When you first start playing poker seriously you begin in the micros. It is hard to beat the micro limits because the rake is so high as compared to the size of the pot. Rake caps out at $3 at most poker rooms and isn’t bad once you are playing the high micros and medium stakes games. You need to have the ability to play completely straightforward poker. This is the only way to do so and you have to ride out the variance.
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When you first start you want to play the strongest hands possible and work your way into playing the weaker more marginal hands. The better you are the more hands you will know how to play profitably. Playing tight means you are playing only the strongest of hands, which are the easiest to play. Once you learn how to play these strong hands in a straightforward manner you will be ready to open your range a bit.
You want to focus on playing these hands straightforward like stated above. You don’t need to get tricky when you have a great hand and try to slow play. You need to just bet with your good hands and fold your bad hands. With pocket pairs you can play from any position as long as you are getting at least 16-1 on your money against your opponent and if you think they actually have a strong hand where if it hits they will get it all in. You want to avoid playing pocket pairs against short stakes. You won’t win enough when you hit to account for the amount of times you won’t make a set.
It might seem kind of repetitive when you hear coaches and pros talking about playing aggressively, but it is because it is so important. Even if you think you have the mind frame of playing aggressively you need to constantly analyze your play to make sure you are completely taking advantage of being the aggressor as often as possible.
When you have a strong hand preflop bet or raise with it. When you make a strong hand you should bet with it. When you miss the flop continuation bet if it is not too draw heavy and if not then fold your hand. You should just play completely straightforward poker. There are so many loose maniacs and morons at the tables your best tactic is to just bet with good hands and fold with bad ones.
There are far too many calling stations in the micros. Bluffing very rarely works and it isn’t a profitable play to make for the most part. There are tons of players who get carried away with continuation bets getting called. They think that they have to keep betting at it since they already started. If you miss with a continuation bet let the hand go. Once in a while double barrel if a good card comes on the turn, but try to avoid getting caught in hands due to a continuation bet getting called.