Gambling is a fascinating subject, enjoyed by people of all ages, even as a child how often do you remember saying ‘I bet you cant do this and that’. One thing that always goes hand in hand with betting is someone offering some form of no risk strategy to play the game as no one else can, to optimise your winnings and put you ahead of the competition, and Texas Hold Em is no different. Despite all the different variations of the game, no limit, limit, there are hundreds of strategies, styles, tips and systems available.
Depending on your experience, personality, financial disposition and many other factors will influence your own playing style. A playing style is a very personal thing, although many professionals will appear to play very tight one hand and then very aggressive the next, there are always some traits that will be consistent. Beginners regularly find they change their styles as they become more experienced. Once you have found the style that suits you, you can really start improving your game, there is no one style that is better than others, but the fact that you know your own style means you can alter it mid game can give you a considerable edge.
The ability of players being able to increase their pace throughout a game, at apparently random times makes it significantly harder for other players to figure out your style and gain an insight into how you play. Additionally if other players think they have you figured out, you can turn the tables around and play them, according to how they think you play. For example if they think you play very conservatively, only playing strong hands, you can read your opponents. If, say, you raise and they call, the chances are they believe they have stronger cards than you, so if a low or average flop comes out, it is probable they haven’t hit anything and hopefully you have.
The next thing that separates beginner players from intermediate and more experienced players, is the ability to calculate your outs. Put simply your decision whether to call is to see if the odds of winning the money in the pot equal or exceed the odds of you getting the cards you need for a winning hand, also called your outs. Quickly calculating whether the pot odds you face are favourable is essential to a long term winning strategy. The trick is to discretely calculate your outs without making it obvious to other players what you are doing, practice working out odds privately before taking it to real tables.
Just one more tip that can greatly improve your game is to read other players giveaways, known as tells. Obviously this only applies when you are playing poker in the flesh as opposed to online, however this is a crucial differentiator between pros and amateur players. Humans subconsciously give away a lot of emotions without knowing, hence the term poker face refers to players that hide all emotions with an expressionless face. Common tells that players give away are reaching for a drink when nervous, usually noticeable when a player bluffs. Often players with a strong hand will put their hands over their mouth, as if to conceal a smile. Finally if a poor player attempts to stare you down, trying to intimidate you, is a good hint they are in fact bluffing and is a desperation tactic.