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 Learn poker in many ways besides mathematical analysis

The modern game of poker is strongly mathematical.  It is truly important to learn how to use poker math to win more money.  But there are many other elements that go into poker excellence.

What are the Top Ten Poker Tips that Don’t Involve Math?

We have spoken in previous articles about the advantages of playing poker online either as your primary poker playing venue or as a great way to gain the experience you’ll need to be successful in poker tournaments.

In this article, we’ll discuss the top ten ways you can improve your poker in addition to learning the mathematics of poker, learning to read tells and avoiding them yourselves, and other main strategies for achieving poker excellence.

Play on Mobile

The easy poker download to your sophisticated newer mobile device makes playing poker easy wherever you are.  You can play at online tournaments on your mobile device and save yourself the cost of travelling to a tournament.

Some players say that the convenience of playing on mobile actually sets their advancement back!  We, at Intertops Poker, believe that this is incorrect.  We feel that whenever you can enter a game online, you are becoming a better poker player. 

This leads to the next tip on our list.

Play in Friendly Games

The most common friendly game is one you play with friends.  You can have a great time playing at low stakes.  Playing in such a game relieves you of all the stress that naturally occurs when you play with strangers.

However, low stakes games with strangers are also friendly games in the context we are talking about here.  In a low stakes game, you won’t win much nor will you lose much so you can easily use the many hands you’ll see as a pure learning experience.

Watch everything without the concern about losing more than you would like to lose and you’ll be amazed at how much you can learn about poker.

You’ll learn how to better evaluate hands.  For example, in a higher stakes game with tougher opponents, you might muck as much as 70-80% of all hands.  In a low stakes friendly game, you can afford to play many hands that you would otherwise not play.  This gives you a great deal of experience seeing in real time how hands develop.

Most of the hands you would normally muck will become losing hands in the end but because the stakes are low you won’t lose much anyway.

Learn to Evaluate Hands Quickly

You need to learn to “see” hands from your first two cards to the hand after every subsequent street.  Understanding hands as the game goes along does not mean that you play quickly.  The next tip actually speaks about not playing quickly.

Here we are talking about evaluating hands.  You need to see a lot of hands in order to learn how to evaluate them quickly.  When it becomes natural to “see” an opponent’s possible hole cards, you will be a lot more advanced in your overall poker skill.

Learn to See Hand Ranges

This may seem obvious but many newer poker players plunge into the more difficult mathematical side of poker before they become good at simply seeing what their opponents might have.

Putting an opponent on a range has nothing specific to do with pot odds, expected value, and all of the rest of the modern, esoteric side of poker.  You need that too.  But first you need to imagine what an opponent might have.  Almost every decision follows from the range you put your opponents on.

Watch Poker on YouTube

The new online media are great for helping people improve their lives at little to no cost.  There are many sites and YouTube clips on every possible self-help idea.  Here we are talking about using YouTube as a free mentor for poker.

It might also be a valuable way to get better to work with a mentor who you will pay.  But if you just want to get better in order to play in average games and tournaments, the YouTube clips are great.

Watching YouTube is also connected to other tips we have already mentioned.  For example, at most YouTube clips, you see every player’s hole cards.  It’s a lot easier to follow the course of a hand when you know what everyone has.

However, there are some clips where you don’t see the players’ hole cards.  Think about how much more difficult it is for you to understand the hand as it progresses when you don’t see those vital hole cards.

Learn to Play at the Same Rate All the Time

We hinted at this earlier.  We said that it’s important to evaluate hands quickly but that doesn’t mean that you should paly quickly.  This tip says clearly that it is very important to always play in the same manner regardless of the strength or weakness of your hand.

This is possibly the hardest thing to learn.  It may be harder to learn than poker math!  The most natural thing to do when we get a card we really needed is to show some reaction.  This is a giveaway to every opponent who didn’t improve their hand to get out now.

Getting the card we need often makes us play faster.  This is another major tell to learn to avoid.  It takes time to learn how to play the same way all the time but it is the hallmark of the top pros.

Exercise

We learned this lesson from the top chess players.  The best players have personal trainers who help them stay strong.  Even though they are only sitting at the chess board, they are doing so for hours.  People get tired.  Daily exercise makes you constitutionally stronger and better suited to the physical rigors of tournament poker.

Eat Well

You are what you eat and poker players are no different in this regard than anyone else.  Too much junk food disturbs our inner workings.  The same holds for too much alcohol or sweets.

When it comes to eating for poker excellence, the old adage “Everything in moderation” can be reworked as “Everything in extreme moderation.”

Sleep Well

It is also vitally important to get enough sleep and to get the best sleep.  Some people actually have to learn how to sleep well.  You might need to get used to sleeping in a different position than the one you sleep in now.  You might need to set specific hours for sleeping.

Everyone knows that good sleep is important but most people don’t sleep well.  As a poker player, you need to sleep well even if it means unlearning old habits.

Read Books and Entries to Poker Forums

First, it is important to read books about poker.  Make sure that you don’t read just strategy books.  You can read poker-based pulp fiction, too.  You might read biographies or auto-biographies of poker players.

It is also important to read a wide range of books in other subjects.  Reading is the best way to become more rounded as a person and that will help you “see” the truth behind the facade of your opponents.

Finally, it is also important to read poker forums.  Even if you feel that most people who write on these forums don’t know what they are talking about, just that insight would put you on a higher level of poker skill.  As your skill gets better, you’ll see that even most contributions to forums are not valuable.

That knowledge will set apart the contributions that are valuable and these insights will make you an even better player!