Poker Strategy Tips 1 & 2


Tip #1: Choosing Proper Limits

Before even sitting down to play, the most important decision you can make is about what limits you should be playing. It’s important to play in a game that you can afford to lose. It can also be important to play in a game that costs enough to be meaningful to you; otherwise you may play worse thinking, “Oh, I can only lose ______, what does it matter?” Playing at limits that are too high can also hurt your play as you may play scared, become stressed if you begin losing, or chase bad hands trying to win it back. So what is the right limit? This will vary for every individual. As a simple rule of thumb, you should be able to buy into the game with a minimum of ten times the big bet. So in a $3/$6 game you should buy in with at least $60. If the possibility of losing $60 seems meaningless, you might play a higher limit. If the prospect of losing $60 is a little unsettling, you need to play smaller limits.

Tip #2: Choosing a Table and Seat

When playing in a tournament you will undoubtedly be assigned a seat and have no choice to make, but in live play, particularly when there is no wait list, you often can make a choice between tables and/or seats. Many players will go where they are directed without realizing there is an option or just how important that option might be. When arriving at a card room, take a few minutes to observe the type of action at the tables. There is often a big difference between games that are the same format and stakes. One table might be full of action (lots of bets and raises), while another is slow or dead (lots of folding). There might be regulars who know you at one table and tourists at another. There might be a great deal of conversation and laughing at one game and very quiet study and play at another. Maybe there’s a poker celebrity getting attention and chips, a maniac who can’t wait to get $100 in the pot with a 72-offsuit, or a beginner trying to understand what a blind is all about. If there is more than one seat at a table these same things are important to note. Where is the aggressive player sitting? Where is the maniac, the rock, the professional, the beginner?

If you already know what type of game you prefer or do well in, try to get a seat at that table. If you aren’t sure what the right game would be for your play style, I recommend a game that is generally opposite than the way you play. If you are a tight, conservative player, sit down in a fast-action game. If you are an aggressive bluffer you want to be with the rocks. If your goal is to win money, play with the beginners. If you’re there to learn some lessons, go ahead and pay to play with the pros. When it comes to choosing a seat, I recommend you try to position yourself to the left of the aggressive players and/or to the right of a tight, conservative player.

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