What are some failsafe new year's poker resolutions that I can use to improve my game?

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Answered by: Hans, An Expert in the Poker Strategy for Beginners Category
It is the dawning of a new year, and a time to look forward to many things, including many more hands of poker. We all lived through the end of the world, (whew), and fortunately our favorite game is still around to be played, so I believe it is due time to take the opportunity to relish the fact that poker is still a very relevant part of our lives.



We should feel obligated to take the time to improve it and develop new year's poker resolutions that we will actually stick with, instead of the typical aim to slim down or not drink as much which we inevitably forget by February.(Increasing health can be applied to playing better poker by the way.) So let us focus on one of the greatest games invented and resolve to play it better.

Here is a quick list of my favorite new year's poker resolutions and tips that beginning players can use to improve their game.



(1) Take more time making decisions

Playing profitable poker requires correct decision making so why not give each decision a little more thought? The decision to call, raise, or fold may not be obvious, so make sure that you give every hand plenty of time to completely analyze each of these three decisions. Overanalyze them, actually. Take your time. Not only will you be able to focus on the most equitable solution, but your own tells certainly become diminished when you play each hand decisively, taking an equal prolonged amount of time with each one. Be still long enough and the answer will come to you.

(2) Keep track of your wins/losses

You are not playing the game seriously if you really have no idea where you stand. The game of poker, without any data compilation, simply becomes a proverbial game of hackey-sack. You are just playing to kick something around. Don’t allow yourself to become a poker drop out, hanging out on the rail with other leisurely players inundated with bad hygiene, holding skateboards and watching the action instead of being a part of it. Keep rigorous records of your wins and losses. There are many apps available for smart phones that allow you to quickly plug in the results of your sessions, or you can always just use the old excel spreadsheet, or even a log or poker diary, but it is a necessity to account for your poker history if you aim to be a serious player.

(3) Stop being the Hero

A lot of my good friends actually seem to only play the game of poker for the fact that they can look like a God for a few minutes when they make ludicrous calls that end up being correct. But most commonly if they attempt to be the hero and call with only the slimmest margin of winning, over and over again, they face failures of epic proportions. These decisions are the poker equivalent of a plane, filled with innocent doe eyed families, falling from the sky and crashing into the very rift of colliding tectonic plates, resulting in fiery disaster most of the time.

Remember, opponents are always telling you a story of their hand, and most of the time, if the story makes sense, listen to it. Of course, reserve the fact that tall tales are part of the game and your opponent could be bluffing, but unless you label him as a complete lunatic, or have the ability to read his very soul, you don’t have to make the call.

(4) H.A.L.T.

Halt playing poker if you are:

Hungry

Angry

Loaded or

Tired

This may be the easiest of the resolutions on the list, yet most people won’t have the willpower to maintain it throughout the year. The thrill of playing poker is so often incredibly hard to resist, in any state of mind, so many of us have the most trouble abiding by this resolution. But if you expect your poker results to improve, personal discipline must be maintained.

(5) Analyze hands and discuss strategy with others

This is clearly my favorite, and most of us don’t really need to “resolve” to do this, because we do it so naturally already, but simply put- DO IT MORE. The farther you can delve into a person’s ideas and behavior relating to the game of poker makes it easier to conceptualize what he will be doing on the table against you in the future. Also, with so many players styles so diverse, you will inevitably pick up new strategies and moves from them that can be applied to your own game.

Hopefully, you can make your own resolutions and stick with them, and not let excuses, disinterest or plain laziness get in the way of bringing them to fruition. Good luck to all, and may this year be a profitable one!

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