When it comes to high stakes card games, few can compare to the extreme popularity of poker. With tournaments, such as the World Series of Poker, being broadcasted year round on television networks, poker, Texas Hold ‘Em in particular, has invaded every day culture in big ways. If the surge in popularity has your interests piqued, you may be ready to try your hand at the tables.
Let’s take a look at a few tips to get your poker adventure off to a great start:
Do: Keep an eye out for big cards.
Texas Hold ‘Em is a game of big cards, and you should keep that in mind when deciding if you want to play a particular hand. Face cards and aces are great, especially if you’ve got a pair or two of a uniform suit, and playing the hand is always worthy of consideration when big cards come your way. With the luxury of higher cards, you immediately have a vastly improved chance of winning.
Don’t: Avoid playing every hand.
New players can get swept up in the excitement of the game, which is definitely a bad thing when it comes to your wager. It’s important to keep a level head when at the tables, and the simple truth is that not every hand is a good hand to play. Determining a calculated strategy and managing your funds are among the most important skills required to excel when playing poker. After all, money not lost is exactly the same as money won.
Do: Play at your own comfort level.
It’s never a bad idea to start at lower limit tables to hone your skills, but the time may come when you’re ready to raise the stakes. Higher limits typically go hand-in-hand with more skilled players, so keep that in mind when deciding where you’d like to start. Playing with better players could be great for improving your game, but don’t jump up the ladder too quickly. A good rule of thumb is to find the level at which you are interested in the game without having to worry too much about losing your chips. Stay within your comfort level, and you’ll be able to play your best game.
Don’t: Avoid playing hands just because they are suited.
Two cards of the same suit can be appealing, but the odds of making a flush by the river are 15 to 1 against you. If your cards are low and suited, the chances of a bigger flush from one of your opponents should always be on your mind. Remember, it’s a game of big cards, and chasing a flush can be a costly endeavor.
Do: Study the other players to help guide your strategy.
The best way to improve is to study your fellow players. Depending on your position, you may be able to take how others act into consideration when guiding your strategy for a hand. The later your position, the easier it can be to pull your opponents into a hand and make a profit, so always be prepared to capitalize on your position.
Don’t: Resist the urge to bluff in the beginning.
You’ve probably seen it a million times in the movies. A player pushes all in on a bluff, only to walk away a winner. While bluffing is definitely a part of the game, it takes skill to know when to bluff, as well as to figure out against whom you should bluff. Since there are no real rules for bluffing, it’s best to let you skills develop before working it into your strategy. With a little practice, you’ll be playing like a pro in no time!