Poker is a tough gig. Becoming a winning player is a privilege reserved for only a small minority of players. Achieving and maintaining a positive win rate takes a tremendous amount of time and dedication. Furthermore, with a stiff competition breathing down our neck, complacency results in an immediate and severe punishment. And then there's variance which is a lot less painful for the significant winners than it is for the marginal ones. There are plenty of reasons why every poker player should prioritize increasing his or her win rate over virtually everything else.
Fortunately, becoming a winning player isn't only about this long and arduous process of optimizing one's betting patterns. Sometimes a relatively minor adjustment or a simple act of doing something that goes against the "conventional wisdom" can have a surprisingly profound effect on our winnings. In this article, we're going to explore some of the ways you might increase your win rate with a relatively small amount of effort.
Play on Multiple Sites
If PokerScout.com statistics are anything to go by, most poker players limit themselves to a single PokerStars account and they call it a day. Don't be like most poker players. The old poker adage "when they play tight, you play loose, when they play loose, you play tight" is true in more ways than one.
Sometimes all it takes to significantly boost your win rate is going against the grain and this is certainly true in the case of poker room selection. Very few cash games players play their sessions on more than one poker room at the same time, but there's really no excuse not to, if you think about it. Splitting your bankroll between different sites allows you the access to more great deals and more recreational players.
This is one of those obvious things that everyone ignores. We've already mentioned that winning at poker is tough and trying to do so while scrolling through your Twitter, Facebook or Instagram feed becomes downright impossible.
Play One Less Table!
When you ask experienced online grinders about their poker related regrets, many of them will undoubtedly mention the fact that they wish they'd play fewer tables and focused more on playing their A-game, than chasing the highest possible hourly rate. This is not a particularly popular advice because let's face it, poker can be an awfully solitary pursuit and the sad fact of the matter is that no one asks experienced pros about their career regrets.
Expand Your Range
This advice has multiple meanings. First of all, now that you're playing fewer tables, and your mind is free to explore new and exciting options, you might find yourself making +EV plays that weren't previously in your arsenal. When you're really paying attention to the flow of the game, player history and table dynamics, you can get away with lines that a grinder on an autopilot wouldn't even dream of taking.
Another way you can expand your poker range is by learning a new poker variant or format. Some people are married to the form of poker that they've picked at the start of their journey and they refuse to make the switch grinding the same 0.5BB/100 for years and years.
Table Select (Even When It's Seemingly Impossible!)
Even Phil Ivey becomes a marginal winner or even a break-even player if you place him in a tough enough line-up and - let's face it - you're not Phil Ivey. Playing at a table without a clear target accomplishes nothing and you simply shouldn't do that. Table selection becomes increasingly difficult these days as more and more poker rooms ditch the idea of separate digital tables in favor of a single queue for every limit but there are still ways of increasing the probability, that you're going to end up playing better table line-ups than the average Joe.
First of all, you might want to take the first advice mentioned in this article and play on at least one poker room that allows you to table select the old-fashioned way. Second of all, be on the lookout not only for leaks of the individuals that you meet at the tables but also their playing habits.