4 Advanced Poker Tips Everyone Should Know

4 Advanced Poker Tips Every Beginner Should Know

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

In today’s competitive environment, it’s not enough to “just play tight” to be a long term winner.

To truly get ahead in this game, you need to keep working on your game and expanding your knowledge base beyond mere fundamentals.

With that in mind, this article will show you 4 advanced poker strategies beginner players can use to take their game to the next level.

Fair warning: these strategies aren’t overly complicated by any means, but they do require some fundamental understanding of the game.

Don’t worry though, because there will be examples throughout the article to illustrate all the concepts mentioned.

Now let’s get right into it.

Advanced Poker Tip #1: Light 3-bet Against Stealing Attempts

Adopting a light 3-bet into your preflop arsenal is a great way to make yourself more difficult to play against.

It’s also one of the easiest ways to transition from a tight and aggressive (TAG) to a loose and aggressive (LAG) playstyle.

A loose and aggressive playstyle entails playing more starting hands than you would with a TAG playstyle, and playing those hands aggressively (i.e. bluffing more) both preflop and post flop.

So what is a light 3-bet?

A light 3-bet is a re-raise against another player’s open-raise made with the intention of getting your opponent to fold and taking down the pot preflop.

For example, somebody raises and you re-raise with J♥️T♥️

This is different from a value 3-bet, where you expect to get called by weaker hands.

There are several benefits of adding a light 3-bet into your game:

A) You make yourself more difficult to play against

Light 3-betting is very effective against blind stealing attempts because you’re attacking wide and weak ranges.

And most of the hands in these ranges can’t stand the pressure of a 3-bet. This means you’ll be able to generate a lot of folds with a well-timed 3-bet bluff.

Blind stealing attempts refer to spots where a player open-raises from late positions (the cutoff, the button, and the small blind) with the intention of getting the blinds to fold.

A lot of players at the lower stakes don’t defend their blinds as often as they should, so blind stealing is a very simple and effective strategy to generate EV (or expected value for short).

However, you should also be aware of other players trying to steal your blinds, and do your best to dissuade them from doing so.

By throwing out an occasional 3-bet, your opponents will have to think twice before trying to steal your blinds.

B) You can win more than “your fair share”

Strong value hands don’t come around often in no-limit hold’em, so you need to find ways to win pots even without particularly strong hands.

When you’re light 3-betting, you don’t need to have a very strong hand, because your goal is not to play the hand post flop, but to take down the pot preflop.

This means your hand strength (or lack thereof) is not as important as your opponent’s playing tendencies.

A great number of players, especially at the lower stakes, tend to overfold to 3-bets, meaning you can practically print money against them by simply 3-betting more.

To overfold means to fold more often than would be considered “optimal”. In other words, it means folding so often that you leave yourself vulnerable to getting exploited.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you can 3-bet with just about any random hand.

You want to pick hands that have some sort of playability post flop in case your 3-bet gets called.

You also want to 3-bet bluff with hands that have some sort of blocker power.

A blocker is a card in your hand that reduces the number of strong combinations in your opponent’s range.

For example, if you have an Ace in your hand, it’s less likely for your opponent to have strong holdings like pocket Aces, Ace-King, Ace-Queen and so on.

This means they’re more likely to fold to your 3-bet, because their range has fewer strong combos that would give you action.

Check out my other article on the 5 best bluffing hands by the way for more.

C) Light 3-bets help you balance your range

If you only 3-bet with very strong value hands, your range can become quite predictable to players who are paying attention to your betting frequencies.

This isn’t a big problem when you’re playing against a bunch of clueless fish, but it can hinder your game once you encounter a more difficult opposition.

After a while, players will simply stop giving you action every time you 3-bet, because they will (correctly) assume you have the goods.

This can seriously hurt your bottom line, because winning poker is all about getting paid off with your strong value hands.

In order to counteract this, you need to add some bluffing hands into your 3-bet range.

This way, you will constantly keep your opponents guessing at your hand strength. 

This also means it will be easier for you to get action once you actually do wake up with pocket Aces.

Again, this doesn’t mean you should start 3-betting with random junk hands.

