Monday, February 19, 2018

How to Put Them on a Hand: 7 Tricks the Pros Use

How to Put Them on a Hand in Poker
Putting your opponents on a hand at the poker tables is one of the most valuable skills you can learn. This is especially important in the small stakes games because we all know how crazy the players can be!

Many people struggle with this though. However, it really isn't as difficult as you might think. There are several "tricks" that I and many other poker pros use to read their hand right almost every time.

And it really is important to remember that you will never get it right every single time. Sometimes every single sign will point to a bluff, so you make the call and they turn over the nuts instead.

But I have used these strategies effectively for many years to read their hand right most of the time. So let's get started!


1. Timing Tells


One of my favourite ways to put them on a hand is through timing tells. Most people do not realize but they are giving off subtle timing tells almost every time they play poker.

Most people aren't even aware of them. The pros are though. I am always paying heavy attention to them especially when I am playing online.


Here is the gist of it:
  • Taking too long to act = nuts or bluff
  • Acting too quickly = mediocre hand

When somebody is going into the tank for a decision this almost always means that they have a huge hand and they are trying to figure out the best way to play it. Or conversely, they have nothing and they are thinking about how to run a big bluff on me.

In other words, the strength of their hand is very black or white: nuts or nothing.

When somebody just calls me right away though (or bets almost instantly), this is often a dead tell that they have something decent but not amazing (i.e. middle pair, top pair, a draw).

And the reason why is because most people consider these middle strength hands to be an obvious call or a quick bet. In other words, there is nothing really important for them to think about.


How can you exploit this?

So there are many ways to exploit this. When they are taking way too long to make a fairly standard decision I will often just call if I have a decent made hand like top pair or a draw.

KQ

on KT424 for instance.

There is absolutely no point in raising here because they either have me crushed with AK, trips, a full house etc. Or they are just on some wild bluff and I obviously have them crushed.

Conversely though, if they are betting way too fast on a board like this you might want to consider turning some sort of weaker hand into a bluff on the flop, turn or river.

This is especially the case if they are the type of player who is capable of folding a decent hand like KJ here.

Because once again, it's all about the timing tell. When they act way too fast this tells me that they didn't think very much about what to do. And therefore this indicates to me that they probably don't have a really strong hand.


2. Bet Sizing Tells


Bet sizing tells are another easy way that I and many other pros use to put somebody on a hand. Once again, most people don't even realize that they are doing it.


Here is a simple breakdown once again:
  • Big bet sizing = mediocre hand
  • Small bet sizing = nuts or bluff

By "big bet sizing" here I mean something like 80% of the pot or more. And by "small bet sizing" I mean 50% of the pot or less.

In order to understand this better you need to know how small stakes players think. Many of them are highly superstitious and play according to emotion and recent results rather than logic and mathematics.

There is actually an entire section in Crushing the Microstakes entitled "Fish Psychology" if you want to learn more about how recreational players in particular think at the lower stakes.

So when they blast the pot on the flop with a big bet this often means a mediocre hand that they are trying to "protect" such as top pair or even an overpair.

However, when they bet small this often means a nut hand (i.e. two pair, a set, trips) that they don't want to "scare" you away with. A small bet can also mean a total bluff too.

Keep in mind that this is not the logical or profitable way to play poker. I am just describing how losing poker players think.

From a strict GTO perspective your bet sizes should always be the same no matter what the strength of your hand is.

And if you are playing at the micros an exploitative approach is even more profitable. Unsurprisingly this involves doing the exact opposite of what the losing players do.


3. The Big River Raise Out of Nowhere


Another one of my favorite tells that small stakes players give off is the big river raise out of nowhere.

Many lower stakes players like to sandbag (slowplay) their big hands because they saw their favorite high stakes pro on TV do this. Or because once again, they are afraid of "scaring you away."

And again, this is not the logical or profitable way to play poker. This is just how bad poker players think which is the only thing that matters here.

So they check/call you all the way until the river and then hum and haw for a few moments before putting in the big raise out of nowhere.

This is so transparent especially on a dry board like:

KK742

There are no draws that got there. They are basically representing the nuts or nothing. And with weak passive bad players at the micros, it is almost always the former here.

So if you were value betting your TT for instance here on the river, you can safely fold knowing that they probably flopped trip kings.


4. The Turn Mini-Raise


The turn mini-raise is another dead giveaway of strength from most small stakes players. This is another way that they like to try and increase the size of the pot without scaring you away.

And it fools many people. After all, how can you fold your AA to just a mini-raise on the turn?

What you need to remember though is that if they have what they are representing (two pair or better), then you are drawing very thin.


Here's an example:

How to read their poker hand

So you have AA and you get mini-raised on the turn on this board. The problem is that if they have two pair or better (like they often will), then you have just 18% equity in the pot.

That's bad.

And what that really means is that you are just throwing away money by calling the turn raise even though the raise is only the minimum amount.

Don't fall for this little trick of theirs. Just laugh and throw your hand away especially against passive players with low a low aggression factor on your HUD.

Trust me, you will be saving yourself a lot of money in the long run.


5. Emotional Play


One of the biggest things that separates poker pros from all the amateurs is emotion based play. It is not that pros don't tilt, it is just that they do it far less often and it is nowhere near as obvious.

When a recreational player is losing though, it often becomes readily apparent that they are steaming. You may have heard the term "a fish on tilt" before.

This is because there is no more profitable situation for you to be in.

All of the sudden they will start playing way more hands than usual, betting more often and sometimes getting visibly upset in the chat online or through their facial features and demeanour if you play live.

The pros are paying attention to all of this.

When I sit down to play poker the first thing I always do is make a note of who the weak players are. I am looking for all of the typical signs of bad poker players.

After I identify them I am also paying very close attention to if they are winning or losing.

If they are winning, then I expect them to play a straightforward game and not try to bluff me very often. When people are winning they tend to want to "protect" their winnings and play it safer.

Again, not logical or profitable, but this is how recreational players in particular think about the game of poker.

When they are losing however, I expect them to take many more risks by playing weaker hands than normal and running really bad and often transparent bluffs.

So when I know a fish is steaming I will often make really light call-downs with a hand like top pair no kicker or even middle pair. If they have been winning though and they bet strong, I will just throw a hand like this away.


6. HUD Based Tells


Anyone who reads my blog posts or my books knows that I am a heavy proponent of using a HUD online, when you can.

Your heads up display simply gives you key information on how your opponents play that can often make it much easier to know what to do in a difficult spot.

