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Poker Strategy

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Learn to beat the pigeons, fish, donkeys, and other bad poker players euphemized by members of the animal kingdom.

My philosophy

With poker strategy having been done so well already by pros and journalists alike I’ve tried to take a little bit of a different approach in my guidance for players.

I try to give special consideration to what works online and write in an accessible fashion without being too generic and simplistic. I also don’t include a whole lot of math beyond pot odds and the odds of hitting hands in specific scenarios.

Advice like “Avoid trap hands and play conservatively from early position.” is only useful to the most inexperienced players but a bottom-line tip like “Pocket pairs become more valuable against early position raisers.” might actually be useful.

I believe in giving bottom-line methods that you can easily incorporate into your game.

I believe the most useful strategy can be understood by beginners yet give a useful tidbit, serve as a plug for a potential leak, or offer a new perspective that may still help intermediate and advanced players.

Most Popular

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Texas Hold’em Poker Hand Rankings (Starting Cards)

A list of every single two-card starting hand in Texas Hold'em along with its long-term winning percentage against 1-8 other players holding random cards. This essentially ranks every hand by strength.

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Common Odds in Texas Hold’em

The actual mathematical odds for the most common and useful situations in Hold'em such as odds of completing straights, flushes, or improving a set.

Quick-Fold Poker Strategy

Quick-Fold Poker Strategy

Quick-fold poker variants like Zoom, Rush, and Zone Poker call for some strategy adjustments. Here are some of my top methods for maximizing winnings at fast-fold poker.

Practical Post-Flop Strategy

Practical Post-Flop Strategy

Details the most important aspects of reading a post-flop situation, the turning point of a hand in No-Limit Hold'em.

Sit and Go Strategy (Early Rounds)

Sit and Go Strategy (Early Rounds)

A guide to help you win more and lose less during the early rounds of a Sit and Go when your stack is high relative to the blinds.

Sit and Go Strategy (Middle Rounds)

Sit and Go Strategy (Middle Rounds)

So you've made it out of the opening Sit and Go rounds either via conflict avoidance or growing your stack. This is how you make it through the heart of the single-table tournament and to the final stretch.

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How to Figure out and use Pot Odds

The most important part of Hold'em independent of playing your opponents is arguably comparing pot odds to the odds of improving your hand. Let me show you how to do that and why you need to.

What are Implied Odds?

What are Implied Odds?

The concept of implied odds is one of the most poorly understood and poorly cited ideas in poker, usually used to justify a decision you shouldn't have made. What are they and when can they actually be useful?

How to Cope with Getting Pocket Aces Cracked

How to Cope with Getting Pocket Aces Cracked

Getting pocket Aces cracked by an inferior hand is one of the most frustrating parts of no-limit Hold'em. Could you have prevented it? And what should you try to do when it inevitably happens?

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Strategy for Small Pocket Pairs

Poker strategy article on specific methods for playing small poker pairs 22-77. How much should you call, who do you want to play these against, and what should you do when you unearth gold with that set on the flop?

Ship those chips.

Improve your poker strategy and ship those chips.

No-Limit Hold’em Cash Games

TIPS FOR BLUFFING IN NO-LIMIT POKER

TIPS FOR BLUFFING IN NO-LIMIT POKER

When and How to Bluff in No-Limit Cash Games written by BeatTheFish.com   …Fishy says, “I can spot those minimum raise bluffs from a mile away!”   We all know ....

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Strategy for Small Pocket Pairs

Poker strategy article on specific methods for playing small poker pairs 22-77. How much should you call, who do you want to play these against, and what should you do when you unearth gold with that set on the flop?

CONTINUATION BETS

CONTINUATION BETS

What Continuation Bets Are and How to Use Them written by BeatTheFish.com   …Fishy says, “Continue with that shark-like aggression.”   Perhaps most popularized by Dan Harrington’s segment on them ....

Guide to Playing High-Card Flops

Guide to Playing High-Card Flops

Methods for playing flops containing 2 or more high cards (10-A) and how to shut down your opponents from potential draws. Hint: proceed with extreme caution.

Online Poker Tells

Online Poker Tells

Online Poker Tells In this article, I’d like to discuss various online poker tells, their possibly meaning, their general degree of reliability, and how you can use each as a ....

PAYING FOR INFORMATION

PAYING FOR INFORMATION

Making a Bet for Information in No Limit Hold’em written by BeatTheFish.com   …Fishy says, “Extract those little nuggets of knowledge from the gills with care.” When playing online poker, ....

The Hammer of Future Bets

The Hammer of Future Bets

When making what seem like harmless decisions on the flop, keep in mind "the hammer of future bets" before you walk into an expensive trap.

Guide to Playing High-Card Flops

Guide to Playing High-Card Flops

Methods for playing flops containing 2 or more high cards (10-A) and how to shut down your opponents from potential draws. Hint: proceed with extreme caution.

