No matter how much information you take in about No Limit Holdem the game is still 90% about winning the most money with the best hand. The great players shovel money into the pot when they know that they are good. Getting maximum value is paramount if you want to be a successful player.
Often times players come to me for private lessons and ask me the wrong questions. They want to learn about four and five bet bluffing ranges or exploiting some of the other winning players that frequent their games on a regular basis. Although learning about these things has merit I always tell them that they should be spending more of their mental energy on the more common situations that appear on a regular basis.
One of the most overlooked spots that you really should be paying attention to is what your opponents’ flop and turn calling ranges are when you continuation bet. Some players will call the flop very wide and fold to further turn aggression where as others represent a much stronger hand when they put money into the pot. If you want to be a top-notch player you really need to pay attention to the most common situations even when you are not in the hand. Most of the money that is won and lost is through these fundamental situations. Once in a while you run a big bluff or make a hero call but the meat and potatoes of maximizing value is correctly evaluation your hand strength versus your opponent’s range. The next time you are thinking about “advanced” levels reaffirm to yourself that you have the most basic things down because that is where you should be spending most of your mental energy.