For instance, if somebody at the micros re-raises me preflop then I can immediately look at their Preflop 3Bet% stat to get a better idea of what type of hand they likely have.


Here is a rough guide:
  • 1-3 = Nuts
  • 4-6 = Strong with a few bluffs
  • 7-10 = Quite a few bluffs, slightly out of line
  • 11+ = Way too many bluffs, totally out of line

So if I have a hand like AQ for instance and I raise it up preflop and somebody re-raises me, I am going to react very differently depending on their 3Bet%.

Versus the player with a 3Bet% of 2, I am probably going to throw my hand away. Yes you read that right, I will fold. And the reason why is because AQ is garbage versus a 2% range.

Versus a player with a 3Bet% of 10 though, I will be calling at the very least and sometimes 4Betting for value as well.


7. Physical Tells


While I am mostly an online player, physical tells play a big part of reading somebody's hand if you are playing live poker.

The most classic signs are acting nervous and all of a sudden saying very little. While some pros are capable of giving off "reverse tells," most of the time with an amateur this means a strong hand.

On the flip side, when they are acting nonchalantly and very talkative, this often means that they are bluffing. They are trying to give off a false sense of strength.

This is why you will see pros often try to talk to their opponent and engage them during a big river decision for instance. They are fishing for information.

My suggestion is that you try to act the same no matter if you are bluffing or if you have the nuts. My favorite approach is just to calmly stare straight ahead and say absolutely nothing.

You never want to give away any free information at the poker table. And with live poker, practice makes perfect. Be aware of the physical tells that other people give off and try to eliminate any that you may have.


Final Thoughts


There are many ways to put somebody on a hand at the poker table. Some of my favorite ways online are to watch out for timing and bet sizing tells.

You also want to be careful of turn and river raises at the lower stakes in particular. Most players at these limits are very passive and therefore they are representing a very strong hand when they do this.

You also want to always be aware of the recreational players in particular and whether they are winning or losing. They will often play emotional and make many more bluffs if they are losing and play safer and straightforward if they are winning.

Lastly, if you are playing online, make sure you look out for any HUD based tells. Many low stakes players have badly unbalanced stats which almost give away the strength of their hand.

And finally, if you play live it is important to understand physical tells and work on not giving any off yourself.

Let me know in the comments below how you put them on a hand at the poker tables. Do you have any other tips or tricks?

How to Put Them on a Hand at the Poker Table

Monday, February 12, 2018

Full Ring Poker Strategy: The Ultimate Guide

Full Ring Poker Strategy
A good full ring poker strategy is vital to your success in the lower stakes games. This is because 9 person and 10 person poker games are still very popular both online and in casinos.

And the core principles to beat these games are really quite easy. Play tight, make good hands and value bet them.

However, if it were really just that simple, then everybody would be crushing these games. You also need to know how to bluff and apply pressure in the right spots, understand relative hand strengths and so on.

I am going to cover it all in this article.

And if you play 6max, don't worry because I got you covered there as well. Last year I already wrote my very popular 6max poker strategy guide.

But as many people know, full ring has always been my bread and butter. I have played millions and millions of hands of full ring poker online with some of the highest win-rates ever recorded at the lower stakes.

In this article you are going to learn everything you need to know about full ring poker strategy to start crushing these games yourself. Let's get started!


1. Full Ring is For the Nits


Playing really tight and full ring kind of go hand in hand. In full ring games (9 or 10 players) this is where you are going to find some of the biggest nits on earth.

These are the guys who are playing as little as 15%, 10% or even less of all hands dealt to them.

This means that many of them are only getting involved in the action if they have:

  • A strong ace (AK, AQ, AJ, AT)
  • A strong broadway (KQ, KJ, QJ)
  • A pocket pair (AA to 22)
  • A good suited connector (JTs, 98s, 87s)
  • A good suited ace (A9s, A8s, A7s)

Maybe they will raise a few more hands when they are on the button and trying to steal the blinds. But I think you get the idea here. They play really tight!

And there is absolutely nothing wrong with this strategy by the way. All too often these days people make fun of tight players and glamorize the loose aggressive "action" players instead.

But as any real poker pro will tell you (and especially if they play full ring), the real money is in a tight disciplined approach to the game.

This is why I recommend that you play tight in full ring games as well. You should not be playing more than 15% of your hands.

Here is a rough idea of what the top 15% of all hands looks like:

Full Ring Poker Strategy

Now please remember that position is vitally important in poker no matter how many people are seated at the table. Therefore, you should often be playing way more hands than are listed above or way less depending on where you are seated at the table.

However, hopefully this chart gives you a rough visual guide. Playing relatively tight (folding a lot of trashy hands) is the baseline for any solid full ring poker strategy.

And the biggest reason why is because with 9 or 10 players at the table, the chances of somebody having something good simply goes up considerably.

You can't play a lot of garbage hands and expect to win. You are fighting a losing battle with math.


2. Blind Stealing is a Crucial Skill in Full Ring


The other key to a winning full ring poker strategy is aggression. Even though aggressive play is important in all types of poker, it is especially important in full ring for a few reasons.

Firstly, as we just mentioned, most people play very tight in full ring, often too tight. So how do you counter that most effectively? Put pressure on them before the flop and make them pay by stealing their blinds frequently.

This is why I often suggest that you steal the blinds when you are in late position (button or cutoff) with at least as much as 30% of your hands.

Full Ring Poker Strategy

You want to make all these nits who are sitting around waiting for the nuts pay by stealing their blinds frequently.

And believe me, this adds up. Many people forget that every successful blind steal (small blind and big blind both fold) means that you win 1.5bb.

Since good win-rates in today's micro stakes games are often as little as 5bb/100, this means that if you take down the blinds just a little bit more often, you can seriously improve your win-rate.

For example, let's consider a moderate winner of 3bb/100 which is a very reasonable win-rate in some games today. By stealing the blinds successfully just 2 more times every 100 hands, this person would effectively double their win-rate.

Even if you only play low stakes games, with decent volume this win-rate boost can add up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars more in earnings every month.

Let those numbers sink in a little bit if you still do not value the importance of stealing the blinds!

And the best part about blind stealing is that even when you are called by some nit in the blinds, you still get to play the hand in position. This makes you a statistical favorite to win the hand.

The reason why is because like I discuss in Crushing the Microstakes, there are two pillars to success in poker.

  • Initiative 
  • Position

When you attempt to steal the blinds from the button for instance, and they just call, then you will always have both of these.


Here's an example hand:

You have K9 on the button and you raise

A nit calls in the big blind


Flop:

AT4

He checks

You should...?


