Sharks vs. Fish

This is also something that isn’t really associated with your skills at online poker, but again it can/will impact your potential profits.

A lot of new players tend to ignore who their actual opponents on the table are and for that reason they simply join the first game they see. THAT is one of the biggest mistakes you can do in this game! Again you can question why does it matter who I play against if I’m a good poker player? Well, the real question should be:” Why risking to lose a lot of money against a Shark if I could be as well winning a lot of money against a Fish? “

Shark = Very experienced player who probably plays semi/full professional (he pays his bills with online poker)

It won’t be easy to play a Shark since he will try as hard as possible to minimize your potential winnings against him, but also he is going to try to take as much money from you as possible.

You can determine whether a player is a Shark or not if you check his buy in and the number of tables he is playing. Multiple table players usually are very good and dangerous player and for that reason they are called Sharks.

Fish = This is usually a newbie to the game and he lacks a lot of experience. It makes him very profitable for you.

The most easy way to determine if a poker player is a Fish or not is to see how many tables he plays at the same time and also does he buy in with the max. buy in? If he neither does play more then one table nor does he play with the max or he is allowed to buy in then he is very likely a Fish.

Reading Your Poker Opponents

Reading your opponents is probably the most vital and at the same time most underestimated aspect of the poker game.

The newbie player usually thinks that it would be enough if he knows the poker rules for becoming a good poker player, but that’s far away from reality. As a matter of fact not being able to estimate your rival’s hand range may cost you a lot of money in some difficult situations.

Magician Card Gamble Poker Play  - Peggy_Marco / Pixabay

Lets make one thing clear. Reading your poker opponents is not an easy skill to learn. It takes discipline and a lot of time and even after that there is no 100% telling what the guy on the other side of the poker table has, but you should be able to narrow down his hand range to a few options left and with that you can work out a plan how to play against him.

Recognize the Board Combination

The first thing you need to do is to determine what is the best possible hand out of all combinations that the board offers. It is crucial to know how good your hand is against the other possible hands that your opponent may hold.

Narrow your Opponents Hand Range

You need to analyze what actions did your opponent take on each betting round. This way you will realize to what showing card he called, raised and if he raise how much did he bet? All this individual pieces will give you an insight of his hand range.

Psychology in Poker (Limit vs. No-Limit Poker)

A good poker player is not egocentric. He may be a selfish asshole, but when he sits down at a table to play poker, he tries to see things from his opponents perspective. He tries to understand how the other gambler are playing and what they are thinking. A good poker player asks himself this three question:

  1. What kind of hand does my opponent have?
  2. What does my opponent think I have?
  3. What does my opponent think that I think that he has?

The first step is to know the answer to these three questions. The second, much more important step is to manipulate the answers to the questions. If you have a pair of kings and your opponent has a pair of aces, and we both know what the other one has, then it makes no sense to continue playing? A pro manipulates the last two questions by the way he plays and bets. The fact that he never plays the same, but instead varies his game, makes it harder to see through him.

Poker Card Game Casino Cards  - Rollstein / Pixabay

Psychology is a lot more important in no-limit games than in limit poker games. Limit has much more to do with mathematics while no-limit has an important psychological component.

Starting Poker Hands

If you are playing Texas Hold’em then you should know what are good and what are bad starting hands. Also you should be aware which you should call, raise or fold. Of course there are a lot of factors who can impact your actions. Some of these factors are:

-the number of players
-loose or tight opponents

Howsoever, for a beginner, who is playing in low-limit poker following classification of starting hands is fully sufficient.

Note: The following poker guidelines are only for fixed-limit Texas Hold’em

Starting hands you should raise with:

AA, KK, QQ, JJ, 1010, AK, AQ

These are preflop hands that you should raise for the pot to increase and give you more potential winnings.

Starting hands you should call with:

AJ, KQ, KJ, QJ, J10, 99, 88, 77

With these above hands you want to see what the flop is bringing you and if you want to continue playing with them. With those poker starting hands you should not call three bets. Call only one ore two.

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.

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.

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.

How To Pit Against Strong Poker Players

I already mentioned in the Table Selection article that you need to watch out against who you actually play and that you need to look for weaker player. However, if you are by some circumstances compelled to face strong and experienced poker players then this post will show you some tactics that you can use.

A very good way to confuse your opponents is to constantly vary your game. This means that if the other players start to believe that you bluff a lot, then you bluff lesser. And when the other guys start to think that you are very conservative, then you start playing more aggressive.

Like you can see from this example the main point is to irritate your opponents as much as possible, but when exactly is this strategy most efficient? I would say for No Limit poker with 5 or less players and also the stacks need to be large enough so you could successfully bluff at the turn or river. Once you are familiarize with this change of poker game style, your opponents will have serious trouble to find out when you are actually changing the pace! So my advice is to practice a lot.

Words of Poker Advice

Here I will list 7 poker tips who will help you getting better at poker.

1. Never drink while playing     

This can ruin your game, your bankroll and much more!

2. Choose an online room with reputation

This will make sure that you can play safe

3. Learn all terms that are regularly used at Poker

This article will help you with that

4. Always stay focused on your cards and your opponents

One moment of absence can cost you a lot of money

5. Don’t play over your limit

Having bad beats on tables that are way over your limit can ruin you

6. Use all data that you can get from your opponents

Knowing your poker opponents strong and weak points will help you a lot

7. Don’t rush things

Poker is a game were patience is one of the most important attributes