If you didn’t read Amazing New Poker Tournament Tips Will Win You Money, it’s recommend that you do that now. Once that’s complete, come back here for more poker strategies. The Texas Hold’em tips you find below will be a little different as some of them will focus more on a mental edge. It’s imperative that you don’t undervalue these poker strategy tips. At first glance, they might seem less important than the tips in Part I, but in truth, they’re more for the advanced player.
#1. Attack One Hour Prior to Bubble
What do most poker players do when the bubble is approaching? You’re obviously a poker player, and it’s likely that you have been in a bubble situation before. Therefore, you already know the answer, and I know that answer. You tighten up and begin to fold more. If I know what you do in a bubble situation without ever having met you, then what does it tell you about the vast majority of poker players that are in a bubble situation?
It tells you that almost all of them do the same thing. Almost everyone is playing tight (playing fewer hands) and folding more often because they don’t want to finish on the bubble. After all, who in their right mind wants to invest all that time and money just to come out with nothing, feel horrible, kick themselves on the way home, and sulk for days? This is not a fun experience. However, if you’re a poker assassin, then you need to take advantage of this situation since it presents an opportunity.
This is what separates the men from the boys, the women from the girls. If you know that everyone is playing cautiously, then it’s time to open up. This is simple math. If everyone is going to fold more hands, then you need to raise more pre-flop. During this hour before the bubble, you will accumulate tons of chips. As far as Texas hold’em tips go, this one really works.
You will just accumulate them a little bit at a time. When someone calls you pre-flop, no sweat, fire on the flop. If they call, fire again on the turn. If they call there, you might want to slow down. It could be a trap. But there will be fewer traps on the flop during this part of the tournament.
You want to accumulate as many chips as possible during this stretch. Most of the time, you can double your stack in a matter of 45 minutes or less. However, once its 10-15 minutes prior to the bubble, it’s time to hit the brakes. You did your work, now it’s time to protect those chips. After all, you don’t want to be the bubble, either. And you’re actually going to switch gears once you’re ITM (In the Money).
#2. Slow Down When You’re ITM (In the Money)
Once people know they’re in the money, they drop faster than zapped flies. Play fewer poker hands, sit back, and enjoy the show. You don’t have to do anything for a while. Well, there is something you have to do, which is keep an eye on the monitor, which shows you the payouts. All you have to do is watch the pay jumps. After every few players, you will move up in pay.
The key is to pay more attention to this than the game. I know that sounds backwards, but it will keep you out of trouble. You will know when to get involved on the table because they will be obvious situations.
Before you know it, you will be at the second final table. Use the same approach, but you will have to be slightly more active here (not much). Once you’re at the final table, you can pay full attention to the game. Just remember that when you get this deep in a poker tournament, it’s 100% position poker. The person who plays the best poker position has the best chance of winning.
#3. Don’t Talk!
This is one of those Texas Hold’em tips that you might not read anywhere else. I can tell you with absolute certainty that talking/not talking makes a huge difference. When I talk in a poker tournament, I lose my focus as well as my edge. From an internal perspective, you’re spending all that energy on talking, which is distracting to your thought process. From an external perspective, others now see you as a friendly and relatable fellow opposed to a mysterious and intimidating poker player. If you talk, you will lose your edge. Don’t lose your edge!
#4. Stay In Shape
How do you think it would feel to be the fittest poker player in the room? Even if that’s a stretch, how do you think it would feel to be in the best shape of your life as you sit down at the poker table? Do you think you’re going to feel better or worse about yourself? Of course, you’re going to feel better about yourself, which will lead to more confidence, and confidence often leads to success.
This is another one of those unique Texas Hold’em tips, but it makes a tremendous difference. If you don’t believe me, try training for three months prior to your next poker trip and see what happens on that poker trip. I can’t guarantee victory, but I can guarantee that you’re going to feel better about yourself and have more stamina. Those times when you used to feel sluggish after hours of play will no longer exist. Instead of making a bad call because your body is telling you to leave, you will remain steadfast in your decision making.
#5. Eat Healthy
Staying in shape might be one of the more unique Texas Hold’em tips, but this is not. Almost every poker player knows that eating healthy is important. They know this because many older poker players have died by not doing so. Therefore, while eating healthy will likely lead to a clearer mind and better decision making, this is unlike other Texas Holdem tips because the goal here is not to die. Winning pots is great, but staying alive is even better.
#6. Go Outside!
Man … this is one of those Texas Hold’em tips where I wish I had listened to my own advice much earlier. I currently play on the WSOP Circuit. Early in the year, I was making final tables left and right and accumulating points to qualify for the Global Poker Championship. This run lasted for months.
I hit a downswing for a while prior to playing well again. During that downswing, I would play a ring event every single day of a trip and never leave the casino. That downswing was necessary because it led to me visiting a waterfall in Cherokee, North Carolina and I gazed at that waterfall while sitting on a stone for 45 minutes straight. It was an amazing experience, and I was all by myself until a family came by, which is when I left. The waterfall is a warm and fuzzy story, but it’s not the point of the story.
