Tip #10. Have a schedule and plan in advance
Planning your sessions in advance will help to avoid wasting your limited mental energy deciding when to play, and you will be able to use that focus where it is needed the most – in your games.
However, the most significant advantage comes from the ability to plan your learning sessions.
From hundreds of students that I worked with, I noticed that without a fixed schedule, more than 90% of players find some excuses to postpone learning to the future.
Most of the time, they never even start working on their game. As you can guess, this leads to pore results and tremendously slows down improvement, so if you want to reach high stakes or mane a lot of money, planning is essential for you.
Tip #11. Have some fun
The last Texas Holdem tip I want to cover before going into actual strategy is about enjoying the process and identifying what you like in this game.
Firstly, do not force yourself to play too much since that can quickly lead to burnout, which is undoubtedly not much fun and can drastically reduce your volume and results.
On top of this, always leave some time to do what you actually love outside of poker, be it watching funny videos online, enjoying a movie, going out with friends, or visiting the gym. Whatever helps you relax, make sure to add it to your daily routine.
If you just happen to lose interest or just want to rest from your main game and have some fun at the tables, you should try something new. If you are playing Texas Holdem, you might try PLO or even Short Deck poker to relax and have some fun at the same time.
Just don’t make your life a constant grind and learn to enjoy the process, or you will struggle to keep up with everyone else n the long run.
Texas Holdem Strategy Tips – Crush Your Opponents
We already covered Texas Holdem tips that will help you approach the games as a pro, but we also need to analyze a strategy part of Texas Holdem so that you could make better decisions when playing.
Tip #12. Learn to put your opponents on a range
Do you know what separates professional poker players from the rest? They never try to guess the exact hand of their opponents.
One of the most important skills you can grow as a player is putting your opponent on a range of cards instead of guessing his exact holding.
The fact is that reading your opponent and putting him on likely holdings has little to do with guessing, and it is a mathematical approach comparing different probabilities of him playing in one way or another.
If you want to take your game one step further, you will have to learn how to put your opponent on a range, and this is the simplified explanation of how to do it in Texas Holdem:
- Assign your opponent a preflop range based on his position (what hands he would play from that spot)
- Reduce his range based on his action on the flop (consider which hands he is likely to bet and which to check)
- Continue narrowing down his possible holdings based on his play on the turn and river
Of course, everything is a bit more complicated than that, but if you follow this approach, you will have a good idea of what he could have on the river and can make a decision based on that information.
This is an advanced topic that is further broken down in the hand reading lab, so check it out when you are ready to progress with this subject.
For now, always put your opponent on a range instead of trying to predict what exact hand does he have.
Tip #13. Play fewer hand but do it aggressively
Proper hand selection in Texas Holdem can help you avoid many costly mistakes on later streets, so learning to adjust your opening ranges based on your position and opponents is very important.
The best way to quickly learn it is to grab a poker cheat sheet with all of the balanced ranges for different positions.
When you know which hands you should be playing in a standard situation without any reads, you can easily adjust it based on various opponents and their mistakes.
Playing fewer hands is one of the best Texas Holdem strategy tips you can ever get. If you avoid unnecessary hands pre-flop, you will have much less room to make mistakes postflop as well, so naturally become a better player.
On top of this, when you decide to play, you should do it aggressively to put your opponents in tougher spots, so be raising and betting much more than calling or checking as a rule of thumb.
Tip #14. Take full advantage of the position and embrace its importance
If you choose hands correctly, you will be playing most pots when you are in position, which gives you a huge advantage over your opponents for a couple of reasons:
- You get to see what they do and only then need to act
- You have an option to c-bet and win uncontested pot most of the time
- You have fewer streets to bluff catch if you decide to check on the flop
- You can control betting and build many profitable bluffing spots later in the hand
This clearly shows the advantage of being in position, so you need to carefully select holdings that you choose to play from early seats.
The closer you are to the button, the less chance you have to be OOP after the flop, so you can play more hands and realize your EV in that way.
Tip #15. Do not limp preflop (unless you have a very good reason)
When you are the first player to enter the pot, you should not be limping and should raise or fold instead. There are a couple of reasons why you should not be limping first-in:
- You can’t win the pot preflop
- You are not taking the initiative
- You are letting your opponents see the flop with all kind of holdings
- You are not defining their range, and it will be hard to put them on it later on
If you decide to limp first, then you are just hoping to hit a magic flop since you will be playing against multiple players a lot of the time and will not have a chance to bluff them.
However, if someone already limped before you, you can join the action with some speculative holdings like small pocket pairs and suited connectors just because you are getting great odds.
However, this is more an exception than a rule, and if you want to take advantage of other players, you should be looking to raise more hands rather than play limped pots.
Tip #16. Attack limpers and exploit these mistakes
If you notice players limping in front of you, you have a perfect opportunity to take advantage of their play.