The best hands to 3-bet light with are ones that:

a) have decent playability post flop in case your 3-bet gets called


b) have some sort of blocker power.

This means that some of the very best hands to 3-bet light (and even 4-bet light) with are small suited Aces like A♥️2♥️ or A♠️5♠️

These hands are great light 3-betting hands because they have both great post flop playability and blocker power.

Suited Aces have the potential of making nuts flushes, as well as straights. 

You can also make a top pair with them, which is the most common combination you’ll make in no-limit hold’em.

If you do make a top pair, you should exercise caution due to the mediocre kicker, though.

Suited Aces also have great blocker power, meaning they reduce the number of strong combos in your opponent’s range.

Example Hand #1

$1/$2 Cash Game, Effective Stack Size: 100 BB 

You are dealt A2 in the SB. A tight and aggressive (TAG) player open-raises to $6 from the CO (cutoff).

You: ???

You should 3-bet to $24.

Let’s break down why this is a great spot for a light 3-bet.

First, let’s consider the villain’s open-raising range.

Tight and aggressive players tend to progressively widen their ranges the closer they are to the button.

Decent TAG players will usually play quite wide ranges in late positions (i.e. the cutoff and the button) due to the positional advantage.

However, a lot of hands in these ranges can’t stand the pressure of a 3-bet.

Let’s say the villain open-raises an average of 25% of hands from the cutoff. Most hands in this range won’t be thrilled when faced with a 3-bet.

And if the villain is playing an even wider range than 25%, they’re likely to fold even more frequently.

Even if your bluff gets called, you still have a fighting chance post flop, since your hand can connect with a bunch of different flops.

If you don’t win the pot outright, you’ll often be able to win it by applying more pressure post flop by making continuation bets.

By the way, check out my recent video for the 10 simple poker strategies everyone should know.

Never miss my new poker videos. Join 100,000+ who are already subscribed.

Advanced Poker Tip #2: Light C-bet the Flop More Often

If you are the first player to enter the pot, you should do so with an open-raise. 

This will allow you to see the flop as the preflop aggressor, which is statistically much more profitable than being the preflop caller.

If you’re using a hand tracking software like PokerTracker 4, you can check these stats yourself.

Being the preflop aggressor allows you to make a continuation bet (or c-bet for short) on the flop.

C-bets are usually profitable, so you should be inclined to fire a c-bet on most flops, unless there’s a good reason not to do so.

This means you need to master the art of a light c-bet (or a bluff c-bet).

In no-limit hold’em, most hands miss most flops (two out of three times, to be precise).

This is the case even if you play tight starting ranges and get to most flops as the preflop aggressor.

This means you won’t have a strong value hand on most flops.

However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make a c-bet anyway!

A lot of players tend to only c-bet the flop when they connect with it in some way, and skip the c-bet when they miss.

This is a big leak that leaves you vulnerable to getting exploited.

If you only ever c-bet with strong hands, your opponents can easily adjust by simply refusing to give you action, unless they have a very strong hand themselves.

And they can simply take the pot away from you with a bet every time you check to them.

While this may not be an issue if you’re playing against a bunch of recreational poker players, it can become a huge problem when you face opposition who actually pay attention to your betting frequencies.

So in order to always keep your opponents guessing, you need to throw out an occasional light c-bet, as well.

The reason light c-bets are usually profitable is the fact that your opponent is just as likely to have missed the flop as you.

And since you are the preflop aggressor, you have the range advantage, meaning you theoretically have more strong hands in your range than the preflop caller.

This means you can credibly represent a number of strong hands, and your opponent will often be forced to fold when they miss the flop (which is most of the time).

The reason why you have the range advantage as the preflop aggressor is because your range is uncapped, whereas the preflop caller’s range is capped.

A capped range refers to the range that has an upper limit of hand strength, based on the player’s action.

For example, when a player calls preflop, their range is capped, meaning there’s an upper limit of hand strength they can theoretically hold.

This means that the player who calls preflop is unlikely to have strong hands like pocket Aces, pocket Kings, Ace-King etc., because they would have likely 3-bet those hands instead of calling.

