You are either a no limit Texas Hold em poker pro or a beginner, struggling to find the right strategy to win at poker, or a pro that simply knows how to play! In any case, you probably know that being a profitable poker player takes skill, patience, and a whole lot of experience. But success is not guaranteed. In fact, you might add that it is also a bit of luck, a bit of genius, a bit of intuition – stuff like that. None of these words describe the situation that most of us are in quite accurately. We all have good and bad streaks. And if we are going to be better, we will have streaks that we probably won’t like much. So, when you find yourself in a rut, try playing in different gears.
What do I mean by this? Different gears conceptually represent the difference between being a profitable player and a profitable player that can churn a few pots. The spectrum of possibilities can go on forever, but the important concept is that you need to be flexible in your thinking. Not all of the time use the same gears.
For example, perhaps the most important concept for someone that is playing poker for a living is that you have to accept that you might not always make the winning hand. Sometimes you will run into a monster and get busted but you won’t be able to push your opponent off the hand so you grind it out and win in the end. In between these hands you have to play poker as if you were a different player. You can hardly expect to be a winner every hand or even to win that much as well.
The other aspect is something called tilt. Tilt is where you become indiscriminately aggressive sometimes to easily test the waters or to try and figure out how you are going to react to having a bad beat. Even experienced players can take a bad beat or two and then get stuck in a rut. Learning how to play poker game differs from the other skill in that you can improve your skill level, but you can neverAbsorbIt.
Another benefit in poker is that it is a skill you can train yourself to improve. You can spend hours and hours watching videos and taking notes. You can read about odds and learn about implied odds to improve your chances of making a winning hand. There are any number of tools available on the market to help you improve your game, though if you are trying to improve an area in which you have no talent, such as counting cards, these things generally have a downsides. I am not going to go into great detail about improving your skill level in poker, because doing so is a little beyond the scope of this article.
So, what I will give you is some advice about improving your poker game, specifically with regards to playing hands. I will start with loose hands and work my way up. First up is suited connectors. Suited connectors are hole cards such as 9-8 or 10-9. They have a high likelihood of making a big hand. Usually you will not want to play them from early position, but you can play them from late position particularly if you are playing a limit poker game and everyone limps to you.
The next high-ranked hand I will talk about is jack-jack suited. These are good hands during any time of the game except during flop, when the early position player should be raising. Suited connectors during early positions are usually hands that you can build around. If you pair one card to a high pair, you usually will have a pretty good chance of completing a straight, or a flush, or at least getting into the money. When you are playing short-handed, and everyone has limped in, then you can play your suited connectors for a lower blind, and take down some small pots.
In middle position, you can loosen up a little, and play more hands, including those that you would normally distance yourself from. You are not going to win every hand, but you are going to definitely want to try and get into the money as often as possible.
In late position, you can play some hands that would traditionally be thrown back at you. You may think that your low pocket pair is strong, but with a few raises, you can take down an uncontested pot. Even the best tight players can make mistakes and get trapped out of pots by calling raises with hands like 66o. Even tight players can misjudge their hand and limp into bad situations. Do not let yourself do so. Play your strong hands aggressively, and you will be much more likely to be a winner.