Intuitively, the best way to improve your Texas Hold’Em skills would be to play plenty of Texas Hold’Em Poker. Whilst there is no denying that practice makes perfect, sometimes it pays to think outside the box and to find new ways to up your game. Here are seven handy online poker tips for getting better at Hold’Em without actually playing poker. Do them alongside your regular poker practice to freshen up your strategy.
1. Learn to manage your time
Poker can be addictive – sometimes in a way that is fun, and sometimes in a way that can become draining and hard to shake off. The last thing that you want is to associate poker games with exhaustion and boredom: your mind needs to stay fresh and alert for every game. Learn to manage your time properly by creating a schedule and sticking to it. Interleave your poker games with periods of rest and relaxation, work and designated periods for pursuing other hobbies.
2. Get better at maths
You don’t need to solve the Riemann Hypothesis or become a genius at fluid mechanics, but it does help to brush up on your number crunching abilities. Being able to calculate the statistical possibility of a win with a given set of cards is a huge advantage in poker, as is the ability to guess your opponents’ hands by a process of elimination. Sudoko, mathematical brain teasers and getting into the habit of adding up numbers in your head instead of reaching for a calculator are all effective ways to train the mathematical part of your mind.
3. Get into a winning routine
Do you find that the household chores distract you when you have settled down to play poker? Do you end up feeling tired because you tend to play after a big Sunday lunch or late at night after work? It’s time to reshuffle your routine. Find the optimum time to play: a time when there are no distractions, no guilt from the idea that you should be doing other things (playing online poker secretly whilst at work can be a very bad idea), and no creeping tiredness.
4. Upgrade your tech
Does a slow internet connection make it hard for you to play live dealer poker, introducing annoying time lapses into the most tense and time pressured parts of the game? Do you wish you had a larger, high definition screen so that you could scrutinise other players’ faces more easily? It’s time to go tech shopping!
5. Stop being dependent on your phone
Are you the sort of person who will read a book with their smartphone in their hand, ready to drop that classic novel at a moment’s notice if your phone buzzes with an alert? Do you find it hard to switch your phone off at night? Smartphone dependency can distract us detrimentally no matter what we are doing, and it can really kill our concentration during a game of poker. Switch your phone off when you are playing, or physically place it in another room, and you will find it so much easier to focus on the game.
6. Practice controlling your emotions
‘Poker steam’ is the term used to describe the situation that an individual player can get into when they begin to lose and feelings of despair, rage or distress overwhelm them. Some very bad decisions are made as a result of poker steam, and though the best thing to do when you feel that pressure rising is to fold and step away from the table, very few players find that they can do so. Instead, they chase their losses with bigger and bigger sums, and lose a whole lot more than they should do. Avoid this issue by learning to control your emotions in all aspects of life. Meditate, take up martial arts or get into the habit of talking problems through with your partner or a trusted friend so that they do not explode onto the poker table – whatever works for you.
7. Watch experts play
Sit and watch a few poker guides or filmed tournaments on YouTube and see how the pros play. This will give you plenty of ideas for your next game, and no doubt you will be itching to try out all of the new techniques you have learned at your favourite online casino.