Only 1% of Poker Players Are Using This Strategy

My New Poker Strategy: Less Tables, More Study
Let's face it, poker has changed a lot over the years. This is especially true for the online version of the game.

I can still remember the "good old days" when I could hop on 12+ NL100 tables on PokerStars and be able to literally print money at $100+ an hour almost in my sleep.

I think I and several others thought it would last forever. This was pretty naive thinking looking back now. People were eventually going to get better, learn the game, and fish would go broke.

But regardless, we all have to adjust to the new reality of online poker now. And it's not easy!

Most players these days at decent stakes like NL100 take the game seriously now. Often they even study on the side, use HUDs and so on. And most importantly of all, it is very rare to encounter totally clueless fish anymore at these stakes.

So this means that we need to change our approach as well. I have made several adjustments to my poker strategy in recent years which have allowed me to remain profitable in the changing poker environment.

And in my experience, less than 1% of poker players truly understand just how important this poker strategy is in 2023.

I am going to discuss it all below in this article.

Online Poker Strategy - Play Less Poker Tables

The first and most obvious adjustment that I had to make in my poker strategy was to start playing less tables. And I mean A LOT less.

This was a difficult adjustment for me especially because I have always prided myself on being one of the sickest grinders around.

My New Poker Strategy: Less Tables, More Study

My approach when I coming up in this game was that some of them might be better than me but none of them will ever outwork me.

In fact I attribute much of my early success to simply being willing to put in longer hours, on more tables, and ultimately play more hands than anyone else.

This vastly cut down my learning curve and allowed me to pass by my competition in terms of understanding the game much faster.

But the problem is that by continuing to play on 20 or 30 poker tables at a time I could tell that I was putting myself at a disadvantage versus the other regs who were only on 2, 4 or 8 tables.

New Poker Strategy - Something Has to Give

Even if I felt that I was better than them (have an edge) it wasn't enough to overcome this massive disadvantage.

Basically, I just didn't have enough time when playing this many tables to really think through decisions and find the most optimal lines to beat them. And they of course absolutely DID have that luxury versus me.

So I started seeing my poker winrate slip quite a bit and I knew that I had to make a change. I could tell that many of the better regs were specifically exploiting the fact that I was a mass multi-tabler who was forced to take predominantly ABC lines.

This is something that I didn't need to worry about in the beginning because most of my competition were frankly really bad and had no clue what they were doing. However, the times have changed and you only see this at NL2 now these days.

So the bottom line was that I had to drop the table count considerably in order to compete with the best regs in my games. So for several years now I almost never go above 8 tables anymore and 4 is usually my bottom.

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The Biggest "Secret" The Pros Don't Want You to Know (It's All About Table Selection)

Another hidden advantage of this massively reduced table count is the ability to table select much more effectively as well.

Honestly, I shouldn't even be saying this on a public blog because 99% of poker players still don't get the importance of table selection.

Only the top 1% of the biggest winners truly get this.

Again, the poker environment is much different 5-10 years ago. Before I didn't have to worry about this so much. I could just hop on a bunch of random tables at the micros and expect them to usually have one or two fish on them.

This just isn't the case anymore today at any of the popular poker sites unless you are playing NL2. If you play at any kind of decent stakes you are much more likely to hop on a table full of tight multi-tabling regulars.

Now this doesn't mean that they are all world-beaters. Far from it. Many of them are still pretty bad. But the big difference is that they aren't bleeding money on a massive scale like the fish do.

So by significantly reducing the amount of poker tables I have given myself the time to check every table for a fish (VPIP 40%+) and to leave if I don't see one.

I also have the time now to always have one eye on the lobby so I can look for the recreational players who I have previously tagged and look for new tables as well which might have fish on them.

Table selection is just a part of the job in today's games in my opinion. People who aren't doing this (and site selecting as well), are simply going to be left behind.

More Time on Poker Study

The next major adjustment I have made in my poker strategy in recent years is that for the first time ever I am spending a lot more time (and money) on poker study.

Back in the day there really was no need. Plus almost all of the material out there was pretty ridiculous anyways.

10+ years ago all we had were archaic books written by aging live pros who likely have very little to no experience with the online version of the game.

But in the past 5-10 years in particular there have been several modern poker books released. And for the first time ever they were written specifically by online poker players for online poker players.

I know especially well because I have written 3 of them myself!

My New Poker Strategy: Less Tables, More Study

Finishing up my latest book "The Micro Stakes Playbook" last year from my Bangkok condo.

Secondly, we have also seen the rise of several modern video training sites recently which I think are finally offering comprehensive top quality poker strategy advice for today's online games.

