Everyone likes to play a bit of relaxed poker with friends, but some wish to go above and beyond. If you are a budding poker player, angling for a spot in a tournament and some big wins, then here are some important tips for you whilst you make that journey.
Learning the basics is, of course, a must. You should know all the different possible hands like, well, the back of your hand! Once you have mastered which hands are highest, it is then time to move forward and develop discipline and strategies in your game.
First though, we should break a few of those preconceptions. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a good idea to bluff all the time. Professional players only bluff on occasion and to do otherwise simply flags you as a newcomer. Being flagged as a newcomer is highly detrimental to your game, as the more experienced players will just use that to their advantage. Similarly, it is not advisable to play every hand just to stay in the game. Learn discipline and control; know when a starting hand is a poor one and fold. You will be able to stay in the game longer and this also gives you added time to observe other players and the table itself.
Focus is key, and to do this effectively you should not play in an emotional frame of mind. Do not play when angry, sad or drunk. This is particularly important if you are playing in a tournament as the games can go on for long periods of time. In conjunction with this, players should be mindful of their bankroll, only playing within their means.
Tournaments as a whole can be good learning grounds, simply because there are a lot of players. Observation of others is an excellent way to learn and will help player focus as well.