The Best Poker Strategy – Top 10 Poker Tips
Date of Publishing: June 09, 2021
More and more people are playing their favourite casino titles from the comforts of home – poker being one of the most played.
Sure, in some ways, poker is often about luck. But, it’s also an extremely strategic game that can be learned and improved upon. This is why the most skilled poker players have been making a full-time living from the game for many years.
Whether you have played before or are just starting your journey – we at JeffBet have listed the top 10 tips to think about when putting together the best poker strategy.
Top Tip 1: Grasp the Basics of the Game
It’s important to have a good idea of poker ‘positions’, ‘rules’ and ‘hand ranking’.
Let’s start with poker hand rankings so you know where you stand:
- Royal Straight Flush: You have a 10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace – all the same suit
- Straight Flush: Sequence of 5 cards of the same suit
- Four of a Kind: A random 5th card plus 4 cards of identical rank
- Full House: 3 cards of identical rank, plus 2 cards of an alternative identical rank
- Flush: 5 cards of the same suit – but not in sequence
- Straight: 5 cards in sequence, but of contrasting suits
- Three of a Kind: 3 cards of the same rank
- Two Pair: 2 different pairs
- Pair: 2 cards of the same rank
- High Card/No Pair: If you fail to land a winning hand – the highest value card you have will be played. For example, if you have 6 of clubs, 2 of diamonds, Jack of spades, 4 of hearts, and 3 of spades – the Jack of spades is your highest value card.
We can end the hand in various ways. If there are players left following the last round – everyone reveals their hand to see who has the highest value. This is called a ‘showdown’ – the end winner gets their share of the big poker prize pot!
Moving onto poker positions, there are 3 main ones and they are ‘early’, ‘middle’ and ‘late’:
- Early: This means you act first. Generally speaking, this will be you if you are sitting to the left of the big blind (BB), or if you are to post a small blind (SB) – this is also known as ‘under the gun’ (UTG)
- Middle: This means you act between early and late. In other words, you have the middle position if you are between the early player and the late player
- Late: If your seat is near the dealer (button) and you are to act before them – you are in the late position. If you are sat to the right of the button, this is what’s known as the ‘cut off’
Utilizing a poker position with your adversaries is one of the best ways to gain insight into the hand. As such, this is bound to shape how you decide to play.
Finally, let’s look at the poker rules, using the Texas hold em variant:
- To kick-start the 1st round, each player is given 2 ‘hole’ cards – face down
- The 2nd round begins when 3 community cards are turned over at once – we refer to this as ‘the flop’
- The 2rd round officially starts when the next (4th) community card is dealt – we call this one ‘the turn’
- The final round kicks off when the 5th and final community card is dealt – this is called ‘the river’
- If there are more than 2 poker players who are yet to fold – each will reveal their cards – whoever has the highest hand value wins the game
Sometimes, when you are tempted to fold, the best thing to do is bluff the other players at the table. We talk about learning how to bluff successfully as part of your poker strategy shortly.
Top Tip 2: Don’t Be Afraid to be Aggressive
It’s important not to open too many hands at once, especially if you are a beginner. You are best to play tight and only put your strongest hands forward. You’ll appreciate this tactic later when you have fewer post-flop choices to make.
This should aid you in being more aggressive with the hand you do have. Don’t just ‘call’ and ‘put’ – ‘raise’ and ‘bet’ – force your opponents to play with duress!
Top Tip 3: Consider the Remainder of the Hand
A big part of the poker jigsaw is your starting hand, but it’s also important to be mindful of your play for the remainder of the round. After all, one of the main points of having a poker strategy is to enter the game with a plan of action.
At the end of the hand, you should consider bluffing your opponents, utilising positions, and working out the pot odds. The middle and end of gameplay are often thought to be the most crucial.
Top Tip 4: Learn to Bluff Successfully
Learning to bluff when playing poker can make or break you. For instance, if you are a beginner, the obvious option is to fold when the draw passes you by and you are ‘on the river’. However, you could instead look to bluff your opponent by opting to ‘raise’. The way to a successful bluff is to ensure that your deception makes sense with the hand you have.
The goal is to make your opponent believe that your hand is going to beat theirs. As such, you had better believe you need to be convincing, as seasoned players know what to look out for!
The truth is that many of the hands you are dealt will be fold or flop worthy and so might not seem worth the chip allocation. As such, bluffing comes in very handy.
When you play your hand, consider the whole story you are telling the other players at the table and make sure it adds up.
Top Tip 5: Understand the Pot Odds and Outs of Poker
Whilst the odds of landing on tails when flipping a coin are obviously 50/50 – in poker, you have to think about a full deck of cards.
