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.

Poker Hand Rankings

Poker hands are ranked here in order of strength, from the weakest Poker hand to the strongest.

High Card
If a Poker hand has no other combinations, then it’s valued by the highest card.

Pair
Two cards of the same value (10, 10).

Two Pair
Two separate pairs (4, 4, King, King).

Three of a Kind
Three cards of the same value (5, 5, 5; or A, A, A)

Straight
Five cards in sequence, but not in the same suit (8 of hearts, 9 of hearts, 10 of diamonds, J of diamonds and Q of spades).

Flush
Any five cards of the same suit, but not in sequence (2, 5, 8, J and K of diamonds).

Full House
Three of a kind combined with a pair (9, 9, 9 with 7, 7; or Q, Q, Q with 6, 6).

Four of a Kind
All four cards of the same value (5, 5, 5, 5; or 10, 10, 10, 10).

Straight Flush
Any five-card sequence in the same suit (7, 8, 9, 10, J of spades; or 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 of hearts).

Royal Flush
This is the unbeatable hand in standard five-card Poker. A, K, Q, J, 10 and all of them with the same suit.

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.

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.

The 3 P. – Professional Poker Player

Many poker players envy the lifestyle of pro poker player. I mean who wouldn’t want to earn a lot of money with the game he loves. Also don’t forget that you determine your own working hours. At first sight you would call it a dream job, but how do you become a professional? You can’t go to college and become one. Actually the case is that you proclaim yourself as a pro. To be honest there are even player who keep losing all the time, but still call themselves professional.

The first obvious reason why somebody would go pro is to make more money than he could earn with a regular job. To ascertain if somebody can make a living just with poker he needs to have documented how long he plays and how much he earns per hour. If he/she over a long period has earned more than he would at his standard job then he might decide to generate his money only through poker.

Now we will discuss the second reason why somebody would go pro.

Another reason for going pro is to have a lot of freedom and to be able to enjoy earning money with the game you love. However the most pro player see their poker career as a temporary job. Only a few actually see themselves earning money with poker for the rest of their lives.

Like anything in our life even this has its downside.

* You won’t get to know many people if you play poker only online

* Even today earning your money this way is in most cases not socially accepted

* After some time the game as your only income will become very monotone

* The pressure to need to win, or you will go broke

My advice is to go semi-professional. You will still earn a lot of money and have fun with the game, but at the same time you will have another source of income and that will take a lot of pressure from you.

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.

Important Keys For Poker Success

To have success in poker over a considerable time you need to be able to handle the most important skills. These are as follows:

Calculations

A good poker player knows the importance of percentages. They know that you have nine outs if you need one more diamond for a flush on the river. Also a solid poker player needs to know how to calculate pot odds, because the outs are irrelevant unless they are compiled into useful betting. It is never wrong to check the pot odds once you know that you have a x% chance of hitting something.

Position

One of the most important things that separates a good from a bad poker player is that the solid player is always trying to find a way to put himself in a better position. This could be achieved with swift changes of pace.

Various game styles demand different kinds of poker players. A good No Limit player doesn’t have to be a good Limit player.

Also an excellent player does know when to quit the game. Be it because he has a bad day or maybe even because he is on Tilt.