Learning how to play poker is a breeze. But learning how to play quality poker and win money is another story entirely. The process of becoming a competent poker player requires a few things from gamblers. The most important of those elements is a sound, effective strategy.
Unlike other casino games like blackjack, poker strategy can vary between players. As you continue to advance and improve as a player, you’ll most likely come across various strategic approaches to the game. Some people argue that one type of strategy is superior to others. I tend to disagree. As long as a strategy works for you, it can be as effective as any other type.
Strategy will come through time and continuous play. To help find one that works for you, here are six steps to develop a sound strategy as a real money poker player.
1 ‒ Understand the Rules of the Game
The first thing any aspiring poker player needs to do is learn how to play the game in question. There are several varieties of poker available to gamblers, and it’s on you to decide which one to play. There’s no right answer when it comes to selecting a style of poker. But it’s worth mentioning that Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and Seven-Card Stud are the most popular.
As I said in the introduction, learning to play poker isn’t complicated. Most games are somewhat similar to each other, and the rules will begin to make sense over time. The intricacies of the game can be more complex. For example, table position is something that intermediate poker players can still struggle with.
Once you have a solid base of information to rely on, your development should be rapid. The learning process never stops, so don’t become complacent once you learn the rules. You should always strive to improve your poker game if you want to eventually become a winning player.
2 ‒ Figure Out Your Personality Type
When you first start playing, more experienced players will be able to detect your inexperience. That’s why it’s crucial to play according to your strengths. When developing a strategy, it’s important to model it off of your personality. If you’re more passive, then you should consider developing a passive style of play.
Unless you are capable of masking your poker tells, playing according to your personality will help you in the long run. Savvy veterans will most likely be able to detect your style of play at some point. If you’re fluctuating in and out of your artificial in-game personality, other players might be able to eat you alive. You need to be relaxed and comfortable during a game of poker. So, do whatever you can to make that a reality.
3 ‒ Find Out If You Can Bluff
I hate when beginners try to implement bluffing into their game. Most new players are terrible at bluffing or don’t know when it’s appropriate to try to bluff. But when done correctly, bluffing can be a great tool to possess.
The easiest way to find out if you can bluff well is to ask if you’re a good liar. If you can lie effectively, you’ll most likely be a good bluffer. If you can’t keep a straight face, you’re going to struggle. For those of you who don’t think it’s a realistic possibility, don’t worry. There are other ways to win at poker than bluffing.
A skill that’s even more important than bluffing is being able to spot someone who is bluffing. This is a skill that will translate to major wins at some point during your poker career. As you continue to develop, you should train yourself to spot other players’ tells. If you’re playing with other beginners, that shouldn’t be too hard. Like I said, beginners are typically horrible at bluffing.
4 ‒ Try Different In-Game Tactics
There are several different styles of play available for use. Each style has a variety of methods and in-game tactics that comprise a base strategy. One of the best ways to find a useful technique is to model it after a proven style of play.
Each basic style has its benefits and pitfalls. When you’re first starting to play, consider adopting a style that is most comparable to tight-aggressive. This means you’ll only play around 20% of your hands, but you’ll play them aggressively.
5 ‒ Be Patient
It seems commonplace that gamblers will breeze through the learning process before becoming dejected. That’s because they often plateau after figuring out how to play the game. Wins will come eventually, but poker is incredibly challenging.
A problem that arises with new gamblers is that they are unable to keep their expectations grounded. New poker players who have experience gambling think they have a good shot of winning money playing poker. This ideology comes from spending time playing table games like blackjack and craps.
If you find yourself getting frustrated early on, make sure to stay the course and be patient. As I said earlier, the learning process never stops and the only way to fight through plateaus is to press on.
6 ‒ Practice Makes Perfect
You can do all the reading in the world to help you get better at poker. But the best way to see rapid growth and development is to practice playing poker. Earlier, I mentioned the most common varieties of poker. It’s essential to select a popular game, so you have people to play.
If you select a less popular form of poker, you’ll be relegated to playing online exclusively. I see no issue with trying to hone your skills online. That might be the best way to figure out how the game is played. But in-person poker is the best version for a variety of reasons.
First of all, sitting in front of a computer screen takes away half the fun of poker. In-person poker forces you to react to other players’ bets, tactics, and peculiarities in real-time. There’s no way of knowing if someone is bluffing online. But, in person, you might be able to detect a tick or a tell.
An additional benefit of playing in person is that you’ll come into your own as a player. Before you even think of playing for real money, it’s crucial to play several low-stakes games. As I said earlier, more experienced players will pick up on your lack of play and tear you to shreds. Whatever method you choose, practicing might be the most important and effective way to develop a good poker strategy.
If you’re thinking about getting serious about poker, you’ve made a great decision. Poker is one of the most exciting and popular types of games amongst gamblers. Unlike other games at the casino, though, you’re going to be competing against other bettors. This has its pros and cons.
As you try to settle into an effective strategy, consider playing according to your personality type. It will make your development as a player more streamlined and improve your chances of winning. Decide if you’re capable of bluffing, but don’t use that as a crutch as you continue to play. Better and more experienced gamblers will most likely be able to spot your bluff from a mile away.
Try to be patient as you grow as a player. Gambling is hard, and there’s no reason to get discouraged too early. Finally, the best way to excel with your new strategy is to practice as much as possible. Before you sit down to play for serious money, make sure to play in a casual setting so you’ll feel more comfortable with your style of play.