Monday, August 14, 2017

9 Ways to Bust the Fish Even Faster Than You Normally Do

9 Ways to Bust the Fish Even Faster Than You Normally Do
When people ask me what is the secret to success at the micros I often give them a simple answer. Bust the fish faster.

And it is pretty easy to see why this is the case. In today's poker games, even at the lower stakes, you often have a table full of regs and one bad player who everyone is keying on.

While you can and should be developing methods to beat the regs you are never going to turn a big profit against them. They just don't make enough mistakes for this to be possible.

So the best way to get ahead in poker is to get the fish's money faster than all of the other regs do. And luckily this is still pretty easy to do at the micros.

1. Isolate the Fish Like Crazy

I have talked about isolating the recreational poker players many times on this blog and in my books and videos. I am raising them up with anything that is even remotely playable:

  • Q4
  • J8
  • K2

You get the idea.

If it has any reasonable chance of making a hand after the flop, then I am raising the fish with it when they limp in order to get the pot heads up against them.

Luckily at the micros most regs are still pretty passive so they will just let you keep isolating the recs all day unless they happen to wake up with a big hand.

If you want to bust the fish faster, then you absolutely have to find more ways to get involved in pots with them. This is ground zero. You don't need to wait for the nuts.

2. Put Them on Tilt

The 2nd way to start busting up the fish faster is to put them on tilt. Fish get easily frustrated when things don't go their way. And this causes them to play even worse than they normally do.

The easiest way to put the fish on tilt is to isolate the crap out of them like I just mentioned and then CBet them almost every time.

Now I know it can be annoying sometimes if they keep catching a pair and your can't flop anything. But even just the act of being aggressive like this is setting them up for the big pot.

Because eventually you are going to make a big hand and guess who they are likely to call down with their bottom pair, an aggressive guy who has been raising and betting into them every hand or the quiet nit who hasn't played a hand in 20 minutes?

3. Fast Play Every Value Hand

Another way to wreck the fish is to make sure that you are value betting them like crazy any time you have a hand. It is important to remember that fish are usually extremely passive poker players. They aren't going to build the pot for you!

So you have to build it yourself. And you accomplish this by just continuing to make the most stupidly obvious bets against them. Don't try to get tricky or even think about trying to "trap" them. This will just go right over their heads.

Any time you have a hand that is likely to be ahead just start betting and keep betting until they give you a clear reason to hit the brakes.

And don't be afraid to make your bets on the larger side either or even overbet like I talk about in Crushing the Microstakes. If you have them on tilt and they caught a piece of the flop, they are going to call.

4. Get on Their Left

One of the biggest things that people fail to realize is that finding the tables with the fish on them is only half the battle. Getting the right seat against them is just as important.

The seat to the direct left of somebody is always going to be the most profitable. This is because it allows you to act last against them in literally every single hand.

The power of position is so important in poker that if you took two evenly skilled players but gave one of them direct position every hand, he would eventually bust the other player for every last chip.

When you also have a substantial skill advantage over the fish, and you get direct position on them, then it is going to be a massacre.

5. Shove All-In on Action Rivers

Another way to bust the fish at the speed of sound is by overbetting action rivers especially once you already have them on tilt. I busted one rec player in particular with this play on multiple occasions in the NL2 video series that I put out last year.

The key point to remember here is that fish don't fold straights, flushes or full houses. They just don't do it!

So if you encounter a board runout by the river where it is possible that they have a big hand like this, and you can beat it, then the correct play is to simply shove all-in.

Here are a few examples:



On the first board if you have a 7 in your hand then you should always just shove all-in because they will never fold a 3.

On the 2nd board, if you have a high overpair like AA, KK, QQ or JJ then you should also always shove. This is because they will never fold 55, 66, 77, 88, 99 or TT.

Don't make a "standard bet" like every other reg out there and win a medium sized pot. Shove all the money in the middle and stack them instead.

6. Show Them a Big Bluff

I don't normally suggest trying to bluff the fish because calling after all is what they do best. But if you are ever going to run a big bluff against them, then you should do it early on and absolutely 100% make sure that you show it to them.

The reason why you want to do it early on against them is because people tend to give somebody who is an unknown more credit. Therefore, this is when bluffs are going to be most effective. A lot of people will just give you the benefit of the doubt for now.

And unlike when you bluff the regs you absolutely want to show it to the recreational player when you bluff them. They don't forget stuff like this and they will call you down very often in the future.

