A Bit of Advanced Poker Strategy
Some of the tips and strategies that professional online poker players use
In this article we're going to take a look at some of the tricks and strategies that professional online poker players use regularly to build their stacks to epic proportions. If you've been playing online for a good long while, you may already know some of these - but who knows? You may learn something.
Play Your Range, Not Your Hand
Know what game you're playing and act accordingly
What I'm talking about here is the basic difference not only between limit and no limit games, but also between tournaments and ring games. All of these require their own particular brand of strategy in order to do well at them. Let's take a look.
Poker Ring Games
Ring games are also known as cash games. In a ring game, you sit down at the table – either in a casino or at an online poker room – with your real stack. Make no mistake – we're playing with your real poker balance here.
Win a hand and you will instantly have more money. Lose here and you will go home broke, and your partner will make you sleep on the couch for at least a week.
Because of this, you need to maximise the value you get from good hands, and fold out when the dealer hands you two pieces of toilet paper.
When we say “maximise the value”, we mean that when you get dealt the nuts, you need to play in such a way as to squeeze the most money out of the hand that you can. Say you get pocket aces in the hole – what you do NOT do is instantly go all in – unless it's to call some other aggressive idiot's all in call.
Instead, you simply check, and let others do the raising for you, particularly if you flop a set. Make it seem like you're agonising about staying in so that they try to intimidate you with their raises. Then laugh all the way to the bank.
Limit Hold'em is very different to No Limit Hold'em. True success at this kind of poker comes from two key areas. One, you need to raise the maximum as often as you can. This is because it only grows with the blinds, so the only way to get the pot big is to re-raise and re-raise. Luckily, other Limit Hold'em players know this too, and will often come along with you on your re-raises, at least early in the game.
The second strategy stems from the fact that it's very hard to bluff in Limit Hold'em. Everyone can afford the limit, so your raising up is never scary, and you are always more likely to get called than to have people fold in terror.
But in most games, the blinds (and thus the betting limits) increase periodically – sometimes as regularly as every 15 minutes. So be patient. Stay in the money. Waste as much time as possible, and always use the maximum amount of decision time available to you.
In this way, you'll still be stacked when the limit gets big, and your pre-flop raise becomes something that people actually have to consider, particularly among the shorter stacked players. In this way, you still get to rob the blinds, even in a Limit game.
No Limit Games
Here, you want to do exactly the opposite. Calling someone's raise in a Limit game isn't scary because it's hardly going to cost you your stack if you make a bad call. But here, there is literally no limit to how much of your stack you could loose ... well, there is: exactly all of it.
Therefore, in a No Limit game, it's actually advisable to be a little bit careful and think about your actions more.
The basic difference between tournament games and any other kind of poker is that the longer you stay in the game, the more money you are likely to win, even if you don't come first. Because of this, you need to make decisions that will help you to survive.
In a tournament, it is better to fold and keep playing than it is to be drawn into an all in situation that knocks you out and keeps you from cashing.