7 Simple Poker Tips That Will Skyrocket Your Winnings

7 Simple Poker Tips That Will Skyrocket Your Winnings

This article was written by blackrain79.com contributor Fran Ferlan.

Everyone can learn to play poker, but very few people can win consistently over the long run. Even though winning in poker is hard, it’s not overly complicated by any means. 

You just have to follow the right steps.

None of these tips are groundbreaking by any means, but that’s because they work. By following these, you will see a dramatic improvement in your poker results, guaranteed.

Let’s get straight into it.

1. Play Only Strong Hands and Ditch the Rest

This tip may sound counterintuitive at first, but the key to winning more money in poker is actually playing less hands, not more. In fact, you should only play about 20% of all starting hands dealt to you. 

Now, you might think that sounds a bit too restrictive. Should you really just fold 80% of the time? And how can you win if you don’t play?
The answer to these questions lies in basic math. Most hands miss most flops (2 out of 3 times, to be exact). So the more hands you play, the more often you miss, and therefore, more money you lose. 

The times you actually do connect with the flop don’t make up for all the misses. So you should only play hands that have a reasonable chance of connecting with the flop in some meaningful way.

This includes broadway hands (the hands that can make the strongest possible straight, like AKo or KQs), pocket pairs (like pocket Aces or pocket Nines), suited Aces (like A2s or ATs), and suited connectors (like JTs or 98s).

o = offsuit
s = suited 

The rest is trash and should be thrown away.

This is just a ballpark, of course. The percentage of hands you decide to play will depend on other factors as well, namely your position on the table.

But if you want a simple strategy to start winning at poker right away, then only play these cards. 

You should play even less hands when you’re in the early position, and way more than 20% when playing in late positions, namely the cutoff and the button. Which brings us to the second tip…

2. Play in Position to Give Yourself an Edge

Playing in position means being the last player to act in a betting round. This gives you a huge advantage over your opponents for several reasons:

a) Playing in position gives you more information. 

By being the last to act, you get to see what your opponents did, and they have no idea what you’re going to do.

This is a fundamental advantage in poker that is difficult to over-state. And I find it takes many beginners years to truly comprehend how important their position is at the poker table.

In fact, using the power of position is one of 5 simple beginner poker tips that anyone can use right now, as Nathan discusses in a recent video.

b) You can control the size of the pot. 

When you’re the last to act, you get to dictate the size of the pot. 

If your opponent checks, you can check back if you want a free card, or you can bet, either for value or as a bluff. 

If your opponent bets, you can just flat call to control the pot size, or come back with a raise if you want to inflate the pot further.

c) You can bluff more effectively in position. 

Since you have an informational advantage over your opponents, you can use this to push them out of the pot even without having a strong hand yourself. 

If your opponent checks to you, for example, it’s usually a sign of weakness, so you can try to take the pot down with a simple bet. 

Your opponents will be more likely to fold when playing out of position due to aforementioned disadvantages.

So what does this mean in practice? It means you should play more hands in late positions (i.e. the cutoff and the button).

This is something that I discuss in much more detail in my recent wildly popular Texas Holdem cheat sheet. 

When playing on the button in particular, you will ALWAYS be the last to act in a round, so use this to your advantage. 

The cutoff is the seat directly adjacent to the button, and it should be your second most profitable position.

Conversely, you should play less hands in the early position and when playing in the blinds. 

When in the blinds you will ALWAYS be at a positional disadvantage, so tread carefully. 
(The only exception is when you’re in the big blind and playing against the small blind, of course).

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3. Play Aggressively (Bet Big and Bet Often)

The last component of a successful TAG strategy is playing your hands aggressively (i.e. betting and raising a lot instead of checking and calling). 

There are multiple reasons why playing aggressive poker works so well:

a) you can get more value out of your strong hands. 

By betting and raising a lot, you’re obviously creating bigger pots, which means more money won. 

You’re usually better off building the pot up yourself, instead of relying on your opponents to do that for you.

b) you can win the pot even without the strongest hand. 

There are two ways to win the pot: either by having the best hand at showdown, or making all other players fold. 

Since really strong hands don’t come around often in no-limit Texas hold’em, relying on them alone is not enough to be a successful long-term winner. 

Sometimes you need to win the pot without the strongest hand, and the only way to do so is by playing aggressively.
c) you make yourself more difficult to play against. 

If you play aggressively, your opponents will have to think twice before getting involved in a hand with you. 

Not only will they not be sure whether you have a strong hand or not, they will also be reluctant to bluff you with impunity, because they know you might fight back.

d) you are more likely to get paid off once you actually do get a strong hand. 

If you only play aggressively when you have a very strong hand, you are going to become fairly predictable to anyone paying even remote attention. 

So even if you have a strong hand, it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to get paid off with it. 

But if you’re playing aggressively otherwise, your opponents will start giving your bets and raises less credit, meaning they’ll be more likely to pay you off. 

