Mid-Level Poker Strategies – Learn Your Tells, And Use Them!

The basic rule of poker is to develop a standard poker strategy. You could be a loose player or a tight player. The golden rule for most newbies is to learn and stick to a tight poker strategy. However, as you become more experienced, and learn your poker tells, you can mix up your game with loose and tight play, resulting in a more profitable poker game.

There are two types of poker tells – the real poker tells and the fake poker tells, or acting poker tells. Knowing how to distinguish the two is key to winning more poker hands.

What is a Poker Tell?

A poker tell is any indication given by a player as to the strength of his hand. It may be a blatant, physical gesture, a subtle gesture or a notable betting pattern. Poker tells could be observed as a player who always sticks to a specific regiment suddenly altering his game.

Fake Poker Tells

Fake poker tells occur when a player purposely acts in one manner to throw you off what he is really holding.

A player may visibly eye up his own chip stack, mentally counting to see how much he’s willing to risk in order to play through a hand. This poker tell is generally a sign that you don’t want to take this player on unless you have the nuts.

Another player might double-check his hole cards, normally alluding to his possession of a draw hand, such as 4 cards to a flush or straight.

How do you know if the player is simply emitting fake poker tells? It is a matter of noting the opponent’s experience and behaviour up to that point.

A more experienced player would know better than to be so obvious with his poker tells. If he or she has shown no sign of poker tells up to this point, chances are, it is nothing more than an act. They want you to see. They want you to believe they have the best hand. They want you to fold.

Another popular poker tell is the widening of the eyes, or raising of the eyebrows. This is another common poker tell seen in less experienced players. If you see a loose, novice poker player do this, beware. But if a veteran of the game let’s such behaviour slip, it is likely enough that it s a fake poker tell.

Now we’re certainly not encouraging you to risk your entire stack the first time you witness what you honestly believe to be a fake poker tell. But if you can afford to make the move, and have a worthy enough hand to take that risk, it can be a very profitable call in many cases.

Using Fake Poker Tells

Because one veteran poker player recognizes another, it can be hard to use fake poker tells against other experienced poker players. However, if you take a seat with what you know to be skilled, observant opponents, you can let fake poker tells give off the essence that you yourself are a loose, novice player. Your gullible foes will have no idea what hit them when you finally make your move!

Unfortunately, it’s a short-term usage at such tables, and may require frequent table hopping to keep it up with consistent success.

Mid-Level Poker Strategies – Using TV Poker To Improve Your Game

Hands-on experience is a great way to tweak your poker skills at the tables, but it’s not the only way. You can actually use TV poker to improve your game, learning new tricks of the trade by watching the pros do what they do best.

Most amateur poker players enjoy watching poker on TV. We find it entertaining simply because we can relate to it, much like a high school football player enjoys watching the pros toss around the pigskin on a Sunday afternoon. But the best players – those with a potential career ahead of them – are the ones that take more away from a televised game than just a few hours of entertainment.

In fact, professional football players watch footage of opposing teams on a regular basis to improve their game. A team will watch clips from the previous bout to see where their own players may have faltered. They will also watch tape of their upcoming opponents to pin-point any flaws they may be able to exploit. They are constantly learning new tricks and better ways to defeat their opponents on the turf.

TV poker is no different. If you want to play like a pro, and win like a pro, you need to learn from the pros.

Thousands of hands of poker are shown on television every single day. ESPN shows past and current World Series of Poker events at least once a week. GSN (Game Show Network) broadcasts High Stakes Poker every Sunday at 8 EST, with reruns throughout the week. Poker After Dark is shown almost every night on NBC. Europe has a cable network devoted to all things poker – The Poker Channel – carried by over 18 million cable companies.

There is no lack of televised poker on your TV. Each of these poker shows is packed with amateur and professional poker players competing on the felt in cash game sessions and tournaments. That’s an awful lot of hours of tape you could be studying and learning from, day in, day out.

Learning to read poker tells is especially applicable to poker on TV. You get to see each player’s actions and reactions, as well as the cards they are holding. Bring a notepad and pencil to the couch as you watch. Take notes on each player’s behaviourisms, both physical and emotional.

How do they act when they are bluffing as opposed to holding the nuts? What kind of bet/raise will make them fold a winning hand?

Are there inadvertent poker tells being displayed? A nervous player will often touch their face in some way, or become fidgety. They may run fingers through their hair, wipe their chin or scratch their forehead. They could rest their head on one hand contemplatively, or take a second look at their cards after the flop, usually meaning they have a draw hand.

