Tuesday, May 22, 2018

When to Cash Out in Poker (5 Step Strategy Guide)

When to cash out in poker - poker cash out strategy
Knowing when to cash out in poker is almost as important as having the right bankroll. Much like you can't out-train a bad diet, you can't out-play a bad poker cash out strategy.

People who do not know when to cash out often end up harming their progress at the poker tables considerably. So it is vitally important that as a winning poker player you understand exactly when and why you should be cashing out.

My 5-step "cheat sheet" below will guide you through the process of creating a good poker cash out strategy that works for you.

1. Define What Type of Poker Player You Are

The first thing you need to do is define who you aspire to be in this game. Are you a professional poker player? Do you play as semi-pro? Or do you play completely for fun?

Your cash out strategy is going to be wildly different depending on which one of these you are.

A professional poker player will make regular cash outs to pay for his expenses. A semi-pro will cash out once in awhile to supplement his income. And a recreational player will only make cash outs to fund some luxury purchase.

But there is one cardinal rule that I always advise no matter what type of poker player you are. And that is to never make a cash out because you need the money.

This is a major no-no in poker. And the reason why is because this is what your day job is for. Or if you are a professional poker player, then it is your savings.

That is the money you should be relying on to pay for your bills, expenses, purchases and so on. You should never dip into your actual poker bankroll because you need to pay for something in your day to day life.

Note: I am referring to your poker "bankroll" here, not your poker profit. You absolutely will be cashing out your profit and I will explain that in detail below.

2. Define Your Poker Goals

The next thing you need to do is define what your goals are in poker. Do you have dreams of climbing up the stakes and challenging the best in the world at the nosebleeds with millions of dollars on the line?

Are you happy making it to mid stakes and grinding out a less impressive but still sizeable amount of money on the side or as a pro?

Or do you just play this game mostly for fun and mess around at the micros hoping to make around $1000 a month or so?

The answer is different for everybody here.

However, if you want to aggressively move up and get to the highest stakes in this game then the cash out strategy is very simple - Don't cash out.

And this is because every time you make a cash out you are just moving yourself further away from having the bankroll for the next limit.

This is a huge mistake that many people make that ends up harming their progress for years and years and they don't even realize it.

Like most things in life, you can't really have it both ways. If you want to make a lot of cash outs then you are going to hold yourself back in this game. However, there are some workarounds to this which I will discuss more below.

3. Do Not Cash Out While You Play the Micros

I need to mention one more caveat here before I get to the actual cash out strategy below though.

And that is if you currently play at the micro stakes (NL2 through NL50 or $1/$2 to $2/$5 live) then I would highly suggest that you do not cash out at all.

And it doesn't matter what type of poker player you are or what your goals are. The reason why is because cashing out regularly while playing at stakes this low is truly bankroll suicide.

You just aren't going to be able to make enough at these limits to justify regular cash outs. And consistently removing such a large portion of your bankroll will massively harm your progress in this game.

Now I do understand that there are some people who make a living playing poker at the micros these days.

As I have discussed before, in places like where I live in Thailand the cost of living is much lower than in most western countries. This attracts many people to come here and grind the micros on a beach somewhere.

Even in cases like this though I would highly advise to cash out only the bare minimum that you need and focus more on bankroll building and moving up the stakes.

Because let me tell you from first hand experience, it isn't so glamorous to be grinding the micros for years and years on end.

Your goal in this game should be to move up past the micros and on to mid or high stakes if you intend to make a career out of this.

4. Poker Cash Out Strategy at Mid and High Stakes

Mid stakes though (NL100 - NL1000 online, $5/$10 to $25/$50 live) is when you can finally start making some decent money in this game. I am talking thousands of dollars per month with regular play.

I personally went pro many years ago when I reached NL100 online. This is the 50c/$1 game with a $100 buyin. I was consistently making around 3k - 5k most months playing in my spare time each night.

This was considerably more than I was making at my day job working in an office so it became pointless for me to keep that job anymore.

And now of course if you manage to make it to high stakes some day (NL2000+ online, $50/$100+ live), and consistently win, then you probably don't need cash out advice in the first place. You will need investment advice instead.

So supposing you make it to NL100 or higher, and depending on the poker site that you play on, you might be able to make hundreds or even thousands a month through rakeback.

I would definitely suggest cashing out ALL of the rakeback each month because that can almost be looked as the interest on your principal (your bankroll). Rakeback is essentially free money that you get just for playing the game.

But you can also cash out a certain percentage of your winnings as well and still progressively move up to higher stakes. Now the percentage of your winnings that you cash out is subjective and totally up to you.

online poker cash out strategy

However, I would suggest not going any higher than 50% of your profit at the poker tables though. So for instance, your poker profit for the month is $10000. You can cash out anywhere up to $5000 of this.

And of course what this means also is that if you have a losing month, then you do not make a cash out that month.

This will allow you to continue to grow your bankroll and progressively move up to higher stakes games while still paying your bills through your profit.

As a professional or semi-professional poker player you should also have a large amount of savings that you can use during losing months to cover your expenses as well.

The bottom line is to cash out from your rakeback and profit starting at mid stakes (NL100+). But leave some of the profit in your bankroll (~50%) in order to continue climbing up the stakes.

Disclaimer: If you are totally fine playing NL100 or NL200 forever and not moving up (some people are), then you can of course ignore this advice and just cash out 100% of your profit each month.

