Poker tips and strategy articles written by professional poker players.
Cashout Tournament Strategies by Eric Froehlich(28/06/2011) My strategy going into Cashout Tournaments would be to cash out little by little. I might take a little off the top here and there, while trying to retain a relatively decent stack.
The Basics of Rush Poker by Howard Lederer(14/06/2011) Full Tilt Poker recently released a revolutionary new form of online poker: Rush Poker*. If youíre not familiar with the game, I encourage you to give it a try.
The Squeeze Play by Team Full Tilt(31/05/2011) In tournaments, you should always be looking for ways to pick up chips. You canít just sit around waiting for Aces or Kings and hope to double up when you do.
Making the Second All-In Call by Jon 'Pearljammed' Turner(10/05/2011) When a short-stack moves all in and you have him comfortably out-chipped, your decision is usually straight-forward. However, when another player who is not quite so short-stacked calls in front of you, your decision becomes infinitely more complicated.
Being Focused by Huckleberry Seed(05/04/2011) I want my mind absorbing and processing just the right information the best it can to put my creative mind in position to "play Mozart" to the ears of my opponents who I deem capable of appreciating it. I want to be focused. In the moment. In the flow of the game. In the "Zone".
Using Aggression Wisely by David Oppenheim(29/03/2011) In the game of Hold Ďem, especially No Limit, aggression is usually rewarded. By being aggressive, you are putting your opponent in an uncomfortable situation and forcing him to either make a hand or make a bluff.
Don't Waste Money on Advertising by Steve Zolotow(22/03/2011) Many players try to project a table image that is exactly the opposite of how they actually play. While doing this might result in winning a big pot somewhere down the line, it can also cost you chips to "sell" this specific table image.
Stack Size Limbo by Jeff Madsen(08/03/2011) When youíre playing a tournament and sitting on around 15 big blinds, you can face some seriously tough pre-flop decisions. Welcome to stack size limbo.
Let the Maniac Hang Himself by Greg Mueller(01/03/2011) Weíve all played poker against those guys who are relentlessly aggressive, whoíll make moves with any two cards. The fact of the matter is that you have to make a stand against those guys sooner or later. The key is picking the right time to do it.
Winning by Checking and Calling by Nick Schulman(22/02/2011) Itís been said many times that the weakest play in poker is calling - that itís better to be raising or folding. In my opinion, there are situations where that statement simply isnít true.
A Big Hand Early in a Tournament by Erick Lindgren(15/02/2011) In the late stages of a tournament, big pairs are generally pretty easy to play. But early on in a tournament, when the stacks can be very deep relative to the blinds, I donít think itís always a great idea to play big pairs quite as aggressively.
The Power of Position by Team Full Tilt(08/02/2011) When beginning poker players are describing a hand theyíve played, they usually start by saying what their hole cards were before moving on to talk about the betting. A professional player, however, would never describe the dynamics of a hand without first talking about his position at the table.
Learning to Multi-Table by Mike McDonald(25/01/2011) Many players new to online poker find multi-tabling Ė playing more than one table at once Ė intimidating. While it might seem this way at first, there are several things that you can do to get the most out of your experience right from the start.
Adjusting strategy mid-hand by Johan Storakers(09/11/2010) Most of the time when youíre engaged in a poker hand, youíll be thinking about what decisions you will make before you have to make them. However, there will often be times when something happens that causes you to change your strategy mid-hand.
Climbing on the HORSE by Ali Nejad(02/11/2010) I particularly enjoy HORSE, so I thought I'd give one quick tip on each of the five games to help players who are beginning to explore this challenging format.
Hand Coordination by Brandon Adams(26/10/2010) Hand coordination is the relative strength of your hand compared to your opponentsí hand, and itís probably the single biggest factor determining whether you have a good or bad session playing poker.
