Out of all the poker players. 85% of people play poker just for the fun of it and 90% of all players consider it to be gambling. I play both online poker and live poker for the thrill and for the money. But, I do not consider it to be gambling.
A reason why I play is that I love being put into new situations with different players. Learn the master of reading other players, the thrill and gaining experience and strategy.
I see many players throwing hands all-in and winding up just gambling away their cards. We call these coin flips. Throwing a small pair all in against an Ace King or vise-versa. If you play poker for the edge you know you can’t do this. You have to wait for the better hand. Otherwise what is the point of playing? Someone can move all-in at your blind and if you hold a medium pair and figure they have two over-cards, you should always fold even though you are slightly above 50% for the hand. You don’t have many chips in the pot if the blinds are small and if you are a good player you should never settle for a 50/50 gamble. If you have a big hand you want to get as many chips as you can out of your opponent but the ideal way to win is taking pots down uncontested without racing down hands all in. Even when you have a pair against two over cards and know you are slightly above a 50% favorite, if the blinds are small you should always fold and tell yourself, “I am not a gambler”. You just take the note that your opponent is reckless and wait for a better chance of being a huge favorite in the hand and easily crushing your opponent.
All in all, if you are an experienced playing you can find dominant situations and should pass up on gambling in hands all in. You will be capable of getting all your chips in on dominant situations and will be playing poker with an edge versus just gambling as many players do. You can’t stoop down to the level of bad players and accept these gambling situations. You should never accept a coin-flip unless you are forced to by the math of your chips in the pot or have the player covered in chip stacks many times over. If you play poker right and keep finding these edges with good math, you are sure to dominate your opponents by just using the right poker strategy.
Mixing up your play at the table
It is important to mix up your play at the poker table. You should never be playing the same style hand after hand. If you become too predictable, your opponents can easily read you and know what type of hand your holding in most situations. This is why you should change your play constantly and keep your opponents guessing. If you play aggressive hand after hand, your opponents can easily bust you knowing that more times than not, you are holding a weak hand and just trying to take pots with nothing. If you play too tight and fold too often, your opponents will know that you only have a hand when you are betting. They will then be able to read your hand and bully you, betting you out of most pots.
If you change up your play and keep your opponents guessing, you can dictate the action and control the hands that you are in. Keeping your opponents guessing or confused is so important to success at the poker table. Never do anything stupid just to switch it up. You must find the perfect balance. No matter what your style is in poker, if you stick to the same style too often, you will be a weak player and most good players will pick you apart by constantly knowing what type of hand you have. If you mix it up often, you keep them guessing and the table is yours. The best poker players in the world put pressure on their opponents and keep them guessing to make difficult decisions for their chips. Learn to mix up your play and you will see the results of a master poker strategy.
Label the players at your table to read opponents
When playing at a poker table you should after some time be able to label each player. What I mean is label them by the way they play. From super-aggressive to super-tight players and everything in between. By watching hands and what the players have at the end and going back and thinking how they played each hand, you can after not too long label each player. You don’t want to make this information the only basis of the moves you make, but the information you can pick up can be beyond useful in making critical poker decisions later in hands against your poker opponents. This poker strategy is vital if you want to have as much of an edge possible in your poker strategy.
When you have players labeled at your table you can start trying to make poker reads on your opponents. If a guy has been raising nearly every hand, you know he is over-aggressive and a solid hand that you hold should be good more times than not if you see him making a play at you. Like I said earlier, don’t get too caught into this. You do not want to make this your only factor in making a critical poker decision, but you do want to use this poker information to help you read your poker opponents. It depends if it is online poker or a casino poker game as to how long it takes, but in general, I will pretty much have my table of poker opponents each labeled within an hour to see enough hands to do so. Reading your opponents in poker is helpful to poker strategy and poker success. At some point you will need these skills if you want to dominate poker and win at poker. Labeling your poker opponents is one of many ways to give you an edge in poker decision making.