Little things that matter

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Little things that matter

Correct bankroll management understanding

There is one thing in poker that should be realized as quickly as possible: there are either good days in poker where you win, or bad days where you lose. A bad day does not mean you are personally cursed. Bad luck overshadows everyone, from professionals to beginners. This is why every regular player requires a bankroll, i.e. money that's meant specifically for playing poker, and nothing else.

Previous lessons:

Even when you have lost a good percentage of your bankroll, there's no need to become desperate. Just because you fell foul of a losing streak does not mean you should neglect the game completely. Lucky days will always follow days of bad luck. Poker players refer to these periods as “streaks”. Good streaks and bad streaks will be your loyal companions throughout your poker career, and common probability theory is to blame. A bad streak is no reason to lose your head in trying to retrieve your losses. Cards are dealt equally to everyone, and if you, for example, know that you play bad hands better than your opponents do (sometimes simply folding and not getting into borderline deals is enough) the moment will come when the money once again migrates from their pockets into yours.

ALWAYS treat your bankroll carefully and follow two simple rules:

  • Never try to recover your losses by moving to higher limits. This is a unbreakable law – indeed,  there is a special function for blocking a player's access to higher limits on PokerStars. Never try and get your money back if you've lost five or six buy-ins as your mind will not be able to make the right decisions in such a state. Instead, log out of the game and analyze your deals outside of the game. Remember it's not the loss of money that's disastrous in poker, it's the loss of self-control.
  • If you always place self-control above everything else in poker, then even a big loss with not hinder your play. Even mediocre players have eventually reached higher limits by following these simple rules, while many professional players have lost all their money getting into games that were much more expensive than the could have afforded with their current bankroll.

Mentality

First and foremost, poker is a card game, so chance will always play a part. Blind chance will often find a way to turn even the most refined and mathematically precise play into a catastrophe.

While playing you will often face situations where lucky cards on the river will salvage your opponents from the deal, despite their poor decisions on the earlier streets. When that happens it can give you the false impression that you've played the hand incorrectly.

Many beginners (and not only beginners) are too attached to the result of individual deals, and are quick to judge whether they acted correctly by one or two hands, which is a completely incorrect way in which to approach playing the game. In poker you should never focus on the result of one particular deal; you have to take into account the correct play and profitability of your actions at a distance. Good (or bad) fortune plays too large a part within any one deal, but after thousands of hands it is on balance your overall strategy that influences the result, so there is no point in awarding the reason to your success to the “ghost of good fortune”.

There must always be a decisive plan of action behind the playing of every hand that goes far beyond the hope for a suitable flop or good luck. This is the successful player's mentality. If you do not know as yet the way in which you will play your cards in case the flop does not suit or you are on the threshold of an exhausting deal, fold your cards as soon as possible. Safety first will spare you a lot of losses.

One last thing. Never be surprised by the fact that you or your opponents obtained a strong combination such as a straight or four of a kind, or someone got dealt pocket aces twice in a row. Every second people across the globe are playing thousands of deals, so such an event just had to happen at some time – it just happened to happen at your table.

Try to treat the “luck factor” in poker with indifference as there is nothing you can do to prevent it from influencing the cards that are dealt, but there is plenty you can do about it not influencing your emotional state, which will see you making mistakes. If you feel that something at the table is irritating you, or you cannot lever an offending deal out of your head, then close down all the tables and take a break. Never let your emotions control your play.

Bet sizes

An important skill in poker is the ability to determine the right size of bet for any situation. The overwhelming majority of players constantly make mistakes at this when there is no need for them to. That is why they end up losing much more than they should do. Let's now discuss quite a simple way to avoid such problems. 

The first thing to remember is that any bet should be based upon the size of the pot, and not on your idea on the strength of your hand or the amount of money that you have already invested in the deal. There are several reasons for such a tactic:

  • You need to mask the strength of your hand from your opponents. If you bet differently with different hands, you allow your opponents to read you like an open book. Small bets with medium strength hands are never a good decision.
  • You should never give your opponents a decent price for a profitable call with draws; on such occasions small bets will work against you.
  • You should blow the pot with strong hands. Bluffs also require large bets otherwise the bet will not frighten your opponent and they will not fold.

Before we dive into the details, you should focus on the following:

  • If you bet on the flop, the turn or the river, it should be equal to two-thirds or three-quarters of the current pot. For example, if the pot contains $10, then you should bet $6.50 to $7.50.
  • If you are going to raise (or re-raise) on the flop, turn or river, it should be between three and three and a half times your opponent's bet or raise.

This rule applies to any situation on the flop, the turn or the river.

Stake size

In the beginning, you should always consider the size of your stake – the amount of chips it contains when compared to the blinds and the stakes of your opponents at the table.

We recommend that you always buy up to one hundred big blinds or more. This size of stake may seem too big, but there are several reasons for this:

  • It allows you to get the maximum profit when playing against weak players who are likely to make big raises and risk all their chips; the more money at stake, the larger the potential profit. 
  • Deep stakes will always leave you more room to manoeuvre on the later streets; you will always have some money left to bluff, or to raise with a very strong hand.
  • Many educational articles are aimed at playing with one hundred big blinds stakes (playing short stakes poker is quite different from playing the deep stakes game from a mathematical viewpoint) and it will be easier for you to educate yourself.

Do not repeat beginner’s errors. Remember that the deeper your effective stake, the more chance you have to actualize the advantage over your opponents that you have.

Afterword

Congratulations! You have successfully passed the Beginners Course, and you are now free to apply the knowledge you have gained to start playing for real, using the no deposit bonus or other exclusive offers that are available to Pokeroff players. We have prepared the ultimate guide for choosing the right poker site with the best bonus to help you get the most out of your play.

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To become a real poker shark, you need to perfect and improve your play all the time. The following sections of “School of Poker” will help you achieve that:

ARTICLES  read educational articles written by genuine poker professionals

Good luck! May the pocket aces force be with you!