Winning a few sessions of Texas Hold’em Poker isn’t very difficult, but if you want to make a long-term profit you need to rely on more than luck and a gut feeling. A very good place to start is to learn everything you can about odds. Learn how to calculate the value of every start hand, and then calculate how its value changes depending on the board and on the number of players still in the pot. Learning about pot odds are also very important.
Here are a few other suggestions:
- Look at No Limit Texas Hold’em as a job, rather than entertainment. If you play to have fun, you will take greater risks and be less likely to fold hands that aren’t good enough to play. If you want to make a long-term profit playing No Limit Texas Hold’em, you need to be able to make rational decisions that aren’t fun.
- Explore the tight-aggressive style and learn how to adapt it to various situations. Playing tight means playing strong hands and folding weak hands. Playing aggressively means betting and raising rather than calling. If you opt for the tight aggressive approach, you will be folding a lot of hands pre-flop. There are 169 start hands in No Limit Texas Hold’em, but the tight aggressive player will only play a small number of these. At a table with ten players, a tight aggressive player will normally fold four out of five hands before the flop (on average, over time).
Once you have a good hand, you will play it aggressively. If your opponents wants to stay in the pot, they must keep putting big money into it. This makes the pot nice and large. If all all your opponents fold, that’s not a bad scenario either, because then you win the pot without having to show your hand and risk having it beaten by an even better hand.
Playing passively usually means winning a small pot when you win, because you haven’t forced your opponents to put big money into the pot. Also, if a lot of people stay in the pot instead of folding (since staying in the pot is so cheap), you risk one of them actually improving their weak hand and beating you.
- Aim for a stable psychological situation where you make rational choices at the poker table. Refrain from playing No Limit Texas Hold’em when you know that you might be more vulnerable than normally. We all have our weak spots. It can be lack of sleep, a fight with a loved one, being stressed out from school or work, being sick, being drunk or on drugs, taking certain prescription medicine, etc. Learn to identify your weak spots rather than telling yourself you have no weak spots. Each person has their own weak spots, so there is no point in giving any general guidelines here. Some people play great after three shots of whiskey, while others turn into lousy players after one single beer.