Here's the #1 Basic Poker Strategy No One is Talking About

basic poker strategy
In my experience people absolutely love to over-complicate the game of poker.

They want to believe that you need to know a bunch of complex math and formulas in order to win. Or that you need to be able to "read their soul" and bluff raise them on the river.

In fact I have even written entire articles in the past about how detrimental a lot of this over-thinking and over-analyzing is to your poker results at the lower stakes.

But there is actually one extremely effective basic poker strategy that I have been using for years now and absolutely no one is talking about it. This is crazy because it leads to real results at the poker tables.

And it is so utterly simple that I am going to break down this basic poker strategy for you step by step in this article.

1. Basic Poker Strategy - Play With the Fish!

The first step in this poker strategy is very, very straight forward. Play poker with fish.

It still blows my mind to this day to see that so many poker players voluntarily choose to play in terrible games full of tough regulars.

Look, forget the cards. They don't even matter. Before you learn anything at all you need to understand that poker is a game played between people.

It doesn't matter how good you think you are, your winnings (or losses) will always be directly attributable to the skill level of the players you are playing against.

As I often say, put the 6th best poker player in the world at a table with the top 5 best poker players in the world and he will be the fish. He will eventually lose all his money.

So therefore, the best basic poker strategy that you can ever learn is to only play at poker tables that has at least one player who is well below your skill level (a "fish" as we affectionately call them).

And I truly mean that. If you can't clearly and quickly identify the reason why you are sitting at a poker table, then you shouldn't be sitting at that poker table.

Now what is a poker fish you might ask and how do you spot them?

This is someone who:
  • Plays way too many hands (40%+ VPIP in online poker for those using a HUD)
  • Limps way too much
  • Min bets postflop
  • Buys in for the minimum
  • Frequently shows down bad hands
  • Chases every ridiculous draw
  • Can't fold bottom pair no matter what

I think you get the idea by now. If you want to know the #1 basic poker strategy that pros use to crush the games, it's to play against guys like this!

And once again not just when you feel like it but all the time. Poker pros take poker table selection very, very seriously.

Furthermore, they also know that a big part of good poker table selection is simply playing on the easy poker sites in the first place.

2. The #1 Basic Poker Strategy No One is Talking About - Jesus Seat the Fish

Now I get it though. Play with the fish, duh right? You've heard it all before I am sure. There is one more crucial step though that so many people miss (even many pros).

Have you ever heard of the "Jesus Seat" in poker?

My guess is that 90%+ of the people who read this article have never heard of it. And that is because this is the single most important basic poker strategy that no one is talking about.

The Jesus seat in poker is a playful term that we use for the seat directly to the left of the fish. Why is this seat so special you might be asking?

Basic Poker Strategy

Because any time you have direct position on somebody in poker you are absolutely going to destroy them. You have an unbelievably large advantage over them.

Most people severely under-estimate the power of position in poker. But all you have to do is open up your PokerTracker database, filter your winnings by position, and you will see exactly what I am talking about.

Simply put, position in poker is the key to everything.

Take two equally skilled poker players and give player A position over player B every hand. Player A will eventually take player B's entire bankroll.

So guess what happens when you get position on somebody who is already really bad at poker? (i.e. a fish) Yup, you guessed it, it's gonna be a massacre.

So the #1 basic poker strategy that I have been using for years is to simply Jesus seat the fish and print money against them.

How Do You Jesus Seat the Fish?

So how do you get the seat directly to the left of the fish?

Well, like I mentioned before, first you need to identify them.

If you have watched any of my live play poker videos before, then you will know that I tag all fish on every poker site that I play on immediately. This way I am always reminded when I play against them in the future.

And also, like I mentioned before this allows me to quickly and clearly identify the exact reason why I am playing at that poker table in the first place. If they leave, then I leave.

So in order to Jesus seat the fish I will often look for short handed games (tables with empty seats) on either full ring or 6-max tables, look for the fish and simply try to grab the seat on their direct left.

Sometimes I will even leave a table and rejoin as soon as I see the seat to the left of the fish become available.

But by far the best method in my experience is to simply hunt the short handed games because there is often a seat already open on the fish's left.

Now of course, yes this is tedious and it requires a lot of effort and table hopping. I get it, nobody really wants to do that. But ask yourself this, do you want to win at poker?

If you use this basic poker strategy of Jesus seating the fish it is simply impossible not to win at poker especially at the lower stakes.