Pre-Game Online Tells by Taylor Caby(05/10/2010) When most poker players think about tells, they visualize physical actions that occur at the table. Online players donít have this sort of information to work with, but that doesnít mean that there arenít tells in online play.
Playing Big Hands on the Button by Team Full Tilt(14/09/2010) No matter what poker variant youíre playing, itís vital to constantly think about the players left to act behind you and what their tendencies are. Too often, when facing a raise, poker players think only about how to play back at the raiser to their right.
Semi-Bluffing by Andy Bloch(12/08/2010) The semi-bluff is one of the most powerful weapons in any poker playerís arsenal. If thereís a decent chance you can steal a pot by semi-bluffing, you should usually take it. But...
Taking Online Notes on Opponents(20/07/2010) When youíre at the table playing live poker, the only notes you can take - at least inconspicuously - are mental ones. Online, however, youíre granted a tremendous opportunity that doesnít exist in live play.
Interpreting Three-Bets by Jordan 'iMsoLucky0' Morgan(06/07/2010) We all know that a three-bet is supposed to mean strength. One of the keys to making money at the poker table, however, is being able to interpret when the three-bet means what itís supposed to mean, and when a player is only representing a big hand and making a move.
Bubble Play in Nine-Handed Sit & Gos by Howard Lederer(22/06/2010) In a typical nine-handed, one-table Sit & Go that pays out three places, the most critical juncture of the tournament comes when four players remain. Three of those players will turn a profit, and one of them will go home empty-handed.
Redraws in Pot-Limit Omaha by Barny Boatman(01/06/2010) In Pot-Limit Omaha, the best hand on the flop may not be the best hand at all. It's all about the "outs" - the cards that will improve your hand as the board develops.
Betting out to control pot size by Kelly Kim(18/05/2010) Intuitively, it would seem that checking and calling is the best way to keep a pot small when youíre uncertain as to whether or not you have the best hand. And often, thatís the case. But...
Bankroll Management by Craig Marquis(11/05/2010) When I first started playing poker, I had no idea what bankroll management was. I just sat in whichever games were open at the stakes I wanted to play, even if I barely had enough money in my bankroll to cover the buy-in.
Online Timing Tells by Taylor Caby(04/05/2010) Whenever one of your opponents gets involved in a big hand, you should always pay attention to how long it takes him to make his decision because it will often give you a clue about the strength of his hand.
Choose the right time for Continuation Betting by Jon Turner(20/04/2010) Continuation betting has become so common in No-Limit Hold 'em tournaments that many players no longer give it any respect. They will often call your bet on the flop, whether or not they actually have anything, just to see what you'll do on the turn.
Coin Flips by Ben Roberts(13/04/2010) Whether or not you decide to get into a coin flip situation in poker really depends upon what type of game you're playing. I'm far more likely to take on one of these challenges when I'm playing in a cash game than when I'm playing in a tournament.
Saving Chips in HORSE by Chip Jett(30/03/2010) The $50,000 HORSE tournament at the World Series of Poker is one of the most prestigious events in all of poker, but the structure does not allow room for mistakes.
Early Tournament Strategies by Allen Cunningham(23/03/2010) Many players' first exposure to poker comes from watching WSOP and WPT tournaments on TV, and I think that's great. It's entertaining and you'll see some interesting plays, but viewers have to understand that they shouldn't model their games based on the action they see on TV.
Three Betting in Omaha Hi/Lo by John Cernuto(16/03/2010) Limit Omaha Hi/Lo is often considered to be a post-flop game, winning tournament players know that itís important to regularly raise and three-bet their opponents before the flop, especially as the blinds and antes increase.
Moving from Online to Live Play by Jordan Morgan(23/02/2010) After honing their games online for awhile, many players decide to take the next step and test their skills in a live poker room. For some, the transition comes easily but, for others, the differences between playing at a computer and at a live table can be difficult to overcome.