This is why once you show them a big bluff once you don't ever want to do it again. If you play a big pot against them again, make sure to show them the goods.

7. Chase Them Around

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am a huge fan of table selection. If you want to win big in today's games, then you should be treating it like your job in my opinion.

So another way to get under the skin of the fish, and to make sure you are playing in good games, is to constantly follow them around.

On most poker sites there is a search player option. Any time I identify a recreational player I will be searching what other tables they are playing at. I don't care if they are playing Omaha, I am gonna join that table too.

This way I am able to get involved in even more hands with them and keep isolating and tilting them. This improves my chances even more of getting their money before all of the other regs do.

8. Bully The Fish

Recreational players play poker with their pride on the line. A loss of face is more important to them than an actual monetary loss. They don't like to be pushed around or "bullied" as they like to put it.

So what should you do then? Bully them of course!

So along with isolating the crap out of them every time they limp I also like to mix in some ridiculous overbets (with the goods of course) from time to time just to irritate them even more.

So if I am already under their skin a bit and I flop something strong like top pair top kicker and they lead into me, I might just shove half my stack in the middle occasionally.

I know that they are going to fold most of the time. Although once in awhile I will get lucky and they will decide to play sheriff against me.

The real point of this bet though is to embarrass them and attack their pride. Because once I get somebody to start making poker decisions based on their ego instead of their wits, their money is mine.

9. Hollywood Your Big Bets

The final way to bust up the fish at lightning speed is to always be cognizant of your timing tells when you make a big play such as a raise on the river.

Remember that fish are usually only playing on one or two tables. They are paying attention to exactly how long you are taking to act.

So if you are making a big value raise it is best to let your timebank run down a little bit (about 10 seconds or so) and then make the big raise.

This looks extra bluffy to a fish. In their mind they interpret this as somebody who is trying to make a big play on them. When in reality I have AA and I just want to make sure I get them to call!

It is really important to "hollywood" your big hands like this in order to make sure that you get the most calls from the rec players. Don't make quick decisions that might convince them that you really are strong.

Final Thoughts

Busting the fish is one of my favorite things to do at the poker tables and it should be for you too. After all, if winning money in poker is your goal, then this is the best way to go about it.

The real focus in today's games needs to be on getting the fun player's money before the rest of the regs do. And luckily this is still pretty easy to do as most regs are just robotically clicking buttons and not focusing enough on the recs.

You can make sure that you get the fish's money faster than they do by isolating the crap out of them, tilting them, chasing them around, overbetting and bullying them.

Let me know in the comments below what some of your favorite ways to bust the fish are.

Lastly, if you want to know the strategy that I use to create some of the highest winrates ever recorded at the micros online, make sure to pick up a copy of my free poker ebook.

If you found this article helpful, also be sure to give it a "Like" or a "Tweet" below. Thanks!

9 Ways to Bust the Fish Even Faster Than You Normally Do

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

How to Make $1000 a Month Playing Online Poker

make $1000 a month playing online poker
Let's face it, a lot of people play online poker to make money. And there is nothing wrong with that. I will be the first to admit that I play this game first and foremost to make those dollar bills. Ideally lots of them!

So people send me emails or leave comments all the time asking how can they make $50 a day or $1000 a month for instance playing online poker. 

I always tell them that it isn't easy these days. I tell them that you need to be very disciplined, hard working, have the right strategy, bankroll, table selection, tilt control etc. 

But at the end of the day, I know that this isn't the answer that most of them want to hear. They want the straight info on exactly how to do it!

So as someone who has been profiting over $1000 a month at the micros for over a decade now I can provide a gameplan on how to do it. I need to warn you that it isn't easy though...

Ah who am I kidding, let's just get right into it!

1. Play Low Stakes Cash Games (The Micros)

99% of my experience in poker is in low stakes cash games online, the micros. By this I mean stakes where you can buyin for as little as $2. I still think this is the best place for people to start playing poker online and turning a consistent profit.

I have made $1000+ a month even at the very lowest stakes cash games many, many times. However, it would be extremely difficult to do this in today's games. The reason why is that the games have tightened up in the last 5-10 years and this means that winrates have dropped as well.

Now don't get me wrong, anything is still possible if you really want it bad enough. For instance, I would be willing to wager a lot of money that I could make 1k in a month at NL2, the very lowest limit. 

However, I would need to lock myself in a room for the entire month, have zero social life, and play some insane amount of hands like half a million. 