Be ready to raise even medium-strength hands when there is a limp in front of you.
This will help you isolate weaker players and play heads-up against them, which is always a desired outcome.
On top of this, even if your opponent calls preflop, they will fold a lot when facing a c-bet, and you will take many pots uncontested.
So you should be attacking limpers both in cash games and MTTs alike. Since tournaments have more dead money because of the anty in play, you should take advantage of this opportunity and build your stack.
However, you should play quite carefully against limp/raises since this is a move that often indicates a lot of strength, and if you do not have a particular read on your opponent, continue with caution.
Tip #17. Slow play only when there is a reason
Many new players somehow get a habit of slow playing too often without any particular reason, which leaves a lot of money at the table.
As a rule of thumb, you should be playing your strong hands aggressively to protect your equity and build the pot while you are ahead.
That being said, sometimes, you will flop complete monsters on very dry boards where your opponent is not likely to have much, and that could be a reason to slow play.
When considering slop playing in Texas Holdem, you need a couple of things to be true:
- You block a big part of your opponent's value range
- Your hand is not likely to be outdrawn by next cards
- There aren’t many scary cards that can prevent the action
However, you should rarely slow play on wet boards where your opponent can easily outdraw you and should go for maximum value unless you have an excellent reason not to.
Tip #18. Use blockers to your advantage
Blockers play a huge role in the Texas Holdem strategy, so it is essential to understand what it is.
Blockers are cards than reduces the possibility of your opponent having a specific holding, or than card hitting the board.
For example, if you have an A ♠ and a board with three spades like T ♠ 7 ♠ 3 ♠ K ♦ 2 ♦, you know for sure that your opponent does not have a nut flush because you are holding that card in your hand, so you block this possibility.
Having blockers gives you a piece of information, which can be used to make better decisions:
- When choosing preflop bluffs (having an Ace or King reduces the possibility of your opponent holding premium hands)
- Turning your hands into a bluff (just like in the previous example where you have Ace of spades, you can bet big on the river because you know your opponent does not have NUTS)
- Making think calls (when you block strong hands that your opponent might have when betting, it becomes more likely that he is bluffing)
These are a few examples of how it can help you make better decisions, but here you can find more information about blockers in poker.
Tip #19. Chose proper bluffing spots
Texas Holdem is a complex game, and you will not be able to win without learning how to bluff. However, you surely do not take it too far and try to win every pot, which is a massive mistake that many players make at the beginning.
Most of the time, you should concentrate on playing strong hands and avoid getting involved in unnecessary ego battles trying to prove something to others.
However, you will need to bluff from time to time not to become too predictable, and there is a couple of things you should know:
- Bluff when you have a range advantage
- Mostly use hands with some additional equities (on turn and river)
- Choose hands that block your opponent's strong hands
- Do not bluff against passive players who are not willing to fold
While this is an extensive topic, these Texas Holdem tips alone will help you choose more profitable spots.
Tip #20. Do not be afraid to triple barrel bluff
While bluffing could be profitable in many different situations, one of the best spots to take advantage of this play is to fire a triple-barrel bluff.
While many players are used to calling on the flop or even on the river with medium-strength hands, most of that goes into the muck on the river.
Therefore, it creates a great opportunity to take down many pots by using your aggression. Of course, randomly firing all streets with every single hand you have is not going to be a winning proposition, but if you choose your hands properly, you will rake in many pots.
First and for most, barrel hands that have some blockers and reduces the possibility for your opponent to have a holding that he can call all three streets with.
Also, some additional equity is a benefit when bluffing on the flop and the turn since it gives you added ways to win the hand, by either improving it or continuing your bluff.
Tip #21. Learn to bluff catch
Since bluffing is a stimulating play and one of the reasons why some players choose Texas Holdem games in the first place, you need to understand how to counter this move.
Bluff catching is calling with a hand that can only beat the bluff.
You will surely need some practice to get hold of when bluff catching is a profitable move, but you will get better with time. However, you should consider a couple of things when you are just starting:
- Call more often when all draws missed on the river
- Use blockers to choose proper hands
- Evaluate your opponent's possible holdings based on his actions
So instead of randomly folding or calling based on your feelings, take some time, and evaluate this information before making your final decision.
Tip #22. Do not call too many 3-bet OOP
Calling too many hands out of position against 3-bets is not a sound Texas Holdem strategy most of the time. Therefore, you need to learn to fold speculative holdings OOP to avoid costly mistakes later on.
Even more so when you have a relatively short stack because these holdings lose a lot of value in such a situation.
While flatting suited connectors might be ok with 100+ big blinds stack, it is rarely the right play with 50bb or so.
Instead of flatting too much OOP, you should add more hands in your 4-bet bluffing range and fold the weaker part of your range.
