Below are 20 advanced poker tips about the game of poker. If you want to put the tips into practice in a fun, interactive and exciting way, you can take a look at our poker workshops or organize a poker tournament yourself.
Tip 1: Don’t play too many hands
Often, novice poker players are not selective enough in deciding which hands to play or not to play. Don’t think every hand can win, it’s better to play too few hands than to play too many hands.
When you play a lot of hands in the beginning, you end up in a lot of difficult situations where you have to decide whether your hand is good enough. If you are an experienced player it is okay but when you are just starting out you can quickly get into trouble here.
Tip 2: Think about your opponent’s possible cards
When you first start playing poker, it is difficult enough to remember your own hand, let alone have an idea which hand your opponent has. Yet it is very important to pay attention to this.
When you can estimate your opponent (“put it on one hand”), it often makes your decisions much easier. Now you know more often whether you have the winning hand, whether you should fold better or whether you have to bet a lot or a little to win the maximum number of chips from your opponent during a poker tournament or a poker workshop.
Tip 3: Think about who you are playing against
Make an estimate of the qualities of your opponents. If you think they are better than you then you should adjust your playing style accordingly. This often means playing (even) fewer hands. If you estimate that you are better than your opponents, you can take advantage of this by bluffing them more often or winning more chips from them if you have the best hand.
Tip 4: Don’t bluff too often
Bluffing often only works against advanced players. When you play against beginners, they are often busy with their own game and have no idea whether you are bluffing or not. Often they will not be afraid and will not fold. In addition, many beginners overestimate their own cards so they will not fold to your bluff, even if they have a poor hand.
Tip 5: Think about your position at the poker table
Your relative position to your opponent is very important. It is a great advantage to be the last person to be able to say what you are going to do. This way you can see what your opponent is doing and try to get a “read” on him or her before you have to do anything yourself. This also means that you can play worse hands if you have a good position.
The importance of position is often underestimated in (Texas Hold’em) poker. Your position can be just as important as the cards you get; often both players have a bad hand and the one with the best position will win the pot.
Tip 6: Make sure you know the rules
This tip seems obvious, but it often happens that players do not know the rules very well. A well-known example is the so-called “string bet”. This is a bet that a player makes and where the chips are used in several steps (first 1 chip, then 1 more, another, etc.). This is not allowed because you either have to say how much you are going to bet or bet all your chips at once. When a string bet is made, only the first chip bet counts.
In addition, it is of course also important to know what the winning hand is. This prevents you from thinking that you are winning with your straight while the neighbor’s flush is really higher. Or that you think that your 4 consecutive cards are also a street…
Tip 7: Watch the game
You can make the fastest progress in poker if you pay close attention at the table. Especially if you are not in control yourself, you have plenty of time and the opportunity to observe the other players at the table. The information you collect here can come in handy later if you play against the relevant opponent. The better you can estimate your opponents, the more chance you have of winning against them.
Tip 8: Don’t pay too much for draws
You will often find yourself in a situation where you have a hand that is not yet good but can become very good if the correct card hits the table. Consider, for example, an almost flush (“you have no spade “) or an almost straight (” you need an 8 or a king for a straight “). A common mistake here is that beginners often (continue to) play this “draw”, even if they have to bet a substantial portion of their chips.
To determine whether or not to play the draw, you have to apply some probability calculation. Here you set off the amount to be bet against the chance that you will make your hand. For example, you have 4 clubs for a flush and you still need the 5th club. The probability of this (on the turn) is 9 / 47th = 19%. (There are 9 clubs left in the deck and there are 47 unknown cards). So if you have to pay more than 19% of the pot in this case, it is not profitable to play this draw.
A side note to this are the implied odds, but we will come back to this later in the tips for advanced users.
Tip 9: Cards of the same suit are not much better than unsuited cards
Beginners often overvalue their suited cards (suited means two cards of the same suit, hearts, clubs, spades or diamonds). You won’t make a flush very often and statistically suited cards are only about 2% more likely to win than unsuited cards.
Tip 10: Don’t bet too little when you raise
If you get a good card, don’t be afraid to raise big. Especially when you play against beginners, more often than not they will just stay in the hand instead of folding their cards. If you raise too little, you not only get less money in the pot, but also a lot of players play with it, making it more difficult to win the hand in the end. Try to make sure that you have 1, 2 or a maximum of 3 opponents if you have good cards.
Tip 11: Check out the characteristics of the players at the poker table
If there are many players in the hand each hand, this means that “loose” is being played. In other words, the players at the table play (too) many hands, which decreases the value of their average hand. This means that the best strategy is to play “tight”, against the rest of the table. So you often get paid if you have a nice hand and you do not face difficult decisions with mediocre hands.
Conversely, this also means that when the table is “tight”, you can loosen up and bluff a bit more.
Tip 12: Your position is very important
The importance of position is often underestimated in poker. It is a great advantage if you are the last to say what you are going to do. Therefore, you should play more hands in position (when you are on the button or right after the button) and less hands out of position (when you are in the blind or just before).
The positions at the table can be divided into 3 different categories: early position, middle position and late position. If you take this into account, you can only play top hands in early position, top hands + sub hands in middle position and top hands + sub hands + occasionally mediocre hands in late position. If you want more information about concrete starting hands, I advise you to read an article about it.
Of course it also depends on your opponents which hands you can play in which position (see also tip 11 for this).
Tip 13: The size of your bets (betsizing)
The size of your bet determines the amount of chips you win or lose. Ideally, you want to maximize your profit and minimize your loss. You can achieve this by thinking carefully about the amount of your bets.
