Check out the list of over 40 quick Texas Holdem tips, tricks & strategies below to take your game to the next level whether you are an advanced or beginner card player.
Table Of Contents
General Texas Holdem Strategy Tips:
- Religiously take notes on your opponent: Poker is a war of information. The more information you have on your opponent, the more likely you will be to come out on top. Start paying attention to your opponents tendencies and make a note of anything you can use to beat him in the future. It might be his demeanour when bluffing, or how he acts confident when holding a monster hand. Even if you don’t take a notepad to live games, make sure you take a ‘mental note’ of anything you may be able to use in the future. See how Jonathan Little takes notes on the poker table. Bestpokersites.org also wrote an excellent article with poker tips on how note take including how to colour code your opponents.
- Slowplay for the right reasons: There are a time and a place for slowplaying in poker, but not, for example, when you have AA preflop against a loose aggressive opponent. Slowplaying weak hands postflop is also a common newbie error. On the contrary, if you have a set on a dry board, raising is usually a big mistake. Discover the slowplaying do’s and don’ts over at Pokernews.com. SunTzuPoker.com looks at a good slowplaying example and interestingly, how slow playing is the opposite of bluffing.
- Learn to Spot the fish: Playing against bad players is what winning poker is all about. The more quickly you can spot the fish, the quicker you will be able to adjust and take their stack. Fish effectively have a clock on their stack; they will eventually lose it – you want to be the ultimate winner of their chips, so act quickly. Look for telltale signs of a fish: limping, calling down with weak hands, overbetting or underbetting. PokerRockets.com discussed this in more detail in an excellent article here.
- Improve your focus: Every time you lose focus on the poker table you could miss some vital information; hence, losing focus costs you poker chips. There are lots of ways to improve this skill such as the Texas Holdem tips highlighted in the well-written article over at PokerMindCoach.com.
- Learn to MultiTable: MultiTabling is simply the act of playing more than one table. Playing more than one table can increase your hourly from single digits all the way up to $100s of dollars per hour if you are skilled enough. Find out how to MultiTable here and get some more multi-tabling poker tips.
- Fold more often: Playing too many hands is a very common mistake for beginner poker players. It’s hard for most players (even experienced ones) to open a wide range of hands profitably. Tighten up to increase your profit margin when new to the game. See this article by pokerlisitings.com for more information on how playing too many hands can be detrimental to your winrate.
- Don’t bluff calling stations: calling stations are people who will not fold no matter how big you bet or how poor their holding is. Surprisingly, they are a very common player type. It can be frustrating to play against them, but there is a simple trick to beating them: be patient and wait for a big hand then, value bet them to death. Watch Phil Helmuth explain below:
- Poker is a long-term game: do not become over concerned over short-term results. It takes a substantial amount of time or hands played for a player to be able to determine if a player is a winner. Thus forget about the short-term results and concentrate on making good decisions. More info from pokerology.com and kickasspoker.com.
- Don’t call when you know you are beaten: Seems simple, right? But this is very common with experienced and beginning players to mutter the words ‘I know you have me beat’ but continue to call anyway. Force yourself to make these folds if you want to become a profitable player. Pokerprofessor.com covers how a big laydown is often worth more than a big win in this article.
- Play at the right stakes: when will the 5th best poker player in the world be out of his depth? When playing poker with the four best poker players! Make sure you play at stakes that are right for your skill level and your bankroll. See the Ultimate guide to table selection by BlackRain79 for some table selection poker tips when playing cash games.
- Stop limping pre-flop:! Limping preflop is calling the big blind when first to act instead of raising or folding. The majority of winning players do not include limping in their preflop poker strategy; unsurprisingly the majority of losing players think limping is the go-to strategy. Limping isn’t an effective approach as the small, ‘insignificant’ losses add up quickly. See our Texas Holdem strategy guide for more information on limping. TournamentPokerEdge.com also has a great article on why limping is not a good strategy which you can find here.
- Put your opponent on a range of hands: Start considering what your opponent may be holding, and not just what you have in your hand. Practising ‘ranging’ your opponent will significantly improve your winrate. Putting your opponent on a range is one of the most important skills a player can learn.
- Exploit the limpers: Following on from the previous poker tip, you should be trying to play as many pots as possible with people who limp. Limping indicates novice players, and thus you can take massive advantage of them. Players who limp frequently play ‘fit or fold’ meaning they only continue with their hand if they hit and hence they are an easy target. There is a well-written article over at flopturnriver.com which discussed this poker strategy in more detail. PokerVIP.com also has an excellent guide for isolating raising limpers which is found here. One of the best ways to increase your winrate and easily my favourite tip for Texas Holdem.
