Important aspects and tricks for the beginner/intermediate player
Half drunk at 1AM on a saturday, i got bored and decided to start this thread.
I'll start it off but i want everyone to add to it from their own experiences and opinions. Also if I've written something that someone disagrees with or is completely wrong (it is
1 am lol) then feel free to correct me. I know we have some incredible players here on cc and I know they have great info to share.
The list applies to elements of poker for the sake of profit, and poker for the sake of improving one's game.
In order of what comes to mind first:
1) Bankroll management:
In order to make a good profit and have proper elbow room in poker, you should have a bankroll that is big enough to be able to take the swings of the limits you are playing at.
For instance you wouldn't sit down at a 10/20 limit holdem table with 150 bucks and a 200 dollar bankroll, because with a small run of bad cards you would be down to nothing but a few BBs.
Chart by AlonIpser
2) Hand selection:
Generally, tight is right! For the beginner/intermediate player, this is the way to go. Fewer, stronger hands mean higher winning %, which should result in a slow steady incline in your bankroll. Expect smaller and fewer swings with a tighter style. Think about how many people you see raising KT type hands in a 10 handed ring game, and how hard they bet the flop when they hit. If you are playing a tight style, and call their raise with a KQ or AK, and you both end up hitting a K...well lets just say that you've got a nice pot lined up for you
3) Studying the game:
There are several ways of improving your game (and through that, increasing your profits); by direct experience and by studying poker books
/articles or having poker discussions. Poker forums
like this one are perfect places for discussions and analysis on poker hands.
Poker books are a great way of getting the proper basis for your poker game down. Though they can also be harmful...Doyle Brunson suggests in SS that you play his style (megalomaniac, raise alot of pots, take alot of small pots down, and when you get challenged with a big hand you get paid off tremendously) but this doesn't help a newbie player at all. This kind of style requires an incredible amount of experience and reading skills.
4) Playing Style:
Goes hand in hand with Hand Selection too: Playing a tight aggressive style of poker is generally the best way to go, though it does depend on the type of player you are. If you are the type that loves to be in every pot and control the table, then a shortanded game with a wider hand selection is for you; and vice versa for a tighter player. I prefer a tighter game as it lets me take down pots with continuation bets because players respect me; then again with a wilder style you get paid off immensely when you hit a big hand, because noone will give you respect for your bets/raises.
Again, a tight aggressive style will give you smaller swings and a nice slow steady income while a wild megalomaniac style will give you big, wild swings.
5) Controlling your emotions:
Tilting is an extremely easy way of losing your bankroll. Period. Even the pros tilt and end up losing big money sometimes. If you find yourself playing differently after losing a big hand or getting angry at a player, you have to realize that you're not on your game, and will make bad decisions in future pots in this state of mind.
It's as simple as this: If you can't control your emotions (which i personally can't sometimes ) then take a break until you calm down! Take a walk, watch some TV, play some video games, do a workout - whatever.
Personally, i lost my entire bankroll the first time around because of an elongated tilt session that lasted a week or so.
6) Playing by the odds:
When you hit the board, there is no need to worry about odds. All you have to do is decide whether or not you have the best hand, and go from there. When you hit a draw though, you have to play by the odds. You will lose money in the long run if you play against the odds (negative expected value
) and will win in the long run if you play them right (positive EV)
Here is a thread with a link to a nice odds chart:
(4 outs - gutshot straight draw
8 outs - open ended straight draw
9 outs - flush draw
15 outs - straight and flush draw
19 outs - straight flush draw)
Also a member here named F Paulsson has a great blog - he's an odds genius
7) Reading your opponents:
It's harder to get reads online as you can't see the people, but in live poker games
, reads are very important in making your decisions. Watch what your opponents showdown and link that to the way they played the hand. Mike Caro wrote The Book of Tells
which is a great help - the gyst of most of the reads is that strength means weakness and weakness means strength. ex: if you reach to bet and an opponent pretends to bet out of turn, it generally means that he is trying to stop you from betting (he is acting strong to get you to check, which means he is weak).
Online, all you have to analyze reads-wise are bet sizes and the speed of the bet. Same thing most of the time; strength means weakness and vise versa. Then again it may vary by opponent - someone might raise small with AA to try and get some action, but others might raise big to try and weed out the weaker hands so they don't get drawn out. Again look at how your opponents play a hand through and see what they showdown.
One thing that alot of players suggest is to watch the players at all times. By this they mean that even when you fold a hand, keep observing the table. What is this guy raising with? Did he follow up on the flop? Why did he just check the turn?
You've got to pin playing styles on your opponents.
Note taking is a great feature on poker sites
that you normally would have to do mentally (which some say is a distinguishable trait that separates the good from the great players in poker) in a live game. Although it may seem like you play against different players every time you play a sit n go, you'd be surprised how many times you find yourself in a tough situation and see that you've got a note on this player that helps you along in your decision.
Some good things to take notes on are what kinds of hands he plays and how (PF raise, limp, call raise), what kind of player is he (passive, aggressive, tight, loose), if he tilts, and tricky things the player does (bets when checked to, does he always make a continuation bet, etc), if he/shes's a slider etc. I also note if a player made final table in an MTT and top 3 in a SnG.
9) Playing your position:
Position is extremely important in most poker games. Generally as you get to the later positions, you can loosen your hand selection up further. TT is an immediate toss under the gun for me in a 10 handed game, but also an immediate raise on the button or in LP.
Heres a chart by jasondavies on positional hand selection that is derived from a chart in a Tom McEvoy (I think?):
You can also use this against your opponent - If you notice that a late position player is raising the button alot, then you can safely assume he is playing some weaker hands and that your 88 type hand might be stronger than you would expect.