5. Cash Out Your Poker Winnings Once a Month

The last thing that I would recommend is only cashing out your poker profit once a month, at the same time, assuming you won in that month of course.

By only cashing out once a month you make it just like a regular job where you just go to work each day and you don't focus on the results (your paycheck).

Some months your paycheck might be really big, 10k+. Some months it might be nothing at all. It's all the same for you as a pro or a semi-pro though.

Because you will clearly understand by this point that this is simply the way that poker works.

Poker is a constant and never-ending series of ups and downs. The entire goal of the game is to simply have more ups than downs. This is how winning players think about poker.

Final Thoughts

Having a good poker cash out strategy is a crucial part of your success at the poker tables. It is just as important as having the correct bankroll to play with in the first place.

If you currently play at the micros (which is most people reading this), then I would recommend just not cashing out at all no matter what your goals are in this game.

You are only harming your progress. Your goal at the micros should be to simply get a solid fundamental strategy and learn how to win consistently.

Think of the micros as kind of like your poker education. Once you "graduate" past these stakes to the higher limit poker games (NL100+), then you can finally start rewarding yourself with regular cash outs.

Only in months where you win though. If you don't have a winning month then you don't cash out. Also, you should never cash out more than 50% of your total profit if your goal is to continue moving up the stakes.

Let me know your thoughts below on when to cash out in poker. What kind of cash out strategy do you use?

When to cashout in poker

Monday, May 14, 2018

Poker HUDs Banned Where You Play? - 5 Easy Ways to Get Reads

Poker HUDs banned
As much as I talk about the benefits of using a HUD in online poker the reality is that there are several online poker rooms these days that do not allow HUDs.

Now of course most of the major ones do including some of the most popular sites in the world such as PokerStars and 888 Poker.

But several smaller and American facing sites in particular like Ignition or Bovada for instance are well known for having a policy against them. And sometimes they use anonymous tables as well.

So people ask me all the time how do I multi-table and beat online poker without a HUD on these sites.

Well, let me tell you that it is absolutely possible and it really isn't even a big deal at all. You just have to make a few adjustments.

1. Poker HUDs Banned = Back to the Basics

When you can't use a HUD and/or the games are anonymous then you need to realize that you are essentially always going to be playing against a table full of unknowns.

That is, you won't be able to get any solid HUD based reads on them like VPIP, PFR, AF and so on.

So what this means is that you have to get back to the basics of ABC play and just play your cards according to a proven winning strategy.

That is, tight and aggressive, playing good hands, paying close attention to position, value betting widely and minimizing your bluffs.

This is all stuff that you should know already. When HUDs aren't allowed though, it is even more important that you stick to the fundamentals and avoid any kind of fancy play.

2. They Can't Use a HUD Either!

The other thing to remember when you are playing on a site that has banned poker HUDs is that they can't use one either. What I mean by that is that everybody else is playing in the dark just as much as you are.

And what this ultimately means is that they are guessing about what type of player you are just as much as you are about them!

As I often say, there is no point in worrying about whether a poker site allows HUDs or not. Sure, I always prefer it. But as long as the games are good I will play there.

If I can't use a HUD then neither can they. That's fair play.

3. You Can Still Multi-Table Without a HUD

One thing that many HUD users are afraid of when they have to give up their HUD is how they are going to multi-table without it.

After all, this is one of the main benefits of using a HUD online. It allows you to keep track of the dozens of different players which are spread out across your tables.

And ultimately this makes it so much easier to multi-table while still having solid reads on everyone.

Well once again, without the ability to use a HUD it's just going to be a return to basics. There is no reason why you can't still multi-table. You will just have to do it readless.

Don't worry about not having a HUD and multi-tabling. You will quickly get used to it again. Stick to the fundamentals and just grind.

4.  Collect Your Reads the Old Fashioned Way

Have you ever heard of a live poker player complaining about not being able to use a piece of software to keep track of their opponents and get reads?

No of course not.

Because they do it the old fashioned way by paying attention to every little detail and action that their opponents take even while they are not in the hand.

This is exactly what you need to do if you are playing online poker at a site that doesn't allow HUDs. You simply start paying more attention to the people at your tables.

  • SuperMom167 is a loose/passive fish that limps too much and loves to donk bet the flop.
  • FrankTheTank86 is a loose/aggressive player who loves to bluff the river.
  • SoldierBoy12 is a weak/tight regular who rarely runs any big bluffs after the flop.

You get the idea!

You simply pay attention to what your opponents are doing and the decisions that they are making just like you would in a live game.

There are also a whole host of non-HUD tells which I have discussed many times before which indicate a recreational player pretty much straight away.

This includes:

  • Frequent limping
  • Min-betting
  • Shortstack
  • Not topping up stack
  • Frequent donk betting
  • Posting a blind out of position
  • Playing tons of hands out of position
  • Frequent use of the chatbox
  • One-tabling

While not every one of these non-HUD tells is a 100% read that they are a fish, it is often the case. Good poker players just very rarely do these things.

5. Take Meticulous Notes

Finally, the last thing that you want to be doing if you are playing at an online poker site which does not allow HUDs is to take as many notes as possible.

Most poker sites have a note taking feature built right into the software. Use it! Make sure you write down all those reads that you have on SuperMom167, FrankTheTank86 and SoldierBoy12.

Because guess what? It is very likely that you are going to encounter them again at some point in the future. And these notes are saved to your hard drive so they essentially stay there forever.