EXTRACT AN EXTRA PROFIT ON THE RIVER

EXTRACT AN EXTRA PROFIT ON THE RIVER

Checking on the Turn with a Big Hand written by BeatTheFish.com …Fishy says, “I used to fall for this one… I guess that’s why they call me ‘Fishy’.”   Occasionally, ....

RAISING ON THE RIVER IN NO-LIMIT HOLD’EM

RAISING ON THE RIVER IN NO-LIMIT HOLD’EM

Common Mistakes: Raising on the River written by BeatTheFish.com …Fishy says, “If the board looks fishy, just show ’em down. Hey, are those new tropical-flavored flakes? Whoops, gotta go.”   ....

Why to Buy In for the Minimum in Cash Games

Why to Buy In for the Minimum in Cash Games

Potential reasons you may want to buy in for the table minimum at a cash game.

Why to Buy In for the Table Maximum

Why to Buy In for the Table Maximum

Reasons for immediately playing the cash game big stack and buying in for as much as the poker room allows.

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Betting on your Draws

A common but nicely-hidden tactic for extracting extra value and confusing your opponents is to lead out with a bet on your draws to straights and flushes. Here's how and when you should do it.

STEALING THE BLINDS IN RING GAMES

STEALING THE BLINDS IN RING GAMES

Stealing the Blinds in Online Ring Games written by BeatTheFish.com     …Fishy says, “Ay yay yay… Why do I keep trying it? ” Alright, so I’ve been making this ....

How to Play Calling Stations

How to Play Calling Stations

What is the definition of a calling station and how can you best combat this loose-passive style of play? Learn how to classify them and make the proper winning corrections.

Specific Poker Hands

Pocket Aces and Slowplaying

Pocket Aces and Slowplaying

Never Slowplay Aces written by BeatTheFish.com     …Fishy says, “Don’t get greedy! If you win a small pot, you still won, right?” If you take away one concept for ....

Pocket Kings and Slowplaying

Pocket Kings and Slowplaying

Slowplay Pocket Kings? NEVER! written by BeatTheFish.com     …Fishy says, “They’re even worse to slowplay than Aces” If you thought I hated slowplaying Aces, don’t even get me started ....

How to Play Pocket Queens and Kings

How to Play Pocket Queens and Kings

A discussion on how to play pocket Queens and Kings in Hold'em, respectively the third and second-best starting hands. How often should you be raising and how attached should you get to these hands in various situations?

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How to Play Pocket Jacks

Playing a mid-range hand that looks better than it usually is - such as pocket Jacks - may be one of the most difficult skills to master in Texas Hold'em. Here's a look at my tendencies when holding this tricky hand.

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How to Play AK (Ace-King) Preflop

Some of my favorite ways to play Ace-King in cash games and tournaments. How often to raise, reraise, and, yes, even fold.

How to Play Small Suited Connectors

How to Play Small Suited Connectors

Playing Suited Connectors written by BeatTheFish.com Small suited connectors (hands like 4-5 suited and 7-8 suited) can be a goldmine if you hit the right flop, especially playing no-limit. As ....

Tournament Strategy

SIT ‘N GO STRATEGY

SIT ‘N GO STRATEGY

Sit ‘n Go Strategy and Tips written by BeatTheFish.com     …Fishy says, “Play tight, then open it up and don’t be afraid to bare your gills.” Sit and Go ....

Heads-Up Tournament Strategy

Heads-Up Tournament Strategy

How-to strategy specifically for heads-up tournaments or for the final stages of a sit and go or multi-table tournament when you're down to 2 players.

PLAYING AT THE FINAL TABLE

PLAYING AT THE FINAL TABLE

Playing at the Final Tournament Table written by BeatTheFish.com     …Fishy says, “Play according to what you want to accomplish. Jeez, I’m like the Confucius of poker. ” This ....

HORSE POKER TOURNAMENT STRATEGY

HORSE POKER TOURNAMENT STRATEGY

Guide for H.O.R.S.E Poker Tournaments and Cash Games written by BeatTheFish.com …Fishy says, “A Horse is a horse, of course.”     In the inaugural $50,000 buy-in HORSE poker tournament ....

PLAYING LARGE TOURNAMENT FIELDS

PLAYING LARGE TOURNAMENT FIELDS

Tips for Playing Large Fields written by BeatTheFish.com People love to play no-limit hold ’em tournaments these days. Which translates to big fields in online tournaments – especially freerolls and ....

TOURNAMENTS

TOURNAMENTS

Tournaments: Could You Be Playing Too Tight? written by BeatTheFish.com       …Fishy says, “Okay, so I play loose all the time.” In most of my first online poker ....

