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Poker TipsPoker Tips

Poker is a very complex game with several simple underlying concepts. Take a look at these poker tips to gain valuable insight into the mind of a poker pro.

Think about each tip and if you agree or disagree, but most importantly why.  These tips will help you go beyond the basic poker rules will help your growth as a player.

Top 5 General Poker Strategy Tips

#1 Start with Low Limits

When learning a new poker game, it's generally a good idea to try the smaller limits regardless of bankroll size.  Players at these limits are usually learning and trying to move up in stakes as well.  These smaller limits are more about building skills than making money.

 Try micro-stakes poker for beginners at Americas Cardroom.

#2 Learn One Game Well

Some players try to play too many different games and learn them all at the same time.  Learning different games can and will improve your overall poker skills, but learning all of them at the same time can be counterproductive.  Try to stick to the same game and learn as much as you can before trying others.

#3 Move Up Based on Data, Not Bankroll

Winning a major tournament or a really good night in a cash game will have players dreaming of moving up.  It is very hard to judge if a player is actually beating the game or just on a hot streak.  Setting a goal of playing a certain amount of hands before deciding to move up is the best way around this.

#4 Always Use Bonuses

Poker bonus codes are ways to offset downswings and other such variance.  Bonuses can be awarded through several ways including: cash, tournament tickets, or prizes.  Different poker rooms on the same network might offer different deals, so be sure to shop around.

 Take advantage of the HUGE $5,000 new player bonus from Carbon Poker.

#5 Maintain the Proper Temperament

No matter if you are playing for thousands of dollars or thousands of pennies, always be respectful of those around you.  If you are playing live that includes the dealers too.  If tipping is customary in your game, remember to tip when appropriate.

 Top 5 Holdem Tips

#1 Play Tight

Almost all new players start off with the same problem: they try to play as many hands as possible.  Playing only the best starting hands will make your decisions a lot simpler. A typical profiting player will only play about 15% of all hands dealt to them in a full ring game.

#2 Pay Attention to the Action

The proper playing of a hand alters with every action preceding you.  A tight player raising under the gun may cause you to fold your A♠ J♣.  However, you might raise that same hand if no one has entered the pot in front of you. Not looking at your cards until it is your turn to act will prevent you building any strategy you might not get away from.

#3 Understand When AND Whom to Bluff

Bluffing could be considered an advanced concept in poker.  Bluffing won't work against players who are not thinking. If you are in a loose/passive game, tight value betting will win the money.  This also goes for blind stealing, if a player will always defend his big and/or small blind you need to make value raises.

 Play the #1 site for Texas Holdem: PokerStars.

#4 Playing Small Pairs, Suited Connectors Correctly

Small pairs and suited connectors are highly profitable hands when played in the right settings.  The most important thing to consider when playing these hands are stack sizes.  You need your opponent to have enough money behind to make up for the times your hand misses, this is the main factor when discussing implied odds.

#5 Playing with a Positive Attitude

A player's attitude can give you a snapshot of how that person does in poker overall.  The players who are constantly negative and angry in the chat box are generally losing players.  The same goes for people who are playing live and look like they just got really bad news. Positive things happen to positive thinkers, coming to the game with the right attitude can be the difference.

Top 5 Tournament Holdem Tips

#1 Understand Variance

Tournament players must understand variance.  If you are playing tournaments to make a profit, you are in this game for the long haul.  Many successful online tournament players will play 10-20 tournaments a day to reduce the swings.  Some of the best players in the world only make the money 15-25% of the time.

#2 Understand the Structure

Each tournament can have different variations and some may help or hurt your preferred style of play.  Understanding how long the blind levels are and what the starting stack sizes are can change your strategy.  There are also other game types such as turbos, shoot-outs, and rebuys that have strategies all their own.  

If you're aggressive, try turbos.  If you like to be a bit more patient, try slower-paced tournaments.  

#3 Pay Attention to 'Effective Stack Size'

When you are considering playing a hand, you have to take into account the stack size of the player you are targeting.  If you have 500 big blinds and your opponent only has 5 big blinds, you only have 5 big blinds to work with.  You won't have those extra chips to maneuver with, so plan and play accordingly.

 Play the biggest tournaments online at PokerStars.  Guarantees over $1,000,000!

#4 Player Profiling

Understanding who you are playing with and what their intentions are can make the difference in a tough decision.

Some players are there just to make it into the money, others are playing only for 1st place. Dan Harrington is credited for Saying "At every level of a poker tournament, even the first hand, the pressure is too much for someone".  Find the easy targets and take advantage.

#5 Short Stack Play

In just about every tournament you will play you will become a short stack at one point or another.   Playing the short stack requires skill and patience. Most players agree that under 10 big blinds is considered short stack, I would add 5-10 more big blinds with antes and short-handed play.  Look to shove a short stack against an aggressive player, or with good position. Don't just wait for good cards and get blinded down.

Top 5 Cash Game Tips

#1 Buy-Ins Matter

Many players debate how much to buy-in for at a cash game. Some will say buying in for the maximum is always the best idea.  Others say buying in short can result in an easy double and stop big losses. I think how much you bring to the table is dependent on your skills.  If you are a tournament player looking to get into cash games, buying in short for only 50 big blinds or less may help ease you into the game.  Players who feel comfortable outplaying the table in a deep-stack setting should buy-in for the maximum.

#2 Hand selection

Hand selection will depend often on how deep the stacks are at the table.  Stacks of 20-30 big blinds you will often get it in with top pair/top kicker and other reasonable hands.  Tables that are 200-300 big blinds deep are must suited for the small pocket pairs and other speculative hands. The bigger the stacks at the table the more hands can be played, but the more careful you must be with marginal hands.

#3 Mental Toughness

A famous line in the movie Rounders says, "A brilliant player can get a strong hand cracked, go on tilt, and lose his mind along with all his chips".

You must be able to handle the bad beats with all the grace you are capable of. For online players this means staying out of the chat box. Don't explain and help your opponents improve.

#4 Take Notes

When online or visiting an unfamiliar poker room you will run into unknown players.  You can tell a lot about players by what they are willing to showdown. If you get to see a showdown, make a note!  

It is just as important to remember how the betting went, so feel free to make notes about that too.  It is important to see what they believe is worth "three streets of value".

 Take notes and beat your opponents - Bovada Poker

#5 Weakness is Relative

Understanding a player's gauge of strength can give you great insight into his game.  A great example is A♠ Q♣, is that a strong hand or a weak hand? Some people will play it almost exactly like A♠ K♣, others won't touch it.  The same can be said for middle pair on a flop. Just because YOU think they are weak, doesn't mean they think they are.