Everyone likes to think of themselves as a poker shark, but it takes true commitment to gain that level of play.
Most players are just little fishes, which one are you?
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What is a shark?
A poker shark is someone who not only understands the risks and ratios of combinations, but a person who can quickly study their opponents and detect the patterns and physical tells that they have.
They are in the game to win the war, and not the small skirmishes.
A shark will fold on a good hand with a short stack early in the game because they don’t have a monster hand that will guarantee their survival.
They will wait, circle and let time pass by until it is the right time to strike.
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What is a fish?
A fish isn’t just a beginner, it’s an amateur player.
Amateurs can sometimes be people who have played poker on a weekly basis for a decade or more.
You can spot amateurs because they immediately communicate their style and strategy. It isn’t that you have to learn their tells, they are an open book.
They also approach the game as if it is based more on luck, than skill. They wait for a perfect hand to be delivered to them.
Their betting style has one of three possibilities – all-in as a bluff, all-in with a monster, or a small conservative bet to just stay in the running.
How to change species
To change you have to play, and read, and talk and study.
Poker is not a game of chance, it is a game of skill, strategy, and style.
When you first start – you have none of those three elements. If Texas Hold’em is your game, go play others.
The best thing you can do is to get a wide variety of experience with different games under your belt. You also want to get as exposed to other players as possible.
Reading about poker is not to be underestimated. There are a lot of professional players that write about the game and with good reason.
We learn from doing, but we know what to do because we have been taught where to look for what we need to learn.
Learning when to be what
One of the oldest sayings is that there is a “time and a place for everything”, and nowhere does that hold truer than at the table.
While you don’t want to get a reputation for coming in and playing the fish when you are a well-known shark, not all sharks are biting and attacking all the time.
Sometimes sharks swim peacefully and behave more like fish.
This is how you can study your opponents, learn the tells and formulate your own strategy. The worst thing you can do as a player is to develop a set “style” that makes you predictable.
Shake it up throughout the game and swim with the little fishes mid-stride to through off the confidence of those who think they have you figured out.
Have a Strategy
To play, you must have a new or modified strategy, as playing without a game plan or a strategy is just like going to fish without a net.
A player with a strategy at hand can use it anytime when he needs it. Also, having a strategy is not enough; you should create a custom strategy instead of making use of the standard ones already developed by famous players.
When modifying or developing your strategies, it is necessary to consider your strengths and weaknesses, as those give you the most ideal and compatible poker strategy.
Being a shark on the poker table requires being able to detect the poker strategies of your opponents, and grouping the opponents into their corresponding classes. For instance, controlling, trickster, erratic and wild players have their own different strategies and beating them can be difficult for certain reasons.
A controller is a player who is aggressive, and always intimidates his opponents, showing no mercy while maintaining control on the table.
The trickster and wild strategies are not too different from each other, both always calling or raising when they have nothing and do not often show bad hands.
It is difficult to predict erratic players because they are always using different styles. Being an erratic player could contribute greatly to your success at the table.
Online Poker is Different
Winning a poker tournament in Las Vegas does not mean you would win online. The reason is that online poker has its own techniques because of the advancement in the way online poker trackers, poker odds calculators and other sorts of online poker tools are used.
However, you could win by learning how to use those tools, comparing them, selecting the software with which you would be most comfortable.
The tells are also very different online.
When playing online, you should be aware that the tells have a lot to do with bet sizing and timing.