As long as your hard drive doesn't die that is! You already know that you should be backing up your data anyways though. I don't need to tell you that.

Take as many notes as you can on your opponents and every time you sit down to play against them in the future you will already have reads on them.

Final Thoughts

There is nothing wrong with playing on a poker site that does not allow HUDs. As long as the games are good (lots of rec players), I am happy to play there and take the fish's money.

In fact, this is why several of the poker rooms that I recommend have banned poker HUDs, even though many people know that I am a big-time proponent of using one.

You just have to make a few adjustments.

First off, understand that you will need to return to the basics. You can't be pulling off any fancy triple barrel bluffs. You are going to be essentially playing against a bunch of unknowns all the time.

This means that you simply have to play ABC poker.

Secondly, make sure that you always remember that everyone else is in the exact same boat. You are not at some sort of disadvantage by not being able to use a HUD.

Lastly, make sure that you go back to the roots of the game and collect your reads the old fashioned way by paying attention. And make sure that you take meticulous notes. This is more important than ever when you don't have any HUD data available.

For a complete list of all the poker tools I recommend and use besides a HUD click here.

Also, make sure you pick up my free poker ebook to quickly learn the ABC poker strategy that I use to beat poker games where HUDs are banned.

Let me know in the comments below what adjustments you make when you are playing at a poker site that has banned HUDs.

Poker HUD banned

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Ultimate Poker Cheat Sheet for 2018 (Free Download)

Poker Cheat Sheet

Learning how to play consistent winning poker isn't always so easy these days. So that is why I decided to put together this ultimate poker cheat sheet for 2018.

This guide below is going to give you everything that you need to know in order to start winning big right now at the lowest stakes online (NL2 or NL5) and live ($1/$2 or $2/$5).

Let me be clear that this guide is NOT going to turn you into the next Daniel Negreanu or some other high stakes pro overnight. This is instead a simple set of guidelines to get you beating the lowest limit games right now.

If you follow everything in this guide and apply some patience as well (remember that results don't always come right away in poker), then your winnings will start improving dramatically in low stakes games.

Note: Make sure you read all the way to the end to download my free poker cheat sheet.

Let's get started!

1. Play at the Right Poker Room

The first thing that you need to do is pick the right poker room to play at. Now there are countless options if you play online.

But the #1 criteria that I always have is the number of fish. And the reason why is because the fish are how we make money in this game.

Based on this criteria my #1 recommended poker room in 2018 is still 888 poker. They consistently have the softest games that I have seen online for a site that also gets considerable traffic.

There are many other options to play online poker as well though.

And where you live will also depend on where you can play. For instance, 888 poker does not currently allow real money players from America or Australia.

For my complete list of the best online poker rooms to play at in 2018 click here.

2. Have the Right Poker Bankroll

The next thing that you need is the correct poker bankroll. This is the total amount of money that you have available to play poker with.

I recommend having at least 30 buyins for any limit that you choose to play these days.

1 buyin = 100bb (big blinds).

So for example, if you play at the lowest limit online, which is typically 1c/2c with a $2 buyin, then you should have around $60 in your account before you play this game.

The reason why you need to have such a big bankroll is because of variance. "Variance" is the technical term that we use in poker to describe the natural ups and downs of the game.

Many people are surprised to learn that you will often need to play as much as 100k hands before you can really know your true results in poker.

As I said before, results don't come overnight in poker and sometimes you will lose for days or even weeks even though you are making all of the right decisions.

This is why it is so extremely important that you are adequately bankrolled for the games that you are playing in.

3. Texas Holdem Poker Hand Rankings

Also, before I get started with the poker strategy cheat sheet below it is important that you know all of the poker hand rankings in Texas Holdem.

This is because I will be discussing them frequently throughout this article. If you are brand new to the game of poker then make sure that you study and memorize the chart below.

Poker cheat sheet 2018

4. Preflop Poker Cheat Sheet

Alright, so now that we got that out of the way let's get to the real important part of this texas holdem poker cheat sheet which is the strategy.

I am basically going to give you the keys to the vault below to beat the lowest stakes games online or live. If you follow everything that I say, I can guarantee that you will win.

How can I make such a bold claim? Because I have been a poker pro for 10+ years now and I have made over 6 figures playing in these games using the exact same strategy.

I want to stress once again though that these strategies are for the very lowest stakes games only. You should absolutely NOT use these strategies in mid or high stakes poker games.

My strategy is also very simplistic and will have you playing very tight. It is purposely meant to be that way.

What Hands Should You Play?

Here are the positions at the poker table.

Poker cheat sheet 2018

EP = early position
MP = middle position
CO = cutoff
BTN = button
SB = small blind
BB = big blind

The action always starts before the flop in poker with EP and ends with the BB. After the flop, the action will always begin with the SB and flow clockwise to the BTN.

Here are the Hands You Should RFI With From Each Position

RFI stands for "raise first in." This means that you are the first person to enter the pot.

I recommend always raising when you are the first person to enter the pot. Why not limp (just call) though you might be asking?

Because it is simply a proven fact that raising is more profitable than limping over the long run.

Here are the results taken from my own database over very large sample sizes. They were published in my first book and they prove this point beyond a shadow of a doubt.

My Winrate When Limping

texs holdem cheat sheet

My Winrate When Raising

poker hands cheat sheet

Conclusion: If you like money always raise, never limp.

So How Much Should You Raise It?