- Position, position, position: position is one of the most important concepts in poker. Experienced players base their starting hand strategy around the effect of position. Make sure you read up and understand position. If you are new to poker and are looking for a quick way to get started with position, check out our Texas Holdem starting hand charts over at the poker cheat sheet web page.
- Stop overpaying for draws: draws are a difficult hand to play for beginners because it is unclear whether the hand is strong or weak. But beginners often overestimate the strength of their draw (i.e. likelihood of completing the draw) and as a result, pay too much to see the turn and river. Make sure you know how to calculate each of these: Pot Odds, Equity And Expected Value to prevent overpaying for your draws.
- Don’t overestimate the value of suited hands: New players see suited hands and automatically think suited means strong; as a result, they end up overplaying their hands. Suitedness only adds a small amount to the strength of a hand. The evaluation of a hands strength is, for the most part, based on the ranks of the two cards. See this article by ESPN.com for why suited cards aren’t as valuable as you think.
- Use effective bankroll management strategy: bankroll management is the cornerstone of all professional poker player’s strategy. Your bankroll management strategy defines what stakes you should play and when you should move up and down in stakes. Take some time to determine a bankroll management strategy which fits your situation. For more information see Bankroll Management And Why You Should Use It.
- Know when to quit: a common word of advice is to quit when ahead. Quitting while ahead is poor advice where poker is concerned unless you also consider other factors. You should only stop playing once you are no longer playing profitably or the quality of your game deteriorates. The skill in knowing when to quit is being able to identify when you are not playing in a favourable situation. PartTimePoker delved deeper into this topic here. Well worth a read.
- Be aggressive: the main components of a winning poker strategy is aggression. When you take aggressive actions (bet and raise), there are two ways to win the pot – by your opponent folding or by you showing the best hand. When you only check and call, you must have the best hand to win. Make use of controlled aggression to win the pot more frequently. See Pokerology for some betting Texas Holdem tips.
- Make the all-in power play: the all-in move is a powerful move with is synonymous with no limit poker. Moving all-in derives its strength from the fact that you only give you opponent two options: to call or to fold. Your opponent can no longer make you fold your hand. However, the all-in move risks your whole stack so use it with care. See this all-in article by yourhandsucks.com for some chip shipping tips.
- Always consider your effective stack size: your stacks size is the amount of money you have on the table. You should always have a good understanding of how many chips. One aspect that most beginners fail to take into account is the stack size of their opponent. If your opponent has a smaller stack size than you, they reduce the amount of money in play and your effective stack size. Gripsed.com goes into more detail on effective stack sizes here.
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- Use the bubble to your advantage in tournaments: after hours of invested time into a long tournament, players can become more risk adverse when it nears the payout positions. The last person to go out before everyone gets into the money is said to have busted on the ‘bubble.’ Nobody wants to go home empty-handed, particularly at this stage of a long tourney. Use this to your advantage and pressure opponents with big bets and tactically timed, steals, re-steals, and all-ins. They are much more likely to fold to pressure when compared to earlier in the tournament. See this article over at upswingpoker.com for more information. Bubble strategy is also discussed over at calvinayre.com with Billy Chattaway. For some excellent tournament Texas Holdem tips, see pokertipsthatpay.com.
Live Poker Strategy Tips for Texas Holdem:
- Don’t show your hand: at the end of the hand when your opponent has folded to your bet, and he asks to see your hole cards, don’t show, just muck. Showing your hand when you don’t need to is giving away information. Poker is essentially a war on information so don’t give any away unless the rules dictate that you must show your cards.
- Don’t play when drinking alcohol: Texas Holdem is often played in a social environment where alcohol may be flowing. This is particularly the case in a casino where they are pretty much trying to get you drunk. If your primary goal in poker is winning then, you should be restricting yourself to a couple of drinks at most, or even better nothing at all. See the thepokerbaffer.com for a well-written post on drinking at the poker table.
- Before you look at your hole cards, watch the other players at the table: when playing live you will see your fellow poker players all eagerly waiting for the cards as the dealt slides them across the table. Instead of looking at your cards, pay attention to the reaction of the players as they first look at their hole cards. You can pick up on subtle poker tells which will give away the strength of their hands. Do they suddenly seem very excited? Or how about disinterested? This trick is especially important for people who are to act after you. Check out top10pokerwebsites.com or see this (old but still good) video with Mike Caro for some more poker tells:
- Look for disinterested players: players who are not interested in the pot often give away tell-tale signs. For example, do they have a placeholder that they only put on their cards when they are planning to take their hand further? Do they have their hole cards in their hand ready to muck as soon as you bet or raise? Keep an eye out for these subtle signs and adjust accordingly.