I just released my new Elite Poker University for example. I wish something like this was available when I was first starting poker.

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Out With the Old, In With the New

Training sites in the past by contrast mostly just offered a never-ending supply of individual "Hey, watch me play poker and talk about it for 45 minutes" videos.

The problem was that these didn't really offer much direction for the viewer beyond the specific poker situations that happened to pop up in that one video.

This is not even to mention how unbelievably boring they could be as well if no big hands happened!

I know all of this very well because I made over 100 of these types of videos for a major training site in the past. I was/am a longtime coach (now inactive) at the popular training site

People still watch my videos there and send me comments to this day, but I always felt there was something seriously missing with this approach to teaching the game.

Newer training programs like my Elite Poker University are finally changing that outdated model forever by instead offering a step by step structured course, filled with targeted theory videos, and taught by world class pros.

Bottom line, if you want to stay ahead in today's ever changing poker environment, you need to be constantly upgrading your skill-set or you will get left behind.

Treat Poker Like a Business (Or Get Left Behind)

The last change to my poker strategy actually isn't even directly related to how you play your cards. And once again, less than 1% of poker players are doing this these days.

And that is to approach this game like a professional in every single way from what they eat, how they train (yes, your physical stamina matters), how they prepare for sessions, how they sleep, how they manage their tilt and so on.

In short, they are preparing to do battle at the poker tables and to be in peak mental and physical shape at all times.

Kind of sounds like what a professional athlete does right?

Well, if you are serious about winning big at poker then you will start approaching the game like this too.

This is why you will find me in the gym very early most mornings before I play poker and before most people have even gotten out of bed.

Only 1% of Poker Players Are Using This Strategy

My diet and even my portion sizes are also carefully managed to make sure that I am in peak mental focus when playing poker.

I also utilize visualization and meditation strategies both before and after poker sessions and as mentioned above, I am constantly reviewing my hands and studying to improve my game away from the tables.

With this level of dedication, the "average joe" amateur poker player who sites down at the table to play against me literally has no chance.

In fact, chances are that I have already studied his game as well in PokerTracker to find all his leaks and all the ways to beat him.

But furthermore, I am coming in focused, dialed in and ready to crush everybody at my poker table no matter how the cards fall.

And I will have the mental stamina and the physical endurance to continue sitting there for long hours busting you for every last chip.

And on the other hand, if I know that it isn't my day and I am running absolutely horrible, then I am going to have the discipline and the wherewithal to simply quit for the day.

Unlike most poker players, I know that one of my biggest strengths is that I don't give you a chance to play against me when I am at my worst, when I am on tilt. Because I have already quit.

I get to play against everybody else when they are at their worst though because I know they won't have the discipline to quit.

In short, this is what "professional" poker looks like these days.

And less than 1% of poker players are willing to put in this kind of effort. This is why they continue to get the results that they do.

Final Thoughts

The poker landscape has changed a lot in the past 5, 10 and 15 years.

This is a game that will leave you behind if you do not learn how to adapt and constantly change with it. Now, of course this doesn't mean that some things don't stay the same.

Some strategies will always remain evergreen.

For instance, the same basic strategies that I used to crush the fish and beginners at NL2 online 15 years ago are still largely the same today.

But against thinking opponents at any kind of decent stakes these days you really need to know what you are doing in order to succeed.

This requires a commitment to staying up to date on the latest poker strategy. This also requires that you lower the table count in order to have the time to make better poker decisions and table select.

Finally, you also need to start treating this game like a professional in all aspects from your sleep, to your tilt control and even what you eat and how you train your body away from the tables.

There will always be a "1%" in poker. The only question is if you are willing to put in the work to be included in this small group of elite winners.

Lastly, if you want to know the poker strategies that I personally use as a 10+ year poker pro, make sure you grab a copy of my free poker cheat sheet.


Let me know what poker strategy is working for you in today's games.

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  1. Hi Nathan and thanks for the very good work !! What limits do you play now that you're not mass multitabling anymore ?

    1. Thanks Kevin glad I could help! I play at the micros mostly and I don't mass table anymore.

  2. Takes quite a while to get enough data to check the tables for high vpips
    Not possible on Party as they only allow session stats, I believe.
    Also Stars is probably the only site where you can accumulate the data, and might be the only site where you can go on the waiting list for a specific table

  3. ACR allows waiting for a seat.

  4. Hey Nathan, have you written anything about the new poker stars cash-out option? Still not sure what the best strategy is for that...

    1. Hey paper,

      Nope, I don't write about poker sites on this blog. I just teach poker strategy.