The goal of every poker player is to keep improving, to create his own style and to beat players from all over the world to see who is the best. It is a long road; in fact, learning in poker never ends, and it is necessary to always remain open to new ideas, remain curious to keep learning and play to implement new ways to create new strategies to beat your opponents.

Let’s start with the simplest: a series of general guidelines that will allow you to lay the foundations of your style in an effective way. It is important to understand that professional poker players spend a good part of their time learning, so the first thing to do is to take the time to read, play and learn from the masters of poker. Your goal is far away, but the important thing is to take the first steps.

How to play poker like the pros: fundamental tips

Playing poker goes far beyond forming good hands or developing a particular aspect of gameplay. There is a whole ecosystem of aspects that, as a player, you must take care of. But let’s take it one step at a time. The most important thing is to lay the foundations to be able to develop new competencies and skills that will allow you to know not only how to play poker, but how to make poker your lifestyle.

Be disciplined

Learning to play poker requires concentration, discipline and dedication. Perhaps of these three aspects, discipline is the most important because it will ensure that you will be able to dedicate the necessary time to poker without compromising your interpersonal relationships or your leisure time. Remember that the mind has to rest and that, therefore, it must disconnect with activities that are pleasant and enjoyable.

No aspect of your family or emotional life should be neglected. Poker cannot compromise that. But neither should you let idleness prevent you from evolving as you should.

Work on your mental stamina

Poker has a brutal strategic component, and working the mind is a point that you should not underestimate. The pressure you are under can lead your opponents to have too many clues about you and your game, so you should train yourself to try to work on your body language.

With a strong mind you are more likely to be able to control your game, your body signals and your confidence. This is a crucial thing to assimilate, so don’t hesitate to train this aspect to become a professional player in the future.

Learn how to classify your opponents

This is basic. Even a beginner who has never had contact with poker before knows that it is necessary to classify the opponents to make a correct reading of the game. It’s one of the first things they teach you when you want to learn to play poker, but it’s something you should never stop working on.

The more you train and the more seasoned you are, the better readings you will make of your opponents, which will put you in a very interesting strategic position in every game. Professional players know that it is crucial to keep the instinct of reading body language alive, and that is why they never stop practicing and playing live poker.

Learn how to manage your bankroll

If you want to know how to play poker like a real pro, you should not neglect your bankroll. There are basic formulas to try to manage it according to the type of game. This is known as BRM, Bank Roll Management.

  • For cash games: 30 buy-ins are taken as a reference.
  • For SNG (Sit and Go) games: an amount not exceeding 30 buy-ins is also taken as a reference.
  • For multi-table tournaments, the reference figure is 100.

These numbers indicate what is the minimum desirable to make a correct management of the bankroll. But there are players who handle other numbers, and who apply 100 buy-ins for cash games and Sit and Go, and 500 buy-ins for MTT tournaments. It depends on who uses one scale or another to manage their bankroll. What is clear is that, in the end, numbers always rule in poker.

Use your hand history regularly

Without progress there is no paradise, and to progress you have to analyze your game. That is why having a hand history is essential to be able to measure and quantify your evolution throughout the games.

For any player, the hand history is an indispensable tool. But it is also essential for an intermediate player who wants to play like a real pro. Knowing where your weaknesses are is crucial to analyze your game, identify handicaps and train during sessions outside of competitions.

If you want to know more about how to learn to play poker like a pro, take a look at the second part of our guide, where you will find new tips to further advance your progression.

How to play poker like a pro – part II: advanced strategies