Not only will this help you identify common player types on he felt, you never know when you may find yourself competing directly against one of the very pros you’ve been studying. By recognizing behaviours and betting patterns, you can greatly improve your poker game by simply watching the pros play poker on TV.

Mid-Level Poker Strategies – 5 Multi-Tabling Tips

If we had to pin-point the single most significant difference between live and online poker games, it would have to be the ability to multi-table at online poker rooms. For experienced online poker players, multi-tabling can be one of the best ways to boost your bankroll.

Use the following top 5 multi-tabling tips to help you focus more on the games at hand, without getting distracted or confused.

1 – Note Taking

Most online poker rooms come equipped with a note taking feature. It’s there for a reason – use it! When multi-tabling, you’re not going to be able to remember every player at every table. Getting confused can be quite costly. If you think a player is a calling station, and they turn out to be the extremely tight player at the table instead, you could find yourself bluffing your way right out of the game against a nut flush, or worse.

2 – Four-Color Decks

If an online poker room offers the option to view a four-color deck, take advantage of it. You’re going to be switching from one table to the next, playing a little more quickly than you would a single session of poker. That makes it easier to confuse a club for a spade, or a diamond for a heart. The clubs become green, the diamonds become blue. A four-color deck eliminates any room for error. You’ll never make the mistake of betting on a 4-card flush again. If you have a flush, you’ll know it!

3 – Table Organization

Organizing your tables is very important. You must find the best way to organize the tables that you can work with. Some online poker players prefer to stack the windows, while others prefer a tiled view. Sometimes the choice is dependent on the number of tables you’re playing.

If you have a lot of tables open, it might be a good idea to sort them by limits and stakes, going from lowest to highest, or vice versa. In tournaments, sort them by blind levels.

4 – Remove All Table Clutter

Try to keep the tables as clutter-free as possible. If there are avatars at the table, toggle them off. Use the customization options in the poker client to eliminate any possible distractions. Some sites will offer different color schemes as well. Either use the same theme for all tables, or change the design for every table. Just make sure to keep the layout nice and mellow so it doesn’t detract from the game.

5 – Keep the Same Seat

Some online poker software will automatically seat you in the bottom, center seat at every table you join. That’s a great feature really, but unfortunately, too many online poker rooms don’t offer instant same-seating.

Make sure you are seated in the same position at all multi-tables. You may have to do this manually as soon as each table is opened. Be sure to check out the customization options first, though, as several online poker clients offer static seating at all tables when this feature is toggled on.

Mid-level Poker Strategies – Poker Table Distractions

The most successful poker players are those that never lose touch with the game at hand. A player who gets distracted could miss out on a lot of information about their opponents, as well as forgetting to keep a conservative hold on their own chip stack.

There are plenty of ways a poker player can get distracted, especially in a live poker room. A lot of noise coming from a nearby table, or the bar in the next room, could be enough to draw your attention away from the table. Eyeing up the waitress instead of the player across from you might get you a wink, but it won’t tell you that your opponent is holding the nuts against your second-best flush.

Even online poker games can carry distractions. Watching television while playing poker on your computer detracts completely from your ability to make reads on your opponents, assessing behavioural patterns for later in the game.

By keeping your eyes on your opponents, you can pick up a lot of vital information. In a live poker game, your focus should be on mental evaluations of each player. In online poker, make use of the note-taking tools to keep track of everyone else at the table. Within 30 minutes, you should be able to label each play as tight or loose, aggressive or passive. You should know who the calling stations are, who the maniacs are, who is playing only the best starting hands.

Multi-tabling is considered one of the best ways to boost your online poker bankroll, but even multi-tabling can be a distraction if you’re not practised enough to make the proper adjustments. Basically, if you play well at single tables, but find yourself faltering during multi-table sessions, perhaps they are creating too much of a distraction.

Poker table distractions won’t just affect your profit margin. They could be disastrous to your chip stack as well. Too often a player will become distracted enough that he or she doesn’t even realize he’s calling too much.

A good poker player knows the difference between a workable starting hand and one that should simply be folded out of the gate. But even a good poker player will sometimes move on with what would normally be a bad hand. It’s not always a bad decision – heck, Doyle Brunson is famous for it. But doing so too often can be quite costly. Before you know it, you will be looking up and wondering where all of your chips went!

One convincing way to put it is this: Have you ever scoured an online poker site for “fish”? You know, those incredibly loose, careless poker players who do wonders for your bankroll? Let yourself become distracted from your own chip stack and you’ll be the fish everyone else is hunting for!