Doable for a crazy 20 or 30 tabling sick grinder like me (and for the right prop bet price!). Not exactly achievable for most regular people though. 

2. Play at Least NL10, Probably NL25

So realistically you need to be playing a bit higher stakes these days in order to make 1k a month. I would say that the first stake where this is possible for somebody who plays consistently would be NL10. 

This would mean winning 100 buyins in a single month. This is not impossible for a top winner playing heavy volume at these stakes. And since you can also start making a little bit of rakeback on the side by this limit as well, this makes it a bit easier. 

But even still, this is probably not realistic for most people. NL10 is not a walk in the park these days and most people do not multi-table for several hours every day as would be required. 

So I would say that for the average person NL25 is probably the first stake where you could realistically make $1000 a month playing online poker. 

This game has a $25 buyin which means that you only need to make 40 buyins in order to profit a cool thousand. This means that you also only need to win a little over one buyin a day, easily doable for any solid winner in this game.

Also, rakeback can easily amount to several hundred dollars a month by this stake. So this makes getting there considerably easier as well.

3. Play a Tight and Aggressive Strategy

Let's talk strategy now. How should you play your cards?

The best strategy to use at these stakes is often called TAG which stands for "tight and aggressive." This is the style of play that I would recommend for making the most money in micro stakes cash games. 

This means that you are selective about which hands you play, that you play most of them in position and that you play them aggressively after the flop as well. 

And realistically, if you plan to win big at these stakes then you should also be using a HUD and know how to find the other player's weaknesses and exploit them. 

Lastly, and probably most importantly of all, you should be mentally strong enough to be able to implement all of this even when the cards go south on you and you are losing for days or even weeks on end.

Lengthy downswings are common in today's games even for the biggest winners. So keeping your cool when this happens is arguably the biggest factor in your success. 

If you want to know the basics of TAG strategy and tilt control then I would suggest picking up a copy of my free poker ebook. This is more than enough to get you started at the micros.

4. Find the Tables With the Fish on Them

Another thing that you are going to have to do in order to make it to NL25 and start banking 1k a month is table select. 

At the very lowest stakes you can usually still get away with playing on any table you want. There are still bad players everywhere. But once you start to climb up the limits there is simply no guarantee that there will be even a single fish at your tables. 

This is a big problem if having a high winrate and profit in this game is your goal. The really bad players who play way too many hands, call way too much and chase every draw are where the real money is at in this game. 

If you aren't making a consistent effort to play in games with them then you can expect a very small winrate at best.

So I would suggest that you play on the right poker sites for starters and then also learn how to spot the fish, tag them and attract them to your tables.

Once you get seated at a table with the rec players then you also want to be isolating the crap out of them and basically trying to get their money faster than all of the other regs. 

Call it predatory, call it whatever you want. I call it winning poker. 

5. Try Playing Tournaments or Sit and Gos

Lastly, let's not forget that cash games aren't the only way to make money playing poker. Many people also play big multi-table tournaments (MTTs) or sit and gos (SNGs). Can you make 1k a month playing in these? Yes you can but a lot of the same ideas from above apply. 

You probably aren't going to reach your target playing at the very lowest stakes in the 1$ games for instance. You are going to have to move up a few limits, at least the $5 games, maybe the $10 ones. 

You are also going to need to develop a solid TAG strategy for these games but you also have to tailor it to the different structure of these formats. 

For instance, in tournaments the stack sizes are usually very shallow by the middle and late stages (30bb or less). This means that you often only have two options, all-in or fold. If you try calling and playing "small ball" style pots like in a cash game, I can guarantee that it won't work out very well for you.

The great thing about tournaments though is that they still attract a ton of big fish. Recreational players love the idea of getting lucky and hitting the big score. This is the type of poker that they always show on TV after all. 

We all just witnessed 25 year old Scott Blumstein win 8.1 million dollars for instance by taking down the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event. Well played sir, must be nice!

Fish see this kind of thing and immediately log online to try their hand at tournaments. So I do think there is great value to be had in these formats. The main problem though is that the money is not nearly as consistent as cash games. 

For instance if you got fairly good at tournaments and move up a few stakes, then these might be your results:
  • Month 1 - breakeven
  • Month 2 - breakeven
  • Month 3 - +$5000
  • Month 4 - breakeven
  • Month 5 - breakeven

You get the idea. It still equals out to 1k a month in the end but there is no consistent money in tournaments. Most months will be breakeven or a small loss and then once in awhile you will hit an epic score. 

