All forms of poker offer something you don’t find in most casino games. Normal casino games are built so casinos can take a percentage of the money wagered and keep it for profit.
In some games, you can alter this percentage by using poker strategy. In others, the percentage is set and can’t be altered.
If you can outplay most of your opponents, you’ll make enough money to cover the small charge the casino or poker room takes. When you learn how to do this, it leaves a good amount of profit for you.
All three steps I cover in this article are designed to either lower your cost of play or improve your results against your opponents. Accomplishing either one improves your results. When you can do both at the same time, it improves your results even more.
The best thing about the three easy steps discussed below is that it doesn’t matter if you play Texas holdem, Omaha, or another variation of poker; your play in all of them will be improved. You don’t have to study new strategies and spend weeks improving. You can get started right now, so there’s no reason to wait.
1 – Play Against Bad Players
If there’s a single thing that any poker player can do right now to improve their results it’s playing against bad players. When you play poker, you have quite a bit of choice about who you play against. Yet most poker players never consider the ability of their competition and take the first available seat.
You take a trip to your local poker room and two tables are running. Each has an open seat, and both tables are no limit Texas holdem played at the same stakes. The first table is filled with players who you’re familiar with, and they’re all bad players. They seem more interested in drinking and telling jokes than playing good poker.
The second table is filled with professional poker players who seem to be concentrating on the game, and you know that all of them are better than you. Which table do you have a better chance of winning at when you take a seat?
Of course, the answer is obvious. You have a much better chance of winning by taking a seat at the table filled with bad players. Unless you’re also a great poker player, your chances of winning at the table with professionals is almost zero. And even if you’re a great player, it’s going to be hard to play above a breakeven game against poker pros.
But it’s important to understand that the tables available to you with the worst players are the most profitable. This means you need to start paying attention and learning which players are good and which ones are bad, so you can make better decisions in the future.
This is harder to do when you play online poker, but there are a couple things you can do. If the online poker room where you play lists the percentage of players who see the flop, the tables with the higher percentages are usually filled with poor players. I cover this in the third section below, but the best players don’t see as many flops as bad players on average.
Another option you can use to play against bad players is to start your own private game. I cover this in the next section, but the idea is that you only invite players who are worse than you.
When you play against bad players, it almost guarantees long term profits for you. Of course, you want to continue learning and improving your skills, but there’s no reason to lose while you’re doing it. Target bad players and make money on a consistent basis.
2 – Eliminate the Cost
In the opening section, I explained that poker rooms and casinos offering poker tables take a cut off the top of each pot for their profit. This is called the rake, and the amount varies from room to room and is sometimes based on the limit of the game. The common rake is around $5 per hand.
In order to be a winning poker player, you have to win enough to cover the rake, which you do by playing better than the majority of your opponents. If your results are average, you still lose in the long run because of the rake. If you didn’t have to pay the rake, you’d break even with average play.
The good news is that you can play in poker games that don’t have a rake. These are known as private or home poker games. Before I continue, you need to know that in some areas, private games are illegal. I don’t offer legal advice and neither does this website, so you need to learn the local laws where you live before you join or start a home game.
You can find private poker games by asking other poker players you know. I play in a private local game from time to time and have friends who play in a couple of other local games. Most communities have private games if you know how to find them.
The other option, and the one I prefer, is to start your own private game. When you run a game, you get to pick the players you invite to play. As you learned in the last section, if you start a game and fill it with bad poker players, it increases your chances of winning.
When you combine a game filled with bad players and eliminate the rake, you’re doing two things that instantly increase your profits.
The main thing you need to consider other than the legal aspects of private poker games is safety. When there’s a lot of cash in one place, it can open up the danger of someone trying to rob the game. Make sure you consider your safety by being smart. Never put yourself in a potentially bad situation.
3 – Play Tighter Than Normal
The poker player who enters the pot with the best starting hand wins more often than the player who enters the pot with a weaker hand. Of course, the flop, turn, and river change the values of your starting hand, but in the long run, you win more with better starting hands.
The main way to improve the average value of your starting hands is to play fewer hands. You fold bad and marginal hands, so the average value of the hands you do play increases. This is one of the big things that most losing poker players don’t seem to grasp.
Yes, you can win with any starting hand, but just because you can win with 2-7 doesn’t mean it’s profitable in the long run to play. Most poker players see 30% to 50% of the flops and majority of poker players lose money in the long run.
While there isn’t an exact percentage of hands you should see the flop with, the fact is that 30% to 50% is too high. You should try to reduce the number of flops you see to somewhere around 20%. This forces you to fold marginal hands and saves your resources for when you have a good or great hand. Your poker results are going to instantly improve when you play fewer hands.
Nothing on this page is hard to do. These are three easy steps you can take to make more money playing poker, and you can start using all of them right now. These three steps are so strong that if you’re currently a losing poker player, you can quickly change to a winning player.
Even if you only use one of these steps, it’s going to make a big difference in your results. But if you use two or all three of them, you’re going to start seeing bigger results faster.