The key to becoming a winning poker player is to play with players that are worse than you. It’s that simple. Most people don’t give this much thought. They randomly enter cash games or tournaments that take their fancy instead of carefully choosing the games they play.
A professional will assess the games available carefully. They will look at whether the competition is suitably soft and whether or not they can expect to earn a decent win rate. This is a mindset that poker players aspiring to win should use too. That’s why in this post, we’re going to highlight some practical tips you can use to playing the right games. If you use the tips in this article, you should have a better chance at winning in the future.
Look at the Average Pot Size
To generate a decent win rate, players need to be in juicy and looser games (generally). Let’s face it, there are not vast amounts to be won in games with super tight and cautious players in. To avoid playing in these games, we can take advantage of the cash game lobby stats that are accessible on most poker sites.
Before joining a table, you should be able to see some important stats, one of which is the average pot size. This metric is an indication to the value of each pot on average. A low average pot suggests there is not much betting and raising and many pots are won before the flop or on the flop. Conversely, a high average pot is an action game with players that are often going to the river and larger bets involved. These are the games that we want to be in as loose opponents at low stakes equals opportunity to earn more money.
Naturally, there are some disadvantages to these games; players are more inclined to call bluffs and prone to putting in all in bets. But the advantages of playing with looser and more stubborn opponents is certainly worth it. The number one advantage to sitting in these games is that you will get paid off more from your value hands.
Play on Softer Sites
There are countless online poker sites available to play on and the level of competition ranges wide. The major poker sites may entice new players that see a catchy ad on YouTube but they are also where most pros and semi-pros play their trade. This is not as much of a problem in the micro stakes but even the low stakes games have professionals that play from exotic countries where the dollar goes further.
To ensure you are playing with soft competition, I recommend trialling out several smaller sites. You can start your own poker spreadsheet to track your win rate on each and see which is the most profitable for you.
The traffic may be smaller and the prize-pools too but few professionals play there. To find a softer site requires a little research but it will be worth it. Consider reading some poker site reviews as a starting point. Another tip is to try sports-betting sites that offer poker as an alternative. The traffic is largely made up of gamblers that are affiliated with the site via sports betting and give poker a try. Most of these players only know the basics and are easy pickings for an experienced poker player.
Consider the Time & Day
Most players don’t consider the time they’re playing to be a factor. They play at a time that is convenient for them. This is not the right attitude for a player wanting to maximize their chances of winning. The time and day of the week is a very important factor when it comes to playing poker.
Playing on a weekday at 11am is incredibly different to playing on a Sunday afternoon. Why? Well, if you want to play in games that are softer and filled with recreational players, they won’t be playing on a week day at 11am. The recreational player will be at the office, brick laying or selling cars. The weekday games will of course have some recreational players but the majority of people playing at this time are players who play poker regularly and expect to win.
The best times for playing are on the weekends and late evening on weekdays. These are the times that revolve around a regular working day. It is not surprising these are the times that generate more traffic. There will be more cash games available and the tournament guaranteed prize pools will also be higher.