This is the life of a tournament player. You also need to be prepared to be chained to your chair for many hours at a time. In a cash game, you can leave whenever you want.

Final Thoughts

So is it possible to make $1000 a month playing online poker? Yes, but you are going to have to get decently good at this game, make sure you are table selecting and move up a few limits as well. 

This means probably the 25 dollar buyin games if you play cash and the $5 buyin games if you plan to play tournaments or sit and gos. 

Furthermore, achieving this goal will require consistent play. If you only play poker for a few hours on the weekends for instance, then there is no way that you are going to make this happen. 

If you are a part time player like this, then you are going to need to play much higher stakes in order to make 1k a month no matter what the format is. 

Let me know your thoughts below on this. Do you think it is possible to make a cool thousand at the micros these days? How would you do it?

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

make money online poker 1k

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

5 Ways to Steal More Pots From the Regs at the Micros

Steal the pot micro stakes poker
You have probably heard the saying before. Everybody gets dealt the same amount of good hands and bad hands in poker in the long run. And it is totally true.

Furthermore, these hands tend to play themselves. You should be betting all of your big hands for value and you want to be folding most of the time when you have nothing. Easy game right?

So why is it that only a small amount of people end up winning really big in this game creating a nice side income or even a full time one?

The answer is that they steal way more of all those little pots where everybody has some sort of mediocre hand like a weak pair or a draw.

These are the pots that most people aren't really willing to fight for at the end of the day. And winning more of these pots than the next guy cuts to the very heart of elite poker. 

I have been working all year behind the scenes on a new book that is literally all about this exact topic. But before that finally gets released I wanted to discuss a few of my favorite ways to take more pots away from the regulars at the micros.

Let's get to it!

1. Float the Weak Regs

Arguably the very best way to steal more pots from the regs in today's micro stakes games is to float them a lot more often. What I mean by this is that you call in position on the flop with the intention of taking the pot away on a later street.

The reason why this strategy works so well is because there are still a ton of regs at the lower stakes who will frequently bet the flop but if you are still around by the turn, they will often just give up. This means that you can make a simple bet and just take down the pot.

Take the following reg for example:

Take the pot low stakes poker

The player above is a typical example of a nitty 6max regular that you will see everywhere at the micros. Bets the flop 73% of the time. Only bets the turn 38%.

I would float this guy so often it's ridiculous. Some regs are so transparent like this that your hand almost becomes irrelevant. It's just free money.

I am always on the lookout for players like this and that is why I always have these stats on my HUD like you see above.

There really is no easier way to start stealing more pots from all the weak regs at the micros these days than this. If they have a big gap between Flop Cbet% and Turn CBet%, then just float them wide in position and make a bet when they check and give up on the turn. 

2. Play Your Draws Aggressively

Another one of my favorite strategies is to play my draws fast. What I mean by this is that I will often raise my flush or straight draw for instance on the flop and then follow it up on the turn if they are still around.

If I manage to hit my draw on the turn, that's great. But I am betting either way. 

The reason why this strategy works so well against a lot of micro stakes regs is because it applies a ton of pressure without really risking a lot. And once again I will target the weaker regs that tend to give up on pots too easily.

Your HUD can be very helpful here once again. I will really focus on the regs with a low WTSD% (went to showdown). And if I have enough hands on them then I will also check their fold to flop raise and fold to turn bet as well. 

The bottom line is that pressure and aggression is the best way to start stealing more pots from many of the regulars at the lower stakes these days.

Often they just won't be willing to fight for it. They will just "let it go and look for a better spot." How many times have you heard people say that? That's just money in the bank.

If you have some equity with a draw for instance, try playing it fast a little more often by raising and betting. Do this especially against the weaker players.

This will give you more ways to win the pot. You can win by either making the best hand or forcing them to fold.

3. Hero Call the Aggressive Regs

Now of course there are also quite a few aggressive regs at the micros these days as well. The strategies that I have discussed so far won't work nearly as well against them so you need to take a different approach. 

I know that this is going to sound a little bit crazy. But versus many of the highly aggro regs at the micros these days the best strategy to beat them is just to literally become a calling station against them. 

Years ago they used to call you a "donkey" in poker and make fun of you if you called too much. But in today's games many of the biggest winners have realized that the best counter strategy to insane levels of aggression is to simply call down with a wider range.

Go watch any mid or high stakes game online these days and you can see this in action for yourself. Poker has almost become like a game of chicken at these limits now.

