Ever since you learned to play poker you've been playing for fun. Even when you logged in to the PokerStars site, you played for the enjoyment of it, with no money at stake. But now you feel you're ready to win big money by playing on the main site. What strategies should you keep in mind in order to win?
Well, you should understand the different types of play and when to use them. These are tight or loose play and aggressive or passive play. Tight players play fewer hands because they tend to fold when they have weaker hands; on the other hand, loose players play relatively more hands and continue with weaker hands rather than folding. Aggressive players bet and raise (increase the previous bet) often while passive players check (take no action) and call (match the past bet). Deciding which style of play to use is crucial in any winning poker strategy.
In general it is better to play aggressively than passively. When you bet or raise with strong hands you allow your opponent the opportunity to fold rather than get additional cards that might allow him to form a winning hand. It is also better to play a tight game since you will win more in the long run. But you should not stick to one playing style, since it would make you predictable, a habit which your opponents will certainly use against you.
You should also master guidelines for strong starting hands. The best hands are those involving pairs of aces, kings and queens. If you have these cards you already have a strong starting hand no matter what your position on the table. Pairs from jacks to eights are almost as desirable. The least desirable hands are those involving an ace and small card (twos through sevens) of the same suit, and so-called junk hands, which could involve, for instance, unpaired small cards.
Determining which starting hand to play is also determined by your table position. If you are first or one of the early players then you need to play only strong hands since you do not know how many players will raise (increase their bets) or re-raise. If you are last, on the other hand, then how the other players have acted will help decide your starting hand. If some players have already folded then you can play with weaker hands since it is illegally someone will re-raise their bets. But if some players have raised then you need to have a strong hand.
Apart from mastering starting hands, winning poker players also need to work on their middle and end game. For this, the player must master how to calculate pot odds (the ratio of the current pot versus the cost of a possible call) and compare them to card odds (how likely you are to draw a particular card that will give you a winning hand ). If the card odds are higher than the pot odds then you should call; if the reverse then you should fold.
Apart from the above essential skills, you also need to master others such as bluffing and recognizing opponents' betting patterns. All this sounds daunting but it is only by mastering these skill sets that you can consistently win money playing poker at the Pokerstars site.