Overcards in Early Position by Kenny Tran(16/02/2010) Recently, Andy Bloch wrote about the perils and pitfalls of playing big cards - A-K, A-Q, etc. - when they don't connect with the flop. Like Andy, I think learning to play these kinds of hands well, adds an important weapon to any player's arsenal. Of course, like any weapon, you have to approach these hands carefully to ensure that they don't blow up in your face.
Control Your Environment by Scott Fischman(09/02/2010) We've all had moments in good old fashioned brick and mortar casinos where our senses become overwhelmed by an environment that we have no control over. From uncomfortable chairs to overflowing A/C to the guy sitting next to you who obviously hasn't bathed since the last time the Cleveland Indians won the Series, playing live poker can be a less than pleasant experience at times. That's why one of the biggest advantages of playing online poker versus live poker is the ability to control your environment.
Playing Over-Cards by Andy Bloch(02/02/2010) The fact is over-cards can be some of the trickiest hands to play well if they don't connect with the board. So how do you avoid going broke when you whiff with your overs?
The Dreaded Min-Check-Raise by Aaron Bartley(26/01/2010) There are a lot of potentially horrendous moves to be made in No-Limit Hold'em but in my opinion, the worst play that you can make (and I see made far too often) is the min-check-raise.
The Real Value of Tournament Chips by Bill Edler(19/01/2010) Whenever youíre talking about poker strategies, youíll find people who make no distinction between tournament play and ring game play. In fact, I know some top players who believe that both should be played exactly the same. Even though some of them have been extremely successful with this approach, I couldnít disagree with them more.
Big-Stack Play by Jordan Morgan(05/01/2010) There are few better situations in poker than to enter final table play as the big stack. However, thereís a big difference in coming to the final table with the chip lead and in knowing how to use your stack to take control of the final stages of a tournament.
There's No "I" In Poker(17/11/2009) They were either trying to gun for a particular opponent at their table or making some ill-advised moves to show off for the cameras. In every case, these players were making the same mistake Ė letting their egos get in the way of their game.
Controlling the Pot by Team Full Tilt(10/11/2009) One of the most critical aspects to surviving - and thriving - in deep stack tournaments is learning how to control the size of the pots you play. In short, your goal should be to play big pots when you have big hands and small pots when you donít.
Omaha Hi/Lo Strategies by Perry Friedman(03/11/2009) The big difference between big-bet (Pot-Limit or No-Limit) Omaha Hi/Lo and Limit Omaha Hi/Lo is that the former plays much more like Omaha High. Low hands become much less valuable because of how often they get quartered.
Tilt Control by Ben Roberts(27/10/2009) To begin, let me state the obvious: tilt happens to everyone. In fact, itís safe to say that tilt is one of the most feared words Ė and concepts Ė in poker. So, what causes tilt?
Playing Six-Handed SNGs by Scott Fischman(20/10/2009) Most people are familiar with the differences between one-table Sit & Go tournaments (SNGs) and other forms of poker. Because these tournaments only pay the top three finishers at a nine-handed table, the standard strategy is to play conservatively until the tournament becomes short-handed and then become more aggressive during short-handed play.
Bluffing in Pot-Limit Omaha by Brandon Adams(13/10/2009) Bluffing can be one of the most profitable plays in poker. However, its success is often blunted by the fact that it's also one of the most misunderstood and over-used plays in the game.
Running Bad by Chris Ferguson(06/10/2009) You may not be able to identify what's going wrong, but you know its happening. As far as I'm concerned, there's no single definition or criteria for "running bad"
Mix It Up! by Eddy Scharf(29/09/2009) What I noticed is that many of players are very technically sound, but lack the real-life game experience to use their knowledge creatively.