Let’s take a look at how odds and outs work in poker:
- Let’s say you have 4 spades and are waiting for the final one to fall on the river – giving you a flush
- Each 52 deck of cards contains 13 spades and there are 2 in your hand, and 2 on the table
- As such, there are 9 spades remaining
- This means there are 46 possible cards that can come on the river
- 9 of those cards have the potential to give you the winning prize pot – these are referred to as your ‘outs’ when playing poker
- As 9 cards will create a flush whereas 36 won’t – as such, the odds of you bagging a flush at this stage are 37 to 9
As such, the chances of a flush stands at a fraction over 4/1. Next, let’s look at how to calculate the pot, imagining that you are head to head against another player.
- You are eager to hit the last spade you have on the river
- Your opponent bets their last £20 and there is £20 in the pot
- The choice is – fold, or call in the hope of hitting the spade
- In this scenario, you are expected to pay £20 to try to win £40 which is 2/1
- However, as we said, this is more like 4/1 – for a 2/1 payout this hardly seems worth it – so you fold
- Now, let’s say there was a total of £200 already in the price pot when your adversary put in their last £20
- You are now required to pay £20 for a chance at winning £200 – this is a much more attractive payout for a 4 to 1 risk.
- As such, you would likely opt to call
As you can see, it’s not that difficult to calculate the pot odds in any game of poker.
Top Tip 6: Think in the Long term
Many experienced poker players will tell you that there is no use worrying about short-term results. Knowing this will prevent you from being short-sighted and making desperate and rash decisions at the poker table.
Don’t let each individual poker session lead you to adjust your gameplay. Drifting away from your initial plan often leads to negative assumptions and therefore bad decisions.
Regardless of whether you are on a winning or losing streak, it’s important to play in accordance with your poker strategy.
Top Tip 7: Begin With Modest Bets
This tip is especially the case for newbie poker players – begin with modest bets. This means don’t throw all of your money at a stake in the excitement if you are yet to fully understand the game.
If you are a beginner you will be referred to as a ‘fish’, and you had better believe there are sharks out there!
Seasoned players can recognize a fish (newbie) a mile off, so knowing how can help you avoid being spotted and taken advantage of.
Some key giveaways of poker fish are playing well above the top 15% of your hands, rarely folding, opting for a ‘call’ for everything – even an unraised pot, over betting for little reward, and under betting.
For instance, if you are always choosing to call, seasoned players will suspect that you are inexperienced and are simply trying to catch a bluff – rather than use mathematics and logic. Experienced poker players can use this against you by countering it with what’s known as ‘value betting’.
Top Tip 8: Search for the Best Poker Games
There is heaps of variety in terms of poker titles. Finding the best one isn’t easy but you can start by only playing at regulated casinos, looking for low stake options, high bonuses, reputable game suppliers, and a table size you can handle.
Here at JeffBet, we offer a huge range of top-rated poker games, designed by the very best developers.
As such, you can expect an all-immersive casino experience with no shortage of excitement and bonus features. We are regulated by the Gambling Commission and all of our games are tested for fairness by approved third-party testing houses.
Top Tip 9: Play the Player, not Your Cards
It’s important to concentrate on your opponent’s cards instead of just your own. Your adversaries actions and tendencies will be very telling. This will give you some insight into whether that person could be bluffing, so you are able to be aggressive and exploit that.
You are essentially tasked with making bet decisions based on the information you can’t see. Things you can look out for includes how the opponent reacts post-flop – for instance if they bet or check – this shows how strong or weak their hand might be.
Watch the other players react compared to how they did before.
For example, you might know that one of the regulars PetePoker123 tends to make a bluff wherever important cards are on the table. As such, you might call or raise. Look for changes in play as this can be super insightful when planning your next bet.
Top Tip 10: Try Online Courses or eBooks to Develop your Poker Strategy
Many people prefer to learn games and strategies by getting involved and doing it. With that said, there is much to be learned from reading blogs and books or doing an online course on poker strategies.
There is educational material in all shapes and sizes on this subject covering everything from the mathematics of poker, to specific Texas Hold’em tips, GTO play, pre-flops and much more.]
There is no way to win at poker every single time. This game is part chance and part strategy. Even the most experienced poker players experience losing streaks. The best way to win is to learn the nuts and bolts of the game, have a strategy, and manage your expectations. There are many strategies used in poker and you may opt to start with low stakes, learn how to calculate the pot and your odds and outs, or grasp the art of bluffing your opponents. Whilst poker is primarily a game of luck, there is certainly skill involved when played in the long-term (as most experienced players do). The skill comes in when you are able to think about the rest of the hand and not just the starter hand, being able to spot lesser experienced players (known as fish). Knowing when to avoid folding can also take skill. Some people make money by playing poker, but you must build on your knowledge, choose a strategy or two and learn good tilt control. Also - think long-term, don’t concern yourself with the outcome of each and every game. Ultimately, like any form of gambling, there is every chance that you will lose money. While some poker players make consistent gains, most will lose money. To give yourself the best chance possible, take a strategic approach and observe your opponent’s every move, looking for changes that might tip you off to a bluff
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