4 basic poker concepts that need to be mastered

Mathematics

  • A good poker player will know their odds of making certain hands. This player will know that he will hit a set when holding pocket pairs about 1 in 8.5 times, and he will know that he will complete his flopped flush draw by the river 1 in every 3 times.
  • A good poker player will always be aware of his outs and is constantly working out what he needs to make his hand. Outs are the number of cards left in the deck that will improve your hand. You can times the outs by 2 and this will give you a rough estimate of your chance of hitting on the next card.
  • A good poker player will figure out his pot odds. Taking your remaining outs and calculating it into a meaningful process i.e.: I have a 36% chance of making my flush.
  • Understanding these concepts only takes the most basic of mathematic skills and it will improve your game considerably, so it is worth taking the time to learn the concepts.

poker concepts

Discipline

  • A good poker player is always looking to be better than the next poker player and expects to win on a regular basis. A good poker player does not play poker to try and get lucky hands; he only hopes that other poker players do not get lucky.
  • A good poker player knows when to fold a hand and when to continue playing. He can adjust his game to the style of the game and is fully aware of when he is on tilt and when a game is just too good to leave.
  • A good disciplined poker player will makes mistakes, but he will learn from these mistakes. He will not scream and cry and blame the other players, he will simply learn from the situation and move on.

Psychology

A good poker player will always try and put himself into his opponents head and understand how his opponent is thinking. He will try and understand why his opponent has made the moves he has and to what end. You should always ask yourself these three questions:

  • 1. What does my opponent have?
  • 2. What does my opponent think I have?
  • 3. What does my opponent think I think he has?

Now knowing the answers to these questions is very important, but what you must realize as a budding pro is that you need to manipulate the answers to the questions for the sake of your opponents. You do this by slow playing, fast playing and bluffing in order to throw your opponent off your trail.

Risk vs. Reward

  • A good poker player will know that he can be far more liberal with his stack at the table than his overall bankroll, as this player would not risk his entire bankroll.
  • Using pot odds to calculate your risk vs. reward is essential
  • Valuing what you have at the table with regards to your chips, and not squandering them away at any time, and only being concerned with making correct well understood plays.
  • Never play with scared money like your rent money or sit at a limit that is way beyond your depth even if the money looks great. Always be tight with your overall bankroll and don’t risk losing it all in one go.
  • And always remember to leave yourself a bankroll to fight another day…