Poker is one of the greatest games I know. What makes poker special is the hidden layers of complexity which need to be mastered before you will feel you have a certain level of control over the outcome of the game. It is for this reason that so many players, often with many many years of experience, are still losing money month after month, year after year.
Experience is not enough to beat this game. What is really needed is the mastery of numerous skill sets across many disciplines. Once you’ve put all the pieces of the puzzle together you start making money consistently.
In this post I share 40 of my top tips for making more money from poker. This is a long post so I’ve added an index below in order to made it easier for you to find the sections which interest you the most.
Just click on the tip that you’d like to read and you’ll be taken straight to it.
Tilt is a son of a bitch, especially when you first start playing poker. As bad as tilt is, it is a part of the game. Tilt is another variable which you can control just like the tables you choose to sit down at or the hands you decide to play. Every poker player, even the best out there, deals with tilt a certain percentage of the time they are on the felt.
The great players realize when they are on tilt and either snap themselves out of it or take a break. In this post I’m going to share my top 3 tips for tilt control. I have no doubt that any one of these tips will help you stop tilting at least some of the time. Continue Reading…
I have been having a horrible time at the online tables. Earlier this month I went through the worst down swing I have experienced so far this year. I went 3 days without a winning session and dropped over $300. I didn’t know what was wrong and decided to take some time off so that I could return fresh and re-motivated. When I returned I was happy to experience 2 winning days and a profit of $160 which helped me recover some what. I thought I was back on track but then it happened again, horrible run bad and more losing sessions. Yesterday I was very close to reaching my breaking point and decided to quit earlier then planned so I would stop tilting off dollars.
When I woke up this morning I couldn’t stop thinking how silly I had been. I was talking about quitting the game and changing my game to play bigger tournaments (completely irrational thinking because the swings are much worse) and then thought about the bottom line. With all the horrible run bad so far this month I was still profitable and have been for the last 5 months. The emotional ride from the swings had done more damage then the actual run bad. The power of emotion in poker is incredible but in order to beat the game, you need to beat the emotion.
Beating low and mid stake SNGs is 95% strategy and math, there is very little game theory and meta game. Except for some ICM elements in the late game the way to win in these games is quite straight forward once you have learnt the strategy and can put in the volume to conquer variance. If winning in these games comes down to mathematical and strategic elements, emotion is nothing more than a roadblock. It might sound cold to a lot of people but in order to win at poker in the long run a player needs to learn to turn off his or her emotions, this is something I have always struggled with and few have learnt to master.
Tips for eliminating emotion
1. Understand that short term variance is irrelevant to your bottom line
I recently wrote a guest post for a friend’s poker blog, where I discuss how luck is nothing more than a distraction and how one, two or even five sessions will have little affect on your bottom line in any given month as long as you play enough. Check out the post and you will see my poker graph for the last 5 months and if you look closely you will notice the ups and downs but over time the line is always moving up. Once you understand and accept this reality you will be able to play through down swings much easier.
2. Avoid looking at your results
Negative emotion comes from losing, especially when you think you should be winning. We know we are losing from what happens at the tables but the affect is much stronger when we check the results in our tracker or check our account balance. Often I have thought I had won money and then checked my tracker and been down $50 which is a double blow, not only was I wrong in my assumption but I actually lost money. In my next set I am more susceptible to tilt and shifting from playing a A+ game to a B or C game. If I avoided looking at the results and just loaded the next set I would still be playing my A+ game. The more often you play your A+ game the more money you will make in the long run. WARNING: Only avoid looking at your account balance if you are over rolled for your buy in level, you don’t want to go bust and must always abide by bankroll management rules.
3. Put in the volume
One of the best ways to feel good about poker is to see good results, if you are a winning poker player, you will see positive results as long as you are putting in the volume and sticking to bankroll management.
4. Approach poker like a professional athlete
Anybody who struggles with the mental side of playing poker must check out Tommy Angelo. Tommy Angelo is a life coach who specializes with helping poker players become tilt-less and approach the game correctly. Tommy’s eightfold path to poker enlightenment is an amazing insight into our own irrationalities and how much more you can do to approach poker like a true professional. Check out his book, Elements of Poker.
To finish off this post I have chosen to show one of the best bluffs ever recorded on television by the famous Phil Ivey. I hope that one day I can pull off such a bluff and be as composed as this legend.