By playing aggressively, you’re constantly keeping your opponents guessing. In fact, this is one of the biggest keys to dramatically improving your poker winnings in 30 days or less.

Now, I’m not advising you to be a chip-spewing maniac just for the sake of it, of course. You want to apply the pressure on your opponents, but not at the expense of rational decision making. 

The point is making sound, positive expected value decisions, while appearing to be too aggressive for your own good. 

This is a hard balance to strike, but you’ll get there with enough practice. If you take one thing from this whole article, remember that winning poker is aggressive poker.

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4. Table Select to Put Yourself in More Profitable Situations

If you’re playing poker online, you should take advantage of the ability to table select and seat select, so you set yourself up for the most profitable spots from the start. 

If your preferred online poker site allows table selection, always be on the lookout for potentially profitable tables, and avoid the rest. 

Ideally, you want to find tables with as many recreational players (aka the fish) as possible. Then, you should take a seat to their direct left. 

This way, you can play in position against them most of the time. 

As mentioned in the previous tip, playing in position gives you a huge advantage, and it’s especially useful to have positional advantage against the fish. 

If you are seated to the recreational player’s direct left, you can:

a) Isolate them preflop. 

A lot of recreational players tend to open-limp into the pot (i.e. just calling the big blind instead of open-raising). 

This is one of the telltale signs of recreational players, and is an ill-advised play for a number of reasons. 

So when a fish open-limps, you can open-raise first in order to isolate them, and hopefully play a heads-up pot against them. 

This means you will often play a pot against them in position as a preflop aggressor, which is statistically the most profitable spot in poker in general.

b) You can take advantage of their mistakes postflop. 

Recreational players make all kinds of blunders in their game, and by having position on them, you can take advantage of these mistakes before anyone else. 

If you have a strong value hand, you can bet big and fast and take advantage of their overcalling. If they try an ill-conceived bluff, you can try to bluff catch.

c) Bluff them more effectively. 

While bluffing recreational players is usually a bad idea because they tend to overcall so much, there are spots where it can be profitable. 

As a general rule, if you attempt to bluff, you’re better off doing it in position. 

Some recreational players like to see a lot of flops, but give up fairly easily when they miss (which is most of the time). 

Against this type of opponent, you can try to steal the pot by making a simple light c-bet on the flop.

(By the way, a c-bet, or a continuation bet is simply a bet made by the previous street’s aggressor, and will usually be a profitable play).

Overall, one of the quickest ways to start winning at poker is to bluff more, but you must do it in the right situations, against the right player types.

5. Play Within Your Bankroll to Avoid Going Broke

Following these tips to a tee doesn’t guarantee you’ll start crushing the game in your very next session, and it certainly doesn’t mean that following these tips is all it takes to just print money playing poker. 

The reason for this is that poker has a short-term luck element involved, which means you’re bound to lose from time to time, even if you play perfectly. 

If you follow the tried and true winning poker strategy outlined above, you can expect to do fairly well over the long run. 

The problem is, the long run in poker is far longer than most people expect. During shorter periods, like weeks or months, anything can happen. 

Even if you are beating your current limit, over the short term, you WILL experience losing periods. 

In other words, poker is a never ending series of  unpredictable ups and downs, and the best you can hope for is to have more ups than downs over the long run. 

The technical term for these swings is variance. 

Simply put, poker variance measures the difference between how much you expect to earn over a certain period and how much you actually earn. For example, let’s say your average winrate is 4 big blinds per hundred hands played. 

If you win more than that in a given period, you’re experiencing positive variance, and if you earn less, you’re experiencing negative variance. 

Sometimes, your winrate will actually be negative, so you’ll lose money, even though you’re not “supposed to”. 

To put it even more simply, negative variance will be the result of short term “bad luck”, like coolers, setups, suckouts, being card dead for an extended period of time and so on.

In order to weather the negative variance without going broke, it’s advised to have a sufficient bankroll. A poker bankroll is a predetermined amount of money set aside specifically for poker. 

This means you don’t pay for groceries with your bankroll money and vice versa. 

If you’re playing cash games, it’s advised to have at least 30 buy-ins for the limits you’re playing. This is enough to weather the standard variance without the risk of going broke. 

So if you’re playing NL5 online, for example, you should have no less than $150 in your bankroll. 

If you’re playing poker tournaments, you should have quite a deeper bankroll, because tournaments inherently have way more variance built into them. 

This means it could take months, or even years before making a significant payout. 

You should have no less than a hundred buy-ins if you opt for this format. So if you’re playing tournaments with a buy-in of say, $10, you should have a bankroll of no less than $1000.

Now, this might sound excessive, and you might wonder what’s the point, since you can always reload if you run out of money, and fair enough. 

If you’re only playing poker recreationally, you don’t need to bother. But the goal is becoming a winning poker player, and winning players take money out of the site, not the other way around.

It’s better to do it right the first time, and if you practice proper bankroll management, it will be the last time you have to reach for your credit card to fund your account.

If you play cash games in particular, this is one of my top tips that most amateurs don't know about.

