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Even if you learn a ton of poker strategy, it's not going to pay off unless you pay attention to your opponents and what's happening at the poker table. In the latest episode of our beginner poker strategy video series How Not to Suck at Poker, we teach you exactly how to pay attention at the poker table to make more money. Pay Attention to Every Hand This is a tip that every poker player has heard but many fail to put into practice. Every hand that plays out at your table is a chance for you to learn something about your opponents. That means that even if you fold, you need to watch and take note of how the people still in the hand are playing. Pay attention to how often players are raising before the flop and from what position. And if their preflop raise gets called, how often are they continuation betting on the flop? Do they like to play their draws fast by betting and raising, or are they just calling and shutting down when they miss? The second you sit down at the poker table you should be watching every other player in the game and profiling them as tight, loose, aggressive or passive. Most players are a combination of more than one style so make sure to pay close attention. Identify the Weak Spots To win at poker you don't have to be best in the world, you just have to better than your opponents. The same thing goes for your table. You don't have to be better than everyone, but if you're the worst player at the table you're going to lose. Most of your profits will come from the worst couple players at the table so you have to be able to identify the weak spots and focus on playing as many pots against them as possible. You also have to be honest with yourself and be able to see when you're the weak spot at the table. Don't let your ego get in the way. Just pick up your chips and find a game where you're not the mark.
Learning good fundamentals is really important if you want to become a winning poker play. But no matter how much poker strategy you learn, it's not going to pay off unless you pay attention at the poker table. Poker is all about information and adapting to the players you're up against. That's why the more you pay attention and the more you learn about your opponents, the more money you're going to make. This is a tip that every poker player has heard but many fail to put into practice. Every hand that plays out at your table is a chance to learn something about your opponents. That's why even when you fold, it's really important to pay attention to the players still in the hand. Pay attention to how often your opponents are raising and from what position. And when their pre-flop raises get called, how often are they continuation betting on the flop? Do they like to play their draws fast, by betting and raising, or do they just call and shut down when they miss? The second you sit down at the poker table, you should start profiling your opponents as tight, loose, aggressive, or passive. And remember, most players are a combination of more than one style, so make sure to pay close attention. To win at poker you don't need to be the best player in the world, but you do need to be better than your opponents. And the same thing goes for your table. You don't have to be better than everybody, but if you're the worst player at the table, you're going to lose. Most of your profit will come from the worst couple players at the table, so it's really important to be able to identify the weak spots and play as many pots as possible against them. You also have to be honest with yourself and be able to see when you're the weakest spot at the table. Don't let your ego get in the way, just pick up your chips and find a game where you're not the mark. There's plenty of information to be had beyond just how your opponents are playing their hands, and by paying attention it can really help you out when you're faced with tough decisions. For example, if someone shows up and makes a big show of buying-in for the maximum and is talking really loud and trying to attract a lot of attention, chances are they're going to have a loose, aggressive poker style as well. And the same is usually true if someone's really cautious about buying-in and acts timid and uncomfortable at the table. By talking to the other players at the table, you can find out how experienced they are and whether they're playing just to have fun or if they're really trying to make money. All this stuff is going to affect how you should play against them. For example, if you're considering pulling a big bluff, it's really important to know whether your opponent even cares about losing the money. If you're playing against some sort of a big shot, who's obviously there just to have fun and can easily afford to lose the money, you should be much more cautious about bluffing and focus more on getting big value out of your big hands. On the other hand, if you know the buy-in represents a lot of money to your opponent, you can feel a lot more comfortable bluffing since they're going to be folding a ton of marginal hands to protect their stack. There's an old saying in poker, you play the opponent, not the cards and it's so true. There are tons of situations in poker where you can win money regardless of the cards you're holding, but you absolutely need to know your opponent to make it happen. In the next episode of How Not to Suck at Poker, we'll teach you how to never go broke by always keeping a proper poker bankroll.