9 Easy Poker Hacks For People With Little Time or Money

9 Poker Hacks For People With Little Time or Money
Do you want to become a consistent winning poker player? How about just make enough money from poker for a decent side income?

These are reasonable poker goals to have especially for those of you who play the lower limits like I discuss on this blog.

However, many people these days have busy lives full of obligations like work, family, school and so on. This can make it difficult to find the time to devote to poker.

There are also many people for whom setting aside $50 or $100 for a poker bankroll is a big deal. Especially if you come from a country where this is a large amount of money.

So in this article I am going to give you 9 of my best poker "hacks" for people with little time or money. Follow these steps and you can have success in poker even if you are broke and have no time.

1. Schedule 30 Minutes for Poker

The first thing that you need to do in order to make poker a consistently profitable hobby for you is devote regular time to it.

Too many people do not achieve success in poker because they are wishy washy. By this I mean that they will play and study a bunch for a week or two and then forget about poker for a month.

Sometimes they will be out of the game for years at a time!

You can't do this if you serious about making poker a profitable side gig for you. I would suggest setting aside 30 minutes each night after work, the kids, school or whatever else is done.

You can play more by all means, 1 hour, 2 hours or more. But by keeping the bar low like this, just 30 minutes, you increase the chances that you show up to play each day.

And yes we all have busy lives but everybody has 30 minutes each night. If you can't find it then you need to cut something out that isn't as important as poker for you. Such as binge watching the latest show on Netflix.

2. Play Poker Every Day

So by setting aside 30 minutes each night (or morning or midday if that works better for you) you will get yourself into the habit of consistently playing poker every day.

This is by far the best way to make progress in this game because poker will always be on the top of your mind.

You will be thinking about the hands from last night. You will be thinking about new ways to beat certain opponents and so on.

You can also focus on really important stuff like improving your hand reading skills:

People hold themselves back so much in this game by stopping and starting and forgetting what they were working on or studying (which I will get to in a bit).

Consistently playing the game every day (even if it is only 30 minutes) is the absolute best thing you can do to turn this game into a profitable side hobby or even a full time income one day.

3. Create Your Own Poker Space

The next poker hack I have for you is to create your own poker space. This means that you have a room where you only play poker.

This is your personal space where you are not to be bothered by any distractions while you are playing poker for 30 minutes or more each night.

This means no TV in the room, your phone is on airplane mode or turned off, and your roomatesm family or kids understand that this is your private work space for a little bit each night and you are not to be disturbed unless it is an emergency.

If you can I would also highly recommend having a computer which only has poker on it. Just poker sites and poker software.

Having this ability to focus without distractions is vital for your success at the poker tables. If you really want to improve and win consistently then you need to take this seriously.

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4. Study Only the Essentials

Studying poker is important. In fact it is more important than ever in today's more competitive poker environment. You have to be constantly upgrading your skill-set to stay on top.

So by this I mean studying poker books, courses, videos and so on. But too much can be a problem as well. In fact I get many people coming to me these days who talk about poker study overwhelm.

And this is because they are trying to learn way too much at once and they are listening to far too many different sources, which may be conflicting in some cases.

This is why you need to stop the information overload and focus only on one or two sources of information that are directly related to the games that you are actually playing in.

I would focus on learning from some of the best players in the world and tune everything else out.

So for instance, Daniel Negreanu's new poker training course is a great idea for beginners and those struggling at low and mid stakes.

If you want to take things to a higher level, you can check out my brand new Elite Poker University which is aimed at more advanced players.

The bottom line is find a poker training program that works for you where you are learning from world class pros.

Don't waste your time with inferior material or by studying too many different programs and therefore overwhelming yourself.

5. Listen to Poker Strategy Podcasts

This is one of my very best "hacks" for all those people who spend a lot of time each day commuting to work either on the bus/train or in their car.

And that is to listen to poker strategy podcasts during that time!

I am a huge fan of podcasts in general. I listen to them all the time when I am traveling, at the gym and so on. And there are some great poker podcasts out there.

For instance, the Smart Poker Study Podcast and the Postflop Poker Podcast are both excellent. I have actually been a previous guest on both of these podcasts and they put out high quality poker strategy material on a regular basis.

Download and listen to them on the go!

6. Take Advantage of Rakeback and Bonuses

Another great poker hack for those just starting out is to make sure you are taking advantage of rakeback and bonuses if you play online.

Rakeback is a percentage of the rake you paid to the poker site that is given back to you as an incentive for you to play there.

9 Poker Hacks For People With Little Time or Money

This can be sometimes as much as 30% which is actually a big deal and can easily add up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month if you play a lot at reasonable stakes.

And bonuses are usually offered to new players as another incentive to sign up and play there. I built a lot of my early bankrolls by working off $500 or $1000 bonuses. It is a huge help!

Now every online poker site has a different rakeback and bonus structure and you also need to make sure to do your research so you know how to clear the bonuses and when you will get paid your rakeback.

7. Have Clear Poker Bankroll Targets

The next piece of poker advice that I have for you is to have clear bankroll targets for when you will move up. This will take out the guesswork and allow you to make consistent progress.

