Free Poker Strategy Articles

A collection of poker posts written by poker players for poker players

stop being nitty

Being A Nit Is Making You A Bad Poker Player

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Nit: A poker player who uses an extremely tight strategy, who plays very few hands, and who aims to only get involved in big pots with monster hands.

At some point in your poker journey you will hear the phrase “tight is right”. A nit takes this phrase to an extreme, utilizing a strategy that is about tight as you can get without folding literally every hand. Most players hate nits because they do nothing but fill a seat that could otherwise be filled by a fish. But in the event you are a nit, I’m going to try to persuade to you stop this behavior today.

I run ThePokerBank’s YouTube channel (over 50K subs & 7M+ views), and as you can imagine, the comments on these free poker videos range from really solid players to results-oriented players to fish to ultra-nits. A while back I got into a quick back-n-forth with a player who said we should fold an overpair + flush draw getting 4:1 against our opponent’s all-in. He then went on to make the comment that:

No reads, fold all day in 1/2 or 2/5. Nothing wrong being a nit.

Now, many of my students have been nits. I used to be quite nitty myself. Heck, you can even find some old videos of mine where I offer very nitty advice. But in today’s games, a nitty style just doesn’t cut it. So here are 4 very simple reasons why there IS something wrong with being a nit… Continue reading

Top 7 Poker Podcasts (Updated 2019)

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In recent years, podcasts have become a hit, and you can find plenty of them in any niche. Poker is no exception, and there are regular podcasts that provide valuable content. Whether it is about strategy, news or anything else, you can learn a lot and have fun at the same time. Many of them will also host special tournaments and promotions, which adds extra value to the whole experience.

So, if you’ve been looking for the best poker podcasts around, here is my top-7 list! Continue reading

SPR Formula

SPR Strategy And Concept In Poker

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SPR, short for stack-to-pot-ratio, is a powerful concept that can help you take better lines both preflop and postflop. If you can understand and apply SPR strategy in poker you will have a mathematical framework for commitment. Here is the SPR formula:

SPR = Effective Stack Size / Pot Size

We simply take the effective stack (the smallest of the stacks involved in a hand) and divide it by the pot size. So if we both have $200 and the pot is currently $10, we are in a 20 SPR pot. Continue reading

brand new to poker

How Would I Learn Poker From Scratch In 2019?

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When I first entered poker back in 2004, the landscape was quite different than it is today. Back during the ‘Moneymaker Boom’ there were a couple of poker forums worth visiting, a few pieces of poker software, and a limited number of books that deserved a read.

Now, the poker learning landscape is 100% different.

There are a nearly infinite number of poker forums to join (heck, there are Discord channels and FB groups to talk poker in now). There are hundreds of poker programs you can use to train, learn, and tweak various parts of your game. There are hundreds of poker books available, and seemingly a never-ending list of random authors writing new ones every day.

When I ask myself the question ‘would I rather enter poker in 2004 or in 2019?’ I find myself torn.

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Bluffing Multiway Flops

C-Betting Bluffs On Multi-Way Flops

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You raise preflop and unexpectedly get multiple callers. Now you see a flop and totally miss. Should you c-bet the flop multi-way, even though you have a weak hand? Should you bluff on flops with multiple players? It certainly feels weak to keep check-folding Ace-high and weak pairs, but what goes into making a +EV decision here? Continue reading

Poker Inside Straight Draws

How To Play Gutshots In Poker

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Gutshots, also known as ‘inside straight draws’ are just one kind of draw you catch in poker. The typical definition of a gutshot is that you have 4 cards to improve your draw, which is only half of the number of outs you’d have with an open-ended straight draw (OESD).

To visualize this, say the flop is QT6. On such a board, 87 is a gutshot that needs a 9 to improve to a made-straight. And AK is also a gutshot, but it needs a Jack to improve to a made-straight.

Two Gutshots On The Flop

Note that gutshots can also have other qualities (for instance, AK has a gutshot straight draw AND two overcards on QT6). And in some cases, a starting hand can actually have a double gutshot (aka a double-belly buster). 98 is a double gutty here since a Jack OR a 7 would make their straight. 

In this guide, we are going to look at how to play gutshots through the lens of Ace King. This material comes directly from Chapter 11 “When AK Flops A Gutshot” in the book Optimizing Ace King. So without further ado, let’s get into the strategy… Continue reading

Playing Sets Against Draws

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Sets are usually pretty easy to play. Bet them, raise them, and build the pot quickly. But what about the times when the draws complete? What about spots where the board gets ugly?

These “bad” spots can create a “tight is right” mentality – and we want to disprove that mindset ASAP. Let’s explore a single hand, one with bottom set, and see how you SHOULD be playing sets against drawing hands: Continue reading

A River Decision: Bet Or Check?

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Today we’re going to go through a quiz that I posted earlier on YouTube. First, thanks to Will for sending this hand in. Second, many thanks to everyone who responded to the quiz. Your participation is the only way I can make these things happen. And finally, thanks to those of you who spotted a math error in an earlier version of this video – I’ve since corrected it, re-recorded the video, and reuploaded it: Continue reading