12 Latest Online Poker Tips adapted by Professionals (2020)
To begin with, people often ask me what are my best online poker tips these days. As somebody who has played online poker for 10+ years as a professional, this is a topic that I wanted to finally cover in detail.
Here are my 12 best online poker tips implemented by pros for 2020:
- Learn to crush the micro stakes first
- Always enter the pot with a raise
- Don’t be scared to re-raise a lot preflop
- Don’t call 3-bets out of position very often
- Respect the power of the 4-bet
- Move stakes up when you have 30 buy-ins
- Don’t bluff very often against the fish
- Force the fragile regulars to fold by barreling scare cards
- Never miss a value bet against the fish
- Respect turns and river re-raises
- Be prepared for countless bad beats
- Learn to laugh it off and just have a good time
Learn to beat the micro stakes first
Now let me tell you, the first poker tip for you is not always the well-known one and for this poker tip, it starts with micro stakes.
What does “micro stakes” even mean?
When I use the term micro stakes in online poker I am basically referring to the 1cent/ 2 cents blind games (2NL) all the way up until 25 cents/ 50 cents blind games (50 NL)
Now some online poker sites these days start at 2 cents/ 5 cents blind games or even 5 cents/ 10 cents blind games. It is always best to start at the lowest stake that is available. I know everybody wants to play high stakes and make big money but if you are new to online poker or struggling to win so far, it’s really necessary that you learn to beat the bad players at the lower limits first.
The reason why is because this is going to force you to master the fundamentals of the game, which will help you tremendously when dealing with the much stronger competition that you will be facing in higher stakes poker games. Even if you are a very skilled poker player (maybe you have a lengthy live background)it is best for you to start out at the micro stakes for a week or two just so you get that you can beat other players.
Trust me when I say that online poker will not be easy anymore at mid-stakes or high stakes. By this I mean stakes that are like 100 NL (50 cents / $1 blind games) and higher. So it is really important to prove that you can beat the lower stakes first or you will not stand a chance in the higher stakes games.
Always enter the pot with a raise preflop
One of my other best online poker tips is to always enter the pot preflop with a raise. This may sound absurd for the first time hearing this especially if you have a live poker background where limping (the blind preflop) is a lot more common.
However, in online poker limping is much less prevalent. Quite frankly, if you do limp a lot, then it is likely that one of the stronger players will start isolating you frequently and make your life difficult after the flop.
It is almost always a better idea once you’re playing online poker, to simply get hold of the pot right away before the flop with a raise. I recommend raising it 3x the big blind. And you ought to also add one extra big blind for every limper. Furthermore, you also want to add in the additional big blind, per limper, if you are out of position.
If you ever read Crushing the Microstakes, you will notice that this is the exact preflop raising system that is outlined in the book.
This may be a bit confusing for beginners to poker though so let me explain all this with some examples:
Example #1 (standard raise):
It will be folded to you on the button with A♥J♣ in an NL10 Zoom 6max cash game.
You should raise it to 30 cents.
Example #2 (raise over limpers in position):
Two people limp and you are on the button with A♥J♣ in an NL10 Zoom 6max cash game.
You should raise it to 50 cents.
Example #3 (raise over limpers out of position):
Two people limping and you’re in the blind with A♥J♣ in an NL10 Zoom 6max cash game.
You should raise it to 70 cents.
The reason why it is better to consistently take control of the pot preflop like this (instead of limping along), is that it gives you various ways to win the pot. You have the precise same odds of winning the pot by simply making the simplest hand after the flop. But by raising preflop you also give yourself two additional ways to win the pot.
You can now also win the pot by simply forcing them all to fold preflop or you can win the pot by continuing with the pressure and forcing them to fold on the flop, turn, or river.
One of the biggest key principles of winning a game of poker is giving yourself the maximum amount of ways to win the pot. By persistently being the aggressor in the hand pre-flop, you almost always give yourself more ways to win.
You should often re-raise preflop as well
Another one among my best online poker tips is to re-raise often before the flop also this is often referred to as a “3-bet”.
The reason why you want re-raising the preflop a fair bit is for similar reasons. It will give us more ways to win. We can take it down preflop, we can make the best hand post-flop or we can force them out of the pot after the flop by continuing with aggression (more betting or raising).
However, you don’t have to go crazy with 3-betting in low stakes games because you’ll get called quite a bit. But once you have a strong premium hand like:
Then you should be re-raising preflop more often. The only exception is when a tight player raises in an early situation because they will be on a narrow range of extremely strong hands.
When a player (who is already tight) who raises from these seats, we should expect them to have a very strong range. Possibly as narrow as 88, 99, TT, JJ, QQ, KK, AA, AQ, and AK.
So it can often make sense to simply flat call to control the size of the pot with a premium hand like TT, JJ, QQ, or AK. If we’re nutted with AA or KK, it makes sense to just flat call here in order to hold it in the pot. We also get to play our hand in position in both scenarios which is a huge advantage.
