands (the hand puns end here). A winning hand can lead to victory, and an inferior hand can leave you out of the game.
Basically, hands are important. And a good poker player keeps a record of the hands he or she is playing. This record is essential for your hand history. Now, several online poker websites have tracking software, which keeps track of your hand history for you. So your job is done.
But if you’re playing live, then it is not. You’ll need to be old school and carry a notepad, or use the notes app on your phone, if that’s allowed, to record the hands you’ve been playing. This kind of hand tracking can help you analyze your game and make improvements. This tip is the minimum effort you can make, for maximum results, so there’s no excuse not to.
2) Calculating your equity:
Just the words ‘calculating your equity’ sound super hard and make you want to give up. But don’t. Let me explain, and you’ll be ready to calculate your own equity.
Equity is nothing but considering your own hand and comparing it to the other players’ hands. You need to know how you hold up against them, in order to make moves ahead in the game. Calculating your equity helps you decide whether to bluff, or to call someone’s bet, and determine your pot odds.
Now, what are pot odds? Pot odds are the ratio between the pot and the bets you’re being asked to place. In layman’s language, you need to know if the amount you’re betting is worth it, in comparison to the final pot. In order to determine your pot odds, you definitely need to know if your hand is strong enough to outlast the others or to warrant the bet. This is why equity is so important.
You can calculate your equity, by using basic equity calculator available online (no math for you, phew), or you can even use more sophisticated software. All you need to remember is equity leads to pot odds.
It’s a pretty simple tip, and you can tell people you know how to calculate your equity. You’ll automatically sound like you know what you’re talking about.
3) Improve Your Hand Analysis Skills:
Poker hand analysis is at the crux of playing the game. Hand analysis involves being able to gauge the hands your opponents’ are holding and then playing your own game.
At first, it sounds like telepathy or some equally difficult trick that definitely involves some superpowers. But honestly, it’s just good old logic. All you really need to do is refer to tip one, and keep a record of your own hand. This will, in turn, also allow you to deduce the hands your opponents are playing. After all, there are only so many combinations available. Plus, their betting patterns can also clue you in.
Once you’ll start practicing and attempting hand analysis, it will get easier. It really helps in estimating your competition’s hands, and over time, you will be able to make decisions, even on the spot, because of your hand reading skills.
It’s not a superpower, but it’s still pretty cool, right?
4) Talk to People:
Isn’t this the easiest and the hardest thing to do at the same time? But be rest assured, by the time I’m done, it will only be easy.
Often looking at problems only through our own perspective can cloud our judgments. The same is true, even with poker. That’s why it is important to talk to other people, be it other players or simply your buddies, who know a little bit about poker.
Talking to your friends is easy enough, just text them or call them. But how do you talk to other poker players around the world? Well, it’s really simple. Use social media or even facilities like Skype or Discord and talk to people who are equally interested in poker. Poker forums on the internet are another popular way to interact with other players and solve problems.
Easiest tip ever is to talk to people and make some new friends, am I right?
Now, I know that revision brings about all the negative associations and the bad memories we all have about exams, but it really isn’t that bad. All I’m asking you to do is to look at all the poker training content available online.
There’s a plethora of poker content out here, in the form of books, blogs or even videos. You can look at this material as way to solve a problem or even to clear any doubt about the game. You don’t need to do this for a certain number of hours a day (you can if you want to). You can just look up something specific whenever you run into a problem while playing. You may not find the exact specific answer, but you’ll get enough information to lead you to figure out the answer, yourself.
In the end, all I’m asking you to do is to spend more time on the internet. That’s all you do, anyway, so don’t even complain.
6) Looking for Similar Hands:
While you’re playing poker, it’s enough to understand your own hand and analyze your opponents’. But ‘enough’ is not good enough.
If you want to improve your game, your strategy and thought process, it’s important to look at hands similar to the ones you are playing. Looking up these hands and the way they can be played is easy enough. You can look up videos on the internet, or posts on forums. If you’re interested, you can also use tracking software.
This kind of research will help you increase your memory and also improve your analysis skills. Also, you’ll improve your betting skills and pot odds. You’ll be able to picture different scenarios in your head and envision the game playing out with different hands. It will be a world of possibilities.
So nerd out, and do a teeny bit of research. It’ll help you win, so it’s worth it.
7) Using Solver Analysis:
Imagine if you could feed a poker game into a device, and it would play the entire game and show you the future. That scenario is now a reality.
Many people are using poker solving programs that basically present you with an entire game of poker, played out. This kind of software helps players understand the theoretic aspect of the game and prepares them to think in term of potential scenarios. It also helps in game analysis and understanding of basic principles.
But it’s also difficult to extract data from these tools, and they are a little difficult to use. However, they are something worth experimenting with.
As we reach the end of our list, we’ve gone over several important tips that will start your journey to becoming a master poker player. You can use these tips and practice the game, and you’ll definitely see an improvement in your game. Now, simply reading this list will do no good. You need to start playing now! So, come join us at Spartan and play some online poker games to test out your new skills.