Texas Hold ’em is by far the most popular form of poker and is played by millions all over the world. Since its creation more than one hundred years ago, people have been looking to improve their skills and get better at the game. As Texas Hold ’em has become more popular, it’s only grown more competitive, too, with modern pros spending hours each week practicing, studying the game, and grinding. Getting good at poker is certainly not for the faint-hearted, but there are a lot of steps you can take to improve your game.
Study the Game
This one sounds obvious, but a lot of players don’t realize that practice alone isn’t enough. Aside from playing online poker games, you also need to study and learn as much as possible. This means watching videos, listening to experts, and reading articles and books. There are loads of free and paid-for resources out there, including those made by expert players. Make sure you learn from the best and remember that just because you paid a lot for the course, it doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be a better player. You have to put the work in and go through all of the material properly to improve.
Think in Terms of Ranges Rather Than Hands
When playing poker, understanding your opponent and predicting their next move is critical. New players will often try and guess their opponent’s hand based on their actions throughout the game. However, more experienced players instead consider ranges rather than trying to pin their opponent down to a certain hand.
A range is the full list of hands that a particular opponent might have. For instance, your opponent might hold an ace high, flush, top pair, middle pair, bottom pair, draw, or even bluff. Always focus on your opponent’s range rather than what you believe they have in particular, as it will give you a higher level of accuracy and allows you to plan your strategy more effectively.
Take Advantage of Weaker Players
Poker is a dog-eat-dog game where the level of competition is extremely high. Experienced players are known as sharks, while new and inexperienced players are the fish. Whenever you join a poker table, you want to spend some time judging each opponent and working out which one is the fish. As a general rule, if you can’t tell who the fish is, it’s probably you.
Although it seems cruel, taking advantage of weak players and taking their money is a part of the game. Playing against top pros won’t bring in money for you. The majority of your money will typically be made in sessions against weaker players. Discover their weak points and then exploit them. Bluff them frequently if they’re playing too cautiously. Make them pay with large bets when you have a strong hand and don’t try to bluff them much if they’re calling to the river with just about any pair or draw.
Establish Your Strategy
Most players in poker have a strategy that they stick to and follow in each game. Although you should change things up sometimes so you’re not predictable, it’s always a good idea to follow your original plan. This means not letting things get to your head, keeping your cool under pressure, and always executing your strategy with the knowledge and experience you have.
Failing to follow a coherent plan can result in you losing money over time, as you’ll be changing things up too often. This is important even when you suffer a bad beat or come up against someone that you’ve played before.
Take Breaks When Needed
Poker is a difficult game that’s very mentally taxing. If you’re sitting at a table for many hours or grinding tables online, you’re going to get exhausted, and your game will suffer. Knowing when to take breaks and give yourself a rest is key to being successful, especially if you want to avoid burning out.