The Basic Poker Strategy Fundamentals

Poker is a game that constantly changes, due to the large amount of learning material out there it has evolved to a level where most players are aware of what they are doing and have at least a decent strategical base. Of course, there still are enough bad players for you to make profit at all stakes, but the higher the stakes get, the better the players are. As you're currently looking to get into playing micro stakes, the very first step is learning basic strategical fundamentals that will allow you to play optimally and think the right way. You see, every poker player is different when it comes to a more in-depth strategy, but all that strategy is built on correct fundamentals, that's exactly what we'll be trying to teach you.

The Importance of Position

Regardless what type of poker you're looking to play or already playing, position is one of the most important aspects in poker. As a rule of thumb, the deeper your effective stack size is, the more important position gets. If you're playing in a multi table tournament with 10 big blinds, the importance of this won't be as significant compared to when you're playing a deep stacked cash game with 200 big blinds and here's why.

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When you are in position, you are the last player to act thus you gain the maximum amount of information about your opponent and his hand. You also are able to control the pot size by checking behind your opponent. It's actually hard to describe how important the position is, but once you start to play, you'll experience this yourself.
You can also play a way wider range of hands, when in a good position such as the CutOff or Button, compared to when you're in the first position after the blinds, known as the UTG. This is again due to the fact that you already have gained a fair bit of information, plus you also have less people to act after you, which means that it is less likely that someone might show up with a hand of reasonable strength.

Fold or Raise, Rarely Call

Even though this is only partially true and there still are some spots where calling is the best play, you should do it rarely. All of this is related to pre flop play and all post-flop play is way different. One of the things that you should certainly avoid is open limping, which is calling when you're the first one to enter the pot. Unless you do it with very strong hands due to some aggressive players sitting behind of you and you think they will raise very often, it's a bad play.
When you think about playing a hand, ask yourself whether it's a good enough of a hand to raise, if it's not chances are that you should be folding.

Be Smart about Managing your Bankroll

There aren't all that many things that will make you feel worse than going broke. This isn't just poker related, but in general. If you go broke, it feels like your life has ended so avoid this happening as much as possible. Remember that even though poker is a pure game of skill, it also features the element of luck and statistical variance. You are never guaranteed to win, even when holding a 99% chance of doing so. If it's not 100%, you will sometimes have to loose. I would advise to read our article on bankroll management where we've gone through all the main factors that are worth considering and implementing into your game

Don't play against players who you think are better than you

You might have heard that the only way to get better in poker is by playing against opponents that are better than you. That's just wrong and well, costly. You shouldn't be playing at a table, if you think that all players sitting there are good ones and have an edge against you. You're simply wasting money.
There are several ways to get better at poker, best of them is by doing a lot of analysing on your own play as well as on your opponents. Get a tracking program such as Holdem Manager or Poker Tracker, add all the hands you have played and go through them every day.