Suited Connectors and Small Pocket Pairs by Phil Gordon(22/09/2009) Weíve all seen situations unfold on TV where a hand like 7-8 suited or pocket 5s manages to crack some big pocket pair like Aces or Kings. We sit back in the comfort of our living rooms and say, ďWell, if they can do it, so can I!Ē
Implied Odds - Part 2 by Andy Bloch(15/09/2009) Most people have a pretty good understanding of pot odds - whether the amount of chips in the pot justifies making a call - but they fail to realize that making this calculation only solves part of the poker equation.
Implied Odds - Part 1 by Andy Bloch(08/09/2009) Most people have a pretty good understanding of pot odds - whether the amount of chips in the pot justifies making a call - but they fail to realize that making this calculation only solves part of the poker equation.
Taking Your Hands Off the Wheel by Barny Boatman(01/09/2009) There's no question that poker includes an element of gamble. Any time you risk something of value on an event with an uncertain outcome, you're gambling. But there is a way in which poker is the exact opposite of gambling, because poker is all about making intelligent decisions. It's all about control.
Knockout Punch by Erik Seidel(25/08/2009) Knockout Bounty tournaments can add a fun and exciting new wrinkle to tournament poker. While it's important to go after the bounties at the right times, you have to keep an eye on your overall goal: winning.
Don't Read This Tip by Phil Ivey(18/08/2009) When it comes to advice about poker, my attitude is very simple: seek it out, absorb it, but while you're at the table, forget it.
Getting Paid on a Monster by Roland De Wolfe(04/08/2009) One of the most profitable situations in poker is one in which you've flopped a monster and someone else is betting into you. It's an incredible feeling but, alas, one of the rarest occurrences in the game.
Being a Bully by Gus Hansen(28/07/2009) Many players understand the concepts involved in building a large chip stack during a tournament. What they don't understand, however, is how to use their chips effectively once they've gotten them.
Getting Started in Pot-Limit Omaha by Brandon Adams(21/07/2009) To the uninitiated, the only discernible difference between a game of Omaha and a game of Hold'em is that players start each hand with four cards instead of two. But what a difference those two extra cards can make throughout the course of a hand.
Recalculating the Average Stack by Phil Gordon(23/06/2009) In a recent event that I played in, the nine-handed final table started with blinds of 10K - 20K, and there were roughly 3.5 million chips in play. Some quick division would tell you that the average stack was more than 350K, or about 18 big blinds. This simple calculation could lead you to some bad conclusions, however, because in fact most stacks were much shorter.
Playing Large Fields by Howard Lederer(26/05/2009) During the World Series of Poker, players are confronted with massive fields. Many players who are accustomed to playing in smaller tournaments can be overwhelmed by the prospect of competing against so many people.
How to Bluff Against a Solid Player by Ross Boatman(06/05/2009) When trying to steal pots in No-Limit Hold'em, you have to ask yourself questions like: "How likely is it that my opponent has a hand?" and "Does my bet (bluff) make sense in the context of the way the hand played out?". Asking these questions is important. Answering them accurately is critical.
Playing a Short Stack in Multi-Table Tournaments by Erica Schoenberg(28/04/2009) The key to succeeding in tournament play is being able to handle the ups and downs, because it's not always going to go perfectly. Your chip stack is not always going to shoot upwards, which means you'll often need to make good decisions when you don't have a lot of chips.
Playing Heads Up by Paul Wasicka(21/04/2009) Heads-up play is one of the most important aspects of poker, and many players could benefit from strengthening this part of their game.
When to Continuation Bet by Andy Bloch(31/03/2009) When you raise pre-flop in a game of No-Limit Hold 'em and are called, you're faced with a decision when the flop hits the board. Should you put out a continuation bet on the flop or should you check and let the turn come off for free?
Buying In Short in Pot-Limit Omaha by Lee Watkinson(24/03/2009) It's amazing the difference that two cards can make. As opposed to Hold 'em where players have two hole cards at the start of each hand, Omaha starts each player off with four cards, which makes both pre and post-flop play much more challenging, especially for those who are new to the game.
