Luck and logic stand as the two most important pillars of the game of poker. What this means is that fate plays its part in whether you win or lose but the elements of strategy and psychology hosted within the game always give you a fighting chance. Have you been dabbling in the game for a while now? Have you picked up a tendency to lose at the tables? If you’re tired of parting with your cash, read on and find out what you can do to kill that losing streak!
Play at Your Level
The best place to start is to look at the tables you’re playing at. If you’ve been experiencing a losing streak, you may be sitting at tables that are too advanced for your current skill level. There’s no shame in that! However, it’s not the best strategy for winning big.
The easiest way to identify whether or not you’re in this position is to look at the stakes. Ask yourself if they're within your budget. Simply put, can you afford to lose that amount of money? If the answer is no, you need to take a step down to a lower-stakes table. The good news is that, with lower stakes, typically comes lower-skilled players - improving your chances of winning! If you begin your poker career at high stakes tables then, in short, you won’t have much of a poker career. If you’re relatively new to the game, try starting small. Then build your way up to the higher stakes as your skills improve and your bank balance grows.
Play Your Position
While it may not always be in your control, your position at the table could have a significant effect on your overall game. Knowing where you are can be the first step in knowing what to do next in poker. Ideally, as a beginner, you want to be the last player to act on your hand. This allows you to not only digest and contemplate your own hand but also scope out the competition.
The most favourable position to play in is the button as, in this position, you have the chance to play more hands than in any other. Learn more about the button and blind positions in our article here. [Hyperlink to How do blinds work in poker?] Recognising the value of your position will become easier with time and practice, but as a beginner, it's best practice to always consider your position when deciding which hands to play.
Go in With a Strategy
When you sit down at the poker tables you’ll require a more in-depth strategy than “go with the flow”. If you're aiming for success that is! The best poker champions in the world spend hours pouring over endless research to devise the most formidable game strategy possible. Ideally, you’re trying to ensure you know your next move when faced with every possible situation. But how do you form a good strategy?
Our first tip would be to commit some preflop poker charts to memory. With this information easily at hand, you’ll have the confidence to know when you should play on and when you should fold, without hesitation. Still, there are a lot of variables when considering a strong strategy, including mathematics, psychology, stakes and poker variant you’re playing. Luckily, there are also endless online and offline sources of knowledge on the topic. Click here (link to poker book post) to find out which resources can help you find the best strategy for your game.
Capitalise on Breaks
We entirely understand how breaks in the game may seem unimportant at first. After all, you’re not playing during this time. However, given the many thrills and stresses that come with a riveting game of poker, this time is vital to recharging your batteries and preparing for your next play.
This recharging can take many forms. It may look like getting a drink, grabbing a snack or taking a few minutes of quiet time to recentre yourself and let go of some bad beats in the previous hands. Walking back into the game with a mass of pent up frustration is a recipe for disaster. Once other players notice you playing on tilt, they’ll pounce and you’ll be taking a much longer break from the game!
Furthermore, breaks can be utilised to gauge how other players are feeling about the game. If you’ve folded and are sitting the hand out, use this time to study how your rivals interact with the game or whether they have any tells. This information could be invaluable when you get back into the game.
Know When to Leave the Table
Losses come to all players, of all skill levels and all bank balances. Unfortunately, it’s simply the nature of the game! If you want to ensure you have enough juice to return to the game at a later date, know when to walk away. Everyone knows this is easier said than done but once you master yourself in this area, you’ll become a more formidable rival at the tables.
How do you know when to leave? The easiest way to know your time is up is when you’re out of chips. If you’ve taken our advice on stakes, then you’ll have your budget set and the trick is to stick to it. When your money is gone, don’t try to add external valuables to the pot with the hope of winning it back in the next hand. Walk away and play another day!