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Top 10 tips to improve your poker game

30 May 2022

By Tadas Peckaitis
The only way to hone your poker skills is to put them to the test constantly.

The only way to hone your poker skills is to put them to the test constantly. (photo by Flickr)

If you want to be a successful poker player, you need to constantly improve your skills and add new ones to your repertoire. Doing so can be challenging, especially if you don’t know where to begin.

While we can’t guarantee you huge wins or instant success, the tips we’ll share with you will effectively improve your game. So, if you want to bring your poker game to the next level, read our top 10 tips for honing your poker skills.

10. Play More Poker
Let’s ease into the list by going over one of the top but still underrated ways to hone your poker skills. This is simply to play the game more.

Poker is primarily a game of skill, and the only way to hone your poker skills is to put them to the test constantly. Poker theory is good, but you can’t actually improve without practice.

If you do not want to put any money on the line, you can practice by playing online poker with friends.

Of course, keep in mind that progress takes time. The more you play and practice different skill-sets within the game, the faster you progress. Learn the theory behind some gameplay aspects and different strategies, and try over and over until you see improvement. That said, always make sure that you’re practicing consciously and with purpose.

9. Read Poker Literature
You should also read some strategy topics with the previous tip in mind. Luckily, the Internet nowadays opens up various avenues for honing your poker skills through theory. You can read articles, watch extensive educational videos, or even buy a poker book.

Studying poker has never been easier. And, seeing that doing so is one of the crucial aspects of constant growth, it’s something you shouldn’t disregard. No matter how advanced a player you are, you can always benefit from poker literature and learn new things.

Additionally, if you struggle to learn poker theory, you can also get a personal poker coach. Finding someone more experienced than you to guide you through the fundamentals will help you with this part of your poker game much quicker. That said, this is the most expensive way to learn, so it’s certainly not for everyone.

8. Watch A Lot Of Poker Games
The next best thing for improving your poker skills apart from studying and practicing poker is regularly watching professionals play. Today’s poker landscape is as popular as ever, meaning that there’s almost always something poker-related going on. From live tournaments to fun poker shows, there are many options to choose from.

You can often pick up on useful tips and learn some inside knowledge from pros, especially in terms of poker theory. On top of this, these live broadcasts, streams, and shows often provide great entertainment value, so you’re not just learning but having fun doing so.

7. There’s No Room For Hand Favoritism
Much like how professional sports bettors can’t make a living always betting on their favorite team, a poker player can’t rely on consistent profit by focusing on their favorite hands. No matter how strong your favorite hand is or how much you like to play it until the end every time you get it, sometimes it’s simply not a smart thing to do.

As poker is all about getting the best values and outsmarting your opponents, it’s easy to understand why playing favorites won’t get you far or help you improve. Instead, practice with different ranges and always try to improve your thinking in this regard. Learning how to identify ranges and what hands to play is one of the best ways to improve.

6. Learn to Read People
When playing live poker and online poker to a lesser degree, possessing the ability to read your opponent’s tells is a highly valuable skill. Like with some other tips, we’ve shared in this article, there’s no blueprint you can resort to when learning to read people. You just need to put in the time, and this skill will develop gradually.

Through hours and hours of practice and playing against different opponents, you’ll learn how to pick up on telltale signs when someone is tilting, feeling anxious or trying to bluff you.

5. Always Review Your Previous Hands
Personal experience is often the best teacher in life, and the same goes for poker. While we would all ideally like to learn from other players’ mistakes, sometimes the only way to learn is from your own failures.

If you are playing real money poker online, you should review your hands right after finishing your session. This way, the memory is still fresh, and you can remember all of the details, but you’re not thinking emotionally. When reviewing your hands and decisions, try to ask yourself why you made one play or another and think about your mistakes.

 The scary thing about tilting is that it can happen to anyone

The scary thing about tilting is that it can happen to anyone

4. Learn How to Control Your Emotions
Most poker fans have seen at least one clip compilation of tilted players losing control at the felt table. While this might be entertaining to watch, it’s also the last thing you want to happen. Tilting at the poker table is perhaps the most detrimental situation you can put yourself in when playing.

The scary thing about tilting is that it can happen to anyone, no matter how experienced a poker player you are. With that in mind, the best way to improve on this is to learn how to keep your emotions in check when you start feeling overwhelmed. From my experience, if you concentrate on making the right decision rather than short-term results, it will do wonders for your mental toughness.

3. Have A Consistent Strategy
If you ask any great poker player what the most important aspects of their success are, consistency will undoubtedly rank very high on their list. There’s nothing wrong with experimenting with different approaches, but you will have most of the success with a fundamental strategy you will consistently rely on during every session.

Don’t forget that poker is a long-term game. You need to build your bankroll and hone your skills over time around a strategy that best suits your style of play. Never change essential aspects of your strategy guided by a big win or a big loss.

2. Practice Attacking and Defending
If you truly want to improve your poker skills and be a well-rounded player, you need to work on both your offense and your defense. In terms of improving your aggression, it mainly includes honing your bluffing opportunities and stealing the blinds. Good bluffing skills make you an unpredictable and challenging opponent.

On the other hand, learning how to defend is equally valuable. Perhaps the most important skill is learning how to defend your big blind when it comes to this. Understanding this takes a lot of practice, as you need to know how to assess factors like the number of players, stack size, and raise size before deciding how or if you should defend the big blind.

1. Focus on One Aspect At A time
Poker is arguably one of the most complex games globally, and mastering it takes tremendous effort and a lot of time. If you are not playing on free apps or random micro-stakes games, the most efficient way to hone your poker skills is to always focus on one aspect at a time.

The best way to do this is to list all areas you’re struggling with and start mastering them one by one. You should first cover the areas you’ll most often encounter. For example, if you are unsure about opening ranges, you should focus on those since you are in this situation every hand that you play. While learning advanced strategies for 4bet pots can be more interesting, you will rarely encounter these situations, so mastering the basics is more important than chasing fun.
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