Everyone acknowledges that poker is a game which combines both luck and skill. The idea is that each and every poker player at the table has an equal chance of winning based on the cards dealt. It is their skill that gives them the edge to win. Of course, this is all in view of the long run. In a single hand, one player may have better cards, of course. In any case, the real challenge for a poker player is to win with whatever cards he is dealt with. That is, to make a profit at the end of the day.
So, how does one go about doing that? Of course, each and every poker player has his own strategy, his own ways of dealing with different situations. Then again, here are some general tips that will help you to gain an edge over your opponents at the table…
Firstly, acknowledge that you will get losing hands. This is reality. As I mentioned earlier, you do not get winning hands all the time. It is a matter of time – so be patient. For the moment, when you get a losing hand, do not fool yourself into thinking that you can bluff your way through the whole hand. That might work a few times but then if you rely on that it will be a recipe for disaster. Anyhow, when you get losing hands, you must learn to save your bets. You don’t have to stay in the game – it is not a prerequisite – that is why folding is an option!
So learn to admit when you have bad unwinnable cards. Then fold.
On the other side of the coin, maximize your bets when you have great cards! Of course, instinct would dictate that you go in with all you’ve got when you have good cards. Yet think again. Is this really the best course to take? You are a sure winner already. Why not play it slow for a bit and sucker your opponents in. Bait them, set a trap, and make them bet more than they would normally bet. Then move in for the kill! If you play it this way you’ll get more winnings out of that hand than if you had gone for the kill at an earlier point. Again, patience is the key.
Lastly, with average hands, you can go either way – win or lose. The trick is to be able to mentally confuse your opponents so that you will turn up the winner. This is what is normally called bluffing. However, outright bluffing might not be good enough all the time. There are times when you have to be a bit craftier and go for semi-bluffing. This simply means that bluff only when you have some extra outs to help you. In other cases, you might need to fold and you shouldn’t hesitate to do so. That will help make you unpredictable, which is a big plus in any poker game.