Patience and discipline are the most common terms used to describe the emotional state of a successful poker player, but if you don’t toss in the ability to stay focused, your game will not have the consistency be categorized as a winning poker player. Pay attention, keep your eyes open and don’t let yourself become distracted at the poker table.

Mid-Level Poker Strategies – 3 Essential Poker Moves

A game of poker is won not by the cards in a player’s hand, but by the player who can convince his opponents that he has the best hand. This is often done by using specific poker moves, either to deceive your opponent into thinking you have the best hand, or to represent weakness, like a draw hand, when you already know you’ve got your opponent beat.

The following are three essential poker moves that accomplish just that. Well discuss the “Float” move, the “Check-Raise” and the “Post Oak Bluff”.

The Float

The purpose of the float move is to steal the pot, much like stealing blinds, but later in the hand for maximum profit. The float can be pulled off in one of two ways; before the flop or after the flop.

Using the float after the flop is more common as it is a straight-out bluff. You will float your way through a hand, limping or calling pre-flop, and maybe even again post-flop. Assuming no one is showing aggression, as soon as you like the pot size, post the big raise and take down the pot.

The pre-flop float is best when you have some kind of hand to work with, at least a solid draw scenario. It also requires good position on your opponents. You wouldn’t normally attempt to steal blinds when a lot of players stay in the pot, but when they are limping in, placing the large raise can steal a lot more than blinds. If an opponent is determined to move on to the flop, calling your raise, you still have something to fall back on.

The great thing about the float is that it requires minimal investment before the big raise. It will not be a big loss if you end up having to fold.

The Check-Raise

One of the most common and feared poker moves is the check-raise. The problem for your opponents is they never know when it’s coming, and if they suspect it, it can cause them to underbet the pot, or check a good hand when they should have been tossing chips.

The idea is simple enough. When you have a monster hand, check to your opponent after the flop. This represents you holding a draw hand that the board didn’t help. Your opponent will try to knock you out with a raise, since he doesn’t want you to keep drawing. You come back over the top with a hefty re-raise. He will either fold (the right move) or defend his investment by calling or raising back (the wrong move). Either way, you win.

The Post Oak Bluff

The post oak bluff is a very delayed bluff. All you have to do is place a low bet on the river, equal to about 25% of the pot. Your opponent sees this as a value bet; a calculated bet used to make your opponent stay in the pot so that you earn more chips at the showdown.

Of course in this case, you’re totally bluffing, which means your opponent has to be paying attention. If you’re up against a loose or novice poker player, he’s going to make the call every time. Your opponent has to be the type to recognize a value bet when he sees it.

Mid-Level Poker Strategies – Off-table Education

If you want to become a serious poker player, you should associate yourself with serious poker players. You’d be surprised how much you can learn from a poker player who is better than yourself. Further development of poker strategies can come from a simple conversation about playing poker, rather than an actual game.

You can learn a lot by playing against more advanced poker players, but they are not going to reveal any of their own poker strategies when they’re trying to scoop your chip stack. However, when you’re sitting around having a drink, you can get a lot of information out of them.

Highly experienced poker players can deduce their opponent’s hand, often predicting exactly what they are holding just by being especially observant. If you’ve ever watch Daniel Negreanu on GSN’s High Stakes Poker, you’ve probably wondered if he’s got some special sixth sense of ESP. Many times, he’ll put an opponent on a hand with dead-on accuracy. However, he is not psychic by any means.

If you find yourself playing against an opponent with acute skills like this, invite them to a drink at the bar after a session. Don’t outright ask them how they do it, because they won’t likely divulge too much information at this point. But if you can start a healthy conversation on poker, you may be able to turn the conversation to a particular hand to learn their techniques.

The information you’re looking for is where you made your mistake, and if you made a bad decision, what would the proper choice have been? If your hand was read, what gave it away? Pay close attention and be sure to apply the information to your game in all future sessions.

It may not be as easy as buying someone a drink to get them to open up. All poker players are different. Going back to our previous example, Daniel Negreanu is known to be one of the most open poker pros in the business, sharing his poker strategies and advice with anyone who shows a true desire to better their game.

Other poker players, such as Phil Ivey, are much more reserved and taciturn with their poker strategies. You’re not going to be able to learn much from a player like this, so as soon as you identify a tight-lipped player, move on.

What if you’re an online poker player? Getting into a steady conversation away from the virtual felt won’t be so easy. However, online poker rooms like Full tilt Poker offer a ‘Pro Chat’ session where players can converse directly with Full Tilt Pros, without actually competing against them. This is a great forum for learning from expert poker players.