SIT AND GO

SIT AND GO

Sit and Go Tournaments written by BeatTheFish.com   …Fishy says, “Shouldn’t it be called a swim and go?”   The sit and go tournament is a direct byproduct of the ....

Sit and Go Strategy (Early Rounds)

Sit and Go Strategy (Early Rounds)

A guide to help you win more and lose less during the early rounds of a Sit and Go when your stack is high relative to the blinds.

Sit and Go Strategy (Middle Rounds)

Sit and Go Strategy (Middle Rounds)

So you've made it out of the opening Sit and Go rounds either via conflict avoidance or growing your stack. This is how you make it through the heart of the single-table tournament and to the final stretch.

WSOP SATELLITES EXPLAINED

WSOP SATELLITES EXPLAINED

The World Series of Poker – Satellites ♠ What Are Satellite Poker Tournaments? Everyone wants to be able to play in the WSOP. However, most of us don’t have the ....

Poker Rules

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Poker Hand Rankings

The basic ranking of poker hands from a single high card all the way up to straight flush. This "what beats what" chart is used for all high-card games like Texas Hold'em, Omaha, Stud, and Draw.

Rules of Texas Hold’em

Rules of Texas Hold’em

The Rules of Texas Hold’em Texas Hold’em and especially no limit hold’em (NLHE) is the most commonly played poker game in live card rooms and casinos around the world. In this ....

OMAHA POKER RULES

OMAHA POKER RULES

How to Play Omaha Poker    Rules The rules for Omaha are basically a variation of Texas Hold’em. In the game of Omaha, you can only use two hole cards ....

PINEAPPLE POKER RULES AND STRATEGY

PINEAPPLE POKER RULES AND STRATEGY

How to Play and Win at Pineapple   Pineapple is a variation of poker that is similar to Texas Hold’em. The main difference is instead of players receiving two cards ....

RAZZ POKER RULES

RAZZ POKER RULES

How to Play Razz    Pineapple is a variation of poker that is similar to Texas Hold’em. The main difference is instead of players receiving two cards to start the ....

BADUGI RULES

BADUGI RULES

How to Play Badugi    Badugi, also known as Padooki among other names (Korean for “spotted dog”), is a very unique variant of lowball poker. It is most often found ....

Beat The Fish Guide

How to “Beat The Fish”

How to “Beat The Fish”

Poker Strategy Tutorial: Beat The Fish With the surge that online poker has experienced over the past 2-3 years, the industry is at an all-time high. Whether players specialize in ....

BEAT THE FISH POKER STRATEGY TUTORIAL

BEAT THE FISH POKER STRATEGY TUTORIAL

Part One: Where Did Online Poker Fish Come From? written by BeatTheFish.com The explosion of televised poker tournaments and lipstick cameras has ushered in a new era of poker popularity. ....

BEAT THE ONLINE POKER FISH

BEAT THE ONLINE POKER FISH

Part Two: Preflop Play written by BeatTheFish.com Hand Selection I’m sure that you’ve read about hand selection and looked over your favorite author’s starting hand guide. It will tell you ....

BEAT THE FISH

BEAT THE FISH

Part Three: Preflop and Postflop Play written by BeatTheFish.com Proper Play: Preflop The consensus among No-Limit Hold ’em experts is that a “standard” raise is 3-4 times the amount of ....

POKER STRATEGY – BEAT THE FISH

POKER STRATEGY – BEAT THE FISH

Part Four: The Turn and River written by BeatTheFish.com Playing Draws Essentially, I recommend a “Flop It or Fold It” strategy for loose online hold ’em – especially for beginners ....

Beating Loose Tables

Quick Tips for Beating Loose Online Poker Tables

Quick Tips for Beating Loose Online Poker Tables

Submitted Questions: How do I Beat the Fish at Online Poker? The following was submitted via our online poker forum: “First, let me thank you for your site. You have ....

How to Defend Against Maniacs

How to Defend Against Maniacs

Defending Against Aggressive Players I recently received an e-mail from a player that I thought was particularly poignant. Let me post a snippet of it here: “I have trouble coping ....

How to Trap Poker Table Bullies

How to Trap Poker Table Bullies

How to Beat Poker Table Bullies In previous articles, I have discussed methods of fighting back against poker table bullies. These pesky semi-maniacal players in your no-limit cash game or tournament ....

How to Cope with Getting Pocket Aces Cracked

How to Cope with Getting Pocket Aces Cracked

Getting pocket Aces cracked by an inferior hand is one of the most frustrating parts of no-limit Hold'em. Could you have prevented it? And what should you try to do when it inevitably happens?

Everything Else

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Poker Hand Nicknames

Poker players are peerless when it comes to their ability to give nicknames. Here is a selection of the most popular nicknames given to specific poker hands and their origins.

