8 live poker strategies used by world champions
All reputable gamblers agree that live poker is one of the most entertaining casino card games. However, most of them struggle to be consistent with their gameplay and can’t be profitable from playing poker.
Our casino specialists’ team has been analyzing the play style of the best poker players and concluded that they all have one thing in common – they all use a live poker strategy.
This article will teach you eight live poker strategies that can turn your game from break-even to profitable. Be advised that using these tips won’t guarantee you will become a pro overnight, but they will surely improve your gameplay. For more advanced gameplay tactics, make sure you check our complete poker guide.
Read on to discover how to take your poker skills to the next level!
1. Think in ranges instead of hands
The main difference between an amateur and a poker professional is how they think about their opponent’s hand. Beginners will always try to guess their opponent’s exact hand, while pros will start from a range and narrow it down based on the enemy’s decisions.
If you’re a complete beginner, you should know that a poker range refers to the spectrum of hands a player can have during a round. For instance, a player can have a high card, top pair, a flush, or just bluffing. Here’s a chart showing all the possible ranges of a poker hand:
Skilled poker players know that the opponent can have this entire range. Instead of focusing on identifying their exact hand, they try to find out those frequencies and make the best decision. However, a newbie will try to guess the precise hand, based on what their guts are telling them.
If we were to offer you a single piece of advice, we would tell you that live poker strategies and trusting your intuition feeling never do well together. It would be best if you never decide based on your feelings when you are playing poker. Instead, try to train with ranges, and you will instantly improve your odds of winning.
2. Never have favourite hands
Most poker players have a hand that they love to play no matter the circumstances. While there’s nothing wrong with that, if you’re planning to make a profit from playing poker, you should avoid having a favourite.
Having a card combination you rely on is a bad idea because you won’t always be in the ideal position to actually play it. Thus, you will end up losing just because you couldn’t fold your “lucky cards.”
Remember, those live poker strategies are about logic and mathematics, not superstition and symbolistic.
3. Play fewer hands, but be aggressive
The preflop round is the essential part of a poker hand because it’s the time when you decide whether you want to continue with a specific hand or not. However, playing too many hands will quickly drain your stack and knock you out of the tournament.
The secret of poker success is being patient and taking some time to study the preflop ranges. Luckily, the Internet is a valuable resource when it comes to learning live poker strategies. All you need to do is search for a preflop chart and study it to develop a system that will allow you to narrow the ranges before the round starts.
Tips: If you want to learn more about aggressive live poker strategies, we recommend watching professional poker games on Youtube. You will notice that the pros will fold most of their hands, sometimes even if they have a high card.
4. Play your strong hands fast
Beginners are often afraid of forcing their opponents out of the pot, even when they have a relatively strong hand. Therefore, they will most likely play their hand slowly and check it too often, becoming vulnerable to aggressive opponents.
Our suggestion is to bet when you get a strong hand to build the pot. Of course, there are certain situations when you can decide to check the strong hand:
- You’re not likely to be outdrawn;
- The range of your opponent is indicating that their hand has no showdown value;
- There aren’t many cards that will prevent you from winning on later streets.
Be aware: Whenever you feel uncertain about a strong hand’s winning chance, it’s best to raise. Even if your opponents will fold, it’s less disappointing than getting outdrawn or missing out on a chance of winning a large pot.
5. Avoid being the first to limp
Limping is a poker slang used for players that simply call the big blind during the preflop round. If you’re the first to enter the pot, you should avoid doing this. Here’s why:
- Your opponents will get better pot odds, so they’re less likely to fold;
- Your chances of winning the preflop are lower than if you would have raised;
If at least one opponent has already limped before you, limping is reasonable. Poker pros call this over-limping, and it can help you win if you get good cards on the flop round since the pot odds increase. The best way to respond to multiple players limping is to tighten your raise range and increase sizing.
6. Only play games you know you can win
The secret of winning at poker is playing against opponents that are weaker than you. As Mike McDermott from the movie Rounders said
“If you can’t identify the sucker in the first half-hour at the table, then you’re probably the sucker.”
The idea is simple – if you are one of the top 100 poker players in the world, you’re most likely going to be the best at most of the tables. However, if you join a table with the top 5 players worldwide, you’re probably going to be the “sucker.”
Thus, we suggest looking for tables that you know you can win and ignore your ego that will probably tell you that you can defeat anyone. On top of that, you don’t even have to be better than everyone at the table. Being more skilled than half of the players is enough to become profitable.
To make things easier for you, here’s how to identify a potentially good poker game:
- Re-raises either happen rarely or very often;
- At least one of the opponents is frequently limping;
- Plenty of multiway pots are available.
