So you’ve read part 1 of our guide to poker success by taking care of non-poker aspects of your life,
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Poker is a fun game to play but, ultimately, it’s all about winning. And that means money. It may just be a way of keeping score, but it’s at the very heart of poker. In fact, it can be boiled down to two simple questions – when you’re weak, how can you avoid paying your opponents? And, when you’re strong, how can you ensure your opponents pay you as much as possible? That latter question is what we’re going to discuss today, with some tips to help you get money on the table!
Let your opponents do the work
There are both pros and cons when it comes ‘slow-playing’ – that is, having a strong hand but playing tentatively, as if you have a weaker one. Although slow-playing can help you fool your opponents, it is situational. Often, a middle-of-the-road approach will work just as well if you let your opponents do the work.
What does that mean? In most situations, there’s an option that will confirm whatever suspicions your opponent might have about the strength of your hand and will play right into that. Some players, for example, compulsively raise when an opponent checks or calls – even when they really shouldn’t. Checking/calling become really powerful options in such cases, because they can entice opponents into being aggressive and thus giving you the potential to call their raise (or even re-raise, if you think they’ll go for it).
Don’t be scary
Another thing to remember is that you shouldn’t be too aggressive in such situations – playing your cards close to your chest is the best way to go. Many poker players will fold when confronted with big raises or shoves, so try to keep a low profile and string them along. Your ideal scenario is getting your opponent to add a sizable chunk of money into the pot on every street of betting, if possible.
Know your opponent
As always, knowing your opponent can make your road to victory that much smoother. This also ties into the previous points particularly well. If you know an opponent is likely to consider a check/call as blood in the water and respond with aggression, then that’s the perfect move to make. Also, if you know that an opponent compulsively assumes that others are bluffing, then a raise or re-raise might not scare them away and might even get them to ‘call your bluff’ and put even more money in the pot! And that’s what it’s all about, right?
Knowing how to grow the pot subtly when you’ve got a strong hand is a key weapon in an online poker player’s arsenal. This should get you started, but if you have any tips of your own to add, do let us know!