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Tip 1: Tighten up your preflop game.
Developing a solid preflop game is by far the easiest and fastest way to improve your game. However, while developing solid preflop ranges is relatively easy to do having the discipline to stick to them is difficult.
This is especially true if you play live poker, since the number of hands you play per hour is very low compared to online. A live player can expect to play 20Ė25 hands per hour, while a multi-tabling online player can play 400Ė600 hands per hour.
So, when playing live, stay disciplined and use your extra dead time to study your opponentsí games. Pay attention to their tactics and which hands they are showing down. Donít allow yourself to get impatient and play a hand not worth playing.
Tip 2: Donít be afraid to pull the trigger with your bluffs.
Too many players donít have the guts to fire big bluffs, which leaves them exploitable to attentive opponents who will stop paying them off. In turn, they lose a lot of value.
You need be the player who rouses fear and anxiety in your opponents by applying pressure in big pots despite not always having the goods.
Being able to do this effectively will make you a better and more versatile player overall, and will increase your win-rate tremendously.
Of course, against weaker opposition you neednít bluff as much, since they wonít be as attentive to your strategy, know how to exploit it, or have the discipline to follow through with a counter-strategy. Unless, of course, youíre up against a weak player who folds far too oftenĖthe perfect type of player to bluff relentlessly.
Tip 3: Donít change your bankroll management or study habits when things are going well.
Every professional poker player has a friend who won big money in a large tournament, then proceeded to blow their winnings in cash games or by registering tournaments at stakes way higher than their usual.
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Itís important to remember that poker is a game of peaks and troughs. To survive the troughs, you need to act responsibly during the peaks.
Thatís not to say you shouldnít celebrate, or be proud of your success. To the contrary, itís important to savor the results you work hard to achieve. Just remember that going on a heater doesnít mean youíve suddenly become a poker god, and that downswings are inevitable.
Tip 4: Donít bloat the pot with medium-strength hands.
Medium-strength hands should usually be played passively, since they are rarely the winning hand in big pots. The exception is when they should be played a bit more aggressively to deny equity.
These types of hands tend to play better as bluff-catchers, as they protect the weaker hands in your rangeĖlike ace high or weak pairs. This is very helpful because your opponents will not be able to easily bluff you once you check.
And playing these hands passively is another key to a well-rounded playing style. It will give you confidence in having good hands in every scenario, so that you wonít feel the need to make marginal-at-best hero calls with ace-high.
Tip 5: Game select, game select, game select!
You should always put yourself in positions where your edge is the largest. This is why itís important to leave your ego at the door when playing poker.
Itís much better to be crushing a smaller and/or weaker game than barely beating a larger and/or tougher game. This is not only because itís more profitable, but because itís less stressful, and playing against weaker opposition brings lower variance.
Moreover, only barely beating a game might be a sign that youíre not yet ready to be playing there. And it will still be there when you are ready.
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