Not all of us will have the good fortune to ever compete at a World Series of Poker event. Most of us will play in our home games, online, or at our local casinos. With that said, there is no reason why we should be prevented from enjoying all that the game of poker has to offer. Think about some of the reasons why you initially decided to learn how to play poker. Perhaps you enjoy the competition? Or maybe you are instead interested in the inherent psychology. While both of these are perfectly valid motivations, for most people who play poker, they’re tempted by the allure of winning money; possibly a huge jackpot score from a big tournament. Are there some strategies which seem to work better than others as far as giving players an edge? Objectively speaking, those who put forth the effort to study solid strategy material from poker training sites will tend to do better,. With that said, even a handful of tips and tricks could very well provide you with a much-needed edge when the time is right. Let’s break it down to the basics, and examine the notions of hand volume, endurance, and bluffing.
The Fallacy That More Hands is Better
Many novices tend to focus upon volume in terms of the number of online poker hands they choose to play. The theory behind this approach is that statistics will remain on their side. However, this comes with a catch. The main hiccup with this strategy is that it can easily become exhausting to play optimal strategy at all times. You need to maintain tremendous discipline and play relatively strong holdings most of the time. It is wise to play fewer hands in order to avoid bleeding away what could very well be a rather modest virtual stack of chips.
Another point to mention involves endurance. From a psychological point of view, your senses and reaction times can become blunted if you play for too long. To put it simply, more is not necessarily better. It is instead prudent to play fewer hands and to embrace a more aggressive approach.
Understanding the Bluff
There is no doubt that some of the best players in the world have taken bluffing to the next level. While this talent can be considered an art form to a degree, it is also a science, in that there’s often mathematical calculation involved. This is when the term “semi-bluff” is important to appreciate. Semi-bluffing means that while you don’t have a complete trash hand, your hand is weak, yet nonetheless you attempt to bluff your way to a win. Even if you get called you still may have the chance of winning if you manage to catch the cards you need. Moreover, there are those who have managed to eke their way into winning a bad beat jackpot after first having attempted a semi bluff.
The best way to semi-bluff is to determine if your current hand has an out. In other words, this approach can often enable you to improve your holdings as the rounds progress. Examples include flush draws and straight draws. As many experienced players will attest, it is always good to have a backup plan if your bluff is called.
As the old saying goes, poker is a game that takes just a few minutes to learn, but a lifetime to master. The immense amount of strategies, nuances, and areas of study that need to be practiced can seem overwhelming. Even the best players in the world are still improving their own games. With that said, don’t despair, particularly if you are new to the game. Poker is just as much about the journey as it is about winning big. This is why the learning curve will naturally take a bit of time. And remember, the game is supposed to be fun at the end of the day.
About Marcus HarmonMarcus Harmon is a poker writer and editor of Sunshine Poker Rooms, a poker news and information source. With a decade of experience in the online gaming industry, Marcus has been lucky enough to have met and indeed been beaten by some of the great players. His other passions are soccer and travel.