Now when to move up is a bit of a personal thing. Some people prefer to be very conservative with their bankroll management and only move up with 50+ buyins for instance. Whereas some people prefer to gamble a bit more and move up with 20.

Where ever you land on that spectrum it is important to have clear bankroll targets for when you will move up to the next limit. This way you know exactly what you are working towards each day.

This is why I also highly suggest starting a poker blog, Youtube or Twitch channel to document your progress and get feedback from others as well.

I have a poker YouTube channel where I put out weekly new poker strategy videos. Check it out right here.

8. Forget Bankroll Management!

Ok, so far I have discussed a bunch of poker hacks to save you time and be more efficient. But what about if you have no money? What if you don't have $50 or $100 to deposit online as I would recommend?

Well, in this case you are going to have to gamble a bit and throw bankroll management out the window. This strategy goes against everything I teach, but if done right, there is still a pretty low risk of losing your bankroll.

My advice would be to deposit a very small amount, like $10.

Freerolls can be tempting but they are honestly a massive waste of your time. You need to play for hours and hours on end and beat massive fields in order to potentially win a very small amount.

Save yourself an incredible waste of time and energy and just deposit 10 bucks. Everybody has that.

Next, take your fledgling $10 bankroll directly to the NL2 cash game poker tables online and just play like a complete nit. By this I mean you need to fold everything but the nuts and only play on tables that have fish.

I still can't guarantee you won't go broke with this strategy, as 5 buyins is simply not a reasonable bankroll in any poker game. But if you stay disciplined you should be able to turn that $10 into a proper bankroll of $50 or $100 most of the time.

By the way, if you want to know how I created some of the highest profits in online poker history at the micros, I would recommend checking out my best selling poker book, Crushing the Microstakes.

9. Short Buy into Cash Games

The final poker hack I have for people with no money will also go against everything that I teach and recommend on this blog, in my books and videos. And that is to short buy.

What do I mean by "short buy?"

I mean to buy in for the absolute minimum. This is usually 40 big blinds or 50 big blinds in most cash games online or in the casino.

By buying in short with say $1 (50 big blinds) to the NL2 games online, all of the sudden you now have a 10 buyin bankroll instead of a 5 buyin bankroll. This is still not a recommended bankroll but it will give you a much better chance of success.

Once again, you will still need to play like a complete nit and just wait for the nuts. This is absolutely not the time to play fancy or make crazy bluffs. You don't have the bankroll for that!

With a very disciplined tight strategy, combined with short buyins, I would put your chances of turning your $10 at these stakes into a legitimate bankroll as reasonably high.

By the way, I already wrote the complete guide to optimal 50 big blind poker strategy so make sure to check that out before you short buy into any poker game.

Final Thoughts

So there you have my top 9 poker hacks for people with little time or money. The truth is that if you really want to be successful in poker you can make it happen even with a busy life and even if you are broke.

The real key is how you prioritize your time. You have to be a lot more efficient than most people. You can't be screwing around on Facebook or Reddit during your poker time for instance.

You need to be laser focused on consistently playing each night (or morning/afternoon if that better fits your schedule), getting regular study in and having clear targets and goals for your progress.

You can also listen to stuff like poker podcasts while you are commuting to stay on top of the latest strategies.

Lastly, if you are dead broke just deposit $10, short buy the NL2 tables online, and play like a complete and utter nit until you have a real bankroll of $50 or $100.

If you want to learn how to start consistently making $1000 per month in low stakes poker games, make sure you grab a copy of my free poker cheat sheet.

Let me know in the comments below how you are succeeding in poker with a busy life and limited finances.

9 Poker Hacks For People With Little Time or Money


  1. thanks for this helpfull advice, especially reinforcing BR for short of poker cash players

  2. Hi Nathan

    I'm a long time and consistent reader but never posted before. Since leaving university and starting work I have definitely found that by the time my job, other hobbies, social life and daily routine are out of the way committing regular time to poker has been really difficult.

    I completely agree that playing as regularly as possible helps keep you at the top of your game so I recently started bringing my laptop to work with me to play on my lunch break. I'm now putting in way more volume and playing constantly without impacting the other areas of my life, but can still put in longer evening sessions when I have the time.

    Just wanted to leave this here in case anyone else in your community was experiencing similar challenges.

    1. Thanks for being a long time reader and giving me your thoughts here. I agree that there is always going to be time if poker is a big priority for you. So good for you for making it happen. And the consistency is the most important part.

  3. Nathan,

    I've always found your articles very helpful. Thanks for sharing.

    I have a fairly busy schedule but what I done lately follows steps 1 & 2 and kindof breaks step 3. I exercise and play poker at the same time. I have my computer set up in front of a step machine. I workout and play poker at the same for an hour a day (almost everyday).

    Thanks as always,


    1. Thanks Todd glad my articles help. That's actually a really cool idea, I like it!

  4. Thanks for plugging my podcast, Nathan!

    1. No worries Sky keep up the great work!

  5. Your articles are always excellent thank you! Part of your advice should specifically be to set aside 5 minutes every week to read your blog! :-)

    1. Thanks Thomas, glad you enjoy my poker articles :)

  6. Hi Nathan another great article.
    Just what I needed to hear at the min👍

    1. Thanks Bryson, glad this one resonated with you!