The game of poker is a complex one that requires both a theoretical and practical understanding. Beginners to the game often find themselves overwhelmed by the many different aspects of the game. Fortunately, a little bit of focus can go a long way. Taking the time to learn some of the basic fundamentals can help beginners make faster progress and become more profitable.
1. Play the Player, Not the Cards
As a new player it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking your hands are good or bad only in relation to what you’re holding. However, this mindset will get you into trouble over time. Ultimately, poker is about your opponents and how well you can read them. This is why learning to play the player is so important. A large number of reads don’t come from subtle physical poker tells like fiddling with your chips or a ring, but rather patterns in their playing habits. For example, if a player calls preflop then chances are they’re holding crappy cards and they don’t want to waste money betting with them. Conversely, if a player raises pre-flop then they’re probably holding a monster hand and will be able to call your bets on the flop with relative ease.
2. Be Patient with Good Hands
While it is tempting to bluff with a good hand, beginners must remember that their opponent is likely bluffing as well. Therefore, they need to be patient and wait until they have a strong enough hand to put pressure on their opponent. If you play a good hand and your opponent is calling every bet, then it’s likely that they have a weaker hand and will fold on the river.
3. Keep Up with Frequency and EV Estimation
One of the best ways to improve your poker game is by studying your opponents’ frequency and EV estimation. This is a crucial aspect of poker because it allows you to understand how much money they are likely to win or lose on each bet. Eventually, this knowledge will become second nature and you’ll be able to make better decisions.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Play Trashy Hands
Another reason why beginner players struggle is that they are afraid to play trashy hands. This is a mistake because the flop can transform a weak hand into a monster.
5. Practice Tight and Aggressive Playing
If you want to be a great poker player then it is essential that you work on your tight and aggressive playing styles. Tight play involves putting pressure on your opponents when you have a good hand and aggressive play means calling even when you have a mediocre one. Tight and aggressive play are the two most important concepts to master in poker. Once you have mastered these fundamentals then you will be able to improve your win rate significantly. As you improve your win rate, your bankroll will grow at a rapid pace and you’ll be able to play higher stakes sooner.