If you’re playing in a game that meets at least two of these conditions, you’re more likely to make money. Contrarily, if none of these conditions are met, you should look for a new table.
Another ideal way to implement your live poker strategy is by using the statistics provided by the gaming platform, such as the average pot size and percentage of players that make it to the flop round. By having a good understanding of what kind of players you’re about to face, you’ve got a real chance of winning big.
7. Know when to fold a good hand
One of the key differences between a beginner and a pro poker player is folding a good hand. For example, if you get a pair of Kings but your opponent suddenly all-ins, what would you do?
Since they are emotionally attached to the high pair, newbies will usually call the all-in, and there is a high chance they will lose that hand. On the other hand, poker professionals can easily fold a good hand if they estimate that the opponent’s range is better than theirs.
Be aware: Starting with the best poker hands (A-A or A-K) is not always a guarantee that you will win the pot. Thus, it is important to ignore your feelings and fold if you feel that you’ll lose that hand.
8. Remember that position is crucial
In case you didn’t know yet, your position is determined by the dealer button, which moves clockwise after each poker hand. Thus, your position continuously changes on a hand-to-hand basis, which is the reason why you shouldbe aware of the advantages and disadvantages of each of them.
Here’s a breakdown of all the positions in a six-handed game:
- Big Blind (BB) – Located two positions to the left of the Button and has to pay the big blind;
- Small Blind (SB) – One position to the left of the Button and pays the small blind;
- Button (BTN) – Located to the right of the blinds and considered the best position at the poker table;
- Cutoff (CO) – The second-best position, situated on the right of the Button;
- Middle Position (MP) – On the right of the Cutoff, considered a medium risk position;
- Under the Gun (UTG) – the worst position since you will act first.
You can say that you’re “in position” when you’re either on the Button or close to it, meaning you will act later during the betting rounds. Live poker is about collecting information, so being the last to bet means that you can make a more informed decision when it’s your turn.
Now that you have a better understanding of how to play more efficiently and be more profitable, it’s time to find out the pros and cons of playing with live poker strategies.
Advantages and disadvantages of live poker
The idea of playing poker online might be the most amazing for a beginner. However, remember that you don’t play your hand; you play the person sitting next to you. But how can you be efficient in your gameplay if you aren’t able to see your opponents’ faces? Well, with the right strategies, of course, you can!
As with most things, playing live poker comes with a set of advantages and disadvantages. If you want to improve your win rate, it’s crucial to consider these when you’re choosing an online poker platform. For a more in depth analysis, we suggest checking out the best poker sites section on our site, where our experts will further explain all the important aspects of the online poker market and how to efficiently find a reliable platform.
Let’s find out the pros and cons of playing live poker!
- Play from anywhere – Live poker can be played from any device, including mobile and tablet, as long as it is connected to the Internet. There are millions of players from all over the world, meaning that you will find a table that you can join at any given time;
- Live poker bonuses – Online platforms use promotions to incentivize their players to join. On our site, you shall find all the available bonuses for live poker that you can grab and increase your balance in no time;
- Beginner-friendly – Playing poker at a land-based casino can be scary since most players joining the tables already have some experience with the game. However, in live poker, you can join low stakes tables where your opponents are usually the same skill level as you;
- Cost-efficient – Have you ever avoided joining a poker table because the buy-in was too high? Well, online poker offers its players a wide range of buy-ins, starting from as low as $1. On top of that, you won’t have to drive to the casino; you can enter the site in the comfort of your home;
- Play multiple tables – One of the crucial advantages of live poker is that you can join more games at once. However, keep in mind that not all online casinos allow that, so make sure you check the terms before starting.
- Play as long as it is fun – Make sure you set a budget to be able to gamble responsibly. If you feel like the fun stopped, reach out to a gamble aware organization;
- Lack of interaction – Poker is all about reading the opponents and be aggressive when they make mistakes. Even if you can type in the chat or send emotes to your opponents, playing live poker will never feel like the real deal since the social part is mostly missing;
- Too fast – While advanced players might consider this an advantage, the speed of the game might seem overwhelming and confusing for a total beginner. On top of that, if you’re on a losing streak, your balance will be drained in no time.
Our goal is to help players have a smooth gambling session while playing online poker. If you’ve made it this far, you already know that there is a fine line between break-even players and profitable ones.
If you want to improve your poker game, implement the strategies tested by our casino analysts, and pay more attention to your game statistics. This way, you will be able to be more analytical and understand precisely why you lose. Good luck, and don’t forget to leave your emotions and focus on the maths!