6. Fix Your Leaks off the Felt

Following these tips can help your poker game immensely, but it’s not all it takes to reach the success you’re hoping for. 

If you truly want to excel at poker, you’ll need to continually improve your poker game, both on and off the felt. 

The problem is, a lot of players enjoy playing poker immensely, but when it comes to studying the game off the felt, their enthusiasm wanes rapidly. 

This is understandable, of course. Nobody really enjoys studying. Unfortunately, that’s the only way to truly take your game to the next level. 

The bright side is, there’s no one right way to go about it. You can tailor it to fit your individual preferences, without it feeling like a chore. 

Whatever you do to improve your game, be it watching youtube videos, reading books or articles, taking a course etc., the key is doing it with intent. 

This means not merely passively consuming content, like most of us do. It means being engaged by what you’re doing, and not doing it just because you feel like it. 

You might not feel like studying preflop charts for hours on end, but you don’t need to. You just have to find something that sparks your interest. 

If you don’t know where to start, here’s a tip: take a piece of paper and write down all the aspects of the game you’re having trouble with. 

This will take some honest self-reflection on your part. Defining your leaks is the first step to actually fixing them. 

Then, choose one thing from the list you can study about until you fix it. Start with the one that is the easiest to fix, or the one that you think is costing you the most money. 

Once you’re done, move on to the next thing. After a while, make a new list. 

Keep doing this for a while, and not only will it improve your results, you’ll get much more enjoyment out of your poker sessions as well.

For my entire list of all the best poker software and learning tools, click here.

7. Don’t Tilt Away Your Winnings

With the abundance of poker strategy material available online these days, anyone can learn how to become a winning poker player. 

But knowing how to do something and being able to do it are entirely different things. 

Everyone knows how to be fit. You just have to exercise regularly and eat healthy. But as simple as that sounds in theory, we all know how difficult it is when you have to put it into practice. 

Same thing with poker. Learning what it takes to be a consistent winner in the game is relatively simple, but following through with what you learn is anything but. 

And the number one reason most poker players don’t follow through with the tried and true winning strategies is tilt. 

It’s not that they don’t know any better. It’s the fact that they let their emotions get the best of them. We’re all human, so nobody is completely immune to it.

Broadly speaking, poker tilt is the state of suboptimal playing due to compromised emotional state, most commonly anger and frustration. 

Tilt is a complex problem, since there’s hardly anything less complex than human emotions. So giving blanket advice like “just don’t tilt” isn’t really helpful. 

The problem is, there’s no tips you can follow that will help you solve your tilt problem for good. You’re entirely on your own here. 

But being aware of how detrimental poker tilt can be to your overall profitability is the first step to trying to fix it. 

The mental game aspect of poker gets overlooked when talking about poker strategy, but it’s just as important as knowing which hands to play in which position.

In fact, learning how to master the mental side of poker is the one simple way to improve your poker results that works instantly. 

Being the most technically skilled player in the world isn’t going to help you much if you tilt away all your winnings the first time your Aces get cracked. 

If you’ve played poker for any period of time, you already know how incredibly frustrating it can be. But here’s the thing: everybody has to lose sometimes, professionals and amateurs alike. 

What separates the two is not some innate talent, and it certainly isn’t luck (even though those certainly play a role).

It’s the ability to emotionally detach from bad short-term results, and keep making sound decisions, despite the adversity.

There’s no easy way to do this, but as with any other skill, you can get better at it with practice. 


To sum up, here are 7 tips that will dramatically improve your poker results, guaranteed.

1. Play only strong hands. 

Play only hands that have a reasonable chance of connecting with the flop in a meaningful way, like broadway hands, pocket pairs, suited Aces and suited connectors. 

Do this, and you’ll already be ahead of the 99% of the recreational players.

2. Play in position. 

Being the last to act in a betting round is a huge advantage. Play less hands from earlier positions and from the blinds, and more hands from the late positions (the cutoff and the button).

3. Play aggressively. 

You can win the pot either by having the best hand at showdown or by making your opponents fold. 

By playing aggressively, you’ll win more money when you have the best hand, and take down the pot by bluffing when you don’t.

4. Table select. 

If you play poker online, find a table with a lot of recreational players. Then, grab a seat to their direct left so you can play in position against them. Thank me later.

5. Play within your bankroll. 

Following the best poker strategy in the world isn’t going to help you much if you end up going broke. 

Only play in games you have a reasonable chance of winning, and have enough buyins in your bankroll to weather the negative short-term results.

6. Plug your leaks. 

Playing poker is simple, but mastering it will take a long time. The best way to improve your results is to continually improve your game, both on and off the felt. 

Never stop working on it, because there’s always something new to learn.

7. Don’t tilt. 

Easier said than done, but try it anyway. It will do more good for your winrate than all of the other tips combined.

Lastly, if you want to know the complete strategy I use to make $1000+ per month in small stakes games, get a copy of my free poker cheat sheet.

7 Simple Poker Tips That Will Skyrocket Your Winnings