- Find someone better than you to mentor you: one of the quickest ways to learn any subject is to find someone wiser than you to impart their wisdom upon you. The same applies to poker. Socialise on the tables, poker forums, and study groups and find someone who knows more than you and absorb everything they tell you. I would also highly recommend Alec Torrelli’s private coaching or Tadas Peckaitis poker coaching site if you want to accelerate your poker learning.
Online Texas Holdem Poker Tips and Strategies:
- Remove all distractions while playing online: When playing online or live, get away from distractions such as Facebook, Twitter Instagram, etc. and concentrate on playing poker. If you are bored, you aren’t playing close enough attention to the hands around you. Look to get a website blocker if you need to (see blocksite for chrome).
- Don’t play hands to suppress boredom it can be frustrating when you consistently dealt weak hands; especially live as you are dealt so few hands per hour compared to online. But playing weak holdings to suppress your boredom will only cost you chips in the long run. Make sure you have a good understanding of your preflop ranges and only deviate from them when table conditions allow, not when your emotional state wants you to.
- When card dead try to figure out your opponent’s hole cards: if you do find yourself bored at the table try to guess what your opponent may have even when you are not in the poker hand. Always working out your opponents will improve your hand reading skills and will entertain you while you wait for stronger a starting hand. Try to concentrate a bit harder than this guy:
- Don’t allow other players to distract you in chat: while playing online Texas Holdem, you can sometimes come across people who feel the need to berate you. For example, call you names for the ‘poor call’ or ‘donkey bet’ you made. Just ignore these people or even mute their chat through the software. When playing live, you can have people that continue to talk to you even when you are playing a hand. Just politely let them know that you will pick the conversation up after the hand has finished (check out poker etiquette).
- Take advantage of online bonus offers: online there is almost always new deals and offers provided by the casinos trying to get your custom. Make sure you leverage these bonuses as they can add a significant amount to your bankroll. Check out where to play for some new bonuses and deals for different poker sites.
- Search for players online: poker is an information war, and every bit of information can count. When playing online, you can search for the player and find what games and how many tables they are playing. The information this reveals can be vital and quickly tell you whether they are a ‘fish’ or a ‘shark.’ It typically means they are a new player if they are only playing one or two tables. Most experienced players play 10-15 or more tables.
- Use a four colour deck online: one of the most simple yet useful poker tips. Ever think you have a flush when it turns out you had four spades and a club? Well, stop this from ever happening again by changing to a four colour deck. Changing to a four colour deck makes it easier to tell when you have a flush or a flush draw and prevents you from making mistakes.
- Buy in for the maximum: buying in for the maximum allowed in a cash game allows you to win bigger pots when you come across weaker players. The deeper you are, the more your skill advantage counts hence put your money on the table! Enabling auto top-up can help you always keep your stack at 100bb. See “The 3 Factors That Should Determine Your Cash Game Buy-In“.
- Get a poker HUD: A HUD or Heads Up Display is a tool online poker players use to display stats on their opponent. A poker tracker such as Holdem Manager gathers the stats and shows the HUD. If you are playing online and aren’t using a HUD, you are at a huge disadvantage, as the majority of other players have stats and are tracking you. I’d recommend Holdem Manager 2 as I have used it for years with no issues (it has a free 30-day trial). HEM is very useful for tracking your online results even if you don’t want to use a HUD. For info on setting up a HUD see BlackRain’s post (it isn’t that complicated, I promise 🙂 ).
Other Texas Holdem tips:
- Learn another game variation: If you are brand new to Texas Hold’em, maybe put this one on the bucket list. However, learning a new game variation will broaden your poker knowledge and often you will acquire new strategies which are transferable straight back to Holdem. A good place to start would be Pot Limit Omaha or see realonlinegambling.com for other variations.
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- Stop cold call 3bets with weak hands: Cold calling is the act of calling a raise when you have yet to invest in the pot. When a player raises and then another player reraises (3bets), they are both likely to only continue with powerful hands (at least 88+, AJ+) so cold calling with a hand such as QJo, ATs, 55 is extremely unprofitable. When facing a raise and a reraise, you should be only continuing with premium holdings such as JJ+ and AK. Calling overly broad ranges against 3bets is a big mistake that beginners often disregard. See these articles for 3betting, calling 3bets in position and out of position, for more information.