What you will often see is one reg barreling away at the pot and the other reg is just in total call down mode hanging on with some weak pair or a draw. And these guys are playing for thousands of dollars in many cases!

The next time some highly aggressive reg at the micros 3Bets you and then starts bombing away at the pot after the flop, consider hero calling them lighter than you normally would (top pair, even middle pair sometimes).

There is no reason to raise at any point. So much of the time they are just on some ridiculous bluff. Better to just let them keep tossing their dead money in the middle.  

4. Cold 4Bet the Light 3Bettors

Now I have talked about 3Betting the weak regs with a wide range a million times before on this blog and in all my books and videos. It is still an awesome strategy and it still works really well at the micros. 

But another related strategy that works just as well against the good aggressive regs is to 4Bet them light when it is obvious that they are just light 3Betting a weak reg or a fish. 

I will do this with a wide variety of decent but not great hands such as:

  • Suited aces
  • Suited connectors
  • Small pairs

These are all hands that can potentially flop big and make a monster but they are too weak to flat a 3Bet with.

So I am constantly on the lookout for aggressive regs with a high 3Bet like this:

Bluff the regs small stakes poker

If I see them clearly trying to take advantage of a weak player in position by 3Betting light, then I will just go ahead and cold 4Bet them light with all my strong premium hands and with this range of speculative hands as well.

Sometimes they even know exactly what I am doing but there isn't much they can do about it. This simple play can yield you an easy ~10bb-15bb after everybody folds (original raise + 3Bet).

5. Bluff the River More Often

The last way to win more pots at the micros is to bluff the river more often. Most regs at the micros either don't bluff the river often enough or they don't do it in the right spots.

There are a couple of key reasons why you should bluff:

  • No chance of winning the pot if you don't
  • Believable story given the board runout
  • Weak opponent

One of the most important reasons why you should bluff is if you have something like 6 high on the river. Clearly there is no way on earth that you are going to win the pot unless you bluff at it.

Now this doesn't necessarily mean that you should bluff. However, when I am in a spot like this I am always going to at least ask myself if there is any conceivable way to win the pot by betting. Because checking it down and giving up like many people do is a guaranteed loss.

Secondly, one of the biggest reasons why bluffs aren't successful at the micros is because they aren't telling a believable story. I regularly hero call regs who try to bluff me because their bet simply doesn't make any sense.

The easiest way to figure out if your bluff makes sense is to always ask yourself if there are at least a couple other value hands that you would play in the exact same way.

Your competition at the micros might not be world beaters. However, they aren't complete idiots either. If you are literally representing nothing with your bluff, then they are just going to call you down. You need to be telling them a believable story instead.

Lastly, you should only be bluffing the weak players at the micros. These are usually the tighter regs who have a WTSD% in the low 20's or less. These are the guys who don't like to go to showdown without a strong hand.

If you try to bluff the calling station regs or almost any fish, they are just going to call you down without even thinking. Because that is what they do best.

Final Thoughts

One of the quickest ways to start turning your results around at the micros is to win a few more of the pots that nobody really wants to fight for. Most people will just check it down and hope that their hand winds up the best.

But how can this ever be a good strategy to get ahead in this game or in any pursuit in life for that matter? You are literally leaving your success up to chance.

The only way to really start winning big in poker is to take more pots away from your opponents than they take away from you. And luckily this is still pretty easy to do at the lower limits.

Hopefully a few of the strategies in this article will help you out. Let me know your favorite ways to steal more pots at the micros in the comments below.

Lastly, make sure you grab a copy of my free poker ebook in order to learn my complete strategy for crushing the micros.

Steal the pot micro stakes poker

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

5 Pieces of Bad Poker Advice That Turned Out to be Completely WRONG

5 Pieces of Bad Poker Advice That Turned Out to be Completely WRONG
You know what they say about opinions and yes, everybody has one. This goes for poker perhaps more than anything. There is never any shortage of people who are willing to give you their "two cents" of poker advice.

And it doesn't matter how little success (or complete lack thereof) that they have had playing this game. Or how inexperienced they are either. They are going to tell you how to play "the right way" anyways.

The cold hard reality of poker though is that the majority of people who play it will lose in the long run. This means that the majority of the advice you will get comes from, yup you guessed it, losing poker players.

So in this article I am going to talk about 5 of the worst pieces of poker advice I have ever received or read about online. Hopefully this will help you not make some of these same mistakes!

