Playing profitable poker is not as hard as it seems. Once you have mastered the basics, what is next? You guessed it more basics, as a professional poker player I see all sorts of mistakes at the table that gets me thinking. For starters lets talk about the 4 primary basics of Texas Hold Em poker.
1) Bankroll / Stake: With out a bank roll or starting capital of at least 20 buy ins it is very hard to play winning poker. Your bankroll is your lifeline to more money. Period! With out this your just another player that will get taken for a ride and end up broke and frustrated. If your starting out with on line poker, make sure you have taken advantage of all the free money that is offered to you. That in itself is a whole new article and I will cover that soon. In short, if you plan on playing 1 / 2 NL Hold em you would need $2,000.00 as your bankroll to withstand the swings that will happen.
2) Patience : Simple right ? Wait for good hands and only play the stones. If it were only that simple. For starters you can not withstand the blinds if all you do is play the top 18 hands. Even the greatest in the world will tell you patience is folding Pocket KK and picking a better spot that you have edge over. Just waiting to play the key hands will not make you a winning player, thought it is one of the 5 basics. It is knowing to wait for better position over the raiser ( bluffer ). And knowing that you can fold with out being mentally bruised If you were bluffed.
3) Hand Selection: Repeat after Me. ” I will NOT play J5 ever again” even if it is suited. So often I have heard players say ” It was suited” “I was feeling lucky” when they take a pot down with J5 Q6 and so on. I just have to laugh it off and remind myself that these are GAMBLERS and that is why I am here. I have a edge over the gambler because I wont ever risk chips with a .11% chance of winning. Stay with in the top 36 hands and DON’T STRAY!
4) Folding hands: There is a time when FOLDING is better then calling. It really don’t matter if it is pre flop or on the turn. Folding saves chips. I know its a hard concept to understand to the fullest that folding is a better option. I will give you a example. Playing a NL game today I was dealt AQs on the button I raised, the small blind called and we seen the flop of 8 2 Q the pot was $120 with them being first to act they bet pot and I moved in for $400 total. He is not pot committed but snap called and showed QJ.. I took down a monster pot and he was busted and left the game. His play here was poor and bad timing that he hit the flop. Now I know you have seen a hand play out almost the same. Let me ask you. Could you have laid down QJ ? I know if it was the other way around I would have never lead out and I could have small balled the hand. This is a case where they should have folded.