How Can I Get Better at Texas Holdem?
This is more a question about playing better poker, not just Texas Holdem! You can reach the juicy poker level by adopting a few basic principles of poker! As hard as it is to become a world class poker player, just being better at a few simple principles will elevate your game a lot!
Poker Excellence is a Process
Getting good at poker is no different than becoming a better musician, carpenter, baseball player, painter, or any of the thousands of professions that take a substantial amount of time to get better at. We all know people who are terribly impatient with themselves when they are practicing an art form or just trying to improve themselves in a professional way.
This type of impatience is often a stumbling block that prevents the exact thing the person wants: namely, to get better at something important to them. It is said that patience is a virtue and it is in so many ways including in the long march toward Texas Holdem and excellence in poker in general.
How Can I Learn Poker Math?
Learning poker math is just one aspect of improving at poker. As we said above, improving at poker is a process and getting fluent in poker math is a big part of that process! No one has ever mastered poker math in one evening or even in one year!
There are, of course, some poker savants who were fluent in poker math from the outset by the natural process that only the most natural players have access to! Here we are talking about average people with average intelligence and average talent for learning esoteric subjects of which poker math is one.
The main idea here is that you should never try to play against more experienced players at higher stakes until you are well versed in the rudimentary aspects of poker math. You can play low stakes poker at Juicy Stakes Poker for as long as you wish and low stakes poker is the permanent “home” of many of our players!
You can play poker trying to outsmart your opponents without any knowledge or expertise in poker math at all. Outsmarting opponents is really not related to poker math. Not outsmarting yourself is the main purpose of learning poker math!
If you are learni8ng poker math, remember to let the learning process take its natural course. If you try to rush the process, you will likely fall into the trap of being impatient with yourself and we have already established that impatience often has the exact opposite effect to the one you are seeking!
Poker is a Game of Skill and Luck!
As much as it takes a great deal of skill to play poker well, at the ultimate moment, a player may hit the one out card and all of your analysis will turn to dust!
We need to realize that luck is also an essential element of poker. Luck is importance in every card played. As much as the bad beats on the “river” are famous YouTube moments, the cards you get dealt to start a hand are also predicated entirely on luck!
If your luck is running weak one session, and you become impatient, you will probably end up playing hands that even the big blind might fold and you’ll be playing these hands in early position!
We have to allow luck to play its own vital role in every card we receive! By allowing luck to be luck, we can avoid the giant pitfall of tilt! Avoiding tilt has nothing to do with math, it had nothing to do with hand ranges, it has nothing to do specifically with position—tilt is a purely individual reaction to the vicissitudes of poker!
Tilt will turn a productive poker session into a natural disaster in the blink of an eye! Accepting that luck plays a massive role in poker is a major step towards becoming a much better poker player.
Learn How to Fold
There is an interesting difference between learning when to fold and learning how to fold. The way a player folds is a type of “tell” that can give important information to an opponent.
Is the player folding from frustration? Is he or she losing patience? Is he or she prone to staying in a hand too long and then folding when they don’t hit the flop? These are just a few of the subtle insights an opponent can gather from the way a player folds!
It’s a lot easier to learn when to fold! We fold when we have a poor hand or when we believe that an opponent has a better hand. The how of folding is a lot more subtle and actually takes some practice to learn to do it well!
Play to Win
Now, this does go against one of the guiding principles here at Juicy Stakes Poker where we advise players to play to have fun. Actually, it is possible to do both! In other words, you can have fun even if you lose a few dollars as long as you make sure to stay within your own financial means.
There is also no denying the fact that winning a few dollars is more fun than losing a few dollars! The point here is that sometimes the difference between winning a few dollars and losing a few dollars is found in “playing to win” or in a general, aggressive attitude toward the game.
Aggressiveness is a lot easier in the anonymous world of online poker! It is a lot harder to be aggressive with your friends on Friday night! Being aggressive is not the same as being angry! In fact, aggressiveness in poker is too subtle to be synonymous with anger!
Aggressiveness can be being observant. It can mean always being aware of the hand ranges of your opponents. It means knowing an opponent’s tendencies. It means bluffing when the opportunity arises.
Make Decisions with Confidence
There are a lot of people who don’t like to make decisions. Poker is all about making decisions. While being happy to make decisions can be a learned trait, some people never feel comfortable making decisions. If you are such a person, you should be playing a different game!
Having confidence in making decisions is an important aspect of enjoying poker! Since we always encourage players to enjoy the many challenges inherent in playing poker, being at one with oneself in the area of decision making is an idea that needs to be addressed. Being at one with oneself is a huge part of poker success!
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