An uncapped range, on the other hand, can have all these strong hands, because there haven’t been any range-capping actions.

Now, all of this is not to say that you should c-bet 100% of the flops, of course.

But when in doubt, you should usually err on the side of aggression, unless there’s a specific reason to skip the c-bet.

For example, if the board heavily favours your opponent’s range and they’re unlikely to fold to a bet.

Or if you’re involved in a multiway pot with a bunch of recreational players and you have poor hand equity.

For more info on when and when not to c-bet the flop, check out my ultimate flop strategy guide.

Example Hand #2

$1/$2 Cash Game, Effective Stack Size: 100 BB 

You are dealt AK UTG (under the gun). You open-raise to $6.

Villain calls from the BB (big blind).

Pot: $13

Flop: Q72

Villain checks.

You: ???

You should c-bet $7.

This is a textbook spot where you should fire a light c-bet. Let’s break down the action to see why.

The flop is bone-dry, so there are very limited ways your opponent could have connected with the flop.

You have the range advantage, meaning you can credibly represent a lot of strong hands, like pocket Aces, pocket Kings, Ace-Queen, King-Queen and so on.

You also block certain hands in your opponent’s range, like King-Queen, meaning your opponent is even more likely to fold to a bet.

Even if you get called, you still have a ton of equity to fall back on.

You have two overcards, as well as a backdoor straight and flush draws.

A backdoor draw means you need both turn AND river cards to complete your draw.

Any Ace or King gives you a top pair, top kicker, and any heart gives you a nuts flush draw.

This means you can either take down the pot right away with Ace-high, or you can keep applying the pressure later on if you get a favourable turn card.

Learn to Make $2000 Per Month in Small Stakes Games With My Free Poker Cheat Sheet

Are you struggling to create consistent profits in small stakes poker games? Would you like to make a nice part time income of at least $2000 per month in these games? 4 Advanced Poker Tips Every Beginner Should Know 
If so, then I wrote this free poker cheat sheet for you. 

This is the best completely free poker strategy guide available online today. It shows you how to crush the small stakes games step by step. 

Learn exactly what hands to play and when to bet, raise and bluff all in! 

These are the proven strategies that I have used as a 10+ year poker pro to create some of the highest winnings of all time in these games. 

Enter your details below and I will send my free poker "cheat sheet" to your inbox right now.

Advanced Poker Tip #3: Thin Value Bet Wider Against Fish

In poker, most of your money will come from your strong value hands where your opponent is willing to pay you off with a weaker hand.

However, this doesn’t mean you should wait around for the nuts all day in order to get paid off.

Monster hands don’t come around very often in no-limit hold’em, and even when they do, you’re not always guaranteed to completely stack your opponents with them.

This means that you need to find ways to extract value even without particularly strong hands.

This is where thin value betting comes into play.

You are thin value betting when your hand is a slight favourite to win against your opponent’s range, but not by a huge margin.

In other words, you are expecting to win the hand slightly more often than 50% of the time.

Thin value betting is different from “thick” value betting where your hand is comfortably ahead of your opponent’s calling range (i.e. your hand is an overwhelming favourite to win).

Let’s use an example to illustrate the difference between thin and thick value betting.

Example of a thick value bet 

You are dealt JJand the flop is AJ5

In this spot, your hand is clearly ahead of your opponent’s calling range. 

You can get action by a number of Ax hand and Jx hands (which are far less likely), as well as drawing hands like KQ, KT, QT or a number of different flush draws.

Example of a thin value bet

You are dealt JJ and the flop is KT2

Here you can also get action by a number of weaker hands, but you’re also often getting called by hands that beat you, namely the Kx hands.

Still, you often have the best hand here, so you can thin value bet and get called by Tx hands, as well as straight and flush draws.

The line between thick and thin value betting can often be blurry, but most players have no trouble recognizing thick value betting opportunities.

It’s not hard to recognize these opportunities when you have a monster hand.

But being able to recognize thin value betting opportunities can spell the difference between a merely decent player and an excellent one.

Thin value betting spots come around quite often, but a number of players often miss them because they tend to play it too safe.