Bet.

Even though you have absolutely nothing at all, you are often going to take down the pot here very easily with a simple continuation bet (CBet). You only need to bet around 50% or 60% of the pot by the way as well.

And the reason why is because even though this player probably called you with a tight range preflop, think about all the hands that he has that missed this flop.

What is he going to do with 22, 33, 55, 66, 77, 88, 99, KJ, KQ, QJ, 98s, 87s and so on on this board? The answer is that he is going to fold the large majority of the time.

With all of the tight play that full ring is known for, do not under-estimate the value of stealing the blinds. It is vital to your success in these games.


3. Crush The Tight Regs After the Flop


The other way to abuse the tight poker players in full ring is to win more than your fair share of the pots after the flop.

And luckily this is still pretty easy to do because most players at the lower stakes are quite frankly terrible postflop, especially on the turn and river.

There are many ways to exploit this weakness of theirs. You can take a variety of different lines such as:

  • Double barreling
  • Triple barreling
  • Floating the flop and betting the turn
  • Double floating and betting the river
  • Check/raising the turn
  • Bluffing the river 

And so on.

The easiest way to figure out the best line of attack against somebody though is by observing what type of player they are or referring to your HUD stats on them.


For instance:

It is very common at the lower stakes these days to encounter what I like to call "one and done" players. What I mean by this is that they raise it up preflop and then bet the flop, but if their opponent is still around by the turn, they give up.

If you are using a HUD, they will often have a high Flop CBet% such as 70% and then a low Turn CBet% of something like 40%. The actual numbers here are a little bit arbitrary. It is this big gap between them that you want to look out for in particular.

And there is a very easy way to exploit people who play like this and it basically allows you to print money against them. This is to float the flop and then bet the turn when they check to you.


For example:

Tight reg raises from early position

You call on the button with JT


Flop:

974


Tight reg CBets

You call


Turn:

3


Tight reg checks

You should...?


Bet!

This is a classic example of an easy spot to pick up a pot against a one and done player.

We called a raise preflop in position with a decent suited connector which is a key strategy to beating many of the regulars in today's low stakes games. The goal is to outplay them in position after the flop.

In this hand we flop decent with a gutshot straight draw to the nuts, two overs and a backdoor flush draw. All of this equity means that we aren't going anywhere.

It is important to note that you should always have at least some equity when you choose to float the flop. If the flop came A22 for instance with no spade and he bet, then we should be folding here. Don't float with complete garbage (nothing at all), as that is just a losing strategy.

So in this hand we call and see a turn card. Now even though the turn completely bricks out in this hand (3♢), the tight reg checks to us and this gives us a great opportunity to make an easy bet here and take down the pot.

He is going to simply fold to our bet with all of his hands like AK, AQ, AJ, KQ, KJ, 22, 55, 66 and so on. And this is a big win for us because all of these hands are actually beating us right now!

Taking more pots away from the regulars in particular is truly the heart of winning poker in small stakes games these days whether you play full ring, 6max, live or online.

If you want to learn dozens more strategies like this to use against the regulars make sure you check out my new book, The Micro Stakes Playbook.


4. The Nits Aren't Messing Around


The next thing that you need to know about full ring poker (and this is crucial), is that when the nits finally do start to fight back against your aggression, they very likely aren't playing around.

A lot of people fail to recognize this is often a massive leak in their game in full ring and even in low stakes 6max as well

What do I mean specifically by this?

I am talking about situations such as:


  • A tight players raises you on the turn
  • A tight players raises you on the river

These are situations where a nit is just almost never going to be bluffing especially in full ring.

In fact, these are spots where you absolutely should be folding your overpair (Yes AA or KK) if it is not improved (i.e. it is still one pair).


Here's an example hand:

You raise from early position with AA

A tight regular calls you on the button


Flop:

T63


You CBet

The tight reg calls


Turn:

8

You CBet again

The tight reg raises

What should you do?


FOLD.

This is a spot where you absolutely, 100% (bet your kids future college education fund on it), should be folding.

If you call here and then check/call again on the river I can almost guarantee you that this tight player is going to show you:

  • TT
  • 88
  • 66
  • 33

I have literally seen it a thousand times. They just aren't bluffing here hardly ever.

It is very important that you remember that most of these tight regulars at the lower stakes are playing many other tables at the same time.

They didn't just pick this random spot to run a big bluff on you out of the blue. No, they are raising because they hit their set and have you beat!

It is so obvious that you almost want to think that there must be some sort of higher level gamesmanship going on here. Trust me there isn't.

The smart money here is learning how to lay it down and not pay them off.

In fact, when you finally learn how to stop paying off the nits in stupid spots like this (it took me years), then you will finally ascend to the highest level of full ring mastery.

Success in fold ring poker is all about making the "sick folds" sometimes. When the nits in particular are raising you on the turn or the river, bite your tongue, close your eyes and just hit the fold button.

And thank me later.


5. Full Ring Poker is a True Grinder's Paradise


One of the biggest reasons why I grew to love full ring poker was the ability to multi-table online. In fact for the true sicko grinders out there like myself, full ring is a natural fit.

The reason why is that since you are going to be playing relatively tight and not getting involved in too many pots, this allows you to simply add many more tables.

And there are several benefits to this.

Firstly, it allows you to play way more hands, learn faster and get to the long run quicker. Direct experience is one of the best ways to get better at poker in my opinion and if you want to get past short term variance in poker, then you need to play a lot of hands.

Full Ring Poker Strategy
Multi-tabling online poker with a view from my condo in Thailand!

The second key benefit to multi-tabling online is the ability to earn rakeback. I have made tens of thousands of dollars at very low stakes over the years through rakeback alone.

Rakeback by the way is basically free money that the poker sites give you just for playing. Or more specifically, it is a portion of the rake that you already paid them that you are "getting back."

Nearly all online poker sites offer some form of rakeback in order to entice new players to signup.

Now it should be noted that rakeback programs have been in decline for several years now on some of the larger rooms, but there are still many poker sites where you can get the equivalent of 30% or so rakeback.

This can add up in a big way especially once you start multi-tabling at some decent stakes like NL25 and higher. And of course the more you play, the more you earn.

For my complete guide on how to play more online poker tables, click here.


6. The Best Full Ring Poker Strategy in the World is Patience


The last point that I want to make about full ring poker strategy is that it requires an incredible amount of patience at times.

In fact I would go so far as to say that if you aren't a patient person, then I wouldn't even bother playing this format. Full ring poker is all about knowing how to stay clear headed and make many difficult folds while under pressure.