1. The Best Players Are Just Lucky

You still see these kinds of statements all over the place, that the best players are just luckier than everyone else. As if they have some kind of supernatural power to fade that flush draw on the river a little bit more often than others.

Now there is actually a tiny bit of truth to opinions like this especially regarding tournaments. In big field MTT's you need an incredible amount of short term luck in order to win. And that is why you still regularly see complete amateurs taking them down.

I mean this entire poker boom that inspired a new generation to take up the game (including myself) was originally started when an amateur poker player shocked the world by winning the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event and millions in prize money.

But poker is still a game that is governed by mathematics, odds and statistics. You can't keep fighting it and expect to win over the long haul.

The cream will always eventually rise to the top and this is why you see a lot of the same faces and names at the final tables and in the high stakes cash games year in and year out.

Look, it doesn't hurt to get a little bit lucky in your poker career at key times. However skill, discipline and work ethic are the real keys to success over the long run in this game.

2. Impossible to Beat the Micros These Days

As the games have tightened up in recent years it has weeded out a lot of the small winners from the past who coasted by in easy games while beating up on the fish.

This has caused them to take to places like internet forums or reddit in large numbers to officially declare that all games at the micros are impossible to beat now.

Because you know, better to blame something else, anything else, than to address the real issue at hand which is their lack of willingness to put in the effort to get better and succeed.

I actually got so sick of listening to these ridiculous comments that I made a video series last year largely just to spite them. To prove once and for all with visual evidence that the games at the lower limits are still very easy to beat.

I played 4 random tables of NL2 on PokerStars (the toughest site by most estimations) at the worst time to play as well (Monday morning) and I had upwards of 3 huge fish on every table at all times.

I did almost no table selection at all. And I only encountered one reg who I would describe as "good" in over 6 hours of play. Yes, one.

Now yes, it is only NL2 but these games are still a complete and utter joke. Anybody can see that. And anyone with a basic understanding of the fundamentals and the smallest amount of tilt control could absolutely crush these games.

Don't listen to all the losing poker players who proclaim that poker is dead and the micros are unbeatable. Of course they aren't the complete gold mine that they were 5 or 10 years ago.

You would have to be pretty naive to think that people were just going to continue throwing away their money like that forever. Many of the very worst players either quit the game or learned how to play better.

But to claim that the micros are somehow impossible to beat now is just flat out wrong and frankly a ridiculous statement.

The bottom line is that people all over the world love to gamble and they love to play cards. There will always be bad players and good games available out there especially if you are willing to put in the effort to table select.

3. Online Poker Is Rigged OMG Jokerstars!!

Don't even get me started on the tin foil hat wearing "rigtards" as they are often lovingly referred to. One of the benefits of running a popular poker blog is that I get emails from really angry people all the time.

They want to tell me about how rigged PokerStars is [or insert any other site here] because they lost with their AA 3 times in a row. And they will go into exquisite detail about each and every one of their bad beats for me as well.

Look, there is a certain segment of people out there who will just never quite get this game. They expect instant results from poker. They think that 3 hands actually means something.

This is also a defence mechanism to shift the blame for their lack of success onto something else, anything else. No way that it could actually be due to their poor play, lack of discipline etc!

I have learned that you will never win with these people. You will only give yourself a headache. If you are one of those who truly believe that online poker is rigged, then my advice is always very, very simple.

Don't play it.

4. You Need to Know GTO to Beat the Micros

This is another piece of nonsense advice that is regularly posted online these days and many, many people believe it.

This is the idea that in order to beat the lower limit games on the internet in particular that you need to play a game theory optimal brand of poker. This essentially means balancing your ranges and perfecting your betting and bluffing frequencies in all situations.

Yet anybody who actually plays the micros on a regular basis and beats them knows that this is 100% false.

In fact the exploitative approach to the game that I have been talking about on this website for years now (and in my books and videos as well) is a far superior strategy to beat these games.

The reason why is because nearly all of your opponents at these stakes have huge leaks in their game, yes even the so called "good regs." The optimal counter to this is to exploit their weaknesses, not to learn how to play like some mathematically correct robot against them.

Look I don't want to bash all over GTO completely. It has clearly been a very popular theory in recent years. And I actually do think that a GTO approach is optimal in most mid and high stakes games against solid well balanced professionals.

But the idea that you need to play a game theory optimal version of poker in order to beat stakes like NL2, NL5 or NL10 is just silly at best and dangerous at worst.

