A question that I am asked a lot by online poker players is how to succeed in the lower dollar levels of No Limit Texas Hold’em. This question may seem like it should have a complicated answer, but the reality of it is, there is one thing that you can do to immediately improve your game. I am not saying that you will instantly become a winner or win every time, but if you make one simple adjustment you will find yourself winning a lot more money and giving yourself time (and the bankroll!) to really fine tune your game and become good. The answer is simply this: play better cards!
I know, that sounds ridiculously simple and easy, but if you have spent any time playing online poker, especially at the low limit levels, you know that most players play way too many hands. They will play any two suited cards, any connecting cards, any hand that contains one face card, any Ace, etc, etc, etc. You can distance yourself from the pack immediately just by tightening up your starting hand requirements and playing less junk. You will waste less chips and get yourself into less trouble.
By not playing so many hands, it also gives you time to observe the game going on around you and how the other players are playing it. Most players get involved in so many hands that they only have time to think about their own cards. Spend some time watching what your opponents are doing and chances are you will learn more than if you were involved in the hand yourself. You can also pick up on “internet tells” like betting patterns if you are paying attention to the rest of the table rather than worring about playing hands like J-3 suited.
Make notes on players to be used later in the game or in games that may take place weeks or months from now. The more you play, the more you will run into some of the same players. If you have taken the time to observe their game instead of playing every hand yourself, it will come in handy at a later date. You will learn which opponents are strong and which play junk hands that they shouldn’t. You will have freed up you mental capacity to focus on others and it will make your decisions easier later on.
Overall, playing less hands will keep you in the game longer. You will lose less and thereby gain more experience because you are seeing more hands. If you don’t bust out as quickly by playing junk you will improve faster and have more time to work on the nuances of the game, instead of just trying to hit every flop. Keep track of your stats to accomplish this goal and you will see that your play improves as your percentage of flops you see goes down.
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