However, in all other cases, you should simply be 3-betting (re-raising) when you have one of these premium hands. You also need to be doing some “light 3-betting” as well. This means that you are choosing to re-raise with some hypothetical hands.
This makes it much harder to play against. Once again, position matters a lot here, you primarily want to be light 3-betting when the action is around the button or it would be blind versus blind.
Make sure that you do not light 3-bet somebody who raises from early positions for all the reasons that we just discussed,
Here are some examples of hands that I like to light 3-bet with:
You also want to be aware of the player type though, the best kind of player to target with a light 3-bet is a weak player. This means that they are very hesitant to play a big pot without a big hand. This is where using a HUD (Heads Up Display) can be handy when playing online poker.
Just target people that have a Fold to 3-bet stat of 70% or higher. But even if you are not using a HUD, you need to be paying close attention to the table and be able to identify who the weaker players are.
Don’t call 3-bets out of position
Another important online poker tip that I have for you is to avoid calling too many 3-bets pre-flop when you are out of position.
When I use the term “out of position” (OOP), I am referring to a situation where you will have to act first on all three streets post-flop (flop turn and river). Many people make a mistake of calling a re-raise pre-flop when they have to act first after the flop on every street. This is a big disadvantage in poker, this is a big cardinal rule of poker that can never be overcome. It doesn’t matter how “good,” you think you’re. The position is everything in poker.
Even though it might appear delicate, you will simply want to fold your 2nd tier hands against a 3-bet pre-flop when you are OOP.
Here are some examples of 2nd tier hands (good but not quite premium)
You should still continue with your premium hands versus a 3-bet when you are out of position (AA, KK, QQ, JJ, TT, and AK), sometimes by re-raising them right back again. But with most of your 2nd tier type hands, a fold right there and then will often be more profitable over the long run.
Respect the power of the preflop 4-bet
The next online poker tip that I even have for you is to respect the power of the preflop 4-bet, especially at the lower limits. A “4-bet” by the way is when there’s a raise, a re-raise, then another re-raise.
The main reason why you need to be careful when somebody 4-bets you, especially at the micro stakes, is because most players will only do it with AA, KK, and sometimes QQ or AK. So in other words, extremely strong hands. A lot of individuals make the mistake of calling a preflop 4-bet though so as to “see a flop”. This is a major mistake though.
Because the matter here is that with 100 big blind starting stacks, a preflop 4-bet usually requires you to place close to 25% of your stack within the middle before seeing the flop. Therefore, you can’t profitably call a preflop 4-bet with a 2nd tier hand like:
The reason why is simply because you will not connect the flop often enough to make up for putting in such a large percentage of your stack before the flop.
Additionally, with a hand like AQ, this is exceptionally dangerous. This is because even if you do hit your Ace or Queen, you could end up getting yourself in a reverse indirect odds situation where they have you controlled with a hand like AA, QQ, or AK.
This means that your “reward” for hitting the flop would be to lose all of your money, this can be why it’s so important to respect the ability of a preflop 4-bet at the micros. Your best bet will often be to easily fold, whether you are in position or out of position unless you have an especially strong premium hand yourself.
- Move stakes up after you have 30 buy-ins for the subsequent stake
A “buy-in” by the way is 100 big blinds for the stake you’re currently playing. It is always recommended to own a bare minimum of 30 buy-ins for any poker cash game that you are just playing and 100 buy-ins at a bare minimum for tournaments.
For instance, let’s say you started within the 1c/2c (2NL) cash games with $60. This can be exactly 30 buy-ins for this game because buy-in is $2. Once you build up your bankroll to $150 you can start playing the next limit which is 2c/5c (5NL) because this is 30 buy-ins for that game.
In addition, once you build up your bankroll to $300, you should move up to the 10NL game, and so on and so forth all the way up the stakes.
Don’t bluff very often against the fish
This next online poker tip is very important. If you want to have success in the lower stakes games in particular, then it is really important that you keep the bluffing to a minimum (especially against the fish).
The reason why is because the lower stakes are often filled with players that like to call too much. So you may already be able to guess that bluffing too much will be a catastrophe against players like this.
The best way to beat a table full of “calling stations” like this can be to easily value the crap out of them. This basically implies that you are only betting once when you have the most effective hand right now or a good draw.
- Two pair
- Top Pair
- Middle pair
- A monster draw (e.g. pair +flush)
- A good draw (e.g. flush or straight)
In other words, something strong that is likely to be the most effective hand pretty often or has large amounts of equity within a draw. And this suggests that once you have anything weaker than this like a bottom pair, an inside straight draw, ace high or nothing at all, then you need to be checking and dropping most of the time at the micro stakes.
I would also suggest that you simply should never slow-play your really big hands such as a full house, flush or a straight in these low stakes games. Because again they like to call. So stop trying to trick the bad players if you wish to beat the lower stakes. And stop trying to urge tricky and slow-play versus them as well.
Barrel the scare cards against tight players
Although I just mentioned that you simply shouldn’t bluff to an excessive amount in low stakes online poker games, there is actually one key exception. This can be once when you are playing against what I’d like to call the “weak/tight” regulars. You will find the weak/tight players in any respect levels of the micro stakes in today’s online poker cash games or tournaments. You will even find these guys in live games moreover.
