Understanding how betting odds work and whether you should care about them can be a confusing matter, particularly when you are new to the game. Lucky for you, we are here to help with 6 simple rules to keep in mind when placing your wagers at the poker table.
Let’s get started.
Rule #1: Always Place A Modest Bet
The first rule of betting is very simple. Always place a modest bet. When we say modest, we mean a relatively small amount compared to what you would normally wager. For example, if you are playing Texas Hold’em, you might consider a $5 to $10 wager to be modest. If you are playing Omaha, you might consider a $50 to $100 wager to be modest.
This rule is important for several reasons. For one thing, you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket, especially when you are playing an uncertain game like Poker. For another, you don’t want to ruin your chances of winning by risking too much money. And last but not least, you don’t want to insult your opponents by risking a large sum of money and then trying to justify it by saying, “You know what, I’m really bored of losing.”
Rule #2: Never Risk More Than You Can Afford To Lose
The second rule of betting is also pretty straightforward. Never risk more than you can afford to lose. This is especially important if you are playing for money, because quite often we see new players get into debt due to excessive risk-taking. Remember, it’s never fun to lose money, and it’s certainly not a good idea to do so at the poker table. What this means is that you should avoid using all your bankroll, or the money you have on hand to play with, in one bet. Instead, take it in stages. For example, if you have a $100 bankroll and you decide to play $10 bets, you will only be able to afford to risk 20 cents per hand. Don’t get carried away and play against bigger opponents either. If you are a newbie at poker and playing against more skilled opponents, it is better to stick to smaller stakes.
Rule #3: Check Your Assumptions
The third rule of betting is to always check your assumptions. This is one of the crucial tips for successful betting. If you are playing Texas Hold’em or Omaha, the best thing you can do for yourself is to assume that your opponents are cheating. Assuming that your opponents are not cheating is the #1 cause of bad beat stories at the poker table. To keep things simple, let’s say that you are playing Texas Hold’em and that you have the late position. Your opponent raises, you decide to call, and then your opponent shows an incredible hand. What do you do then? Do you check to see if your opponent is cheating? Of course not, because you assume that they are not!
This is a frequent scenario that ends up happening all the time, and here’s why: When someone bets or raises, the first thing you do is check for weak hands. But the thing is, you don’t know how good their hand is. So, to find out, you have to check with the help of your opponent’s actions. You have to look at what they are doing and try to interpret it correctly. What that means is that when you assume that your opponents are cheating, you are basically doing the same. Instead of looking for weak hands, you are looking for deceptive behavior. When you assume that your opponents are cheating, you are essentially letting your mind play tricks on you. So, always, always, always check your assumptions.
Rule #4: Never Be Inspired By Results
The fourth rule of betting is never be inspired by results. This rule applies to all kinds of betting, but it’s especially important when playing against the house, or when playing for money. The idea here is that even though you have been observing results that go in your favor, you cannot let that affect your decision-making process. You have to play with your head, not your heart. The thing is, you will never know how a game of chance will turn out. So, you have to stay objective and play within your limits. Plus, you do not want to get ahead of yourself and risk ruining your chances of winning. For example, if you are playing Texas Hold’em and you have been winning easily, you might decide to raise the stakes. But then, you lose, and it breaks your heart. Is that any way to play? Of course not.
Some people think that they can change the outcome of a game by putting in the right bets. However, this is not true. The only thing that you can do, and this is something that we can’t emphasize enough, is to play within your limits, be objective, and never get emotionally involved. The results of a game of chance will inspire you, but only at a certain point. After that, you have to move on. Your emotions can, and often do, get in the way of your good judgment, resulting in you risking more money than you should.
Rule #5: Calculate The Break Even Point
The fifth rule of betting is to always calculate the break even point. This is particularly important if you are someone who is more of a risk-taker or a thrill-seeker, or if you are playing for money. As we stated above, it is not a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket, or to risk more money than you can afford to lose. This is a crucial point because quite often, we see new players who either put all their money in one bet or spread it among several. When things turn out badly, they are often in dire financial straits, and this is something that they might not recover from easily. Calculating the break even point is important because it forces you to take a step back and rethink your strategy. It is not good to throw money away willy-nilly, hoping for a big win. Calculating the break even point helps you avoid this trap.
Rule #6: Never Bet Against The House
The sixth and final rule of betting, unfortunately, also has to do with money. Never bet against the house. This is important because, quite often, we see people do this and they end up losing a lot of money. Now, do not get us wrong; there is nothing wrong with playing against the house. It is a good idea, particularly if you are a newbie who does not know how the game works or if playing for money is not your thing. What this rule means is that you should always, always, always bet with the house. If you are playing against the dealer, or a human being wearing a suit, they are representing the house, and quite often, the house does not want to take risks, so they will be the ones offering you the action. In these situations, it is best to take the points off.
Hopefully, these rules will help you understand and apply basic betting logic, preventing you from making the #1 mistake that newbies make all the time; that is, putting in all their money in one bet and then getting devastated when things go wrong. If you want to get ahead in this game, you have to take things slow and get to know the rules first, before risking your hard-earned money, because, quite frankly, it is not worth it.