Full Ring Poker Strategy

People who would consider themselves to be "action junkies" or gamblers in general should not play full ring because they are literally sitting ducks. There are nits playing on a ton of different tables online just waiting for the nuts.

You aren't going to bluff them off their AA!

Now don't get me wrong, there are still plenty of fish in the full ring games who play terrible hands. This is especially the case at the lower limits online and in literally all low stakes live games that I have ever seen.

And it is also very easy to abuse the tight poker players when they don't have the nuts (which is usually the case). We already saw how to do that in the example hands above.

However, if you like to play a really action heavy bluffy style of poker, then 6max or even heads up might be a better option for you. And this is because it is harder to make a hand in these games. Therefore, it is easier to bluff people.

Your other option is to simply play more tables as I just suggested above though. This is because it forces you to be more selective in what hands you play. You simply don't have time to be playing a bunch of trash!

You are also much more likely to have some sort of decent hand on one of your tables. This prevents you from playing bad hands due to boredom.

This is one of the main reasons why I used to play as many as 30 tables at once (all full ring). While I do consider myself to be a patient person overall, I like to get involved in the action as well.

When you are playing on this many different tables at once, believe me, you will be forced to be more disciplined!


Final Thoughts


There are very few "one size fits all" solutions in poker. There is also no best full ring poker strategy out there. There are many different ways to achieve success in these games.

However, I think that playing relatively tight and being aggressive in the right spots (both before and after the flop) are clearly proven to bring success in this format.

Full ring is also the best form of poker to play if you are a big time grinder who likes to multi-table and collect lot's of rakeback and bonuses.

Lastly, full ring poker requires a higher level of patience than most other types of poker. You need to be disciplined in your hand selection and make many tough folds at times.

If you are brand new to poker then I always suggest that you start with full ring. And the reason why is that full ring has a slower pace of action and less marginal decisions to make. This makes it easier for a beginner to get started.

Also, if you plan on playing live at all, then learning a solid full ring poker strategy is a must since the majority of low limit games in casinos around the world are 9 or 10 handed.

If you want to know the strategy that I use to crush the full ring micro stakes online games for some of the highest win-rates ever recorded, grab a copy of my free poker ebook.

Let me know your best full ring poker strategies in the comments below!

Full Ring Poker Strategy

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Upswing Poker Lab Review: A Complete Walkthrough

Upswing Poker Lab Review
I have heard about the Upswing Poker Lab for quite some time but never really had a chance to have an in-depth look at it until now. Lot's of people have asked me about it as well.

So I have spent the past week or so going through each lesson one by one (yes all 42 of them), along with all of the rest of the material in this poker course, in order to write this comprehensive review.

The Upswing Poker Lab is really an unprecedented poker training program on many levels. There are literally dozens of high level training modules, hundreds of hand charts telling you exactly what hands to play, and live play videos from some of the best poker players in the world. 

In this Upswing Poker Lab review I am going to break down all 6 sections of the course for you step by step and give you an inside look into exactly what you will find. 

Let's dive in!


1. The Upswing Poker Lab Core Strategy


The heart of The Upswing Poker Lab is the core strategy section. This is also the recommended starting point for this course.

Upswing Poker Lab Review

There are currently 27 modules (lessons) in the Lab Core Strategy section to which more are regularly added. 

The amount of high level poker strategy instruction included in this section is really impressive. Nearly every subject imaginable is covered to teach you how to dominate live or online poker.


Here are a few of the topics covered:
  • Hand reading and understanding ranges
  • What hands to raise with preflop
  • How to react versus a 3Bet
  • Flop, turn and river bet sizing
  • Single raised pot strategy as the preflop raiser and caller
  • 3Bet pot strategy as the preflop raiser and caller
  • Postflop bluffing strategies
  • Postflop value betting strategies
  • Bankroll management
  • Tilt control
And much more.

Upswing Poker Lab Review

Format:

Each lesson is typically comprised of a 20 to 40 minute video by Doug Polk who is a 3-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner with millions more in winnings online at the highest stakes.

He explains the core concepts of the lesson making use of range charts, equity analysis tools and hand history examples.

He shows you exactly what hands to bet, raise, call or fold with in every situation from the perspective of arguably the best No Limit Hold'em poker player on earth.

Upswing Poker Lab Review

There is also a writeup below each video lesson (similar to a blog post) explaining the core ideas of the module in even more detail and sometimes with quizzes or other downloadable content.

In my opinion it would take you weeks just to get through this section of The Upswing Poker Lab. The amount of high level poker theory covered here is truly amazing and I wish something like this was available when I was first learning the game!

I would suggest going through just one or two modules a night in this section of the course in order to prevent yourself from being overwhelmed with too much information. 

Also, everything is covered here from the basic terminology and the fundamentals of winning poker to highly advanced topics such as river bluff raising ranges.

This means that whether your are brand new to the game of poker or a seasoned grinder, you are going to learn a lot along the way here. 


2. Advanced Poker Lab Strategies Review


The core strategy section is still only the beginning of what The Upswing Poker Lab is all about though. Once you have gone through all 27 core modules the next step is the Advanced Lab Strategies section. 

For somebody who is struggling at NL10 or higher online (2/5 or higher live), this is the section of the Lab that is really going to help improve your results the most. 

Following a similar format as before, in the advanced section there are 11 more modules with dozens of video lessons on high level poker theory and how to apply it from both Doug Polk and Ryan Fee this time as well, who is also a high stakes poker pro.

Upswing Poker Lab Review

Here are some of the topics covered:
  • How to play your flush draws like a pro
  • Dominating multi-way pots
  • How to crush the regs with overbets
  • Hand reading and understanding blockers
  • Deep stack poker strategy 
And much more. 

For me personally, this was one of the best parts of the Upswing Poker Lab because some of the concepts (i.e. overbetting, multi-way pots and deep stacked strategy) just aren't covered elsewhere in this type of detail.

And this is the kind of stuff that truly separates the amateurs from the pros. 

There is also one final module in this section where you can download hundreds of hand range charts (259 to be exact) which explain exactly what hands to play in pretty much any poker situation imaginable.

Upswing Poker Lab Review

These charts cover online cash games, live poker games and tournaments as well.

This is really mind-blowing stuff because you basically get an exact answer for any preflop situation imaginable at the poker table. Raise this hand, fold that hand and so on.

Upswing Poker have also developed their own app for these hand charts (available for both Android and iOS) so that you can view them all right on your phone.

