Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned player, there is always plenty more to learn when it comes to playing Texas Hold’em, or any other form of poker for that matter. The best players devote hours every week to reading strategy and theory, so if you are not a top player imagine how much you can still learn and add to the way you think and behave while playing poker. Not everyone has the time or desire to devote huge amounts of time to the pursuit of becoming a top poker player. But even if your ambition is little more than becoming competitive when playing with a group of friends, you can always learn and improve. How much time and effort you are willing to devote to this is entirely your choice, but every little helps. Choosing the right table to play at is one of the key elements to your development as a poker legend, or just a slightly better player.
Choose your table wisely
As with any game or sport you will always improve by competing against poker players who are better than you. However, there is an optimal range for this. If you are learning to ski, I know from painful experience, you only improve by challenging yourself, but you won’t improve if you try to bite off more than you can chew. You need to move outside your comfort zone but not so much as you are simply unable to manage. If you go from blue to black slopes all you’ll end up doing is, in the best case scenario, spend so much time frustrated on the ground or, in the worst case scenario, injuring yourself, you won’t actually really improve. As with anything you need to push a little out of your comfort zone but to a level where you can just about manage for some time. If you persevere it will become gradually easier until it becomes your level of comfort. Mixing it up between staying just within your comfort zone, so it remains fun, and pushing a little out of it regularly is the key to improvement in most things and poker is no different.
When choosing your table for a game of poker, whether online or offline, first make sure you are comfortable with the stakes. Never play with a pot that you are not happy to lose in exchange for the fun of the game. Of course, it also has to sting a little or you will subconsciously play differently and take the game and your moves less seriously, but you should always choose a level at which you are happy to pay the price of your bets for the pleasure of participating in the game.
In the same way, the level of player you are playing with is also an important aspect in how quickly you improve. Ideally, you’ll be at a table with a few guys around your own level or slightly better and a couple that are a level or two higher. Although poker, over a decent number of hands, doesn’t have much luck involved, over any single game there is an element of luck. So playing against slightly better players still gives you a chance if the cards fall your way, but you will lose enough and learn enough to gradually improve and get up to the level of the better players, if you put a little effort in. Then it will be time to challenge yourself with slightly better players still as you continue your progress.