Now I should mention that using this strategy is not going to be possible if you play something like Zoom poker.

This is one of the main reasons why I typically do not recommend playing fast fold poker games like Zoom poker if having a high win-rate and maximizing your tables winnings is your goal in poker.

And this is because in Zoom poker takes away one of your absolute biggest weapons in poker, the ability to table select and also seat select.

Best Basic Poker Strategy for Beginners

I would recommend this seat selection strategy specifically to all of you poker beginners out there who may be reading this article.

If you were trying to learn a new game like chess for example you wouldn't go challenging grandmasters. No of course not, you would look for other equally or lesser skilled players to play against.

So why would you start your poker career by playing against other skilled opponents, many of whom are probably better than you right now?

If you are a poker beginner I think making table selection and seat selection a top priority are two of the most effective ways to make sure that you start winning from the start.

And this is massively important for poker beginners because it will help you build confidence and make you want to play more and study more to improve your poker game.

Final Thoughts

So what is the #1 basic poker strategy that no one is talking about?

Well, it is very simple. First, find the fish. This is something that you absolutely should be doing already if you take poker seriously at all.

Secondly, make sure you grab the Jesus seat to the left of the fish! This is such a simple an easy little poker tip that will skyrocket your winnings.

And it still shocks me to this day that absolutely nobody is teaching this fundamental basic poker strategy. This is the core of the game, not how to play your AK in a 3-bet pot.

Poker is a game played between people. No matter what your current skill level is, if you consistently play against people who are less skilled than you, then you will win. Period.

Anyways, that's all I got for this article.

If you want to know how I quit my job to become a poker pro and travel the world (and how you can do it too), make sure you download a copy of my free poker cheat sheet.

Let me know in the comments below what you think the best basic poker strategy is.

basic poker strategy

The Top 50 Best Poker Players of All Time (Money List)

The Top 50 Best Poker Players of All-Time
Have you ever wondered who the best poker players of all-time are? Well, one way of trying to figure that out is by using the Hendon Mob's all-time tournament poker money earnings list.

Now, this list is a bit problematic because it only counts tournament winnings and does not (to my knowledge) include tournament losses. This is not even to mention stuff like travel expenses!

Also, even more glaringly, this list will only include tournament poker players. And this is because winnings from cash games (which are often much bigger over time) are not publicly known.

Most of the biggest cash games in the world in Las Vegas or Macau for example are invite only and winnings or losses are very rarely ever published.

Anyways, all of these issues aside, here are the top 50 best poker players of all time according to the all time tournament money winnings list.

By the way, if you haven't made at least $12 million dollars in career poker tournament winnings, you can't even get on this list!

The Top 50 Best Poker Players of All Time (Tournament Winnings List)

