Improving your playing skills will definitely help increase your poker profits, but so will choosing the right free poker games to play. There is an old poker story about a professional who was the 6th best player in the world, but he never made a dime. The reason for this was because he would only play against the top 5 players in the world. The moral of the story is that you make money when you have a clear advantage over your opponent.
Don’t be overconfident:
We all want to be poker players at the table and always want to play our best. However, unless your name is Phil Ivey, you probably won’t have an edge over every opponent in every game. Remember, even the best players around the world play below their level because it gives them a higher chance of winning and is more profitable.
No matter what type of game you play, whether it’s at a live table or playing other players online, don’t try to head for a table with players much better than you. You will just waste your money.
I remember one time when I played for a few hours a game of $1/2 no-limit hold’em at a small casino in Palm Springs, California. I almost doubled my bankroll without winning a single big pot. The players are passive and loose, and I hit them by putting pressure on them with big bets and getting paid for pretty strong hands. I know that I picked the right table.
I also remember one time when I played five hours in a $1/2 no-limit hold’em game at a five-star hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. I’m barely even. The players were tight and aggressive and played back at me when I tried to make a move on them. I found out afterwards that I picked the wrong table.
What types of games to look for:
The first thing to remember is your bankroll. If you can’t afford to play $5/10 live or $50/1 online then you shouldn’t be. You should go down to a more affordable level or head for free poker games.
As much as you like to think you’re the best player in the world, that’s impossible, so you need to think about your skill level and stick to a table level where you realistically know you have a chance of winning.
After being brutally honest with yourself about your bankroll and skill level, you then need to think about the table you want to sit at. Look for a table where your potential opponent is playing loose and weak. Beware of mistakes. A loose play will allow you to win big pots as players will call you with weak hands, and passive play gives you the opportunity to hit your draw cheaply and bluff your opponents.
You’ll never be lucky enough to always find a loose table. However, you should still be able to get a pretty good idea if the table can be beaten by watching the previous players. It’s great to be a good player, but being a money-making player requires skill in choosing a good game.
So whether it’s paid games or free poker, live games or online games, brutal observation and honesty is what will make you profitable in the long run.