How to Improve Decision-Making at the Poker Table

Poker is all about making decisions based on the available information. To become a successful poker player, you must make informed decisions quickly and accurately despite all sorts of pressure.

Here are some tips for improving your decision-making at the poker table.

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Make notes and review them.

Taking notes at the poker table is one of the best ways to improve decision-making. They help you remember opponents and how they’ve played in similar situations. Notes give you an objective way of reviewing past decisions and spotting mistakes. Take some time after each session to review your notes and look for any patterns or trends you can use to your advantage in the future.

Record your opponents’ tendencies and your own. The latter is even more critical, as it will help you identify any leaks or bad habits in your game that may be costing you money.

There’s a wide variety of tools you can use for note-taking. Some apps let you take notes on your tablet or smartphone. Online databases can store and review your past games. Even a physical notebook will do, as they enable you always to have the information at your fingertips.

Understand pot odds

Another way to improve decision-making while playing poker hands is understanding pot odds. It is the ratio of the pot money relative to the amount needed to call. They give you a mathematical way of determining whether it’s worth calling a bet.

For example, if there is $50 in the pot and you need to put in $10 to call, your pot odds are 5:1. You’d only need to win the pot more than 20% of the time for calling to be profitable. Though it can take some practice to get a good feel for pot odds, knowing them will help you make better decisions at the poker table. Once you understand how they work, your decision-making will improve significantly.

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Pay attention to position.

Whether you play live or online poker, position is one of the most critical aspects, yet many players overlook its importance. Awareness of it will ultimately result in better decision-making.

Position refers to where you’re seated relative to the other players at the table. Generally, players closer to the button (dealer position) have an advantage because they act last on each betting round. It gives them more information about opponents’ hands than those who act first and lets them make better-informed decisions. So when you’re in a late position, you should be more inclined to call bets. And when you’re in an early position, you may want to tighten your range or just fold.


Like anything else, you need to practice making decisions in various poker scenarios. That means playing as many hands as possible, even when you don’t feel like it. For that, you must make a schedule that you need to adhere to.

You can observe other players’ behaviors and how they manage difficult spots by playing more. Doing so will give you valuable insight into what works and doesn’t so you can start making better decisions. And if you no longer feel challenged by the games you play, move up a level. That will allow you to test your decision-making skills or improve them further.

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Focus on the cards in the game.

Concentrating on the cards in play means paying attention to what other players are doing and how they play their hands. Try to figure out if they are bluffing and if they have a strong or weak hand. Doing this will help you make better decisions when facing another player’s bet.

Read the board and identify which hands may be likely in your opponents’ range. Doing this can help you narrow down their range of possible holdings, giving you more information to make decisions. For example, if you know that an opponent is only playing top pair hands or better, you can make a more informed decision when facing their bet.

Think ahead

When making decisions at the poker table, anticipating moves and having educated guesses of your opponents’ potential actions will help you make informed decisions. It will also give you an edge over other players. Consider the worst-case scenario and how that could affect your decision.

Poker is a game of incomplete information, so you won’t always know what your opponents will do. But by analyzing their behavior, you can make more educated decisions and increase your chances of success.

Maximize the time you’re allotted.

Make the most of the time you’re given for making decisions and think through all available information. Observe all the previous game theory concepts and ensure your decision aligns with your overall strategy.

Making quick decisions can often lead to mistakes or incorrect plays. So, take as much time as you need to ensure that your choices are well thought out and accurate. Ultimately, this will help increase the probability of succeeding in poker.

Choose to get better today!

Improving decision-making at the poker table requires dedication, patience, and practice. Taking notes, understanding pot odds, paying attention to position, and playing more hands are all essential steps to improving your game.

Additionally, focusing on the cards in play, thinking ahead, and maximizing your time will help you make better decisions at the poker table. Make sure to practice and hone your decision-making skills, as it will ultimately be what enables you to become successful at poker. Good luck!