What Are Some of the Best Tips and Tricks From Professional Poker Players?

Poker players are a unique breed when it comes to gambling advice. They’re used to playing a game that relies on chance and hand strength – managing to take card games like poker and turn them into a living. You can learn from their skills, even if you want to play for fun rather than for money.

Arshad “Sheddy” Siddiqui is a professional poker player based in South Florida who plays in tournaments across the country. His advice is sure to help anyone improve their game– whether you’re playing in-person or online. 

1. Manage your bankroll

You want to make sure that you’re bringing a solid amount of capital to the table. You want your betting stakes to be affordable so that you can keep playing for a long time. Additionally, you don’t want to keep throwing money at a losing venture.

To stay in the game, Sheddy said to make to play at stakes that are low enough that you can afford them in the long term. 

“Every now and again when you are feeling confident and might be on a ‘hot’ streak, it’s fine to ‘take a shot’ at higher than normal stakes for you,” he said. “But remember that poker is one long game and the cream will rise in the end.”

If you’re not sure whether your bankroll is big enough to sustain the stakes you want to play, spread your bets out over several tables or games.

Just like in real poker, you should always make sure that the game you’re playing isn’t so big that it feels intimidating to play. While you don’t want to play with stakes too low that they don’t mean anything to you, it can be equally unproductive to play on tables with stakes so high that they might distract you from learning how to make smart decisions.

Poker can be a game of high stakes and high-pressure decisions, so players have to be aware of their chip count at all times. Although this may seem like common sense, many players forget to monitor their bankrolls. While playing and winning hands is one thing, players need to be able to recognize when they’re in a bad spot and understand what mistakes they’re making consistently.

2. Know your opponent 

Research is half the battle. When you know who you’re fighting against, you can start to learn their patterns and respond accordingly. Your opponent will likely be using common strategies and techniques when playing online — so, do some research on those strategies so that you can be prepared for them when they’re used against you.

“When playing online, I’d learn more towards timing,” Sheddy said. “If [your opponent] acts fast when they’re strong or fast when they’re weak, that’s one way to start knowing how they tend to play. See how they react when they get raised. Do they call all the time? Do they four-bet you? Things like that will kind of give you a scope of what they’re capable of, so you’ll be able to predict how they’re going to react a little better, and you can act accordingly.”

3. Start from a tight baseline

When you play in a tight way and don’t risk too much at once, it gives your opponents the impression that you are weak. This will influence their strategy and they will often take more risks and be more aggressive, which works to your advantage — since they are less likely to win big pots against you, they will bet less than they would against players they perceive as stronger.

“In the beginning, it’s more beneficial to play tight, and if you’re playing at the same table with the same players they’ll view you as conservative, and eventually you can get away with more,” said Sheddy. “It’ll allow you to bluff later on.”

According to Sheddy, a tight baseline gives you an advantage over your opponent. “It will get to a point where (your opponent) will be exploitable later on in the session, which will mean more profit,” he explained.

4. Focus on one type of game at first

When you’re a beginner, one of your biggest challenges is finding a game that suits your experience level and comfort zone. According to Sheddy, the key is to focus on one type of game (cash or tournament) and master it.

In cash games, you would exchange money for chips – usually purchasing as much in chip value as you want within the parameters of a minimum and maximum buy-in amount. In tournaments, everyone generally buys in for the same amount of money, and everyone is given the same amount of chips.

But how do you choose?

“If you feel you are a conservative player by nature, I would recommend starting with tournaments,” said Sheddy. “If you feel like you play lots of hands, start with cash games. Both tournaments and cash games require different skill sets to become consistently profitable at, although there are some skills that overlap between the two disciplines.”

Online poker is a game of skill and luck. For beginners, playing online poker tournaments should be a priority while building experience. A solid foundation on the fundamentals of starting hands, proper stack management, and live reads will help you feel more comfortable with cash games when you do decide to take the plunge.

5. Learn the art of value betting

Value betting is a poker term that refers to betting big with a good hand, instead of checking or calling. By betting when you have the best hand, you will win more pots and win more money over time. According to Sheddy, mastering the art of value betting is one of the most important aspects of poker.

For example, say that you are playing Texas Hold ‘Em and there is an Ace-high board once all five cards have been flipped, and you have an Ace and Queen. In this situation, the odds are definitely in your favor to win the hand and take the full pot, so you can make a high bet.

“If an opponent has, say, an Ace-10, they’ll call, and if they don’t like to fold, they may bet even more,” said Sheddy. “If you’ve learned you’re playing against a more conservative player who doesn’t want to give up chips, I’d bet smaller, but when I have [the best hand] I like to bet it pretty strong.”

A Final Word About Poker Tips and Tricks From the Professional Poker Players

Keep the above tips in mind if you ever hit up a real-life poker game or play online. You might find that following these tips not only increases your fun but also helps your chip stacks and winnings!

Remember: practice makes perfect. If you really want to improve your game, make it a point to play cash games as much as possible. The more you play, the better you’ll be able to anticipate your opponent’s next move and the more smoothly your game will be played.

(Source: USA Today.