If you want to be a successful poker player, you need to constantly improve your skills and add new ones to your repertoire. It can be difficult, especially if you don’t know where to start.
While we can’t guarantee you huge wins or instant success, the tips we’ll share with you will effectively improve your game. So if you want to take your poker game to the next level, read our top 10 tips to perfect your poker skills.
10. Play more poker
Let’s take the list a step further by reviewing one of the best, yet underrated ways to hone your poker skills. It’s just to play the game more.
Poker is primarily a game of skill, and the only way to perfect your poker skills is to constantly put them to the test. Poker theory is good, but you can’t really improve without practice.
If you don’t want to put money on the line, you can practice playing online poker with friends.
Of course, keep in mind that progress takes time. The more you play and practice different skill sets in the game, the faster you progress. Learn the theory behind certain gameplay aspects and different strategies, and try again and again until you see improvement. That said, always make sure you practice consciously and with purpose.
9. Read poker literature
You should also read some strategy topics keeping in mind the previous tip. Fortunately, the internet today opens up various avenues to hone your poker skills through theory. You can read articles, watch many educational videos or even buy a poker book.
Studying poker has never been easier. And, since this is one of the crucial aspects of consistent growth, it’s something you shouldn’t overlook. No matter how advanced you are, you can always benefit from poker literature and learn new things.
Additionally, if you find it difficult to learn poker theory, you can also get a personal poker coach. Finding someone more experienced than you to walk you through the fundamentals will help you get through this part of your poker game much faster. That said, it’s the most expensive way to learn, so it’s definitely not for everyone.
8. Watch lots of poker games
The best thing you can do to improve your poker skills outside of studying and practicing poker is to regularly watch professionals play. Today’s poker landscape is more popular than ever, which means there’s almost always something poker-related going on. From live tournaments to fun poker shows, there are plenty of options to choose from.
You can often benefit from helpful advice and gain insider knowledge from the pros, especially in terms of poker theory. On top of that, these broadcasts, streams, and live shows often provide great entertainment value, so you’re not just learning, but having fun doing it.
7. There is no room for hand favoritism
Just as professional sports bettors cannot make a living by always betting on their favorite team, a poker player cannot count on consistent profit by focusing on their favorite hands. No matter how strong your favorite hand is or how much you like to play it to the end every time you get it, sometimes it’s just not a smart thing to do.
Since poker is all about getting the best values and outsmarting your opponents, it’s easy to see why playing favorites won’t get you far or help you improve. Instead, practice with different scales and always try to improve your thinking in this regard. Learning to identify ranges and hands to play is one of the best ways to improve.
6. Learn to read people
When playing live poker and online poker to a lesser extent, having the ability to read your opponent’s tell is a very valuable skill. As with some of the other tips we’ve shared in this article, there’s no blueprint you can resort to when learning to read people. You just need to put in time, and this skill will develop gradually.
Through hours and hours of practice and playing against different opponents, you’ll learn to spot the telltale signs when someone is tilting, feeling anxious, or trying to bluff you.
5. Always review your previous hands
Personal experience is often life’s best teacher, and the same goes for poker. While we would all ideally like to learn from the mistakes of other players, sometimes the only way to learn is from your own failures.
If you’re playing online poker for real money, you should review your hands right after you finish your session. This way the memory is still fresh and you can remember all the details, but you don’t think emotionally. As you review your hands and decisions, try asking yourself why you played a particular game and think about your mistakes.
4. Learn to control your emotions
Most poker fans have seen at least one compilation clip of tilted players losing control at the felt table. While that might be fun to watch, it’s also the last thing you want to happen. Tilting at the poker table is perhaps the most damaging situation you can put yourself in when playing.
The scary thing about tilt is that it can happen to anyone, no matter how experienced a poker player you are. With that in mind, the best way to improve this is to learn to control your emotions when you start to feel overwhelmed. In my experience, if you focus on making the right decision rather than short-term results, it will do wonders for your mental toughness.
3. Have a coherent strategy
If you ask any great poker player what the most important aspects of their success are, consistency will undoubtedly be high on their list. There’s nothing wrong with experimenting with different approaches, but you’ll have the most success with a fundamental strategy that you consistently rely on in every session.
Remember that poker is a long term game. You should build your bankroll and hone your skills over time around a strategy that best suits your style of play. Never change key aspects of your strategy guided by a big win or a big loss.
2. Practice attacking and defending
If you really want to improve your poker skills and be a complete player, you need to work on both your offense and your defense. In terms of improving your aggressiveness, it’s mostly about refining your bluffing opportunities and stealing the blinds. Good bluffing skills make you an unpredictable and difficult opponent.
On the other hand, learning how to defend is just as valuable. Perhaps the most important skill is learning how to defend your big blind on this. Understanding this takes a lot of practice, as you need to know how to evaluate factors such as number of players, stack size and raise size before deciding how or if you should defend the big blind.
1. Focus on one aspect at a time
Poker is arguably one of the most complex games in the world, and mastering it takes considerable effort and a lot of time. If you’re not playing free apps or random micro-stakes games, the most effective way to hone your poker skills is to always focus on one aspect at a time.
The best way to do this is to list all the areas you struggle with and start mastering them one by one. First you need to cover the areas you will encounter most often. For example, if you are unsure of the opening ranges, you should focus on them since you are in this situation every hand you play. Although learning advanced strategies for 4bet pots can be more interesting, you will rarely encounter these situations, so mastering the basics is more important than chasing the fun.