If you’re willing to shell out a few bucks, joining a top rated poker training school is another great way to get inside the heads of real poker pros. There are a number of quality poker training schools on the internet today. For example, Negreanu runs PokerVT.com, offering a wealth of poker strategies including video tutorials of himself playing real poker games, against real people, and stopping at specific intervals to explain what he’s looking at, why he’s acting in a certain way, and how it works to his advantage.

Mid-Level Poker Strategies – Tracking Profits & Losses

One of the most overlooked mid-level poker strategies is the importance of tracking your statistics at various poker games and stakes. When you keep records of your success rate at specific games and limits, you can determine where your niche lies, thereby turning the maximum profit on a more consistent basis.

So often, poker players keep count of only two numbers – the cash they sat down at the table with, and the cash they are leaving with. So you start with $20 and leave with $30; you made a profit, yay! But how long did it take? What game were you playing, and at what stakes? You may remember these answers tomorrow when you go into work and brag to your buddies, but then what?

Let’s say you played $1/$2 NL Holdem for one hour, ending with a $20 profit. You then play $5/$10 FL Holdem for 4 hours, winning $50. At a glance, $5/$10 FL Holdem seems pretty nice, but for the time you put in, the $1/$2 NL Holdem games actually paid off better.

Keeping track of statistics like these will help you pick the best game, at the most beneficial limit and stakes for your playing style. Essentially, it will pin-point all of your strong suits, as well as your faults. By identifying weaknesses in your game, you can work to improve them, or simply avoid situations where they might be exploited.

What You’ll Need

There’s no right or wrong way to keep track of your poker play; so long as you are recording the proper information in some way that you can go back and understand. You may wish to write down your stats on a simple, paper notepad, or a neatly organized Excel spreadsheet. You can even download poker tracking software and import your hand histories for an instant stat tracking.

What You’ll Track

The following is a list of information that should be documented after each poker game session.

  • Date of session
  • Time you Start playing
  • Time you Stop playing
  • Limit/Stakes played
  • Bankroll at Start time
  • Bankroll at Stop time

You may wish to track further data, depending on how you play poker. If you are a member of several online poker rooms, keep track of where you played each session. Perhaps you like a variety of poker games, not just than the standard Texas Holdem format. Recording the game played would be just as vital.

Reading the Results

Obviously it’s going to take some time for your records to reveal any consistently reliable information. Comparing all reports on a month by month basis is recommended as it will show a diverse range of data with more contrasting results. The greater the contrast, the more beneficial your stats can be to the evolution of your poker strategies.

You’ll also want to read a “legacy” report; a complete running total of your overall profits and losses from the day you started keeping records up to present.

Tracking your poker play will give you a clear, outward view of all strengths and weaknesses in your poker game. By avoiding your weaknesses and sticking to the stronger elements, you can easily increase your steady profit margin and minimize losses; the number-one goal of all poker strategies.

Mid-Level Poker Strategies

Once you’ve learned and successfully incorporated the most basic poker strategies, it’s time to bring your game to the next level. We’ve put together an intermediate strategy, complete with in-depth skills of observation, avoiding common distractions in live and online poker games, and new ways to improve your poker game.

3 Essential Poker Moves

There are specific moves one can make in poker to bring in more chips on an otherwise average pot size. The first is the “Float” maneuver; little more than a delayed bluff, but highly effective in the right situation. Next is the infamous “Check-Raise”, goading an opponent into raising the pot only to raise him back (requires a strong hand). Last we cover the “Post Oak Bluff”, a fake value bet on the river to dupe a strategic poker player into thinking you have a monster hand.

Poker Table Distractions

If you want to be a serious poker player, you need the discipline of a pro. Never let yourself get distracted from what’s going on at the table. You should be paying close attention to your opponents in the beginning to get a good read on their game, and maintaining that focus throughout to exploit all weaknesses. Just paying attention to everyone else at the table isn’t enough either. If you’re call-folding too often, you may find yourself looking up and wondering what happened to all your chips!

5 Multi-Tabling Tips

The better poker player you become, the more bored you might find yourself playing a single table, especially if you’re playing a proper, tight poker game. Luckily, online poker allows you to participate in multi-table games, where you could be multiplying your profits and eliminating the annoying waiting period between eligible starting hands. In this section, we’ll give you 5 great tips for multi-tabling at your favorite online poker room.

