Don’t ignore other players
Many inexperienced players do not pay enough attention to their opponents. Every player is different, and everyone has their own weaknesses. Your job is to identify them and use them to your advantage.
Some players, for example, may often make a continuation bet on every flop and then pass if it’s called. In such a situation, a call and then a bet on the turn is sure to pick up a lot of pots. Other players call 3-bets all the time, while others pass on them.
It’s easy to spot an opponent who plays too aggressively or too tight. So keep your eyes peeled, because the faster you can spot your opponent, the faster you can adjust your play and get a bigger payout. Let’s say you have a very strong hand and you’re figuring out how to play the river as efficiently as possible. If you’re up against a tight player, it’s better to bet. If your opponent is playing aggressive, the best move is a check, in order to make him take a bet.
Keep a close eye on all the players at the table. Not only will this allow you to better focus on the game, but it will definitely pay off.
Don’t be afraid to leave a bad seat
No one likes players who are always looking for easy opponents. There is no point in participating in a game where you are the weakest link – unless you yourself see such a situation as an opportunity to learn something new. In that case, apply the ABC-strategy and memorize everything you can.
If you find it difficult to play at any particular table, just leave it and find another place. You don’t have to play everyone you fall for.
Likewise, if your opponents start leaving a good game for you, leaving you at a short table or even a heads-up, don’t be embarrassed to leave either. It’s simple: if you feel uncomfortable, change tables. The main thing is not to go to extremes, or you won’t be able to find the right game for you at all.
Don’t lose the money you can take.
Remember that the advantage over your opponents in cash poker can’t be big, so it’s important to try to get the most out of a good hand.
One of the biggest mistakes players make is to flop until the river for fear of having to call a worse hand. Some players go to the extremes and check with a good top pair or better when they should have been betting for a good good raise.
Remember to analyze every situation and capitalize on your opponent’s blunders. Here’s a good example: You raise on the batton with Qh-Th and the weak player on the big blind, who plays passively, calls. You get a pair on the flop, Tc-3h-4d. Your opponent checks and then calls your continuation bet. On the turn, an ace opens and the big blind checks again. Most people would check on that too, but it’s better to play aggressive now and try to raise the pot before the river.
Strong players have a good sense of when to push. Sometimes you even have to resort to bluffing to win a sweat that would be hard to count on in other situations.
Control Your Emotions
Tilt is, in poker parlance, playing in an emotional state where it is impossible to make informed decisions. Unfortunately, this happens to many people who gamble. For example, a good player goes confidently in a tournament for a week and already has a good profit. But in the next important game, he was terribly unlucky, and he lost with a good hand. Anger and annoyance overtake him, he gets into an argument with his opponent and starts to lose again and again.
How do you pull yourself together in such a situation? If you feel that you are losing control, immediately stop playing and occupy yourself with something else. Take a walk outdoors or watch a movie. Tilt happens to almost everyone from time to time. Another question is whether you know how to control your emotions.
Even successful players have losing streaks – it’s part of poker. Just accept it, keep playing, and be prepared for unpleasant situations. Don’t give in to provocations in chat and don’t lose concentration, or you could pay dearly.
Don’t play too many disadvantageous positions
You may be tired of hearing all the time how important your position plays in poker. Sorry, but we’ll go over that lesson again. No matter how good you are, playing an unfavorable position too often will cause you to lose money.
Nevertheless, it’s easy to deal with. Just limit your tight range to an early position (especially “under the gun”) and don’t defend too much in the blinds.
Conversely, expand your stylus range in the late positions, especially on the batton. Stealing blinds at the short table is even more important. Button should look for stack opportunities half the time.
Don’t Call Too Often
Calling preflop may seem like the safest option, but unless there’s a clear reason to do so, such a strategy usually has dire consequences. Passive tactics are a bad idea in any money game, especially if you’re at a short table.
There are a few situations where a call might be an acceptable solution. Let’s say a player “in the crosshairs” raises, then a loose player in middle position calls. You’ve got a 7h-8h on the batton and an effective stack (the smallest of the three stacks in play) of almost 100 big blinds.
A 3-bet would be a mistake here, but you shouldn’t pass either. Calling would give you a chance to get a good hand on the flop and win a big pot. Plus, you’re in a good position.
Don’t always pass on 3-bets
3-bet in a good position is considered one of the key strategies when playing at the short table. All experienced players adhere to this tactic by using a wide range of hands, and opponents usually don’t respond to 3-bets and pass.
So how do you combat 3-betting? You can try opposing 4-betting more often to players who abuse the described strategy. Against other opponents, play tightly or even leave the table if 3-betting is used too often. But remember, don’t continue to call, and better pass on any aggression on the flop.