Improving your playing skills will definitely help to increase your poker profits, but so will choosing the right free poker games to play. There is an old poker story about a professional who was the 6th best player in the world, but he never made a penny. The reason for this was because he would only ever play against the top 5 players in the world. The moral of the story is that you make money when you possess a clear edge over your opponents.
Don’t be overconfident:
We all want to be the best player at the table and always want to play our best. However, unless your name is Phil Ivey, you probably won’t have an advantage over every opponent in every game. Remember, even the best players around the world play below their level as it gives them a higher chance of winning and its more lucrative.
Whatever type of game you are playing, whether it is at a live table or playing other players online, don’t try to head for tables with players who are far better than you are. You are just going to throw away your money.
I remember one time when I played for a couple hours in a $1/2 no-limit hold’em game at a small casino in Palm Springs, California. I nearly doubled my money without winning a single big pot. The players were passive and loose, and I ran them over by putting pressure on them with big bets and getting paid off for reasonably strong hands. I knew that I picked the right table.
I also remember one time when I played for five hours in a $1/2 no-limit hold’em game at a five-star hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. I barely broke even. The players were tight and aggressive and played back at me when I tried to put a move on them. I knew afterward that I picked the wrong table.
What kind of game to look for:
The first thing to keep in mind is your bankroll. If you can’t afford to play $5/10 live or $.50/1 online, then you shouldn’t do it. You should move down to a more affordable level or head for free poker games.
As much as you would love to think you are the best player in the world, its unlikely, so you need to think about your level of skill and stick to table levels where you realistically know you have a chance of winning.
After being brutally honest with yourself about bankroll and your skill level, you then need to think about which table you want to sit at. Look out for a table where your prospective opponents are playing loose and weak. Keep an eye out for errors. A loose game will allow you to win big pots because players will call you down with weak hands, and a passive game affords you the opportunity to hit your draws cheaply and bully your opposition.
You will never be lucky enough to always find a loose table. But, you should still be able to get a good enough idea if the table is beatable by watching the players beforehand. It’s good to be a good player, but being a money-making good player requires skill in the fine art of game selection.
So, whether its pay games or free poker, live games or online games, observation and brutal honesty is what is going to make you profit in the long term.