Successful game players know how important it is to get an edge.
Different tactics and strategies are required to be successful. Serious gamers will spend years developing their own tactic styles to keep winning big against the tough competition at tournaments. But you don’t have to be a professional to apply some of these strategies to your own game.
Here are our top six tips for getting an edge when playing poker online.
Sort out your playing station
One of the benefits of playing games online is that you can really play anywhere. As long as you have a smartphone, tablet or other devices — as well as an internet connection — you can play. More players than ever are gaming on the go; on their commute, during periods of travel and even during a break from work.
But just because you can play online from anywhere, doesn’t mean you should. In fact, one of the best ways to begin getting an edge over other players is to ensure that you’re as set-up as possible before you even start playing.
This means getting a decent station — being comfortable in the place where you’ll gaming for hours on end is incredibly important. Playing with ineffective equipment will decrease your chances of winning. If the internet buffers, for example, or your computer is too slow, your edge over the other players (who may have a better set-up) is diminished. Another way to enhance your station is to invest in multiple monitors.
And of course, make sure you’re comfortable throughout gameplay. Fewer breaks mean the potential for better results and a definite edge over your opponents.
Know what you’re willing to risk
This is particularly important when it comes to playing for money, for example, when you’re playing online poker games, decide in advance how much you can walk away with losing; playing more than you can afford will only put you in a bad situation and can actually diminish the edge you have over other players — being frustrated with big losses can make you play worse.
Professional poker player Alexander Millar began developing his own edge playing by this rule. “If you are happy losing $100, play $2 or $5 games,” he says. “That way, if things go well after a period of time you can move your way up, which is exactly what I did, to begin with. The bottom line is don’t blow it all in one go.”
Shake up your game
One way to enhance your edge is to make sure you don’t get stuck in a rut while playing. It’s natural to want to stick with what you know — the same games, the players you recognise. But taking a chance on something new means the opportunity to shake things up, and potentially increase your chances of winning.
This should also mean you don’t get too bored of the same game, adding extra motivation to succeed when you get back to your favourite.
Don’t make assumptions
One of Millar’s own strategies is to never put his opponent to a specific hand. This means not making assumptions about the move your opponent is going to make, which can limit your decision-making skills while you’re mid-game.
“It’s tempting to do this — think that the person you are playing has the ace to make the pair, or whatever — but it can seriously sidetrack and distract you, leading you down a path of bad decision making that ends with losing money”.
By playing against a whole set of possibilities, you’ll increase your own capacity to think broadly — and have an increased chance of success over whatever surprise hand comes your way.
Above all, stay consistent
One of the best tips to follow to get an edge when gaming online is to keep things consistent. Professional gamers all say that consistency is key when playing over a long period of time.
If you get frustrated or begin to lose, stay the course — it is a solid, and well-tested strategy, and will ensure you keep your mind when you need it most.