1st - Justin Bonomo (United States) $ 44,626,825

2nd - Daniel Negreanu (Canada) $ 39,830,195

3rd - Erik Seidel (United States) $ 34,782,419

4th - David Peters (United States) $ 32,628,532

5th - Fedor Holz (Germany) $ 32,556,379

6th - Bryn Kenney (United States) $ 30,654,182

7th - Daniel Colman (United States) $ 28,925,059

8th - Jason Koon (United States) $ 27,911,824

9th - Antonio Esfandiari (United States) $ 27,728,437

10th - Dan Smith (United States) $ 27,704,822

11th - Steve O'Dwyer (United States) $ 26,902,444

12th - Phil Ivey (United States) $ 26,267,283

13th - Isaac Haxton (United States) $ 24,795,909

14th - John Juanda (Indonesia) $ 24,639,913

15th - Jake Schindler (United States) $ 23,849,706

16th - Scott Seiver (United States) $ 23,502,071

17th - Stephen Chidwick (England) $ 23,130,813

18th - Phil Hellmuth Jr (United States) $ 22,866,828

19th - Brian Rast (United States) $ 21,506,086

20th - Nikita Bodyakovskiy (Belarus) $ 21,039,341

21st - Sam Trickett (England) $ 20,840,004

22nd - Rainer Kempe (Germany) $ 19,700,171

23rd - Christoph Vogelsang (Germany) $ 19,544,999

24th - Cary Katz (United States) $ 19,016,307

25th - Jason Mercier (United States) $ 18,852,157

26th - Dominik Nitsche (Germany) $ 18,016,135

27th - Jonathan Duhamel (Canada) $ 18,012,110

28th - Thomas Marchese (United States) $ 17,932,969

29th - Adrian Mateos (Spain) $ 17,301,912

30th - Igor Kurganov (Russia) $ 17,294,921

31st - Michael Mizrachi (United States) $ 16,938,806

32nd - Martin Jacobson (Sweden) $ 16,866,100

33rd - Nick Petrangelo (United States) $ 16,839,657

34th - Joseph McKeehen (United States) $ 15,750,225

35th - Sam Greenwood (Canada) $ 15,731,080

36th - Ole Schemion (Germany) $ 15,218,949

37th - Byron Kaverman (United States) $ 14,860,477

38th - Ryan Riess (United States) $ 14,213,173

39th - Timothy Adams (Canada) $ 14,132,442

40th - Joe Cada (United States) $ 13,662,042

41st - Bertrand Grospellier (France) $ 13,613,614

42nd - Mike McDonald (Canada) $ 13,267,686

43rd - Joseph Cheong (United States) $ 13,260,809

44th - Steffen Sontheimer (Germany) $ 13,205,686

45th - Justin Cuong Van Tran (United States) $ 13,028,138

46th - Elton Tsang (China) $ 12,752,988

47th - Sorel Mizzi (Canada) $ 12,649,187

48th - Scotty Nguyen (United States) $ 12,594,346

49th - Jamie Gold (United States) $ 12,588,364

50th - Joe Hachem (Australia) $ 12,386,078

Best Poker Players of All Time by Country

So drawing from the list above, let's also see how the biggest winning tournament poker players of all time stack up according to their respective countries.

United States - 28

Canada - 6

Germany - 6

England - 2

Australia - 1

Sweden - 1

France - 1

Spain - 1

Russia - 1

Belarus - 1

China - 1

Indonesia - 1

Now I must say that I am not overly shocked to see that players from the USA represent over half of this list!

After all, a lot of the biggest poker tournaments in the world including the World Series of Poker are held there.

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However, the United States is also the birthplace of poker and there is no question that many of the best poker players in the world are from America.

I am proud to see that my country of Canada came in tied for 2nd place with another poker powerhouse, Germany.

I was a bit surprised to see that there is only one Russian on this list and that Asia as a whole is not very well represented.

However, I think in future years, with the growth of the game in Asia in particular and more big time tournaments being hosted there, this will change.

Many of the Best Poker Players in the World are Young

Another thing that you might have noticed about this list of the top 50 best tournament poker players of all time is that many of them are young, 20's or 30's.

On the list above, 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 10th are all below 40 years of age. In some cases like Fedor Holz, mid 20's.

This is a huge change from say 10 or 20 years ago when this list would have been dominated by much older live poker pros.

The reason why so many of the best poker players in the world are in their 20's or 30's now is because tournament fields are much bigger these days and therefore the biggest events often stretch days or even a week in length.

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Let me tell you as a hardcore grinder myself, concentrating intently for 10+ hours a day on poker for upwards of a week is something that is much easier to do when you are younger.

The other major reason why so many of the best poker players of all time are younger now is very simple, online poker.

As I have contended for many years now on this blog, nearly all of the highest level thinking and the hardest games to beat these days are online.

And this is absolutely no secret to anyone in the know. Many of the biggest names from the past in poker for example get absolutely wrecked when they decide to play high stakes poker online.

Also, with the speed and the ability to multi-table online poker, many of the younger players of today have simply played far more hands of poker in their short lifetime than the older live pros of the past.

Final Thoughts

So who are the best poker players of all time? Well, unfortunately the best guess we can get is by looking at the Hendon Mob all time tournament poker winnings list.

In my opinion there are many well known (and not very well known) cash game players who would actually be on my personal list of the best poker players of all time.

However, this tournament list is dominated by American poker players and there is a very youthful flavour to it these days as well.

As the game grows I think we will see more players on this list from Europe and Asia. However, I think the all time poker tournament winnings list will continue to be dominated by younger poker players in the future.

When Justin Bonomo overtook Daniel Negreanu for first place last year (after Daniel held #1 for close to 10 years), I think this really signaled a changing of the guard.

And as mentioned, the top 10 now is absolutely dominated by poker players in their 20's or 30's. This was absolutely not the case even just 10 years ago.

If you want to know the strategy I used to become a poker pro and travel the world, make sure you grab a copy of my free poker cheat sheet.

Let me know in the comments below who you think the best poker players of all time are. Did anything surprise you about this list?

The Top 50 Best Poker Players of All-Time