There is simply no substitute for a good strategy in the game of Poker. Those who charge in blindly, throwing down bets without a second thought, and attempting to carelessly brute force their way to victory may win once in a while. But in the long run they are almost certain to find themselves with empty pockets.
On the other hand, those who understand the game, stick to a strategy, and attempt to improve their skills are sure to eventually come out on top. It is simply a matter of learning strategies, adopting them, and playing with a long term vision.
Here is a look at some basic strategies that will improve skill based Poker play.
Understand The Tools
Assuming that you already know the basics of Poker, getting better is largely a matter of understanding the tools of the game. Inevitably, everyone involved in the game has the same goal; winning the pot. But, a fact that makes the game so appealing; every player also has the exact same tools available with which to achieve the goal. Hence, the strategy of the game is simply about using the same simple toolset in the most effective possible way.
The central tools of the game are; folding, betting and bluffing.
Choose A Play Style
How the tools are used will depend on the play style chosen. The basic play styles are as follows; tight-passive, loose-passive, tight-aggressive, and loose-aggressive.
Tight and loose refers to how many hands a player will choose to push. It does not refer to how the hands that are pushed are handled. A tight player will only push with the hands that seem like they have a good chance of winning. Typically, only a few hands will be played in a session, in total.
Loose players will play a wide variety of hands, with hopes that some of the hands will result in payouts. When using this style, almost every single hand may be played beyond the ante, but many hands will be abandoned with a fold before long.
Passive and aggressive refers to how large the bets player are, after the ante. Passive players tend to make small, mostly insignificant bets, while aggressive players tend to lean towards large, table shaking bets.
Going For The Win
Importantly, all of the above strategies are valid. It is all a matter of how the style is worked into a winning approach. Some may even switch between styles on the fly, depending on the circumstances.
At the end of the day, the important factor to keep in mind is that thoughtless bets, and needlessly aggressive play are a quick road to bankruptcy. Staying tight and aggressive is a great approach, but opponents will quickly learn the strategy, unless a few bluffs are also thrown in to keep the situation vague.
Likewise, loose passive play will also quickly become predictable, unless an unexpected aggressive bet is thrown in to keep opponents guessing. It is all a matter of keeping clearheaded about the situation, and understanding that numerous approaches are key to unsettling the flow.