The world's leading poker book publisher


Viewing articles in the Strategy category. View all articles.

There are a few reasons you might be avoiding virtual poker rooms. Maybe you’ve just realized your most meaningful relationship is with a DNS server in Bermuda. Maybe the influx of screen time is making you depressed and lethargic. Maybe you aren’t legally allowed to play online poker for money where you live.

Regardless, there’s no need to let your game atrophy just because you don’t want to or can’t play online. In fact, you may actually get better without online poker, since you’ll be forced out of your comfort zone and have to work on some other key elements of the game.

Here’s what I’m talking about.

Imagine this hand:

You are in the WSOP Main Event. It’s folded to you on the button. You look down at K5. It’s early in the tournament. You have more than 100 big blinds.

I was recently recounted a hand from a $1/$3 no-limit hold’em cash game that illustrates a few flaws in the average small stake player’s strategy. With a $700 effective stack, Hero raised to $20 from second position at a nine-handed table with KQ

I was recently told about a hand played by an amateur poker player in a $500 buy-in tournament that illustrates a common mistake that many players make on a regular basis. With blinds at 1,000/2,000 with a 200 ante, everyone folded to the player on the button who called 2,000 out of his 80,000 stack. This player is known to call with a wide range from late position, hoping to flop well. The small blind, an unknown player with 50,000, also called. Our Hero, with a 30,000 stack, decided to check in the big blind with 42.

I was recently told about a hand from a $1/$1 no-limit cash game that illustrates a few mistakes that many amateur players make on a regular basis. The first two players at a nine-handed table called $1 and then the Hero in third position raised to $25 out of his $425 effective stack with 9-9.

Imagine you are at the beginning of a tournament or you have just joined a cash game. You have more than 75 big blinds effective. You raise with K-Jo on the button and the big blind calls you. The board comes 7-7-4 rainbow. The big blind checks to you. There is 6.5X in the middle. You raised 3X on the button preflop and he called. You have 72 big blinds left. What do you do?

Before we get any further, let me ask you something: How many times have you been in this situation? Hundreds of times, right?

Any time you come to a situation in poker and think, “God, I seem to always find myself in this spot,” that is a terrific situation to study.

I was recently recounted a hand from early in a $365 buy-in WSOP circuit tournament by one of my followers on twitter (@JonathanLittle). A local grinder, who generally plays a somewhat tight, aggressive strategy but is capable of playing loose at times, raised to 300 out of his 9,000 effective stack from second position at a nine-handed table. Our Hero decided to reraise to 700 from the button with A5.


Let’s talk about the decision-making process in poker. In every sport, the athlete has their technical fundamentals that they rely on during high pressure moments. In golf, it is the player’s swing. In basketball, a player’s jump shot. In swimming, it is their stroke. These technical aspects of a player’s game are constantly worked on and ingrained in their body, so they can perform under pressure. As a prime example, a golfer knows their swing so well, that they don’t even have to think about it. Their body automatically performs the swing, due to the repetition that has occurred.

I recently had the opportunity to play a $25/$50 no-limit game on Poker Night in America at Choctaw Casino in Durant Oklahoma. It was an awesome experience and a lot of fun. The table was a nice mix of amateurs and professionals and there was lots of action. About halfway through the first day of filming, I became aware that I was not playing very many pots with the amateurs, and quickly realized the obvious mistake I was making.

I was recently told about a hand from a $1/$2 no-limit cash game that illustrates two errors that many amateur players make on a regular basis. A generally tight player raised to $5 out of his $200 stack from first position at a 7-handed table. Another reasonable player called from the hijack seat (two to the right of the button). Hero called with 99 from the small blind.

Page 1 of 7