Upswing Poker Lab Review

Now of course all of the standard caveats apply here.

I would advise that you don't try to copy these charts literally. Every situation is different in poker and you need to adjust for things like player type, stack size, relevant history and so on. 

However, these hand charts are a highly impressive tool nonetheless especially for beginner or novice level poker players who are still trying to figure everything out. They are almost like a "cheat sheet" for how to play.


3. Upswing Poker Lab Review: Tournaments


The next section in The Upswing Poker Lab is all about MTT's (multi-table tournaments). Even though I am primarily a cash game player I think this section would be highly useful for any aspiring tournament pros out there. 

Starting with preflop there are detailed explanations of how ranges work in MTTs and how they differ from cash games. After that there is a large discussion of ICM (Independent Chip Model) analysis and an entire section devoted to just big blind theory (stack-off ranges). 

All of this is explained with dozens of videos and charts like the other sections of the Upswing Poker Lab that I already discussed above.

Upswing Poker Lab Review

The Tournament section continues with a large "Play and Explain" series of videos which covers actual situations deep in large online tourneys like the WCOOP $100k Final Table. 

There is also a large section devoted to live poker tournaments, discussing World Series of Poker preparation and strategy in particular. 

The MTT section finishes with a series of videos on 10bb-25bb short stack play by Parker "tonkaaaap" Talbot who is one of the most successful high stakes online tournament players in the world. 


4. Upswing Poker Lab Review: Live Poker


The next section in The Upswing Poker Lab continues with a look at live poker. 

Even though I am primarily an online poker player I found this section to be particularly refreshing as well because so much poker training these days focuses on just internet poker.

In this section there are 3 modules and about 20 videos in total. Doug and Ryan discuss various high stakes situations, many of which are televised hands that they themselves played in.

Upswing Poker Lab Review

There is also tons of expert analysis included on how to adjust your play for live games, how to pick the right casino, reading physical tells and so on. 

Overall this section is a solid addition to The Poker Lab. There is plenty here to help a live poker newbie confidently step into casino cash games or tournaments and start winning right away.


5. Mini-Courses Within the Upswing Poker Lab


The next section includes a bunch of mini-courses on various advanced topics. This is another section which is tailor made for anyone who has already had some success online or live, but is struggling to really break through to the big time.

Upswing Poker Lab Review

The mini-courses here include detailed analysis of sample sizes and variance, how to finally fix that redline of yours (non-showdown winnings) and how to master using database software like PokerTracker or Hold'em Manager.

The final module in this section was particularly interesting to me. This is a detailed breakdown of GTO (game theory optimal) poker strategy by the man who quite literally wrote the book on it, Matthew Janda (author of Applications of No Limit Hold'em). 

He explains the main differences between exploitative poker strategy and GTO. The latter becomes an increasingly vital skill to know especially as you start moving up the stakes. 

Matthew also walks you through the math behind GTO poker theory, balancing your ranges perfectly, and tons of hand history examples to help illustrate it all for you. 


6. Play and Explains Section Review


The last section in The Upswing Poker Lab is called "Play and Explains." And it pretty much is exactly what it sounds like. 

This is arguably my favorite part of the entire course because it is basically a bunch of old school type training videos like you would see on CardRunners back in the day or like the dozens of videos I made for DragTheBar. 

Basically you get to look over the shoulder of one of 4 world class poker players while they play and explain their actions.

Upswing Poker Lab Review

You get to watch as Doug "WCGRider" Polk and Ryan "Fees" Fee play small, mid and high stakes cash games with a little bit of heads up thrown in there sometimes as well. 

Fried "MyNameIsKarl" Meulders, who is another world class cash game pro, has also been making a lot of 500NL Zoom videos for this section lately. 

And lastly, the MTT live play videos are once again covered by top tourney pro and popular Twitch streamer Parker "tonkaaaap" Talbot.


Final Thoughts


People ask me all the time what is the best way to improve your poker game these days.

If you are brand new to the game or struggling at the lower stakes, then I would say any of the hundreds of articles I have written for this site or my poker strategy books would be a good place to start.

But what if you have been playing for awhile though with some decent success? What if you are finally ready to really take your game to a world class level and start making the big money at higher stakes games?

For me the answer to this question is now: The Upswing Poker Lab.

After having a thorough look now at this massive course, all I can say is that I wish something like this was available when I was just starting out in poker nearly 10+ years ago. It literally would have cut years off of my learning development.

The amount of high level poker instruction in The Upswing Poker Lab is truly mind-blowing. I believe that this course could literally be a game-changer for someone currently struggling to really break through and start producing real, consistent results in poker.

I forgot to mention that you also get access to the private Facebook group where you can ask the pros anything you want. And that is truly one of the best parts for me about this course as well. 

That is, you know that you are learning from the very best. 

Doug Polk, who created the majority of the content for The Upswing Poker Lab, is a 3-time WSOP bracelet winner and has won millions more online at the very highest stakes.

And the other instructors (Ryan Fee, Fried Meulders and Parker Talbot) are also well known poker pros with lifetime winnings in excess of 7 figures.

Membership in The Upswing Poker Lab is just $49 per month and it is even cheaper if you opt for a longer term plan. This is basically only a buyin or two if you are currently playing at the micros.

If you are serious about taking your poker game to the next level and creating real results at higher stakes, then I would definitely recommend checking out this course. 

To learn more about The Upswing Poker Lab click here.

Upswing Poker Lab Review

Sunday, February 4, 2018

$1/$2 Cash Game Strategy: The Pro's Guide

$1/$2 Cash Game Strategy: The Pro's Guide
It is hard to find a lot of good $1/$2 cash game strategy information out there. And this is surprising given the fact that so many people play in these poker games in places like Las Vegas and around the world.

So I wanted to write up an article which specifically covers these games once and for all. Even though I am known primarily as an online professional player, I think there is a ton of cross-over with low stakes games on the internet and in the casino.

From my experience playing low stakes live games around the world, I have literally never seen a bad $1/$2 cash game (i.e. they are always full of fish). But this requires a unique strategy and oftentimes and increased level of patience in order to truly crush them.

So what follows is my pro's guide to 1/2 cash game strategy to get you crushing the tourists and stacking those chips next time you play live!


$1/$2 Cash Game Strategy for Loose and Passive Games


The first thing that you need to know about 1/2 cash games is that they often play loose and passive almost anywhere in the world. What I mean by this is that you will often see many people limping into the pot, slow playing big hands, and just a real lack of aggression in general.

