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3 Tips That Will Make You A Better Poker Player

Whether you are a complete beginner, or already have some experience, there is always a space for improvements.


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Every experienced poker player will tell you how this popular card game is more than a game of luck. After all, James Altucher, a professional poker player, once boldly stated how poker is a game of skill, pretending to be a game of chance. With so many casinos closing down due to coronavirus outbreak, and all poker tournaments being canceled, you have enough time on your hands to polish your skills before the new season starts.

Whether you are a complete beginner, or already have some experience, there is always a space for improvements. After all, according to the study conducted by Grosvenor Casinos on 2000 poker players, 45% of players aged 25 do 34 said they read and watch educational poker materials, and 64% of players aged between 18 and 24 prefer online learning materials about poker. So buckle up, and get ready, because it is time to learn three tips that will help you take your poker game to the next level.

1- Learn the Odds

In many ways, poker is not about the cards you are holding, but about the cards your opponent thinks you are holding. Still, there is nothing wrong with knowing what your odds are in advance. For example, did you know that suited cards in your hand only increase your chances of winning for a mere 2.5%? Did you get a pair on the flop? That’s great, but keep in mind that every player at the table has 32.43% chances of getting a pair on the flop as well. Now your odds don’t look as they did a second before, do they?

One might argue how playing according to odds makes you a tighter player, but not necessarily because playing the odds doesn’t exclude other poker strategies like studying your opponent or the game itself. Study the odds to perfect your playing style and have a better playing strategy adaptable to many situations.

2- Read About Psychology of Poker

Players often forget how poker is not only a card game but a social game as well. Even if you are playing at a big poker tournament like the World Series, you are still playing against another human being. You may not be chatting about your kids and workday, but if you follow your opponents, you will soon be able to tell more about their emotions and mental state. Small signs like change in their posture, tone of their voice, scratching, fixing sunglasses, frequent hand checking, lips movements or touching hair can mean a world of difference in a game of poker.

Alan N. Schoonmaker, in his book The Psychology of Poker, says: “You cannot figure Jon’s hand in a few seconds unless you made a mental note that he was a tight player and had flat called in early position, and started thinking immediately about what kind of hand he might have.”

Once you start learning about the psychology of poker, you will become a better player. You won’t be easily fooled by machoism and cocky moves. A few hands will be all it takes for you to tell on a bluff.

One of the all-time greatest players, Mike Caro, even published a book Caro's Book of Poker Tells: The Psychology and Body Language of Poker, that delivers a lot of practical advice on how to read your opponents. You can even solve photo quizzes and study small signs that predict the opponent's next move. Make most of your free time and try to do a few tests to know how you stand with the knowledge of human behavior and how to improve it.

3 - Watch Tournaments and Study Hands

Even players who are not bookworms can now find some time to learn about poker. Watch videos of poker tournaments and analyze hands. If this doesn’t make sense to you, keep in mind how all professional players spend their time analyzing what they and their opponents did to get a better picture of poker as a game.

Niri Talberg from Fafo, Institute for Labour and Social Research, in Oslo, is a researcher specialized in gambling and poker who conducted a survey in which 17 professional poker players discovered how they approach the game in a series of interviews. One of the players, Pierre, accentuated the importance of keeping track on hands that you as a player have doubts about: ”In Hold’em Manager [a poker tracking program], every time I have a hand that I’m kind of unsure about, there is this nice feature that you can click on the hand up to the left and then it will be stored in Hold’em Manager. So after each day that I play, I try to store every hand that I’m uncertain about and then I often review them afterwards.”, while admitting that he spends 80% of his time playing online poker, and 20% of his time learning about it even though he’s a pro.



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