How to Win Money at Poker - Beating Bad Players
Sat 10 June 2017
Suppose 10 people sat down and played texas holdem and no one ever folded, but instead called every hand all the way to the end. If they played long enough, they'd all end up with the same amount of money. If they were playing online or at a casino, everyone would end up with nothing because the rake would slowly take all of their money. This is how many players play at the low limits and this is why most of them lose consistently. So the question is, how do you win money at poker? There's only two main ways to make money playing poker and that is by successfully bluffing and by folding. You can make small gains with more sophisticated plays but only small gains. Bluffing, no matter type of players you are against, will not make enough to play every hand. Bad players tend to call all the way to the end and you can't bluff them and good players will soon figure out what you are doing and make you pay dearly.
So that leaves only one option - folding. Many players don't understand this at first and it is where beginning players fail the most. Taking a holdem game as an example, if there is a full table you should be folding anywhere from 60 to 70% of the time before the flop. After that, you should only be betting if you think you have the best hand, if you have a good chance to get the best hand - you have 4 hearts and only need one more for a flush - or if you are only in with one or two other people and you think you can bluff them. Every other time you call you are giving away your money. What is the easiest type of players to beat? Players who call almost anything and never raise are easy pickings for almost any player. If you can find a table where a large number of the players call every hand and, additionally, there is very little raising before the flop you are in for a good day. Now you can play a very simple game and just bid when you have cards and fold when you don't. You won't have to and, in fact shouldn't, bluff. When you get a good hand they will keep calling and they will pay you off and when you don't have a good hand you can just fold and wait. It isn't an exciting way to play and you will find yourself folding a lot but it is a profitable way to play. If you play poker for a while you will here the term "tilt".
Tilt refers to a tendency of poker players to lose a few hands in a row or a couple of hands when they got unlucky and then to basically get in a rage and start playing badly. Everyone goes on tilt occasionally but limiting these times and playing your game is paramount to winning. It sounds easy but it can be very hard to fold when you see a bad player winning hand after hand with bad cards. But you have to learn to trust the odds and believe that if you play better than the other players that you will win in the end. All you have to do to beat bad players is fold. It sounds easy and it can be. The frustrating part can be when players, who don't play smart, get lucky and hit a couple of long shots in a row and take money that should have been yours. That's when you have to believe in your long-term strategy and continue to play smart. In the upcoming weeks we will discuss what cards you should be playing and go into a little more detail about how you choose to bet or to fold.