Poker has evolved from a game played in secret back-door alleys to international tournament standards. Rightfully so, because the game has garnered the interest of generations from all around the world to be the last guy playing on the table-it is a game played everywhere, anytime. At some point, poker has become a sport being played on leagues, attracting players from East to visit the West and vice versa just to play a game. And just like any sport, Poker needs a set of skills, the right amount of courage, and a sharp instinct. But the only way to do this is to play more poker. Some have even put up poker clubs or organizations that aim to gather and teach poker enthusiasts how to improve their game, but not everyone has that privilege to learn.
That’s why we’re giving you these top 7 tips on how to improve your poker skills:
1. Don’t play favorites
Every poker player has at least one or two favorites or a preferred hand. Since it is a favorite, sometimes the strategy is compromised. Know that cards will always be dealt differently. Playing favorites may work against the goal and different hands mean altered strategies are needed. There are cards that have to be folded early in the game to avoid bleeding cash and there are hands that can stand by the player for the entire night.
2. Improve on your bluffing
Poker is a game of nerves— first to lose it, loses it. Some wear eyeglasses, sunglasses, baseball caps, face masks, or veils just so they don’t show their facial expression. While others smile when they get a bad hand, or laugh at a mediocre card, each player has a style in bluffing –develop your own bluff. Make sure that it is convincing enough. It pays to practice in the mirror or try it out with friends. But, don’t bluff just for the sake of bluffing. Bluffing when not done properly can actually give away the players position. Read more about this on “the art of bluffing”.
3. Know how to count
Often times, newbies fail to survey the cards on the table. Learn the art of deduction. If two 9s have already dropped and your hand is holding an ace and a 9, it only means only two more 9s can fall and one of them is in your hand. Count the hands that are discarded on the table, these can give you a clue which cards are still at play. This trick makes it easier to decide whether to call, raise, or fold.
4. Police your opponent
Poker is a strategy game—on the table and off the table. Watching players raise a bet when a certain number comes up is valuable information. Noticing when a player calls when a certain series of cards show is another move to look out for. Focusing on your hand is good, but it also pays to check how your opponents are playing their hands and the game.
5. Remember that loyalty is not always for the best
Hands can be discarded if it plays at your disadvantage. No need to be loyal to a hand if it is a losing combo. Do not put pressure on yourself to stay on the hand simply because you have thrown a few good hundred dollars in the pot. Holding on to a losing hand will not return the pot you just lost.
6. Do not carry loads of cash
Sometimes, pride gets in the way of a logical decision. A lot of poker players fail to accept a loss when it slaps them on the face and they end up selling their car just to get their dignity back without realizing he just lost his ride home. For newbie poker players, it’s best to bring just enough amount of money to enjoy yourself. This way, your mind will be trained to think that you have to win before the one next to you decides to raise the bet again. This serves as an exercise— with little amount of resources, what can a player pull to win.
7. Know where it is safe to play
The cheapest poker rooms are not always the safest place on earth. But there are reliable and affordable places like the sacramento casinos where the players’ welfare is a priority for management and hospitality is a bible. Playing poker is more enjoyable when the environment is customer friendly and when safety is valued.