How do the Professionals turn a Profit Consistently?
With the advent of online poker and it’s ever increasing popularity it is becoming harder to consistently turn a profit when your hand is not the best one. No longer can you play extremely tight poker safely folding any sub standard hands and keep the bankroll in profit and bullying the weak fish.
Playing No Limit Texas Hold’em poker with a hand you know is not the best on the board has it’s pitfalls as you can imagine, however it’s often a necessity in todays ever changing game and all round tougher poker environment. Even cash games as low as NL50 are tough to beat these days.
You are leaving yourself open to chance and gambling that your opponent does not have you beat hands down. But always fortune favours the brave, at least that’s what they say. The key to beating tougher poker games is to concentrate on what your opponent is likely not to have rather than what they likely have.
Knowing how your opponents play various hands and how they bet is a critical factor. Watch for how often they check with specific cards on various types of boards, if they fold easily, how aggressive their playing style is and how often they make continuation bets are just a few pointers to look out for.
You can often easily deduce when you are up against a strong holding. If your opponent always checks when they have nothing or only bets top pair hands or better when the flop shows for example Jc-7d-3s then this is an easy opponent to play against. You will know if they bet, they are likely holding top pair or better and base your decision accordingly.
As a rule of thumb you should give great consideration to calling with a weak second pair hand or worse if you strongly suspect that your opponent has a polarised range. This means a range of hands that are polarised between bluffs and strong hands with nothing inbetween.
When playing for profit it’s always worth remembering there is value to be had by playing hands less than top pair. Get to know your opponents playing style, their betting patterns and how easily they fold. A large majority of players will stay in the pot until the turn card and then fold at the slightest sight of a raise or a further barrel. Don’t just call for the sake of it but weigh up the options against the likelihood of your opponent calling your bluff.