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How to become a better player in 5 Minutes. Part 2

Simple, but working tips, that move your game to another level

Today we will talk about playing strong hands, the right balance between learning and playing, river bets, and the best strategy for the early stages of the tournament

Play strong hands fast

Small pots are for the weak hands, middle are for the mediocre, and big are for the strong. So, if you have a good hand, don’t hesitate, bet. Sounds simple, but this is how it works.

Of course, not everything is as simple. Sometimes you have to play strong hands in a passive way. There are three reasons for it:

• Your hand is super strong and the chance that someone outdraws you is small;
• There are no scary cards, that may kill the action on latter streets;
• You put your opponent on a weak range with zero showdown value. It means you want your opponent to improve or try to bluff;

If you don’t know what to do, just bet strong hands and keep calm. An opponent may fold, but if he outdraws you is worse.

Don't slowplay strong hands

Playing should prevail over studying, but never stop studying

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You can't master poker without playing. Learning without practice is useless, but playing without learning doesn’t work as well.

Learning and playing go hand in hand. Without playing, you will lose the sense of the game, without studying, you will stop improving, and die fameless.

If you play a lot, most decisions become automatic. When you play less, even basic decisions take time. Difficult spots take even more time. They become a real pain in the arse. So, to stay sharp and keep trim, play regularly.
Always leave time for studying. Discuss hands with friends, break down your sessions with a coach, read poker articles, watch streams, and work with software. It is important because you have loops in fundamentals, automatic decisions may be also wrong.

Play, play, play, study, and then play again

Don’t «value-bluff»

If you don’t understand the true purpose of the bet, whether it is for bluff or value, don’t bet.
It is a classic beginner's mistake, but from time to time it leaks into the game of top players.
This is how it usually happens: villain checks on the river and the hero bets with medium-strength hand. What for?
Did the hero think about the structure of the board? What was the action on previous streets? What is the image of the opponent? Who cares. Check means weakness, so the hero is obliged to bet, but it's not always so.
Polarize your betting range on the river. The raise should be either for bluff or value. No something in between. If you have a medium-strength hand and is not quite sure, whether you ahead, just check behind.

You have no need to protect your equity because there are no more cards to come.

Keep river bet polarized

Bluff early

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The earlier the street, the closer are the equities of hands. So, the basic recommendation is to bluff heavy preflop, less on the flop and turn, and the least on the river.
Start building your river range on the flop. To make it optimal, bluff less on each progressive street. Balanced river range is important, because, the latter the street, the bigger the pot, and the bigger the pot, the higher the price of the mistake.

Early streets are for bluff, late are for value

Play early stages of the tournament, as it is a cash game

To sneak in the money, you need at the very least 3 starting stacks. Usually even more. You won't reach this point with defensive play. So, be aggressive, fight for the pots, apply pressure, don’t be afraid to gamble. A big stack in the early stages is a good basis for a deep run.

Change the gears, if you have a short-stack near the bubble, your main goal becomes survival. Now the defensive play is the best option.

Early stages of the tournament are not about survival

These tips work, you can use them as it does, but they just set a right vector of development. To use them at full pace, you need more advanced strategies. And «Academy of Poker» is ready to help. Sign up for our «Up The Game» Course, and get access to group training, three individual lessons with a professional coach, Holdem Manager Mastery, and bonus up to €30 from the poker room. The course costs €300, but we are ready to pay for you. Learn how it works now.

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