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How to Win Consistently at Poker

 

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When it comes to winning consistently at poker, there are a number of different ways this can be accomplished. A main determination in your strategy will be the type of game you are playing in. There are different approaches for tournament games as well as cash games. The ultimate goal in tournament play is survival, while in cash games you are trying to accumulate your cash. They style of play will differ greatly in these two games. It is important to understand the nuances of both, so that you can learn how to win consistently at poker, no matter which style you are playing.

Tournament Action

In tournament action, there is an old adage that states as long as you have a chip and a chair, you have a chance. This is partially true. Many players have viewed this as an excuse to be aggressive early, and if it doesn’t pay off, then tighten up to build back your chip count. If you are a half glass full type of person, this approach probably seems logical. However, if you are practical, you will know that aggression typically leads to over-extension, and you will put yourself in bad positions more often than not. This will mean that you will end up being the short stack in the tournament with relative frequency. While this isn’t an impossible position, it will make your poker life much difficult in the long run.

Focus on the Game

Instead, you should focus of a game of controlled aggression. Playing tight is a start. That doesn’t mean that you should never bluff or chase hands; but rather only do so when the cost isn’t great or you are in decent hand position. Psychologically, people do not view chips in tournament play the same as they do in cash games. That is why the action in the beginning of a tournament is usually fast and furious; especially if there is a rebuy. Do not follow the crowd. Get tight and start raking hands and build your chip count that way. As long as you stay above the average chip count, you will be able to ride through the increased blinds and avoid playing on tilt.

Cash Games

Cash games are a completely different animal. Each chip you have in front of you represents a dollar that you earned at some point and time. That means that people think twice before putting it in play. Therefore, taking advantage of loose players will be something isn’t available nearly as often. In response to that, you really have to understand value in cash games. In other words, don’t chase hands unless the current or projected pot odds are worth your efforts. For example, if you are sitting on a gut shot straight draw on the river, you have an 11-1 chance of hitting it. That means that if you aren’t going to get back 11-1 returns on your call, then you aren’t getting enough value in return for your bet. That is a microcosm of how your approach in cash games should be. Everything is about value.

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