Planning is undoubtedly the most important part of any long-term activity. You have to know what you are going to do, what your priorities are, what are you expecting out of the whole event a lot many things. Poker is no exception to this.
Poker is a long-term game, in which you are looking for long-term gains. These gains will not be achieved if you don’t plan carefully. Your goal, you motive your expectations should be well thought of and fixed. Be it pre-flop or post flop, there are always things to plan and strategize.
The most important aspect of planning starts when you get your hand. At this point, you have to decide what kind of hand it is. It may be a strong hand, a drawing hand or a weak hand. According to the type of hand, that you have, you have to make your strategy for the rest of the game. The main thing to decide here is whether you want to go ahead with the game or leave it.
In case you want to continue with the game you have to make up your mind about the kind of hand you want to make. This may be a set, a straight or a flush. Once you have reached on the decision about the type of hand that you want to make, you should then observe your opponents for once. Try to make out how skilled they are and whether bluffing will be successful against them. And as it is unlikely that you are the only one strategizing on the table, you should try to work out which player can try to bluff at the flop.
At this stage, there is no way of knowing if you have the best hand and so you have no option but to wait till the flop for that. However, you should try to work out the probabilities. You can have an idea of the kind of hands people possess by the kind of moves they make. Opponents may be tight or loose, aggressive or passive, according to the hand the hold. The more experienced you get, the better idea you will be able to have about the hands of the players. The less experienced players give away the strength of their hands very easily with their moves and expressions and thus you should try and take advantage of this weakness.
As the game progresses, you get a better idea of the kind of hand you are developing and thus you can be clearer about what you want to do with it. You may want to go passive, build up the pot, and try to take on a player or go straight for the pot. Consider all the possible options that you have at this stage and take the appropriate decision.
Another factor which will help you in making the decision is the size of the pot. Is it worth taking the risk? You should consider the loss that you will incur if you go ahead and loose and compare that with the size of the pot. If your odds of winning are good, your hand is strong enough, your opponent seem to be weak and if the pot is worth it, then take the risks and try to win most of it. Or else, you should settle for the small amounts and stay back without risking too much. Because in poker it’s not about winning every game, it’s about emerging a gainer in the long term.