Important to remember when determining your bet is the relative ratio to the pot. It is of little use to bet 25 when there is 1000 in the pot, few opponents will fold their cards. In addition, you also earn very little if you have the winning hand.
Before the flop, a standard raise is about 3 times the size of the big blind. Thus, you raise enough to deter players with poor hands, and you get enough money in the pot if players do decide to call. The ideal height of a raise also depends on the type of opponents you are sitting with at the poker table.
In addition, the size of your bet must depend on the odds that your opponent has. If you expect him to be on a flush draw, then you don’t want to give him the right odds to call. So you want to bet (proportionately) more than his percentage to get the right card.
Finally, there is also a lot of value in very large betting (for example, you can make it look like a bluff and if you are paid off you immediately win a lot of chips) or make a relatively small bet (so you lure your opponent along if you that he doesn’t have such a strong hand, also called a suckbet). In general, you should never bet very low (less than 20% of the pot) as this is of little use.
Tip 14: Bluffing can be valuable if you do it the right way
Novice players often bluff too often or at the wrong time. A bluff can win the pot for you if you don’t have the best hand. However, it is important to estimate in advance what the chances of a bluff being successful and whether it will be profitable in the long term. For this you have to be able to properly assess the situation and your opponent(s).
It takes some experience to identify the correct situations in which a bluff could work. If you are not sure if a bluff will work then you should not make it. Chances are that it will not work and this will cost you unnecessary chips. Only bluff if you think you are sure that your opponent is folding.
There are also many positives to a bluff. Firstly, your image changes through bluffing, you are now seen as a somewhat “looser” player. This means that your good hands will be paid off sooner. Also, your opponents can be flustered by a bluff you show. In general, I am not in favor of showing your cards but in some cases it can lure opponents out of the tent.
Good situations for bluffing are when you are in last position, when you raised pre-flop, when you are playing against a short stack or when bluffing is the only way to win the hand (for example, you play a missed flop).
Tip 15: The two reasons for betting
There are two reasons for betting; to win extra chips from your opponent (if you have the best hand) or as a bluff with the aim of making your opponent(s) fold (if you don’t have the best hand). If you are going to bet, you need to find out which reason applies in this situation.
Are you betting to win extra chips? Then you have to ask yourself if your opponent is going to call with a worse hand than you have. If the answer is no, you do not have to bet, but it is better to check to be sure.
Are you betting as a bluff? Then you have to ask yourself if your opponent is going to fold a better hand. If this is not the case then you better not bluff.
Often, novice players bet without knowing what the underlying idea is. This can cost you unnecessary chips at the poker table.
Tip 16: Think about your image
How others see you at the poker table is extremely important. Be well aware of the image you have and make use of it. When your opponents see you as a loose player who plays a lot of hands, you can play tighter and you will often be paid off. If opponents see you as a tight player, you can loosen up and get away with a bluff more often.
It is important that you are aware of your own image and that you can adjust your own playing style based on this. Different playstyles suit different characters and each has different advantages and disadvantages.
Tip 17: Meta game (part of our poker workshop for advanced players)
The meta game in poker means as much as a game within the game. This is all about how opponents see you. This means that you can sometimes make decisions that may not be statistically or game-wise, but that can also give you an advantage over the meta game in the long term.
To make it a bit more concrete, you could, for example, make a call every now and then if you are just sitting at the table and players do not know you well and you do not know them either. When you make this call you know that you will often lose the hand and this is therefore not a profitable call in the long run. But at the same time you are working on your meta game. You find out what your opponent is playing, and thus get information about his poker hand. In addition, you give yourself a loose image that makes other players at the table think that you are playing looser than you actually do. This could result in a good hand paying off more often in the future.
Tip 18: Continuation bet
A continuation bet is a standard bet made after the flop if you raised before the flop. The idea behind this is that (if you are in the pot with few players) your opponents will often have missed the flop. Since you showed before the flop that you have a good hand, you will often be able to pick up the pot here. Even if you can’t do anything with the flops at all and therefore have a worthless hand, you still win the pot.
When making a good continuation bet you have to consider the correct size of the bet and your opponents. A good continuation bet is often between 35% and 70% of the pot. Large enough to scare off opponents who have not yet made a hand, but not too large to avoid unnecessary risk if an opponent does have a monster. In addition, it is also important to properly assess your opponent. If this is very loose and calls often, it is of little use to make a standard continuation bet if you have not hit anything. This player will still call often and you will have to show the best hand if he also hangs on the turn and river.
Tip 19: Check raise
The check raise is a powerful weapon in poker. If you initially check with the intention of raising when your opponent places a bet, you are making a check raise. The check raise can be used as a bluff if you suspect your opponent is making a standard continuation bet. Then you try to bluff him out of hand. The check raise can also be used to put more money in the pot if you think you have the best hand. This way you can win more chips from your opponent. However, you immediately show that you have a good hand, something you may not want in a situation where this is really the case.
Tip 20: Semi bluff
A semi bluff is a bet where you do not have the best hand at that moment, but where your hand still has a chance to become the best. Hereby you combine the best of 2 worlds. Because of your bet, your opponent can already fold and you do not have to show your hand. If your opponent does call, you can always make the winning hand and still win the pot.
An example of a semi bluff is betting or raising on the turn when you have a flush draw. In fact, you don’t have anything yet, but you can make a flush if the correct card hits the river. So you can win the pot in 2 ways: your opponent folds or you still make the winning hand. An additional advantage is that if your flush falls on the river, your hand is nicely covered. Your opponent probably won’t think you have a flush because you raised on the turn. Cash desk!
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