It isn't until you start playing higher limits like 2/5 (and especially 10/20+) that you start seeing some real solid tight and aggressive players.

So there is one key way to counter these loose/passive games and that is to play tight and aggressive yourself. Now the easiest way to start doing this is to make sure that you are only playing relatively strong hands.


By this I mean:
  • All pairs (AA to 22)
  • All big aces (AK, AQ, AJ, AT and some lower suited aces)
  • Most broadways (Hands with BOTH cards being Ten or higher, KJ, QJ etc)
  • Suited connectors (T9s, 98s, 87s, 65s, 54s)

You want to be folding pretty much everything else. This should get you playing about the top 20% of hands dealt to you.

$1/$2 Cash Game Strategy

There is one very important point to keep in mind here though.

That is, you want to be playing the majority of your hands from seats like the cutoff and the button which are proven to be the most profitable positions at the table.

So from under the gun and the blinds for instance, you should often fold many of the weaker hands in this range such as 33, A6s or 54s.

However when you are seated on or around the button you should play everything listed above and even add in a few more hands as well such as A7o, T8s or K9s.


Tight and Aggressive Play for Small Stakes Live Cash Games


So now that you have a better idea of starting hand selection, the next obvious question is how should you actually play these hands. The answer to that is a tight and aggressive strategy which is also often called TAG.

Starting from before the flop, you should come into the pot for a raise if nobody has raised it yet. Yes, you heard that right: Do not limp.

And the reason why is because it is also a proven fact that being the aggressor in poker is more profitable in the long run than limping in and playing passively.

Here's why:

By being the aggressor in poker you simply give yourself more ways to win the pot. You can either make the best hand and win it that way OR you can take it down by bluffing because you are the one who is in control of the hand.


Raising and 3Bet Sizing in 1/2 Cash Games


What if somebody has already raised it up though you might be asking yourself? If somebody has already raised it then usually you will want to just call with hands like big aces, pairs and sometimes suited connectors.

However, if you have one of the strongest hands listed above such as AA, KK, QQ or AK, then you should definitely consider re-raising, also known as a "3Bet."


How much should you raise it? (or re-raise it?)

This is where things get interesting with live poker games especially at limits like $1/$2. How much to raise? Many people make the mistake of raising it too small.

When you are playing in loose passive games for small amounts of money, you need to raise the pot more in order to thin the field out.

The reason why is because the money doesn't mean enough to scare most people in a $1/$2 cash game. Also, since live poker deals much slower than online poker, people tend to get bored more easily and want to play more garbage hands.

Therefore, you want to:

1. Make them pay more for playing these trashy hands
2. Get more money in the pot when you are the mathematical favorite to win


Recommended Raise Amounts - 1/2 Cash Games

So I would recommend making your initial raise (i.e. you are first into the pot) about 4x the big blind. This is $8 at 1/2. And if somebody has already limped into the pot, then add an extra big blind for each limper as well.

If you are 3Betting though, then I would suggest making it 4x the opening raise. So for instance, if somebody has raised it to $8, then you should re-raise it to $32.


Flop, Turn and River Strategy for $1/$2 Live Cash Games


In low stakes live games like 1/2 you also want to continue with this tight and aggressive strategy postflop as well. And more specifically I am talking about the flop, turn and river.

Since I recommended above that you play aggressive before the flop, this means that you will often enter the flop with what's called the "betting lead." You are essentially in control of the pot.

So I would recommend making another bet most of the time on this street even if you didn't flop very much of anything. You should make your bet sizing anywhere between 60% and 80% of the pot.


Two Situations to Watch Out For

However, there are a few situations where you need to be a bit more careful.


1. Too Many Callers

Firstly, if you got 2 or more callers preflop, then you should have at least a pair or a good draw before you decide to make a continuation bet on the flop.

And the reason why is because when you get multiple callers the chances simply go up considerably that somebody flopped something good. This means that you yourself need to have something decent in order to put more money in the pot.


2. Unimproved on the Turn and River

Secondly, on the turn and the river you need to be even more cautious overall. If somebody called you on the flop and you still don't have anything by the turn, then most of the time you should just check and be prepared to fold if they bet. Same thing goes for the river.

One of the absolute worst things you can do in a loose/passive $1/$2 cash game is start running big bluffs against the other players. And this is because the people who play in these games are likely to call you down with light holdings because the money doesn't mean much to them. They also just love to make the big call against you.

However, if you do happen to have a strong hand such as top pair, a strong draw or better, then you should definitely keep betting at the pot, 75% of the pot's value or more. This is known as "value betting" and it is absolutely crucial to your success in 1/2 cash games just like in low stakes games online.


If they are going to play loose and call too much then the counter strategy is simple. Play better hands than them and don't bluff. But when you do make a hand, bet it hard and often.


Don't Let Tilt Beat You in Small Stakes Live Games


One of the biggest problems that many small stakes live game players face is tilt. And this is likely to be a major factor for you as well.

In live poker you are looking straight across into the eyes of your opponents at all times. It can be really easy to get frustrated and play poorly when some guy keeps getting lucky against you over and over again.

Quietly inside you might be thinking about reaching across the table and...giving him a stern lecture!

1/2 Cash Game Strategy

You have to remember though that bad poker players always lose in the end. While they might get lucky and buck the odds this time, they can't fight the math over the long run and expect to win.

This is why it is important that you learn to keep your cool and even walk away from the tables for awhile if you feel yourself steaming inside.

The great thing about playing with so many bad poker players, as live games tend to attract, is that you will typically have a much higher win-rate than in online poker. This means that you can expect to walk away from the tables with a win on most days.

However, it doesn't matter how good you are, there will simply be some days where there is nothing you can do. It will feel like the poker gods have just completely rigged the game against you!

You need to know this and be prepared for this before you even sit down to play.


How Professional Poker Players Handle Tilt


As a professional poker player though, I can tell you that one of the biggest differences between myself and all of the other amateurs out there is how I react on these days.

Most people will keep on playing to try and "win it back". And they will often end up playing poorly, making a bunch of bad bluffs or bad calls and ultimately losing even more.

A pro on the other hand will learn to walk away instead. They know that this is just one bad day and it doesn't mean anything in the grand scheme of things.

It is only your results over months and years in fact that really matter in this game. Because that is when the short term luck element finally gets separated from skill.

Bad players will get lucky against you sometimes especially at stakes like $1/$2. You need to be prepared for this going in and keep playing your solid tight and aggressive game no matter what.

Don't ever allow yourself to be beaten mentally by these players. Always remember that this is the only way that they can win.