You should raise it to 3 times the size of the big blind as a default strategy. For example, the big blind is $1. You should make it $3 to go.

However, in low stakes live games or extremely loose online games you will often want to raise it more than 3x with your really good hands. After all, you don't want 5 callers when you have AA!

One last quick point. If there are limpers before you get a chance to act, you should raise with all of the hands listed below, just add an extra big blind to your raise size for each limper.

Note: If you see an "s" below it means to only play that hand if it is suited

EP - AA, KK, QQ, JJ, TT, 99, 88, 77, 66, 55, 44, 33, 22, AK, AQ, AJ, KQ

MP - AA, KK, QQ, JJ, TT, 99, 88, 77, 66, 55, 44, 33, 22, AK, AQ, AJ, KQ, KJ, QJ

CO - AA, KK, QQ, JJ, TT, 99, 88, 77, 66, 55, 44, 33, 22, AK, AQ, AJ, AT, A9, KQ, KJ, QJ, JTs, T9s, 98s, 87s

BTN - AA, KK, QQ, JJ, TT, 99, 88, 77, 66, 55, 44, 33, 22, AK, AQ, AJ, AT, A9, A8, A7, A6, A5, A4, A3, A2, KQ, KJ, KT, K9, QJ, JTs, T9s, 98s, 87s 76s

SB - AA, KK, QQ, JJ, TT, 99, 88, 77, 66, 55, 44, 33, 22, AK, AQ, AJ, AT, A9, A8, A7, A6, A5, A4, A3, A2, KQ, KJ, KT, K9, QJ, JTs, T9s, 98s, 87s 76s

BB - You can't RFI from the BB. If it folds to you in the BB, then you win the pot (this is also called a "walk").

Special Note #1: If you play full ring (9 or 10 players at the table), then there will be 3 seats before EP which are often referred to as UTG or "under the gun."

From these seats you should RFI with these hands: AA, KK, QQ, JJ, TT, 99, 88, 77, 66, AQ, AK

Special Note #2: Don't worry about memorizing all of these hands right now. They are all included in my free poker hands cheat sheet that you can download below.

Here are the hands you should call a preflop raise with from all positions.

  • TT, 99, 88, 77, 66, 55, 44, 33, 22, AQ, AJ, KQ, QJs, JTs

Here are the hands you should re-raise (3Bet) with from all positions.

  • AA, KK, QQ, JJ, AK

Here are the hands you should call a re-raise (3Bet) with from all positions.

  • QQ, JJ, TT, 99, AQ, AK

Here are the hands that you should re-re-raise (4Bet) with from all positions.

  • AA, KK

***Please note once again that ALL of these hand ranges will be listed in my free poker hands cheat sheet that you can download below.

So don't worry about memorizing them all right now.

5. Postflop Texas Holdem Cheat Sheet

Alright, let's get to the real heart of this poker cheat sheet now and talk about what to do after the flop.

This is the most important part of all because what you do on the flop, turn and river is what will determine your results the most.

Preflop poker is pretty straightforward and easy once you get the hang of the basics above. Postflop poker however is a lot more complex with many more moving parts.

That is why postflop poker is where the biggest winners truly get ahead!

When Should You Bet on the Flop?

If you followed my advice above then you should be the preflop raiser the majority of the time heading to the flop. This means that you are in control of the pot.

Always a good thing in poker.

You should make a continuation bet (CBet) in most situations against a single opponent. You should bet around 60% of the pot.

For example:

The pot has 10 cents in it on the flop. You should CBet 6 cents.

You should be making a CBet on the large majority of flops no matter what your hand is. Here are a few example flops that you should almost always CBet on versus one opponent:

  • AQK
  • KJ5
  • QQ6
  • K72
  • 888
  • T53

I think you get the idea, most of them.

This is why it is much better to focus on the flops that you should NOT make a CBet on when you have nothing.

These are:

  • 678
  • 89T

You want to avoid CBetting highly coordinated flops with all middle cards like these (when you have nothing) because the chances that you get called are just too high.

The reason why is because there are so many hands that hit these boards in some way with a pair, draw, pair + draw and so on.

The final note here is that if you are facing multiple opponents on the flop (two or more), then you need to have a much stronger hand to make a CBet. Top pair or a good draw (flush or straight) at least.

When Should You Call or Raise on the Flop?

What if you were the preflop caller though or somebody bets into you first on the flop?

Well, there are a few situations where you should just call.

Here are the Hands You Should Call a Flop Bet With

  • You have a good draw (flush or straight)
  • You have top pair
  • You have middle pair

You should fold everything else.

Ok. So what about raising though?

Raising also has it's place in a good flop strategy. You only want to do it with really strong hands though.

Here are the Hands You Should Raise a Flop Bet With

  • Overpair
  • Two pair
  • 3 of a kind (trips or a set)
  • Monster draw (12+ outs, pair + flush draw for example)

I should also note that on the rare occasion you flop something ridiculously strong like a straight, flush, a full house, quads or better, then you should usually just call on the flop (slowplay).

Turn Strategy Cheat Sheet

The turn is where things start to get really interesting in poker. I call the turn and the river the "big money streets" because this is where the bet sizes start to get significantly larger on average.

That is why it is very important that you make smart decisions on the turn and river.

I recommend that you only bet again on the turn with really strong hands such as:

  • Top pair (with a good kicker)
  • Overpair
  • Two pair
  • 3 of a kind

And so on.

