In contrast to most other types of games, poker is largely a game of strategy where you’re pitting your skills against those of the other players on your table. If you intend to do well then it is important that you hone certain skills so that you’re able to gain every advantage and come up on top the next time you play.
On the whole, there are four key skills that every poker player requires to win and they are:
Every good poker strategy relies on your ability to observe everything about your opponents. Not only should you be watching their reactions, but you should also be paying attention to their playing style and what they do when confronted with different situations. If you’re playing in a ‘live’ situation (or a poker room with a webcam) then the number of things that needs to be observed is even greater.
After you observe how players react and their style, you need to be able to remember and recall that information when it is needed. Although this may sound simple it is actually pretty difficult especially considering there are so many things to remember and on top of all that you’ll also have to be thinking about how you’re playing the game too.
No matter how you slice and dice it, poker is a game where you need to be fully aware of the odds at all time. The faster you’re able to calculate the right odds for your hands, the more time you’ll have to think about what sort of strategy you want to use – and also observe the other players too.
Everything that you learn by observing players needs to be analyzed – which is where psychology comes into play. More often than not what people refer to as ‘tells’ are really psychological reactions that players have – and you probably have some of your own too. Being able to analyze players and how they respond and react when put in different situations is key.
Make no mistake it is impossible to master all these areas overnight and it will take time for you to train yourself in each of these skills. As a starting point you could make a conscious effort to observe your opponents the next time they play and try to notice any ‘trends’ in terms of how they play certain hands, or when they are in certain positions.
At the same time you should also learn how to calculate the odds involved in your hands. It helps if you play more, and you may want to try out the online poker at Paddy Power to get a few more games under your belt and some real practice calculating odds. Just remember to take your time and don’t rush it. The more you play and try to develop your skills, the more you’ll start to see incremental improvements that slowly but surely add up.