If you keep playing your game, then all the chips are coming your way in the long run.


Final Thoughts


1/2 cash game strategy is honestly not really that difficult. A simple tight and aggressive game like I talk about in Crushing the Microstakes is pretty much all you need to absolutely crush the bad players that these games tend to attract.

There are a few important strategy concerns to remember though.

First, you need to play selectively (only good hands) before the flop but also pay attention to your position at the table. By this I mean playing the majority of your hands when you are seated at or near the button.

You also want to make sure that your raises and bet sizes are sufficient in $1/$2 games because so many players love to call at this limit. You don't want to get 5 callers before the flop when you have AA for example!

Also make sure that you are playing disciplined in these games on the flop, turn and river. It is often going to be a big mistake to run large bluffs against the typical players you will see in live $1/$2 games.

They are just going to call you down because that is what they love to do! Making a continuation bet on the flop is fine. But usually you will want to lay off on the turn and river unless you have something really good like top pair or better.

Lastly, you need to know before you ever even sit down in these games that you are going to face plenty of bad beats. You will often encounter very bad players in these games who play terrible hands, chase every draw and never fold any pair.

They are simply going to get lucky against you sometimes.

This is the time when you can choose to react like a pro does though by taking a deep breath and letting it go or just walking away from the table if it is starting to get to you.

Always remember, they might get lucky this time, but they never win in the long run. The math will simply crush them in the end.

If you want to learn more about my strategy for low stakes cash games (whether at the casino or online), make sure you pick up a copy of my free poker strategy book.

Let me know in the comments below what kind of $1/$2 cash game strategy you use.

1/2 Live Cash Game Strategy: The Pro's Guide

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

How to Stop Losing So Much From the Blinds

How to Stop Losing So Much From the Blinds

Something that people ask me about all the time is losing too much from the blinds. After all, if you look at your stats in PokerTracker for instance, it is probably going to show a lot of red.

The first thing that I always remind people though is that everybody loses from the blinds. Yes, even the very best players in the world.

The reason why is because there is no possible way to overcome the massive disadvantage of being dealt two completely random cards AND having to play them out of position as well.

However, there is losing from the blinds and then there is losing way too much from the blinds! That is what I am going to discuss in this article.


What is an Acceptable Loss-Rate in the Blinds?


First things first, how much should you actually be losing from the blinds? This is a difficult question to answer for many reasons.

First off, it depends heavily on the game that you are playing in. For instance, as I have discussed before, NL2 online and NL5 online have perhaps the highest relative skill difference in all of online poker.

Your winrates are going to drop massively in every category across the board when you move up from NL2 to NL5.

I don't say that to scare you by the way. Both games are still exceedingly easy to beat for any decent poker player who table selects even just a little bit.

However, you don't see anywhere near as many completely clueless fish at NL5 and this will heavily affect your winnings. And this will in turn also heavily impact how much you  lose from the blinds.

So back when I used to play these two games a lot and beat them for some truly insane winrates I actually came close to breaking even from the small blind at NL2 along with a small loss of about -10bb/100 in the big blind.

My losses were considerably more than these at NL5 though for all of the reasons that I just discussed.

Now for most people these days though, especially in today's tighter games, I would say that something like a -10bb/100 loss-rate in the small blind and a -20bb/100 loss-rate in the big blinds would be very good.

But you can still definitely win at any limit (not just NL2 and NL5) with loss-rates that are higher than this as well.

However, it is important to remember that how much you lose from the blinds will directly impact your overall winnings. So if you have loss-rates of say -25bb/100 and -50bb/100 then there is definitely some cause for concern here.


You Will Always Lose More From the Big Blind than the Small Blind


Before I move on to the actual strategy on how to lose less from the blinds I want to touch on one other point though. And that is that you will always lose much more in the big blind than in the small blind.

It is usually right around twice as much in fact. You can go ahead and check your stats right now in PokerTracker and you will probably see something like this:

How to Stop Losing So Much From the Blinds

Now you don't need to be alarmed by this.

The reason why you are going to lose twice as much from the big blind compared to the small blind is pretty simple actually: You are paying twice as much from this seat.

Since you are in the exact same awful predicament as the small blind (random hand out of position), this just simply means that you are going to lose a lot more from this position.

It's simply a part of the game though like I said and everybody loses heavily from these seats, especially the big blind. And as you can see above it is heavily counter-balanced by extremely high win-rates especially around the button.

So don't let your losses from the blinds scare you. You can still win big overall, where it actually matters.


How to Stop Losing So Much From the Blinds


Ok, so let's assume now that you are losing too much from the blinds. Or maybe you aren't. Maybe you are already crushing it from these seats.

However, there is still always room for improvement in poker.

And this is because every little bit less that you can lose from these positions is going to directly affect how much you actually win in poker overall.

This is truly one of those cases where "a penny saved is a penny earned."

So how exactly do you start losing less from the small blind and big blind. Well, I have 3 strategies for you.


1. Play Less Hands From these Positions


Now, the first and most obvious way to stop losing so much from these positions is to simply play less hands. Duh right?

If you fold almost everything but the nuts from the small blind and the big blind, then you can really only ever end up losing the minimum.

And I will say that this is a strategy that I still largely recommend for complete beginners to poker who are playing at the lowest limits.

More specifically, I would recommend that they only play really strong hands from the blinds such as:
  • AA, KK, QQ, JJ, TT, 99, 88, 77, AK, AQ, AJ, KQ, KJ and QJ

However, as with all things in life that seem too good to be true, this is also one of them.

While this strategy can work ok for total beginners at NL2 (or 1/2 live) to keep their loss-rates from the blinds down, once you start playing against any sort of players with a brain (NL5+ online), they are going to start exploiting you heavily for playing like this.

In fact, as I talk about all the time on this blog and in my books, when I see some guy folding 80% or 90% of his hands from the blinds, then I am just going to steal his blinds all day long. I am also never going to pay him off once he finally decides to fight back against me.

So this is why it is important that as you move up the stakes and start to develop a better understanding of the game, that you also defend from the blinds with several speculative hands as well.

For instance:
  • 66, 55, 44, 33, 22, JTs, T9s, 98s, 87s, ATs, A9s, A8s
s = suited.

And as you climb up the stakes and become more and more confident in your postflop abilities, then you can continue to add more and more hands to this list.


2. 3Bet from the Blinds and Take Back Control


Now another strategy that I also recommend is to 3Bet the crap out of people from the blinds especially when they are attempting to steal from a late position seat like the hijack, cutoff or button.