But this often means leaving a ton of money at the table, so make sure to be on the lookout for thin value betting opportunities.

Recognizing a good spot to thin value bet can be tricky, but there are general guidelines you can follow to figure out whether or not you should thin value bet.

Here are a few pointers to recognize thin value betting spots in your next session:

A) Thin value bet more against calling stations

This might seem obvious, but it needs to be stressed nonetheless.

The best thin value targets are players who tend to call down too liberally.

We’re talking about recreational poker players, aka the fish.

These players play primarily for fun, and often make common, predictable mistakes like calling down too much.

This can mean chasing all sorts of crazy draws that aren’t likely to complete, getting too attached to what they perceive as strong hands, or just calling down because they think you are bluffing them.

So as a general rule, the bigger the fish, the thinner you can value bet them.

Chances are, you’ll be surprised by the sort of hands they’ll go to showdown with.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming other players play the same way you do.

Just because you would never call in a certain spot, it doesn’t mean your opponent is thinking the same.

Most of your profits in this game will come from recreational players, so make sure to look out for opportunities to exploit their overcalling tendencies.

B) Thin value bet on safe board runouts

Whether or not you can thin value bet in certain spots will depend a great deal on your opponent’s playing tendencies, but also on the board runout.

As a general rule, you should be more inclined to thin value bet on “safe” board runouts.

A safe board runout is the one that doesn’t have a lot of completed draws present, or otherwise doesn’t allow your opponent many combinations that can have you beat.

For example, you have Q♥️J♥️

Safe board runout: J♠️4♦️5♦️2♣️2♠️

Not Safe board runout: J♠️4♦️5♦️A♦️8♠️

The board runout isn’t just important when considering the hands that potentially have you beat.

It will also influence your opponent’s willingness to call you down with a wider range.

Your opponent sees the same community cards as you do. 

So if there are a number of completed straights and flushes available on the board, your opponent will be less willing to give you action with mediocre hands like top pair, weak kicker, second pair and so on.

C) Thin value bet against capped ranges

As discussed earlier, capped ranges have an upper limit of hand strength, so you should be more inclined to thin value bet against capped ranges rather than uncapped ranges.

This means you should be on the lookout for range-capping actions, i.e. checking and calling.

Any time your opponent calls instead of raising, this action caps their range, meaning they are more likely to have a weak to mediocre or a drawing hand.

Of course, your opponent could be slowplaying their big hands as well, but this won’t be the case most of the time.

You always need to take your opponent’s whole range into account, not just the hands that have you beat.

Fearing monsters is one of the common leaks that often prevents players from extracting max value with their thin value bets, as I discuss in my new advanced training course.

If you want a systematic, step-by-step guide to improve your poker game, enroll in Blackrain79 Elite Poker University.

These days, it takes more than waiting around for the nuts to be a profitable long term winner.

You also need to know how to play in a lot of marginal spots, like knowing whether or not to thin value bet with a top pair weak kicker, or second pair hands.

In this course, you will learn to approach virtually any spot you find yourself in with confidence, whether you’re a tournament or cash game player.

The course contains 17 hours of advanced poker training, hundreds of step by step example hands and downloadable "cheat sheets" below all 50 videos.

If you are serious about taking your poker game to the next level, enroll today.
Get $100 OFF Use Code: ELITE100

Advanced Poker Tip #4: Float the Flop in Position

Making a continuation bet on most flops is a standard play these days.

You’re likely to encounter a number of players that c-bet just about any flop as a pure default, regardless of their hand strength, or lack thereof.

And since most hands miss most flops, this means that a good number of players will c-bet the flop with total air.

However, these same players often won’t be willing to keep barreling on future streets, and will simply give up the pot if they don’t get a fold on the flop.

Against these types of players, you should add a float into your arsenal.

To float means to call the bet (usually in position) with the intention of taking down the pot on future streets, usually with a bluff.

For example, your opponent c-bets the flop, and you call (float). Your opponent checks the turn, and you bet to take down the pot.

It’s worth mentioning right off the bat that floating can be done both in position and out of position, but it is much more effective to float in position for obvious reasons.

Playing in position means you’re acting last in a betting round, and it allows you to bluff more effectively.

