Poker is a fun-filled game, but it’s also a competitive game. You get the best accolades when you continually remind your competition how well you played, and how poorly they played. Who better to toy with than your friends? Truth be known, any poker player with a sound understanding of the rules is already a quantum leap ahead of the competition. When you go up against amateurish friends, you’re automatically in pole position because you understand the rules better. A little practice and preparation could mean the world of difference.
There’s always lots of healthy rivalry among friends, and that’s what makes poker the ideal game to play. Once you’ve scheduled a home game, you want to make sure that you go through all the checks and balances to guarantee a seamless experience for your buddies. For starters, determine the level of play that is to be expected. This will set the tone for the playing styles to follow. It’s not only amateurs and professionals, its pre-beginner players, beginners, intermediate-level players, intermediates with a little bit of confidence, and then high-level pros.
If you are great at poker and your friends aren’t, you’ll definitely be a step ahead of them. This means you’ll probably have the best chance of scooping up the biggest pots. There are ways for you to adopt a playing strategy more likely to yield rewards by tailoring your game accordingly. For example, know your audience. If none of your mates have ever played a game of poker before, now is your opportunity to introduce them to this wonderful game of skill, wit, and strategy. Be advised that novice poker players are typically fish who are eager to buy-in to every hand and go all-in with their chips. Does that mean they are bad at poker? Absolutely not! You want to watch these friends because everyone starts poker at some point and even the greatest players were beginners too. Don’t write them off as inexperienced know-nothings; they can surprise you when you least expect it!
Home Games Are Casual and That’s a Good Thing
Who wants stress among friends? Not many of us. That’s why a home poker game presents the perfect opportunity for players to relax, shoot the breeze, and play the world’s favorite card game. Setting up your own poker game for friends should be a fun-filled endeavor; it shouldn’t be stressful at all. Assuming that everyone has a keen grasp of the rules, it’s time to get down to the business of playing poker and winning against your friends.
Let’s say you’re dealt a fantastic opening hand. What do you do in such a situation? You go in all guns blazing. Don’t worry about slow playing your way to victory, or value betting with home games. Your friends will likely call with low-ranking hands and even chase draws. Don’t be afraid to pile on the pressure and put in some big bets when you can. A strong hand is your best defense against anything in poker. It’s also your ticket to winning pots and making the best decisions in the pre-flop stage and the post-flop stage of play.
Many poker players want to know if bluffing is a good thing to do, and the answer is sparingly. The problem with bluffing is that it’s only effective if it’s done when it’s least expected. If you bluff on every hand, the bluff becomes the norm and players will never take you seriously. The best bluffs are the unexpected bluffs. Remember that home games are associated with lots of loose play. This means that they won’t be afraid to call you when you bluff, raise you when you bluff, or go all-in when you bluff. Is that what you want? Avoid the bluff and only use it as your secret weapon if you absolutely have no choice.
Stealing Blinds in Home Games
Here’s an interesting poker term that many folks don’t quite understand: stealing the blinds refers to a situation where players raise during the pre-flop stage, with the expectation of winning the blinds. If everyone folds and you raise, you’ve got dead money regardless of the cards you are holding. It gets a little tricky when defining the differences between value-raising pre-flop and stealing the blinds. You win some money every now and then with this strategy, but this isn’t the best way to beat your friends at a poker game.
The best way to raise your game is to play with caution. If you buy-in and compete for every hand that is dealt to you, you’ll soon find yourself SOL. Avoid playing weak hands; rather bide your time, preserve your reserve, and limit yourself from being drawn into these baiting sessions of play. Once you’re in a hand, play with caution. Don’t overplay pre-flop hands and don’t overcommit yourself. True, you want to play strong starting hands aggressively and narrow the competition at your table, but not to your detriment.
Avoiding Stimulants and Depressants – Let the Game Give You the Buzz You Need
Playing at home is incredibly exciting, but it’s also far too relaxed with friends. The alcohol will flow, the cigars will be smoked, and lord knows what else may be going on with other substances at home. Here’s the thing: stay sober and stay sharp. Poker is a thinking person’s game. It’s not going to go down well if you cannot process information with a sharp mind. Let everybody else drink and get drunk (responsibly of course) while you maintain your faculties and go for the monster-sized pots. Gambling and alcohol never go well together; that is a guarantee.
These tips will serve you well when you are setting up home-based poker games with your friends. They also work pretty well in other forms of poker because they are commonsense tips. Poker is a social game and you’re supposed to horse around, share a couple of brewskis, and talk shop. But whenever real money is changing hands, winning must always be at the forefront of your mind!