Tip #23. Attack your opponents by squeezing
Do not be afraid to take an aggressive line and use a squeeze play when you are in a good situation since many players are vastly over-folding against this play.
If one player opens the pot and someone else calls, you should be looking for every opportunity to squeeze them out of the pot.
Make sure to use proper bet sizing of at least 4x the original raise, and use good hands with some blockers like broadways or Ax holdings.
A lot of the time, you will take down the pot uncontested, but even if one of the players decides to call, you will be in a favorable situation since you are the one dictating the action.
Tip #24. Float some hands when you are in the position
Floating can give you additional ways to win extra pots and is something you should add in your arsenal. So what is floating in poker?
Floating is calling a bet with a weak hand with the hope of bluffing your opponent later on.
However, this is something you should not do randomly, and most of the time you want this to be true:
- You are heads-up – floating against multiple players is not a good idea
- You need to be deep – using this move with short stacks is also not a profitable
- It is ideal to have backdoor equity – a hand that can hit runner-runner straight or a flush
- You are in position – this is the most important thing since floating OOP is surely a losing play
If you can pick the right spots for floating, it could be another tool in your Texas Holdem strategy and help you take down quite a few additional pots.
Tip #25. Check-raise some bluffs
Check-raising lets you build the pot when you have a strong hand, but it also should be used to put pressure back on your opponent with some weaker holdings.
You need to carefully consider the board texture since you should mostly use this play when you have a clear range advantage.
This will help you represent strong hands and get more folds with your bluffs, and it is precisely why you should not be check/raising only strong holdings.
If you choose the situation correctly, you can have even more bluffs than made hands and still put your opponents in many thought spots, which will move more pots in your direction.
Tip #26. Play most of your draws aggressively
While playing Texas Holdem poker, you will flop some kind of the draw rather than the made hand most of the time, so learning how to play it is quite critical to your over poker success.
Not all poker draws are equal in value, but if you are not sure what to do, taking an aggressive line is probably a better option.
That being said, you should not play all of your draws aggressively, especially when you are out of position.
Tip #27. Do not overplay your gutshots OOP
Another Texas Holdem tip is to play your inside straight draws carefully when out of position, and aggressively when IP.
Many players believe that you should almost always be betting your draws, but if you keep firing even with weak hands out of position, you range will be way too weak, and that can easily be exploited.
Therefore, while it is ok to be betting gutshots in position, you should mostly check these hands OOP as well as some of your stronger holding to protect your entire checking range.
Tip #28. Extract additional value with medium-strength hands
Extracting value is vital in Texas Holdem games, and the more chips you can get from your opponent with medium-strength hands, the better your win rate will be.
Thin value betting is one of the best ways to maximize your profits.
It means that you should be betting even medium-strength hands where your opponent is likely to bluff catch and call with weaker holdings.
This is mostly true on the boards where all draws miss, and your opponent will be able to think that you missed your flush or straight draw and now are bluffing, so will call very lightly.
On top of that, you should be thin value betting against players who are known to call too much and are identified as “calling stations” since you can drastically increase your winnings by that.
Tip #29. Attack when your opponents show weakness
More often than not, players are ready to give up in the pot and move to another hand when they show weakness. This is where you should take advantage of probe bets.
When you are out of position, and your opponent decides to check on the flop, you should fire most turns and rivers.
This way, you will win many pots right away and build plenty of profitable bluffing spots on the river. As a rule of thumb, I am always looking to make a probe bet in these situations.
If the board is connected and hits your range pretty good, an aggressive line will help you put many chips in your pockets, and this is one of the most underused moves in poker.
Tip #30. Learn to fold “pretty” suited hands to avoid costly mistakes
Many players overplay suited connectors and pay a high price in regards to their chips for their simple mistake. While being a pretty hand as it is, it is not always the best option to get involved in large pots with these speculative holdings.
Suited connectors gain value as the stack depth increase, but are quite weak hands when playing short stacks.
The most important takeaway when playing suited connectors is that they should be mostly played aggressively preflop. While it is ok to use this hand to raise or 3-bet, it is rarely a profitable option to be just overcalling another player’s raise.
Tip #31. Be ready to go broke with Ace-King
Is there is one hand that is often misplayed by beginners it is Ace-King. If you can detach from emotions and learn how to play this hand correctly based on the math, you will quickly realize how profitable it can be.
If you have a chance to put all your money in before the flop, go for it when holding Ace-King.
Unless you have very deep stacks like 150 bb+, you will be a mathematical favorite to win the hand. Even against an extremely strong range of JJ+ and AJ+, AK is a favorite. If we add all the possible bluffs and weaker holding or account for dead money in the pot, this is a slam dunk.
Even if you miss the flop, you still be ahead of your opponents range most of the time, so learn how to play Ace King in the right way to maximize your profits.
