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Tips for playing poker

Top Poker Tips

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Playing poker is a great way to enjoy some interactive, competitive fun and excitement while you make an extra buck or two. Regardless of whether you play poker in a formal, casino atmosphere, in an informal gathering at a friendly neighborhood game or online poker on your PC or mobile screen, you’ll benefit from some of the experts’ top online poker tips.

Bluffing

How many movies have you seen where the hero wins his hand of poker by bluffing? Everyone holds their breath, watching and waiting…..will he succeed? Wil the villain call his bluff? In real life poker, it’s suggested that you refrain from bluffing. There’s always some other player will is ready to call your bluff and then you’re left with nothing.  If you have it, bet it.  If you don’t, fold.

Having said that, sometimes, it IS advantageous to bluff. Remember:

  1. One of the best times to bluff is if your opponent checks on the previous betting round. If he’s checked on an expensive round, it’s even better. Your chances for a successful bluff diminish if newly exposed cards appear to have helped an opponent.
  2. Bluffs don’t always have to work – sometimes, bluffing is the correct decision even if the bluff didn’t work. Basically, that’s because you want your opponents to think that you’re a bluffer.  Then, they might call you when you have, in fact, a strong hand.
  3. Don’t bluff opponents who are either experts or lousy players.  Aim your bluffs at good opponents. Experts are more likely to see through your bluff while a poor player often calls a bluff just because he ALWAYS calls, not because he actually knows anything.
  4. Keep in mind that the most successful bluffs are those that represent specific hands, such as a straight or a flush.
  5. You’ll find that you can more easily bluff players who have shown weakness by checking. It’s harder to bluff opponents who have shown strength by betting on the preceding round.
  6. Bluffing for the sake of bluffing is doomed to failure. Only bluff if you think that you have a reasonable chance to succeed. That alerts the other players that  your bluffs may, in fact, have a reasonable chance of success.
  7. Don’t waste your time (and resources) bluffing a hopeless hand when there are more cards to come.  Try to “semi-bluff”, so you still have a chance to hit your draw or there’s still a chance that your opponents may fold.
  8. Don’t develop a loose image.  If, in general, you play a selective, tight and aggressive game, there will be less chance that your opponents will suspect a bluff when you are, in fact, bluffing.

Folding

Which raises another question – when should you fold?  In general, you should  always raise your opponent’s first bet. That can provoke your opponent to fold. In later rounds, re-raise if your opponent raises in cases that you’re holding at least a pair or threes. For anything less, fold. It’s recommended that you err on the side of playing a hand as opposed to erring on the side of folding.

Re-raising

Use a polarized range when you re-raise.

Amateur poker players tend to re-raise with a premium hand or a linear hand before the flop but that’s not always the right strategy. When you raise with a premium hand, it turns the premium hands face up and allows opponents to fold when they’re not getting the proper implied odds or call when they get the proper implied odds. By turning your hand face up, opponents can make better decisions which, in the end, costs you.

When you re-raise with a polarized range before the flop you can play more aggressively with a wider range. This increases the profitability of your premium hands.

Strategy

Good players adopt a consistent strategy. If you want to break from your standard, successful strategies, you should have clear reasons.

For instance, if you have a hand on which you wouldn’t generally raise, but you notice that the table is playing passively or that there are a couple of recreational players in the blinds, you will have a clear reason to believe that raising – in a case in which a fold might be the usual position — might actually be a profitable play. If it seems like deviating from your regular strategy is the right thing to do in a specific circumstance, that’s fine. Otherwise, stick to what you know.

Tilts

Tilts should be a seldom, if hardly ever used, technique. You don’t want to tilt your bankroll away when things go badly at the table. You don’t want to throw your strategy out the window just because you’re on a bad run. Professionals never let their emotions get the best of them. Sometimes, things so south and that’s just the way it is.  Hunker down and stay cool – things will even out.

Pros

The pros are pros because they’re VERY GOOD.  If you’re buying in because you enjoy the mental challenge or want a bit of recreation, no problem.  But if you’re at the poker table to win, remember – you won’t turn a profit by competing against pros. You want to compete against the players who are making mistakes.  Don’t become one of them.

Basic Poker Strategy

Poker is a game of strategy and odds. There’s some luck involved but the majority of the game involves probability and statistics.  You don’t need to become a math expert to win at poker but you do need to remember the basic principles of poker – when to bet, when to stand and when to fold.  Nothing is set in concrete but the probabilities of success on certain card combinations should guide your game.

Memorize the basic poker strategy. What are your chances of filling out a flush when you have four cards of the same suit? What do the statistics say about the probability that you can turn a three-of-a-kind into a four-of-a-kind when you trade in your cards? Those odds should guide your betting, bluffing and folding.  Follow those odds and you’ll be in good shape.

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