When I returned to Harrah’s later that night for a small Nightly event, I ran into a player I will refer to as Sam (not his real name). I respect Sam very much because he quietly and consistently adds to his win total. He approaches everything in poker like a business. Therefore, he’s very much like me in that sense. It’s good to talk to a like-minded individual. When I mentioned to him that I actually left the casino and stared at a waterfall for 45 minutes, he looked shocked and said, “You never leave the casino?”
“Yeah. Why?” I asked. “Is that not normal?”
“You need to leave the casino sometimes in order to stay on top of your game. Getting outside refreshes everything and allows poker to become a game again. If you’re constantly playing, you’re not enjoying yourself, and if you’re not enjoying yourself, you’re going to burn out.”
This was an epiphany for me. Up until that point, I thought it was normal to play poker all the way through a poker trip. I later learned that almost every successful professional poker players goes outside and enjoys what the area has to offer (depending on the area): waterfalls, amusement parks, hikes, beaches, restaurants, bars, movie theaters, etc. I wondered how they could do all this and still make money playing poker.
As it turns out, the best players don’t play every event. Instead, they’re highly selective with what tournaments they play based on their bankroll and the strengths of their game. For example, an aggressive player will make sure he plays in the 6-max event, and a tight player will make sure he plays in the Monster Stack event. Most important, if you’re a professional poker player and you only play poker, you might think you’re living, but you’re not. You’re living indoors you’re entire life. If you find balance, you will see the world while also minimizing risk and winning more. So … go outside!
#7. Know How Much To Tip
This is one of those Texas Hold’em tips that you will want to remember forever. It’s also my toughest decision whenever I cash in a tournament. I can simplify it for you. The standard tip for dealers when you cash in a poker tournament is 2%. However, it’s not always quite that simple.
Sometimes, the tournament takes out tips for the dealers as part of your buy-in. Always look at the printout of your receipt to check this. When you don’t see anything, be sure to read the fine print (sometimes they hide it there). If they already took out a bunch of money for the dealers, then you might want to reduce your tip.
Not the case, then 2% is standard, but I like to base my tip based on service. When the dealers are friendly and efficient, I’ll give a little more. If they were unfriendly and inefficient, I will leave a little less. Most of the time it’s 2%. Tipping isn’t within the poker rules as it must be done, but it is recommended. This might not seem like one of the most important Texas Hold’em tips, but if you don’t tip, it’s going to impact your reputation. You’re going to be seen as cheap by the poker community, and that is not what you want.
#8. Make Friends with Dealers
This is simple and one of the easiest Texas Hold’em tips to apply. When you make friends with the dealers, it’s going to go a long way. Whenever there is a debatable situation, the dealer is going to favor you. I know some people don’t want to hear this, but it’s absolutely true. In this world, friends take care of friends. I have been on both sides of it.
When I play a tourney or cash game in a location where nobody knows me, I pay careful attention to player/dealer interaction. There have been situations where the dealer ruled in the favor of my opponent, and there have been many times when the dealer was outright rooting for my opponent on an all-in hand. They shouldn’t do this, but it happens.
#9. Make Friends with Players
If you’re going to be involved in the poker community, then it’s very wise to make friends opposed to enemies. This can lead to a lot of benefits: your opponent willing to check it down (as far as Texas hold’em tips – you have the option to agree or disagree – its on the boarder of collusion), staking offers, team offers, party invites, networking for business offers, and loans (if necessary). Don’t overlook the networking factor. Networking is the key to everything. If you can find a way to make poker a business, you’re already in the money. Playing poker becomes the fun part, not the business.
#10. Vary Your Poker Range
This is one of those Texas Hold’em tips you expected to find, and it’s an important one. The majority of poker players have a specific range. A NIT will only raise with JJ or better, limp with marginal hands, and fold everything else. This player is extremely easy to read. A LAG player is capable of playing almost any hand. Therefore, he has an enormous range. This player will sometimes accumulate a lot of chips due to his style of play, but it’s only a matter of time before they disappear. Wait for the right spot, it will come.
The savvy player, which probably represents less than 10% of the poker-playing population, will switch from NIT to LAG to something in between and back to NIT and who knows what else from there. They are impossible to figure out because they change speeds when it comes to poker hands. They might 3x the BB with KK on one hand, 2.5x the BB with AA an hour later, and limp with QQ an hour after that. To the average mind, this is wrong, but the average mind doesn’t win.
Follow the poker rules above and you will greatly increase your odds of success. It’s highly recommended that you review this article along with all the other Texas Hold’em tips many times over so it all sinks in. This is one of the few places you will find a lot about poker strategy all in one place. See you at the WSOP!
Texas Hold’em Tips – FAQ
How do I get better at Texas Hold’em?
Study often and play more. By reading/listening/watching poker strategy content more than other people, you will have an edge. Confidence plays a huge role.
What is the best Texas Hold’em strategy?
If you are playing low stakes, then I would highly recommend reading The Perfect Range. Countless people have turned their games around after reading that book.
How do you win at Texas Hold’em every time?
You don’t. Nobody wins every time. The key is knowing how to lose, which means cutting your losses and living to fight another day.
Why is Texas Hold’em the most popular poker game?
Because it requires the most strategy and thinking. If it was all luck and no thinking, people would just play blackjack.