Winning poker gamblers do hundreds of little things right, while losing players tend to focus on a few things. Winning real money playing poker isn’t about making a big bluff or fancy play. It’s about mastering many small things that add up to overall winning play.
In order to do all of these things right, you have to stop bad ideas from polluting your gameplay. That’s what our list is here to help you with. Taking bad ideas to the poker table make you do things that cost you money.
You need to immediately eliminate each of these six bad poker ideas from your mind if you want to win.
1 – You Can Play More Hands and Win More
If you look at 100 losing poker players, the odds are that at least 90 of them play too many hands. In fact, the number might be as high as 98 or 99 out of 100.
Playing too many hands is far and away the #1 reason why most poker players are losing so much money.
On the other side of this, if you look at 100 winning poker players, the odds are that at least 90 of them are playing fewer hands than their opponents. This should tell you everything you need to know if you really want to start winning.
You don’t even have to be a great poker player in any other area of the game if you get this art right. When you play a lower number of hands, it means that the hands you do play are better. And when you start with a better hand, you have a better chance to win.
Each poker game is a little bit different, so I can’t give you an exact average number of hands to play. I recommend starting with 15% of your starting hand and making small adjustments based on your long-term results.
I know this is much tighter than you’re playing now, and it can be a bit boring. But winning isn’t about not being bored. It’s about doing what you need to do to win.
2 – Your Position Doesn’t Matter
I admit that this took me many years to learn. But once I did grasp the importance of position, I immediately started winning more.
If you tracked your profit from each position at the poker table over a long period of time, you could see that the most profitable position is the dealer position. The second most profitable position is the immediate right of the dealer. And the least profitable position is under the gun, which is the first position to the left of the blinds.
This is important to understand because it shows that you need to play even tighter in poor position than you can play in later positions. In fact, you should only be playing five or six hands from under the gun.
How many hands you can play profitably from late position depends on how well you play after the flop, but late position is where you need to be for most of the hands you play.
3 – Ace-King Is a Great Starting Hand in Texas Hold’em
This is a situation that has been created by watching tournament poker on television. How many times have you seen a tournament player move all in with ace-king?
The truth is that in a tournament, if you’re getting short-stacked, moving all in with ace-king is usually the best play. But ace-king isn’t a great hand in any other situation.
It’s usually a good hand, but it is only a toss=up at best against most decent hands. And it’s completely dominated by AA and KK. In other words, when you move all in with ace-king, most hands that are good enough to call with are going to have around a 50% or better chance to beat you.
Ace-king needs to improve to win almost all of the time. While it’s not exactly the same hand, when I started treating ace-king the same as I play ace-jack, I stopped overplaying it.
You need to learn the relative value of every hand if you want to win. You can’t afford to overvalue or undervalue hands. Remember that your position also is involved in the value of each hand.
4 – Tight Aggressive Play Is the Only Way to Win
I know that you just read about how important playing tight is, and this doesn’t change that. And for the most part, tight and aggressive play gives you the best chance to win. But tight aggressive play isn’t the only way to win, especially on that poker Zoom call with your work buddies.
The reason why so many people believe that tight aggressive play is the only way to win is because so many books and articles claim that it’s true. And if you’re not a very good poker player, play it’s going to improve your results if you switch to tight and aggressive play.
But you also have to learn how to adjust to the best strategies in each game. And the best strategy is usually the opposite of what everyone else is doing.
If all of the other players are playing tight, you might need to loosen up a bit. And if the other players are playing aggressively, you can play your best hands passively and let them build the pot.
If you’re not a great poker player now, start playing in a tight and aggressive manner. But pay attention to what the other players are doing and make adjustments to take advantage of their playing style.
5 – You Can Play at Any Table and Win
This is another thing that took me a long time to understand. I always took the first available seat because all I wanted to do was start playing poker.
I eventually figured out that I win more when I play against bad poker players. This makes sense, yet most poker players don’t try to find games with bad players.
When I started taking my time to find poker tables with bad players, I started winning more. You can start using this strategy to improve your results immediately.
Start keeping track of bad poker players, whether you play in land-based poker rooms or in online poker rooms. Make it your goal to pick the best tables. And if you can’t find a table with bad players, look for a different place to play.
Until you’re not one of the absolute best poker players in the world, you can’t afford to play at just any poker table. And the truth is that the best poker players in the world want to play against worse poker players, because they make more profit when they do.
6 – Any Two Cards Can Win
This is somewhat like what you learned in the first section. Depending on the flop and turn and river, any two starting cards can win when you play Texas Hold’em. The problem is that even though this is true, you can’t play any two cards and make a profit.
You have to look at poker as a long game that involves every hand you’re going to play over the course of your life. You’re going to get dealt every possible hand numerous times over your life. And many hands can’t be played for a long term profit no matter what you do.
Other hands, like AA and KK are going to show a profit no matter what you do as long as you’re not the worst poker player in the world.
This is why you don’t play 72. You might get lucky and win every once in a while, but your average return over all of the time you play this hand is going to be negative. You can’t profitably play this hand from any position.
If you consider a hand like KJ suited, you can’t play it from early position profitably, but you can probably play it from late position profitably.
The key is learning which hands you can play for long-term profit from each position.
If you watch a losing poker player, it quickly becomes clear that they have a few bad ideas about how to play the game. The worst idea that most poker players have is that they can play more hands to win more money. The opposite is actually true.
Most poker players don’t even think about position, but your position directly influences how much you win. Tight aggressive play is usually good, but it’s not the only way to win.
Winning poker players know how to pick the best table to play at. And they know that even though any two cards can win, they can’t afford to play any two cards.