It is said that poker is a game that takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to master; and while it is a game of chance there is undoubtedly some skill involved in winning. No poker player ever said, they would rather be lucky than good, and the greats have gained their fame with sound strategy and patience.
There are several diverse ways and styles to play poker, however the universal truth in this game remains the same: The one with the most chips at the end wins. Here are a few tips to help you hold on to the chips.
1. Know the game.
Knowing how hand ranking works, this is important. It is alarming how many people we encounter that believe that their straight outranks a flush or 3 pair is a possible poker hand. The ranking of hands, in order, is:
3 of a Kind
Four of a Kind
2. Know your hand.
The dealer will deal each player two cards. Unless you are in one of the blind’s you will be given an opportunity to view your cards before acting. It’s important that when you do take that peek at your cards to remember what you have. A confident player will not have to peek again and instead can focus on the hand being dealt. Being able to identify the best hand possible as each card is turned separates the good and the great.
3. When in doubt, double check.
Bet on what you have not the potential for what you may end up with. We see it often- a move of confidence or a big bet with 4 cards to a winning hand. Remember, Texas Hold Em is the 5 best out of 7 cards. 6,7,8,9 is not a straight without the 5 or 10.
4. Trust your gut.
Your gut is usually right. In cards there is a saying, “Study long, study wrong.” If you are not sure or are having a tough time deciding, then you probably already know the answer. In this situation more times than not folding is the smarter play.
5. There’s no shame in mucking cards.
We see this often too- especially after a bad beat. The player feels a great need to earn back the money they’ve just lost. Maybe their trip Kings was just beaten by a Straight. They play “on tilt”, which is poker slang for “I just lost a big hand, and I’m out of sorts”. Seasoned pros will immediately spot this and will exploit it for their gain. Resist the temptation to earn your money back. Focus on each hand- and only that hand.
6. About the Blinds
Always (try) to maintain a dollar amount equivalent to at least 20 big blinds. Some professionals and books want you to have enough to cover 25-30 big blinds. If you’re in a sit-and-go, it’s advantageous to buy more if you can afford to do so. You never want to be run off the table because you were deemed the “short stack”.
7. You can’t lose what you don’t bet.
Sometimes the cards just don’t run your way. If you’ve been steadily receiving hold cards of 8-5 off-suit, and not really catching a hand, walk away. The “Poker Gods” were not smiling upon you today. It’s far better to walk away with some money, versus grinding and trying to make something happen with nothing.
8. Follow a game plan.
Any consistent winner will tell you they have a set of rules they play by. Balance is a key part in the fun of this game and being able to maintain balance while playing is an essential part to any good poker face. Keep in mind to never play poker when you are tired or stressed out. Poker requires skill and concentration.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need additional information- we are available 24/7 at (214) 390-9425 or (866) 28-POKER.