Against weak/tight poker players (people who fold too much), you can also bluff sometimes if the turn comes with an Ace or a King.

These are called "scare cards" and you can often take down an easy pot against a weak player with a simple bet.

What if they bet into you on the turn though?

If they bet into you on the turn, then you should call with hands like top pair and legit draws like an open ended straight draw or a flush draw.

You definitely need to be folding everything else at this point though. I really cannot stress this point enough. Do not try to get fancy. Winning poker at these stakes is all about staying disciplined.

Lastly, you should only raise on the turn with extremely strong hands (two pair or better).

River Strategy Cheat Sheet

The strategy on the river is very similar to the turn. The bet sizes are often very large on this street and so you need to be extremely careful with your decision making once again.

You should often only be betting again on the river for value. This means hands that are very likely to be the best hand, usually top pair or better.

It is ok to bluff the river once in awhile against the weak/tight players but once again it needs to be done on the right river scare cards.

For instance, you DON'T want to bluff the river on a board runout like:

  • J9642

Because that 2 on the river is not going to scare anyone from calling you down!

If the river was an Ace or a King instead though, then this can be a good card to bluff against a weak/tight player who folds too much.

I want to be very clear that you should never try to bluff the recreational poker players or even most of the regular players because they like to call too much at these stakes.

River Value Betting Strategy

With all that said, value betting is really the biggest key to your success at the lower limits. When you are playing against a bunch of players who like to call too much, making them pay when you have the best hand is how you crush them.

So you should be consistently trying to get value out of them on the river with all of your strong hands like top pair or better, but also with hands like 2nd pair, 3rd pair and sometimes even worse.

And remember that you do not need to make a big bet in these situations. In fact this is a very common mistake that people make, sizing their value bet too high.

As I discuss in multiple examples in Modern Small Stakes, often a value bet size of 1/2 pot or even 1/3 pot is optimal versus their calling range.

6. Stop Tilt From Ruining Your Poker Success

The final part of this poker cheat sheet, which honestly is more important than anything else, is learning how to maintain your composure at the poker tables. Or in other words, stopping yourself from tilting.

Here's the thing:

When you are playing at the lowest limits you are going to encounter lot's of wild and unpredictable players. They are going to hit their suckouts, their coolers and their bad beats.

This is just a mathematical fact of the game. You can't change it. You can change how you react to it though.

You always need to remember that the long run is the only thing that actually matters in poker. Once again, 100k+ hands.

If you follow all of the advice given above in this poker cheat sheet, then I can pretty much guarantee you that you will win in the long run.

But if you get frustrated and go on tilt every time your aces get cracked or they hit that flush on the river, then you can ruin your entire poker career.

Believe me, I have seen it happen to so many people over the years. Even really talented players who may have been great one day if they could just learn to control their emotions a bit better.

It extremely important that you learn how to take these natural ups and downs of the game in stride or at the very least learn how to quit when you feel the frustration building.

You've worked too hard for this. Don't allow yourself to go on tilt and throw away all of your profits because of a few bad beats.

7. Your Poker Cheat Sheet for 2018

Alright, here is your free poker cheat sheet. It is essentially a complete summary of everything that was discussed in this article.

All you have to do is right click on the image below and save it to your computer.

Set it as your desktop wallpaper. Print it out and pin it to your wall. Do whatever you need to do!

Study it. Memorize it. And FINALLY start playing winning poker.

Poker Cheat Sheet 2018

Final Thoughts

The poker strategy in this article and the texas holdem cheat sheet are extremely basic and they were meant to be so.

The reason why is because if you follow the advice that I outlined above in the lowest stakes games, then you will turn a profit over the long term, guaranteed.

And that's the whole point. To get you turning a profit right now, no matter how unimpressive the results are. Winning is simply winning.

Some might complain that the advice above will have you playing too tight and it will be "boring." Well, I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news but winning poker was never meant to be fun or exciting all the time!

It requires discipline and dedication to the fundamentals no matter what. This is what winners do. And this is how I made a career out of this game and travel the world.

Now of course there is a lot more deeper level strategy that you need to know especially if you want to truly crush these stakes and move up to the higher limits.

So that is why I have written several best selling poker strategy books to take your game to the next level:

Crushing the Microsakes - NL2, NL4, NL5 and low stakes live games
The Micro Stakes Playbook - NL10, NL25, NL50 and mid stakes live games

Lastly, even though I did not cover it in this article, I have also used many poker tools over the years to improve my game especially when I was just starting out. You can find a complete list of them right here.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

A lot of work went into this poker cheat sheet. If you found it helpful do me a quick favor and smash that "Like" or "Tweet" button below. Thanks!

Poker cheat sheet

Sunday, April 29, 2018

How to Create a Good Side Income From Poker When You Have a Busy Life

Poker side income
Everybody is busy these days. Whether it is work, school, family, kids, social media there are a million different distractions these days. And this makes finding time to play poker and improve your game difficult.

In fact the very reason I am writing this article is because in a recent survey of over 1,000 poker players that I conducted for this website, you guys identified a lack of time as one of the single biggest things holding you back in poker.

But this doesn't mean that you can't still earn a good side income from this game even with a limited amount of time. You just have to learn to be a lot more efficient with the time that you do have available for playing and studying poker.

So in this article I am going to outline several key strategies that I used before I went pro to earn a significant side income from poker while holding down a full time job.

1. Finding Time to Play Poker

The most important part of your development as a poker player is simply playing the game. Many people these days spend far too much time studying poker, talking about poker, watching poker and so on.

