You may have been playing poker for some time and now started considering yourself above average. Great, good for you. But are you ready to start being professional?
What’s the difference, you’re wondering? It turns out that there is a very real difference between playing poker well, and really thinking about it in terms of an activity that could be a job.
If you’re ready to take that step, then you’ve come to the right place. Here are a few essential tips that will put you over the edge, from being a decent player to a true professional.
When facing an opponent, you’re going to take some stabs at what cards they may be holding in their hand. This will give you a basis on which to make important decisions. But envisioning an opponent’s hand is an evolving, ongoing process that should last the entirety of the round. It is a range of possible hands, not a definite answer.
There are certain hands that can be drawn, and with a certain likelihood and frequency. Based on the opponent’s actions, you can adjust what you believe the hand to be, based on your knowledge of percentages. Then act accordingly.
You can sit all day, not get a decent hand, then suddenly draw a killer and feel your heart skip a beat. The time has come, and you’re going to clean up.
Just because you’ve drawn a great hand, it doesn’t mean you should fall in love and marry it on the spot. Being a professional means knowing that a good hand isn’t the same thing as a guaranteed win. Sometimes a great hand will have to be folded, it’s just part of the game.
Adopt a strategy and stick to it. Every professional knows that winging a strategy on the fly is not the best way to play. Having a strategy, and a goal, is the best way to see desirable results. There are a number of websites that provide free strategy guides. Learn a strategy, adopt it, and see how it works out. Strategies can be switched as many times as you desire.
Lastly; choose your fights. Don’t jump into a real money game that is populated entirely be expert players who are better than yourself. You might think that the best way to improve is to play against better players, and you’d be right. But do so in practice games that won’t cost you your shirt. There is no shame in admitting that you aren’t ready, and practicing until you are.