Risk and Yield

Poker players like to take a risk, but only if they know that the risk is worth it.

Good poker players know how much money they can use for playing poker and how much money they need for everyday life.

Good poker players are basically somewhat risk-averse, that is, they don’t like too much risk. There are also players willing to take risks and risk-neutral players. For a venturesome poker player the yield may be smaller then the risk. For a risk-neutral player the yield must be equal to the risk. And for a risk-averse player, the yield must be greater than the risk!

Poker Cards Card Game Ace Play  - Rollstein / Pixabay

When you play poker, then each dollar should have the same value for yourself. You should just focus on making the right decision. If you for example buy in a 0.10-0.25 blinds table and there is a 52% chance for you to double your money, then you should take the risk, even if there is a 48% chance to lose your money.

Generally one should be risk-averse, so you always have a few chips left to play the next day.

When to call it a day

Most good players know when they call preflop and when they fold. This decision that is made preflop can be crucial for the further game. Of course depending on the table you are playing and also on the character of your opponents you should adjust and vary your poker game as much as possible.

However, in general you should always play strong hands preflop, because a medium strong hand will only cause you trouble. Cards like K4 are to be thrown away at any position. Maybe Heads-Up it could be played, but that is another story.

The described preflop situations are very important. Still, that is not all what matters! After that you may have to make three more important decisions. Of course theories like Pot Odds can help you to make a good decision, especially if you need one more card for a straight or a flush, but what are you going to do if you already have a strong hand and you don’t know if it’s good enough to beat the other ones?

Here is one example: 

You have AQ and the flop shows KQ5. Somebody did raise preflop, so how are you going to bet on the turn? This depends a lot on the other players moves. If one player is making a bet, another is raising him and the next player calls it then you can be sure that your pair of Q won’t have a chance.

This is just a small insight in the world of important poker decisions.

Small vs. Big Mistakes in Poker

In Limit Texas Hold’em your own bet is making just a little part of the pot. This encourages poker players to see the flop, because they can look at it with a little investment to maybe later win a big pot. This aspect of Limit Texas Hold’em especially attracts new and inexperienced players (fish) to make a bet preflop. Most bad players often lose their money because they are making continuously small mistakes. Those poker players keep betting even though the Pot Odds clearly tell them not to, or they simply have the weaker hand. Every time you keep betting despite the fact that you shouldn’t you commit small mistakes.

A big mistake in Limit Texas Hold’em is to fold a hand when you actually should bet, or even raise! Why is this such an immense error? Well, the problem is that within this kind of situations you are making the biggest winnings and since you did throw away those cards you won’t win anything. Let me make one thing clear, I didn’t meant that you fold and then later you see that you could have won this. I’m talking about the situation where you hold the best hand and still throw it away.

Here is one Example: You are holding AQ, you did a raise preflop and three other player did call. The flop shows KQ4. You bet, another one is raising you and two player do call. The turn brings a 6. The guy who has raised before is betting now and all other player are folding.

So what are you supposed to do? By now there are 18 small bets in the pot (8 preflop, 8 flop, 2 turn). Probably you are beat. If you want to see the river as well you will have to pay another 4 small bets. After the river card there is a total of 24 SB in the pot, so you have to win one out of six times to justify seeing the river. Lets say you have five outs then you have a 12% chance to get your card. You only need to be about 4% confident that you have him beat. This indeed is very small.

So in this case you should go ahead and call down, even though you probably are beat. However, many newbie poker players will fold this and that would be fatal if the other player was bluffing.

The Second Best Hand

When you are playing Black Jack the worst thing you can get is a 16th. The chance of winning is the lowest. Compared with Poker that would be 7x 2x. The difference is that in Poker you won’t lose any money with 7x 2x, because you will not play it. That is the reason why I’m not bothered with this hand, because I know it’s value and what I can expect from it. However, I have way more respect of AA preflop, since this card has a great potential to either bring me a lot of money or make me lose a lot. The paradox of having more respect from better hands is based on the poker concept relative value of a poker hand.

