I was talking with a friend yesterday – one that doesn’t play poker – and I found myself having to defend my losing some 50 tournaments since my last big win. I had to explain my 156% ROI, and lecture on how the long term is what’s important. You see – I won $25,000 playing online poker last year, by playing mostly $10-$30 tournaments, but in the same conversation, she told me she doesn’t play poker.
Having the same conversation about MPO500 proved to be very frustrating. Especially after I pointed out that a player should be able to make somewhere between 10 and 20 big blinds every 100 hands, every hour, every day, and anywhere between 10 and 40 tournaments every day.
Then it dawned on me – wait a minute! Poker is a sport, and in all sports, especially in poker, you can improve your technique, ability and HeroPoints over the long term. I immediately started to analyze poker and see how I can improve my game. This process included software, and books, and video tutorials. Instant poker training, almost instant!
The next step was to take the leap and learn directly from a pro. Well, actually, it wasn’t quite that simple – but by watching TV and playing online, I am absorbable, interesting, and fun. Getting a live $1,000 bonus added to you already is pretty nice! So when I say the process was easy, I don’t mean it was boring, or unrewarding.
All it took was starting over with the basics, and deciding to bet small wagers first, and playing more selectively. After all, poker is a game of small edges, and large odds. While many of us are playing only the 8 or 9 percenters, a pro might be playing over 100 games daily. considerations like bankroll, and opponents are central, but it is no surprise that a successful player will play above his head and above his skill class.
This is why playing skillfully matters, and not just luck. The old adage poker is a game of people with your back to the wall, and the first person to call you has a good chance to beat you, if you play wrong. While this is true, the tight-aggressive player, while not favored, is not the most skilled player on the table either. To become a better player, you must first start thinking of the game as a resource, a battle of wits, rather than just a gambling game based on luck.
First, you need to start thinking about your own strategy, which will set up your raises, calls, and bets. Do you have a big. Or do you come out swinging with your big bets? Do you play way out of your league, or do you blend into the crowd? Either way, as a person, you will need to get inside your head and control your actions and expressions to hide your instincts and feelings.
One of the biggest mistakes a person can make is starting hands. In a game like texas holdem, you must really think about which hands you want to protect, and which hands you want to try and protect from the blinds or other players. Protecting your best hands and protecting your weakness is the most important part of winning poker. Imagine never making a big hand after the flop just because you got scared, or felt there was an incredible hand behind you, when in reality, you should have probably folded.
The number one aspect in poker is your hand, and what good does it do if nobody knows what you have or what you stand. You will need to bluff to be a winner, but you will also need to seem weak in order to get called. The players who are most likely to call you will be those who don’t want a call, but also those who think they can handle a call. If you aren’t sure, then make your bluff trivial by making a medium bet on the river. After which, you can earn the respect of your table by controlling the action, keeping everyone off balance, and following your instincts, instead of waiting for a call that will most likely never come.