Tip #32. Adjust your strategy in multiway pots
While you will be playing heads-up pots most of the time and all of Texas Holdem strategy tips perfectly applies in these situations, you need to understand how to adjust against several opponents.
The most important thing to remember is that you should be betting much less in multiway pots.
Your bluffs are less likely to work against several players, and you will surely do not want to be value betting your medium-strength hands, so you need to check more often.
If you happen to hit a strong hand, there is no reason to slow play it, and you should start betting as soon as you can to deny other players free cards and opportunities to outdraw you.
Tip #33. Adjust versus players with short stacks
No matter which Texas Holdem format you choose to play, you will encounter players with different stack sizes, and you need to adjust to it since your hand value changes based on this situation.
For example, while suited connectors have a lot of value when you are deep stacked because it can flop strong hands and win huge pots when this happens, it is not very good holding in short stack situations.
When you stack becomes relatively shorter, hands with blockers gain much more value.
So a hand like K9o is a better candidate to try and steal the blinds than something like 65s, which is not something many players consider.
Generally, you have to play tighter against short stacks not just because suited connectors and small pocket pairs lose a lot of its value, but also because these players are likely to 3-bet shove wider and you do not want to be folding to that too often.
Tip #34. Take your table image into consideration
While it is essential to observe other players, and we will talk about that just in a minute, you should also know that your opponents are likely watching your play and can take advantage of this knowledge.
When players make an assumption about your play, they are not likely to notice a change in your strategy, so you should take full advantage of your table image and shift your gears when needed.
If your opponents see you as an extremely tight player, they will not expect many bluffs from your part so you can take advantage of this situation and bluff raise them in a big pot.
This will force them to fold even very strong holdings and will move the pot your way.
Contrary to this, if your opponents see you as an overly aggressive player, you can switch to playing only made hands, and they will likely pay you off most of the time.
Tip #35. Observe your opponents and take notes (both live and online)
To adjust against various players, you firstly need to observe your opponents and notice their mistakes. More often than not, poker software will do the lion share of the job if you are playing online, but you have to rely only on yourself in a live setting.
However, even if this requires additional focus and concentration, knowing what mistakes different players commits will help you make better decisions and significantly increase your win rate. That’s probably the reason where there are some poker books on this subject.
One thing that can have lasting results is taking notes about irregular lines that a specific player makes in the game.
If you build a habit to take notes about your opponents, every time you sit down to play in Texas Holdem game with the same players, you instantly know how to adjust versus them.
If you notice that one player is a calling station and is ready to call your three street barrels with merely third pair, you can widen your value betting range and force him to pay more.
Just like this, you can mark other things in both live and online games and increase your chance of winning.
Tip #36. Learn to identify recreational players and exploit them
You do want to be one of the players who follow Texas Holdem strategy blindly, without considering the skill level of your opponent or his mistakes at the table.
While learning a GTO poker strategy is essential if you want to reach success in today’s games, it should only be used as a starting point or when playing against very tough competition.
In most other cases, you can win more money by exploiting specific opponents or even population tendencies, but for that, you need to learn how to categorize different players. A lot of the time, recreational players fall in one of these categories:
- Players who hate folding
- Ones who only play when they have it
- Ultra aggressive opponents who try to win every hand
Each of those groups is making massive mistakes that you can easily exploit. You should not bluff against someone who hates folding and be willing to fold even reasonable hands when passive players show a lot of aggression.
Of course, these are just simple common sense adjustments, but if you want to learn more about this specific topic, I created a detailed guide on how to play against different players that you can read.
Tip #37. Do not pay-off other players when you know you are beat
When you know how to identify recreational players, you can take one more step and learn how to save some of your money for later use, and this is especially true in lower stake games.
If the player who has been very passive out of nowhere stars raising your bets, it is a good time to fold even strong hands.
More often than not, tight passive players will not start bluffing out of nowhere, so you can easily fold much more than you should in theory and exploit their play.
Even if you end up making some wrong laydowns, the times you will be right will pay for it many times over, so this is a very profitable adjustment you should have in mind.
Tip #38. Learn to calculate your odds and outs
Texas Holdem is based on math more than anything else, and while you do not need an advanced knowledge of it at the beginning, learning how to calculate your odds and outs will help you a lot.
Whenever you have a draw, there will be some cards that can help you make the best hand. For example, if you have a straight draw with JT on 98 4, you have 8 outs to hit your straight (four queens and four sevens).
When you know your outs, it is easy to figure out how likely you are to hit it using the “rule of 2 and 4”, and base your decisions on that.
If you want to know how likely you are to hit your draw on the next card, you just need to multiply your odds by 2, and multiplying your odds by 4 will show you how likely you are to hit your draw with the next two cards, turn and the river. Here are a couple of common situations: