21 Texas Holdem Tips the Pros Don't Want You to Know

Texas Holdem Tips


People often ask me what my top Texas Holdem tips are these days.

Texas Holdem is a skill based card game played by people from all over the world in casinos and online. It is particularly popular in America which is also the birthplace of the game.

Many people dream of winning the World Series of Poker Main Event which crowns the unofficial best No Limit Texas Hold'em player every year.

The 2019 WSOP Main Event is being played right now in Las Vegas, Nevada and it attracted a record breaking 8569 entrants who each put up $10,000 to enter (2nd most ever).

The winner this year will receive a cool $10 million dollars!

So the game of Texas Hold'em is as popular as it has ever been. And dreams are still won (and lost) on the turn of a river card. This is what makes it one of the most exciting card games in the world.

As a professional poker player for over 10 years, these are the top 21 Texas Holdem tips that most pros don't want you to know about!


1. Play Good Cards and You Will Win


My #1 Texas Holdem tip is one of the very first lessons in poker that any beginner needs to learn. And that is, you need to play good poker hands in order to win.

The number one reason why many amateurs lose at Texas Holdem is because they play way too many trashy hands!

So in terms of actual numbers you want to be playing around the top 20% of hands dealt to you in a 6 person poker game and the top 15% in a 9 person poker game.


Here is a chart I made to show you roughly what the top 20% of hands are (those marked in yellow):

Texas holdem tips preflop charts


Here is a chart I made to show you roughly what the top 15% of hands are (those marked in yellow):

Texas holdem tips preflop charts

Many casinos will have 10 person Texas Holdem games. In that case, just use my recommendations for a 9 player table above (top 15% of hands).

By the way, you can find all my preflop poker charts just like this one (and my entire poker strategy) in my free poker cheat sheet.

Download it for free right here.

So from now on you want to start throwing away all your trashy hands before the flop such as:

84, T2 or K3

And you want to focus on playing strong hands like:

AK, TT or JT

This is the most basic foundation of any winning Texas Holdem strategy. Don't get sucked into playing bad hands like so many amateurs do!


2. Playing in Position is Winning Poker


My next Texas Holdem tip is to make sure that you are playing the majority of your hands from the preflop charts above when you are in position. What does this actually mean though?

It means that you want to be playing as often as possible from the two seats directly to the right of the blinds which are called the button and the cutoff (see chart below).

Texas Holdem Tips

The reason why you want to do this is because when you are playing on the button or the cutoff you are almost guaranteed to act last after every postflop street (flop, turn and river).

This is an advantage that is so important in poker because it allows you to always get to see what they do first and then decide what you want to do.

In other words, you are always in total control of the hand. Here is a short poker video that I made explaining this in more detail.


The bottom line is that the button and cutoff are by far the most profitable seats in a Texas Holdem poker game.

Never forget that getting to act last on the flop, turn and river is an incredibly important part of a winning poker strategy.


3. The Most Important Texas Holdem Tip - Don't Tilt


Honestly though, the biggest reason why some people do not have success in Texas Holdem is they tilt too much. This means they get frustrated when they get a run of bad luck.

And then they start playing badly by playing too many hands, playing too aggressively, making silly bluffs and bad calls.

Sound familiar?

Look guys, this game can be brutal sometimes. There is a reason why you will find me in the gym straight away most mornings.

Texas Holdem Poker Tips

It is because regular exercise is my greatest tilt control weapon at the poker tables. It makes me calmer, sleep better and stay more focused at the tables.

But most importantly of all it helps me mentally prepare for the day ahead at the poker tables where I know that I am guaranteed to take an endless amount of bad beats and coolers.

This is simply a part of the game. It is why the bad players keep coming back to give away their money again and again. Because the game of Texas Holdem allows them to get lucky sometimes.

I also recommend things like meditation before a poker session in order to maintain your mental composure at the poker table.

The bottom line is that it is really important to keep your cool no matter how unlucky have been lately. Poker is a game of constant ups and downs and those who are the strongest mentally, succeed.

Even though I put it at #3, preventing yourself from tilting is easily my #1 Texas Holdem tip!

By the way, if you want more help with this, here are my top 6 strategies to finally stop tilting.


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4. Only Play Against Bad Poker Players


This is one of the biggest keys to your success in Texas Holdem poker games. You need to make sure that you are always playing with bad poker players.

If you play online poker and you use a poker HUD then you want to be specifically looking for players with a VPIP of 40% of higher.

While I know that these "wild" players can sometimes be frustrating to play against, you will profit from them big-time over the long run.

You need to always remember where the money comes from in Texas Holdem. It is not the tight solid regulars who will pad your profits. It is the loose and wild amateurs.


5. Study Your Poker Hands


How can you improve at Texas Holdem if you aren't studying your poker hands to find your leaks?

The #1 way that I have managed to consistently stay ahead of the competition as a 10+ year poker pro is by putting in the hours away from the tables improving my game.

Best Texas Holdem Tips

This is how I find out which poker strategies are profitable and which ones aren't. I also figure out which hands specifically are winning for me and which ones aren't.

Here is my full guide to studying your poker hands and fixing your leaks.


6. Study Advanced Texas Holdem Strategy


You also need to stay up to date with the latest advanced Texas Holdem strategies if you want to succeed in this game. There are tons of good advanced poker training programs out there these days.

If you literally don't know where to start though, then I would recommend The Upswing Poker Lab.

This is the #1 advanced poker training course in the world today. It will teach you everything you need to know to start crushing mid and high stakes games.



This poker training program is also taught by some of the best poker players in the world in both cash games and tournaments with millions of dollars in winnings and WSOP bracelets.

You can enroll in The Upswing Poker Lab right here.


7. Understand Player Types


One of my top Texas Holdem tips is to always be aware of what type of poker player you are up against. For example, you will frequently encounter Nits, TAGs, LAGs, SLAGs, fish and so on.

Here is a complete list by the way of all the poker player types and how to beat each one.

It is very important that you are able to quickly identify these various poker player types in a Texas Holdem game.

And this is because when you know what poker player type you are up against, it makes it much easier to predict what they are going to do.



8. Bring Your "A" Game Every Single Time


Too many poker players sit down to play Texas Holdem when they simply are not ready to play their best. They didn't get enough sleep, they didn't eat, they are depressed, drunk, hungover.

The list goes on and on!

Guys look, you can't afford bring a half assed effort to the poker tables in today's games and expect to succeed on a big level.

You need to take this game seriously like a professional athlete does. This means that you are preparing yourself for mental battle at the poker tables all the time.

If you are serious about improving your results in poker, then you need to make sure that you are ready to play your "A" game every single time you sit down to play.


9. Don't Wait For the Nuts


My next Texas Holdem tip is to stop waiting for the nuts before getting involved in a poker hand, especially against the bad players.

Sometimes you gotta mix it up with them even when you have a below average hand. One of the biggest mistakes many players make these days is playing too tight.

So here are some of the hands that I will happily play versus bad players in particular:

T8

K9

54

A2

Now before you protest, "But Nathan some of these hands are not on the preflop charts that you posted above!"

And yes, you would be absolutely correct about that.

However, you also can't sit around waiting for the nuts all day long if you want to get the bad player's money before all the other regulars do!

Sometimes it is important to relax the "rules" a bit and get involved with some weaker hands in order to get into more pots with the bad poker players.

So I suggest that you play more suited connectors, more suited aces and so on especially when you are in position and a bad Texas Holdem player has entered the pot.


10. Learn to Float


Now I don't mean this literally as in learn how to float in the air at the poker table. I mean learn how to "float" the flop in poker more!

What I mean by this is you need to stop folding so much just because they put out a bet and you have a weak hand. This is especially the case when you are in position.

Many times they don't actually have anything and you can easily take the pot away on the turn or river.


Here is an example:

A TAG (tight and aggressive) player raises from middle position and you call on the button with JT


The flop comes:

28K

The TAG player bets

What should you do???


You should Call! (Float)

Don't just give up here like so many people do. You have a backdoor flush draw AND a backdoor straight draw. Float the flop and simply bet when they check to you on the turn.

Start doing this more often and I promise your poker win rate will improve dramatically!


11. Confident Texas Holdem Players Win


This next Texas Holdem tip is kind of a biggie. Honestly, I would say that one of the biggest factors in my poker success is simply confidence.

And I get this confidence from knowing that I have put in more work than my competition has both at the poker tables and away from them.

The other thing is that I only sit down to play in Texas Holdem games where I already know that I am the best player there.

Now some people will call this arrogance or whatever but that is of no concern to me. For me personally, when I sit down at a poker table I am there to run sh*t.

Period.

Texas Holdem Strategy Tips

Because I know that the best Texas Holdem strategy is to play aggressive and with absolute confidence in your abilities.

I know I am the best poker player at the table every time I sit down and they are all going to be reacting to me, not the other way around.

You are going to need to develop this level of confidence if you really want to take your poker game to the next level.

This is something that I discuss in much greater detail in Crushing the Microstakes.

The reason why I have some of the best results in online poker history at the lower stakes is because I have developed an unshakeable confidence in my abilities at these limits.


12. Learn The Art of the Bluff Raise


Nobody seems to bluff/raise anymore and honestly it just makes you so easy to read. You need to have a postflop bluff/raising range in Texas Holdem if you want to confuse people.

I love to do it specifically with draws or even two overcards against decent to good poker players. Do not bluff/raise against the bad players because they will just call you down!


For example:

You raise AQ on the button and a TAG reg calls you in the big blind


The flop comes:

K83

The TAG reg checks

You CBet (continuation bet)

He calls


The turn comes:

T

The TAG reg bets

What should you do???


Raise!

Seriously, what is this guy even representing here?

Maybe a weak King at best? He just called out of the big blind preflop remember. This is the kind of board that should hit our range hard, not his.

A raise here on the turn will often be enough to blow a aggressive regular like this out of the pot. If not we can always nail the nut straight (or top pair) on the river.

We can also choose to simply bluff the river as well on certain cards!

You need to be learning advanced poker strategies like this if you want to beat the good players in today's games, especially as you move up the stakes.

Please, please remember though. Never do this against bad poker players. They will just call you down. Only do it versus good thinking regulars.


13. Light 3Bet the Crap Out of the Weak Regs


This next Texas Holdem tip is something that I have seriously been preaching for years now. And that is because it works so unbelievably well!

The micro stakes games online these days are absolutely full of weak tight regulars who are too scared to go broke without the nuts.

So this means that you should be pushing them around preflop very often with a wide variety of hands. You want to look for regs with a high Fold to 3Bet on their HUD stats (70% or more).


If you want to start taking your poker game to the next level, one of the best things you can learn to do it start 3Betting light more often preflop against the weak/tight regs.


14. Start 4Betting Them Light Too!


Now what about those pesky regs who are smart enough to figure out what we are doing though?

Perhaps they start flatting our light 3Bets wider or even worse, they start 3Betting us light more often themselves!

Well let's deal with the latter scenario right now. The answer is to start 4Betting them right back light.

As I talk about in my latest poker book, The Micro Stakes Playbook, some of the best hands to do this with are small suited aces.


For example:
  • A5 suited
  • A4 suited
  • A3 suited

The reason why is because these hands block other strong aces (card removal) and they also have reasonably equity even versus a strong pocket pair like JJ, QQ or KK.


15. Become a Calling Station Versus Aggressive Regulars


Yes, you heard that right.

In my next Texas Holdem tip I am advocating that you actually become a bit of a calling station in today's games versus some of the more aggressive regulars in your games.

Because you see, many of them are following the exact same style of play that I teach on this blog, in all my books, my poker youtube videos and everything I put.

Which in a nutshell is extremely aggressive poker!

And what this ultimately means is that they don't really have anything that strong most of the time when they are betting or raising.

After all it, anybody who has played a little bit of Texas Holdem knows that it is really hard to make a super strong hand!

Now, the reason this style of play works so well at the micros though is because most players will back down. They are weak. They would rather wait for the nuts before playing a big pot.

They will just "let you have it" this time. Sound familiar?

Now sometimes you are going to run into these extremely aggressive poker players yourself though. So what should you do?

The way to combat an ultra-aggressive poker player is to take a hand like top pair and just become a complete calling station with it.

In fact, I explain exactly how to do it step by step in this poker video I made:




16. Play Texas Holdem in the Casino


Now look, I know that playing live poker isn't an option for everyone. For instance, I live in Thailand. There are no casinos in this country offering Texas Holdem.

However, in most places around the world, you can still easily find a good live low stakes Texas Holdem game going on. These are some of the softest games on earth with the worse players.

If you want to play against the worst poker players on earth and you can handle to slow place of live poker, then this will do wonders for your win rate.

Also, make sure to check out my $1/$2 cash game strategy guide.


17. Play More Texas Holdem Tournaments


Once again, tournaments aren't really my specialty. I mostly play online cash games. However, if you want poker games with tons of fish in them, then tournaments are amazing.

It doesn't matter if you are playing poker tournaments live or online, at the lower stakes the level of play in these is often shockingly bad. 

The only problem is that you often have to wade through extremely large fields in order to get a solid payday. However, with a little bit of patience, these low stakes tournaments can be extremely profitable.

Once again, I have already written the ultimate guide to micro stakes poker tournament strategy for you.


18. Steal the Blinds Like a Pro


One of my absolute top Texas Holdem tips for you is to steal the blinds more often. Most people do not steal them enough. You should be stealing the blinds with a wide range of hands such as:
  • T8♠
  • K3
  • QT♣
And more.

This is especially the case when there are two tight players left to act in the blinds, as is often the case these days online.

This is another important reason to be using a good poker hud so that you know what player types are in the blinds.


19. Learn From the Best


My next Texas Holdem tip is to make sure you are learning from the best players.

Luckily in today's day and age, finding top quality poker training is easier than ever. And you can learn from many of the best Texas Holdem players in world.

For example, the new Daniel Negreanu MasterClass poker training which I recently reviewed:


One of the most important things for me as a pro is to make sure that I am constantly studying all the latest cutting edge poker strategies. You can even consider hiring a coach!

