No matter what you do, how good you are at it and how perfect your skill set may be, there’s always the potential to improve.
When it comes to poker, it’s no different. There’s no one player that’s ever been or ever will be the undisputed best in the world. With the game still containing elements of chance, it’s no surprise, but that doesn’t mean that some players haven’t come close to poker perfection.
Looking at some of the bigger names, Phil Ivey, Daniel Negarnu and Phil Hellmuth are all very well known in the industry as some of the very best at the game, but even they have the chance of improvement, no matter how slim the margin is.
You can know the game inside and out, learn every tell, study the psychology of the game, but with the element of chance, there’s no telling who’s the very best.
Improvements can always occur and the very best players are always improving their game and sharpening their skills so reach better and bigger places and prizes in the game.
Want to improve your game just like the pros? We’ve got 3 expert insights that you can take along with you to improve your poker game and get the most out of the cards.
1. Patience is a virtue
First up, patience. It pays to have bags of it and if you can keep your cool no matter the situation when you’re in the game, you’re in with a very good standing.
Patience lets you wait for the right move, it lets you play the game without making rash decisions and it makes the winning all the much sweeter. If you’re more than happy to play 20-30% of all hands dealt and to wait patiently for those you’re not in, you’ve already got the upper hand in the game.
One of the most patience-testing aspects of poker is during the time that you’re not playing a hand, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t play the game. Everything at the table is leaking information about the players, so it’s usually a good idea to try and soak that up while you’re waiting for the next hand. Try and guess the remaining opponent’s hands, watch how they move, what their betting patterns are and what their tells could be – there’s plenty to be doing.
Adrian Sireca, of OnlineCasinoGems, states: “Ultimately, poker is all about taking the rough with the smooth. If something doesn’t quite go your way, it’s important to know that you’ll be back on track in time, you just need to give it time. Keeping patient will keep this in check, but more importantly, prevent you from going on-tilt, something that’s destructive for any player.“
2. Always keep notes on online players
If it’s online play that you’re a fan of, it’s the option of keeping notes on the opponents that can keep you in the green.
Most of the modern online poker rooms will give you the ability to add a note to a player that you’re up against, something that’ll give you the edge if you’re concise, clear and accurate with the information. Notes will stick to the players for as long as they’re using the account, whether it’s days, weeks or months later.
Your notes should convey information quickly and concisely, not something that comes from a tilt-induced rage. If you’re coming across the same player again, something along the lines of “cheating ****” won’t be all that useful, but “bluffs often” will be. That way you’ll get the last laugh and it’ll be thanks to your clear head and note-taking.
You can even color code and use abbreviations if you want to get fancy with it – that way you’ll slowly build a portfolio of notes for just about everyone on your chosen poker-playing software. That’s the idea anyway.
It pays to be organized.
3. Bankroll management is key
Last but by no means least comes bankroll management. A bankroll management system is key in poker, if you’ve not got one sorted, you’re not going to be moving up to the higher stakes games any time soon.
A bankroll management strategy is about more than keeping money in the bank, it’s about investing enough funds in your bankroll to allow you to continue building the sum, ultimately leading to higher stakes games. For a typical game, the bankroll should be 100x the big blind, that way you know that you’ve got enough room to breathe if things turn sour quickly.
When going into a game, it’s important to have a strict number that you’re going in with. It’s fine to start with a larger number, but it’s vital that it’s not often replenished. This will cost you more and more money, not exactly what we want if you’re trying to make a profit in the game.
Treat the bankroll like an investment, always play within the limits (don’t jump up to higher stakes) and be selective with the games that you’re choosing to play (choose what you’re good at e.g. Texas Hold’Em, great guide here). Without a bankroll, you can’t play the game – be respective of it.
To cut a long story short
To cut a long story short, if you’re looking to improve your game, keep it simple, sensible and always be learning.
According to the experts, if you’re serious about poker and about improving your game, you should focus on the following 3 things:
- Keeping patient in all situations
- Keeping notes when playing online
- Keeping a bankroll management system in use
Although they might seem a little simple, simplicity is sometimes key, especially in a world where every move is analyzed, played back and analyzed again.
It’s the time and the effort that goes into learning and playing poker that separates the good poker players from the bad – it’s the commitment to the game that makes a good player.
If you’re looking to improve your game, these 3 insights may help, but there’s no substitute for putting in hours at the felt.