The Importance of Poker Strategy When Learning How to Play Poker
"The difference between theory and practice is that in theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there inevitably is."
In my eyes, fundamental strategy is having a perfect defense! And is vital to focus on when learning how to play poker. It's easy to get caught in the mentality of seeking the holy grail of strategic concepts, so to speak. Itâ€™s thinking that if you just find this one thing you will win forever, when, in reality, winning poker is playing solid tight aggressive poker.
Now just to set the ground here so I do not have to repeat myself over and over. There are always exceptions in poker, as truly great players can always play more hands, but I am talking about what happens in most cases and what works in most cases. Sure, some great players can play a lot of hands but there are also great players who play from a tighter base style, and these players are not noticed as much since they aren't involved in big pots as much.
There are some differences between the two styles, and both take considerable skill. Playing tight and loose each have its advantages and disadvantages, and following are a few examples:
Advantages and Disadvantages of playing tight:
1 Consistently taking down small-to-medium sized pots, resulting in a lower variance win rate
2 Stealing less
3 Easier decisions
4 You can more easily recognize what people think of you
5 You tilt less because you have easier decisions
6 Will not be paid off by good players as often
7 You will be winning steadily if you play and adapt well
Advantages and Disadvantages of playing a looser style (assuming you are a winner):
1 You win more because you are involved more
2 Uneducated opponents may think you are a fish
3 When you hit a premium hand, you are much more likely to be paid off because of your crazy loose image
4 Higher variance style leads to wins and losses being larger
5 Can easily become a losing player if you slip
6 Stealing more: taking down a lot of those small pots
It is important to recognize that what good players do is mix up their play - so when I say that someone is playing from a tight base style or a loose base style, it means they are doing that the majority of the time. Of course the loose player will play tight some of the time and the tight player will play loose.
They are just taking advantage of their image, and I won't go into those topics right now, but I'll cover them in the later chapters which can be found for free on my site (Learn Poker With All Poker No Limits).
After years of playing, I've realized that playing a tight solid style is what is required if you want to learn poker the simple way, and you really do not have to play crazy. I've gone back and forth through styles, from Loose and Aggressive (LAG) to Tight and Aggressive (TAG), over and over, and every time I've thought that I've found the "perfect" style.
What I've come to realize is that, for me, a tight base style is what comes naturally. It is the style I feel most at home with, one I can maneuver well from and take advantage of my image.I'll say now that if you have strong fundamentals in poker, you will be a winner, and you could likely make a living off of it. I am not trying to say that itâ€™s easy, because it takes work like everything else you want to become good at. Patience and discipline go a long, long way in poker, as well as in life.
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About the Author: Henri Junttila is a Professional Poker Player and has been for over 3 years. He has made over $300,000 playing poker and it is his sole income. You may read more about him and his materials at Learn Poker With All Poker No Limits.