Poker is alive and well in poker rooms, cigar lounges, and garages around the world, whether you’re new to the game or looking to take your game to the next level.
How often do you win and get paid out at the table? If you’re having trouble, these tips might just help you out. I’m going to give you seven helpful poker tips that’ll get you paid.
1 – Study the Game
Reading is the fundamental method used for learning. We start in preschool and continue learning through reading for our entire lives.
Poker is no different. Fortunately, there aren’t any shortages of great material at your disposal.
There is almost an endless supply of resources on the internet. Many of them are excellent wells of information for both the beginner and the advanced player.
You can find articles on the fundamentals and the mental game by almost all of the best players in the world.
Still, it’s hard to beat a good book, and some of the greatest poker books ever written were the foundation on which the greats were built.
Books like The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky and Super System by the great Doyle Brunson has been the base on which more than one top professional poker player has created their entire approach to the game.
One of my favorite books period is Gus Hansen’s Every Hand Revealed. Hansen is undisputedly one of the greatest players in history, and this book takes you into the brain of “the madman.”
You will not find a better or more comprehensive look into a professional poker player’s psyche during tournament play.
You don’t need to start with these, nor should you stop at these. The more time you spend learning your craft, the more money you’re going to walk away from the tables with consistently.
2 – When in Doubt, Get Out
The mental fortitude to lay down a good hand when they think they’re beat is one of the most glaring differences between a good player and a fish.
Look, it can be challenging to sit at a table folding trash hand after trash hand when playing poker. It’s compounded when you get a solid hand and flop top pair or better, but something is telling you you’re beat.
You’ve been patiently waiting for a decent hand, and it’s sitting directly in front of you. Still, the tight player across from you is showing no signs of going away.
In fact, they may be raising. Your brain will tell you to ignore the three clubs on the board, and you probably would.
A top-tier player will account for all of the available information and hear that little whisper of doubt that tells us to get out. The top players then do something amazing—they listen.
Getting out of a good hand is extremely difficult, and if the price is cheap, let it play out. However, don’t let your curiosity get the better of you.
Anytime you’re faced with a tough decision to call or fold, lay them down and fight another day.
3 – Don’t Be Intimidated
Scared money loses every time. Never allow yourself to be scared off or intimidated by other players.
The truth of the matter is that most poker players aren’t nearly as good as they think. I believe that if you’re smart enough to know how little you really know, you’re ahead of the competition.
Even if you’ve only read one of the books I mentioned above, you’re likely way ahead of the other players at the table.
Don’t sit down and start immediately trying to push around the other players because you may get called. Still, don’t get bullied around either.
Put your poker face on and know that you belong at the table as much as any of your competitors.
I started playing cash games while still in high school. I’m tall and athletic, but I was and am a total babyface.
Older players would constantly try to intimidate me and push me off of pots. I left thousands of dollars on the table in my first year.
Then, I had a long conversation with an old school poker player from West Texas. He filled me in on something I hadn’t accounted for that most of the older players were totally full of you know what.
He then clued me in on the fact that I had the distinct advantage of not needing to worry about bills or a family. So, I was free to play with absolutely nothing to lose.
I bought that man a lot of very nice steak dinners over the next three years. He took the fear away, and I realized that I was among the best players around.
Get rid of that fear before you ever step foot into the casino or poker room.
4 – Remember to Have Fun
Even grizzled poker veterans have fun when they sit down at the poker tables. I’ve watched Doyle Brunson laugh so hard in a casino poker room that tears fell from his eyes.
If a man that was winning WSOP Main Events before most of us were born can still have fun playing poker, what’s stopping you?
Recreational players get extremely tight in live games and tend to focus to the point of losing sight of what’s important.
Look, poker is so popular because of how much darn fun the game is to play. That shouldn’t really change depending on your setting.
In fact, if you’re not having fun playing poker, it’s time to leave. Color up and head out the door before you lose it all.
You could be bored. Try taking a break. Walk away from the table, and see how things feel when you return.
Sometimes, I’ll meet someone I instantly dislike through no fault of their own; it’s a character flaw of mine. When this happens at a poker table, I move to another table ASAP.
It took me years to get to that point. I spent more than a decade putting a giant bullseye on that player and doing everything in my power to bust them.
It was an expensive undertaking. The fun disappeared, and I would chase pots to eliminate the player I loathed.
This was a tough habit to break, and looking back, I cringe at the self-destructive behavior. Keep the fun in poker, and you’ll start seeing more significant wins.
5 – Stop Playing Trash Games
I used to play golf with a guy we called “Brooklyn.” Brooklyn may or may not have been an old mobster that was long since retired and enjoying his golden years on the golf courses and poker rooms.
Brooklyn gave me some of the finest poker advice I’ve ever received. We were having lunch at the club, and I was wailing about my latest woes on the poker table.
He said to me, “You gotta stop playing them trash games.”
He then elaborated that trash games are any game that I can’t immediately spot two to three weaker players. By only playing games with better players, I thought I was learning.
And I was learning, but at a high cost. The object of the game is to win money. Well, have fun and win money.
If there’s nobody on the table to fleece, you’re just donating.
Learn to spot the weaker players before you sit down at the table. Casino poker rooms and online poker sites are filled with players that make the fundamental poker mistakes regularly.
When you’re satisfied that you have your mark, strike. These players will be deep in the hole before they ever realize the dire reality of their situation.
6 – Don’t Fall in Love With Pocket Pair
Don’t get married to your hand. Players love pocket aces, and I’ve seen hundreds of “wannabe” poker stars push all-in for a substantial amount of cash.
I’d say it works under half of the time.
Still, you don’t have to go all-in to make a significant misstep playing a decent hand.
Pocket kings can be great until an Ace hits the board. Play your opponent; if they are indicating that they have a strong hand, proceed with caution.
Stop pushing all-in pre-flop with pocket pairs, and you’re going to see your poker winnings increase overnight.
7 – Know When to Walk Away
No matter how good you are, doubt can creep in after a run of bad hands.
When this happens, it only multiplies the stress you’re already under. The best thing you can do for your bottom line when this occurs is to take a break.
Going for a walk or getting a massage can have a tremendous impact on your mental well-being. Don’t get locked into a bad mental state and extrapolate your losses.
Even a trip to the bathroom or up to your room for a quick shower can be a lifesaver in these trying times.
Sometimes, the best way to make money is by saving money. Whether it’s going after a weak opponent or stepping away from the table for a burger, these seven poker tips will get you paid.
Check the fear at the door and remember to have fun!
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. …