Honing your Poker Playing Style

poker playing selective focus photography of poker chips

Playing online poker is a pastime with high potential upsides while also, inevitably, carrying some risks you must be ready for. The longer you play, the more you will know how to raise your game, reduce the risks you take, and hopefully improve your rewards when it comes off. While everyone likes to think their approach to poker is their own, it is understood that poker styles fall into two primary categories: exploitative and Game Theory Optimal, or GTO.

As with any form of gambling, from poker to roulette, to Cyprus sports betting, there can be a considerable element of strategy to how you play while allowing for the luck element. Any coherent poker playing strategy will acknowledge the need for some luck, and the value of the strategy is generally in how you take advantage of that luck. How you do this will depend to some extent on your personality, but each strategic approach will lean on one of the above two approaches. Let’s look at them in more detail.

Exploitative poker tactics

In short, an exploitative player focuses on his opponents and looks for mistakes that they make in their approach to the game. Someone with an exploitative strategy will decide how to play based on their opponents’ mistakes, raising their bets to ensure that their returns on a particular hand are as high as they can be. Exploitative poker is a more aggressive game, and can deliver bigger wins.

On the other hand, if you are playing against players who don’t make many mistakes, exploitative approaches are not as practical. Trying to play this way can, paradoxically, leave you in an exploited situation. The more aggressively you play, the more mistakes you are likely to make in your own game, so if you’re taking this approach and it’s getting you nowhere, it is advisable to ease off and play more cautiously.

GTO tactics

Quite simply, game theory suggests that if you play poker designed to be safe and mistake-free, the players around you will make more mistakes. GTO poker is simply playing the closest you can to a textbook poker game. Making the safe decision each time will ensure that you don’t fall behind the pack, and when someone makes their own errors, you should see the benefit often enough to win most of the time.

Someone playing a GTO approach is like a boxer who takes a defensive stance and then, when their opponent takes a careless swing, gets inside their defense and unleashes a winning punch. More of the major players in the World Series of Poker tend to take a GTO approach because, in the long run, it keeps them in games for longer and allows them to win. Nonetheless, if someone is making mistake after mistake, they will be happy to play exploitative poker for a hand or two.

Whether you prefer to take a specific tactic or just continue doing what you’re doing, there is no reason you have to stick to one approach. Above all else, you want to play poker that wins – but if the moment suggests it, switching into one of the above approaches can really help.

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