- Join a coaching website: Another simple poker tip is to find an inexpensive coaching sites such as DeucesCracked. They can be a great resource for a budding poker career. These sites only cost around $30 per month and provide video tutorials on almost every poker topic imaginable. In particular, DeucesCracked has a great forum with posters and instructors always on hand to help. Check out our blog post on the best poker training websites for latest reviews in coaching websites.
- Take scheduled breaks: If you play poker for hours on end on of front your computer screen (or even at a live cash game) without a break, you are making a costly mistake. It is tough to concentrate for hours at a time, so take short breaks (5-10 minutes) every hour to ensure you are always performing optimally. For cash games, you can set a timer on the hour as a reminder; for tournaments, you can use the 5 minute scheduled break on the hour.
- Always be aware of the best hand possible (the nuts): One essential skill every new player should work on is figuring out what the strongest hand possible (also known as the nuts) is on the board. This skill will train you to think about your hand’s relative strength (as opposed to absolute strength) and ensure you don’t accidentally assume you have the best hand. Not an issue of course if you happen to have a royal flush.
- Don’t play when tired or emotionally drained: Poker is a game which requires lots of concentration and energy. If you aren’t in the correct state of mind, you won’t make optimal decisions. Over the long run, that is clearly a losing strategy. Only play when you’re in the correct state of mind! Here is why Daniel Negreanu doesn’t play poker while tired. Also, playing while exhausted is compatiblepokers.com number one poker mistake.
- Always have a plan: when calling a bet or calling a raise, you should have a plan for what you are going to do on the next street. Are you going to call or raise? On which cards are you going to fold? Similarly, when betting you should also know what to do when your opponent calls or raises.
- Work on your mental game: your mental game is almost as important as your technical game; however, the majority of inexperienced players completely neglect developing it. Controlling your emotions, recognizing when you are tilting and playing in the zone are all part of your mental game. To find out more about mental game poker tips see the blog post on the mental game. Here is Jared Tendler (world famous poker coach) in a long but useful video about the mental game:
- Take table image into account: Table image is the how your opponents perceive you. If for example, your opponent sees you as aggressive, they will be more likely to call you light, because they think you are often bluffing. Conversely, if you very rarely raise your opponents will know to fold when you do put in a big raise. Make sure you understand how your opponents have played and use it to your advantage. See how to use table image to your advantage over at Pokerology, a solid article over at zazenlife.com and reading Top15Poker.com also will help out.
5 Extra Tips for Texas Holdem
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- Don’t call 3bets out of position (OOP): Playing OOP is difficult; playing OOP without the initiative in a 3bet pot is even more difficult. Regularly, players believe that because they raised a hand that they should continue with it versus a raise. Continuing with a poor hand only because you have invested chips is a poor poker strategy. In fact, you should be folding the majority of your hands when facing a 3bet OOP. If you call 3bets frequently, you will often end up just folding on the flop or turn resulting in an even bigger loss! Tighten up vs. 3bets preflop to increase your profits! Again, see calling 3bets in position and out of position, for more information.
- Join a study group: Study groups are a very efficient way of increasing your knowledge base in any subject; thus they are one of the quickest ways to learn to play poker. The effectiveness comes from the fact there is a group of people with the same interests working towards the same goal. Spend time discussing hands, helping other members with their issues and asking your questions. You can join study groups in most poker forums.
- Listen to music while playing: Music can both be relaxing, motivating or both (depending on what type of music you listen to). Some people can’t listen to music while playing; personally, I feel it’s a simple poker tip that helps me get into the zone. Try it out and see does it help you! See can you take this to the next level with psychological conditioning with the old but gold article.
- Learn the important (yet simple) poker math: Math is a big part of poker and should play a role in many of the difficult you make at the poker table. Poker math isn’t particularly complicated so invest some time, and your bankroll will thank you for it!
- Beware of the flush: Flushes are one of the most attractive hands to make in poker. Nothing looks better than when all five cards colour matches (well maybe if they were in a row too!). This bias leads to a lot of newer players overpaying for flush draws and as a result when the 3rd flush card hits they are quite likely to have made a flush. Make sure you don’t pay them off when they suddenly start shovelling chips into the pot! See SplitSuits thoughts on how to play overpairs when flush draws complete here.
There are 45 of the best Texas Holdem tips & strategies. Any other quick poker tips for beginners? Please let us know below.
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This post was shared on the Alec Torelli’s Best of Poker Series