Goin' Pro by Chris Ferguson(17/03/2009) Should I quit my job and play professionally? Should I drop out of school and just play poker full time? Unequivocally, absolutely not. No way. Clear enough?
A Calling Hand in Stud Hi-Lo by Howard Lederer(10/03/2009) In split-pot games, beginners are often cautioned against playing hands that have them drawing to half the pot. But in Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo, a situation sometimes arises where drawing with a modest chance at the whole pot and an even smaller chance at half the pot is clearly the correct play.
Understanding Implied Odds by Rafe Furst(03/03/2009) Most players know what pot odds and implied pot odds (aka implied odds) are, and how to calculate them. Just about every poker book or website has a section on the topic. Still, I often see people making mistakes in calculating implied odds - especially when playing online.
Table Talk by Gavin Smith(24/02/2009) I talk a lot at the table. I like meeting people, and poker tournaments give me the opportunity to chat with a lot of nice folks. The conversations I have between hands are not just pleasant - they can also be informative. What a player shares about himself will often determine how I'll play against him down the line.
Playing Low by Karina Jett(10/02/2009) When I play live, I do so for some pretty low stakes. I've got no problem playing $2-$5 No-Limit Hold 'em. Chip prefers mixed games, but you won't find him in the $50/$100 game. Middle stakes are more his speed.
How Much Luck? How Much Skill? by Ben Roberts(03/02/2009) If you've ever sat at a poker table, you've invariably heard the questions asked in the title of this article. While all serious players believe poker is a game of skill, they don't always agree on how skilful a game it really is.
The Weak Lead by Lee Watkinson(27/01/2009) Have you ever seen those nature shows where scientists drag a fake seal behind a boat so they can provoke sharks to attack?
Satellite Savviness by Team Full Tilt(20/01/2009) Satellites offer a great way to get big discounts on tournament entry fees. Over the years, many of Full Tilt Poker's best known pros have spent a lot of time playing in satellite tournaments, both in live venues and online.
Finding the Low Cards in Omaha Hi/Lo by Mike Matusow(06/01/2009) A while back, I played a hand in an Omaha Hi/Lo Limit tournament that had everyone at my table jumping off their chairs. They thought I was crazy and couldn't believe my play. But I made the right move. In fact, the play illustrates an important Omaha Hi/Lo concept that's not widely understood.
Looking at the Long-Term by Erik Seidel(30/12/2008) Tournament poker can be a very tough business. No matter how good you are, you're bound to encounter long periods where things don't go well. Dry spells can be tough to deal with if you don't develop a solid mental approach to the game.
Playing in Australia by Mark Vos(02/12/2008) Last January, I played some of the best poker of my life at one of my all-time favorite tournaments - the Aussie Millions. And even though I failed to reach the six-handed Main Event's final table, I came very close, busting out of the event in eighth place. For this tip, I thought I'd share the details of my final hand which, though played properly, left me on the rail.
Cash Equity at the Final Table by Rafe Furst(28/10/2008) When there are more than two players remaining, each additional chip you accumulate has a lesser impact on your ability to win the tournament. So when the chip-equity decision is a wash, you are better off folding than you are trying to accumulate more chips.
Getting Beyond Your Cards by Perry Friedman(21/10/2008) I spend a lot of time playing in the low-limit Stud games on Full Tilt Poker. In those games, I've encountered a number of players who haven't come to understand one of poker's fundamental concepts. These beginners focus only on their own cards; they don't stop to think about the cards their opponents might hold.
Balancing Poker and Life by Clonie Gowen(07/10/2008) I am always trying to find the balance between family and poker, and I know a lot of you struggle with the same issue. Here's a little advice for making poker work with the rest of your life.