5. Poker is the Ticket to the Easy Life

Another unrealistic assumption that I see all the time especially from newcomers to the game is that poker is going to be their ticket to the easy life.

I get emails all the time from people who are just starting out at NL2, haven't even beaten it yet, and they want me to help them calculate what their hourly is going to be when they make it to NL25 and turn pro.

This is just the completely wrong way to approach this game.

Poker is not like some other job such as a doctor or a teacher where you can pretty much predict what your salary will be. Poker doesn't work that way. It can be way, way up or way, way down for long periods of time.

There are no "average winnings" like they always want me to tell them. There is also no way to guarantee how to make X amount of dollars per day like they want to know as well.

I don't think many of these people honestly even have the slightest clue about what it actually takes to succeed in this game, let alone make it as a pro. They just want to daydream.

I recently interviewed a well known online poker pro and friend of mine who is approaching 1 million dollars profit online now. He also regularly travels the world and lives in exotic locations like Mexico and Thailand.

Easy life right? Must be nice!

But what most people don't know is that he is an absolute machine grinder. Rarely takes days off, has some of the sickest work ethic I have ever seen. I have also never heard him complain even once during absolutely brutal downswings that would bury the vast majority of people.

If you think that you are gonna sit on some beach in Thailand and casually play NL25 and live the good life, you aren't seeing reality very clearly.

Yes life is good out here but we work damn hard for it. Think way, way more than a regular job. And think way, way more stress at times as well.

If it were so easy, then everybody would be doing it.

Final Thoughts

Well that is all I have for now. I could probably go on for days. But those are 5 of the worst pieces of poker advice that I can think of at the moment.

Look guys, you will get exactly what you put into this game. If you just want to play poker for fun or to unwind, then go right ahead. This is why we all started playing in the first place.

If you want to play poker as a profitable side hobby or even a full time profession though, then it is going to require some real discipline and work ethic. There are no short cuts in this game and you can't half-ass it.

But at the same time don't listen to all the doomsday pessimists who will tell you that poker is impossible to beat now because they personally can't win anymore. Or that you need to know some PHD level math in order to beat $5 games online.

The bottom line is that everyone has an opinion in this game and some free advice to offer you as well. Some of it will be good, some of it will be bad.

You can't talk your way into success in poker though. Take action instead and let your results speak for themselves.

Pick up a copy of my free poker ebook below to learn how I took this game from hobby to career, world travel, coach, author and beyond.

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

Bad poker advice

Monday, July 3, 2017

How to Avoid Being Results Orientated in Poker

How to Avoid Being Results Orientated in Poker
Something that a lot of poker players struggle with is being too results orientated. By this I mean focusing too much on short term results.

And the reason why this is bad is because sometimes in poker you can get extremely lucky or unlucky over short periods of time like a week or a month.

This can then lead you to start believing that you really are that good (or that bad) when neither is true in reality. And this ultimately prevents you from having a realistic outlook on your poker abilities and what you might need to work on.

So in this article I am going to discuss a few ways to stop being so results orientated in poker.

1. Don't Look At Your Results

I am just going to state the most obvious way to stop being results orientated in poker first. Just don't look at your results.

Now this is something that is much easier said than done. And of course at a certain point you do need to look at your results in order to know if you are making progress or not and when to move up as well.

But day to day results or even week to week really aren't that important when you really think about it. During these time periods literally anything can happen (good or bad) and obsessively following it is like reading the trashy tabloids about celebrity scandals.

You just don't need to know it!

In fact I actually know plenty of online pros who only check their results once a month. I have never managed to attain this level of discipline. But I typically only check my results once per week.

The hidden benefit of shielding yourself from the knowledge of this useless information (day to day results) is that you are far less likely to go on tilt due to poor results or start playing too cautiously due to really good results.

It allows you to just focus on the only thing that you actually control in poker which is making the best decision in each hand that you are dealt.

If you have never done this before, I would recommend starting small. The next session you play, just don't check your results this one time. It won't kill you.

And believe me, the knowledge of how much you were up or down is totally meaningless. It has absolutely zero impact on your true longterm profitability in this game.

This kind of thing isn't for everybody. And it does take a lot of discipline. It is completely natural to want to know how you did.

But this is truly the best way that there is to stop being so results orientated in poker. Ignorance sometimes really is bliss.

2. Focus on Your Longterm Results Instead

Another good way to stop worrying about your short term results in poker is to focus on the results that actually matter, which are your longterm results.

