Play Pots Against Bad Poker Players
This golden rule of no limit play is broken by more players than you can shake a stick at. It is broken for numerous reasons and the main two reasons are because of ego and ignorance. When I talk about ego then I am basically intimating how we all from time to time can be guilty of overestimating our own games and underestimating that of our opponents. What you have to remember is that you make your money in no limit hold’em in several key ways. This is by winning small, medium and big pots against weak players and small and medium pots against good players.
Regs do not give you money long term
You will notice one big omission from that second list and it is to do with winning big pots against good players. Sure you will have times when your nut flush beats the second nut flush of a reg or your top set beats their middle set. But the point is that these situations will be reversed just as often and so variance will dictate who wins the big pots against the good players. You will win small pots against good players with small steals and c-bets when they have no hand and are not interested in the pot.
You will also win medium sized pots when you frequently catch them stealing or trying to pressure you away from the hand. You will still win pots in these ways against weak players but they will pay you off more in deep stacked situations more often with hands that strong players will fold for pot control. The point here is that strong players will give you far lower implied odds.
Play very tight from early position
Key tip number two is that position is so key in no limit hold’em that this key rule should be written on a sticky and placed over your computer screen. The problem with playing hands out of position is usually hidden as the real effect is really only seen by the use of tracking software. In fact I think that this may be one of the best uses of tracking software that there is. Only by looking at how profitable hands can be in later position and how they suffer in early position over very large sample sizes can you really see how much money you lose from these positions.
This is identical to basic strategy in blackjack where the correct plays are really only revealed after hundreds of thousands of hands. I would much rather have a hand like 8-7s in position in full ring than A-J UTG. The ability to be able to see what your opponents have done and know that there are fewer players in the hand is a big advantage.