Archive forJune, 2009

Five ways to improve your poker game

1. Learn to step away: One huge mistake that gets made all the time, and one of my poker vices, is taking anger, frustration and loot to a table after something goes wrong. Often times, I might catch a bad beat at a final table to finish 7th or 8th, when I could have had a chance to win, and for some odd reason this prompts me to head to the cash table to make up the difference. This is an enormous mistake. You are going there wanting to get into big hands, wanting to win large pots, angry from the bad beat you just took, and probably a bit burnt out from legging out a tourney to get knocked out at the end. It’s best to step away and do something to clear your head. Drink a beer, take a shower, donk off some play chips, just do not take your money where it shouldn’t be.

2. Play less small blinds: This is one I watch people make very often. People seem to think that because it’s only costing half of the BB you should basically play any 2 cards. Think about it this way, if you could wait for a candy bar at full price, would you buy a turd in a wrapper for half? I personally wouldn’t. Where you run into trouble is that you automatically have the worst position post flop. For example: You’re small blind with K4 suited hearts, you make the call cause its half priced. The flop falls 4sQhAh. Jackpot, right? I don’t think so! It looks nice, but if you lead out and are reraised, you are basically forced to call knowing you probably have the worst. If you check and are bet into, you have to make the decision to waste the half blind and fold or chase a big hand. As odds are against you in this situation, most often you will lose a big hand here. Occasionally you will suck out the heart on your opponent, but not enough to make plays like this profitable. Bottom line here, play big hands in the small blind only. Wait until you have better position to make your bigger plays, it will pay off in the end.

3. Learn to lay down big pockets: Billy Jr.: Dude, just got donked A2 vs. KK! John: Allin preflop? Billy: Nah, he called my raise preflop, and flopped a set. John: So you let yourself get donked? Yes, Billy is right here and I see this happen a ton. You’re holding QQ/KK/JJ and get someone in pre flop. Flops turns a set and your opponent busts his chips in or reraises you. For some strange reason, even though you almost know he’s got that set, you won’t waste the big hand. You call. They show a hand they had no business playing and you are pissed. The reality: After that flop fell and that bet was made, you are the one who had no business playing. Be patient, let those go, shake it off, big hands will come.

4. Ditch the suited cards: Start folding any suited hand that is not connected. Fold connected ones in early position. Fold slightly connected ones (97, T8, KT) in middle position. Do not get in situations where you are forced or encouraged to chase cards. Once again, works occasionally, but very unprofitable over time.

5. Take notes. A massively underused tool on all poker sites. Keeping notes can land you major returns. I make notes at almost every table I play, especially if I’m planning to be in a long ring game session. Making a color chart is a good start. On Full Tilt Poker you can flag other players with numerous colors. I mark beginner’s red, tight players blue, hyper aggressive one in orange, and so on. It’s also extremely helpful to make a text note on someone if you see a pattern in their play. It is amazing that players will make the same play or same mistake over and over. I also frequently go back and use my notes to remind someone of a bad play they made to get them tilted.

Use these 5 tips and your results at online poker should improve immediately.

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