Advanced Poker Tactics
Have you been playing poker for a while but want to step up your game? Are you ready for some expert advice to give you an advantage? Playing basic poker, often called A-B-C poker, is good for low-stakes games. However, as you move up to higher-stakes tables and face more experienced opponents, you’ll need to elevate your strategy. Doing so will not only give you more tactics to use but also help you recognize when your opponents employ advanced strategies and how to respond. In this section, we’ll touch on some advanced poker tactics, but keep in mind that there’s much more to explore.
Advanced Poker Tactics
These days, there’s a lot of information about poker on the internet. So, it’s easier than ever to understand the basic rules of the game. In fact, you can learn how to play poker in just a few minutes. While you can find all the information you need to get started with poker, it can be confusing with all the poker articles, videos, and podcasts available.
Poker is a game that’s simple to pick up but challenging to become really good at. There’s no way around it, and if you want to play poker well, you need to put in some effort. This process can take some time, so we’d like to point out a few important areas to help you improve as a player. Here are five ideas that can give you an advantage in your home games and low-stakes games. Hopefully, this will also serve as a foundation for learning more advanced poker tactics in the future. So let’s begin with 10 of such advanced-level tactics:
Tactic #1 Feel Free to Consider Check-Raising Even When You Have Drawing Hands After You’ve Called a 3-Bet
When you’ve called a 3-bet in poker, it’s a great opportunity to consider employing advanced poker tactics like check-raising even with drawing hands. This way, you keep your opponent guessing whether you have a strong hand or you’re bluffing.
Being balanced in your approach by check-raising with different types of hands is key. It can really put pressure on your opponent because they won’t be able to figure out if you’re holding a strong hand or just trying to deceive them. On the other hand, if you’re too one-sided in your play, it becomes obvious, and you won’t get the most out of your strong hands.
Tactic #2 Responding to Raises
Responding to raises in a poker game can be complex, but employing advanced poker tactics can help you make informed decisions. Your decision should depend on a few things like:
Your Hand: Did you start with a strong hand, or do you have a not-so-great one?
How Many Players Joined: Think about how many people are playing the game. If only one person raised the bet, it might not be very strong. But if several people are betting, it could mean they have good cards.
Who’s Left to Play: Consider who hasn’t made their move yet. If the person raising the bet is sitting in a good position to play, they might have a strong hand. If they’re in a not-so-great spot, they might just be trying to protect their chips.
Your Position After the Next Cards: Will you be in a good position after more cards are revealed? If you will, it might be worth taking a risk with a not-so-great hand.
How Aggressive Is the Bettor: Some players are more cautious, while others are bolder. Be careful not to assume that a bold player is bluffing. They might have a strong hand too.
Pot Odds: Consider the money in the pot and how much you need to bet. If it’s a good deal for you, it might be worth calling.
Your Stack of Chips: Think about how many chips you have left. If you don’t have many, you might need to take some risks. But if you can afford to wait for a better chance, it could be a smart move.
If you think about these things, it can help you make a good choice about whether to call the bet or not.
Tactic #3 Analyzing Rake and Game Quality
In the world of poker, sometimes even the best players find themselves breaking even, while those with average skills manage to make a steady income. Why does this happen? Well, it often comes down to the competition. Great players often face other skilled opponents, while the average player seeks out easier games.
If our goal is to maximize our earnings, part of our strategy should involve choosing the right playing environment. Take a moment to assess your current games:
- Rake Structure: Understand how much of your winnings are being taken as a fee by the house. A high rake is capable of eating into your profits.
- Opponent Skill Level: Consider how tough your competition is. If your opponents are highly skilled, it can be challenging to make money consistently.
- Multi-Tabling Ease: Think about whether you can efficiently play multiple tables at once. This can impact your potential to earn.
Sometimes, a simple shift to a softer player pool can dramatically improve your results, almost overnight. You don’t even have to become a better player; you merely choose the right environment. In doing so, you might find your earnings doubling without any skill improvement needed. It’s all about making smart choices in the poker world.
Tactic #4 Analyzing Table Setup
Striking the right balance in table setup is a pivotal aspect of advanced poker tactics. It can greatly impact your overall performance and hourly earnings.
Playing too few tables can lead to boredom and might not maximize your hourly rate. When there’s not enough action, you may find yourself losing opportunities to win more.
On the flip side, playing too many tables can result in stress and overstimulation. Managing a high volume of games might lead to making rushed decisions, which isn’t ideal for your hourly rate either.
The sweet spot is where you strike a balance – enjoying the action while making informed decisions and, at the same time, maximizing the number of hands you play. It’s all about achieving that perfect harmony.
Even if you’re currently content with the number of tables you’re playing, it’s worth exploring whether you can increase this, especially after applying other tips from this guide. One approach is to delve into the intricacies of default postflop strategy and incorporate the use of table scripts. These methods can enhance your efficiency and potentially allow you to handle more tables without feeling overwhelmed, ultimately helping you boost your poker earnings.
Tactic #5 Revealing Your Poker Hand
In poker, when you win a pot without reaching the showdown, you’re given a choice: either quietly fold your cards, keeping your hand hidden, or show your hand to your opponents before folding, revealing what you had.
Most online poker platforms offer this option with buttons that allow you to expose your cards after your opponent folds.
It’s common to see beginner players choosing to reveal their hands, but more often than not, this is a mistake. Why? Because by showing your hand, you’re essentially giving away free information about your play style with that particular hand or a similar one. This, in turn, helps your opponents read your future moves.
The general rule of thumb is not to reveal your hand unless you have a compelling reason to do so. It’s unnecessary to provide extra insight to your opponent if you don’t have to.
