You can maximize your poker income by following five important tips and making the right size bet at the right time! With the huge proliferation of poker games on TV, many players think the optimal thing to do is wait until they have a good hand, stand up, strike a pose, and say "I'm all in." That might be fun, but it's often the wrong move.Tip Number One: Bankroll Management
Tip number one is to manage your bankroll so you always have one! If you are new to the game, break your bankroll down into ten units. Never put more than one unit on the table at one time. Congratulations! Your element of ruin is now under 10 percent. Stick to this.
At the end of your session, recount your bankroll and divide by ten, and use one-tenth for your next buy-in. This is similar to the Kelly Criterion's ability to maximize your profits, and you'll keep from going broke, even if you don't win too many sessions.Tip Number Two: Estimate Your Chance of Winning
Learning to estimate your actual chances of winning a hand will help you decide whether to play in a certain game, and when playing, whether to bet and raise or to just call. Look at a certain table lineup of players and assess the other player's ability. Can you hold your own or beat half of the players? Did you watch what hands they call with? Are they tight or playing loose with any two starting cards in Texas Hold'em?
If the competition looks very weak, you might be willing to play a slightly higher limit or buy in for a little more than your usual 10 - percent. If you routinely play a $2-4 limit 7-card stud game and have a bankroll of $1000, your buy-in is going to be $100. But you might play some $3-6 or even $4-8 and buy-in for up to $200 if you know the competition is weak.Tip Number Three: Maximizing Your Bets
Playing fixed-limit poker forces you to bet a fixed amount. This limits your chances of stealing a pot with a bet, and increases your opponent's pot odds. For limit games you are going to have to show-down the best hand most of the time. Many times after the last card is out it makes sense to just check and hope you have the best hand, unless you know your opponent is aggressive and will take that as a sign of weakness. Then, you might check your better hands and let them bet - so you can raise. If the other players are likely to call and unlikely to bet, you are better off just checking a drawing hand instead of trying to narrow the field down with a bet.
No-limit Texas Hold'em is likely to offer the most chances to maximize your bets. And no, going all-in isn't always the best move.Pre-flop Betting
Aside from limping into a hand because of the pot odds (many players are already in the hand), your most important bet pre-flop depends on whether you want callers or not. What good is having pocket aces if you go all-in and nobody calls? With aces you want all the callers you can get. Your job is to bet an amount you think will get at least one caller if not more. Making a small bet will not maximize your income. Bet enough (perhaps 3x the big blind) that your opponents have to risk something, but not so much that nobody will call.
If you have a lower quality hand like AK or pocket jacks, you do want to narrow down the field. In these cases you still want action, but getting heads-up or going against two callers is best. Betting 4-5x the big blind may be best. Going all-in with a hand like this is likely to win you the blinds, or put you head-up against a better hand. Or, you'll be in a coin-flip situation for your whole stack. That is not what you want. Get all-in when you are likely to be a bigger favorite.Flop Betting
In most big games the maximum action comes on the flop. That's where you make the other players risk a substantial amount of their stack. Many players look at the flop and then make the same wager they made pre-flop. Unfortunately, a bet this small is likely to be called by any drawing hand because you are offering great odds to your opponents.Tip Number Four: Protecting Your Hand
If there are two cards to a flush or straight on the flop you need to protect your hand. Your opponents will call with a drawing hand if they get approximately 2-1 odds from the pot. If you are betting a pocket pair or a flopped over-pair, now is the time to get that big bet in. If your bet is less than the size of the pot, a caller will get odds good enough to call with a flush or straight draw. Protect your hand with a substantial bet.Turn Betting
By the turn you are likely to be up against just one opponent. If you still think you have the best hand, keep betting it. The odds of your opponent hitting a straight or flush on the last (river) card are about 5-1. You can safely bet half the pot now. If they want to try and beat you getting just 3-1 odds, so be it. If they were never going for the draw because they already have a pair/two pair/trips, you still made the right bet.Tip Number Five: Selling Your Hand
On the river, with no cards to come, you should have a pretty good idea about the strength of your hand, and your opponent's hand. If you started with pocket aces or an over pair and bet it all the way, you can still make a bet on the river. If your opponent has a decent hand, they will obviously call. If they missed their flush or draw but hit something, you probably still want a call. But how much to bet?
This is where the art of selling your hand comes into play. Bet too little (10 percent of the pot) and you'll probably get a caller, or a disaster, because an aggressive player may play back at you. If they raise the size of the pot, what do you do? You may have to toss your hand away.
If you bet too much (over half the pot) you are unlikely to get any callers. Nobody with a busted flush that hit a lower pair will call. Try and bet an amount that a player can't resist calling with, regardless of whether they started with a lower pocket pair and called all the way, or they hit a little something near the end. Your range should be 15 - 40 percent of the pot.
If you started with pocket aces and think your opponent started with pocket kings or queens, you might get a call for half of the pot. There is a better chance of this if there was a re-raise pre-flop.