Heads-Up vs Multi-Way Hands in Omaha Hi/Lo by Andy Bloch(23/09/2008) Earlier this year, I cashed in the $2,000 Omaha Hi/Lo event at the World Series of Poker*. I enjoyed the tournament; it was great to spend some time playing a game other than hold 'em. One thing that surprised me about the tournament, however, was that the quality of play was quite poor. Some players didn't even know the very basics, like starting hand values. I was amazed that so many people would put $2,000 into a tournament where they didn't understand even the most rudimentary elements of the game's strategy.
Finding Your Inner Maniac(23/04/2008) I open-raised the next 67 hands. Actually, that's something of an exaggeration. But from the moment I sat down, I was willing to raise to $20 or $25 in any position with almost any cards, and I was talking it up as I did.
Bad Position, Decent Cards by Howard Lederer(18/03/2008) In the middle and later stages of tournaments, there are often times when you're forced to make a pretty big commitment on a relatively weak holding. These are uncomfortable spots because you never want to risk a large percentage of your chips with a mediocre hand.
Viewer Beware by Howard Lederer(26/02/2008) Many of the people crowding the tournament circuit these days developed their interest in serious poker from watching broadcasts on TV etc. They can then apply the lessons they've learned in their own play.
Playing with John D'Agostino by Jay Greenspan(05/02/2008) As a writer covering the poker circuit, I wasn't surprised to see that John D'Agostino took second in the Borgata Winter Open, netting more than half a million dollars.
How Big a Bankroll? by Team Full Tilt(08/01/2008) Just how big should your bankroll be? How much money do you need to ensure that a bad run won't put you on the rail? We Full Tilt Poker pros agree that the answer depends on a number of factors, including the types of games you're playing, the level of competition you're encountering, and your psychological disposition.
Thoughts on Omaha-8 by Jennifer Harman(25/12/2007) In my article on Stud-8, I encouraged players to look for hands that have the possibility of scooping entire pots. The same goes for Omaha-8: whenever possible, you need to position yourself to take every chip from a big pot.
Stepping Up, Stepping Down by Kristy Gazes(11/12/2007) Early in my poker career I set a simple rule for myself: I would never move to a higher limit until I won three consecutive sessions. If I lost three consecutive sessions at a given limit, I would move down to a lower limit.
Know Your (Table) Limits by Paul Wolfe(27/11/2007) What are you doing in this $10-$20 No-Limit game? Ivey, J-dags, and Matusow are at the $25-$50 No-Limit table, and E-dog is playing in the $50-$100 Limit game. Why don't you join them?
What's Your Starting Hand Really Worth? by Steve Brecher(06/11/2007) Most players know that pre-flop position is important in hold 'em. It's better to act after your opponent(s) rather than before. But for this tip, I'm going to investigate the chances that a player behind you will have a better hand.
Big Slick: A Slippery Hand by Rafe Furst(30/10/2007) I often tell people that short-term results are not a reason to change how they play, but I likewise encourage them to use any excuse to study and analyze their game.
Back to the Drawing Board by Perry Friedman(25/09/2007) You would like to make your flush, and you don't want to pay too much to get there. Instinctively, you think checking is the best way to get a free card, and you're right.
How Bad are the Beats? by Steve Brecher(30/08/2007) While "bad beats" (low-probability events) do occur, sometimes a closer examination of a poker hand can change first impressions and allow you to continue to play with a cooler, clearer head.
Flopping a Monster by Richard Brodie(16/08/2007) When I started playing poker, I would get so excited when I flopped a big hand that I forgot my main goal: Win as many chips as possible
Our Favorite Poker Books by Team Full Tilt(07/08/2007) In recent months, many of our players have asked for suggestions on what poker books provide the best insights into the game. Being curious ourselves, we put the question to our pros and the answers we got back included some long-time favorites, along with a few surprises.
Holding On To Your Winnings by Aaron Bartley "GambleAB"(31/07/2007) One of the most important poker lessons has nothing to do with how to play Aces in late position or how to adjust for the maniac in seat three. It's how to manage your money in a way that will make it grow as quickly as possible with minimal risk.