Tips to Help You Win More Consistently at Live Poker
Jonathan Little released an article recently giving three tips for crushing live poker. Frankly, the tips were not really all that great and very basic. For most players, having the ability to win consistently in live poker is a more realistic goal than “crushing” live poker.
Today, we will give you some tips that will help you win more consistently in live poker games. You may not become a “poker pro” but you can give yourself a better chance of turning a steady profit.
Modify Your Style Based on Table Dynamics
You’ll see a lot of strategy suggesting that you try and establish a table image and try to use that to win. While that can work in a lot of cases, there are times where you will have to change your strategy to fit the dynamic of your table.
For example, if you are at a table with three or four hyper-aggressive players, a wiser strategy may be to play snugly. Let the aggressive players feed you chips when you have the goods. Adversely, if you’re at a table full of rocks, you might want to play a much looser style than you may normally. Become the hyper-aggressive nutjob that scoops up free chips whenever possible.
Finally, pay attention to the changing dynamics of the table. If you bust the hyper-aggressive players and are left with rocky players, you can then switch styles and take advantage of your opponents. Changing your style based on table dynamics will prove much more profitable in the long-term.
Play During the Most Profitable Times
One thing that Daniel Negreanu once said about grinding live poker is that you need to treat it like a job. Come to work during the times where you can win the most money. This means playing poker during hours where you have the best chance to turn a profit. For example, if your poker room is particularly busy on the weekends, that is when you play.
Some poker rooms are only busy after 5 pm. That means you should be coming over to play in the evenings as opposed to playing during the day with the regulars. Personally, I make notes about the best times to play at particular casinos.
When I traveled to Las Vegas regularly, I made notes about everything from the number of cash games to tournament field sizes. One particular casino I only played at on Friday and Saturday as their tourney fields almost tripled in size. I consistently made money there because there were a lot of recreational players giving away their money.
You don’t have to get as detailed as Daniel Negreanu or myself, but do make notes about when there’s more traffic and softer competition at your poker room. This will help you pick the best times to come out and take advantage of the soft competition.
Set a Stop Loss and Follow It
Part of winning consistently in live poker is knowing when to step away from a losing session. Part of bankroll management involves limiting your losses so that you don’t destroy your bankroll with a few bad sessions.
As such, you should consider setting a daily stop loss. This means that when you have reached a certain level in losses, you quit the game for the day. It doesn’t matter if the game is “really good” or if you think you have an edge. Variance can crush your roll and sometimes you are not playing as well as you think.
For NL Hold’em games, you are looking at somewhere around 3 to 5 buy-ins. For a $100 buy-in game, that would be $300 to $500. If you are playing limit poker games, your stop loss should be somewhere around 30 big bets.
If you hit the stop loss, quit playing for the day. Take some time to evaluate your play and be honest. Did you lose because your aces got cracked on the river 3 times in all-in pots or were you making bad moves that got snapped off? This evaluation can help you improve leaks and help you bounce back for the next session.