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Beating someone at poker feels great but there's a special feeling you can only get by crushing your friends at the weekly home game.
It takes years of hard work to beat the best poker players in the world but, luckily for you, we can teach you how to beat these guys in about five minutes.
Wherever you're playing in the world, if it's a low-stakes home game, chances are you'll be up against the exact same kinds of players.
From ultra-beginners who barely know the hand rankings to wannabe poker pros, we'll show you how to beat them all.
You can spot the ultra-beginner because they don't know how to handle cards or poker chips and they'll constantly be saying things like, “Does a straight beat a flush?” and “What are the chip denominations again?”
Ultra-beginners barely know the rules and generally have no idea what's going on at any point in the game.
Most ultra-beginners just want to play some hands and will often call bets on every street regardless of how good or bad their cards are.
Never bluff a pre-beginner. Instead, your best strategy is to try to make top pair or better and value bet it hard.
Beginners have played a few home games but haven't figured out any strategy beyond the strength of their own two cards.
Chances are they've watched some poker on TV and talk about things like “Pot Odds”, even though they have no idea what it really means.
If they show strength, they have a strong hand. If they show weakness, they have a weak hand. Against beginners the best strategy is to steamroll them with constant aggression.
Since you miss two thirds of the flops you see, beginners will be leaving tons of chips on the table by calling too loose preflop and folding too much after the flop.
Just remember, if a beginner starts playing back at you it's a clear signal they have a big hand.
Intermediate players have been playing for a couple years and they've spent some time studying poker strategy and reading about the poker world.
You can spot them because they'll mention nerdy poker stuff you've never heard of like “Two Plus Two” and “Doyle Brunson's Super System”.
Most intermediate players will use a tight-aggressive strategy which means they'll still be folding a lot of hands.
Put pressure on them and force them to fold. If they play back at you ditch your weak hands and try to get lots of value when you have a monster.
Every home game has at least one player who's sure he's on the way to becoming a poker pro. He wears a hoody, sunglasses and headphones, constantly shuffles poker chips and is always talking about things like “Running it twice” even though it's a low-stakes cash game.
Chances are the wanna-be pro is one of the best players in the game but he does have weaknesses.
Number 1: he thinks he can outplay everyone all the time and will always take opportunities to make big bluffs. And number 2: he can't stand the idea of losing to anyone.
Play aggressively against him and try to make him fold when you have bad hands. When you make a big hand, give him the opportunity to bluff by playing more passively.
The maniac will probably show up halfway through the game, usually drunk.
You can spot the maniac because they play every hand and their vocabulary consists of only three words: “Bet”, “Raise”, and “All-In”.
Playing against a maniac is pretty straightforward. Just wait until you have a big hand. The maniac is unable to pass up a bluffing opportunity and will do the betting and raising for you. Deep down, the maniac doesn't care if he wins or loses. All he wants is action.
Keep an eye out for these common player types at your next home game and remember the key strategies. Your friends won't know what hit 'em.
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