Exclusive poker strategies from professional poker players
Getting better with poker games now? Moving up the stake levels? Are you ready to face higher standards and levels of players? If you are going to play against experienced and professional players, then you should take your poker strategy to the next and more advanced level.
Learning advanced poker strategies will provide you with more weapons to use. At the same time, you will know what are the concepts and moves that your opponents are using against you. From here, you will be able to know how to deal with and counter their strategies.
In this article, we will go deeper into advanced poker strategies. Applied correctly, these advanced strategies for poker will make it evident that you are a player who knows what you’re doing and shouldn’t be taken lightly under any circumstances.
Let’s start by looking at some advanced poker concepts.
A blocker bet is a small bet — about 20 to 33 percent of the pot — that is intended to prevent your opponents from placing their own larger bet. It is hoped that by calling before raising on the pre-flop, your opponent will be uncertain about the strength of your hand. By placing a little stake, you can avoid having your opponent pressure you into playing a greater wager than you meant to, as well as extract some extra value from a player who has a weak hand but wouldn’t bet heavily.
A blocker bet is usually used when you do not want to risk a big bet on an average hand, such as in these situations:
- You do not have enough information to predict your opponent’s hand or future actions.
- You want to maintain a cautious stance.
- When you’ve been in the lead throughout the hand in a one-on-one pot and have a questionable holding as you approach the river. With a blocker bet, you can avoid being forced to make a large bet or fold.
- Once you’re in a decent draw, a blocker bet can confound your adversary and prevent you from being painted into a corner.
- To stop your opponent from betting on the river on the turn.
- You are going to the showdown but you are uncomfortable playing the hand with a large pot.
There are many other situations where you can use the blocker bet as a defensive strategy. Your goal is to make minimize the risk by controlling the pot size. Your opponent is free to place a sizable wager as a value bet, a bluff, or a semi-bluff if you check out of position. This bet, along with your disadvantageous position, is frequently enough to force you out of the hand. If they don’t have a monster hand, a small blocking bet will generally be sufficient to stop them from raising.
The Squeeze Play
Squeezing means to re-raise preflop after there has been a raise and one or more callers. It is called a squeeze because it’s done with the intention of “squeezing out” the caller/s from the pot. In other words, the idea of “squeezing” is to eliminate another player out of the pot after they’ve committed their chips.
So, when is the best time to squeeze? According to experienced or professional poker players, these might be the best time to squeeze:
- When the risk is worth it and you’re confident it will work. You’re putting a lot of chips on the table with a terrible hand
- When you have a tight image. The move won’t work if you can’t bluff a strong hand
- Late stages of a multi-table tournament. This is the best time to use the squeeze as the risks are too high in cash games and the early stages of a tourney
- When your opponents are neither experts nor beginners
- When the first player is open-raising with lots of hands
Generally, the players who frequently fold to a 3-bet are the best to squeeze, especially in a “bluff” situation. There is no point in bluffing an opponent who never folds to a 3-bet; instead, we should expand our value squeeze range to include hands like 88-KJ+ since these opponents are very simple to value bet against.
Players who tend to 4-bet are the ones we don’t want to squeeze; it is preferable to narrow our squeeze range when playing them, squeezing only our best holdings and calling with the bottom of our value range.
Small ball poker
Making the wrong decision like going all-in at the wrong time can cause you to lose the tournament in the blink of an eye. Some professional poker players prefer small pot, or ball, poker to increase their chip stack without risking any chances.
Small ball poker entails playing a wider range of starting hands more aggressively, but only using small bets and raises to prevent you from losing a lot of money when particular plays do not pan out.
The strategy of using small-ball poker can be very effective in the early stages of poker tournaments. This is because doing so will create a very loose table image for yourself. Hence, you will be more likely to get more action from opponents when you are holding a great hand. They might see you as a loose aggressive player. When they have this perception, they will think that you are trying to bluff them when you play aggressively.
Generally, playing small ball poker in the right way could help you win more money in the long run. This is because you are not frequently raising or betting when you don’t a strong hand. You only play aggressively when it is the right time to do so. Also, your opponents will be more likely to call you down with average hands because of the pattern you have played in previous hands.
Observe Which Player is Pot Committed
To be successful in a high-level poker table, you should learn how to observe, or at least be aware of your opponents’ chip stack. Then, you will find out whether they have become pot committed. Pot committed means that the player has committed a huge amount of his stack into the pot. If he is committed, the chances of him folding his cards are relatively low since he can’t afford to lose or would be left with a very low stack.
A short-stacked player is typically considered to be pot committed if he has bet more than half of his chips before the flop. The likelihood is that, if given the option, he will either raise before the flop or move all-in following the flop, whether or not he has hit his cards.
If you come across this situation, avoid bluffing because it is almost impossible to chase these players out of the pot. This is because they are not going to fold their cards and bluffing in this situation will be very meaningless to do so.
However, it might be a good sign that the player is betting with a weaker hand than normal. Because they have almost nothing to lose now, pot-committed players will not consider withdrawing from the hand, regardless of the strength of their hand. If you are confident that you are holding a stronger poker hand and have a larger chip stack, you may call and see how it goes.
Reacting to a Raise
If you play poker for long enough, you often notice that there are players who will raise behind you. Since you have been involved in the pot, it can be challenging to be clear about what you should respond with. The size of the raise and the current situations at the table will have a significant impact on your response.
However, there are no absolute rules on how to respond to a raise, but you can evaluate these questions before deciding your action:
- What is the strength of your hand? Are you holding a good or poor hand?
- How many players were in the pot when the raise came in? A raise against a single opponent demonstrates less strength than a raise in front of several opponents.
- What is the raiser’s level of aggression? Don’t just assume that an aggressive player is bluffing; remember that he may have a strong hand just as much as you. Instead, show more respect for a raise from a more conservative player than from an aggressive player.
- What is the condition of your stack? Are you short-stacked?
- After the flop, will you be in position against the raiser? If they are one of the blinds, you will be in a position to call with a slightly weaker hand after the flop.
It should be easier for you to decide how to respond to the call if you carefully consider the aforementioned questions.
If you win a pot before the showdown, you can choose to keep your cards unrevealed to your opponents or to show your hand before returning the cards to the deck. In the case of online poker games, you might find a button to reveal or show your cards after winning a pot by your opponent folding.
Many new poker players would like to show their hands and you can hardly see experienced players doing so. This is because your opponents can read your future actions with that particular hand or type of hand.
However, even if you are not going to show hands in your play, you need to understand that there are players who really like to do this — they see this as a part of their poker strategies. There are many reasons why a player would show your his hand, and we recommend you pay more attention to it so you can use it to predict his betting patterns and read his moves in future hands.
A player would show hands are most likely to temp you into tilt mode or get you to jump to the wrong conclusion in future hands. By showing hands, they are trying to make their moves unpredictable and hoping that you can’t tell whether they are bluffing with a poor hand or raising with a strong hand.
Aggression is one thing that all of these plays have in common. In fact, any advanced poker strategy will include this as a key element. Poker that is aggressive will win. Make it a habit to ask yourself: Can I bet/raise/reraise here whenever you’re in a hand. Although you don’t have to (and shouldn’t) do it every time, at least being aware of the possibility can help you spot a number of lucrative opportunities that you may have overlooked in the past.