Poker is a strategy game and learning the fundamentals and the advanced strategies you can apply in your game are certainly some of the best ways to improve your overall performance.
However, what many coaching sites don’t tell you is that you can also improve your poker results by doing things not directly related to poker strategy or learning how to play your cards.
After many years in the game, I have come to appreciate the other elements of Texas Hold’em, which often help more than you can think.
Many times, you will find yourself in games in which you are already a great favorite. Your final results will depend more on these other elements than your understanding of the game.
So, here are the top 7 ways you can get better results in poker without learning any new poker plays or strategies.
Remember to Have Fun
If you fail to enjoy what you do, it will be very hard to reach serious success in the long run, so never forget to have some fun along the way.
This could mean different things to different people, so you need to find what works for you.
Maybe watching a movie after long sessions will help you relax, or you might enjoy playing casino games and getting exclusive resorts bonus codes. Whatever helps you relax is worth your time.
If you are well-rested and enjoying your sessions, you will have better concentration, and results will follow.
Pick Your Fights
Game selection may just be the single biggest thing you can do to make sure you are getting the best possible results in poker.
After all, even if you were one of the best poker players in the world, there could be some games in which you are barely a favorite. At your current level, there are surely games you can crush and those in which you will get crushed.
Whether you play live or online poker, I highly recommend picking your games very carefully.
Poor game selection can put you in very unfavorable spots where you are playing against players who are much better than you. That’s hardly an ideal scenario any poker player looks for.
Choose Your Position Wisely
Once you have picked a game to play in, you may also have the option to choose your position. This is especially true in some live games, where players don't pay attention to poker positions at all and are willing to let you sit anywhere.
If this is the case, you will want to try and sit to the left of the most aggressive player at the table if possible. Letting the nits sit to your left is always a good idea since you can steal their blinds, and you’ll face very little resistance.
By sitting behind the “table bully,” you will have the option to control the action and not let them inflate the pots, but rather play them in position and let them hand over their chips.
Get Enough Rest
Since poker is a mental game, getting enough rest and sleep before you play is very important. I often see players come into games tired after working or barely sleeping, and it certainly shows in the way they play.
If you want to get the best possible results, you should make sure you are mentally sharp and ready for the game. This means getting a good night’s sleep and some rest before the game if you are coming after work.
In general, you should try not to play poker when you are tired or not fully focused on what you are doing. If you want to play just for fun, you can always fire up a low-stakes tournament online and just chill, but don’t get involved in higher-stakes games unless you are 100% committed and ready to play.
Every little detail at the poker table matters, and the more attention you pay to what’s happening around you, the better your results will be.
It can be difficult to stay focused for many hours at a time, and you will likely miss some things.
Yet, the more details you spot in other players' strategies, the better you will be able to play against them later.
If you are playing in live games where there are many regular players, you should try to keep really good tabs on them and get as many reads as possible. Whether you believe it or not, some players will open bigger when they have a monster poker hand, while others will bluff every time a scare card comes.
All these little details will help you tailor your strategy and be ready when you get involved in a significant pot against one of these players.
No matter the type of game you play in, poker can be very mentally exhausting. Taking a break every now and then, even if just for five minutes, can make all the difference.
Taking a break is very easy in both live and online games, as no one will mind if you skip a few hands. If you are playing in cash games, try to take breaks when you are in middle positions, so you don't skip your buttons but don't get up when it's your turn to post the blinds, either.
In poker tournaments, there will be scheduled breaks, and I recommend you use these to hydrate, take a little walk, and clear your head. If you are playing a poker tournament in a casino, don’t use the break to gamble, as it won’t be good for your mental state after the break, whether you win or lose.
Don’t Play Too Long
If there is one thing poker players like to do in excess, it is playing poker. As paradoxical as it may sound, playing too much can hurt your results for several reasons.
Playing super-long sessions can hurt you in those particular sessions as it is really hard to keep the focus on a high level for more than 8 to 10 hours.
Playing poker every day for many hours without any breaks will also hurt your results because sooner or later, you will burn out and start playing on autopilot, which is the last thing you want.
I recommend only playing for so long as you can play your A-game and always quitting a session when you feel you are slipping or taking a day off when you don't really feel like playing. You can always pick up a good poker book instead if you just can't fathom the idea of removing yourself completely from the game for a little while.