Bottom line: Never think you are too good or "know it all" in this game. Believe me, you don't. Those that do believe this often become yesterday's news.

You can enroll in the Daniel Negreanu MasterClass right here.


20. Set Monthly and Yearly Targets


The next Texas Holdem tip I have for you is to set monthly and yearly goals and targets. As I have said before, I believe it is possible to go from NL2 to NL100 in one calendar year in online poker.

NL2 by the way is the 1c/2c games, usually the lowest available cash game online. And NL100 is the 50c/$1 games where a solid multi-tabling regular could make 50k USD or more per year.

However, this level of poker success will only work if you make a plan first.

So set clear monthly bankroll targets. Know exactly when you are going to move up AND when you are going to move back down.

Texas Holdem Strategy

This is the only way to progress in poker. It's like going to the gym. There is no point in checking your physique every day in the mirror.

You are only going to see progress in Texas Holdem poker games over a period of months and years because this is a long term game.

Anyone looking for a "get rich quick scheme" with poker should do themselves a favour and just quit now. Believe me, this isn't the game for you.


21. My Top Texas Holdem Tip - Have Fun!


The final Texas Holdem tip I have for you is to always remember why you started playing this game in the first place. Because you enjoy the excitement and the thrill of playing it!

Look guys, if you play enough poker like me, then you are going to go through some truly horrendous downswings.

There will be periods where it feels like you will literally never win another hand again. Most people quit at this point or go on tilt and throw away all their winnings.

This is why at a certain point you need to be able to just laugh it off a bit and remember that you are blessed to playing a silly card game like this for fun (or even for a living).

Texas Holdem really is just a game at the end of the day.

Some days you will win. Some days you will lose. The goal is simply to have a few more of the winning ones than the losing ones when everything is said and done.

Always play for the love of the game first and foremost. This will take you further than any poker "strategy" advice I could possibly give you.


Final Thoughts


So there you have my 21 best Texas Holdem tips for 2019 games. I really hope that some of these will be useful for you guys.

This is especially the case for some of you who are new to the game of poker and you are still trying to figure out the right strategy to beat Texas Holdem games.

The truth is that you don't have to spend hours and hours studying advanced poker strategy in order to turn big profits in today's Texas Holdem games, whether it is 6max, Zoom or tournaments.

However, I do recommend that you always remember to keep learning and practicing. As Mike Sexton famously stated, the game of Texas Holdem "takes a minute to learn, but a lifetime to master."

Hopefully a few of these tips will help you on your journey to poker glory and riches! Or at least a profitable side hobby :)

Lastly, if you want to know how to start consistently making $1000+ every month in low stakes poker games, make sure you pick up a copy of my free poker cheat sheet.

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Let me know in the comments below what your top Texas Holdem tips are. Did I miss anything on this list?

Texas Holdem Tips

11 comments:

  1. Mucho gracias....Great tips.....

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    1. Thanks bicknica glad this article helped you!

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  2. don't forget how to fold on the turn card if your TAG comes over top of you in a big way... better to let it go than get stacked...

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    1. Good point. I definitely could have written much more than 21 tips. And this one that you mentioned is indeed very important.

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  3. Great article as always, Nathan. A couple of thoughts. First, on not trying to bluff bad players, I think it was Doyle Brunson who said "never try to bluff an idiot", his point being that a bad player will not be able to recognize when he's probably beat and be smart enough to ditch the hand. In other words, a good player can be bluffed and a bad player cannot. And generally on bad streaks, Ted Forrest (a great player but not a name today's younger players will know) once went on a cooler that lasted over a year, at which point he quit playing for something like three months (if memory serves). Both sides of that experience were extreme, but it just goes to show that the greats have to suffer through variance as well.

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    1. Thanks Morgan I appreciate it! Thank you for your insights as well. Hard to argue with Doyle or Ted, both legends of the game!

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  4. Number 8 is almost the most important of them all. I sometimes have sleeping problems, but tonight I slept really well, and what a difference it made, when I sat down at the tables this morning!

    As you say, would an even remotely serious athlete prepare for a match by going to a party the night before, drink a lot of alcohol and go to bed at 4am in the morning? Of course not.

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    1. For sure Lars, sleep makes a huge difference. I try to avoid playing on the days I don't get enough sleep. I need 6 hours minimum to play my best.

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  5. tilt and patience is one of the most important skills. I've had result orientation myself that i need to earn X amount of money in X amount of time, when i failed to achieve/downswing, i felt myself as unaccomplished.

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  6. this year's # of entrants was not a record (well, it was 2nd most).
    the record was in 2006 when Jamie Gold won.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, it broke the record for 2nd place as I mention above :)

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