If you're planning on becoming a regular in a Home Games poker club, you're going to want to brush up on your strategy basics. Overall, playing in a Home Games club should make winning easier for you; you'll be up against the same pool of up to 50 players every time you play. That means you can get to know your opponents very well and thus play optimally against them.
In a given game, there are four basic factors you'll want to consider when deciding on how to play. They are:
• Your opponents' skill level and tendencies
• Your cards
• Game structure
• Your image
Let's look more deeply at each factor.
A Home Games poker club can have up to 50 members. That's great for you, because it gives you the opportunity to pay very close attention to a small number of players.
Getting solid reads on your opponents will be your bread and butter in Home Games clubs. As you get to know each player's unique tendencies, you'll be able to make better decisions in hands.
If you don't already, you'll want to start keeping notes on every player you come across. Whenever you notice an opponent to something quirky or interesting, write it down. Eventually, you'll be able to categorize each player in your Home Games club according to the style in which he plays.
You might want to categorize each player in your club according to their basic playing style. Loose/passive players might be labelled calling stations, tight/aggressive players might be labelled TAGs, and so on. Write down the label you ascribe to each player in his respective notes box on the PokerStars client. Eventually, you'll have each player categorized; every time you're in a pot with a player, you'll know exactly how to exploit his style.
Of course, you'll need to pay attention to the hands you're playing. This is pretty basic, but it still needs to be mentioned. Make sure you have a solid grasp on preflop concepts before you sit in for a poker club game. Having solid fundamentals will make playing a profitable strategy immensely easier.
It's especially important to know the hand values in whatever game you're playing. Since Home Games clubs can spread many different types of poker--Omaha, Stud, and Draw for example--you might find yourself having to play an unfamiliar game. You'll want to take 5 or 10 minutes before the game starts to read up on hand values, since they differ from game to game.
You shouldn't pay too much attention to the cards you're dealt, since your hand is less important than what you think your opponent has in a given battle. But if you don't have an idea of what hands are worth, then you'll end up caught in bluffs 90% of the time. That's a great way to lose lots of money!
Lots of players assume that poker strategy is the same whether you're playing a tournament or a cash game. That's completely incorrect. If you play a cash game strategy in a Home Games tournament, or vice-versa, you'll quickly find that you lose very often.
Adjust your strategy to the type of game you're playing. In cash games, you'll want to play a tight and aggressive game throughout. Avoid limping preflop and bet when you perceive your opponents to be weak. Remember that you can play much looser in late position, and that you should tighten up in early position.
In tournaments, your strategy should depend largely on your stack size in relation to the blinds. When your stack-to-blinds ratio is large, it's correct to play tight. When your stack-to-blinds ratio is small, it's correct to loosen up.
For example, if the blinds in a Home Games tournament are 100/200 and your stack is 800, you should play very loose--shove whenever you've got a decent hand. Your stack-to-blinds ratio is less than 3, so you don't have any room to maneuver. If your stack were 6000, you'd be able to play much tighter; when stacks are deeper, there is less urgency to win chips.
Obviously both cash game strategy and tournament strategy are huge topics that we could investigate for hours. But for now, suffice it to say that you should adjust your strategy in accordance with the structure of whatever game you're playing.
I mentioned earlier that Home Games are great because you're playing against the same 50 players all the time. That's true, but it's not only because you can get reads on them; it's just as much because you can manipulate your table image to make others pay you off.
Since even your worst opponent will have some idea of how you play, your image matters a lot. If a player perceives you to be loose and aggressive, he might be more willing to bluff you out of pots postflop. If a player perceives you to be tight and nitty, you will have trouble getting action with your monster hands.
Thus you want to play in such a way as to constantly keep opponents guessing. If an opponent can't figure out what your tendencies are, he will never be able to exploit your play in any meaningful way.
Crafting an unpredictable image is mainly a matter of mixing up your play. You'll want to stick to a solid strategy, to be sure; but you'll also want to deviate from what you'd normally do against players who expect the opposite. Check a flop occasionally when you hit a monster hand; double-barrel a dry board that your opponent wouldn't expect you to hit; fold the button three orbits in a row. The idea is to always keep your opponents in the dark, so that they are unable to figure out your game.
Gambling is not legal in every country and jurisdiction. The information provided at PlayPokerOnline.net is for entertainment only. Please check your local laws for information as to the legality of gambling. For those of you who can play, we hope you've found what you're looking for.
Copyright PlayPokerOnline.net © 2012 All Rights Reserved