All poker professionals know and understand that progression play is a key weapon in becoming a successful player. Any time you can remove yourself from a hand, the opportunity to extract more chips from your opponent is greatly reduced.
If I were to write a post titled “The Right Way to Tip the Odds in Your Favor,” it would be very short. But, because I reveal a lot of mistakes and Texas holdem mistakes in my free poker e-book, I feel the need to clarify.
There are, in fact, three very important reasons to never tip the odds in your favor.
- The fact is, poker is a game of math. Even, more than other games such as blackjack, there is a correct or correct way to play a hand. Poker, specifically Texas Holdem, is the only game where you can determine the mathematical answer for any given hand.
- The fact is, in-depth knowledge of pre-flop hand selection, in addition to understanding the game itself, is fundamental to becoming an advanced player. In other words, if you can’t play pocket aces perfectly, you can’t win at Texas Holdem, particularly tournament poker.
- The fact is, you will lose more often than you will win if you tip the odds in your favor. Whereas, although you may lose less, when you win, you will win bigger pots.
Noticing these three things, it becomes easier to avoid making mistakes, as well as to recognize when you are likely to make a mistake.
And, the easiest way to make sure you are creating positive EV situations for yourself, is to make sure you are creating a positive EV situation for yourself. Whether it is by utilizing position, pot size, starting hands, or raising or re-raising the pre-flop, you can ensure that everyone at the table receives a positive EV for their hand.
Often times, it’s enough just to realize that your hand has a better than 50% chance of winning, and to realize that your opponents are actually less than 50% likely to have a better hand than you. It’s often enough to fire out a bet that will get a few calls in your favor. In those instances, you can then sit back and wait for more opportunities to capitalize on your hand.
The fact of the matter is that while hand-ranked hands may be more visible, the chances of making a good decision increase if you consider the pot odds, as well as your opponent’s hand ranks, in addition to understanding the math of the game.
However, most players, including myself, tend to focus most of our thought processes on evaluating our hands, rather than evaluating our opponents. You can expect that I have had many discussions with friends who are really good in No Limit Hold’em, and they, more often than not, are very honest with me about their thought processes. Most of them are even willing to share, and you may even learn from them. However, with all that said, there are some things that I simply cannot discuss in detail, due to the fact that I am sure that you can surmise my thought process into complete nonsense, after a few beers.
If those two considerations combined to tell you that you absolutely have to play Limit Hold’em for your dewalive career, then you have my blessing. You can do a lot of things in your life, and I hope that you choose to do all of them in poker, one at a time. Because it is simply the best game on the planet.