So you’re an online poker player and you’ve decided 2024 is the year you’ll turn profitable. Good decision, we’ll try to help you along the way. First, you need to find a decent poker site to sign up with, here is a great list of the best online poker sites.
Now let’s dive in. Here are our favorite not-so-known poker tips that the experts use to consistently win.
Be selective about starting hands
One mistake amateur players make is playing too many starting hands. It’s tempting to want to see more flops, but only premium hole cards are worth investing chips pre-flop. Tighten up your starting hand requirements – don’t play anything worse than J-10 suited or middle pairs. Wait for big pairs, big suited connectors, and ace-king type hands. While it may seem boring, being selective sets you up for bigger pots when you do hit a monster.
Analyze your opponent’s ranges
Keeping track of your opponent’s potential holdings based on their actions is called hand range analysis. When an opponent raises pre-flop, they likely have a strong starting hand. On the flop, consider what hands they could be holding based on the board texture and their actions. Think through what hands they would bet with, check-raise you with, or fold to a bet with. Approximating their range helps you make better decisions.
Exploiting Behavioral Patterns
Pros often excel at identifying and exploiting subtle behavioral patterns that go beyond classic ‘tells’. This involves deeply understanding opponents’ psychology and tendencies over many games, recognizing patterns in their bet sizing, timing, and hand selection under specific circumstances.
Balance your play
If you only play premium hands, your strategy becomes predictable. Mix in some bluffs and semi-bluffs to throw opponents off balance. Semi-bluff with good draw hands like open-ended straight draws. Bluff when you completely miss the flop and the pre-flop raiser checks to you. Make your play less one-dimensional and keep opponents guessing.
Pay attention to sizing tells
Bet sizing can provide information about your opponent’s hand strength. A small continuation bet usually indicates a weak made hand or a draw. An overbet says they likely have a strong made hand and want to charge draws. A pot-sized bet is polarizing – either very strong or a bluff. Analyze bet sizing patterns to get more insight into your opponent’s strategy.
Advanced Hand-Range Construction
Top players construct and adapt hand ranges not just based on the game’s theoretical aspects, but also by incorporating live game dynamics, player tendencies, and meta-game considerations. This involves a deep understanding of game theory optimized (GTO) play and how to deviate from it exploitatively.
When there are weak, passive players at the table, you want to play pots with them and avoid getting involved with the good players. Isolate the fish by raising or re-raising them pre-flop. Re-raise to build a pot heads up and capitalize on their mistakes post-flop. Be wary of getting squeezed between good players – isolate the fish whenever you can. Try a wide variety of sites to find your favorite site with the biggest fish.
Don’t slowplay big hands
It’s tempting to slowplay AA or KK by limping or just calling pre-flop, but this can be dangerous. You want to build a pot when you have premium holdings. Make it expensive for opponents to continue by raising. You don’t want to give a free card that can kill your hand. Bet big for value while you have the best of it.
Avoid calling stations
Some players call too much and pay people off. They call with weak holdings and overpay when they hit hands. You can value bet thinner against them since they pay you off. But be careful not to bluff them – they call down with anything. It’s profitable to have these players in pots when you have strong hands, but don’t bluff them without the nuts.
Make small folds
An important skill is being able to fold medium strength hands that aren’t improving. Don’t call three streets with one pair type hands. Be willing to let go of hands like top pair weak kicker. It’s easy to get attached, but getting away from non-nut hands avoids big losses. Practice making disciplined folds.
In-Depth Meta-Game Strategy
Pros think several levels deep, considering not just the current game but also how each hand affects their image and perceived strategy in the long run. This includes manipulating their play style to set traps and create false patterns, which they can exploit in future sessions.
Think on later streets
Don’t just consider your hand strength on the flop – think ahead to the turn and river too. Hands that look strong on the flop may be vulnerable. Think about what cards improve you or kill your hand. Plan your action for future streets based on board runouts. Thinking ahead helps you correctly size your bets.
Review your play
Studying is not just for preflop hand charts. Review your play after sessions, especially contested pots you lost. Think through your actions on each street – did you misread stacks, opponents, board textures? Look for leaks and adjust. Consistent review makes you a stronger, thoughtful player.
Elite players are adept at manipulating opponents’ mental states, using table talk and actions to tilt them or create doubt. This subtle psychological warfare can induce mistakes or hesitance in opponents.
Balancing Risk and Reward in Bankroll Management
While basic bankroll management is common knowledge, pros often have more sophisticated approaches to risk-taking, balancing the need to protect their bankroll with the need to take advantage of high-value situations, even if it means playing higher stakes or entering games with higher variance.
Utilizing Advanced Software Tools
Many pros use sophisticated software tools for post-session analysis. These tools go beyond basic poker trackers and involve complex solvers and simulators to analyze and refine strategies.
Networking and Information Sharing
Pros often form networks where they share insights and strategies. This closed-group information exchange can lead to advanced strategy development that isn’t available publicly.
Exploiting Game Selection
Pros are highly selective about the games they play in. They look for games where the player pool is weaker, understanding that profitability in poker is not just about how well you play, but also about the relative skill level of your opponents.