How to Develop a Poker Strategy and Improve Your Skills

Players of all skill levels constantly approach me to ask how they can improve their poker game. There are times when a poker players finds themselves in a rut and they decide to watch a couple of training videos, peruse a book or just get some private coaching. There is no doubt that these methods do help people in improving their skills, provided they actually do study and put in some effort. However, there is a good chance the player will end back in the rut. This is mostly because such poker players don’t know how to improve their skills, unless there is someone telling them what is wrong.

One of the primary qualities that distinguish world-class poker players from the decent and strong ones is the ability to learn organically from discussions and experience. In my opinion, the best way you can learn is by observing the world-class and top poker players in every aspect of their lives. Fortunately for me, I participate in high level tournaments quite frequently. Whenever I come across a poker player that’s amazing, I make it a point to keep an eye on every hand they participate in and I am always attempting to put them on a range.

It is essential that you don’t zone out and let the opportunity pass you by. If I observe the player making a play that I don’t usually make, I try to figure out the reason behind that play and start thinking about how it can be incorporated in my strategy, as long as it is a good one. In the event that it doesn’t make sense to me, I don’t just ignore it. I discuss it with my friends, do some math and try to figure out if I am missing something. There are times when a good player also makes a mistake. Most importantly, we need to remember that just because a play worked for one player, doesn’t mean it will do the same for you.

Observe the big winners in a high-stakes game, even if you don’t participate in them, and figure out what helped them succeed. If you are constantly getting poor results, you need to stop making the plays you usually do. If poker is not giving you profits in the long run, you are certainly doing something wrong. In this situation, it is best to start taking notes about the hands you are playing at the live poker table. Keeping diligent and accurate notes will help you in identifying specific situations where you are having a difficult time and losing money.

In case you play online poker, it is easier to keep track because there are numerous poker tracking tools that you can use for pinpointing your mistakes. For instance, there was a time when four-bets were difficult for me because it had a wide three-betting range. Plus, I had no idea how to deal with leads on the flop, since I was raising preflop with many hands. There are only two ways to remedy these problems. Either I had to start playing stronger ranges or bluff more, but I didn’t want to go for the latter because I could lose more chips than the ones I stood to gain. Even though tightening up is not any fun, this solution turned out to be extremely profitable.

In the beginning, most poker players have the tendency to play too many hands out of position, both from the blinds and early position. Moreover, strong top pair hands are turned into bluffs through betting when only better hands can call, particularly on the river when there is a large pot. If you analyze your strategy, you will come to know that plugging common leaks is easy. It is important to bear in mind that poker is a game of balance and plugging one leak may just open another.

It is recommended that you look for a group of friends with whom you can discuss various hands and concepts. If I hadn’t found my group of poker buddies, I am sure that I wouldn’t be the player that I am today. Every time I tried my luck in the high-stakes sit-n-go online as a newbie poker player, I was constantly discussing different poker situations with my group of friends. Even if you are not an online poker player, it is a good idea to make friends who have some big winners in your game. Once your session is over, you can go to lunch together and discuss your hands.

You will come to know that the best poker players are always ready to help you, as long as you talk to them in a reasonable way and don’t appear as needy. You will notice a major improvement in your poker game, once you have a group of poker friends to talk things with. This will allow you to try your luck in larger buy-in games, giving you the opportunity to make more money.

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