Poker is a game of strategy, skill and mental strength like no other. Each round of cards is vital in the path to victory. You’re filled with wonder at what your opponent has hiding in their hand as you look for the advantage; that one decision that turns things in your favor.
But in looking for the upper hand, you have to ensure you’re doing it in a manner that keeps with the social guidelines and etiquette of the game you're playing. ‘Getting Ahead in the Game’ as we discussed in a previous post, it’s about finding the right strategy, and not bending the rules or going against the spirit of the game. One such method which is very much frowned upon is angle shooting. Poker.org explains how an angle shoot is an act that gives a player an unfair advantage, even if that advantage isn’t technically gained illegally.
So, what can you do to get ahead in poker without upsetting your fellow players as a beginner, novice or someone more experienced? Of course, there are no cast iron guarantees but below we cover some helpful topics to try to tip the scales your way at the table.
Think about a broader range of options
Beginners to the game are thought to focus their thinking on just one possible hand, be it a straight or a flush. Whilst there is a chance that this hand could fall into your lap, you have to think of the other options available. If you’re dealt a pair, you’re only 11% likely to get that third card to make it a three of a kind hand. If you start without a pair, there is around a 27% chance that one of your cards will be paired during the flop. What potential hands are you missing out on if you are fixating on only one outcome? As Robert Jameson of Bobs Economics suggests, don’t get hand fixation as you’re only limiting your options.
Don’t get complacent with what you know
Once you’ve got over the initial hurdle of getting into the game and you’re relatively comfortable, there’s one thing that could be the wall that blocks your route to further success - just simply settling for what you know about the game. A Reddit user recently commented that it’s not just about playing the game as much as you can to get better. Studying different strategies and learning how other people play can also be one of the best methods to improve your decision making at the table. The keenest poker players usually advocate a weekly plan of strategy and group games as an ideal way to reach the next level in their gaming.
Importance of Body Language
The true winners could be said are the ones who use the most human of traits, such as eye contact and effective body language. It is vital in everyday life, as we all have our own ‘tells’ which come naturally. When having our conversations with our peers, as well as friends and family, we subconsciously utilize these things to hide bluffs or even exude confidence. But as Lifehack.org points out, these everyday “tells” are hard to apply and master in the game, but can also be so beneficial and even arguably crucial. Having mastery over your opponent’s body language and “tells”, as well as having control over your own, could be the true difference between winning and losing.
Article written by Ramona Jo