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For poker enthusiasts, playing it for a living looks like the perfect job. However, it is more difficult than you would like to believe. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to play like a professional poker player.
How to Play Like a Professional Poker Player
Poker is an easily understandable game of skill. You can start playing as soon as you master the basics. No matter your initial ability, you can play and take down some pots at the poker table. Below are several steps you can take to help you play like a professional poker player.
Study Every Aspect of the Game
As the saying goes, “knowledge is power.” Professional poker players spend long hours mastering the game, even after reaching a high level. Studying a ton of poker books and joining comprehensive hand discussions on poker forums is the norm.
Leading online poker sites usually offer free games where you can practice. Encountering bad beats, experimenting on various methods of aggression and passive play, and discovering what works for you in every situation is key.
Learn the Rules
This is pretty much self-explanatory. You have to be familiar with the rules of the types of poker you want to play. Every variation will come with nuances, which may or may not fit your playing style. Texas Hold’em Poker is the most famous. It features many likenesses to the more conventional form of Stud Poker.
Positional play, hand rankings, and blinds are essential and must be thoroughly understood. Like other forms of gambling, etiquette and terminology can be fundamental ingredients of your knowledge base to guarantee comfort around the tables. That enables better decision making whether you are physically holding the cards or playing online.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Now that you have closed the gaps in your poker knowledge, you need to practice. The only way to do that is to get playing. You can do that by registering at one or more online poker sites.
Low-level online poker sites, free tables, and freeroll tournaments with massive fields will let you experience the different highs and lows of being a professional poker player hopeful. You need to gain confidence at the tables to elevate your skill levels and contend with better players during pressure situations.
Manage Your Bankroll
If you do not have a bankroll, you cannot play. Therefore, properly managing your bankroll will keep you in the game in case of bad luck. Bear in mind that the overall size of your bankroll must influence the buy-in of poker tournaments you enter and stakes you play in cash games.
Just Play Winning Hands
While that sounds easy, eliminating the junk and preventing yourself from playing hands your opponent wishes you to play is a significant aspect of a professional poker player's skill. Stake management and patience must be in harmony. To get the best chance to succeed from the outset, just play the positive expected value (+EV) starting hands pre-flop.
Master the Art of Bluffing
Bluffing is a part of poker strategy that even non-poker players believe they understand. It is an act of deception to make your weak hand appear stronger than it is, aiming to get your opponent to fold.
To make a bluff successful, you should know how to select your spots. You have to consider six general matters when deciding whether or not to bluff. These include your position, your image, your opponents, the betting history of the hand, the bet size, and the strength of your hand.
Pick the Right Games
Try every game and see what you enjoy the most. Players are big on Texas Hold’em since it is the most popular game. However, you might do better on Stud Poker, Draw Poker, Pot-Limit Omaha, or Omaha Hi-Lo. Explore all the games to see what you can dominate and enjoy.
Sitting in front of your computer screen or at a poker table while playing is a test of mental endurance. Concentration is everything. You also need observation skills for spotting weaknesses, strength, and potential tells (or false tells) that your opponents offer. Whatever leverage you can get from your surroundings will boost your winning chances.
Playing poker consistently helps you improve as a player and remain sharp. To play like a professional poker player, you need to study, play many hands, and review your hands to obtain knowledge and experience essential to defeat your opponents.
Taking long breaks slows development, so it is best to stay in the game. Always be ready to break down your bad beats, bad calls, and bad bets into a positive learning experience.
Gambling money always comes with a risk of loss. You should only risk the amount of money you can afford to lose. Always enjoy the game without any unnecessary stress or worry. To play like a professional poker player, you have to be as disciplined as them.
Virtually all online poker operators offer timeout options, deposit/stake limits, and reality checks. Those are an excellent way of managing your poker play and keeping it in check. Low-level stakes games and free play options are also available. Starting there will prime you for the higher stake levels that players usually get involved in too soon.
Keep Your Emotion at Bay
If you are distracted, stressed out, or tilting due to a loss, do not beat yourself out. Take some time to walk away and regain control of your emotions before returning to the tables. Nobody wants to lose whether to a poor play or bad beat. After regrouping yourself, you can make smart decisions again, leveraging the skills and strategies you learned.
Know When to Quit
Good bankroll management and impeccable discipline will help you decide when to call it a day. Chasing losses is enticing. However, you must trust your overall edge and return to fight another day. When you are not in the best mood to play, just collect your chips and leave.
Poker Regulation in China
Now that you have learned some tips and tricks to playing like a professional poker player, it is time to be familiar with the regulation. While the Chinese gambling market is among the most lucrative ones in the world, China prohibits gambling in any form. Poker has not historically been a favorite game in the country. Pot Limit Omaha and No Limit Hold’em are just starting to become an interest to Chinese Mainlanders.
Tuo La Ji (Tractor Poker) is traditionally the most popular form of poker played in Mainland China. It is a team game that employs two card decks with jokers. The China Leisure Sports Administrative Center rules and regulates it.
The World Poker Tour (WPT) helped ignite a poker boom when they began airing televised tournaments in 2002. Poker cash games are illegal in China, but organizers and operators have been innovative in their offerings to cater to the booming population of poker players. You can find legal poker rooms in Shanghai or Beijing, conducting tournaments that offer goods convertible to cash as prizes.
Due to that strategy, China held some of the biggest tournaments in the region. The island of Sanya in the southernmost part of the Hainan province is a popular poker destination. Thanks to its tropical weather, the island hosted most of the poker tournaments held in China. These include the China Poker Games Event and WPT. These tournaments have also been instrumental in bolstering tourism for Sanya.
Where Can I Play Like a Professional Poker Player in China?
Locals and foreigners can enter legal poker clubs in China. The Beijing Poker Club, formed in 2012, is the longest-running and the sole legal poker room in Mainland China. Due to the strict rules on gambling, many illegal games happen far from the eagle eyes of the authorities.
The more luscious games have allegedly migrated to Changsa in the Hunan province. However, there is a high risk of getting caught in an illegal game in China. Those arrested will face grave fines as well as imprisonment.