Basically, these players are sitting around watching for the nuts and that they are terrified to place significant amounts of cash into the pot unless they have an awfully strong hand.
If you’re implying a HUD, then they’re going to have HUD stats like:
- 18/15/2 in 6max (VPIP/ PFR / AF)
- 12/9/2 in Full Ring (VPIP/ PFR / AF)
You might also want to look for a low WTSD% (went to showdown) of somewhere in the mid to low 20’s. The lower the better.
Because it implies that they are afraid to go to showdown without an awfully strong hand. As you will be able to imagine, these are the sort of players who I absolutely like to bluff against. So whenever I am up against a player like this I will be able to often use “scare cards” on the turn or river to bluff them out of the pot. This is often because I will know they are unlikely to call. A scare card, by the way, is sometimes a high broadway card like an Ace or a King which is probably going to be very bad for your opponent’s range.
Get your value bets against the fish
The next online poker tip is also one of the most crucial on this list and that is making sure you’re getting your value bets in against the fish. As we already talked about, there are lots of casual players (and even some regulars) who like to call too much at these stakes. I have personally taught over 100 students at the micro stakes in the past. If I had to name one of the main reasons why many of them struggle to win, it is because they do not get enough value bets in versus these kinds of players.
Many people choose to slow-play instead because they saw their favorite poker player on TV like Phil Ivey did against some other high stakes professional poker player. But you have to understand that the strategy required to beat your $10 games on the internet has almost nothing in common with the strategy required to beat nosebleed high stakes poker games versus world-class pros. As I mentioned before, within the low stakes online poker games that you simply play in, slow-playing is nearly always a nasty strategy because most players like to call.
It is absolutely crucial that you’re making value bets whenever you’ve got the prospect together with your huge hands like a full house all the way down to marginal hands like a middle pair. Always get your value bets in versus the recreational players whether you’ve got a monster hand sort of a straight, two pair, or just a middle pair.
Don’t be afraid of “scaring them out of the pot.” This is a huge misjudgment in thinking that many people make. Sometimes they’re going to fold when they have nothing. That’s poker, it’s how the game works sometimes.
However, if these players have any piece of the board they will call. You need to give them the chance to make this mistake against you. Also, confirm that your value bet sizes are on the larger side versus recreational players. I almost without fail to go for 60% of the pot, and often more.
Respect turn and river re-raises
The next online poker tip is also something that I found many poker beginners struggle with, and sadly it holds so many of them back from winning.
- Turn raises at the micros are constantly always the nuts
- River raises at the micros are constantly the nuts
In case you didn’t know, “the nuts” is poker slang for the best hand possible. From my 10+ million hands of experience playing micro stakes poker online, you’ll literally take these two statements to the bank. Because they’re true most of the time, against all player types. One thing that you simply need to understand about most low stakes poker players, whether or not they are recreational players or regular players, is that the majority of them are passive. They wish to limp along and call with all sorts of hands. This is the “friendly” approach of poker that they learned playing with their friends in home games or saw in Hollywood movies.
So when they choose to stick in a big raise on the turn or river (which is often going to act as a significant portion of their stack), they are very rarely messing around with you. This is a condition that lots of low stakes players struggle to comprehend and they often end up paying a heavy price for it.
Be prepared for bad beats in online poker
My next online poker tip is probably the top reason why people don’t win at online poker. And this is because they are not prepared for the number of bad beats they will receive. What you’ve got to know about online poker is that a daily online poker table deals 3 times faster than a live poker table in a casino and an online Zoom game deals 10 times faster.
This basically means that you should expect to get between 3 and 10 times as many bad beats than what you are currently used to when you play online poker. And that is simply with one online poker table. When you then throw multi-tabling into the combination, it only gets even crazier! Many people are frankly not ready for this and they go on monkey tilt and throw away their entire bankroll when it happens.
It’s very important that you learn to view your growth in online poker from the perspective of months and years, not weeks or days. Because your results over the course of personal days and weeks will simply be all over the place. Even world-class professionals occasionally lose over the course of days or weeks in online poker.
Due to the speed of online poker, you’ll receive an unbelievable amount of bad beats, coolers, and “setups”. You need to be ready for this or you will simply tilt all your profits away like so many others before you have.
My ultimate online poker tip – just enjoy the game
This leads to my final online poker tip, which is to enjoy the game! Look, we all started playing poker within the first place due to the thrill and the thrill of probably winning big. The fact that anyone can sit down to play poker, even with famous pros, and run up a small amount of money very fast.
Whether you play cash games, tournaments, no-limit hold’em, pot-limit Omaha, or triple draw 2-7 lowball, we all play this game to chase the big amount and to grind out a steady profit over the long run. Now the problem, is that you’re going to have many, many losing days along the way. There is simply no way around this.
Poker may be a game with an outsized short term luck element built right into it. This is what makes it exciting and it is what keeps bringing the bad players back again.
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