By longterm I am talking about hundreds of thousands of hands or months and months of play. This is when variance begins to start sorting itself out and your true profitability (or lack thereof) shows itself.

So, often what I will do is just grab a screenshot of my longterm graph in Pokertracker and make it my desktop wallpaper on my computer.

Any time things are going poorly for me at the poker tables I will then go have look this and remind myself of reality, that I am a winning player over the long term.

Now of course this method presupposes that you have indeed played hundreds of thousands of hands and of course that you are a winning poker player.

If this isn't the case yet then I would suggest starting at the very lowest limits available at the poker site that you play on and employing a very simple TAG strategy. TAG stands for tight and aggressive.

You should also be practicing table selection and working on any tilt problems that you might have that could be holding you back.

I wrote a free little ebook called Massive Profit at the Micros which shows you how to do all this and more. I would recommend picking that up if you haven't yet.

But if you do have any kind of longterm profitable results, then this is what you need to constantly be reminding yourself of when you have a bad session.

Remember that one bad session (or even 3 or 5 of them) do not define you as a poker player. The long run is all that matters in poker. And it can be very long!

3. View Each Session as a Chance to Learn and Improve

If you are just starting out in poker, then learning the fundamentals and getting better at poker should be your main goals. Even if your results are not great yet, you can look at your struggles at the micros as a cheap way to further your poker education.

The reason why is because this experience is the only way to really get better. Everybody I know (including myself) who eventually became big winners and/or went pro all started out grinding away at the lower stakes for long hours.

I used to play absurdly long sessions on as many tables as they allowed until I could barely see straight anymore.

Now I don't really recommend this level of maniacal obsession but all of those millions and millions of hands forced my brain to see a lot of the same situations over and over again.

There comes a certain point where even the most stubborn person is going to recognize that they always lose money when they do X. So they will start doing Y instead.

So even though I probably played way too many hands at the micros I got an incredible poker education for a very cheap price. It made me into the poker player (and the author as well) that I am today.

So if you are just starting out in poker don't worry about your results so much right now even if they are not very good yet. And you can look at it as a cheap lesson in how to get better at this game.

And this is why it is really important that you also study your hands away from the table. This is one of the fastest ways to become a winning poker player.

You can also study other good players in a program like Pokertracker and find out what they are doing differently and perhaps better than you.

4. Accept and Embrace Variance

The last, and ultimately most practical way to stop being so results orientated in poker, is to just learn to accept variance (the natural ups and downs) in this game.

Look here's the thing. The fish have to be able to hit their lucky card sometimes or else they would not continue playing this game.

If poker were all skill all the time like in chess for instance, then they would never stand a chance. They would quickly realize that it is their lack of skill that prevented them from winning and they would ultimately quit playing.

But poker's way of throwing them a bone every once in awhile allows them to keep deluding themselves into thinking that they are just the unluckiest poker player on earth. This keeps them depositing again and again which turns into the profit that you ultimately make in this game.

As they often say, "denial runs the entire industry."

Now I know that sometimes it can be very frustrating when they hit their lucky card against you again and again. It seems unfair. Why can't it happen to somebody else?

Well, the thing is, is that it does happen to everybody else over the long run as well. I like to think of it as paying tax for my ability to sit down and make money playing a silly card game on the internet.

Sometimes I have to pay more or less tax than others, but it all evens out in the end. And the bottom line is that I profit in the end.

So really the most healthy way to stop being so results orientated is to just accept that variance is a natural part of the game. And it is a beautiful thing really. It is why there is so much money in poker whereas nobody really gets rich playing chess.

Final Thoughts

Short term results in poker are a blessing and a curse for a lot of people. Because the problem is that you kind of become a slave to them. You get a quick little high when you win and feel depressed when you lose.

But since these results are almost completely meaningless in the grand scheme of things this is really just wasted energy. Poker just doesn't work this way. Poker isn't a short term results game. It takes months and sometimes even years to get your true results.

This is why it is a much better idea to focus on the process rather than the results. Because the truth is that if you play each hand well, you will get rewarded for it in the long run. And furthermore, this is the only thing that you actually have control over anyways.

Hopefully a few of the strategies in this article will help you avoid being so results orientated in the future. Let me know your thoughts below!

Lastly, if you found this post useful, do me a favor and "Like" or "Tweet" it below, thanks!

How to Avoid Being Results Orientated in Poker