COMMON DRAWS AND ODDS IN TEXAS HOLD’EM

COMMON DRAWS AND ODDS IN TEXAS HOLD’EM

Important Odds and Probabilities written by BeatTheFish.com   …Fishy says, “The probability that I will have a flake soufflé for dinner tonight is 100%.” Unfortunately, many new poker players are ....

POKER MONEY MANAGEMENT

POKER MONEY MANAGEMENT

Tips to Keep Your Poker Bankroll Intact written by BeatTheFish.com   …Fishy says, “I bought a new personal aquarium with proper money management.” A topic that I feel is often ....

HOW TO PLAY AT A REAL TABLE

HOW TO PLAY AT A REAL TABLE

Your First Visit to a Real Cardroom written by BeatTheFish.com     …Fishy says, “Don’t be intimidated – just be informed before your first visit.” With online poker becoming so ....

MASTERING POKER GAMES

MASTERING POKER GAMES

Master One Game or All of Them? written by BeatTheFish.com …Fishy says, “Speaking of WSOP bracelets, do you think they can customize one to fit me?”   Most of us ....

TV POKER

TV POKER

What You Should Learn from TV Poker written by BeatTheFish.com     …Fishy says, “Remember, they’re playing for millions of dollars.” As I write this article, I’m watching some of ....

All About Poker Bad Beats

All About Poker Bad Beats

What actually qualifies as a bad beat in poker, how to keep perspective when you're on the losing end, and why they actually mean that you're playing the game the right way.

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How to Make the Most Money with Online Poker

Make the Most Money with your Style I’d like to share with you a recent e-mail I received from a regular visitor who is fairly new to No-Limit Hold’em and ....

ONLINE POKER TELLS AND TIPS FOR TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THEM

ONLINE POKER TELLS AND TIPS FOR TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THEM

More Online Poker Tells written by BeatTheFish.com   …Fishy says, “I once was blind but now I see… online you should still pay attention to more than just your cards ....

GAME SELECTION

GAME SELECTION

Online Game Selection written by BeatTheFish.com   …Fishy says, “Why stick around if you’re getting beaten? For something completely different, please join my campaign to change the official name of ....

POKER PLAYER NOTES

POKER PLAYER NOTES

Strategy for Notes and Stats When poker makes an appearance in a film or dramatic television there is often quite a strong emphasis on physical tells, which is understandable as ....

STRATEGY FOR PLAYING MULTIPLE ONLINE POKER TABLES

STRATEGY FOR PLAYING MULTIPLE ONLINE POKER TABLES

Multi-Table Poker Strategy written by BeatTheFish.com …Fishy says, “I like to set up two computers and control a mouse with each fin.”     While cardroom poker still holds that ....

BE NICE TO THE FISH

BE NICE TO THE FISH

Be Nice to the Fish written by BeatTheFish.com   …Fishy says, “Don’t forget, you want them to play that way!”   Obviously this site is dedicated to helping you beat ....

CALLING ON THE RIVER

CALLING ON THE RIVER

Calling When You Know You’re Beat written by BeatTheFish.com   ..Fishy says, “Lay that sucka down on the river if things turn ugly. What, can’t a talking goldfish call A-K ....

WHY ONLINE POKER SITES AREN’T RIGGED

WHY ONLINE POKER SITES AREN’T RIGGED

Is Online Poker Rigged? written by BeatTheFish.com   …Fishy says, “I love to swim downstream and show up where you least expect me… the river!” With online poker becoming so ....

Player-Submitted

SIMPLE STRATEGY AGAINST ONLINE POKER FISH

SIMPLE STRATEGY AGAINST ONLINE POKER FISH

Getting Started in Online Poker at Weak Sites written by BeatTheFish.com …Fishy says, “Where did these guys learn how to play poker? The Travel Channel?”   The following article was ....

TIPS FOR BEATING LOW-STAKES RING GAMES

TIPS FOR BEATING LOW-STAKES RING GAMES

Player-Submitted Guide for Beating Low-Limit Poker written by BeatTheFish.com …Fishy says, “Pot odds mean nothing to bad players.”     The following article came to us via the Poker Forum ....

The Anatomy of a Poker Table Maniac

The Anatomy of a Poker Table Maniac

Considering the logic behind blind aggression in cash games and how to defend your game from this unpredictable type of player.

Online Poker Stories

Thank Goodness for the Hand Strength Indicator

Thank Goodness for the Hand Strength Indicator

A Most Interesting Online Poker Hand Usually, I’m the one telling the bad beat stories. “Oh, man. This major tuna drew out on my pocket Aces with pocket sixes on ....

Accidental Clicks are Better than Real Ones

Accidental Clicks are Better than Real Ones

And with a Click of the Mouse If you’ve read many of my strategy articles, you may notice a common theme: pay attention to your table situation and opponents while ....