How to Improve Your Poker Game

Stay inside and learn a new skill, they say.

Poker is perfect for quarantine – as long as you are playing online or playing it safely within your social bubble.

It’s an indoor activity that can burn up hour after hour when you go on marathon sessions. So, it’s great for keeping your mind – and hands– occupied during this extended and for many of us, maddening lockdown.

But if you are just getting into Poker, what are some of the best ways to improve your skills?

The simple answer is practice. Like the old adage says, practice makes perfect. Sportsbook Review has an updated list of sites where you can practice your poker skills for free or low buy-ins. Live games against real players is the best way to hone your skills.

Tip No. 1: Fold … A lot

When you are first getting into the game of poker, it’s hard to refrain from jumping into the action. But restraint is your best friend in poker and the best way –for not only newer players but all players– to play longer and win more is to play fewer hands.

You might be reading this and thinking, ‘Ugh … but folding pre-flop is so boring …’ Well, you know what’s not boring? Winning. Stats for winning players (6Max TAG) show that they only add into the pot between 22 and 26 percent of hands. This means that they don’t play between 74 and 78 percent of hands dealt.

If you are playing a lot of hands it makes you the loose, aggressive player at the table and it gives your opponents a significant advantage over you; so don’t.

You might think. I have a suited Queen and 7 … Awesome! No, not awesome. Fold, preflop.

Here is a list of Suited Cards NOT to play in any position:

  • Q-7 through Q-2
  • J-6 through J-2
  • T-6 throughT-2
  • 9-5 through 9-2
  • 8-5 through 8-2
  • 7-4 through 7-2
  • 6-4 though 6-2
  • 4-3 and 4-2
  • 3-2

When you have suited cards and suited pairs, you have q lot of positional options. Low pairs, 4-4, 3-3, 2-2, should be played in late position only. 5-5 and 6-6 should be played in the middle position. Sevens and up can be played in any position.

When you have an ace, A-5 down to A-2 should only be played in late position. A-9 through A-6 can be played in middle position, and everything above can be played in any position on the table. With Kings, K-9 should be played in the middle. Anything below is a late position play and everything above is playable at any position. Q-9 and Q-8 are middle position plays and Q-J and Q-T can be played anytime.

Jacks – You should play J-8 in the middle position and J-7 late. Anything under is a pre-flop fold. J-9 and J-T are both playable early (any position). As for 10s, T-9 is early, T-8 is a middle position play, and T-7 is late. Everything under is a no play. With nines, suited 9-8 can be played in the middle, 9-7, and 9-6 can be played late. Everything else is a fold. 8-7 and 8-6 are late plays; fold anything below. 7-6 and 7-5 are late plays; fold everything below. 6-5 can be played late and 5-4 can be played late.

Here is a list of unsuited cards NOT to play in any position:

  • A-6 through A-2
  • K-8 through K-2
  • Q-8 through Q-2
  • J-7 though J-2
  • T-7 through T-2
  • 9-6 through 9-2
  • 8-6 though 8-2
  • 7-6 through 7-2
  • 6-5 through 6-2
  • 5-4, 5-3, 5-2
  • 4-3 and 4-2
  • 3-2

Early, middle and late positions for unsuited cards are fewer. For example, the only early (any position combos are A-K through A-T and K-Q, K-J. A-9 through A-7 are playable late position. K-T is a good middle position hand, while K-9 should be played late. Q-J and Q-T can be played in the middle and Q-9 late. J-T is the only to be played middle with J-9, and J-8 OK for late positions. 9-8, 9-7, and 8-7 can be played in late positions; fold on everything underneath them.