Choosing Your Style
Sticking to one style of play is essential, but depending on the circumstance, it can be modified. For instance, you are going to play much differently heads up than you would play with 9 other players. However, each playing style has one critical similarity that many people overlook. Do not play stupid.
No matter how conservative or aggressive you may play, if you don’t put the odds in your favor, you will eventually lose. You have to take in account how many chips you have acquired and also how many chips your opponents have obtained.
All of these things are considered factors of the game that you must address. Always be aware of your surroundings and what is going on. Never lose focus in a game and always play smart. I’m not telling you to never bluff, but there is a place and a time.
Remember, it is impossible to win every pot. Be very selective in what pots you choose to put a lot of money in. It is not about how many pots you win, but rather how much money you gain. One pot may be twice as lucrative as 10 others, so you must carefully choose which pots you decide to take a stab at. It is critical to let others take small pots from you.
You must be willing to lose some chips in the process of gaining them. Just because someone bests high and you think their bluffing but all you have is ace high, let them take down the pot. You cannot gain any emotional attachment to the smaller and even some larger pots. Don’t let anyone persuade you into calling a bet if you don’t have the cards because once you start putting in money.
Raising the Blind
This brings me to my last and most significant words of wisdom. If you have a good starting hand, always raise the blind. Never let someone with 7/2 off suit see a free flop when you are holding big slick. Not only is this very important, but so is raising the bet after the flop. If you have something on the flop, do not let others chase cards. You cannot afford to let someone see a free turn and draw that inside straight they were looking for.
Remember, it is better to win a small pot than lose a big one. You may think that slow playing is a smart tactic, when in fact it just takes the odds away from your favor, and that is the last thing you want to do. There are times when slow playing can be very profitable, but it can only be done when you are certain your hand will not be beat. Letting people see free cards is the last thing you want to do when you have a decent hand.
This also brings me to another point. Say you are on the receiving end of a heavy better when you are looking for a prayer. For example, you have an inside straight draw on the flop and someone raises the pot to $20. Unless you have a majority of the chips and an extensive chip lead on your opposition, do not chase cards. By doing so you virtually will be digging your own grave.
There is no foolproof technique to poker. You just have to play smart and know your limits. If the cards are cold one night, it is very important to know when to stop. Setting and keeping a limit is essential in holdem and any gambling altogether. Along with all these strategies, keep in mind that poker comes with practice just as anything else. If you can find a tactic that works for you, keeping the odds in your favor, then over time you will become a winner.
This is a game of time because the odds will work themselves out over time. An inexperienced player may win his first few nights, but over time a pro will surely beat him out. Notice how I write professional poker player in quotes. By definition these guys are professionals because poker is their main source of income. However, a doctor is also a professional and his job does not involve luck. Luck is a very large aspect of the gambling world, so really, nothing is guaranteed with professional poker players. They have skill, but it is a skill and job that cannot be compared to any other professional.