None of this is necessarily bad, and I will get to it all later, but if actually improving your skills and moving up the limits is a priority for you, then you have to understand that finding time to play the game is the most important thing you can do.

So my strategy while working a full time job in the past was to always find a chunk of time at the end of the day to play a bit of poker. It didn't matter if it was only 30 minutes, I play poker every single day. Absolutely no excuses.

After I had got home from work, went to the gym and finished eating dinner, I would immediately log on to whatever poker site I was playing on and put in a set number of hands.

How many hands you are probably asking though? Well that part is totally up to you and it depends on how many tables you play as well.

If you only play one table of online poker for example then perhaps you only have time to play 80 hands. A typical online 6-max table deals about 80 hands per hour.

That's fine! Heck, like I said before even if you only have 30 minutes to play, just do that. Play those 40 hands!

And obviously if you play 2, 4, 8, 12 or more tables you can multiply these hand targets considerably. Keep in mind also that a typical Zoom table will deal you closer to 200 hands an hour and a regular full ring table, around 60.

The bottom line is to be consistent and play at least some poker every single night even if you only have 30 minutes to play. This keeps you consistently thinking about the game and learning through your mistakes and successes.

2. Finding Time to Study Poker

Now studying poker is very important as well especially in the beginning. In fact I think at the very start of your poker career, you might want to devote as much as 50% of your total "poker time" to studying the game.

By studying poker I mean books, courses, discussing hands on forums, analyzing your play in a tracking program and so on. Here is my complete list of all the poker learning tools and resources that I recommend.

However, if you are strapped for time then I recommend that you just dedicate some time on the weekend for all of this instead. Most people have a little bit more time available on Saturday or Sunday.

If you only have 30 minutes available Monday-Friday, just use that time to play poker. On the weekends when you have more time is when you want to review the week's key hands and post a few of them on forums. You can also read a few chapters of that poker book, study a few poker course modules and so on.

And efficiency is once again the key here with poker study.

So for instance most poker books are written in sections/chapters, while courses are often spaced out into modules. For instance, my latest book The Micro Stakes Playbook has 21 core strategies or "plays" as I call them.

You should NOT try to read this book front to back in one sitting. Poker books (at least mine) are not written like novels. They aren't meant to be passively consumed or to entertain you.

As much as I would love to think I am the next Stephen King or John Grisham, sadly I am not. I write poker books solely to improve your results at the poker tables.

So if you were to study this book then I would recommend reading just one or two of the core strategies on the weekend and then make sure that you are implementing them immediately at the poker tables during the following week.

Because this is another problem that many people face when they try to improve their game. That is, they don't actually implement the strategies that they learned!

Or even if they do, they don't do it consistently. You have to provide time for basic variance to run it's course in poker. This can often require playing as many as 100k hands.

All of this applies as well for poker courses, hands that you discussed on forums, strategies you discussed with your coach, or any leaks in your game that you found in PokerTracker or Hold'em Manager.

If you don't actually apply the changes consistently at the poker tables then it defeats the purpose entirely.

3. Remove All Distractions

Poker consistent side income

The next thing you need to do as a busy person with limited time for poker is remove all distractions whether you are playing or studying the game.

Again, even if it is only 30 minutes, this is your time to get better at poker and earn a side income from this game. You need to make that abundantly clear to everyone around you as well.

So the first thing I try to do is have a room dedicated to poker. You probably already have some sort of computer room or den at your house/apartment for this.

Make sure you are using that room and not trying to play or study poker in the living room with the TV on, the kids running around and so on.

The next thing that you need to do is turn off all of your devices. When I am playing poker or studying poker the ringer gets turned off on my phone. In fact sometimes I just put it right on airplane mode.

That text message can wait. You don't need to check Instagram, Reddit, Facebook and so on either. Make sure that you remove all distractions from your poker playing room.

The same goes for what you are looking at on your screen. When I am playing or studying poker I don't have any browsers or any other programs open. The sole exception would be music.

The bottom line is that as a busy person with a limited amount of time for poker you need to be as efficient as possible when you are playing or studying the game.

This is why one of my favorite "hacks" now is just to get up extremely early (I wake up at 6am every day). This is when I play poker, study poker or write about poker.

I am writing this article right now at 6:47am.

This ensures that there are absolutely no distractions because everybody else is still sleeping. And nobody is texting me or commenting on my Instagram at 6am either!

It might take some getting used to at first since you obviously have to start going to bed earlier as well. But I can't really even begin to tell you how much getting up at the crack of dawn has changed my life for the better.

4. Get Cheeky at Work

I think the Brits would call it getting cheeky by having a look at some poker stuff while you are at work. Because hey, let's face it, nobody actually works anymore!

I can't believe I just used the word "cheeky" out loud by the way.

Now if you are doing something extremely important like an air traffic controller or you are a scientist then perhaps you might NOT want to use this strategy.

But if you have a regular office job like a lot of people then you probably have at least an hour or two of idle time each day to be studying some poker material.

Once again, be efficient with your cheeky poker study at work! Don't waste your time reading some nonsense poker gossip on NVG or Reddit.

Post your hands on forums, comment on other people's hands or study a poker course/book instead. You could also check out a poker Twitch stream or any of the instructional poker videos that I put out on Youtube all the time.

Actually, I already know that people are using this "cheeky study poker at work" strategy because the highest traffic times for my website are always weekdays 9-5 when people are supposed to be, you know, working!