Using TV Poker to Improve Your Game

If you like the game of poker, chances are, you enjoy watching the pros play in high stakes ring games and major poker events like the World Series of Poker. Televised poker games shouldn’t just be used for entertainment purposes. You can actually learn a lot by watching these guys and gals banter around the felt. In fact, the ability to see the hole cards of each player gives you an even better read on their moves, helping you to see what works and what doesn’t, and when and how to implement more advanced poker strategies.

Learn Your Tells, and Use Them!

Every poker player was a novice at some point. Whether you still consider yourself a novice or not, it’s time to take a close look at your past and present poker game. What poker tells are you giving off, and how are other skilled players reacting to them? If you can give off poker tells accidentally, surely you can implement a few good acting skills to relay poker tells on purpose, giving your opponents a false impression of your holdings. Come on in and have a seat – It’s reverse psychology 101!

Beginner Poker Strategies – Bankroll Management

Another consequential aspect of poker that many beginners tend to overlook is the concept of bankroll management. In fact, there are several professional poker players who have famously neglected to master this essential skill; pros who would be destitute if not for sponsorship deals or friends willing to help them out until they hit another big win.

Maintaining an awareness of the size of your bankroll will help you to determine what size blinds you can afford to play in order to get the most game out of your money. As a beginner it is important to start off with a more conservative bankroll plan while you develop your playing style.

It is recommended that novices never take more than 10% of their total poker bankroll to the table. If you are playing fixed limit, you should have at least one hundred times the big blind, and four hundred times the big blind for no limit games. So a player with a $1,000 bankroll should take no more than $100 to a single poker game, and start with $0.50/$1 Fixed Limit Hold’em or $0.10/$0.20 No Limit Hold’em. If you only have $50, just start with the lowest limits you can find, and stay there until you build a larger bankroll.

With experience you will learn how much you actually need to compensate for variance in the course of a game. If you play a tight game, your chip stack variance should be relatively low compared to a loose player who will lose larger chunks of their chip stack chasing a strong hand. If you play passively, you won’t experience the wild up and down swings an aggressive player encounters.

Bankroll guidelines for a poker beginner strategy will keep the novice player from going broke while determining how much variance must be accounted for in different limits and levels of game play. From there, you can modify your bankroll strategy based on your own experience.

When you move up to a higher blind, go back to your beginner strategy temporarily while you acclimate to the new skill level. Being an alert poker player with proper bankroll management and awareness of your opponents habits will serve you well into the expert levels of poker.

Beginner Poker Strategies – Be Alert

Perhaps the most important aspect of poker strategy is to pay attention. Watching the players around you gives vital clues about their hand strength, allowing you to adapt your game play when faced with obvious patterns. Being aware of your bankroll and chip stack are also imperative, as neglecting to manage your poker money or entering games beyond your means can lead rapidly to going bust.

Examining each opponent’s playing style will prove tremendously helpful to spotting a bluff, in addition to better preparing you to pull off a successful bluff. In the course of play, try to identify certain characteristics that will enable you to categorize every player’s behavior as tight or loose, and aggressive or passive.

The terms tight and loose refer to a player’s likeliness to fold a weak hand. Tight players will often fold before the flop in early position unless they have a strong starting hand. Bluffs from tight players will almost always be issued from late position, usually with a mediocre hand that might stand half a chance at winning if the bluff fails. A hyper-tight poker player may not bluff at all. Loose players, on the other hand, will frequently stay in the pot with weak hole cards to see the flop, and possibly the turn and river, as well.

Aggressive and passive describe the betting patterns of poker players. People who often take the lead in opening and raising the bet are labeled aggressive, whereas players who frequently call or place value bets (when they don’t fold) are considered passive. Aggressive players generally try to force the rest of the table to fold, as opposed to passive players who, when holding a very strong hand, will not bet more than they think another player is willing to call so as to keep them from folding.

If you spend time analyzing the playing style of each new opponent, you will begin to see a pattern emerge. Loose, aggressive players will bluff often, and though they may lose chips frequently, they make up for it with huge wins when they finally hit a strong hand because everyone thought they were bluffing. Watching such individuals closely may uncover a tell when they actually do have a strong hand. A tight, passive player will rarely ever raise, and will usually fold if they don’t think their hand is strong enough to win, slowly accumulating a profit by playing the odds. It is easier to force such a player to fold, but watch out if they call your bluff.

Each player is going to be different, with varying levels of passivity / aggression and looseness / tightness, with some players being downright erratic and unpredictable. Always pay attention to how each hand is played, and especially be alert when a hand comes to a showdown. The showdown is where you learn what a player was willing to ride to the end.