Tips and strategies

First Posted on Wednesday, Jan 24, 2007

 I’ve gone for a wee change in this blog entry. No bitchin about the
US stuff or games that I’ve played.

For the next few entries, I’ve decided to give you some resources to help you improve your overall poker game. The strategy section today is pretty basic, but involves things all poker players should know. I’ll even give you a couple of resourceful sites to visit that I highly recommend you check out.

I’ve found that one of the best things that has improved my game recently has been discussing my play with others. As I’ve posted already, I have recently started to ‘go audio’ with some of the league members whilst playing in a game. Normally, a few of us register for a non-league game and we discuss what hands we have and how we are going to play them. It’s great to have reassurances when you make a decision and it is backed up by your mates. Even better though is when they disagree with what you want to do and persuade you to do it their way. 99% of the time they will make the correct play, saving you, or winning you chips on the way. We don’t, however, discuss our hands if two or more of us are at the same table. That would be viewed as cheating, or collusion as it’s more commonly known in the poker world. How is your game to progress if you are working hand in hand with another player to fleece the table? It’s not going to help you when have to play a game alone.

If you try this, you might not realise just how much you are learning about poker, but believe me, you learn a lot. During games, when there’s no-one around to talk to, I find myself thinking…’what would so-and-so do in this situation. What would they suggest I do?’ At the moment it’s normally Blagger’s voice I hear in the back of my head. Believe me, it can be a scary voice….lol!

Even offline, when you are not playing in a game, discuss your plays with your mates to get their view on them. You might find that somone would have played a hand in a completely differnt manner to what you did, and you never would have thought about it. This type of thing sneaks into your sub-concious. You have just added to your startegy without realising it.

The point I’m trying to make is….. You LEARN a whole lot just by discussing poker with your mates, whether in real-time (during a game) or after the event.

To go that step further on this, if you go out of a tournament and are sitting scratching your head as to why you played so dismally, request your hand history for the tournament and study it. If possible, have one of your mates study with you. You will normally see glaringly obvious errors in your play that you won’t have thought about during the tournament. DISCUSS the hand history, and jot down some notes as you discuss. Keep these notes handy and sit them next to your computer for the next time you play. You might find similar situations arising and you can refer to your notes to get an idea on how to, or as the case may be, NOT to play certain hands.

Next up…. taking player notes. Most sites have a function where you can take notes on players and they are stored for whenever you play at that site. The notes don’t need to read like a novel. One or two word phrases will suffice. If they are reckless players just jot down ‘loose, reckless’. If they play super tight then just mark down super tight. One word of warning though; be prepared to update these notes. People are catching on that learning as much as they can about poker will make them a better player. There are so many strategy books and articles out there, those who you considered to be ‘wreckless’ might all of a sudden become a tight aggressive player the next time you meet them. They might realise that they are constantly losing and have started some reading themselves. Remember also, that they might have notes on you!

Taking player notes is probably the one thing that the majority of the online community don’t do while playing poker. Use it to your advantage, but as I said, be prepared for people to change their style.


You will find literally hundreds, if not thousands of books on poker strategy out there. You will also find loads of sites with strategy tips too. Just do a web search on ‘poker strategy’ and see how many sites are listed.

The first thing I would advise you read up on, if you haven’t done already, is articles on starting hands, how to work out your ‘outs’ (cards you need to make your hand), pot odds, probabilities and playing position. The following sections can be used for most, if not all of the main poker variants, but for this purposewe will concentrate on the game No limit Texas Hold’em.

STARTING HANDS :- If you are a novice, stick to playing premium hands. Don’t play any two cards. The better the starting hand, the better chance you have of winning. A great tutorial to starting hands and when to play them can be found here. You will also find good links to three good guides to starting hands.

POT ODDS, OUTS & PROBABILITIES :- These are hugely important concepts you should learn. It’s no use sticking your money in the pot just for the blind hope of catching the card or cards you need. That is basically suicidal play, and you will lose most of the time. On the odd occasion you might get lucky, but these will be few, and far between. This article tells you how to figure out your ‘outs’ and the probability of making your hand. Follow the instructions in the tutorial and you will be on safe ground while at the table. You will lose less money, and hopefully drop a habit common to novice players – chasing cards. More on that little nugget at another time.

PLAYING POSITION :- This is a very important subject. It stands to reason that the later you have to act, the more information you will have at the table. So you can reason that the earlier you have to act, the less information you will have. Have a read of this article which will explain the importance of playing position.

I recommend reading as many strategy books and articles as you can. Don’t try cramming 3 books into one weeks reading though. Choose a book or article and take your time to digest what has been written. Read it over a couple of times. The more you read a book or article the more information you will log to memory. Once you are happy that you’ve gained enough information, put it to the test. Play a few games and try out your new found skills. See how you can implement them into your play. Stick to what you have read and I guarantee you will see a difference in your play, even if its just playing that bit tighter, or playing that bit more aggressive in certain situation. Once you are happy, move on to another book or article and repeat the process.

The links I have given above will take you to sites that have a wealth of poker articles, many of which have been written by some of the top names in poker. The articles range from beginner to advanced play so there should be something for everyone.

Next time around, I’ll give you the links to some more of the best sites.

Good Luck and happy reading!


PinkDog: Very nice blog today G.
Very good links also, I like the looks of that Bill Chen Formual. I’ll have to give that a test run today in the league game. LOL
Hope to see ya there.
Jan 24, 2007, 05:11 PM (UTC -5)
dagopher: Thanks Larry, I thought it was about time I put in some meaningful stuff that people can learn from. As we know, I’ve only just scratched the surface of the basics, but a lot of the time we run into players who forget the basics. I quite liked the Bill Chen formula too, but need to read up on it again. I’ll maybe try it out against the monkeys on Friday at Abs…lol
Jan 25, 2007, 02:33 AM (UTC -5)


4 Responses to Tips and strategies

  1. whatadiamond says:

    Thank you so much for making this a nice , easy read . lol… Great links. The link to starting hands ( Bill Chen Formula) great easy to follow, I will have to try this formula looks interesting …have got lots to learn so i better getting reading .. Thanxxxxxxx

  2. dagopher says:

    Thanks for the comment! I hope you find the blog interesting and can pick up a lot of tips! Be sure to check out the other poker blogs too. There’s plenty more startegies and guides for you to read!

  3. […] gives you information on the players before you. To read more on playing position have a read at this article with links on the […]

  4. […] gives you information on the players before you. To read more on playing position have a read at this article with links on the […]

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