And I am just as guilty. My job prior to turning pro at poker was extremely boring sitting in front of a computer and answering the phone whenever it rang.

So I spent a lot of time improving my game during this time by reading the latest theory, watching videos, studying hands and so on. I even tried to play a cheeky hand or two of poker!

Now please don't go getting yourself fired by playing/studying poker at work though and then proceeding to send me hate mail. Use this strategy at your own discretion!

Bonus Tip: Poker Podcasts

I should mention that I am also a big fan of podcasts in general and especially poker podcasts. These are perfect for somebody who spends a lot of time commuting to and from work (especially driving).

Here are a few of my favorite poker podcasts. I have actually been a guest on several of them and those episodes are linked below:

1. Thinking Poker Podcast - Andrew Brokos and Nate Meyvis, solid technical poker podcast, highly recommended.

2. The Poker Life Podcast - Joe Ingram interviews famous poker players, love this one.

3. Smart Poker Study - Sky Matsuhashi, excellent discussion of studying poker, I was a guest.

4. The PostFlop Poker Podcast - Ben, Merv and Mike, solid poker strategy discussion, I was a guest.

5. House of Cards Radio - Ashley Adams, I have been a guest multiple times.

6. TwoPlusTwo Pokercast - One of the longest running and most popular poker podcasts, I have listened for many, many years.

5. Consistency is the Key to Everything

Success doesn't take days off. Consistency is the key to my success in poker.

The biggest key of all though to earning a solid side income from poker with a limited amount of time is just being consistent with the playing and study schedule that you do have.

When I was working a full time job I would never take a day off from playing or studying poker. There was always some amount of time, no matter how small, that I could sneak in to either play a bit of poker or at least review a few hands.

This consistency is what allowed me to continually improve my skills and my bankroll to the point that after a year I was playing much higher stakes and making considerably more than I did all day long at my day job.

And that in turn allowed me to go tell the boss to have a nice life.

The mistake that many people make though is getting all excited about poker and playing like crazy for awhile and then going AWOL from the game the moment they hit that first big rough patch.

You just can't possibly expect to succeed in poker with this kind of inconsistent approach.

The bottom line is that motivation is going to come and go in poker. Some days or weeks you will be winning big and think you are on top of the world. Then there will be other weeks where you can't win a hand to save your life.

And let me be clear that it is ok to take a few days off sometimes if you are just getting destroyed everyday and you have lost all your confidence. It happens to the best of us, believe me.

But you have to get back in there. You have to stay consistent with this game no matter what. You can't just dabble in this thing like most people do and expect great results.

Final Thoughts

Finding the time to play poker and study poker these days can be hard. There are more distractions than ever and we all have stuff like families, work or school to attend to as well.

However, by being as efficient as possible with the time that you do have allocated towards poker, you can still see some solid progress over time. And therefore you can still earn a good side income from poker even if you have a really busy life.

The key is making sure that you find some amount of time (no matter how small) at the beginning or the end of your day to dedicate to either playing poker or studying poker. You need to remove all distractions during this time as well.

You can even try to do some cheeky poker study or even play at work. Although, be careful with this strategy. I am not trying to get anyone fired here!

The bottom line is that if getting better at poker and making a good side income is truly a priority for you, then you can find a few hours a week (at the very least) to play more and improve your skills.

Always stay focused on doing the stuff that actually moves the needle. Remove everything else that doesn't get you closer to achieving your goals in poker.

If you want to learn my complete strategy on how to crush the micros, make sure you pick up a copy of my free poker ebook.

Let me know in the comments below how you find time to play poker and study with a limited amount of time.

Poker side income

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

5 Easy Ways to Use Position to Triple Your Poker Winnings

Using position in poker to win more
One of the easiest ways to start drastically improving your poker winnings is to simply play more hands in position where you get to act last. More specifically this means playing more hands from seats like the button, the cutoff and the hijack.

The cutoff by the way is the seat directly to the right of the button and the hijack is two seats to the right of the button.

But you don't even have to take my word for it. You can go into whatever poker tracking program you use right now, such as PokerTracker, and see the results for yourself by sorting for winrate by position.

As long as you have a decent sample (100k+ hands) I can pretty much guarantee you that your results from these late position seats will be at least triple what they are from the other seats at the poker table.

This is why it is so incredibly easy to significantly increase your poker winnings by using position more. You already know that you are literally printing money from a handful of seats at the poker tables right?

So what's the super obvious conclusion here? Play more hands from those seats of course! Exploit this winning formula. I am going to show you how in this article.

1. Call With a Wider Range Preflop in Position

The first thing that you want to start doing is flat call with a much wider range from seats like the button, the cutoff or the hijack.

I already assume that you are calling or re-raising with hands like:

AA, KK, QQ, JJ, TT, 99, 88, 77, 66, 55, 44, 33, 22, AK, AQ, AJ, KQ and QJ

But you should also add many of these hands to your calling range as well:

JTs, 98s, 87s, 76s, 54s, KTs, QTs, J9s, T8s, A9s, A8s, A7s, A6s etc.

The "s" stands for suited by the way.

Basically I am looking to flat with a much wider range than most people from these "print money seats" that we already identified before. And this is because I expect to be able to use my positional advantage to outplay them over and over again.

But I am not doing this against just anyone. As I discuss at length in The Micro Stakes Playbook I am specifically targeting the bad regs and of course the fish.