A lot of players simply won’t fight back as hard to win the pot due to the positional disadvantage, so this is worth keeping in mind if you decide to bluff your opponents.

Floating the flop is an effective strategy against “turn honest” players.

These are the players who c-bet the flop with a very high frequency, but only double barrel (c-bet the turn) if they happen to have a very strong hand.

And since strong hands are more of an exception than the rule in no-limit hold’em, this means that their checking the turn can be interpreted as a sign of weakness.

So every time a player checks the turn, you can try to take down the pot with a simple half-pot bet.

The beauty of this play is that you don’t even need to have a particularly strong hand to pull it off.

What matters more than your hand strength is your opponent’s playing tendencies.

A big difference between these numbers indicates that a player is likely to only bet the turn with strong cards.

Of course, the higher the player’s flop c-betting frequency, the more opportunities they will have to c-bet the turn and vice versa, so this is also worth keeping in mind.

So how does effective floating look like in practice?

Again, floating effectively is more about your opponent’s playing tendencies than your actual hand strength, but this doesn’t mean you should float with just about any two random cards.

Ideally, you want your hand to have at least some hand equity or a chance of improvement on future streets.

It doesn’t really make sense to call bets if you’re drawing completely dead.

Floating requires you to call bets with a wider range than you might be comfortable with, but not so wide that you’re just throwing the money away.

Example Hand #3

You are dealt 55 on the BU (button). A loose and aggressive (LAG) player open-raises to 3 BB. You call.

Pot: 7.5 BB

Flop: 972

Villain bets 2.5 BB.

You: ???

You should call.

This is a good spot to call and try to take down the pot if the villain checks on the turn.

Let’s break down the action to see why.

Preflop you have a standard call with a small pocket pair. Here you’re calling with the intention of trying to hit a set post flop (aka set mining).

You don’t hit your set on the flop, but you don’t necessarily need to give up the hand right away.

The board is relatively dry, and it favours your calling range more than your opponent’s open-raising range.

The villain could have easily missed the board, and could be c-betting with a number of broadway hands like AK, KQ, AJ and so on.

If and when the villain checks the turn, you can try to take down the pot with a simple half-pot bet.

You also have a remote chance of hitting one of your two outs and making a set. If that happens, you can potentially win a huge pot if your opponent happens to have a big hand like pocket Aces or pocket Kings.

4 Advanced Poker Tips Everyone Should Know (Summary)

To be a winning poker player these days, it’s not enough to wait around for the nuts all day.

But you also don't need to spend years and years learning advanced poker strategy. 

Just follow these 4 simple tips:

1. Light 3-bet against stealing attempts

By adding a few 3-bet bluffing hands in your range, you will make yourself more difficult to play against and discourage other players from stealing your blinds with impunity.

By balancing your 3-betting range, you will also be more likely to get action once you actually do wake up with a monster hand.

2. Light C-bet the flop

Most hands miss most flops in no limit hold’em, so if you only c-bet the flop with your strong hands, you will become fairly predictable to anyone paying attention to your betting frequencies.

By throwing out an occasional light c-bet, you will constantly keep your opponents guessing at your hand strength.

3. Thin value bet wider against fish

Really strong value hands don’t come around often in poker, so it’s important to find ways to extract max value even without a particularly strong hand.

Finding opportunities to thin value bet can spell the difference between being a breakeven player and crushing the game.

You should thin value bet wider against recreational players with capped ranges, preferably on “safe” board runouts.

4. Float more in position

To float means to call a bet with the intention of taking down the pot (usually with a bluff) on later streets.

You should float more against “turn honest” players who c-bet the flop with a high frequency, but are reluctant to keep barrelling on the turn unless they have a strong hand.


This article was written by Fran Ferlan

Poker player, writer and coach
Specializing in live and online cash games

For coaching enquiries, contact Fran at email@franferlan.com
Or apply directly for poker coaching with Fran, right here

Lastly, if you want to know the complete strategy I use to make $2000+ per month in small/mid stakes games, grab a copy of my free poker cheat sheet.

4 Advanced Poker Tips Every Beginner Should Know