Developing a winning poker strategy

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Jeffrey | Poker Strategy

Poker is a game of both luck and skill. However, the most successful poker players do not rely solely on luck to attain their winnings over the long term. Developing an effective poker strategy based on practise, research and learning from your mistakes is essential for winning big in the long-run.

Your winning poker strategy should consider which poker variant you are playing, your playing style, which hands are best, and importantly – you must know when to raise and when to fold.

Let’s take a look at some key techniques that you should consider when developing your winning poker strategy:

Wrap around

In a game of Omaha you only get four starting cards, meaning that the average winning hand in Omaha is much stronger than it is in Texas Hold Em.

One thing to keep in mind when playing a game of Omaha is wrap hands. Wraps are hands that are straight and are wrapped around at both ends, these draws always have more than 8 outs. Examples of different wraps might be: starting hand 9 – 8 – 6 – 5, flop 7 – 4 or starting hand 10 – 9 – 6 – 5, flop 8 – 7.

Wrap around straight draws can have as many as 20 outs, making them powerful hands to have in Omaha games, particularly in a situation where a flush draw or backdoor flush draw can occur.

A strong starting hand

Don’t underestimate the importance of having a strong starting hand. Remember, big pocket pairs like K – K are much weaker in Omaha than they are in Texas Hold ‘Em,

Sometimes even professional players can become complacent with a pair of aces, but ideally these aces should be paired with other strong cards like A – A – K – K or A – A – J – 10. While many are reluctant to ever fold with a pair of aces in their hands, you should keep in mind that not all aces are equal. You should use your aces to try to aim for a straight or flush.

You need to stop limping pre-flop

Raising pre-flop is usually considered a better option than limping. While limping pre-flop should generally be avoided, the best poker players know that there are certain circumstances where it is ok, and even encouraged, to limp.

Know the difference between ‘open limping’ and ‘over limping’. With the open limp, there has been no previous action before it. An open limper can indicate weakness, in this position you should play as many hands as possible against them.

With over limping, there has been one or more limpers before us. Over limping can allow you to play profitability and without investing too much.

Bet sizing in no limit cash games

Knowing how much to place in a bet in ‘no limit’ cash games can be a challenge.

The first essential poker rule to understand for a beginner poker player is that your bet size should make sense and be reasonable to your opponents pre-flop, an odd sized bet can throw them off and you don’t want to make their decision too difficult pre-flop. The general amount to raise pre-flop is 2.5x BB.

However, post-flop feel free to raise a more unusual amount. The size of your bet will make an important statement to your opponents about how strong your hand is.

In a continuation bet you should put down between 50% and 70% of the pot size. Bet too high and you risk being committed to a hand that might lose, but bet too low and you will show weakness. This could lead to a re-raise later on.

Getting this right can take time. As you play more poker games and develop more experience, bet sizing will become familiar to you and you will feel more comfortable making bets of higher values.

Know when folding is your best option

While it may seem counterintuitive, folding is an essential aspect of your winning poker strategy. Knowing that you do not have a strong hand and need to fold can help to keep a healthy bankroll.

Having folded in the games you probably could not have won, you can take a more aggressive strategy in games where you have a stronger position.

Making folds at the correct time can save you money and make your poker playing much more profitable in the long-run. A good poker player always has long term gains in mind when planning out and executing their strategy.

Feeling ready to start piecing together your winning poker strategy?

Developing a winning poker strategy cannot be done overnight. Do your research online, play different games and make a note of what has gone well and where you have gone wrong. Over time you can reflect and refine your strategy and perfect your very own winning formula.

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