The bad regs are the ones who have big fundamental issues in their game such as betting the flop a lot but giving up on the turn too much if you are still around in the hand.

For Example:

Bad Reg X has a Flop CBet of 70% but a Turn CBet of only 40%

These are HUD stats by the way.

But often you don't even need a HUD to recognize this although it of course makes it easier. The "one and done" players as I like to call them are easy to spot if you are paying attention.

I love to flat call players like this in position preflop with a wide range of hands, call their bet on the flop and then bet the turn when they give up.

It often doesn't even matter if I actually have anything on the turn or not. It's besides the point because we already know that they are often just going to check/fold anyways.

2. Using Position to Pot Control

Another major advantage of playing more hands in position is being able to control the size of the pot. This is something that a lot of micro stakes players struggle with.

Pot control means that you get to decide the pace of the action in the hand. When they check to you on the turn for instance you get to decide whether to check back or to bet. Or if they bet then you get to decide to whether to just call, raise or even fold.

Basically what this all means is that you get to decide exactly what size of pot you want to play. You also keep yourself out of difficult situations.

For instance, do you often find yourself having middle pair on the turn and don't know what to do? The easy fix is to just check it back, keep the pot small, and decide what to do on the river.

One of the biggest reasons why you will win so much more money by playing in position in poker is because you get to wear the pants every single hand. You are in control, not them.

3. Position Allows You to Craft the Perfect Value Bets

Another massive reason why your results will be at least triple from the late position seats in poker is because you can get all those little value bets in no matter what.

What do I mean by a "value bet?"

I mean any bet where you have the best hand and you are looking to get paid off. And you don't need to have the nuts by any means. You can value bet bottom pair or even ace high as long as they can call with worse.

The reason why position helps you get paid off so much easier is because it really looks like you are bluffing to them. They will think you are just "abusing your position" again when in fact you are not.

I played a hand the other day which I discussed on my Youtube channel that illustrates all of this to a tee (including the previous points as well).

As you can see in this hand I was able to control the size of the pot the entire way and craft the perfect value bet size on the river to make sure that I got the maximum payoff from this player.

And as I also discussed, even if I hadn't hit my top pair in this hand I was going to find a way to wrestle the pot from him anyways. So in other words, he was screwed either way because position always wins in poker.

4. Position Allows You to Craft the Perfect Bluffs

Now something else that position allows you to do is make the perfect bluffs. Even though I don't suggest bluffing all too often at the micros (because they will just call your ass down!), there are still a few situations where it can be useful.

Versus tight/bad regs is one of them.

I love bluffing the tight regs who don't go to showdown very often because I am exploiting their #1 weakness. That is, playing too scared and being afraid to put money in the pot without the nuts.

These types of players are literally everywhere these days at the lower stakes especially online. You will see them playing 18% of their hands in 6max or 12% in full ring and their went to showdown % (WTSD) will be in the low to mid 20's.

Once again, you don't specifically need to be using a HUD in order to recognize these guys although it will of course make it a lot easier.

In general it will be pretty obvious who these players are because they will rarely be involved in the action, and when they do finally show down a hand it will very often be the nuts or close to it.

You can bluff these kinds of players again and again when they have slowed down and started checking or calling in the hand instead of betting or raising.

Because this lets you know that they probably don't have much and they are just hoping to get to a cheap showdown with their weak pair or draw. I won't let that happen because I will be using my positional advantage to bluff them instead.

5. Position Helps You Finally Stop Tilting

The final reason why playing more hands in position is likely to skyrocket your poker winnings is because it helps you tilt less.

This is an absolute lifesaver for many people since a huge amount of you identified tilt to me as a major problem in my recent survey of 1,000+ poker players that I conducted for this website.

The reason why playing in position helps you tilt less is because you aren't forced to play the guessing game. You will always get to act after they do and this helps you limit your losses.

For instance, you value bet the river with your top pair and get raised. You know deep down that you are beat but something inside you just won't allow you to find the fold button. You make the crying call and they show you the suckout. Sound familiar?

However, if you were in position in this hand instead then you would have likely lost a much smaller pot. And this is because the guy who hit the suckout would bet out and you would just call, keeping the pot size smaller.

Yes, you still lose the hand but the psychological effect of losing a smaller pot will help keep your frustration levels lower. And this will go a long way towards reducing the overall effects of tilt.

Final Thoughts

I really can't emphasize just how important the power of position is in poker. As I discussed in Crushing the Microstakes, it is one of the twin pillars to your success at the micros. The other being the power of initiative which is a topic for another article.

And this is why I also suggested in that book that you should be playing at least 3 times as many hands from the button/cutoff/hijack as from most other positions at the poker table.

There has been a popular trend in recent years in poker theory and literature which emphasizes flatting more preflop from the blinds in particular.

This is just another example of poker advice that is good for balancing your range against world class opponents in high stakes games. However it is pretty bad advice for you against the half drunk beginners in your $5 games online.

The bottom line is that the money comes from the button, the cutoff and the hijack in poker. It doesn't matter if your name is Daniel Negreanu or Phil Ivey, you are going to lose money from the blinds, guaranteed.

As in life, it's always better to do things the easy way in poker. Play more hands in position and you will profit more.

Make sure you let me know in the comments below how you use position to maximize your earnings at the poker tables.

Lastly, make sure you pick up a copy of my free poker ebook to learn my complete strategy on how to crush the micros.

Using position in poker to profit more