I often answer requests from my friends for some instant help for their poker game. Usually like...."I've got a game tonight. Can you give me some pointers." And I can, so it isn't like its crazy to ask for help hours before the game.
Normally, the advice consists of the basics:
- Don't chase insight straights or flushes, especially if the flush isn't the nut flush.
- Pocket 2's are always in a race, since every other card is an over card, so don't invest a ton in them.
- Decision tree, in order: Raise, Fold.....call. Most people put call #1, and most of the rest put it #2. Its really #3 in the tree.
There are more, and I'm sure I've typed them here before, so I won't dwell on it. Instead, I am going to offer you the best piece of advice I can give you to help your game RIGHT NOW. And that advice is:
LEARN HOW TO FOLD
I can't make it any clearer. The first thing any player needs to learn in order to make the leap from losing player to winning player is the ability to fold. If you don't learn how to fold, and I mean FOLD QUALITY HANDS, then you will never be a winning poker player.
This advice works in the big money games every bit as much as it does in the free games at Facebook. When I play practice tournaments on Facebook, it is normally 10 people at a one-table sit-n-go. And I finish in the money over 70% of the time. I do this against the biggest fish in the world who are thinking that it isn't real money, and it doesn't matter. Don't get me wrong....the are correct. It isn't real money, and their results as they move on to the next game don't matter. They do matter to me though, because to me it is free practice against some of the same type of players I face off against for real money in my home games.
When I am playing against these type of call anything and pray players, I simply fold, fold and fold some more. Why get involved in hands where I have zero idea what the other players may hold. They call with K-K and 2-7. There is just no telling. When I come in to games like this, I do it with quality starting hands and monster raises. If they are going to play this hand, it is going to cost them a fortune. And I still get the crazy calls, but I don't mind them. And if I raise with A-A, and the flop comes K-K-7....and the other player moves all in....I have no problem folding those aces. I don't get married to hands. That's the whole point of our discussion here today.
So practice it, and practice it often. Fold bad cards. Obviously. But also, fold good cards if you think you are behind. I know its is fun to show A-A and whine about how the other guy cracked them. (It must be fun, because people will call to the river with that hand knowing they are beat). Instead of doing that, try my advice. Fold them, say "nice hand", and stay alive in the tournament.