If you are a poker fan, you’ll realize that playing poker isn’t as simple as it seems. It is no only about placing a simple bet and trying to win it. Behind the cards lies a world of science and numbers where mathematics and probabilities have an essential role. At some point you’ll have to start playing poker, so we're going to try to explain the most basic poker strategies as well as those designed to be carried out by professionals.
Place small bets
The best two strategies we can follow at the beginning are placing small bets and playing a few hands. Beginners are pretty obvious at the tables, as professional players will quickly discover who is new to poker and they will also try to trick you in order to take a bite out of your inexperience. You have to get used to the feeling of always being the newcomer at the tables, but little by little you’ll get some experience. You'll have time to become familiar with advanced poker strategies for fleecing your opponents. At the moment, it is better for you to settle for cushioning the fall and mitigating the losses during games.
Be aware of your position at the table
By now you know that poker is not just a game of cards. Underneath the cards lies a whole world of strategies that end up playing a decisive role in proclaiming one of the participants the winner. Poker strategies are altered by many factors and the key will always be each player's place at the table. In Texas Hold'em this is the most important concept, and it is not uncommon for losers to keep being losers if they play too many hands and, on top of that, play them out of position.
There are four elementary positions at a Texas Hold'em table: blinds and early, mid and late positions. So, a table of ten players would consist of one small blind (SB), one big blind (BB), three early positions (Under The Gun, UTG +1, UTG +2), Mid Position 1, MP2, Hijack (HJ), and the late positions, Cutoff (CO) and Button (BU).
Count your outs
One of the best poker strategies for beginners is to count outs, which allows you to reduce the loss margin during games. The first step to understand odds in poker is having the ability to count outs in a hand in order to improve and end up being the strongest hand which is essential to become the winner and is one of the elementary variables of the most advanced poker strategies.
The process of counting outs is actually quite simple, although it does take some practice to learn how to analyze the odds of your cards to improve or become a winning hand. You're about to deepen into one of the most popular tournament poker strategies among opponents, so take your time to understand it - you'll be on your way to become a real winner.
Learn to count your odds
As we said before, poker isn’t only about cards, bets and hands. Behind the deck there is a whole universe of maths and probabilities, and whoever knows how to understand this the best way hits the jackpot. If we said before that it was necessary to count your outs to learn to understand how much your cards can improve, learning to count the odds is part of the most elementary poker strategies.
In reality, in order to win at a poker table, it is not necessary to learn the most advanced poker strategies inside out (or master them), but it is absolutely necessary to have a basic knowledge of odds. However, these poker strategies, contrary to popular belief, do not require advanced knowledge of mathematics, so you only need to have the basics.
Classify your opponents and control your own body language
One of the most common poker strategies used by professional poker players is to provoke their opponents by subtle methods of making them talk, study their gestures, reactions and body language. This is used to try to find out the opponent’s cards is and how likely it is that they have a winning hand.
In poker, they say that if you have not been able to find the target in the first ten minutes, the target is on you. In the real poker battles that take place at tournaments and high stakes tables, it is common to use a weak player (known as fish) as a support to try to increase the odds of beating your opponent with a winning hand. It is common to see these tournament poker strategies being studied and executed, which can demonstrate to an amateur player all the variables that influence the final outcome of the game.
The reason most professional poker players wear sunglasses is to prevent their opponent from seeing an inch of their faces. Preventing your opponent from reading your body language, including your involuntary twitches, spontaneous reactions, gestures and glances is essential to win at poker. Some professional players argue that wearing these accessories is counter-productive to themselves because they expose their own vulnerabilities at the table and are the easiest to provoke. A gesture, a small twitch or an unconsidered shake of the head can give your opponent valuable information about the contents of your cards, so learn to control your body and be aware of the information you are giving your opponents: reading body language is the basis of some of the most successful poker strategies, so learn to use it to your advantage.
Bluffing in excess
It is common for beginners to think that the most powerful poker strategies are all based on bluffing but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, bluffing out of control will only lead you to dilemmas of finding yourself with all your cards in the middle of the table and a terrible hand that will get you fleeced (and don’t forget that probably your opponents already know this).
This impulse is part of the poker strategies of beginners, which is exactly why you can use it for your own interest. In fact, much of the other players' victories will come from poorly executed bluffs by the foolhardier players. So, if you spot a beginner at the table, let bluffs and lies become part of their poker strategies during the game to fleece them and expand your profit margin.
Professional players recommend that you try to bluff on a regular basis to increase your chances of success, rather than going all-in on a single hand that puts your continuation in the game at risk as part of the basics of more advanced poker strategies. Professional poker strategies take all of these variables into account and it pays to train before playing a high-level game so that you don't end up in the lurch.