Everyone should be aware what the point in poker is and how you will make money constantly. You have to maximize your winnings and to minimize your losses. In this case maximizing your profits is the simple task. For example when you set a trap, or you slow play you can make a lot of money with a strong hand. However, basically every idiot can win with a good hand. The main difference between a pro and an amateur poker player is the way they are losing their hands. The good player knows when he has lost and throws away his cards. A bad player keeps betting until the end and loses at the showdown.

The psychological difference between the two players is that the bad poker player absolutely needs to know what the other player had so he can be sure that he lost for the “right reasons”. Like a cop he makes sure that nobody bluffs. On the other hand the professional poker player has overcome that urge.

Limit Poker

Playing the second best hand until the very end in Limit poker won’t hurt you that much. On the short run this will not have much of an impact. Howsoever, on the long term this will lead to a negative effect on your finances. A good way to avoid losing much money with second best hands is a good preflop strategy. Don’t play hands with low kicker like A7 or K4, because these cards will be easy dominated by hands with a high kicker like AK or AQ.

No-Limit Poker

At No-Limit it’s a whole other story. While in Limit poker you won’t lose all your money with the second best hand, that very likely can be the case playing No-Limit Poker. For that reason it is immense important to play hands that have the potential to become “The Nuts”. Those are usually either pairs which can turn into three of a kind or even a Full House and of course draw cards who have the potential to become a flush or a straight.

The key for success in No-Limit Poker is to throw away second best hands if needed.

Psychological Games in Poker

No-Limit Hold’em ring games require more psychological tricks and bluffing skills than any other popular poker games. These tricks should always depend of the opponents you are playing against.

When you play in no-limit areas with low stakes (50$ buy-in or less), then I would not recommend applying psychological games. A bluff on the flop with less players may work from time to time, but usually on those tables your opponent will bet until the end. In such games it is wiser to wait for a good hand and then take their money with pot large bets.

Once you start to play at tables with 100$ buy-in and higher psychological games will play an important role, especially if your opponents have larger stacks (100 * Big Blind and more). First thing you have to do on those tables is to categories the other poker players.

The six kinds of poker players 

  1. Fish
  2. Weak-Tight
  3. Policemen
  4. Tight-Aggressive
  5. Hyper-Aggressive
  6. Tilt Player

The Six Kinds of Poker Players

Like it was already mentioned in the article Psychological Games there are 6 kinds of poker players in my opinion and now we are gonna go in for a closer look.

Fish

These kind of players only look at their own hand. They don’t mind what you are doing unless you are betting against them. If you make a high bet and they have a bad hand then they will fold, but if they have top pair they will call. These kind of poker players nearly never bluff.

Weak-Tight

This players as well are only looking at their own poker hand. However, they will call your bets less often than a Fish would do. Weak-Tight poker players are not willing to lose all their money with top pair unless they think you are a “maniac”. Best way of playing this guys is to bluff at the right spots at the right time.

Policemen        

The Policemen poker player is very much alike the Fish, but he does know the game somewhat better. He thinks in most cases that nobody has the only hand that could possible beat him and therefor he expects everyone else to be bluffing. These kind of poker players will always call you until river.

Tight-Aggressive

This is the poker player we confront on our list who is very tactically skilled. Usually professional poker players are considered Tight-Aggressive. They most likely are more willing to raise your bet, than just simply to call it. It would be better to avoid sitting on the same table as this guys, but if you have to then the best way of playing against them is to vary your poker game as much as possible. Force them to adapt to your rhythm.

Hyper-Aggressive

Hyper Aggressive players love to bet and to raise. It’s very hard to differentiate if they have the best hand, or if they are bluffing. Playing against these guys means to either win a lot of money, or to lose a lot. Actually the only way to play this guys without risking all your buy in is to wait for a very good hand.

Tilt Player    

It doesn’t matter what the real reasons for his acting are, if a poker player is tilt then he is Tilt and you should use that occasion to take all the money he has left on the poker table. Tilt players will try to push even middle strong hands until the end and very often they will go All in as well.

Rules of Omaha Poker

Omaha Poker is similar to Texas Hold’em. The difference is that you can usually get better hands, because you can choose from nine instead of seven cards. The procedure is resemblant:

1. Cards

Each player is dealt four cards face down.

