Tips for Winning More at Home Poker Games
For many of us, home game poker is about as far as we will ever get in our “poker careers.” Home games are the most common form of poker played around the world and where many of us cut our teeth on the game.
Home game poker is a bit different than standard live poker and there are a few adjustments you can make to improve your win rate. Here are a few tips to help you win more at home games.
Don’t Be Afraid to Tighten Up
If you are used to playing in live poker tournaments or cash games, you may be against tight play. Generally, a tight style of play is somewhat exploitable at the poker tables. However, you’ll come to find that many home games will have players that will still give you action if you tighten up.
We aren’t advocating that you play a “Top 10 Hands” style of poker, but you also don’t have to play a crazy loose-aggressive strategy either. Don’t be afraid to play at the tighter end of your standard range. This holds especially true if you are playing against a loose table.
For example, I’ve played in many games where it was not uncommon for 3+ players to see a flop. Loose games like these are good games to tighten up and take advantage of their loose style of play.
Don’t Assume They Are Playing at a High Level
Overthinking a hand in a home game setting is going to cost you chips. There are a lot of times where your players will be making sub-par moves in situations where good players have you beat. For example, if you are playing a set on a board that may have completed a flush on the river, don’t assume a bet from your opponent means a flush.
It is possible they are betting a hand such as two pair or they are making what they feel is a well-timed bluff. After some time, you will be able to tell the players that make these types of moves and will be able to take advantage of them.
When you are unsure of what a player’s motives are, err on the side of calling. If they are a player that’s capable of making a high-level play, you know what to look for in the future. Otherwise, you will take down the pot.
Players Will Bluff More
Home game players love to bluff. That’s something you will be able to take advantage of during games. When you’re in situations where a player either has it or is bluffing, you should lean more towards a bluff until you know their style of play.
The best way to determine this is to look for the players that are regularly showing off a bluff or that are constantly talking up their hands. These players are itching to piss someone off by showing a bluff and you can tend to call more often against these players.
Stay Away From Wild Card Games
If you are playing at a home poker game with the intention of turning a profit, stay away from any proposed wild card games. These games are usually played with the intention of generating action and you are going to experience some wild swings.
There are only two cases where we advocate playing wild card games. The first is if the games are very low stakes and you’re just playing for a good time. For example, if the most you’re going to lose in a night is $20, then playing wild card games are not going to be a big deal. You’re playing for a good time rather than a profit.
The other case is when you are playing a wild card game where tight play can be highly profitable. For example, draw games where you have multiple wild cards or crazy games like Iron Cross poker can present mega profit situations.
For example, if you play Iron Cross with wild cards, you basically can sit back until you are dealt a hand with multiple wild cards. In this game, the center card is also wild. You will have no worse than four of a kind from the start and will generally end up with five of a kind. One or two pots like this in a wild card game can pretty much lock up a profit for the night.