5 Pieces of 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!

poker advice


  1. Nice post man and sooo much applies to me, particularly (embarrassingly) the last point!

    I have put aside my desire to daydream about how much I will make 12 tabling 100NL with a 5bb/100 win rate and instead I have left Stars, joined what is deemed a softer site, and dropped to 5NL where I plan to study and slowly grind my bankroll up (as a hobby, albeit a somewhat serious one) with proper BRM and see where it takes me.

    Let's put the end goal at being bankrolled for some nosebleed stakes... that gives me something longterm to work toward!

    Keep the posts coming man, they are very motivating.


    1. That was me... don't know why it is coming up as Unknown.

    2. Thanks nzweasel! Glad my posts help. And now you are talking with the goals! Go make it happen :)

  2. Great article Neithan! :)

  3. Thanks for all the help bro. After reading your book I was able to turn my game around and started to win a hell of a lot more than I was 2 years ago. I have won over $100 at 2NLHEz in 98k hands not entirely a big number of hands but my graph has gone only up since taking on your advice. There were loosing sessions of course where variance took over and I could not fade the flushes,straights even some set over set and flush over flush beats and I felt like I was playing wrong but I perceived and came out a winner in the long run. I am now playing 5NLHEz and am slowly going upwards still! At the start of my transition I was experiencing some coolers as I described above but I have pushed through that and hopefully will beat this limit too ( nearly forced me to move down stakes but luckily I was on a heater for the first 5k hands and I won 22bi) luckily I didn't give it all back.
    I did start paying like a bull 2 years ago and went busto a few times playing NL10 but I said to myself this is it start at the bottom and if you go bust again give up and after moving from 888 to stars and full ring I feel like I am finally succeeding at the tables thanks a lot brother and keep the articles coming

    1. Gives me hope man!! I am determined that this time I won't just bust and reload like previously

    2. Nice work BM keep it going!

  4. C'mon Nathan everyone knows ROCK N ROLL is the only one way ticket to easy street around here ;) Poker is a one way ticket to the looney bin which btw I just got released from by the poker gods (last downswing was BRUTAL)! Keep pumping out the great content buddy! #WOOOOOO!!!

    1. Rock star, another easy career path haha. I had dreams of that once, don't we all! Thanks Ian, and keep at it!

  5. Perhaps NL2 is beatable but come on man thats the lowest stake there is. What about NL25 or NL50, those are much much harder to beat then say 3 years ago. In fact several years ago stakes up to 400NL were beatable by players that populate NL50 nowadays. Don't come to me with stakes are easy to beat, I mean even you yourself the biggest winner at nano stakes can't even move beyond NL200, that initself should tell you just how touch the games are in its current climate.

  6. Having lost with quads three times in a row I laugh at people who think they are being screwed when they lose with AA three times in a row. It's not the poker sites that are rigged it's the universe. Once you really understand that you will find your life makes a lot more sense.

    1. This has to be an early favorite for comment of the year 2017. Thanks for your insights Colin! :)