2. The Flop

Three cards are dealt face up on the table.

3. The Turn

A fourth card is dealt.

4. The River

Finally, a fifth card is turned face up.

The five cards on the table are community cards. You get the best poker hand by taking two own cards and three community cards. One must always bear in mind that all players can use the five community cards. When played for money, each time after cards have been dealt the poker players have to make a bet (four times).

Online and Offline Poker Tells

“Poker tells” are indications or signs that your opponent is showing unknowingly when he has a certain hand (good or bad). Usually those tells are based on psychological indications who can reveal a poker player. Poker tells can be divided into two sections: Online tells and Offline tells.

Online tells

  • In Limit Texas Hold’em a fast call within a board that has flush or straight draw potential can be a good indicator that this player needs one more card.
  • In Limit Texas Hold’em a fast raise after the flop usually is a sign for having top pair.
  • Usually when an online poker player takes himself more time for his next move and then makes a raise it’s less likely that he is bluffing.
  • Somebody who is raising preflop all the time, even with medium strong hands is being on Tilt.

Offline tells

  • If an inexperienced player puts his cards in front of his mouth then this usually means that he has a strong hand.
  • If an poker player is reaching for his drink way too often it’s also a sign of being nervous.
  • If a weak player keeps looking at you, generally it means he is bluffing.
  • Once a poker player starts to count his chips right after the flop, then he likely has a very strong hand.

Poker Table Selection

The selection of the right table is a critical factor in poker. Many new talented poker players try to improve their skills in order to win more often, but the way to greater success lies in choosing the right poker table.

You should sit at a table where you have an advantage over your opponents. No matter how well you play, if you are sitting at a table with Sharks, it’s almost impossible to earn good money. The luck factor and the table fees would shrink the long-term profits.

So the logical conclusion would be that you find players you can beat, but how do you identify such poker players? There are several quick ways to analyze your opponents and see if you should participate in the game:

1. You know your opponent already. If you play in the same casino (online or offline), then you know your opponent after a while. Either you remember them or you’re simply making notes whether they are strong or weak poker player and who you see through the best.

2. Find out how loose or tight the game is. A loose game is a good one, because it has a high flop percentage and people are calling with medium strong hands. A tight game can also be a good one and it can be recognized when there are not many raises. If the players do not bet that much in a very good hand, then they will let you see the cards favorable. Against passive poker players you won’t lose much if you lose and against loose players you will win a lot if you win.

3. Another factor for choosing a table would be the number of fundamental errors a poker player is committing. Assuming you have read most of our poker articles then you should be familiar with basic poker strategies. So if you see people calling preflop with pretty weak hands and then they continue betting with a flush or straight draw on the turn/river without pot odds, then it is definitely the right game for you to join. Players that go along with such bad cards are doomed to lose.

Don’t Rush It

Once you start playing online poker on the Internet, you usually begin at the lower limits. To beat these limits you don’t have to be a poker champion, rather it’s enough to simply outplay your opponents with patience and knowledge. On the other hand to beat poker players on way higher limits it takes a lot more work and effort.

The reason why the lower limits are so simple is that there is no one taking care of your actions, but rather they only look at their own cards. Bad players will keep playing bad, no matter if you are in the pot or not. For those guys other poker players are nearly invisible. So like I said before, for beating these kind of poker players you need a solid poker strategy that will pay off on the long-term. Play tight and don’t try too many bluffs, because amateurs always want to see your cards so they know why they did lose. If you think you have the strongest hand then you have to bet high and always remember to use pot odds.

When it comes down to fool such kind of poker players, then slow playing works very well. Weak poker players very easily think that they have the best hand with hitting top pair on the flop, which of course doesn’t have to be the case. If you know that you have the Nuts then let them see the turn and raise hard at the river.

Concentrate and perfect the selection of starting poker hands. Rely on pot odds if you have to make difficult decisions. Play aggressive if you have the best hand and don’t try any psychological games at these poker limits, because they simply won’t work and nobody is going to throw away his cards for your 5$ raise.