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Working on your game – how to become a poker hero

Whatever level of poker you play and no matter how far you want to go in the game these little tips can help you reach the next level. Ready? Hero status awaits...

Pocket money

Don’t get stuck in a rut of $100 freerolls. With minimal risk, soft competition and crazy all-in calls you’ll collect nothing but bad habits. Instead, make a deposit, whatever size you like and play for more cash.

Balance the books

Keep a record of all the tournaments or cash games you enter with their buy-in cost and returns. It’s the quickest way to realise your strengths and weaknesses so you can focus on winning. And it’s also a great way of seeing exactly what you're getting from the game – lots of cash, hopefully!

Play position

This one is a little out there but stay with us. Put a sticky note on your monitor to cover your cards and play according to position and betting patterns only. You’ll be more focused and discover that your cards are possibly the least important weapon compared with position and chip stack size. And who knows, you might do better than you expect.

Hang around

Chucking all your chips in pre-flop isn’t going to get you anywhere – but going the distance will. You might not win all the time to begin with, but learning how to extract chips from opponents and betting for value, as well as spotting tells and picking up reads on people will be invaluable for the future.

Play live

Get as much live poker experience as you can. You need to know how to handle yourself in the live environment so that you can worry less about what you're doing and concentrate on your opponents instead. Getting your mates round for a few sessions or heading to your local casino would be perfect.

Play for something that matters

There's a fine line between being frightened of losing cash and not playing for enough to give the game your utmost attention and effort. So make sure you play for something that will have an effect on your life (without ruining it obviously). Enter a $100 multi-table tournament or Sit & Go and see how far you can go. As the saying goes, anything could happen.

Beat the bullies

There's only one real defence against an aggressive player – attack. Annoying table banter and constant raising are tell-tale signs of players trying to boss the table. So it’s time to play them at their own game. Re-raise heavily and often – you might not win all the time, but more often than not you'll just call their bluff. Then you’ll have the respect and you'll soon realise that you can dominate aggressive players, which is a great ability to have in your locker.