I don't recommend this quite as much today (explained below), but it is still an effective counter-strategy especially at the lower limits in particular.

And the reason why is because most people will be raising with their widest range from these positions (often 30% or more of their hands). Therefore, they simply will not be able to withstand a raise very often.

Also, as I talk about in Crushing the Microstakes, there are two pillars to playing winning poker.

These are:
  • Position
  • Initiative

Now obviously we can't do anything about the first one when we are in the blinds. We will always have to play the hand out of position on every postflop street.

However, we can choose to take back the initiative in the hand by re-raising or by simply making an isolation raise if it is a limped pot.

Now while I do still recommend this strategy of 3Betting quite a bit with your good hands and also throwing in a re-raise "bluff" with your speculative hands from time to time as well, there are also some problems with this strategy.

While you can still get away with this strategy at stakes like NL2 and maybe even NL5, thinking players at higher limits have adjusted in recent years. If they see that you are 3Betting too much from the blinds, then they will simply 4Bet you lighter or just flat call and outplay you in position.

So while you do still want to make sure you are re-popping them most of the time with all your super strong hands like AA, KK, QQ, AK and so on it is important that you lay off the gas pedal and just call more often with hands like JTs, A9s, 44 and so on.

In other words, less 3Bet bluffs overall and more flat-calling with a wider range especially as you become more skilled at my next point.


3. Fight for More Pots from the Blinds After the Flop


The real key to losing less from the blinds these days though all happens after the flop. This is truly where the magic happens. You simply have to start learning how to take more pots away from them in order to cut your losses from these seats.

One of the biggest reasons why many people lose too much from the blinds is because they call with a hand like ATs, don't catch a pair or a decent draw on the flop, and so they just go ahead and check/fold.

This is losing poker because you are going to miss the flop completely with this hand about 2 out of 3 times. Therefore, if you are just going to check/fold the flop 2/3 of the time, you would have probably saved yourself some money by simply folding preflop.

Ok cool, so how do we actually start fighting for more pots after the flop and taking it down? Well, there are a variety of ways to do this.

You can:
  • Check/call the flop and lead the turn
  • Check/call the flop, check/call the turn and lead the river
  • Check/raise the flop and lead the turn
  • Check/call the flop and check/raise the turn
  • Donk bet the flop and lead the turn

I think you get the idea. There are countless ways to start fighting for more pots after the flop from the blinds.


How do you know which line to take though? 

Well, this often depends on the opponent and your specific reads on them and/or available HUD stats (more on this in the example hands below).


What hands should you be fighting for the pot with?

This is a question that is a lot easier to answer.

As I discuss at length in my new book The Micro Stakes Playbook, this is all about learning how to analyze your hidden equity in hands.

In other words, just because you didn't hit a pair or a decent draw with your AT doesn't mean you should just give up!

Here are two flops for example where you have plenty of hidden equity with this hand and therefore you should be fighting for the pot:
  • 38K♧
  • 997♧

On the first board you have both backdoor straight and flush draws to the nuts along with a strong overcard. The king is also an easy card for you to represent.

On the second board you have a backdoor straight draw and two strong overcards on a board that is very unlikely to have hit your opponent. Keep in mind as well that another 7 will counterfeit all of his small pocket pairs.

This is what I mean by finding your hidden equity in hands. And these are the types of situations where I am not going to be folding but fighting for the pot instead.

Let's look at a few example hands.


Example Hand #1


NL5 - 6max

You have JT in the small blind

TAGfish player raises from the button

You call

The big blind folds


Flop:

379

You check

TAGfish player CBets

What should you do?


This is the perfect example of a spot where I will be continuing in the hand no matter what. We have a backdoor flush draw, a gutshot to the nut straight and two overcards.

Check/folding here would be frankly criminal. Criminal to your poker win-rate that is!

So how should we play the hand though? Well, like I said before it depends heavily on the opponent that I am up against.

If my reads or my HUD data tells me that this is the kind of guy who folds to a check/raise on the flop a lot, then I might just check/raise him a lot here.

However, if this is a more typical TAGfish player at the micros who likes to bet the flop a lot and give up on the turn unimproved, then I will just check/call and take it away in some manner later on. Leading the turn, river or both streets for instance.


Example Hand #2


NL2 - Full Ring

You have A9 in the big blind

Nit player raises from the button

The small blind folds

You call


Flop:

24T

You check

Nit player CBets

What should you do?


Once again this is a hand where I am not going to just give up because it appears that we don't have much on the flop. Actually, we do have plenty.

We have a backdoor wheel straight draw, the backdoor nut flush draw and a strong overcard.

My standard line of attack here will once again depend on the opponent in question. Versus a Nit at the micros I will often check/call and fire the turn or river.

However sometimes I will mix in a lead on the flop, a check/raise on the flop or even a check/call flop and check/raise the turn line. The latter puts incredible pressure on him to have a hand in order to continue.

You get the idea though. We aren't just laying down and dying every time it appears that we missed the flop. That is losing poker after all.

Instead, when we have some sort of reasonable equity we will be looking at a variety of different ways to take the pot away from our opponent.

This is poker in the trenches. These are the little battles where often nobody really has much and the guy who wants it more will win the pot.

This is also a major reason why some people win big in this game and most people are around breakeven or lose in the end.


Final Thoughts


Playing from the blinds sucks. There is no way to try and sugarcoat this. You are going to lose money from these two positions guaranteed and there is absolutely no strategy on earth that can fix that.

However, there are several ways to lose less and that in itself is a major victory.

If you are brand new to poker and you are playing at the very lowest stakes either online or live, then I would recommend keeping your range from the blinds pretty tight. Try to only play mostly strong hands like big pairs, middle pairs, strong aces and broadways for now.

But as you develop and move up the stakes it is important that you also start playing many more speculative hands like suited connectors, suited aces and small pairs.

You should mix in a few light 3Bets especially against the weaker regs at the micros who tend to give up too easily either before or after the flop. But versus the stronger thinking regs at higher stakes you also need to just call plenty of the time as well and play some poker.

Make sure that you are fighting for pots when you have any sort of hidden equity by taking lines that put the pressure back on your opponent and which exploit their specific weaknesses as well.

If you want to learn more about my strategy at these limits and find out how I created some of the highest winrates ever recorded at the micros, make sure you grab a copy of my free ebook.

You can download it right here.

Let me know in the comments below what kind of strategy you use from the blinds.

Lastly, if you found this article helpful, do me a quick favor and give it a "Like" or a "Tweet" below. Thanks!

How to Stop Losing So Much From the Blinds