» 10 Considerations at the Poker Table
June 29th, 2010 (10:49am)
Once you actually sit at the virtual poker table, there are some general strategy recommendations that will help improve your results. Each suggestion involves considerably more work to refine and work into your game, but they are an important part of most successful player's games. Being aware of these ten more optimal approaches is the first step to incorporating them into your game.
- Table selection is key. Find tables with higher average pots and a higher percentage of players seeing the flop. You would prefer a seat with loose players on your right and tight players on your left.
- Most beginners play too many starting hands. Most top players play anywhere from 18-25% of their starting hands. You have an advantage if your average starting hand is superior to your opponents.
- It is better to come into a hand raising than to be calling. You gain initiative and force a decision on your opponents.
- It is better to play hands in position (after your opponents have to play their hand), because you will have more information available when you make your future decisions.
- Whether you are in a hand or not, pay attention to your opponents and their actions. Observing their timing tells, bet sizing, and positional differences are key to factor into future encounters.
- While bluffing is one of the most glorious moves in poker, it should be minimized in relation to value betting your made hands until your ability to read your opponents and their tendencies improves.
- When betting, consider the size of your bet and what you want to accomplish. Are you betting small to keep your opponent in a hand because yours is so strong? Are you betting small with a draw? Are you betting large because you want to extract maximum value from a nut hand or as a bluff? Don't be too predictable with your bet sizing so your opponents always know you have a strong or weak hand. Many pros will consistently bet the same amount (~60-90% of pot) so you can't determine if they are strong or not.
- The ability to fold good starting hands is essential in poker. Many weaker hands will outdraw your Q's or A,K. Failing to re-evaluate the strength of your hand at every step of the way is a sure way to lose a lot of money.
- When in a hand, take your time to evaluate all the information and not make a rash decision. Don't let the emotion of the moment, the competition, and rivalry influence your decision.
- Poker is a game that requires tremendous patience and discipline. The strong players only get involved in big pots with very strong hands, not typically bluffs or marginal holdings. Save your big moves for when you have your strongest hands. The best players bet big when chances are very slim that they can be beat.