Turn Off the Tap: Tips to Cut Avoidable Losses in Poker
Like blackjack and baccarat, poker is among the games with the best odds in casinos, online or otherwise. Because it’s a game of skill as much (or even more) as it is a game of luck, the player’s knowledge plays a big part in the outcome of a competition.
However, those who play with a poor sense of strategy and timing don’t have much more chances than those playing slots.
The main difficulty plaguing beginners is how fast they drain their bankrolls. Common causes include fighting over dead-end hands, miscalculations, or no calculation at all.
This article is a quick guide for beginners to improve the quality of their bets and their final results. We recommend you check a few casino reviews and read our tips before making your move.
Map Your Way
An old saying goes: “those who don't know where they're going are always lost.” It holds in poker, too. If you're playing Sit and Go (SNG) or Multi-Table Tournament (MTT), you should plan your strategy to make it until the end of the game.
If you’ve already tried this kind of tournament, you’ve probably noticed that the blinds increase over time. A high blind can take you out of the game if you aren’t ready for it.
Poker has exactly 2,598,960 possible combinations, but only a tiny fraction of them can be considered “premium hands.”
It means you’ll be folding a lot. Because blinds, in the end, are always monumental, you need to plan for this moment. So, you should play extra tight at the beginning. Let go of everything but the best hands. Patience will be your friend during these early stages.
Play small when the pot is small. Blinds are cheap in the beginning. So, winning the first pots will hardly make much of a difference overall.
Besides, if you go ballistic at this point and fail, you’ll risk an early exit. We don’t want to count on luck here because there’s a lot of people still on the table. So, the chances of someone having a better hand than yours are pretty high.
In the mid-game, blinds are already sizable, and you’ll notice that the pot value will increase. At this point, most inexperienced players will be out already.
Here, you can play more loosely and bet on second-class poker hands. Because blinds now are higher, not everyone will dare to challenge you if you get aggressive.
At this point, you should also have gathered enough information about your opponents. It means you should be able to tell when they have a premium hand or are trying to bully you out of the table.
Here, you can score big wins if you call a bluff correctly. At the same, misjudging a bluff can be your doom since bets are now high.
Consider putting your opponents to the test when you have fewer than 15 big blinds in your stack.
When you reach this point, it means your stack is getting critically low, but you still can bully some players with it.
You can bet more loosely the closer you get to the final table. At this point, many players will take a more conservative approach and won’t be willing to risk it. You can take advantage of this knowledge and push the envelope a bit.
All winning tournament players take this approach and aren’t afraid to press the issue as the final stage of the tournament rolls in.
It can cause them to bust before the final table, but this strategy helps them accumulate more chips and put them in a position to win, which is what tournament poker is all about.
Of course, as you grow as a player and expand your horizons, you’ll learn about other important aspects of tournament play, such as ICM. This is another thing that good players are aware of, which many amateurs disregard.
But, for the time being, try to take these tips to heart and have them in mind the next time you play. While they may be simple, they'll definitely help you make more deep runs and have better winning chances in the grand scheme of things.