Not everyone treats poker as a part-time job; most of us are casual players who see the game merely as entertainment (although we also enjoy winning). If you are interested in regularly supplementing your income with poker, particularly on the Internet, please see Bankroll Management for Serious Players. For all others, who play session-to-session without much regard for the big picture, continue here for some tips on maximizing the potential of your bankroll.
For this discussion, I’ll use myself as an example. I visit the casino to play poker a couple times a month and usually play low-limit Texas hold’em, either 3-6 or 4-8. Occasionally I’ll mix in some tournaments or no-limit hold’em, but I’ve found that I do best with the limit games. Since I don’t play frequently or keep track of my winnings, I don’t see much point in having a special poker bankroll. Instead, I will set some money aside each week and only go to the casino when I have enough to play. ‘Enough’ is the key term here, as many casual players do not understand this term. Too many 3-6 players will sit down at a table, buy in for the minimum (usually $60), play until they lose that, and then rebuy for another $60 or possibly $100. This method, while seemingly harmless, ensures that you will never be a consistent winner. Instead, you should sit down with a minimum of 20 big bets – $120 in a 3-6 game – and more if possible. It’s okay if you only buy in for $100 or so, as long as you make sure that you have cash behind (i.e. in your pocket), ready to be turned into chips the second you get too low. By ‘too low,’ I mean about $60; when you hit this level, reach into your pocket and buy back in for another $20-$60.
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Now, this series of posts is somewhat related to the last series, because another key strategy of Texas Hold ‘Em — and really, any other variation of poker as well — is making sure that you do not fall prey to some of the mistakes commonly made in the game — by amateurs and experienced players alike.
For example, you cannot be too emotional at your table. This will be the figurative death of you. You have to realize — again — that you are going to lose. It happens. Some of your opponents will be obnoxious and annoying. That happens too. The cards will be bad. That happens as well. Stuff happens in pokers, sometimes you just have to live with it.
As well, you cannot play too many hands. If you get a five of clubs and a queen of hearts, guess what? It doesn’t look too good — and that’s okay! You can pass on that round!
In any poker game, but especially in a game of Texas Hold ‘Em, evaluation is a key strategy behind winning the game. Poker is not like most other games, where you can maintain a trial and error method of approach in order to improve your technique. There is too much at stake in a hot game of poker for that to work. The only time trial and error could be at all beneficial is if you play a casual game with friends, in which no money is won or lost.
All too often in poker, players mistake coincidences for good strategy. For example, you may make a bad play, what is essentially a mistake, in a lot of instances, but go on to win that hand anyway. In some of those cases, you may even win a lot of money, in spite of making a bad move. The worst thing you can do here is to assume that you will be successful every time you repeat that bad play.
Focus on not making mistakes. Learn to evaluate your own hand instead. That kind of understanding will be much more successful than a coincidentally positive mistake.
Rules are rules, and quite often, especially in cards, they can be helpful — but there is absolutely no reason to be a stickler for rules all of the time. Remember, poker is not like Blackjack. In Blackjack, there is a theory, a strategy, for every possible play. That is not necessarily the case in poker, especially not in Texas Hold ‘Em.
Advice is great, rules are great, but in this game you have to take them with a grain of salt. Once you have become familiar with the game, you need to feel free to think for yourself and devise some strategies that will work best for you. The main thing you need to do is pay attention, not just to your fellow players, but also to yourself. Pinpointing your flaws can go a long way towards making you a better player. You have to remember, as well, that if you play straight from the book, you are going to become predictable — which means that it will be easier to beat you.
Texas Hold ‘Em is becoming an increasingly popular game. This may well be due to the fact that it is the poker variety most often featured on televised poker games, be it a tense game in the World Series of Poker or an entertaining game on some kind of celebrity poker show. Whatever the reason for this spike, it pays to keep up with current card playing trends sometimes — often literally. However, if you want to win, you have to have some serious game. You have to go in with some solid strategies, which we are going to discuss in a serious of posts.
When you first start out, it is essential that you keep it as simple as possible. Naturally, as a beginner, you should begin playing at low playing tables, but keeping this strategy in mind when you move up to higher tables can also pay off. You need to remember that slowplaying can lull your fellow players into a false sense of complacency, especially during an already sluggish hand. Often, sticking to your simpler roots can prove to be an ace in the hole — so to speak. Besides, keeping it in your arsenal is doubly beneficial. You never want to be too predictable in poker.
Playing No Limit Hold’em can be fun when you do it online or when you play at home with friends. The picture is quite different when you decide to join a live poker tournament.
You can be winning your way to taller chip stacks playing on cash tables but there is a different set of skills that you need to learn to survive a tournament.
Playing Your Chips
Every tournament will start with an arbitrary sum of chips depending on how the tournament is designed. Most tournaments do not have the add on or rebuy feature and you will be eliminated once you are out of chips to play.
The kick out style game forces some players to be too tight during the game. This opens up an opportunity for aggressive players to rake in some chips. Sometimes aggressive play is rewarded in poker. No guts, no glory.
Look at the Payout at the End of the Line
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