Making a profit from poker is not an easy task. Give that poker is a game where you are playing against other players and not the house, it is definitely possible to win. In order to profit playing poker, you will need to realise that it’s a game of long-term results, and you cannot be results orientated.
This list will help you get started in learning how to make a profit at poker. It is not the end-all guide to making money, but understanding these 10 tips will automatically put you above a huge percentage of the playing pool.
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1. Find your best poker game
There are many variants of poker, so which one is for you? The most common game of poker is no limit hold’em. This game has been made hugely popular by the WSOP Main Event which take place yearly in Las Vegas. Chris Moneymaker started the poker book in 2003 when he was the first amateur poker player to win the main event and took home $2.5 million.
As it’s the most popular game, it’s the game most players play by default. Make sure you pick the game YOU are best at. There is a lot of money to be made in the ‘banana’ games. Many players are very weak at these games and are only playing them to try something different. If you are competent in these games, try to stick to them.
It’s always a good idea to be good at as many games as possible in case your specialty isn’t running. If this is the case, make sure you do not force yourself to play in a game where you are the weakest player.
2. Make sure you can beat the game you are playing in
If you sit down at a table and are struggling to get good reads on your opponents, it may be because you are the weakest player. Many professionals are not ashamed to say they play against weak players and are bad against good players. Why? Because that is where the money is.
A profitable poker player isn’t necessarily the best player, but the player who knows how to pick a good game.
If you aren’t comfortable at a table, simply get up and leave. There is no shame in doing this. Many a poker player has lost a lot of money not being able to swallow their pride.
3. Quit when you are not playing your best
If you are playing poorly, get up and leave. Too many players will chase their losses and end up losing more before the session ends. You might play perfectly and still be losing. It’s easy to get angry in situations like these, but profitable poker players take a loss on the chin and come back next time.
Quitting when you are behind is perfectly fine. A long-term winning poker player will only win slightly more than half of their poker sessions. That is enough to make them very profitable.
4. Give the game your full attention
When you are playing live, it is easy to give your full attention to the table. Online is a much different story. You have TV and internet among plenty of other distractions.
It is fine to play multiple tables at the same time online, but make sure that you remain profitable. Start with a single table and when you are comfortable, increase slowly until you can’t keep up, then drop back a bit.
5. Never berate a bad player
This is one of the most important tips in this article. If a bad player does something stupid sayi something nice and move on. Do not berate a player for a mistake. You are literally burning money by doing one of two things. Firstly, they might learn from what you have said and not make the mistake next time. This will eat into your profit. Secondly, they might get up and leave. If this player is really that bad, why would you want them to leave?
Common courtesy should be adhered to at all times.
6. Know when to bluff
Most players who do not make a profit at poker bluff too much. When your bluff doesn’t make sense, you will get called. Newer players will not understand that their bluff needs to tell a believable story. Anything suspicious, and your opponent is more likely to call you.
If you’re a beginner player, try to bluff as little as possible. It will be the most profitable course of action, especially if you are playing at very small limits.
7. Rest and eat
This cannot be understated. Poker is a very physically tolling game. Your brain needs to be working at 100% at all times. One small slip up can cost you a lot of money.
Make sure you are taking regular breaks from your poker session, and eat when appropriate. If you are playing online tournaments, get up and walk around during the 5 minute break every hour. Get the blood flowing and take your mind off the game for a few minutes.
8. Watch poker players on Twitch
Twitch is an amazing platform to learn how to play poker like the professionals do. Most streamers will show their hole cards and talk through their decision making process. This is extremely valuable for players of all expertise levels.
9. Try not to tilt
This is a very tough one, but key to making money playing poker. When you get angry, your mindset changes. This is very dangerous to your decision-making process.
Stop playing and compose yourself. If you made a good decision but still lost, remember that the odds are heavily in your favor. In the long-run you WILL win if you keep getting it in good. You need to keep reminding yourself of this and push on.
10. Practice, practice, practice
This is an obvious one, but a tip that many aspiring poker players seem to remember. Your opponents might have 10 extra years of experience on you. This is something you need to remember. You are playing in the same game as them, yet they are MUCH more experienced. If you are equally as good as them right now, imagine how good you will be in 10 years?
Poker is a game where you should always be learning. The state of the game is always evolving as players are coming up with new tactics. If you are not learning and across these tactics, you will fall behind.