Lots of people are looking for some extra ways to make cash these days, and for many, that translates into turning their hobbies into cash cows. With the prevalence of poker these days (even the World Series of Poker is televised in almost every country), many are looking to this age old game as the perfect way to cash in and make that much needed extra buck or two.
Think it’s possible for you? You could be the next big winner at the table and add that money to your bank account, but just because you’re sitting at the table doesn’t mean you’re going to win. Learning more about the game, practicing routinely, and working to get the knowledge and skills you need are the only ways to win at this game. These tips may also help you amp up your game and add that money to your bank account:
Pay Constant Attention
It is often said that good poker players play the opponent, and not the cards they are dealt. Sure, it’s essential to remember past hands, but the only way to truly make the most of this game is to pay complete attention at all times. You must pick up on opponents' tendencies in order to be a successful player. Does the player to your right bet the flop almost every time he raises pre-flop? Does the player across from you check every monster hand, attempting to trap his prey? These are vital pieces of information you can pick up on throughout the game.
If you pay close attention, you will find that your opponents are constantly leaking small pieces of information with their playing style and tendencies. Information is power, and you can use this against them later in the game if you understand how they react in certain situations. Take notes on how your opponents play specific hands if at all possible, and most importantly do not allow yourself to be distracted at the poker table.
It may help you to develop a classification system for your opponents. A quick psychology primer will help you spot what you need to know and how to move forward with every game.
The key here is to focus on the game and the task at hand. You are there for one reason; to make money.
We all make mistakes at some point or another when playing poker. It's unavoidable. We make a big call for most of our chips only to be beaten by a runner-runner flush, and think to ourselves Why did I call? I knew he had it. I'm such an idiot.
Going on tilt is a major cause of losing in poker, and it's something that is not always easy to avoid. Whenever you feel tense at the poker table, whether after a bad beat or while you are pondering a big decision for all of your chips, remember to breathe. Control what you can control. Understand that the most you can do at any given moment at the table is to breath, take your time, and make a calm and collected decision based on all the information available to you.
If you can’t take the stress, you may want to learn to do a few breathing exercises to help calm you before the game. Try this one for starters. Breathe in for six seconds. Hold it for ten. Release it over eleven seconds. Repeat three or four times, and you’ll find instant calm.
Bad beats are going to happen. They are out of your control, and you can't change the past. But you can change your attitude about the game. Take a few deep breaths, remain positive and make the right play.
You simply can’t play the best game possible if you’re drinking. Sure, some players think that they become better players thanks to a dose or two of liquid confidence. The bottom line, though, is that it’s just not true. Alcohol changes the way you judge your decisions at the poker table.
If you don’t feel confident enough when you’re playing at the table without the drinks, you don’t need to be at the table in the first place. The last thing you want is something in your body that will dull your sense of focus. Just because alcohol means you won’t be able to take an extra daring bluff or two doesn’t mean you should risk everything. Keep your mind functioning without the alcohol, and you’ll become a better poker player.
Eat Right, Exercise
One final tip is to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating right and exercising at least several times a week. Poker can be a grueling game, with prolonged hours of physical inactivity and high levels of stress. To ensure your mind is functioning at full capacity, you have to keep it fuelled with the right nutrients. Eating healthy, balanced meals and staying physically active will give you higher energy levels, allowing your brain to focus better and for longer periods of time. The right mix of carbohydrates, protein, fruits and vegetables is a must.
Don’t forget that you’ll want to stay hydrated in a healthy way, too. Energy drinks, coffee, and sodas aren’t the right choice in this situation. Instead, you want to stick to water and sports drinks to help you stay hydrated. Above all, avoid foods that might hurt you in the long run. Those that could cause gas and heartburn may cause you problems at the table later.
Don’t forget to add physical activity to the mix. While you can’t stay active during the actual course of the game, being active on a regular basis means you’ll have the energy to play. These are essential parts of success in poker, where fortunes aren't made overnight but in the long run after many hours of playing time.
Poker is a game that can be beaten once you unleash your brain's inner power. Focus on these tips, and constantly teach yourself more about the game. Read books and online discussion forums to help improve your skill set, and with focus and discipline, you could be consistently making money at the tables in no time. Good luck!