Advanced Poker Strategy – Poker Strategy for Advanced Players
A look at some of the more advanced strategies that professional poker players are using.
Hang on the rail
Once you have mastered the basics of Texas Hold'em, and have spent some time playing at low stakes tables, it's time to start being aware of how the professional players act. By "professional players", we're referring to people who routinely play at no limit tables with starting blinds higher than $1,500. Specifically, people who think nothing of pushing the betting up to $100,000 and beyond.
Most of the better online poker sites have no problem with railbirds - people who are only there to watch. You can learn a huge amount of advanced poker strategy from watching the professionals in action, so it's a good idea to indulge in some watching when the opportunity arises.
But don't just watch. Try and understand why the various players are making the moves that they are making. Try and work out the psychology behind their actions. If you think you've understood something fundamental about how they play, try the strategy out in your own games.
Never give the game away
One typically successful strategy that a lot of professionals use is to under bet a powerful hand. Let's say, for example, that you were dealt a pair of aces in the hole. Your initial instinct might be to raise up heavily pre-flop.
This is not necessarily the wrong move, and we'll have to leave it to you to gauge the temperature of the table, but this is a very strong hand, particularly if you land another ace on the flop. Why not limp in instead?
What this does, is it gives the other players the impression that you may or may not have something, but that you'd like to see the flop before deciding either away - which is not an uncommon occurrence in high stakes poker.
When the flop comes down, you merely check, creating an opportunity for another player to start off the betting with confidence. You see, many players will raise up on the flop even if they don't have anything, in order to give the impression that they do. This scares off players who genuinely don't have anything, and allows the person who raised to steal the blinds.
When they raise, you think for a while, and reluctantly call. In all likelihood, they will check on the Turn. This tells you straight away that they probably didn't have anything to begin with. Now, you could raise up at this point and cause them to fold, but if you are genuinely holding the nuts, it's more profitable to let them get the impression they might still be able to bluff you.
When the river card comes, you can test this. If they raise on the river, raise back. Chances are, they will fold out at this point, giving you the pot. If they call, your strong hand beats them anyway.
Alternatively, they might check on the river. Throw in a raise at this point - if they fold out, they were bluffing from the beginning, and if they call, you still win, and you might get to see the cards, which will tell you something extra about how they play.