Nevertheless, even if you choose not to use this tactic in your strategy, you should be aware of it and understand why other players might employ it. Whenever an opponent shows their hand, it’s an opportunity for you to pay close attention. You can analyze the actions they took throughout the hand, helping you identify betting patterns and read your opponent in future hands.
However, it’s crucial not to assume that these patterns will always repeat in the future. It would be best if you comprehend the reasons why someone might have revealed their hand.
Players who show strong hands are often either overexcited about having a great hand or are attempting to earn respect by demonstrating that they raise with strong hands.
On the other hand, players who show bluffs might be trying to trigger your emotions or lead you to the wrong conclusion. They want you to believe that their next raise is also a bluff, even if they have a strong hand this time.
In general, your ability to judge these actions depends on the skill level of the player and whether they are capable of using these advanced tactics to deceive their opponents.
#Tactic 6 Playing Strong Draws
As a general rule, when you have a strong drawing hand in poker, it’s often a good idea to play it aggressively. This means you should try to get more money into the pot as quickly as possible in most situations. There are a couple of solid reasons for this approach:
First and foremost, your drawing hand doesn’t have any value at the showdown unless it improves. You’re relying on hitting your outs to make a winning hand. However, if you bet, raise, or even re-raise, you don’t need to rely on luck alone; you can win the pot even with a relatively weak hand like Ace High, for example.
Secondly, even if you do hit your outs, there’s no guarantee that your opponent will pay you off. Sometimes, the way the community cards are revealed (the board runout) can scare your opponent away. This is why it’s often better to build the pot earlier in the hand.
In poker, the concept of implied odds is essential. Implied odds are better on earlier streets (like the flop) compared to later streets (like the river). Players are more likely to call your bets on the flop, thinking about the future possibilities of the hand.
However, some draws are so obvious that even inexperienced players (referred to as “fish” in poker slang) can see through them. When the third card of the same suit, for example, comes on the turn, they may become cautious. In such situations, you might not get good pot odds to simply call a bet with your draw. Instead, consider taking an aggressive stance by making your own bet. This way, you not only improve your chances of winning the pot right away but also introduce the concept of “fold equity.” In other words, you can make your opponents fold their hands, rather than just calling and hoping your draw completes, all while praying that your opponent pays you off when it does.
#Tactic 7 Do Not C-Bet Blindly
Making a continuation bet (c-bet) in poker requires careful consideration. This tactic is one of the first things new poker players learn, and it holds significant importance in the game.
A common mistake among poker players is c-betting without evaluating their hand. While c-betting with almost any hand used to be effective in the past, it’s no longer a reliable strategy, especially when facing skilled opponents. Thoughtlessly c-betting can lead to frequent check-raises from experienced opponents, negatively impacting your performance in both cash games and tournaments.
So, the question is, when should you make a c-bet, and when is it wiser to check? It’s a complex subject, but generally, c-betting is more favourable when the board shows high cards. Consider this: if you initiated the action before the flop, you’re more likely to have high cards and strong pairs. High card flops align well with your range of hands. On the other hand, exercise caution when the board displays low cards or pairs. This situation is particularly advantageous for a player in the big blind position, given that their pre-flop range typically contains many low cards.
#Tactic 8 Pocket Pairs & Suited Connectors Can Be Real Money-Makers in Multiway Pots in Poker.
As more players join the pot, the chances of someone having a strong hand like two pair or better increase. This concept affects your pre-flop hand selection:
Recognizing the chances of hitting strong hands like two pair or better in such situations is a key component of advanced poker tactics.
So, which hands are more likely to hit strong hands?
Pocket pairs: Pocket pairs are exceptionally strong in multiway pots because they hit a set on the flop about 11.8% of the time. This is significantly better than hands like JT offsuit, which only improve to two pair or better about 4.8% of the time on the flop.
Suited connectors: Suited and connected hands can be quite powerful. Let’s take an example with QT offsuit and its suited counterpart, QT suited.
QT suited hits a strong hand or draw approximately 26.3% of the time, compared to 16.9% of the time for QT offsuit. This represents a 55% increase in the likelihood of getting favourable flops for QT suited, making it a more attractive choice in multiway pots.
#Tactic 9 Exploring New Poker Variants
One of the Advanced poker tactics would be to explore new variants of poker online. It’s a common occurrence on online poker sites. However, one of the challenges with trying out these new games is the lack of readily available strategy advice, as these variants are often uncharted territory.
But, if you’re an advanced player, you should already possess a grasp of the fundamental principles that underpin a strong poker strategy. This knowledge allows you to adapt to new poker variants more quickly than your opponents.
Furthermore, new poker games often attract recreational players who are also learning the ropes. This presents a golden opportunity for you to master and excel in these new formats, potentially reaping substantial rewards while also expanding your theoretical understanding of poker variations in general.
#Tactic 10 Recognizing the Significance of Big Bets
A while back, those massive overbets were mostly linked with casual players who occasionally threw huge bets into the pot without much thought. However, it’s important to know that in 2022 and beyond, overbets have become a key part of a successful poker strategy.
The basic idea is pretty simple. Let’s break it down with a common example of overbets. Imagine you’re at the river, it’s the final round of betting, and you have a fantastic hand, maybe even the best one. What’s your main goal? To get as much money into that pot as you can. You might be concerned that if you overbet every time with a strong hand, your opponent will start folding a lot. But here’s the interesting part: it opens up opportunities for bluffing as well!
If you’re aiming to take your poker skills up a notch, understanding the theory behind overbetting is crucial, especially if you’re into cash games or tournaments. Recognizing the significance of big bets is a vital aspect of advanced poker tactics. Learning when to overbet and why will enhance your grasp of the poker game and improve your chances of winning.